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24.6.13

Summer vacation

I am spending some time with family for a week and a half.  See you all after the 4th!

17.6.13

What about rereading a book?

One of the best things about being a reader who works with children is that I have an excuse to keep reading my favorite books, especially my favorite children's and YA books.  It is always a surprise for my book club members to realize that I like to reread books.  By the time children are capably reading chapter books, they seem content to read through the novel just once, even if they loved it.  Parents are frequently taken aback by my attitude toward rereading, too.  I try reminding both child and adult of the number of times they read through picture books.  Have you ever heard of someone only reading Goodnight Moon, Chicka-Chicka-Boom-Boom, or Pat the Bunny, just once?

Why is it that we approach novels so differently than we do other works of art?  People design their walks through the park so that they can see a favorite sculpture.  Think of the reproduction posters made of great works of art sold and ultimately hung on walls.  There must be millions!  And, don't lets forget how many times we will hear a song in the course of our lives.  We learn and recite poems, buy copies of our favorite films for re-watching and binge on the best television shows.

It may take more of a commitment to take on a novel again, but I assure you that if you liked it the first time, the second read will be its own reward.   I find that the first time I read a novel, I am anxious to get to the end and find out what is going to happen.  The second time I make my way through the story, I become well acquainted with the characters and the places the author is writing about.  If I have an inclination to read a book for the third time, it makes its way onto my list of books to share as a read-a-loud.  By the third reading, I know the story well enough to perform it for my audience.  As a matter of fact, I have read The Secret Garden often enough that I think I am ready to record the audio book.   But, first I will have to work on my British accent.

What are you favorite books?  Have you ever thought of reading them more than once?  Do you encourage your children to reread?  If not, why not start this summer?

10.6.13

Wuthering Heights

Wuthering Heights
by Emily Bronte

As I mentioned last week, my son made his way to camp this week.  It is in a remote location.  At the camp, electronics aren't allowed and there is no internet or cell service.  Luckily, he is a reader, so a good old fashioned book, a book light and flashlights were on the list of things to bring, and they will help fill any down time.

In preparation for his departure, we made our way to Barnes & Noble to find the perfect book.  We looked around for about thirty minutes and he had trouble deciding on anything.  I can assure you that none of the books on the "Summer Reading" tables were in his stack.  I poured over the tables and quickly realized that the chances of him, or any child, picking one of these classic books was slim to none, unless it was because of some required list from school.  The covers were just so blah!

Because he could settle on nothing in particular, we made our way to a local resale shop, and he picked a Dan Brown novel, Deception Point, that I was able to purchase for $2.99.  Resale is my go to if I can't get the book at the library.  In this case, I was reluctant to send a library book along.  Still, I couldn't get those wonderful stories, trapped in stunningly lame covers, off my mind.  So, I headed to my local book seller.

There I found my favorite shelf of classic literature and was reminded that Penguin Classic Deluxe Editions is putting quite a bit of effort into attracting new readers.  Just look at this cover for Wuthering Heights.  It thrilled my 8th grade girls' book club enough for them to give the novel a try.  In this age of dark male leads and tortured female characters, who wouldn't want to give Heathcliff and Cathy a go.  As a lover of English and American Classics, I totally support Penguin's efforts to give the stories a new life with our young adult readers.  Just google "Penguin Classic Deluxe Edition" and you will find the extensive list of newly designed covers, by fashion illustrator Ruben Toledo, that are carefully protecting some of our best stories.

This Wuthering Heights cover is part of the couture collection.  Here is how Penguin describes the new covers:

Couture Deluxe Editions

READ ICONIC NOVELS DRESSED IN A FIERCE DESIGN BY ACCLAIMED FASHION ILLUSTRATOR RUBEN TOLEDO. COLLECT ALL SIX TITLES IN THE COUTURE-INSPIRED COLLECTION.

3.6.13

My Family for the War

My Family for the War
by Anne C. Voorhoeve

I have been spending a good bit of my time researching the British involvement in World War II, lately. I came across a young adult novel about a girl who fled Berlin, before the start of the war on one of the kindertransports. I have to say, I was unaware that Jewish children were evacuated from Germany without their families, alone and confused. Learning a tid bit like this is why I love historical fiction.

Like The Book Thief, My Family for the War, gives the reader a look into the lives of German citizens. It is also a great coming of age story. Ziska is able to face the world alone, like in most good stories about kids, but in this case it does not begin with the death of a parent. Instead, Ziska is sent to face this uncertain time in history to live out the war in London.

This is definitely a young adult book, but if you have an 8th grade or above, who has an interest in historical fiction, I would check out this novel. It will be on my ninth grade book club list next year.