A coming of age story, Margaret searches for a singular religious identity as well as journeying through puberty, boys, school and all the things that go with it. First published in 1970 by Yearling, Judy’s Blume’s “Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret” landed on Time’s Top 100 Fiction Books in 2011. It’s popularity also spurned another book, only this time from a boys perspective.
I’ve heard the old cliche “never judge a book by its cover”, but I did on this book and I am glad I did because Ransom Rigg’s “Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children” was a frighteningly fantastical debut novel with just enough macabre and the ties that bind us to another human to keep you enveloped to the very end. I loved this young adult novel and the pictures that the story is built on really brings something to this story that so few books have.
I first read ‘The Hatchet’ by Gary Paulsen when I was in grade school. It was first published in 1987, and since then has been a classroom staple in the years following. A story of survival, young Brian weathers the wilderness for 54 days after his plane crashes. In his time there, he deals with how to survive, the death of the pilot and all the troubles in his home life. This is the first in a 5-book series and is definitely worth a read, especially if you have school aged children.
I think it would be very safe to assume that almost everyone at one point or another has read a book by Dr. Seuss. I have and my daughter has quite the collection on her shelf. One of her favourites is “Green Eggs & Ham.”
First published in 1960, ‘Green Eggs & Ham’ “was the 4th best-selling English language children’s book of all time.” A part of the ‘Beginner’s Books’, this book has only 50 different words and simple vocabulary for children learning how to read. It was a bet stemming between Dr. Seuss and his publisher that resulted in so few different words. His publisher didn’t think he could write a book using that small amount of words. Teacher’s and children have been reading this book since it’s publication and has been a class favourite ever since.
Quoted as being “one of the greatest childhood classics of all time” ‘They Very Hungry Caterpillar’ by Eric Carle has sold over 30 million copies worldwide. Inspired by a hole punch, children are able to follow a very hungry caterpillar’s life cycle and the metamorphosis into a beautiful butterfly. This book is great for early readers and not to mention helps with math with basic counting. The pictures help beginners follow the story and strengthens developing reading skills.
Everyone is in love. Yuck. Double Yuck! In “That Yucky Love Thing” by Michael Catchpool, a young boy is utterly disgusted by all the lovey dovey people in his life with all their kissing and holding hands. Yuck. So he leaves, but in his travels he only finds animals expressing their love. Double Yuck. He then finds an abandoned Island where he gets to do all the awesome things he wants to do but soon comes to find a young girl living there as well. Not so yucky. This book is really funny as you can picture young children having the exact same reaction in real life. The illustrations are quite good and I think that this would be a book good for young boys, but my Princess loves it too. Come read about “That Yucky Love Thing.”
*I was not paid for this review and I purchased the book myself*
Mrs. Pickle’s dog Bill is bored. He never wants to do the fun things that Mrs. Pickle does like cooking, reading and even kung fu! In this story, Bill is swept away by a huge wind into space and meets some aliens where he learns what being bored is really about. This book has colourful pictures, repetitive words that helps early readers and a story that is out of this world! This book can be interactive as you can ask your children what makes them bored and what they can do to stop themselves from being bored. Written by Liz Pichon, Bored Bill is a great story for children.
*I was not paid for this review and I purchased the book myself*
Numerous studies have been done on the benefits of reading and children’s success in school. Reading to children can help their ability to speak properly using correct grammar, can give them knowledge about things they didn’t otherwise wouldn’t know about, creates social skills by allowing them to talk about a book and what they thought, it enhances hand and eye coordination and not to mention it’s just fun! So to celebrate going back to school, for the month of September, I will be posting some of my favourite children’s books, ranging from baby to early readers to pre-teens. I hope that you will all suggest some of your and your children’s favourites. Also, if you are an author of children literature, feel free to message me about having your books featured!
Ever since reading “We Need to Talk About Kevin”, Lionel Shriver has been on my go-to author whenever I feel like having my ideas and opinions turned upside down. She has an innate ability to take taboo subjects that people often shy away from and rub their faces in it. She treats her readers as an etch-a-sketch, imprinted with their experiences and then shakes them with her words, leaving them a blank slate to be re-written on. “The New Republic” received scathing reviews from a lot of people, but I enjoyed it. Sure there were some characters I felt could have been left out, but the very idea driving the novel was what kept me turning the pages. A satire on terrorism, this is not for the faint of heart. She puts a social commentary on terrorism. While most people see the act of terrorism itself, Shriver makes you a witness to the dealings in the background. Dark, politically eye-opening, “The New Republic” will make you question your very trust in elected officials, the media and how it spins world events. For my full review, click here.
“In comes Edgar Kellogg. A former fat boy and lawyer turned freelance journalist, looking to escape his second string complex and finally get his big break. Much to his chagrin, he is charged with finding out was happened to his predecessor, Barrington Sadler, who disappeared while reporting on the SOB (Os Soldado Ousados de Barba) who claim international bombing. When Kellogg arrives, his complex comes back with full force as he finds that everyone cannot stop talking about the infamous Barrington Sadler. It isn’t long before Edgar realizes there is more to Saddler than all rumours his fellow Rat Pack spew. Bombings, international recognition and effect on local policy increase, and soon it isn’t long before things begin to spiral.”
Oh yes, that bomb dropped last week. I guess I had it coming now that we are pregnant, but I didn’t think at 4, she would be asking me. We were getting ready for school and she came up to me with the most curious look on her face.
“Mommy, where do babies come from?” she asked. I stood there for a good 5 minutes trying to find the most age appropriate answer.
“Umm, where do you think they come from?” I asked using the movie ‘Knocked Up’ as my saving grace.
“I think when you eat food it sits in your stomach until it grows into a baby,” she answered seriously.
“Yup.” And that was the end of the discussion. I wish I had something much better to offer at the time, but I was unprepared and needed time to figure out what, if anything I wanted to provide given her age.
I started researching how was the best way, if it was appropriate to tell them at a young age and what repercussions to expect. From what I gathered, any age is appropriate as long as the material is age appropriate and straightforward. A study showed that children who were given information from an early age and information that continued on throughout youth and puberty were less likely to have unprotected sex, teen pregnancy and STD’s. That was enough to convince me to give her the facts. And besides, I don’t want to be that mother (or grandmother) on Teen Mom or 16 and Pregnant. Nooo thank you. I ran into my neighbour, who is also the blogger from Mafa’s World, she suggested ‘It’s Not The Stork’ by Robie H. Harris. So off I went to my local book store and kindly approached the sales rep.
“Um excuse me, do you have any books on sex,” I whispered, “that are appropriate for 4 year olds?”
“Yes, sure, follow me,” she replied and led me to the children’s section. She said that most parent decide what books they want and how much they edit. She handed me a book about periods.
“Um, no sorry, for 4 year olds, not 14 year olds. I need a book about where babies come from.”
She handed me ‘It’s Not The Stork’ as well as ‘A New Baby Is Coming! A Guide For A Big Brother Or Sister’ by Emily Menendez-Aponte. I paid for the books and went on my way.
I was so nervous picking her up from school that I must have dropped the bag about 6 times. Flashbacks of my ‘sex talk’ came flooding back. I was maybe 12 years old and I was in the living room watching the original version of Degrassi Junior High, the episode where Spike announces she’s pregnant. My mother whom was sitting in the kitchen saw what was on the TV.
“Do you have any questions?” she yelled.
And as quickly as she asked, I quickly replied, “Nope!”
And that was the extent of my sex talk in my preteens. She always had warned me about boys and their intentions, STD’s and pregnancy but that was definitely the moment that stuck out in my head.
So when the Princess and I got home, I read ‘A New Baby is Coming!’ I really liked this book. It didn’t give specifics but openly discussed that sometimes children have feelings of sadness, or anger and that it was alright to ask Mommy and Daddy about it. We then read ‘It’s Not The Stork’ which gives a much more detailed account and cartoon pictures of private parts and how exactly babies are made. S-E-X. When I said the three-letter word, the Princess just looked at me with this quasi confused and disgusted look on her face. I didn’t give her the how to’s, but she was pretty much content with what I told her. But when Daddy came home, she felt the need to inform him also.
After the Princess went to bed, Hubby flipped through the books and just said he was ‘not ready’ for this conversation yet. I edited some of the information as she’s still only 4, but at least we have these materials available for future questions. So far, she is content with what she knows.