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Elizabeth Kennedy

Elizabeth's Children's Books Blog

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Summer Fun With Physics and Math

Monday June 2, 2014
Book Cover of Junk Drawer PhysicsIf you are looking for a book of hands-on activities to keep your curious 9 to 14 year olds entertained and learning over the the summer and beyond, I recommend Junk Drawer Physics: 50 Awesome Experiments That Don't Cost a Thing. Written by author and high school physics teacher Bobby Mercer, it provides a fascinating look at physics through experiments focusing on forces and motion, energy, light and more. For kids in grades 5 to 7 who'd get a kick out of grim math word problems, I recommend The Book of Perfectly Perilous Math: 24 Death-Defying Challenges for Young Mathematicians.

(Cover art courtesy of Chicago Review Press)

Summer Reading Resources to Bookmark

Wednesday May 28, 2014
Are you looking for descriptions and links to all of my summer reading resources, including summer reading lists, tips about encouraging reading, resources for reluctant readers, and more? You'll find them all conveniently located in one article that you'll want to bookmark and refer to often as summer progresses. It's Encouraging Summer Reading: Summer Reading Resources for Kids and Teens.

Goldilocks and the Three Bears: Traditional Versions

Tuesday May 27, 2014
Cover Art of the Jan Brett's Goldilocks and the Three Bears What are the elements you'll find in traditional tales of Goldilocks and the Three Bears, sometimes also called The Three Bears, and what are some of the picture book versions I recommend? I just spent a ton of time reading different traditional versions and have seven to recommend. While they differ in how the characters look and are dressed, as well as the setting and in the amount of humor in them, they all include the same elements. There are also some terrific nontraditional versions (also sometimes called fractured fairy tales or upside down tales) of many classic tales, including The Three Bears. To see the difference, read Jan Brett's Goldilocks and the Three Bears and see how it compares to her picture book The Three Snow Bears. I have found some very funny and imaginative nontraditional versions of Goldilocks and the Three Bears and before I move on to the story of Cinderella, I plan to write about some picture book versions I especially recommend.

(Cover art courtesy of Penguin)

Memorial Day Resources for Families

Thursday May 22, 2014
Cover Art of the Children's Picture Book The Wall by Eve Bunting Memorial Day is a time for family and remembrance. Here are some resources you may find helpful as your family prepares for Memorial Day. If you are looking for a children's picture book about remembering those who died in war, I recommend The Wall by Eve Bunting, with illustrations by Richard Himler. This poignant children's picture book is about a visit to the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington, DC, by a father and his young son. Other Memorial Day resources from About.com Guides include: (Cover art courtesy of Clarion Books, Houghton Mifflin)

Grandparents and Grandchildren - A Special Bond

Tuesday May 20, 2014
Cover of The Hello, Goodbye WindowOne of the nice things about summer is that many of us get to see more of our relatives, including parents and grandparents. The bond between grandparents and grandchildren is celebrated in the picture book The Hello, Goodbye WIndow. The book is based on author Norton Juster's observations of his young granddaughter when she came for her weekly overnights with her grandparents.

Illustrator Chris Raschka was awarded the Randolph Caldecott Medal in 2006 for the picture book's illustrations. This is a wonderful book for grandparents to share with their grandchildren and for parents to share before and after a family visit to their children's grandparents. If you have other children's books about grandparents that you'd like to recommend, please click on "Comments" below and share your recommendations.

See my article All Randolph Caldecott Medal Winners for information about the best in picture book art over more than 75 years, including Chris Raschka's A Ball for Daisy for which he was awarded the 2012 Caldecott Medal.

(Cover art courtesy of Hyperion Books for Children)

Children's Books News - May 17, 2014

Saturday May 17, 2014
Cover Art - Oh, the Places  You'll GoKids' Books = Terrific Graduation Gifts - Children's books continue to be popular graduation gifts for high school and college graduates. I have a half dozen to recommend in my article Top 6 Children's Books that Make Great Graduation Gifts. They include the ever popular Oh the Places You'll Go by Dr. Seuss.

Happy Birthday, Grace Lin - Today is author Grace Lin's birthday. Grace Lin is the author of Where the Mountain Meets the Moon, a fantasy incorporating a number of Chinese folktales. The book, a 2010 Newbery Honor Book, is one kids 8 to 12 will enjoy. Lin is also the author of a number of picture books. For ideas on how you and your kids can celebrate authors' and illustrators' birthdays, take a look at Eric 's Eric VanRaepenbusch's Happy Birthday Author website and how he and his kids celebrated Grace Lin's birthday.

(Cover art courtesy of Random House)

Perilous Math = Summer Fun and Learning

Thursday May 15, 2014
Cover art for The Book of Perfectly Perilous MathKids 10 and older will want to exercise their math skills over the summer when they read the hair-raising story problems in The Book of Perfectly Perilous Math: 24 Death-Defying Challenges for Young Mathematicians. The book is not only great fun, but all of the problems are aligned with the Common Core Standards for grades 5, 6 and 7. The cartoon-like illustrations and the clever problems will capture kids' attention and make them think about math in a whole new way.

(Cover art courtesy of Workman Publishing)

Asian Pacific American Heritage Month and Kids' Books

Wednesday May 14, 2014
Cover - Little White Duck: A Childhood in ChinaMay is Asian Pacific American Heritage Month, and I have some middle grade books and some general book lists to recommend:

I hope you will also find my Asian-Pacific American Heritage Recommended Reading list of books and websites a helpful resource all year long, not just this month. It includes books for young children to teens, both fiction and nonfiction. There are books about Chinese Americans, Japanese Americans, Korean Americans, Thai Americans, and Vietnamese Americans, among others.

(Cover art courtesy of Graphic Universe)

Celebrate National Egg Month With Kids' Books

Tuesday May 13, 2014
Cover Art of the Children's Picture Book An Egg Is Quiet May is National Egg Month. It's not too late to celebrate with children's books. First, share An Egg Is Quiet with your children. Artist Sylvia Long illustrated the book, which was written by Dianna Aston. An Egg Is Quiet is a picture book, a science book, and one of the most beautifully designed and illustrated children's books that I have seen in some time. While the book is beautiful to look at, this children's picture book is also full of accurate and interesting facts about eggs.

After you read the book, try cooking some eggs. You'll find a tasty recipe for the dish made popular by Dr. Seuss in his children's book Green Eggs and Ham in the Green Eggs and Ham Cookbook. The cookbook is full of recipes inspired by Dr. Seuss and his books. Have you ever made green eggs and ham? Do you have a good recipe to share? If so, click on "Comments" below and post a message about it.

(Cover art courtesy of Chronicle Books)

It's Children's Book Week!

Monday May 12, 2014
Children's Book Week artwork It's Children's Book Week (May 12-18). Here are some ways to celebrate:

Take your kids to one or more of the Children's Book Week children's programs at your local public library.

Learn about all of the ways you can save money at your public library.

If you don't already read aloud to your child every day, start doing it as part of your family's Children's Book Week celebration.

Get ready for a summer of reading by checking with your child's teacher about what reading level is appropriate for your child's summer recreational reading. If your child or teen is not interested in spending time reading, get some help with Resources for Reluctant Readers.

How are you and your family celebrating Children's Book Week? Let me know what you're doing by clicking on Readers Respond and posting a message.

(Artwork courtesy of Children's Book Council)

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