Because We Love Children

Andrew Clements Does it Again

Andrew Clements is one of my favorite authors for elementary-aged children.  He writes in a way that engages the reader and makes him/her think. Clements’ book, About Average, is no exception. My kids and I listened to the audio book version in our car.

In About Average, Jordan Johnston feels like she is just ordinary. She makes a list of the things she is great at, okay at, and not good at. Her “okay at” list is so much shorter that her “great at” list! Do you ever feel like that?  For more information on Andrew Clements and his books, visit  http://www.andrewclements.com/

My kids and I talked about our talents and what truly makes us valuable as human beings. We also discussed Andrew Clements” careful use of foreshadowing and including details that would make the climax in the story understandable.

For you adults who would like to read more on the subject of being average (or not), and how talent and IQ play into the mix, I recommend The Genius in All of Us by David Shenk. When I picked up the audio book version at the library, I thought it would be another “Rah, rah, sis, boom bah! You can do it! Yeah, yeah, yeah!” kind of a book. And that would have been okay. I can use a little pep talk now and again. But it was so much more.  The Genius in All of Us is packed with scientific information that will make you ponder just how much of what we accomplish in this short Earth life has to do with talent, IQ, and genes and just how much hard work and passion for our pursuit might come into play. Great food for thought. For more information on David Shenks , go to http://geniusblog.davidshenk.com/

Happy reading!


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Ahoy, Matey! Yee-Haw! Let’s Play Ball!

Greetings! I do hope all my fellow Americans had a wonderful Independence Day. God Bless America!

As summer heats up, so does that great American pastime, baseball. When you and the kids aren’t watching or playing baseball, how about opening up a delightfully imaginative book about the sport? Take a look at Pirates at the Plate. The story and illustrations are by Mark Summers. The actual words are written by Aaron Frisch.

This book caught my eye right away with it’s detailed scratchboard illustrations. The picture on the cover reminds me a bit of Norman Rockwell’s famous illustration: “Gossip”.

The Pirates “arrr” facing the cowboys in this rollicking story. But that’s not just their team  names. No sir. They are  pirates and cowboys! Some of them be fictional, like Hopalong Cassidy, Long John Silver, and Captain Hook. Some of them be real, such as Wild Bill Hickok. And don’t forget Calico Jack, the pirate who designed the Jolly Roger.

Pirates at the Plate is a fun read-aloud. My third graders kept trying to figure out just what was going on. The ending encourages our youngsters to get involved in good old-fashioned play where imagination is at bat.

Maybe you and your kids will be inspired to make some of your own scratch illustrations. You might learn more about the characters in the book. Perhaps you’ll head outside for your own game or two. Let your imagination soar!

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