(re)capturing the fun & wonder

Category: Reading & Writing (page 2 of 4)

Slow days of summer

We are slowly settling into the slower pace of summer, and I am doing my best to keep it from getting frenzied. A tough balancing act, I tell you.

Our local library has a great reading program for kids where they each sign up and commit to reading a certain number of books, and at the end of the summer they’ll win prizes. Miss M signed on for fifty books, and B is up for thirty. It’s just a week into it and they are both well on their way to their goals. She with mostly Nancy Drew, Hardy Boys, and Norse myths. He with Franklin, Dr Seuss, and anything Pokemon. We’ve been visiting at least twice a week, and I’ve also been letting them pick out movies which is a Big Treat for these guys.

Right next to our main library are the community gardens — they are stunning this summer! Full to bursting with color and wonderful smells. One plot-keeps has even created an outdoor room complete with green and growing "walls" — it’s incredible, though we haven’t dared to enter for fear or trespassing. We’re hopeful to show up one day when they are at "home". Just outside the gardens is a lovely apricot tree that is dripping with fruit this year. Sometimes I have to question myself… am I taking the kids to get books, or am I secretly hoping the apricots will finally be ready for my greedy fingers to pluck?

I sometimes often regret having let our plot go when I was pregnant with the Little Guy, but I know it was that one thing too many that makes everything else suffer.

In addition to our little Library Camp, we’ve been getting to the pool pretty much daily, and I’m organizing weekly get-togethers at local parks and events for everyone and anyone who’d like to join us. I think in my fear of over-scheduling our summer, and my worries about this stupid job hunt, I’ve been over-cautious with my scheduling, but for now it’s working (and I’m afraid to jinx it).

How’s your summer coming along?

Over 41 books recommended for and by 2nd & 3rd graders

Maggie is in a very special school where the classes are mixed-age. She is a Third Grader in a classroom equally divided by 2nd and 3rd grade boys & girls. Late last semester one of the kids discovered a love for reading and wanted to share with his friends. His incredible mom was generous enough to volunteer to facilitate a book club for the class. Anyone who wanted to join in, could. By the end I think just about all of the kids got into it, and gave up their lunch hours here and there to meet up (as did the mom — did I remember to mention how great she is?).

Now that the school year is winding down, they have come up with their list of favorite reads so that their classmates could discover new books over the summer. Books specifically recommended by kids like them.

What’s not to love?

I thought my readers would enjoy taking a peek at their list, and perhaps find some inspiration for their kids’ summer reading — way more interesting than some generic list a mega-corp thinks they should read. At least that’s my way of thinking…

  1. The Thief Lord, by Cornelia Caroline Funke
  2. The Trumpet of the Swan, by E. B. White
  3. Stuart Little, by E. B. White
  4. Charlotte’s Web, by E. B. White
  5. The Tale of Despereaux: Being the Story of a Mouse, a Princess, Some Soup and a Spool of Thread, by Kate Dicamillo
  6. Because of Winn-Dixie, by Kate DiCamillo
  7. Dragon Rider, by Cornelia Funke
  8. The Secret Garden, by Frances Hodgson Burnett
  9. A Little Princess, by Frances Hodgson Burnett
  10. Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of Nimh, by Robert C. O’Brien
  11. Seven Professors of the Far North, by John Fardell
  12. Flight of the Silver Turtle, by John Fardell
  13. The Navigator, by Eoin Mcnamee
  14. Island of the Aunts, by Eva Ibbotson
  15. The Star of Kazan, by Eva Ibbotson
  16. The View from Saturday, by E.L. Konigsburg
  17. Matilda, by Roald Dahl
  18. Harriet the Spy, by Louise Fitzhugh
  19. The Doll People, by Ann Matthews Martin, Laura Godwin, Brian Selznick, and Ann M. Martin
  20. Haroun and the Sea of Stories, by Salman Rushdie
  21. Swallows and Amazons, by Arthur Ransome
  22. The Island of the Blue Dolphins, by Scott O’Dell
  23. The Prince of the Pond: Otherwise Known as De Fawg Pin, by Donna Jo Napoli
  24. The Penderwicks: A Summer Tale of Four Sisters, Two Rabbits, and a Very Interesting Boy, by Jeanne Birdsall


  1. Harry Potter
  2. The Dragon Circle
  3. Spiderwick Chronicles
  4. Edge Chronicles (the first 3) (Paul Stewart & Chris Riddell)
  5. So You Want to be a Wizard Series (Diane Duane)
  6. The New Prophecy Warrior Series (Erin Hunter)
  7. Guardians of Ga’hoole (Kathryn Lasky)
  8. Babymouse 1-5 (Jennifer & Matthew Holm)
  9. Nancy Drew
  10. Charlie Bone (Jenny Nimmo)
  11. Septimus Heap (Magyk.. – Angie Sage)
  12. Akiko (Marck Crilley)
  13. The Mismantle Chronicles
  14. Pixie Tricks
  15. Dealing with Dragons

A book about feelings

Last week when she was all bummed with me for handing her crafts to do on her own, Miss M made this book for her baby brother. I’d given her a Klutz book-making kit.

Feelings book: cover
Feelings book: mean
Feelings book: happy
Feelings book: silly
Feelings book: surprised
Feelings book: sad

Clam I stupid?

A collaborative story, written by Tomas (age 40) and Mohawk Boy (age 6).

She heard a twig snap.
On the tree.
"Maybe it’s my brother," sister thought.
But it was her brother’s snapping clams.
They were giant clams and they were coming to get her!
So she yelled "Mom! Brother’s snapping clams are chasing me again!"
A clam snapped, and got her by the leg.
And then it dide.
Her leg was broken, but she stumbled on.
With her broken leg.
"Who am I?" she thought.
Am I stupid?

Petit Musée

Petit Musée
by Alain Le Saux, Gregoire Solotareff
[The edition I’ve linked to here is in Spanish and English]

Little T is sixteen (!) months old now and is just starting to explore books. In a big way. My very favorite book to read to him is one I picked up at a museum near Nice last winter. It is a word book where the images are taken from the great artists of Europe and America: Van Gogh, Goya, Picasso, Manet, etc.

On the opposite page from the image you find the words along with the artist’s name, and what museum the piece is displayed in. The picture on the cover is "un petit garçon" — a little boy.

I had grand plans of *doing things right* with him, and teaching him French from the start. I hadn’t done this with my older two, and it causes me just a little bit of guilt. As will happen with Grand Plans, real life happened and I found that I did a terrible job of following through. When we read this book together, I tend to tell him the English words for what we are looking at.

Our copy is something I know I will treasure for a long time, and enjoy thumbing through even without a babe on my lap.