READING 101: BOOKS TO BORROW OR BUY FOR CHILDREN
Kids experience all sorts of changes as they grow. An independent spirit kicks in at various times, friendships develop and evolve, situations at home are rarely constant. And that’s not counting all the physical and emotional considerations.
Sometimes a child may wind up feeling alienated due to these changes and think they are the only one who has experienced such events. As adults, we know that isn’t true, but simply telling a child that isn’t so is not always effective. Reading books that highlight characters who experience change with a positive outcome helps kids understand that they are not alone and can find their own voice, place and path in life.
Yet again another terrific reason to read to your kids, every day.
BOOKS TO BORROW
The following book is available at many public libraries.
“Sleep Tight, Little Bear” by Martin Waddell, illustrated by Barbara Firth, Candlewick, 32 pages
Read aloud: age 2 and older
Read yourself: age 7 and older
One day, Little Bear discovers a new cave close to the cave he shares with Big Bear. Little Bear shows Big Bear his new cave, and then Little Bear spends the day playing there. When it’s time for bed, Little Bear decides he wants to sleep in his new cave, like a big bear does. As he tries to fall asleep, he wonders if Big Bear might be lonely without him, but maybe Big Bear isn’t the only lonely one …
Perfect from start to finish, young children will immediately identify with the sentiment of wanting to be independent, but not too independent.
Library: Montecito Branch Library, 1469 East Valley Road, Montecito
Library director: Jessica Cadiente
Senior library technician/branch lead: Kim Crail
Choices this week: “Charlotte’s Web” by E.B. White; “Hatchet” by Gary Paulsen; “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory” by Roald Dahl
BOOKS TO BUY
The following books are available at favorite bookstores.
“On Thin Ice” by Michael Northrop, Scholastic, 228 pages, $17.99 hardcover
Read aloud: ages 9-12
Read yourself: ages 10-12
Life is tough for most middle school kids, but it’s even more difficult for seventh-grader Ked Eakins. Ked has a lump on his back that keeps growing and is made fun of at school, where some kids call him Freak. Ked has seemingly lost all of his friends and the school bully is out to get Ked. Add to that the fact that his mother recently moved across the country, his father has gambled away the rent money and soon they will be evicted.
Ked knows something must be done to gather the rent owed and get life back on track, so he hatches a plan — to restore an old and potentially valuable minibike and sell it for a profit. It won’t be easy and there’s no guarantee his idea will work. But Ked takes a chance on himself, and with the help of a few unlikely friends, Ked finds he really isn’t alone and is capable of creating friendships and more.
A brilliant, powerful story of one boy who courageously faces life’s obstacles and is determined to overcome them, “On Thin Ice” is a must-read.
“A Fist for Joe Louis and Me” by Trinka Hakes Noble, illustrated by Nicole Tadgell, Sleeping Bear Press, 2019, 36 pages, $17.99 hardcover
Read aloud: ages 6-10
Read yourself: ages 8-10
Every Friday night, young Gordy’s father gives him a boxing lesson and after dinner, they listen to the Friday Night Fights on the radio. Living in Detroit, boxing is a favorite sport, especially when Joe Louis is boxing.
When the Great Depression comes and Gordy’s father loses his job, Gordy’s mother takes a job with a local Jewish tailor, Mr. Rubinstein. The Rubinsteins recently immigrated to Detroit from Nazi Germany so they would be safe. When Mr. Rubinstein delivers pieces of sewing to Gordy’s mother, he brings his son, Ira, with him.
Ira is the new kid in Gordy’s class, so Gordy asks Ira what he likes to play. To Gordy’s delight, Ira likes boxing. Ira and his father also listen to the Friday Night Fights and their favorite boxer is Joe Louis, just like Gordy and his father. Gordy decides he will teach Ira what he has learned about boxing and a fast friendship is sealed. A friendship also develops between the boys’ fathers.
As America is gearing up for the 1938 Fight of the Century — a rematch between Joe Louis and German boxer Max Schmeling — Gordy is feeling increasingly protective of Ira because the school bully is threatening Ira. Gordy protects Ira from the bully. When the Fight of the Century takes place, the boys and their fathers listen together as Joe Louis is quickly the victor. With that victory, Gordy knows that the fight will be remembered by Ira and himself for the rest of their lives.
Diversity, bullying, history and more are seamlessly woven into this compelling story.