Teaching Kids to Think by Darlene Sweetland and Ron Stolberg

At first, I thought Teaching Kids to Think by Darlene Sweetland and Ron Stolberg (Sourcebooks, March 2015) had a deceptive title. I had thought it would be  about helping kids learn and logic through academics. Rather, Teaching Kids to Think is focused on helping parents raise children that think through the basics of everyday survival and life, emphasizing confidence, independence, and thoughtfulness during the everyday simple (and not-so-simple) decisions of sociability in this world. Truly, this type of “thinking” is the basis of any success in academics!

After reading the book, I can only say that this The book that parents needs in order to help a child succeed in school, business, or everyday socialization. How can our kids learn to work in a workplace if the basics that Drs. Sweetland and Stolberg emphasize are not learned at a young age?

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School Days Around the World by Margriet Ruurs

School Days Around the World by Margriet Ruur and illustrated by Alice Feagan (Kids Can Press, 2015) captures Malala’s vision in the epigram at the beginning: “I don’t mind if I have to sit on the floor at school. All I want is education.” In the cut-paper collage illustrations, the stories of real children around the world come to life. Although School Days is a short picture book, it covers a variety of  ways people receive an education around the world. Obviously, it does not capture all countries or situations, but it does provide a nice overview in an easily accessible format. I loved that the stories were based on real people!Continue Reading

Picture Book Sunday: My Family Tree and Me by Dušan Petričić

My Family Tree and Me by Dušan Petričić (Kids Can Press, April 2015) has zany illustrations and a creative twist on the entire “family tree” metaphor for family history.

The colorful family tree the author has illustrated represents people back to his great-great-grandfather on both sides. One side of the book portrays his father’s family, and the back of the book (going left toward the middle) portrays his mother’s side of the family. I love how the middle of the book brings both sides of the family together. For each generation, the previous generation is lightly sketched on a picture behind them, so the reader can easily compare the child to the parent: what does the younger generation carry over from the older generation? Noses, eyes, ears, and hair color are easily recognized as similar.Continue Reading

Picture Book Sunday: The Red Bicycle

The Red Bicycle by Jude Isabella and illustrated by Simone Shin (Kids Can Press, March 2015) tells the story of a red bicyle, from the day Leo earns the money to buy it until  the day it is taken apart and shipped to Africa, where it changes the life of a poor child. Big Red (as the bike is affectionately is called) has many more “lives” in Burkina Faso, including become an ambulance dragging injured people to a distant hospital. Continue Reading