Nest by Esther Ehrlich

Nest by Esther Ehrlich (Random House Children’s Books; published today!) is an emotionally charged novel about a young girl facing stark change after her mother develops a serious disease. Naomi, “Chirp” to her family and friends, is a bird-loving sixth grader on Cape Cod in the early 1970s. Her life is full of nature and her loving family. As her family struggles with her mother’s degenerative condition, she must grow up faster than she intended. Continue Reading

El rojo es mejor (Red is Best) by Kathy Stinson and Robin Lewis

 
El rojo es mejor by Kathy Stinson and Robin Lewis (Spanish translation by Annick Press, February 2014) is a Spanish-translated version of the popular Red is Best, a story about a girl who definitely prefers everything red in her life: her stockings, mittens, and hair ties.

In this story, the girl also gives her reasons for liking her red version: the red stockings let her jump higher, for example. Reading the Spanish version to my kids gave them some new vocabulary. Because of their young ages, however, and the fact that they are not fluent in Spanish, I believe they still preferred the English. I’ll keep trying to get them more familiar with Spanish, as I expose them to more and more stories in Spanish.

My daughter loved the pictures and the story. She can definitely relate to having her favorite things to wear, and she enjoyed pointing to the things for which she too has favorites (her pajamas, her shoes).

I see this book as something that I could use in my teaching! For every claim we make (such as “My red mittens are better”), we must have a reason (such as “my red mittens make better snowballs”). The girl in the story does not really have proof of her reasons, but that adds to the child-ish fun behind it all!

Note: I received a digital review copy of El rojo es mejor.

Tell Me a Story by Elaine Reese

My mom and dad live more than an hour away from us. As we drive home late at night from a visit to their home and as we drive through my childhood home, past my old elementary school, high school, church, favorite playgrounds, and so forth, my son asks me to tell him stories about when I was a little girl.

He loves to hear the story about when I taught swimming lessons at the pool and my car battery was dead afterwords, so I had to call grandpa to come help me jumpstart the car. He loves to hear about the day when I was three years old and I tried to walk from home to the grocery store because I did not want to be left at home with grandma. It helps that we happen to pass by those places, but I believe he’d love the stories even if we did not still live in my childhood hometown.

Tell Me a Story: Sharing Stories to Enrich Your Child’s World by Elaine Reese (Oxford University Press, 2013) is a volume about the benefits your children gain from hearing and retelling stories. I loved how it included tips for sharing stories with all children, from toddler through adolescence. It reinforced the fact that I’m doing most things right as I discuss the picture books I read to my toddler, read aloud to my son, encourage my son to tell me his favorite parts of the day, and tell my children stories from my childhood.

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The Perfect Hamburger and Other Stories by Alexander McCall-Smith

Raisin is a part of a small co-op group that occassionally reads a book and does activities related to it. Our most recent read was The Perfect Hamburger and Other Stories by Alexander McCall-Smith. Alexander McCall-Smith has always been a favorite author of mine. This particular collection of middle-grade stories are all related to food, and kids are somehow the heros. Continue Reading