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Love You Forever

Robert Munsch, illustrated by Sheila McGraw

I had some goofy reality series playing while I worked on an illustration, just something that didn’t take much attention. All of the sudden I realized that a man and a woman were talking about Love You Forever. The couple were each saying that this book was an important part of their childhood. I think they were both crying. And I totally understand! I remember I discovered this book as an adult and cried hard the first time I read it. And today, when so many adults are struggling to get their parents or grandparents to take better care of themselves, the ending of this book has special resonance. I can’t imagine a better little book to share with kids in this time.

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Rootabaga Stories
Carl Sandburg, illustrated by Maud & Miska Petersham

Once, when I was young and restless, I bought a magic train ticket that let me go anywhere I wanted for a whole month. I started in San Francisco, where my Hawaiian cousin, a student at Berkeley, gave me my first copy of the Rootabaga Stories. I read the book on the train. It begins as I was beginning, with a magic train ticket. I read myself to sleep, curled up on a train seat. I slept with the book under my head. It crept into my being.

I fell in love with the prose and the illustrations.

Time passed: I had a daughter. I don't know that I ever read her the whole book. I treated it like a book shelf full of story books. Some stories we read over and over, others we dipped into just once. Our favorite way to read it was on the front porch on a warm summer evening, with the cicada chorus playing in the background. Sometimes she sat in my skirt, using it to swing between my knees. We also read it in the winter, in Decembers, curled up on her bed.

When my local library had an exhibit of "Literary Art" I made a Map of the Rootabaga Country. I deconstructed the map into an “advent calendar,” in which anything can happen.

And in this crazy life, so much does.


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My First 100 Science Words

Chris Ferrie, Illustrted by Lendsay Dale-Scott

I reviewed a series by Dr. Ferrie a while back and found it good for people trying to get some technical words floating around their kids. I would be surprised if the typical child 4 years and up would have experienced these particular 100 words, so I would use this book as a bit of a reference. When a child I’m teaching runs across something in their surroundings, I’d show them that applicable word and artwork from the book and later, when going through the book, remind them of what they saw to reinforce the idea. The book has many levels of words, so as children get older they will understand a greater percentage of the words. You may want to think about alternative words if the children don’t get something right away.

Note: the book will be released on April 7

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Let’s Fly a Plane
Chris Ferrie

This book is a great way to start kids understanding the science that goes into flight. I would read the book a few times before going through it with your young aviator and anticipate some questions that they will ask. For example:

  1. OK, birds fly too. How are they the same (different)?
  2. Does thrust only come with jet engines?
  3. Having read the book, how do drones (or helicopters) fly?
  4. If I stand in front of a fan, can I experience lift?

If they ask a question that you can’t answer, don’t say “I don’t know” and then go on. Make a project of their question where you both go look for an answer. And make certain you take them to an airport to watch planes take off and land.


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