Wednesday, June 4, 2014

June Books For (& About) Kids

(for the littlest readers)
Cute little story about a little panda named Chu who might have to sneeze. Bad things happened when Chu sneezes. 
(slightly older)
A fun nonfiction read about the life of mathematician Paul Erdos. What I love about it is that it shows math as being a) creative and b) social and NOT c) boring. The illustrations are filled with colorful numbers and real-life uses for math. Its all about why math is cool. 

For more picture books check out my May recommendations

(middle reader)
When mom leaves dad with the kids for the week, disaster strikes at breakfast. There is no milk. Not for breakfast cereal, and not for dad’s tea. Dad goes out to get milk but takes ages and ages to get back. Upon his arrival, he regales the epic story of his hunt for the milk, filled with time-travelling dinosaurs, aliens, wumpires (NOT the sparkly kind), and other mayhem.

Verdict: A fun bedtime story for the kiddos. It reminds me of a Shel Silverstein poem that I memorized in elementary school. If they liked it, try reading Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy to them. If YOU liked it, try TheOcean at the End of the Lane, also by Neil Gaiman, which I would not recommend reading to the kiddos.

The book was also gorgeous, and used all of the illustrations (and even the fonts) to tell the story and add emotional colors to the book. It’s definitely worth getting the physical book as opposed to the kindle version. 

For Grown Ups, but About Kids

In How Children Succeed, journalist Paul Tough explores the education system and current research on what factors make a child grow into a successful adult. The story told to children now is that if you study hard and get good grades AND good test scores, you will get into a good college and then you will get a good job and be a successful adult. According to Tough's research, intelligence and a good SAT score will only get you so far, and children who are well equipped with skills like grit, curiosity, conscientiousness, and optimism will be more successful in college and beyond. Having these skills can help a child/adult more than raw intelligence or even growing up in a more financially stable home. Tough discusses how we can teach children these skills and how they will help them in later life.

I don't know if you've heard yet, but I'm going to grad school to get my Masters in Teaching. I've always been very interested in teaching, but that whole being super interested in acting thing took over my life for a little while. I always assumed I would one day be a teacher, but what and where I was going to teach were questions that kept me from getting my BA in Education.

I feel like it got a little lost near the end, when we got so involved in the chess world I sort of forgot what was actually being discussed. Overall, this book reminded me of all the reasons I want to get involved with the public school system.

For more on teaching, read The Book Whisperer

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