Thursday, April 17, 2014

Encouraging Kids to Read with Chapter Books in 2014

I began reading at a very young age, and as a result, I still love reading everything I can get my hands on. Yes, this includes cereal boxes and shampoo bottles. I also strive to instill a love of reading and learning in youngsters. I want them to have the love of adventure and curiosity for education that can only be fulfilled through learning from through reading. Because that is an amazing feeling!

With this in mind, I’ve compiled a list of 3 of the best chapter books for kids 2014. These can be read to children as bedtime stories, during classroom time, or any time in between. Get your kid excited about reading!

These books are unique, innovative, and satisfying for thrill-seekers and little explorers alike.
And those 3 are:


Pippi Longstocking by Astrid Lindgren

Grown-ups will certainly remember this one! Pippi Longstocking is a quirky, amazing, red-headed little girl with adventure brimming in her heart and hope in her eyes. She’s intelligent and savvy about everything – from sailing the seven seas, to tending to exotic animals, and exploring the whole world.

This book has several different focuses, as Pippi Longstocking takes the reader on weeks through her life. She makes friends (and a few enemies), and impresses everyone with her sense of exploration and ability to overcome any obstacle.


Amelia Bedelia Chapter Book #2: Amelia Bedelia Unleashed by Herman Parrish

You might recognize this one, as well! However, Amelia Bedelia has been revamped for modern youngsters. She’s still a thriving, imaginative beauty who takes everything literally. And her parents have just agreed to a pet!

Amelia wants a puppy – but not any puppy. She wants the best pup in the world. And this tale follows her from one adventure to another until she finds her ideal doggy.


Middle School: The Worst Years of My Life by James Patterson

James Patterson is a name that grown-ups will certainly remember (especially if you’re a reader of thrillers and suspense). He’s well-known in the adult world, but this story is his way of trying out youth fiction. And he nails it!

The “about” portion of this tale is all in the title. A young boy is headed to Middle School, and he documents every day of misadventure. With laugh-out-loud moments, he makes friends, finds crushes, does tons of homework, and discovers that Middle School might not be so bad.


Here is a cool slideshow - giving the top 5 picks based on popular demand, for the "best of" chapter books for kids in 2014:

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Educational Books for 10-Year Olds That Love History

Reading is awesome! And History is one of the greatest subjects ever! When combined, these 2 make an excellent hobby for young bookworms.

The following best books for ten year olds in 2014 are all about historic events (usually told from the point-of-view of other kiddos). There are biographies and true-to-history stories that are super-education and ultra-entertaining for miniature reading buffs.

Some are blatantly historical, and others document personal actions that have been done by youngsters in the past – such as kids who have overcome adversities to find hope, happiness, and uniqueness.


Number the Stars by Lois Lowry

This book is actually on several classroom readings lists in both homeschools and public schools. Set in 1943 during Nazi-held Denmark, this story follows a little girl named Annemarie Johannesen.

Her best friend, Ellen Rosen, is hiding from the Nazis, and on the eve of the Jewish round-up, Annemarie’s family helps Ellen and her parents escape the country.

Told from the point-of-view of a 10-year old little girl, this story is both tragic and riveting, as Annemarie doesn’t understand the actions of politics – only the feelings she has to protect her best friend.


Out of My Mind by Sharon M. Draper

Melody is an 11-year old with an extremely photographic memory. She remembers everything in alarming detail! However, no one else knows. Melody has an ailment that makes it impossible for her to communicate, both verbally and with body language. She’s an absolute genius, but no one knows because she cannot tell them. Until she discovers a way to communicate her thoughts and feelings.

This story is based on an actual invention in history! Over time, it has helped people, like Stephen Hawking, speak without actually saying anything. And Melody is this tale’s beacon of hope!


Locomotive by Brian Floca

“A new road of rails – made for people to ride.” – This sentence began the Transcontinental Railway in 1869; a transportation idea that flourished and has since spawned hundreds of advancements in railroad travel.

In well-paced rhythms, this poem explores the concepts of train stations and vintage transportation in prose. Beginning with how the road was built, and ending with the upgrades in modern times, the story provides train buffs and history fans with an outlet for their imaginations. The illustrations are amazing and realistic, matching the greatness of each melodic verse.


Following is a video presenting the author of "Number the Stars," Lois Lowry (a fascinating woman):

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Board Books to Inspire Imaginations in 2014

The best board books this year are inspiring to the imagination of each reader. They’re evoking of fantastic mental imagery, and grown-ups (those secret kids-at-heart) will absolutely love every telling and retelling of the stories because they are guaranteed to make youngsters giggle. And that laughter is worth all the gold in the world to a parent!

I’ve pinpointed a trio of amazing board books that are best for curious toddlers and their doting caregivers. Each of these books are unique in their own way, teaching kids life lessons that assist with their brain development and early sense of self-confidence.

And those 3 are:


First 100 Words by Roger Priddy

Some words are need-to-knows – commonly referred to as sight-words. These are compilations of letters designed to give your toddler a mental image each time the word is uttered. This book has 100 of those – all simple and easy to read and learn.

They’re combined in a tough board-book that is soft enough for baby to grasp and hold on their own. And it can easily withstand the years of wear-and-tear that comes from being man-handled by an excited toddler.


Peek-A Who? by Nina Laden

Colorful and beautiful, this book combines simple rhyming words and amazing illustrations. The format of this story is straightforward and effortless to grasp. Die-cut holes show what lurks in zoos, farms, and rainforests – from owls, to cows, to cheetahs, and tons of other awesome animals. There’s also a creepy (but not-so-scary) green, grinning ghost hiding amidst the pages.

MOO! BOO! ZOO! These are words that your child will learn to read and mimic over-and-over again. It’s sure to become a tried-and-true bedtime favorite for your kiddos, their future youngsters, and generations to come.


The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle

This story is timeless, scientific, and beautiful! A very hungry caterpillar is hatched at the beginning of a week. And as that week progresses, the caterpillar eats holes through the days, growing fatter and fatter as his hunger grows. He finally becomes so large and full that he has to wrap up in his cocoon for a much-needed nap to digest.

However, when he wakes up, he discovers that he has transformed into a gorgeous butterfly with impressive, colorful wings that take up an entire 2 pages. He flutters away with a satisfied feeling in his heart – no longer hunger and completely fulfilled.


Get more info on the top selling board books (updated each year to provide current info):

Best Board Books 2014


Video reading of "The Very Hungry Caterpillar" by Eric Carle...

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

The Best Reads for 8-Year Old Bookworms in 2014

It warms my heart when kiddos are self-proclaimed bookworms! And for those reading-loving cuties the world-over, I’ve compiled an awesome short-list of 3 books for 8-year olds in 2014.

These stories make memories by being fascinating, captivating, and overall great reads. They’re told from different points-of-view with unique themes and attention-grabbing storylines. Plus, there are riveting illustrations in vivid, vibrant colors!

Each of the following books was picked because they evoke strong emotion, creating imagery that unveils a fantastic story within your child’s mind. And they’re all personal favorites that are must-haves in my home.


Wonder by R. J. Palacio

August Pullman (Auggie to his friends) was born with a deformity on his face – one that kept him out of public school until 5th grade. But entering mainstream education and social interaction isn’t that easy. Instead of making best buddies right away, Auggie finds himself the subject of cruel conversations, pranks, and insensitive questions.

However, persevering through the pain of being bullied, Auggie finds a group of close friends – ones that teach him acceptance, loyalty, and kindness.

This story is unique because the points-of-view constantly change from Auggie, to his sister and her boyfriend, to classroom peers, teachers, and tons of others that are seeing the situation differently.


The Giver by Lois Lowry

There are two editions to this book – one is the original released in 2002. The other is completely illustrated, described as a “gift” edition, and it’s totally awesome.

Both editions feature the same amazing story about 12-year old Jonas and his perfect world. His community is fragile and literally perfect – there’s no crime, war, or pain, and everyone has their job to do. However, every-so-often, life assignments choose who will learn of the world’s past, and Jonas is next in line to keep his community’s darkest secrets.


Oh, The Places You’ll Go! by Dr. Seuss

Seuss has a way with words – obviously – and this book is his tribute to growing up. With rhymes and prose that kiddos can understand, Seuss tells his readers that they can do everything and be anything. The story’s little boy spreads his proverbial wings, traveling anywhere he wants to go to explore and discover brand-new things.

This book would be the perfect gift for graduates and 20-somethings who have decided to leave home. And it’s also a great present for youngsters with big dreams and high hopes.


More info - books for 8 year olds 2014 (updated yearly for future years too)


Vid - what should an 8 year old be able to read?