Using the Force over at The Reading Connection blog this week to generate some ideas for book-inspired play and remembering how Star Wars fired my imagination as a child.

c3po with Belle of the Book

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

If you’re looking for even more Star Wars reading fun, I recommend checking out these fantastic–and very imaginative–retellings by Alexandra Bracken, Adam Giowitz and Tom Angleberger:

disney star wars books

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Read more, play more, you must!

 

On this day in which we give thanks for the people who make our lives so very special, I am also thankful for the amazing authors whose words have made a deep and lasting impression.

I am thankful for Hard Times by Charles Dickens, particularly the character Rachael, for whom I am named.

I am thankful for The Big Tidy Up by Norah Smaridge, illustrated by Les Gray, and Green Eggs and Ham by Dr. Seuss. These books launched me into reading and I am forever grateful for the clever rhyme and cunning pictures in these titles that captivated my imagination and tickled my tongue.

I am thankful for The Best Christmas Pageant Ever by Barbara Robinson, which added hilarity to long family car trips during the holidays. And taught me a beauty tip I still use—Vaseline eyelids!

I am thankful for Black is brown is tan by Arnold Adoff, which opened my eyes to poetry.

I am thankful for With Love From Karen by Marie Killilea. This book about the joys and challenges of raising a child with cerebral palsy in the 1950s is a great read and was a great comfort as I learned to navigate middle school.

I am thankful for The Pistachio Prescription by Paula Danziger and for all of her other mousy brown haired heroines. Very reassuring to read that brunettes have fun too!

I am thankful for The Little Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, which showed me that it is perfectly reasonable to look at the world in many different ways.

I am thankful for The Winter of Our Discontent by John Steinbeck, which I have read a half dozen times, and within its multi-layered complexity, find a new and remarkable meaning each time.

I am thankful for Blue Hat, Green Hat by Sandra Boynton, which started my own kids reading.

I am thankful for A Series of Unfortunate Events by Lemony Snicket and the Inkheart trilogy by Cornelia Funke, which my husband read aloud to our whole family.

Books give us so much to be grateful for—from special time with family to new experiences to joy, comfort and a lifetime of pleasure. I am truly thankful for books.

Kojo Show

 

It was delightful to chat with Kojo Nnamdi and his callers about summer reading and have the chance to introduce listeners to Reading Rockets and Start with a Book.

Listen here for the lively discussion of best books, strategies for engaging young readers and being a “present” parent. And be sure to check out the list of recommended summer reading. There’s still time to enjoy lots of good books this summer!

 

 

 

 

 

This month, support a love of reading by showing your own enthusiasm for books! Read to kids, read in front of kids and expose them to all kinds of exciting and fascinating aspects of the written word. To make reading something kids look forward to every day this month, take advantage of the special dates and activities on the February calendar.

Celebrate Black History Month

Share the stories of African Americans throughout history and honor their contributions to our culture and country during Black History Month.

aaauthorsBelle of the Book with Sherri Smith, Walter Dean Myers and E.B. Lewis

Join the National African American Read-In

Throughout the month of February the Black Caucus of the National Council of Teachers of English invites schools, churches, libraries, bookstores, communities and readers from all walks of life to make promoting literacy a traditional part of Black History Month activities and celebrate and share the works of African American writers.

Brush up on Dental Heath during National Children’s Dental Health Month

Learning about good oral health is fun for kids when they sink their teeth into a good book.

Fill your Valentine’s Day with books

Valentine’s Day can be more than candy, hearts, and flowers. Extend the love to poetry and books and encourage kids to share their favorite poems, titles or authors on February 14.

Hail to the books on Presidents’ Day

Use books to celebrate and honor the lives of George Washington, Abraham Lincoln and to reflect on the contributions of all the men who have served our country as President. To distinguish the first and sixteenth presidents, plan read alouds on their actual birthdays: George Washington was born on February 22 and Abraham Lincoln on February 12.

Get ready for March (reading) Madness!

Theodor Geisel, known and beloved as Dr. Seuss, wrote and illustrated more than 40 books and gave us some of the most memorable characters in children’s literature including the Cat in the Hat. His March 2nd birthday is the date of the nation’s largest celebration of reading.  NEA’s Read Across America events and activities—with red and white hatted readers—bring reading excitement on Dr. Seuss’s birthday and provides resources to keep kids reading 365 days a year.

Belle of the Book with the Cat in the Hat and
NEA’s Read Across America’s own Anita Merina

Looking for true love this Valentine’s Day? Connect a kid with a book and watch the sparks fly!

The wise and wonderful Katherine Paterson said, “It is a sign of wonderful love and affection to read aloud to someone, and we love it. So, we should never stop reading aloud.”

Make some book love this Valentine’s Day! Read aloud with your loved ones and enjoy these titles about a love for books and reading.

 

The Plot Chickens by Mary Jane and Herm Auch

 

 

I Am the Book: Poems selected by Lee Bennett Hopkins. Illustrated by Yayo

 

 

 

The Library by Sarah Stewart. Pictures by David Small

 

 

 

But Excuse Me That is My Book by Lauren Child

 

 

 

 That Book Woman by Heather Henson. Pictures by David Small

 

 

 

Book! Book! Book! by Deborah Bruss. Illustrated by Tiphanie Beeke

 

 

 

The Hard-Times Jar by Ethel Footman Smothers. Pictures by John Holyfield

 

 

It was delightful to chat with Kathleen Dunn and her callers today about encouraging and motivating kids to read. Listen here if you want to hear the thistle tongue twister, how to be a reading role model, and ideas to make reading fun and fundamental to your kids.