reading resources

Quick Picks: What I’ve Been Reading

You know the feeling when you finish a good book and you want to tell someone about it?  Well, I've got that feeling. This list of books doesn’t fit on any of the upcoming book lists I have planned. I wanted to share them anyway.

If your kids are participating in the Young Book Love Bingo Reading Challenge, the books on this list will help them fill in the square “a book about someone who doesn’t look like you.” (The characters include people from Pakistan and India along with Americans with different shades of skin.) If your kids aren’t participating in the Reading Challenge and want to, you can find out more (and print off a free Bingo board) here.

Below are four books I read over the past month that I am excited to recommend. I hope your young reader will connect with them too.

A Reading Challenge for Your Kids, Bingo Style!

Confession: I am a sucker for New Year’s resolutions, or goals as I like to call them.

Last year I set a goal to read 100 books in 2018; the week before Christmas I finished Frankenstein to complete it. This year I’m going for 100 again. I like setting a number, but I hold it loosely. I don’t want the pressure of reaching my goal to detract from the joy I find in reading.

I’ve talked to my kids about setting reading goals too. While I don’t want them to feel pressured by the goals, my hope is that they will be motivated by them. Some have set a number, some have said they want to read more nonfiction, others have ignored the idea completely. I am good with each of their responses. I want the idea of a reading challenge to be fun and if it’s not, then I don’t want them to do it.

For those who have set goals, I do what I can to help. Whether that means helping them start a notebook to track their reading or to periodically ask how they are doing. It’s fun to talk about (at least for me) and it’s one more way we can connect over books and reading.

Summer Boredom Busters Courtesy of Mr. Dewey's Decimals

“Mom, I’m bored.” These dreaded words tend to echo around our house more and more as summer lengthens into July and August. Often followed with a request to play video games, no matter how many times I have told them no. My resolve to help my kids embrace boredom tends to be at it’s strongest in June. But my kids are persistent and by mid-July and August, their resolve for playdates with Mario begins to make me seriously question my resistance. 

I will often prescribe a list of ideas to cure their boredom woes. Read a book. Go play outside. Would you like a chore? Rarely are my suggestions met with enthusiasm. And when it’s the 304th time I’ve suggested the same tired ideas, we all sigh at my lack of creativity.  

Recently I had an epiphany. I don’t know that it will chase the boredom from their lives permanently, but it definitely provides more options with the potential to push them away from Mario towards more creative endeavors and strengthen my resolve against video games closer to the end of July. 


Ode to Ramona and How you Can Listen to her Audiobooks for Free!

Beatrice Quimby's biggest problem was her little sister Ramona. Beatrice, or Beezus (as everyone called her, because that was what Ramona had called her when she first learned to talk), knew other nine-year-old girls who had little sisters who went to nursery school, but she did not know anyone with a little sister like Ramona.

- First paragraph of Beezus and Ramona by Beverly Cleary

And so begins one of the classic series of all time. I grew up with Ramona books. I loved them then and love them now. From the first book where we are introduced to four-year-old Ramona, through the following seven we get to see her grow, relate with her problems, laugh at the situations she finds herself in, and love her relationships with her family. Beverly Cleary wrote so much heart into the Ramona books, they are hard not to love.