On the Magic of Reading Aloud

When I was little, both my parents read to me. They even read in a couple of different languages that they were fluent in. I had a couple of children’s books in French, which my mom read to me. My dad read us a couple of children’s books in German and in Russian. When I was in early elementary school, I liked when the teachers read stories because they would show the pictures, they would alter their voices slightly to indicate different characters and moods. Even when my fourth grade teacher read A Wrinkle in Time, with hardly any pictures, she still made it interesting. When I hit sixth grade and my teacher read aloud, I came to hate it. There were no pictures anymore. She read straight off the page – no inflections, no animated intonation, just boring. And I could read for myself much faster than I could listen to her read. Blah.

Skip ahead to me working in various child care settings. I *love* to read stories with little kids. I worked in a variety of child care settings for the better part of 15 years. I now work in a county-based special education preschool program as a speech-language pathologist. I do a ton of stuff with children’s books. The fact that I can write a lot of these books off for work on my taxes helps out enormously, as good-quality picture books are pretty much my crack habit.

Even better, my partner is happy to read these picture books to me sometimes at bedtime. He does voices and everything!  Once in a while, when we’re feeling up to the commitment, we’ll find a grown-up book for him to read over several nights. We rarely do this on consecutive nights due to our schedules, so it can take us a long time to finish a book. But even when it’s a grown-up book, he’ll do inflection and intonation to make it interesting. And we’ve found we’ll talk about the book the next day or two as well, so it makes for some good conversation. It’s one of my favorite forms of “together time” with him.

As we head into the holiday week, here’s a suggestion for when your flight is delayed, or you just can’t possibly watch any more football. Get a book and read out loud.

But don’t just gather the kids and the grandkids.

Tonight, beloved children’s book author Kate DiCamillo shares her humble opinion on the universal and age-defying magic of listening to a shared story.

Check out the video

(you can also read the transcript here)

Whose Boat is This Boat?

One of the teachers I work with gave me a present the other day. whose boat.jpg

Whose Boat Is This Boat? Comments That Don’t Help in the Aftermath of a Hurricane is a picture book made entirely of quotations from President Donald Trump in the wake of Hurricane Florence. It is the first children’s book that demonstrates what not to say after a natural disaster. This book is not currently in the Division92 little free library – I just had to share it, as it’s so silly.

From the publisher Simon and Schuster’s webpage:

On September 19, 2018, Donald Trump paid a visit to New Bern, North Carolina, one of the towns ravaged by Hurricane Florence. It was there he showed deep concern for a boat that washed ashore. “At least you got a nice boat out of the deal,” said President Trump to hurricane victims. “Have a good time!” he told them. The only way his comments would be appropriate is in the context of a children’s book—and now you can experience them that way, thanks to the staff of The Late Show with Stephen Colbert.

Proceeds from sales of this book go to charitable organizations that support victims of Hurricanes Florence and Michael.

This book is not currently in the Division92 little free library – I just had to share it, as it’s so silly!

Repurposed Little Free Libraries: British Phone Booths

Those familiar red phone booths throughout England just aren’t being used as phone booths anymore. As in the US, everyone has their own cell or smart phone, and they just aren’t using public phone booths, so the phone companies have been removing them left and right. The thing is, England’s red phone booths have been such an important part of the landscape that folks waxing nostalgic are giving the booths new purposes. They’re becoming defibrillator stations, coffee shops, and free book exchanges. Check out this CBS piece on the repurposing of the Red Phone Booths.

Book Domino Chain World Record

Holy smokes!  Check out the Seattle Public Library – they broke the world record for longest book domino chain as part of promoting their 2013 summer reading program.  I especially liked the rainbow-colored section of books and when the chain went from the floor to the stacks and split a couple of different ways. I can’t even imagine all the work that went into it. The ending is cute too. I understand that no books were harmed during this event.

Just goes to show you – you don’t always have to read a book to enjoy it!