Bruce is a grumpy bear.. He does not like sunny days, rain or cute little animals.
Bruce does love to cook. He loves eggs and enjoys making fancy recipes from the Internet. When he finds a recipe for hard-boiled goose eggs drizzled in honey salmon sauce, he can hardly wait to prepare this delicacy.
But Bruce is in for an unpleasant surprise, When he gets distracted from boiling geese eggs, he finds himself with four baby goslings that won’t go away. In fact, they decide that Bruce must be their mother. Bruce does his best to resist the ducks but in the end, they form a most unusual family.
The current crisis is a great time to explore some fun Young Adult Books. I am planning to review some of my favorites.
Let’s face it. Middle School is traumatic! Middle schoolers think eveyone notices everything they do. Classmates can be cruel. Anything that makes you different from your classmates feels like torture.
Smile by Raina Telemeier is an autobiographical graphic novel chronicling the ups and downs of middle school and high school, a tough season for any adolescent especially if there’s something that sets you apart from your classmates.
At age 12, Raina fell on the pavement resulting in losing her two front teeth. Six year olds with missing front teeth are adorable, twelve years olds not so much. Raina’s life for the next four years includes dental surgeries, trips to specalists and two sets of braces.Most of all, she feels different from her classmates. Her story navigates crushes, friendships and other teen drama.
Smile encourages the reader to laugh and sympathize with Raina’s recollections. When she spies her crush in the hall, she is so enamored that she walks right into a row of lockers. When she tries on extensive headgear for her braces, She exclaims, “C’mom Mom, let’s go get me some glasses, a pocket protector and some velcro shoes.”
Raina begins her story with sixth grade and ends in high school. Along the way, she learns to chose her friends more carefully and pursue her talents for drawing and singing. She gradually settles in with a new group of artsy friends that are kinder, more authentic and accepting.
Kids love graphic novels. Teachers and librarians are increasingly realizing the benefits of this genre. Smile, however, is an exceptional graphic novel. It won the Wil Eisner Award for best books for teens. Telgemeier has published other graphic novels.
How have children changed in the last ten years? Anyone who has addressed or observed groups of children lately notice that our youth are less attentive. It’s harder to make eye contact. They have more trouble falling directions. They fidget. They want to lie on the floor instead of sitting up straight. Could constant exposure to screens be causing this problem?
Joe Clement and Matt Miles have teamed up to produce an important wake-up call for parents. Their book, “Screen Schooled: Two Veteran Teachers Expose How Technology Use is Making Our Kids Dumber” is a must read for anyone concerned about our children’s future.
Clement and Miles believe that most of our children are technology addicts. While they are adept at locating facts, they lack creative thinking, problem solving, and social skills. They include lots of research and practical teaching experience to back up their claims.
Clement and Miles also offer practical advice for parents. They recommend limiting screen time in the home and encouraging parents to advocate for the best education for their children.
While other books* are tackling this topic, “Screen Schooled” gives the perspective of two public school insiders. They allow us to see firsthand how screens are impacting the students in their lives. They have inside information on the school system that can help parents advocate for the best education for their children.
“Screen Schooled” makes for an enjoyable read. At times, it feels like a chat with your child’s favorite teacher. Clement and Miles have a heart for their students. They offer practical advice for the classroom as well as the home.
*”Glow Kids,” Nicholas Kardaras,” IGen”,-Jean Twinge, “Disconnected,” Tom Kersling are other books about children and screens.
Ten years ago, I fell in love with audiobooks. I felt torn because I had adult books I wanted to read and prize winning children’s books that deserved my attention. There wasn’t time to read everything. Audiobooks became part of the solution!
Audiobooks are great for the whole family. Consider taking them along on your next road trip. Here are my favorite recorded books:
Not only are the Harry Potter books great adventure stories, they are also hilarious, especially when narrator, Jim Dale creates over 200 voices and special effects for the wizards, muggles, goblins and house-elves that pass through Hogwarts. These volumes are among the top selling audiobooks of all time. Children who have already read these books will notice things they missed the first time.
Country music singer and actor, Lyle Lovett, brings Kathi Appelt’s adventure tale, The True Blue Scouts of SugarmanSwamp to life. Two raccoon scouts, Bingo and J’miah, must wake the Sugarman, A Yeti creature, when trouble comes to the swamp. And trouble is coming! Jaeger Stitch, world-class alligator wrestler, plans to turn the peaceful swamp into the world’s tackiest theme park. To make matters worse, a gang of feral hogs are attacking the swamp. Lovett has the perfect southern drawl. This story appeals to a wide range of ages.
Don’t let the cost of audiobooks discourage you. Many are available at the public library. Services like Audible and Hoopla are also making these books more accessible.