Tag Archives: reading to children

Celebrating Dr. Seuss and Reading with My Children: Does He Inspire You?

Today is Read Across America Day 2012, which is celebrated each year on the birthday of  well-loved author Theodor Seuss Geisel, otherwise known as Dr. Seuss! This year, Dr. Seuss would have been 108 years old. It’s amazing to realize that so many children and adults around the world celebrate the work of this extraordinary man many years after he passed away. The books and stories he left to the world position us in a timeless manner to incorporate into learning the use of your imagination and creativity to generations of new readers, as well as important moral lessons. Sometimes, as kids I think we didn’t even know the books were teaching us life lessons. We just had fun reading them. Now, as adults so many of us pull inspiration from his poetic lines. We actually see as we have aged how his rhymes assisted in not only teaching us how to read, but in unconsciously showing us how to live our lives!

As I stated to my Facebook friends this evening, my kids and I read Dr. Seuss books for an hour and a half before bed tonight. My eight-year-old read to me And to Think That I Saw It on Mulberry Street. I told her it is one of my favorites of all time by Dr. Seuss because it encourages you to keep using your imagination. She told me she learned that this was Seuss’ first book back in the 1930s (when nurturing the imaginations of children probably wasn’t high on the agenda) and that it was rejected 27 times by publishers before anyone giving him a chance. And now look at the empire of Dr. Seuss, living on even way after he passed on. He is the most well-known and loved children’s author of all time! This inspires me as an author, and in life overall, to keep pursuing my dreams and never give up.

Tim, my kids, and I celebrated Dr. Seuss’ birthday today at their elementary school and at our local library, the Ashland Public Library. In the morning we took our four-year-old to a party the library organized where she watched an episode of the Sneetches, who teach an important story of discrimination.  She pinned green eggs onto a big green ham, blindfolded. She ate goldfish crackers while listening to One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish.  She wore a cool Cat in the Hat hat and sang “Happy Birthday” to him. The two older kids dressed up as Dr. Seuss characters today for school. Our eight-year-old daughter was the red fox from Fox in Socks and our son was Max, Grinch’s dog, as the reindeer in The Grinch Who Stole Christmas. After school, we took all three to the library and they made cute little bird creatures resembling something Dr. Seuss might have created in drawing his various bird-like creatures. You’ll see the photos below. I thought each used their imagination and did their own take on the project. We watched the children librarians act out the book, Green Eggs and Ham, using props. The library staff did a marvelous job! They do so much to assist us in educating our children.

What is your favorite Dr. Seuss book? I know I have more than one! One of my favorites from childhood is I Had Trouble Getting to Solla Sollew, which alludes to the fact that the grass is not always greener on the other side. I know The Lorax is big since it has just arrived to the cinema, but I have always loved that story. What a necessary topic for today to help children learn how to take care of the environment around us. I love Are You My Mother?, Mr. Brown Can Moo, Can You?, If I Ran the Zoo and many more. I have fond memories of waiting every month for a new set to arrive in the mail. I poured for hours over the rhymes and art.

I hope you’ve celebrated reading in some form today too and continue to read with your children.  The proclamation from President Obama today for Read Across America day, I think, says some great things about reading with children. A portion of it states:  “The journey to literacy begins early and continues throughout childhood. Parents and caregivers can play an essential role in developing fundamental skills by reading aloud regularly, helping children explore new words and concepts, and instilling enthusiasm for language and storytelling. These first lessons help pave the way for a love of reading that can last a lifetime. As children move from the living room to the classroom, teachers, librarians, and families use books to reinforce reading proficiency and build critical thinking skills that provide the foundation for a world-class education. By working together to give our sons and daughters the tools for achievement, we lay the groundwork for growth and prosperity that will stand the test of time.”

I’d love to hear what you did for the day, what your favorite Seuss book is, or anything else about this topic. Please leave comments in the section below. I look forward to them.

“The more that you read, the more things you will know. The more that you learn, the more places you’ll go.” ~ Dr. Seuss,
I Can Read With My Eyes Shut!

*Please excuse the not so perfect cell phone photos!

Leave a comment

Filed under Children and Family

Graphic Novel Trend Spectacular for Abundance of Reasons!

Lately, I’ve interviewed several authors that mentioned comics as a source for their childhood (and probably adult, too) reading pleasure and creativity. Quite coincidentally, I also read that comics are a great resource for parents who struggle with reluctant readers. Then, when a recent trip to the library and a graphic novel display, as well as my youngest daughter’s obsession with having graphic novels read to her, really got me thinking, I decided to put a post together. I can’t believe what books for children are available now as graphic novels. Not only are children investing in words by reading graphic novels, but they are also enjoying visual art and adventure right at their fingertips!

As a kid, I loved buying comics. Yeah, I know, I’m a girrrrl…but hey, we can love comics and graphic novels too!  And I wasn’t a dork (as far as I say), so yeah, I’m not ashamed to declare that girls who love make-up and red lipstick can still love comics (I hear my fiance yelling, right on girl….)!

 Flashback to Archie and My Childhood

Back when I was a kid we picked up Archie, Jughead, Betty and Veronica….those little magazine-sized comics at the grocery store. They’ve been around since the 1950s or so, but I wasn’t around till 1974 so I only remember reading in the 80s.  Of course, they still make the Archie comics, and many other media arose from Archie over the years, but personally I remember my child-like eyes being big on the racks by the check-out and my mom always buying me one for the ride home. However, my kids certainly aren’t bringing me an Archie mag and a block of Bazooka gum (which was hard as a rock, BTW!!). It was fun then, but for our kids times have changed.

Getting my Marvel Fix

As an older teen, I became even more bold and couldn’t wait to get to the comic store (then on almost any side street) and pick-up my next issues of The Amazing Spiderman and, my favorite of the early 90’s, Spawn. Then X-Men, Avengers, Thor (oh, little Marvel heavy, sorry)…who could go wrong with all that luscious colorized art that oozed with visual goodness and exciting reading.

What Happened to Comics?

With a busy career and getting even busier as a mom, my comic reading went out the window, as well as purchasing. And I guess I wasn’t the only one, as in the last decade comic sales have plummeted. At $5 a pop for a few pages, it just wasn’t feasible for most people anymore to go every week and buy a whole stack, and with too many favorites, it became even harder to choose! Die-hard collectors still bought, but now most kids are enticed by a million other things put out every day in this electronic world.

The Graphic Novel On the Rise

Graphic novels, on the other hand, are entirely different. Sales of these in most beloved comic lines like Spiderman, X-Men, Superman and so forth increased. I think people feel they get more for their money. In a 2011 article by Comics Alliance (www.comicsalliance.com), they stated that graphic novel sales are up 3% for the year, though sales in comic shops are down.  This was due to the growth of graphic novels in bookstores, which is a great sign for the comic industry. Sales of periodical single issues fell 8%, in comparison, and Manga 15 to 20%.  However, digital comic sales have doubled since 2010. So maybe it is the comic store that is dead and not really the comic industry? Let’s hope.

So, Why Are Graphic Novels Great For Your Children?

Now on to my main point of this blog, comics and graphic novels are great for kids. And graphic novels seems to be on the rise.  Boys and girls between the ages 9-12 are most suited for graphic novels and they are a great resource for parents who have reluctant or struggling readers. Instead of hundreds of pages full of just words, suddenly there are amazing visuals with words to go with them. The writing and vocabulary are still on par, and even advanced, yet the child is more excited to read and propelled by the art.

Manga, which is Japanese for comics and are Japanese in origin, are wonderful also as the vocabulary is on a high-level for an advanced reader, or are able to challenge average readers in an environment that is more conducive to their learning. Because they are graphic, they are more quickly understood and absorbed as kids are naturally visual learners.

With some of the graphic novels or comic compilations, they can also offer smaller doses of reading if that is easier for the attention span of a child.  There is a ton of action on each page for them to look at, while the writing is still superb. I even found that my 4-year-old daughter is very into graphic novels. We started with some Scooby-Doo graphic novel compilations. There is one main comic short that it’s titled from, but there are usually two to three comic stories in the book. We can read one at a time, or all three if she is feeling more focused. She loves looking at the pictures as I read the story.

Recently at the library, we have been picking up more graphic novels and I am amazed at how many chapter books (those books familiar to my seven-year old) have been turned into a graphic novel or have a graphic novel spin-off! What a great way to entice reluctant readers to read an actual chapter book. If they enjoy the comic version first, maybe they will try the other books. If they enjoy books, they might compliment by enjoying the graphic version and be entertained by the art. It is a win-win both ways.

We just found a series of Geronimo Stilton graphic novels (Geronimo Stilton is a mouse with a fun children’s book series for 8 to 16 year olds). My four-year old recognized the famous mouse from my seven-year old’s chapter book browsing and wanted to get the graphic novel Geronimo Stilton: The Secret of the Sphinx right away! She loved it. Now she can be part of the story through the photos and she is learning history too. There is great writing in these graphic novels that is both entertaining and educational.  However, I think it reads much better if you do funny voices and yell all the crazy sound effects. As a parent, let yourself go and get into reading the story.

We’ve seen graphic novels which also accompany popular Young Adult (YA) novels as well. For instance, The Amulet of Samarkand: A Bartimaeus Graphic Novel, which was adapted from Jonathan Stroud’s best-selling Bartimaeus series book one, The Amulet of Samarkand. I’m halfway through this one and loving the visuals. You can download the First Chapter on from the publisher’s website at http://disney.go.com/official-sites/bartimaeus-series/graphic-novel-amulet-of-samarkand-page-1.

Now even classics are being re-told in this format to get a kid’s brain to absorb these monumental novels that might otherwise be destined for Cliff Notes. For instance, you’ll find Beowulf, The Iliad, Oscar Wilde’s The Picture of Dorian Gray, Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde by Robert Louis Stevenson, and many more.  We even saw the famous French tale called The Little Prince adapted into an artistic graphic novel.

Even though we don’t have reluctant readers in our household and are blessed with three avid readers just like we are, we’re loving the advantages of graphic novels to accompany our two older children’s reading list, as well as helping our youngest daughter to read.

I’d love to hear your thoughts on comics and graphic novels! Do you like this trend? What are your favorite comics of all time? Found any new graphic novels for kids you’d love to share? Please share your comments with everyone below.


Filed under Children and Family, New Books I've Found, Other blogs

Does Hook of a Book Sound a Little Seuss-y? Happy birthday Dr. Seuss!

It’s March 2 and not only is it National Read Across America day but is also the 107th birthday of the late Theodore Geisel, more lovingly addressed and remembered as Dr. Seuss. I remember as a child waiting for the mail to come every month and getting a new Dr. Seuss classic. My mom had signed me up for some mail order subscription and I was estatic to get them. Today, my kids are still enjoying my hand me down Dr. Seuss books of Green Eggs and Ham, The Cat in the Hat, The Foot Book and many more, but also the new titles featuring the Cat in the Hat teaching numerous non-fiction subjects such as maps, birds, oceans, and even cooking (at least he has amazing clean-up techniques!).

Today I caught a bad case of the flu or a cold. I’ve been feeling terrible and was afraid I’d miss our plans of going to our local library’s “Seussabration” after school. I did miss it unfortunately, but the kids did go. My son helped the two girls to make Fox puppets out of lunch bags, Seuss posters, and they listened to Mr. Brown Can Moo Can You? read by the local librarians.

Here’s a photo taken by my son with his camera phone of my daughter coloring at the event:

Some school classes had parties today with birthday cake and hats as well as many libraries having events. Whatever your children did to celebrate, remember that the most important thing is to encourage reading in your children every day.

  • What can you do to commemorate National Read Across America day?
  1. *Make your child a book nook where they can retreat to read books daily.
  2. *Schedule time to read a book to your child at least several times a week.
  3. *Make special bookmarks they can use in their book nook.
  4. *Have your child draw a photo of what a story was about after you read it.
  5. *Ask questions and talk about what you read.
  6. *Have a party and invite your children’s friends over to read books and make tote bags for their trips to the library.
  7. *Buy your child a new book for March, to celebrate reading.
  8. *Take a trip to the library to participate in story time or crafts.

Purchasing your child books, reading to them, and encouraging them to use the library is a lasting gift! Leave your children with a legacy of reading, just like Dr. Seuss has left us with a legacy of silly, funny, awesome, unforgettable books.


Filed under Children and Family