Monday, January 25, 2010

Children's Book of the Week! January 24-30

I Want to be Miss America
by Katie Stam, Miss America 2009

This week is a special week to me because it is the week of the Miss America Pageant. Since a young age I have dreamed of becoming Miss America one day, and the night that the Miss America pageant came on the television was always a special event. This past year's Miss America, Katie Stam, has written a children's book during her journey to Miss America, so I found it only fitting to select it as our book of the week. Katie was recently interviewed by Robin Leach, and gave details on her book, which is set to be released soon.

  • "It’s called I Want to Be Miss America, and it actually follows me as a little girl. As you know, that was something I wanted to do my entire life and have been working toward my entire life, so I wrote a children’s book. It’s about Katie, this little girl, who dreams of becoming Miss America and what she does in order to accomplish it. It’s going to be very interactive with the little kids who want to purchase it. I think it will also be fantastic for Miss America fans in general because I am going to try and make it as special as possible."

  • "So it’s not just a children’s book. No. 1, it’s an education tool, and No. 2, make it for Miss America fans. What I mean by educational tool is I tried to utilize the same message that I spoke about this prior year on the road, and that was I decided I was going to be Miss America when I was 3 years old, but I had to have a plan that I set for myself. My plan was to get this education to make good decisions and to get involved in my community. That was my three-step plan of how I was going to accomplish my goal. So that is the theme in this book, but even more so, it teaches what Miss America is, and that is a role model, its service base, and that it is about education in scholarship and about being a good person."

  • "I tried to use it as an educational tool because there is a great responsibility that comes with being able to write a book. And as far as a keepsake message and memory from the book, I am going to keep that a secret. You are just going to have to figure out what that means as we get closer to the day of it being released."

  • To read more about Katie Stam, visit

 So this week, explore your child's dreams. Ask them what they wish to achieve and try to find something at your local library about that subject. While little boys probably won't be aching to become Miss America, they may hope to one day be President or a Firefighter. Find their passion and explore it. By doing this through reading, you will also foster an interest in learning through reading.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Children's Book of the Week for January 17-23

Jenny is Scared! When Sad Things Happen in the World
by Carol Shuman

With the recent events happening in Haiti, your children may be asking questions about things that happen in our world and what they mean. This book explores how sad events happening in our world affect children and how to respond to them. We always try to shelter our children from these types of events to protect them from the hurts of the world, but in reality, they are still affected and need our help in understanding why these things happen.

Plot: Jenny and her brother Sam are scared! The TV has played news all morning, Jenny's piano lesson was canceled, and Mom and Dad forgot to make lunch. Jenny and Sam want to know what's going on and how not to be so scared, and Mom and Dad can help. With honest sensitivity, Jenny Is Scared! explores children's fears, and reactions surrounding terrorism, war, and other violent events. A Note to Parents by author and psychologist Ann Rasmussen, Psy.D., explains how young children respond to violence and tragedy, provides concrete suggestions for helping them feel more safe, and offers families ideas for making the world a better place.

Activities that you can do with your children:
  • Talk about things that are going on in the world, ask them questions about what they think of the situations, if they noticed things happening, ect.
  •  Read other books on fears, draw out what your children are most scared of and help them understand how to ease their fears. Some great books for this are: Scaredy Squirrel by Melanie Watt, The Bad-News Report Card by Nancy Poydar, and The Bravest of the Brave by Shutta Crum

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Children's Book of the Week!

Where the Wild Things Are
by Maurice Sendak

Plot: The book tells the story of Max, a little boy who takes an imaginary journey to a land of "Wild Things." As Max's imagination unfolds, his bedroom is transformed into an entirely new world. When he sails to the land of the Wild Things, they quickly make him their ruler. The Wild Things are tames under Max's fearless leadership and enjoy a "wild rumpus" planned by Max. Ultimately Max leaves the land of the Wild things, despite their loving protests, to return home where he finds his dinner waiting for him.

  • Read this book with your child and discuss what the themes, characters, and lessons are.
  • Ask your child questions to help them develop cognitive thinking. (What kind of "wild rumpus" would you have? What would you do at a "wild rumpus?" What are some of the words in this story that help you make a picture in your head? Have you ever felt like Max did in the beginning of the book?)
    Hold your own "wild rumpus" where your child plays the part of Max.
  • Draw a plot line with the beginning, middle, and end of the book from your child's perspective.
  • Draw pictures of Wild Things together, discuss the monsters and their actions towards Max. One trick to use to help your children's phonics would be to draw monsters from letters. Example- a bear monster out of the letter B.
  • Cook a dinner together
  • Take this fun quiz with your child.

This book is a wonderful tool to use to help children with phonetic awareness, which is key to successful literacy skills. Make sure that when reading aloud, you put emphasis on the actions and descriptions. Use a dramatic verbal expression technique; make it fun!