Sunday, July 10, 2011

Non-Fiction for Kidz of All Ages

I recently read an interesting piece by Dana Goldstein concerning what American teens should be reading - more non-fiction. After I read it, and thought about the pressure of standardized testing that is being placed on the young shoulders of kids around the country, I felt it applied to ALL of our youth. So what follows are some recommendations from Kidz Books.
Ages 4-7
Several books come to mind. The first is for lovers of reptiles - Amazing Snakes. True to it's title the photographs are truly amazing from National Geographic and it's also An I Can Read book, too. The next takes youngsters on an ecological travel to Alaska in Adventures of Riley - Survival of the Salmon. Children love the pictures and the information boxes on the sides of the pages. They learn much more than salmon in this fun book. Finally, a picture book biography of one of our most famous presidents, Abraham Lincoln, will surpass what they will learn in school for President's Day.

Ages 8 - 10

For this age group, there is a great series of Eyewitness Books on specific topics that kids want to know more about. They are the kind of book that you can open anywhere and begin reading since they have short topics on the main subject. The pictures and photographs are incredible. Encyclopedic in nature, this is the type of book that your child will reach for again and again. Titles available are: Castle, Technology, Invention, Arctic & Antarctic, Archaeology, Ancient Rome, and Ancient Egypt. At $5 each these are a worthwhile investment!
For the young environmentalist Oil Spill: Disaster in the Gulf is a great guide to how the world uses oil, the future of energy in the U.S., and how we can prevent spills from happening again. Kids will enjoy reading about animal rescue professionals as well.

Ages 11-13

It becomes somewhat more difficult here as we deal with more mature themes. You know your child, their reading ability, and also their ability to process and understand social issues.

The first book is a training manual for horse enthusiasts which is very comprehensive. It deals with riding, grooming, jumping, etc - The Usborne Complete Book of Riding and Pony Care. I love Usborne books; they are interactive - made to use on the internet as well. But the great thing is that the children log in to the Usborne website and go from there so one does not need to worry about the sites they are looking at.

Next, are several sensitive books on the Holocaust. It is several true stories of children who survived; Escape - Children of the Holocaust. Another one that I received an email from an enchanted reader who is trying desperately to reach the survivor, Bronia Brandman, is The Girl Who Survived.

Ages 14 and up

The first book is really for high school students, Of Beetles and Angels. It's a marvelous story of a young man who graduated from Harvard after living in a Sudanese refuge camp. And of course my top seller for Kidz Books is Ten True Tales: Battle Heroes - Voices from Afghanistan. It's a moving account of servicemen and women some able to still tell their stories from the battlefield of war like Mark DeCorte, others like Ann Davis' brother Thom forever stilled, but always a hero. Behind Enemy Lines takes another look at war over a braoder spectrum of time beginning with our battle for independence. And for those who are interested in the Revolutionary War, a must read is Victory or Death! Stories of the American Revolution. Finally, an amazing book full of triumph over evil during Europe's darkest days is Heroes of the Holocaust: True Stories of Rescues by Teens.

So give it a try and steer your significant child to a non-fiction book. Books can do no harm.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

BOOKS: The other channel

Alice Cooper blares, "SCHOOOOOLS OUT FOR SUMMMMMER........" We know this as sure as the fireflies have returned like clockwork to the twilight skies of June and no more school busses to avoid driving behind as they stop and pick up one child at every single corner on your commute to work. And, so far the whining and boredom hasn't set in - yet.

Start a new trend this summer. Rather than reaching for the remote, or driving to rent a new video game, try the other channel. Read a book. I hate to break it to you mom and dad, Aunt Judy, or Granddad Ted, but precious Joey and Nelly will slip over the summer - that is a definite. Google it. Unless they keep up with academics, they will fall backwards. But, and there is always a but. They will not fall behind if they keep reading during the summer months. As a reading specialist I'm going to give you some suggestions for all ages, including you!

  • Going on a family outing? Have a toddler in tow? Going on a Bear Hunt is a perfect board book for those chubby little fingers that may be rough on thin pages. It's funny, clever and a rhyme that kidz love to hear repeated.

  • Summer is often the time big people take off to fix up things around the house, right? How many times do you hear your little one asking if he/she can help too? This adorable toolbelt kit comes with four board books in the shape of the tool. Each book tells how the tool is used. Hats off to Salina Yoon for her Kid Builder Board Book Set. And did I mention that your child can wear the sturdy apron that comes with it for the tools to fit neatly inside?

  • A great picture book for the summer is Thunder-Boomer by Shutta Crum. The illustrations are lovely and takes the pressure out of thunderstorms for children.

    Young kids all over love the antics of Mo Willems' character - the Pigeon. I highly recommend The Pigeon Finds a Hot Dog and The Pigeon Wants a Puppy.

  • For the young elementary age kidz there are several suggestions. For the girls, the big rage right now is Rainbow Magic Fairies by Daisy Meadows. They come in theme packs such as sports fairies, weather fairies, etc.

  • Boys and girls alike, in the early elementary years enjoy reading Ron Roy's A-Z Mystery Series. There are 26 different books each based on a letter of the alphabet that surrounds a particular mystery.

  • Something cool for that younger set visiting the ocean this summer is Joanna Cole's Magic School Bus set of 10 books dealing with ocean animals.

  • For your older elementary readers, some book sets that I urge you to read with your child. What an example for you to set as you read, also. Plus it's an incredible bonding experience as you and child dialog about the book afterwards or while you are reading. A great set dealing with mythology is the Percy Jackson series. The 39 Clues 10 Book Set is an incredible series written by famous children's authors. They must be read in order and they are given clues at the end of each book. They are both historical and instructional; high up on my list!!

  • Now, I will tell you about a book that I lent out to my 7th and 8th graders. I probably lent it out about 10 - 15 times. The book is still in mint condition. WHY? Each student kept the book for one evening; two at the most. The book saw no wear because it was devoured. The book is The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins. It is now available in a box set with it's two following books, Catching Fire And Mockingjay. These are the best in young adult fiction I have read in a long time.

So there you have it. Some great reads without channel surfing and fighting over the remote. Life doesn't get much better than that. Have a safe summer!

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Happy Anniversary to ME!!!

Today I received a lovely note from a customer which said that my blog about The Little Prince prompted her to purchase it and read it. I was shocked; someone was actually reading my blog! That quickly turned to embarassment - how long had it been since I had actually updated my blog?

So I looked, ugh... over a year! It was even worse than I thought. Now, to my credit, I do blog on some parenting websites to promote quality books. Hmmm, I guess I should be doing that on my own as well.

I also took a look at the calendar. It is just a few weeks short of my 2nd anniversary of opening KIDZ BOOKS. So I thought I would blog about some statistics that I have been able to look over as far as book sales are concerned.

Let me tell you about my current number one bestseller. It is also the most searched book internally on my site and searched organically from the web. I'm proud to say that it's not a silly book popular today and forgotten about next month. It's a book about Dennis's son and Ann's brother - Ten True Tales: Battle Heroes Voices From Afghanistan by Allan Zullo. Since October 2010, I have sold 252 copies of this book. I am not including in that number the 100 plus copies that Mark's proud father Dennis has purchased to send to family members all over the country and to Mark's base in Germany.

The book has become almost personal to me as I have corresponded with Mark's dad and listened to Ann's sorrowful story of her beloved brother Thom who died a hero leaving behind a grieving family. As I continue to fulfill orders I often wonder if it's to a family member - what is the connection, what is their story, did their loved one make it home safely?

The 2nd most popular book - and this is in a two year period - is Pinkalicious by Victoria and Elizabeth Kahn. This book is a huge hit with the younger, female set and the numbers for this is 133. Pinkalicious has been around for some time and does contain some positive themes about overindulgence and eating healthy food. This has spawned several similar picture books; Purplicious, Goldilicious, and the very latest Silverlicious.

For those of you who read my blogs, respond and keep me on my toes. Thank you for your support and Happy Anniversary!