Monthly Archives: July 2013

Get Into the Action!

Jumping, running, swinging, wading. Summer is full of action for children. When you talk about what your children are doing while it’s happening, you’ll be helping them learn some action words, or verbs.

Creeping in the grass, tip-toeing across the floor, leaping from the tree, gliding in the water. There are so many descriptive ways to talk about how we move. Here are some books that are all about action. From slow movements like yawning, to quick “on the go” actions, you can have fun reading these books aloud.

rollercoaster book 2“Roller Coaster” by Marla Frazee. Each picture in this book shows one scene of an exciting roller coaster ride. The pictures tell a bigger story than the words alone, so you can talk about what is happening with your child. Look at the expressions on faces of the people riding on the roller coaster. Whee

“The Cat Barked?” by Lydia Monks. Poor kitty really wants to be a dog. But does she really want to chew bones and be lead around on a leash? The story compares all the things a cat does to what a dog does.

“The Goldfish Yawned” by Elizabeth Sayles. In a bedroom with the blue cast of night, there is page after page of slow-moving, quiet, night time verbs. Tick-tock, blink, hum, what’s next?

“Chew, Chew, Gulp!” by Lauren Thompson, illustrated by Jarrett J. Krosoczka. Simple, colorful illustrations of foods are paired with a few action words describing how they are eaten.  “Scoop it. Loop it. Pick it. Lick it.” All the foods are labeled: pudding, licorice, grapes, ice cream cone, and more.

“Bunnies on the Go: Getting Place to Place” by Rick Walton, illustrated by Paige Miglio. Rhyming text leaves off the last word in each phrase so your child can guess the answer that is shown on the next page. Explores all modes of transportation.

“Spot’s First Walk” by Eric Hill. This lift the flap book one of a series that includes other books about Spot the puppy going to the beach, the park, the farm, and baking a cake. Just the right level for toddlers who wants to discover what is under each flap.

“Press here” by Hervé Tullet. Yellow, red, and blue dots with directions on each page to press, shake, blow, and rub seem to make things happen. The experience is interactive using just the paper pages of the book.

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Summer Fun Inspired by Books

Pieces of chalk and a driveway, a cardboard box in the grass, flour and sugar in the kitchen, or a stick on a sandy beach–children only need common, every day items, a long summer day, and your encouragement, to have fun. Jumpstart their imaginations by reading children’s books about picnics, swimming, berry picking, exploring and other summer activities, and then do them! You’ll be making children’s books “come alive” and giving your child the connection between new words and what they mean, while creating colorful childhood memories.


Did you ever make chalk drawings, hopscotch games, or start lines for races on the sidewalk or driveway when you were young? Give your children the same experience. With a few colored sticks of chalk a child can draw all day. The next rain will wash away the chalk to make a “blank slate” for another time. “A Piece of Chalk” by Jennifer Ericsson, illustrations by Michelle Shapiro, follows a little girl as she creates a chalk drawing the width of her driveway. The book names many colors and playfully relates the colors to the objects in the girl’s yard.

Are you going to spend some time at the ocean while the weather is warm? Read “Beach Day” by Karen Roosa, illustrated by Maggie Smith, and learn about the simple pleasures provided by a shovel and a pail. If you are staying closer to home and visiting a lake, compare the animals and activities in this book to the experience at the lake. What is the same; what is different? Younger children will have fun with the rhyming text.

“One, two, three. Ready or not, here I come!” Hide and seek has been a favorite game of children for generations. The book “Gotcha, Louie!” by H.M. Ehrlich, illustrated by Emily Bolam, is a simple book about a small boy and his family playing hide and seek on vacation. Who will find Louie in the tall grass?

Yum! Homemade cake! “What’s Cookin’?” by Nancy Coffelt is a counting and baking book. On each turn of the page there is a “knock, knock, knock,” and someone else comes into the kitchen with another ingredient to add to the mixing bowl. The delightful illustrations continue onto pages at the back of the book that give ideas of activities to do while baking and a recipe for “Cousin Alice’s Easy Layer Cake” and “Quick Chocolate Frosting.”

Secret hiding places, magic houses, even entire pretend towns are part of childhood. “Roxaboxen” by Alice McLerran, illustrated by Barbara Cooney, is about a special place called Roxaboxen that comes to life with the imagination of the children in this Arizona landscape. With little, white stones, wooden crates and items found in the sand, the children create streets and houses. When the children grow up, they come back and find the traces of Roxaboxen still there.

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Choose a Book by Its Publisher

Now that it’s summer, there’s more time to read together with your young children. At least we can try to slow down the pace of family life and have more quiet reading time.

You can relax and read at bedtime with the summer breeze blowing in the window. Slow down and read at the park after the kids have worn themselves out on the playground. Read at length in the car as you travel to your vacation destination. Have grandma, grandpa and other special people in your family’s life snuggle up and read to your children too.

Now you just need some good books to explore! One way to choose books for your family is by the publisher. If your child especially likes one book, you can get a few more books by the same author. But if you look into who published the book you will find a multitude of books with the same “personality.”

To find out who published a book, look on the copyright page or back cover of the book. Once you find a publisher that you really like, look them up online and see all the other books they print. You can then find those titles by author’s last name in the library.

You’ll find that publishers have a focus or a mission to provide books to the public that fit their mission and philosophy (and that sell well!). Large publishers like Random House and Harcourt, often create divisions that are particular to a type of book.

Here are a few favorite publishers you may not know and a sample of their books.


Barefoot Books ( has a knack for publishing books representing many different cultures and finds illustrators who use unique media to create their images. They’ve published the Cleo series for toddlers about an orange tabby cat, by Caroline Mockford, “We All Go Traveling By” by Stella Blackstone, illustrated with fabric art by Siobhan Bell, and “I Wish I Were Pilot” by Max Grover.

Boyds Mills Press ( publishes “Highlights” and “Cricket” magazines and many engaging children’s books. They are the publisher for local authors Suzanne Bloom, who wrote and illustrated “A Splendid Friend, Indeed” and Gail Jarrow, who wrote “The Printer’s Trial.”

Candlewick ( was founded in Cambridge, Massachusetts in 1991, as a branch of a British/Australian publisher, Walker Books. They publish adult non-fiction and high quality children’s books such as “Owl Babies” by Martin Waddell, illustrated by Patrick Benson, “Guess How Much I Love You” by Sam McBratney, illustrated by Anita Jeram, and 2013 Caldecott winner “This is Not My Hat” by Jon Klassen.

Child’s Play ( says on their website: “Books play a vital role in building the foundations for learning, and exposure to quality books from an early age helps to develop an enquiring mind and a lifelong love of reading.” Child’s Play publishes many board books for very young children such as the classic finger play “Itsy Bitsy Spider,” illustrated by Annie Kubler, and picture books including “Quick as a Cricket” and “The Red Ripe Strawberry and the Big Hungry Bear, both by Audrey Wood, illustrated by Don Wood.

Usborne Children’s Books ( started with mainly non-fiction books for young children, many using photographs to illustrate text, as well as touch and feel books. The company has expanded to include activity books and beginning reader books.


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