Kindergarteners Are Super

School Visit Materials
School Visit Materials

Last week, on World Read Aloud Day, I shared my love of Kidlit by reading and acting out scenes with Kindergarteners. Not only did I read Ninja by Arree Chung and Twenty-Six Pirates by David Horowitz, I read my own picture book manuscript to three classes.

Since the topic of my picture book is superheroes, I created a handout where the kids could write their superhero name and power and illustrate their super people. The five and six year-olds then shared their creations with each other. Fun!

The kids were excited to be the FIRST kids to see my book dummy.
Reading from my book dummy.
Channeling my charactesrs.
Channeling my characters.
Acting out scenes.
Acting out scenes.
I'm getting into character.
Showing not telling.

Shout out to Wyoming Elementary School’s Kindergarten teachers. When I thanked them for allowing me to visit their classrooms, one teacher sent me this: “Thanks goes to you, Mrs. Gruer, for continuing to be a reading inspiration to the children at Wyoming School!!” Wasn’t that nice?

Super Kids’ Quotes:

To the question, “If you were a superhero, what would your power be?”

A boy answered: “Ocean! I’d save everything that lives in the ocean, even sharks, and all the sea creatures would love me.”

A girl answered: “My superpower is fire and fly!”

Another girl answered: “I am strong and speed!”

To the question, “If you were a superhero, what would your name be?”

One boy asked, “How do you spell “Estaban the Magnificent?'”

Courage in Kids Literature

IMG_9012 I always root for a main character who shows courage. Don’t you?

This week, World Read Aloud Day’s theme is courage. 

Please indulge me as I share one my favorite passages in kidlit. In this excerpt from The Chronicles of Narnia, The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe by C.S. Lewis, one little girl courageously enters a new world with curiosity and wonder. Hmm, maybe my own journey into the world of kidlit is like stepping into Narnia.

“‘This must be a simply enormous wardrobe!’ thought Lucy, going still further in and pushing the soft folds of the coats aside to make room for her. Then she noticed that there was something crunching under her feet. ‘I wonder  is that more moth-balls?’ she thought, stooping down to feel it with her hand. But instead of feeling the hard, smooth wood of the floor of the wardrobe, she felt something soft and powdery and extremely cold. “This is very queer,’ she said, and went on a step of two further.

Next moment she found that what was rubbing against her face and hands was no longer soft fur but something hard and rough and even prickly. ‘Why, it is the branches of trees!’ exclaimed Lucy. And then she saw that there was a light ahead of her; not a few inches away where the back of the wardrobe ought to have been, but a long way off. Something cold and soft was falling on her. A moment later she found that she was standing in the middle of a wood at night-time with snow under her feet and snowflakes falling through the air.

Lucy felt a little frightened, but she felt very inquisitive and excited as well. She looked back over her shoulder and there, between the dark tree-trunks, she could see the open doorway of the wardrobe…She began to walk forward, crunch-crunch over the snow and through the wood. In about ten minutes she reached it and found it was a lamp-post. As she stood looking at it, wondering why there was a lamp-post in the middle of a wood and wondering what to do next, she heard a pitter patter of feet coming toward her. And soon after that a very strange person stepped out from among the trees into the light of the lamp-post.”

  

Hon, do you think I was courageous or crazy to rappel and rock climb on cliffs abutting the Atlantic Ocean? 

Rappeling down Otter Cliffs, Acadia National Park, Maine.
Rappelling down Otter Cliffs, Acadia National Park, Maine.
Rock climbing at Otter Cliffs, Acadia National Park, Maine.
Rock climbing Otter Cliffs, Acadia National Park, Maine.

Confidence in Kids Literature

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Confidence is the theme of the week.

In honor of World Read Aloud Day, Litworld asks,”What stories make you feel confident and proud to be you?” It must be the kid in me and my love of kidlit that makes picture books the natural place to find confidence. Here are my picks for the…

Top Five Confidence Boosting Picture Books 

  1. Yoko by Rosemary Wells. Yoko has the confidence to bring her unique lunch to school. She doesn’t “yuck anyone else’s yum” even when other kids call her lunch icky.
  2. Interrupting Chicken by David Ezra Stein. Little Red Chicken knows what he knows. Fairytales are dangerous.
  3. Zoomer by Ned Young. Zoomer isn’t afraid to let his imagination run wild.
  4. Ninja by Arree Chung. Maxwell is ready to face any obstacles as a true ninja.
  5. The Book With No Pictures by B.J. Novak. If you need the confidence–and permission–to be silly, you get both in this book.

Hon, do you think I’m confident or crazy to take lessons on the flying trapeze?

Me on the flying trapeze. Confident or crazy?
Me on the flying trapeze. Confident or crazy?

Kindness in Kids Literature

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World Read Aloud Day’s theme this week is Kindness.

I admit it. I’m not always kind. If I’m picking up or dropping off kids and I’m behind the only-person-on-the-face-of-the-earth who slows down when driving through a green light, or lets ten other cars go so that I miss a left turn arrow, or is holding a phone (illegal in NJ), or drives below the speed limit, I may honk my horn, may say things not appropriate for a G-rated audience, and may have a bit of road rage. May, I say. It’s not pretty.

Hmm, it sounds like a good time to answer LitWorld’s prompt this week: “What kindness role models have you met through reading?”  

Top Five kids’ books where kindness is key. 

  1. Frog and Toad by Arnold Lobel
  2. Winnie the Pooh by A.A. Milne 
  3. Matilda by Roald Dahl
  4. Ginger by Charlotte Voake
  5. Ella the Elegant Elephant by Carmela and Steven D’Amico

 Hon, in which books do you think kindness plays a large role?

Animals and children always bring out kindness in me. This sweet goat got a nice neck scratch.
KIND KID: Animals and children always bring out kindness in me. This sweet goat trotted over to me and got a nice neck scratch.

Friendships in Kids Literature

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World Read Aloud Day’s theme this week is Friendship, and friendship in kid’s literature is one element that keeps us reading. I have so many favorites, but here are the Top Five Friendships in kidlit that make me care and make me cry.

  1. Watership Down by Richard Adams, Hazel, Fiver, Bigwig and Silver.
  2. Henry and Mudge by Cynthia Rylant, Henry and Mudge
  3. The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe by C.S. Lewis, Lucy Pevensie and Mr. Tumnus
  4. The Tale of Despereaux by Kate DiCamillo, Despereaux and Princess Pea
  5. The Harry Potter Series by J.K. Rowling, Harry Potter, Ron Weasley and Hermione Granger

Who are your favorite friends in literature, kids or adults?

Hon, of course I have to add one more friend to this post. She’s a best friend to everyone in our house.

My Plus One and Lucy in the Sky With Diamonds--everyone's best friend!
My Plus One and Lucy in the Sky With Diamonds–everyone’s best friend!

World Read Aloud Day

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Call me a WRADvocate.

I love children’s books. I write children’s books. And you know how much I like a theme. (see recent post, Story Time in Sweet Sixteen)

What could be more me than weekly themes leading up to World Read Aloud Day, a worldwide celebration of reading? Just the thought of being involved makes me want to throw a party for my favorite children’s book characters and, for some reason, it makes me want to bake!

Reading to Kids

World Read Aloud Day calls attention to the pure joy and power of reading aloud, and connects the world as a community of readers. World Read Aloud Day is now celebrated by over one million people in more than 100 countries and reaches over 31 million people online. “WRADvocates” – a group of reading advocates and supporters take action in their communities and on social media.

Weekly Themes

To mobilize for the big day, LitWorld introduces the 7 Strengths countdown to World Read Aloud Day. The 7 Strengths celebrate all of the ways that reading makes us resilient and ready to thrive in school, work and life. They are: Belonging, Curiosity, Friendship, Kindness, Confidence, Courage, and Hope. Starting January 3rd, we will celebrate one strength per week until World Read Aloud Day is here!

Awesome Message

Read Aloud. Change the World.