Nov 16, 2010
Let us be your personal shoppers for the holidays. What's the difference between Early Readers, Middle Readers and Young Adult? Two-and-a-half books we can’t wait for you to read. If you are getting this via email or RSS reader, please click through to the website where you can listen to the audio.
The winter gift-giving holidays are quickly approaching and we're offering our book knowledge to you, our listeners. Simply call our voicemail line (209-867-READ) before midnight, Sunday 11/28 with your toughest book-giving challenge. Does Uncle Bob love model trains, but you really want to give him a book? We can help! If we get enough calls, we'd love to put together a special episode to air in early December. (If you need your gift idea before Hanukkah, let us know and we'll email you our recommendation ASAP!)
We received a voicemail from Karen wondering what level of books her second grade son should be reading. Ann discusses the difference between Middle Reader books (traditionally grades 3-8) and chapter books, or Early Readers. A few favorite series of chapter books in the Kingman household are The Magic Tree House books by Mary Pope Osborn, and The A-Z Mysteries, The Calendar Mysteries and The Capital Mysteries by Ron Roy. A recent article in the New York Times asked if parents are pushing their children into chapter books too soon. Are they leaving behind picture books before their child is prepared for early readers? My son, who is just starting to read, still loves picture books. Even as we start to read chapter books together, our favorite picture books will still be part of our bedtime ritual. We recently took My Father's Dragon by Ruth Stiles Gannett and Kate DiCamillo's Mercy Watson books out of the library and read them over the span of a few nights. The Mercy Watson books were a nice compromise since they are structured like chapter books, but have color illustrations like picture books. Two picture books that Ann's family continues to go back to are The Stinky Cheese Man by Jon Scieszka and Lane Smith, and You Read to Me and I'll Read to You by Mary Ann Hoberman. Lastly, the blog MiG Writers has a great post on the differences between Middle Readers and Young Adult books, everything from protagonists and themes, to language.
Ann recommends Mr. Toppit by Charles Elton, the story of Luke, a boy whose father has modeled the main character in his children's book series on him. What happens when the books become spectacularly popular and people start to think they know the real Luke because they know the character? This book reminds me very much of the comic series The Unwritten, which continues to be a favorite of mine, month after month, so I just had to throw in a mini recommendation for it. (I originally spoke about it in episode 59.) My "real" book for this segment is Unbroken by Laura Hillenbrand, who you may remember as the author of Seabiscuit. In this new book, she chronicles the amazing life of Louis Zamperini, childhood troublemaker, Olympic Track star, World War II bombardier, crash survivor and prisoner of war. This is undoubtedly one of my favorite books of the year and I urge everyone to read it!