Hurray for the board book

I’ve just finished an annual volunteer job I love but also find difficult: judging children’s books for a national award.

This year, I was thrilled to see a few board books were nominated. Finally!

Although sales of board books (those heavy cardboard books for very young children) are strong, some people might assume, “Anyone can write a book with just a few words.”

Well, after being a “book judge” for more than twenty years, I can tell you that not everyone can communicate effectively using a limited number of words.

So hurrah for the board book! The place where every child begins on the road to reading.

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How do kids learn best?

A local school district is working through the process of choosing new textbooks, but I’m not convinced they are making a good choice.

Regardless of what text is selected, researchers tell us that kids who have grown up on YouTube appear to learn some subjects more easily from videos and visuals than print-predominant resources.

As an author, I love books. Books are my life. I cherish them, but I think we need to look carefully at what appears to be a shifting preference for receiving information.

Stick ’em

Kids plow through the “sticker” years fairly quickly, but preschoolers aren’t the only ones plastering stickers all over.

Have you seen how companies are offering stickers to personalize products? Stickers certainly offer a quick, colorful and inexpensive approach to customization.

Triple Force Friday

If Disney is your thing, mark the date and time now: Friday, October 4. At 12:01am, Fans of Frozen 2 and Star Wars will celebrate with massive midnight product launches.

This global, simultaneous rollout for two major brands, is said to be a first for Disney. Products will include books, toys, collectibles, apparel, housewares and more, just in the time for holiday shopping.

How thoughtful!

Happy 100!

I was always the noisiest, most physically active and probably the edgiest student in my college library science classes. At the mid-term of student teaching in an elementary school library, I was graded down to a B for being “too creative.”

But I’m so proud of librarians today.

They’ve changed the spaces to be inviting to children and their families. Programs have become accessible, with storytimes being held in stores, laundromats and wherever space is available. Librarians are trained to help with digital resources.

On April 29th, we begin the 100th anniversary celebration of National Book Week. I love the theme: Read Now. Read Forever. But don’t wait until then to visit a library. The doors are open today!

50 and counting

A sure sign of aging:  Sesame Street will celebrate their 50th anniversary this year.  I remember when I joined other early childhood educators to ask, “Can TV teach and entertain?”

Are you among the twenty million (literally) who read The Monster at the End of This Book to your kids?  If so, you helped make that the best selling Sesame Street book of all time.

Toy preview

It’s almost Christmas, at least in the toy world. For many years, I attended the annual International Toy Fair in NYC, where trends emerge that will land under your Christmas tree. Here’s a sneak peek at popular toy themes:

creative play, ie. sand, goop, dough, clay; basically, any open-ended mixture that’s a bit messy

food fun, with more emphasis on smells and scents (Remember scratch and sniff stickers?)

unboxing, which debuted several years ago, becomes more intimately part of your child’s play

STEM/STEAM (science, technology, engineering, math plus the arts for STEAM)

licensing driven by The Lion King, Aladdin, Toy Story 4, Avengers and Star Wars