Oh Baby! A Change in my Reading Habits

OhBaby

Well, it’s been a while since I last posted! In that time, my husband and I moved into our first house, went several days without cable or internet, and attended the wedding of a college roommate. We’ve unpacked boxes, made a few trips to the hardware store, and settled into a new rhythm. This weekend, my parents are coming to help us with a fun home project: baby’s nursery!

That’s right. I’m 30 weeks pregnant and there isn’t much time left before baby arrives. We’ve got paint colors selected (yellow, white, and gray—in case you’re curious!), the crib has been delivered, and a dresser and glider are ordered and on their way. I’ve also been preparing for baby by reading baby books. A few of the titles I’ve been reading (mostly from the library):

  • Your Week by Week Pregnancy by Glade B. Curtis and Judith Schuler
  • What to Expect When You’re Expecting by Heidi Murkoff and Sharon Mazel
  • The Joy of Pregnancy by Tori Kropp
  • The Womanly Art of Breastfeeding by Diane Wiessinger, Diana West, and Teresa Pitman

Needless to say, this has certainly been a change from my typical YA lit-fix!

In addition to print books, I’ve also been fascinated by a recent string of articles about reading to infants and kids. For instance, in the article “Pediatricians prescribe books, daily reading to all infants, kids for a healthy brain,” the author notes that the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends parents “read to their children every day from infancy at least until kindergarten, and advocates that pediatricians emphasize the importance of daily reading during each routine health checkup.” In the article “Read to Your Baby, Say Doctors—But Which Books?” the author provides a few titles to help parents figure out what to read to their babies.

As an English teacher and now a tutor who works with struggling beginning readers, I understand the importance of reading and have plans to read to my baby often. This is especially important in our digital age when it’s so easy to think that apps, e-readers, and iPads are replacing printed books. The American Academy of Pediatrics has also recommended NO SCREEN TIME for children under the age of two. The author of “Apps are nice but books are better: How to read to your kid in a digital age (book review)” notes that she’s “been surprised by how hard reading to a baby can be, in part because it’s hard to tell whether anything is sinking in.” She reviews Jason Boog’s book Born Reading, which provides helpful information about reading to infants and children. I like this article because it also includes a great video of a teacher reading a book out loud to a bunch of young children. You can see how the teacher reads expressively, pauses to ask questions about what is happening in the book, and models reading strategies as she goes. Like the author of Born Reading says, “Just having books around the house is not enough. Parents need to provide an interactive reading experience to reap the intellectual rewards inside of books.” So while baby won’t be able to understand or appreciate what I’m reading for quite a while, I plan on starting to read to her right away.

Literary (Temporary) Tattoos

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A love of book quotes? Check.

A fear of needles? Check.

Tattoos? Absolutely not!

Here’s a great idea for those of us who are petrified of inking up and regretting it: temporary tattoos! A Kickstarter campaign called “Litograph Tattoos: Wearable Tributes to Iconic Books” gives you the opportunity to cover yourself with quotes from 15 classic works—without the pain and permanency of a real tattoo.

The person behind this particular Kickstarter campaign, Danny Fein, already has literary love in his veins. He is the CEO of Litographs—the company that prints entire texts of classic novels on T-shirts and posters. (I even shared the Litographs website with you in a post about gifts for readers.) Check out this article on Bustle to see images of the tattoos, hear more about the campaign, and to watch a short video about the project. Or, you can click here to visit the Kickstarter campaign page and pledge your support. The campaign already has over 5,600 backers and has surpassed their initial goal by almost $29,000! Clearly, Litographs has a great idea here!

Will I be pledging my support? I’m obviously tempted. My only hold-up is the fact that the quotes are all from classic novels. As you’ve probably noticed from my blog, I’m not particularly drawn to the classics. They’re something you’re required to read for school, but not something I’d select for myself at the library. I’d prefer quotes from something more current, like maybe something from YA literature?

How about you? Would you get some ink (permanent or temporary) of a classic literary quote?

A PBS Kid

pbs_kidGrowing up in the late ‘80s and early ‘90s, I was a product of PBS Kids. We didn’t have cable until I got to junior high, so if my sister and I watched TV, we were most-likely watching programs like Sesame Street, Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood, Reading Rainbow, Bill Nye the Science Guy, The Puzzle Place, Arthur, and Where in the World is Carmen Sandiego? While all of these programs were entertaining and educational, I want to talk about two of my favorites: Ghostwriter and Wishbone.

Ghostwriter: Featuring a diverse cast of (funkily-dressed) young actors, the show ran from 1992 to 1995, but also had re-runs later on in the ‘90s. The premise of the show was that the kids needed to solve a crime or mystery, and they were able to do so with the help of Ghostwriter. Ghostwriter was a flying blob that used letters from notes and signs and reordered them into messages for the kids. At a time when I was reading short mystery books like Encyclopedia Brown and The Boxcar Children, the concept of kids solving mysteries was right up my alley. I wanted to have a pen on a string, write down clues, and solve mysteries too!

wishbonebannerWishbone: Featuring “a little dog with a big imagination” and a catchy theme song, Wishbone aired from 1995 to 1998. Wishbone was a dog owned by a boy named Joe Talbot. Events in Joe’s life would remind Wishbone of classic stories. Wishbone would then daydream about being the lead character of the story—this meant a dog dressed up in costume to portray such characters as Oliver Twist, Odysseus, Rip Van Winkle, and Anansi the Spider. I feel like I am familiar with a lot of classic works thanks to Wishbone. Who could forget the episode based on The Time Machine with the creepy morlocks? Or The Prince and the Pauper? Even in college, I remember visualizing the episode where Wishbone takes on The Odyssey when I had to read it for a class!

Were you a PBS kid? What programs or episodes have stuck with you?

A Wrap-Up of Recent Reads #2

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Ender’s Game by Orson Scott Card:

This sci-fi classic has been on my TBR pile for a long time. I knew that many people were required to read Ender’s Game in school, but I apparently didn’t end up in that class! When the movie version came out in November of 2013, I decided I wanted to read the book before I saw the film. I finally got around to borrowing the book from my local library this summer and was pleasantly surprised by it.

In case you weren’t required to read this book in school either, Ender’s Game is a science fiction novel that follows the life of Andrew “Ender” Wiggin. Ender is an exceptionally smart and articulate six-year-old. He is recruited by the International Fleet (IF), an organization that protects Earth from their enemy: the buggers. Many, many years ago, the buggers (giant insect-like creatures) attacked Earth. Humanity was saved due to the quick thinking of a commander. The IF is now looking for a commander who can save the Earth from a future attack by the buggers. They recruit, train, and test young children in a battle school in the attempts of locating a great commander. Ender Wiggin is their last hope. Ender’s cunning and quick problem solving abilities set him apart from the other students and he quickly rises through the ranks.

This was the first book I ever selected from the science fiction section of the library, and I was skeptical about it at first. I thought the book was going to be slow moving and too “spacey” for my tastes. However, I enjoyed the novel and am eager to read the next book in Ender’s story: Speaker for the Dead. Unfortunately, it wasn’t available the last time I was at my library, but I’ll work on tracking down a copy! Ender’s character was dynamic and unusual. He was a child, but was wise beyond his years. The novel also had other characters who were interesting and diverse. The diversity surprised me, considering the novel was published in 1985 (although, some people may see this diversity as mere stereotypes). I can see why English teachers might want to use this novel in their classrooms. There’s a lot of action, suspense, and plot twists. It’s a book I think boys would actually enjoy because it’s not sappy or romantic. Overall, Ender’s Game was worth the wait for me.

Have you read Ender’s Game? What did you think of it? Should I bother with the film version?

andthecute

Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins:

Last year, I listened to an audio book by Stephanie Perkins called Lola and the Boy Next Door. When I first started listening to the book, I thought, “Goodness, this is cheesy!” But as I continued listening to the story, I began to enjoy it more and more. When I saw bloggers praising another book by Stephanie Perkins called Anna and the French Kiss, I decided to check this Young Adult novel out. While this book also had a cheese-factor to it, I have to admit that I really enjoyed it!

The book’s main character is a high school senior named Anna. Anna’s father has decided to send her off to a boarding school in Paris to impress his friends. At first, Anna is not happy about this decision. Luckily, shortly after settling into her new room, Anna makes friends with the girl across the hall. Anna now has friends to eat with and sit with in class, but she doesn’t make an effort to explore the city of Paris. Her friends take it upon themselves to introduce her to the city—especially a super-cute boy with a British accent named Etienne St. Clair. Anna quickly finds herself drawn to St. Clair, but she puts up a wall since he has a girlfriend. Anna and St. Clair’s friendship hovers and sometimes tips over the line into something more, but St. Clair always returns to his girlfriend. Anna learns a lot about friendship and being true to herself.

For me, the cheese-factor was the premise of an American girl being sent to this idealistic boarding school in Paris where she falls in love with a cute boy with an accent. I mean, that’s like every girl’s fantasy, isn’t it?! The book was pretty much a romantic-comedy movie. However, despite the cheesy premise….I loved it! It was just so darn cute. I got sucked into the book and Anna and St. Clair’s evolving relationship. If you’re looking for a cutesy, girly, easy read, this is the book for you!

What books have you read lately?