SATURDAY MORNINGS FOR KIDS

Just like TV programming in the 50s and 60s, Saturday mornings are reserved for kids on PWR.

Although this is a kid’s book, I found it informative and entertaining as an adult reader. Elizabeth Haidle wrote and illustrated this fine book in 2019, and is a must for every school library. There is something for the very young kids as parents and grandparents read the section on Dr. Seuss aloud, and even a current comic and graphic novel author, Gene Luen Yang, for those older.

10 famous authors are covered.

My specific interest in the book was the chapter on Madeline L’Engle, my topic for a personal “research project.” The book reminds me of a biography series I read as a kid, which featured famous people as children and pointed out how childhood interests and experiences foreshadowed their success as adults. As Pablo Picasso is supposed to have said, “Every child is an artist. The problem is how to remain one once he grows up.”

The illustrations are excellent, and the book boils down to a series of ten “graphic biographies.” Also, “Writing Wisdoms” and “First Hand Quotes” add to the reader’s pleasure.

The following authors make appearances: Mark Twain, Maya Angelou, Dr. Seuss, Sandra Cisneros, Roald Dahl, J.K. Rowling, Gene Luen Yang, Beatrix Potter, C.S. Lewis, and Madeline L’Engle. Besides Madeline L’Engle, Maya Angelou and C.S. Lewis were my favorite chapters. This is a MUST read for any young person who loves to read and loves books!

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SATURDAY MORNING FOR KIDS/ THE CLASSIC CLUB

Just as Saturday morning TV programing was reserved for kids, Saturday mornings on PWR bring recommendations for kids’ reading.

Saturday mornings in the 50s and 60s brought cartoons for kid’s viewing.

Today’s recommendation also happens to be my April selection for The Classics Club, a kid’s classic, The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett.

This is the first month of The Classics Club selections for me. I am going to read a classic every other month for the rest of 2021 with the goal to read 5 classics by Jan. 31, 2022.
Why I never read this book before is a mystery to me. After reading it, I watched a great video version of it as well.

After a young girl’s parents are killed in India, she is sent to live with a reclusive uncle (her mother’s sister’s husband) in a gloomy, old Victorian mansion. There she meets her invalid cousin, her uncle’s son, and later a local boy who runs unsupervised among the property. Left to her own devices to entertain herself, the girl finds a door in the overgrown, neglected garden wall that leads to a glorious, wild and beautiful garden which has been untouched for years and years. Convinced the garden has healing qualities, she convinces her cousin to come and see. The three children begin to cultivate and improve the garden, and as the garden improves so does the cousin.

In an exciting, almost tragic ending, the old Biblical lesson, “…and a little child shall lead them.” comes to fruition as the girl restores beauty and joy to the house and the characters themselves. It is a lovely, uplifting story that is bound to improve anyone’s mood and spirit. I highly recommend it. Perhaps it is better approached as a read-together novel by parent or grandparent and child, since the wording is a bit old-fashioned, and some words may need explaining.

SATURDAY MORNINGS FOR KIDS

Just as Saturday mornings TV broadcasting used to focus on kids, this blog does the same, recommending books for kids, their parents and grandparents, their teachers, and those who read to them.

Today’s delightful book is

A funny book with excellent life lessons

The narrator, a young boy thinks Mrs. McWee, who lives down the hall in his apartment building, is a witch. But, he’s “not so sure.” He thinks she has ESP, but “he’s not so sure.” He thinks many things and uses scant evidence to back up what he thinks, but his mom has a logical explanation for it all.

Halloween comes, and the boy goes trick-or-treating at Mrs. Mc Wee’s to find something he is sure of. You’ll never guess what it is!

Schwartz, the illustrator, uses black and white drawings spiked with Halloween orange to provide a treat for young and old alike. Enough repetition and rhythm are built in to help the youngest readers read along. It’s fun for all any time of the year.

SATURDAY MORNINGS FOR KIDS: POETRY

Thanks Carla of Carla Loves Books for this lovely illustration. Be sure to check out her blog for HER Saturday morning post.

In honor of National Poetry Month, today’s Saturday Mornings for Kids will feature renowned children’s poet, Shel Silverstein.

My introduction to Silverstein came as a sixth grade teacher, who after seeing a review of Light in the Attic in the Houston Chronicle, asked for a copy for her birthday so she might share it with her students.

My students loved the cartoonish illustrations and the sound-rhythms of the poems I read aloud.

Not long after, Silverstein published Where the Sidewalk Ends, and I treated myself to a copy. This was followed by a purchase of Falling Up.

Becoming enamored more and more by Silverstein’s poetry, I took the poetry collections to school, introduced them, and read several poems aloud, sharing the illustrations like a teacher of much younger students might, holding up the book and panning around so all could see them. Afterwards, I would place the books on a side counter, encouraging students who had finished their work to go over to the counter and look at/read them. We even started a “game” where students would take a fancy bookmark left in each book and move it to one of their favorite poems. I think the students were as interested in each other’s tastes in poetry as they were in the poems themselves. I began this introduction to poetry the second or third year I taught sixth graders, and continued it the remaining four years I taught sixth grade in an elementary setting.

Silverstein has something for everyone. The Giving Tree, one of his most emotional narrative poems, appeals to all ages, and touches the hearts of the hardest-hardened adults.

The perfect gift for almost any occasion.

SATURDAY MORNING FOR KIDS

Just as Saturday mornings were reserved for kids on TV programing in the 50s and 60s, this blog reserves Saturday Mornings for book recommendations for kids.

Today’s recommendations both come from a Kane Miller EDC Publisher’s “Extraordinary Life” series of very readable, fantastically illustrated biographies.

The first is The Extraordinary Life of Malala Yousafzai, written by Hiba Noer Khan and illustrated by Rita Petruccioli. It pulls no punches, and covers the attack on Malala in a straight-forward manner without making that the only thing about her life.

The second is a biography of Neil Armstrong , The Extraordinary Life of Neil Armstrong written by Martin Howard and illustrated by Freida Chiu. Chronicling the life of the first man to step foot on the moon, this biography describes Armstrong’s life as a “nerd,” and gives hope to young nerds everywhere.

Both of these books are wonderfully written and illustrated and should interest kids from 8 to 14. This reviewer, although an adult learned many things about the two individuals from reading their biographies. I ordered these books from the publisher for young friends, and will look for more biographies in this series. These are darned good reads for kids!

SATURDAY MORNINGS FOR KIDS (And Others)

Just as Saturday mornings on TV in the 50s and 60s was dedicated to kids, Saturday mornings on this blog are dedicated to them.
Book 1 of the Wallace Family Series finds Meg a gawky twelve year old and Charles Wallace a 6 year old prodigy.
Book two finds Charles Wallace about Meg’s age in the previous book.
Book three finds Meg married (to Calvin) and expecting their first child and Charles Wallace a teenager.

For years, I thought this was it, The Wallace Family trilogy. I read A Wrinkle in Time to my sixth graders every year during the 80s as I discovered it with them. Later, I read A Wind in the Door and reread it recently. I do not think I ever read A Swiftly Tilting Planet until now, as I began my Madeline L’Engle “project”–to read as much by and about her as I could. The first thing I assigned myself was to read this trilogy, only to discover that the characters in these three books were in two other books as well.

Time travel appeared in the first book (My students and I were all enthralled by the theory of the tesseract.), and the book became a classic. It made L’Engle the well-known writer and household name she is today. L’Engle’s granddaughters ended their biography of her with the publication of Wrinkle, establishing her as a writer and as they point out, L’Engle published her own autobiography, A Circle of Quiet, soon after.

Book two, Wind, deals with gene therapy and DNA particles, which was years ahead of its time.

Book three, Tilting Planet, also deals with time travel, but more of a regression into past lives, a “going within” and the concept of changing things for the better. All of this reflected L’Engle’s interest in and experimentation with past lives.

I have read these three and am as enchanted with the rereading as I was with them upon first reading. I highly recommend this series to readers of all ages.

SATURDAY MORNINGS FOR KIDS ON SATURDAY AFTERNOON

I never seem to get this done mornings! I had good intentions today and even got up at 6:00 a.m. (on a Saturday!) to get started. After taking my morning pills and waiting for them to kick in, I listened to Fifth Dimension’s (a 70s group) Up Up and Away, particularly focusing on side 2, which I don’t remember ever playing. There are some “interesting” songs, mostly about breakups and moving on, and thus, it was soon time to start working in the yard.

After a sandwich around 11:00, My Better Half drove me to Esther’s Field, “out on the highway” to buy handmade soaps, preserves, and I lucked into a 50% off basket where I found some nice Nothingsday gifts.

Here it is almost four, and I am just getting to my blog. Ever have this happen to you?

Thanks to Carla of Carla Loves to Read for the image.

Today’s recommendation is by one of my favorite children’s authors, Beverly Cleary, but for once, the protagonist is a boy.

An excellent idea for a letter-writing project

Leigh Botts’s teacher has read Boyd Henshaw’s book to her students in second grade. Leigh loved the book. Now in sixth grade, he is assigned a letter-writing project, and he addresses his complaints about being the “new kid,” whose father, a cross-country trucker is never at home, to the author.

Surprisingly enough, Henshaw answers Leigh’s letter, and his correspondence with Leigh over time gives Leigh some unexpected answers and changes Leigh’s life forever.

This is a fine read for both boys and girls, but it is especially meaningful for boys who feel neglected by their work-absent fathers and who are a bit on the “sensitive side.” The story itself is humorous and warm at times, as well as well-crafted with complex characters, whom kids come to really care about.

Were I rating this book, I would give it a full five stars out of five.

Writing can bring unexpected results. Writing letters or having pen pals can encourage lifelong friendships.

This was too cute not to share.

SATURDAY MORNINGS FOR KIDS ON SATURDAY EVENING

Saturday morning TV programming was reserved for kids’ cartoons back in the 50s and 60s.

Not one, but two recommendations today–both aimed at tweens and early teens.

Being the new girl is always hard, but Ruby has it harder than most.

Raised in rural Kansas, Ruby felt right at home in her red, Converse sneakers. When her grandmother falls sick and needs Ruby’s mom to come to Florida as her caregiver, Ruby’s life is uprooted. Three women in the house, Nana Dottie, Ruby’s mom, and Ruby herself provide plenty of drama, miscommunication, and short fuses resulting in harsh words and hurt feelings. “Will Ruby find a way to fit into a new life that she never asked for…Or will she find herself clicking the heels of the old red sneakers hoping for a chance to go home to Curly Creek [Kansas]?”

Another shoe-themed book, Superstar by Mandy Davis is another kid’s book I read this past week.

Son of a fictional astronaut, Lester and his mom adjust to life on their own after a tragic explosion of Lester’s dad’s pace capsule.

Lester loves flight, space, and everything connected with it, but he has to “give it all up” because it reminds his mom of what happened to his dad and makes her sad. Lester is bothered by loud noise, bright light, and when his routine is interrupted. Because he reacts strangely, sometimes “childishly,” it makes him the perfect target for bullies. Up until now, when he turned ten, his mom homeschooled him, but now she must work to support them, and Lester must go to a nearby elementary school.

His misadventures at school and his efforts to adjust make readers feel compassion and some confusion towards Lester. A pair of Superstar sneakers and a passion for science experiments come in to play. Will Lester always be the “weird kid, or will he become a Super Star in his own right?

Both of these books were fun to read, contained great life lessons and were a “darned good read.”

SATURDAY MORNINGS FOR KIDS ON SUNDAY EVENING

THESE RECOMMENDATIONS ARE FOR OUR YOUNGEST READERS OR OUR READ-TOs

Today’s recommendation is bit tardy because the big winter power outage in Texas took all our power and the internet with it for over three days. We live thirty miles south of Houston, and our home is all-electric (of course). Thankfully, we had received a quilt apiece for Christmas, and with other quilts, blankets and down comforters, we slept in thirty eight or nine degrees INSIDE the house. I had bought a long all-weather coat with a fake fur-lined hood for a trip to NYC last March, which never came to be, thanks to Covid. During the day, I wore my warmest pjs under jeans and a sweater under a bathrobe under said coat. We survived. We were blessed that we never lost water, nor had any pipes freeze and burst. Not all of our neighbors were so lucky.

Today’s recommendation is the Peppa the Pig series

My great-grand niece had a Peppa party for her second birthday.

Here are couple of books in the series:

But, the book that turned up as a donation to my LFL (Little Free Library) was this one:

I enjoyed reading this one.

Although Peppa and brother George do everything they can to make Papa Pig understand they are not sleepy, Papa has them go through their nightly rituals of bath time and teeth brushing before he reads them a bedtime story. They ask for the story of the red monkey, with which Papa obliges, and sure enough, by the end of the story, Peppa and George are fast asleep.

The pictures are charmingly drawn, with Papa’s “hairs on his chinny-chin-chin carefully present, and Mama Pig’s eyelashes the envy of the Mascara line of cosmetics. This is the perfect tuck-you-in-and-read-you-a-story, story, perfect for assuring pleasant dreams to any two or three year old.

I highly recommend the series.

SATURDAY MORNINGS FOR KIDS

Saturday Mornings for Kids reserves Saturday for reviews and recommendations of Children’s Books much like 50s and 60s TV programming reserved Saturday mornings for cartoons.

Today I highly recommend Kashmira Sheth’s Nina Soni, Master of the Garden.

I learned so much from reading this little book!

Indian children will see their own families reflected in Nina’s family, will read words they hear at home in Hindi, and be reminded of Indian food and snacks they often eat at their own tables. Other kids will learn of these interesting words and foods, thus learning more about their Indian friends. But this book is so much more than educational; it is a “darned good read” because the characters matter to the reader, and the plot has its twists and turns.

If nothing else, Nina is a problem solver. She doesn’t let chard-eating, wild rabbits do her in, nor does she give up when mosquitoes “eat her up.”She is a list-maker, a new-word lover, and loyal friend. She is creative and ingenious, but is willing to ask for help from her friends or parents when it is needed.

Her little sister, Kavita, is a scene-stealer with her innocent-wise comments and her singy-songs that make more sense than at first glance.

Planting and tending a garden or at least a few plants is an experience all children should have, and “Master”makes this experience attractive and doable for your child or grandchild. Where planting and growing are impossible, children can read this book and experience the fun vicariously.

I rate this book a full 5 out of 5.