In observation of the National Education Association’s 20th Annual Read Across America Day, I thought I would bring a few of my favorite old stories out of storage and back into the light! And of course some new favorites too. For those of you who may be unfamiliar with Read Across America day, it is an annual celebration in the United States held on Dr. Seuss’s birthday each year to encourage children and parents to get more involved in reading. It started back in 1998 and has become a movement in schools and libraries all across the U.S. For more information or to find out what might going on in your neck of the woods, you can go to http://www.nea.org/grants/read-across-background.html.
Now don’t get me wrong. I love Dr. Suess’s stories and they have played a huge role in both mine and my son’s early reading stages, but given that there is just SO much out there that celebrates that particular aspect, I want to offer a broader range of stories, and maybe even some that are aimed at the older age group, even adults. After all, Read Across America isn’t just for kids. It’s not Trix cereal! This month’s Story Time theme is going to center instead on some of my own literary favorites as well as some of my son’s new found treasures. I have some great projects and ideas swirling around in my head, including a crossover from a favorite story to an Easter craft idea, and I can’t wait to share them with you! 😀
For this post I want to bring attention to one of my personal favorite twists on the old fairy tale of the frog prince. It’s a book called Prince of the Pond by Donna Jo Napoli. The story follows the Prince after he gets turned into a frog. It brings attention to his personal adventures while he learns how to accept his fate, survive in his new body and traverse his new environment. Of course there is much more to it than that, but it is such a short and enjoyable story that I don’t want to share too much. If you are interested in getting a copy for yourself, you can find it here. It is well worth the read. Trust me. I still enjoy it, even as an adult.
And, as long as we are on the topic of frogs, another great book that was recently introduced to me by my roommate and best friend, is a picture book called Tuesday. It’s by the brilliant mind of David Wiesner and absolutely magical. It takes place around 8 o’clock on a Tuesday night and follows a pond full of frogs as they enjoy their fantastical evening. The artwork is clever, enchanting, and incredibly detailed. This story is surely something that even the tiniest of littles will enjoy. It is certain to spark the imagination and make you think twice about using the phrase, “when pigs fly!” You can find a copy of this frog fantasy here.
I’ve always looked for the less “commercial” stories to build my son’s library as he grows and develops. He is going to be 10 this year and has found a great interest in graphic novels and comic books. He absolutely adores the Big Nate series by Lincoln Pierce, and was thrilled with his Jedi Academy trilogy by Jeffrey Brown. However, as he grows, I try to introduce him to stories with more words and less pictures. Recently we started reading the Harry Potter series. When we finish each book, we watch each movie in turn. He is absolutely LOVING them! Could I have just let him watch all the movies? Sure. But why? There is just so much more meat to the books than there is in just watching the movies, and by introducing the books first, he gets more out of the films as well.
Now let me take a moment to explain why I am still reading to my (almost) 10 year old… It is difficult to get my son to sit down with a story without pictures because he is legally blind. His eyesight is 20/400 with correction so he can still see, but has to hold a book so close to his face that it strains his eyes. As a result he loses the ability to really enjoy the story. So, I have made it my personal job to ensure that he gets the stories and enjoys them to their full potential. I still read to him at least 30 minutes every evening before bed. It helps him wind down before sleep, and it continues to be a great opportunity for personal bonding time away from the rest of the household and away from tv and tablet screens. He also does the talking books, and audio books which I’m sure he will eventually choose over me reading to him, but until that time, I enjoy this quiet time with him every evening.
Throughout the month, I will post more short story suggestions and some projects to go with them. Tutorials will come later if there is interest. If you have kids of your own, or even if you don’t, I encourage you to find a great book to curl up with this month and really enjoy it. What are some of your childhood favorites? Have you discovered any new stories recently that you just can’t live without? Please share in the comments below. I’d love to know your opinions! Also, I challenge you! Really think about some of your favorite books and create something inspired by the world within the pages. I look forward to seeing your projects. You can join me on my Anarchy Art Facebook page to share your projects, or if you are shy, send me some photos through a message. I can’t wait to see what you come up with!
See you next week!
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