literacy

All posts tagged literacy

September 8th is International Literacy Day

Published September 7, 2015 by Shadow Girl

Tuesday, September 8, is 

International Literacy Day

“You cannot open a book without learning something.”

     ~ Confucius 

Help your children develop a love of books by snuggling up with one of these 25 Children’s Books to Teach Your Kids Meaningful Values

The Mine-O-Saur children's book that teaches values, such as generosity.

The Mine-O-Saur is one example of a children’s book that teaches values – in this case, generosity.

1. GRATITUDE

DID I EVER TELL YOU HOW LUCKY YOU ARE
BY: Dr. Seuss
Who better than Dr. Seuss to remind us how lucky we truly are, even when we’re down in the dumps?
THE MORAL OF THE STORY: Focus on what you have and don’t dwell on the bad.

IT COULD ALWAYS BE WORSE
BY: Margot Zemach
This Yiddish folktale depicts gratitude in an uproarious light. When an unfortunate man follows the advice from his Rabbi, his life seems to go from bad to worse – or does it?
THE MORAL OF THE STORY: Things are not always as bad as they seem.

SYLVESTER AND THE MAGIC PEBBLE
BY: William Steig
Sylvester the donkey is thrilled to have found a magic pebble! But when he encounters a lion on his way home, he must make a decision that separates him from his family.  When he’s finally reunited with them, he learns a valuable lesson.
THE MORAL OF THE STORY: Always be grateful for family.

THE BLANKFUL HEART
BY: Mr. Meus
Billy Babble is the richest Babble in Babbleland. He begins to feel like something is missing and sets out on a quest to fill his empty heart.
THE MORAL OF THE STORY: A grateful heart is a happy heart.

AN AWESOME BOOK OF THANKS
BY: Dallas Clayton
Filled with whimsical illustrations and quirky characters, this book notes all the things in life to be grateful for. The list spans from simple joys – tree, trains, a nice breeze and rain –  to the extraordinary – skipping jungle cats and alligator acrobats.
THE MORAL OF THE STORY: We have so many reasons to give thanks.

An Awesome Book of Thanks is a children's book that teaches values

2. GENEROSITY

THE GIVING TREE
BY: Shel Silverstein
A classic by Shel Silverstein, this tender story is that of a boy who learns a lesson about the gift of giving – but only after it’s too late.
THE MORAL OF THE STORY: Generosity should be appreciated and returned.

THE MINE-O-SAUR
BY: Sudipta Bardhan-Quallen
The Mine-O-Saur is always snatching up all the toys, grabbing all the snacks and hoarding all the blocks, yelling “mine, mine, mine!”  When will he learn the secret to making friends?
THE MORAL OF THE STORY: Sharing is caring.

THE QUILTMAKER’S GIFT
BY: Jeff Brumbeau
The generous Quiltmaker spends all of her time making quilts only to give them away. When she’s approached by the greedy king to make him a quilt, she agrees, but only under certain conditions.
THE MORAL OF THE STORY: Giving is the true secret to happiness.

ONE HEN: HOW ONE SMALL LOAN MADE A BIG DIFFERENCE
BY
: Katie Smith Milway
This is the true story of a mother who gives a little money to her son, Kojo, after receiving a loan from some village families. With this tiny loan, Kojo buys a hen that grows to a large flock and then an entire farm.
THE MORAL OF THE STORY: Giving even a little can make a big difference.

A CHAIR FOR MY MOTHER
BY: Vera B. Williams
After their home is destroyed by a fire, Rosa, her mother, and grandmother save their coins in hopes of buying a comfortable chair that her hard-working mother deserves.
THE MORAL OF THE STORY: Generosity is important in hard times.

A Chair For My Mother is a children's book that teaches values

3. HONESTY 

THE EMPTY POT
BY: Demi
A Chinese emperor holds a contest where the child who grows the most beautiful flowers from his seeds will be his successor. On the final day, it appears many children have won the contest, but there is only one true winner.
THE MORAL OF THE STORY: Honesty is the best policy.

DAVID GETS IN TROUBLE
BY: David Shannon
David always has a good excuse ready whenever he gets in trouble for his mischievous antics. Slowly, David realizes that making excuses makes him feel bad, and saying he’s sorry makes him feel better.
THE MORAL OF THE STORY: It’s better to own up to your mistakes.

EDWURD FUDWUPPER FIBBED BIG
BY: Berkeley Breathed
Fannie Fudwupper’s big brother, Edwurd, spends his time cooking up giant lies. But one day, Edwurd tells such a whopping lie that the army, the air force, and the dogcatcher are called to reverse the damage.
THE MORAL OF THE STORY: Stick with the truth.

SAM TELLS STORIES
BY: Thierry Robberecht
Sam is so eager to make friends at his new school that he tells them a story that isn’t true. But when the truth comes out, Sam realizes the difference between telling a story and spinning a tale.
THE MORAL OF THE STORY: Your true self is your best self.

THE BERENSTAIN BEARS AND THE TRUTH
BY: Stan and Jan Berenstain
When Brother and Sister Bear accidentally break Mama’s favorite lamp, their little lie about how it happened grows bigger and bigger. Thankfully, Papa Bear helps them find the words that set everything right again.
THE MORAL OF THE STORY: You’ll always feel proud about telling the truth when the  time comes.

The Berenstain Bears and the Truth is a children's book that teaches values

4. KINDNESS

GOOD PEOPLE EVERYWHERE
By: Lynea Gillen
This colorful picture book contains endearing examples and vibrant illustrations of people doing good to inspire children to be grateful, caring, and kind. Be it the people that build houses, deliver babies, or take care of others, the message is that people are good.
THE MORAL OF THE STORY: Kindness is always appreciated.

HEY LITTLE ANT
BY: Phillip M. Hoose
This fun book explores life from an ant’s perspective, when an ant strikes up a conversation with the boy who’s about to step on him.
THE MORAL OF THE STORY: Kindness should extend to all living creatures.

EACH KINDNESS
BY: Jacqueline Woodson
New girl, Maya, comes to school and tries to befriend Chloe, but Chloe continually rejects Maya’s attempts at friendship. After Ms. Albert teaches a lesson about kindness, Chloe realizes she has been cruel to Maya. But Maya’s family has moved away, and Chloe is left feeling that she will never have a chance to show Maya kindness.
THE MORAL OF THE STORY: You never know how far even a little bit of kindness can go.

A SICK DAY FOR AMOS MCGEE
BY: Philip C. Stead
Amos McGee, the zookeeper, makes sure to spend a little bit of time with each of his animal friends each day at the zoo. When Amos is too sick to go to work, his animal friends come to him to return the favor.
THE MORAL OF THE STORY: Be kind to others and they will be kind to you.

HAVE YOU FILLED A BUCKET TODAY?
BY: Carol McCloud
This award-winning book is based on a beautiful metaphor – that everyone has an invisible bucket that be either be filled or dipped into. Helping others and being kind feels the bucket, while the opposite empties it out.
THE MORAL OF THE STORY: Helping others and being kind brings happiness to yourself and others.

Have You Filled a Bucket Today? is a children's book that teaches values

5. INDIVIDUALITY

A BAD CASE OF STRIPES
BY: David Shannon
Camilla Cream is very, very worried about what other people think of her. In fact, she’s so worried that she refuses to eat her favorite food, lima beans, simply because the other kids don’t like them. But things change when she breaks out in a bad case of the stripes.
THE MORAL OF THE STORY: Being different is nothing to be ashamed of.

TACKY THE PENGUIN
BY: Helen Lester
Tacky is an odd bird and his friends make fun of him for it all the time. But when hunters come, his odd behavior saves the day.
THE MORAL OF THE STORY: Being different has its perks.

THE STORY OF FERDINAND
BY
: Munro Leaf
Ferdinand isn’t like all the other bulls. While they snort, leap, and butt their heads, Ferdinand is content to just sit and smell the flowers under his favorite cork tree.
THE MORAL OF THE STORY: Always march to the beat of your own drum.

STEPHANIE’S PONYTAIL
BY: Robert Munsch
Stephanie’s friends, and even her teacher, start copying how she wears her ponytail. She moves it to the side, to the top of her head, even right in front of her face, but they still keep copying her. Until one day she outsmarts them all.
THE MORAL OF THE STORY: Strive for non-conformity.

ELMER
BY: David McKee
Elmer is the multi-colored elephant, while all the other elephants are grey. He’s different and not so sure he likes that. It takes some time for Elmer to accept who he is, but, when he does, he couldn’t be happier.
THE MORAL OF THE STORY: Self-acceptance takes time, but comes with a big reward.

Elmer is a children's book that teaches values

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Read Across America Day ~ March 3, 2014

Published January 19, 2014 by Shadow Girl

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Mark your calendars, and get ready to grab your hat and read with the Cat in the Hat on Monday, March 3, 2014 for the 17th annual Read Across America Day. The Seussical celebration will kick off a week of reading across the nation as NEA members gather students, parents, and community members together to share their love of reading.

Read-Across-America-2011-featured-image-
The National Education Association’s Read Across America Day is the nation’s largest reading event, occurring each year on or near Dr. Seuss’ birthday (March 2nd).
Across the country, thousands of schools, libraries, and community centers participate by bringing together kids, teens, and books, and you can too!
Visit Seussville or the NEA for activities & ideas, to find ways that you can celebrate reading with young people, and information about receiving books by Dr. Seuss and many of your favorite authors for free or at significant discounts. You can find additional information on free and discounted books HERE.

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Download the NEA’s Read Across America Activity Booklet

You don’t have to follow any set guidelines. Celebrate in a way that is unique to you & your spawn, any activity that encourages reading is a good one!
We’re raising & molding the next generation of horror lovers, so how can we incorporate this event with our love of the genre? (Be sure to share your ideas in the comments ❣)
*ANY IDEAS HERE DEPEND ON THE AGE/MATURITY OF THE KIDS INVOLVED*
I’m no expert, I’m just a gurl with a blog. Don’t scare the bejesus out of them with my twisted ideas! If you think that there is a chance something might be ‘too much’, it probably is – Reel it in.

Studies show that [most] kids who are read to – grow up to love reading.
THE MONSTER AT THE END OF THIS BOOK, (recommended ages: 2-3 yrs), is a great way to induct our young ones. (Baptism by fire never worked out well for anybody!) They’ve most likely already watched Sesame Street on PBS. Fuzzy & loveable Grover is the perfect “MONSTER” to begin with, and – you’ll get to read using Grover’s voice! Yay!

WHERE THE WILD THINGS ARE is 50 years old, and still a bestseller for a reason! Young Max dons his wolf suit in pursuit of some mischief and his wild rampage leads him to the forest where the wild things are. For a lot of us, Sendak’s illustrations were our first ‘Monsters’. They can be creepy for a kid, not fluffy & cuddly like Pixar’s Monsters, INC. But, the wild things manage to be scary-looking without ever really being scary; at times they’re downright hilarious.
If this book backfired and had the complete opposite effect – a screaming & crying kid who wants to sleep with you, instead of a kid who wants a wolf suit – then grab a copy of WHERE THE WILD THINGS AREN’T. *Synopsis: “From wild things under the bed to monsters behind the closet door, children are often scared by what is cooked up in their imaginations. Where The Wild Things Aren’t strives to teach young children that many frightening situations they encounter are in fact nothing to worry about.”

Hello, everybodeee!

His mother called him ‘WILD THING!’

“There’s no monster under your bed sweetie! But, that thing in your closet… that’s fucked up! G’Night, baby – Love you!”

The GOOSEBUMPS books by R.L. Stine are recommended for Ages 8 – 12 (and up!). I still love these, but you can’t trust anyone’s opinion but your own – not for this series. There are a couple that STILL creep me the Hell out. I’m looking forward to trying the new-ish set,GOOSEBUMPS HORRORLAND.
✵ R.L. Stine: “I don’t really want to terrify kids,” he said. “I want them to have a really good time reading.”



Love Neil Gaiman? You’ll be happy to know that he’s written some outstanding YA books, too! Recommended ages 8 – 12, CORALINE is probably the most recognizable title. Showing a reluctant reader a book that is also a movie they love may encourage them.

I couldn’t possibly publish this post without mentioning the HARRY POTTER series, and THE HUNGER GAMES. Technically… more fantasy than horror, but elements of horror are strong enough to include them here. THE LION, THE WITCH, AND THE WARDROBE scared a few kids I knew – those witches are terrifying sometimes!!

Darren Shan‘s books are recommended for ages 12+ (Story coming…)
My neighbor’s daughter started reading the CIRQUE DU FREAK series, (I think she was around 13), and I read each book as she finished them. She would get a book on a Friday night, and give it to me when she went back to her mom’s on Sunday. I remember really liking them, and her dad read them after I did. We’d all be excited to discuss it when she came back on the following Friday. ::smiles:: I really love that. I remember her little sister (she was in preschool) couldn’t wait to learn to read – I need to check and see if she grew to have the same love of books that her sister & dad have. (Just curious.)
When she got a little older, (big sister, not little sister), and after reading the TWILIGHT SAGA, with a little nudging from me – her dad let her read the first few Anita Blake stories, and a couple Merry Gentry stories, before Laurell K. Hamilton started writing porn instead of horror.
This is the same time period that I read the *TWILIGHT books, too. (Don’t judge me!)
When reading the CIRQUE DU FREAK books, I remember the advertising in the back for Darren Shan’s DEMONATA series, and I wanted to try the first one out. If anyone has read those, leave me a comment, please? Let me know what you’re thoughts were.

The Holy Grail of all YA Horror is still SCARY STORIES TO TELL IN THE DARK, Volume 1, Volume 2, & Volume 3. If you’re lucky, you saved your old copies to pass along – because they’re no longer being sold with the original artwork. The drawings were what made these stories so terrifying!! ::shudders::



This is about when kids want to choose their own books, and nothing makes me happier than seeing kids shopping in book stores. That’s not saying that you can’t recommend books! Hopefully, by now, they’re trusting your bookish experience. The books I’ve talked about so far have been the more popular, better recognized titles. There are so many great indie authors that you can find on Amazon – the stories are usually better, and the prices are much more affordable!
MJ WARE has free & low cost YA Horror downloads available. MARISSA WOOD is a YA Horror author I adore – her stuff is like a YA version of Ed Lee! I found her through a (free) sale on Amazon, and have since read all but one of her available titles. (Reviews posted on the COVER TO COVER Review/Discussion Page) [If anyone knows her, please – put us in contact! I cannot find her, but would love to talk to her!] Alan Gandy, better known for his ‘children’s books for adults’, has a couple ‘children’s books for kids’ that I love – All I Want for Christmas Santa is You: A Zombie Children’s Book is recommended for, and reviewed by, ages 5 – 9+. Max and the Geeks, recommended for age 11+, is a fun & witty story about a group of sophomores who are fated to save the world when the zombies arrive. [I recommend this book highly, and suggest reading it with your kid – for fun.]
Jonathan Maberry has developed a YA-specific blog, It’s Scary Out There, to show how horror isn’t just one type of story.
I could continue naming authors & suggesting stories, but this post would be epic novel length!
These books are merely a jumping off point. A place to start, if you haven’t started already. If you would like more suggestions – leave a comment here, after the post, stating anything youre specifically interested in… what age group? any sub-genre interests? Whatever it is, if I can’t help – I’m sure that other members will have suggestions!!

* A few words on TWILIGHT
Being YA books, these are recommended for ages 12+
However, the Twilight series gets more mature as it goes along, and the author herself says that she didn’t write the books with younger readers in mind. The final book, Breaking Dawn, does have sexual situations, though the act is never described and it occurs between a married couple. NOW…
Forget that the movies exist. Forget every reason that you’ve sworn allegiance to the light.
When I heard whispers about this vampire story I hadn’t read yet, I decided to look into it. This was at the height of MySpace profiles, glittery gifs, and ♥ FLAIR ♥ – (I loved flair!) I searched Keyword: Twilight. My computer had a seizure. Long story short… when I read Twilight, I wanted to read it.

This is the cloud for the entire series. 4 books. FOUR!

This is the cloud for the entire series. 4 books. FOUR!

It’s a story about Bella Swan, a 17 year old girl, in a new town. When she starts her new school, she’s immediately drawn to mysterious senior Edward Cullen. They do the ritualistic HS mating dance, and fall truly, madly, deeply in love. But, he’s a vampire – she’s mortal. There are issues.
Eventually, there is more to the story. Bad guy enters, and then it really takes off.
If you can’t fall back into your high school self, when every trouble felt earth-shattering & true love leads to a heart-break with pain like none other… then this is probably not for you.
Hopefully – you can get past the sparkly, day-walker element.

To find more books, check out these links –

The Best Roald Dahl Books: List includes MATILDA, CHARLIE AND THE CHOCOLATE FACTORY, JAMES AND THE GIANT PEACH, etc…

Horror in YA Lit is a Staple, Not a Trend: Great blog post from SCHOOL LIBRARY JOURNAL, includes many YA Horror titles – separated into categories / sub-genres

It’s Scary Out There: Jonathan Maberry’s YA specific blog is built around exploring the nature of horror and of fear, how that’s different for teens and adults, and why so many of today’s writers tackle that subject matter. The answers are always surprising. What we’re showing is that horror is different for each person.” Maberry also interviews Darren Shan.

Cliff McNish’s top 10 most frightening books for teenagers

Scary Book Lists on Goodreads: Lists broken down into groups by age

10 Children’s Books That Are (still) Frightening To Adults


P, L, & N ❤
~ sg

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