By Courtney Runn There are few better books to teach children about the importance of teamwork, resilience, and discipline than the true-life stories of legendary Olympians. Whether you’re gearing up for two weeks of cheering on your country or basking in the inspiration afterwards, we curated a list of picture books celebrating unforgettable Olympic moments and exploring the history of the Games. Learn about athletes who broke racial barriers, shattered records, and went on to extraordinary . . .
By Andrea Hunt By the age of three, many kids will be open to the idea of listening to audiobooks, if they aren’t already enjoying them. And the good news is that audio stories are so much more than a useful tool for entertaining captive audiences in the back seat. Research has found that children also can continue to develop their literacy skills through listening to them. What’s also great for parents is that, when it comes to choosing audiobooks for preschoolers, you have a lot of . . .
By Andrea Hunt Kids’ audio stories are a brilliant alternative to screen time, an invaluable way to keep children entertained on car journeys, and a wonderful opportunity for parents or caregivers to share in family story time while multitasking. Even better, they can boost literacy skills. But when it comes to the youngest listeners, there are a few key things to consider before diving in. For example, whether the length of the story is appropriate, how well the audio version complements . . .
By Maya Payne Smart Jump at the Sun: The True Life Tale of Unstoppable Storycatcher Zora Neale Hurston is a lovely picture book biography of a singular literary talent. Author Alicia D. Williams masterfully weaves threads of Hurston’s complicated life story into a tale simple and propulsive enough to maintain the attention of young children, yet complete and nuanced enough to satisfy Hurston’s grownup fans. The book traces the jagged rise of the iconic writer, from a spunky young girl . . .
I read Destination Simple: Everyday Rituals for a Slower Life by Brooke McAlaray for a new year’s reset. The tiny book can be read in one sitting, but it’s also great to dip in and out of as you let the ideas marinate. Unlike more rigorous guides, such as David Allen’s Getting Things Done (which I also love), Destination Simple is one to reach for when you’re feeling overwhelmed—when you want to sink into your day versus power through it. Broken into three parts, it first presents . . .
I know my opinions make an impression—among people inclined to agree with me, anyway. My confidence in influencing those with divergent views, however, is so low that I generally avoid addressing controversial issues with them at all. I wouldn’t talk guns or race with a Republican, for example. I’ve read one too many reports on partisan polarization to go there. To be fair, I’ve offered similar silence to some on my side of the aisle, too, especially the “colorblind” and others who may be . . .
Jessica “Culture Queen” Hebron is on a mission to make Kwanzaa fun, enticing, and effortless for families to celebrate. “We have several different black people holidays, but this is the big one,” she explains. “I think it's really cool that black people have something just for them that lasts seven days, helps you to align yourself culturally, and gives you like a cultural sense of self.” She believes that the keys to bolstering participation in the holiday she loves are to start slow and . . .
I marvel at book talk attendees. People trek from great distances, clutching worn copies of favorite reads. They stand in long lines for a brief word with (or autograph from) a favorite writer. The brave ones step to the podium to share stories or ask questions. Their remarks bring more voices and perspectives into conversation. Their contributions add welcome depth and texture to the occasion. At a Jacqueline Woodson BookPeople talk that I moderated in October, an educator in the audience . . .
When people ask what my favorite book is, I always respond with Jacqueline Woodson’s 2012 picture book Each Kindness. But truth be told, everything she writes, from picture book to poetry to novel, is wonderful. Each new work prompts me to consider central questions of who we are, why we are, and how we can grow for the better. And, because I adore her writing and her advocacy for reading, I interview her every chance I get. Here’s an excerpt from our October conversation about her novel Red . . .
Can you spell sesquipedalian? Well, the children featured in anthropologist Shalini Shankar’s Beeline: What Spelling Bees Reveal About Generation Z’s New Path to Success can. The elite competitors in the Scripps National Spelling Bee are largely of South Asian descent and, though born after 1996, exhibit intensity, skill, and poise rare in people twice their age. On stage, they spell obscure words with ease, backed by supportive parents and thousands of hours of practice. And these feats . . .