Thanks to Austin Woman for featuring me on the cover and highlighting the great work of the Texas Book Festival, Austin Public Library Friends Foundation, and I Live Here I Give Here. It's an honor to work within such a vibrant nonprofit community, fighting for more equitable distribution of our region's vast resources. . . .
Grandparents’ Day may be in September, but a new crop of picture books is here to help us celebrate grandmas and grandpas and nanas and paw-paws year-round. That’s only fitting, because there are more grandparents today than ever before, according to The Census Bureau. And the special ways they love, teach and relate to their children’s children is proven fodder for vivid, powerful storytelling. Look no further than these three titles I discovered at the Texas Book Festival. May they remind . . .
I read picture books to my daughter for nearly five years before I gained a deep appreciation for the form. Sure, I read them daily and with enthusiasm (mostly). But I read them the same way I would read a chapter book or an illustrated dictionary. That is, I read them as if the pictures were servant to the text, secondary and utilitarian. If I referenced a picture at all, it was to capture Zora’s attention with quick questions like: What color is her shirt? or How many ducks do you . . .
It’s hard to know where a parent’s work ends in supporting children’s academic achievement. Witness the helicopter parent next door who’s got Kumon on speed dial and watches the classroom webcam like it’s House of Cards. We sense that she’s gone too far in her vicarious quest for success, but can’t pinpoint exactly where she crossed the line between supportive parent and obsessive micromomager. But it’s abundantly clear where a parent’s educational work starts--at birth. Long before children . . .
I celebrated Dr. Seuss’s 112th birthday by donning a red and white stovepipe hat and reading “The Cat in the Hat” to eager first graders at University of Texas Elementary School. On my way over, I worried that the book selection was too young for them. As the mom of a four-year-old, I knew the elementary schoolers should have mastered Cat in the Hat vocabulary years ago. They’re beginning readers, I thought, but they’re veteran listeners too. A chapter book might better capture their . . .
Jim Trelease’s “The Read-Aloud Handbook” is so much more than its title suggests. Sure, it explains what to look for in storytime selections (no dialect, obscenities or weak plots, for starters). But its real strength is a smart and compelling explanation of why parents should read to their children early and often, from infancy onward. Raising a lifelong reader is the single-best investment a parent can make, Trelease insists. Enthusiasm for reading ensures the range of knowledge and . . .
I love this elegant story of kindness and cruelty. In just 32 pages, it distills the essence of human conflict--a persistent refusal to see the humanity in others and extend simple warmth and care. Set among school children, “Each Kindness” is told from the perspective of Chloe, a young girl who refuses to accept small gestures of friendship from Maya, the new girl. Maya wears spring shoes in the snow and plays alone, snubbed by classmates who laugh and name her "Never New" for her . . .
Sometimes the best thing an emergency room doctor can give a kid is a book. In a world where low-income children hear 30 million fewer words than more affluent peers, literacy’s the true life-saver. Sutures and IVs can do only so much to address the aftermath of poverty—violence, drugs and abuse—that accounts for so many ER visits. Just ask Dr. Robin Foster, chief of pediatric emergency services at VCU Medical Center, who says she makes as much impact with social engagement as with medical . . .