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Reading Builds Connections

by Tracie Grimes
Tracie is a monthly contributor to Kern County Family Magazine

School is starting up, which means it’s time to get the nose to the ol’ grindstone once again.  With practices, lessons, homework, and chores, it may seem like a Herculean task fitting one more thing into the daily schedule.  But, there is one thing worth making the time for – reading together.

Reading together is a wonderful way to build a relationship with your child.  Not only are you spending quality time together, but you’re also encouraging her to engage in something that will build literacy and listening skills, improve her performance in school, and stimulate her brain.  And, there’s nothing more relaxing than snuggling with your child and reading a favorite book.  Even if your child has grown out of the “snuggle phase,” you can each pick up a book and dive in.  It’s amazing how doing the same thing for 20 minutes in the same room can keep the two of you connected.

Looking for suggestions? Take a look at these titles:

AGES 3-7

20 Big Trucks in the Middle of the Street
by Mark Lee (Candlewick Press, 2013), $15.99.  It starts with an ice cream truck stalled in the middle of a little boy’s street, and before long, “a mail truck stops, so now there are two.  Their drivers don’t know what to do.”  Young truck lovers will be excited to see a mail truck, cement truck… all kinds of trucks enter the scene and come to a dead stop.  Vivid illustrations of these big trucks show what happens as the rhyming text tells the story of how a little boy saves the day.

AGES 4-8

Saturday is Dadurday
by Robin Pulver (Walker Books for Young Readers, 2013), $16.99.  Making silly-shaped pancakes, reading the comics, playing checkers; these were all things Mimi and her dad did together on Mimi’s favorite day of the week  - Dadurday.  But, suddenly, Dad’s work schedule changes, and he has to work on Saturdays, er Dadurdays.  “It won’t be the same,” Mimi moaned when her dad suggests they can do Dadurday when he gets home.  Will Mimi and her dad find a way to make Dadurday their own, special day?  Captivating illustrations bring to life this heart-warming story of the father/daughter bond.

AGES 5-8

Joe and Sparky Go to School 
by Jamie Michalak (Candlewick Press, 2013), $15.99.  Joe Giraffe and Sparky Turtle weren’t quite sure what the big, yellow, loud thing that said “school bus” on the side was…they thought it might be a bus for short, noisy people.  Joe wants to take a closer look, and while Sparky originally says, “No way, Jose!” he eventually gives in to curiosity.  Then, somehow, Sparky ends up on the roof of the bus as it’s whizzing away, so Joe has no choice but to follow the bus to school.  What fun Joe and Sparky had that day!  Young readers will enjoy the madcap adventures of Joe and Sparky, as they learned about stars and ears and other fascinating facts.

AGES 8-12

How Do You Burp in Space? And Other Tips Every Space Tourist Needs to Know

by Susan E. Goodman (Bloomsbury, 2013), $16.99.  Soon, the skies may no longer be the limit when you’re planning a family getaway.  Private companies are testing their space ships, and the day tourists will soar beyond the skies may not be too far in the future.  But, how do we prepare for space?  How will we take care of everyday business (like burping) as we reach zero gravity?  Here’s a great guidebook that will prepare you for blast off.  You’ll learn just about everything you need to know to get ready for your “star trek,” like what to pack, when the best time to go is, how to reset your watch to space time, and, of course, how to burp in space.  Filled with fun illustrations and real photographs, this book will help you get ready to grab your spacesuit and go.

Wednesdays in the Tower by Jessica Day George,(Bloomsbury, 2013), $16.99.  Danger lurks in this tale of siblings working together, and it all starts with a new room the Castle creates on a Wednesday.  Only Princess Celie can see the new room, and as she’s going through the new room, she finds a surprise.  A giant orange egg is hidden inside the room.  At first, Celie’s not sure what to do but soon gets a strong feeling that the Castle wants her to take care of it.  When Rufus, a griffin, hatches from the egg, things get pretty tricky for Celie and her siblings.  Although the plot and characters are a little hard to follow in this book, readers will still appreciate the humor and action.


The Summer Girls
by Mary Alice Monroe (Gallery Books, 2013).  Marietta Muir is worried about her granddaughters.  They hardly talked to each other these days, and they hadn’t seen each other since the few childhood summers they spent at Sea Breeze, Marietta’s beach house in South Carolina.  Marietta is determined to change all that.  She invites all three girls, now grown women, to spend the summer of her eightieth birthday with her.  Will the women’s differences tear them apart once and for all?

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