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Using Books to Bridge the Generation G A P

You're dumbfounded when your son doesn't like Treasure Island. And when your daughter turned her nose up at Little House on the Prairie, someone could have knocked you over with a feather.

Kids' choices in books may mystify their parents, but it's important to stay open-minded when it comes to their reading choices. Don't force Junior to finish Journey to the Center of the Earth just because it was your all-time favorite book (unless it's assigned, of course). Remember your kids' choices may often be different from what you would have chosen at his or her age simply because they are reading books that didn't exist when you were their age. So let your kids pick their own books. And take a look at what they're reading; who knows, maybe they'll turn you into a Harry Potter fan.

Here are a few new titles you and your kids can discover together as you use books to bridge the generation gap:

God's Dream

by Archbishop Desmond Tutu

Candlewick Press, board book edition, 2010, $$7.99. Ages 1-3.

People holding each other's hands one moment, then getting hurt and angry the next. Then they say they're sorry and are forgiven. This is the vision Archbishop Desmond Tutu has of God's dream, a wish that all people see that they are brothers and sisters no matter what they look like or where they're from. Vivid illustrations bring Archbishop Tutu's ubuntu philosophy to life for even the youngest readers.

Me Hungry!,

by Jeremy Tankard

Candlewick Press, board book edition, 2010. $7.99. Ages 1-3.

"Me hungry," the cave boy shouts. "Me busy!" the cave mom and dad reply. This child-friendly tale shows how a cave boy teams up with a mammoth to chase after a rabbit, porcupine, and tiger in their hunt for food.


by Phyllis Root

Candlewick Press, board book edition, 2010. $5.00. Ages 3 & up.

Lilting text and luminous illustrations show five baby bunnies tumbling, wiggling, thumping, and lunching through a fun-filled day.

Animal Homes

by Judy Allen and Simon Mendez

Kingfisher, 2009, $7.99. Ages 3 & up.

What lives on a tree bark? What's inside a prairie-dog burrow? Inquisitive young readers will uncover these and other fascinating facts about animals and nature as they flip the flaps of this beautifully photographed book.

Gods & Heroes

written and illustrated by Matthew Reinhart and Robert Sabuda

Candlewick Press, 2010, $29.99. Ages 5 & up.

Mount Olympus (the legendary Greek kingdom where the twelve primary Greek gods and goddesses lived), Father Odin (the Norse god of wisdom and magic), and Pele (the Polynesian volcano goddess) pop to delight young readers as they peruse this amazing volume of centuries-old myths and legends from different cultures.

The Yankee at the Seder

by Elka Weber

Tricycle Press, 2009, $16.99. Ages 7 - 9.

Based on a true story, this book tells of 10-year-old Jacob who, at the end of the Civil War, would give anything to show the Yankees not all Confederates are ready to surrender. He seizes the opportunity when he glimpses a Yankee soldier who's on leave for Passover walking down the street. But before Jacob can think of a way to confront the soldier, the soldier asks for a piece of Jacob's matzoh. A touching tale that gets readers thinking about what it means to be free.


Nineteen Minutes

Jodi Picoult

Washington Square Press, paperback, 2008, $15.00.

"In nineteen minutes you can mow the lawn, color your hair…get revenge." Sterling, New Hampshire is a sleepy New England town where nothing ever happens. Until Peter Houghton woke up one morning and decided he'd had enough. In the aftermath of a school shooting reminiscent of Columbine, families of this small town struggle as they come to terms with tragedy. And readers struggle as they glimpse into the lives of the victims, their parents, and the killer, asking themselves do they really know what happens in the lives of their children and do they have the right to judge other children? And a twist at the end leaves readers wondering if things are ever really what they seem to be.

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