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“The more you read, the more you know. The more you learn, the more places you’ll go.”  This pearl of wisdom comes from Dr. Seuss, who knew a thing or two about why it’s important to get kids reading early in life.

Parents can put these words into action by making reading a part of the family’s everyday life in 2013.  Let the kids see you reading a favorite book, newspaper, or magazine.  Ring in the New Year by getting into the habit of turning off the television 20 minutes before bedtime, so the kiddies can curl up with their favorite book.  Better yet – read a few pages to them each night and make it part of their bedtime routine.  And, for the older kid set, don’t measure their reading by the number of books they read but by the time they spend reading.  

Need some suggestions on a few good books?  Here are KCFM’s picks for this month:

Ages 3 to 6

The Black Rabbit by Philippa Leathers (Candlewick Press, 2013), $14.00.  Something is stalking Rabbit.  It’s large and black and always there.  He’s tried running away and hiding from it, but even if he runs behind a tree or crosses over a river, the large, black thing is there.  He thinks he’s finally beaten his stalker when Rabbit runs into the deep, dark woods.  But, is he just exchanging one opponent for another?  Kids will get a kick out of this story of a silly rabbit who finds friendship in the shadows.

Ages 4 to 8

The Very Fairy Princess Follows Her Heart by Julie Andrews (Little, Brown Books for Young Readers, 2013), $16.99.  Gerry is back for more fun in this fourth volume of the best-selling Very Fairy Princess series.  This time, she’s gearing up for the big day – Valentine’s Day, that is.  She wants to make the very best valentines she can for her family and friends.  She starts the big day eating Mommy’s wonderful heart-shaped pancakes and dresses in her best tiara and wings.  She’s in such a hurry to catch the bus, she almost forgets the special folder Mommy gave her to keep her valentines safe.  But, she grabbed the wrong folder.  All seems lost, but something surprising happens.  This is a beautiful story about self-confidence and strength. 

Ages 7 to 10

Bad Kitty:  School Daze by Nick Bruel (Roaring Brook Press, 2013), $13.99.  Bad Kitty is back with a side-splitting adventure!  Because Bad Kitty and Puppy spend their days hissing and fighting with each other, Baby is very upset.  It’s decided that Bad Kitty and Puppy have to learn how to behave, so off to Diabla Von Gloom’s School for Wayward Pets they go. Puppy is a natural when it comes to doing arts and crafts, but Bad Kitty has a thing or two to learn about what’s proper for show-and-tell (Bad Kitty’s idea of show-and-tell is sharing a hairball with the class).  Things get even crazier at the School for Wayward Pets when a bad bunny who thinks he’s a “mutant super-villain” and a cat-hating bulldog join in the shenanigans.  A hilarious read!

Captain Underpants and the Revolting Revenge of the Radioactive Robo-Boxers by Dav Pilkey (Scholastic, Inc., 2013), $9.99.  In the ninth epic novel (the epic novel just before this one), George and Harold were transformed into evil zombie nerds doomed to roam a devastated, post-apocalyptic planet for all eternity. But, because the sly, evil, and crafty Tippy Tinkletrousers and his cursed time-traveling trickery prevented George and Harold from creating Captain Underpants in the first place, he wasn’t there to save the day. Now, they have to figure out a way to change history back to the way it should be.  Can they bring Captain Underpants back into the world?

A Crazy Day With Cobras (Magic Treehouse Series #45) by Mary Pope Osborne (Random House, December 2012), $4.99.  Jack and Annie travel back in time over 400 years to India to begin a search for a rare emerald.  It’s a beautiful, fantastic place, but there is danger in this scenic land.  A real page-turner that will keep young readers asking “can’t we read just one more page?”

CD Review

New CD Encourages Kids to Rock their Way into Reading Books

With her latest CD, Reading Rocks!, New Orleans musician and author Johnette Downing combines toe-tapping bluegrass-style songs with poetry and old-fashioned storytelling to get kids jazzed about reading.  

Known as the Pied Piper for Louisiana music traditions, Downing has been entertaining children since 1990, producing 10 CDs and 12 books for children. Downing pulled several stories for Reading Rocks! from her own  picture books, including her newest title, Why the Possum Has a Large Grin. Reading Rocks! is available through johnettedowning.com, Amazon.com, cdbaby.com, and ITunes for about $15.

And for Mommy

The Red House by Mark Haddon (Knoph Doubleday Publishing Group, 2012), $25.95.  Richard, a wealthy doctor, wants to mend fences with his sister, Angela, so he invites her and her family to join his family for a week in the English countryside.  It seems doomed from the start.  The adults are too preoccupied with their needs to pay attention to their families.  The children are too plugged into their iPods to make any effort.  But, with eight people with eight very different lives and eight different stories, what happens in that English country vacation home is anything but predictable.  A great read about families, relationships, and bonding sprinkled with bittersweet humor.

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Tags: Education, Featured Story

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