Monday, October 7, 2013

Program, Anyone?

       I've had a lot of fun in the past couple of weeks presenting programs to children with

 my new book, Don't Sneeze At the Wedding. The children have been so bright and

attentive. They have enjoyed discussing weddings, and wedding customs with me too. 

The biggest hit has been when volunteers have had a chance to reenact stepping

on the glass at a Jewish wedding, in this case, stepping on a light bulb in a paper bag.

The children are very proud when they break it!

And we all shout, "Mazel Tov" afterwards!

Monday, September 23, 2013

San Mateo Library

       I wanted to share the darling flyer created for me by the San Mateo Public Library for

     my appearance there on Wednesday, September 25. I hope the children will have fun

     talking about wedding traditions, trying stop sneezing methods, making tissue paper

      flowers and reading my book together.

          I know I will!

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Don't Sneeze At the Wedding

     My new book, Don't Sneeze At the Wedding, is officially published! It tells the story of a little girl, Anna, who is going to be the flower girl at her Aunt Rachel's wedding. On the morning of the wedding she wakes up with an - "Ah-Choo"! "Please don't sneeze at the wedding", her mother and father tell her. They, along with everyone else involved in the wedding preparations, tell her tips about stopping a sneeze. She makes it through most of the ceremony without sneezing, but just as the groom is about to step on the glass, a Jewish wedding tradition, Anna sneezes! Fortunately, the sound of the breaking glass and the guests cheers drown out the sound of her sneeze.

      Coincidentally, my daughter was married this May. Here are pictures of Rebecca and Jared at their wedding, just as Jared is about to step on the glass.


Mazel Tov!

Friday, May 17, 2013

Where Have All the Readers Gone?

     I have worked as a children's librarian in all sort of libraries, big and small, urban, suburban and rural, rich communities and poor communities. For the past few years, I have had to ask myself the unhappy question - Where have all the readers gone?

     In every type of setting there once were dedicated child readers, those children who came in on a weekly basis and left with a large stack of books. And let me emphasize this part - a large stack that they picked out by themselves. They were the book lovers who roamed the shelves, picked out books, read first pages, and chose. They rarely needed my services, except for me to expertly keep the shelves stocked with well written books, because they were perfectly capable of figuring out that they wanted to read.

    They seem to have disappeared.

     What has replaced them is their parents, armed with lists of "best" books, and no others will do, that they choose for their children who are, for example, in "first grade but read at the sixth grade level". They will decide what their children read, and when and how many pages per day. Whether any of these books are ever read or enjoyed I do not know. I never see the children. They are pushed, motivated by parents readers who read as an accomplishment rather than as a pleasure.

    Or I see a child who comes to take out one book, that his friend or his teacher has told him about.
Only the one book. No other will do as no one has told him about any other. They will read and they will enjoy this one book, or say that they do. But will they continue with a joy in reading? Again, I do not know.

     The picture book shelves are packed because nothing gets checked out. Modern parents are not aware of the old adage about a picture book being a child's first art gallery. If they ask for anything, it is Franklin or Dora, fine, but definitely not an art gallery. Or they bypass the picture book section completely, somehow they have been told that the contents are too babyish for their advanced children. They take them straight to the beginning readers. I love beginning to read books, but they are for beginning readers to read to themselves. It's not the same as picture books, designed for parents to read to their children. Designed with a nod to wonder, to enchantment, to childhood. They sit, their beautiful contents unrevealed.

     The computers are busy. Educational games, a plus. They are not the same and they do not, can not, replace books.

     Where have all the readers gone? Far far away, and not to the land of Oz. Just to a reality that is packed with action and short on wonder and dreams. They may never return, and the saddest part is that they won't even know how much they have missed.


Friday, April 12, 2013

Story Comprehension Reading - Part ll

     I just read an interview with Bob Staake in Children's Bookshelf, about his new wordless picture book, Bluebird. I was really struck by something he said in the interview:

" I love writing visually, and wordlessly, because this is was how I read books as a kid. I didn’t really read, but I was a voracious page turner. Nothing would delight me more than pulling out old National Geographics and encyclopedias and looking through the pictures. For years, I have said that this is how children learn how to read. They don’t read, they look. Parents sometimes denigrate the importance of looking in favor of reading the words. It is just as important."

  This is the same philopshy as my Story Comprehension Reading Method - and seeing this meant so much! It also emphasizes the fact that the wordless book component of the method has to be expertly done for this method to actually work. Anyway, I will continue to research it.

     On another note, Publisher's Weekly had a column today asking what book first made you love reading? For me it was the Old Mother West Wind books by Thornton Burgess. I remember going to my local public library and visiting them on the shelf, along after I had first read them, as if going to see an old friend.

    What was the first book that made you love reading?

    And do those books seem like old friends to you?