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sing a song

 

Today is a great day to sing a song with a child! Why? Let me tell you!  

May 11, 1888 was the birthday of the famous composer/songwriter Irving Berlin. When I think of classic American music, Irving Berlin is one of the names that come to mind (as I write this I am starting to hum the tune “Alexander’s Ragtime Band”!). However, most little kiddos don’t really know who this amazing composer was. But that doesn’t mean that you can’t teach some great classic songs (such as “Puttin’ on the Ritz” or “God Bless America” by Berlin) to the youngsters in your life. Or, if Berlin’s songs aren’t your cup of tea, sing anything that you enjoy!  

Did you know that music is a great way to help children prepare to read? When children learn songs there are a few things that happen. First, songs often have a different note for each syllable that is sung. Children who sing tend to learn (without even knowing that they are learning) that various sounds (or syllables) make up words. And later they learn that a group of words create a sentence—so those little ones that sing or are sung to tend to figure out how syllables work before they sit down and start to learn how to read.  

Also, many songs have words that are unfamiliar to children. Think of the song “Mary Had a Little Lamb.” How many 1 or 2-year-olds do you know that recognize the word “fleece”? Yet there it is in a song that they sing and hear so often that by the time they are a couple of years older they can sing that song all on their own and most likely will learn what that word means. Singing introduces new language and vocabulary to children.  

A third reason to sing to little ones is that often there are rhymes in songs. Think of “Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star.” In the first verse there are the rhymes of “star/are” and “high/sky.” As children sing or hear these rhyming bits over and over again they learn that some sounds and endings are similar. This helps so that when they start reading they will have a head-start on understanding that various sounds can be used for multiple words and how different combinations of letters can make similar sounds (such as the “high/sky” example).  

All in all, there is a lot of early literacy that happens when you sing to or with a child who hasn’t learned how to read yet. So in honor of Irving Berlin’s birthday, sing a song with a little one! It may not be one of Berlin’s own songs that get your toes tappin’—but sing together today and you will help that little one get ahead of the game in learning how to read tomorrow.

what to read in YA May 2016

There are a lot of great YA novels being published in May! We start with two that are the final book in their respective series:

CrownTHE CROWN
(The Selection #5)
by Kiera Cass

From the publisher: 

Kiera Cass’s #1 New York Times bestselling SELECTION series has captured the hearts of readers from its very first page. Now the end of the journey is here. Prepare to be swept off your feet by THE CROWN—the eagerly awaited, wonderfully romantic fifth and final book in the Selection series.

In THE HEIR, a new era dawned in the world of THE SELECTION. Twenty years have passed since America Singer and Prince Maxon fell in love, and their daughter is the first princess to hold a Selection of her own.

Eadlyn didn’t think she would find a real partner among the Selection’s thirty-five suitors, let alone true love. But sometimes the heart has a way of surprising you…and now Eadlyn must make a choice that feels more difficult—and more important—than she ever expected.

Last StarTHE LAST STAR
(The Fifth Wave #3)
by Rick Yancey  

From the publisher: 

The enemy is Other. The enemy is us. They’re down here, they’re up there, they’re nowhere. They want the Earth, they want us to have it. They came to wipe us out, they came to save us.

But beneath these riddles lies one truth: Cassie has been betrayed. So has Ringer. Zombie. Nugget. And all 7.5 billion people who used to live on our planet. Betrayed first by the Others, and now by ourselves.

In these last days, Earth’s remaining survivors will need to decide what’s more important: saving themselves . . . or saving what makes us human.

Next, a novel that is the first book in the series:

RuinedRUINED
(Ruined #1)
by Amy Tintera  

From the publisher:

Emelina Flores has nothing. Her home in Ruina has been ravaged by war; her parents were killed and her sister was kidnapped. Even though Em is only a useless Ruined--completely lacking any magic--she is determined to get revenge by infiltrating the enemy's kingdom, posing as the crown prince's betrothed.

And finally, a few that I can’t wait to get my hands on:

Square Root of SummerTHE SQUARE ROOT OF SUMMER
by Harriet Reuter Hapgood  

From the publisher:

Gottie H. Oppenheimer is losing time. Literally. When the fabric of the universe around her seaside town begins to fray, she's hurtled through wormholes to her past:

To last summer, when her grandfather Grey died. To the afternoon she fell in love with Jason, who wouldn't even hold her hand at the funeral. To the day her best friend Thomas moved away and left her behind with a scar on her hand and a black hole in her memory.

Although Grey is still gone, Jason and Thomas are back, and Gottie's past, present, and future are about to collide―and someone's heart is about to be broken.

With time travel, quantum physics, and sweeping romance, THE SQUARE ROOT OF SUMMER is an exponentially enthralling story about love, loss, and trying to figure it all out, from stunning debut YA voice, Harriet Reuter Hapgood.

Outrun the MoonOUTRUN THE MOON
by Stacey Lee  

From the publisher:

Fifteen-year-old Mercy Wong is determined to break from poverty in Chinatown, and she gains admittance to a prestigious finishing school through a mix of cunning and bribery. She soon discovers that getting in was the easiest part, and must carve a niche among the spoiled heiresses. When the earthquake strikes on April 18, Mercy and her classmates are forced to a survivor encampment, but her quick-witted leadership rallies them to help in the tragedy's aftermath.  

But wait there’s more! Don't miss: 

  1. THE WAY BACK TO YOU by Michelle Andreani  
  2. TRAITOR ANGELS by Anne Blankman  
  3. ASK ME HOW I GOT HERE by Christine Heppermann  
  4. UNRIVALED by Alyson Noel  
  5. THE CROWN’S GAME by Evelyn Skye  

Find these and other great, brand new YA titles in the Teen Corner!

travel writing favorites

 

As one stricken with seemingly unquenchable wanderlust, when I can’t be out exploring the world myself (because we all have to work sometimes, right?) I like to read about other’s travels, and thusly live vicariously through their experiences. That’s why one of my favorite genres is travel literature.

In general, travel literature consists of descriptive accounts of a person’s travels, both near and far, as well as people they meet, cultures they encounter, and often a mix of humor, history, science, and speculation. I always learn something new about the locations authors write about as well as some dos and don’ts for visiting a place and being a conscientious traveler, overall.

In the 900s and beyond, we have a good selection of travel writing and travel books to peruse, including travel guides as well as travel literature. Here is a list of travel literature available at the library that I would recommend for those interested in exploring the genre.

patagoniaIN PATAGONIA
by Bruce Chatwin
(1977)

Considered a travel masterpiece, this account of Chatwin's journey through Patagonia will make you want to add this destination to your list for new reasons. It includes some history and a search for Butch Cassidy’s cabin, extraordinary descriptions of a seemingly wild place, and a lot of soul searching.

 

secretknowledgeofwaterTHE SECRET KNOWLEDGE OF WATER: DISCOVERING THE ESSENCE OF THE AMERICAN DESERT
by Craig Childs
(2001)

In the desert, water is life, and knowing how to find it can determine whether you survive. While Childs wanders the American deserts in order to map water, he shares his scientific knowledge and waxes philosophical about the meaning of water in relation to life and death, in a place where the resource is so sparse.

motorcyclediaries2THE MOTORCYCLE DIARIES: NOTES ON A LATIN AMERICAN JOURNEY
by Che Guevara
(2003)

Before Che Guevara was a revolutionary, he was a med student who started out on a motorcycle journey to experience South America with his best friend, Alberto Granado. Through his experience and reflections on this journey, you can see the beginnings of his revolutionary leanings as he encounters social injustices and hardships of people throughout the country.

sunburned countryIN A SUNBURNED COUNTRY
by Bill Bryson
(2001)

Famed and funny travel author Bill Bryson relishes the reader with stories of his travels in Australia where he encounters interesting natives and spouts facts about the deadly and peculiar animal and insect inhabitants. Bryson is a wonderfully insightful and beloved travel author, so picking up any of his books will not disappoint.

prisoner of zionPRISONER OF ZION: MUSLIMS, MORMONS, AND OTHER MISADVENTURES
by Scott Carrier
(2011)

Scott Carrier, a journalist and radio producer living in Utah, travels around the world in search of stories. In this book, Carrier writes thoughtfully about what it means to be an outsider traveling through areas of religious fanaticism in both Afghanistan shortly after 9-11 and amongst the Mormons in Utah.

 

 

Honorable mentions:

TRAVELS WITH CHARLEY: IN SEARCH OF AMERICA by John Steinbeck

THE GREAT RAILWAY BAZAAR: BY TRAIN THROUGH ASIA by Paul Theroux

SEA AND SARDINIA by D.H. Lawrence

BREATHLESS: AN AMERICAN GIRL IN PARIS by Nancy Miller

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