It’s almost March, which means that at the Provo City Library it is almost time for the Fairy Tea Party. In fact, tickets for the Fairy Tea go on sale tomorrow and will most likely sell out within the first hour or so (if ticket sales are similar to how they have been for the past half a dozen years). In honor of the fairy festivities that are soon upon us, I have put together my list of my five favorite fairy books.
In this fabulous picture book by Julie Andrews (yes, THAT Julie Andrews) and her daughter, Geraldine desires to show everyone that she is a princess fairy. And even though she also likes things that tend to bring dirt and grime, being a princess fairy does not mean that she can’t have fun doing all sorts of activities. Geraldine is one sweet girl that little girls everywhere will love to read about again and again.
In this retold-fairy tale the fairy Ethelinda decides to bestow two gifts on a couple of sisters. One sister is kind and good, so Ethelinda makes it so that when the good sister speaks jewels and flowers fall from her lips. The mean sister on the other hand has toads and snakes and lizards that come out when she speaks. And though the fairy’s gift was meant to punish the cruel and reward the good…it really doesn’t turn out that way. This is a fun chapter book that is really quite easy to read for those that find reading chapter books difficult, and is a great choice to read aloud to young fairy aficionados. And the fact that nothing works out the way that it is intended is sure to keep youngsters giggling.
This next book is one that those who love looking at details will quite enjoy. This book is a fairy fashion magazine. There are all sorts of fairy styles of fairy clothing—all created from different bits of nature. There are feathers and leaves and acorns and other such oddments that are crafted into fairy outfits. Those kiddos who enjoy fashion and how things are put together to make a statement will love poring over each intricate design.
In this pretend flower fairy journal, Cicely Mary Barker tells all her secrets as to what happened in 1920 when she discovered the world of fairies. There are loads of lift-the-flaps and pretend mementos that accompany each journal entry. The book gives a nod to the flower fairies that are some of the biggest icons in fairy illustration history. Those readers who actually read the journal entries will enjoy the story of what happens to Cicely and her encounters with the fey. Those who are not as inclined to read all of the journal entries will take pleasure in reading the side-notes and facts (and looking at all the “extra” bits) included with the illustrations.
This is one of those pretty books that I can look at again and again. Not only is the text lyrical and descriptive, but the illustrations are just—well, magical. Cinderella has a hard life with her stepmother and stepsisters constantly belittling her. However, her kindness to a bluebird in the forest captures the attention of the prince (oh how I love that Cinderella and the prince meet and share a bond before the ball!). Of course, that bluebird turns out to be the fairy godmother. And this fairy looks young and strong and powerful. Seriously, this is one book to gawk at just for Craft’s amazing illustrations.
True Confessions of Carla: I have several serious author crushes, people I would totally stalk if I weren’t actually too lazy to put forth that kind of effort. But, if I were to find where they live, I would picket their homes with signs reading “Write FASTER!!” and “What’s Taking So Long?” My biggest crushes currently are on Markus Zusak (I know THE BOOK THIEF is a hard act to follow…but I’d fly to his doorstep in Australia and rifle through his garbage if I thought I’d get more of his lyrical writing), Justin Cronin (Fortunately, his final book in the PASSAGE series comes out this spring so I can take him off my potential stalkee list for a while), and Mary Roach (Who is also safe for a while since her new book will be released this summer).
The problem is, pretty much the only author I know that can actually keep up to demand is Brandon Sanderson. James Patterson tries, but he maybe cheats and has help from co-writers, so I don’t think he counts. The solution is finding authors who write a lot like my favorites to help tide me over in the interim. And the Provo City Library is here to help!
We have a special part of our website called our Author Read-alikes. We take an author and provide three suggested authors that write like them. For example:
If you love, like I do, Marcus Zusak, you should check out Barbara Kingsolver, Charles Frazier, or Michael Chabon.
If you can’t get enough of Kiera Cass, maybe look into Amy Ewing, Catherine Linka, or Holly Bodger.
And if David McCullough’s books are what you crave, see if Stephen Ambrose, John Meacham, or Jeff Shaara can tide you over.
We have a couple hundred authors listed! Visit http://www.provolibrary.com/read-alikes to see if we can help you find your next favorite author. (Or at least someone to keep your mind off the interminable wait before your favorite author’s next release date.)
We recently began reading chapter books to my four-year-old daughter and she has just fallen in love with them. I love hearing the words, “One more chapter, Daddy, please?” every night. I have often said that my wife and I are very imperfect parents and our daughter has her flaws (when will she just stay in her bed all night?!), but at least our daughter loves books! We have enjoyed reading to her since the very beginning, even before she could really track objects. But more than once throughout her four years of life we, like many parents, have struggled to consistently make the time to read to her and have wondered how important it really is. Time and time again we are reminded that, yes, it is that important!
Throughout the years there have been many studies published that discuss the benefits of reading to children. One such study published last year that was discussed in Time emphasized yet more benefits to reading to small children. It seems that many studies have been done about the behavioral and educational benefits of reading to children, but there is still much research to be done in the area of brain activity in children while being read to. It was discovered that reading to children was linked to “brain activation in areas connected with visual imagery and understanding the meaning of language" (Worland, 2015). Add that to the long list of other benefits highlighted in other studies, not to mention how much fun it is to read in general, and we find many reasons why it is that important to read to our kids and to start early.
In case you are wondering what we have been reading to our daughter, here are two of her favorites so far: MERCY WATSON: SOMETHING WONKY THIS WAY COMES by Kate DiCamillo (she loved the whole series), and THE STORY OF DIVA AND FLEA by Mo Willems (yes, the Mo Willems).
Read-Alouds are so much fun that we have put together a booklist of several of our favorite ones. This list will be made available on the Provo City Library website in the near future and will be found here.
Worland, J. (April, 2015). Reading activates an important part of a child's brain. Time. Retrieved from http://time.com/3836428/reading-to-children-brain/