Sophie’s Picks

This post reflects one of the “issues” I raise in my children’s literature classes: that adults–not children–typically decide the definition of “kid friendly” and do the reviewing, award-bestowing, buying, “leveling,” selecting, (e.g. many principals select a book-of-the-month to be read to all grades), etc.. There’s a presumption that adults know what’s best for kids to read (hummm, perhaps that belief turns some kids off to reading?). While there’s merit to that presumption, I think it’s important to let kids be the “boss” of what they read, (even, in my case, when that means having to read a Disney-produced princess book)!

Yesterday we had a special treat of “Sophie-Sitting” (i.e. “babysitting”): pick-up from kindergarten; “hanging-out,” including the Columbia University bookstore that has a children’s book section and big comfy leather chairs; bath, including playing “sea lion” ( I was the trainer who thought up tricks for Sophie, the sea lion, to perform after which I would “throw” her “fish, squid, etc.” to “eat”!) Sophie picked books for bedtime reading: the “coolest one”, she said, was Explorabook: A Kids’ Science Museum in a Book, by John Cassidy The Exploratorium, www.klutz.com (a Christmas gift from Sue-the-scientist, i.e. Sue Kirch, a science educator at New York University, see posts 10/08/07; 9/19 & 29/08; 11/17); the “funniest” was The Jellybeans and the Big Dance by Laura Numeroff and Nate Evans, illustrated by Lynn Munsinger; another “cool” book was Spot the Difference. We also read The Adventure of Isabel by Ogden Nash, illustrated by Bridget Starr Taylor, with the refrain, “Isabel, Isabel didn’t worry/Isabel didn’t scream or scurry;” Clip-Clop by Nicola Smee (a fun book to read with a physics lesson & delightful illustrations www.boxerbooks.com); The Three Snow Bears by Jan Brett; and The Beautiful Butterfly Book by Sue Unstead, illustrated by Gill Tomblin.

I was also interested to see Sophie set aside some books in her library as “baby-books.” When we’re not in the throes of bedtime, I’ll follow up & ask her: What makes a book a ‘baby-book”?

Finally we ended up with me making-up another “Sparkle & Sophie” story, which she loves. Making-up stories is not my forte. Sophie, however, doesn’t seem to mind my fumbling –perhaps because she’ll prompt me when need be, e.g., last night I was going on and on about Sparkle & a little bug, when Sophie asked, “Grammie, isn’t it time for Sophie to come.”

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