Cult Classics for Petites

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EDITED 1/26/2017: I have learned that KinderGuides authors Fredrik Colting and Melissa Medina are being sued for copyright infringement concerning all four of their books mentioned in this post.  To read more about this click, here.

We all have those favorite books, the ones that we keep on our shelves long after we finish the last page.  Those books that we hold dear, books that cause us to ponder something greater than ourselves.  As an English major I am thrilled for the day when I can share my absolute favorites with my petites, but that will be years from now…or will it?

Recently KinderGuides by Melissa Medina and Fredrik Colting (Moppet Books, 2016) came onto the kid lit scene and has adapted cult classics into petite sized reads of some of the most popular, commonly sought out, revered books around.

It’s not about growing up quickly, but rather about sowing that seed of appreciation for classic literature at an early age” Frederik Colting

Let’s spend a moment talking about the current trend of creating books that are classics, but in a package that is suitable for petites.  There are many books out there that re-envision the classics.  Some of our absolute favorites are BabyLit’s board books that use the classics as a conduit to teach petites about first skills, they are quite literally perfect primers.  What KinderGuides is doing is for slightly older petites, more in the age range of roughly 6-12 year olds.  These books are learning guides, that take classic stories and make them suitable for petites to digest and start to talk about.  Not to mention, KinderGuides is perfect for bibliophile parents – it is really fun to have an introduction into beloved classics minus the sex, drugs and violence.

The first four books that have been published and are currently in stores now are: The Old Man and The Sea by Ernest Hemingway, On The Road by Jack Kerouac, 2001: A Space Odyssey by Arthur C. Clarke, and Breakfast at Tiffany’s by Truman Capote.  Other titles that are currently in the works are: The Catcher in the Rye by JD Salinger, Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen, The Alchemist by Paulo Coehlo and To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee.

“The goal of all of this is to get them really psyched about these books now, so that they’ll want to read the originals later,” Ms. Medina said.

New York Times Interview, 2016

On The Road by Jack Kerouac is one of the most iconic authors of the Beat Generation his book On the Road is a cult classic for sure.  In this KinderGuides book you will read a short bio about Kerouac then hope right into a summarized version of On the Road.  In this summary you will get a general idea of On the Road and the adventures that Sal and Dean have together along with some of the characters that they meet along the way.  During reading  there were a couple of times where my petite asked questions about the ambiguity of the summary.  This story reads more like a bulleted summary at places and doesn’t flow when read aloud like you might expect.  However, I do believe that readers who love On the Road will love sharing this book with their petites.

 

The Old Man and The Sea by Ernest Hemingway is one of my absolute favorite stories of all time.  Let’s first discuss the illustrations, they are stunningly vibrant, engaging and seem to capture the tone of the novel.  The summary for this book is spot on and gives you a real sense of what happened in the book.  I actually think that this might be a perfect addition to a classroom for a language learner so that they could use this guide to gain a more complete understanding of the original text.

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I love that through the reading of this book my petite was engaged and wanting to know more about what would happen to Santiago once he caught the fish and what it must have felt like to pull his boat ashore with a pretty much eaten carcass.  I believe that these conversations are the root of what Ms. Medina and Mr. Colting were aiming for when they created KinderGuides.

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Here is a link to the New York Times piece about KinderGuides.

Bloggers Note: I was given the books mentioned in this post for an honest review.  The thoughts and opinions expressed in this post are my own.  Thank you to KinderGuides for use of images from The Old Man and The Sea.

 

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A Tangerine Dress and a Fabulous Story

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A few months ago we were at our local independent bookstore.  This bookstore is awesome…the type of place you could lose track of time.  My husband found this book on the shelves and we were sold.  Morris Micklewhite and the Tangerine Dress, by Christine Baldacchino with illustrations by Isabelle Malenfant is a touching story.  It is about a young boy named Morris, his favorite activity at school is the dress up center, he loves the tangerine dress.  His classmates tease him and exclude him from playing their games because they don’t understand.  Morris retreats into his imagination and what a great one it is.

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This story brought a tear to my eye, because I have known so many little kids who have loved to do things that are not “typically” in their gender role.  In my opinion there is nothing wrong with this, and I love that this story gives trying new things and doing what you love a spot center stage.  I want my girls to know that being different, or liking different things is okay.  That doing what you love is okay.  That doing the things that make you happy and make you smile is okay.  Above all I want them to know that I love them for who they are.  I love Morris Micklewhite and hope you will too.  This book is a fabulous book that, in my opinion, should be in every school library and in the hands of all of our petites.

Happy Reading,
Erin

It’s Back to School: Homework Station

Oh my goodness, as a teacher this is one of my favorite times of year.  This year, like last year, I will be sitting it out.  Being a stay at home mom is incredibly rewarding, but I will be honest, I miss seeing my “kids” and that first day of school, that feeling when all is new and possibilities are endless.

With that said, this is a big year for us. The Petite has started kindergarten!  Words cannot even begin to describe how I felt sending her off that first day.  She has been my co-pilot for the last year and it is a strange feeling to not have her around during the day.  Good news is that she loves her new school, friends and teacher.  Yay!

I don’t like kindergarten, I LOVE kindergarten!

These were the petite’s words on the first day of school.  I am in love with her enthusiasm and joy for learning.  One thing that as a mom, who happens to be a teacher, is that there are a few recommendations I would make on back to school night that now I actually get to do myself.  The first one is setting up a homework station or area.

Homework Station

This is something that will save time, stress and headaches in the weeks to come.  Having an area where all of the items you need to complete assignments helps students to be responsible and organized.  It shows them that homework and learning are important and gives them an area or place where doing homework is the expectation.  Can you tell I’ve talked about this to parents before?

A homework area varies greatly depending on the age of the student.

Homework Station Items

Pre-K through 2nd grade:

White computer paper, ruler, eraser, glue stick, pencils, crayons, highlighters, scissors, writing paper and a timer for tracking reading times (I just use my phone).  Items that can be helpful but aren’t necessary: dry erase board and markers, and whiteout.

3rd grade – 5th grade

White computer paper, ruler, eraser, glue stick, pencils, pens, markers, crayons, highlighters, whiteout, scissors, binder paper, dictionary and a timer.

Middle School

Binder paper, pens, pencils, calculator, dictionary, highlighters, post its.

High School

Yikes, I’m guessing its been years since you’ve been able to convince your teen to do homework out in the open….and they’ve made it this far so…keep up the good work.  🙂

 

Now is a great time to get all of these items, because they are still on sale.  The critical part to all of this is to have something to hold it in so that it is easy to access.  One of my main goals for recommending these things is  to make doing homework less of a scavenger hunt and more so a learning experience.  Starting a routine around when homework is done, also where it is done is so helpful.  If there is a routine it helps kids to be accountable even kindergarteners.  After all, kids love routine, even if they tell you otherwise.

I hope this helps ease you back into the school year, start a homework routine and have stress free nights while helping the kids get homework assignments completed.

Erin