Doing More With Less Since 1972

Category: Curricula and Books (Page 2 of 2)

Book Review — Make Van Gogh’s Bed

Touch Classic Art

Touch Classic Art

Chick Pea and I took a trip to our local art museum yesterday (we love free admission on Tuesdays) and I found this great touch book of Impressionist art by Julie Appel and Amy Guglielmo. It features classic paintings with textures for kids to touch and feel as they explore the pages. What a wonderful way to expose your child to art and reading at the same time! Of course, with paintings by Van Gogh, Renoit, Monet, and others, this book is visually stimulating for children and adults alike. But it goes further by including the touch sensory as well, allowing your child to actually “feel” a part of each of the paintings.

The featured paintings also tell the story of a day at the beach, starting with Van Gogh’s Bedroom at Arles and ending with his Starry Night. Each painting is accompanied by a short poem that describes the painting and tells a part of the story. The ArtiFacts section (clever) at the end of the book also features more information on each painting featured in the book for parents. If Impressionism isn’t your thing, there are also three other books in the Touch the Art series–Brush Mona Lisa’s Hair, Feed Matisse’s Fish, and Pop Warhol’s Top.

We are lucky to have an excellent used book store in our town, so we seldom buy new books or pay full price, but these will be hard to find used, and they were so nice I could not pass them up.

Family Friendly Online Bookstore

The other day I happened to run into Gavin Baker of at an informal entrepreneur’s meetup. Abunga is a family friendly online media store that actually uses the input of its community to decide what they should sell. Abunga isn’t Amazon, and they aren’t trying to be either. They are built around the idea of not only providing family friendly products at great prices, but they also have a program that donates money back to worthy causes.

Gavin and I had a really good conversation about the directions they’d like to go with Abunga and new services they have in the works to enhance the experience of their user community. We talked part technology, part marketing, and part “you know what would be cool”. I don’t want to give away any of their plans for the future, but those guys are working feverishly to add more and more to Abunga.

Check them out if you have a chance. We’re constantly looking for cool things like this in the community (especially our local community) that are good resources for parents and kids!

Kids Prefer To Read Classics

According to a Washington Post survey, kids still prefer to read the classics when given the choice.

Children have welcomed the Harry Potter books in recent years like free ice cream in the cafeteria, but the largest survey ever of youthful reading in the United States revealed today that none of J.K. Rowling’s phenomenally popular books has been able to dislodge the works of longtime favorites Dr. Seuss, E.B. White, Judy Blume, S.E. Hinton and Harper Lee as the most read.

I remember reading many of these authors when I was growing up and I also read them to my classes when I was a teacher. There’s something special about kids and these classics that go together like green eggs and ham. They never seem to get old as they transcend generations and continue to be young kids’ favorites. It’s nice to see the cycle created by great writing and comforting stories. It’s also pretty cool to know that we’re not too old to relate to something our kids like!

In honor of these cool findings I’d like to share my top favorite books from some of these classic authors. Here they are in no particular order:

Dr. Suess’s There’s a Wocket in My Pocket: I actually didn’t know how to speak English when I was first introduced to this book (2nd grade), but I remember how much I loved the silly creatures and the way the words sounded. I still smile when I read this book as an adult for the same reasons.

E.B. White’s Charlette’s Web: I think this book will always be a favorite! I never thought I’d care so much about a spider…or a rat.

Judy Blume’s Freckle Juice: This was a tough choice for me because I have a couple of other favorites (Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing and SuperFudge), but this one won out because I made the most connections with it. I always wanted freckles because my mom and siblings had them and I didn’t have any! So it was easy for me to relate with Andrew’s fervent desire for these spots.

Maybe you can share them with your child (if you haven’t already) and keep the cycle going!

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