Toward the end of last year, I went on a reading binge and resurrected
posts, which made me feel all industrious and proud of myself. But then I got engrossed in several writing projects and stopped reading again. I have a really hard time reading other people’s stories while I’m immersed in mine – they get muddled together in confusing ways. So while it’s great that I’m making significant progress on the writing front, I miss reading. Now I’m determined to find the right balance and revive my Read-n-Feed posts . . . again.
Like last time
, I’m kicking it off with a book by a friend of mine: Kathleen Fox
. I met Kathleen six years ago when I first joined SCBWI
, since she ran the local critique group. I was petrified walking into that first meeting (sharing my work with strangers, what?!?), but Kathleen and the others quickly put me at ease. Kathleen is warm, witty, and supportive, and I’m so lucky to call her my friend.
Kathleen is a fabulously funny writer, who also manages to infuse a ton of heart and soul into her writing. Her stories can have me giggle-snorting at one moment and then ugly crying just a few pages later. While A Book Is Just Like You! is not that type of emotional roller coaster, it does have a special place in my heart: it’s the first published book that I helped critique. I know it would have been fantastic even without my input, but I did feel a bit like a proud auntie when I held it the first time.
Illustrator: John Wallace
Category: Picture Book
Publisher: Upstart Books (2012)
Description: Do you know that a book is just like you? It’s true! Think about it:
• On the day you were born, you were given a name. A book is given a name, too — it’s called a title.
• You have a spine that helps to keep your body together. A book also has a spine, which keeps the book’s body of pages together.
• You don’t go to school naked — you wear clothes to keep warm, protect your skin, show off your fashion sense and, of course, to keep out of the principal’s office! Books wear clothes, too. A book’s clothes are called a cover, or jacket, and like clothes, they keep the inside of a book protected from things like kids with sticky ice cream fingers and little baby brothers.
With vibrant illustrations and hilarious comparisons, A Book Is Just Like You is the perfect teaching tool for helping students understand their books — inside and out. Grades K-3.
Since A Book Is Just Like You! is not only a picture book but also nonfiction, it is well outside of my wheelhouse, but that’s why it was such a great learning experience to read it. I’ve taken a few stabs at writing nonfiction articles for kids, but they have all been horrible. No matter what I try, they sound lecture-y rather than enjoyable.
Kathleen avoids that pitfall by starting with an inventive premise: teach kids about the parts of a book by comparing it to something they are very familiar with – themselves. Then instead of using a teacher-y tone to explain the similarities, she uses a chatty voice that sounds like she’s discovering these similarities along with the kids rather than lecturing them.
In addition to the main text, each page is filling with amusing captions that accompany all the adorable drawings. These captions are where Kathleen’s humor really shines – they support what she’s explaining in the text in a memorable, funny way that should stick with young readers.
I don’t know if I’ll ever try my hand at non-fiction for kids again, but if I do, I’ll be returning to Kathleen’s book as an example of how to make it both educational and entertaining.
To celebrate the re-revival of Read-n-Feed, I’m giving away a signed copy of A Book Is Just Like You! Since it compares the parts of a book to the parts of a person, I’m asking: If you could be any book, which one would you be? To enter the giveaway, leave your answer in the comments and feel free to share why you’d be that book if you have a reason.
As for me, I’d want to be Green Eggs and Ham
by Dr. Seuss because on the surface it’s fun and silly, but at its core it has a serious message. Ironically not a message I took to heart because change makes me break out in a cold sweat.
There are also social media related ways to receive extra entries – just fill in the Rafflecopter form, and I'll use it to pick a random winner.
The giveaway is now over - congratulations to Carol for winning!
This is a great book for librarians or teachers to use in their classrooms, so please share the giveaway with anyone you know working with young children.
I’m willing to ship internationally, so this is open to everyone. The giveaway will be open for a week, and I’ll announce the winner next Friday, July 26th. Good luck!