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The Nepotism Column by, Susan Heyboer O'Keefe

Another place they meet is in a critique group. This is where I met the following children's writers and dear friends, whom I will now shamelessly plug:

Carol also writes wonderful how-to guides on the writing process for middle graders. Her two newest are WRITING ACTIVITIES FOR EVERY DAY OF THE SCHOOL YEAR and HOOKED ON WRITING: READY-TO-USE WRITING PROCESS ACTIVITIES. Both books are targeted for grades 4 to 8. The books are for teachers and also can be used by parents who want to help their kids write better. Both books contain loads of exercises, worksheets, creative ideas, and fun.

. A quarreling brother and sister find a decoy, which is an enchanted goose, turned to wood as punishment for her faithlessness. In finally settling their own arguments, the brother and sister help the goose become real once more, while they themselves discover they can -- for just a moment -- really fly.

, and by this time probably more on the way. Her story in CHICKEN SOUP FOR THE KID'S SOUL, is "Merry Christmas, My Friend," a heartwarming tale of an old man and his dog. You might have seen last year's dramatization of this story on Pax TV starring Mickey Rooney. For your own pleasure, read Chris' adult story about a troubled marriage in the UNSINKABLE SOUL book.

GIRLS: A HISTORY OF GROWING UP FEMALE IN AMERICA, a fascinating collection of American girls' personal experiences throughout the centuries, taken from diaries, memoirs, letters, household accounts, period photographs, etc.

CORPSES, COFFINS, AND CRYPTS: A HISTORY OF BURIAL, which looks at the customs and ceremonies of death throughout different cultures and different times; and ROSIE THE RIVETER: WOMEN WORKING ON THE HOME FRONT IN WORLD WAR II, which is a fascinating account of the role and impact of working women during the war.

The Yellow Star: The Legend of King Christian X of Denmark by Carmen Agra Deedy, with illustrations by Henry Sørensen. Both the king of Denmark and the Danes were so active protecting Jewish citizens during World War II, the following legend sprang up: When Danish Jews were required to wear yellow stars on their clothing, the king himself had a yellow star sewn onto his coat. Following his lead, all the Danes wore yellow stars, so that the Jews could not be singled out. The picture book first tells this story, with subtlety and understatement, keeping the Holocaust in the far background. This alone gives rise to questions and answers and more questions of what is happening and why. Then the author, in a substantial, explains that this is just a legend and provides the facts about Denmark’s rescue efforts. Finding out the story isn’t true provokes an inevitable letdown, which leads to more conversation: How do you think the legend started? Why? Why did we need this legend? What purpose does it serve?

A Question of Belief ... Existence ... Leadership ... Freedom by David Butler, with illustrations by Amy Butler. Don’t be fooled by the board book format of this series. These little books are meant for middle grade and older. Each bills itself as “a collection of questions, quotes, and quandaries” on the particular topic. By looking at all sides of an issue, the books provide points of agreement and disagreement, maybe even heated disagreement. Did you ever consider that your 10-year-old might actually have opinions on the nature of existence? Pull out that volume, read a few zingers, and check the reaction.

Children's Reading - Page 1


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