Books and Stuff

Yesterday was Dress Like A Book Character day at my kids' school.  We had Ponyboy (The Outsiders), Annabeth (Percy Jackson series), Bean (Ivy and Bean), and Thing One (do I really need to tell you where Thing One comes from?).  And one non-participator.  Thing One was a pathetic case of typecasting.


I tried to get one of the girls to be Scout from To Kill a Mockingbird, but apparently, they just don't do overalls anymore.  That's sad, don't you think?  No one should ever be too cool for overalls.  No one.

Anyway, later in the morning, I listened to Your Call Radio, on KALW, and the topic was childrens' literature.  Among many interesting items, the guests discussed two resources I am sharing here because I think they might be of interest to anyone with kids.

The first is a website, called Guys Read, that is all about promoting reading for boys.  I have two guys here, ages 13 and 11, so I perked up when I heard about it.  My boys are both "sort of readers."  They have both read books that they couldn't put down.  They both love it when we read aloud together as a family.  But they also have many less worthy distractions competing for their attention.  Their iPods (why did we give them those damn things?), their video games (majorly regrettable decision on our part), and beating up on each other, to name a few.  So I'm looking forward to trolling around on the Guys Read site and discovering more ways to help my sons become life-long readers.

The second is the Campaign for a Commerical-Free Childhood.  Now this is a campaign I can get behind.  Their mission is to reclaim childhood from corporate marketers: could there be anything more important than that?  My kids have already heard me rant for years about product placement and cross-marketing: these people are speaking my language!  Did you know that there are over 70 product promotions in the movie The Lorax?  The movie my kids will get to see this weekend?  More than 70 products are using Dr. Suess's environmental love song to get us to consume more stuff.  That's just twisted.  CCFC is sponsoring an upcoming Screen Free Week, April 30-May 6, and if you click on that link, you can download free a guide to help you organize your own.  I can't wait to make my kids do this.  As soon as I break the news, I'm sure they'll be on Google, searching for things like "How can I figure out if I was separated at birth from the mother who really loves me?" or "What to do when your parents are bats."  Should be a real hoot.  Whose with me?

I actually called in to the radio show to tell the guests about Dress Like A Book Character Day and also to recommend two childrens' books: A Time of Wonder and One Morning in Maine, both by Robert McCloskey of Make Way for Ducklings fame.  Then, I actually got on the air, and got all nervous and babbled like an idiot, and repeated myself, and said the same thing over and over, and barely got off the phone with my dignity intact.  But what I wanted to say was this: both of those books are longer than you might be looking for after a long day and with bedtime within spitting distance.  But the time we spent reading those books to our kids when they were little tinies was some of the best time we've spent ever.  So if you haven't tried them, please do.  They both have this magical effect on children, rendering them alert, engaged, calm, and peaceful.

Hmmm...maybe it's time to re-read them to Thing One.

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Comments

I am a huge proponent of the CCFC. What a great organization! They have an annual conference that always seems really cool. If I plopped my contrarians in front of the TV for a few hours, I just might be able to go. Hardy har har...

Anyway, I think if we didn't live on opposite coasts, we could be good friends.

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