Flash Readathon Wrap Up

Andi and Heather made a couple of innocent "I need a readathon" comments within my earshot (or whatever you call it online). Which got me thinking...why not have a casual, impromptu one? No need to have a formal host or organizer really (though the three of us kept an eye on the hashtag and answered questions). The idea was to have a very laid-back, free-for-all kind of readathon with real no rules, just lots of reading and chit-chat.Apparently we weren't the only ones needing this little "reading flash mob" because wow, so many of you went along with this last-minute idea! It was a whole lot of fun, as you can tell from Twitter and Instagram! I know I'd love to do this again.I…


Picture Books Supporting the Girl Scout Daisy Global Action Award

C has been working on earning the Global Action Award for Girl Scout Daisies, which uses the United Nations' Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) "to teach Daisies about critical world issues and how they can make a difference." What better way to start learning about these issues than through books? There are some wonderful picture books out there that touch on (or even tackle) these heavy topics in an age-appropriate way. These topics are tough, so if you have a sensitive child, consider pre-screening the books and remember, Daisies only have to complete a minimum of one activity from the requirement list in order to earn the award. Here is the book list I came up with, each book coupled with its corresponding…


Free to Learn by Peter Gray

That blurb makes the book sound far, far more "anti-school" than it actually feels. Even though Free to Learn presents very unconventional ideas about education, it reads in a balanced way, without alienating people, and even admitting this approach might not be a right fit for everyone. If you're familiar with Playful Parenting by Lawrence J. Cohen or Free-Range Kids by Lenore Skenazy, you'll recognize a lot of the same fundamental ideas in Free to Learn: How children learn through play, how well they learn when given the freedom to explore and discover without intervention, the benefits of mixed-age groups. I enjoyed this book on a personal level. It's very similar to the way my own family approaches homeschooling. Gray mixes anthropological evidence and psychological studies with…


The Thing About Great White Sharks by Rebecca Adams Wright

The fifteen speculative short stories in The Thing About Great White Sharks blew me away! This collection is creative, offbeat and really delightful. As each story unfolded, I had a steady stream of happy/excited/giddy feelings because I never knew what was coming up next. Rebecca Adams Wright's versatility shines throughout this book. In Sheila, a man makes a difficult (and shocking) decision concerning his robotic dog when "mechanimals" are banned after a single but horrific incident. Storybag makes you think: Are we living our lives as part of someone else's story, or writing our own? Keeper of the Glass is a war story with a twist of fantasy, based on a true historical thread: Keeping panels of the cathedral's stained glass windows hidden…


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