E-Newsletter • Vol. 1 No. 3 • October 2014
Julia Washburn, Editor

IN THIS ISSUE • Struggling Reader Wings, Tales of Courage, Quality and Discernment

Writers' Collective Formed

This month we are excited to share a post by Jami Spaulding, member of the new Make Way for Books Writers' Collective. This Collective will share insights from a vast array of experiences to inform, inspire, and encourage. If you have something pertaining to children's books, reading, and writing you'd like addressed, contact us.

She had the skill, she was ready to read,
but seeing it was literally such hard work
that she just couldn’t bear it.


The Book That Gave My Reader Wings

Jami Spaulding, Guest Contributor

When my middle daughter Liberty was 7 years old, she wanted to read more than anything. She spent hours looking at books and tried so hard to decode them, but she literally couldn’t see. Born a preemie, her vision was weak and reading real books was HARD, even with very strong glasses. The more time passed, the more she wanted to read real books and the more her frustration with “baby books,” basic decodable readers with bigger font sizes, grew. We were homeschooling at the time and I made the decision to back off a bit. We took a look at the unique way she learned and decided we needed some very active learning. We did sight word hopping, ABC dancing and a lot of word art. As her phonemic foundation solidified, her confidence soared until it came time to read a book. She had the skill, she was ready to read, but seeing it was literally such hard work that she just couldn’t bear it. Continued...

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Elsie's Bird — "readers are inspired to look at hard situations with new eyes"...
book details, summary & review

Our picks from this month exemplify a broad range of courage—it rallies communities, overcomes adversity, knits together relationships, and bolsters confidence for justice.

Courage by Bernard Waber (not pictured) reminds us this trait is more than confidence in difficult times, and Wing Ding by Kevin Markey throws us a walloping tale of grasshopper migration that forces a redefinition of "All-Star." While Wind Dancer by Chris Platt weaves a complex plot stemming from loss and trauma where characters seek to know what is right, A Tangle of Knots by Lisa Graff weaves a "magnificent puzzle" of relationships that intertwine in unexpected ways. And finally, Searching for Sarah Rector: The Richest Black Girl in America by Tonya Bolden offers a unique entry to the biographical world that is not so much a rags-to-riches story as it is a documentary that courageously uncovers consequences of greed and injustice. This is writing that inspires.

Spot Light: October 2014

Developing a Discerning Literary Appetite

Almost 25 years ago Make Way for Books set out to become a reliable recommendation source of books that foster a discerning literary appetite, so we established selection guidelines accordingly. In case you wonder what we mean by praiseworthy themes or ideas, you'll find them in our keywords filter.

While selection guidelines—whether personal or a formally drafted library selection policy—are important, using guidelines for discernment while reading may be just as important. Consider this line of questioning based on a well-read passage of Scripture.

Finally, Meghan Cox Gurdon, children's book reviewer for the Wall Street Journal delivered a powerful speech at Hillsdale College last summer that speaks to present state of children's books, specifically Young Adult offerings, and argues for quality — beauty that will last generation to generation. The Case for Good Taste in Children's Books is adapted from that speech.


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