kids talk

This isn’t totally library or kid lit-related, but I felt I needed to post it. Both because I feel it’s relevant to today’s events and (mostly) because it makes me laugh. And laughing feels really, really good right now.

My daughter wasn’t at school today (she had a fever), so I haven’t had to explain the Connecticut school shooting to her yet. I’m not looking forward to the discussion. She tends to get panicky about guns and “robbers” whenever she hears about a local crime, but she’s going to hear about it eventually, so, as her parent, it’s my job to make sure she has the necessary context to help her try to process the event.

Context – the search for clues that lead toward deeper meanings – is one of the most important things in the world for a kid, which is one of the reasons why I’m such a big proponent of reading.  Reading gives kids the ability to access context and meaning on their own and that’s an incredibly empowering skill to have. All kids go through a period where they keep asking their parents “WHY?”, so giving them the ability to answer that question themselves is just one of the most important things in the world.

BUT it is good to know that, even without her father clumsily trying to help her find deeper meaning in the world, my daughter still knows that some truths are simply self-evident, even for a six year old.

Case in Point – Around Thanksgiving, two of our best college friends came into town, both with daughters right around my daughter’s own age. The trio of girls became BFFs at an alarming speed (at a scary speed) and then immediately retreated to our basement where they said they were playing “spies.” Hours went by without a peep and, when they were done, they came back upstairs without a word. I went downstairs later to clean up and found, in their handwriting, their self-authored “RULES FOR PLAY.”

These were the rules that the three girls decided were SO important for playing that they felt the need to write them down. And, so, without further ado, here are the TEN COMMANDMENTS OF PLAYING SPY, as written by my daughter and her two newest best friends forever.Rules for Play
If you can’t read their handwriting, I’ll translate: [read the rest of the post…]


Comic Book Guy

You expect me to believe that CHILDREN have the ability to select their own "Best-Books-Ever"? Hardly...

After all this talk about grown-ups ranking the “best kids books ever!”, I decided that I wanted a different perspective on the issue and went looking for examples of actual kids talking about their favorite books of all time. I limited my search to video sources because I wanted to actually see and hear the kids discuss the books they were really in love with. (I assumed that most five- to ten-year-olds wouldn’t have blogs of their own, which… let’s be honest, totally dates me.)

I was definitely surprised at how few videos on the subject I found on YouTube. I thought there would be plenty, and there were many videos of grown-ups and teenagers discussing their favorite books – mostly adult titles and mostly filmed in dark, poorly lit rooms, as if they were afraid of being discovered by someone. But searching on “best books for kids” or “favorite children’s books” on YouTube just didn’t return that many quality results.

The best YT videos I found on the subject came from a site called Mom Kids Books – a site that touts “great books for kids recommended by moms.” I like how they did their videos, which was essentially just setting up a camera and letting the kids talk. I particularly dug this video by seventeen-year-old Tessa talking about her favorite book, The Phantom Tollbooth. (Yes, fine, I am crazy biased about this one. I admit.)

Here’s another great “my favorite book video” from Mariah talking about her favorite book, The Very Fairy Princess.

As my search went on, I actually had much better luck finding videos of kids talking about their favorite books on Vimeo. The Pikes Peak Library District in Colorado has a FANTASTIC Vimeo channel with a really compelling selection of videos. I especially loved their KidsVIEW on Books series, in which, again, real kids get on camera to discuss the real books they love. The best part about the KidsVIEW videos is that they offer a very honest portrayal of what young kids really like to read. Some of these kids love award-winning books by acclaimed children’s authors like Roald Dahl, C.S. Lewis, J.K. Rowling, and Cornelia Funke, to name a few, and some of these kids just absolutely love books like Barbie: Scavenger Hunt or Star Wars Revenge of the Sith: The Visual Dictionary. [read the rest of the post…]