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Tuesday, June 06, 2006


The Book I Read

My kids are surrounded by books. On the shelves, on the floor, under the bed, they're everywhere. Just as I planned it when they were young -- to make the presence of books and a love for reading a natural part of their lives.

Here are the books we've had our noses in recently...

My daughter has asked us to read this one a couple of times: Wilma Unlimited: How Wilma Rudolph Became the World's Fastest Woman, by Kathleen Krull, a concisely told biography of the Olympic champion that is geared toward younger readers. It tells the story of Wilma as a sickly young girl who overcame numerous obstacles, including polio, to become a two-time gold medalist. Perseverance is the key lesson here, one which kids really need because it's sometimes so easy to just quit when things get hard. What really struck me about this story was a brief, but truly stunning, note about Wilma's mother. She gave birth to 22 children. 22. Talk about an Olympic achievement!

My son has been devouring The World's Deadliest Diseases, by Tim O'Shei. This is a compendium of ten of the most horrific diseases on the planet, including plague, cholera, cancer, malaria, and HIV/AIDS, with a couple of pages devoted to each sickness. Just looking at the cover of the book makes me depressed, but my son is fascinated by germs and viruses. For the past week he's been talking non-stop about things like parasites, tumors, bacteria, and bleeding scabs. It makes for pleasant dinner table conversation... Not. I'm just glad he has such a big appetite for knowledge about the world around him. And maybe this book will help him remember to wash his hands after using the bathroom!

I found the time to read an actual grown-up book this past month. Sweet and Low, by Rich Cohen, is a breezy memoir that covers everything from family dysfunction to Jewish mobsters to a history of artificial sweeteners. It's all told in an often light-hearted, sometimes deadly serious, narrative that is a surprisingly compelling tale. I highly recommend it.

Click on the book title links to purchase these books at Amazon. Or do what we did and get them from the library.

While I'm on this subject, Clea Hantman of the Small Ages music blog for kids, has just published her latest book for young girls... I Wanna Make My Own Clothes is packed full of ideas for all kinds of fashion fun. Check it out!


Blogger toadman said...

What? No Tolkien? Sacrelig! Sacrelig I tell you!

5:54 AM  
Blogger Philip said...

The disease books looks to scary for me, much less my son!

10:14 AM  
Anonymous brettdl said...

Seth loves all the gross books. Seth especially loves icky bugs.

Of course, we get books in the mail for my wife to review, so there's no problem instilling a love of books.

2:40 PM  
Blogger Phil said...

Oh yes, bugs! We've got piles of bug books. And piles of actual bugs collected in little bug catchers years ago and never thrown out.

3:53 PM  
Blogger Hannelie said...

Oh Phil, it's so amazing that people on the other side of the world does so many things alike!
We have books too, many many books, in the children's rooms, and two bookcases loaded with them.
My son loves horrible histories and my daughter is at the magazine stage! sister is Wilma, but not the olympian! I will look out for those, it sounds realy nice. Great idea to put the links on them!

10:31 PM  
Blogger Daddy D said...

we have surrounded our little one with books as well..hoping she will learn to love them...

...right now she is more interested in eating them then reading them....but granted she is only a year old...

though she does like a bedtime story.

- Jon
- Daddy Detective

7:30 AM  
Blogger Kristen said...

We're big book people, too. I laugh when the pediatrician asks if we read books with our kids. With a novelist and freelance writer as parents, you can imagine the stacks of books- and nowhere to keep them all. David loves books about the human body and requested I get him a poster featuring all the inner organs so he can hang it in his room. One day I found David and my sister (who works in internal medicine) studying her latest compendium of chronic illnesses and how to diagnose them. You can imagine the kinds of questions I was fielding all week after that.

5:50 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Our son loves dinosaur books. He has dozens all over his room and he sleeps with most of them. He is just learning to read so he tries to pick out the words he knows. I love watching him read!!

6:07 PM  
Blogger Phil said...

He has dozens all over his room and he sleeps with most of them.

There's nothing better than checking on your kids at night and finding them asleep with a book folded over their chest. A definite Kodak moment!

6:26 PM  

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