Friday, April 29, 2011

AAA Attraction Discounts

I used to make the mistake of thinking of AAA as the people I contacted when the car broke down and I needed help or the place to go before I went on vacation. I often forget to check them out for local stuff and that costs me money. Since I am already a member, using my membership to get additional discounts costs me nothing, but the time to check.

I was reminded of this recently when planning a weekend museum trip. The website kindly listed the discounts they offered. AAA was one of them. As I wrote about in a previous blog, the library pass program was a better deal. However, you cannot always count on getting a pass when you want one. The AAA discount is not limited to a specific number of residents per day.

This inspired me to research what other discounts were available in my area. AAA will provide you with a link to your local branch. At our AAA I discovered discounts to places we are planning to visit this summer as well as a place I was not aware of that is now on my must visit list. The EcoTarium in Worcester provides indoor and outdoor science explorations for students and families. For an additional cost, they have a canopy walk, train ride, and Planetarium. Doing further research I discovered our library does have a better pass, but it will not cover the number of people who want to attend, if we can even secure it for the day we want it. Since most of our family members have AAA, we can reduce the cost for all who travel with us, based on the AAA offer available at this site.

I am going to be talking about some other ways to reduce your costs while visiting local attractions this summer. There are many ways to avoid paying full price. Evaluating your options will help you generate the best cost savings.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

The Sixteen Hand Horse

As I mentioned in my previous post about The King Who Rained I put a request into the library to borrow the The Sixteen Hand Horse. It arrived in time to share it with a younger relative on Easter. While she is no longer of age for picture books, this book had some of the most challenging expressions of the series.

There were a couple of phrases I had to check on. "Daddy says he caught a fish on a spoon" proved my context skills are still working. A spoon is a fishing lure, which was my guess. A family member who knew about fish eggs cleared up the fish row or roe. Several other expressions had to be explained to the student, but those were the only two that left me frustrated that the computer had been locked away for Easter.

If you have not tried these books before, I suggest you seek them out. This one provided some quality entertainment on Easter. It was a great chance to discuss expressions, idioms, and to admit that sometimes we all need to review the meanings when context clues are not enough to help us through the unfamiliar phrase.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Library Museum Passes

This topic came up when we realized we were having an unexpected guest next weekend who would be staying for a longer than anticipated time. We needed an activity that was close and entertaining. We chose the Science Discovery Museum in Acton. For some reason I thought I had checked our library's list of museums, but I missed this one. Their website provides a list of libraries that have Discovery Museum passes. After realizing I almost missed a great money saving opportunity, I thought it was a great topic for a blog.

Many local charitable organizations provide passes to museums and other local places of interest for library patrons to borrow. The passes can range from discounts to free admission. The numbers of people they cover also vary.

These are some helpful tips to get better use from your local library passes.

Use the Online Library Services in the Convenience of Your Home.

If your library has an online service, start there. I have been in line more Saturdays while people struggle desperately to find an available pass. Library event passes are popular and they reserve quickly. Many libraries not only have the ability to research pass information, but actually to reserve the passes. Libraries vary in how far in advance you can reserve a pass. Once you know your intended date, you will want to reserve as soon as the system allows you to make a reservation. Popular passes go quickly, especially in the summer and during school vacations.

Read the Rules

The libraries and the institutions you are visiting have rules. Many libraries have instructions about when the passes can be picked up and dropped off. Our library has some stiff fines when passes are not picked up or they are dropped off late. This is to encourage people not to place a hold on a pass preventing someone else from using it that day. The goal is to reserve it and use it.

Our library is good about trying to list availability only on dates institutions are open. For instance if a museum is not open on Mondays, they try to "X" out that date so people cannot reserve the pass for those days. However, places do change hours and schedules. I have heard people complaining to the librarians that they were unable to use the pass as if it was the library's fault the place was closed. My advice is to check the website and call if you have any doubts. Some places are better than others about keeping their websites updated with current hours and schedules. The library has enough challenges just keeping up with the reservations and returns. They are not travel agents.

Read the Directions for the Pass

It is important to know what the pass does. Many libraries provide this information online. If you have any doubts, ask. Call the library and double check with the place you are visiting to make sure you know what is covered. Some passes provide discounts, others free entrance. Some passes will give you entry to the museum, but you have to pay for special exhibits. Some of these exhibits require separate reservations. Much of this information can be found on the institution's website. It is best to do your research before your trip.

Check Your Best Options

If you are traveling in a group, you may have multiple discount options. I am going to be discussing a few more of these in future blogs. Children and seniors often have discount offers based on age. You may want to use those discounts first and use the library discounts for the more expensive adults. You can always spread the savings around to make sure everyone gets benefits from the actual cost when buying the tickets. There are multiple ways to divide the savings. We tend to add up the cost of the tickets after savings and divide it by the number of adults. Then everyone gets to share in the savings. There are many other methods to maximize the discounts and free tickets. If people are traveling from different towns, research the library discounts available in those towns. Even if you cannot get your library passes, grandma or an uncle traveling with you might have better luck. If you get lucky, you may get enough passes to cover all of you. Just one word of caution, you are responsible for any loans made on your library card. It is best not to borrow any passes you will not be responsible for as you will be liable if they are not returned.

Flexibility Provides More Options

Weekends tend to be the busiest. If you have the option to visit during the week, you have a better chance of using a pass. Many homeschooling parents are aware of the benefits of weekday visits. For some sites, you do have to work around school group tours. That goes back to my warning about researching prior to scheduling your trip.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Peep Experiments

Almost Unschoolers has been running Peep Experiments and sharing the results over on her blog. I love seeing kids have the chance to see science with material found in the home.

If you have left over Peeps from Easter, Peeps has provided science experiments for people to try. This is a great way to use up some of that extra Easter candy and provide a fun learning experience at the same time. Enjoy.

Monday, April 25, 2011

Key to the Treasure

Peggy Parish is best known for her Amelia Bedelia series. However, she also wrote a less well known series of mystery chapter books for children that are often forgotten.

Key to the Treasure (Liza, Bill & Jed Mysteries)is the first in a series of mysteries about three children, Liza, Bill, and Jed. The first book is the best in the series.

The book starts with the children on an annual summer visit to their grandparents. The story combines the children's summer adventures with their search to solve the mystery. The mystery surrounds a story that grandfather has told them every summer about a treasure hunt left by a relative headed off to the Civil War. The first clue is lost and the treasure is never found. Generations of children have hunted, but never located the treasure. An accident provides the children with a chance no previous hunters have had in the quest.

I have had great luck getting reluctant readers engaged in this book. The book is a great independent read as well as a read aloud. It is a great chance to discuss prediction, setting, and characters.

Additional books in the series include:

Clues in the Woods (Liza, Bill & Jed Mysteries)

The Haunted House (Liza, Bill & Jed Mysteries)

Pirate Island Adventure (Liza, Bill & Jed Mysteries)

The Mystery of Hermit Dan (Liza, Bill & Jed Mysteries)

The Ghosts of Cougar Island (Liza, Bill & Jed Mysteries)

Friday, April 22, 2011

Play-Doh Fairytale Sets

I was at our local Target finishing up my Easter shopping when I located some Christmas presents. It appears they have created three sets of Play-Doh story sets. The stories include PLAY-DOH THE STORY OF HANSEL AND GRETEL, PLAY-DOH THE STORY OF THE THREE LITTLE PIGS, and PLAY-DOH THE STORY OF LITTLE RED RIDING HOOD.

I have always loved adding art to literacy and Play-Doh seems a natural combination. While many families and teachers create their own projects, this is a way to encourage children to think about exploring stories through art.

I purchased the three sets at our local Target store. I have not found a comparable online price. I am not sure if this is a limited release item since I have not found a significant online presence for the product. My suggestion is if you are interested find them at your local stores and put them away for future gift needs. The online prices I have seen are almost double to what I paid locally.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Brain Cleary's Language Series

People are always looking for creative ways to teach English Language skills to students. Brian Cleary has found a creative way to teach elementary students parts of speech and various English language issues Cleary wanted to address.

I recently purchased a couple of his books for a relative. Looking through them, I was reminded at how creative his teaching methods are for engaging children in the topic. In Hairy, Scary, Ordinary: What Is an Adjective? (Words Are Categorical), the author does not start by defining an adjective. In fact, at the end he asks the child to define the word. Instead, he uses alternate colored text to highlight the adjectives he uses to describe the pictures. He demonstrates different types of adjectives in an effort to give children examples of ways adjectives are used. This would be a great way to help kids develop a definition of the word adjective.

The second book I found a copy of in this series was To Root to Toot to Parachute: What Is a Verb (Words Are Categorical). This book teaches children about verbs. The format is very similar to the adjective book. This is the strength of the series. Children are exposed to a variety of examples of the topic and then given a chance to create a definition.

While I would not suggest this series as your primary English series, it is a wonderful supplement to introduce or supplement an established program. It is a way to get students to formulate a definition and not just memorize one.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Charlie Bone Prequel Series Being Released

When I was teaching I frequently took advantage of my Scholastic bonus points to introduce new series to my students. I would buy and read the books and then do book talks to encourage my students to try new books to broaden their reading choices. Midnight for Charlie Bone (The Children of the Red King, Book 1) was the first book in a fantasy series that is a mix of Harry Potter and Percy Jackson. It has the school aspects of Harry Potter and some of the family issues faced in the Percy Jackson series.

Charlie Bone inherits his abilities from his father, like Percy. He is able to connect with pictures and this talent gets him a slot at Boor's Academy with other gifted students. He learns that they are all descendents of the Red King. The relationship to the King leads the children on adventures that last through eight books.

In June, Nimmo will be publishing Chronicles of the Red King: The Secret Kingdom. This book promises to start at the beginning and explain the origins of the Red King.

As someone who enjoyed reading and sharing the first series, I am looking forward to what she will do with the new series. I will have to get my name on the list at the library. If you have not read the Charlie Bone series, it is another series to consider introducing to your children.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

The Last Hero

Rick Riordan has released two new series. He is continuing his Greek Mythology series with a new group of heroes in The Heroes of Olympus, Book One: The Lost Hero. His second new series begins an exploration of Egyptian Mythology with the story of a brother and sister. The Red Pyramid (The Kane Chronicles, Book 1) introduces readers not only to new characters, but a slightly different format for readers familiar with the Percy Jackson series.

Most of the reviews I have read about the Lost Hero have been excited about the new series. I liked the first book but am not as excited about it as I was the after reading The Lightening Thief.

The story begins with Percy Jackson missing and Annabelle setting off to find him. Three students, who we predictably know will be half bloods, are on a bus traveling to a field trip. Jason awakens not knowing who he is and the story begins with a typical Percy Jackson pace. The Titan's have been replaced with a more frightening opponent that even the Gods cannot defeat alone.

The author is trying to establish an arc using Jason's past and the issues arising from The Last Olympian (Percy Jackson and the Olympians, Book 5). The goddess Hera is missing and the Gods have stopped speaking. This was one of the great weaknesses of the book. The quest to find Hera was fine. However, one of the great strengths of the Percy Jackson series was the humor provided by Hermes, Hades, and the other Gods. Their missing interactions with the half bloods left a hole in this novel. While parent Gods and the missing Hera are still included the lack of the others was something I hope will not continue in the rest of the series.

The hints about Jason's past start to get old. Riordan has an interest in introducing the Roman Gods to the Percy Jackson series. This could have been a fascinating story line. He did a great job providing parents and teachers with a wonderful way to interest children in Greek Mythology. This new series is a great way to demonstrate the connections between Greek and Roman Mythology. The first book was disappointing in achieving this goal. He did introduce the idea that the Greek and Roman Gods were connected. We learn Zeus and Hera's Greek and Roman names.

Students familiar with the original Percy series will already be wondering why Jason was uncomfortable at Camp Half Blood. They will want to know if there are Roman Half Bloods where are they housed. Here Riordan does make an interesting connection to United States History. I thought that was one strength of the story.

For those concerned with the fate of Percy, the explanation of why Jason is at Camp Half Blood gives hints of Percy’s destination. Suspicions are confirmed at the end of the story when Riordan reveals Percy’s location and some of the dangers he faces.

As typical with the Percy Jackson series, the end of one book sets up the next. As the first book concludes the reader is left with Jason, planning the next adventure for his friends in their efforts to complete the task Jason now understands he was sent to Camp Half Blood to begin.

The author's website says the next book in the series is due to be published in October of 2011. The title listed is The Son of Neptune.

Riordan is promising a book a year for both series, so readers will have a book from each series to look forward to in 2011.

Monday, April 18, 2011

The King Who Rained

Fred Gwynne, star of the Munsters, wrote a series of pictures books for children that introduced children to the ideas of homonyms and idioms. The King Who Rained was published in 1970 and it was one of the first introductions I had to homonyms as a child. The narrator is a child who is telling the reader about information her father has told her. The illustrations help the reader to see how the child understands what the father has said. Having misinterpreted a few of my parents’ expressions, I fell in love with this book when my teacher read it to me. The book opens with the title expression. "Daddy says there was a king who rained for forty years." The picture shows a king in the position of a cloud with rain pouring out. The child not knowing that rain and reign are homonyms translates the term into something she can understand.

A Chocolate Moose for Dinnerdiscusses more complicated expressions like gorilla warfare and car pools. When I have used this series, I rarely had to explain the expressions in the King who Rained. However, some of the expressions in a Chocolate Moose required some explanation, as not all children were familiar with the terms used.

In A Little Pigeon Toadwe are introduced to Mom. The little girl tells us, "Mommy says Daddy is a little pigeon toad." The picture is a blend of pigeon and toad. From what my research indicates, this book is currently out of print, so you will need to find a used copy or borrow the book from the library.

In looking for information for this blog, I discovered there is another book that I have not had a chance to read The Sixteen Hand Horse. This book also seems to be out of print. This is now on my library list. I thought I had read all the books in the series. It will be interesting to explore another one.

One of the most common follow up activities for this book is to create your own artwork to show how expressions can be misunderstood. Students can get very creative. With technology, the ability to create has expanded greatly. While schools are generally limited to a unit, homeschoolers often have the time to continue to add to the project as they encounter new expressions. There is a possibility to make a sizeable collection.

King Who Rained Free Video

Friday, April 15, 2011

Patriot's Day

Monday is Patriot's Day in Massachusetts. Contrary to the way the day is covered, this is not a state holiday because of the Boston Marathon and an early weekday Red Sox game. The Boston Marathon is run on a state holiday that commemorates the Revolutionary War Battles of Lexington and Concord and the Red Sox take advantage of the holiday to schedule a day game. Since many schools are out this week for school vacation, the significance of the holiday can be ignored unless you are one of those individuals that are woken up by musket fire.

The Minuteman National Park has a schedule of events for the weekend. If you live in the area or will be visiting check out their website for information. I was pleased to notice that Sudbury has kept the tradition of marching on the historical date April 19 and not the holiday, Monday. It appears the park has finally accepted the tradition as I noticed their arrival listed as an event on the calendar.

If you are looking for resources to learn more about the Battles of Lexington and Concord the following may be useful:

Acton Minutemen

Danvers Alarm List

Menotomy Minutemen

Minuteman National Park

Sudbury Minutemen

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Snap Cubes as Toys

When I taught fourth graders, we used snap cubes to teach a variety of math functions. Addition, multiplication, division, geometry, and other functions were explored using the cubes. However, one of the things the children enjoyed was making toys from the blocks. Unlike Legos which have limited connections, snap cubes connect on all sides. This provides children with a variety of building options. One of the classroom jobs used to be to make sure the math manipulatives were returned to their original purposes after indoor recesses, as these were favorite toys.

Fisher Price has introduced new toys that use similar styled building designs. The Fisher Price Trio's are similar to the Lego and Duplo toys that many parents are familiar with seeing in the stores. One of the advantages for children is that snap cubes stay together. They do not separate as quickly as the Legos and Duplos do when picked up by a child. The product line is just beginning to grow, but I have purchased a few items for family members and the reviews have been good.

I am considering buying a selection of snap cubes for free building, like many people purchase boxes of Lego's and Duplos. I am also looking at the available Trio sets to see which ones would be best for my Christmas boxes.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Book, Movie, and Game Reviews

I have written a number of book, movie, and game reviews for this blog and it is easy to lose track of them. I decided to create a page to help me keep track of them.



Caddie Woodlawn

Caddie Woodlawn's Family

Laura Ingalls Wilder

Becoming Laura Ingalls Wilder

Little House in the Ozarks: A Laura Ingalls Wilder Sampler: The Rediscovered Writings

A Little House Traveler: Writings From Laura Ingall's Wilders Journeys Across America

Early Readers:

Bread and Jam for Frances

Eary Chapter Book Series:

Wright on Time Arizona


The Best Kind of Different

English Language Picture Books to Teach: Idioms, Parts of Speech,etc.

Brian Cleary's Language Series

Compound Words

If You Were A Contraction

The King Who Rained

English Non-fiction Resources:

Punctuation the Write Stuff


Colonial America:

The Dreadful Smelly Colonies

The Pilgrims of Plimoth

The Pilgrims of Plymouth

Samuel Eaton's Day

Sarah Moton's Day: A Day in the Life of a Pilgrim Girl

The Story of Jamestown

Tapenum's Day: A Wampanoag Indian Boy in Pilgrim Times

Three Young Pilgrims

The Voyage of the Mayflower

You Wouldn't Want to be an American Colonist

You Wouldn't Want to Sail on the Mayflower a Trip that Took Entirely Too Long

American Revolution:

The Battle of Bunker Hill and Interactive History

Boston Massacre

The Boston Massacre and Interactive History

Let it Begin Here! April 19, 1775 The Day the American Revolution Began

Let it Begin Here! Lexington and Concord First Battles of the American Revolution

Paul Revere's Midnight Ride

The Revolutionary War an Interactive History

You Wouldn't Want to be at the Boston Tea Party

World History:

Ancient Egypt: A Guide to Egypt in the Time of the Pharoahs (Sightseers)

Other History:

Usborne Time Traveler

Historical Fiction:

Ben and Me

Day of Glory The Guns at Lexington and Concord

Dectectives in Togas

Minute Boys of Bunker Hill

The Minute Boys of Lexington

Mr. Revere and I

Snow Treasure

Usborne Time Traveler

Math Literature:

If You Were a Fraction


Key to the Treasure

Picture Books

Believe Me Goldilocks Rocks

Cinderella is So Annoying

Frog and Toad are Friends

Goldilocks Returns

Honestly Red Riding Hood Was Rotton

Make Way for Ducklings


Hailstones and Halibut Bones


The Brass Family on Parade

Realistic Fiction

From the Mixed Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler


Eyes and Ears

Science Fiction/Fantasy:


Alcatraz Versus the Evil Librarian

Alcatraz Versus the Scriverner's Bones

Alcatraz Versus the Knights of Crystallia

Alcatraz Versus the Shattered Lens


Chronicles of the Red King

The Secret Kingdom

Cricket in Times Square



Rise of the Evening Star

Grip of the Shadow Plague

Secrets of the Dragon Sanctuary

Keys to the Demon Prison

Frog Princess

Frog Princess

Dragon's Breath

Once Upon a Curse

No Place for Magic

Jake Ransom and the Skull King's Shadow

Jane Austen Parodies:

Pride and Prejudice and Zombies

Sense and Sensibility and Sea Monsters





The Name of the Book is Secret

Percy Jackson Series:

The Sea of Monsters

The Titan's Curse

Battle of the Labyrinth

The Last Olympian

Heroes of Olympus

The Lost Hero

Kane Chronicles

The Red Pyramid

The Throne of Fire

Peter and the Starcatchers

Sisters Grimm

The Fairytale Dectectives

Unusual Suspects

The Problem Child Book 3

Once Upon a Crime Book 4

Magic and Midemeanors Book 5

Tales From the Hood Book 6

The Everafter War Book 7

The Inside Story Book 8

The Wonderful Wizard of Oz


Dance on Broadway

Just Dance



Beyond the Prairie The True Story of Laura Ingalls Wilder

Science Fiction/Fantasy:

Bedknobs and Broomsticks

Voyage of the Dawn Treader

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Monday, April 11, 2011

The Last Olympian

The Last Olympian (Percy Jackson and the Olympians, Book 5) finishes the Percy Jackson story arc. Riordan plants the seeds for a sequel to a new series The Heroes of Olympus, Book One: The Lost Hero.

The Last Olympian starts slowly and Riordan has a great deal of information to share with the audience in a limited amount of time. Unlike many finales, Riordan provides a satisfying conclusion to the mysteries he established in the previous volumes. Luke's outcome was predictable, but satisfying. Nico and Luke's background stories have some common threads that are revealed and explained as the story unfolds. Hades and Hermes’ relationships with their sons become a very important part of the story.

Percy's human friend has an interesting destiny that becomes more predictable as we learn more of Luke's past.

Less is explored about Percy's background in this novel, but his relationships with his human and God families grow stronger. His stepfather comes to accept his half-blood son and Poseidon responds to his son's advice on fighting the Titans.

Percy's final wish is a culmination of the experiences of the half bloods he has known through the series. Zeus is not crazy about the request, but grants it.

This was a satisfying end to the series.

The first time I read this series in print form. I have really enjoyed Jesse Bernstein's audio version. While he read the complete Percy Jackson series, he is not the reader for the next book and he is missed.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Battle of the Labyrinth

The Battle of the Labyrinth (Percy Jackson and the Olympians, Book 4) continues Percy's adventures. Camp Half Blood is under threat as the supporters of Kronos are on their way to Camp Half Blood through the Labyrinth. Percy will need the assistance of a mortal and his fellow campers to survive this new threat.

This book answers some questions established in the first book and others added during the following two books. Pan's fate is finally revealed. The author also explains Luke's involvement with Kronos. Nico, son of Hades, works through his issues with the death of his sister, but still has unresolved issues regarding his place in the world as the end of the story. The story introduces readers to more Greek mythology.

This is the fourth story I have listened to Jesse Bernstein read and I am really enjoying his narration. I read this series when it was originally published, but listening to it on CD has allowed me to enjoy it in a new way.

While I was pleased Riordan started to resolve more of the story in this book, he could have used some editing to make it a stronger novel. The previous three books were tighter books with better plot and character control. This book tried to accomplish too much. As a result, it often lost focus.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Bedknobs and Broomsticks

As a child, one of the few programs we were allowed to watch on a regular basis was the Wonderful World of Disney. We all had our favorite programs.

Bedknobs and Broomsticks Enchanted Musical Edition has continued to be one of my favorites. It has held its appeal over time.

This musical story follows a brother and sister evacuated from London during World War II. They arrive at the home of a woman unprepared for children. They discover her secret. She is taking a correspondence course to become a witch in an effort to help the war effort. The boy blackmails Miss Price into giving him a magical bedknob in return for keeping her secret. As a child, I remember this being one of my first introductions to the idea of children being evacuated from London for their safety. It generated a long interest in learning more about this time period.

She takes the children on to London, traveling by magical bed, when her final lesson does not arrive and the teacher is amazed to discover someone has made found some value in his work. She discovers his fraud, but uses his knowledge of London to help her find the material she needs to find the material she needs.

The story takes the viewer to a magical undersea world and a standoff between knight's armor and invading German troops.

The story is one of Disney's early attempts at live action and animation. It followed Mary Poppins (45th Anniversary Special Edition). Many complained it was a poor imitation. However, I liked both for very different reasons.

I rarely like the movie version better than the book. However, in this instance I did not like the original Bed-Knob and Broomstick (A Combined Edition of: "The Magic Bed-Knob" and "Bonfires and Broomsticks") as much as the script Disney wrote. I was excited to read the book when I was taking a children's literature class. Like many movies, there is little resemblance between the book and movie. The character names remain, but if one did not know, they were related by title and the detail of the knob it would be hard to recognize they were the same story.

I read several reviews from people that love Mary Norton. I I found Mary Norton's The Borrowers series to be a tight written enjoyable series. I did not enjoy the movie. The attempt to splice her Bedknobs stories did not appeal to me.

For parents who would like some variety looking up some of the old Disney DVD dramas and musicals can be a great option. Many libraries have copies of them to preview before purchasing.

Monday, April 4, 2011

Hailstones and Halibut Bones

April is National Poetry Month. When I taught fourth grade we had to complete our poetry unit before April because of testing requirements. However, we would revisit poetry in fun ways during the month. The Academy of American Poets provides resources for those who want to engage children in learning more about poetry.

I used poetry as part of our weekly speaker's theater program, so I had a couple of boxes of poetry books in my classroom library for students to find poems to use for the exercise. I encouraged them to choose styles of poems and to explore different poets.

One book I was glad to see back in print was Hailstones and Halibut Bones. I was introduced to these color poems as a child. I loved the way the author gave colors personalities. When I was in school for education, I was unable to locate the book in print and could only write down copies of the poems to share with my students. Eventually I located a few second hand copies that I gave as gifts to family members.

While kids are naturally drawn to the humor and fun of Jack Prelutsky in A Pizza the Size of the Sun or Shel Silverstein in Where the Sidewalk Ends 30th Anniversary Edition: Poems and Drawings it can be challenging to get kids to move on to new poets that do not focus on soley on humor and rhyme.

Mary O'Neill has been used not just to interest children in reading poetry, but as a means of getting them to write poems that do not rhyme or fit a specific poetic formula. For years, children have pondered what colors are after exploring her poetic definitions.

If you did not read Hailstones and Halibut Bones as a child, it is worth checking out of your local library and reading it with your children. This month is a great chance to check out the poetry section at your local library. Your children will have the chance to explore a variety of different styles, formats, and become more comfortable with a different genre of writing.

If you are looking for information on children's poets check out the Children's Author Blog Page.

Free poetry resources can be found on the Poetry Page.