Thursday, April 18, 2013

World Book Night - April 23rd

WBN 2013 logo

This is my first year involved with World Book Night!  I'm excited to hand out 20 copies of Fahrenheit 451.

About World Book Night 

Q. What is World Book Night?
A. World Book Night is an annual celebration dedicated to spreading the love of reading, person to person.  Each year on April 23, tens of thousands of people in the U.S. go out into their communities and give a total of half a million free World Book Night paperbacks to light and non-readers. 

Q. How are the books chosen? 
A. An independent panel of booksellers and librarians selects the books, using lists curated by experts in the bookselling and library world. All of the information comes from external, independent sources. Additionally, each year, givers from the previous year’s World Book Night nominate books for the panel to consider. 
The World Book Night U.S. books must meet the following criteria:
  • Accessible books of quality.
  • Recently-published books as well as established classics.
  • Books available in paperback.
  • Any genre of book – fiction, mysteries, romance, SF/fantasy, classics, poetry, humor, autobiography, and young adult books.
  • The list overall must have a gender, ethnic, and geographical balance.
Q. Why April 23? 
A. April 23 is the UNESCO International Day of the Book, as well as Shakespeare’s birthday! It was also chosen in honor of Miguel de Cervantes, who died on April 23, 1616 (the same day as Shakespeare). In the Catalan region of Spain, the day is celebrated by giving a book and a flower to a loved one.  World Book Night was first celebrated in the UK and Ireland in 2011; in 2012, it was also celebrated in the USA and Germany.

Q. What is the difference between World Book Night and World Book Day? 
A. World Book Day is celebrated in the UK and Ireland by giving schoolchildren a book token. World Book Night was introduced in 2011 in the UK and Ireland to bring attention to books for adult readers.  With its launch in 2012, World Book Night U.S. chose to continue the focus on adult readers, with a few books for teens and middle readers included.

Q. Why not children’s books?
A. Many, many other wonderful programs already exist to get books to young children, and they are essential. But World Book Night U.S. fills another important need: Encouraging reading in the adult population, especially those who may not have access to printed books for reasons of means or geography.
The goal of World Book Night is to seek out adult readers wherever they are, in towns and cities, in public settings or in places from nursing homes to food pantries, low-income schools to mass transit. 

I'm looking forward to sharing these 20 books and hopefully inspiring others to begin a reading journey. What about you?

Have you heard of WBN before?  Are you involved?  Do you know of similar organizations or efforts to get books into the hands of many?

Thursday, March 7, 2013

If you want your child to read...

If you want your CHILD to be a reader...then YOU need to be a reader.

Last year, we moved all of our books to a central location in our home.  We carved out a library from our previously designated family space.   Your children understand - what you have around you, is important - my son knows our books are important. 

He also knows I am a voracious reader.  Although, he has not always known reading was a passion of mine.  Especially since he never saw me read.  Oh, occasionally he would see me with a book, but his waking hours were rarely my reading hours - they were my working' or taking care of him hours.  The act of reading was tucked away under the cover of darkness or in the early morning hours before he awoke.

As a homeschooling family, we did read together.  However, depending on the
curriculum for the year, the amount of time we spent actively reading varied.  Until we took a literature class together and read 12 books out loud in 8 eight months. 

Our family read aloud time was a treasure and the friends we made with Heidi, Lad the dog, the pirates on Treasure Island, and others will be cherished for a lifetime.  We have continued our family read aloud time and have intentionally carved out individual, day-time pleasure reading time - along with ensuring our 'curriculum' is rich with subject reading.

If you want your child to be a lifelong reader...then you need to be a lifelong reader.

A study by the National Endowment of the Arts evaluates "reading habits alongside other behaviors and related outcomes including academic achievement, employment, and community involvement." Their conclusion:  Advanced readers accrue personal, professional, and social advantages.  Deficient readers run higher risks of failure in all three areas.*

To read the NEA Executive Summary - click here:  To Read or Not To Read - A Question of National Consequence


Are you interested in taking the reading challenge? 

A fellow librarian has challenged her patrons to read 10 books in six months.  Liz Cottrill of Living Books Library offers this encouragement:

"Brave parents, wise parents, face the challenge and take action. The key to winning the battle for reading with our children is within us. If we want our children to not just perform the act of reading, but become intimately enthusiastic and independent pursuers of books, we must do two things: 1) read to them; 2) read ourselves. Every single day."
Liz estimates we will be able to complete this challenge with just 10 minutes of reading every single day.  The results, of course, will have a much longer impact!
  1. Ten Ways to Destroy the Imagination of Your Child by Anthony Esolen
  2. Hard Times (Dover Thrift Editions) by Charles Dickens
  3. The Call to Wonder: Loving God Like a Child by R. C. Sproul
  4. Understood Betsy by Dorothy Canfield Fisher
  5. The Shallows: What the Internet Is Doing to Our Brains by Nicholas Carr
  6. A Tree for Peter by Kate Seredy
  7. Last Child in the Woods: Saving Our Children From Nature-Deficit Disorder by Richard Louv
  8. Honey for a Child's Heart by Gladys Hunt
  9. Of Other Worlds: Essays and Stories by C. S. Lewis
  10. Fahrenheit 451: A Novel by Ray Bradbury

Will you join me in this reading challenge?

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Do you long to be free?

Why do you homeschool?  Why do you choose the curriculum you use?  Are you satisfied with the results?  Or do you long to be free?  Free from the expectations, free from the check boxes, free to homeschool differently - simply.

This past weekend, I ran into a long-time homeschooler friend.  As we gravitated towards each other, I sensed her exhaustion.  She had joined another co-op group.  Her family now participates in 5 outside groups.  As she enumerated the many valuable aspects of the groups, I nodded politely, but unconvinced.  I do not judge, I applaud.  She's a mother, doing her best while homeschooling three children and taking care of her home.  Her time, her children, her co-ops - she makes those choices.  I just wonder if she longs to be free...

No matter where you are in your homeschool journey, a veteran on a well worn path or a newbie with just a few lessons underway, it is ok to rethink the already planned.  It is ok to pause and reflect and refocus.

Does this sound familiar?

"We can’t read today, kids. We have too much math to do.
Mommy would love to play with you; but you need to finish your schoolwork first. And don’t forget about yesterday’s work.
We’ll do that later, after we do school."


Heidi St. John at The Busy Homeschool Mom shared a revealing essay on her homeschool journey and choices.  She says "I often find myself a hostage of homeschooling rather than a mom who is enjoying the gift that she has been given through homeschooling."
After reading her story, I was inspired to evaluate our homeschool days and to appreciate the simplicity we have chosen this year by focusing on reading.

Thank you Lord for the gift of homeschooling, thank you for the choice and the strength to be free.


Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Startling Reading Results

I see it all around me...there's encouragement on all fronts to read! 

My email box is brimming with notes from company's who want me to sign my child up for their "rewards for reading" program.  My Pinterest boards are full of the best "book lists" and "how to encourage reading" pins from other like minded book lovers.  Our home library expands weekly - books are given to us by friends or are lovingly saved from the township library book sale.  The children's book nook at the local big box book store is huge, there must be a customer base. 

It is hard for me to comprehend reading is in jeapordy.  How can this be?  Parents want their children to read - right?  

Yet, a study from the National Endowment for the Arts* reveals a startling decline in American reading habits.  From their study:

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

A Battle for Our Sons

This is an off topic post for Wisdom Roots, but I felt passionate about sharing a resource I stumbled upon recently. 

We are in a battle for our sons.  daughters.  children.

As parents we must be intentional and prepare our children to live 'in the world', not 'of the world'.  I firmly believe in the need to place restrictions on content and yet recognize it is impossible to keep 'the bad stuff' in isolation. 

Even when restrictions are placed on TV or music or books, "the world" seeps in and our children are exposed to language and ideas that are graphic and confusing.  Unless they are prepared.

Over the past year, my parenting style changed from shielding to sharing.  It was the right timing for my Scout who is 11 years old.  He is curious, he is anticipating, he is open to having these conversations.  I am so thankful I had been preparing through prayer & reading and was tuned into the subtle changes taking place with him.

In a future post, I may share some of the books that were helpful on our journey, but for now - this resource really caught my attention as worthy to pass along.


This is the BEST story based explanation I've seen about pornography and the mental anguish it causes young men - it is perfect for a discussion with my son.  American Jane Speaks details how to use the white board and story line to draw a parallel between the beauty which God offers and the distorted world (read Satan) view of passion.

As with everything, the post is one point of view and all of the references may not be applicable to everyone's upbringing.  If you have questions about the theology or references used in the post, I urge you to seek God's wisdom through prayer and conversation with your pastor or church staff.

For me and my family, the battle to go past the thorn bushes and into the beautiful garden of marriage is worthy.

To God be the glory.

Monday, February 25, 2013

USA Picture Books

Some of my favorite books are ones featuring a state where I have lived or where I am going to visit.  Reading tidbits and "insider knowledge" is so fun and makes for great trivia conversation during a trip or long car ride.

Two of my favorite series are:

Discover America State by State -

G is for Garden State: A New Jersey Alphabet (Discover America State by State)

and The Twelve Days of Christmas in America -

The Twelve Days of Christmas in New Jersey (The Twelve Days of Christmas in America)


Growing Book by Book is "collaborating with bloggers to create a resource collection of books and activities/projects ideas for each state of America."  Together they have created a fantastic book list for all of the states. 

The Pleasantest Thing represented NJ and featured a book about Cape May. 

Visit my Pinterest page for other book list ideas!
Do you have a favorite book about New Jersey or your state?

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

WRL History Book Lists

It's that time of year...I find myself re-energizing to complete my CURRENT homeschool plans by investigating and reviewing our homeschool direction for NEXT year.

To that end, several folks have asked me if Wisdom Roots Library has 'certain books' to support their curriculum of choice. When you use a literature rich curriculum, such as BiblioPlan or Tapestry of Grace, knowing that you will be able to locate your books when you need them is an important part of the decision making process. This is the reason WRL exists - to support the homeschool community with quality literature!

I've pulled together a quick list of books we have in house to support both of these curriculums (follow the links above). And for those of you who use an eclectic approach to history (like me :-) I've posted partial book lists for Ancient, Medieval and US History studies too.

Seeing is believing - so if you are interested in visiting Wisdom Roots Library, let's make a date:

Happy Planning!