Reading News:  Upcoming Visiting Author
Featured Author: Keiko Kasza

We are excited to host a fellow Iowan, Dori Hillested Butler, for this year's visiting author. Ms. Butler’s books have been nominated for children’s choice awards in 15 different states. In her presentations she will share her story as a children’s author and give our young writers the tools needed for success.  She will be visiting our elementary schools the week of April 4. Take a sneak peak at her website for a preview of her visit.

Dori Butler's Website

Dori Butler and her dog, Mouse

Keiko Kasza is the author and illustrator of picture books that are sure to delight all ages. Her simple, uncluttered, funny books focus on themes that are important to children, such as friendship, family, positive thinking, laughter, and gratitude.

Her books will become family treasures for generations!

Keiko Kasza's website



Book Reviews:



Caldecott Medal Winner

A Sick Day for Amos McGee

Written by Philip C. Stead

Illustrated by Erin E. Stead

Amos McGee, an elderly man who works at the city zoo, always finds time to pay close attention to his animal friends. One day when he is sick and cannot come to the zoo his special animal friends make a trip to his home to care for him. The illustrations are created in woodblock and pencil adding to the gentle mood of the book.

Read more about a Sick Day for Amos McGee


Big Red Lollipop  by  Rukhsana Khan

When Rubina comes home with an invitation to a birthday party her younger sister, Sana, insists that she must attend. Her mother, a recent immigrant, unaware of American birthday traditions sends the younger sibling to the party. It is the disaster that Rubina has imagined. All siblings can relate to this gentle story about sisters and adjusting to new social situations.

Author's website




January Joker by Ron Roy  Series: Calendar Mysteries

This new series by Ron Roy stars the younger siblings of the “A to Z Mystery Kids”.

In this first adventure the children are convinced that aliens have landed in their town. They even catch glimpses of strange creatures and hear strange noises in the attic. The clever twists and turns make this an excellent choice for reluctant readers. Fans of A to Z Mysteries will enjoy reading the series month by month.

 Author's website

Dragon in the Library  by Kate Klimo

Cousins Jesse and Daisy are Dragon Keepers. In this third adventure in the series, they are past the days of wondering how to feed and care for a dragon. Emmy, the talking dragon, has grown up and become an avid reader. As they struggle with Emmy’s mood swings they once again turn to Professor Andersson for advice only to discover that he is missing! The suspense builds as they learn Emmy may be in danger, too! Readers will enjoy the magic and humor in the continued adventures of the Dragon Keepers.

Book trailer



                                  Newbery Medal Winner

Moon Over Manifest by Clare Vanderpool

Twelve year old Abilene Tucker is sent to spend the summer in Manifest, Kansas with her father's boyhood friend. Abilene is eager to connect to her father's childhood in this community. When she finds a box filled with intriguing keepsakes she discovers a mystery in her father's past. Set in 1936 this coming of age story is a complex tale of family and community.

Author's website



Masterpiece by Elise Broach

Marvin, the beetle, and his family live under the kitchen sink of the Pompaday residence.  Marvin and human James Pompaday strike up an unusual friendship after Marvin creates an intricate and detailed sketch as a gift for James. The sketch is compared to drawings of famous Renaissance artist, Albrecht Durer. Marvin and James become involved in a sting operation to recover several of Durer's stolen masterpieces for the Metropolitan Museum of Art.

Author's website



What to Read When by Pam Allyn

This guide to read-aloud books for children promises to “help you find the perfect books for the perfect times.” Author, Pam Allyn, offers parents many tools for reading success including 50 thematic lists of appropriate books for important events in a child's life. Follow Pam's advice and making reading an important part of your family time.

Author's website

Reading Tips:

Primary Reading Tips:

One of the most asked questions Teacher Librarians and Reading Specialists receive from parents is, “How do I help my child choose appropriately leveled books. He (or she) keeps bringing home books that are WAY too hard to read alone. What should I do?” Children are taught, in school, how to choose books by using the “Five-Finger Rule.” If you can count five words on a page that you do not know or cannot pronounce, then the book is too hard. This works most of the time, but there are times that children choose books for the pictures (nonfiction especially), or children will pick the same book that a classmate is reading. Always have your child read a section of a book aloud to you before purchasing the book or checking it out from a library. If your child brings a book home from the school library, have a conversation around why that particular book was chosen. The answer may surprise you! Your child chose it for a reason, and that reason may be “Read Aloud” time with you! Enjoy reading to your child, with your child, and listening to your child read.

Get you child excited about reading using tips from this Library of Congress website.

Take a look at this PBS site for free, fun educational reading games for your 2-5 year old.


Growing Readers Video

From the Kansas City Public Library this video has a  powerful message for parents of young children.

Growing Readers video


Intermediate Reading Tips:

Parents may have noticed a section in the public library entitled, “Graphic Novels.” Upon opening the book, parents may notice story strips with dialog attached to the action, much like a comic book or the comic section of the newspaper. Sequential artwork helps to tell a story and the plot lines are oftentimes extended from book to book. There are a variety of topics written in this format offering children and young adults another approach to literature. Graphic novels are attractive to reluctant readers as well as voracious readers because of the visual appeal. Children are growing up in a very visual era, and the graphic novel seems to be a popular choice among learners. Teachers and Teacher Librarians are finding new and creative ways to incorporate graphic novels into meaningful learning experiences. Parents are always encouraged to read what children are reading. Give a graphic novel a try! At the very least it may be a talking point with your child.

Looking for something good to read? This website features 3 minute videos of books to inspire 3rd-8th grade readers. 

Kidsreads is a great place on the web for kids to find info about their favorite books, series and authors. For even more reading fun look for trivia games, word scrambles and awesome contests!


How to Find Graphic Novels for Kids

 Click here for some tips


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