Reading fosters imagination, intellect
Critical thinking skills lead to problem-solving
Fostering a child's imagination has always been important, for an active imagination is intelligence. Our imagination and intellect allow us to see possibilities and solutions, and allow us to question rather than simply accept what we are told. When we fail to use our intellect and imagination, we become victims to those who will use us as pawns.
Today's reviewed books are charged with imagination. So is the child in your life. Help foster that child's imagination with plenty of good books, plenty of play and lots of honest interest in your child's imaginings. Then step back and watch that child soar.
Books to Borrow
The following book is available at many public libraries.
"The Amazing Potato" by Milton Meltzer, HarperCollins, black & white photos and illustrations, 117 pages
Read aloud: age 8 — 9 and older
Read yourself: age 9 — 10 and older
Practically everybody eats potatoes, but that wasn't always true. While the Inca and their predecessors enjoyed the benefits of the potato for thousands of years, the rest of the world knew nothing of this invaluable food source until 1530, when a scouting party of Spaniards came across Inca homes that were well stocked with the odd-looking vegetable.
Today the potato is one of the four most important crops in the world and one of the most perfect sources of nutrition yet discovered.
From high in the Andes Mountains, readers can follow the lowly spud on its journey to stardom. Fascinating facts, photographs and illustrations are interspersed with a complete, concise and engaging history of the potato.
So incredible is the value and uses of the potato, once you read this book, you'll never look at your spuds the same way again.
Library: Gridley Branch, Butte County Library, 299 Spruce St., Gridley
Library Director: Linda Mielke
Branch Librarian: Cynthia Pustejovsky
Children's Services: Christy Cooke-Williford
Choices this week: "Lilly's Purple Plastic Purse" by Kevin Henkes; "Because of Winn-Dixie" by Kate DiCamillo; "The Star of Kazan" by Eva Ibbotson
Books to Buy
The following books are available at your favorite bookstores.
"Gingersnap" by Patricia Reilly Giff, Wendy Lamb Books, 2013, 147 pages, $15.99 hardcover
Read aloud: age 8 and older
Read yourself: age 9—12
World War II has finally brought Jayna (nicknamed Gingersnap) and her older brother Rob back together as their small family of two, but it is the war that ultimately takes Rob away from Jayna when his training ends and he is called for active duty.
Before he leaves, Rob tells Jayna about a small recipe book he found that might help answer some of Jayna's questions about what their mom and dad were like. Unfortunately, most of the book is in French except for an inscription in English of an address in Brooklyn — a bakery — and something about a grandmother.
When Rob ships out to war, he leaves Jayna in the care of their sometimes-difficult landlady. His letters to Jayna sustain her, but then the unthinkable happens — Rob is missing in action.
Jayna is devastated and can't bear to lose Rob — the only family she has. So Jayna sets off to Brooklyn to find what might be a grandmother she didn't know existed. Guided by a friendly ghostly girl, what Jayna discovers is far from what she had imagined, but in every good way.
Leave it to award-winning master writer Patricia Reilly Giff to craft another unforgettable novel brimming with warm, believable characters in a story that is ultimately about love, friendship, family and the power of hope.
"The Tooth Mouse" by Susan Hood, illustrated by Janice Nadeau, Kids Can Press, 2012, 32 pages, $16.95 hardcover
Read aloud: age 4 and older
Read yourself: age 7 — 8
A small mouse named Sophie learns that the old Tooth Mouse is retiring and plans to hold a contest to name her successor. The successor will be the mouse who successfully completes three difficult and sometimes dangerous tasks, which will prove that the new Tooth Mouse is brave, honest and wise.
Many mice gather to compete, including little Sophie. And while many think Sophie is far too little to participate and certainly too small to succeed, Sophie's determination and wisdom surprise everyone.
Charming from start to finish, this story about baby teeth is loads of fun.
Kendal A. Rautzhan writes and lectures about children's literature. She can be reached at her website: greatestbooksforkids.com.