The celebration of Dr. Seuss’ birthday on March 2nd kicks off National Reading Month! At Stratford School, we love to read. And we love to share our passion for reading with our students. Not only does reading enhance a child’s imagination, but it also expands their vocabulary, grammar, and writing skills but most importantly, it develops a love of literature. A wonderful way to encourage your child to read for fun is to have conversations about the books they read. Children love talking about their favorite part of the story, or connecting the story to their own lives, or comparing stories to others they have read. We hope you’ll enjoy reading along and sharing the fun with your children as they get to know the characters in these books.
I Ain’t Gonna Paint No More by Karen Beaumont, Illustrated by David Catrow
A dab of blue here, a splash of red there, a goopy smear of green… everywhere. To the tune of “It Ain’t Gonna Rain No More,” one creative kid floods his world with color, painting first the walls, then the ceiling, then HIMSELF! Before this feisty artist is through, he’ll have painted his head, back, hands, legs, feet, and… Oh no—here comes Mama! Karen Beaumont’s zippy text and David Catrow’s zany illustrations turn an infamous childhood activity into raucous storytime fun, giving a silly twist to the fine art of self-expression.
Alphabet Trucks by Samantha Vamos, Illustrated by Ryan O’Rourke
Everyone’s heard of a tow truck. And a pickup truck. An ice-cream truck? Of course! But what about a quint truck? A lowboy truck? A knuckle-boom truck? Readers will learn about these kinds of trucks and many more while learning the alphabet in Alphabet Trucks. Each letter of the alphabet is accounted for in this introductory concept book for young readers. Filled with playful and light-hearted illustrations, this story is perfect for the truck lover.
I Am Picasso—ASPCA Rescue Readers by Lori C Froeb, Illustrated by Debra Melman
This book is part of a series of leveled readers that were inspired by actual ASPCA animal rescues and adoptions. Read about the everyday details of family life through the curious eyes and mind of a pet. This story is told with exuberance and humor from the pet’s point of view with appropriately leveled vocabulary. Woven into the story is the importance of care, protection, and love of animals. There are other fun books in the series about guinea pigs, cats, and other dogs.
Dr. Seuss’s Horse Museum by Dr. Seuss, Illustrated by Andrew Joyner
This amazing and lively introduction to art, art history, and museums is a delight. By focusing on horses, kids will see how different interpretations can be, depending on the style and technique of the artist. Dr. Seuss’s Horse Museum captures the zany spirit of Dr. Seuss’ books and the cartoon style of his characters, but illustrator Andrew Joyner doesn’t try to replicate Seuss’ drawing style—except when a beloved Seuss character steps into a scene, like the Cat in the Hat, Horton the elephant, or a fish popping out of a teapot. Kids will have fun spotting those beloved characters. There are 35 photographs of actual art, from cave paintings that are 22,000 years old to familiar artists such as Picasso and Manet, as well as contemporary sculptures. The book includes a bit of info about each artist as well as notes from the publisher about Ted Geisel and the unique creation of this book, which began with a manuscript from the 1950s found by his widow.
The Bad Beginning: A Series of Unfortunate Events Book One (series) by Lemony Snicket
Violet, Klaus, and Sunny Baudelaire are intelligent children. They are charming, resourceful, and have pleasant facial features. Unfortunately, they are exceptionally unlucky. In the first two books alone, the three youngsters encounter a greedy and repulsive villain, itchy clothing, a disastrous fire, a plot to steal their fortune, a lumpy bed, a deadly serpent, a large brass reading lamp, a long knife, and a terrible odor. In the tradition of great storytellers, comes an exquisitely dark comedy that is both literary and irreverent, hilarious and deftly crafted. Never before has a tale of three likable and unfortunate children been quite so enchanting, or quite so uproariously unhappy. Once your children have read the books, watch the series on Netflix together.
Other Words for Home by Jasmine Warga
Other Words for Home is a gorgeously written, hopeful middle-grade novel in verse about a young girl who must leave Syria to move to the United States. Jude never thought she’d be leaving her beloved older brother and father behind, all the way across the ocean in Syria. But when things in her hometown start becoming volatile, Jude and her mother are sent to live in Cincinnati with relatives. The American movies that Jude has always loved haven’t quite prepared her for starting school in the US—and her new label of “Middle Eastern,” an identity she’s never known before. But this life also brings unexpected surprises—there are new friends, a whole new family, and a school musical that Jude might just try out for. This lyrical, life-affirming story is about losing and finding home and, most importantly, finding yourself.
The Crossover – Graphic Novel by Kwame Alexander, Illustrated by Dawud Anyabwile
Author Kwame Alexander has teamed up with Dawud Anyabwile to create the graphic novel version of the Newberry Award-winning book by the same title. The original text is combined with action-packed graphics and the short lyrical style reads like a rap song, drawing the reader in. Twins Josh and JR Bell are seventh graders who have inherited their Euroleague champion father’s basketball skills. A distraction for the brothers is their father’s health. The former basketball star suffers from hypertension and recently chest pains that usually accompany heart disease. Fearful of hospitals and doctors since his own father’s death, ignoring his symptoms may be leading to serious consequences.