Tag Archives: Reading

Best Books: Oh The Places You’ll Go

When I was a teenager my cousin’s best-friend’s Mom was dying of cancer. She had a long horrible illness. But during that time she prepared items for her daughter to have and read when she was gone. One of those things was a copy of Dr. Seuss’ Oh The Places You’ll Go. She bought her daughter a copy and took it to all of her teachers that year in school (her senior year) and had them all sign a little message to her. The mother left three pages at the back for herself, and wrote a very long heartfelt message for her daughter to read on graduation day. The mom passed away before graduation. But her husband gave it to their daughter the night of graduation. To this day she counts it as the single greatest gift she was ever given. It was filled with motivational letters from her teachers, and a letter that told her everything her mother ever thought of her, and how proud she was of her.

When I started having kids I knew I wanted to borrow this idea. So I bought a copy for each of my kids. Instead of just doing it senior year I have taken it to every teacher for every grade and let them write a note to my kid. I will continue to do so every year, and save a spot for me at the end. I hope that one day it will show my children how special they are, and how many people worked hard to help them become the bets person they could.

Best Books: The One and Only Ivan

In a world where we are being faced with bullying, loneliness, and school shootings it is hard to completely understand the fears, isolation, and loneliness that children and teens are dealing with. As adults, we see the world as it is, but children are still learning how the world functions, and how to deal with the emotions that result from living in that world. Sometimes children need help to understand those emotions.

Katherine Applegate’s book, The one and Only Ivan introduces a lonely and isolated Gorilla that has lived in captivity for 27 years. Ivan meets a baby elephant named Ruby that has been taken from the wild. Throughout the novel the two interact on a human level, they share their fears, their hopes, their dreams. As readers, we get to see the world from Ivan’s perspective. It details the essence of childhood. The limits of understanding, the boxed in protection that becomes a cage, the loss of innocence as the real world takes shape around them, but through it, all is a friendship and humor that helps them to navigate this strange world. The world that Applegate has created allows children to place themselves in Ivan’s place and follow him on his journey of self-actualization and his quest into the real world of adulthood. Throughout this journey, the readers are able to confront their own emotions and reconcile their own experiences with loneliness and isolation.

The one and only Ivan

The book brings humor, joy, and sadness as it tells the story of Ivan and Ruby. Readers will enjoy the friendship and humor as they learn some deeper lessons. It makes for an excellent read, and if parents read it as well it can open up doors and opportunities for discussion about what kids are really going through today.

Best Books: She Persisted

You may be wondering why we are highlighting two books this month. Well, the answer is simple, because they pair well together, and they are important books that all boys and girls should read.

This month we want to highlight the books written by Former First Daughter, Chelsea Clinton. She Persisted, and She Persisted Around the World, are two books about important women that have influenced our world here at home and abroad. Why is it important for boys to read books about women that have changed our world? Because one day those boys will become husbands, they will become fathers, and they will work and learn in this world alongside strong women. It is important for boys and girls to see women succeed, thrive, incite change, and be seen as equal to their male counterparts. When women thrive, men thrive. We live alongside one another, and we work together. So when one person makes the world a better place they do not make it better just for them, they make it better for everyone. The ripple it causes throughout civilization touches everyone.

The She Persisted books each highlight important women who have incited change in education, science, civil liberties, healthcare, and literature. The books show the strength and the determination it takes to continue to drive forward in a world that tells you no. This is a message every child needs to learn. Although things may seem tough, and we may struggle, we should never let that stop us from doing something we want to do. We need to keep moving forward. These books make a great gift. Try reading them together with our kids and start a discussion on the importance of trying, learning, and not giving up.

She persisted around the world She persisted