Giving thanks for family life


Advice and strategies to help your children read

November 18, 2001

Editor's Note: Today Jerdine Nolen gives thanks for family life and the books that commemorate it.

We have so many things we are thankful for -- the people and things in our lives that give us joy and make us feel our lives are fulfilling and good. We have each other to look to and care about. We have a world of our own making, and it is good. We have our families. Below is a list of some books you may want to share as a family:

* A is for Africa, by Ifeoma Onyefulu

* All the Colors of the Race, by Arnold Adoff

* Amazing Grace, by Mary Hoffman

* Amber Brown Is Not a Crayon, by Paula Danziger

* Brown Honey and Broomwheat Tea, by Joyce Carol Thomas

* Chester's Way, by Kevin Henkes

* Fanny's Dream, by Caralyn Buehner

* Hazel's Amazing Mother, by Rosemary Wells

* In My Family (En Mi Familia), by Carmen Lomas Garza

* Julius, by Angela Johnson

* Just the Two of Us, by Will Smith

* Ma Dear's Aprons, by Patricia McKissack

* Monster Mama, by Liz Rosenberg

* My Great-Aunt Arizona, by Gloria Houston

* One More River to Cross, by Walter Dean Myers

* Ox-Cart Man, by Donald Hall

* The Relatives Came, by Cynthia Rylant

* Sophie's Masterpiece, by Eileen Spinelli

* Story of Ping, by Marjorie Flack

* Sylvester and the Magic Pebble, by William Steig

* The Year at Maple Hill Farm, by Alice and Martin Provensen

* What a Wonderful Day To Be a Cow, by Carolyn Lesser

A resident of Ellicott City, Jerdine Nolen is the award-winning children's book author of Harvey Potter's Balloon Farm and Raising Dragons. Her most recent book is Big Jabe. She is a former teacher and administrator in elementary education and has personally field-tested her suggestions on her son and daughter.

Learning during vacation

Vacation days are ahead this month and the next, and while most of the time you and the kids will be busy with holiday festivities, school doesn't have to be left completely behind. Bring it into your home disguised as a bit of fun. The Sylvan Learning Center has come up with a Family Learning Fun activity booklet that gives your family seven days worth of tasks that will hone math, writing, reading and research skills. Sylvan says that studies show "that family involvement and encouragement at home increase a student's success in the classroom. So, instead of children spending their vacation days in front of the television, parents and families can expand on classroom learning, relate it to their everyday lives, and create fun and value in all types of learning."

To get your copy, log onto / familyfun and fill in the information form. The booklet will be shipped to families free of charge, and is available while supplies last, so get yours now.

-- Athima Chansanchai

New York Times Best Sellers List: Children's Paperback Books

Editor's Note: The children's best-seller list has three categories -- picture books, chapter books and paperbacks -- which are published in rotation, one category per week.

1. Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone, by J.K. Rowling (weeks on list: 104)

2. Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, by J.K. Rowling (8)

3. Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, by J.K. Rowling (61)

4. Captain Underpants and the Wrath of the Wicked Wedgie Woman, by Dav Pilkey (11)

5. Chicken Soup for the Teenage Soul on Tough Stuff, compiled by Jack Canfield, Mark Victor Hansen and Kimberly Kirberger (1)

6. Holes, by Louis Sachar (58)

7. The Night Before Thanksgiving, by Natasha Wing (1)

8. Chicken Soup for the Teenage Soul Letters, compiled by Jack Canfield, Mark Victor Hansen and Kimberly Kirberger (5)

9. Monsters, Inc., adapted by Kiki Thorpe (1)

10. Franklin's Thanksgiving, by Sharon Jennings (1)

Contact us

The Sun invites readers to send in tips about encouraging children to read, and we will print them on this page or on, our place on the Internet. Please include your name, town and daytime phone number. Send suggestions by fax to 410-783-2519; by e-mail to; or by mail to Reading by 9 Parent Tips, The Sun, Features Department, 501 N. Calvert St., Baltimore, MD 21278.

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