Read Aloud: 3 Articles

Hidden Joys in a Pandemic: When Readers Took to YouTube to Share My Book, The Hugging Tree

One of the great joys of a children’s book is that it lives on for a very long time. Children renew the world for us all, and as each fresh year arrives there is another throng of children snuggled in a parent’s lap or their own bed, or listening intently to a librarian or schoolteacher turning the pages of a picture or chapter book and reading aloud. Right now, a child somewhere is meeting, for the first time, The Cat in the Hat or Alice in Wonderland or Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. And as a children’s author, nothing is more inspiring than contemplating kids around the world newly enjoying a book I wrote, especially one brought to life by lovely illustrations. As an author, most of the time, I don’t get to participate in the joy of children experiencing my book. That remains a mystery. So it was a huge surprise and thrill when I discovered in late May, that the COVID-19 pandemic, with its global school closures and sheltering at home, had inspired librarians, principals, ministers and schoolteachers to take to YouTube offering read-alouds of their favorite books, including mine. My most recent picture book for Magination Press, The Hugging Tree, was published in 2016, but from March to May of this year, it was read aloud here and abroad online by two dozen individuals—schoolteachers, principals, even a Unitarian minister. All ages chimed in, from schoolchildren reading together to a cheerful pastor with a bushy white beard. Some read by the ocean, others read with their favorite companion pet, such as a guinea pig named Mocha. I do not personally know any of the people who chose to share my book. But I know why they chose it: the book is a story about resilience, about bouncing back from adversity. The story follows a tree that begins as a seed blown onto a rocky cliff, where it tries to grow with very little soil and no greenery. The tree befriends the ocean, moon, sun and birds, surviving loneliness, harsh storms and a freezing winter. With its boughs broken, and its future uncertain, the tree is saved by a boy who visits it each day, bringing soil and flowers and water. The tree grows broad and green and tall and can shelter all the people who come each day to visit. The message: you’ll make it through tough times, if you reach out to others for help, and if you let the helpers reach out to you. It’s a message that seems to be resonating this year. Each reader had their own special take on the book. Nicole Reardon, a classroom teacher in Queensland, Australia, and mother of two young children, read beautifully with an almost theatrical cadence, and whoever filmed her reading at home in her living room offered close-ups of the memorable art by noted illustrator Nicole Wong. Nicole’s video aired on May 1 and she concluded, “Right now in our own lives it might feel

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Hidden Joys in a Pandemic: When Readers Took to YouTube to Share My Book, The Hugging Tree 2020-06-15T21:23:25-04:00

Giraffe Asks for Help

...everyone needs help sometimes. And that's OK! It feels good to be able to do things by yourself, but sometimes you need help. Asking for help can feel good, too! Hear Giraffe Asks for Help author, Nyasha M. Chikowore, read aloud about how Gary Giraffe reaches the tastiest acacia leaves with some help from his friends.

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Giraffe Asks for Help 2020-04-23T15:57:12-04:00

Lucy in the City

Have you ever had to find your way home? When Lucy gets distracted by a delicious jar of peanut butter, she gets separated from her family. With the help of an owl, and his birds-eye-view, Lucy uses her senses to find her way back to her family's cozy den. Hear author, Julie Dillemuth, PhD, read Lucy in the City aloud! For more information and fun activities to help your child learn spatial thinking skills, check out this blog post.

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Lucy in the City 2020-04-15T13:37:19-04:00