Back-to-school books help ease worries
The new school year brings opportunities, but it also can bring worries. These back-to-school books offer some perspective.
“Junie B.’s Essential Survival Guide to School,” by Barbara Park (ages 6 to 9). Young readers will giggle at the sassy Junie B. Jones and her colorful school guide. She may still be in first grade, but she has a “jillion” helpful hints, mostly about what not to do. Rule No. 2 on bus riding: “Do not press your nose and lips on the window and make faces at people driving in cars.” She notes that someone might take a picture and e-mail it to your principal.
“My Weird Writing Tips,” by Dan Gutman (ages 8 to 12). The author of the funny “My Weird School” series decided to write about writing itself. Gutman sees kids’ reactions coming a mile away. He promises his book isn’t about indefinite articles, split infinitives and other things his teachers taught. The first part is about storytelling. Gutman gives clues about how to come up with an idea and characters. The second part is about (gulp!) grammar. His examples are funny, and illustrations featuring his “Weird School” characters keep the pages lively.
“How to Read Literature Like a Professor: For Kids,” by Thomas C. Foster (ages 11 to 14). This kids’ version of a popular adult book would help middle-schoolers explore beneath the surface of fiction books.
Foster uses examples from new books that plenty of kids are reading and shows them similar themes or characters in books from long ago. He explains that readers should pay attention to details such as the story’s location and the weather. Is there a storm coming? What could that mean? The book isn’t easy reading, but it will provide lots of ideas for class discussions and book reports.
“Amelia’s Friendship Survival Guide,” by Marissa Moss (ages 10 to 13). This book, aimed at middle-school girls, is actually two books in one. The stories, “Amelia’s Book of Notes & Note Passing” and “Amelia’s BFF,” follow a sixth-grader who has friendship issues.
Liven up your child’s lunch box
If you’re looking to broaden your lunch-box repertoire, check out “Beating the Lunch Box Blues” by J.M. Hirsch (Rachael Ray/Atria Books, $18), a slim volume packed with inspiration.
Hirsch, who blogs at www.lunchboxblues.com, offers such strategies as using store-bought rotisserie chickens, letting kids do the assembly, making sandwiches with pancakes and opting for baby vegetables and mini bagels.
Recipes for dinner entrees yield enough leftovers for two lunches, and, throughout, there are lavish photos of all the recipes and ideas.
Erica Marcus, Newsday