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healthykids Books that


Kids Will Love Advice for Parents


from Award Winners by Randy Kambic


W


hile kids may list movies, video games, music down- loads and other media featur-


ing their favorite athlete, actor or music star as priority holiday gifts, books will expand their thoughts, curiosity and dreams by exposing them to a different set of role models and aspirations. Reading takes kids away from tech


screens and expands horizons in ways that can improve their school grades, maturity and overall inquisitiveness. Many wise-hearted parents are recognizing the benefits, as children’s book sales were up 5 percent in the 12-month period ending in mid-Octo- ber 2016, according to the American Booksellers Association. Humor, fantasy and magic, classics, nonfiction, time travel and participatory activities rank among the most popular topics.


Award-Winners’ Advice


“Children can’t be what they can’t see,” says author Laurie Lawlor, of Evanston, Illinois. Her 2017 book Super Women: Six Scientists that Changed the


48 NA Triangle www.natriangle.com


World—a nonfiction account designed to excite kids 8 and up about math, science and engineering—cultivates positive role models via inspirational personal stories. She points out that most of those depicted were not that well known, and therefore can be emu- lated and more readily related to. One of these is Katherine Coleman


Johnson, a black National Aeronautics and Space Administration research mathematician and physicist, portrayed in the recent film Hidden Figures. Marine scientist Eugenie Clark, known as the “shark lady” for her daring under- water research, and major pioneers in cartography, archaeology and other fields also stir inquiring minds. “I wanted to provide a variety of


fields, backgrounds and ethnicities,” remarks Lawlor. “They were all determined, very smart and persistent, and made strides in opening doors for women.” Lawlor’s 2012 children’s book Rachel Carson and Her Book


That Changed The World describes how Carson’s seminal 1962 book


Silent Spring helped spawn the conservation and pro-environment movement by chronicling the dangers of pollution. Children’s fascination with nature


and wildlife can also be met through the Dog and Bear series by Laura Vaccaro Seeger, out of Long Island, New York, and Vermonter Jim Arnosky’s scientifically sound wildlife chronicles (JimArnosky.com). Kelly Barnhill, of Minneapolis,


whose latest work is The Girl Who Drank the Moon, characterizes children as quiet, yet highly active when reading. “They are encountering characters and then building, inserting themselves and more information into the stories, making it more relevant to them,” she says. The former middle school language


arts teacher advocates parental reading aloud with children. “Make it a daily practice of turning to a separate book from what they may be reading on their own. You’re helping them develop cognitive structure by reinforcing and


sirikorn thamniyom/Shutterstock.com


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