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explaining. It’s a shared lens on life.”


Cultivate Reading 4 Know the child’s interests. “If


they like horses or birds, you’re certain to find great related books,” advises Lawlor. 4 Lead by example. “Seeing you


reading or gardening or making things invites them to learn more about what they like,” says Lawlor. 4 Be flexible and share. There’s


no clear-cut time to transition from reading aloud to having a child do it on their own. Try taking turns reading a paragraph and then a page with them.


“Women tend to read more than men, so get Dad involved, as well,” says Barnhill. 4 Access quantity. “Make many


books available to kids,” advises Barn- hill. “They’ll enjoy having a choice.” Thrift stores are stocked with heavily discounted used books. 4 Empower them. The interactive,


hands-on format of Ellen Sabin’s new The Imagine It Book allows children to “dive in and see how they can make an impact, be innovative, play, fail and then succeed,” says Sabin. “Make them feel like they are ‘driving the bus.’”


Welcoming diversity and providing


a safe and reassuring community space for both confident and vulnerable youngsters, the American Library Association (ala.org) provides libraries with positive, unifying resources for children and families. They include a Storytime for Social Justice Kit; booklist for Hope and Inspiration storytime events; resource list on Talking to Kids about Racism and Justice for parents, caregivers and educators; and curated media list on immigration. The Barnes & Noble bookseller


groups selected children’s books— including classics such as Dr. Seuss titles, poetry, nature, sports, history and science—in five age categories from newborn through teenage years. “It’s an amazing era for children’s


books,” assesses Barnhill. “The success of the Harry Potter series reminded people that kids like real stories. There’s been a boom in creativity, vigor and technical skills in story construction.”


Freelance writer and editor Randy Kambic, in Estero, FL, is a frequent contributor to Natural Awakenings.


BOOKS EXPAND KIDS’ HORIZONS


L


aunched in April, Reading Without Walls (ReadingWithoutWalls.com)


is a national initiative celebrating and encouraging reading, diversity and appreciation for those unlike ourselves. “We feel that this will change lives,” says Shaina Birkhead, strategic partnerships director with the Children’s Book Council, one of the program’s partner organizations.


Under the program umbrella, libraries, bookshops, teachers, community youth groups and parents can host “challenge” events. An online guide includes tips on setting up displays and props; fun crafts and drawing activi- ties; how to talk about reading; writing and design contests, word games and puzzles; and bookmark prizes.


“Reading opens up minds and hearts to new people, places and things,” says Gene Luen Yang, a national ambassador of the program and author of the youthful tale American Born Chinese.


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natural awakenings November 2017 49


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