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More than Words - Books that Enrich, Encourage, and Educate

Reading itself is an enjoyable family activity, but even pre-readers can benefit from what can be learned beyond the text of the book. Here are some book selections that kids will love and will provide parents with opportunities to engage their children in discussions and activities that will be fun and enriching for the whole family.

NOT A BOX by Antoinette Portis is a perfect selection to encourage imaginative play in young children. This sparse book portrays a little rabbit that insists his box is "not a box," as the simple illustrations show that to the rabbit, the box is a car, a robot, a building on fire, and more! In an era of video games high-powered computers, it's a delight to revisit the simple pleasure of creating worlds with a simple cardboard box. Some fun related activities include making something creative form a cardboard box, or encouraging a children to draw a personal "NOT A BOX" book with starring themselves!

BLACKBERRY BANQUET by Terry Pierce, illustrated by Lisa Downey, is a feast of words! The animals in the forest take turns eating the delicious blackberries. The text builds as each animal responds with its own sound of contentment. Until "Bear tramps up - Bear? Where?" The animals all clamor for safety, but bear just want some berries, too! The witty yet suspenseful build-up flows into a satisfying ending. The spirited rhyme and rhythm of the energetic text will delight the read aloud crowd. Each animal's spirit is captured in the colorful, bold illustrations kids will love. The end of the book is chock full of activity ideas, including recipes, and interesting facts about blackberries, animals, and more. The publisher also offers a web site link for more materials parents can use.

AS GOOD AS ANYBODY by Richard Michelson and Raul Colon, is a thought provoking picture book for all ages. The story begins with the frustrations of a young Martin Luther King and his journey to become a leader in the civil right movement. The story continues with a less known leader in the Jewish community, Abraham Joshua Heschel. Abraham traveled to American when Jews were being persecuted in Europe. When he discovered there were some people who didn't believe in equality in America, he joined Martin Luther King in his fight for equality. This lovely book explores an important time in American history and the goodness of the people who came together for freedom. The muted illustrations reflect the historic nature of the text. After reading, a visit to a civil right museum would be a meaningful outing.

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Like A Maccabee - This middle grade chapter book tells the story of Ben, a 10-year-old boy who is gearing up for a championship soccer game while adjusting to the changes in his family that have occurred since his grandfather moved in. Ben faces challenges at school, including the bully from the opposing soccer team, and frustrations at home.

About Barbara Bietz

Barbara is a writer from Oak Park, California. Her favorite pastime is reading children's books. She enjoys writing for adults and children. Her work has appeared in numerous publications. Visit Barbara's website at www.BarbaraBietz.com and blog - Talking about great kid's books and sharing ideas about writing for kids. http://barbarabbookblog.blogspot.com/
Listen to an Interivew with Barbara Bietz

Some of the books reviewed have been provided by the author or publisher in order to present the most accurate information possible.

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