I've been on the hunt! I really have. We've been reading. We've been going to the library. I haven't been wowed. However, on this last trip I did find some winners.
Here they are:
Brain Quests! OK, so they aren't books, but they involved sitting, reading, listening, discussing, and analyzing. There is even a main character, Molly Mouse. Brains Quest has developed these trivia challenges for each age group, starting with ages 3-4.
The boys love them. I'm tempted to grab the 5-6 level next week to see how much they already know. I discovered that they do not know what a hair dryer is. Could it be because I never use one? All questions are generated from a picture. There might be four cups, and they want to know which two are the same. There might be circles, and the child is to identify which one is the smallest. One had a picture of two fish tanks, and then questioned which tank had fewer fish. I think you get the general idea.
Anyway, our local library has a set for checking out. Yours may too!
My second book pick from our last visit is The Faraway Island by Dianne Hofmeyr. My husband took one glance at the title and refused to read it, but I tried it out this morning and loved it. So did our oldest. (My 3-year-old did somersaults and dive-bombed us the whole time we were reading. Oh, and my baby started to cry and get fussy on the last page, but my 4-year-old was fully engaged.) There were quite a few words on each page...that always makes me nervous, but the story was exciting to him: ships, conquistadors, nd island, cave, a queen, and a monster. Here is the best part, it is historical fiction! (My favorite adult genre.) The book is based on how the island of St Helena became. (Colonized by the Portuguese, it was uninhabited and void of thriving life.)
My last pick for this week has to do with my nephew who has severe autism. You can read more about him in my post "Of This I Have No Doubt" (http://rebekah-outnumbered.blogspot.com/2009/07/of-this-i-have-no-doubt.html).
This book was excellent. I checked this book out for me. It is really more for elementary kids and really intended for those who have siblings with autism. Each page is an informative blurb about another sibling set and what the one thinks/feels about his/her brother or sister with autism. It is honest and truthful. You can tell that some children have autism worse than others just from how their siblings express their feelings toward the disorder. Over and over children reiterated that even though their brother or sister looks normal, they are not. Also, that they love them even though they sometimes are frustrated or annoyed by their sibling with autism.
My sons are starting to notice that their cousin is different. The other day my oldest even said, "Mom, can you please tell him to move. He's really frustrating me." And I'm OK with that. I am fine with my children feeling frustrated. I'm planning on helping them understand why they are frustrated and see the world outside of themselves. I think children who learn to live with others who have disabilities develop a greater sense of empathy and care. I know they will love him as I do.
I think I may check this book out again and use the pictures to talk to my sons about autism. They are too young to have me read the book to them, but not too young to begin a conversations about why their cousin is different.