Dog-eared: February 2015

News worth noting!

 

A thoughtful article on a new program that encourages parents to talk to their young children, based in Providence, Rhode Island, USA. Quoted below is a responsive letter to the editor, published in The New Yorker on February 2, 2015:

Margaret Talbot’s article contains much of  the current thinking about immersing babies and toddlers in language (“The Talking Cure,” January 12th).Encouraging parents and caregivers to talk more to their babies more often is certainly important, but we must also consider how to expand upon the limited vocabularies of many caregivers. One solution is to read picture books. In the psychology department at the University of California, Santa Cruz, we recently carried out a large replication of a classic study showing that print has a richer vocabulary than speech. We found that the variety of words in picture books was more extensive than that of parents talking to their children. Picture books were three times as likely as child-directed speech to use a word that isn’t among the most common English words; this result was found regardless of parents’ social class. Even the language quality of two adults talking to each other fell below that of picture books. Given the fact that word mastery in adulthood is correlated with early acquisition of words, a potentially powerful leveler of family wealth and class may be as simple as engaging picture-book reading with babies. – Dom Massaro, Santa Cruz, Calif.

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A poetic approach to picturebook-making by Norwegian author-illustrator Stian Hole. (Also the most gleeful snowman I’ve ever seen.)

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The wonderful Cathy Butler conducts an interview with The One Who Chooses The Chosen One(s). Subtle and pointed, this had me laughing out loud.

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For those who are fluent in French and who would like some ideas on where to start in French children’s literature (French as in from France; French-Canadian literature isn’t included here, alas), the end of this thorough rebuttal of a very stupid article is a good place to start. See also this academic-author-blogger’s ongoing Giftedness Project – interesting and provoking reading which fits neatly in with Jaquelin Elliott’s review earlier this month.

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Dr. Seuss has a new book? Read all about it.

Ellington Was Not A Street: On Black Musicians, Poets, and Philosophers

Ellington Was Not A Street: On Black Musicians, Poets, and Philosophers

As promised, I have another list of books to recommend– this time, largely of Black musicians, poets, and philosophers. Unlike the last list, however, not every book here is non-fiction. I will be sure to mention which ones are not (strictly speaking) non-fiction. Also, there are some books that I have not gotten the chance […]

The Cover Wars

The Cover Wars

A spine-tingling tale rooted in Caribbean folklore that will have readers holding their breath as they fly through its pages. Corinne La Mer isn’t afraid of anything. Not scorpions, not the boys who tease her, and certainly not jumbies. They’re just tricksters parents make up to frighten their children. Then one night Corinne chases an […]

Never Cry Wolf by Farley Mowat

Never Cry Wolf by Farley Mowat

I’ve been tempted to write about Never Cry Wolf by Farley Mowat and call it science fiction, because Mowat’s books, I am informed, mix fact (science) with a generous dose of fiction (or at least exaggeration), but whatever else his tales-cum-memoirs are, they are entertaining reading. And they are, at least in part, non-fiction. Never Cry […]

Review: The Vine Basket by Josanne La Valley

Review: The Vine Basket by Josanne La Valley

Hardcover, 256 pages Published April 2nd 2013 by Clarion Books Source: Publisher The Vine Basket is dedicated to: The Uyghur (Weegur) people of East Turkestan in their struggle to preserve their language, culture, and religion and to live freely in their own land. Josanne La Valley is an American author who lives in New York City. The […]

Listening to the Voices of Innocents: Children of War: Voices of Iraqi Refugees by Deborah Ellis

Listening to the Voices of Innocents: Children of War: Voices of Iraqi Refugees by Deborah Ellis

This is not going to be an easy post either to read or write but we are not going to achieve anything if we shy away from the difficult things in life. Today I’m going to discuss Children of War: Voices of Iraqi Refugees, a collection of short interviews by Deborah Ellis who travelled to Jordan where the […]

The Sin Eater's Daughter by Melinda Salisbury: A Review

The Sin Eater's Daughter by Melinda Salisbury: A Review

Paperback, 320 pages Expected publication: February 24th 2015 by Scholastic Press Source: Publisher I am always in search for a protagonist who is morally ambiguous. Someone who realizes that she is not walking the straight and narrow path but deals with it either with angst or by not caring about the means to the end. […]