Archive for the ‘The Reading Nook’ Category

The Reading Nook | Smile

Monday, October 6th, 2014

Smile reading nook-1

Is there anything sweeter than seeing your child reading books that you loved when you were her age? Nope. I don’t think so!

The girl’s been ploughing through Judy Blume novels – the five novels in the Fudge series have been read and reread. It’s Not the End of the World is on deck and I can see Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret being devoured in the next year or two.

Although these are fabulous books, this review is about a series that’s been called the illustrated Judy Blume: three graphic novels by Raina Telgemeier. (more…)

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The Reading Nook | Classic Play Summer Book Club

Tuesday, June 24th, 2014

classic play summer book club grades K-7

“School’s out for summer…” You’re singing it with me, right? A little air guitar? How about adding on “I’m here to help you…”- help you fight the summer slide that is. Our kids work hard during the school year – let’s help them stay ahead of the game over the summer break.

Here’s a list of recommended books for your kids. Although I’ve grouped them by grade, keep in mind your kids’ reading level. And don’t forget to read to them too.

Make a weekly trip to the library, take a few along on vacation, have a daily family half hour reading session – there are many opportunities to incorporate reading into your family’s life. We even made the kids a little sheet so they can keep track of what they read. Click here to print it out.

Ready? Let’s read… (more…)

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Reading Nook | Social Media for Young Readers

Monday, May 19th, 2014


Like any parent, I think about my daughter’s screen time and how best to manage it. It’s enough of a challenge for me as an adult to make sure that I don’t fall down the rabbit hole of aimless surfing or social media. And I certainly don’t want it to be the main default when any of us are bored.

As I often say around here, “everything in moderation”.

That being said, screen time and social media are here to stay. And being curious about how to best work with it rather than it being an “either/or” – either reading OR screen time, I discovered something that might just make all the difference in encouraging your kids to not only read more but think about what they are reading.

It’s the book-focused social media site for kids called (more…)

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The Reading Nook | Wonder

Monday, May 5th, 2014

Wonder - book review on Classic Play

When I review books for you, I try to find books that you may not have known about otherwise. I figure, you already KNOW about what’s on the best seller lists, right?

Well, today I’m giving a HUGE thumbs up to a book that’s on the best seller lists right now- Wonder by R.J. Palacio. I picked it up on a Friday and by Sunday had finished it – and that’s with a full weekend of family! (more…)

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The Reading Nook | Ottoline and the Yellow Cat

Monday, April 21st, 2014

ottoline book review by Sandra Harris

Do you recommend books to your friends? Do they recommend their faves to you too? Yes on both counts over here. And luckily, some of my friend “recommenders” ALSO live in other countries so I get to see what British or South African kids, for example, are enjoying. One of the most recent recommendations is Ottoline and the Yellow Cat. (more…)

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The Reading Nook | Paul Thurlby’s Alphabet

Monday, March 24th, 2014

Paul Thurbly's Alphabet Review by Sandra Harris of Raincoast Creative Salon

So what’s so special about an alphabet book? Hasn’t it been done before? Well, yes it has. Often. But every once in a while you find a special treasure of a book that takes a well worn subject and turns it on its head. This is Paul Thurlby’s Alphabet. (more…)

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Very Hungry Caterpillar Finger Puppets

Thursday, March 13th, 2014

very hungry caterpillar finger puppets

One of the very first board books I ever bought my kids was The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle. I can’t think of a sweeter book that illustrates growing up so beautifully. It’s especially relevant now as growth spurts abound at the Cooper house. My kids are constantly hungry. I fear the teen years!

So when the fine people at Penguin Kids asked if I’d like to create something fun for the 45th Anniversary of The Very Hungry Caterpillar, I said, I’m in! To celebrate, I turned to another childhood classic: finger puppets. I love how these little caterpillar puppets turned out. Wouldn’t they be great at a Very Hungry Caterpillar themed birthday party?

They’re super easy to make. Here’s how… (more…)

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Reading Nook | Walls Within Walls

Thursday, February 27th, 2014

Walls Within Walls Book Review

I’ve been a lover of NYC ever since I was a kid. When I was 11 I dreamt of living there. You wouldn’t find that at all remarkable unless you knew that I grew up in a working class family in a smallish city in the middle of the Canadian prairies. (I’m not so remarkable, it’s the NYC dreams that were!).

I’ve often wondered about the source of my taste for the Big Apple (pardon the pun). I knew no one who had been there, we didn’t travel a lot and no one in my family had ANY desire for big city life.

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