Sunday, July 27, 2008

The Scientist in the Crib

One of the most fascinating books I've ever read is The Scientist in the Crib by Alison Gopnik, Andrew Meltzoff and Patricia Kuhl. It's about how babies' brains develop and the part about how they learn language was especially interesting to me. Even though the authors all have Ph.D.s the writing is is easily understood by us "normal" people who aren't part of the academic world. 

Saturday, July 5, 2008

Literacy Problem

When traveling in urban areas I often notice a very low level of literacy. Unlike other parts of America, it's amazing how many people in and near cities don't seem to understand the simple four letter word often seen on octagonal signs; S-T-O-P. Of course that probably shouldn't surprise me since the same people are apparently numerically challenged and can't comprehend the numerals on speed limit signs either.

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Beyond The Western Sea

The two books in the series, Beyond the Western Sea, by Avi are real page turners but the exciting plots are a bit too complex for younger children, even if they can read above their grade levels. The characters are believable, the settings are realistic, and the books carry the reader away into a world far different from their own. They might even learn a bit about history as they experience the thrills. Older kids will love these books. The only problem is, there are some minor unanswered questions that should be resolved in a sequel and there doesn't seem to be one. However that shouldn't stop anyone from enjoying the ones that do exist. I think these books are great!