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School daze 2021

How's everyone's school year going so far? Almost three weeks in, my kids -- who'd been remote for 1.5 years, who can believe it?! -- are thrilled to be physically around (but not too close to) their friends (even as I worry...). Don't forget to check in with the teachers and...

Books for Yom Kippur

This year -- 2021/5782 -- Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement, begins this evening, September 15, at sundown. Following Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year, these are times for family, community, and self-reflection. The following books could be useful for sharing with children and/or for generating discussions. All reviews are...

ABC Your Way to Confidence

Velena Collins Smoot is the author of the picture book ABC Your Way to Confidence, illustrated by Whimsical Designs by CJ, and self-published. She's family with someone I consider like family (Hi, Winsome!), and I was happy to be able to learn more about her very personal and heartfelt project. Follow @abcyourway on...

National Parents' Day

The fourth Sunday of July is National Parents' Day. (Oh, shush up -- it is too a real thing!) Established in 1994, this is a day for “recognizing, uplifting, and supporting the role of parents in bringing up their children.” At Family Reading we extend that to include all caregivers, especially...

We're venturing out

For more than a year, we’ve stayed a safe distance from everybody else, worn facemasks, followed guidelines, and scanned the horizon for the specks of approaching vaccines.  When vaccines arrived, we older ones got in line; but our daughter, like so many daughters, impatient to see us inoculated (and also, perhaps, impatient to have loving and protected grandchild-caregivers again) jumped on the internet and found us appointments an hour...

Treasuring when "nothing happens"

I admit I was immediately skeptical when I received a copy of the picture book Peanut Goes for the Gold by Jonathan Van Ness of Queer Eye fame, with illustrations by Gillian Reid. Though I’ve watched and enjoyed the show with my teenage daughters, I have a healthy suspicion of celebrity-penned children’s books. My leeriness was coupled with an...

LGBTQIA+ books that I have read

Editor’s note: Thirteen-year-old Onyx (they/them) has been keeping track of the books they’ve read during their pandemic year. Onyx notes the gender identities and/or sexual orientations represented in the books, their recommendation for age level, and whether or not the stories include romance. They’ve even created their own rating system, explained below. We’re delighted that Onyx has given us permission to share their list with our readers.   YA means young adult books, middle grade means middle-school books, kids means kids books.  The star✨ means...

Ask Family Reading: Non-wicked stepparents

Shannon writes: There's something that's been bothering me about children's books (and movies) and I was hoping that you would let me know what you know about this. In what children's books are stepparents portrayed in a non-negative way? I feel like I rarely see them depicted, and when they are there, they...

Read a book (with pictures!)

Parental conversations often drift toward what our kids have (and haven’t) been reading. Friends recently told my wife and me that they were banning their kids from reading any “books with pictures,” specifically graphic novels and comic books. Their motivations were sensible: they wanted their kids to develop a love of text-only reading.   I...
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