Monday, June 15, 2009

True Stories for Kids

We ventured out in the rain last week for a trip to the library. This was our first trip to the library since we had the new baby, so I hired a neighbor girl to go with us to hold the baby. So glad that I did. Our library is pathetically small but the kids quickly found some books to take home. The boys had their books about space and anatomy. The girls found some "princess" stories. And I picked up a couple of story books that caught my eye.

This morning my daughter climbed in bed with me while I was nursing the baby and asked me to read some books to her. She brought one of the books that I had picked up at the library. I read it to her and nearly cried. When my husband came in, I insisted that he read it. He did cry. And then he read it again when the boys woke up and joined us in bed (it might be time for a king-size bed).

Nora's Ark by Natalie Kinsey-Warnock is based on the a true story of neighbors who helped each other survive the devastating 1927 flood in Vermont. It is charming, sweet, funny, sad and poignant. The beautiful illustrations are done by award winning artist Emily Arnold McCully.

While you're looking for it at your local library or buying it from your favorite book seller (I jumped on and ordered our own previously-read copy first thing this morning) check out a few more great children's books based on true stories.

Letting Swift River Go by Jane Yolen has been my husband's favorite children's book since we checked it out from a different library years ago. We loved Yolen's Owl Moon and went searching for other books that she has written. Letting Swift River Go tells of her childhood home in the valley that would one day be covered by a reservoir.

We also like The Man Who Walked Between the Towers by Mordicai Gerstein. This book tells the true and somewhat crazy story of Phillipe Pettit's tight-rope act between the World Trade Center Towers in 1974. And if the adults are interested in learning more about Pettit there is a recent documentary titled Man on Wire about his daring and illegal act. My husband and I watched it last week and were thoroughly entertained.

These are just a few children's literature gems. Have a great time discovering more this summer!

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