Separation in Children’s Lit

Illustration by Dan Yaccarino from Kate and Nate Are Running Late

Illustration by Dan Yaccarino from Kate and Nate Are Running Late

Separated by miles and miles, but connected through the power of radio, Curious City spoke with Chris Lenois on WKVT’s Live & Local about Separation in Children’s Literature.  Listen here!

With the school buses again rolling across our cities and towns and first-day-of-school pictures flooding Facebook, it seemed a good time to talk about how children grow with and grow apart from their parents through reading.  Below are some of the books we mentioned and some swell resources!

What are your favorite back-to-school books?  Books on separation?  Books where the parents are very present or quite missing?

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PEEK-A-BOO helps babies learn that even though they cannot see something, it still exists!  From games of peek-a-boo and peek-a-boo books, babies can learn that a parent will return after a separation!

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9780763659332_p0_v1_s260x420Peek-a-Boo Baby
By Sebastian Braun
Published by Candlewick Press
Ages 0-1
Locate a copy at Local Bookstore Amazon | Library

Who IS that hiding? Lift the flaps to play peekaboo with babies!
Is there someone under that big hat? Behind the stack of blocks? Beneath the blanket? Every baby loves playing peekaboo — and here is the perfect board book to keep the youngest of readers satisfied. Simple (and simply endearing) illustrations show partially hidden babies engaged in familiar activities, while shaped flaps are just the right size for little hands to explore.

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9781609052775_p0_v2_s260x420Peek-a-Boo Who?
By Simms Taback
Published by Blue Apple Books
Ages 0-2
Locate a copy at Local Bookstore Amazon | Library

Each page poses the question, “Peek-a-boo, who?” and features a flap in which a pattern peeks through the die-cut shape of an animal. When kids lift the flap, the pattern is revealed to be part of a larger, illustrated version of the animal. Animals include a pig, cat, rabbit, elephant, fish, duck, turtle, and cow.

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Bule apple booksRESOURCES
Blue Apple Books has a phenomenal Baby & Toddler book collection.  Their founder and publisher Harriet Ziefert not only knows her early childhood development and literacy, but understands how kids engage, have fun, and intuitively learn.  Explore the site and follow these smart folks on Facebook for grand books for your kids.

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AN EARLY CHILDCARE CENTER is a reality for most parents and their children.  What should your child expect when he or she walks through that door?  How can you use a book about preschool to talk about your child’s day?

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9781561451296Curious Kids Go to Preschool
By Heloise Antoine
Illustrated by Ingrid Godon
Published by Peachtree Publishers, Ltd.
Ages 1-5
Locate a copy at Local Bookstore | Amazon | Library

The second book in the “Big Book of Words” Series follows a set of twins to preschool. This book is reminiscent of works by Richard Scarry. Each page features a large picture and lots of smaller ones. Under each small picture is the word that describes that picture. Major events in preschool and kindergarten are dealt with via large busy pictures. Such events include the first day, eating, the playground, and special occasions. Worthy of special note is that the teacher is a man.

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KINDERGARTEN comes knocking for all families.  Will a book help you know what to expect on the big day?  Some of these books are about being consumed by shyness and some are about flying in with your cape on…

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9780142426951_p0_v1_s260x420Adventure Annie Goes to Kindergarten
By Toni Buzzeo
Illustrated by Amy Wummer
Published by Penguin Young Readers Group
Ages 4-6
Locate a copy at Local Bookstore | Amazon | Library

Annie Grace wears her “Adventure Annie” cape to her first day of kindergarten, and proceeds to barrel through the day, searching for adventure in every moment. Her interpretation of the class’s Gold Star Rules isn’t exactly what her teacher, Mr. Todd, had in mind. But somehow Annie does manage to save the day when two of her classmates get lost on their way to retrieve the afternoon snack. Spirited and funny, this is an introduction to kindergarten that will please kids and teachers alike.

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a-mighty-girl-logoRESOURCES
Raising Readers

Look at a list of other Early Childcare books and Kindergarten books Curious City recommended to the literacy group, Raising Readers.

 

A Mighty Girl

“The world’s largest collection of books, toys and movies for smart, confident, and courageous girls” has a marvelous multicultural, global grand girl list of Back to School Books.
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BACK TO SCHOOL is a change in schedule for everyone in a household and we like the books that show parents as real fallible key-loosing-coffee-spilling-schedule-confusing individuals and kids (or giraffes) who may not know that a “restroom” is not for rest…

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9781250000804Kate and Nate Are Running Late!
By Kate Egan
Illustrated by Dan Yaccarino
Published by Feiwel & Friends
Ages 4-7
Locate a copy at Local Bookstore Amazon | Library

Being on time is an art—an art most of families have yet to master. From spilling coffee to misplacing keys, we’ve all dealt with the many things that can derail our morning routines. This humorous depiction of chaotic mornings is oh, so true.

Kate and her two children, Nate, and his older sister, Maddie, have all overslept. How will they EVER make it to school and work on time dressed, fed, and organized?

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9780763662783_p0_v1_s260x420Joe and Sparky Go to School
By Jamie Michalak
Illustrated by Frank Remkiewicz
Published by Candlewick Press
Ages 5-8
Locate a copy at Local Bookstore | Amazon | Library

The endearing and mismatched pals accidentally latch onto a big yellow bus and leave the cageless zoo for their first trip to school.

Sparky the turtle may be cautious, but when the strange vehicle full of noisy short people pulls away from Safari World, he finds himself stuck on the bus’s roof just the same. Luckily his giraffe friend, Joe, is adventurous enough to take a running jump, too! When they arrive at school, they discover that there’s a lot to learn, like the fact that the restroom is full of little magic “ponds,” that you’re supposed to count the peas, not eat them, and that the goal of the day seems to be to get a star. But just when Joe fears that he may have to go home starless, Sparky reminds him of all the ways that his loyal friend already shines. Readers will roll over laughing — and find lots to relate to — in this hilarious new adventure.

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RESOURCES
Horn Book 
puts out an excellent annual round-up of Back to School books.
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ULTIMATE SEPARATION 
is reflected in the high death rate of parents in children’s middle grade and young adult literature.  Should you be worried?  Nope.  Losing a parent is a child’s biggest fear and reading about a character that goes out in the world and has adventures without a parent(s0 can reflect a child’s great fantasy–that they will be okay on their own.  It is all a part of separation and growing up.  Imagine it as the older version of peek-a-boo–in fiction you might be gone, but in real life you are in the living room reading your own book!
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9780140374247James and the Giant Peach
By Roald Dahl
Illustrated by Lane Smith
Published by Penguin Books for Young Readers
Ages 8-12
Locate a copy at Local Bookstore | Amazon

A little magic can take you a long way.

When James Henry Trotter accidentally drops some magic crystals by the old peach tree, strange things start to happen. The peach at the top of the tree begins to grow, and before long it’s as big as a house. Then James discovers a secret entranceway into the fruit, and when he crawls inside, he meets a bunch of marvelous oversized friends — Old Green-Grasshopper, Centipede, Ladybug, Miss Spider, and more.

After years of feeling like an outsider in the house of his despicable Aunt Sponge and Aunt Spiker, James has finally found a place where he belongs. With a snip of the stem, the peach starts rolling away, and the exciting adventure begins!

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9780439846813_p0_v1_s260x420Amulet (Graphic Novel Series)
By Kazu Kibuishi
Published by Scholastic, Inc.
Ages 8-12 (With Scary Warning!)
Locate a copy at Local Bookstore | Amazon | Library

Graphic novel star Kazu Kibuishi creates a world of terrible, man-eating demons, a mechanical rabbit, a talking fox, a giant robot—and two ordinary children on a mission.  After the tragic death of their father, Emily and Navin move with their mother to the home of her deceased great-grandfather, but the strange house proves to be dangerous. Before long, a sinister creature lures the kids’ mom through a door in the basement. Em and Navin, desperate not to lose her, follow her into an underground world inhabited by demons, robots, and talking animals. Eventually, they enlist the help of a small mechanical rabbit named Miskit. Together with Miskit, they face the most terrifying monster of all, and Em finally has the chance to save someone she loves.

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9780439678131Gregor the Overlander / Underland Chronicles Series
By Suzanne Collins
Published by Scholastic, Inc.
Ages 8-12
Locate a copy at Local Bookstore | Amazon | Library

When Gregor falls through a grate in the laundry room of his apartment building, he hurtles into the dark Underland, where spiders, rats, cockroaches coexist uneasily with humans. This world is on the brink of war, and Gregor’s arrival is no accident. A prophecy foretells that Gregor has a role to play in the Underland’s uncertain future. Gregor wants no part of it — until he realizes it’s the only way to solve the mystery of his father’s disappearance. Reluctantly, Gregor embarks on a dangerous adventure that will change both him and the Underland forever.