Friday, October 30, 2009

Webinar - Just Right Books - Sponsored by

This blog serves as a follow-up and a place to share extra resources after the webinar held the evening of October 29, 2009.  It was hosted by's founder Audrey Borden, and presented by literacy expert, Cathy Puett Miller. Although the focus of this webinar was gifted children, many of the resources here will also be terrific for all families, with children of all ages so read on and see what you can find that works for your child.

Selecting books for any child, but especially those who may read several months or years above children the same age, is a challenge. Remember to:

Let your child be part of the process and help them find time to read.

Look for books that tap into your child's passion and interests (don't forget nonfiction like books listed on the I.N.K. database (a free resource). Visit I.N.K.'s blog for a special (and very timely) article on What Does Age Appropriate Mean Anyway?

Rely on experts like media specialists, librarians and family-friendly resources like The Reading Tub to help you find great books for your child.

Send the message to your child, "You can read ANYTHING". Of course, if you have materials inappropriate for the social and emotional age of your child, my advice is to keep it in a place your child has no access to. Save leveled reading for "required reading from school" and classroom instruction.

Help your child learn to cope with the limitations and restrictions he or she may feel from school by encouraging a passion for learning and a love of reading at home. Give your child positive reading experiences in a wide variety of circumstances, but never overwhelm your child with more "academic" work.  The best learning, at home or school, happens when the activity is integrated and interwoven into a child's nature experiences.  Remember that you are the commercial for reading and that motivation is an important indirect component.

Remember your child is a whole person.  He or she very well may be socially and emotionally closer to their chronological age, even if academically or in special areas, they are much advanced.  Celebrate your child's age where they are and help him or her find the balance between stimulation and

age-appropriate development.  Talk with early childhood and childhood experts to learn what is "normal" for your child.


I believe there is a book for every child.  If you have a child that isn't excited about reading, maybe it's just that he or she hasn't found the book to "turn him on".  Commit yourself to helping her find that book (the journey and the search will be almost as much fun as finding it when you do it together).

Here are great books for your child to read on his/her own or with you (based on average grade level reading). If your child reads above or below grade level, adjust accordingly. I purposefully listed books under the 9-12 year area that are "safe" content for younger children.

Ages 4-8
On the Night You Were Born by Nancy Tillman
Oops by Arthur Geisert - a wordless book with a great story YOU can tell
The Let's Get Ready Series
Bear Snores On by Karma Wilson (and the rest of the "Bear" series
Morris and Boris by Bernard Wiseman
Dewey: There's A Cat in the Library by Vicki Myrion
Dandelions by Eve Bunting
Special Goin’ Someplace by Patricia McKissack
Help, I’m A Prisoner in the Library! By Eth Clifford
Big Words for Little People by Jamie Lee Curtis
The True Story of the Three Little Pigs by Jon Sieszka
The Van Gogh Café by Cynthia Rylant
Time Warp Trio Series by Jon Sieszka
When Jesse Came Across the Sea by Ann Hest
Baa-Choo by Sarah Weeks
Saving Lilly by Peg Kehret
Our Library by Eve Bunting
White Star: A Dog on the Titanic by Marty Crisp

Ages 9-12
Marie Curie by Vicki Cobb
Breadwinner by Deborah Ellis
The Number Devil by Hans Mangus Enzensberge
In English, of Course by Josephine Nobisso
The Phantom Tollbooth by Norman Juster
Over the Wall (and the Desperado Who Saved Baseball) by John H. Ritter
Poppy by Avi
Sadako and the 1000 Paper Cranes by Eleanor Coerr
Be A Perfect Person in Three Days by Stephen Manes
What Darwin Saw: The Journey That Changed The World by Rosalyn Schanzer
Adventures & Challenges: Real Life Stories by Girls & Young Women by Suzanne Beam
Al Capone Does My Shirts by Gennifer Choldenko
Fever 1793
The Incredible Journey by Sheila Burnford
The Last Book in the Universe by Rodman Philbrick
The Tale of Despereaux: Being A Story of A Mouse, A Princess, Some Soup and A Spool of Thread by Kate DeCamillo
The Trumpet of the Swan by E. B. White (author of Charlotte's Web)
Hachet by Gary Paulson
The Eye, The Ear and the Arm by Nancy Farmer
Stargirl by Jerry Spinelli,
Millicent Min, Girl Geniuis by Lisa Yee
January's Sparrow (a picture book but high level content) - by Patricia Polacco

Ages 13-15
Adventures and Challenges: Real Life Stories by Girls and Young Women by Frances A. Karnes and Suzanne M. Bean
Love, Stargirl by Jerry Spinelli
Hoot by Carl Hiaasen
The Lives of Christopher Chant by Diane Wynne Jones
To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee
Waiting for Normal by Leslie Conner
The Island of the Blessed by Nancy Farmer
A Girl of the Limberlost by Gene Straton Porter

Ages 16-18
Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins
The Boy Who Dared by Susan Campbell Bartoletti
The Gifted Kids's Survival Guide: A Teen Handbook by Judy Galbraith
Hercule Poirot series by Agatha Christy
Bog Child by Siobhan Dowd
I, Robot by Isaac Asimov
All Things Bright and Beautiful by James Herriot
A Brief History of Time by Stephen Hawking
Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury
More Than A Test Score by Dr. Robert Schultz
Three Cups of Tea by Greg Mortenson

Links to help families of gifted children

Parents' Books

Some of My Best Friends Are Books: A guide for parents of preschool through high school gifted children.

When Gifted Kids Don't have All the Answers

Online Resources for Parents

An extensive booklist for families from Duke University's TIP program website.

Dr. Katherine Bolman's Art and Architecture website with photographs and information to explore.

National Association for Gifted Children

Dr. Linda Silverman's resources on Gifted Development.

Article on the balance between structure of school and freedom of home – reading for points, leveled readers, etc. – by the way, be an advocate for your child.

Info on the Javits Grant and a way to contact your representative or senator about this important issue

Want to get gifted kids involved in an incredible, creative project involving people from all over the world? Check out The Dream Rocket.

A special offer just for you . . .
purchase any of Cathy Puett Miller's books (see below for availability), send a copy of your receipt/confirmation for that order to , and you'll receive a free customized 10-title book list for your gifted child.  Requests must be received by December 31, 2009 to qualify.  Book purchases which qualify are:

Powerful Picture Books: 180 Ideas for Promoting Content Learning (an annotated list of over 180 picture books all that connect to content area (subject matter) learning.  In eBook format, this title is an excellent resource for parents, librarians and teachers.  Available through  Inspiring Teachers. 

Anytime Reading Readiness:  Fun and Easy Family Activities That Prepare Your Child to Read 
for parents of 2-5 year old children.

Before They Read:  Teaching Language and Literacy Development through Conversations, Interactive Read Alouds and Listening Games - a must-have pick up resource for preschool and kindergarten teachers.


What questions do you have about reading (and writing) and gifted children?  Post them here or on MyGiftedGirl's forum and we'll be happy to respond to as many as we are able.

"What we teach children to love and desire will ALWAYS outweigh what we teach them to do."  Jim Trelease, author of The Read Aloud Handbook

No comments: