Before I put up that post about picking your books, here's another example of how NOT to pick a book, the annual selections of the folks at Read For the Record
"Read For the Record" is a annual event from Jump Start, a leading non-profit organization in early childhood education. The purpose of the event is to raise funds for JumpStart's work with low income preschoolers and to bring publicity to the alarming early literacy crisis in the United States.
Great stuff, huh? On the first Thursday in October celebrities like Patti LaBelle and Amanda Peet, local government officials and just plain librarians and teachers gather nationwide with children and all read the same book.
Just one small problem. The book choices. Here's their first 4:
The Little Engine That Could
The Story of Ferdinand
The Very Hungy Caterpillar
All very nice books. Classics I love. But with the exception of "The Very Hungry Caterpillar", not books that I would want to read to a crowd of kids. And I'm an experienced reader!
Now imagine being a celebrity, inexperienced in reading to groups, perhaps even to your own kids, perhaps not even HAVING your own kids, perhaps not being that literate yourself, and having to read this gem (and I LOVE this book) to a large group of wiggly preschoolers who are going to be distracted enough by the adults come to see the celebrity, photographers, and the general interruption of their normal school day in October, still very early in the school year!
I tried to find out who is picking these books. I've looked at the advisory boards JumpStart has in NYC and Chicago and while they're filled with writers, childhood educators, etcetera, I don't see one durned librarian. No mention of the New York Public Library in any form, and merely a notice that "Read for the Record" is being done today at branches of Chicago Public Library.
Am I doing "Read For the Record" this year? I had a preschool visit this morning and have a preschool story hour this afternoon.
And this year's choice is actually a very nice book for a group read. It's even available in a "big book" version that I own. It's a classic that I've read for years at programs.
But not on October 7. This year's choice?
Sorry, folks. If you'd done "Whistle For Willie", I might have gone for it. Made it part of a neat dog program, especially in this town, where dogs rule.
But in OCTOBER? A SNOW BOOK?