Category Archives: Gifted

Summer Reading 2014

I’ve seen several new Summer Reading lists for children in the last few days. Some have various prizes for accomplishing them, for others the prize is just getting introduced to some great books.

Thought I’d share:

Reward based mega-list: 

American Library Association picks:

Scholastic Challenge:


From a reliable teacher-website:

Annual Reading Rockets List:

and of course, my favorite:

Classic Children’s Books (20 years or older, but still readily available):'s_classic_books

Happy Summer Reading! 🙂

1 Comment

Filed under Book Reviews, Critical Thinking, Gifted, Miscellaneous, Reading, Recommended Reading, Uncategorized

Summer Reading 2013

I am very pleased to announce that one of my favorite Oldies But Goodies has been selected by my local school system for their 9th grade gifted summer reading program: A Walk Across America, by Peter Jenkins

(along with Malcolm Gladwell’s Outliers – not an Oldie But Goodie, but a fine read nonetheless). Great choice, Local School System!

Students (and adults) of both sexes will enjoy this book, a first-hand account of Peter Jenkins’ 1970’s true life adventure, in which he finds his dog, his bride and ultimately himself.

Additionally, a sister Oldies But Goodies novel is making news this season with its re-release from Ballantine Books. Formerly very difficult to find (believe me, I’ve tried and there’s NOTHING out there for under $75.00…) The Girl of the Sea of Cortez

by Peter Benchley is available for pre-order with a shipping date of August 20, 2013. Although Benchley is best known for Jaws, The Girl of the Sea of Cortez is (in my opinion) his masterwork. A beautifully visual read, it is the story of Paloma, a girl who lives near the Sea of Cortez in Mexico (a.k.a. The Gulf of California, located between the Baja Peninsula and the mainland. For more on this area of the world, see ).

Her love of the sea and the creatures in it is threatened by greedy outsiders without a care for the destruction they will leave behind. Not only is it a great book, it makes my environmentalist heart go pitter-pat.

Both Walk Across America and The Girl of the Sea of Cortez (and Outliers and Jaws, too, for that matter) are great books for a summer read at the beach, the pool, or curled up in bed with the air-conditioner blasting on you. Even if you don’t have plans to travel this summer, after you’ve read them, you will feel well-rested and dream of faraway places.

Leave a comment

Filed under Book Reviews, Gifted, Miscellaneous, Reading, Recommended Reading, Uncategorized

I Already Read That

Many, many times when I have suggested titles for students in their later years (by which I mean high school), I have gotten the, “Oh, I read that in fifth grade,” comment. It is frequently accompanied by the vaguely superior attitude that tends to distinguish a precocious reader.

In response, I have this to say: Reading something as a child is not the same as reading it in high school (or later). Yes, the words are the same, the characters are the same, and the plot is the same, but you, dear reader, are not.

The Chronicles of Narnia series, by C.S. Lewis, is a classic example of this. Easily digested as a fairy tale in one’s early years, in the hands of a teenager, it can boggle the mind with its innuendo and double meaning. So can The Hobbit. And Watership Down. And practically every other book not exclusively intended for the younger crowd.

Even when perfectly capable of understanding the words and following a complex plot, the preadolescent reader (even a gifted one) just doesn’t have the maturity to recognize the nuance and subtlety embedded in most literature.

Think I’m wrong? Dust one off and read it again.

1 Comment

Filed under Critical Thinking, Gifted, Miscellaneous, Reading, Recommended Reading, Uncategorized

Best of the Blog V: Post Face Off

Product Details

For this last installment of The Best of the Blog (next week I will start writing new posts again), I was torn between one that had a large number of visitors the first time around, and one that I wrote when the blog was young and not many people saw it. Then I thought, “Why not both?”

• It Was the Worst of Times

• Scrabbling for Success: 10 Helpful Hints for the Querying Process

Leave a comment

Filed under Critical Thinking, Gifted, Miscellaneous, Reading, Uncategorized, Writing

Best of the Blog II: Considering Asynchronous Development in Book Selection

Here’s another installment of Best of the Blog. I’ll be back on June sixth with something new. See you then…

Considering Asynchronous Development in Book Selection

Leave a comment

Filed under Critical Thinking, Gifted, Miscellaneous, Reading, Writing

Age Appropriate

Author friend and library denizen Ty Roth (So Shelly, February 2011) and I have exchanged several blog comments back and forth about censorship vs. rating books. Yesterday, he posted a wonderful summary of the issue on his blog, and I can’t say it any better than he did. Go take a look. 🙂

Leave a comment

Filed under Critical Thinking, Gifted, Miscellaneous, Reading

Oldies but Goodies: Great Books for Kindergarteners

Today’s “Oldies but Goodies” is a selection of timeless books for kindergarteners and early readers. Some of these titles can still be found at the local library, most are available through and the rest are obtainable at reasonably priced used-book websites like and All of them have great illustrations. 🙂

Mike Mulligan and His Steam Shovel

by Virginia Lee Burton

Mike Mulligan and His Steam Shovel

The Friendly Book

by Margaret Wise Brown

The Friendly Book (Big Little Golden Book)

Wait Till the Moon is Full

by Margaret Wise Brown

Wait Till the Moon Is Full

The Cat in the Hat

by Dr. Seuss

The Cat in the Hat

Lilly’s Purple Plastic Purse

by Kevin Henkes

Lilly's Purple Plastic Purse

The Velveteen Rabbit

by Margey Williams Bianco

The Velveteen Rabbit


by Eve Titus


I Can’t, Said the Ant

by Polly Cameron

"I Can't" Said the Ant

Anything by Beatrix Potter

Beatrix Potter The Complete Tales

The Story of Ferdinand

by Munro Leaf

The Story of Ferdinand (Puffin Storytime)

Millions of Cats

by Wanda Gag

Millions of Cats (Gift Edition) (Picture Puffin Books)

The Dragon Who Liked to Spit Fire

by Judy Varga

The Dragon Who Liked To Spit Fire


Filed under Gifted, Miscellaneous, Reading, Recommended Reading, Uncategorized