You Can Never Get Enough of Books

Reading is an incredibly important skill, one that can affect almost every aspect of your life. Unfortunately, too many kids (and adults) don’t enjoy reading. Graphic novels and series by J.K. Rowling (Harry Potter), Lemony Snicket (A Series of Unfortunate Events), and Rick Riordan (Percy Jackson, The Kaine Chronicles, and others), have certainly helped attract young readers. But not all kids are interested in adventure, magic, or mystery. Here are some books for kids with other interests, including travel, building, filmmaking, writing, and life itself.

Adventures with Zap (by Diane Landy, Illustrated by Allison Hershey)

adventures with zapReading and writing go together, and kids who excel at one tend to do well at the other as well. This book is designed to help kids grow as writers by stimulating their creativity. Zap (a blue alien from the planet Vox Nova), Meow (a stowaway from planet Earth), and Gooey (an orange alien from Vox Nova) give young readers more than 100 creative prompts that usually start with getting the child to draw something (“pretend you and your family have the noses of hound dogs,” or “draw a picture of a time you fell down and got hurt”) and then ask the child to write about the drawing. It’s a smart, engaging way to build thinking and writing skills. For ages 4+. About $9.00 at https://www.amazon.com

Lights! Camera! Alice! (by Mara Rockliff, illustrated by Simona Ciraolo)

lights camera aliceIf you’ve never heard of Alice Guy-Blaché. You’re not alone. But Alice was the first female movie maker and one of the genre’s most important innovators. Alice, who was born in France in 1875, experimented with camera angles, color, animation, and many other techniques that were decades ahead of their time. She was also one of the first to reverse traditional gender roles (such as having a leading lady jump off a bridge onto a speeding train) and was a pioneer in special effects (such as blowing up a pirate ship). Alice’s story will be an inspiration to both girls and boys (and, of course, their parents). Ages 5-8. About $12 at https://www.amazon.com

How to Build Brick Airplanes (by Peter Blackert)

build brick airplanesIf you’ve got bins full of LEGO bricks (or those from other similar-looking systems) and you’ve wondered what to do with them, this book has the perfect answer: Build an airplane. Blackert, who’s a car designer in real life and did a book on building cars out of LEGO, has provided detailed instructions for building dozens of jets, bombers, and warbirds. Plans include the Sopwith Camel, P-51D Mustang, F-35, Mitsubishi Zero, and many more. The easier ones require fewer than 100 pieces. The more complicated ones use more than 2,000. But the good news is that you probably have most of the required pieces in those bins or under your couch. Great for LEGO fans, airplane buffs, or anyone who’s looking for a wonderful family activity. Ages 8+. About $15.50 at https://www.amazon.com

Everything & Everywhere (by Mark Martin)

everything everywhereWe live in an amazing world that’s filled to the brim with people, places, animals, cities, and plenty of other things to discover. All you need is a good guide and a little curiosity, which is exactly what writer-illustrator Martin provides. The text is overflowing with facts about every stop along our around-the-globe trip (like how many stone blocks it took to build the Pyramid of Khufu and that Godzilla has very bad breath), and the illustrations are overflowing with color, whimsy, and lots of detail.  Ages 5-8. About $13.50 at https://www.amazon.com

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