My daughter has become obsessed with Hamilton: An American Musical. Serendipitously, she is also learning about the American Revolution in school this year and making great grades. It is amazing what a pop culture tie-in can do to boost student interest and spark a desire to read more about a topic. I have learned not to let these reading opportunities pass us by, but I have to be stealthy about it so I don’t inadvertently turn her off - after all, if I think something is cool, she knows it cannot possibly be cool. If you want to make reading connections with your child’s favorite subjects, here are some suggestions for all ages and interests, pulled from the Association for Library Service to Children 2016 Notable Children’s Books list.
Who Done It?
by Olivier Tallec
Who, what, when, where, why, why, why, why, why???? Children are full of curious questions and a great way to build their knowledge and confidence is to encourage them to make observations about the world around them. To hone the skills of your little detective, figure out Who Done It? by Olivier Tallec.
Finding Winnie: The True Story of the World’s Most Famous Bear
by Lindsay Mattick, illustrated by Sophie Blackall.
What child doesn’t love stuffed animals? Snuggle up with your child and their favorite huggable toy and read Finding Winnie: The True Story of the World’s Most Famous Bear by Lindsay Mattick, illustrated by Sophie Blackall.
by Stephen Savage
Look, up in the sky! Look, out on the street! Children love superheroes and trucks, so what if there was a superhero truck? Grab your toy truck and your superhero cape and enjoy the adventures of Supertruck by Stephen Savage.
Enormous Smallness: A Story of E.E. Cummings
by Matthew Burgess and illustrated by Kris Di Giacomo
From a young age, children respond to the lyrical quality of poetry and as they grow they learn to understand it at a deeper level, which leads them to wonder, what shaped and inspired the poet? Enormous Smallness: A Story of E.E. Cummings by Matthew Burgess and illustrated by Kris Di Giacomo, explores the world that shaped this innovative poet and features child friendly poems interwoven into the text.
Mesmerized: How Ben Franklin Solved a Mystery that Baffled All of France
by Mara Rockliff and illustrated by Iacopo Bruno
Young scientists soon learn that science can seem like magic and you can’t believe everything you see, so they go looking for answers. Mesmerized: How Ben Franklin Solved a Mystery that Baffled All of France by Mara Rockliff and illustrated by Iacopo Bruno, entertainingly reminds students to remember to practice the scientific method and sparks a further interest into the life of this amazing man.
Terrible Typhoid Mary: A True Story of the Deadliest Cook in America
by Susan Campbell Bartoletti
Historical villains, intentional or accidental, hold a particular fascination for older elementary and middle school students. Terrible Typhoid Mary: A True Story of the Deadliest Cook in America details not just the deadly consequences of Mary Mallon’s decisions, but the violations of her civil rights that she experienced. Don’t be alarmed if your child wants to read about sensational true crime, as this is often a way for them to try to figure out the world and reassure themselves that they are safe within it.
And finally, in response to the devotion of so many students who want to learn more about the life and times of Alexander Hamilton, there are several new titles recently published for all grade levels.
Alexander Hamilton: American Hero (Rookie Biographies)
by K.C. Kelley
For ages 3-6. An early introduction to the life of an influential Founding Father.
Alexander Hamilton: From Orphan to Founding Father (Step Into Reading)
by Monica Kulling and Valerio Fabbretti
For ages 5-8. Students can read for themselves how Hamilton rose from nothing to help shape a nation.
The Duel: The Parallel Lives of Alexander Hamilton and Aaron Burr
by Judith St. George
For grades 5 and up. Due to my daughter playing the Hamilton soundtrack on repeat, we all know how this story ends.