Three Books, Two Movies, and One List…



I’ve been reading stacks of books and end-of-year lists in preparation for my December 2 program at the James in Norwell. I’ll share the whole list soon, but if you’re like the little guy in the picture, you may be looking for some good books to read over the upcoming Thanksgiving weekend!  If so, check these out….


Before After by Anne-Margot Ramstein and Matthias Aregui – I love this wordless picture book. It’s meant for kids between the ages of 4 and maybe 8, but it would be especially fun to look at with a group of children. Each two page spread features a “before” and an “after.”  Like this:


Most of the connections between the before and after are obvious, but there are a few that kids may have to think about for a minute. Some are funny (a slingshot on one page and a broken window on the other) and some are just beautiful (a nest of eggs followed by a mother bird feeding her young hungry baby birds).


100 Things That Make Me Happy by Amy Schwartz – This is another book that lends itself to a fun family activity.  A book of 100 things that will be familiar to young children – grocery carts, yellow ducks, jellybeans and 97 more!  In rhyming prose, this list of books lends itself to the obvious question: what would you add?  Sweet and engaging, Schwartz’s book is guaranteed to brighten a child’s day.


The Midnight Library by Kazuno Kohara – After everyone has eaten their second piece of pie, it might be time for the kids to put on their pajamas and hear a bedtime story. Kohara’s story about a library open only at night and patronized by animals, is a cozy way to end the day.

In movie news….I just read that Netflix has acquired the rights to A Series of Unfortunate Events by Lemony Snicket (Daniel Handler) for a possible series. While you’re waiting for that, here are two movies based on children’s books to watch out for in 2015…

Insurgent, the second installment of the Divergent series, starring Kate Winslet and Shailene Woodley, opens on March 20

The Jungle Book by Rudyard Kipling starring Scarlett Johansson and Bill Murray opens on October 9 – eleven months from now!

Finally, from the Fall 2014 issue of Milton Academy’s magazine, a list from Nick Clark of “Twenty Books You Should Read to a Child You Love.” Clark is a 1965 graduate of Milton Academy and the Chief Curator of the Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art.

Peter Rabbit by Beatrix Potter

Millions of Cats by Wanda Gág

The Story of Ferdinand by Munro Leaf

Madeline by Ludwig Bemelmans

Pat the Bunny by Dorothy Kunhardt

Curious George by H.  A. and Margret Rey

Swimmy by Leo Lionni

Sylvester and the Magic Pebble by William Steig

Make Way for Ducklings by Robert McCloskey

Charlotte’s Web by E.  B. White

Harold and the Purple Crayon by Crockett Johnson

Eloise by Kay Thompson

The Cat in the Hat by Dr. Seuss

The Velveteen Rabbit by Margery Williams

The Snowy Day by Ezra Jack Keats

Where the Wild Things Are by Maurice Sendak

Frog and Toad by Arnold Lobel

Snow White by Nancy Ekholm Burkert

George and Martha by James Marshall

Jumanji by Chris Van Allsburg

For the complete article about Nick Clark, here’s the link:


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