Barb’s Reading Roundup

Guess what! Stitching for Literacy has two children’s book professionals guest-blogging during the 2010 Bookmark Challenge. They’ve chosen some of their favorite books to share with us.

Max’s Words
Written by Kate Banks
Illustrated by Boris Kulikov

Max wants to collect something just like his brothers do. (He’d also love it if they’d share a stamp and a coin with him from their collections, but they always say no.) But what to collect? Max decides on words, much to his brothers’ amusement and scorn. But as Max’s collection grows, it’s clear he’s onto something. He starts small (a, and) and with words close to his heart (baseball, hugs), but soon he’s perusing the dictionary for new words (iguana, slithered). And before long, his words are expressing thoughts, because, unlike stamps or coins, when words are arranged in different ways, they can express different ideas. Pretty soon a story emerges, and that grabs the attention of his skeptical brothers, and the magic of words is discovered.

That this book didn’t get wider recognition, that it won no awards or even mentions the year it came out (2006), is a crying shame. I can’t say enough about how marvelous Max’s Words is. Banks’ pitch-perfect story of discovering the magic of words and how they’re the building blocks of the expression of thoughts, ideas, creativity, making them tangible, as it were, is brought to vivid life through Kulikov’s marvelously expressive illustrations. Like the all-time great classic of words and the imagination, Harold and the Purple Crayon by Crockett Johnson, this is no less than creativity illustrated. Perfect for joyfully inspiring kids to put their own words together to express themselves and their ideas, and even to coax those hesitant creative souls to try putting a few words together.

Barb Weber has been a fan of children’s books all her life (she still has her copy of her favorite Golden Book, The Little Yellow Taxi, torn page and all, and it still chokes her up), and has been a children’s bookseller for over ten years. She likes nothing better than to share her enthusiasm and bring terrific books to people’s attention. And her sister-in-law, Jen, is finally making her do something about it for a wider audience.

Categories: Reading

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