Capital Parent Newspaper - December 2009
Giving the gift of words
By Jane Whiting
The holiday season is one of the best times to curl up with a good book. Not only do books make perfect gifts for the whole family, but you can add to the joy of reading with beautiful stationary, journals and supplies to encourage a love of writing as well.
To help you find the right books for young readers, from picture books and up, the Canadian Toy Testing Council also tests and produces a top ten list of “Great Canadian Books for Children.” Through the CTTC’s Literacy Program, which promotes and supports a love of reading, kids read and evaluate a wide array of children’s books, all created by Canadian authors, illustrators and publishers.
All of the books in the CTTC program are subjected to a comprehensive and rigorous evaluation process by the children and their parents. The selection includes first books for babies to novels and non-fiction for kids up to around age 11. A diverse list of eight English and two French titles on topics such as hockey, animals and religion, is created to appeal to a variety of reading interests.
For more children’s book ideas, check out your local Ottawa library branch or go online for recommendations. Many children also enjoy the online book club, where they can read book reviews by kids themselves and write their own reviews. This develops critical reading skills as well as increasing writing abilities.
Another popular library event that promotes both reading and writing is the recently held Kids’ Lit Gala. It not only provides a great opportunity for kids to meet local authors, but also give them a personal connection to the book, explains Jane Venus, OPL Manager of Children and Teen Services. “Part of learning to read is realizing that there is a whole skill to writing books as well as reading them. Linking the writing process to reading helps kids understand that there is a person who actually put together all the words.”
Encouraging kids to write in addition to reading, is something that parents can do at home and it can take many different forms, adds Venus. “It can include journaling, writing out recipes, emailing or writing to friends. It’s an important skill that children need to be comfortable with.”
Aspiring young writers aged nine to seventeen will want to take note that the deadline for submitting short stories and poetry to the Awesome Authors contest, in January. More information is available online at www.biblioottawalibrary.com, together with details on upcoming writing workshops for children.
So don’t forget – when you look for a book for a young reader, think about buying a special journal and fun writing supplies to complete the gift of words.
A Royal Little Pest.
Written by Anita Reynolds MacArthur and illustrated by Karen Roy.
Pollywog Bog Books.
Prince Hayden MacCheeky is a royal prince who likes to tease and mimic his brothers and sisters. When they refuse to play with him, Prince Hayden must adjust his behaviour so that he becomes fun to be around. The distinctive, full-colour illustrations add to the book’s humour and plot.