Posts Tagged ‘commentary’

An Intimate, Revealing Look at Women Writers: Scribbling Women

Posted on April 1st, 2011 by Carolyn Hart

Storytime Standouts looks at Marthe Jocelyn's new book:  Scribbling Women“Scribbling Women”: True Tales from Astonishing Lives
written by Marthe Jocelyn

When I was invited to participate in Marthe Jocelyn’s blog tour for her fascinating new book, “Scribbling Women”: True Tales from Astonishing Lives, I had no idea that having an opportunity to read and savour her words would touch me in such a positive and personal way.

For Marthe Jocelyn, it must have been a daunting task to select eleven women writers to profile. She not only describes their writing, she illuminates us about the worlds they lived in, the choices they made and their extraordinary experiences. The resulting book, is an intimate, revealing look at the lives of these remarkable women and a celebration of women’s writing in general. Carefully researched, Ms. Jocelyn provides the back stories and guides her readers to appreciate the hardships, danger, drama, heartache and triumphs these fascinating women experienced.

Respectfully and lovingly written, “Scribbling Women” provides behind-the-scene glimpses that will inspire readers to consider the story behind the author each time they read. As well, the insight will encourage women to take up a pen or keyboard to share their own dreams, ideas and observations.

Several of the stories resonated with me personally and it would be difficult to select a favourite except for the fact that I have a copy of Mrs. Beeton’s Book of Household Management. It was in my husband’s parent’s home when we dealt with the contents just about one year ago. Held together by my father-in-law’s masking tape repair job, many of the pages are discoloured, some are loose.

Having read, “Scribbling Women”, not only do I know the previous owner of the book, I feel I have gained insight into the author and how she impacted the world around her. I am truly grateful for the information and will treasure Mrs. Beeton’s Book of Household Management – even if If don’t have a housekeeper (as second in command) in my home.

Readers interested in “Scribbling Women” will want to learn more about this blog tour. Be sure to visit Tundra Books’ weblog and discover how to win an enormous collection of Marthe Jocelyn’s wonderful books.

As well, please visit one of these blogs and read more about “Scribbling Women”

Jo Ann at Journey of a Bookseller and Melanie at The Indextrious Reader

Update June 18, 2012 “Scribbling Women” nominated for the Norma Fleck Award For Canadian Children’s Non-Fiction

“Scribbling Women”: True Tales from Astonishing Lives at

“Scribbling Women”: True Tales from Astonishing Lives at

10 Questions About Reading Aloud to Children – We can help!

Posted on February 3rd, 2011 by Carolyn Hart

Storytime Standouts shares answers to 10 frequently asked questions about reading aloud to children.

Here are our answers to 10 frequently asked questions about reading aloud to children.

Simply put, reading aloud to your children will positively effect them for the rest of their lives.

Reading aloud and sharing wonderful stories will make them laugh (and cry), expand their vocabulary, broaden their view of the world, teach them lessons, prepare them for formal reading instruction and create long lasting memories.

Here are my answers to ten frequently asked questions about reading aloud to children…

Goodnight Moon is a great read-aloud for babies and toddlers
When should I start reading to my baby?
Some people would say, “Start while the baby is still in the womb.” For me personally, I think six months is a good age. Ideally, starting to read to your child should happen before the baby is really mobile. Snuggle up and enjoy a couple of board books every day.

Harry Potter is a terrific read-aloud for eight year oldsWhen can I stop reading to my child(ren)?
My personal opinion is that you should continue reading aloud daily to your children (at least) until they are teens. We know that as children get older, the words, paragraphs and chapters become longer, there are fewer illustrations and the content is often more complex. If you continue to read to your child – even after he becomes an independent reader – you and he can enjoy books that are too challenging for him to read independently. This provides great motivation for him to continue reading

Who should read aloud to our children?
Everyone! I would love to have parents, grandparents, babysitters, aunts and uncles read aloud to children. Each adult can bring something special to the read aloud and/or storytelling experience. For boys, it is very valuable to have a male role model for reading. I know of one family where Dad reads the stories while Mom sits nearby and enjoys her own book. This is great for the children to observe.10 FAQ About Reading aloud to young children -

What if my child won’t sit still for a story?
Hearing the story is more important that sitting still for the story. Allow your child to bathe or color or bounce a ball while you read aloud.

Chicka Chicka Boom Boom is good fun for Preschool-Age Children

My child wants to hear the same story over and over again… I’m bored. What should I do?
Read your child’s favorite story and then offer an incentive to listen to something different… “We can turn the light out now and you can go to sleep OR you can stay up late tonight and hear this new story!” My prediction is 9/10 children will want to stay up late to hear a new story.

I have two children, aged six and three. Can I read the same stories to them or do they each need their own stories?
Ideally I would try to read stories to each BUT that may only be possible occasionally. Just do your best.

What if a book includes a word or idea that I object to?
Rather than avoid the book altogether, use this as an opportunity to explain your objection to your child. Books can be great springboards for frank discussions about behavior, language and more.

Puzzle books like Spot Seven help children learn to notice small details
My child likes those puzzle books but I find them really boring. What’s the point of those books?
I Spy, Spot Seven, Can You See What I See? – type books help your child to notice small details and will also introduce new vocabulary. Enjoy in moderation.

Some of these fairy tales can be awfully scary… Is it okay to read them to my child?
You’re right, witches and potions and monsters can be scary. Be guided by your child. If your child wants to hear you read a scary story, trying it while sitting comfortably with you enables them to enjoy a shiver of excitement in a safe setting, One of my fondest camping memories involves a campfire, a book of ghost stories and a flashlight!

Wordless picture books like Breakfast for Jack are great for multilingual families
English is not my first language. I am uncomfortable reading English to my children. What should I do?
Books on tape or CD could help you and your child enjoy books together. Look for these at your local library. While you are at the library, find out about storytimes, many libraries offer several opportunities for children to hear stories read aloud. Wordless and almost wordless picture books may also be a good choice for you and your child. Finally, you will spend many years encouraging your child to try new things – I would encourage you to try reading at least one book to your child every day even though you may make mistakes.

Our page about Wordless and Almost Wordless Picture Books

For book recommendations, check out our picture book and chapter book suggestions.

If you have a specific question about reading aloud to children, leave a comment. We promise to reply with our best ideas to help you read aloud to your child.

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