Audiobooks are such a fun way to share a story with the whole family... but not every book has an audiobook edition! Some intrepid authors have stepped up to share their OWN middle grade novel read-alouds. Enjoy old favorites, or get to know a new-to-you author, all for free!
* Kate Messner is doing a chapter-by-chapter RANGER IN TIME book club for kids! Every week she's reading a new chapter aloud, and answers kids questions from the week before. If you like time traveling golden retrievers -- and who doesn't? -- check it out! The first two chapters are up now.
* Kate also shares the first chapter of her middle grade mystery CHIRP!
* Fred Koehler reads the first chapter of his middle grade adventure GARBAGE ISLAND! This exciting tale is perfect for fans of Stuart Little and Poppy, and is about a mouse and a shrew who are lost at sea, brave dangers, and find friendship along the way.
* A wide selection of the wacky and wonderful tales of Daniel Pinkwater are available as free audio files on his website - enjoy!
* Author Jo Knowles shares the first chapter of her lovely middle grade novel WHERE THE HEART IS, and a writing exercise.
* Diane Zahler shares an excerpt from her middle grade THE MARVELWOOD MAGICIANS, all about some other kids who are stuck at home with their family... only their family just happens to be full of real magicians!
The Loves Science series is not only adorable and fun, but also chock full of brainy info about, well... SCIENCE! Yay!
Test your knowledge, use your imagination, and enjoy: Click for activity kits including mazes, crosswords, coloring pages, and a downloadable Science Bingo game.
Every Child a Reader has a bunch of downloadable coloring pages from your favorite Children's Book artists, including one from Raúl the Third!
Highlights for Children is chock full of FREE cool stuff, like:
* Free printable workbook pages at bit.ly/HighlightsWorkbookPrintables
* Crafts, recipes, science experiments, games, puzzles, and more at HighlightsKids.com
* Hours of puzzle videos at bit.ly/HighlightsKidsYouTube and animated stories at bit.ly/HighlightsHighFiveYouTube
* Highlights Hangout podcast episodes on bit.ly/HighlightsHangoutYouTube, or wherever you listen to podcasts
* Engaging digital play on HiddenPictures.com or any of their apps, available in the App Store or on Google Play
Author-Illustrator Kim Smith is something of an expert when it comes to Empty Cardboard Boxes... her book BOXITECTS might just inspire the creative young maker in your life! You can buy a copy here, but meanwhile:
Here is a short and fascinating experiment about corrugated cardboard -- just what makes it so strong?: https://youtu.be/rwsQrWMgifY
And here is a draw-along with the main character from Boxitects, Meg! : https://youtu.be/2U5ud24jB9g
School closures, new work-from-home realities, social distancing, and scary words like "quarantine" are quite a lot for even grown-ups to deal with, and it is natural that kids might feel frightened and confused, too. The following links may prove useful as you navigate this uncharted territory.
NPR has a great and accessible comic about Coronavirus, perfect for sharing with kids.
The NYT has a great article from a psychologist about how to approach this conversation with different age-range children, from preschool to high school.
TeachingKidsNews.com is a site that breaks down newsworthy topics of the day into a kid-friendly format, with discussion questions at the end. Their article about Coronavirus is quite rational and calming. They also have good tips on talking to your littles about other hard news topics, as well. (Note that this website is based in Canada, but the info is good for the US as well!)
Wanna make a Comic? Cartoonist Mike Lawrence, creator of the graphic novel series STAR SCOUTS, has a free Star Scout activity sheet pdf ready to download that includes a "how to draw guide" and create-a-comic worksheet. Get it here!
Make Your Own Reading Fort (and so much more!): Picture book author Jessica Young has a great Teacher/Parent resource page on her website that includes instructions for making your own cozy reading fort! (We could all use one of those...) -- this page also includes printable coloring pages and other activity sheets, and more is being added. Check it out!
Wanna Hear a Story? Kate Messner shares a sneak-peek of OVER AND UNDER THE RAINFOREST, a book she wrote with illustrations by Christopher Silas Neal. The book doesn't come out until August, but you can see and hear it today. Take a look!
Kate Messner has put together an amazing resource for parents who are suddenly in need of entertaining and educational lessons for their stuck-at-home kiddos: Read, Wonder, and Learn! Favorite Authors and Illustrators share resources for learning anywhere.
Kate's invited some of our fave authors and illustrators to join her, including ABLA clients like Jo Knowles, Carole Lindstrom, Sarah Albee, Nancy Castaldo, Jess Keating, James Burks, and MANY more. The mini-lessons include readalouds, story writing prompts, nuggets about history and science, drawing lessons, and so much more. This is really a treasure-trove of interesting videos and links, and it's being updated all the time -- check it out, you're sure to find awesome and useful content for early elementary through middle schoolers.