Thursday, June 4, 2009

Cynthia Rylant's Birthday is Saturday!

Head out to your local library today or tomorrow or hit up your own shelves... Saturday is Cynthia Rylant's birthday and she's got some great books available for children!

Rylant, Cynthia.
The Relatives Came.
Bradbury Press.
Guided Reading Level: K

This book is so perfect for the end of summer that I'm including it in my "Get Creative @ Your Library" summer reading program for children entering grades K-3! It will be used as a back-to-school book during my last week of the program. During this time, children will be making a cute handprint, back-to-school poem, courtesy of

For those of you not familiar with the book, a family experiences the excitement as their relatives come in from Virginia to visit for a few weeks during the summer... we see their enjoyment at sharing this time and then also deal with the disappointment they feel when their relatives leave at 4am to head back home to Virginia. However, young readers are reminded that their relatives will be returning next summer!

I think it's a perfect way to say good-bye to summer and to instill in children the excitement of passing time until next summer! Of course, the book can be used in other ways too:
Rylant, Cynthia.
When I Was Young in the Mountains.
E.P. Dutton.
Guided Reading Level: K

This book is extremely believable and moving... I tried to research a little to see if I could find out if it was indeed based on Rylant's youth, but haven't able to locate that information without conducting a more intense search!

The book details the life of a young child - their memories of from when she was young, living in the mountains - her grandfather covered from head-to-toe in ore from the mines, except for his lips which kissed her head - pumping pails of water from the well - attending church in the schoolhouse - even just sitting on the porch swing in the summertime. This is a very calming book and I think it would be a great introduction to a family thematic unit or even just to be used as an introduction to a new writing prompt about what children remember from their younger years.
Rylant, Cynthia.
The Stars Will Still Shine.
HarperCollins Publishers.

This book is perfect for several different occasions - New Year's Eve (a new beginning), a family crisis (be it divorce, death, separation, etc.), or any event in which your family (especially the children) are feeling uncertain of the times (had this book been around for 9/11, it would have been perfect for children showing fear/anxiety about the state of the country).
this new year...
the sky will still be there
the stars will still shine
birds will fly over us
church bells will chime
cows will have calves
kittens will sleep...
As you can see, the book is perfect for showing children that the little things they notice from day-to-day will still happen, even though they're facing a new time/situation that is uncomfortable or unfamiliar. I will definitely keep this book in the back of my mind for if I ever have students who are having a hard time transitioning in their young lives!

Other Books by Cynthia Rylant... I was going to list them all, got three pages in to only to discover if I try and list/link to all of her books, I'll be here for days! So, here's the link to her name search which contains all of the books!
If you're interested in finding out more information about any of the books reviewed or if you'd like to purchase the books, click the cover image for a link to