patti.cook's blog

Wordless Books...How and Why do you Read Them?

So, I may be blowing the cover here but there is a superhero on the library shelf. A whole bunch of them, actually. They hang around in their unassuming secret identities just waiting to be noticed so that they can uncover their superpowers of literacy to you and your kids!

I’m talking about wordless books.

“Wordless” books? What in the world is that? Is that an oxymoron like “jumbo shrimp” or “pretty ugly?” Absolutely not! Wordless books are excellent agents of early literacy skills. Allow me to explain. Wordless books help readers understand the elements of story structure. If all you have are illustrations to go on, you have to arrange them in your head to create a beginning, a middle, and an end. They encourage interactive storytelling and discussion.

Let's Get Ready to Read!

Babies are born learning, and you can help prepare your child for success!  The Austin Public Library is thrilled to announce our new early literacy initiative Storytime Connection. We have been hard at work creating resources that highlight early literacy tips, recommended books, opportunities for training, and videos that will entertain as well as educate. 

Claire DeWitt and the Best Mysteries I've Read in Awhile


Those of us who are avid mystery readers are familiar with the tropes of the genre. We’ve got the anti-heroes who aren’t above breaking the law in the pursuit of justice, we’ve got the fluffy heroines who get themselves in and out of danger with ridiculous regularity. We’ve got the cozy cottage mysteries and the hard-boiled detectives. I do not believe, though, that we’ve ever met a heroine quite like Claire DeWitt.

Fairy Tales: To Read, or Not to Read?

What is all the fuss about fairy tales anyway? It seems to be an issue that comes up periodically on parenting blogs and in newspaper opinion sections. Several years ago there was a survey in a British newspaper that asked parents whether fairy tales were too scary to read to kids. The answer from a lot of them was a resounding yes! They feature kidnapping, stealing, girls doing all of the housework, and of course, the eating of children and grandmothers…

So what’s a parent to do? Should you just chuck out the Grimm style fairy tales and stick to the more sanitized happily-ever-after (yet not entirely unproblematic) fare that Disney features?

Well, maybe, but maybe not. There are some very compelling reasons to read the more “classic” Grimm inspired tales.

#1000BlackGirlBooks or How One Girl Started a Movement

It has been said that books are both a mirror and a window. Rudine Sims Bishop has used these terms to describe how Children’s literature allows readers to both see themselves and see others when we read them. Children from dominant social groups, those from Caucasian and more affluent groups, are those that most often find mirrors in their literature. These same books serve as windows for other children, but that becomes an issue when these same children can’t find their own life experiences reflected back to them when they read.


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