What’s The Eight-Year-Old reading this week?


Nov6Our mostly-weekly survey of the tidbits that cross The Eight-Year-Old’s desk. This week, The Eight-Year-Old falls under the spell of two exceptional story-tellers and shakes a literary fist at the beetles destroying her favorite trees. 

A sampling of this week’s books:

Matilda by Roald Dahl

This week, The Eight-Year-Old discovered one of my favorite authors as a child: Roald Dahl. I grew up reading Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. The Eight-Year-Old’s not too interested in Charlie, but she absolutely adores Matilda. For a brief dark period over the weekend, The Eight-Year-Old lost Matilda. She looked everywhere, and finally came sobbing to Daddyo, begging him to save her from a bleak Matilda-less future.

Beetle Busters (Scientists in the Field Series) by Loree Griffin Burns

Over the summer, the city cut down five of the ash trees on our street. They had become infested with the emerald ash borer. Turns out ash trees all over Chicago are falling prey to this invasive species. Last year, the Chicago Park District cut down and replaced more than 100 ash trees along the Midway Plaisance. According to this November 2014 article in the Hyde Park Herald, the Chicago Park District expects all of the ash trees under its care to become infested with the ash borer within the next two years. The picture Danielle Pereira, Regional Forester at Openlands, paints is even grimmer. “There are about 13 million ash trees in the Chicagoland region, and most likely all of them will die,” Pereira said in a recent interview with the Hyde Park Herald.

The Eight-Year-Old had protested the poor workers cutting down her beloved, if dead, ash trees this summer. Hopefully Loree Griffin Burns’ book will help her target her anger in a more fruitful direction.

Wonderstruck by Brian Selznick

Since The Eight-Year-Old isn’t allowed to read books at lunch at school, she and her friends naturally pass the time talking about books instead. One of her buddies recommended Wonderstruck this week, and The Eight-Year-Old promptly checked it out from the library. She’s been faithfully toting it with her everywhere since. When I suggested that she leave this very thick book at home to take some of the load off her backpack, she adamantly refused. “I can’t risk losing it too, Mommyo.”

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About Shala Howell

I spent two decades helping companies like Bell Labs, Juniper Networks, and a genetic testing company that was later acquired by CVS translate some of the world’s most complicated concepts into actionable, understandable English. Now I'm working on a much harder problem -- fostering children’s curiosity and engagement in the scientific, artistic, and linguistic world that surrounds them. The first book in my Caterpickles Parenting Series, What’s That, Mom?, focuses on how to use public art to nurture children’s curiosity in the world around them. My next book, Did Dinosaurs Have Belly Buttons?, is currently planned for release in 2018. In the meantime, you can find me blogging about life with a very curious Ten-Year-Old at Caterpickles.com, chatting about books and the writing life at BostonWriters.blog, and tweeting about books, writing, science, & things that make me smile at @shalahowell.
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