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

Cobblestone from Cricket Media

This picture from this month's issue of Cobblestone nearly broke my brain with its awesomeness. It really doesn't look like that cargo ship should be able to make that turn, but since its remains aren't clogging up the Chicago River today (as far as I know), I guess it must have. (Photo: Cobblestone)

This picture from this month’s issue of Cobblestone nearly broke my brain. It really doesn’t look like that cargo ship should be able to make that turn, but since its remains aren’t clogging up the Chicago River today (as far as I know), I guess it must have. (Photo: Cobblestone)


What the book’s about: 
  Cobblestone is an American history magazine geared to children. This month’s issue explores Chicago’s history and is packed with fascinating tidbits that have already sparked more than one intriguing dinnertime conversation.

Why we think you’ll like it: This is a magazine that sparks conversations between kids and their parents. Reading the feature on the Great Migration of 1919 opened up a fascinating conversation about demographics and settlement patterns and how they are still shaping cities all these years later.  Other articles in the issue explore the Columbian Exposition of 1893, the labor wars of 1877, the Chicago Fire of 1871, and of course, the Chicago White Stockings, who began playing National League Baseball in 1870 and would go on to win the World Series in 2016.

(The Nine-Year-Old tricked me with that little bit of trivia yesterday afternoon, btw. When she asked me if if I knew which Chicago baseball team used to be called the White Stockings, I said the White Sox. But no. It was the Cubs.)

If you’re looking for a history magazine that you and your children will both enjoy, give Cobblestone a try. 

The Smell of Old Lady Perfume by Claudia Guadalupe Martinez


smell-of-old-lady-perfumeWhat the book’s about: 
I should tell you up front that The Nine-Year-Old is really struggling with this book, and hasn’t actually finished it yet. It opens with the father having a stroke and the grandmother moving in to help the family pick up the pieces. The grandmother’s perfume slowly takes over the house, and is intricately connected in Claudia’s mind with the smell of sorrow and loss. Hence the title.

The Nine-Year-Old has no choice but to finish the book, however, as her school has named it one of several books all fourth graders are required to read this year. She’s gamely making her way through it, but I can tell it’s a bit of a struggle.

But that’s ok. I personally think it’s wonderful that her school is having her read it, as it is broadening her experience base and helping her develop empathy for others in more difficult situations. That said, I think my daughter would have had an easier time with this book if she and I were reading it together, so my advice for parents is to read this one along with your child, or at the very least, make yourself available to talk about it with them.

The Nine-Year-Old’s advice for kids thinking of picking this book up: “Don’t read it while your dad is out of town.”

Daddyo’s back now (yay!), so hopefully she’ll be able to finish this up this weekend.

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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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