Wednesday, September 26, 2012

How to write about your adventure by Cecilia Minden and Kate Roth

How to write well is a struggle for many children and this is the time of year when children can really benefit from a little help with writing skills.  How to write about your adventure by Cecilia Minden and Kate Roth is part of the new series, Language Arts Explorer Junior, and takes children through the process of writing.  

Children have a tendency to write a story as a list, rather than an interesting personal narrative.  This book begins by explaining what a personal narrative is.  It goes on to describe how making the story interesting begins with preparing a chronological list of events. The book explains how to write a captivating opening sentence, and interesting body, and climax of the story.  The author also points out the importance of proof-reading and editing once the writer has finished.

I would say this book, and this series are roughly a grade 2 or 3 level.  Mastering these steps early, will greatly reduce writing stress for children in this school year, and getting into the habit of writing well will benefit them throughout their school years and into adulthood.  The library has many titles to help with writing skills.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Quiet by Susan Cain

Susan Cain’s book, Quiet: the power of introverts in a world that can’t stop talking, has been on the best-seller lists on and off for months.  It is there again.  

Cain points out that introverts commonly prefer listening to speaking; reading to partying; are innovative and creative but shun self-promotion, and favour working on their own to working in groups.  Cain documents how human history has led to our undervaluing introverts. Undervaluing the introvert can be detrimental to the workplace, as their creativity is often not recognized.  In team meetings for example, is everyone heard – or just the loudest?  She offers practical suggestions for the parents of introverts.  For example sometimes children need to unwind alone after school rather than plunging into an activity.  She points out the importance of not labelling children as “shy” or “quiet”.

Well known author, Andrew Weil, offers this endorsement of Cain's book, "As an introvert often called up to behave like an extrovert, I found the information in this book revealing and helpful.  Drawing on neuroscientific research and many case reports, Susan Can explains the advantages and potentials of introversion and of being quiet in a noisy world."

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

The Myth of the Muslim Tide by Doug Saunders

It’s the 11th anniversary of 9/11 this week.  Nightly on the news we hear how anti-multiculturalism factored into Anders Behring Breivik’s murderous rampage.  Information and mis-information abound, and understanding immigration and multiculturalism in today’s western society can be a challenge.

Globe and Mail reporter, Doug Saunders, has researched immigration trends in the past, and compares those to the Muslim experience.  The result The Myth of the Muslim Tide is now available.  In an interview on CTV news, Saunders sums up his findings, “Generally Muslim immigrants are converging with western populations in the same way Jews and Catholics did when they were the latest and most controversial wave of immigrants – probably a little bit faster”.  Saunders tackles misconceptions about Muslim’s loyalties and a perceived proclivity for extremism.  For those who believe that because Muslims have large families they will soon be a majority, he points out that in the past when new immigrants first arrive, they tended to have large families.  But usually within two or three generations, the reproduction rate is roughly the same as the community around them.

Saunders points out that he is not a defender of Islam, he just aims to debunk misconceptions about Muslim immigrants.  Several copies are available in the library.