How Books Rocked Taylor Swift's World

Taylor has a message for kids who think reading is not cool.

How Books Rocked Taylor Swift's World

Did you know 1 in 5 kids in the UK think reading is not cool? They're embarrassed to even be seen with a book.

Pop artist Taylor Swift is seeing RED. She's not angry or embarrassed. RED stands for "Read Every Day," an initiative launched by Scholastic to encourage global literacy. In a live webcast aired this Wednesday, Taylor spoke to millions of students about how books made her the singer she is today. Poised and articulate, she shared how fables, fairy tales, and poetry inspired her imagination and taught her to be a stronger person.  

“I think it’s important to read as many kinds of books as you possibly can,” Taylor told students, from short to long, easy to difficult, fiction to nonfiction — “so you can find out what your favorites are.” And, “I think it is good to read every day, definitely!…I try to read as much as I can.”

Taylor answered students' questions, and capped off her appearance with a performance of "We are Never Ever Getting Back Together," from her new album entitled—RED. Of course!

Here's the webcast to watch with your children, in case you missed it. I'm so glad that Taylor Swift is a role model for so many kids. Our children need to know that cool celebrities think reading is cool!

Find out what Taylor and other celebrities picked as their top 5 books, under "Celebrity Bookprints." You can also join Scholastic's campaign—it's easy to do—and help kids across the world read every day.


New App Helps You Bond with Your Baby

Can't recall nursery rhymes and tickle games from your childhood? There's an app for that!

New App Helps You Bond with Your Baby

Remember feeling that special bond as your mother bounced you on her knees while singing a nursery rhyme? My mother always had a large repertoire of children's songs and finger plays ready to go. It's different for parents today. Maybe it's due to greater distance between families or to television; Our generation can't whip out many of the lyrics and actions to traditional nursery rhymes like our parents could.

Bonding with your kids over Mother Goose is not only fun, it's also beneficial to children's intellectual development. Nursery rhymes develop language skills, memory, movement, and a connection to culture.

You don't have to memorize pages from books to bring yourself up to speed on "Five Little Monkeys." I recommend you check out the "Mulberry Finger Plays" app. 


Videos feature a professional children's entertainer performing classic songs with finger plays. You can view the lyrics separately, or tap the icon for a quick description of the finger play.  

Unlike many apps, Mulberry Finger Plays encourages interaction between parent and child. According to Mulberry Media, "It is specially designed for you to create magical moments of quality connection and bonding with your little one...It is not intended for children to experience on their own." 

I really like the twist on honouring traditional songs and games by using 21st century technology. Bonding with your baby is literally at your fingertips!

You can download five videos for free, and then choose to purchase more than 20 videos for $1.99.


photo credit




Six Books To Help You And Your Kids Talk About Bullying

"Bibliotherapy" Opens Up Conversations On A Difficult Topic

Six Books To Help You And Your Kids Talk About Bullying

Amanda Todd's tragic death and final YouTube video has touched parents and kids all over the world. Her heartbreaking story is sadly all too familiara child repeatedly tormented by bullies, while bystanders cheered on or looked away. We struggle to understand how kids can be so cruel, and what we can do to protect our children. Talking with our children about bullying is not always easysometimes it's painful for kids and parents to share personal experiences, and sometimes there's a lack of understanding about the intricacies of bullying.

Books can be of great help. By digging into characters and plots, you and your kids can explore and discuss bullying from various angles. "Bibliotherapy" works well with fiction books, because they provide a needed distance to talk about problems and to learn from a range of outcomes.

It's never too early or too late to start talking about bullying, so I've selected books from preschool to high school. Read them out loud, or read them silently. Together discuss, share, analyze, and question.

Preschool-Grade 3

Middle School

  • THE HUNDRED DRESSES, by Eleanor Estes: Wanda is a poor immigrant, who wears the same blue faded dress every day. After Wanda insists she owns one hundred dresses at home, her classmates tease and bully her. Nobody bothered to know Wanda, but by the end of the book, Maddie wishes she had.
  • BLUBBER, by Judy Blume: "Blubber is a good name for her," Wendy's note said. Before long, the note made its way around the class, and Linda's life at school became a living hell. This book delves deep into the class pecking-order and into the mindset of the victim and the bully. Incredibly astute.

High School

  • LORD OF THE FLIES, by William Golding: What would happen if teenage boys were stranded on an island away from grown-ups?  Would remorse and compassion prevail over evil impulses? Although some scenes are disturbing (not more than the Hunger Games), this book is an excellent springboard  to discuss the nature of evil, bullying, and group dynamics.
  • SPEAK, by Laurie Halse Anderson: High School student Melinda is ostracized by her classmates for calling the police to a party.  As she becomes increasingly friendless and isolated, she almost stops speaking completely. When the tragedy of her rape comes back to haunt her, she finally refuses to be silenced. An important message about standing up for oneself, about finding one's voice, and about paying attention to others' silent cries for help.

I know this list is far from complete. Please, feel free to share books from your list with other readers here.