Purpose of this Blog...

You may have noticed that not all books are equal in capturing children's imaginations and in cultivating those innocent, tender souls. My goal is to help you find the ones that do!
(Painting by Mary Cassatt: "Mrs Cassatt Reading to her Grandchildren" -1888)

Tuesday, May 3, 2011


"...the realm of the imagination is not an escape from life's complexities but often a means of coping with them." - William Kilpatrick, BOOKS THAT BUILD CHARACTER.

My secret place - do you think it's real or imagined?

Have you ever stumbled upon a secret place that was right around the corner, but that you hadn't realized had always been there?  Children often find these places - maybe because their active imaginations help them see what the rest of us hurriedly pass by.  I recently found such a place...a small forest of Redwood trees, just miles from my home!  
View of the treetops from the trail we walk.

I had noticed the tops of the trees down below a horse trail that I've walked along, but I'd never taken time to actually walk down the steep pathway and explore what was there. Imagine my surprise to find over 200 Redwoods, nestled on a deep green carpet of grass, with bright sunlight filtering softly through their dense branches.  It reminded me of another forest, in Narnia, or maybe from a Bridge to Terabithia...

BRIDGE TO TERABITHIA by Katherine Paterson.  Did you know that this story was actually inspired by C.S. Lewis' imaginary world of Narnia?  From BOOKS THAT BUILD CHARACTER:  "To most casual observers in the rural town where they live, Jessee and Leslie look like a teenage version of the "odd couple."  Jesse comes from a poor family, Leslie from affluent cultured parents.  But there is something that binds them together; it is a shared imaginary kingdom called Terabithia lying deep within the woods.  When tragedy strikes, Jessee is able to find comfort in the world of the imagination and the mind.  He comes to realize that Terabithia is Leslie's legacy to him, a gift of friendship that enables him to come to terms with her death." (Contemporary Fiction/Middle readers, ages 8 and up)
Bridge to Terabithia

More books about secret places:
SECRET PLACE by Eve Bunting, illustrated by Ted Rand.  "In the heart of the city where I live there is a secret place. Close by is a freeway where cars and trucks boom.  And a railroad track with freight trains that shunt and grunt."  There is a special place in this city that only a child, his father and a few other people know about. A man-made river runs through the city and it is home or watering hole to many creatures, from a coyote, to mallard ducks, to an egret, to possums and to many birds.  A gentle story for 4-8 year olds (Realistic Fiction).
Secret Place

RED SINGS FROM TREETOPS: A YEAR IN COLORS by Joyce Sidman, illustrated by Pamela Zagerenski.  A unique and poetic picture book about the changing of seasons. Each season is explored in terms of how it encompasses colors. In the spring, “Red sings / from treetops . . . / each note dropping / like a cherry / into my ear.” Green “peeks from buds,” and yellow “slips goldfinches their spring jackets.” Pink also speaks of springtime and baby birds: "And here, in secret places, peeps Pink: hairless, featherless, the color of new things." Old leaves and crushed berries smell purple... all of these intriguing images are matched in the imaginative illustrations - with stylized figures (intricately costumed and crowned) walking, running, and sailing through Zagarenski’s artwork. For ages preschool-1st grade.
Red Sings from Treetops: A Year in Colors

THE SECRET GARDEN by Frances Hodgson Burnett.  (Historical Fiction/ages 9 and up) I'll never forget the first time I encountered this book!  I couldn't put it down. Still an endearing favorite, it's about an orphaned girl, Mary Lennox, who is sent to a Yorkshire Mansion on a vast, lonely moor.  An unhappy nine-year old, she is frightened of her new gloomy home, until she meets Dickon, a local boy who is friends with animals.  She also discovers an abandoned garden and a secret:  there is another child in the house...
The Secret Garden


  1. Oh wow! The Secret Garden was one of my favorite books growing up. Lookng forward to reading it again when the time presents itself!

  2. It's even better when you can read it aloud to your own child! :)

  3. Beautiful blog!!Thank you for sharing so many amazing titles, I love reading aloud to my children, in Spanish, and sometimes in English (they are learning!)so I'll take them into account.
    Greetings from Argentina!!

  4. Wow, Argentina! - you're welcome - and thank you. :)