Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Diane quoted in South China Morning Press

Diane was recently in Hong Kong working with Bring Me A Book, the leading advocate for family literacy in Hong Kong. Here is an excerpt from an article in the  South China Morning Press “Diane Frankenstein, a child literacy expert, guides parents and teachers in the art of conversational reading as an excellent way to stay engaged in the lives of older children. Talking about books helps kids convey feelings, develop empathy and continue to converse in a way that is not so personal, but gets to personal topics. Far from a passive, solitary activity, reading can be active, social and collaborative, particularly when a carefully constructed discussion ensues.
She advises: “Read a story. Ask a question. Start a conversation read more 

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Gung Hay Fat Choy

While recently working in Hong Kong I learned about a relatively new player in the world of awards for Children books of distinction. The Feng Zikai award, handed out for the first time in 2009, is a biannual awarded aimed at promoting original, quality Chinese children’s books and recognizing the efforts of authors, illustrators and publishers. The award is comparable to the Caldecott Medal, which honors the most distinguished American picture book for children published in the United States each year.
The Award is named after one of China’s best-known illustrators, the late Feng Zikai. Many of the books are translated into English and some have bi lingual editions. I can’t think of a better way to honor and keep alive the rich tradition of such a talented individual.

Sunday, February 15, 2015

Why is reading so important?

I am continually asked, “Why is reading so important?” Many people believe reading is important for success in school and they are correct. But that reason alone does not adequately speak to the real importance and value that comes from being a reader.

We read to know and to understand ourselves and our place in the world but I have come to see that the real power that reading bestows upon a person comes about because reading allows us to encounter, to meet, to face and to experience the world. A person cannot really know something until they have experienced it and the literary experience becomes the passport of entry to the encounters that bring about the knowing I am speaking of.

To know is not the same as To Encounter and it is through story that we come to meet and better understand others and ourselves. This is how we expand our capacity for empathy, this is what it means to be a compassionate human being.

Being a reader is a lifelong gift and one that parents are instrumental in cultivating in their children.

Thursday, February 12, 2015

A perfect family read with children of all ages

I just came back from working in Hong Kong and I had the good fortune
to meet and work with so many parents. Parents the world over want the best for their children.  One dad in Hong Kong, when asked why he signed up for the Master Class on Conversational Reading said, “I learned that I can be a better parent by having more conversations with my son about subjects that matter to him.”

The most important gift we can give our children is our attention and I know of no better way to give attention than by reading and talking with children about what matters, what I call Conversational Reading.

When we read and talk with children about what matters to them, we help them find their voice and place in the world.

The habit of talking, sharing with children our thoughts and feelings, about subjects that are important —friendship, kindness, compassion, integrity, doing the right thing— is how we help children thrive. 

I recently read The Gift of Nothing—a 32-page picture book with Big ideas.
The story’s premise: “What do you get someone who has everything?”
With both a playful and charming tone, the story begs the questions:
~ What is important, what matters?
~ What do we really need in life?
~ What makes for a good life?”

The book is both good-humored and engaging.
It would make for a perfect family read with children of all ages.