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Lend Them An Ear

Suggested children's literature from local authors

February 2014

Reading aloud to children is a treasured bonding experience. It fosters curiosity, language development, listening, and writing skills. The Hoosier state boasts many talented authors. Choose from this sampling of books and let your kiddos have a listen. These fine folks have a lot to say.

Caution: Tweens and teens might not reveal it, but they love being read to and will reap the same benefits regardless of reading level.


An Island Grows (2006)

by Lola Schaefer

Lifetime: The Amazing Numbers in Animal Lives (2014)

by Lola Schaefer

Schaefer has penned over 270 books, and my two favorites demonstrate her love of the natural world. Many of the topics she chooses are inspired by questions children ask during her visits to schools as a writing consultant. An Island Grows helps young readers apply the concept of cause and effect while Lifetime: The Amazing Numbers in Animal Lives mixes science and math in a unique way to share the events occurring over an animal's life.


Trout Are Made of Trees (2008)

April Pulley Sayer

Stars Beneath Your Bed: The Surprising Story of Dust (2006)

April Pulley Sayer

April Pulley Sayre is an award-winning children's book author of over 55 books focused on her unique perspectives of nature and science. She is one of the few writers to create nonfiction children's books that sound great when read aloud! Join the explorers in Trout Are Made of Trees as they observe life in and around a stream. Stars Beneath Your Bed: The Surprising Story of Dust will answer questions readers have never before considered.


Crawdad Creek (2002)

by Scott Russell Sanders

Sanders, another fan of the natural world and a professor at Indiana University, has written over 20 books. Crawdad Creek tells of two children exploring to find fossils, insects, frogs, and other "treasures" in a nearby creek. If you and your child enjoy his children's books, I highly recommend his novels, essays and short stories for adults.


The Molly and the Magic Suitcase series

Molly Goes to Rome (2013)

Molly Goes to Barcelona (2013)

Molly Goes to Thailand (2012)

by Chris Oler and Amy Houston Oler

Chris and Amy Oler believe every child is an adventurer at heart, and children can experience the world in their unique books. Inspired by food, family, friends and curiosity, characters Molly and Michael travel to faraway places using a magic suitcase.


Buttercup (2010)

by Angela Gouge

After illustrating books for others, Gouge wrote and illustrated Buttercup, a story about her English Bulldog. The dog's expressions are priceless as he embarks on playful adventures.

Flip, Flap, Fly: A Book for Babies Everywhere (2011)

by Phyllis Root and David Walker

Little readers will enjoy baby animals as they fly, swim, wiggle, and slide about. Root's rhythmic verse encourages listeners to anticipate and add words throughout the story.

Animal Gas: A Scratch and Sniff Adventure (2013)

by Bryan Ballinger

This book, although quite irreverent, will delight young readers. Ballinger, a Professor of Digital Media, brings the 70s concept of scratch and sniff back in a most creative way. The inventive language and comedic illustrations make the newly released Animal Gas: A Scratch and Sniff Adventure a sure hit. (Yes, this educator is recommending a book about flatulence that has nothing to do with science)


Evie Finds Her Family Tree (2006)

by Ashley Ransburg

In this beautiful introduction to genealogy, Ransburg, an elementary teacher, skillfully communicates abstract ideas to young children. When Evie hears talk of a family tree, she asks if it is a sugar maple, magnolia, or oak but eventually begins to understand the rich connections of family. The book includes a pull out family tree to personalize.

Warm as Wool (2007)

by Scott Russell Sanders

A Place Called Freedom (1997)

by Scott Russell Sanders

Sanders transports young readers back in time and holds them there even after the book is closed. Warm as Wool explains the hardships of frontier life and the vital role women played, while A Place Called Freedom follows a family of freed slaves as they chase their dreams of creating a new town.

I is for Indy: The World's Greatest Race (2006)

by Mike King

A must have for any race fan, this A to Z book is full of interesting details. As the voice of The Indy 500 for 17 years, King shares his vast racing knowledge in this book. It can be tricky to find in print, but it's a treasure worth hunting for.

Family Traditions


by Tish Dahlby

Elves help Santa at the North Pole, but do you know the secret of the birthday helper? Pinklejinx is the sweet story of birthday magic. I think this book is the perfect solution to making your child feel special on his or her real birthday (in case the big party isn't until the weekend).

The Summer Fairy

by Elizabeth Kelly Gillihan and Jennifer Zivoin

This beautiful picture book tells the tale of the Summer Fairy, a magical pixie who arrives before the first days of summer. For over 30 years the Gillihan family has celebrated this faithful deliverer of treats, books, games, and even sunscreen! Now families everywhere can experience this delightful tradition.

A Class of Their Own

Kathryn Lasky

Kathryn Lasky is a Newbery Honor author of over one hundred fiction and nonfiction books for children and young adults. She grew up in the suburbs of Indianapolis where she was often in trouble for daydreaming during class (a fact her mother celebrated and encouraged, thankfully). Her body of work spans decades and appeals to readers of all ages! Her stories are filled with horses, sea turtles, wolves, cats, owls (Yes, THE owls...The Guardians of Ga'Hoole owls), 16th century princesses, Greek philosophers and the list goes on. Her titles from The Dear America Series are a must for young historians and include the story of a 1930s Indianapolis family.

Visit www.kathrynlasky.com to experience her vast library of quality literature for all ages.

Bill Peet

Simply put, any book by Bill Peet will have both children and adults howling with laughter. My favorite titles include, No Such Things,The Wump World, Kermit the Hermit, Hubert's Hair Raising Adventures, and Huge Harold. Bill Peet attended Arsenal Tech High School and Herron School of Art and Design. After college he landed a job with Disney Studios where he frequently worked alongside Walt. I like to think that Peet is single-handedly responsible for Disney's knack for creating material that children love and parents actually enjoy.

Visit www.billpeet.net to read his extraordinary biography and learn about his books.

For grown ups (children will benefit indirectly)

Table for Six: The Extraordinary Tales of an Extraordinary Family (2011)

by Katrina Ann Willis

I would be remiss were I not to include this memoir by Indy's Child's resident blogger. Readers will enjoy Willis' frequent references to Indiana and will be drawn into her beautifully descriptive and personal writing style as they learn what matters about being a mother, spouse, friend, daughter and creative force.

There you have it. Let's hear it for Hoosier authors!

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