Peculiar Picks

Peculiar Picks are a selection of odd, funny, interesting, curious, moving, irreverent, and otherwise wonderfully awesome, but perhaps not well known, reads. Peculiar Picks are books for younger readers and their grown-ups, handpicked by the Library's Youth Services Manager, Joshua Carlson.

National Dictionary Day is celebrated on October 16. Today’s two Peculiar Picks celebrate words and vocabulary. I may have mentioned a couple times, here or there, that my daughter has an impressive vocabulary. It may seem like bragging (I’ll be honest, I like to brag about it. Just a little.), but I know exactly why her vocabulary is so remarkable – my wife and I read to her, and talk with her, a lot. And that’s not just boasting. We do, and for good reason: it is scientifically proven that the more words your child hears, the more words they will understand and the better prepared they are to learn to read.

“Research findings by Dr. Janellen Huttenlocher of the University of Chicago show that the growth in vocabulary in children under two years of age is clearly linked to the extent that the parents talk with them. The more parents talked with the babies and toddlers, the more vocabulary the children had. By the time they were two years old, the children whose parents had a high level of speech with their children had a vocabulary five times as high as those children whose parents had a low level of speech.” – from the American Library Association’s Every Child Ready to Read, 1st Ed.

We also actively try to use new words and then explain those words. We make a point of asking if she understands what a word means, when we say it or read it, and if not, we explain it, through the use of other words she already knows. It takes work, sure, but we help her to build those connections. Then, when she uses that word herself, in conversation, we make a point of providing positive reinforcement, that we noticed she used the word correctly and added a “new word to your vocabulary!”

The Word Collector by Peter H. Reynolds
Library Catalog
Overdrive & Libby
The Word Collector, perhaps, does not need much introduction. It is a NYTimes bestseller by an amazing author-illustrator. But, I just love it so much and can’t help but celebrate it. It is not just one of my favorite picture books – it is one of my favorite books. The Word Collector is a glorious testament to the power of words, and to being kind, compassionate, thoughtful, caring and empathetic to each other.

Everything Peter Reynolds does is moving, beautiful, and bursting with positivity. I recommend all of his works highly! Many of his books are available as eBooks in OverDrive & Libby and Hoopla. And, of course, via the Library Catalog.

Petey and Pru and the Hullabaloo by Ammi-Joan Paquette, illustrated by Joy Ang
Library Catalog
Petey and Pru and the Hullabaloo is another favorite to read with my daughter. This book explodes with words – big words, fun words, onomatopoeic words (words that sound like the sound they represent). I even learned one of my now favorite words when we first read this book. DEFENESTRATION. Do you know what it means? Read the book to find out! I couldn’t believe there was a word specifically for that!


Categories: Authors & Books, Featured, Homepage Kids, Kids, and Library News.

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