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A Word from Pat Scales

February – Love is in the Air

January 31, 2013

Valentine’s Day is a time to celebrate relationships.  Whether it a friend, family member or a romantic relationship, readers like to send Valentine’s Day cards.  This special day has indeed become commercial, but readers should be encouraged to make their own cards rather than spending money on ones someone else created.

Here are suggestions for celebrating Valentine’s Day:

  •  Divide older readers into two groups, and ask each group to research St. Valentine and write a one-act play about him.  One group should make their play for younger readers, and the other for their peers. Then have them to perform it for appropriate groups.
  •  Bring in samples of Valentine cards for readers to study.  Include cards for all types of relationships:  parent, child, grandparents, and friends.  Also include serious cards and humorous cards.  Engage readers in a discussion about what it means to select or make a card that is appropriate for a specific person.
  •  Ask readers from middle to high school to use books in the library or sites on the Internet to find images of historical Valentine’s Day cards.  Then have them make a card for a character in a historical novel.  Suggestions from Random House:

            All the Way Home (middle grade) by Patricia Reilly Giff

            Hattie Big Sky (middle grade) by Kirby Larson

            The Mighty Miss Malone (middle grade) by Christopher Paul Curtis

            Sylvia and Aki (middle grade) by Winifred Conkling

            A Far Away Island (YA) by Annika Thor

            Ashes of Roses (YA) by Mary Jane Auch

            How I Found the Strong (YA) by Margaret McMullan

  •  Display books about love and Valentine’s Day and suggest that readers pick one to share with a special friend.  Suggestions from Random House:

            The Berenstain Bears’ Funny Valentine (Picture book) by Stan and Jan Berenstain

            I Haiku You (picture book) by Betsy E. Snyder

            Who Needs Love? (picture book) by Elise Primavere & illus. by Laura Park

            Junie B. Jones and the Mushy Gushy Valentine (early reader) by Barbara Park &         illus. by Denise Brunkus

            Bad Hair Day (YA) by Carrie Harris

            Dizzy in Your Eyes: Poems about Love (young adult) by Pat Mora

            How They Met and Other Stories (YA) by David Levithan

           Love and Other Perishable Items (YA) by Laura Buzo

            Meant to Be (YA) by Lauren Morrill

            Romeo Redeemed (YA) by Stacey Jay

            Unleashed (YA) by Nancy Holder and Debbie Viguie

  • Make a valentine for the main character in a novel.  Suggestions from Random House:

            Hugo in Hugo and the Really, Really, Really Long String (picture book) by Bob


            Autumn in Autumn Winifred Oliver Does Things Different (middle grade) by Kristin O’Donnell Tubb

            Madison in No Cream Puffs (middle grade) by Karen Day

            Carson in The New Kid (middle grade) by Mavis Jukes

            Primrose Squarp in One Year in Coal Harbor (middle grade) by Polly Horvath

            Sally J. Freedman in Starring Sally J. Freedman as Herself (middle grade) by Judy Blume

            Kenny in The Watsons Go to Birmingham 1963 (middle grade) by Christopher Paul Curtis

  •  Read a novel and make a valentine that two or more of the characters might give to one another.  Suggestions from Random House:

            The kids to their grandfather in Song and Dance Man (picture book) by Karen Ackerman & illus. by Staphen Gammell

                     Georges and Safer in Liar & Spy (middle grade) by Rebecca Stead

            Hattie and Delores in Finding Somewhere (young adult) by Joseph Monninger

            Melanie and Miguel in Melanie in Manhattan (middle grade) by Carol Weston

                       The girls in The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants (middle grade) by Ann Brashares

  •  Make a valentine that the following characters give to their teacher:

      Gooney Bird in Gooney Bird Greene (picture booy) By Lois Lowry

            Missy and her classmates in Miss Brooks Loves Books! (and I Don’t) ( picture  book) by Barbara Bottner & illus. by Michael Emberley

            Melonhead in Melonhead and the Vegalicious Disaster (middle grade) by Katy             Kelly & illus. by Giallian Johnson

  • Ask readers to think about novels they have read and determine which main character most needs a valentine.  Then have them write an essay that explains why.  Suggestions from Random House:

            Charlie in Flightsend: A Summer of Discovery (middle grade) by Linda Newbery

            Roy Morelli in Roy Morelli Steps up to the Plate (middle grade) by Tatcher Heldring

            Zitlally in Star in the Forest (middle grade) by Laura Resau

            Will Halpin in The Dark Days of Hamburger Halpin (YA) by Josh Berk

            Vinnie in Not Exactly a Love Story (YA) by Audrey Couloumbis

            Andi Alpers in Revolution (YA) by Jennifer Donnelly

            Jace Witherspooon in Split (YA) by Swati Avasthi

                        Karyn in You Against Me (YA) by Jenny Downham

  •  Make a valentine that a character in a novel might send to one or both parents.  Suggestions from Random House:

                  Andres in Freckle Juice (middle grade) by Judy Blume

            Karen Newman in It’s Not the End of the World (middle grade) by Judy Blume

            The Penderwick sisters in The Penderwicks and the Penderwicks on Gardam  Street (middle grade) by Jeanne Birdsall

            Amanda in Unraveling (YA) by Michelle Baldine & Lynn Biederman