by Judy Newman with Alexie Basil
My friend James Patterson says, “There’s no such thing as a kid who hates reading. There are kids who love reading, and kids who are reading the wrong books.”
At Scholastic Book Clubs, we hate it when kids are reading the “wrong” books. So each month, we put together paper and digital flyers filled with books that we know kids will love to read.
And kids get to choose for themselves which books are “right” for them.
Because the Scholastic Book Clubs editors are 100 percent dedicated to finding books of all kinds for all kids, it doesn’t surprise me that the editors themselves often come up with ideas for books that are “right” for many young readers.
For example, Ann M. Martin was the editor of the TAB Book Club when she created the Baby-Sitters Club series.
Back when R. L. Stine was the editor of Scholastic Book Clubs’ Bananas magazine, he was known around the office as “Jovial Bob Stine.” He started writing joke books and then went on to write Fear Street, followed by Goosebumps.
Lauren Tarshis is the editor of Scholastic Storyworks magazine. But you and your students probably know her as the author of the I Survived series.
And Lucille Colandro, a senior director at Scholastic Book Clubs, is the creator of the There Was an Old Lady series, illustrated by Jared Lee (of Black Lagoon series fame!).
I’ve thought for a long time about why Scholastic editors have such a consistent track record of creating mega-bestselling book series that captivate kids across decades. In a world where books come and go in a flash, why are these series so enduring and so relatable for so many kids decade after decade?
I think it’s because we spend so much time focusing on what kids want to read—which stories delight them, which characters inspire them, what makes them laugh, and what makes them eager for more. We know how to help kids channel their excitement for other things—sports, magic, animals, and more—into excitement for reading.
For example, Lucille knows that holidays are great opportunities for kids to celebrate with reading. The There Was an Old Lady series started with a request for a Halloween book for young children that wasn’t too scary. So Lucille wrote There Was an Old Lady Who Swallowed a Bat!
Other books in the series connect with popular holidays (or important days in general), such as:
There Was an Old Lady Who Swallowed a Turkey! (Thanksgiving)…
There Was an Old Lady Who Swallowed a Clover! (St. Patrick’s Day)…
There Was an Old Lady Who Swallowed a Bell! (Christmas)…
And There Was an Old Pirate Who Swallowed a Map! (I’ll have to ask Lucille later if that book is meant for International Talk Like a Pirate Day...Arrgh!)
Plus Valentine’s Day has been a staple holiday since 18th-century England, when people began celebrating the Feast of Saint Valentine by giving their partners flowers, cards, and confectionery.
Fun fact: Every year, people in the United States send about 190 million Valentine’s Day cards. And that’s excluding the millions of cards swapped by kids in school!
For me, celebrating Valentine’s Day at the John Ward School in Newton, Massachusetts, was a combination of excitement and fear of embarrassment that nothing would be in my mailbox. But I had excellent teachers who made sure we all got cards for each other.
And David Vozar, too, was grateful for his teacher who made sure his Valentine’s Day box was not empty.
Lucille Colandro, herself a former teacher, came up with There Was an Old Lady Who Swallowed a Rose! as a perfect book to celebrate Valentine’s Day in your classroom.
“This is a fun and engaging book for young readers. I would use this book in my classroom around or on Valentine's Day to reinforce rhyming and repetition skills.” —Teacher Rebecca Ashley Teague from Goodreads
There Was an Old Lady Who Swallowed a Rose! is a perfect valentine for all your students. You can get this book at a special price this week only, and we’re excited to share some fun ways for you to expand this book into a big celebration for your class.
We hope you and your students will have fun on Valentine’s Day with the following:
• The Book Boys swap valentines in a funny video that gets kids excited about celebrating Valentine’s Day and reading the Book of the Week.
• Sing along (and practice the five components of reading) with second grade teacher Paul Garcia in Book Talks.
• Watch an exclusive interview and read-aloud of the whole book with author Lucille Colandro in Behind the Scenes.
• Help your students practice sequencing with a fun and free downloadable activity in Cooked Up from a Book.
We hope There Was an Old Lady Who Swallowed a Rose! is the “right” book for you and your students on Valentine’s Day.
This Book Is Available from Scholastic Book Clubs