3 Ways to Make Favorite Books Stand Out

Boy looking at favorite books

My Story My wife had this idea for our wedding. First, we scoured the city and bought 100 or so copies of our favorite books. Then, we embossed them with the words "Dan and Andrea's Wedding" and used them as centerpieces at the tables. At the end of the festivities, guests each left with a copy of … [Read more...]

Write One Yourself

Ever been reading a picture book to one of your kids and thought to yourself, "Who wrote this garbage?" Ever walked the aisles of your local bookstore, stunned by the tonnage of tomes on the shelves, and thought, "I could do better than this." I haven't done an official survey, but I imagine … [Read more...]

The Purple Pickle


Does this scenario sound at all familiar? It's raining. You've been inside with the kids all day. You've already allowed them twice their usual quota of TV. You've baked cookies. You've played Candyland over ten times. You've read so many books that your voice is raw and both your index fingers … [Read more...]

The First Library Card

Girl holding library books

"Daddy, I want a library card." "Sorry, Cassie, you're too young." "I'm six." "I know. But I'm pretty sure they don't give cards to kids your age." "Lucy has one." "Are you sure it's not her mom's?" "Come on! The librarian's right there. Let's ask!" I'm thrilled to report … [Read more...]

Back to School Writing Games

St Jerome

OK, school has started - time to get your kids in bed earlier and to pack those bag lunches. Soon enough, the inevitable moment will arrive when your child presents you with a homework assignment that asks him or her to write a story. If your child draws a blank, here are some games you might try to … [Read more...]

Old Books, New Readers

I wrote a previous post about the difficulty many parents have in clearing out their children's bookshelves. Books seem to pile up. We stack them in double rows, on the floor, on radiators  anywhere to keep some sense of order in the house. Previously, I suggested throwing book swap parties or … [Read more...]

The Bookstore Etiquette Checklist


As a writer, I have the luxury of being one of those dads you see pushing a stroller in the middle of a weekday. Living in New York City, I have a wide choice of destinations—playgrounds, children's museums, the American Museum of Natural History, a toy store with a train set, and of course, the … [Read more...]

End of Summer Reading List

I've always enjoyed seeing reading lists. But while I browse through other folks recommendations, there's part of me that's editing as I go, thinking everything from, "Great choice, love it!" to "What? Are they insane?" So now that I've been given a forum in which to spout my views, I couldn't … [Read more...]

The Joys of Old Books

I love reading to my kids. But I sometimes worry that it's turning me into a curmudgeon before my time  like one of those guys you see on the corner of Broadway, ranting incoherently about the good old days. It isn't that I don't like many of the new books published today. For instance, my … [Read more...]

How Not to Go Insane When Rereading Your Child’s Favorite Book


We've all been there. It's reading time. To your horror, your child reaches for the shelf, then walks your way waving the same book you read to her the night before. And the night before that. And, well, come to think of it, ten minutes ago. "Read." You stall for time. "Say it … [Read more...]

Too Many Books


You know the drill. Your child asks for a story, you dutifully traipse into his or her room to get a book. But when you pull it off the shelf, what happens? A veritable avalanche. Sandra Boynton, Dr. Seuss, and The Complete Peter Rabbit come tumbling down in an epic crash. If it's one of those … [Read more...]

Stuck for a Good Story?


We're very excited to welcome children's author Dan Elish to the Hooked on Phonics blog. In addition to writing the Broadway show 13, Dan has written for children's television and is the author of several young adult novels, including The Attack of the Frozen Woodchucks and Confessions of an 8th … [Read more...]