At home, don't follow suit with the newly-implemented educational thrust of "teach-to-test" (Common Core Standards), insisting on a marked reduction in fiction for children and a marked increase in nonfiction.

While it is obvious that well written nonfiction can be both interesting and instructional, nothing can replace the importance of reading children's, YA and teen fiction. Fiction books allows children to gain important lessons on life, such as how to handle adversity, what it is to be compassionate and empathetic, lessons in wisdom, imagination, critical thinking skills and so much more.

Of course we want our kids to "pass" the endless tests they will be subjected to, but life requires much more than putting information into the hopper and spitting it back out. Since there has been a real de-emphasis on fiction in the classroom, it is up to the rest of us to keep fiction alive and well. An absence of it will, in all likelihood, churn out a generation of people who know a bunch of facts but very little about life.

Books to Borrow

The following book is available at many public libraries.

"My One Hundred Adventures" by Polly Horvath, schwartz & wade,260 pages

Read aloud: age 8 - 12.

Read yourself: age 10 - 12.

Twelve-year-old Jane lives by the sea in Massachusetts with her younger siblings and single mother. Their life is modest but the family is rich in the things that matter most - their love for one another, for the sea, and for their small community and friends that color their lives. But suddenly Jane feels herself changing, and she longs for adventure and excitement.

As if a magic genie has heard her request, adventures begin to make their way into Jane's life. An unusual cluster of possible fathers, an unlikely friendship, hot air balloons and fortune tellers are just the start of Jane's summer. Then Jane's best friend, Ginny, vanishes.

The sea, the salt air, a cast of unforgettable characters and wild yet believable events form the framework of this wonderful novel. Peppered with humor, philosophy, and a genuine sense of longing fulfilled, this coming-of-age novel excels in every way.

Librarian's Choice

Library: Trimble County Public Library, 35 Equity Dr., Bedford Ky.

Library Director: Lisa Wegner

Children's Librarian: Tera Simpson

Choices this week: "Oh, the Places You'll Go" by Dr. Seuss; "The Acorn and the Oak Tree" by Lori Froeb; "Magic School Bus Rides the Wind" by Anne Capeci

Books to Buy

The following books are available at favorite bookstores.

"The Mermaid and the Shoe" written and illustrated by K.G. Campbell, Kids Can Press, 2014, 32 pages, $16.95 hardcover

Read aloud: age 4 and older.

Read yourself: age 8 - 9.

King Neptune had fifty mermaid daughters. They were his pride and joy, and each possessed a special talent. However, the youngest daughter, Minnow, didn't seem to have any of the talents her sisters did. What she did do that the others didn't was ask endless questions, for she was curious about everything.

One day a beautiful object Minnow couldn't identify floated into her life. Despite the nasty comments by her sister, Calypso, Minnow was determined to know and understand what this object was. Minnow traveled far in her pursuit of knowledge. Upon her return, Minnow not only shared her knowledge of the no-longer-strange object but told of the endless things she had learned along the way, making it clear that Minnow was remarkable in a most important way.

"Ferry Tail" by Katherine Kenah, illustrated by Nicole Wong, Sleeping Bear Press, 2014, 32 pages, $16.99 hardcover

Read aloud: age 4 and older.

Read yourself: age 7 - 8.

Walter was a ferry dog. He loved his job greeting the cars as they came on board, keeping an eye on babies, and posing for pictures with families. Walter also knew the captain, cook and engineer depended on him. He loved everything about the ferry except for the Captain's cat, Cupcake.

One particular day Cupcake seemed to have muscled into Walter's territory in a way that Walter could no longer stand. Feeling dejected, Walter decided then and there that he had to leave the ferry, and when it docked, that's precisely what he did. But life on land was not welcoming to Walter the dog. People shooed him away everywhere he turned and cars honked their horns at him. Walter realized his life was on the ferry, but now Walter was lost. How would he find his way back before the ferry left?

A delightful story about being lost and found, friendship, and finding one's place in the world, Fairy Tail offers many important messages on life.

Nationally syndicated, Kendal Rautzhan writes and lectures on children's literature. She can be reached at