Prime Time Books

Favorite titles from our Prime Time Library

Director of Literary Programs, Dr. Erika Hamilton, selected a few titles from our Prime Time Library to introduce to you. “Many times we are asked for gift ideas from adults who want to purchase books for children. Here is a list of three titles that are consistently favored by Prime Time families.”

If you venture into the back rooms of the Humanities Nebraska office, you will be surrounded by shelves full of children’s books. Most families who attend a six-week Prime Time Family Reading Time series will read ten to twelve books, but we have a selection of 125 titles from which storytellers and discussion leaders can choose. We have read all of them.

Borreguita and the Coyote is a tale from Ayutla, Mexico, retold by Verna Aardema and illustrated by Petra Mathers. Through a series of clever tricks, the little lamb (Borreguita) avoids becoming lunch for the hungry and gullible coyote. Children can join the storytelling by howling with the coyote and demonstrating how one might try to hold up a mountain (which is not really falling). Families at Chandler View Elementary in Bellevue discussed the difference between giving up and not trying. The families decided “the difference lies within a person’s perseverance. It means that we do our best no matter how difficult a task may be or how long it might take us to master something.”

Coyote Steals the Blanket is a Ute trickster tale retold and illustrated by Janet Stevens. A coyote who believes he is “King of the Desert” finds a collection of blankets unattended on the rocks. Despite a hummingbird’s warning, Coyote covers himself in blankets and is pursued by a large boulder. At the Cather Branch Library in Omaha, Native American families were asked if the Coyote deserved the rock chasing him. This sparked a great discussion on why the blankets were on the rocks out in the middle of the hot desert. One child talked about building a tent out of a blanket instead of stealing it. Another child talked about the designs on the blankets, and the whole group discussed the Native American custom of giving away blankets at a gathering.

Ruby’s Wish, written by Shirin Yim Bridges and illustrated by Sophie Blackall, takes us to China in the mid-1800s when girls were expected to learn how to cook and keep house instead of learning how to read and write. Ruby, who is from a large, wealthy family, is allowed to attend classes, but she doesn’t think she’ll get her wish: to attend university. While some children focused on how life choices may be different for boys and girls, especially in the past, parents were more interested in discussing the dream of going to college, and why that was something they wanted for their children. At Jefferson Elementary in Norfolk, one father said that if one doesn’t go to college, it’s close to impossible to find a job which will pay enough to support one’s family. Many parents seemed to agree.

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