Take your child to work day has been a festive time at PUP in recent years, with a free popup kids bookstore and ‘open office hours’ with our director Christie Henry, who provides the kids of PUP with a generous supply of publishing advice and donuts. Our kids have relished the novel experience of spending the day at our offices, but this year, many of us are adjusting to working with them in close proximity as a new professional normal.
If the mass homeschooling experiment that has overtaken our collective springs has been woefully Zoom-centered, it has also been a chance for kids to reconnect with books. Independent reading is too often a casualty of over-packed schedules, and months of quarantine have—along with ramping up our anxieties—opened up time for a kind of intense immersion in stories that feels a bit retro, in a good way. In the spirit of Take your Child to Work (every) Day, parents at PUP have put together a list of our own kids’ quarantine favorites.
Becky Elmuccio, Social Media Manager
With the time at home, we have reorganized our bookshelves a bit and we made a new section for unread books and books my third-grade daughter is in the midst of reading. I was a little struck by how many books she had started and been caught in the middle of, but then I remembered I have three books on my nightstand, two ebooks that are halfway read and an audiobook or two on my phone. So, much like me, she reads 6–8 books at a time and floats in and out depending on her mood. Current reads have included Dave Pilkey’s Dog Man series for when she needs a giggle, Frozen 2: The Deluxe Junior Novelization for when Anna, Elsa, and Olaf are the right fit, and Kit’s Surprise from the American Girl Doll books.
Debra Liese, Curator of Ideas and Content Partnerships
With three kids of different ages and Zoom attention spans home, I’ve adopted the attitude that as long as this time includes uninterrupted stretches of reading, homeschooling hasn’t been a complete wash. A favorite for my eighth-grade daughter is The Book of Dust, which expands Philip Pullman’s wonderfully immersive His Dark Materials series. The critique of religious authoritarianism in the latter is thought-provoking for young teens, and Pullman’s “daemons” (shape-shifting animal selves) hold a lot of appeal. My fourth-grade son decided to lighten the mood following a jag of World War themed choices (highlights included BOMB, Number the Stars, and Stay Where You Are and Then Leave) to read Greetings from Witness Protection, an apparently hilarious book by Jake Burt that had him laughing out loud throughout. My third-grade daughter, who inevitably gravitates toward books about girls and the emotional nuances of their friendships, has really enjoyed e.l. Konigsburg’s classic, Jennifer, Hectate, Macbeth, William McKinley and me, Elizabeth. Unlike some of the books from my own childhood, this quirky tale of a lonely kid—whose sole friend is a self-proclaimed witch—has aged well.
Laurie Schlesinger, Associate Director of Marketing and Sales
My son and I started reading together when he was in fifth grade—every night, no matter where I was traveling or what school trips he might be on. We always found a way. We decided to do this after I read Alice Ozma’s book The Reading Promise (she and her dad were our inspiration). We read every night until the day we moved him to college at the end of this past August—a total of 2,929 straight nights of reading together. We took turns picking out books and reading to each other. Since he’s been home from college (earlier than we anticipated he would be), we decided to start reading again; not to start a new streak, but just because we love to spend the time together reading. Right now, we’re reading the fourth book in Lois Lowry’s The Giver series—Son. In the midst of so much stress and concern for people’s safety and health, this is a bright spot for us!
Ruthie Rosenstock, Production Artist
An activity book that my 5 and 7 year-old kids really like is the “paint by sticker for kids” series. Examples are the original book, zoo animals, under the sea. There are a bunch of them on Amazon. They also have versions for adults that are really relaxing to do, for example: travel, art masterpieces, music icons. Most are under $10, but they keep my kids busy for good chunks of time, so really they are priceless.
Julia Haav, Global Promotions Director
My 4-year-old and I have doing a lot of at home science experiments while inside, Ada Twist Scientist by Andrea Beaty with illustrations by David Roberts, is inspired by Ada Lovelace and Marie Curie and helps keep us motivated to ask lots of questions. And until we ran out of flour, there was also a tremendous amount of baking happening, making Grace Lin’s A Big Mooncake for Little Star a great companion read. Quarantine has also offered a chance to venture into chapter books, starting off with Roald Dahl classics—Fantastic Mr. Fox and Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.
Lyndsey Claro, Chief of Staff
We are currently reading Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, which my daughter received for her 8th birthday. She blew through the first 3 books in the series last summer but I made her hold off on reading the 4th because I knew it had more serious themes. She likes it because, “there are lots of mysteries about what is going on,” and “it is interesting.” She wonders, “How did Harry’s name get in the Goblet of Fire, and why doesn’t anyone believe that he didn’t put his name in himself?”