The Willoughbys Paperback

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The Willoughbys (Paperback)

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At some point our children are going to wish they could run away from us.

They’re going to wish they’d been born to other parents. Those of us with loquacious children may even be told we are hated or worse. (I’m picturing it right now — in ten years my baby’s adorable babbles will become a stream of words, some of those words will make me want to pull my hair out.) Since this is almost always the reality of childhood, we should find ways for our little ones to explore these feelings in a safe setting, one that perhaps encourages their literacy skills to flourish. How, you ask, is this even possible?

Answer: The Willoughbys, by award-winning author Lois Lowry. In this delightful book, appropriate for ages 8 and up, four old-fashioned children are dealing with the discovery that their awful, neglectful, and plain-old weird parents (mom hates books because they contain adjectives, and dad brings an umbrella to his stuffy bank job every day, even when it isn’t raining) are actually plotting to get rid of them. From there, the children join forces with (who else?) a sweet-as-sugar nanny, confronting adventure after adventure in their effort to live a happy life on their own.

The summary may make it sound like a morbid tale, but The Willoughbys is a hilarious, fast-paced novel that will be cherished by both girls and harder-to-reach boys. As an adult, you’ll understand and appreciate what Lowry is trying to accomplish with her parody of old-fashioned times, and kids will get a kick (and an academic boost) from the lengthy glossary of words from olden days.

Is there a more ideal way to teach them how to let go of their pre-tween/tween angst than by engaging with a good book?

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