Maggie has the greatest idea: to have her brother write a note for their parents, saying, “Bedtime is canceled.” Unfortunately, the parents don’t buy it. However, wait till you see what happens when the note is carried by the wind over to the newspaper office . . .
Talk about unintended consequences! After a night without sleep, parents and teachers get so tired that they can’t do the simplest things properly—not even putting butter on toast or putting their pants on right. Before long, Maggie and her brother end up issuing a retraction: “Bedtime is NOT canceled!” Everyone is happy to return to normal—but will the power to effect change with words tempt Maggie again?
Though Bedtime Is Canceled was published in 2012, this book could provide a vehicle for discussion if you are wondering how to talk with children about what they might be hearing called “fake news.” Here’s an example of people saying what they want to be true, and others taking it as fact. The book shows how such “news” can spread through the news media, word of mouth, and e-mail. The example is a little far-fetched, of course, but it gets the point across.
For middle-grade readers, the Adam Canfield series by Michael Winerip explores the ups and downs of journalism, including the saga of the school newspaper, Slash, getting shut down. Nellie Bly and InvestigativeJournalism for Kids: Mighty Muckrakers from the Golden Age to Today tells the story and features activities related both to the astonishing things Nellie Bly did in her time and to being a journalist.
If you like Cece Meng’s work, she has another, very different, but also thought-provoking picture book called Always Remember. Here, after Old Turtle passes on, his friends reflect on the ways he made their lives better. This book, illustrated by Jago, immerses us beautifully in the world of the sea animals.
Review by Lynn