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October 2015

    blogger events, children's books, giveaways, literary road trip series

    Boscov’s Grand Opening Plus an Instagram Giveaway!

    There’s a new “kid’ on the block in my neck of the woods in Connecticut.  Boscov’s department store opened its doors to the general public last Thursday, October 8th.

    I had the privilege of attending the grand opening of their 44th store with a few other fellow bloggers who were also invited.  This was my very first blogger event so I was super excited to be there and have the opportunity to connect with other local bloggers, see the store, and get a glimpse of what other bloggers experience at these types of events.  Thanks again, Boscov’s for the invite!

    Ok, now on to the good stuff…

    Processed with Moldiv

    If you have never been to a Boscov’s department store, let me tell you 5 reasons why you should totally consider going:

    1. They sell books!
    Of course, I had to mention books first, right?  Now, before you get your hopes up let me warn you they don’t have a large selection of books available, at least not yet anyway.  However, if you’re a Dr. Seuss fan, they have a nice variety of those types of books.  I also saw some books that would make nice baby shower gifts like the 1940’s classic book Pat the Bunny (one of the best-selling children’s books of all time) which was packaged nicely in a clear box ready for gift-giving.

    2. They provide FREE gift wrapping throughout the entire year!
    How many times have you gone to a store to buy a gift, and then turn around and go to another store to purchase either a gift bag, wrapping paper or tissue paper?  Too many times, right?  One of the great things about Boscov’s is they offer this service to their customers FREE of charge throughout the entire year, not just during the holidays.  You can take your purchase directly to the gift wrapping counter to have them wrapped and receive quality customer service with a smile.

    3. They have activities for children!
    One of the many things that makes Boscov’s unique is their commitment to serving local communities.  They have a long history of charitable programs and activities for children and adults. Throughout the year, Boscov’s holds fundraising and awareness events for local community non-profit organizations in their community auditorium.  Some of their events may include: famous entertainers, fashion shows, face painters, balloon artists, and health and wellness classes.

    4. They have a candy department in the store!
    At Boscov’s they make their own fudge and its served fresh everyday.  They also have a great selection of chocolates, candy and other sweet treats.

    5. They have an exceptional bargain section!
    I don’t ever recall seeing a bargain section in a department store that actually has good, quality items.  I scored some really great deals in the bargain section like a 2 quart tea kettle for only $2.99!  Most of the items I saw started as low as $1.00 and went up to $9.99 or more.  Get a head start on purchasing your stocking stuffers now!

    In addition to all of the wonderful things I’ve mentioned above, Boscov’s also sells everything you’d find in any other department store like: brand-name merchandise including apparel, shoes and accessories for men, women and children, home furnishings, toys, cosmetics, and small appliances.

    If you’re one of my local subscribers who lives in Connecticut, I highly recommend stopping by to check out Boscov’s at the Westfield Meriden Mall!  Right now until October 17th they’re having a mega grand opening sale with blockbuster deals.  Plus, there are activities for children and you can register to win some fantastic prizes.  Also, Academy Award Winner Shirley Jones and her son Patrick Cassidy are performing alone or together in the community auditorium.

    Other Upcoming Events

    FASHION WEEK IN OCTOBER!
    Sunday October 25 – Friday October 30
    Come out to watch a fashion show with your family and friends!

    HALLOWEEN EXTRAVAGANZA
    October 31, 2015
    Boscov’s invites you and your family to join us for a day of Free Halloween Fun, make and take crafts, costumes parade, games and more!

    Boscov’s currently has locations in: Pennsylvania, New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, Maryland, Deleware, and Ohio.  Not in one of those states?  Don’t worry, you can take advantage of their great deals by shopping online at boscovs.com

    Disclaimer: I was invited to attend this event by Boscov’s public relations and marketing team, however all views and opinions expressed are our own.

    Your turn:  Have you ever shopped at Boscov’s before?  Feel free to share in the comments.

    My First Instagram Giveaway!
    In celebration of the grand opening of the new Boscov’s department store, I’m giving away a selfie stick I purchased from there this past weekend.

    image3 (1)
    To enter, go to my Instagram page (@hereweeread), find the picture of the selfie stick, and then tag a book loving friend in the comments below the picture. I’ll select a random winner this Thursday morning (10/15) at 6am Eastern time. Sorry, only open to US residents. Prize will ship by the end of this week.  Good luck!

    10/16/2015 Update: This giveaway has ended.  The random winner chosen was Instagram user @usbornestagram.  Congratulations!

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    giveaways, young adult books

    What’s Your Book Fate? Plus A Giveaway!

    Lisa Papademetriou, author of the newly released novel A Tale of Highly Unusual Magic wants to know:

    What is your book fate—what book has changed your perspective, your heart, your life?

    If you participate by posting a comment on this blog post, I will randomly select 1 winner to receive a copy of the book for FREE!  Giveaway ends October 24, 2015.  Good luck!  Below is a synopsis of the book.

    LisaPapa

    ABOUT A TALE OF HIGHLY UNUSUAL MAGIC:

    Kai and Leila are both finally having an adventure. For Leila, that means a globe-crossing journey to visit family in Pakistan for the summer; for Kai, it means being stuck with her crazy great-aunt in Texas while her mom looks for a job. In each of their bedrooms, they discover a copy of a blank, old book called The Exquisite Corpse. Kai writes three words on the first page—and suddenly, they magically appear in Leila’s copy on the other side of the planet. Kai’s words are soon followed by line after line of the long-ago, romantic tale of Ralph T. Flabbergast and his forever-love, Edwina Pickle. As the two take turns writing, the tale unfolds, connecting both girls to each other, and to the past, in a way they never could have imagined.

    A heartfelt, vividly told multicultural story about fate and how our stories shape it.

    PRAISE FOR A TALE OF HIGHLY UNUSUAL MAGIC:
    “Magic! It’s everywhere—in music, in moths, in an old handwritten book. But the real magic is the exquisite storytelling that sweeps us along until the last wonderful page. This is a book that leaves shimmers in the very air.” — Kathi Appelt, New York Times bestselling author of The Underneath and Keeper

    “Lisa Papademetriou’s prose and sense of place dazzles the ear and eye, while the adventure and mystery binds us from page to page. Now that’s sleight of hand!” — Rita Williams-Garcia, Newbery Honor Winner

    “A beguiling tale of… enduring love and nascent self-discovery.” — Kirkus Reviews

    “A rollicking adventure of forbidden love and magic”  –School Library Journal

    “Begging to be read aloud… a fun book for middle-grade readers, and it will surely inspire them to read—and write—more.” –Booklist

    ABOUT LISA PAPADEMETRIOU:
    New York Times bestselling author Lisa Papademetriou is the author of Middle School: Big, Fat Liar and Homeroom Diaries (both with James Patterson), the Confectionately Yours series, and many other novels for middle grade and young adult readers. Her books have appeared on the Bank Street Best Books of the Year list, the NYPL Books for the Teen Age, and the Texas Lone Star Reading List, among others. A former editor, Lisa has worked for Scholastic, HarperCollins, and Disney Press and is the founder of the humorous online grammar magazine, IvanaCorrectya.com. You can visit Lisa at: http://lisapapa.com

    The Giveaway
    Enter to win a FREE copy of bestselling author Lisa Papademetriou’s latest book A Tale of Highly Unusual Magic.

    a Rafflecopter giveaway

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    adult books, cover reveal

    Holly Schindler’s Spark: A Book Cover Reveal

    Today, I’m participating in my very first book cover reveal!  If you’re a fan of YA (Young Adult) novels, you’ll want to be sure to check out Holly Schindler’s upcoming book Spark, premiering May 17, 2016.  This is the first time anyone will be seeing the cover and jacket copy–it’s not live anywhere yet (Amazon, Goodreads, etc.)  The links to pre-order are listed below.  Enjoy!

    Holly Schindler’s Spark:

    When the right hearts come to the Avery Theater—at the right time—the magic will return. The Avery will come back from the dead.

    spark_cover_reveal

    Or so Quin’s great-grandmother predicted many years ago on Verona, Missouri’s most tragic night, when Nick and Emma, two star-crossed teenage lovers, died on the stage. It was the night that the Avery’s marquee lights went out forever.

    It sounds like urban legend, but one that high school senior Quin is now starting to believe, especially when her best friend, Cass, and their classmate Dylan step onto the stage and sparks fly. It seems that magic can still unfold at the old Avery Theater and a happier ending can still be had—one that will align the stars and revive not only the decrepit theater, but also the decaying town. However, it hinges on one thing—that Quin gets the story right this time around.

    Holly Schindler brings the magic of the theater to life in this tale of family ties, fate, love, and one girl’s quest to rewrite history.

    ~

    “In my hometown, the restoration of a former movie theater on the town square provided the genesis for my new YA novel, SPARK. Who among us hasn’t dreamed of seeing their name in blazing neon across a gigantic marquee? Let me invite you to dim the lights and draw back the velvet curtains—let your imagination run wild as you enter my fictional Avery Theater, where literally anything goes…”

    —Holly Schindler

    ~

    Holly Schindler is the author of three previous YA novels: PLAYING HURT as well as the critically acclaimed FERAL (starred PW review) and A BLUE SO DARK (starred Booklist review, ForeWord Book of the Year silver medal, IPPY gold medal). A writer of books for all ages, Schindler’s MG, THE JUNCTION OF SUNSHINE AND LUCKY, has made the master list for children’s book awards in Illinois, South Carolina, and Alabama. She is also a hybrid author, having independently released comedic women’s fiction (FIFTH AVENUE FIDOS) and the forthcoming PLAY IT AGAIN, her adult follow-up to her YA PLAYING HURT. She can be reached through her author site: hollyschindler.com, and hosts special sneak peeks and giveaways for subscribers of her newsletter: tinyletter.com/hollyschindler.com.

    ~

    Spark “Premieres” May 17, 2016, but you can buy your “tickets” now.

    Links to pre-order:
    Amazon
    Barnes &Noble
    IndieBound
    Add to your TBR list on Goodreads

    Your turn:  What do you think of the book cover design?  Have you read any of Holly’s previous novels?  Are you looking forward to the release of Spark?  Feel free to share in the comments.

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    children's books, holiday books

    What the Kids are Reading (for Halloween)

    Since becoming a parent I’ve come to realize that having kids makes all of the holidays more fun, especially Halloween!

    All month long the kids and I will be reading several Halloween-themed books.  I want the kids to be familiar with some of the scarier aspects of Halloween including ghosts, witches, vampires, and goblins before the holiday rolls around.  Granted, they still might be frightened if they see some of the older kids dressed up in scary costumes, but I’m hoping over time they’ll learn to understand it’s just for fun.

    Below is a list of all the “not-too-scary” Halloween books we’re reading this month.  I think they’re all infant and toddler friendly for young trick-or-treaters.  Enjoy!

    Board Books

    Ghost in the House (A Lift the Flap Book) by Ammi-Joan Paquette

    ghostinthehouse
    Slip-sliding his way through a haunted house, a little ghost is joined by a shuffling mummy, a happy little monster, and other ghoulish friends before discovering the scariest creature in the house. (There is also a picture book version of this book available without the flaps.)

    Where is Baby’s Pumpkin? (A Lift the Flap Book) by Karen Katz

    whereisbabyspumpkin
    Little readers can help baby find her pumpkin by lifting the flaps on each page. Look under the bed, behind the leaves, behind the curtain, and more! Will baby find her pumpkin in time to go trick-or-treating?

    Hush, Little Monster by Denis Markell
    hushlittlemonster
    A monster father softly sings his own version of a favorite lullaby, Hush Little Baby to his son. A screeching owl, a vampire, an ogre, and zombies are just a few of the creatures who will come to soothe Little Monster through the night.

    Jack and Jill: A Halloween Nursery Rhyme by Salina Yoon
    jackandjillhalloweenThe nursery rhyme may be familiar—but everything changes when “Jack” and “Jill” are jack-o’-lanterns! Salina Yoon takes a classic tale and gives it a fresh spin, brightly and boldly adorning the pages of this chunky board book with cheerfully grinning pumpkins.

    The Itsy Bitsy Pumpkin by Sonali Fry

    theitsybitsypumpkin
    In a variation of the nursery rhyme “The Itsy Bitsy Spider,” a jack-o-lantern encounters a goblin and a witch while trying to roll back to his family on Halloween.

    Popcorn by Frank Asch
    popcorn
    Sam’s Halloween party is popping — with a massive amount of popcorn! Find out how he and his friends handle the delicious surplus in this reissue of a classic picture book originally written in 1979.

    10 Trick-or-Treaters: A Halloween Counting Book by Janet Schulman

    10trickortreaters
    Ten trick-or-treaters start out on Halloween night, but they disappear one-by-one as they encounter a spider, a vampire, a ghost, and other scary creatures.

    Picture Books

    Monster Trouble by Lane Fredrickson
    monstertrouble
    In this adorable book, little Winifred used to be afraid of monsters until she found out their secret.  The delightfully sweet ending will have every kid—and little monster—begging for an encore.

    Little Boo by Stephen Wunderli
    littleboo
    The leaves fall, the wind blows, and one little pumpkin seed tries and tries to be scary. But he doesn’t scare anyone…not the snowflakes in winter, not the bees in spring, not even the watering can!

    The wind tells him to be patient—he’ll be scary soon enough. But waiting is hard. Will the little seed ever be really, truly scary? This simple story is more than a fun Halloween read—it is a heartwarming tale perfect for any child who can’t wait to grow up.

    Leo: A Ghost Story by Mac Barnett
    leoaghoststory
    This isn’t actually a Halloween story, but since it’s a ghost story I included it anyway.  Plus, it’s such a great book!
    Meet Leo, a ghost who lives in a house all alone reading books and drawing pictures in the dust. One day a new family moves into Leo’s house. Leo tries to welcome his new family by being a gracious host, but ends up scaring them in the process. Leo decides to move out and go roam the city in search of a new home.

    The Bake Shop Ghost by Jacqueline K. Ogburn

    thebakeshopghost
    Miss Cora Lee Merriweather haunts her bake shop after her death, until the new shop owner makes a deal with her. A delightful story about friendship with a great message.

    Skeleton Hiccups by Margery Cuyler
    skeletonhiccups
    This is a goofy story about a skeleton who has the hiccups! He tries many remedies to get rid of them and at the end when he looks in the mirror and scares himself, it is only then that his hiccups are gone!  Great for kids ages 2 – 7.

    Room on the Broom by Julia Donaldson
    roomonthebroom
    This is one of my favorite Halloween books! A witch finds room on her broom for all the animals that ask for a ride, and they repay her kindness by rescuing her from a dragon.

    AlphaOops! H is for Halloween by Alethea Kontis
    alphaoopshalloween
    We read the original AlphaOops! book so I was thrilled to come across this Halloween-themed one! While putting on a Halloween pageant, the alphabet mixes things up with some spooky, and funny, results.

    Halloween Hustle by Charlotte Gunnufson
    halloweenhustle
    Skeleton is dancing his way to a Halloween party, but as he grooves across town, he keeps stumbling, tumbling, and falling apart. But somehow he always manages to put himself back together – even using tape and rubber bands when necessary!

    Shivery Shades of Halloween: A Spooky Book of Colors by Mary McKenna Siddals
    shiveryshadesofhalloween
    Children will learn their colors as they follow a cute little creature on his adventure through haunted halls, moonlit forests . . . perhaps even a Halloween party!

    The Night Before Halloween by Natasha Wing
    nightbeforehalloween
    A story in the style of the familiar poem, “The Night Before Christmas,” tells how a housefull of monsters, goblins, witches and the like prepare for Halloween. The monsters in this story are illustrated as friendly and cheerful creatures rather than as scary or spooky monsters, making this book appropriate for even very young children who might otherwise be easily frightened.

    Your turn:  What Halloween-themed books are in your stack?  Feel free to share in the comments.

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    children's literacy, giveaways, read aloud, reading tips, storytelling

    Seven Ways to Encourage Your Child to Love Reading & A Giveaway!

    Hello, October!

    Since the fall season is upon us, I thought it would be a good time to discuss a few simple ways to help your children fall in love with reading and books if they haven’t already.  Even if your little ones are already avid readers or seem to love books there are still some things you may want to consider doing to enhance your children’s reading and read aloud experiences.

    With so much technology and social media available today, how do you get your children to choose reading books over watching television, sitting in front of the computer, playing on the iPad, or texting their friends?

    Below are a few ideas that may help.  Read on.

    1. Make your children a part of the story
    Children love looking at pictures of other babies and children in books, especially when it’s their own pictures.    One way to make your child a part of the story is to create personalized books through online websites like storieChild.

    storieChild

    I found out about storieChild a few weeks ago while surfing the web.  storieChild offers one-of-a-kind story books and baby books for children ages 0-8+.   They pair technology with creative arts while guiding you through the process of creating an amazing story for your child.  Their products are designed by artists and storytellers and are available exclusively through pre-sale on their website.

    Creating your own story book with storieChild is super simple.  Say goodbye to those complicated websites that are way too time consuming and nearly impossible to figure out.  With storieChild not only do you get a beautiful, personalized book with your child/children as the star, but you also get an actual story to go along with it.  Oh, and did I mention the entire process only takes about 10 – 25 minutes?

    If you’re as excited about storieChild as I am, YOU can get in on the fun too!  That’s right, you can win your very own softcover customized storieChild book for FREE (pick any story of your choice)!  All of the details are listed at the end of this post, but read on for more tips.

    2. Bring them new books every day
    No, I’m not talking about going out and purchasing a new book each day for your child.  I mean show them at least 1 book every day either from your home library collection or your local library.  For example, every Monday (or sometimes on Saturday) I do a library haul.  I pick out through a stack of children’s books, read them, and bring my favorites back to the kids.  Then each day during the week I read the kids different books or sometimes we’ll read old favorites that we already have.

    The idea is that if you are trying to sell kids on books you should bring them books day after day.  These books should be ones that you think are: exciting, funny, poignant, adventurous, beautiful, interesting, or mysterious.  Bring your children books that support their current interests, make them wonder, stretch their imaginations, light them up with amazement, laugh, feel empathy, and connect with their own lives.  Sometimes you can bring them new books that are hot off the press, and old favorites from your childhood.  You get the idea.

    3. Let them choose what they want to read, even “twaddle” (occasionally)
    If you don’t know what “twaddle” is, it’s basically literature that has been dumbed-down and doesn’t add any value.  I don’t currently let my children choose their own books unless it’s an alphabet book.  However, I know as they get older they’ll want to start choosing what they read and I’m ok with that as long as it’s not all the time.

    As the kids age, I’ll have to learn to back off and let them read what catches their eye and ignites their imagination as they build their relationship with reading. If it is twaddle books, I’ll have to assure myself it is okay if they start with worthless ones.

    While I still have control over choosing their books, I’ll continue to guide them into the amazing ones until they start telling me to “back off”.  So if all your child wants to read is comic books then let them and be grateful they are reading something.

    4. Practice storytelling with story cards
    A few months ago, I wrote a post about a simple way to improve your storytelling skills by using eBoo story cards.  You can read more about the story cards here.  The kids and I still use our story cards every once in a while and I can honestly say I’ve seen progression since we first started using them, especially with my 3 year-old.  And for the price I paid (under $10.00 per pack) it was worth it.

    5. Explore different libraries in different cities, states or countries
    I’ve taken the kids to several libraries throughout Connecticut where we live and even to a couple in a different state.  We attend story time events as well as other programs and activities all for FREE.  I believe just by exposing kids to libraries helps them develop a love of reading and books in general.  Also, when we go to story time events they have the benefit of hearing someone else read to them and learn to sit attentively and listen with a group of children in a different environment.  A win-win.

    6. Entice children and make them curious about books
    I’ve noticed whenever I start clutching a children’s book I just read myself and start saying things like, “I love this new book…it’s so good!” the kids are instantly intrigued and want to know what the book is.  Try it next time and see if you are nearly stampeded by your kids dying to read it next.

    7. Read your own books/magazines in front of your children
    I’m sure you’ve read this tip before numerous times, but in order to build a culture of literacy in your home it’s important for your children to see you reading often.  Telling them, “Reading is important!” is pointless, if you never sit down in front of them and eagerly dive into your own reading material. If all they see is you collapsing in front of the TV or constantly sneaking off to your computer or checking your phone when you are tired or bored, they will learn that this is how one spends the invaluable minutes of one’s life.  Remember, YOUR attitude toward books and reading will likely be your child’s attitude as well.  Be a good role model to your kids.

    I believe the only true gateway into the world of reading, is by motivating kids to want to read something – anything.  When they start to realize the wonder of books, the places they can go, the people they can meet, and the things they can learn through books, I think only then can you start to stand a real chance at helping them become successful and lifelong readers.

    Don’t worry if your child isn’t “there” yet, meaning they don’t have a real interest in books or reading…it’s ok…I understand!  As the parent it’s important to keep trying and remain excited.  Make reading a priority in your own life and your kids will likely follow suit.  Every child is different, but I believe you can encourage every child to like books once you find what appeals to them.

    Your turn: How do you encourage your children to love reading and books?  Feel free to share in the comments.

    storieChild Giveaway!
    I am thrilled our friends over at storieChild were gracious enough to sponsor this awesome giveaway!  This would make a great holiday or birthday gift – wouldn’t you agree?

    What you’ll receive: 1 softcover customized storieChild book of your choice (Sorry, this giveaway is only open to US residents who are 18 and over.)

    Deadline: Enter by October 17, 2015 for your chance to win.  Good luck!

    P.S. Now through October 31, 2015 get 10% off all books and boxes by using code OCTPRESALE at checkout on the storieChild website.

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    children's books, read aloud

    4 Recent Picture Book Read Alouds My Kids Loved

    The kids and I read so many books during any given month, sometimes it’s hard to keep up with all the titles.  There are just so many fantastic children’s books available today and I want to read them all!  Can you relate?

    Below are 4 recent read aloud books my kids really enjoyed.  We’ve read these over and over again so they definitely had to be added to our list of 2015 favorites.

    Have you read any of these 4 amazing books yet?

    Waiting by Kevin Henkes
    waiting
    Delayed gratification, also known as waiting, isn’t an easy concept for small children to grasp. This book teaches the concept so eloquently in a simple way that’s easy for kids to understand. Some people wait for things to happen while others live their lives not waiting for anything in particular. What are you waiting for? A great read with a powerful message for both adults and children.  I LOVE THIS BOOK!

    The Smallest Girl in the Smallest Grade by Justin Roberts

    thesmallestgirlinthesmallestgrade
    Hardly anyone noticed young Sally McCabe. She was the smallest girl in the smallest grade. But Sally notices everything-from the twenty-seven keys on the janitor’s ring to the bullying happening on the playground. One day Sally has had enough and decides to take a stand.

    Cloudette by Tom Lichenheld
    cloudette
    In this adorable book, a little cloud named Cloudette learns there are advantages to being small. Although she craves to be big and important in the beginning like all the other clouds, Cloudette soon discovers that little clouds can also make a big difference.

    Bike On, Bear! by Cynthea Liu
    bikeonbear
    The kids enjoyed this book so much it was read six times in a row…five times by me and then once by daddy. It’s a delightful book about a bear learning to ride his bike. His wise mom tells him to go to the library because you can learn anything there. Sure enough, bear finds a book called Learn to Ride A Bike in 4 Days. The ending of this book is great and possibly opens the door to another book starring this adorable bear character. Such a fun read!

    Your turn:  What are some picture books you and your children have enjoyed together recently?  Feel free to share in the comments.

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