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February 2016

    read aloud

    National Read Aloud Month: A Reading Challenge for Kids (and Adults)!

    In honor of National Read Aloud Month coming up in March, I thought it would be fun to have a reading challenge where both parents and children can participate.  The “rules” of this challenge will be simple: read aloud with your child(ren) for at least 15 minutes every day during the month of March.  If you want to read more than 15 minutes that’s fine too, but the goal is to aim for 15 minutes of reading time with your little readers.  Do you think you can handle that?  Are you game?  If so, read on.

    National Read Aloud Month Reading Challenge for Kids (and Adults)!

    A read aloud reading challenge can help motivate all readers to:

    • Spend quality time together connecting face-to-face
    • Read for enjoyment
    • Overcome reading obstacles or fears of reading aloud publicly
    • Find more time to read
    • Help encourage parents to read with their children
    • Help encourage children to read with each other

    If you decide to participate in this challenge with your kids, I know that thing called “life” may inevitably creep up on you.  There may be some hard days and you may miss a day, or two, or more.  If that happens, please give yourself enough grace to know that it’s okay.  You’re not a terrible parent, a failure, or any of the other stories you make up in your mind.  You simply didn’t read with your kids that day, but tomorrow is another day (God willing).

    In the event you skip a day, perhaps the next day you double your reading time and make it 30 minutes.  If 30 minutes in one sitting is too much for you, perhaps you can break it up into two 15-minute read aloud sessions.  You get the picture – do what works best for you and your family.

    There will be no specific type of reading material you need to read with your kids.  It can be books, magazines, or e-books, it’s all good!  You can also choose to read whatever books you want.  However, if you’re the type of person who prefers lists or likes the idea of having some direction for your reading choices, below I’ve listed a few ideas to help get you started.  Again, these ideas are not part of the reading challenge, I just included them for people who may tend to choose the same genres over and over again with their kids and want to mix it up a bit.

    • A book written by Dr. Seuss
    • A book that is a bedtime story
    • A book of poems
    • A book of fairy tales, fables, or myths
    • A book about a historical event or person
    • A book that is funny and makes you laugh out loud
    • A book that has the word ‘friend’ in the title
    • A book you (the parent/caregiver) read and loved as a child
    • A book that is part of a series
    • A book that has a color in the title
    • A book on display at the library or bookstore
    • A book that is a classic children’s book
    • A book that has an animal in the title
    • A book that has a number in the title
    • A book about another culture besides your own
    • A book about food that also includes a recipe
    • A non-fiction book about animals
    • A book about Easter
    • A book about St. Patrick’s Day
    • A book about Spring
    • A book about an inspirational female in honor of Women’s History Month (can be living or dead)
    • A book about vehicles/transportation
    • A book about the weather
    • A book about school
    • A book about community helpers
    • A book about sharing
    • A new book published in 2016 (I’ve listed over 125+ books to choose from here)
    • A book that won a Caldecott medal
    • A book about trees, plants or flowers
    • A bilingual book (can be any languages)
    • A few stories from children’s magazine
    • A book written by author Julia Donaldson
    • A book written by author Mo Willems
    • A non-fiction book about bugs

    Need some book suggestions?  Check out a few of my book lists:

    100 Children’s Books to Read in 2016
    Children’s Magazines
    The Ultimate List of 2016 Children’s Picture and Board Books

    I made a printable coloring page that you can use to help keep track of your reading.  Each day you read aloud with your kids for at least 15 minutes, let your kids color in a star.  My kids are motivated by charts that can be colored in.  There is a total of 31 stars on the chart – one for each day in March.  You can download a copy of the coloring page here.

    This is great, but do I get a prize for completing the challenge?
    If you and your kids complete this reading challenge, you can enter to win a $25 Barnes and Noble gift card.

    Please note: There will be no way for me to tell if you actually completed this challenge, so it will be solely based on the honor system.  Please be true to yourself and your kids and only enter if you actually complete the challenge.

    To enter, simply send me an e-mail at: hereweeread{at}gmail.com between April 1 – 6, 2016.  In the e-mail please include a picture of the coloring page as an attachment.  (All stars should be colored in.)  Feel free to let your kids get creative and add different designs to the page if they choose.  The subject of your e-mail should be ‘I’m a Reading Rock Star’.  In the body of the e-mail please include your child’s first name, age, and the city you live in. (If you have multiple children, please only include information for one child in your e-mail.)

    I will then randomly select a winner using random.org by Friday, April 8th.  The winner will have 24 hours to respond before an alternate winner is chosen.

    A love of reading is one of the best gifts we can give our kids. This read aloud reading challenge is just another way to work reading into your family’s life.  I hope you’ll join in the fun and enjoy spending time reading with your kids next month even if you don’t win the gift card.  Besides, you’re already winning if you’re reading!

    To learn more about National Read Aloud Month please visit http://readaloud.org.

    Your turn: Do you like the idea of a read aloud reading challenge?  Are you planning to participate?  Feel free to share in the comments.

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    blog updates, family fun

    Doc McStuffins Gets a Sibling through Adoption!

    It’s a girl for the McStuffins family!  Her name is Maya Alana McStuffins and she’s adorable!  Doc McStuffins hand picked baby Maya’s first stuffed toy, a koala named Lala.  Lala actually chose Maya’s first name and the middle name was chosen by the baby’s birth mother.  Congratulations on the new addition McStuffins family!

    Get the new book: Doc McStuffins a Baby Doll for Doc, the perfect addition to your children’s home library, especially if you have an adopted baby that is now a part of your forever family.

    ababydollfordoc
    Synopsis
    Mom and Dad have some exciting news. They’re adopting a baby, and the McStuffinses will be its forever family! Doc gets a new doll so she can practice being a good babysitter. With pull tabs, flaps, and touch-and-feel elements, this adorable book allows kids to get in on the babysitting fun with Doc and her toy friends.
    *************************************************************************************************************

    When the news broke on Twitter a few days ago that Doc McStuffins was getting a new sibling, the kids and I couldn’t be more excited!  Yes, Doc McStuffins is a big deal in our house – we love Doc, Lambie, and the whole gang!

    Doc McStuffins AdoptionDoc McStuffins will become a big sister again, this time through the miracle of adoption!  On Friday, March 4, Disney Junior will kick off a month long series of Doc McStuffins episodes about adoption.  They will tackle topics like how to burp a baby and change dirty diapers to emotional insecurities siblings may face when a new baby or child joins the family.

    I can’t help but wonder, what will the new baby McStuffins name be?  Will it be a boy or a girl?  We look forward to finding out!  4/1/2016 Update:  It’s a girl and her name is Maya Alana McStuffins!

     

    Doc McStuffins is an animated children’s television series produced by Brown Bag Films. It was created and executive produced by Chris Nee and premiered on March 23, 2012 on Disney Channel and Disney Junior. The series is about a girl who can “fix” toys, with help from her toy friends.  The series receives positive reviews due to the show’s concept and the main character, as well as its portrayal of African-Americans. (Source: Wikipedia)

    The new episodes will premiere each week, beginning on March 4th and continuing through April 1st on Fridays at 8am EST on the Disney Channel.  I know I’ll be setting up my DVR to record these episodes!  Will you?

    Check out the full episode schedule below (all episodes will air at 8:00 a.m. EST on Disney Channel):

    FRIDAY, MARCH 4
    “Baby McStuffins” – Mom and Dad announce that they are adopting a baby and give Doc a new baby doll to practice her babysitting skills.

    FRIDAY, MARCH 11
    “Runaway Love” – Doc’s little brother Donny worries that the arrival of the new baby will take attention away from him so he hatches a plan to run away. Meanwhile, Doc is so busy helping her parents prepare for the new baby that Lambie also starts to feel left out.

    FRIDAY, MARCH 18
    “Hooty’s Duty” – When Doc realizes that the arrival of a new baby means a new group of baby toys will also be coming home, she seeks to put one of her own toys in charge of them, and Professor Hootsburgh proudly volunteers for the job.

    FRIDAY, MARCH 25
    “Bringing Home Baby” – The baby’s gender will be revealed during this special 22-minute episode. Mom and Dad get the call that the new baby is on the way, so Grandma McStuffins arrives to take care of Doc and Donny. Grammy Award-winning singer and actress Dawnn Lewis (“A Different World”) guest stars in the new recurring role of Grandma McStuffins.

    FRIDAY, APRIL 1
    “Baby Names/Night Night, Lala” – The McStuffins family comes up with the name for the baby and baby’s new toy, Lala, has a hard time adjusting to her new environment.

    mayamcstuffins

    Your turn: Are you as excited about this news as we are?  Feel free to share in the comments.

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    book giving day, children's literacy, holiday books

    My International Book Giving Day Experience

    Happy International Book Giving Day (and Valentine’s Day)!  A few weeks ago, I mentioned how I planned to celebrate Book Giving Day this year.  You can check out that post here if you missed it.

    Our friends over at Reach Out and Read Connecticut, were happy to receive my donation of 83 books along with a set of 12 mini board books for babies.  I planned on donating books to other locations as well, but honestly it was easiest for me to just dump them all in one box and make one donation at one location.  And if I’m really being honest, I was being lazy because it was bone chilling cold that day.  I didn’t feel like driving to multiple locations lugging around books.  So there.  If I continue this book giving tradition again next year, I’ll be a bit more organized and strategic.

    ibgd2016poster

    In addition to donating some books from our home library, I reached out to several friends and family members for book donations.  I didn’t know what to expect so I set a goal to collect at least 50 books.  I was surprised when I surpassed that goal nearly reaching 100!

    bookgivingdaydonation

    Overall, it was a fun experience and I’d definitely do it again. What a great way to help promote literacy, give to others who may be in need, and get rid of some unwanted books or books that your children have outgrown.

    The kids weren’t too happy about seeing some of their books in the box, especially my daughter.  She knew once we put a book in that box it was going to be donated and they wouldn’t have it anymore.  I know I could have hid the box and kept it out of sight from the kids, but I wanted them to understand the concept of donating and giving – even if some of their stuff was being given away.  Now that the books are gone, she seems to have forgotten all about those books.  Kids!

    I’m delighted I was able to participate and give back this year.  I think International Book Giving Day helps serve as a reminder to remember that we can pay it forward even by donating something as simple as a book.  If you’re a parent like me, it’s also a great way to encourage kids to think of others.

    Your turn:  Did you participate in International Book Giving Day with your little readers this year?  If so, I’d love to hear what you did.  Feel free to share in the comments.

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    book reviews, children's books, read aloud

    The Importance of Being 3: A Book Review

    The Importance of Being 3 by Lindsay Ward

    theimportanceofbeing3
    Recommended for children ages 1 – 3 years old, 32 pages long
    Available for sale online and in bookstores on February 16, 2016.
    Published by: Penguin Young Readers

    Synopsis
    The perfect present for three-year-olds, this picture book is a celebration of all things three!
     
    All the best things come in threes, not one, not two, but three, like the three-year-olds in this sweet picture book. As all parents know, three is a big year. Follow along as three friends learn new things in threes—from tricycles to triangles—take a dip in the pool, and play in the park with their friends!  Of course, it’s not all fun and games. There’s a tantrum and then hugs all around as the three kids head to bed.

    This adorable picture book celebrating important life events is the perfect gift for third birthdays. Kids will love pointing out all the activities they can do now that they are three years old.

    Reflection

    What a cute little book!  I was so excited to receive this book and share it with the kids since my daughter is three years old.

    The book starts out with, “All the best things come in three.  Not 1 or 2, but 3.”  It then goes on to talk about some popular things that come in threes: three bears, the three little pigs, three primary colors (red, yellow, and blue).  The rest of the book highlights some of the typical things that three-year-olds are usually known for doing (or not doing in some cases depending on the child and their mood at any given moment!): learning what it means to share, learning to write letters and draw, riding a tricycle, having tantrums, sitting in time-out, playing pretend, and more.

    Since my kids love rhyming books they really seemed to enjoy the playful cadence and rhythm of this one, so do I.  I also liked the author’s choice of the three cute and diverse characters.  The one thing I wasn’t too crazy about is the illustrations.  While they are adorable, some of them seemed almost too “perfect” to me.

    For example, there is a picture where one of the girls is shown drawing a perfect triangle on the sidewalk.  I have never seen my daughter draw a triangle, much less a perfect one.  Another example is the little boy drawing the letters “ABC” ever so neatly on a chalkboard.  My daughter is still very much in the beginning phases of writing letters.  There are other examples too that just didn’t seem like most three-year olds are able to master at such a young age.  I know it’s just a book and maybe I’m just being too picky, but I am a stickler for paying attention to small details like this.

    Overall, we like this book and we’re thrilled to add it to our home collection!  I know lots of little ones turning three this year so this book will be at the top of my gift giving list!

    Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book to review from the publisher, however all opinions expressed are my own.

    Connect with the Author (Lindsay Ward)!

    Website | Twitter | Facebook

    Your turn: Do you have a three-year-old toddler?  What’s your favorite thing about them being three?  Feel free to share in the comments.

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    book reviews, children's magazines, read aloud

    Storytime Children’s Magazine: A Review Plus a Discount!

    Reading children’s magazines is a great way to to keep your kids entertained and reading fresh material each month.  They contain different stories, quizzes, poems, rhymes, puzzles, jokes, and activities that spark their curiosity and satisfy their need to understand the world around them.  In addition, magazines can help hone critical-thinking skills and creativity through fun, interactive articles.

    The best part? If you sign up for a magazine subscription, children can look forward to a new magazine coming in the mailbox each month—their very own mail!

    If you are currently on the market for a new children’s magazine to share with your kids I’d recommend checking out Storytime Magazine.  Have you ever heard of this gem before?  It’s one of the UK’s biggest subscription magazines for kids that is now available to US subscribers!  The magazine is gorgeous and it’s filled with classic fairy tales, myths, puzzles, poems, and much more.

    storytime_kids_magazine

    Each month, Storytime magazine is packed with brilliant tales for boys and girls of all ages.  It’s a quality children’s magazine that actually helps to improve literacy – with no advertisements and no plastic toys, just quality, thought-provoking and entertaining content.  I just love the idea of an advertisement-free magazine.  Don’t you?  Our kids are already bombarded with enough ads on television they don’t need to see it in their reading material too.

    Storytime is published by a small independent publisher who, having grown tired of all of the magazines packed with adverts and plastic toys, wanted to create a magazine for kids that was simply all about great stories, that parents and children could enjoy reading together.

    Storytime also offers FREE printable downloads – masks, fingers puppets, recipes and games – to use in conjunction with the magazine and in school lessons.  Simply go to their website and download the printable templates to use with your little readers.  For example, in one of the magazines we received there is the story of Pinocchio.  We downloaded the Pinocchio mask so we could act out the story as we read it…so fun!

    Two other fun activities we enjoyed doing was making Midas Touch handprints and crowns!  First we read the story ‘The Midas Touch’ about King Midas and then we did the corresponding extension activities from the magazine that immediately followed it.  The kids had fun dipping their hands in yellow paint to make handprints and decorating them with glitter.  We decorated our crowns with various stickers, glitter and gems.

    midas_crown

    Here are some other things I really like about this magazine:

    • The name of it…I think Storytime captures the essence of it so perfectly!
    • Every month you get six stories plus one or two poems
    • The illustrations are so bright, detailed, and beautiful
    • The magazine is printed on high-quality glossy paper (It’s not the same type of paper I typically see with other magazines – it’s definitely more durable and better quality)
    • They have competitions every month giving children the opportunity to win books and other prizes
    • Great grammar and vocabulary words are used throughout

    It’s also worth mentioning that although this magazine is made for children of all ages, I think it’s best suited to be read aloud with children during story time.  That’s especially true for younger readers between ages birth to 6 years.  Although the stories are great, each one takes up at least 3-6 pages in the magazine, depending on the story.  As children get older and learn to read, they will be able to read the magazine on their own without much assistance.

    Sounds great, but how much is it?
    Storytime Magazine currently has three different subscription options to US subscribers:

    $69.99 – every 12 issues paid by continuous credit/debit card
    $79.99 – for 12 issues paid by credit/debit card
    $79.99 – for 12 issues paid by Paypal

    Is there a discount?

    Yes, there is!  Our friends over at Storytime magazine are offering my readers with a massive discount!  They set up a special issue whereby you can try their first three (3) issues for a total of just $5.00!  Click here for the direct link to this special offer. Update: The $5.00 initial promotion has now expired.

    If you would prefer to look around their site first, click here.  Enjoy!

    Connect with Storytime Magazine!
    WebsiteFacebookTwitter | Pinterest

    Disclosure:  We were sent copies of Storytime Magazine for the purpose of this review, however all opinions expressed are my own.

    Your turn: Have you read this magazine with your little readers yet?  If not, are you excited to check it out?  Feel free to share in the comments.

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    children's books, holiday books, read aloud

    The Year of the Monkey: A Book Review

    This year, Lunar New Year – The Year of the Monkey – begins on Monday, February 8th and lasts until Jan 27th, 2017.  For nearly 5,000 years, the Chinese culture has divided time in cycles of twelve years.  An animal represents each year.  Therefore, if you are born in a particular year, then you share the personality of that animal.  This year it’s the Year of the Monkey, the ninth animal in the cycle. The next Year of the Monkey will be in 2028.

    The Year of the Monkey: Tales from the Chinese Zodiac by Oliver Chin, illustrated by Kenji Ono
    theyearofthemonkey
    Recommended for children ages 4 – 9

    Synopsis
    Max is the son of the legendary Monkey King and Queen. Succeeding at school is not easy, but luckily playing in the gym is! Can Max forge his own claim to fame?  Empowering themes of self-discovery and cultural exchange, plus charismatic characters, have proven appeal with children, parents, and elementary educators.

    theyearofthemonkey

    Reflection
    This book is part of a twelve book series that has a different book for each animal in the Chinese zodiac.  All of the books in the series are written in both English and simplified Chinese, which is a bonus if you can read/speak both languages.

    I read this book with the kids a few weeks ago.  The kids seemed to really get a kick out of little Max!  He’s so curious and full of energy!  Their favorite part of the story was the jianzi tournament because it was so action packed.  We had fun trying to re-enact the scenes.  Jianzi looks like a game that sort of resembles what Americans call hacky sack.

    Max is determined to be the best jianzi player, but his mom (the Monkey Queen) tells him to stop wasting his time “playing silly games.”  His parents want him to accomplish extraordinary things like they did.  After hearing all of the amazing stories from his parents’ past, Max starts to second guess himself about his love of jianzi and entering the tournament.  However, in the end his parents have a change of heart and push him and his friend to be the best and conquer the undefeated Dragon and the Tiger team.

    I liked all of the colorful illustrations and the overall messages of teamwork, practice, courage, and determination.  I think this book is a fun way to introduce children to the lunar new year.  Be sure to point out the other animals in the Chinese zodiac that are shown throughout the book.  We had fun searching for them on the different pages!  I haven’t read any of the other 11 books in the series, but I’m sure they’re all equally as entertaining.

    Another thing I liked is the back of the book lists the years from 1920 onwards that are Years of the Monkey (1920, 1932, 1944, 1956, 1968, 1980, 1992, 2004, 2016, 2028).  There is also a  list of the different qualities and characteristics people born in the Year of The Monkey may have. These include: carefree, curious, crafty, playful, nimble, and persistent.

    Also, there is a scannable QR code provided if you are interested in downloading an interactive app for the book.  The app offers word-by-word highlighting, instant playback, and gives kids the ability to read at their own pace.

    Read/purchase this book if…

    • You have a child(ren) or relative’s child born in the year of the monkey.
    • Your kids love anything related to monkeys.
    • You want to introduce kids to the sport of jianzi.
    • You are looking for a fun gift to give children for the Lunar New Year.
    • You want to teach children about any of the following topics: cooperation, friendship, creativity, teamwork, practice, cooperation, courage or determination.

    Purchase The Year of the Monkey at:
    Amazon | Book Depository | Immedium

    Connect with the author (Oliver Chin)
    Blog  |  LinkedIn   |  Twitter

    Connect with the illustrator, Kenji Ono
    Website | Blog | Facebook | Twitter

    Your turn: Do you plan to celebrate the Lunar New Year with your family or students?  Feel free to share in the comments.

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    book reviews, giveaways

    5 Women Authors to Watch Plus a Giveaway!

    In honor of Black History month, today I wanted to draw your attention to some promising women authors to keep an eye out for. Mark my words: you are going to hear much more about them in years to come!

    Though they may not all be household names yet, some have already achieved national recognition and established steady careers as writers. From non-fiction to children’s fiction and poetry, these five authors will give us plenty to read in 2016 and beyond.  They all have published empowering books about young African-American girls, varying from blazing adventures at the zoo, to the importance of self-worth, to adoption.

    5 Women Authors to Watch Plus a Giveaway!

    Here are five women authors to watch listed in random order.  (P.S. The information for the giveaway is listed at the end.  Good Luck!)

    1. Rachel Garlinghouse
    rachelgarlinghouse
    Rachel is a mother of 3 African-American children through domestic, transracial, open adoption. She taught college composition at Southern Illinois University Edwardsville for nine years before “retiring” to focus on writing and speaking. Her work and experiences has been featured on MSNBC, NPR, Huffington Post Live, Scary Mommy, ABCnews.com, My Brown Baby, Madame Noire, and in Essence magazine, just to name a few. She’s the facilitator of a large St. Louis area adoption triad and fostering support group for women. Her first children’s book, Black Girls Can: An Empowering Story of Yesterdays and Todays, was released in September of 2014. When she’s not writing, Rachel can be found dancing, baking, reading, and creating art with her children.

    Rachel blogs over at White Sugar, Brown Sugar.  She also wrote four other books: Come Rain or Come Shine: A White Parent’s Guide to Adopting and Parenting Black Children, Encouragement for the Adoption and Parenting Journey: 52 Devotions & a Journal, Homeschooling Your Young Black Child, Poems for the Smart, Spunky, and Sensational Black Girl

    Last year, I reviewed Rachel’s latest adorable children’s book, Poems for the Smart, Spunky, and Sensational Black Girl on the blog.  You can check out that review and my reflection here.  Connect with Rachel on Facebook or Instagram.

    RachelGarlinghouseBooks

    2. Sara Crutcher
    Sara Picture
    First-time author Sara Elizabeth Neal Crutcher believes her greatest blessing came at just six weeks old in Greensboro, North Carolina when she was adopted into a loving and supportive family. At five years old, Sara recalls her parents sitting her down to explain her adoption. Although at the time she did not fully understand what adoption meant, she was reassured that she was heart picked and surrounded by unconditional love. Sara wrote Heart Picked: Elizabeths Adoption Tale to share a glimpse of her journey and also to support adopted children and the families who love them. Sara is an advertising executive, entrepreneur and blogger. She graduated from Hampton University with a degree in advertising. She enjoys spending time with her family and friends, traveling, reading novels, and playing her violin.  To learn more about Sara visit her website or connect with her on Twitter.

    heart picked
    My reflection:
    It’s family week at school and little six-year-old Elizabeth is nervous about what her friends and everyone else will think of her dad.  You see, Elizabeth is adopted so she doesn’t look like either of her adopted parents.  Elizabeth’s mom tries to comfort her by telling her she was ‘heart picked’ especially for them.  Both of her parents explain what being adopted really means and in the end, Elizabeth understands just how special she truly is.

    My kids are still too young to understand the concept of adoption, but when they are old enough I will use this book to explain it to them.  I think this book does a great job describing what it means to be adopted in an easy way for older children (ages 6 and up) to understand with cute, colorful illustrations to match.

    The overall message of this book is wonderful: “love is what truly makes a family”.  It doesn’t matter if you all look alike, if there is love in your heart, that’s all you need.

    3. Veronica N. Chapman

    veronicachapman
    Veronica N. Chapman is an entrepreneur, author, and playwright, having written and produced Ancestors Inc., a motivational play for teens, and The Advent of Planet Martyr: An Innovative Social Commentary, a self-published book. A graduate of Spelman College (B.A. in Spanish) and Babson College (M.B.A.), she is committed to using her gifts to act upon her ideas and improve the world. Each of her endeavors, Boxxout Enterprises, Potlucks for Progress, My Crowning Jewel, and I Know I Can!, are in line with this commitment. I Know I Can! is Veronica’s first children’s book.  To learn more about I Know I Can! and Veronica, connect with her on Facebook and on Twitter.

    iknowican
    My reflection: Since the tender age of two, Faith’s parents taught her she could do anything she wanted to do – and she believed them!  In her dreams, she visited different places around the world, met new people, and experienced different cultures.  The story goes on to follow Faith from being a toddler right through graduating from high school as the valedictorian of her class.

    I love how empowering this book is for little girls!  It also exposes children to a few different world landmarks like the Louvre Museum in France and the Malecon in Cuba.  In addition, it features some famous African-American icons such as Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., Mahalia Jackson, Fannie Lou Hamer, and Nina Simone.

    After reading this book, children will easily come to understand that anything is possible along with the value of hard work.  At the end of the book, it reminds little readers that the world is theirs to explore and provides examples of a few fun things they can do in preparation for foreign travel.

    4. Arnitris L. Strong
    arnitis strong
    Arnitris is the creator of Blessed be the Tie, which is dedicated to offering signature mommy and me experiences through events, products and services. She is the editor of The Refresh Guide, an online magazine committed to revealing the secrets of fabulous women everywhere. When she isn’t writing, Arnitris can usually be found where creative minds are mingling while rocking a fierce pair of heels. Connect with her on her websiteInstagram and twitter @arntrs77.

    Nappy and the First Day of Kindergarten

    nappyandthefirstdayofkindergarten
    My reflection: The first day of Kindergarten finally arrived for little Lynn!  While she is excited about going to school, she had a serious case of butterflies in her tummy.  She explains her nervousness and excitement to her sister Destani, who in true older sibling fashion makes fun of her and calls her ‘Nappy’.  When Lynn finally gets to school she notices another girl in her class (Amy) is also scared about starting at a new school.  They instantly become friends and walk bravely into Kindergarten together.

    My kids are only two and three, but I’m already dreading the day when they both go off to Kindergarten.  I already know I’m going to be a hot mess!  No doubt there will be tears and anxiety, but probably more on my end than the kids!

    I think this book does a good job capturing what typical 4 and 5 year-olds may be feeling on the first day of Kindergarten, especially if it’s a brand new school.  This book lets little readers know that it’s ok to be nervous when trying and experiencing new and different things.  It’s also a story of self-acceptance, being brave, and friendship between two girls who are different, yet the same.  More upcoming titles are expected to be released later this year!

    5. Cindy J. Cadet
    2016-02-05 09.56.15
    Cindy J. Cadet has worked with students in diverse age groups. After obtaining her MBA, she began her journey as a substitute teacher in the classroom with kindergarten children. She then worked in higher education administration. Cindy, a wife and mother, is very passionate about family life and solutions to building a strong and loving foundation. Being a mom has inspired her to create a fun story about a girl who is smart, adventurous and loves doing new things. Her two books are entitled: The Brownie Girl Zola Visits the Zoo: A Fun Day Adventure with Daddy and The Brownie Girl Adventures: Zola’s Family Vacation.  Cindy lives with her family in Connecticut.  Connect with Cindy on her website or visit her Facebook page.

    zolazoo
    My reflection: Zola and her dad are ready for a day at the zoo!  What types of animals will they see?  What sights and sounds will they experience?  Adventure awaits!  Oh, and there’s a sweet surprise at the end, but I won’t spoil it for you!

    We haven’t taken our kids to the zoo yet, but I can’t wait to go – perhaps this summer!  I imagine our first time going will be similar to Zola and her dad’s visit.  I love all of the different animals featured in this book and the fact that she and her dad spent some quality time together.  Father/daughter time is so important for helping to raise strong, independent, and confident girls.  I think this is a fun, cute story for little girls and dads to share.

    The books in the Brownie Girl Adventure series are designed for families to read together.  Parents read to their child and when the child can read on their own they can read it to their parents or friends.  Each story is meant to encourage families to spend quality time together and empower children to write their own stories.  Proceeds of these books are shared with two children’s charities.

    It’s Giveaway Time…Again!
    I just love giveaways, don’t you?  Keeping up with the Black History Month theme, all five of these amazing authors have agreed to give away 1 FREE copy of each of their children’s books!!  That’s 6 books in all – up for grabs (they might even be signed copies):  Poems for the Smart, Spunky, and Sensational Black GirlBlack Girls Can: An Empowering Story of Yesterdays and TodaysHeart Picked: Elizabeths Adoption TaleI Know I Can!Nappy and the First Day of Kindergarten (e-book), and The Brownie Girl Zola Visits the Zoo: A Fun Day Adventure with Daddy (e-book).

    What a great prize pack for a lucky little lady this Black History Month!  Enter today for your chance to win – good luck!

    a Rafflecopter giveaway

    Your turn:  Have you read any books written by these authors?  Which ones are you most excited to read with your little girl(s)?  Feel free to share in the comments.

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