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May 2016

    book reviews, children's books, family fun

    Book of the Week: Go Photo by Alice Proujansky

    Go Photo! – An Activity Book for Kids by Alice Proujansky
    gophoto
    Age Range: 8 – 12 years
    Grade Level: 3 – 7
    Hardcover: 108 pages
    Publisher: Aperture Foundation
    Available for Sale: May 24, 2016

    Synopsis (from Amazon)
    This book features 25 hands-on and creative activities inspired by photography. Aimed at children between eight and twelve years old, this playful and fun collection of projects encourages young readers to experiment with their imaginations, get messy with materials and engage with the world in new and exciting ways.

    Indoors or outdoors, from a half-hour to a whole day, and whether alone or with friends, family or an unsuspecting pet, there is a photo activity for all occasions. Some don’t even require a camera! Each project also features a series of pictures and handy tips to help guide the reader step-by-step, building a visual language and encouraging creativity as they go. Accessible, fun and practical, the activities in this book have been brought together to engage children in the fun and wonder of photography.

    @hereweeread

    Reflection
    I think the concept of this book is so neat!  Although my kids are too young to actually do these activities independently, it was still a fun book to read and get some great ideas of things to do as they grow.

    The first activity in this book is to go on a photography scavenger hunt on your own or with a few friends.  The idea is to photograph a list of different items mentioned in the book.  For example: something bumpy, things on a table, a triangle and more.  Kids could also choose to make up their own lists of things to photograph too.

    Another fun activity is to make a map of your neighborhood.  I plan to actually do this activity on my own so the kids can have their own neighborhood map to refer to.  How cool would it be to have a photo map of your neighborhood that kids can actually recognize!  I remember as a kid we didn’t have all the technology that kids have today like GPS.  I don’t remember the last time I actually pulled out a physical hard copy of a map when I needed directions.  I either punch it into the GPS, Google it or ask Siri.  My, how spoiled (and lazy) we’ve become!  I still think it’s critical for kids to be able to read and understand maps.  In fact, I remember recently reading an article on pbs.org about the subject matter that was fascinating to me.  They even provided a list of some of my favorite mapping books for kids.  You can check it out here.

    Not all of the activities require kids to use a camera, but most do.  I love that this book can force kids to use their imagination, think outside-of-the-box and in some cases actually spend time outdoors.  I found the step-by-step instructions and illustrations to be very clear, detailed and helpful in completing each activity.  The target audience that this book is geared towards should have no problems reading and following the directions.  Even older kids and adults will enjoy getting in on the action and providing some creative ideas.  Most of these activities could easily keep kids entertained for hours on end.  All they need is a camera, their creativity, a wild imagination (and depending on the project a few other materials) to make these projects come alive.  Highly recommended for children who love photography and creative thinkers.

    About the Author
    Alice Proujansky has taught photography and led professional development coaching sessions for educators at Urban Arts Partnership, the Red Hook Community Justice Center, and the New York City Department of Education. A practicing photojournalist covering working motherhood and birth, she has been published in The New York Times, New York, Harper’s, the New Republic and others.  Visit Alice’s website here.

    About Aperture Foundation
    Aperture is a not-for-profit foundations that connects the photo community and its audiences with the most inspiring work, the sharpest ideas, and with each other – in print, in person, and online.

    Connect with Aperture Foundation!
    Website | Facebook | Instagram

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    children's books

    The Importance of Author’s Notes in (Some) Picture Books

    The Importance of Author's Notes in Picture Books

    I recently reviewed the book Thunder Boy Jr. on my Instagram page and it sparked an interesting discussion.  I’ve heard and read mixed reviews from people over this book.  Some people love it and others don’t enjoy it as much.  Before I get into the discussion, let me first include a copy of the review I posted.

    Thunder Boy Jr. written by Sherman Alexie
    thunderboyjr

    Review (from my Instagram page)
    Follow little Thunder Boy Jr. as he goes on a search to find the perfect nickname for himself. He’s named after his father, Thunder Boy Sr. His dad’s nickname is Big Thunder and his nickname is Little Thunder. He doesn’t like his nickname though because it makes him sound small like a “burp or a fart”. So, he decides he wants a new nickname – one that sounds like him and celebrates something cool that he’s done. Thunder Boy likes to do things like powwow dance in his Native-American grass skirt and ride his bike, so maybe his new nickname could be related to one of those things? In the end, it’s his dad who gives him a new nickname.

    Having a “not so normal” first name myself, I could definitely identify with this book. People always mispronounce my first name! This book reminds me of the books My Name is Yoon and The Name Jar. In both of those books the girls wanted to change their first names after moving to the US because their names weren’t “normal”. The only difference is Thunder Boy Jr. doesn’t actually want to change his first name, just his nickname.

    I think it’s interesting that the author signed the deal for this book 10 years ago. He went through 30 to 40 different ideas before he decided on the overall concept. He was a junior himself, named after his dad. While at his father’s funeral in 2003, as the coffin was being lowered into the ground, he noticed that the tombstone had his name on it. While his father was a great and loving man, he was a lifelong alcoholic who would leave him and his family for days or weeks to drink. For that reason, he decided to pen this children’s book about a child in search of his own identity. The only difference is he wanted it to be in the context of a loving family, which is the exact opposite of how he grew up.

    Overall, I think this is a cute story with beautiful and bright illustrations to match. It’s very rare that we see positive Native-American children’s picture books. My only one gripe about this book is the statement “I hate my name”. I think “hate” is such a strong word, especially for younger kids. That aside, this book was a delight to read and admire the artwork.  I think this book is great for discussing themes like: struggling with identity, individuality, cultural diversity and father-son relationships.  A great read for Father’s Day!

    Great review!  What’s all the commotion about?
    First, let me say I still enjoy this book, but now I too have one lingering question in my mind that I’d like clarified: Did Thunder Boy Jr. change his first name to Lightning or is Lightning just his new nickname?

    Ok, here’s the gist of what sparked the discussion…

    Another one of my Instagram book-loving buddies (Hey, lady!) posted a review about the book on her feed the same day as I did.  In her review she said the book left her feeling confused.  She struggled to understand why Thunder Boy was allowed to change his name and wondered what would stop him from wanting to change it again in the future.  She also went on to say Thunder Boy should be happy to be named after his father.  Her opinion was the book sends a message to kids that if you don’t like your name you can just change it whenever you want.

    Shortly after that post went live, another person chimed in and said they agreed with her.  After flipping through the book at the book store they were turned off and confused for the same reasons.

    Later that afternoon my post went live and I gave a totally different perspective of the book.  What I took away from it was a much different message.  A message of a little boy who wanted to have his own self identity.  I also provided some of the background information I previously read about the book and the author.

    I remember reading years ago about the complexity of the Native-American naming tradition and how names are chosen for people.  It is normal for Native-Americans to change their names several times throughout their lives as they age, grow older or do things that are deemed significant.  Their names can change many times depending on the different tribes they belong to.  So perhaps this is what the author was trying to get across, but I’m not sure.  In any event, I was already familiar with this tradition, but my friend was not.  Hence, the confusion on her part.

    All of this got me thinking about the importance of including author’s notes in picture books. I typically see author’s notes included in non-fiction children’s books, but rarely in picture books.  I like reading the background about the authors, illustrators or how the overall concept of the book came to be.  The story behind the story, if you will.  Maybe you can relate.

    Now, I’m not saying author’s notes should be included in all picture books, but it might come in handy for some books.  I’m just using Thunder Boy Jr. as an example to illustrate the fact that not including an author’s note may be off-putting or downright confusing to some people.  They just won’t get the message or they’ll be left with unanswered questions.  I think that’s especially true when the story is about a particular culture and some of their traditions, clothing or food may not be familiar to many people.  In this case, the Native-American naming tradition and how it’s acceptable to change their names.  In addition, I think author’s notes can add more meaning providing a fuller picture of the overall story.  Just my two cents.

    So, if you’re an author or aspiring author of picture books I hope this is helpful to you.  It may help to clear up any questions people may have after reading your book.

    P.S. If anyone knows Sherman Alexie personally can you please ask him the lingering question I mentioned above?  It’s going to cause me to have sleepless nights until I know the answer…haha!

    Your turn: How important do you think author’s notes are in picture books?  Do you even bother to read them?  Feel free to share in the comments.

     

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    adult books, book reviews

    Let’s Play Math! by Denise Gaskins (A Book Review)

    Let’s Play Math: How Families Can Learn Math Together and Enjoy It by Denise Gaskins

    letsplaymath
    Format: Paperback
    Pages: 290

    Synopsis (from Amazon)
    Yes, Your Kids CAN Learn Math Without Tears. All parents and teachers have one thing in common: we want our children to understand and be able to use math. Filled with stories and pictures, Let’s Play Math offers a wealth of practical, hands-on ideas for exploring concepts from preschool to high school. Your children will gain a strong foundation when you approach math as a family game, playing with ideas.

    Reflection
    It amazes me how much children actually use early math skills throughout their daily routines and activities.  I never gave this much thought until I became a parent almost four years ago.  Like reading and writing, math is one of essential skills kids need to know in order to survive in this fast-paced world.  The good news is early math doesn’t mean breaking out the calculator during playtime.  Most children can develop an understanding of addition, subtraction and fractions through everyday interactions. For example:

    • My kids and I count steps as we go up or down
    • We play with shape sorters and lots of puzzles
    • We sort items based on size and color
    • The kids help me sort the laundry (Pairing up the socks is always a fun game!)
    • They help me in the kitchen: stirring, pouring, measuring
    • I often ask the kids to find items that are triangles, circles, rectangles, and other shapes in random places like the library, playground or grocery store

    I know that most families have a full schedule, and it can be hard to find time to focus on math. But, rest assured your kids are being exposed to math on a daily basis. In Let’s Play Math, Denise shows you that doing math together with your children is easier and much more fun than you think.

    Filled with stories and pictures, Let’s Play Math offers a wealth of practical, hands-on ideas for exploring concepts from preschool to high school.

    Sections include:

    • How to Understand Math: Introduce your children to the thrill of conquering a challenge. Build deep understanding by thinking, playing, and asking questions like a mathematician.
    • Playful Problem Solving: Awaken your children’s minds to the beauty and wonder of mathematics. Discover the social side of math, and learn games for players of all ages.
    • Math with Living Books: See how mathematical ideas ebb and flow through the centuries with this brief tour through history. Can your kids solve puzzles from China, India, or Ancient Egypt?
    • Let’s Get Practical: Fit math into your family’s daily life, help your children develop mental calculation skills, and find out what to try when your child struggles.
    • Resources and References: With so many library books and Internet sites, you’ll never run out of ways to play with math.

    As Denise says, “Mathematics ought to be a game of discovery.”  I wholeheartedly agree with this statement.  As much as I personally love math, I know that many kids (and parents) strongly dislike it.  This is especially true for kids who are now learning the common core standard math.  There is a section in the book that talks about the problem with traditional school math and sheds some light on ways to see and “do and see real math” in action.

    Since I like to play games and solve problems, one of my favorite sections of the book is Playful Problem Solving.  Denise explains that math is a social activity so doing things like asking questions, noticing connections and wondering “What if…” goes a long way with kids.  This section of the book also offers a variety of different simple activities you can do with your children like: tell me a story, can you guess my secret, pattern blocks and hundred chart puzzles and games.

    For families that have older kids who may be struggling with math, Denise offers some things to try when you feel like giving up.  There is also a section that discusses making the transition from middle school to high school math.  The basics of high school math (algebra, geometry and statistics) can be quite hard for some kids to grasp, especially for kids who never developed a love of math in their earlier years.

    In the back of the book, there are a plethora of resources and references divided into different sections for preschool to early elementary, upper-elementary and middle school and teen to adult.

    Overall, I think this book is great math resource for parents, caregivers and teachers.  It reinforces the fact that everyone CAN do math.  From the youngest to the oldest people.  It’s all about teaching and learning math in a way that’s fun to excite kids and adults into LOVING math.  An excellent book that focuses on developing the critical-thinking, problem-solving, and analytical skills kids will need to be successful and competitive.

    Other books by Denise Gaskins!

    countingandnumberbonds mathyoucanplay

    Connect with Denise!
    Website | Facebook | Twitter

    denise-author-color

    P.S. Be sure to visit Denise’s website to download some FREE math printables you can start using right away.  Just click on the link and print!

     Disclaimer:  I received a complimentary copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.  All opinions expressed are my own.

    Your turn:  Do your kids enjoy math or do they dislike it?  Feel free to share in the comments.

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    book reviews, children's books

    Our Food: A Healthy Serving of Science and Poems (A Book Review)

    Our Food: A Healthy Serving of Science and Poems by Grace Lin & Ranida T. McKneally (Author)
    illustrated by Grace Zong
    ourfood
    Age Range: 5 – 8 years old
    Publisher: Charlesbridge Publishing
    Format: Hardcover
    Pages: 40
    Available for Sale: June 14, 2016

    Synopsis (from Charlesbridge Publishing)
    A colorful, bountiful book about the food we eat.

    Award-winning author Grace Lin joins science writer Ranida T. McKneally to get kids talking about the science of food, the five food groups, and what a healthy meal looks like. Answering questions like “why are so many vegetables green?”, “What’s the difference between brown bread and white bread?”, and “Why do beans make you gassy?”, cheerful haiku poems and a simple Q&A format make this book a nutritious treat.

    The information in this book aligns with both the USDA’s MyPlate guidelines and the Harvard School of Public Health’s Healthy Eating Plate guidelines. Back matter includes further information about healthy eating and nutritional guidelines, as well as a glossary.

    Reflection

    Like many kids, my children can sometimes be absurdly stubborn about eating their vegetables.  However, my daughter does love eating salad and broccoli and my son loves corn and broccoli.  Thankfully, they both like a variety of fruits like pears, oranges, cantaloupe, watermelon, bananas, strawberries, blueberries, mango and apples.

    This book is a wonderful introduction to the five food groups (fruits, grains, protein foods, vegetables and dairy) and healthy eating.  Short haiku poems accompany nutritional information that answers questions like: “Why do we eat?”  “Why are so many vegetables green?” “Why are some cheeses so stinky?” “What’s the difference between whole milk and skim milk?” and more.  There is also a handy glossary at the back of the book that contains the different vocabulary words and their definitions that are used throughout.  The illustrations are bright and colorful and include a diverse group of five children visiting their local farm.

    our-food-spread

    As a parent, I really like this book and the overall message of teaching kids about nutritional eating.  Getting my kids (and husband) to make healthier food decisions is sometimes an uphill battle, but I try to be consistent and persistent when it comes to eating fruits and vegetables.  I’m glad books like this one exist to help illustrate the importance of healthy eating in a way that’s fun, educational and easy for kids to understand.

    I think this book will be an excellent resource to refer back to as my kids get older.  There are so many great facts mentioned that I think older kids (and adults) will appreciate.

    For example, do you know what makes popcorn pop?  That’s something I’ve often wondered, but never took the time to research the answer.  Thanks to reading this book, I now know “when you heat popcorn, the small amount of water inside the kernel turns to steam.  The steam softens the endosperm and turns it into a jelly.  Trapped by the strong, hard shell, the steam can’t escape, and pressure builds up inside causing the shell to eventually crack and pop!”  Another interesting fact I learned is “the color of a fruit gives us a clue to the nutrition in it.  For example, orange fruits like apricots and cantaloupes are rich in beta-carotene.”

    After reading this book I made a list of some things I can do as a parent to help my kids make healthier food choices.  Here’s what I came up with:

    • Continue to set a good example for my kids
    • Create fun, positive experiences around food
    • Continue to let the kids help me in the kitchen when preparing meals and snacks
    • Continue to expose them (in a pleasant way) to the healthy foods they initially reject

    Check this book out with your little readers to help get them excited about eating healthy.  Great for home and school libraries!

    Your turn: How do you get your kids to eat healthy?  Feel free to share in the comments.

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    children's books, summer reading

    The Ultimate Diverse Summer Reading List for Kids!

    New: Click here for the printable PDF version!

    Summer break is just a few weeks away for my kids.  With summer comes lazy days, relaxation, vacation, camps, boredom, and lack of recall of everything our kids learned in school this year.  I’m a firm believer in reading and keeping kids engaged in learning activities over the summer to keep their minds from turning to a bowl of mush.

    Although I read a variety of different books with my kids, I wanted to create a diverse/multicultural summer reading list for parents and caregivers since I am often asked about diverse books for kids.  I’m always on the lookout for more good diverse books to read and promote!

    The following is a list of books that I believe provide wonderful multicultural reading experiences for kids. This compilation is filled with many books that I have personally read with my kids (or plan to read) and have impacted my life in some way. They made me laugh, they made me cry, they made me think, they made me imagine, they made me hungry!

    I’ve included books for African-Americans, Asians, Latinos, Peruvians, Brazilians, Native Americans and Pacific Americans.  I realize there are so many other great diverse books out there, but I hope you and your kids find some books on this list that resonate with you.  Happy Summer Reading!

    The Ultimate Diverse Summer Reading List for Kids!

    Board Books

    Shades of black : a celebration of our children by Sandra Pinkney
    shadesofblack
    Using simple poetic language and stunning photographs, Sandra and Myles Pinkney have created a remarkable book of affirmation for African-American children. Photographic portraits and striking descriptions of varied skin tones, hair texture, and eye color convey a strong sense of pride in a unique heritage. A joyous celebration of the rich diversity among African-Americans.

    My Heart Fills with Happiness by Monique Gray Smith

    myheartfillswithhappiness
    The sun on your face. The smell of warm bannock baking in the oven. Holding the hand of someone you love. What fills your heart with happiness? This beautiful board book, with illustrations from celebrated artist Julie Flett, serves as a reminder for little ones and adults alike to reflect on and cherish the moments in life that bring us joy.

    Bye-Bye Binky by Maria van Lieshout

    byebyebinky
    Every child’s life is filled with milestones. Some happen easily; others need a little extra support. Artist and mom Maria van Lieshout has been there. Drawing upon her own experiences, she has created an engaging series of books that are just right for children on the brink of major changes and the caregivers who encourage them.

    Peekaboo Bedtime by Rachel Isadora

    peekaboo
    In this story a toddler boy plays peekaboo with everyone from his grandparents to his puppy, until it’s finally time to snuggle into bed with his blankie.  The kids loved having this book read over and over again until it was finally time to bring it back to the library.

    Baby Dance by Ann Taylor

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    The pastel illustrations in this book show the fun and playfulness of this father and daughter sneaking a little special time together as Mommy sleeps nearby. Babies will love the rhythm — and the excuse for a little extra time with Daddy.

    Reach: a board book about curiosity by Elizabeth Verdick
    reach
    Wiggly baby on the floor. What is baby reaching for? Celebrate the many ways that babies reach out to discover and learn about the world around them. With lively rhyming text and vivid black-and-white photos of babies in action, this book is sure to engage babies and grown-ups alike. A great baby board book for floortime or anytime!

    Whose Toes Are Those? by Jabari Asim

    toes
    This book was gifted to us as a Christmas gift a few years ago.  Both kids favorite part of this book is the “this little piggy” rhyme.  This book also has easy and fun rhymes, vibrant colors and cute illustrations…just look at those toes on the cover!  A wonderful book for both infants and toddlers.

    Whose Knees Are These? by Jabari Asim

    knees
    The fun, rhyming language, and the overall simplicity of the story itself make it perfect for infants and toddlers alike. I like the fact that this book also promotes body awareness, introduces the concept of left and right, and encourages positive self-image and familial bonds.

    Global Babies by The Global Fund for Children
    globalbabies
    Appealing photos of babies from seventeen cultures around the globe are woven together by simple narration. GLOBAL BABIES presents children in cultural context. Diverse settings highlight specific differences in clothing, daily life, and traditions, as well as demonstrate that babies around the world are nurtured by the love, caring, and joy that surround them.

    Baby Parade by Rebecca O’Connell
    babyparade
    Here come the babies! It’s a baby parade! Wave to the babies as they go by in wagons, in backpacks, on foot, and in the arms of mommies and daddies. This adorable parade will be irresistible to toddlers (and caregivers) everywhere.

    Picture Books

    Mary Had a Little Glam by Tammi Sauer
    maryhadalittleglam
    This little Mary has STYLE! In this fun take on Mother Goose, fashion-forward Mary helps some of childhood’s most beloved characters go glam. From the kid who lives in a shoe (and dons some fab footwear, too) to Jack, who breaks his crown but gets a great new one, Mary’s school friends look fantastic in their finery. But are they now too well dressed for recess? Not to worry—Mary always shows her flair for what to wear!

    Maybe Something Beautiful: How Art Transformed a Neighborhood by F. Isabel Campoy and Theresa Howell
    maybesomethingbeautiful
    What good can a splash of color do in a community of gray? As Mira and her neighbors discover, more than you might ever imagine! Based on the true story of the Urban Art Trail in San Diego, California,Maybe Something Beautiful reveals how art can inspire transformation—and how even the smallest artists can accomplish something big. Pick up a paintbrush and join the celebration!

    Ada’s Violin: The Story of the Recycled Orchestra of Paraguay by Susan Hood
    adasviolin
    From award-winning author Susan Hood and illustrator Sally Wern Comport comes the extraordinary true tale of the Recycled Orchestra of Paraguay, an orchestra made up of children playing instruments built from recycled trash.

    Ada Ríos grew up in Cateura, a small town in Paraguay built on a landfill. She dreamed of playing the violin, but with little money for anything but the bare essentials, it was never an option…until a music teacher named Favio Chávez arrived. He wanted to give the children of Cateura something special, so he made them instruments out of materials found in the trash. It was a crazy idea, but one that would leave Ada—and her town—forever changed. Now, the Recycled Orchestra plays venues around the world, spreading their message of hope and innovation.

    Rattlestiltskin by Eric A. Kimmel
    rattletiltskin
    Rosalia is in debt to the strange little snake man Rattlestiltskin after he teaches her how to make tortillas so light they float in the air! Can she outsmart the trickster and keep her freedom? From renowned children’s book author Eric A. Kimmel comes this delightful reimagining of the classicRumplestiltskin with a Southwestern setting and Spanish vocabulary.

    Normal Norman by Tara Lazar and S. Britt
    normalnorman
    What is “normal?” That’s the question an eager young scientist, narrating her very first book, hopes to answer. Unfortunately, her exceedingly “normal” subject—an orangutan named Norman—turns out to be exceptionally strange. He speaks English, sleeps in a bed, loves his stuffed toy, goes bananas over pizza, and even deep-sea dives! Oh, no: what’s a “normal” scientist to do?

    What Does It Mean To Be an Entrepreneur? by Rana DiOrio & Emma D. Dryden
    whatdoesitmeantobeanentrepreneur
    When Rae witnesses an ice cream-and-doggie mishap, she’s inspired to create a big-scale solution to help get dogs clean. Rae draws on her determination, resilience, and courage until she―and everyone else in her community―learns just what it means to be an entrepreneur.

    When the Beat Was Born: DJ Kool Herc and the Creation of Hip Hop by Laban Carrick Hill
    whenthebeatwasborn
    Before there was hip hop, there was DJ Kool Herc.

    On a hot day at the end of summer in 1973 Cindy Campbell threw a back-to-school party at a park in the South Bronx. Her brother, Clive Campbell, spun the records. He had a new way of playing the music to make the breaks―the musical interludes between verses―longer for dancing. He called himself DJ Kool Herc and this is When the Beat Was Born. From his childhood in Jamaica to his youth in the Bronx, Laban Carrick Hill’s book tells how Kool Herc came to be a DJ, how kids in gangs stopped fighting in order to breakdance, and how the music he invented went on to define a culture and transform the world.

    Jazz Day: The Making of a Famous Photograph by Roxane Orgill
    jazzday
    When Esquire magazine planned an issue to salute the American jazz scene in 1958, graphic designer Art Kane pitched a crazy idea: how about gathering a group of beloved jazz musicians and photographing them? He didn’t own a good camera, didn’t know if any musicians would show up, and insisted on setting up the shoot in front of a Harlem brownstone. Could he pull it off? In a captivating collection of poems, Roxane Orgill steps into the frame of Harlem 1958, bringing to life the musicians’ mischief and quirks, their memorable style, and the vivacious atmosphere of a Harlem block full of kids on a hot summer’s day.

    Tito Puente, Mambo King/Tito Puente, Rey del Mambo by Monica Brown
    titopuente
    In this vibrant bilingual picture book biography of musician Tito Puente, readers will dance along to the beat of this mambo king’s life. Tito Puente loved banging pots and pans as a child, but what he really dreamed of was having his own band one day. From Spanish Harlem to the Grammy Awards—and all the beats in between—this is the true life story of a boy whose passion for music turned him into the “King of Mambo.”

    My Best Friend Likes Boys More than Me by Sulma Arzu-Brown
    mybestfriendlikesboysmorethanme
    Meet Aisha and Helen. They are best friends. They are both intelligent and very attractive. However, Helen just got bit by the “boy crazy” bug. Find out how Aisha keeps Helen focused on her grades in school. The book is a great way for parents to start that unavoidable conversation about “boys.” You will love how the book prioritizes education in a fun, cool and relatable manner.

    The Quickest Kid in Clarksville by Pat Zietlow Miller
    thequickestkidinclarksville
    It’s the day before the big parade. Alta can only think about one thing: Wilma Rudolph, three-time Olympic gold medalist. She’ll be riding on a float tomorrow. See, Alta is the quickest kid in Clarksville, Tennessee, just like Wilma once was. It doesn’t matter that Alta’s shoes have holes because Wilma came from hard times, too. But what happens when a new girl with shiny new shoes comes along and challenges Alta to a race? Will she still be the quickest kid? The Quickest Kid in Clarksville is a timeless story of dreams, determination, and the power of friendship.

    Daniel Finds a Poem by Micha Archer
    danielfindsapoem
    What is poetry? Is it glistening morning dew? Spider thinks so. Is it crisp leaves crunching? That’s what Squirrel says. Could it be a cool pond, sun-warmed sand, or moonlight on the grass? Mmaybe poetry isall of these things, as it is something special for everyone—you just have to take the time to really look and listen.

    A Morning with Grandpa by Sylvia Liu
    amorningwithgrandpa
    Mei Mei s grandpa is practicing tai chi in the garden, and Mei Mei is eager to join in. As Gong Gong tries to teach her the slow, graceful movements, Mei Mei enthusiastically does them with her own flair. Then Mei Mei takes a turn, trying to teach Gong Gong the yoga she learned in school. Will Gong Gong be able to master the stretchy, bendy poses?This book celebrates, with lively spirit and humor, the special bond between grandparent and grandchild and the joy of learning new things together. Readers of all ages will want to try out some tai chi and yoga too!

    Have You Seen Elephant? by David Barrow
    haveyouseenelephant
    Elephant wants to play hide and seek. See if you can help the others find him?he’s very good! Have You Seen Elephant? is an assured and exciting debut from a top emerging talent.

    Malaika’s Costume by Nadia L. Hohn and Irene Luxbacher
    malaikascostume
    It’s Carnival time. The first Carnival since Malaika’s mother moved away to find a good job and provide for Malaika and her grandmother. Her mother promised she would send money for a costume, but when the money doesn’t arrive, will Malaika still be able to dance in the parade?

    Dario and the Whale by by Cheryl Lawton Malone and Bistra Masseva
    darioandthewhale
    When Dario and his mother move to Cape Cod from Brazil, Dario has a hard time making friends since he doesn’t speak English well. But one day Dario meets someone else who has just arrived in New England and he doesn’t speak any English at all…because he’s a right whale! Day after day Dario and the whale meet at the beach. But what will happen when it’s time for the whale to migrate?

    Freedom in Congo Square by Carole Boston Weatherford
    freedominthecongosquare
    This poetic, nonfiction story about a little-known piece of African-American history captures a human’s capacity to find hope and joy in difficult circumstances and demonstrates how New Orleans’ Congo Square was truly freedom’s heart.

    Twenty Yawns by Jane Smiley and Lauren Castillo
    twentyyawns
    Featuring lyrical text and beautiful illustrations, this bedtime tale from Pulitzer Prize winner Jane Smiley and Caldecott Honor recipient Lauren Castillo evokes the splashy fun of the beach and the quietude of a moonlit night, with twenty yawns sprinkled in for children to discover and count.

    As her mom reads a bedtime story, Lucy drifts off. But later, she awakens in a dark, still room, and everything looks mysterious. How will she ever get back to sleep?

    D Is for Dress Up: The ABC’s of What We Wear by Maria Carluccio
    disfordressup

    Maria Carluccio’s playful fashion alphabet celebrates the fun of getting dressed—and getting dressed up! From a sophisticated bow tie to a warm wool hat, this diverse celebration of what we wear from A to Z invites kids to get creative and embrace their own unique style.

    Tiny Stitches: The Life of Medical Pioneer Vivien Thomas by Gwendolyn Hooks
    tinystitches
    Vivien Thomas’s greatest dream was to attend college to study medicine. But after the stock market crashed in 1929, Vivien lost all his savings. Then he heard about a job opening at the Vanderbilt University medical school under the supervision of Dr. Alfred Blalock. Vivien knew that the all-white school would never admit him as a student, but he hoped working there meant he was getting closer to his dream.

    As Dr. Blalock s research assistant, Vivien learned surgical techniques. In 1943, Vivien was asked to help Dr. Helen Taussig find a cure for children with a specific heart defect. After months of experimenting, Vivien developed a procedure that was used for the first successful open-heart surgery on a child. Afterward, Dr. Blalock and Dr. Taussig announced their innovative new surgical technique, the Blalock-Taussig shunt. Vivien s name did not appear in the report.

    Overcoming racism and resistance from his colleagues, Vivien ushered in a new era of medicine children s heart surgery. Tiny Stitches is the compelling story of this incredible pioneer in medicine.

    City Shapes by Diana Murray
    cityshapes
    From shimmering skyscrapers to fluttering kites to twinkling stars high in the sky, everyday scenes become extraordinary as a young girl walks through her neighborhood noticing exciting new shapes at every turn. Far more than a simple concept book, City Shapes is an explosion of life.

    A Unicorn Named Sparkle by Amy Young
    aunicornnamedsparkle
    When Lucy sees an ad in the newspaper for a unicorn, she sends in her twenty-five cents and waits four to six long weeks for her very own unicorn to arrive. She imagines the flowers that she’ll braid into his beautiful pink mane, and she even picks the perfect name for him: Sparkle. But when Sparkle arrives, his ears are too long, his horn is too short, he smells funny–and oh, he has fleas. Lucy isn’t pleased, but in the end she warms up to Sparkle and realizes that even though he wasn’t exactly the unicorn she wanted, he might be just the one she needs.

    The Summer Nick Taught His Cats to Read by Curtis Manley
    thesummernicktaughthiscatstoread
    Nick loves to read books—and he loves to play with his cats, Verne and Stevenson. So naturally Nick decides it’s a great idea to teach his cats to read. But Verne and Stevenson don’t appreciate when Nick wakes them up with a flashcard that says NAP. Nick finally piques Verne’s interest with words like MOUSE and FISH. But not Stevenson’s. While Nick and Verne go to the library, Stevenson hides under the porch. Will Nick ever find a way to share his love of reading with his feline friends?

    Goodbye Summer, Hello Autumn by Kenard Pak
    goodbyesummerhelloautumn
    As trees sway in the cool breeze, blue jays head south, and leaves change their colors, everyone knows–autumn is on its way!

    Join a young girl as she takes a walk through forest and town, greeting all the signs of the coming season. In a series of conversations with every flower and creature and gust of wind, she says good-bye to summer and welcomes autumn.  Read my review here.

    I Love Your Brown by Daneya L Jacobs
    iloveyourbrown
    In this love letter from mothers to brown daughters everywhere, little girls are reminded to love the skin they’re in. Girls come in all different colors, shapes, and sizes. Some have long hair, some have short, and others have straight hair or curly. Still, despite the differences, there is something all little brown girls have in common …they have the power to be anything!

    Real Sisters Pretend by Megan Dowd Lambert
    realsisterspretend
    This warm, engaging story, which unfolds entirely through the conversation of two adopted sisters, was inspired by the author’s own daughters, whom she overheard talking about how adoption made them “real sisters” even though they have different birth parents and do not look alike.

    Maggie and Michael Get Dressed by Denise Fleming
    maggieandmichaelgetdressed
    It’s time for Michael to get dressed! Maggie will help.
    Michael knows where each piece of colorful clothing should go. Yellow socks on feet, brown hat on head. But who will end up wearing the blue pants?

    Miles & Mia A to Z by Michaela Alexander
    milesandmiaatoz
    Miles & Mia A to Z is an educational, picture book that teaches children different letters of the alphabet in a fun way. Featuring rhyming text and colorful original illustrations.

    Thunder Boy Jr. by Sherman Alexie and Yuyi Morales
    thunderboyjr
    Thunder Boy Jr. is named after his dad, but he wants a name that’s all his own. Just because people call his dad Big Thunder doesn’t mean he wants to be Little Thunder. He wants a name that celebrates something cool he’s done, like Touch the Clouds, Not Afraid of Ten Thousand Teeth, or Full of Wonder.  But just when Thunder Boy Jr. thinks all hope is lost, he and his dad pick the perfect name…a name that is sure to light up the sky.

    One Day in the Eucalyptus, Eucalyptus Tree by Daniel Bernstrom
    onedayintheeucalyptustree
    With its striking cast of forest creatures, One Day in the Eucalyptus, Eucalyptus Tree is Daniel Bernstrom’s amusing and original tale of a plucky little boy who is gobbled up by a giant snake.

    Over the Ocean by Taro Gomi
    overtheocean
    Renowned children’s book creator Taro Gomi has created another masterpiece. In this beautiful testament to wondering, a young girl gazes out to where the water meets the sky and wonders what lies beyond the waves. Boats filled with toys? Skyscrapers filled with people? Houses filled with families? Or, maybe, over the ocean stands someone not so different from the girl herself, returning her gaze. In this celebration of imagination’s power, young readers will find joy in the mystery of the faraway, the unknown, and the just-beyond.

    The Stone Thrower by Jael Ealey Richardson
    thestonethrower
    African-American football player Chuck Ealey grew up in a segregated neighborhood of Portsmouth, Ohio. Against all odds, he became an incredible quarterback. But despite his unbeaten record in high school and university, he would never play professional football in the United States.

    Joseph’s Big Ride by Terry Farish and Ken Daley
    josephsbigride
    A refugee boy’s determination to ride a bicycle leads to an unexpected friendship.  Joseph wants only one thing: to ride a bike. In the refugee camp where he lives, Joseph helps one of the older boys fix his bike, but he’s too small to ride it.  Joseph and his mother travel to America, where everything is strange and new. One day, he spots a red bike that seems just right for him! It belongs to a girl with a whoosh of curly hair.

    We March by Shane W. Evans
    wemarch
    On August 28, 1963, a remarkable event took place–more than 250,000 people gathered in our nation’s capital to participate in the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom. The march began at the Washington Monument and ended with a rally at the Lincoln Memorial, where Martin Luther King Jr. delivered his historic “I Have a Dream” speech, advocating racial harmony.

    The Airport Book by Lisa Brown
    theairportbook
    In a book that is as intriguing as it is useful and entertaining, we follow a family on its way through the complexities of a modern-day airport. From checking bags and watching them disappear on the mysterious conveyor belt, to security clearance and a seemingly endless wait at the gate to finally being airborne.

    But wait! There’s more! The youngest family member’s sock monkey has gone missing. Follow it at the bottom of the page as it makes a journey as memorable as that of the humans above.

    Henry Wants More! by Linda Ashman

    henrywantsmore
    More games, more races, more tickles, more books—little Henry can’t get enough! When a toddler is armed with that useful word and the world is full of brand-new things, his family just doesn’t stand a chance. Follow Henry on his exhausting and all-too-familiar day filled with play . . . and a lot of love!

    More-igami by Dori Kleber
    moreigami
    Joey loves things that fold: maps, beds, accordions, you name it. When a visiting mother of a classmate turns a plain piece of paper into a beautiful origami crane, his eyes pop. Maybe he can learn origami, too. It’s going to take practice — on his homework, the newspaper, the thirty-eight dollars in his mother’s purse . . . Enough! No more folding! But how can Joey become an origami master if he’s not allowed to practice? Is there anywhere that he can hone the skill that makes him happy — and maybe even make a new friend while he’s at it?

    Fish for Jimmy: Inspired by One Family’s Experience in a Japanese American Internment Camp by Katie Yamasaki
    fishforjimmy
    For two boys in a Japanese-American family, everything changed when Japan bombed Pearl Harbor and the United States went to war. With the family forced to leave their home and go to an internment camp, Jimmy loses his appetite. Older brother Taro takes matters into his own hands and, night after night, sneaks out of the camp, and catches fresh fish for Jimmy to help make him strong again.

    Might-E by Jordan J. Scavone
    might-e
    What do you do when you start preschool? You play! You learn! But sit in the corner and refuse to speak to anyone?… Unfortunately if youre as shy and nervous as Emma, this is what you do. Or, you can stand up, put your mask on, and firmly place your hands on your hips and stand proud. Stand and be Might-E!

    Brick by Brick: A Snippet of the Life of Booker T. Washington by Louie T McClain II
    brickbybrick
    A children’s book snippet about the life, accomplishments, and achievements of the great Booker T. Washington – an inspirational African-American innovator, leader, scholar, and philanthropist.

    A Ride on Mother’s Back: A Day of Baby Carrying Around the World by Emery Bernhard
    arideonmothersback
    Through a steamy rain forest in Brazil, along a river in Papua New Guinea, across a frozen inlet in the arctic, this book takes young children on a far-reaching journey to discover how babies worldwide are carried and what they see from their unique vantage points. “This is an exquisite book, for the detailed, folk-art style gouache illustrations, its overall design, and the wealth of information it includes.”–Kirkus Reviews

    Come On, Rain! by Karen Hesse
    comeonrain
    Tess pleads to the sky as listless vines and parched plants droop in the endless heat. Then the clouds roll in, and the rain pours. And Tess, her friends, and their Mamas join in a rain dance to celebrate the shower that renews both body and spirit. Through exquisite language and acute observation, Karen Hesse evokes this refreshing experience, and Jon J Muth’s lyrical artwork perfectly reflects the spirit of the text.

    Emmanuel’s Dream: The True Story of Emmanuel Ofosu Yeboah by Laurie Ann Thompson
    emmanuelsdream
    Born in Ghana, West Africa, with one deformed leg, he was dismissed by most people—but not by his mother, who taught him to reach for his dreams. As a boy, Emmanuel hopped to school more than two miles each way, learned to play soccer, left home at age thirteen to provide for his family, and, eventually, became a cyclist. He rode an astonishing four hundred miles across Ghana in 2001, spreading his powerful message: disability is not inability. Today, Emmanuel continues to work on behalf of the disabled.

    Abigail’s Dream Adventures: My Friends and Me (Kindle edition) by Karen E. Franks
    abigailsdreamadventures
    It’s time for bed- and for sleepyheads all over the world to dream! Each night, Abby’s dreams take her to faraway places to visit her friends in never seen places and countries near and far.  Places with fairies, unicorns and pink cherries, shimmering mermaids and seahorses that twirl, wild leafy jungles, frog ponds and Bayan trees with mossy curls—fun adventures all shared with her best friend, Pearl.  Abby climbed into bed and snuggled down into her soft, warm blankets, her mind drifting off to those exotic places.

    Drum Dream Girl: How One Girl’s Courage Changed Music by Margarita Engle
    drumdreamgirl
    Long ago on an island filled with music, no one questioned that rule—until the drum dream girl. In her city of drumbeats, she dreamed of pounding tall congas and tapping small bongós. She had to keep quiet. She had to practice in secret. But when at last her dream-bright music was heard, everyone sang and danced and decided that both girls and boys should be free to drum and dream.  Inspired by the childhood of Millo Castro Zaldarriaga, a Chinese-African-Cuban girl who broke Cuba’s traditional taboo against female drummers, Drum Dream Girl tells an inspiring true story for dreamers everywhere.  Read my review here.

    The Hula-Hoopin’ Queen by Thelma Lynne Godin

    thehulahoopingqueen
    A spunky girl has a hula-hooping competition with her friends in Harlem, and soon everyone in the neighborhood—young and old alike—joins in on the fun.

    The Cazuela That the Farm Maiden Stirred by Samantha R. Vamos
    thecazuelathatthefarmmaidenstirred
    This is the story of how the farm maiden and all the farm animals worked together to make the rice pudding that they serve at the fiesta. With the familiarity of “The House That Jack Built,” this story bubbles and builds just like the ingredients of the arroz con leche that everyone enjoys. Cleverly incorporating Spanish words, adding a new one in place of the English word from the previous page, this book makes learning the language easy and fun.

    Abuela by Arthur Dorros
    abuela
    While riding on a bus with her grandmother, a little girl imagines that they are carried up into the sky and fly over the sights of New York City.

    Mango, Abeula and Me by Meg Medina
    mangoabuelaandme
    Mia’s abuela has left her sunny house with parrots and palm trees to live with Mia and her parents in the city. The night she arrives, Mia tries to share her favorite book with Abuela before they go to sleep and discovers that Abuela can’t read the words inside. So while they cook, Mia helps Abuela learn English (“Dough. Masa“), and Mia learns some Spanish too, but it’s still hard for Abuela to learn the words she needs to tell Mia all her stories. Then Mia sees a parrot in the pet-shop window and has theperfectoidea for how to help them all communicate a little better.

    Marisol McDonald Doesn’t Match by Monica Brown
    marisolmacdonald
    Marisol McDonald has flaming red hair and nut-brown skin. Polka dots and stripes are her favorite combination. She prefers peanut butter and jelly burritos in her lunch box. And don t even think of asking her to choose one or the other activity at recess—she ll just be a soccer playing pirate princess, thank you very much. To Marisol McDonald, these seemingly mismatched things make perfect sense together.

    Maria Had a Little Llama by Angela Dominguez
    mariahadalittlellama

    Everyone knows about Mary and her little lamb. But do you know Maria?

    With gorgeous, Peruvian-inspired illustrations and English and Spanish retellings, Angela Dominguez gives a fresh new twist to the classic rhyme. Maria and her mischievous little llama will steal your heart.

    Bebe Goes Shopping by Susan Middleton Elya
    bebegoesshopping
    A quick trip to the supermercado? Not with Bebe in the shopping cart. Just as Mama is ready to throw up her manos, she gives sweet Bebe a box of animal cookies. A dulce, at last! Then they’re off to the checkout line, smiling all the way.

    Ruby’s Wish by Shirin Yim Bridges
    rubyswish
    Ruby is unlike most little girls in old China. Instead of aspiring to get married, Ruby is determined to attend university when she grows up, just like the boys in her family. Based upon the inspirational story of the author’s grandmother and accompanied by richly detailed illustrations, Ruby’s Wish is an engaging portrait of a young girl who’s full of ambition and the family who rewards her hard work and courage.

    Apple Pie Fourth of July by Janet S. Wong
    applepiefourthofjuly
    Shocked that her parents are cooking Chinese food to sell in the family store on an all-American holiday, a feisty Chinese American girl tries to tell her mother and father how things really are. But as the parade passes by and fireworks light the sky, she learns a surprising lesson.

    Betsey Biggalow is Here! by Malorie Blackman
    betseybiggalow
    Go on an adventure with little Betsey Biggalow!

    Dancing in the Wings by Debbie Allen
    dancinginthewings
    Sassy is a long-legged girl who always has something to say. She wants to be a ballerina more than anything, but she worries that her too-large feet, too-long legs, and even her big mouth will keep her from her dream. When a famous director comes to visit her class, Sassy does her best to get his attention with her high jumps and bright leotard. Her first attempts are definitely not appreciated, but with Sassy’s persistence, she just might be able to win him over.

    Marvelous Me: Inside and Out by Lisa Bullard
    marvelousme
    Alex is a marvelous little boy who is just like other people in some ways, such as getting angry sometimes, but also unique because of his special laugh, his grizzly hugs, and his own interesting thoughts. Includes activities.

    Ron’s Big Mission by Rose Blue
    ronsbigmission
    Nine-year-old Ron loves going to the Lake City Public Library to look through all the books on airplanes and flight. Today, Ron is ready to take out books by himself. But in the segregated world of South Carolina in the 1950s, Ron?s obtaining his own library card is not just a small rite of passage?it is a young man?s fi rst courageous mission. Here is an inspiring story, based on Ron McNair?s life, of how a little boy, future scientist, and Challenger astronaut desegregated his library through peaceful resistance.

    We Had a Picnic This Sunday Past by Jacqueline Woodson
    wehadapicnicthispastsunday
    A young girl describes her various relatives and the foods they bring to the annual family picnic.

    This is the Rope by Jacqueline Woodson
    thisistherope
    The story of one family’s journey north during the Great Migration starts with a little girl in South Carolina who finds a rope under a tree one summer. She has no idea the rope will become part of her family’s history. But for three generations, that rope is passed down, used for everything from jump rope games to tying suitcases onto a car for the big move north to New York City, and even for a family reunion where that first little girl is now a grandmother.

    For the Right to Learn: Malala Yousafzai’s Story by Rebecca Langston-George and Janna Bock
    fortherighttolearn
    She grew up in a world where women were supposed to be quiet. But Malala Yousafzai refused to be silent. She defied the Taliban’s rules, spoke out for education for every girl, and was almost killed for her beliefs. This powerful true story of how one brave girl named Malala changed the world proves that one person really can make a difference.

    Bee-Bim Bop! by Linda Sue Park
    beebimbop
    My kids and I adore this book!  Bee-bim bop (“mix-mix rice”) is a traditional Korean dish. In bouncy rhyming text, a hungry child tells of helping her mother make bee-bim bop: shopping, preparing ingredients, setting the table, and sitting down to enjoy a favorite meal. The enthusiasm of the narrartor is conveyed in the whimsical illustrations, which bring details from the artist’s childhood in Korea to his depiction of a modern Korean-American family. The book includes Linda Sue’s own bee-bim bop recipe!

    Big Hair, Don’t Care by Crystal Swain-Bates
    bighairdontcare
    Lola has really really REALLY big hair, much bigger than the other kids at her school, but that doesn’t stop her from telling anyone who will listen just how much she LOVES her hair! It´s not always easy being a kid. Designed to boost self-esteem and build confidence, this beautifully illustrated picture book is aimed at boys and girls who may need a reminder from time to time that it’s okay to look different from the other kids at their school. “Big Hair, Don’t Care” is available in English, French, and German.

    Lorraine Gets Her Crown by Erica V. Walton
    lorrainegetshercrown
    Lorraine’s 8th birthday is just two days away. She can hardly wait because she knows her parents will be giving her a special gift. When Lorraine finally gets her gift, she’s disappointed to find out it’s a gold tiara with pink stones. It isn’t until her mother explains the reason why she gave her a crown does she understand and appreciate it more. A story based on an affirmation taught to me by grandmother. The message about positivity and teaching kids how special and important they are. Every little girl deserves to be treated like a princess until she grows into a queen.

    Heart Picked: Elizabeth’s Adoption Tale by Sara Crutcher
    heartpicked
    Six-year-old Elizabeth is excited to have her dad visit school today but worries some of her classmates might notice they don’t look alike. How will Elizabeth respond when her friend says, That’s your dad? You don’t look like him.

    In a Village by the Sea by Muon Van
    inavillagebythesea
    Written in a spare, lyrical style using fresh, evocative imagery, In a Village by the Sea tells the story of longing for the comforts of home. A perfect book for teaching about diverse cultures and lifestyles through rich pictures and words, moving from the wide world to the snugness of home and back out again.

    Cora Cooks Pancit by Dorina K. Lazo Gilmore
    coracookspancit
    Cora loves being in the kitchen, but she always gets stuck doing the kid jobs like licking the spoon. One day, however, when her older sisters and brother head out, Cora finally gets the chance to be Mama’s assistant chef. And of all the delicious Filipino dishes that dance through Cora’s head, she and Mama decide to make pancit, her favorite noodle dish.

    The Name Jar by Yangsook Choi
    thenamejar
    Being the new kid in school is hard enough, but what about when nobody can pronounce your name? Having just moved from Korea, Unhei is anxious that American kids will like her. So instead of introducing herself on the first day of school, she tells the class that she will choose a name by the following week.

    My Name is Yoon by Helen Recorvits
    mynameisyoon
    Yoon’s name means “shining wisdom,” and when she writes it in Korean, it looks happy, like dancing figures. But her father tells her that she must learn to write it in English. In English, all the lines and circles stand alone, which is just how Yoon feels in the United States. Yoon isn’t sure that she wants to be YOON. At her new school, she tries out different names―maybe CAT or BIRD. Maybe CUPCAKE!

    The Sandwich Swap by Queen Raina
    thesandwichswap
    Lily and Salma are best friends. They like doing all the same things, and they always eat lunch together. Lily eats peanut butter and Salma eats hummus-but what’s that between friends? It turns out, a lot. Before they know it, a food fight breaks out. Can Lily and Salma put aside their differences? Or will a sandwich come between them?

    A Beach Tail by Karen Williams
    abeachtail
    This wonderful read-aloud book brings to life a summer experience that is all too familiar for young children. Karen Williams’s rhythmic text has been paired with Floyd Cooper’s brilliant illustrations, revealing the trip down the beach entirely from a child’s point of view. A gentle father-son bond is shown in both text and art, reassuring young readers even as they share in Greg’s moment of worry at finding himself lost and alone.

    Max and the Tag-Along Moon by Floyd Cooper
    maxandthetagalongmoon
    Max loves his grandpa. When they must say good-bye after a visit, Grandpa promises Max that the moon at Grandpa’s house is the same moon that will follow him all the way home. On that swervy-curvy car ride back to his house, Max watches as the moon tags along. But when the sky darkens and the moon disappears behind clouds, he worries that it didn’t follow him home after all. Where did the moon go—and what about Grandpa’s promise?

    Hush! A Thai Lullaby by Minfong Ho
    hushathailullaby
    This book contains a lullaby which asks animals such as a lizard, monkey, and water buffalo to be quiet and not disturb the sleeping baby. 1997 Caldecott Honor Book

    Peek!: A Thai Hide-and-Seek by Minfong Ho
    peekathaihideandseek
    Baby knows that Jut-Ay means morning has come, and it’s time to play. But where is Baby hiding? Eechy-eechy-egg! crows the red-tailed rooster. Is Baby near? Hru-hruu! Hru-hruu! whines the puppy dog. Is Baby crouching there? Jiak-jiak! Jiak-jiak! screeches a monkey in the banyan tree. Is Baby swinging there? Hornbill and snake, elephant and tiger — who can finally lead Papa to Baby’s hiding place?

    The Girl Who Wore Too Much (A Folktale from Thailand) by Margaret MacDonald
    thegirlwhoworetoomuch
    Like most young girls, Aree likes fine clothing and jewelry. But she is just a wee bit spoiled and has more dresses and accessories than she needs. So when word comes of a dance to be held in the next village, Aree can’t make up her mind: Now I can show off my fine clothes! But which color shall I wear? The pink, the fuchsia, the scarlet? The sky blue or aquamarine? Maybe violet? Deep purple? Magenta? Maybe chartreuse? Or emerald green?

    The Book Itch: Freedom, Truth, and Harlem’s Greatest Bookstore by Vaunda Micheaux Nelson
    thebookitch
    And as far as Lewis Michaux Jr. could tell, his father’s bookstore was one of a kind. People from all over came to visit the store, even famous people Muhammad Ali and Malcolm X, to name a few. In his father’s bookstore people bought and read books, and they also learned from each other. People swapped and traded ideas and talked about how things could change. They came together here all because of his father’s book itch.

    Lemonade in Winter: A Book About Two Kids Counting Money by Emily Jenkins
    lemonadeinwinter
    A lemonade stand in winter? Yes, that’s exactly what Pauline and John-John intend to have, selling lemonade and limeade–and also lemon-limeade. With a catchy refrain (Lemon lemon LIME, Lemon LIMEADE! Lemon lemon LIME, Lemon LEMONADE!), plus simple math concepts throughout, here is a read-aloud that’s great for storytime and classroom use, and is sure to be a hit among the legions of Jenkins and Karas fans.

    Summer Days and Nights by Wong Herbert Yee
    summerdaysandnights
    On a hot summer day, a little girl finds ways to entertain herself and stay cool. She catches a butterfly, sips lemonade, jumps in a pool, and goes on a picnic. At night, she sees an owl in a tree and a frog in a pond, and hears leaves rustling. Before long, she’s fast asleep, dreaming about more summer days and summer nights.

    Two Friends: Susan B. Anthony and Fredrick Douglass by Dean Robbins
    twofriends

    Two friends, Susan B. Anthony and Frederick Douglass, get together for tea and conversation. They recount their similar stories fighting to win rights for women and African Americans. The premise of this particular exchange between the two is based on a statue in their hometown of Rochester, New York, which shows the two friends having tea.

    Don’t Let Auntie Mabel Bless the Table by Vanessa Newton
    dontletauntiemabelblessthetable

    Do you have a relative who seems to pray forever when they’re blessing the food? This hilarious book is about a group of family and friends gathering together for Sunday dinner at Auntie Mabel’s house. Before they begin to eat, Auntie Mabel has to bless the table. The only problem is she wants to bless everything from the yams, to the tables and chairs, to the President of the United States! Meanwhile, the food is getting cold and everyone just wants to eat. Will dinner ever be served? I’m sure most families have someone like Auntie Mabel who loves to bless the table, but doesn’t know when to stop.

    Sewing Stories: Harriet Powers’ Journey from Slave to Artist
    sewingstories

    Harriet Powers learned to sew and quilt as a young slave girl on a Georgia plantation. She lived through the Civil War and Reconstruction, and eventually owned a cotton farm with her family, all the while relying on her skills with the needle to clothe and feed her children.

    Later she began making pictorial quilts, using each square to illustrate Bible stories and local legends. She exhibited her quilts at local cotton fairs, and though she never traveled outside of Georgia, her quilts are now priceless examples of African American folk art.

    Leo Can Swim by Anna McQuinn
    leocanswim
    Leo and Daddy go to swim class where they kick, bounce, and dive like little fish. Joining other babies and their caretakers in the pool is a guarantee for unforgettable fun.  Read my book review here.

    Whoosh!: Lonnie Johnson’s Super Soaking Stream of Inventions by Chris Barton
    whooshlonniejohnson
    You know the Super Soaker. It’s one of top twenty toys of all time. And it was invented entirely by accident. Trying to create a new cooling system for refrigerators and air conditioners, impressive inventor Lonnie Johnson instead created the mechanics for the iconic toy.

    A love for rockets, robots, inventions, and a mind for creativity began early in Lonnie Johnson’s life. Growing up in a house full of brothers and sisters, persistence and a passion for problem solving became the cornerstone for a career as an engineer and his work with NASA. But it is his invention of the Super Soaker water gun that has made his most memorable splash with kids and adults.  Read my review here.

    Before There Was Mozart by Lesa Cline-Ransome
    beforetherewasmozart

    Joseph Boulogne, Chevalier de Saint-George was born on Christmas Day in 1739 on the tiny island of Guadeloupe in the West Indies. He was the son of a white plantation owner and a black slave. On the day of his birth the midwife predicted one day Joseph would meet the king and queen of France. Joseph loved music especially his violin. When his family moved to Paris, Joseph decided to devote himself to music. He soon became known as the most talented violin player and musician in France. During one of his performances, young Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart was in the audience. This was before Mozart was well-known. In the end, Joseph does indeed perform for the king and queen of France and is invited back on several occasions. In 2001, a street Rue du Chevalier de Saint-George was named in his honor. An awesome historical non-fiction book for children and music lovers.

    Poems for the Smart, Spunky, and Sensational Black Girl

    by Rachel Garlinghouse, illustrated by Sharee Miller 
    poemsforthesmartspunky

    Today’s girl has a lot going on! From beads, bullies, and birthdays, to school, sunglasses, and siblings, Poems for the Smart, Spunky, and Sensational Black Girl resonates and inspires! From Rachel Garlinghouse (author and mom) and Sharee Miller (owner of Coily and Cute) comes this one-of-a-kind poetry collection that will certainly bring a smile to your little lady’s face and heart.

    B is for Breakdancing: An ABC Book of Ways to Shake What Your Momma Gave You by Dr. Tamara Pizzoli

    bisforbreakdancing

    Not only is dancing all the fun, it’s universal! Peruse the pages of this book to brush up on your ABCs and see how people all around the world get down and groove to the beat. When you’re finished reading, put on your favorite song and try out a few moves of your own and some you’ve learned from the book!

    I Know I Can!
    by Veronica N. Chapman
    iknowican
    While giving a speech at her high school graduation, Faith, the class valedictorian, shares her childhood dreams, and the lessons that served as the foundation for her courage.

    I Had a Favorite Dress
    by Boni Ashburn
    ihadafavoritedress

    As the year passes, the narrator’s favorite dress goes through a series of creative changes, from dress to shirt to tank top to scarf and so on, until all that’s left of it is a good memory. Assisted by her patient and crafty mama, the narrator finds that when disaster strikes her favorite things, she doesn’t need to make mountains out of molehills—she “makes molehills out of mountains” instead! Structured around the days of the week, the story is also illustrated to show the passing of the seasons, a perfect complement to the themes of growing older and keeping hold (and letting go) of special mementos.

    Emi’s Coily Curly Cotton Candy Hair by Tina Olajide

    emi

    This is a great book for little African-American/bi-racial girls with natural hair.  My daughter adores this book and so do I.  We purchased this book and added it to our book collection.  Emi is a creative 7-year-old girl with a BIG imagination. In this story Emi shares a positive message about her Curly, Coily, Cotton Candy Hair and what she likes most about it. The vibrant illustrations and fun story teach basic natural hair care techniques and tips in a playful and memorable way.

    Princess Hair by Sharee Miller

    princess

    How cute is the cover of this book?  If you have a little daughter, granddaughter, niece, cousin or friend read this book to them.  Better yet, why not purchase it and add it to their own personal library.  I love reading this to my daughter and she loves this book too.

    One Love by Cedella Marley
    one
    Adapted from one of Bob Marley’s most beloved songs, One Love brings the joyful spirit and unforgettable lyrics of his music to life for a new generation. Readers will delight in dancing to the beat and feeling the positive groove of change when one girl enlists her community to help transform her neighborhood for the better.

    My Brother Charlie by Holly Robinson Peete
    charlie

    I had no idea what the book was about when I picked it up from the library.  It’s a heartwarming story about a boy who happens to be autistic, based on actress Holly Robinson Peete’s son, who has autism.

    Princess Cupcake Jones and the Missing Tutu by Ylleya Fields
    cupcake

    Princess Cupcake Jones has lost her beloved tutu.  In her quest to find it, Cupcake learns the importance of tidying up and putting things in their proper place.  As an added bonus in each book of the series, children will also have fun finding the hidden word in each inviting illustration. Helpful hints are a part of the book’s website, which also features downloadable color pages and other activities.

    28 Days: Moments in Black History That Changed the World by Charles R. Smith

    days
    What a fantastic book!  Each day features a different influential figure in African-American history, from Crispus Attucks, the first man shot in the Boston Massacre, sparking the Revolutionary War, to Madame C. J. Walker, who after years of adversity became the wealthiest black woman in the country, as well as one of the wealthiest black Americans, to Barack Obama, the country’s first African-American president.

    Lola Plants a Garden by Anna McQuinn
    garden

    My daughter Sparkles has come to be very fond of the Lola character.  This is a cute story about Lola planting her own flower garden.  Love the illustrations in this book!

    Juneteenth for Mazie by Floyd Cooper
    juneteenth

    Mazie is ready to celebrate liberty. She is ready to celebrate freedom. She is ready to celebrate a great day in American history ― the day her ancestors were no longer slaves. Mazie remembers the struggles and the triumph, as she gets ready to celebrate Juneteenth.

    Lola at the Library
    lola

    This is a very cute book that the kids like to read over and over again.  This is the first book in the Lola series we’ve read and I look forward to reading more and purchasing them to add to our collection.  Lola has a big smile on her face. Why? Because it’s Tuesday–and on Tuesdays, Lola and her mommy go to the library.

    I Am Michelle Obama the First Lady by Margina Graham Parker
    michelle

    This historical children’s book is definitely a must-have and a must-read for both children and parents.  This book was given to me as a gift from my baby shower when I was pregnant with my daughter.  The illustrations throughout are absolutely beautiful – so vibrant and rich.   It’s so inspiring to read and learn about all the accomplishments the First Lady has achieved.  What a great book to illustrate to children that they can do anything – the sky is truly the limit!

    Barack by Jonah Winter
    barackjonahwinter
    Jonah Winter and AG Ford re-create the extraordinary story behind the rise of America’s first African-American president, Barack Obama, in this stunning picture book.

    I Like Myself by Karen Beaumont
    myself
    High on energy and imagination, this ode to self-esteem encourages kids to appreciate everything about themselves–inside and out. Messy hair? Beaver breath? So what! Here’s a little girl who knows what really matters.  At once silly and serious, Karen Beaumont’s joyous rhyming text and David Catrow’s wild illustrations unite in a book that is sassy, soulful–and straight from the heart.

    Night Time Routine by Sharee Miller

    nighthair

    I just adore books for little girls about natural hair!  This is another one to add to your collection if you have a daughter with natural hair.  Miss Jackie just wants to go to sleep, but not before going through her night time hair routine.  What a cute story to read to reinforce the importance of taking care of your hair and following a consistent regimen.

    Happy Hair by Mechal Renee Roe

    hair
    Happy Hair is a call and response picture book that promotes positive self-esteem and hair love to girls of all ages! Happy Hair covers different shades and hair types all while being fun and fashionable! This book is the foundation to building Happy Hair.

    Just the Two of Us by Will Smith
    two

    Will Smith— musician, actor, and father–brings us a moving celebration of fatherhood. This is a great book for dads to read to the kids on Father’s Day.

    Last Stop on Market Street by Matt De La Pena
    market

    Every Sunday after church, CJ and his grandma ride the bus across town. But today, CJ wonders why they don’t own a car like his friend Colby. Why doesn’t he have an iPod like the boys on the bus? How come they always have to get off in the dirty part of town? Each question is met with an encouraging answer from grandma, who helps him see the beauty—and fun—in their routine and the world around them.

    Peter’s Chair by Ezra Jack Keats
    chair
    Peter has a new baby sister on the way and is not happy about it! All of his belongings are being painted pink and he knows his favorite chair is next. He decides to run away with his chair and faithful sidekick and pet, Willie. However, he soon realizes he’s too big for his chair and maybe a baby sister is not so bad after all.

    Bippity Bop Barbershop by Natasha Anastasia Tarpley


    A young boy, Miles, makes his first trip to the barbershop with his father. Like most little boys, he is afraid of the sharp scissors, the buzzing razor, and the prospect of picking a new hairstyle. But with the support of his dad, the barber, and the other men in the barbershop, Miles bravely sits through his first haircut. Written in a reassuring tone with a jazzy beat and illustrated with graceful, realistic watercolors, this book captures an important rite of passage for boys and celebrates African-American identity.

    Summer Jackson Grown Up by Teresa E. Harris
    summer
    Summer Jackson, a stylish, sassy 7-year-old is ready to be an adult, or so she thinks. Summer tackles “adulthood” with confidence — donning blazers and high heels, reading the newspaper, and talking on her cell phone. However, Summer soon learns that being a grown-up is not all it seems, and returns to the joys of being seven.

    I Had a Favorite Hat by Boni Ashburn
    ihadafavoritehat

    The narrator of this charming picture book loves her summer hat, but as the seasons change, her hat isn’t always appropriate for every occasion. She must use her crafting skills to turn the hat into a work of art, perfect for every season and holiday. Featuring the same characters from the first book, I Had a Favorite Dress, along with the hip, eye-catching art style that won it so many fans, this book is perfect for young crafters and their stylish parents.

    One Plastic Bag by Miranda Paul
    oneplasticbag

    Plastic bags are cheap and easy to use. But what happens when a bag breaks or is no longer needed? In Njau, Gambia, people simply dropped the bags and went on their way. One plastic bag became two. Then ten. Then a hundred.  The bags accumulated in ugly heaps alongside roads. Water pooled in them, bringing mosquitoes and disease. Some bags were burned, leaving behind a terrible smell. Some were buried, but they strangled gardens. They killed livestock that tried to eat them. Something had to change.  Isatou Ceesay was that change. She found a way to recycle the bags and transform her community. This inspirational true story shows how one person’s actions really can make a difference in our world.

    Monster Trouble by Lane Fredrickson
    monstertrouble
    Nothing frightens Winifred Schnitzel—but she DOES need her sleep, and the neighborhood monsters WON’T let her be! Every night they sneak in, growling and belching and making a ruckus. Winifred constructs clever traps, but nothing stops these crafty creatures. What’s a girl to do?  The delightfully sweet ending will have every kid—and little monster—begging for an encore.

    Those Shoes by Maribeth Boelts
    thoseshoes
    Jeremy just wants” those shoes”. A pair of black high-tops with white stripes. The same pair of shoes all his other friends have. When Jeremy finally gets a pair of “those shoes” what he does with them is very touching. I’m convinced children’s books have the best messages! This book delivers powerful lessons on topics like: being grateful, sharing, kindness, friendship, and generosity.

    Happy In Our Skin by Fran Manushkin
    happyinourskin
    An awesome book with rhyming text that celebrates diversity and being happy in your own skin.

    One Word From Sophia by Jim Averbeck
    onewordfromsophia

    A cute story about a girl who only has one true desire for her birthday. She wants a giraffe. Sophia gives a compelling presentation to her family complete with pie charts to try and persuade them.

    Mixed Me by Taye Diggs
    mixedme
    Meet Mike, a mixed-race kid who has an awesome head of thick and curly hair and lots of energy! He’s the perfect blend of both of his parents, but not everyone feels that way. That doesn’t bother Mike though because he thinks he’s just right. Written by actor Taye Diggs who has a mixed-race son named Walker.

    She Loved Baseball: The Effa Manley Story by Audrey Vernick
    theeffamanleystory

    Effa always loved baseball. As a young woman, she would go to Yankee Stadium to see Babe Ruth. Effa never dreamed she would someday own a baseball team, yet alone be the first and only woman ever inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame. An inspirational story for girls and boys who love baseball.

    Early September 2016 Picture Book Releases
    Ada Twist, Scientist by Andrea Beaty
    adatwistscientist
    Introducing the new kid on the block: Ada Twist, Scientist!  From the creators of the popular books Iggy Peck, Architect and Rosie Revere, Engineer.  I cannot wait for this!! We absolutely love the first two books!

    Beautiful by Stacy McAnulty

    beautifulstacymcanulty

    BEAUTIFUL breaks barriers by showing girls free to be themselves: splashing in mud, conducting science experiments, and reading books under a flashlight with friends. This book will encourage all girls to embrace who they are and realize their endless potential.  Read my review here.

    Maya Angelou (Little People, Big Dreams) by Lisbeth Kaiser
    mayaangeloulittlepeoplebigdreams
    In the Little People, Big Dreams series, discover the lives of outstanding people from designers and artists to scientists. All of them went on to achieve incredible things, yet all of them began life as a little child with a dream. The book follows Maya Angelou, from her early traumatic childhood to her time as a singer, actress, civil rights campaigner and, eventually, one of America’s most beloved writers. This inspiring and informative little biography comes with extra facts about Maya’s life at the back.

    Dear Dragon: A Pen Pal Tale by Josh Funk
    deardragon
    A sweet and clever friendship story in rhyme, about looking past physical differences to appreciate the person (or dragon) underneath.

    George and Blaise are pen pals, and they write letters to each other about everything: their pets, birthdays, favorite sports, and science fair projects. There’s just one thing that the two friends don’t know: George is a human, while Blaise is a dragon! What will happen when these pen pals finally meet face-to-face?

    Early Chapter Book Series (Check out the multiple books in each series!)
    Sofia Martinez by Jacqueline Jules (recommended for ages 5 – 7 years)
    ClubHouse Mysteries by Sharon M. Draper (recommended for ages 8-12)
    Katie Woo Series by Fran Manushkin (recommended for ages 5-7)
    Keena Ford Series by Melissa Thompson (recommended for ages 6-8)
    Willimena Rules! Series by Valerie Wilson Wesley (recommended for ages 7-10)
    Better Nate than Ever and Five, Six, Seven, Nate! by Tim Federle (recommended for ages 10-14)
    Ruby and the Booker Boys Series by Derrick Barnes (recommended for ages 7-10)
    Ruby Lu Series by Lenore Look (recommended for ages 6-10)
    Calvin Coconut Series by Graham Salisbury (recommended for ages 8-12)
    Lulu Series by Hilary McKay and Priscilla Lamont (recommended for ages 7-10)
    EllRay Jakes Series by Sally Warner (recommended for ages 6-8)
    Bobby the Brave Series (recommended for ages 5-9)
    Dyamonde Daniel Series (recommended for ages 5-9)
    Miami Jackson Series (recommended for ages 5-9)
    Sugar Plum Ballerinas Series (recommended for ages 5-9)

    Novels for Teens and Tweens
    The Crossover by Kwame Alexander
    Booked by Kwame Alexander
    Dirt by Teffanie Thompson
    Serafina’s Promise by Ann E. Burg
    One Crazy Summer by Rita Williams-Garcia
    Brown Girl Dreaming by Jacqueline Woodson
    P.S. Be Eleven by Rita Williams Garcia
    Drowned City: Hurricane Katrina and New Orleans by Don Brown
    The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian by Sherman Alexie
    You Got This!: Unleash Your Awesomeness, Find Your Path, and Change Your World by Maya S. Penn

    Want More Books?  Be Sure to also check out My Ultimate List of 2016 Picture and Board Books for Kids!

    Your turn: What books are you looking forward to reading with your little readers this summer?  Feel free to share in the comments.

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    book reviews, children's books, read aloud

    Beautiful by Stacy McAnulty: A Book Review

    Beautiful by Stacy McAnulty, illustrated by Joanne Lew-Vriethoff
    beautifulstacymcanulty
    Age Range: 3 and up
    Publisher: Running Press Kids
    Format: Hardcover
    On Sale Date: September 6, 2016, Click here to pre-order!

    Synopsis (from Amazon)
    Every girl is unique, talented, and lovable. . . .Every girl is BEAUTIFUL.

    Much more than how one looks on the outside, true beauty is found in conquering challenges, showing kindness, and spreading contagious laughter. Beautiful girls are empowered and smart and strong!

    BEAUTIFUL breaks barriers by showing girls free to be themselves: splashing in mud, conducting science experiments, and reading books under a flashlight with friends. This book will encourage all girls to embrace who they are and realize their endless potential.

    Reflection
    I’m so in love with both the front and back covers of this book!  I mean, look how stinking cute those pictures are!  In fact, I think each and every page of this book is worthy of being framed as a work of art and would be a gorgeous addition to any little girl’s room.

    This book starts off with five little girls hanging over a fence with the sentence “Beautiful girls have the perfect look”.  Each one of the girls have their own unique look and style.  It then goes on to talk about some of the other attributes and characteristics that beautiful girls have like: how gracefully they move, how sweetly they smile and how they smell like flowers.  By the sound of it, you’d think the illustrations would show the girls all dressed up and dainty, right?  Well, think again.  These girls are muddy, they have dirt and leaves in their hair and orange juice dripping down their chins and I absolutely LOVE it!

    I think this book does a fantastic job illustrating what pure beauty is. The kind of beauty that has nothing to do with your hairstyle, your complexion or the perfect outfit. The kind of beauty that isn’t found in how you feel about yourself, but instead how you love and treat others-— (which usually ends up making you feel good about who you are)-that’s what I want my daughter to see in the mirror.

    beautifulstacymcanulty2

    I know there have been recent reports and studies that say you shouldn’t tell your daughters they are pretty, but I’m not afraid to tell my daughter that she’s beautiful and teach her that she shouldn’t be afraid to celebrate her beauty either.  I also want my daughter to know it’s ok to be silly, to have fun and not worry about what others think of her.  As the text on the back cover of this book says, “It’s all about your clothesyour hairyour style WHO YOU ARE.”

    The text on each page of this book is rather short and simple, yet it sends a very empowering message to girls.  The overall message is: every girl is unique, talented, lovable and beautiful…beauty comes from within.  I think the illustrations help bring the text of this book to life.  Each one is so unique, bright, detailed and downright stunning.

    I love the diverse group of girls featured throughout this book.  Some of the girls have straight hair while others have kinky or curly hair.  Some wear glasses and others don’t.  There are also girls playing basketball in wheelchairs.  Another thing I like is how the illustrations show girls doing a variety of different things like: looking for bugs in the dirt, dressing up as pirates, going camping and playing sports.  Simply put, this book makes me smile and fills me with joy every time I read it with my daughter.

    Overall, I think this book is a wonderful tribute to girls of all races and ages all over the world.  Girl power to the max!

    About the Author

    stacy-bio-200
    In no particular order… Stacy is a wife, mother of 3 kids and 2 dogs, author, daughter, sister and stepsister, aunt, friend, Twitter addict, mechanical engineer (currently inactive), inconsistent blogger, Packers fan, two-finger typist, concerned citizen, book-buying enthusiast, reluctant volunteer, minivan driver, pancake flipper, snooze-button hitter, and coupon clipper.

    Connect with Stacy!

    Website | Twitter | Instagram | Facebook

    Your turn: Are you looking forward to checking this book out with your little readers?  If you have a daughter, do you tell her that she’s beautiful?  Feel free to share in the comments.

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    connecticut, family fun, passport to CT libraries

    Passport to Connecticut Libraries Week 4

    Well, our month-long journey of the Passport to Connecticut Libraries program finally came to an end last Saturday when we visited our 20th library!  We had so much fun on the library trail and can’t wait to do it all over again next year!  However, traveling with two preschoolers in tow wasn’t always fun, I’ll share my reasons why later in this post.

    First, let’s recap all of the libraries we visited in April:

    • Cromwell Belden Public Library (Cromwell)
    • Portland Public Library (Portland)
    • Cora J. Belden Public Library (Rocky Hill)
    • Russell Library (Middletown)
    • Wethersfield Public Library (Wethersfield)
    • East Hartford Public Library (East Hartford)
    • Lucy Robbins Welles Library (Newington)
    • Levi E. Coe Public Library (Middlefield)
    • Welles-Turner Memorial Library (Glastonbury)
    • New Britian Public Library (New Britian)
    • Meriden Public Library (Meriden)
    • Berlin-Peck Memorial Library (Berlin)
    • Windsor Public Library (Windsor)
    • Wallingford Public Library (Wallingford)
    • Wilson Branch Library (Windsor)
    • Brainerd Memorial Library (Haddam)
    • Manchester Public Library (Manchester)
    • Enfield Public Library (Enfield)
    • Warehouse Point Public Library (East Windsor)
    • Noah Webster Public Library (West Hartford)
    • Hartford Public Library (Hartford) – Note:  This library was not a participating library in the program.

    Passport to Connecticut Libraries Week 4

    We had some special family fun activities lined up for the last week of this program since we spent the entire weekend in Hartford at the luxurious Downtown Hartford Marriott Hotel.  They were gracious enough to host us for the weekend and we had a blast!

    The hotel is right in the heart of downtown Hartford so it’s walking distance to lots of restaurants and other attractions.  My favorite thing about this hotel is the pool and hot tub area…it’s amazing!  It’s located on the top floor and boasts large windows overlooking the Connecticut River, the Convention Center and downtown Hartford.  If you’re ever in the area and looking for a family-friendly place to stay, I’d highly recommend it!

    We began our day-long excursion of family friendly activities with a beautiful new playground (Enfield Rotary Accessible Playground) located directly across the street from the Enfield Public Library.  It was a gorgeous morning outside so the kids had ample time to play.

    I was also excited to finally check out a new place called Jumping Clay USA which is fantastic!  It’s also located in Enfield not too far from the library.  Jumping Clay offers educational programs and clay activities for children and adults based on simple shapes and step-by-step modeling instructions.  The kids enjoyed looking at all of the wonderful clay creations.  We also purchased some clay to use at home…so fun!

    Lastly, we headed back to the hotel so the kids could nap and then made our way over to the Wadsworth Atheneum followed by the Hartford Public Library.

    Overall, I am happy with meeting our goal of visiting 20 libraries.  However, I know I could have done more if I did the program on my own.  Here’s why:

    • My kids are still in the napping phase.  If they don’t take their daily nap then they will be cranky guaranteed.  There were times I wanted to go and visit more libraries, but couldn’t because the kids fell asleep in the car.  And since it was just me and them and I couldn’t leave them alone in the car, we had to pass up quite a few places I wanted to visit.
    • Sometimes I just wanted to go in the library, take a quick look around, get our passports stamped and then leave.  The kids however had their own agenda – they wanted to play!  And once they started playing they didn’t want to leave.  Ugh, kids!

    Will I take them with me again next year?  Yes, absolutely!  I’m hoping this will be a tradition we can keep going as long as the program is still available and we’re living in this state.

    Thanks for reading and taking this virtual journey with us!  If you missed any of the posts in our #passporttoctlibraries series, check out the links listed below.

    Week 1 | Week 2 | Week 3

    Untitled design

    Your turn:  For all of my fellow Connecticut followers, did you or your kids participate in this program?  If so, how many libraries did you visit?  If you don’t live in Connecticut, has reading about this program inspired you to ask your library to implement it?  Feel free to share in the comments.

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