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June 2016

    book reviews, children's books, read aloud

    Book of the Week: School’s First Day of School

    School’s First Day of School by Adam Rex, illustrated by Christian Robinson

    schoolsfirstdayofschool

    Publisher: Roaring Brook Press
    Pages: 40
    Format: Hardcover
    Age Range: 4 – 8 Years (Preschool – Grade 3)
    Available for Sale: June 28, 2016

    Synopsis (from Amazon)
    It’s the first day of school at Frederick Douglass Elementary and everyone’s just a little bit nervous, especially the school itself. What will the children do once they come? Will they like the school? Will they be nice to him?

    The school has a rough start, but as the day goes on, he soon recovers when he sees that he’s not the only one going through first-day jitters.

    Reflection
    This amazing book urges readers to imagine what the first day of school must be like for their school.  We all know most kids are filled with anxiety and nervousness on their first day of school, but let’s look at it from the school’s perspective, shall we?

    Think about it.  Have you ever wondered what your house or your car would say if they could talk?  Would they tell on your kids for spilling that apple juice in the back seat or your dog for once peeing in the plant again?  Would your walls be quite sullen as they’ve been long ignored – with outdated wall paper, old finger prints and sad paint?  I know I’ve certainly pondered this question before since houses, apartments, buildings, cars and even schools store memories of our lives.

    The book starts off showing a picture of the brand new elementary school that was just built – Frederick Douglass Elementary School.  The school is happy with a big smile plastered across his face – he’s proud of how great he looks after all the hard work that went into building him.  The school is happy that he has his friend the janitor to take care of him and keep him clean.  He’s quite content with the school being occupied with just the two of them in the days leading up to the first day of school.

    schoolsfirstdayofschool2

    When the school finds out there will be lots of kids and teachers occupying his space, he becomes nervous.  What will they think of him?  Will they like him?  Will he live up to their expectations?

    At first, the school is excited to have so many people there, but when he overhears kids saying things like, “I don’t like school” and “This place stinks” he starts to feel very sad and frustrated.  He even squirts a kid in the face from the water fountain, but feels bad about it afterwards.  In the end, the school tells his friend janitor all about his first day.  Surprisingly, he asks the janitor to invite all of the kids and teachers to come back tomorrow.  The janitor tells the school how lucky he is to be a school and the school thought he was probably right about that.

    schoolsfirstdayofschool1

    The kids and I adore this book.  I love the fact that this story is told from the perspective of the school and not the kids.  Not only does it make me wonder what objects could say if they could talk, but it also makes me want to take even better care of the things that I own as well as the school my kids attend.  I love how the janitor took care of the school to keep him clean.  True story, after reading this book the first time I immediately went upstairs and folded a load of laundry that I had sitting in the dryer since the previous night.  I was thinking what the clothes and the dryer would say if they could talk!

    The bight and colorful illustrations in this book are exceptional!  This book also has lots of diversity.  The kids are all different colors and races and there is even a little girl in a wheelchair featured.  Such great attention to detail.  Illustrator Christian Robinson can do no wrong!

    I think this book is perfect to be read aloud to little readers in preschool up through 2nd or 3rd grade on the first day of school.  It’s great for teaching kids about feelings, friendship, the first day of school jitters and how to honor and respect their environment – especially their school.  A winner!

    Your turn:  Have you read this book yet?  Let me know what your opinions are in the comments.

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    family fun, summer camp at home

    Summer Camp At Home: Fun With Art!

    @hereweeread (1)

    I hope you’ve been enjoying following along in our summer camp at home series!  This summer, I’ve teamed up with 13 other amazing bloggers to bring you a 7-week series of “Summer Camp at Home”.   Over the past few weeks, we’ve been bringing you two different themes per week filled with different books to read, yummy snacks to eat/prepare and activities to do with your kids and tweens.  This week we have two new themes to present: health and fitness and art!  I’ll post the link to the health and fitness theme at the end of this post once it’s available.

    Like most toddlers and preschoolers, my kids love creating art!  They enjoy regular, everyday art like painting, and coloring with markers, crayons and chalk, but we always have the most fun when we’re doing a cool art project, exploring unusual substances (shaving cream, melted wax, food coloring), and using creative techniques (sponge painting, smoosh painting and stamp painting) to make our art.

    Since I’m crafty and creative, we have countless materials and tools right in our own home to create art with; materials and tools that allow my kids to explore, create and learn in ways that they can’t with just a box of crayons or markers.  With art, it also helps to have a love of art and a willingness to get messy!

    Fun With Art: Snacks!
    Art, math and science also happen in the kitchen!  Try out some of these creative art-inspired snack ideas with your kids this week.

    SummerCampSnacks

    Pictured from left to right:
    Fruity Frozen Yogurt Snacks from Tablespoon
    Paintbrush Rice Krispie Treats from Catch My Party
    Artist Palette Cupcakes from Jen Loves Kev
    Patriotic Pretzel Sticks from Everyday Savvy

    The kids and I enjoyed some yummy non-GMO snacks courtesy of Fresh Kids!  We had popcorn, cheese puffs and pretzel sticks.  With the 4th of July holiday coming up, we’re going to try decorating our pretzel sticks with red, white and blue like the picture shown above.
    freshkidssnacks

    Fun With Art: Books!
    We chose 4 fun books to go along with our art theme: Kenya’s Art, Swatch: The Girl Who Loved Color, Mix It Up and Grandma In Blue with Red Hat.

    funwithartbooks

    Swatch: The Girl Who Loved Color – I fell in love with both the story and the illustrations.  Rich language is used throughout so it’s perfect for kids learning new words.  It’s also filled with bright and vibrant eye-catching colors.

    Mix It Up – One thing I love about Hervé Tullet is his ability to call upon a child imagination while still getting kids to interact with books.  I think it’s genius!  Adults like myself, can’t can’t help but play along with his invitations to rub colors, close pages, and even place your hand flat on an image. Then flip the page and see the results of your action.  So fun!  This book is all about making different color combinations.  By pretending to mix two different colors together to make a new color, kids are bound to retain more color mixing knowledge than just reading about the color combinations.

    Kenya’s Art – After seeing a museum exhibit called “Recycle! Reuse! Make Art!” featuring every-day items turned into colorful displays, little Kenya learns about the importance of recycling and how you can reuse things to create beautiful works of art.  A cute book to teach little readers about environmentalism, art, creativity or recycling.

    Grandma In Blue with Red Hat – When a young boy learns about what makes art special—sometimes it’s beautiful, sometimes it’s funny, sometimes it tells a story—he realizes that these same characteristics are what make his grandmother special, too. As a result, he finds the inspiration to create his own masterpiece that’s one of a kind.

    Fun With Art: Craft Projects!
    Since we recently started growing our own garden, I decided to let the kids try painting with different fruits and vegetables.  We ended up using apples, oranges, broccoli and celery.  Printmaking/painting with fruits and veggies is simple!  Simply dip a fruit or vegetable in one color of paint, making sure that the bottom is evenly-coated with paint. Press the fruit or vegetable firmly on your paper.  That’s it!  You can even combine the fruits and vegetable prints to create a pretty pictures like flower gardens.

    When using cabbage, it print looks just like a rose!  Broccoli makes sponge-like prints that are great for making trees and corn can produce some really interesting patterns as well.

    kenyasart
    Now that we’ve explored making prints with fruits and vegetables, I’m looking forward to doing this again with cucumbers and carrots that we grow in our own little garden at home.  Check out what our garden looks like only after 8 days…progress!  Thanks to Fresh Kids for supplying us with a Snack Happy Box which included our snacks and an awesome garden kit!

    wearefreshkids
    Here are some other fun art projects for you and your little campers to explore this week:

    Make Washable Spray Chalk Paint! via Growing a Jeweled Rose
    Crumpled Paper Art via Buggy and Buddy
    Patriotic Hand Print Craft via b-Inspired Mama

    7 WEEKS OF

    Below are the 14 themes for this year’s 7 Week Summer Camp at Home Series. Please click on each link for all the ideas as each blog post goes live.  Be sure to check back each week to see the new ideas the next set of “camp counselors” suggest for the upcoming week ahead.

    Week 1: Monday 5/30 – Self-Love ThemeOcean Theme 
    Week 2: Monday 6/6 –  Saving Money ThemeGardening/Going Green Theme
    Week 3: Monday 6/13 – Black History ThemeMusic Theme
    Week 6: Monday 7/4 – Dinosaur ThemeCooking Theme
    Week 7: Monday 7/11 – Astronomy Theme & Around the World Theme

    We hope you enjoy this series as much as we enjoy putting it together!  Happy Camping!

    Your turn: How are you and your kids spending your summer?  Feel free to share in the comments.

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    family fun, literary road trip series

    Literary Road Trip Series: Springfield Museums

    Summer is officially here! What is summer if not a time for adventure, exploration, and traveling to new and different places!  This summer the kids and I (along with some friends and maybe “the husband”) intend to hit the road and go on some literary-themed and kid-friendly road trips.

    A few months ago, I compiled a list of places in the Northeast where we can get our book shopping and literary geekiness on thrown in with some family and kid-friendly fun!  This summer, we’ll be embarking on a literary pilgrimage of sorts.  I hope to offer my kids a unique, inspiring and educational summer vacation.  We’ll be visiting various museums, libraries and centers for children’s literature.  Whether your family will be hitting the road this summer, or whether you’re staying close to home, I hope this literary road trip series will inspire you and your kids kids to do some exploring in your own area.

    SpringfieldMuseumsWe kicked off our road trip series with a visit to the Springfield Museums.  Located in the heart of downtown Springfield, Massachusetts, the Springfield Museums offers access to four world-class museums and the Dr. Seuss National Memorial Sculpture Garden, all for one admission price.  What a great deal!

    The four museums are as follows: George Walter Vincent Smith Art Museum, Springfield Science Museum, Michele and Donald D’Amour Museum of Fine Arts and Lyman and Merrie Wood Museum of Springfield History.  There is also a museum store which has a fabulous range of children’s books, educational kits and toys available for purchase. You’re bound to find a gem (or two) to take home.

    The Amazing World of Dr. Seuss Museum will be a brand new addition coming to the Springfield Museums!  It will include an interactive, bilingual museum for children and families that brings the stories of Ted Geisel (a.k.a. Dr. Seuss) to life. Visitors will encounter three-dimensional characters and scenes from his books as they explore Ted’s childhood in Springfield, Massachusetts. This colorful exhibition aims to make reading and learning fun for visitors of all ages and will open in 2017.

    We only ended up exploring two out of the four museums which seemed to be the most kid-friendly ones.  First, we went to the Springfield Science Museum which has an Exploration Center of touchable displays, the oldest operating planetarium in the United States, an extensive collection of stuffed and mounted animals, dinosaur exhibits, and the African Hall, through which you can take an interactive tour.

    Next, we went to The Museum of Springfield History which tells the story of the town’s manufacturing heritage. Did you know that Springfield was home to the former Indian Motorcycle Company?  The museum has a rich and beautiful collection of Indian bikes and memorabilia on display throughout.

    Afterwards, we headed over to the Dr. Seuss National Memorial Sculpture Garden.  The garden includes an array of bronze statues depicting scenes from Theodor Geisel’s famously whimsical children’s books.  The statues include a four-foot-tall Lorax, one of his most popular creations and the elephant from Horton Hears a Who.

    The kids really enjoyed seeing all the animals and exhibits at the museum, playing in the interactive kid’s play area and running around in the sculpture garden.  One of my friends and her son accompanied us too – we had a ball!  Before heading home, we went to the on-site cafe to grab a bite to eat and ended up having an impromptu picnic lunch outside on a blanket.  What a nice way to spend a Saturday afternoon!

    If you’re ever in the area, I’d highly recommend going on a literary road trip to Springfield, MA, the home city of Dr. Seuss.  Make the Springfield Museums one of your first stops with your little readers!

    What bookish adventures can you and your little readers go on in your area this summer? Please leave your thoughts in the comments as we embark on our own summer literary adventure!

    Disclaimer: We were provided with complimentary tickets to the Springfield Museums in exchange for an honest review.  All opinions expressed are my own.

    Connect with the Springfield Museums!
    Website | Twitter | Instagram

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    children's literacy, our latest obsession, summer reading

    Our Latest Obsession: Summer Bridge Activity Books!

    I never gave the “summer slide” much thought until I became a parent.  It’s one of those new buzz word phrases that has become more popular over the past few years.  When I was growing up, I don’t recall much learning taking place – we simply had fun playing outside with our friends.  Since we couldn’t afford to go to summer camp or take elaborate family trips to Europe or elsewhere, we just used our imagination and spent our summers playing things like dodgeball, double dutch and kick the can sometimes until the wee hours of the night.  Those were the days!  Now looking back, I’m sure we definitely rode the “summer slide” just about every summer.  Yet, it didn’t prevent me from excelling in school, making the honor roll every year and graduating second in my class from high school.  Yes, I’m tooting my own horn!

    Ok, back to the topic at hand – the summer slide.  What is it?  The summer slide is a decline in reading ability and other academic skills that can occur over the summer months when school isn’t in session.  Numerous studies show that kids who don’t read during summer vacation actually slip in reading ability by the time fall rolls around.

    But as parents, we don’t need studies to tell us this, do we? It’s evident in all sorts of situations. For example, if your child plays the piano but stops practicing for three months, he/she isn’t going to be as good as his/her friend who continued to practice and play the piano over the summer, right?

    The secret to preventing the summer slide is to keep learning all summer long. Now, don’t panic: I’m not talking about year-round schooling, although for some homeschool families, year-round schooling may be a good solution.  What I am talking about is providing learning opportunities throughout the summer that keep kids’ academic skills sharp.

    I’m not usually a big fan of workbooks, flash cards or activity books.  However, on my quest for different resources to use with my kids over the summer break I stumbled upon this series of activity books called Summer Bridge Activities.  Have you heard of these gems before?

    Prevent the Summer SlidewithSummer Bridge Activity Books!

    With daily, 15-20 minute exercises kids can learn a variety of different skills ranging from letters to fractions and everything in between.  This workbook series prevents summer learning loss and paves the way to a successful new school year.  And this is no average workbook—Summer Bridge Activities keeps the fun and the sun in summer break!

    Designed to prevent a summer learning gap and keep kids mentally and physically active, the hands-on exercises can be done anywhere. These standards-based activities help kids set goals, develop character, practice fitness, and explore the outdoors. With 12 weeks of creative learning, Summer Bridge Activities keeps skills sharp all summer long!

    After researching these books, using them with my own kids and reading the rave reviews they’ve received online I was completely sold!  I ordered the Summer Bridge Activities Grades PK – K book and we’ve been working through it in just 15 – 20 minutes each day – it’s great!  These workbooks aren’t too easy either – they incorporate some challenges too which is exactly what I was looking for.  The book we purchased covers topics like: patterns, shapes, colors, numbers, phonics, writing and letters.

    Following the introductory pages is a “Summer Reading List” that suggests 34 different fiction titles and 12 nonfiction titles.  It’s divided into three sections of increasing difficulty; each 20-day section can be completed in a month.  Every section begins with a list of Monthly Goals and a Word List, followed by the 20 days of activity pages, and they conclude with a few “Bonus” pages.

    Section 1 features shape recognition, fine motor skill development, and numbers and counting activities provide a good variety of potential learning opportunities. Its bonus sections seem to focus on physical activity and character development. Section 2 highlights numbers and counting, handwriting and phonics, and colors. The bonus section following this section had a science activity, outdoor extension activities, and character development exercises. Section 3 focused on classification and phonics, handwriting and phonics, visual discrimination, grammar and language arts, numbers and counting, and the alphabet.

    63 flash cards complete the final “learning” portions of the activity book. There is also a certificate of completion you can remove from the book and fill in with your child’s name once they complete all of the exercises. For those who like a visible affirmation of “great job”, a page of 264 star stickers has been included to use as well.

    You can find the complete Summer Bridge Activity Series listed below.  Now that I’ve started using these workbooks with my kids, I’m excited to complete the entire series in the summers ahead!

    Summer Bridge Activities Grades PK – K
    Summer Bridge Activities Grades K – 1
    Summer Bridge Activities Grades 1 – 2
    Summer Bridge Activities Grades 2 – 3
    Summer Bridge Activities Grades 3 – 4
    Summer Bridge Activities Grades 4 – 5
    Summer Bridge Activities Grades 5 – 6
    Summer Bridge Activities Grades 6 – 7
    Summer Bridge Activities Grades 7 – 8

    Disclaimer: This is not a sponsored post and I was not compensated to write it.  I purchased the workbook with my own money.  All opinions expressed are my own.

    Your turn:  What do you plan to do with your children to beat the summer slide? Have you used these workbooks with your kids before?  Share in the comments below!

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    book reviews, children's books

    Book of the Week: Real Sisters Pretend

    Real Sisters Pretend by Megan Dowd Lambert, illustrated by Nicole Tadgell
    realsisterspretend
    Publisher: Tilbury House Publishers
    Format: Paperback
    Pages: 32
    Age Range: 4 – 7 years

    Synopsis (from Amazon)
    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.

    Reflection
    It’s no secret that we live in an imperfect world.  At times the world is downright cruel and dangerous.  As much as I want to raise my children to believe that every person is good and loving, unfortunately this is not the case.  Reading books that deal with tough and complex issues like adoption, foster and same-sex parenting can be difficult for smaller children to grasp, but as parents and caregivers it’s our job to empower and educate children about these topics and more as they grow.

    Based on a conversation the author overheard her two adopted daughters having while at play, this book is about two sisters and their vivid imaginations.  One sister is Black and the other is mixed race and both were adopted at the tender ages of two and three. Their parents are two moms, one Asian and the other is White.

    realsisterspretend

    The book starts off with the younger sister Mia asking her older sister Tayja to play pretend with her.  The older sister agrees to play but only if they can be hiking princesses climbing up into the mountains.  As the girls play, they are able to confirm the one thing they don’t have to pretend to be is real sisters. Their adoption made them a forever family despite what others may think or say.

    Donning their capes and tiaras, they take a short break while playing to reflect on the day they were both adopted by looking at a family picture.  The girls then go back to pretending they are climbing up the mountain until they reach their final destination – home.  They both return from their mountain climbing adventure safe and sound just in time to greet one of their moms at the door.  The final page shows the girls and their moms hugging and embracing one another.

    The kids and I enjoyed reading this book.  Although I don’t think they fully understand the concept of non-traditional families yet, they seemed to enjoy the girls pretending to climb up the mountain.  I like how this book gently introduces the idea of adoption and unique looking families to children with sweet and innocent prose, lovely illustrations and a playful story line.  Knowing that it’s a real story made the book more touching to me.

    The beautiful watercolor illustrations create the movement that guides the reader’s eyes all over the page. The paintings are full of bright vibrant colors that are warm and inviting and really help to tell the story.

    This story displays themes of: adoption, non-traditional families, trans-racial families, same-sex parenting, diversity and acceptance.  I think this book can can open the door to initiate discussion about adoption and non-traditional families.  I’m not sure what age children usually start comprehending concepts like adoption, but I think this book would be great to initiate discussion with kids ages 5 and up.  I think it’s a cute book for all kids, not just kids from adoptive families.  A very sweet story about how families don’t always have to look alike to have love.

    Disclaimer: I received a complimentary book directly from the publishers in exchange for an honest review.  All opinions expressed are my own.

    About the Author
    Megan Dowd Lambert teaches in the graduate programs in Children’s Literature at Simmons College and at the Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art.  She reviews children’s books for Kirkus Reviews and the Horn Book and contributes to Horn Book’s “Books in the Home” column.  She is the author of A Crow of His Own and Reading Picture Books with Children and the mother of six children ranging from infancy to college age.

    About the Illustrator
    Nicole Tadgell’s illustrations have been featured in the The Encyclopedia of Writing and Illustrating Children’s Books and in numerous exhibitions.  She teaches and demonstrates the art of picture books in workshops, classrooms, libraries, bookstores, and colleges, and her award-winning children’s books include First Peas to the Table, In the Garden with Dr. Carver, Lucky Beans and Fatuma’s New Cloth.

    Your turn:  Are your kids part of a forever family?  What are some tips you’d provide to help parents and caregivers start talking about adoption with their kids?  Feel free to share in the comments.

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    book reviews, children's books

    MeBookz: Personalized Books for Kids Plus a Discount!

    It’s no secret that kids love being the stars of their very own stories.  So when I was contacted by MeBookz to receive a personalized storybook for one of my children, I was excited!  And after watching their short video on their website about what makes their personalized books different from the rest, I was even more excited.

    MeBookz provides an extra special touch that makes it more impressive than any I’ve seen.  They are the only company that creates completely personalized and fully illustrated picture books with your child as the main character. Their customizations include using your child’s name as well as creating a fully illustrated main character in your child’s likeness.  In other words, the illustrations of your child actually looks like them.

    mebookzlogo

    When I visited the MeBookz website I started by selecting a personalized book, there were several to choose from including coloring books.  I also filled out other information including gender, name, eye color and hair color. There is also an option to select if you want an e-book or a printed book.  I was then able to upload a photo of my daughter that would be featured throughout the book.

    When my daughter saw that the book had arrived in the mail he she was really excited and we couldn’t wait to sit down and read it together. She immediately recognized her name and when she saw her picture she shouted, “That’s me!”  Later that night we read it again at bedtime (twice) and have read it every night since we received it three weeks ago! I can see how much my daughter loves this book and I know it will be a treasure for a very long time.

    MeBookz Review

    Beautifully illustrated and bound, customized books from MeBookz take quality and personalization to the next level.  Photographs of your child and other diverse characters are playfully incorporated into the illustrations.  The story that I chose is a stunningly illustrated adventure of a group of kids going on a field trip to the zoo.  While at the zoo they explore different animals, but when they get to the skunk’s cage they notice the skunk is missing.  This prompts a wild quest to find the missing skunk.

    It’s nothing short of a magical to experience when your child is the star of a book.  Storybooks from MeBookz can help children develop basic reading skills, build vocabulary, teach them to recognize their own name in print and lay the groundwork for writing their own names. These entertaining books also build self-esteem by celebrating the uniqueness of each child.  I think this book really makes reading and learning even more fun because it creates a unique adventure all about your child.

    The age range varies for each book. Generally, MeBookz picture books make great gifts for children ages 3 and up. You can find the specific age for each book below the cover on their website.

    Get your own personalized book for your child from MeBookz today.  Customers from anywhere in the world can personalize and purchase their eBooks. For printed books, they currently ship to Canada and USA only.  However, they are planning to expand into other countries shortly.  Thanks to our friends at MeBookz for sending a book for review!

    Sounds great, is there a discount?
    Yes!  The folks at MeBookz were gracious enough to extend an offer of 50% off of their personalized books for the FIRST 5 buyers using coupon code here-wee-read (be sure to include the dashes in the code).  Visit their website here to take advantage of this amazing offer.

    Disclaimer: I received a free book directly from the company.  However, all opinions expressed are my own.

    Connect with MeBookz!
    Website | Facebook | Twitter

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    book reviews, children's books

    Maya Angelou: Little People, Big Dreams

    Maya Angelou (Little People, Big Dreams) by Lisbeth Kaiser, illustrated by Leire Salaberria
    mayaangelou

    Publisher: Frances Lincoln Children’s Bks
    Release Date: August 9, 2016
    Age Range: 5 to 8, Grades K to 3
    Format: Hardcover
    Pages: 32
    Pre-Order your copy here!

    Synopsis (from Amazon)
    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.

    Reflection
    Losing phenomenal people like Dr. Maya Angelou seems to make the light of the world grow a little dimmer. However, thanks to great books like Maya Angelou: Little People, Big Dreams her legacy endures as a luminous beacon of strength, courage, and spiritual beauty.

    Becoming a woman is serious and tough business. The transformation from carefree girl to impressionable young woman is often full of torment, self-doubt and insecurity.  I think this book illustrates that very well in a way that’s easy for even the smallest readers to comprehend. In addition, this book provides readers with a glimpse into Maya’s life from her childhood to adulthood.

    Born in St. Louis, Maya and her brother were sent to live with their grandmother in Stamps, Arkansas at a young age. Growing up in the South wasn’t easy for Maya for two reasons: the color of her skin and because she was a girl.   At the age of eight Maya was raped and attacked by her mother’s boyfriend which led her to completely shut down for years and stop talking.  Don’t worry, the book doesn’t actually use the word “raped” it says “attacked”. The illustration on that page shows Maya at the hospital being examined by a nurse.  Due to that terrible incident, seemingly overnight, Maya turns into a child who is uncertain, scared, and driven by fears she found hard to name.

    Five years later, Maya finally finds her voice again through stories and poems of great writers. The library became her sanctuary and comfort zone. The rest of the book shows readers how Maya rose to cultural prominence through the sheer tenacity of her character and talent.  Maya went on to become a singer, actress, civil rights campaigner and eventually, one of America’s most beloved writers.

    @hereweeread

    The illustrations in this book are bright, cheerful and pleasing to the eye using beautiful and soft hues of pink, blue, green and yellow throughout.  I also love that this is a hard cover book that is professionally bound.  It also features diverse characters including a person in a wheelchair and former President Bill Clinton.

    In the back of the book there is a short biographical timeline that highlights some of the snippets from Maya’s life including the debut of her first book called I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings in 1969.

    This biography children’s book provides me with comfort in knowing I am better because Maya existed. Because of her, I am a better person and a better mom and my kids will be better because Maya left her strong clear voice inside me that will coach, prod, demand and encourage me to keep being the best parent I can be for my children. As this book illustrates, being a phenomenal woman is no easy task. Raising phenomenal children is even harder.

    Although she had a traumatic childhood, it’s clear to me that Maya lived a rich life with so much zest and passion that she was wrung dry.  She had nothing left to take on her journey but a warm and beautiful spirit that will live on forever. May she rest in peace.

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

    The Little People, Big Dreams Series
    Coco Chanel
    Frida Kahlo
    Amelia Earhart

    Your turn: Have you read any of the other books in the Little People, Big Dreams series?  Feel free to share in the comments.

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