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November 2016

    adult books, book reviews, children's books, holiday gift guide series

    Holiday Gift Guide Series: The Christmas Story by Robert Sabuda

    The Christmas Story by Robert Sabuda
    thechristmasstory

    Publisher: Candlewick
    Format: Hardcover
    Pages: 12
    Age Range: 5 – 8 years old (and up)

    Synopsis
    Hope and joy radiate from the pages of Robert Sabuda’s new pop-up book celebrating the Nativity.

    Long ago in the town of Bethlehem, on a bright and starry night, a baby was born, a child who was called the son of God. Announced by an angel, born in a humble manger, laid in a bed of straw, visited by shepherds and wise men—the age-old, awe-inspiring story of the birth of Jesus is lovingly brought to life by master pop-up artist Robert Sabuda in six gorgeously imagined scenes, culminating in a 3-D manger sheltering humans and beasts, guarded by an angel above. Glinting with touches of gold and pearlescent foil, The Christmas Story is a visual feast, a holiday treasure to be shared with the whole family.

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    Reflection
    Before there were 3D movies, there were pop-up books.  As a child, I used to love pop-up books because the action literally jumped right out at me as I turned the pages.  Opening each page was like unwrapping a gift.  There was always a surprise awaiting on the next page to reward me.  So fun!

    Pop-up book artist Robert Sabuda is the master at transforming a blank piece of paper that lacks dimension, texture and movement and turning it into a beautiful piece of art.  That’s exactly what he has done with the book The Christmas Story.  It’s truly a marvel in paper engineering that your kids, and even some adults, will be pretty impressed by.

    My kids love looking at all of the intricate art on each page.  As I read the story, they like counting the number of items they see on each page like: doves, sheep, palm trees and camels.  They also love pointing at the gold foil accents that make certain things in the book stand out like the stable where Jesus was lying in.

    Reading this book really gets me in the holiday spirit.  It features six imagined scenes from the inspiring story of the birth of Jesus.  Little readers will see scenes of the angel who came to tell Mary she would soon have a baby named Jesus, a scene of the three wise men traveling, and more.  The book ends with a beautiful nativity scene with the three wise men giving Mary precious gifts befitting for a king.

    This book makes a really special holiday gift for children or adults.  While I wouldn’t recommend it to be held by the smallest readers due to the fragile pop-up art, I think children ages 5 and older would handle it just fine.  The pages are sturdy and so is the cover, but the pop-up artwork is fragile.  A true delight to read and marvel at all the beautiful scenes featured.  A holiday book that can be enjoyed as a family again and again each year during the holiday season. Perfect for religious families!

    Your turn: Have you read any of Robert Sabuda’s pop-up books?  Feel free to share in the comments.

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    adult books, book reviews, children's books, currently reading

    Food Anatomy by Julia Rothman (A Book Review)

    Food Anatomy: The Curious Parts & Pieces of Our Edible World  by Julia Rothman

    foodanatomyPublisher: Storey Publishing, LLC
    Format: Paperback
    Pages: 224

    Synopsis
    Get your recommended daily allowance of facts and fun with Food Anatomy, the third book in Julia Rothman’s best-selling Anatomy series. She starts with an illustrated history of food and ends with a global tour of street eats. Along the way, Rothman serves up a hilarious primer on short order egg lingo and a mouthwatering menu of how people around the planet serve fried potatoes — and what we dip them in. Award-winning food journalist Rachel Wharton lends her editorial expertise to this light-hearted exploration of everything food that bursts with little-known facts and delightful drawings. Everyday diners and seasoned foodies alike are sure to eat it up.

    Reflection
    I’m so impressed with the Anatomy series by Julia Rothman!  I’ve read the two previous books and this third one surely didn’t disappoint – it’s so deliciously gorgeous!  Being a fellow foodie, I enjoyed this book immensely and learned so much from it.  Food is a topic that literally everyone can get behind because it’s something we all need in order to survive.  There’s something for people of all cultures in this charming international guide.

    The book starts out providing readers with a brief history of food from 80,000 BCE right up to modern day. It also includes detailed illustrations of place settings from different cultures around the world: formal American, Chinese, Japanese, Thai, Korean and Indian/Nepalese.  It’s filled with interesting nuggets of information like this of all things related to food – one of my favorite subjects.

    Did you know there is a special type of fork for eating asparagus or a special spoon specifically for eating grapefruit? Or that in the Philippines people typically like to eat banana sauce on their french fries?  Do you know how to braid a challah or make tofu or chocolate?  You’ll learn the answers to these questions and so much more by reading this book.  What makes this book so scrumptious are the whimsical illustrations on every page.  They look good enough to eat!  In addition, the paper quality is top-notch and really helps to bring out the lovely hand-drawn illustrations.

    It’s evident a lot of time and research went into compiling all of this information.  I think this book is well suited for adults and children alike.  It serves as a wonderful reference book and will make a lovely addition to any coffee table.  There are also several recipes included throughout the book for things like: creamy maple mocha pudding, shikanjvi (a spiced lemonade drink from India) and noodle pudding.

    I believe readers will enjoy the crisp, clean perfectly imperfect lines and detailed information that has been the hallmark of Rothman’s work since the very beginning.  Not to mention all of the tidbits of information and the recipes.  It’s a true gem!  This books makes an excellent gift for readers of all ages – especially for food lovers.  Did I mention that I love this book? 🙂 I’m sure you will too.

    Check out all the books in this series: The Julia Rothman Collection | Farm Anatomy | Nature Anatomy

    juliarothmancollection

    The Julia Rothman Collection presents all three of Julia Rothman’s popular Anatomy volumes in a handsome giftable box set featuring a specially designed slipcase and 10 framable prints.

    Your turn: Have you read any of the books in this series?  Feel free to share in the comments.

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    holiday gift guide series

    Holiday Gift Guide Series: IttyBittyBees

    untitled-design-1
    I recently had the opportunity to connect with Dalia Dixon, owner of IttyBittyBees.com, a new online toy store. They have a great selection of black/brown action figures and dolls as well as adorable wooden toys and games. Their mission is to inspire little ones with toys that represent them and provide fun play!

    IttyBittyBees came to fruition while Dalia was shopping in a predominately African-American community in Atlanta. While shopping with her two toddlers, she noticed that only white dolls were sold in stores in predominately African-American neighborhoods. She felt that this was a total disservice and almost downright indoctrination (given the history and current events of this country) to the African-American community. Then one day she decided that she wanted to make black/brown toys more available to the members of her community.

    Wanting to start a toy store was also reinforced by a video of a little African-American girl on a news website. She remembers watching a video that showed the little girl choosing the white doll over the black doll because she felt the white doll was prettier and better, versus the black doll that was ugly and bad. When Delia was younger, her mom bought her white dolls at first, but she began buying her black dolls and she was very excited to receive the dolls that looked like her.  They made her feel special and served as a confidence booster.

    Representation is important for self esteem, awareness, and confidence. It’s also reinforcement to be a productive member in society. IttyBittyBees wants black and brown children to see more positive images of themselves so that they are more confident about themselves and who they are.

    You can visit ittybittybees.com to browse their selection of toys and books. You can follow also follow them on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter. The links are listed below.

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    family fun, giveaways, holiday gift guide series, product reviews

    Holiday Gift Guide Series: Hideaboo Hideouts + An Instagram Giveaway!

    hideaboo-hideoutgiveaway

    5-4-3-2-1 blast off!  The kids absolutely LOVE playing in their new Hideaboo rocket ship hideout!  Created by an award winning teacher, Hideaboo hideouts help spark creativity and allow your kids to play independently or with each other. My kids love pretending they are astronauts in a rocket ship flying to outer space.

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    One of the best things about the hideouts is they are totally portable and can be placed in any part of your house or used on the go (as long as your bring your card table along with you).  We currently have our hideout in our living room, but the kids have played with it upstairs in their room too.  It’s perfect for keeping them occupied while I do things like cook dinner or fold the laundry.

    Hideaboo also provides you with FREE access to their printable library.  They’ve created activities, diy costume ideas, an adventure journal and printable puppets for each of their Hideouts! Your purchase comes with a code for free downloads of your printable activities and instructions.  How fun is that?

    Each hideout is made to slide over a card table and it’s super simple to set up and fold away for easy storage.

    Here’s what’s you get:

    • Includes ONE Hideout and ONE storage bag
    • Card table not included
    • Slips over standard card tables, 34″ w x 28″ h
    • Easy to setup and tear down
    • Durable, high quality fabric & machine washable

    These are the current hideouts available:

    • Happy Camper Hideout
    • Enchanted Castle Hideout
    • Underwater Submarine Hideout
    • Outer Space Rocket Hideout
    • Down on the Farm Hideout
    • Lemonade Stand

    The best part?  Our friends over at Hideaboo were gracious enough to sponsor a giveaway!  That’s right, you can choose ANY one of their hideouts if you are the lucky winner!  Pop on over to my Instagram page if you want to enter to win.  Good luck!

    Connect with Hideaboo!

    Website | Instagram | Facebook

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    book reviews, children's books, children's literacy

    Power in My Pen: A Snippet of the Life of Ida B. Wells (A Book Review)

    Power in My Pen: A Snippet of the Life of Ida B. Wells by Louie T. McClain II
    powerinmypen

    Publisher: Melanin Origins, LLC
    Grade Level: Kindergarten – 2nd grade
    Format: Paperback
    Pages: 25

    Synopsis
    Step into the world of Ida B. Wells as she uses her life experiences and obstacles as motivation to achieve many firsts in editing and journalism in the United States of America and abroad. Read along as she flourishes in the wake of family tragedy and ever changing life situations. “Power in My Pen” encourages penmanship, free thought, and historical lessons from a highly influential leader in the early 1900’s. The strong intelligent woman we know as Ida B. Wells proved, no matter who you are, you can share your message and your truth to the world through the power of the pen.

    Reflection
    I think Ida B. Wells is one of the fiercest ladies from the 19th century.  Every time I hear her name I am reminded of the legacy of one of the most inspiring women to ever live.  Born on July 16, 1862 in Holly Springs, Mississippi, Ida quickly became a prominent journalist and activist for civil rights and women’s suffrage.  After getting fired from her job as a teacher, she became an editor before age 25 of two papers in Memphis, which she continued to run even after her printing press was destroyed by an angry mob.  Later in life, she became editor of the Chicago Conservator and married Chicago attorney Ferdinand Barrett.  In 1909, she was one of the founders of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP).

    The book Power in My Pen gives little readers a snippet of the life of Ida B. Wells.  At a very young age, Ida was known to be a leader.  She helped care for her five brothers and sisters until they were all grown up after her parents became very ill.  Later in life, Ida went on to become a teacher at the neighborhood school.  It was in the classroom where she learned the power that lies in her pen.  By expressing herself through teaching and writing she was able to communicate powerful messages to people and do her part to make a difference in the world.

    What I like most about this book is the overall messages of always telling the truth and making a difference – no matter how small it may be.  Ida’s grandmother told her, “the first step in making a difference is to shine the candlelight of truth.”  While we can’t make our children tell the truth at every turn, we can have a major influence in their moral development by reading them books like this one.

    Another great thing about this book is children are exposed to a bit of history with a modern twist.  They get to learn a little about an amazing historical figure with vibrant and relatable images of diverse children.  Power in My Pen also encourages penmanship, journalism and free thought.  The back matter includes a cursive writing activity to help children become familiar with writing cursive uppercase and lowercase letters.  Check this one out with your little readers!

    Connect with Melanin Origins!
    Website | FacebookTwitter | Instagram

    melaninorigins

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    children's books, holiday books

    20+ Multicultural Thanksgiving Books for Kids!

    Thanksgiving has always been my favorite holiday of the year.  Yes, I am a true foodie at heart, but that’s not the only reason why I love Thanksgiving.  (Really, it’s not!)  To me, everything about the day provides a sense of comfort and gratitude.  Stuffing your face and eating until you’re comatose…well, that’s just an added bonus.

    I’m looking forward to enjoying family, good food, and of course reading some great books with the kids before the holiday arrives.  There are so many Thanksgiving-themed books available you may end up having a hard time deciding which ones to read.  To make it a little easier I’ve rounded up a collection of board and picture books that will teach kids the importance of gratitude, thankfulness, and kindness mixed in with a little fun and food…yum!  I’ve also added some culturally responsive/sensitive books to help teach children about the real story of Thanksgiving from a Native American perspective.

    Board Books

    Thank You God: From Kids Around the World by Allia Zobel Nolan

    As little readers turn the pages, they’ll travel to different countries and get a chance to discover what their friends in Egypt, Russia, Africa, China and other lands are grateful for–things like koala bears, northern lights, windmills, and more. And while they’re thrilling to exotic, new flora and fauna, they’ll get a lift-the-flap surprise on every spread. A great way to celebrate different cultures during Diversity Month (October), Thanksgiving, Christmas, and all year around.

    My Thanksgiving Prayer by Crystal Bowman
    thanksgivingprayer
    This board book features a child thanking and praising God for the big and small joys of life. Children will delight in the colorful illustrations and the catchy rhyming text.

    Turkey Time! by Price Stern Sloan
    turketyime
    Through rhyming text, this adorable book walks through Thanksgiving Day in the lead-up to the big meal.

    Five Silly Turkeys by Salina Yoon
    fivesillyturkeys
    Toddlers will love the silly Thanksgiving turkeys in this fun counting book full of silly turkeys doing very silly things!  From twirling on a dance floor to being chased by a bee to tanning in the sun, these are no ordinary Thanksgiving turkeys. This shiny fabric–tabbed book is a holiday treat that is sure to be gobbled up quickly.

    Picture Books (Includes Culturally Responsive Native American Books)

    We Are Grateful: Otsaliheliga by Traci Sorell

    The word otsaliheliga (oh-jah-LEE-hay-lee-gah) is used by members of the Cherokee Nation to express gratitude. Beginning in the fall with the new year and ending in summer, follow a full Cherokee year of celebrations and experiences. Written by a citizen of the Cherokee Nation, this look at one group of Native Americans is appended with a glossary and the complete Cherokee syllabary, originally created by Sequoyah.

    The Very First Native Americans by Cara Ashrose

    Long before Columbus landed in America, hundreds of groups of people had already made their homes here. You may have heard of some of them—like the Sioux, Hopi, and Seminole. But where did they live? What did they eat? How did they have fun? And where are they today? From coast to coast, learn all about these very first Americans!

    The People Shall Continue by Simon J. Ortiz

    A classic for 40 years, The People Shall continue is an absolute must for reading about the history of Indigenous people in America. This is such a beautiful, profound and important book. Every library should have a copy of it.

    Told in the rhythms of traditional oral narrative, this powerful telling of the history of the Native/Indigenous peoples of North America recounts their story from Creation to the invasion and usurpation of Native lands. As more and more people arrived, The People saw that the new men did not respect the land. The People witnessed the destruction of their Nations and the enslavement of their people. The People fought hard, but eventually agreed to stop fighting and signed treaties.

    Encounter by Jane Yolen

    When Christopher Columbus landed on the island of San Salvador in 1492, what he discovered were the Taino Indians. Told from a young Taino boy’s point of view, this is a story of how the boy tried to warn his people against welcoming the strangers, who seemed more interested in golden ornaments than friendship. Years later the boy, now an old man, looks back at the destruction of his people and their culture by the colonizers.

    1621: A New Look at Thanksgiving by Catherine O’Neill Grace

    Countering the prevailing, traditional story of the first Thanksgiving, with its black-hatted, silver-buckled Pilgrims; blanket-clad, be-feathered Indians; cranberry sauce; pumpkin pie; and turkey, this lushly illustrated photo-essay presents a more measured, balanced, and historically accurate version of the three-day harvest celebration in 1621.

    Giving Thanks: A Native American Good Morning Message by Chief Jake Swamp

    Giving Thanks is a special children’s version of the Thanksgiving Address, a message of gratitude that originated with the Native people of upstate New York and Canada and that is still spoken at ceremonial gatherings held by the Iroquois, or Six Nations.

    The Circle of Thanks by Bruchac

    Fourteen poems with themes of thanksgiving and appreciation of nature, based in part on traditional Native American songs and prayers.

    Squanto and the Miracle of Thanksgiving by Eric Metaxas

    This entertaining and historical story shows that the actual hero of Thanksgiving was neither white nor Indian but God. In 1608, English traders came to Massachusetts and captured a twelve-year-old Indian, Squanto, and sold him into slavery. He was raised by Christians and taught faith in God. Ten years later he was sent home to America. Upon arrival, he learned an epidemic had wiped out his entire village. But God had plans for Squanto. God delivered a Thanksgiving miracle: an English-speaking Indian living in the exact place where the Pilgrims landed in a strange new world.

    Squanto’s Journey by Joseph Bruchac
    squantosjourney
    In 1620 an English ship called the Mayflower landed on the shores inhabited by the Pokanoket, and it was Squanto who welcomed the newcomers and taught them how to survive. When a good harvest was gathered, the people feasted together–a tradition that continues almost four hundred years later.

    The Trail of Tears by Joseph Bruchac

    In 1838, settlers moving west forced the great Cherokee Nation, and their chief John Ross, to leave their home land and travel 1,200 miles to Oklahoma. An epic story of friendship, war, hope, and betrayal.

    Squanto Y El Primer Dia De Accion De Gracias/Squanto and the First Thanksgiving by Joyce K. Kessel

    An introduction to the life of the Massachusetts Indian Squanto, best known for befriending the Pilgrims of the New Plymouth Colony.

    Indian Shoes by Cynthia Leitich Smith

    This collection of interrelated stories is heartwarming and laugh-out-loud funny. Author Cynthia Leitich Smith writes with wit and candor about what it’s like to grow up as a Seminole-Cherokee boy who is just as happy pounding the pavement in windy Chicago as rowing on a take in rural Oklahoma.

    Four Seasons of Corn: A Winnebago Tradition by Sally M. Hunter

    Twelve-year-old Russell learns how to grow and dry corn from his Winnebago grandfather.

    Hiawatha and the Peacemaker by Robbie Robertson

    Born of Mohawk and Cayuga descent, musical icon Robbie Robertson learned the story of Hiawatha and his spiritual guide, the Peacemaker, as part of the Iroquois oral tradition. Now he shares the same gift of storytelling with a new generation.

    Hiawatha was a strong and articulate Mohawk who was chosen to translate the Peacemaker’s message of unity for the five warring Iroquois nations during the 14th century. This message not only succeeded in uniting the tribes but also forever changed how the Iroquois governed themselves—a blueprint for democracy that would later inspire the authors of the U.S. Constitution.

    Many Hands: A Penobscot Indian Story by Angeli Perrow

    Why does everyone keep telling Lily that many hands make the basket? Didn’t she make the basket with her very own hands? It is the most beautiful basket of her 10-year-old life and no one will give her the credit she deserves. In the end, she learns a valuable lesson about pride and the spirit of community. Into the story is woven the process of basket making and a Wabanaki animal legend, as well as some words of the Penobscot language.

    Duck for Turkey Day by Jacqueline Jules

    It’s almost Thanksgiving, and Tuyet is excited about the holiday and the vacation from school. There’s just one problem: her Vietnamese American family is having duck for Thanksgiving dinner – not turkey! Nobody has duck for Thanksgiving – what will her teacher and the other kids think? To her surprise, Tuyet enjoys her yummy thanksgiving dinner anyhow – and an even bigger surprise is waiting for her at school on Monday. Dinners from roast beef to lamb to enchiladas adorned the Thanksgiving tables of her classmates, but they all had something in common – family! Kids from families with different traditions will enjoy this warm story about “the right way” to celebrate an American holiday.

    Molly’s Pilgrim by Barbara Cohen

    A modern Thanksgiving classic about an immigrant girl who comes to identify with the story of the Pilgrims, as she seeks religious freedom and a home in a new land.  As Molly nears her first Thanksgiving in the New World, she doesn’t find much to be thankful for. Her classmates giggle at her accent and make fun of her unfamiliarity with American ways.

    And Molly’s mother only makes things worse when she creates a doll for a school Thanksgiving project that looks more like a Russian refugee than a New England Pilgrim. But the tiny modern-day pilgrim just might help Molly to find a place for herself in America.

    Over the River and Through the Wood: A Holiday Adventure by Linda Ashman

    This rhyming book is so fun!  It features a multiracial family traveling by sleigh to get to Grandma and Grandpa’s house for the holidays.  Each family faces an obstacle that delays their trip, but in the end they finally reach their destination.

    Thanks a Million by Nikki Grimes
    thanksamillion

    What makes you thankful? A book? Weekends? Your family? How do you say thanks? With a flower? With a chocolate bar? With a surprise?

    In sixteen extraordinary poems that range in form from a haiku to a rebus to a riddle, Nikki Grimes reminds us how wonderful it is to feel thankful, and how powerful a simple “thank you” can be.

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

    auntiemabelAuntie Mabel and her family and friends have gathered for their big Sunday dinner and can’t wait to dig into a delicious, mouthwatering meal. Before they can begin, Auntie Mabel starts—and doesn’t stop!—blessing everyone and everything she surveys: the yams and Brussels sprouts, the table and chairs—even the president of the United States!

    Milly and the Macy’s Parade by Shana Corey
    millyandthemacysparade
    In the spirit of “Miracle on 34th Street” comes a heartwarming holiday story based on the true origins of the Macy’s Parade,endorsed by Macy’s. The Macy’s Parade is a treasured American pastime. But few people know that the first parade in 1924 was organized by immigrant employees at Macy’s eager to incorporate their old-world traditions into their new American heritage. With facility & flair, Shana Corey tells the fictional story of a Polish immigrant girl who helps envision this grand event.

    Rice & Rocks by Sandra L. Richards
    riceandrocks
    Tradition takes flight in Rice & Rocks, a picture book celebrating food, culture and diversity.

    Giovanni’s friends are coming over for Sunday dinner, and his grandmother is serving rice and beans. Giovanni is embarrassed he does not like ‘rice and rocks’ and worries his friends will think the traditional Jamaican dish is weird. But his favorite Auntie comes to the rescue. She and Giovanni’s pet parrot, Jasper, take him on a magical journey across the globe, visiting places where people eat rice and rocks. This exciting story celebrates the varied traditions of every culture while also highlighting the delicious similarities that bring us all together.

    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.With Mama’s help, Cora does the grown-up jobs like shredding the chicken and soaking the noodles (perhaps Mama won’t notice if she takes a nibble of chicken or sloshes a little water on the floor). Cora even gets to stir the noodles in the pot carefully– while Mama supervises. When dinner is finally served, her siblings find out that Cora did all their grown-up tasks, and Cora waits anxiously to see what everyone thinks of her cooking.

    Rivka’s First Thanksgiving by Elsa Okon Rael
    rivkasfirstthanksgiving
    More than anything, Rivka wants to celebrate Thanksgiving. She has learned all about the holiday in school and knows her family has a lot to be thankful for in America. But Rivka’s parents are Jewish immigrants from Poland, and they wonder what Pilgrims and Indians have to do with them. Is Thanksgiving really a holiday for Jews?

    Corn is Maize: The Gift of the Indians by Aliki
    cornismaize
    Popcorn, corn on the cob, cornbread, tacos, tamales, and tortillas—all of these and many other good things come from one amazing plant. With simple prose and beautiful illustrations, award-winning author-illustrator Aliki tells the story of how Native American farmers thousands of years ago found and nourished a wild grass plant and made corn an important part of their lives.

    Sharing the Bread: An Old-Fashioned Thanksgiving Story by Pat Zietlow Miller

    sharingthebread
    Celebrate food and family with this heartwarming Thanksgiving picture book. We will share the risen bread. / Our made-with-love Thanksgiving spread. / Grateful to be warm and fed. / We will share the bread. In this spirited ode to the holiday, set at the turn of the twentieth century, a large family works together to make their special meal. Mama prepares the turkey, Daddy tends the fire, Sister kneads, and Brother bastes. Everyone—from Grandma and Grandpa to the littlest baby—has a special job to do. Told in spare, rhythmic verse and lively illustrations, Sharing the Bread is a perfect read-aloud to celebrate the Thanksgiving tradition.

    The Great Thanksgiving Escape by Mark Fearing

    thanksgivingescapeIt’s another Thanksgiving at Grandma’s. Gavin expects a long day of boredom and being pestered by distantly related toddlers, but his cousin Rhonda has a different idea: make a break for it – out of the kids’ room to the swing set in the backyard! Gavin isn’t so sure, especially when they encounter vicious guard dogs (in homemade sweaters), a hallway full of overly affectionate aunts, and worse yet, the great wall of butts! Will they manage to avoid the obstacles and find some fun before turkey time? Or will they be captured before they’ve had a taste of freedom?

    The Memory Cupboard by Charlotte Herman
    thememorycupboard
    For Katie, nothing compares to Thanksgiving at Grandma’s. There are the aunts and uncles, whom Katie loves to see each year. But a cherished object is broken at dinner, and Katie blames herself for spoiling the day.

    Gracias the Thanksgiving Turkey by Joy Cowley
    graciasthethanksgivingturkey
    In this warm holiday story, a young Puerto Rican boy saves the life of his pet turkey with help from his close-knit New York City family and neighborhood. Beginning Spanish vocabulary is woven into the text.

    Feast for 10 by Cathryn Falwell
    feastfor10

    A counting book that features an African-American family shopping for food, preparing dinner, and sitting down to eat. Lively read-aloud text paired with bright collage illustrations.

    The Little Kids’ Table by Mary Ann McCabe

    thelittlekidstable
    Everyone knows that the little kids table is the place to be for any holiday or family gathering. They just know how to have fun! This silly, rhyming story follows a group of rambunctious cousins from table setting to dessert.

    Gracias Thanks by Pat Mora
    graciasthanks
    In a series of poetic sentences, a young boy (biracial Mexican/Caucasian) tells about some of the everyday things for which he is thankful. Come share the joy, and think about all the things for which you can say, ¡Gracias! Thanks!

    The Firefighters’ Thanksgiving by Maribeth Boelts
    thefirefightersthanksgiving
    Station 1 is always a busy place. When there aren’t fires to put out there are plenty of chores to do. And on Thanksgiving Day there’s a big feast to prepare. Lou is in charge of dinner this year, but just as they finish shopping, a call comes in. They drop everything to get to the fire. Other calls interrupt Lou’s cooking throughout the day, and it looks like there may not be a Thanksgiving dinner for these firefighters.

    How Many Days to America: A Thanksgiving Story by Eve Bunting
    howmanydaystoamerica
    After the police come, a family is forced to flee their Caribbean island and set sail for America in a small fishing boat.

    Sweet Potato Pie by Kathleen D. Lindsey
    sweetpotatopie
    During a drought in the early 1900s, a large loving African American family finds a delicious way to earn the money they need to save their family farm.

    Stone Soup by Jon J Muth
    stonesoup
    Set in China in Muth’s hauntingly beautiful watercolors.  Three strangers, hungry and tired, pass through a war-torn village. Embittered and suspicious from the war, the people hide their food and close their windows tight. That is, until the clever strangers suggest making a soup from stones. Intrigued by the idea, everyone brings what they have until– together, they have made a feast fit for a king!

    Thanksgiving is for Giving Thanks by Margaret Sutherland

    Thanksgiving is about everything that we are thankful for. Cheerful, colorful illustrations accompany the simple text in this celebration of family, friends, and the holiday that brings them all together.

    Your turn:  What books will you and your little ones be reading for Thanksgiving?  Feel free to share in the comments.

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    giveaways, holiday gift guide series

    Holiday Gift Guide Series: My Reading Adventures Journal + A Giveaway!

    myreadingadventuresjournal
    Photo Credit: luandbeanread.com

    Are you guys following Lu and Bean Read yet?  They have a wonderful podcast where they introduce you to new authors and children’s stories.  They also have a lovely website and Instagram account that I’ve been following for a few months now.  Today, we’re featuring their brand new reading journal for kids in our holiday gift guide series.

    Do you keep track of the books you read on your own or the ones you read with your kids?  I keep track using an Excel spreadsheet that I’ve been using for a few years now.  I know, it’s old school, but it gets the job done.  One day I’ll finally purchase a reading journal for myself.  For now, I’ll live vicariously through my kids and help them log their books in their My Reading Adventures kids journal from luandbeanread.com.  I think it’s a great way to spark or enhance a child’s interest in reading.

    The My Reading Adventures kids reading journal offers kids space and prompts to write, draw and reflect on a year’s worth of reading. The journal allows kids to record 52 books—one for every week of the year—as well as completing several fun writing and drawing exercises. It’s designed for kids of every age. Younger kids may choose to complete the book with an adult. For the youngest kiddos, each section provides space to draw responses. Older readers may wish to use the journal on their own or with an adult. They are given the option of drawing and writing to spark their creativity.

    Details:

    • 124 pages
    • Spiral bound
    • 6 x 9 inches
    • Space to record 52 books
    • Options to write, draw or both
    • Younger readers can record pictures books with the help of an adult
    • Older readers can complete the entries alone or with an adult
    • Fun extras!

    Since we read well over 52 children’s books in a year, this journal will serve as a record of our favorite 52 books we’ll read next year along with any specific reactions the kids had.  I can’t wait to start filling up our journal!

    Perhaps you’d like to give this journal as a gift during the upcoming holiday season. Wouldn’t it be fun to pair the journal with a nice pen/pencil or markers and a favorite book?  Thankfully our new friends at luandbeanread.com are graciously offering to giveaway one FREE journal to a lucky reader.  So. One of you lovely readers will walk away with a brand new reading journal! Keep it. Or give it. Or buy a few and stick them under the tree.  Makes a great holiday gift for little readers.  Good luck!

    Connect with Lu and Bean Read!

    Website | Twitter | Instagram | Facebook

    My Reading Adventures Journal

    Your turn:  Let me whether you already keep a reading journal for your kids, or why you think it would be good to start. I look forward to hearing your responses!

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