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March 2017

    children's books, giveaways, holiday books

    Lucky Leprechaun: How to Trap a Leprechaun Book Giveaway!

    Giveaway HopWelcome to the 1st annual Lucky Leprechaun Giveaway Hop hosted by SaraLee’s Deals Steals & Giveaways. This is an open themed hop with NO minimum prize value. Enter to win the prize Grand Prize by our host for that lucky man in your life. Manscaped – The Perfect Package is sponsoring the prize. So be sure to enter the giveaway here than hop on over and enter all the other great prizes today!

    I’m so excited to be a part of of the “Lucky Leprechaun” blog hop and to sponsor a copy of the book How to Trap a Leprechaun by Sue Fliess as my personal contribution.

    About the Book


    Legend has it that if you catch a leprechaun, he’ll grant you a wish. But, be careful! Leprechauns are full of trickery. To catch one, you’ll need to be clever in crafting your trap. Grab some glitter and glue and get prepared for your wily holiday visitors!

    On the night before St. Patrick’s Day, leprechauns show up to steal your treasures and then disappear as quickly as they came. However, if you’re careful you might be able to catch one and then he’ll grant you a wish. You’ll have to be sneaky and set just the right trap to trap a leprechaun.

    Sue Fliess’s read-aloud text and Emma Randall’s whimsical illustrations will provide much fun for young readers eager to catch their very own leprechaun! But beware: leprechauns may leave you with nothing but a cardboard box and a shoe or two.

    Enter the giveaway here!

    How to Trap a Leprechaun

    Also, be sure to enter for your chance to win the grand prize and visit some of the other amazing bloggers involved in the giveaway blog hop!

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    children's books, read aloud

    When a Bully Is President

    When a Bully is President: Truth and Creativity for Opressive Times by Maya Gonzalez

    Publisher: Reflection Press
    Pages: 48
    Age Range: 7 – 10 and up
    Grade Level: 2 – 5  and up
    Format: Paperback

    Synopsis
    Bullying is real, but we can change the story by changing the focus. Begin with yourself. Begin the journey of art activist. You are the artist. You are the storyteller. Change yourself. Change the world!

    Playful ink and watercolor illustrations support a powerful journey that touches on bullying in the founding history of the US, how that history may still be impacting kids and families today, and ways to use creativity and self respect in the face of negative messages for all marginalized communities. The first part of the book briefly acknowledges the United States’ past and present and shows some basic forms of activism that kids engage in. The next part talks about walking away from a bully or de-escalation and focusing on how to take care of yourself and community. Finally, practical ways creativity and portraiture can be used to support self respect and spread respect in community are explored. Communities reflected include Native Americans, African Americans, Mexican Americans, Chicanx, LGBTQ Americans, disabled Americans, Americans who identify as women and girls, Muslim and Sikh Americans and Asian Americans. Story text is in English and Spanish. The back includes related resources and referrals.

    Reflection
    This book is a perfect example of a person taking action! The idea and concept of this book came as a direct result of the 2016 Presidential election. On November 9, 2016 (just one day after the election) author Maya Gonzalez decided to pen a children’s book about bullying because she knows first hand what it’s like to be bullied. She understands what it’s like to feel like you don’t have any power in any given situation. Enter President Donald Trump.

    This bilingual (English/Spanish) book is NOT your usual children’s book. It’s more of a self-care book for kids using truth and creativity as tools to help kids deal with bullying. It focuses on the heart of social justice issues – doing the inner work. Communities reflected include: Native Americans, African Americans, Mexican Americans, Chicanx, LGBTQ Americans, disabled Americans, Americans who identify as women and girls, Muslim and Sikh Americans and Asian Americans. It also defines what the word bullying means, discusses colonization and talks about ways children can make a difference.

    The illustrations are outstanding and so powerful! Consider this book to be a call to action and a valuable tool for our youth ages 7-10 and up. Children are challenged to stand up for themselves, love themselves, understand their history and embrace their own creative power. The backmatter includes a glossary and additional resources. Check this one out for your little activits and agents of change!

    Your turn: Have you read this book with your little readers yet?  Feel free to share in the comments.

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    children's books, holiday books

    Kiss Me, I’m Irish!: 5 Diverse St. Patrick’s Day Picture Books

    I never really used to do much to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day besides wear the color green and cook corned beef and cabbage. If I really wanted to get fancy I’d eat a green bagel or drink a green smoothie.  However, since becoming a parent, St. Patrick’s Day is now all about shamrocks, rainbows, setting leprechaun traps, teaching the kids about the holiday and finding fun ways to celebrate the day.  Needless to say, Pinterest is my best friend.

    The kids and I also read a variety of St. Patrick’s Day themed books.  Here, I’ve listed 5 of our favorite St. Patty’s Day books that feature a diverse cast of characters.  Enjoy!

    How to Trap a Leprechaun

    Sue Fliess’s read-aloud text and Emma Randall’s whimsical illustrations will provide much fun for young readers eager to catch their very own leprechaun! But beware: leprechauns may leave you with nothing but a cardboard box and a shoe or two.

    How to Catch a Leprechaun

    You’ve been planning night and day, and finally you’ve created the perfect trap! Now all you need to do is wait. Is this the year you’ll finally catch the leprechaun? Start a St. Patrick’s Day tradition with this fun and lively children’s book.

    How to catch a leprechaun?
    It’s tougher than you think!
    He’ll turn your whole house upside down.
    He’s quicker than a wink!

    Hooray for St. Patrick’s Day!

    It’s Saint Patrick’s Day, and time to join in the celebration. Children can lift the flaps for interactive fun as they see the children in this book make holiday crafts, taste traditional Irish food, perform a play about Saint Patrick, and even march in a Saint Patrick’s Day parade. As an added bonus, they can search for the hidden leprechaun on each spread.

    St. Patrick’s Day


    Today in Mrs. Madoff’s class we all wore something green to school. Kate played the fiddle and we danced to Irish music. Then we learned about St. Patrick and many Irish tales and traditions. Now we know why there are no snakes in Ireland. Not every-one in school is all Irish like me, but we all can celebrate St. Patrick’s Day together!

    Fiona’s Luck


    The greedy Leprechaun King has locked away all the luck in Ireland and the whole country has fallen in to despair. Through clever charades, Fiona outwits the Leprechaun King and restores luck to the land.

    Your turn: How do you celebrate St. Patrick’s Day with your children?  What books would you add to this list?  Feel free to share in the comments.

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    children's books, read aloud

    Kill ‘Em With Kindness: 18 Love and Kindness Books for Kids!

    It couldn’t be a more perfect time for us to take a moment and celebrate love and kindness through books! We can ALWAYS use a little more love and kindness and a reminder through books, for kids and adults, never fails.

    The world is a crazy place and we have an opportunity to teach our kids to love and be kind. To look for opportunities to reach beyond themselves and show someone else they care. February was the perfect month for all of us at @kidlitpicks to be reminded of these beautiful ideas, and so we shared books on Love and Kindness all month long. We’re proud to present our round-up for the month!

    Thanks to Michelle from The Book Report for such a wonderful theme!

    Wonder, by RJ Palacio

    “’Courage. Kindness. Friendship. Character. These are the qualities that define us as human beings, and propel us, on occasion, to greatness’ — R.J Palacio” — Summer from @readingisourthing

    My Beautiful Birds, by ​​Suzanne Del Rizzo

    “I would love to talk about each and every spread, but this is a book worth seeing for yourself. Trust me, it will stick with you for a very long time.” — Mel from @spiky_penelope

    I Love You Night and Day, by Smriti Prasadam-Halls and Alison Brown; I Love You Through and Through, by Bernadette Rossetti Shustak and Caroline Jayne Church; God Loves You, and I Do, Too!, by Bonnie Rickner Jensen

    You are loved. Sometimes, that is just all the message a book needs.” — Katie from @afriendlyaffair

    Shhh! We Have a Plan, by Chris Haughton

    To me this book perfectly illustrates the beautiful, gentle way a child sees the world. It shows that gentleness and kindness are the best way to get things done.” — Claire from @alittlebookhabit

    Plant a Kiss, by Amy Krouse Rosenthal and Peter H Reynolds

    We need to teach our children to do just that; spread love and kindness to those that we encounter.” — Leah from @astoryaday

    That’s Me Loving You, by Amy Krause Rosenthal and Teagan White

    One of the darling new release books about love.” — Clarissa from @book.nerd.mommy

    Pass It On, by Sophy Henn

    A beautiful message with bright and colourful illustrations, this book is a perfect read to cheer you up and make you smile. Just remember to #passiton” —  Kim from @bookbairn

    Wolf in the Snow, by Matthew Cordell

    This nearly wordless picture book carries a subtle message of connection and love. With gentle tenderness, the story feels fresh and a bit introspective.” — Miranda from @bookbloom

    The Wonderful Things You Will Be, by Emily Winfield Martin

    This book is a celebration of the love of a parent for their child from tiny baby to watching them grow into the person they were meant to be.” — De from @books_and_babycinos

    Love Matters Most, by Mij Kelly and Gerry Turley

    A mama polar bear searches for her cub!” — Arielle from @childrensbooksgalore

    You Are My Heart, Marianne Richmond

    For all the love, words, hopes and dreams I have for my little one that I’m too much of a blubbering mess to say, this book is just perfect.” — Rossa from @curiouslittlepeople

    One, by Kathryn Otoshi

    If you need to address bullying with any age group and begin some thoughtful discussions on the topic, look no further than One.” — Lauren from @happily.ever.elephants

    One brings up key life lessons about boundaries, kindness, common courtesy, and standing up for yourself.” — Charnaie from @hereweeread

    The Crow’s Tale, by Naomi Howarth

    “We can easily look around and see the love and sacrifices that those around us make. From the small moments such as holding open a door for another, to the simple act of going to work every morning.” — Wendy from @homegrownreader

    Under the Love Umbrella, by Davina Bell and Allison Colpoys

    “Let’s just give a [fist bump] for the diversity of characters and family situations depicted in the awesome-sauce illustrations.” — Shannon from @ohcreativeday

    Plenty of Love to Go Around, by Emma Chichester Clark

    A great book for dealing with jealously, sharing, and realizing there is enough love in someone’s heart for more than one.” — Michelle from @the.book.report

    Lily Loves, by Kai Lüftner and Judith Drews

    Wild and cautious, loud and gentle, Lily is totally and truly herself.” — Liam from @words.and.illustrations

    Your turn: What books would you add to this list?  Feel free to share in the comments.

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    adult books, giveaways, subscription boxes

    Book of the Month Club + An Instagram Giveaway!

    Disclosure: I was chosen to be part of a campaign to promote literacy and the joy of reading by Acceleration Partners. Any opinions expressed are my own.  I received the products mentioned in this post for free from Book of the Month. This post also contains affiliate links and I will be compensated if you make a purchase after clicking on my links.

    I’m so excited to finally try out the Book of the Month Club!  Book of the Month is a subscription box-style book club dedicated to helping avid readers find great new fiction and non-fiction titles. I love that it exposes me to a variety of new titles that weren’t previously on my radar.  They work hard to bring their members books that are truly worth reading—well-written, immersive stories that will transport you, give you thrills, and tug at your heartstrings—and they have been championing literacy for over 90 years!

    Each month, their panel of Judges selects 5 great new books. Selections are announced on the first of the month, and members can choose which book they would like to receive. All plans include: 1 hardcover book of your choice each month, and free shipping.  Members can also add up to 2 books to their monthly box for an additional cost.  They also have affordable gift memberships available for easy gift giving to your fellow bookworms.

    If you want to try it out for yourself, you can sign up now (using my referral link) and choose from the 5 best books of the month!  You can also enter my Instagram giveaway and enter to win one of five FREE 3-month subscription boxes I’m giving away (US residents only).  But hurry, the giveaway ends on Tuesday, March 7th at 11:59pm.  Good Luck!

    Your turn: Are you a member of Book of the Month Club?  What’s the thing you like best about the club?  Feel free to share in the comments.

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    book reviews, children's books

    You Are Three by Sara O’Leary (A Book Review)

    You Are Three by Sara O’Leary, illustrated by Karen Klassen

    Publisher: Owl Kids Books
    Format: Hardcover
    Pages: 24
    Age Range: 2-3
    Grade Level: Preschool

    Synopsis
    Life’s third year is full of milestones: learning ABCs, making friends, playing make-believe, and having real conversations. The final book in this series, You Are Three, looks back on each of these memorable achievements and more, inviting little ones to celebrate how much they have grown and discovered.

    Supersaturated ink-and-wash illustrations in a striking palette lend a contemporary, whimsical feel to the book while the diverse children pictured add to the text’s warmth and broad appeal. You Are Three is a timely gift for toddlers and their parents, who will enjoy reflecting on the highlights of the third year and expressing how much their child is loved.

    Reflection

    I remember when we ventured into “threenager” territory when my daughter turned three.  Growing up I always heard the term “terrible twos”, but now people seem to think turning three is worse than turning two.  At least that’s what so many people kept telling me.  The term “threenager” is now the way people often refer to the milestone third year of life for children.

    Like some parents, I get emotional when I start thinking about how fast the kids are growing.  This is especially true for milestone birthdays like age 3.  It’s so bittersweet for parents, but turning three is monumental for children.  It seems as if they find their own independence overnight.  Gone are the days when they need to be right by your side at all times.  When You Are Three highlights just how much changes with a child’s development in one year.

    So much has changed in just a year.  You are three!  We used to always know where to find you.  But now you are here, there, and everywhere.

    Throughout the book you see children doing a variety of things three year olds are typically capable of doing: saying their ABC’s, building a tower with blocks, having conversations, and riding on a scooter.  I love the vintage/contemporary and whimsical feel to all of the illustrations.  I also like the warm and inviting choice of color palette the illustrator used.  There is also a diverse cast of toddlers which depicts that the same developmental changes are evident in different races and cultures around the world.

    When You Are Three shows how children are constantly exploring new concepts and ideas.  It demonstrates three year olds’ newfound physical abilities and their skill at judging risk.  As a parent of a three year-old son, it makes me value his inquisitive nature, his kindness and his sense of responsibility.

    Just as the other two books in this series, (You Are One and You Are Two) I think this book is great for children transitioning from babies into toddlerdom.  In addition to showcasing a child’s developmental changes, this book also sends a clear message to children that a parent’s love is something that will never fade.  It will only grow stronger.  Check this one out for the “threenagers” in your life.  It makes a great gift for a third birthday party!

    Your turn: Have you read the other two books in this series?  Are you looking forward to reading this one?  Feel free to share in the comments.

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    book reviews, children's books

    Over and Under the Pond by Kate Messner (A Book Review)

    Over and Under the Pond by Kate Messner, illustrated by Christopher Silas Neal

    Publisher: Chronicle Books
    Pages: 48
    Format: Hardcover
    Age Range: 4- 8 years old
    Grade Level: Preschool – 3

    Synopsis
    In this gorgeous companion to the acclaimed Over and Under the Snow and Up in the Garden and Down in the Dirt, Kate Messner and Christopher Silas Neal bring to life a secret underwater world. In this book, readers will discover the plants and animals that make up the rich, interconnected ecosystem of a mountain pond. Over the pond, the water is a mirror, reflecting the sky. But under the pond is a hidden world of minnows darting, beavers diving, tadpoles growing. These and many other secrets are waiting to be discovered…over and under the pond.

    Reflection
    I think Kate Messner’s series of non-fiction picture books are wonderful.  Each one is chock full of interesting tidbits of factual information.  This latest book in the series features a little brown boy and his mother exploring the pond together in a canoe.  Together the boy and his mother narrate the story as they learn about some animals that call the pond their home. There are herbivores like: fish, beavers and moose. You’ll also find carnivores like: otters and raccoons.

    Under the pond is a whole hidden world of minnows and crayfish, turtles and bullfrogs.  Over the pond, we skim past tall rushes.  Whirligig beetles loop and twirl – skaters on a warm summer surface.

    I love the whole “over and under” concept as it gives little readers a glimpse of what happens both above and below the surface.  Above the pond you see various birds, plants and trees and below you see animals that live in the pond. We even discovered a few new animals like: whirligig beetles, caddisfly larvae and pileated woodpeckers.  The back matter includes a paragraph of information about each featured animal, an author’s note and a list for further reading.  Most of the information you’ll learn from reading the paragraphs in the back of the book.  The rest of the book reads more like a story.  The author’s note explains this story was inspired by a canoe trip on Barnum Pond at the Paul Smith’s College Visitor Interpretive Center in the Adirondack Mountains.

    Overall, I think this is a beautifully illustrated and informative book that illustrates by working together all animals and organisms play an equal role in keeping their pond clean and healthy.

    About the Author
    Kate Messner is the award-winning author of Over and Under the Snow, Up in the Garden and Down in the Dirt and more than a dozen other books for young readers.  She lives on Lake Champlain with her family.

    About the Illustrator
    Christopher Silas Neal is an award-winning illustrator whose work is published regularly in the New York Times and shown in galleries.  He teaches illustration at Pratt Institute and lives in Brooklyn, New York.

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