Monthly Archives

October 2017

    children's books, cover reveal, diverse books

    Book Cover Reveal for Beautiful, Wonderful, Strong Little Me by Hannah Carmona Dias + A Giveaway!

    I’m thrilled to bring you this exclusive book cover reveal for author Hannah Carmona Dias.  How cute is the illustration on this cover?  Read the synopsis below and enter for your chance to win a signed illustration from the book.

    Beautiful, Wonderful, Strong Little Me
    by Hannah Carmona Dias, illustrated by Dolly Georgieva-Gode
    Dark skin, curly hair, and full lips. Lilly knows that she does not look like her friends, and others have notice. Through playful, lyrical lines Lilly speaks up for every girl who has been asked What are you? in a celebration of self love and acceptance.

    Available for pre-order now by clicking here!
    Add to Goodreads by clicking here!
    About the Author

    Hannah Carmona Dias is a Writer who currently resides in Tennessee. Beautiful, Wonderful, Strong Little Me is her debut book which tackles a topic she herself has struggled with. In addition to writing Hannah is also a wife, mother, founder of Collective Art School of Tennessee, YouTuber, and actress. When Hannah is not writing, she enjoys spending time with her family and two cats, dog, and iguana. She also enjoys binge-watching shows on Netflix, posting way too many GIFs on Twitter,  and avoiding housework.

    Connect with Hannah Carmona Dias!
    The Giveaway!
    Enter for your chance to win a signed illustration from the book Beautiful, Wonderful, Strong Little Me by Hannah Carmona Dias.  Open to US residents age 18 and over.  Good luck!

    a Rafflecopter giveaway

    children's books, children's literacy, giveaways

    Goodnight Guidance: 5 Tips On Getting Energetic Kids to Fall Asleep for Bedtime + A Giveaway!

    Disclaimer: We are celebrating a new book release from the creator of Goodnight Moon thanks to our sponsor HarperCollins!

    5 Tips On Getting Energetic Kids to Fall Asleep for Bedtime
    Let’s talk about sleep.  Bedtime shouldn’t be a battle, right?  But for many children and parents bedtime can be one of the most stressful times of the day especially if you have energetic children who have trouble falling asleep.

    One of our favorite bedtime rituals is reading time! We’ve long been fans of Goodnight Moon by Margaret Wise Brown and illustrated by Clement Hurd. This classic picture book was originally released 70 years ago but a new padded board book edition just came out in June of this year. We were so excited to also learn about a previously unpublished book from Margaret Wise Brown that just came out October 3rd.  Good Day, Good Night uses the same signature word pattern as Goodnight Moon and is paired with beautiful illustrations by Loren Long. The little bunny returns to delight at hidden surprises of both the nighttime and the daytime! It’s quickly become a new favorite for bedtime reads.

    Before having children I used to know the importance of getting a good night’s sleep, but I didn’t appreciate it nearly as much as I do now. Sleep is critical to a child’s development.  That’s why it’s important to establish and maintain consistent bedtime routines starting at an early age.  Once you get past the middle-of-the-night feedings and diaper changes phase, consider storytime and these other simple strategies I use to put bedtime problems to rest.

    1. Create an inviting environment for sleeping
    I once read the keys to making people feel welcome is all about focusing on sight, sound and smell.  If something is appealing to the eyes, the ears and the nose, people are more likely to be attracted to it and feel comfortable with it.  To implement this at bedtime I simply fluff up my kid’s pillows, dim the lights, arrange all of their stuffed toys, pull down the covers, light a lavender candle in their room and play some soothing music.  I also make sure their room is neat and tidy with no toys or other objects lying around on the floor.  Once they’re out of the bath, they walk into their room relaxed, clean and ready for storytime.

    2. Read books
    This one is pretty simple and straightforward.  We read a variety of things before bed: board books, picture books, early chapter books (read alouds) and children’s magazines.  We typically read for at least 15 – 30 minutes before bed.  Storytime is also great for snuggling and bonding with your child at the end of the day.  One of our classic bedtime favorites is Goodnight Moon and we are loving adding Good Day, Good Night into the reading rotation.

    3. Ban screen time one hour before bed
    To ease the transition to bedtime, keep things quiet during the hour before bedtime. Put away mobile devices, video games and toys. Turn off the TV and any computers. Limit children to quiet activities, such as reading, coloring or doing puzzles. Sleep may be more appealing if kids slows down before bedtime.

    4. Get the wiggles and giggles out
    Sometimes we like to wind down by doing stretching and a few yoga poses.  Another trick I learned from another mommy blogger I follow is to practice deep breathing in a hugging position with your child.  It really seems to work!  I set a timer for about two minutes and we do it together sitting on the floor.  All you do is hug your child and then you start deep breathing.  Most children will automatically start deep breathing too, but if they don’t ask them to join you in taking a few deep breaths.  Give it a try!

    5. Don’t let weekends throw you off.
    Sleeping in on the weekends doesn’t help anyone catch up on sleep and can, instead, throw off our internal clocks. A policy of staying up late “because it’s the weekend” could jeopardize your child’s sleep the following week, so try to avoid that if you can.

    Bottom line is to make bedtime a priority. A predictable, calming bedtime routine is often the key to a good night’s sleep.  What the bedtime routine involves is up to you.  Experiment to find what works best for you — but once you settle on a routine, follow it consistently every night.

    Your turn: What are your tips and tricks to getting kids to fall asleep?  Feel free to share in the comments. And keep reading for more about the creative team for Goodnight Moon and Good Day, Good Night – plus a giveaway!

    About Good Day, Good Night
    This previously unpublished picture book by beloved children’s book author Margaret Wise Brown uses her signature word pattern from the classic Goodnight Moon that has soothed generations of children to sleep. Paired with Loren Long’s gorgeous illustrations, readers will take comfort in the reassuring world of the little bunny and delight at the attention to detail and hidden surprises on every page.

    About Goodnight Moon
    In a great green room, tucked away in bed, is a little bunny. “Goodnight room, goodnight moon.” And to all the familiar things in the softly lit room—to the picture of the three little bears sitting on chairs, to the clocks and his socks, to the mittens and the kittens, to everything one by one—the little bunny says goodnight. In this classic of children’s literature, beloved by generations of readers, the quiet poetry of the words and the gentle, lulling illustrations combine to make a perfect book for the end of the day, complete with a soft, padded cover and sturdy board book pages.

    About Margaret Wise Brown
    Margaret Wise Brown, cherished for her unique ability to convey a child’s experience and perspective of the world, transformed the landscape of children’s literature with such beloved classics as Goodnight Moon and The Runaway Bunny. Other perennial favorites by Ms. Brown include Nibble NibbleMy WorldWhere Have You Been?Christmas in the BarnThe Dead Bird, and Sneakers, the Seaside Cat.

    About Loren Long (illustrator of Good Day, Good Night)
    Loren Long is the author and illustrator of the New York Times bestselling picture books OtisOtis and the TornadoOtis and the PuppyAn Otis Christmas, and Otis and the Scarecrow. He is the #1 New York Times bestselling illustrator of President Barack Obama’s picture book Of Thee I Sing and the re-illustrated edition of The Little Engine That Could by Watty Piper. He lives in Ohio. To learn more, please visit

    About Clement Hurd (illustrator of Goodnight Moon)

    Clement Hurd (1908–1988) is best known for illustrating Goodnight Moon and The Runaway Bunny, the classic picture books by Margaret Wise Brown. He studied painting in Paris with Fernand Léger and others in the early 1930s. After his return to the United States in 1935, he began to work in children’s books. He illustrated more than one hundred books, many of them with his wife, Edith Thacher Hurd, including the Johnny Lion books, The Day the Sun Danced, and The Merry Chase. A native of New York City, he lived most of his life in Vermont and California.

    Connect with Harper Collins!

    Learn more about Good Day, Good Night on

    Learn more about the new edition of Goodnight Moon on

    Follow the official Goodnight Moon Facebook page

    Follow HarperCollins Children’s Books on Twitter | Facebook | Instagram

    Watch the Good Day, Good Night book trailer and download the activity booklet to use at home with your kids!

    The Giveaway!
    One (1) winner will receive:
    Copies of Good Day, Good Night and Goodnight Moon
    Good Day, Good Night- themed event kit
    Branded bunny rattle provided by KidsPreferred.

    Giveaway open to US addresses only.
    Prizing provided by HarperCollins and KidsPreferred.

    Good Day, Good Night and Goodnight Moon Prize Pack

    children's books, giveaways, holiday books

    A Halloween Book Giveaway: Lola Levine and the Halloween Scream

    Disclaimer: I’m delighted to partner with author Monica Brown and Little, Brown Books for Young Readers to bring you this fun Halloween book giveaway!

    Lola Levine and the Halloween Scream by Monica Brown, illustrated by Angela Dominguez

    Age Range: 4 – 8
    Grade Level: 1 – 5
    Pages: 96
    Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers

    Lola Levine is ready to celebrate her favorite holiday in the sixth book in this charming chapter book series by acclaimed author Monica Brown.

    It’s Halloween–Lola and Ben’s favorite holiday. She loves pumpkins, scary costumes, monsters, and ghosts–and she likes to scare people, too. But when Lola plays a scary joke on her super best friends, Josh Blot and Bella Benitez, it doesn’t go as planned.

    Can Lola learn from her mistake and still have a happy Halloween?

    About the Author
    Monica Brown, Ph.D. is the author of many award winning books for children, including Waiting for the Biblioburro and Marisol McDonald Doesn’t Match/Marisol McDonald no combina. Her books have received starred reviews, Pura Belpre honors, an NCTE Orbis Pictus honor, Americas Awards, and a Christopher Award. Monica’s books are inspired by her Peruvian and Jewish heritage and her desire to bring diverse stories to children. Monica is a professor of English at North Arizona University, where she teaches multicultural literature. She lives in Arizona with her husband and two daughters, and she invites you to visit her website at

    Angela Dominguez was born in Mexico City, grew up in the great state of Texas, and now lives in Brooklyn. She is the author of Knit TogetherLet’s Go, Hugo!, Maria Had a Little Llama, and Santiago Stays.

    The Giveaway!
    We’re giving away TWO (2) copies of this fun easy reader chapter book for kids!  Entering is easy just follow the steps listed below.  We’ll choose two (2) random winners by the deadline.  Books will ship just in time for a Halloween treat.  Open to US residents only age 18 and over.

    Lola Levine and the Halloween Scream Book Giveaway

    book reviews, children's books, family fun, literary road trip series

    We Are in an ART-ivity: Paper Sculpture Activity + Meeting Mo Willems!

    Disclaimer: We love Mo Willems books and are so excited to be sponsored by Disney-Hyperion for the #ReadMo Ambassador program!

    We Are in an ART-ivity Book! by Mo Willems
    Released September 5th, 2017
    Recommended for ages 4- 8

    About the Book

    Drawing! Coloring! Sculpting! Gaming! Puzzling! LOLing! It’s all here in the first-ever Elephant & Piggie ART-ivity book.

    Elephant & Piggie are joined by a new face too: Art Vaark. Art the aardvark introduces Elephant, Piggie (and kids) to an incredible span of artistic styles: a “banana” still life; a color-by-number Piggie “Scream” painting; a scrap-paper collage (for which you earn an official “Collage Diploma”); and so much more.

    Created by the same team behind Don’t Let the Pigeon Finish This Activity Book!, this fun-filled, hands-on book features an interactive narrative that invites kids into an exciting, original Elephant & Piggie adventure!


    We’ve been working our way through our ART-ivity book one activity at a time for the past few weeks.  I like the variety it offers: drawing, coloring, games, puzzles and more.  The coloring projects have been great for helping to strengthen fine motor skills and the drawing projects are helping the kids to be more creative even if some of their drawings don’t look exactly like the picture in the book.  That’s ok, right?  That’s what art is all about!

    Although this book is recommended for ages 4 to 8, I’d probably recommend if for ages 5 and up simply because some of the activities require slightly more advanced skills (draw a self portrait, cut and paste, mazes, puzzles) than a typical four year-old can handle independently.  Depending on each child’s abilities, adult supervision may be necessary while working on some of the activities in this book.

    I love organization so I really LOVE the index in this book that lists various art masterpieces that inspired some of the crafts listed in the book.  The index tells you the name of the artwork, the artist who created it along with the year it was created and where you can find it.  This in itself would make for a great open art discussion with older readers or perhaps inspire you to take a field trip to see one of the art exhibits in person.

    The book also has a handy pocket where kids can store all of the art projects and perforated pages that makes it easy to take out of the book.  Helpful icons are displayed on pages throughout the book at the bottom of each page to help kids know what’s needed for each art project.  For example: there is an icon of a pencil, crayons, tape, scissors, paper, etc.  Once the art-ivity book has been completed, there is a certificate for children to write their name(s) on.

    Meeting Mo Willems + An ART-ivity!

    Last weekend I decided to take our ART-ivity book with us on a field trip to the Eric Carle Museum in Amherst, MA.  We attended the Inspiration Day at the Carle event and guess who was there?  Mr. Mo Willems himself!  Even though I only chatted with him for a brief moment he was just as funny and as personable as you would expect.  I was more excited than the kids were to meet him!

    In addition to meeting Mo and having him sign our books, we also created our own paper sculptures in the art studio. My daughter even got creative and turned her paper sculpture into a piece of wearable art!  Check out some of the highlights below.

    Shhhh…little artists at work!

    Inspiration Day at the Carle with Mo Willems and art-ivities!

    Finished paper sculpture #1

    Finished paper sculpture #2 – it’s wearable art!

    Finished paper sculpture #3 (by Mom)

    Mo Willems and Bryan Collier


    About the Author

    Mo Willems (, a number one New York Times best-selling author and illustrator, has been awarded a Caldecott Honor on three occasions, for Don’t Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus!, Knuffle Bunny: A Cautionary Tale, and Knuffle Bunny Too: A Case of Mistaken Identity. The celebrated Elephant & Piggie early-reader series has been awarded the Theodor Seuss Geisel Medal on two occasions (for There Is a Bird on Your Head! and Are You Ready to Play Outside?) as well as garnering five Geisel Honors (for We Are in a Book!, I Broke My Trunk!, Let’s Go for a Drive!, A Big Guy Took My Ball! and Waiting Is Not Easy!).

    Connect with Disney Books!
    Visit the Official Website
    Follow Disney-Hyperion on Twitter
    Check out Disney Books on Facebook and Instagram

    Your turn: What are some of your favorite types of art projects to do with kids?  Have you ever met Mo Willems or any other author/illustrator?  Feel free to share in the comments.