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    children's books, giveaways

    Jolene Adventures of a Junk Food Queen: A Book Giveaway!

    I consider myself to be a pretty healthy eater.  I pride myself on eating a well balanced diet most days and drinking the recommended 8 glasses of water per day.  However, I do have days when I like to eat “not so healthy” foods including junk food.

    As much as you want to hide from it, junk food will come and find you and your kids at some point in life. It’s inevitable.  Birthday parties. Vacations. Holidays. Grandparents.  Workplace celebrations.  Need I go on?

    Of course, when kids are really young, parents (or caregivers) control what they eat completely.  However, as kids get a little older, it becomes more important to teach them how to make good choices for themselves.   That’s the overall message of the book Jolene Adventures of a Junk Food Queen by Alexa Palmer & Catharine Kaufman.

    The book is based on the experiences of its authors: Alexa Palmer, a preschool teacher who noticed a need for a nutrition book tailored to the way she observes children absorb information, through fun and fantasy; and Catharine Kaufman, a nationally syndicated food columnist. Kids can relate to Jolene- she is a junk food junkie just like they might be. AND she is transformational in her eating habits. This similarity between the behaviors of the characters and the real-life tendencies of children is what attracts kids to the story.

    At the back of the book are healthy smoothie recipes for the kids to make at home and with their friends, just like the main character Jolene does in the book.

    Today, we’ve teamed up with the authors of this book to bring you this fun giveaway!  Enter below for your chance to win a copy of the book.  Good luck!

    Publisher: Kaufman/Palmer
    Pages: 60

    Jolene loves junk food. She loves it so much she wears red licorice in her hair–and pink taffy underwear! The Munch Bunch calls her “The Junk Food Queen.” Then, one night in her dreams, she meets a bunch of cool characters who take her on an incredible, edible journey into a world of juicy fruits, super salads and yummy smoothies.

    Jolene Adventures of a Junk Food Queen

    black history, children's books, giveaways

    When Rosa Parks Went Fishing: A Black History Month Book Giveaway!

    In honor of Black History Month, today we’re partnering with author Rachel Ruiz to bring you this fabulous book giveaway!  I already shared this book and reviewed it last year, but if you want to read my review you can find that post by clicking here.

    Enter our book giveaway below if you’re interested.  Good luck!

    When Rosa Parks Went Fishing by Rachel Ruiz
    Format: Paperback or Hardcover (Library edition)
    Pages: 32
    Age Range: 6 – 12
    Grade Level: 2- 3

    Synopsis:  No discussion of the Civil Rights Movement is complete without the story of Rosa Parks. But what was this activist like as a child? Following young Rosa from a fishing creek to a one-room schoolhouse, from her wearing homemade clothes to wondering what “white” water tastes like, readers will be inspired by the experiences that shaped one of the most famous African-Americans in history.

    Interior illustration from the book When Rosa Parks Went Fishing

    When Rosa Parks Went Fishing Book Giveaway

    children's books, giveaways

    Fairy Mom and Me by Sophie Kinsella + A Giveaway!

    Fairy Mom and Me by Sophie Kinsella, illustrated by Marta Kissi

    Ella Brook can’t wait to grow up, because one day she will become a fairy and have her own sparkly wings and a teacher on Fairy Tube, just like her mom! Until then, Ella has to learn by watching her mom in action. But sometimes spells go wrong, and Ella’s mom can never seem to remember the right magic codes on her Computawand. A lot of the time, it’s up to Ella to come to the rescue. Does she have what it takes to be a fairy one day? Or will there be more glitches than glitter? (Ages 7 – 10)

    FAIRY MOM AND ME is filled with ultimate wish-fulfillment, tech-savvy humor, and modern flair. Fans of Sophie Kinsella’s sparkling humor will love her first-ever series for young readers! Complete with black-and-white illustrations throughout and discussion questions and family activities in the back, this is the perfect shareable story for kids and parents.

    About the Author

    SOPHIE KINSELLA is the author of the bestselling Shopaholic series, as well as the novels Can You Keep a Secret?, The Undomestic Goddess, Remember Me?, Twenties Girl, I’ve Got Your Number, Wedding Night, and Finding Audrey. She lives in England. Visit her website at or find her on Instagram at @sophiekinsellawriter and Twitter at @KinsellaSophie.

    About the Illustrator
    MARTA KISSI is a freelance illustrator living and working in London. She studied illustration and animation at Kingston University and completed her MA at the Royal College of Art. She now works on various children book projects as well as covers and editorial pieces for both children and adults.

    The Giveaway!
    One lucky winner (US residents only) will receive a copy of the newly released book Fairy Mom and Me.  Good luck!

    Fairy Mom and Me Book Giveaway

    family fun, giveaways

    Playtime at the Palace Theatre: Connecticut Family-Friendly Events + A Giveaway!

    Playtime at The Palace, the hit series of live performances geared toward children and families, returns to The Palace Theatre in Stamford, CT on Sunday, January 14, 2018. The fun-filled season of puppeteers, bubble-makers, magicians and musicians has doubled in size for 2018, with eight shows to entertain and delight even the youngest theatergoers.

    Playtime at The Palace runs select Sundays January through April with performances at 3:00pm.  What a great way to spend a Sunday afternoon especially during the winter months when cabin fever usually starts to kick in.

    The 2018 line-up includes:

    January 14 – Cardboard Explosion: A one-of-a-kind puppetry experience, Cardboard Explosion brings original stories to life using nothing but cardboard and the power of imagination. With help from the audience, puppeteer Brad Shur transforms simple cardboard shapes into elaborate puppet characters. Audience members will outsmart dragons, choose their own superpower, and train adorable animal sidekicks in this fun, energetic, participatory show.

    February 4 – The Magic of Presto Pete & Incredulous Chris: Traveling two-man kids comedy magicians and real life brothers Presto Pete and Incredulous Chris present this ultra high-energy show. Kids will guffaw and giggle at their crazy cartoon-like slapstick antics and be wowed at the illusions presented. The show is sibling rivalry at its wackiest and packed with audience participation.

    February 11 – Mr. Fish: The Science of Magic: The secrets of magic are scientifically revealed! Most magic tricks and illusions that have confounded and confused audiences for centuries actually have scientific explanations. This show uses mirrors, magnets, air, optical illusions, and mental confusions to educate and delight the audience, demonstrating the principals of light, sight, reflection, magnetism, memory, air pressure, and logic.

    February 18 – The Tanglewood Marionettes Present Sleeping Beauty: Large, beautifully handcrafted marionettes, colorful sets, and integrated lighting and sound create a fully immersive theatrical experience. In the Tanglewood Marionettes’ retelling of the classic tale, a painted storybook opens to reveal each scene and marionettes are brought to life by a master puppeteer as the dramatic events unfold.

    March 4 – Jay and Ray: Jams for Fams: With an energetic, silly and fun show rooted in play-based learning, Jay and Ray explore rhythm, melody and movement in a way that’s entertaining not only for children, but their parents as well.

    March 11 – Casey Carle’s BubbleMania: Dubbed “a true master of his craft” by Cirque du Soleil, Carle’s one-man show combines spontaneous comedy, jazzy music and brilliant bubbling. Carle delights audiences with fantastic fog-filled bubble sculptures, a cube bubble, funky foam, bubble ping-pong, trapping an audience member (or two) inside a gigantic soap bubble and thousands of bubbles filling the stage.

    March 25 – Story Pirates: The Stuck in the Stone Age Tour: In Story Pirates’ newest book, “Stuck in the Stone Age,” two scientists accidentally transport themselves back in time to the age of cavemen and saber-tooth tigers. Audiences join in the adventure to bring Tom Edison (no relation to that Thomas Edison) and Dr. Marissa Morice back home, all the while learning about the building blocks of a good story and proving that every kid has a story to tell.

    April 8 – Frogtown Mountain Puppeteers’ The Legend of the Banana Kid: Featuring twenty handcrafted glove, mouth and rod puppets, and a slew of flying and twirling Styrofoam bananas, “The Legend of the Banana Kid” tells the story of Little Chucky as he heads to the Wild West to outwit outlaws in this cowboy adventure.

    The Palace is offering a “Buy More and Save” bundle for patrons interested in four Playtime at The Palace shows. Individual tickets are $12.50 plus a $2.50 facilities and handling fee. The $50 “Buy More and Save” bundle includes a ticket to four shows when purchased in a single transaction. The facility and handling fees for bundle tickets will also be waived.

    The Palace Theatre is located at 61 Atlantic Street in Stamford, CT. Tickets for all performances may be purchased on or by calling the box office at 203-325-4466. For the latest news and updates, follow @ThePalaceTheatreStamford on Facebook and @PalaceStamford on Twitter.

    About The Palace Theatre
    The 1,580-seat Palace Theatre is dedicated to performing arts of all genres – music, dance, theater and comedy. In addition to hosting world-renowned performers in each of those fields, the Palace partners with arts organizations like the Stamford Symphony and Connecticut Ballet for their performances. The Theatre’s three floors encompass a deeper-than-typical Broadway-size stage, a café, a Learning Center, a theatre-long art gallery and a magnificent glass-walled promenade. The Palace is dedicated to providing exciting entertainment that enriches the cultural, educational, economic and social life of the community.

    The Giveaway!

    One lucky reader will win a 4-pack of tickets to Cardboard Explosion on Sunday, January 14, 2018!

    • Must be 18 years or older to enter
    • Only one entry per person
    • Contest closes on January 7, 2018 at 11:59 pm EST
    • One winner will be chosen at random and will be notified via e-mail.
    • The winner will have 24 hours to respond by email with his/her name, mailing address, and phone number to the claim prize. If he/she does not respond in the designated time he/she forfeits the chance at the prize. An alternate winner will be chosen.
    • Tickets can be picked up at the Will Call office at the Palace Theatre on the day of the performance.

    Cardboard Explosion

    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

    children's books, giveaways

    A New Scholastic Early Chapter Book Mystery Series for Kids: Hilde Cracks the Case Hero Dog! + A Giveaway

    I am thrilled to partner with Scholastic Branches on the launch of the new book Hero Dog! (Hilde Cracks the Case #1) and host this fun giveaway!

    Hero Dog! (Hilde Cracks the Case #1)

    By Hilde Lysiak with Matthew Lysiak

    Release September 12, 2017

    Recommended for ages 6-8

    About Hero Dog!
    Ten-year-old crime reporter Hilde Lysiak is starring in her very own Branches early chapter book series — inspired by news stories Hilde wrote in real life! In this first book, there’s been a break-in on Orange Street! Cupcakes have been stolen, and soon a pie goes missing, too. Hilde and her sister/photographer, Izzy, must interview witnesses and follow the clues. Can Hilde crack the case in time to post her news story online? Joanne Lew-Vriethoff’s personality-filled illustrations appear on every page, bringing Hilde’s adventures to life for young readers!

    Hero Dog was such a fun read aloud for us to read together!  We’ve read aloud a few other early chapter book mysteries before, but I love how nine year-old Hilde (it rhymes with build-y) jots down clues and fun notes in her notepad along the way making it easy for readers to stay engaged and follow along.  There are cute illustrations throughout, questions and activities to do after reading the book and a neat two chapter sneak peek of the second book in the series (Hilde Cracks the Case: Bear on the Loose).  Oh, and there’s also a great discussion guide to use at home and in the classroom.  You can download it here.

    I also appreciate that the chapters are not too long which makes it great for bedtime reading at home.  We managed to squeeze in two short chapters per night and finished it in one week.  At the end of each chapter we couldn’t wait to find out what was going to happen next and ultimately how it would end.  Who stole those cupcakes and pies?  Will the bake-off bonanza be ruined?  Oh, the suspense!

    I think the coolest thing about this book is that it’s actually written by a kid!  That’s right, Hilde Lysiak is a real-life kid reporter.  Her dad used to be a reporter in New York City which helped inspire Hilde to become a reporter too.  She created her very own newspaper for her hometown called the Orange Street News when she was just seven years oldToday she has millions of readers!  Hilde know that to solve any crime or mystery you need to answer the six important questions: Who? What? When? Where? Why? and How?

    Check this one out for your sleuth lovin’ little readers.  It may even inspire them to start their own newspaper for their hometown or write their own book!


    Visit the Official Site

    Like Scholastic on Facebook

    Follow Scholastic on Twitter and Instagram

    Download the Classroom Guide to Growing Young Reporters.


    Branches is a unique line of books specifically designed for newly independent readers, typically kids ages 5 to 8. The Branches line is here to help you foster a love of reading in your kids and give them the tools they need to become life-long readers. Each book includes: easy-to-read text, simple plot lines, plenty of context cues, cliffhanger chapter endings, and purposeful illustrations (on every page!) that aid in reading comprehension.  Feeling like a successful reader will bolster your child’s self-confidence, which will lead to an increased interest in reading.

    About the Author

    Hilde Kate Lysiak is the reporter and publisher of the Orange Street News. Since starting her paper at the age of seven Hilde has written and published hundreds of stories in her hometown of Selinsgrove, Pennsylvania. Hilde has been recognized for her work in the New York Times, NBC Today Show, GMA, The Washington Post, and thousands of other media across the world.


    One lucky reader will receive:

    • One (1) Copy of Hero Dog!

    Open to US addresses only.
    Prizing and samples provided by Scholastic.

    Hilde Cracks the Case: Hero Dog! Book Giveaway