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    giveaways, young adult books

    What’s Your Book Fate? Plus A Giveaway!

    Lisa Papademetriou, author of the newly released novel A Tale of Highly Unusual Magic wants to know:

    What is your book fate—what book has changed your perspective, your heart, your life?

    If you participate by posting a comment on this blog post, I will randomly select 1 winner to receive a copy of the book for FREE!  Giveaway ends October 24, 2015.  Good luck!  Below is a synopsis of the book.



    Kai and Leila are both finally having an adventure. For Leila, that means a globe-crossing journey to visit family in Pakistan for the summer; for Kai, it means being stuck with her crazy great-aunt in Texas while her mom looks for a job. In each of their bedrooms, they discover a copy of a blank, old book called The Exquisite Corpse. Kai writes three words on the first page—and suddenly, they magically appear in Leila’s copy on the other side of the planet. Kai’s words are soon followed by line after line of the long-ago, romantic tale of Ralph T. Flabbergast and his forever-love, Edwina Pickle. As the two take turns writing, the tale unfolds, connecting both girls to each other, and to the past, in a way they never could have imagined.

    A heartfelt, vividly told multicultural story about fate and how our stories shape it.

    “Magic! It’s everywhere—in music, in moths, in an old handwritten book. But the real magic is the exquisite storytelling that sweeps us along until the last wonderful page. This is a book that leaves shimmers in the very air.” — Kathi Appelt, New York Times bestselling author of The Underneath and Keeper

    “Lisa Papademetriou’s prose and sense of place dazzles the ear and eye, while the adventure and mystery binds us from page to page. Now that’s sleight of hand!” — Rita Williams-Garcia, Newbery Honor Winner

    “A beguiling tale of… enduring love and nascent self-discovery.” — Kirkus Reviews

    “A rollicking adventure of forbidden love and magic”  –School Library Journal

    “Begging to be read aloud… a fun book for middle-grade readers, and it will surely inspire them to read—and write—more.” –Booklist

    New York Times bestselling author Lisa Papademetriou is the author of Middle School: Big, Fat Liar and Homeroom Diaries (both with James Patterson), the Confectionately Yours series, and many other novels for middle grade and young adult readers. Her books have appeared on the Bank Street Best Books of the Year list, the NYPL Books for the Teen Age, and the Texas Lone Star Reading List, among others. A former editor, Lisa has worked for Scholastic, HarperCollins, and Disney Press and is the founder of the humorous online grammar magazine, You can visit Lisa at:

    The Giveaway
    Enter to win a FREE copy of bestselling author Lisa Papademetriou’s latest book A Tale of Highly Unusual Magic.

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    children's literacy, giveaways, read aloud, reading tips, storytelling

    Seven Ways to Encourage Your Child to Love Reading & A Giveaway!

    Hello, October!

    Since the fall season is upon us, I thought it would be a good time to discuss a few simple ways to help your children fall in love with reading and books if they haven’t already.  Even if your little ones are already avid readers or seem to love books there are still some things you may want to consider doing to enhance your children’s reading and read aloud experiences.

    With so much technology and social media available today, how do you get your children to choose reading books over watching television, sitting in front of the computer, playing on the iPad, or texting their friends?

    Below are a few ideas that may help.  Read on.

    1. Make your children a part of the story
    Children love looking at pictures of other babies and children in books, especially when it’s their own pictures.    One way to make your child a part of the story is to create personalized books through online websites like storieChild.


    I found out about storieChild a few weeks ago while surfing the web.  storieChild offers one-of-a-kind story books and baby books for children ages 0-8+.   They pair technology with creative arts while guiding you through the process of creating an amazing story for your child.  Their products are designed by artists and storytellers and are available exclusively through pre-sale on their website.

    Creating your own story book with storieChild is super simple.  Say goodbye to those complicated websites that are way too time consuming and nearly impossible to figure out.  With storieChild not only do you get a beautiful, personalized book with your child/children as the star, but you also get an actual story to go along with it.  Oh, and did I mention the entire process only takes about 10 – 25 minutes?

    If you’re as excited about storieChild as I am, YOU can get in on the fun too!  That’s right, you can win your very own softcover customized storieChild book for FREE (pick any story of your choice)!  All of the details are listed at the end of this post, but read on for more tips.

    2. Bring them new books every day
    No, I’m not talking about going out and purchasing a new book each day for your child.  I mean show them at least 1 book every day either from your home library collection or your local library.  For example, every Monday (or sometimes on Saturday) I do a library haul.  I pick out through a stack of children’s books, read them, and bring my favorites back to the kids.  Then each day during the week I read the kids different books or sometimes we’ll read old favorites that we already have.

    The idea is that if you are trying to sell kids on books you should bring them books day after day.  These books should be ones that you think are: exciting, funny, poignant, adventurous, beautiful, interesting, or mysterious.  Bring your children books that support their current interests, make them wonder, stretch their imaginations, light them up with amazement, laugh, feel empathy, and connect with their own lives.  Sometimes you can bring them new books that are hot off the press, and old favorites from your childhood.  You get the idea.

    3. Let them choose what they want to read, even “twaddle” (occasionally)
    If you don’t know what “twaddle” is, it’s basically literature that has been dumbed-down and doesn’t add any value.  I don’t currently let my children choose their own books unless it’s an alphabet book.  However, I know as they get older they’ll want to start choosing what they read and I’m ok with that as long as it’s not all the time.

    As the kids age, I’ll have to learn to back off and let them read what catches their eye and ignites their imagination as they build their relationship with reading. If it is twaddle books, I’ll have to assure myself it is okay if they start with worthless ones.

    While I still have control over choosing their books, I’ll continue to guide them into the amazing ones until they start telling me to “back off”.  So if all your child wants to read is comic books then let them and be grateful they are reading something.

    4. Practice storytelling with story cards
    A few months ago, I wrote a post about a simple way to improve your storytelling skills by using eBoo story cards.  You can read more about the story cards here.  The kids and I still use our story cards every once in a while and I can honestly say I’ve seen progression since we first started using them, especially with my 3 year-old.  And for the price I paid (under $10.00 per pack) it was worth it.

    5. Explore different libraries in different cities, states or countries
    I’ve taken the kids to several libraries throughout Connecticut where we live and even to a couple in a different state.  We attend story time events as well as other programs and activities all for FREE.  I believe just by exposing kids to libraries helps them develop a love of reading and books in general.  Also, when we go to story time events they have the benefit of hearing someone else read to them and learn to sit attentively and listen with a group of children in a different environment.  A win-win.

    6. Entice children and make them curious about books
    I’ve noticed whenever I start clutching a children’s book I just read myself and start saying things like, “I love this new book…it’s so good!” the kids are instantly intrigued and want to know what the book is.  Try it next time and see if you are nearly stampeded by your kids dying to read it next.

    7. Read your own books/magazines in front of your children
    I’m sure you’ve read this tip before numerous times, but in order to build a culture of literacy in your home it’s important for your children to see you reading often.  Telling them, “Reading is important!” is pointless, if you never sit down in front of them and eagerly dive into your own reading material. If all they see is you collapsing in front of the TV or constantly sneaking off to your computer or checking your phone when you are tired or bored, they will learn that this is how one spends the invaluable minutes of one’s life.  Remember, YOUR attitude toward books and reading will likely be your child’s attitude as well.  Be a good role model to your kids.

    I believe the only true gateway into the world of reading, is by motivating kids to want to read something – anything.  When they start to realize the wonder of books, the places they can go, the people they can meet, and the things they can learn through books, I think only then can you start to stand a real chance at helping them become successful and lifelong readers.

    Don’t worry if your child isn’t “there” yet, meaning they don’t have a real interest in books or reading…it’s ok…I understand!  As the parent it’s important to keep trying and remain excited.  Make reading a priority in your own life and your kids will likely follow suit.  Every child is different, but I believe you can encourage every child to like books once you find what appeals to them.

    Your turn: How do you encourage your children to love reading and books?  Feel free to share in the comments.

    storieChild Giveaway!
    I am thrilled our friends over at storieChild were gracious enough to sponsor this awesome giveaway!  This would make a great holiday or birthday gift – wouldn’t you agree?

    What you’ll receive: 1 softcover customized storieChild book of your choice (Sorry, this giveaway is only open to US residents who are 18 and over.)

    Deadline: Enter by October 17, 2015 for your chance to win.  Good luck!

    P.S. Now through October 31, 2015 get 10% off all books and boxes by using code OCTPRESALE at checkout on the storieChild website.

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    book reviews, giveaways

    Resumes for Children: A Book Review & A Giveaway!

    Resumes for Children 17 Years Old and Under by Donna Kristine Manley


    Do you have a resume for your child?  At what age do you think it’s appropriate for young people to start creating resumes? Eighteen? Sixteen?  How about thirteen or eight?  Think that’s too young?  Well, think again.

    It’s no secret the job market is fast-paced and highly competitive.  I remember a few years ago the social media website LinkedIn decided to allow kids as young as 13 to create profiles on its career-minded networking site.  (Imagine being in competition for a job with a 13 year-old!)  Aside from LinkedIn, there are a number of new ways teenagers and pre-teens can start preparing for their careers and building life skills — even if they’re unsure what, exactly, they want to do when they grow up.  That’s where creating a resume for your child can come in handy.

    Book Summary
    Resumes for Children 17 – Years Old Under is a detailed guide of sample resumes that show how children’s talents, skills, abilities, and challenges can propel them to success. Inside the book you’ll meet a student pilot with a 3rd Class Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Medical Certificate, a child book reviewer, a Junior Open Water Diver and more. The sample cover letters are guides to show parents how to obtain other peoples’ money to assist in the growth and development of their children.  Resumes for Children 17 Years Old and Under was awarded a Best Parenting Book badge by and is a Mom’s Choice Awards Gold Recipient.

    I don’t quite remember my first resume, but I do recall listing every hobby I’d ever had to make my part-time job at the library look more substantial.  Where were books like Resumes for Children when I was growing up?

    I think this book does a good job providing several samples to use for creating a child’s resume and cover letter.  There are sample resumes for entrepreneurs, volunteers, babysitters/pet care, hobbies, inventors, aspiring medical professionals and more!  I also like the space in the back of the book for recording your reflections, ideas and resources.  These will be useful for writing down your child’s interests, hobbies, volunteer opportunities, activities, or hands-on experiences as they evolve over time.

    The author also talks about some reasons why children need a resume and offers some pearls of wisdom at the end of the book which I found to be helpful.

    While I don’t plan on creating a resume for either of my children anytime soon, I think this book will definitely come in handy when I’m ready to take on this task.  I believe Resumes for Children is great tool to use to help you to chronicle your child’s academic and extracurricular history.

    Creating a resume is an important initial step in the process of obtaining employment, volunteer opportunities or applying to private schools. In addition, a resume can help a student in future academic pursuits. Teaching your child to identify his/her skills, talents and achievements is key to putting together a winning resume.

    Since this book was written almost ten years ago, one suggestion I would make for a potential book update would be to limit contact information on the resume samples.  Meaning do not list a physical address, phone number or school name.  Contact information for your child can always be sent directly the the hiring manager, volunteer coordinator, etc.  Maybe it’s just me, but I’m overly cautious about sharing any information about my children, especially online.  Electronic or hard copies of resumes and cover letters can end up anywhere therefore as a parent, I believe you must be very thoughtful about what personal information is on them.

    Are you on the fence about creating a resume for your child or do you think this sounds absurd?  Think of it this way: the reality is that some scholarship, private, middle and high school applications give you spaces in which they expect you to write down your child’s extracurricular activities, community service and awards. It can be a painful process if you’ve got nothing to write about your child in those spaces.

    Your turn:  Do you have a resume for your child already?  Are you thinking about creating one or not?  Feel free to share in the comments.

    Want to win a FREE copy of this book?

    I’m super excited to host my very first giveaway!  That’s right, I’m giving away 5 copies of the book Resumes for Children 17 Years Old and Under.  You can enter to win your very own copy by clicking the link below.  Five random winners will be chosen on Friday, July 31st.  All winners will be notified via e-mail and all books will be shipped in August.  Good luck!

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    7/30/2015 Update: This giveaway has ended and all winners have been notified.  Thanks for participating!