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    children's books, giveaways, holiday books

    If You’re Scary and You Know It by Carole Gerber + A Giveaway!

    Published by Familius Format: Hardcover
    Source: Familius

    Disclaimer: Familius sent me the book to check out and I’m partnering with them for a giveaway!


    If You’re Scary and You Know It by Carole Gerber, illustrated by Noel Ill

    Recommended for ages 4-6
    Published by Familius

    About the Book
    Set to the tune of “If You’re Happy and You Know It,” this festive holiday book is perfect for all of the boys and gouls roaming around on Halloween night! Ghosts moan and groan, while pirates yo ho! If You’re Scary And You Know It! is sure to be a Halloween hit!

    Reflection
    The popular nursery song “f You’re Happy and You Know It” comes alive with this colorful colorful Halloween sing-along action book that will put a smile on everyone’s face.  Diverse children are featured throughout making this an inclusive board book for all to enjoy.  Makes a great Halloween treat for little ones!

    The Giveaway!  Ready to Enter?

     

    One (1) winner receives:

    • 1 copy of the board book If You’re Scary and You Know It

    Giveaway open to US addresses only.

    Prizing and samples provided by Familius Publishing.

    If You’re Scary and You Know It!

    About the Author
    Poet and author Carole Gerber has written sixteen picture books, three chapter books, and more than one hundred elementary science and reading texts for major publishers. Her most picture recent book, A Band of Babies, was named a 2017 Best Book for Children by Amazon editors. She holds a BS in English education and an MA in journalism from Ohio State, and has taught middle school and high school English as well as college newswriting and factual writing at OSU. Learn more at www.carolegerber.com.

    About the Illustrator
    Noël Ill earned her BFA with honors in illustration from ArtCenter College of Design in Pasadena, California. Throughout her design and illustration career, she has had the opportunity to apply her artwork and tasteful design sense to the publishing and entertainment media fields. Her notable work includes production art for animation, the Be Mine sticker pack for Facebook stickers, and The Sweetest Little Ghost, her licensed illustration for Papyrus greeting cards. She’s inspired by the whimsical books she read as a kid, and her art motto is “Making the world a happier place one drawing at a time.”

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    book reviews, children's books, holiday books

    Three Ways My Children Teach Me About the Joy of Giving

    Disclaimer: I’ve teamed up with Zonderkidz to share how my children taught me about the joy of giving with the Berenstain Bears.

    I enjoy the holidays for many reasons: family time, food, holiday parties, Christmas lights and cheesy Hallmark movies.  Although I’ve always liked the holidays, becoming a parent has reawakened my holiday spirit and the joy of giving in many ways.  I now look forward to the holidays with lots of anticipation and excitement in a way I never did before in my adult years.  Yes, my children have helped me fall in love with the true meaning of Christmas all over again.  They also taught me what it really means to give and to give with grace.

    Three Ways My Children Teach Me About the Joy of Giving

    Give to others without expecting anything in return

    If you feel like doing something for someone, then just do it and don’t think about what you might receive in return.  I find lessons like this can often be learned through your own life experiences as well as through reading books.  When I read books like The Berenstain Bears and the Joy of Giving, I am often reminded of some very important lessons like giving without expecting anything in return.  I have always like reading Berenstain Bears books and watching the cartoons on television when I was younger. I think these books teach great moral lessons and allow for further discussion and reflection with the discussion questions that are often found in the back of the book.

    I love how Brother and Sister Bear learn to give generously to others in the book The Berenstain Bears and the Joy of GivingThey gave their remaining money cheerfully to others instead of thinking of themselves.

    It is more blessed to give than receive.

    A valuable lesson to be learned for readers of all ages.  Being a parent is a constant reminder to me to give to others without expecting anything in return.  For everything I do for my children on a daily basis, I never say, “What’s in this for me?”

    When you learn to give freely without expecting anything in return, you are not burdened with the need for praise, thanks, or appreciation.  In a word you learn, grace–where you are recipient of the blessing.

    Give as much as you can year-round

    My children have taught me the importance of incorporating giving into my life all year long. During the holiday season, it’s easy to share our good fortune and blessings with others. We’re constantly reminded to give to fundraisers, food drives, bell ringers and charities.

    When I look at my children, I’m reminded daily to not only give my all to them, but to give as much as I can to others too.  It’s important to me my children see me model charity and giving from January through December.  I don’t want them to grow up thinking people are only in need, or happy to accept help, during the holidays.

    Each act of giving changes the world for the better

    Even the smallest act of giving makes a positive impact.  I witness this firsthand whenever I give to my children or treat them with kindness.  It makes them in turn want to give joyfully to others.  My children constantly teach me whether I’m asked or not, to seek opportunities to help others when you can.

    You never know when a simple act of helping someone will cause a long-lasting, positive ripple effect in the world. It might not be felt right away, but as the ripples spread outward and impact others, they’re likely to bounce back to you in surprising and wonderful ways.

    Your turn: How have your children taught you about the joy of giving?  Feel free to share in the comments.

    About The Berenstain Bears and the Joy of Giving
    In The Berenstain Bears and the Joy of Giving, Brother and Sister Bear can’t wait for Christmas and all the presents they’ll open. But during the Christmas Eve pageant, something special happens! The Bear cubs learn a very valuable lesson about the joy of giving to others.

    Books referenced in this blog post:

    The Berenstain Bears and the Joy of Giving
    By Jan & Mike Berenstain
    In Stores Now! (released September 2010)
    Recommended for ages 3-8

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    Christmas in September with Santa Bruce + A Giveaway!

    Disclaimer: We’re thrilled to partner with Disney Book Group for this festive giveaway in time for the holiday season!  Enter for your chance to win a copy of ALL FOUR Bruce books, Santa Bruce ornament & hat, and a box of Santa Bruce holiday candies.Santa Bruce
    By Ryan T. Higgins
    In Stores September 4th, 2018
    Published by Disney Book Group
    Recommended for ages 3+

    ABOUT THE BOOK
    Bruce is a lot of things. He is a bear. He is a grump. He is a pretty decent cook. And he is a mother. One thing Bruce is not? Santa Claus. But that doesn’t stop the whole forest from lining up to give him their Christmas wishes when he becomes the victim of mistaken identity—again. Kids will howl with laughter as award-winning author-illustrator Ryan T. Higgins delivers another hilarious story about this bear who just can’t catch a break.

    We’ve read all four of the Bruce books and they never fail to make me and the kids laugh out loud!  This time, Mother Bruce is a victim of mistaken identity, yet again!  One day while outside shoveling snow in his red “Santa like” gear, he is mistaken to be Santa Claus.  Santa Bruce is a cheerful and delightful story that is so fun to read aloud with kids during story time.

    The illustrations capture the story so well too which makes it even funnier.  The facial expressions that Bruce and the other animals make are so spot on and really help to bring the story to life.

    Ready to find out how you can enter to win the giveaway?  Read on.  Good Luck!

    ABOUT THE AUTHOR
    Ryan T. Higgins (ryanthiggins.com) is an author and illustrator who likes the outdoors and cheese sandwiches. He is NOT a grumpy old black bear, but he DOES like making books about one—starting with the best-selling Mother Bruce, which received the E. B. White Read-Aloud Award and the Ezra Jack Keats New Illustrator Honor. He lives in Maine with his wife and kids… and too many pets.

    LEARN MORE
    Visit Books.Disney.com

    Follow Disney Book Group on TwitterFacebook, and Instagram

    THE GIVEAWAY!

    One (1) US-based winner will receive:

    • Full set of all four Bruce books
    • Branded ornament and Santa hat
    • Plus a Santa Bruce box of holiday candies!

     

    Christmas in September with Santa Bruce Giveaway

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    The Berenstain Bears and the Easter Story + A Giveaway!

    Disclaimer: We partnered with Zonderkidz to bring you this fun Easter giveaway!  We received a copy of this book in exchange for our honest review.  As always all opinions expressed are my own.

    The Berenstain Bears and the Easter Story by Jan & Mike Berenstain

    About the Berenstain Bears
    Stan and Jan Berenstain published the first Berenstain Bears book in 1962, and the series has gone on to capture the hearts and minds of children across generations and across the globe. In the 50+ years since “The Big Honey Hunt,” the Bear family has grown from three to five members; the Berenstain Bears have been translated into over a dozen languages; and over 300 million books have been sold worldwide.

    About The Berenstain Bears and the Easter Story
    The Berenstain Bear cubs are candy-crazy this Easter! But Missus Ursula and some Sunday school students tell the cubs about the true meaning of Easter. Includes a sheet of colorful stickers!  Recommended for ages 4-7.

    ***

    As with all of the Berenstain Bears books there are lessons to be learned. In this book Brother and Sister Bear learn the true meaning of Easter, how Jesus rose from the tomb.  I love how the story was presented as part of an Easter play in Sunday School which made it easy for my children to understand.  They are familiar with watching plays at school and going to Sunday school at our church.


    I’m a total fan of the Berenstain Bears books. I read them when I was younger and I am now reading them to our children. I love the lessons taught in each one. I didn’t realize that Stan and Jan Berenstain had both passed away and their son is now writing the books. I’m glad that the tradition is being carried on and that Brother and Sister will still continue to share important life lessons with our children today. I also liked that on the back cover page there are activities and questions that help children apply the lesson learned.

    One (1) winner receives:

    • 1 Copy of The Berenstain Bears and the Easter Story
    • Egg dye
    • Candy
    • 1 Plush bunny

    Open to US addresses only.

    Prizing and samples provided by Zonderkidz.

    Link to Purchase

    Visit Amazon to purchase The Berenstain Bears and the Easter Story!

    Connect with The Berenstain Bears!
    Twitter | Instagram | Facebook

    The Berenstain Bears and the Easter Story Giveaway

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    8 Christmas Picture Books Every Black Child Should Read + Clarence Claus

    As soon as the holidays start to roll around, people often ask me for children’s holiday book recommendations – specifically Christmas books for children of color.  As I’ve often said, I don’t discriminate when it comes to reading books on my own or with my kids.  However, I do know the power of children seeing themselves reflected in literature especially around Christmas when they are bombarded with images of a Caucasian Santa Claus.

    So in addition to reading quality books that prominently feature children of color, I also support small Black-owned businesses like Green Top Gifts to show my kids that Santa can look like us – enter Clarence Claus.  Have you heard of him yet?  He’s the Black Santa Claus I wish I had been exposed to growing up.

    Greentop Gifts is a wrapping paper company featuring a Black Santa Claus. Clarence Claus™ truly represents the culture and lifestyle for people of color.  You may have seen the Clarence Claus wrapping paper featured in the list of Gayle King’s Favorite Things in the December 2017 issue of Oprah Magazine.

    We’ve proud to collaborate with Greentop Gifts to showcase their high quality wrapping paper and highlight eight Christmas books I think every Black child should own (or at least read and borrow from the library).  The children’s books mentioned below is a great place to start if you are looking for Christmas stories featuring Black children and families.  Not only are they entertaining, but they also help put children (and adults) in a festive mood.

    Recommended Picture Books (Ages 4 – 8)
    12 Days of Christmas by Rachel Isadora
    Christmas for 10 by Cathryn Falwell
    Christmas Makes Me Think by Tony Medina
    Jackie’s Gift by Sharon Robinson
    The Night Before Christmas by Rachel Isadora
    The Nutcracker in Harlem by T.E. McMorrow (Read my review here!)
    Under the Christmas Tree by Nikki Grimes and Kadir Nelson

    What are some of your favorite Christmas books to read with your little readers?

    Be sure to enter our Instagram giveaway where you can enter to win:

    • (2) rolls of Clarence Claus Wrapping Paper
    • (4) Clarence Claus Gift Labels
    • (1) Clarence Claus Kid’s Shirt

    Happy Holidays and happy reading!

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    The Nutcracker in Harlem by T.E. McMorrow (A Book Review)

    The Nutcracker in Harlem by T.E. McMorrow, illustrated by James Ransome

    Publisher: Harper Collins
    Pages: 32
    Format: Hardcover
    Age Range: 4 – 8
    Grade Level: Preschool – 3

    Synopsis
    This jazz-inspired reinvention of The Nutcracker is a worthy tribute to the dreamlike wonder and magic of the Christmas season.  In this original retelling, set in New York City during the height of the Harlem Renaissance, one little girl finds her voice as a musician thanks to her enchanting adventures with a magical toy.

    This quintessential holiday tale is brought to vivid life by debut picture book author T. E. McMorrow and Coretta Scott King Award-winning illustrator James Ransome. An author’s note at the end provides additional information about the history of the Harlem Renaissance, and about the author’s inspiration for this musical retelling.

    Reflection
    The Nutcracker has become a staple to many families across the world during the holiday season.  The Nutcracker’s evolution and influence on the world is unlike any other ballet in history.  There are now several versions of the play complete with their own staging, choreography, costumes and interpretations.

    We love this new retelling of the Nutcracker – it’s so beautiful! The colorful and detailed water color illustrations by illustrator James Ransome are simply amazing!  The story follows the traditional plot of The Nutcracker and the Mouse King with a lovely jazz inspired twist.

    Set in New York City during the height of the Harlem Renaissance in the 1920’s, little Marie finally finds her voice as a musician after doubting her musical gifts and her ability to sing.  She falls asleep under a Christmas tree holding a nutcracker drummer boy her Uncle Cab gave her as a gift.  During her nap, Marie dreams of the Nutcracker ballet – that’s when she finds her confidence to sing at the party.

    I remember watching the Nutcracker on several occasions as a child and even had the opportunity to go see the play in New York City.  It’s such a magical story for kids and adults alike.  As much as I love the original Nutcracker, I am so pleased an African-American version of this book exists for children of color to see themselves reflected in this classic story.

    The back matter contains an author’s note about the inspiration for the story. It also includes additional information about the Harlem Renaissance.  A wonderful Christmas themed book with themes of: music (jazz), dance, overcoming fears, finding your voice, confidence and family.  Add this one to your holiday book collection!

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

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    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

    Synopsis
    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 lolalevine.net.

    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

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