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    children's books

    The Lost Book of Adventure: A Love Letter to the Wild from the Notebooks of the Unknown Adventurer

    Published by Quarto Format: Hardcover

    What would do you if you were walking through the park and found a mysterious notebook with no author? You photograph it and share your findings on social media, of course!

    In celebration of National Take a Walk in the Park Day, (celebrated each year on March 30th) we’ve teamed up with publisher Frances Lincoln Children’s Books to share this amazing book The Lost Book of Adventure.  Written by a person who is only known by the pen name “The Unknown Adventurer”, it contains everything you need to know about how to live and thrive in nature, from the principles of treehouse building to wilderness first aid.  How cool is that?

    If you are reading this, it means my notebooks have been found. I am leaving them here at camp for safekeeping along with a few other belongings that I won’t be taking with me. The notebooks are a lifetime’s worth of knowledge, which I’m passing on to you.

    So reads an excerpt from the weatherworn letter discovered by nature enthusiast Teddy Keen on a recent trip to the Amazon, along with sketchbooks filled with details of extraordinary adventures and escapadesexpedition advice, and survival methodsannotated with captivating colored-pencil drawings. It is thought that the sketchbooks were created for two young relatives of the author. Drawing on Teddy’s knowledge of the outdoors, the pages of the sketchbooks have been carefully transcribed for young readers, as they were originally intended.

    Here are just some of the interesting things you’ll find in this book:

    • How to make a fire and various items from the wild you can use to keep your fire going like pine needles and dry animal poop (who knew?)
    • Campfire cooking essentials including cooking with a stick and making campfire bread
    • Natural antiseptic plants to use when out in the wild and you get hurt: think plantain leaves for insect bites & stings or wild garlic leaves for dressing wounds

    Recommended for ages 9 – 12 and up, The Lost Book of Adventure is packed with extensive survival information for nature enthusiasts or budding explorers.  It’s the perfect companion to bring with you when going camping, canoeing, mountain climbing, hiking or taking a walk in the park on National Take a Walk in the Park Day.

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    children's books, coloring books, STEM

    Mom-Approved Activity Books: Check Out these Activity Books to Keep Kids Occupied at Restaurants, Airports or During Long Car Rides

    Many kids love to color, draw and scribble.  I know mine do!  That’s why I decided to put together this list of some of the most creative and entertaining activity books that will get children’s creative juices flowing.  These activity books are full of fun activities and stimulating exercises to encourage learning and development.

    From playing with colors to learning science, some of these activity books have extra components that build brain-based executive functioning skills and require a little bit of extra mental energy too.  Other books are filled with facts, coloring areas, and fill-in-the-blank slots that keep children learning about how the world works.

    Let’s face it, if you’re a parent or caregiver you’ve been there at some point — at the airport, on the road, or at a restaurant with a bored or restless child. (There’s nothing wrong with being bored by the way – it’s actually a good thing!  But that’s a whole different topic.)  Sure, you can turn on an electronic device like an iPad, tablet, phone or video game to keep the kids entertained, but they don’t do much for their brain. If you’re looking for something a little more engaging, pull out an activity book, where the kids can dive into word searches, coloring, or other crafts.

    Sew With Me: 60 Fun & Easy Projects to Make Your Own Fabulous Décor and Accessories by Brandy Nelson (Ages 7 – 12)

    Easy-to-follow instructions make this book a great place to start for beginners. With the projects divided into three skill levels, it’s a cinch to find one that’s just right for you. Beginner projects use only hand stitching, intermediate ones combine hand stitching with easy machine sewing and advanced ones use only a machine. Filled with pictures, friendly advice and cutout templates, this will become your favorite activity book for playtime.

    The Dinosaur Craft Book by Laura Minter and Tia Williams (Ages 8 – 12)

    Got a dinosaur enthusiast or future paleontologist on your hands?  (This one is recommended for use at home.)  Containing fantastic dinosaur-themed projects to make, The Dinosaur Craft Book will get children crafting and creating in no time.

    Secret Hidden Pictures Puzzles by Highlights (Ages 6 – 9)

    This book is seriously so fun!  It comes with a magic wand to reveal over 1,000 hidden objects throughout the book.  Can you say hours of fun for kids (and adults!)?

    This Hidden Pictures® puzzle-novelty book features an easy-to-store magic lens made of sturdy paper and plastic to locate over 500 hidden objects and discover amazing scenes. Every red-on-blue puzzle is a mystery until the lens reveals the curiosities underneath, such as jet-skiing starfish, a robot workshop, and astronauts in a faraway galaxy. Children ages 6-9 can become Hidden Pictures® detectives by using the clues to help locate the hidden objects and uncovering new surprises every time.

    Awesome Edible Kids Crafts by Arena Blake (Ages 6 – 11)

    Bring out your inner sculptor with Marshmallow Playdough, and engage your artistic side with Coloring Book Cookies or Painted Rainbow Toast. Are you planning a party? Why not make Edible Taffy Balloons to decorate with, or party hats that are fun to wear and tasty to snack on? You can even transform your favorite snacks and treats into zebras, lions, giraffes and more.

    Each project has a difficulty rating and lets you know if you will need a grownup to help you, making it easy for you to find the perfect project to spark your creativity using safe, nontoxic (and delicious) ingredients.

    101 Kids Activities That are the Ooey, Gooey-est Ever! by Jamie Harrington, Brittanie Pyper and Holly Homer (Ages 6 – 12)

    Create amazing concoctions like Fake Snow, Color-Changing Slime and Glow-in-the-Dark Dough. Dig your fngers into Glowing Magic Mud, Shaving Cream Dough and Kool-Aid Foam. Or, if you’re brave enough, squeeze the Spider Egg Sack Slime or the Frog’s Vomit Slime―eek! There are even some special slime that you can eat like Gummy Worm Slime, Pudding Slime and Cookie Dough Dough. With 101 super cool activities (that are also super easy to clean up), you can try them all!

    101 Kids Activities That are the Bestest, Funnest Ever! by Rachel Miller and Holly Homer (Ages 6 – 12)

    Never again will you hear the all-too-common call of, “I’m bored!” with this kid-pleaser for many ages.

    Whether your kid is 3, 5 or 12 years old, there are hundreds of fun, educational and engaging things to do in this book. When they ask to watch television, you’ll have the perfect solution. 101 Kids Activities That Are the Bestest, Funnest Ever! has time-tested, exciting activities to keep your children laughing and learning for the whole day, every day.

    Low-Mess Crafts for Kids: 72 Projects to Create Your Own Magical Worlds by Debbie Chapman (Ages 8 – 12)

    With tricks like twisting pipe cleaners into fun shapes to avoid glue and using brightly colored cups and patterned paper to avoid paint, Debbie shows that keeping it simple doesn’t mean play time has to be less fun.

    Low-Mess Crafts for Kids brings parents and caretakers solutions to the craft time conundrum. As well as being low-mess, all 72 of these awesome projects feature everyday items like pipe cleaners, pom poms and clothespins, which make playtime a cinch. And with step-by-step pictures, kids of any age can create something they can be proud of.

    Awesome Science Experiments for Kids by Crystal Chatterton (Ages 5 – 10)

    Getting kids excited about science can be difficult. Science Experiments for Kids provides young scientists ages 5-10 with hands-on experiments that teach them how to apply the scientific method.

    Animal Activity Book by Alain Gree (Ages 4 – 8)

    This delightful animal-themed activity book will entertain children who are crazy about all things to do with animals. The pages are crammed with over 100 great activities, including dot to dot, spot the difference, coloring in, simple makes and other engaging puzzles, as well as 4 pages of stickers to be used in the book. Fun and educational, the Animal Activity Book features beautiful, bright illustrations that will draw children in and keep them busy. All of the pages are incredibly absorbing with Alain’s unmistakably rich and appealing style of illustration. And while they are enjoying the mazes, matching and counting, the games are helping them to develop a wide range of skills, including observational, conversational and motor.

    Transportation Activity Book by Alain Greer (Ages 4 – 8)

    This gorgeous transport-themed activity book will be very popular with any child who loves all things that go! With over 100 different activities, including dot to dot, spot the difference, coloring in, simple makes and other engaging puzzles. The Transport Activity Book is educational as well as fun and features beautiful, bright illustrations that will draw children in and keep them busy. All of the pages are incredibly absorbing with Alain’s unmistakably rich and appealing style of illustration. And while they are enjoying the mazes, matching and counting, the games are helping them to develop a wide range of skills, including observational, conversational and motor.

    Photo PuzzleMania! by Highlights (Ages

    The puzzling experts at Highlights(TM) have created a brand-new puzzle direction with this exciting and innovative book–every puzzle is created from intricate, full-color photographs. Kids will love searching photos to find the hidden objects in our unique photo Hidden Pictures puzzles.

    Dinosaur Puzzles by Highlights (Ages 6 – 9)

    This irresistible book is packed with more than 100 favorite dinosaur puzzles straight from our beloved magazine. Drawn in the classic Highlights™ black-and-white style, each puzzle is carefully designed to engage and entertain children while honing their concentration skills and attention to detail. With more than 1,200 objects to find, this book provides kids of all ages with hours of puzzling fun.

    Your turn: What are some of your favorite ways to keep kids entertained on the go or at home?  Feel free to share in the comments.

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    adult books

    The Path Made Clear: Discovering Your Life’s Direction and Purpose by Oprah Winfrey

    The Path Made Clear: Discovering Your Life's Direction and Purpose Published by Flatiron Books Format: Hardcover
    Source: Flatiron Books
    Buy on Amazon

    Everyone has a purpose. And, according to Oprah Winfrey, “Your real job in life is to figure out as soon as possible what that is, who you are meant to be, and begin to honor your calling in the best way possible." That journey starts right here. In her latest book, The Path Made Clear, Oprah shares what she sees as a guide for activating your deepest vision of yourself, offering the framework for creating not just a life of success, but one of significance. The book’s ten chapters are organized to help you recognize the important milestones along the road to self-discovery, laying out what you really need in order to achieve personal contentment, and what life’s detours are there to teach us. Oprah opens each chapter by sharing her own key lessons and the personal stories that helped set the course for her best life. She then brings together wisdom and insights from luminaries in a wide array of fields, inspiring readers to consider what they’re meant to do in the world and how to pursue it with passion and focus. Renowned figures such as Eckhart Tolle, Brene Brown, Lin-Manuel Miranda, Elizabeth Gilbert, Jay-Z, and Ellen DeGeneres share the greatest lessons from their own journeys toward a life filled with purpose.
    Paired with over 100 awe-inspiring photographs to help illuminate the wisdom of these messages, The Path Made Clear provides readers with a beautiful resource for achieving a life lived in service of your calling – whatever it may be.

    When Oprah Winfrey releases a new book it’s an automatic MUST have for me. So when I heard about The Path Made Clear last year, I knew I had to add it to my home library collection. I’m looking forward to diving in to this one and soaking up all the wisdom from Queen O and her peers.  Doesn’t the synopsis pull you right in and make you want to crack open the book to start reading?

    The book is divided into ten different sections: The Seeds, The Roots, The Whispers, The Clouds, The Map, The Road, The Climb, The Give, The Reward and Home.


    I haven’t finished reading the entire book yet, but here are a few quotes from Oprah that really resonated with me:

    Your life isn’t about a big break.  It’s about taking one significant life-transforming step at a time.

    What I know for sure is you become what you believe.

    Wealth is a tool that gives you choices, but it’s can’t compensate for a file not fully lived.

    On a side note, when I turned forty, I took a long hard look at my life and analyzed some of the previous obstacles I used to let stand in my way of achieving my goals. Maybe some of these obstacles have been holding you back too and cluttering your life path to destiny.

    The first obstacle was ME. Yes, I was always stepping in and getting in my own way. Do you do that too sometimes? I’ve come to realize if you don’t believe in yourself. . .no one else will. Period.

    The second obstacle was my past.  This included failed plans, broken dreams, aborted goals. . .what others have said to me. . .or anything else in my past that was weighing me down. I know now you must not let your past determine your future. If you’re struggling with this right now, you might want to write this down.

    I’m forgetting the past and looking forward to what lies ahead.

    The third obstacle was resources. Many people never clear the hurdles to success because they don’t think they have the resources to accomplish their goals. Trust and believe you have access to all the educational, spiritual, and, yes, financial resources you need. If you really want to do something you can. No excuses.

    The fourth obstacle was self-imposed limitations. If this is something you’re dealing with ask yourself how many books have you read thus far this year? If you don’t like to read. . .you need to change. . .or your life will remain the same.

    The last obstacle is the opinions of others. Stop caring what other people think and live your life. You are destined for greatness.

    I’m sure some of these obstacles and many more are covered in The Path Made Clear which releases on March 26th.

    Your turn: Do any of these obstacles resonate with you in clearing the path in your life? Feel free to share in the comments.

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    children's books

    Women’s History Month Bingo with Penguin Young Readers


    March is Women’s History Month, when we honor the contributions and achievements of women from around the world.  This month we’ve been enjoying reading inspirational stories about women from the Penguin Young Reader’s collection.  They sent us this fun Bingo Card showcasing eight women-themed book titles along with a slot for a Book Freebie.

    There’s still time to join us if you want to play along!  Simply print out the Bingo Card shown below, gather your books from your local library if you don’t already own them and cross off the titles as you go.  All of the titles included in this Bingo Card have already been published and should be available at any bookstore or library.  Can you fill in all the Bingo Card Boxes before the end of March?  Download your Women’s History Bingo Card here!

    This Bingo challenge can be done any time of the year and isn’t just limited to Women’s History Month so join in the fun and read with us!  Below I’ve listed the book publication dates for your reference.

    I am Sonia Sotomayor

    (11/13/2018)
    Ages 5 – 8

    I am Billie Jean King

    (2/5/2019)
    Ages 5 – 8

    Who was Selena?

    (8/7/2018)
    Ages 8-12

    Who was Aretha Franklin?

    (4/3/2018)
    Ages 8-12

    Book Freebie

    Must fit the theme of Women’s History Month

    Turning Pages

    (9/4/2018)
    Ages 4 – 8

    Superheroes are Everywhere

    (1/8/2019)
    Ages 4 – 8

    She Persisted

    (5/30/2017)
    Ages 4 – 8 

    Raise Your Hand

    (3/26/2019)
    Ages 4 – 8

    Your turn: Have you read any of these book titles with your little readers?  Feel free to share in the comments.

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    diverse books, family fun

    The 2019 National AntiRacist Book Festival

    Have you heard all of buzz about the inaugural 2019 National AntiRacist Book Festival yet?  This ticketed event will be taking place on Saturday April 27, 2019 on AU’s Washington College of Law campus in the neighborhood of Tenleytown, Washington, D.C.  The event is hosted by American University’s Antiracist Research and Policy Center.

    Along with nationally renowned writers, journalists, poets, and scholars who have recently published critically acclaimed books, the festival will include workshops for aspiring writers with leading literary agents and book editors. This year’s inaugural festival primarily features authors of anti-black racism and its intersections.  There will also be free workshops for educators and youth, and workshops on photography and self-care.

    “The inaugural Antiracist Bookfest will offer one of the most distinguished lineups of anti-racist authors ever assembled for a book festival,” said National Book Award-winning author Ibram X. Kendi, the founding director of the Antiracist Research and Policy Center at American University. “We are making history with this incredible collection of bestselling, award-winning and popular authors, who often headline events. We are delighted they each agreed to come together and launch the Antiracist Bookfest, while supporting our work in the Antiracist Research and Policy Center.”

    Sample of authors in attendance:

    National Book Critics Circle Award-winning historian Carol Anderson
    National Magazine Award-winning reporter Shane Bauer
    Bancroft Prize-winning Yale historian David Blight
    New York Times bestselling-author Robin DiAngelo
    National Book Award Finalist Erica Armstrong Dunbar
    Award-winning Harvard professor and filmmaker Henry Louis Gates
    New York Times bestselling-author Morgan Jerkins
    Pulitzer Prize-winning poet Tyehimba Jess
    Award-winning Washington Post editor Steve Luxenberg
    Nationally renowned Campaign Zero Co-Founder DeRay McKesson
    New York Times bestselling author Ijeoma Oluo
    New York Times bestselling author Jason Reynolds
    Award-winning poet and writer Clint Smith
    PEN Open Book Award winner Nafissa Thompson-Spires
    New York Times bestselling author D. Watkins
    National Ambassador for Young People’s Literature Jacqueline Woodson
    Very Smart Brothas Cofounder Damon Young

    Ticketed portions of the festival will include author panel discussions and workshops for aspiring writers.  All proceeds from ticket sales for the Antiracist Bookfest will go to the work of the Antiracist Research and Policy Center, started at AU in fall 2017. The center is based on a new vision of change that’s grounded in historical revelation and focuses on policy change.

    To purchase tickets click here!

    Media members are required to RSVP with Rebecca Basu, American University Communications, 202-885-5950, basu@american.edu.  For more information about this event click here.

    Your turn: Are you planning to attend this event?  Feel free to share in the comments.

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    book reviews, children's books, diverse books

    Women’s History Month: Our Legendary Ladies Presents Anandi Gopal Joshi (A Book Review)

    I received this book for free from MCP Books in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

    Anandi Gopal Joshi Published by MCP Books Format: Hardcover
    Source: MCP Books
    Buy on Indie Bound
    four-stars

    A baby book highlighting the life of Anandi Gopal Joshi, the first Indian woman to receive a western medical degree and a trailblazer for women's rights and education.

    The second board book in the Our Legendary Ladies series, this board book introduces tiny readers (ages birth – 4 and up) to Anandi Gopal Joshi.  Born on March 31, 1865, Anandi Gopal Joshi was one of the first Indian female physicians.

    Joshi was married at the age of just nine, which was common in 19th century India, to a man 20 years older than her.  She gave birth to their first child when she was 14, but her baby son died 10 days later due to a lack of medical care for women.  The death of her son served as her motivation to study medicine.

    During a time when it was unthinkable for a woman to get an education, Anandi defied the odds and came to America to study medicine at the Women’s College of Philadelphia.  She later returned to India and received special recognition and congratulations from Queen Victoria.  Anandi dreamed of opening a medical college for women, but due to an early death from tuberculosis on 26 February, 1887, her dream was never realized.  She died at the age of 21.

    In 1997, a crater on the planet Venus was named after Anandi by the International Astronomical Union.  She is one of the few notable to receive this honor.

    Although Anandi’s life was short lived and she is lesser-known, she was a true inspiration and pioneer of her time.

    About the Our Legendary Ladies Book Series
    The books are written by Megan Callea and illustrated by Jennifer Howard.  For each featured lady in this book series, a leading historian signs off on the final version of the book.  Each book is well researched and fact checked for accuracy.  In addition, for each book purchased, a portion of the proceeds, and books, will be donated to these non-profits: Bright by ThreeJumpstart and Operation Showers of Appreciation.  Following Anandi Gopal Joshi, future Our Legendary Ladies books will include Sacagawea, Amelia Earhart and Anne Frank.

    For more information about Our Legendary Ladiesclick here to visit the official website.

    four-stars
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    giveaways

    Little Likes Kids + An Instagram Giveaway!

    We’re excited to collaborate with Little Likes Kids today and let you know about this kid-friendly company!

    Founded by a mom in 2018, Little Likes Kids™ makes high quality, eco-friendly puzzles, games and other products for kids age 6 and under.  They are bringing to a mass market, beautifully-illustrated and lovingly designed toys inspired by—and truly reflective of—the lives of today’s kids.  Their products feature recognizable and happy scenes which makes it easy for all parents and caregivers to buy toys that celebrate their kids’ world!  Little Likes Kids™ was founded by a mom who wanted toy options for her son that reflected his and his friends’ experiences.

    The Giveaway!

    Little Likes Kids would like to give one (1) lucky US-resident winner:  (1) Splash Park Puzzle and (1) Musical Crossroads Memory Game.

    To enter:

    1. Follow @littlelikeskids on Instagram
    2. Like any post on the @littlelikeskids Instagram page, tag two friends and leave hashtag #hereforfun (Note: Be sure to include the hashtag so they’ll know you’re responding to our giveaway.)  Contest ends on Thursday, February 28th at 11:59 PM EST  Good Luck!

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