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    family fun, our latest obsession

    Our Latest Obsession: Tenzi!

    In our family, Sunday is reserved for Family Day.  It’s the one day of the week we make it a point to spend quality time together doing family-friendly activities.  A few weeks ago, I started looking for different games we could play as a family and I stumbled upon Tenzi.  This gem is great for the entire family to play.  Yes, even daddy gets in on the fun – score!

    What Is Tenzi?
    Tenzi is our absolute favorite family game right now.  It’s is a fast paced dice game that can literally keep you entertained for hours. It’s easy for kids of all ages to participate and our family has crazy fun when we play.  Sparkles seems to understand the concept of the game, but Mr. Tickles is too young to know what’s going on.  He just gets a kick out of throwing his dice around!

    Each player has their own set of colored dice.  When the game starts, everyone starts rolling their dice as fast as they can. With each roll, a player may choose to keep a certain number. Once they have all 10 dice on the same number, that player will shout “Tenzi!” declaring them the winner of the game. The other players continue rolling until they’ve all gotten 10 matching dice.  There are lots of variations, which are included in the instructions, and we enjoy all of them. It’s a race against chance and everyone is dying to yell “Tenzi!” before anybody else does.

    I know you’re probably thinking – “That’s it?!” Yes, that’s it – sort of. Because the play is so fast and furious (and close), you find yourself wanting to play “just one more round”. You can run through multiple rounds in just a few minutes.  Oh yeah, and once you’ve mastered Tenzi, there are a few other game options mentioned in the instructions, like “Splitzi” where you must now get five of one number and five of another to win.

    Still confused?  Watch this video below to see Tenzi in action.

    A very worthwhile addition to Tenzi is an expansion card deck 77 Ways to Play Tenzi.  I’ve read the games on the cards open up so many more creative ways to use the Tenzi dice!  We didn’t purchase the expansion card deck, but we may if we ever decide to spice up the game a bit.

    Sunday afternoons and game nights have been a lot more fun lately since we started playing Tenzi!

    Your turn:  What are your family’s favorite games? Have you ever played Tenzi before?  How and when does your family play together?  Feel free to let me know in the comments.

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    Juneteenth for Mazie: A Book Review

    This Friday, June 19th, will mark the 150th anniversary of Juneteenth – a day in 1865 that soldiers arrived in Galveston, Texas, to announce the end of the Civil War and abolish slavery. Though the Emancipation Proclamation was made effective two and a half years before this date, it had not successfully been enforced throughout all of the United States until significantly later.  Therefore, Juneteenth is the official celebration of the end of slavery throughout the United States.

    Being an African-American parent, it’s important for me to ensure our children know and understand their history starting at a young age.  Although my kids are both under the age of 3, I believe it’s never too early to teach them about the past.

    On our weekly trip to the library yesterday, I picked up the book Juneteenth for Mazie.  I’ll be reading this aloud to them throughout this week during our story time.

    juneteenth for mazie

    In this book, Mazie, a young girl, learns about the importance and history the history of Juneteenth and her great-great-great-grandfather’s freedom from slavery.  Best of all, Mazie learns how her ancestors became heroes.

    I think this is a great book that could be shared with a younger audience as well as appreciated by an older audience. It certainly helped give me a better understanding of the various Juneteenth celebrations that are held today.

    Overall, I believe Juneteenth for Mazie is just enough to get across the importance of the holiday without being so technical that a younger audience might lose interest.  I would recommend it to anyone wanting to introduce children to Juneteenth.  It’s probably best suited for kids ages 5 – 10, but could be read aloud to children of any age.

    To learn more about Juneteenth’s history and celebrations around the nation and the world, visit juneteenth.com.

    Your turn:  Have you ever read this book to your little ones?  Have you heard about Juneteenth before or is this your first time?  Feel free to let me know in the comments.

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    holiday books, read aloud

    Reading with Daddy: 40+ Father’s Day Book Suggestions

    Father’s Day provides a wonderful opportunity to celebrate this unique and important relationship in the lives of children. Whether they’re dancing with their babies, walking in the park, or teaching their children to be self-sufficient, the fathers in these books know a thing or two about being a great dad.  Enjoy!

    African-American Books

    Hair Love by Matthew A. Cherry

    With the help of social media, Zuri’s father learns how to comb, part, oil, twist, and style Zuri’s hair.  This experience allowed Zuri to bond with her dad in an entirely new way, and likely instilled a deep pride about the heritage in her hair.

    A Card for My Father by Samantha Thornhill

    Little Flora has a dilemma.  Her first-grade class assignment is to write a Father’s Day Card for her father.  But how can she write about an incarcerated father she’s never known?  A touching and much needed book about a tough subject not typically written about in children’s literature.

    Of Thee I Sing: A Letter to My Daughters by Barack Obama

    In this tender, beautiful letter to his daughters, President Barack Obama has written a moving tribute to thirteen groundbreaking Americans and the ideals that have shaped our nation. From the artistry of Georgia O’Keeffe, to the courage of Jackie Robinson, to the patriotism of George Washington, President Obama sees the traits of these heroes within his own children, and within all of America’s children.

    Janna and the Kings by Patricia Smith

    On Saturdays, Granddaddy and Janna always head for her favorite place in the world — Terrell’s barbershop. There, Granddaddy and his friends are kings in barber chair thrones, and Janna is a princess, showered with love and attention.  When Janna’s Granddaddy passes away, she feels she has lost their wonderful kingdom forever. But with great courage and some unexpected help, Janna finds her way back to the happiness of those special Saturdays.

    Kevin and His Dad by Irene Smalls

    This book evokes excitement, pride and perfectly shows the love a boy can experience with his father through work and play.

    Jabari Jumps by Gaia Cornwall

    With themes of: overcoming fear, courage, family, water safety, positive affirmations, encouragement, patience and determination I think Jabari Jumps is a great book to read around Father’s Day or anytime of the year.  Read my full review here.

    Always My Dad by Sharon Dennis Wyeth
    alwaysmydad
    Though Dad moves around a lot and his jobs keep changing, a young girl and her brother hold fast to memories of his magical, unexpected visits in this portrait of an African-American family held together by a special bond of love.

    Leo Can Swim by Anna McQuinn
    leocanswim
    Leo and Daddy go to swim class where they kick, bounce, and dive like little fish. Joining other babies and their caretakers in the pool is a guarantee for unforgettable fun.  Read my full review here.
    Baby Dance by Ann Taylor

    The pastel illustrations in this book show the fun and playfulness of this father and daughter sneaking a little special time together as Mommy sleeps nearby. Babies will love the rhythm — and the excuse for a little extra time with Daddy.

    A Beach Tail by Karen Williams

    This wonderful read-aloud book brings to life a summer experience of spending the day at the beach.  A gentle father-son bond is shown in both text and art, reassuring young readers even as they share in little Greg’s moment of worry at finding himself lost and alone.

    In Plain Sight: A Game by Richard Jackson

    As Sophie and her grandpa talk, he asks her to find items he’s “lost” throughout the day, guiding Sophie on a tour through his daily life and connecting their generations in this sweet, playful picture book illustrated by Caldecott Medalist and Laura Ingalls Wilder Award winner Jerry Pinkney.

    Bippity Bop Barbershop by Natasha Anastasia Tarpley

    My son recently got his first haircut and he loves going to the barbershop with daddy.  In this book, a young boy, Miles, makes his first trip to the barbershop with his father. Like most little boys, he is afraid of the sharp scissors, the buzzing razor, and the prospect of picking a new hairstyle. But with the support of his dad, the barber, and the other men in the barbershop, Miles bravely sits through his first haircut.  This book captures an important rite of passage for boys and celebrates African-American identity.

    When Daddy Prays by Nikki Grimes
    whendaddyprays
    In this collection of poems by Nikki Grimes, a child learns about prayer from his father, whose prayers carry the family through each day — no matter what the circumstances. Nikki Grimes believes that spirituality and prayer are signs of true strength and power. When Daddy Prays celebrates fathers who help their children see this.

     One Million Men and Me by Kelly Starling Lyons

    I love the relationship this father and daughter share during the historic moment of the Million Man March that took place back in October 1995. I also love that this book celebrates an important gathering of men who all came together in peace for one common goal. No violence, no egos, no competition. Just men who were committed to inspiring and empowering themselves and each other to make positive changes in their families and communities.
    Daddy Calls Me Man by Angela Johnson
    http://amzn.to/1JK9UwL
    This story consists of four short verses about the happy home life of a young African-American boy. Family love and the shared stories and symbols that connect the generations are pervasive themes.
    In Daddy’s Arms I am Tall by Various Authors
    This is a book of poetry that testifies to the powerful bond between father and child, recognizing family as our greatest gift, and identifying fathers as being among our most influential heroes.
    This powerful and inspiring book shows the love that an absent parent can leave behind, and the strength that children find in themselves as they grow up and follow their dreams.
    Just the Two of Us by Will Smith

    Will Smith— musician, actor, and father–brings us a moving celebration of fatherhood. Smith’s heartfelt lyrics and Kadir Nelson’s vibrant paintings capture the beauty and intensity of a father’s love as his child grows from a boy into a man. This poignant portrait will resonate with fathers and sons everywhere.

    Daddy Do My Hair? Beth’s Twists by Tola Okogwu

    I think this book is such a cute testament to the relationship between fathers and daughters which captures the importance of fatherhood perfectly.  Not everyone is blessed with parents or dads who are active.  Let’s face it, for many dads, doing hair isn’t as easy as most moms make it look. From basic pony tails to buns to complex braids, there’s a lot to learn.  Read my full review here.

    Visiting Day by Jacqueline Woodson

    Life isn’t always sunshine and roses.  All some incarcerated dads want for Father’s Day is for their children to come and visit them in prison.

    Father’s Day Blues by Irene Smalls

    A great book to read if a child doesn’t have a father present in the home or is being raised by a single mother.  This book sends the message loud and clear that love is what makes a family. Little Cheryl learns this from her sage grandmother and her mother. Once Cheryl understands this, she is finally ready to complete the Father’s Day essay she has to write for school. Although Cheryl’s dad left and is no longer present in her life, she isn’t sad by the end of the book.

    A Father Like That by Charlotte Zolotow

    A heartwarming and touching story about a boy who imagines how his absent father would be if he were in his life.  Another great book for children with absent fathers in the home or for kids being raised by single mothers.

    Baby Blessings: A Prayer for the Day You Are Born by Deloris Jordan
    This touching story from bestselling author Doloris Jordan celebrates the blessings new parents wish for their babies all through their lives.

    Diverse/Multicultural Books

    My Two Dads and Me by Michael Joosten

    Families with same-sex parents are celebrated in this board book that follows busy dads and their kids throughout their day—eating breakfast, getting dressed, heading out to the park, and settling back in at night with a bubble bath and a good-night lullaby.  Great for LGBTQ+ parents.

    Bowwow Powwow by Brenda J. Child

    I absolutely adore this story about a young girl and her uncle attending a Native American powwow!  Bonus points for it being an #ownvoices story which makes it so authentic.  And I love the way the uncle tells stories!  A fun read for giving children an introduction to what a powwow is all about.

    Alma and How She Got Her Name by Juana Martinez-Neal
    Alma and How She Got Her Name is a story about a little girl named Alma who is initially unhappy with her long name. She has six names: Alma Sofia Esperanza José Pura Candela. After Alma’s father tells her the story of her name she appreciates it and fully accepts it. I love that Alma’s father goes on to tell her different stories of where each of the remaining names came from. Each story provides Alma with a sense of identity through time, and helps her understand who she is in the world. A cute book that not only shows the bond between a father and daughter, but also has wonderful messages of acceptance, family, heritage, culture, love and individuality.

    My Daddy Rules the World: Poems about Dads by Hope Anita Smith

    My Daddy Rules the World features fifteen heartwarming poems about fatherhood told in a child’s voice. Children are shown being involved in everyday activities such as reading, dancing, playing music, and eating. A lovely ode to every man either fathering a child or men who stand in the gap offering guidance, love, and support to children in need.

    Night Shift Daddy by Eileen Spinelli

    An adorable story about a hardworking father who works third shift. Every night him and his daughter play, eat dessert and read together for storytime before he tucks her into bed.

    Papa, Do You Love Me? by Barbara M. Joose
    papadoyouloveme
    This follow-up to the best-selling Mama, Do You Love Me? captures the universal love between a father and child. Set in Africa and featuring the Maasai culture, the beautiful watercolor illustrations, lyrical text, and enduring message are sure to make this another instant classic.

    A Morning with Grandpa by Sylvia Liu

    Mei Mei s grandpa is practicing tai chi in the garden, and Mei Mei is eager to join in. As Gong Gong tries to teach her the slow, graceful movements, Mei Mei enthusiastically does them with her own flair.

    Papa and Me by Arthur Dorros
    papaandme
    In Papá and Me, a young boy and his papa may speak both Spanish and English, but the most important language they speak is the language of love.

    Yo Soy Muslim: A Father’s Letter to His Daughter by Mark Gonzales
    Written as a letter from a father to his daughter, Yo Soy Muslim is a celebration of social harmony and multicultural identical. The beautifully written verse highlights the diversity of the Muslim community. There are themes of acceptance, cultural identity and faith.

    Daddy, Papa and Me by Lesléa Newman
    daddypapaandme
    Rhythmic text and illustrations with universal appeal show a toddler spending the day with its daddies. From hide-and-seek to dress-up, then bath time and a kiss goodnight, there’s no limit to what a loving family can do together. Share the loving bond between same-sex parents and their children.

    Other Books

    Pet Dad by Elanna Allen
    Do you have a child who wants to get a pet?  Would they settle for having a pet dad instead?  In this book, a little girl named Plum is in search of the perfect pet.  In the end, she realizes she has the perfect dad which is way better than having a pet.

    Dad By My Side by Soosh

    Dad by My Side is a heartwarming story of a father and his daughter and the wonderful bond they share. The father is depicted as a protective, gentle giant who understands the emotional needs of his daughter. Readers will see the father sewing, plaiting his daughter’s hair, cooking and playing. I think adults will appreciate the very positive father daughter relationship shown in this book, while making it relatable to children.

    Daddy, Me and the Magic Hour by Laura Melmed
    While summer boasts of outdoor activities and larger-than-life experiences, this book serves as a beautiful reminder to slow down and make special memories with those that you know and love best. I love the bond between the father and son and the nightly routine they follow outside during their “magic hour”.

    Tell Me a Tattoo Story by Alison McGhee
    This book shows the positive side of having a tattoo. It’s told from the perspective of the father of a young boy who asks his dad after dinner to tell him the story of his tattoos. Each story serves as a great reminder of the things that matter most to his dad.

    Made for Me by Zack Bush
    A beautiful story with rhyming text that shows the loving bond between a father and a new child.  “Of all the children that ever could be,
    You are the one made just for me.”

    Daddy’s Busy Day by Miriam Cohen
    Daddy stays home with their toddler while Mommy works. They do everything together: they do the laundry, dance, and race to the park. Everything is fun with Daddy! At bedtime Daddy reads to the toddler making every day a good day!

    Daddy Long Legs by Nadine Brun-Cosme

    This book serves as a great reminder to children that a parent or loved one will always come back and pick them up after drop off.

    My Dad Used to Be So Cool by Keith Negley
    mydadusedtobesocool
    Keith Negley’s playful and emotional art tells this story of a new father who is no longer the cool guy he once was. He looks back wistfully on his crazy times playing in a band, riding a motorcycle, and getting tattoos. Those days may be behind him, but his young son still thinks he’s the coolest guy in the world.

    Dad and the Dinosaur by Gennifer Choldenko

    A heartwarming and charming story of bravery, courage, facing fears and father-son bonding.

    When Dads Don’t Grow Up by Marjorie Blain Parker
    whendadsdontgrowup
    An endearing celebration of dads who are young at heart.  This playful book follows four father-child pairs as they spend happy, silly times together, popping bubble wrap and watching cartoons and taking part in shopping cart races. These are dads who aren’t worried about looking goofy or getting their hair wet – dads who still remember what it’s like to be little. Don’t be fooled. They may look like grown-ups on the outside, But underneath they’re just like you . . . Kids!

    Mother Bruce by Ryan T. Higgins
    motherbruce
    Bruce the bear likes to keep to himself. That, and eat eggs. But when his hard-boiled goose eggs turn out to be real, live goslings, he starts to lose his appetite. And even worse, the goslings are convinced he’s their mother. Bruce tries to get the geese to go south, but he can’t seem to rid himself of his new companions. What’s a bear to do?

    Your Baby’s First Word Will be Dada by Jimmy Fallon
    yourbabysfirstwordwillbedada

    Your baby’s first word will be . . .”Dada!” Right?  Everyone knows that fathers wage a secret campaign to ensure that their babies’ first word is “Dada!” But how does it work?  NBC’s The Tonight Show host, Jimmy Fallon, shows you how.

    Saturday is Dadurday by Robin Pulver

    A really cute book about a girl and her dad.  For Mimi, the best day of the week is always Saturday, because she gets to spend it with just her Dad.

    The Daddy Mountain by Jules Feiffer

    Before your very eyes, this little redhead is about to do something extremely daring. And scary. And she’ll show you-she’ll actually document, step-by-step-exactly how she does it. First, she takes her Daddy and makes him stand very still. Then, balancing herself on his shoe, she wraps her arms tightly around a leg and starts her perilous ascent to the summit.

    Nelly Gnu and Daddy Too by Anna Dewdney

    From the author of the popular Llama, Llama series comes a delightful story starring a loving daughter and daddy duo! Nelly Gnu loves painting, building, and drawing — but everything is better with Daddy Gnu! Over the course of a special day, Nelly and her daddy plan an exciting project to build together. Daddy listens carefully to Nelly’s ideas, but Nelly also learns to listen to Daddy’s thoughts, too. Filled with fun rhyming text, this charming story is sure to delight your little ones. Vivid illustrations perfectly capture the special day of a loving and attentive father and his doting daughter.

    Daddies Are For Catching Fireflies by Harriet Ziefert
    daddiesareforcatchingfireflies
    Daddies do so many terrific things. A daddy always gives you the best seat at the parade, he reads you bedtime stories, and he tries his best to fix your toys when they break (even if he doesn’t always succeed). Filled with soft, beautiful watercolor artwork and lilting text, this lift-the-flap book about all the great things fathers do is perfect for young children.

    Because I am Your Daddy by Sherry North

    Because I Am Your Daddy is a great read-aloud book at story time or a soothing book at bedtime.

     The Daddy Book by Todd Parr
     Does your Daddy wear a business suit or mismatched socks? Have lots of hair or none? Work at home or work away? Todd Parr’s distinctive illustrations show a fun, brightly-colored, diverse bunch of Daddies. His depictions of the wide variety of fathers out there is sure to hint at some of the father in your family — and, he reminds you, there are some things all Daddies do: they all want to be with you, and they all love you!
     Daddy Hugs 123 by Karen Katz

    How many daddy hugs does it take to say I love you?  Cuddle and count with this hug and read book with darling illustrations.

     Kisses for Daddy by Frances Watts

     I gave this book to my husband for Father’s Day last year and included a special note from the kids.  It’s time for bed, but Baby Bear just wants to play. When Daddy asks for a goodnight kiss, this grumbly baby says no way. This charming father coaxes his son through his nightly routine by asking Baby Bear for giraffe kisses, crocodile kisses, bat kisses, and more! Bright, energetic illustrations convey Baby Bear’s change of heart as the charming relationship between father and son plays out before reader’s eyes.

    My Dad is the Best Playground by Luciana Navarro Powell
    mydadisthebestplayground
    Powell delivers an exuberant, lively board book celebrating dadNtold from a child’s point of view.

     Me and My Dad! by Alison Ritchie

    Little Bear’s dad is simply the best! He wakes up his cub with a tickle on the nose and a kiss. Then the two spend a wonderful day together—exploring, splashing through rain, and swimming in the river. At the end of the day, they snuggle together under the stars.

    My Dad! by Charles Fuge

    A cuddly little bear has a tale to tell about his dad, “the roughest, toughest, biggest, strongest dad in the whole jungle.” The real fun is in the illustrations of cute cubs marching behind and listening— and running off one by one in fear as they hear that Daddy has teeth sharper than an alligator, more claws than an eagle, and can roar as loud as a lion. But when the little bear finds himself alone and gets scared, it’s Papa who comes to save the day.

    It’s the night before Father’s Day, and Mom and the kids have a plan to surprise Dad with a special gift. When Dad goes for a bike ride, everyone gets to work. Dad wakes up the next day to find his garage newly organized and his car sparkly clean. So, of course, he celebrates by taking everyone for a spin!  I love the rhymes in this book that are similar to “The Night Before Christmas”.

    And Tango Makes Three by Justin Richardson
    andtangomakesthree
    And Tango Makes Three is the bestselling, heartwarming true story of two penguins who create a nontraditional family.

    At the penguin house at the Central Park Zoo, two penguins named Roy and Silo were a little bit different from the others. But their desire for a family was the same. And with the help of a kindly zookeeper, Roy and Silo get the chance to welcome a baby penguin of their very own.

    Oh Daddy! by Bob Shea

    A cute, silly and simple story about a boy and his dad.  It’s fun and entertaining to read aloud with your little ones.

    Your turn:  Did you enjoy my book suggestions?  What books would you add to this list?  Feel free to let me know in the comments!

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    Me Before You: A Book Review

    I had no expectations going into this book other than Myleik Teele, an amazing role model I’m currently swooning over, said it was excellent.  I trust her book recommendations, but I like to read books and then form my own opinions about them.  If I had to give this book a rating based on a 1 – 5 scale, I’d rate it a 4 1/2.

    Like I said, I did not know what to expect when I opened this book, but I was completely and totally riveted from the first word. I could not put it down, it was compelling and I wanted to know what was going to happen next.

    http://amzn.to/1F4abEC

    Twenty-six-year-old Louisa Clark is a simple girl, living a lackluster life at home with her parents, in the shadow of her small town’s castle and not minding at all. Thirty-five-year-old Will Traynor is a successful businessman who lives life to the fullest, including traveling the world and engaging in extreme sports activities.

    When we meet Will, he is suddenly and tragically hit by a speeding motorcycle, rendering him a quadriplegic — and a very unhappy one at that. Meanwhile, Louisa loses her job at The Buttered Bun cafe, a simple and sweet job that made her happy. But since neither of Louisa’s parents are employed and her sister intends to go back to university, it is incumbent upon Louisa to find a job — and fast. She is told about a well-paying position as a caregiver. That’s when she meets the surly and unapproachable Will, who clearly has no need for Louisa in his life.

    But, Louisa reacts to him in ways that no one else in Will’s circle does: with a jaunty sense of humor mixed with a good dose of sarcasm. Oddly enough, he begins to find her engaging, with her nutty way of dressing, her caustic sense of humor and her growing love for him. As the relationship grows between the two, Louisa takes it upon herself to show Will that, even though he’s a quadriplegic, there is a reason to keep on living.

    Louisa and Will changed each other in so many ways in such a short period of time. Louisa gave Will happiness that he hadn’t experienced for a long time and Will gave Louisa the determination to do something with her life and not let it go to waste.  I loved the way the author depicted these two souls — Louisa and Will, each damaged in their own way — and how they came to fall in love.

    What happens in this six-month time period is the heart of this story. It is about two families and how they deal with what life has dealt them. It is about choices and being allowed to choose. It is about awakening and discovering life and all there is to take from it and not be afraid to really love and live.  It isn’t until about halfway through the book when you realize the ending of this book will end in only one of two ways.

    I should also tell you this book is written by a British author.  The story is set in modern-day England.  Therefore, there are some British slang and references to things and places that had me Googling a few times.  For example, the words ‘bloke’ and ‘loo’.  You could make out the meaning of some of the words via the context clues though.  It’s really not a big deal and I didn’t find it bothersome.

    The one criticism I have of this book and the reason why I didn’t give it 5 stars because I thought there should have been a few chapters where Will was the narrator.   Louisa is the narrator for the majority of the book and then four other supporting characters take over the narrative for one chapter’s length at various times. I really wanted to get Will’s perspective and be inside his head to see what he was thinking.

    The thing I liked most is that the author didn’t take the easy road with her characters, plot or the overall theme. Her choices were not always easy, but she made them with confidence.  I also loved how Will, a broken man, who has lived a fulfilling life, inspires a directionless Louisa to live to her potential.

    I love when Will tells Louisa to “Live boldly. Push yourself. Don’t settle. Wear those stripy legs with pride.  Just live well.”

    Overall I think this is a lovely read with plenty of humor and poignancy.  I smiled.  I laughed.  I cried.  It’s definitely a book that leaves you thinking, ‘What would I do…?’

    You can find other books written by author JoJo Moyes on her website:  http://www.jojomoyes.com/.

    Your turn:  Did you find this review to be helpful?  Do you think you’ll be adding it to your reading list this year?  Feel free to let me know in the comments.

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    currently reading, read aloud

    What the Kids are Reading (in June 2015)

    by Ylleya Fields
    http://amzn.to/1GcCVAe
    Princess Cupcake Jones has lost her beloved tutu.  In her quest to find it, Cupcake learns the importance of tidying up and putting things in their proper place.  As an added bonus in each book of the series, children will also have fun finding the hidden word in each inviting illustration. Helpful hints are a part of the book’s website, which also features downloadable color pages and other activities. 

    by Gayle E. Pitman
    With short rhyming text, and fun colorful illustrations, This Day in June gives preschool and early elementary aged children and their favorite grown up a chance to experience an LGBT Pride Parade from the comfort of their own couch! Filled with balloons, children, happy marching people, dogs, motorcycles, fancy clothes, rainbows, and confetti, this book is a joyful celebration of a Pride parade, traditionally held during the month of June.  Written by a professor of psychology and women’s studies, this book also has carefully researched end pages which explain the history and significance of the words and pictures on each page, as well as recommendations for parents on ways to talk to different ages of children (3-5, 6-12, 13-18) about what it means to be LGBT, and how to answer children’s questions in age appropriate ways.
    by Emily Jenkins
    What a great non-fiction read aloud book!  This book follows the making of a dessert, blackberry fool, over four centuries–the 1700s, 1800s, 1900s, and 2000s.  In this fascinating picture book, four families, in four different cities, over four centuries, make the same delicious dessert: blackberry fool. This richly detailed book ingeniously shows how food, technology, and even families have changed throughout American history.  Bonus: a recipe for blackberry fool is included if you want to make it with your little ones.
    by Debbie Ridpath Ohi
    Spencer loves to read. He reads a book every night. But one morning his favorite book goes missing, and in its place is a tulip. Spencer searches high and low, but he can’t find his book.  The next morning another book is missing, a nut in its place. And the morning after that, another book is missing.  What is happening to Spencer’s books? When he finds out, Spencer devises a surprising solution that will delight readers everywhere.
    by Tatayna Feeney
    Small Elephant’s mommy tries to make the bath more fun with toys and bubbles, but he is not fooled.  He is too busy to take a bath. He has said no many times. He is getting very cross.  And then he disappears!  But Small Elephant’s daddy has a way to make the bath fun. He may look silly doing it—but it just might work!  This is a great book for dads to read to the kids in celebration of Father’s Day this month. 

    by Britta Teckentrup
    A fun lift-the-flap book that introduces young readers to the basic concepts of counting and patterns. Each is a boisterous, vivid trek of discovery, providing irresistible clues which encourage lifting the flap to see what’s coming up next.
    by Alison Inches
    What’s a girl to do when her stuffed animals just aren’t sleepy? The little red hen is fixing herself a snack, the monkey’s doing cartwheels, and the cow appears to be singing karaoke. It’s a good thing this little mommy has a few tricks up her sleeve. With a bit of persistence and a lot of tender loving care, she’ll get her babies bathed, read to, and snuggled . . . just in time for bed.
    by Edward Gibbs
    Look through the holes to see what pets you can spy in this fun interactive book.
    Smooth or furry, shiny or fluffy, there are many pets to spot in this fun take on the “I spy” game. Look through the spy holes and use the texture clues to guess; then turn the page to reveal the animal.  This book is part of the “I Spy Series” written by the same author.
    by Craig Fraizer
    Bee & Bird is a charming wordless story illustrated by the iconic artist Craig Frazier. With bold colors and graphic lines Frazier shows us the adventures of a little red bird and a buzzing bee as they journey from Bird’s home in a tree to Bee’s hive. The illustrations use interesting plays on perspective to draw in the viewer. This book may be especially enjoyed by little ones who does not always have the patience to listen to a story. The vibrant illustrations will be sure to interest even the most distracted reader.
    Just the Two of Us
    by Will Smith
    Will Smith— musician, actor, and father–brings us a moving celebration of fatherhood. Smith’s heartfelt lyrics and Kadir Nelson’s vibrant paintings capture the beauty and intensity of a father’s love as his child grows from a boy into a man.
    Bustle in the Bushes
    by Giles Andreae
    Giles Andreae is quickly becoming one of my favorite children’s authors.  We loved the book Rumble in the Jungle and this one is great too.  This book contains an energetic collection of poems that introduces fifteen amazing insects. Vibrantly illustrated, each humorous verse features a different insect and also includes an interesting fact about them.  A great book to read during the spring and summer to explore bugs in your own backyard.The Whole Night Through: A Lullaby
    by David Frampton

    I just love when I find a fun bedtime story to read to the kids right before bed.  Every animal in the jungle has closed its eyes for the night-everyone except the leopard. He is determined to stay awake the whole night through, but suddenly, wink…blink…yawn…yawn…shushhhhhhhhhh .  David Frampton has created a charming lullaby for tiny children who try very hard every night to stay awake, Rhythmic text and beautiful woodcuts of jungle animals combine to make a perfect book to share at bedtime.

    by Josie Bissett
    A loveable monster with big puffy mitts has just flown in from Planet Tickle. His mission is to bring joy and laughter to Planet Earth. How? By tickling any child who happens to follow along in this book. Parents read aloud and do the tickling, while their children squirm and giggle with delight.  My little man, Mr. Tickles adores this book!

     

    by Harriet Ziefert
    Whether you are a person or a bear, sometimes it is hard to decide what clothing to wear when you get up in the morning. In Bear Gets Dressed: A Guessing Game Story, Bear must decide what to wear before he goes out to enjoy the day. Poor Bear knows that sometimes the weather can make one outfit better than another. However, he just isn’t sure what to wear. Each page features a simple lift-the-flap that asks the reader to pick the best outfit for Bear. Once the reader picks the best clothes, you can lift the flap to see if you were right! With repetitive and rhyming text, along with sweet and playful illustrations, this simple book could become a family favorite!

    Your turn:  Have you read any of these books with your little ones?  Feel free to let me know in the comments.

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    adult books, currently reading

    What I’m Reading (in June 2015)

    I’m in Houston, TX this week for a training course for work, but I wanted to write a quick post to let you know a book I started reading Sunday while on the plane.

    This book has been on my list of books to read so I’m happy I’m finally getting around to it.  It has over 5,800 5 star reviews from others on Amazon so I’m looking forward to see if my rating will be 5 stars as well.  I will say that so far I honestly can’t put this book down so it looks like it will be a winner!

    I’ll be back next week with a new list of books I’ll be reading to the kids in June as well as Father’s Day book suggestions and the June newsletter.

    Status: Finished

    Me Before You by JoJo Moyes

    Me Before You brings to life two people who couldn’t have less in common—a heartbreakingly romantic novel that asks, What do you do when making the person you love happy also means breaking your own heart?  Read my review of this book here.

    Status: Finished

    The Traveler’s Gift: Seven Decisions that Determine Personal Success
    by Andy Andrews

    I loved the book The Noticer by Andy Andrews so much that I just had to add this book to my to-read list.  (Check out my post from February 2015)  I have heard nothing but good things about this book so I’m excited to dig in!  If you’re into Podcasts, Andy also has a wonderful podcast you may want to check out.

    Your turn:  Have you read either of these books before?  If so, feel free to let me know your thoughts in the comments.

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    book reviews, read aloud

    Polar Bear’s Underwear: A Mini Review

    The wait is over!  After two months of being on hold at my library, a book I’ve been wanting to read to the kids finally arrived two days ago.  It did not disappoint.

    If you have ever misplaced your underwear, you’ll understand Polar Bear’s terrible predicament in Polar Bear’s Underwear by Tupera Tupera.

    polar bear's underwear review

    Polar Bear and his trusty friend Mouse set out to find his missing underwear. During the search, Polar Bear and Mouse find several pairs of underwear. Each time, Mouse asks Polar Bear if they are his. Each time, they belong to another animal friend. Readers are asked to take a guess as to whose underwear is peeking through the underwear shaped die cuts.

    My kids get a kick out of guessing, then seeing the zebra’s striped undies, the butterfly’s teeny, tiny underwear, and the pig’s tasty treats printed underwear. When a plain white pair is spotted, Polar Bear and Mouse are happily surprised, and you will be, too! This is a fun lap book for one-on-one reading, and it’s definitely a crowd pleaser!

    Your turn:  Have you ever read this book to your little ones?

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