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    currently reading, read aloud

    What the Kids are Reading (in May 2015)

    This month I went a little crazy with the amount of books I placed on hold and checked out from the library.  There are so many great books out there and I just want to read them all!  I still have several books that I’m waiting for at the library so I may do another post about the additional books we’ll be reading this month in the coming weeks.Here are some of the books I’m reading aloud to the kids this month:
    Did you know President Barack Obama is also an author?  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.

    What a fantastic book!  Each day features a different influential figure in African-American history, from Crispus Attucks, the first man shot in the Boston Massacre, sparking the Revolutionary War, to Madame C. J. Walker, who after years of adversity became the wealthiest black woman in the country, as well as one of the wealthiest black Americans, to Barack Obama, the country’s first African-American president.

    Red: A Crayon’s Story by Michael Hall

    Red: A Crayon’s Story, by Michael Hall, is about being true to your inner self and following your own path despite obstacles that may come your way.
    Please, Mr. Panda by Steve Anthony
    What is the proper way to ask Mr. Panda for doughnuts?  Patiently and politely, Mr. Panda asks the animals he comes across if they would like a doughnut. A penguin, a skunk, and a whale all say yes, but they do not remember to say “please” and “thank you.” Is anyone worthy of Mr. Panda’s doughnuts?Get Up and Go! by Nancy Carlson
    This cute book will get you and your little ones up and moving!
    Caps for Sale by Esphyr Slobodkina

    I never read this book as a child so I was excited to finally read it to my kids.  A tale of a peddler, some monkeys and their monkey business.

    Red by Jan De Kinder

    This heartfelt book inspires readers to find the courage to take a stance against bullying and show compassion towards others.

    The Daddy Mountain by Jules Feiffer

    This is a cute book that my husband has been reading to the kids at night.  A nice way to get dads involved in storytime.  The kids love this one!

    Dog by Matthew Van Fleet

    We’re huge dog lovers so naturally I was drawn to this adorable book.  The kids love pulling the tabs and flaps to see what surprises they will find.

    -Ed as in Bed by Amanda Rondeau

    An easy reader book that introduces, in brief text and illustrations, the use of the letter combination “ed” in such words as “bed,” “shed,” “red,” and “sled.”

    Heads by Matthew Van Fleet

    This book is similar to Dog and written by the same author.  Heads – wooly, bump and hairy – never has such a collection of animal heads been so much fun!

    If You Were Born a Kitten by Marion Dane Bauer

    I featured this book in my post about books to read for Mother’s Day.  This book is ABSOLUTELY beautiful.  The illustrations are immaculate and the message is wonderful.  The book talks about many different animal babies and what it’s like for them to come into this world, ending with a human baby and mother of course.

    I Love You as Much by Laura Krauss Melmed

    Another book featured in my post about books to read for Mother’s Day.  Different animal mommies say how much they love their little ones (the camel: as much as the desert is dry).  These statements are paired with wonderful, tender illustrations– I cannot believe I have not seen this book before now!

    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.
    Please, Puppy, Please by Spike Lee and Tonya Lewis Lee

    Isn’t the cover of this book so adorable?  In page after page of tail-wagging fun, Academy Award-nominated filmmaker Spike Lee and his wife, Beacon Award-winning producer Tonya Lewis Lee, take a close-up look at what happens when a couple of high-energy toddlers meet their match in an adventurous pup who has no plans of letting up.

    Wynken, Blynken & Nod by Eugene Field

    A great bedtime poem to read to kids at night.  In this poem, three fishermen in a wooden shoe catch stars in their nets of silver and gold.

    What Mommies Do Best by Laura Numeroff

    Another book featured in my post about books to read for Mother’s Day.  This book is SO great.  (and BONUS you get two books in one with this puppy, so you can celebrate Daddies too.)

    Supertruck by Stephen Savage

    A simple story about a super hero truck.  My son likes this, but my daughter isn’t really into it.

    -Um as in Drum by Nancy Tuminelly

    Another easy reader book that ntroduces, in brief text and illustrations, the use of the letter combination “um” in such words as “drum,” “chum,” “hum,” and “scum.”

    Tails by Matthew Van Fleet

    Pull tabs, lift-able flaps, tufts of fur, and even a scratch-and-sniff skunk tail provide plenty of tactile surprises. Along the way, kids will learn about counting, opposites, and how animals use their tails.

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    adult books, currently reading

    What I’m Reading (in May 2015)

    Below are the two books I plan to read this month.  What books do you have in your queue for the month of May?  Feel free to let me know in the comments.

    Design Mom: How to Live With Kids A Room-By-Room Guide by Gabrielle Stanley Blair

    Status: Finished

     

    In this book Gabrielle Stanley Blair offers a room-by-room guide to keeping things sane, organized, creative, and stylish. She provides advice on getting the most out of even the smallest spaces; simple fixes that make it easy for little ones to help out around the house; ingenious storage solutions for the never-ending stream of kid stuff; rainy-day DIY projects; and much, much more.
    Time Management Magic: How To Get More Done Every Day And Move From Surviving To Thriving by Lee Cockerell

    Status: Finished

    Executive Time Management Secrets from a Life at Disney… During Lee Cockerell’s career at Disney as the Senior Operating Executive of Walt Disney World Resort, he led a team of 40,000 Cast Members (employees) and was responsible for the operations of 20 resort hotels, 4 theme parks, 2 water parks and the ESPN Sports Complex. As you can imagine, Lee had to become a time management expert, first as a means of survival and then as a way to help others make the best use of their time. The time management secrets he developed have become one of his most requested corporate training lectures and are now available to you in this tell–all book.
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    children's literacy, read aloud

    6 Children’s Magazines for Babies to Nine Year-Olds

    Last December I began checking out children’s magazines to read aloud to the kids.  I saw a magazine on display at the library one day and decided to skim through it.  Needless to say, I liked what I saw so I immediately started browsing through some of the other magazines and ended up checking out ten by the time I was done.

    I want my children to have a varied reading diet that exposes them to different types of reading material and helps them make connections with the real world. That’s important to me and I know it will benefit them in the future.

    As I’ve been reading these children’s magazines over the past five months, I’ve come to realize a few surprising things:

    • A wonderful feature about children’s magazines is their format. They don’t tend to have long items of text. Instead you find short stories, short articles, text boxes with bullet points, illustrations with captions – lots of snippets and textual treats for little ones. For a child who is beginning to read independently, but not sold on the whole reading thing, a chapter book might be off-putting. The format of magazines may be much more attractive.  Food for thought for those of you with older kids.
    • In magazines, you can find articles that further children’s knowledge and interest in all sorts of topics, from pets to gardening. You’ll find different text types too – narratives, recounts and recipes all of it aimed at their interests.
    • Magazines are an excellent vehicle for teaching kids elements of visual literacy. They’re a great source of maps, tables, illustrations, graphs, pie charts, labels, captions, cartoons, and diagrams.
    • I introduced the kids to some new vocabulary words that I probably wouldn’t have come across in some of the books we read.
    • My daughter has become familiar with the different parts of a magazine, like the cover story, the table of contents, the date, and page numbers.

    Pretty cool, huh?

    Here are some magazines I recommend:

    Babybug Magazine
    Ages 6 mos.–3 yrs.
    This board-book style magazine offers babies simple stories and rhymes with lots of photos. It features regular characters, like Kim and Carrots, and includes a page of read-aloud tips and child development info on a page just for caregivers.  Made with nontoxic ink, rounded corners, and no staples.  This magazine is a favorite for both of my kids!

    Highlights High Five Magazine
    Ages 2–6
    Stories, poems, “The Adventures of Spot” comic strip, and activities like looking for hidden objects in pictures appear in each issue. Also included are a read-aloud story in English and Spanish and a removable activity section.  (I also learned there is a sister magazine called Highlights Hello aimed at kids ages birth – 2.)

    Ladybug Magazine
    Ages 3-6
    This magazine offers enchanting stories and poems to read aloud that are just the right length for a cozy cuddle and is sure to spark young imaginations and develop a love of reading that will last a lifetime.  Another favorite!

    National Geographic Little Kids
    Ages 3-6
    Sized for small hands, this magazine is packed with color photographs, animal stories, features about different cultures, simple science activities, puzzles and games. A recent issue asks why mother kangaroos have pouches and has an activity to help children explore the sense of taste.  This is another favorite!

    Ranger Rick Jr.
    Ages 3-7
    Through color photos, stories, illustrations, and games, children learn about nature, animals, and the world around them. Each issue features lots of animal photos, easy-to-follow text, a pull-out poster, games, jokes, and drawing activities.

    Ask Magazine
    Ages 6-9
    Ask is a magazine about science, history, inventors, artists, and more, all written just for 6- to 9-year-olds – the most curious people on the planet!

    There are so many other children’s magazines you could choose from.  I’m excited to know there is an assortment of magazines that focus on various topics including social studies, cooking, sports, and history that are both educational and entertaining.

    Your turn:  Do you give your kids access to a wide range of reading material which includes magazines?  What children’s magazines would you recommend?

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    holiday books, read aloud

    10 Books to Read for Mother’s Day Plus a Bonus Book

    Reading to my children is the main reason I started this blog.  I love reading and want to help other moms, dads, grandparents, aunts, uncles and teachers (and anyone who interacts with children for that matter) find new books. Good books!  Books you can’t put down because your kids ask for them again and again books!

    So, since Mother’s Day is just around the corner, I’m providing you with 10 children’s books starring moms plus a bonus book.  I hope you enjoy them.

    The Seven Silly Eaters by Mary Ann Hoberman is a favorite around here starring mom, Mrs. Peters.  I love her story and the resolution– and I adore Marla Frazee’s illustrations!  Oh, and seriously, that is a lot of quality rhyming!

    Just What Mama Needs by Sharlee Mullins Glenn is the cutest little story.  Introducing young Abby who pretends to be all kinds of different things & the Mama is just the best!  She always embraces Abby’s imagination- it’s adorable, trust me.

    Are You My Mother? by P.D. Eastman: When a baby bird hatches all alone and falls from his nest, he goes to search for his mother. He asks everyone he meets, from a dog to a plane: “Are you my mother?” I love the moment of recognition when he finally meets his mother.

    Love You Forever by Robert Munsch: This is a story about the unstoppable nature of a mother’s love. This mother sings to her sleeping baby: “I’ll love you forever / I’ll love you for always / As long as I’m living / My baby you’ll be” and continues singing it through all the stages of her child’s life until the time when she’s too old and frail to hold him — and he holds her.

     I Love You As Much… by Laura Krauss Melmed is the loveliest of books!  Different animal mommies say how much they love their little ones (the camel: as much as the desert is dry).  These statements are paired with wonderful, tender illustrations– I cannot believe I have not seen this book before now!  Thanks to my local library for having it on display.

    What Moms Can’t Do by Douglas Wood is a funny book about things a child thinks his mom can’t do.  This little guy has a pretty entertaining take on his mom’s ability to get stuff done.  My favorite, “Sometimes moms can’t hear themselves think (I can relate).” Cute story!

    If You Were Born a Kitten by Marion Dane Bauer: This book is ABSOLUTELY beautiful.  The illustrations are immaculate and the message is wonderful.  The book talks about many different animal babies and what it’s like for them to come into this world, ending with a human baby and mother of course.

    Mem Fox’s Ten Little Fingers and Ten Little Toes is a fantastic poetic story told by a loving mother about little babies from all over the world, all so different- yet they all have ten little fingers & ten little toes.

    Llama Llama Mad at Mama by Anna Dewdney: I love Llama Llama and his wonderful mama!   Here we see them in a totally typical mom/child moment– which thankfully is resolved happily and not by them leaving the store as quickly as possible with Llama Llama screaming in her arms (not that that’s ever happened to me or anything.)

    Is Your Mama a Llama? by Deborah Guarino: When you want a funny book with great rhymes that you won’t mind reading over and over this hits the spot.  My kids loved having this one read to them.  Lloyd the llama is looking for his mama and asks all kinds of bird and animal babies if their mamas are llamas, which gets excited young readers (and their mamas) guessing about what creature exactly each baby is. There’s a satisfying ending and enchanting illustrations.

    BONUS: What Mommies Do Best by Laura Numeroff: This book is SO great.  (and BONUS you get two books in one with this puppy, so you can celebrate Daddies too.)

    Hopefully this list helps get you in a Mother’s Day mood.  Grab one of these and a kiddo and get reading!

    Your turn:  What are some of your favorite children’s books starring moms?  Feel free to share in the comments.

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    national poetry month, poetry challenge

    Poetry Reading and Craft Challenge for Kids: Week 5

    It’s the final week of our poetry reading and craft challenge.  I hope you and your kids have been following along each week and have enjoyed it!  For the last week of the challenge I selected a poem about summer.

    Finally it seems like the heavy grey veil has been lifted over the Northeast. The trees are starting to get green again. Flowers are starting to bloom.  Spring has sprung and you can already feel summer coming up around the corner. This is my favorite time of year. It’s a time of anticipation, celebration and FUN!

    Here the poem we’ll be memorizing this week:

    This week’s craft was “Popsicles” made out of construction paper and popsicle sticks.  You can also choose to make ice cream cones or another craft of your choice.
    Materials Needed:
    • Construction paper of varying colors
    • popsicle sticks
    • scissors
    • glue
    • pencil
    First, trace and cut out the shapes for your popsicles and decorations.  We used a mixture of circles, squares and rectangles.  Finally, use glue to decorate your popsicles to your liking.~Until next time!

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    our latest obsession, read aloud

    Our Latest Obsession: Elephant and Piggie Books

    Have you ever heard of the Elephant and Piggie series written by Mo Willems?

    I came across these books by accident.  I was looking for another book written by Mo that I thought was in the easy reader section instead of the picture books section.  Well, I’m so happy I ended up looking in the wrong section because that mistake led me to this awesome series of books!

    Some of you may already be familiar with Elephant and Piggie, but I had never heard of them until a few weeks ago.  First off let me say I love the author Mo Willems so I expected these books would be good, but not this good!

    I may be a wee bit obsessed with them, more so than my kids, but they seem to love these books too.  So far our favorites are: I Broke My Trunk, Waiting is Not Easy, We Are in a Book, Let’s Go for a Drive, I Am Invited to a Party!, Should I Share My Ice Cream? and I Love My New Toy.  I’ll be adding all of these books (plus more) to our list of books we’ve read in the coming weeks.

    I won’t give too much away about each of the books, but I’ll let you know Elephant (Gerald) and Piggie are best friends.  Each book takes them on another “adventure” together.  Apart from the humor, I love the simplicity of these books.  The illustrations, expressions and word bubbles are so well done making reading simple for kids.  Plus, they have a lot of repetition of sight words so they are great for beginning readers.

    I haven’t purchased any of these books for our home collection yet, but I certainly will be adding these gems to our library.  For now I’ve been enjoying checking out as many of them as I can from the library.

    Your turn:  Have you read any of the Elephant and Piggie books to your kids?  If so, what are some of your favorites?  Feel free to let me know in the comments.

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    national poetry month, poetry challenge

    Poetry Reading and Craft Challenge for Kids: Week 4

    Hello Friends!

    Apologies for the late post, but I had a fun-filled weekend and didn’t manage to update the blog until now.

    Hooray!  We made it to week #4 of our poetry reading and craft challenge!  For the last two weeks I decided to choose longer poems and projects geared towards older kids.  Of course I still expect you to read the poems to the smaller children and work on memorization 🙂

    Below is the poem we’ll be working on memorizing this week.  In honor of Earth Day coming up on Wednesday I chose a poem about planting trees.  I hope it resonates with you and your little ones.

    Click here for a larger version of the poem.

    This week’s craft was so simple and fun to work on!  The kids assisted by handing me the scraps of the ribbon.  I did everything else.
    It’s a “tree” made from a stick I found outside, scrap ribbon I had at home, and a piece of twine. Pinterest inspired, of course!

    For this project you’ll need:

    • 1 stick
    • scrap ribbon (I used brown and green scraps)
    • twine
    • glue gun and glue sticks
    • scissors
    • lighter (to prevent the ends of the ribbon from fraying)
    First, decide which ribbon you’re going to use and cut it if necessary.  (Note: in order to prevent the ends of the ribbon from fraying use a lighter to burn them.)  Next, start tying the ribbon onto the stick working from the bottom to the top.  Finally, attach a piece of twine to the top for hanging up your tree.  Easy peasy!  These trees would also be cute for Christmas tree ornaments!
    ~ Until next time!

     

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