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    $100 Lakeshore Learning Gift Card Giveaway + The Ultimate Fort Builder

    We can’t get enough of the products from Lakeshore Learning. I am consistently impressed with their quality, service and affordability. Through my partnership with them, I am now able to try out products at home with my kids like their awesome Ultimate Fort Builder that my kids are obsessed with.

    The Ultimate Fort Builder includes 45 durable poles and 25 kid-friendly connectors, which can be put together to create an igloo, a castle and other creations. The structures are strong enough to support a sheet or blanket on top, and the kit also includes instructions for easy construction.

    Before the kids started building, it was easy to see that several skills would be needed for success in building their forts:

    • teamwork
    • organization
    • following directions
    • critical thinking

    With zero adult instruction or help, my kids opened up the box, sorted the parts and started building.

    Once their fort was complete, the kids added a blanket on top and a few pillows on the floor. While not sturdy enough to climb on, their fort was well-made and not likely to come down without effort. The kids enjoyed playing inside and there was plenty of room for them to move around comfortably.

    Some other great benefits of building with the Ultimate Fort Builder:

    • encourages imagination and creativity
    • fosters cooperative play
    • helps boost kid’s confidence when they complete each project on their own or working together as a team

    More to Love About Lakeshore Learning
    Did you know Lakeshore has been making award-winning and high-quality educational products for over 60 years? They are a brand my family and I trust for their unique and exclusive products that are designed by teachers. Their products encourage curiosity and imagination and help kids develop a love of learning. Have you seen their 2020 Gifts for Growing Minds collection yet? It has all the gifts and learning toys you need to complete your holiday shopping for kids on your list.

    Save with my Lakeshore Learning Coupon
    You can take advantage of using my unique code if you are shopping on LakeshoreLearning.com this holiday season or in-stores. Use my code 7933 to save 25% off any single non-sale item. Coupon valid ‪through 12/31/20 for one-time use in stores or online. Limit one coupon per customer. Not valid on items with shipping restrictions. Other exclusions may apply. Visit http://bit.ly/3bRGxeZ for details.

    Lakeshore Learning $100 Gift Card Giveaway!

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    The Witches on HBO Max + A Giveaway!

    Disclaimer: We’re partnering with Warner Bros. Pictures to bring you this amazing gift box giveaway! Thank you to Warner Bros. Pictures for gifting us a gift box and another one to share with our audience. #ad #WBSsponsored

    From Oscar-winning director Robert Zemeckis (“Forrest Gump”) comes the fantasy adventure “Roald Dahl’s The Witches.”  The film stars Oscar winners Anne Hathaway (“Les Misérable,” “Ocean’s 8”) and Octavia Spencer (“The Help,” “The Shape of Water”), Oscar nominee Stanley Tucci (“The Hunger Games” films, “The Lovely Bones”), with Kristin Chenoweth (TV’s “Glee” and “BoJack Horseman”) and award-winning comedy legend Chris Rock.  Newcomer Jahzir Kadeem Bruno (TV’s “Atlanta”) also stars, alongside Codie-Lei Eastick (“Holmes & Watson”).

    Reimagining Dahl’s beloved story for a modern audience, Zemeckis’s visually innovative film tells the darkly humorous and heartwarming tale of a young orphaned boy (Bruno) who, in late 1967, goes to live with his loving Grandma (Spencer) in the rural Alabama town of Demopolis.  As the boy and his grandmother encounter some deceptively glamorous but thoroughly diabolical witches, she wisely whisks our young hero away to an opulent seaside resort.  Regrettably, they arrive at precisely the same time that the world’s Grand High Witch (Hathaway) has gathered her fellow cronies from around the globe—undercover—to carry out her nefarious plans.

    Based on the book by Roald Dahl, the screenplay is by Robert Zemeckis & Kenya Barris (TV’s “black-ish,” “Shaft”) and Oscar winner Guillermo del Toro (“The Shape of Water”).  Zemeckis is also producing, alongside Jack Rapke, del Toro, Alfonso Cuarón and Luke Kelly.  Serving as executive producers are Jacqueline Levine, Marianne Jenkins, Michael Siegel, Gideon Simeloff and Cate Adams.

    Zemeckis’s behind-the-scenes team includes a roster of his frequent collaborators, including Oscar-nominated director of photography Don Burgess (“Forrest Gump”), production designer Gary Freeman, editors Jeremiah O’Driscoll and Ryan Chan, Oscar-nominated costume designer Joanna Johnston (“Allied,” “Lincoln”), and Oscar-nominated composer Alan Silvestri (“Polar Express,” “Forrest Gump”).

    Warner Bros. Pictures Presents, an Image Movers/Necropia/Experanto Filmoj Production, a Robert Zemeckis Film, “Roald Dahl’s The Witches.”

    Download The Witches Halloween Activity Pack here!

    Watch The Witches Trailer!

    The Giveaway!

    One (1) winner will receive THE WITCHES gift box containing:

    • Projector to watch THE WITCHES on HBO Max
    • Google ChromeCast
    • HBO Max complimentary code for 7 day free trial
    • WITCHES bookmark and novel
    • Flavored popcorns, snack packs, and Coffee Beanery coffee sample
    • Wood decorating craft kit
    • White gloves
    • Mouse ears headband
    • Splat hair dye and hair chalk
    • Wind-up mouse
    • Crayons and activity booklet

    Good Luck!

    Open to US mailing addresses ONLY.

    The Witches on HBO Max

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    children's books, diverse books, giveaways

    Ty’s Travels: A New Early Reader Series by Kelly Starling Lyons + A Giveaway

    In creating the Ty’s Travels series, author Kelly Starling Lyons wanted to make something that in her words “embodied Black Boy Joy.”

    This is the first I Can Read series that features a Black family. These Guided Reading Level I books are great early readers ages 4 – 8 learning to read. They contain basic language, adorable illustrations, simple sentences and word repetition. Readers will enjoy Ty’s first train adventure and his first race car adventure. I think this is such a delightful series showing kids being everyday kids and having joyful experiences. We’re looking forward to reading the forthcoming books in the series as they are released.

    Ty’s Travels: All Aboard!

    Join Ty on his imaginative adventures in Ty’s Travels: All Aboard!, a My First I Can Read series by acclaimed author and illustrator team Kelly Starling Lyons and Nina Mata. Family time and imagination and play are highlighted in this fun story, perfect for sharing with children 3 to 6.

    Ty wishes his family would play with him, but everyone is too busy before dinnertime. Luckily, Ty knows just what to do… Time for fun. Celebrate the power of imagination in All Aboard!

    Ty’s Travels: Zip, Zoom!

    Ty can’t wait to ride his brand-new scooter at the park. Other kids zip and zoom by like race cars, but all Ty can do is wobble! Ty wants to give up, but a new friend helps Ty give it another try.

    Celebrate imagination and the power of persistence in Ty’s Travels: Zip, Zoom! by the acclaimed author and illustrator team Kelly Starling Lyons and Nina Mata.

    About the Author & Illustrator
    Kelly Starling Lyons is a founding member of The Brown Bookshelf (thebrownbookshelf.com). Her acclaimed picture books include Ellen’s BroomGoing Down Home with Daddy, and Sing a Song: How “Lift Every Voice and Sing” Inspired Generations.

    Nina Mata is a New York Times bestselling illustrator and received her degree from the Fashion Institute of Technology in New York City. She has illustrated many books, including American gymnast Laurie Hernandez’s She’s Got This, NBA superstar LeBron James’s I Promise, and the Ty’s Travels I Can Read series. Nina currently lives in New Jersey with her husband, their daughter, and Tabitha, their cat. Visit her online at beautifique.org.

    The Giveaway!
    One (1) lucky winner will win 1 copy of Ty’s Travels: Zip, Zoom! AND 1 copy of Ty’s Travels: All Aboard!. Must be a US resident age 18 and over to enter. Good Luck!

    Ty’s Travels Early Reader Series Giveaway

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    Bookworm Essentials: Tools & Resources to Enhance Your Family’s Reading Life + A Giveaway!

    With the growing accessibility of books and reading materials, bookish accessories are in high demand now more than ever before. But let’s face it, being a bookworm is a lot of work. It takes dedication, concentration and plenty of time. Below I’ve compiled a list of essentials I have found to be essential to ensure a pleasant, stress free reading experience.

    Read Everyday. Essential #1: Something to read
    If you’re going to be a bookworm (or a writer), you’re going to need a lot of books to read. So start by compiling a wish list of books you’d like to read and start reading.

    No Dog Eared Pages, Please! Essential #2: Book Darts
    These magical little bookmarks are invaluable for not only marking your place, but prepping for book club (or blog post writing). Mark not only your page, but the exact line you want to remember. Once you try them you might not want go back to your old bookmarking ways.

    Say Goodbye to Flapping Pages. Essential #3 Page Anchor
    If you’ve ever struggled with pages flapping in your face while reading a physical book, this little accessory may just be your reading BFF. You can read my previous review of the Page Anchor here. BONUS: Use my coupon code HEREWEEREAD15 to get 15% off your Page Anchor! Head over to www.page-anchor.com now!

    Let there be light! Essential #4: An LED Book light
    If you read in bed like I do, you may want to have an LED book light like this one handy. I find portable book lights really useful for reading in bed at night. I also use my book light in the car or while traveling by plane.

    Protect your bookish investments. Essential #5: A book sleeve
    Whether you’re book is in your home, at the bottom of your beach bag or the top of your carry-on, it will be protected from the bumps and bruises of travel inside a cute protective sleeve.

    Read while you eat. Essential #6: A wooden book holder
    Do you love to read books while eating,cooking, drinking tea, having coffee, or while knitting? Do you need a gadget to hold books open while you are reading? Then you might want to invest in a wooden book holder like this one. Bonus: It also doubles as a cookbook recipe holder or a tablet holder.

    Set a daily reading timed goal. Essential #7: A reading timer
    I aim to read for at least 20 – 30 minutes daily in the morning and at night right before bed. I find using a reading timer helps me stay on track with my daily reading goals. Simply set the timer for the allotted period, read until it goes off, then lights out. Both of my kids use this children’s reading timer since they don’t have mobile devices of their own yet.

    Bookmark It. Essential #8: Literary Tattoos
    Ok, so these are not essentials, but they are fun… Literary Tattoos!
    Just add water: Simple stick, wet, and peel instructions mean easy application for all of these temporary tattoos.

    Bookmark It. Essential #9: Bookmarks
    I’m really picky when it comes to bookmarks. In the past, I have used paper bookmarks, bobby pins, paper clips and index cards to save my place in a book. However, over the years I’ve learned bookmarks have to be functional, easy to use and long-lasting. Today, there are so many types of bookmarks to choose from – even magnetic ones!

    Lately, I’ve been loving the durable leather bookmarks from our friends at Ox and Pine. Oh, and did I mention their bookmarks can be personalized? They also sell beautiful journals and a few other bookish items.

    And hey, fellow bookworm, have you heard of our diverse summer reading challenge? Although summer is almost over, you can still use this resource all year round. Happy Reading!

    The Giveaway!
    Our friends at Ox and Pine are offering two FREE personalized bookmarks to one (1) lucky US based resident! Enter for your chance to win below. Good Luck!Ox and Pine: Two Personalized Leather Bookmarks

    Your turn: What are some of your favorite bookworm essentials? Feel free to share in the comments.

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    Bears Make the Best Science Buddies by Carmen Oliver + A Giveaway!

    Bears Make the Best Science Buddies
    by Carmen Oliver, illustrated by Jean Claude

    Age Range: 5 – 7 years
    Grade Level: Kindergarten – 2
    Hardcover: 32 pages
    Publisher: Capstone Editions

    Synopsis
    It’s time for the first science lab, and nobody can agree on an experiment. But why pick just one when Bear is around? Bears makes the best science buddies, and Bear proves it by helping each group use the scientific method for its special experiment. This fourth picture book in Carmen Oliver’s Bears Make the Best…series will bring the excitement of science to a new level. One of the four experiments used in the book is detailed in the back matter.

    Reflection
    When you stop and think about it, all kids are natural born scientists. From a very young age, they start experimenting with different things to see what will happen next. Once they are old enough to talk, they start asking, “why?” to everything.

    I love that this book allows kids to nurture their spirit of curiosity. Children will see a diverse group of students with faces that match their own and learn the proper way to conduct a science experiment.

    In addition to learning all the important safety protocols to conducting a science experiment, kids will also learn the four steps in the scientific method:

    1. Observe
    2. Make a Hypothesis
    3. Experiment
    4. Analyze Results

    Bears Make the Best Science Buddies is perfect for aspiring scientists and classroom read-alouds. As a fun added bonus, this book also features one of the four science experiments to try on your own in the back matter.

    Be sure to check out the other books in the series too!

    Bears Make the Best Reading Buddies
    Bears Make the Best Writing Buddies
    Bears Make the Best Math Buddies

    About the Author

    Photograph by Sam Bond Photography

    Carmen Oliver is the author of picture books A Voice for the Spirit Bears: How One Boy Inspired Millions to Save a Rare Animal, a Junior Library Guild spring 2019 pick, Bears Make the Best Reading Buddies and Bears Make the Best Math Buddies. She’s also the author of the forthcoming picture books Bears Make the Best Writing Buddies, Bears Make the Best Science Buddies, The Twilight Library (North-South Books, 2021) and The Favio Chavez Story (Eerdmans Books for Young Readers).

    Carmen’s work has been shortlisted for the Rainforest of Reading Award, The Writers’ League of Texas Awards and the CLEL Bell Picture Book Awards for Early Literacy. In 2014, she founded the Booking Biz, a boutique style agency that brings award-winning children’s authors and illustrators to schools, libraries, and special events. She also teaches writing at the Writing Barn and The Highlights Foundation and loves speaking at schools, conferences, and festivals.

    To connect or learn more about Carmen and her books,visit http://carmenoliver.com.

    The Giveaway!
    Five (5) lucky winners will win a copy of Bears Make the Best Science Buddies. Must be a US resident age 18 and over to enter. Good Luck!

    Bears Make the Best Science Buddies

    The Great Milk and Cookie Dunk Science Experiment

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    Kamala and Maya’s Big Idea + A Giveaway!

    KAMALA AND MAYA’S BIG IDEA

    by Meena Harris, illustrated by Ana Ramírez González

    Age Range: 4 – 8 years
    Grade Level: Preschool – 3
    Hardcover: 32 pages
    Publisher: Balzer + Bray

    Meena Harris debuts with an empowering picture book about two sisters who work with their community to effect change, inspired by a true story from the childhood of her aunt, US Senator Kamala Harris, and mother, lawyer, and policy expert Maya Harris.

    One day, Kamala and Maya had an idea. A big idea: they would turn their empty apartment courtyard into a playground!

    This is the uplifting tale of how the author’s aunt and mother first learned to persevere in the face of disappointment and turned a dream into reality. This is a story of children’s ability to make a difference and of a community coming together to transform their neighborhood.

    In Kamala and Maya’s Big Idea, two sisters decide they need a playground in the back of their building. They won’t take the landlord’s “no” as an answer and rally all the kids who live in the building to help them find a way. I love how at the girls call themselves the “per-sisters” at the end of the book because they were persistent and didn’t give up. Recommended for ages 4 – 8.

    Meena Harris was born into a family of strong women whose legacy continues to inspire her. Her grandmother, Shyamala Gopalan, was a cancer researcher and civil rights activist; her mother, Maya Harris, is a lawyer and policy expert; and her aunt, Kamala Harris, is a United States senator from California. Meena herself is a lawyer and entrepreneur. In 2017 she founded the Phenomenal Woman Action Campaign, a female-powered organization that brings awareness to social causes. She currently resides in San Francisco with her partner and two daughters.

    Ana Ramírez González worked as a visual development artist on Pixar’s Oscar-winning film Coco and illustrated the companion picture book Coco: Miguel and the Grand Harmony by Matt de la Peña. Ana is also the illustrator of Maybe Tomorrow? by Charlotte Agell. She grew up in Guanajuato, Mexico, and lives in Oakland, California.

    Follow Meena on Instagram @meenaharris or at phenomenalwoman.us.

    Kamala and Maya’s Big Idea

    Kamala and Maya’s Big Idea Giveaway

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