Fun Bedtime Read: Q is for Duck…No Really

Fun Bedtime Read: Q is for Duck…No Really

Here was my pitch for our #bedtimeread this evening: “We’re going to read an ABC book, but it’s going to be tricky, because you guys already know your ABCs.” I got some puzzled looks, but I was prepared with a book I knew they would enjoy: Q is For Duck. This book by Mary Elting and Michael Folsom is not your normal alphabet book. For this book, the reader gets to guess why the item has been labeled with a letter that is not the one it normally starts with, like in the title.

At first, my kiddos were confused, and their guesses were off.  However, they soon caught on and were super excited to guess why certain letters were chosen for certain animals. Here’s some examples from the book:

One way I can always tell when my kids really like a book is when they ask to keep the book to reread it before they fall asleep, and this was one of those evenings. I let my son have it, but I didn’t find out until the next morning that at some point my daughter had the book too. (Yeah I know, I should’ve known this was going down, oops.)

They loved the book so much that my daughter decided to plagiarize the entire book so she could quiz her friends at school the next day!

Now, the only exception is that I wouldn’t recommend reading this to a child doesn’t solidly know their ABCs, we don’t want to create any confusion. Other than that, this is a perfect book for some #RaisingReaders fun.

Follow Me Down to Nicodemus Town by A. LaFaye–a Book Review

Follow Me Down to Nicodemus Town by A. LaFaye–a Book Review

One of the many things I love about a good picture book is when I learn something new–whether its a person I hadn’t heard about or a time in history I knew little of, I love learning something new through the simplicity of a picture book. One of these more recent lovely occasions is through reading the book titled Follow Me Down to Nicodemus Town by A. LaFaye.

This book is about a young girl named Dede who lives with her parents who are sharecroppers. They want to own their own land, but like many other African-Americans of that time, they are never able to get ahead. One day though, Dede notices a flyer that is looking for African-Americans to move to Kansas to develop and eventually own their own piece of land. Her family makes the decision to make that move, and during their first winter in Kansas, they meet the NiukaNska, or Children of the Middle Waters and develop a fellowship with them. In a few years’ time, the town of Nicodemus starts to develop, the family works hard and ends up owning their own place.

I love that this book takes place during the Reconstruction period, which is a time period I don’t feel is written about often. Additionally, although I myself live in the Midwest, I knew very little about Exodusters, who were African-Americans that migrated to the Midwest. Nicodemus, Kansas was an actual settlement that was created and inhabited by only African-Americans in the late 1800s–who knew? This book would be a great way to introduce kids to this period of time in our history. It’s straightforward, yet can still facilitate lots of discussion (especially through the details in the illustrations) about what was happening in our country during this time.

I would recommend this book for kids 3rd grade and up, in order for them to get a true understanding of what’s happening. Unless you’re from Nicodemus of course, then you and/or your child might have known all this history of course.

Keep #RaisingReaders!

 

Since He Asked Me To Read It…#RaisingReaders

Since He Asked Me To Read It…#RaisingReaders

Robots aren’t really my thing at all, so when my son brings me a book titled Robots At Your Service and says, “I really think you should read this” I’m utterly confused. But since it looks short, I tell him it’ll be my bedtime read that night and we’ll talk about it tomorrow.

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Here’s the thing, as odd as I thought the choice was for me, I realize that my child is also giving me an opportunity to have a conversation with him. Right now he still wants to tell me everything, but I know there’s a chance the day will come where puberty, hormones, or just general teenager-ness will change that. So the fact that he’s inviting me to converse with him, and about a book no less, is something that I’m taking full advantage of. If I can make talking about books a “thing” now, then that may still be a thing in the future. I share all this to say, as you are #raisingreaders, if you have a child wanting you to read or just to talk to you about their book, go for it!

Additionally, did you know that scientists/inventors are trying to create microbots that can go inside a human’s body to figure out what’s wrong with them? Me either, but thanks to my son, I learned about it through this book! 🙂

 

Keeping Up With the Kiddos

Keeping Up With the Kiddos

In more recent years, children’s books have begun to discuss and reflect the issues of our times, including bullying, racism, and other issues. I think this is all great, it exposes young people to people and situations they haven’t yet encountered and/or provides them characters that they can actually connect to. However, it can also cause you to step up your parenting game to ensure that they are not learning any misunderstandings or that you’re available to answer any questions they may have.  This is especially true if your children are advanced readers.  Recently, I have had instances with both of my children that gave me reason to write this post.

My son loves graphic novels, and although it used to bug me at first, I have come around to the idea that as long as he’s in a book, we’re good. (Read about my trials here.) A while ago during a trip to the bookstore, he picked out Cardboard Kingdom by Chad Shell. I had heard of it, and heard good things about it, but hadn’t read it for myself. My son was enthralled with this book for a good 2 days, telling me about cool things he saw throughout the book. When I was finally able to get my own hands on it, I realized that it was about more than kids creating communities with cardboard boxes. In reality, although all the stories are connected, there are multiple story lines that include some heavy topics, including gender identity and divorce. My issue became that I didn’t know if my son, who generally pays more attention to the illustrations than the words, grasped those things.  So, knowing my child, I knew that we couldn’t rehash or reread the entire story again, however, we did have some conversation about a couple of the characters just to see if he had any questions about the story, which he did not. I don’t regret him reading the book at all, but I wish I would’ve been able to preview the book with him before he started reading it.

My daughter recently turned 10, and her reading preferences are starting to advance faster than her actual age. Recently, she checked out the audio version of The Stars Beneath Our Feet by David Barclay Moore. This novel is about a 12 year old boy dealing with the aftermath of the death of his brother in a gang-related shooting. It’s been on my TBR list for a while, and although I would’ve preferred to read it first, I’m not in the habit of denying my kids books they want to read. I could tell that she really got it into the audiobook, because she would play it in the evenings, not just before bedtime. Honestly, I didn’t think she would stick with it, but she wanted to make sure she heard all of the story.  I kept the option open for her to talk about the book if she wanted, but she didn’t seem to need that.

I say all this to say that as you are #RaisingReaders, be sure to at least try to know what your child is reading, just in case their books are covering topics that may lead to other discussions.

 

Awww, My Kids Still Indulge Me!

Awww, My Kids Still Indulge Me!

So, I’ve shared before that when it comes to my kids’ books, I refuse to believe that they’re outgrowing them. They are both big Harry Potter fans and my daughter has read the entire series, but I won’t let her get rid of her Elephant and Piggie books. I own this, with no shame.  However, in the last couple of days, my confidence has grown and I have found that these books can still come in handy.

We are in the process of moving, so my kids have packed most of their books, but I had them keep some of them out because we must always have something to read available. The other evening, my son grabbed this classic for the three of us to read before bed:

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What?! I loved this book as a child, and for them to love it too is icing on the cake. We hadn’t read it in quite some time, yet I still thought they’d behave as if they were too old to play along. But no, we had a great time reading about Grover’s insistence that we stop turning the pages of the book.

Then, a few days later, in my cleaning/packing, I found some Elephant and Piggie books. I decided I Love My New Toy! was going to be our bedtime read for the evening. Again, I was thinking it would be a quick read where they were half listening. However, they were all into the facial reactions of the characters and even giggled in the right places. Although I couldn’t let them know it, I was amazed that they fell right back into it, like it was the first time we had read it.

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So I share all this to say, in your #RaisingReaders journey, you are completely justified in keeping those books that your child has outgrown…at least a few of them anyway.  You could always bring them back out and take a nice stroll down memory lane.

 

I Have A Balloon by Ariel Bernstein—Book Review

I Have A Balloon by Ariel Bernstein—Book Review

Have you ever, even just for a moment, felt like deep down your children do actually love each other, but most of the time will do anything they can to irritate each other (and you)? Then you need to read this book, for yourself, and to them.

We came across this book at the library, quick shout-out to the librarians for putting it on display, it makes my quest for the perfect picture book so much easier. At any rate, I Have a Balloon by Ariel Bernstein was just right for a bedtime read for my kiddos.

We have two main characters, Owl and Monkey. Owl has a plain red balloon he isn’t super excited about. However, when he shows it to Monkey, all of a sudden, it becomes as he says, “The only thing I’ve ever wanted, since right now”, which of course means Owl suddenly loves it. Sound familiar or is it just my kids who don’t understand the concept of sharing with each other?

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Monkey starts to offer Owl different things to trade for the balloon, but naturally he doesn’t want any of these things. I mean, why would he, when he’s got this lovely balloon that he didn’t love 5 minutes earlier. *insert eye roll here*

I read this to each of my kids separately, and they both found the story funny.  I made sure I told them that Monkey and Owl reminded me of them, which they found amusing, but I was so serious. I love Monkey and Owl, and my children, and I do think they love each other, but would it kill them to share the balloon?

The best thing is, I discovered today that there’s a sequel to I Have a Balloon, titled Where is My Balloon?, and I can’t wait to read that one with my kiddos.