We have loved each book in this Utensils series, so we were looking forward to the last one of the trio–Straw written by Amy Krouse Rosenthal and illustrated by Scott Magoon. In the previous books, we learned about teamwork and individuality, what could we learn from the straw?
With my kids starting back to school AND increasing their independence since they are learning remotely, this was a very timely book to read at bedtime. Not to give it all away, but Straw, who liked to be first all the time, had some really smart friends that were trying to convince him that that wasn’t always a good thing. Rosenthal did a wonderful job of teaching us a lesson that not everything needs to be done quickly.
Although we are sad to see the series end, Spoon, Chopsticks, and Straw are characters I will be referring to for years to come.
You can read our thoughts about the other books in the series here.
Four years ago I wrote about this awesome journal I found for kids, partly in the hopes that a decade or two in the future my kids would look back on them and enjoy reading about their thoughts as kids. I was wrong. It only took them 4 years to find their initial entries hilarious.
They spent a good 45 minutes before bed CRACKING EACH OTHER UP, going through their old drawings and responses. As much as I wanted them to go to sleep (let’s be honest, I wanted to go to sleep), the sound of them 1) getting along and 2) laughing together was just enough for me to only interrupt to take their picture.
This journal has now exceeded my expectations, so I wanted to make sure I share the original blog post here, that includes where it can be purchased.
Me and audiobooks have a love/hate relationship. I love the idea of them and believe that they are the same as reading the actual book…but I am not an avid audiobook listener. I don’t have a long commute to work (with or without a pandemic) or really any sort of long stretch of time that I can listen to a book, but I’ve tried. Luckily the last two times I tried to listen to audiobooks, I actually had hard copies of the book. I can usually get about three-fourths of the way through an audiobook, and then I get real impatient, grab the book, and finish reading it myself. However, the story is very different when it comes to my children…
Both my kids are all about audiobooks, I’ve even written about our previous experiences here and here. Just this week, my daughter decided to listen to an audiobook of Echo Mountain, a book she had tried to read last month but ended up abandoning, and now she’s all about it. She told me, “I think the book was confusing, but listening to it made it better. I might go back and try to read the book again after I finish.” Listening to the book was a great way for her to read a book that she previously thought was too difficult for her.
My son is currently listening to books from the Wayside School series. He told me this evening, “I think the reason I haven’t been falling asleep as fast as I used to is because I’m listening to the book. I can’t stop listening, ’cause they’re so interesting.” Audiobooks are a great opportunity for him to reread books and really increase his comprehension.
So as much as I can’t personally find the time or patience to listen to audiobooks, they are a perfect option for my kids to read and experience more books. If you haven’t introduced your readers to audiobooks, you might want to give it a try!
Looking for something to read with your kiddos around voting or Election Day? I’ve got a great recently released book for you.
A Vote is a Powerful Thing, written by Catherine Stier and illustrated by Courtney Dawson is a great bedtime read for kids about the power of democracy. In Ms. Trask’s class, she’s teaching her students about how important voting is and has created a project for students to help get students invested in the act. Thanks to one of Ms. Trask’s students, our main character Callie, she and another student create campaigns to convince students to vote for the field trip of their choice.
Callie is particularly invested because her grandma is trying to save the same wilderness park that Callie is campaigning for. I won’t spoil the ending for you, but I will say both campaigns work hard to get their classmates to pick their choice.
The thing I really appreciated about this book was what I felt was a different type of campaign that the students ran. Usually in children’s books the students are running for class president, which is a cool idea, but in my own elementary education as both a child and teacher, I’ve never had a class president. As a result, I found those books to be a little less relatable. Voting for a field trip though? That I could see happening, which makes it that much better to connect with its readers. There’s even a couple of pages of information about voting at the end, including a timeline of voting rights in the United States. It was a winning bedtime read for us!
So if you want to introduce your kids to how democracy works, A Vote is a Powerful Thing by Catherine Stier and illustrated by Courtney Dawson is the way to go.
*I received an Advanced Reading Copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. This title was released on September 1, 2020 and can be purchased wherever books are sold.
I took this quote from my Twitter friend and author, @Jarrett_Lerner, and it resonated with me. Whether the books are from a Little Free Library, your local bookstore, garage sales, Goodwill, or hand-me-downs from your own childhood it doesn’t matter. Having books for your child at their disposal gives them another option when they’re “bored”, an opportunity to practice their own reading, a chance to revisit characters and stories that they loved.