I’m a sucker for a book with few words, or even no words. My kids and I love pouring over the illustrations of picture books, noticing every little thing we can. Our recent #bedtimeread, Lift written by Minh Le and illustrated by Dan Santat, is no exception.
In this book, Iris tells us that she’s got a job in her family, and that is to push the buttons on the elevator. But wait…someone (younger and related to her) tries to take her job.
In the midst of her “fit”, she discovers a new button that takes her way beyond anywhere those elevator buttons were taking her. After enjoying this newfound world, the tale ends with an understanding that as much as our siblings may annoy us, there’s still a bond there that’s unmatched.
Like I said, there aren’t many words in this story, so you would think it would take only moments to read…but no. The amount of time we spend staring at the illustrations, and then going backwards to look at them again once other things start making sense is immeasurable.
Reading books like these make for some of my most memorable #bedtimereads with my kiddos, so I’d definitely recommend trying out this beauty with your own.
Well, the kids and I did get quite a bit of reading in this year, even with the craziness of 2020. Although I only read 3 chapter books to them this year, we read a TON of picture books and started reading more books digitally. Together, we learned a lot from non-fiction picture books, got to know characters through series, and cracked up at quite a few characters we encountered this year. I can’t share ALL of what we read, but I would like to share a few of our favorites. Keep in mind, our list isn’t based on books released this year, just books that we read together this year.
Just last week, we finally finished Tristan Strong Punches a Hole in the Sky by Kwame Mbalia. The first book in this fantasy series was one that definitely lived up to its hype, about a young boy who accidentally ends up in a new world, where he meets characters and Gods from African American and African folktales. This book has lots of action and drama, and oh, I cannot forget Gumbaby, a character who nearly had my kids in tears from their laughter. Although the fantasy genre is not my jam, its my daughter’s favorite, so that’s part of the reason I chose it to read it to them. You can read more about how she started liking fantasy books here.
Near the start of the pandemic, I was looking for a book that would go with a movie we could watch afterwards, so we started reading Holes. This award winning book gave us drama, humor, and often had them begging for me to read one more chapter. I kinda wish I had read it sooner, but I am definitely glad we experienced it together. I wrote more about our experience here.
We definitely needed some opportunities to laugh this year, and one of our favorites was This is a Taco! written by Andrew Cangelose, and illustrated by Josh Shipley. This book is one of those that does a great job of integrating some actual facts (in this case about squirrels) with humor. Our main character is a squirrel and is excited to share facts about squirrels, but because his name is Taco due to his love of the food, things go a little haywire. This was one we read digitally during the summer, and one that they would have me reread all the time if they could.
Lastly, Your Name is a Song by Jamilah Thompkins-Bigelow and illustrated by Luisa Uribe is one of those books that has become a go-to purchase for gifts. In this book we encounter a young girl who is frustrated with the fact that her teacher could not pronounce her name correctly at school. The story follows the girl and her mother on their walk home where mom expertly explains to her child that every name is a song. The examples of names throughout the book include so many names that you rarely, if ever, see in children’s books. Although my kids don’t often have the experience of having their names mispronounced, I do, and they have classmates with names that are regularly mispronounced. My kids enjoyed the suspense of wanting to know what the main character’s name was and watching me work on saying the names correctly. I wrote more about this lovely book here.
So, if you didn’t get a chance to read one of our favorites this year, I hope you put them on your list for 2021!
I don’t know about you, but I’ve always had a case of the “what-ifs”, and while this pandemic has done nothing to ease those feelings, this book we read for our #bedtimeread actually has.
The Whatifs, written by Emily Kilgore and illustrated by Zoe Persico, tells the story of Cora, who because of her nervousness, was often visited by the “whatifs”, mini monster looking things, who added to her feelings that something bad is going to happen. They visited her all the time, no matter where she was or the time of day, causing her to doubt even the thing she practiced and was good at–playing the piano.
Thankfully, at her piano recital, Cora encounters Stella, who explains to Cora that there are also good whatifs, and helps Cora change her thinking.
There are a couple of things that I loved about this book and reading it to my kids. One, I love that it gives young readers a visual of what nervousness and/or anxiety might look and feel like. Sometimes when you’re young you aren’t able to name abstract things, but calling them “whatifs” and giving kids a visual can help them do that. Additionally, even I as an adult hadn’t really thought about the positive whatifs and I really liked that change of thinking. Even though this seems relatively straightforward, the story is told in a way that is engaging to readers, and there’s a great Author’s Note in the back that explains why she wrote this book.
So, regardless of whether your kids have nervous personalities or not, this is a great book to share with them. They can learn how to deal with their whatifs like Cora, or learn to help a friend like Stella.
Is it just me who thought that as your children get older, certain routines would get easier? For example, I thought I would be able to go to the bathroom uninterrupted or that maybe, just maybe, when I said “good night”, that would actually be the last time we spoke until morning? If it is just me, then I blame you all for not telling me.
A few of the bedtime routines in our house revolve around reading/books. I usually read to them before bed (hence the whole blog idea), they usually listen to a book on CD as they fall asleep and/or they read themselves until they fall asleep, all of which I helped to cultivate, so I’m all for them. However, that those last two, the listening to a book and the reading to themselves, are also starting to become thorns in my side.
My son has recently decided to start reading his 2021 Almanac at bedtime. Its full of interesting facts and cool pictures, so guess what that means? Yep, he’s gotta walk across the hall right away to share them with me. I don’t want to discourage him reading, so the first time he walks over at night I indulge him. However, after time 2 or 3, I’m more adamant about saving the conversation until morning, which means he’s more insistent in telling me that one last thing.
(And don’t get me started about how telling me in the morning never happens…its like its only interesting at night. *eyeroll*)
My son is talker, (He gets it from his dad.) so I’m already dealing with that during the day, but if he’s not telling me what he’s discovered in the Almanac at night, he’s telling me about what he’s learned from whatever book he’s listening to as he’s (supposedly) falling asleep.
I love it, I really really do, but MAN, if he could just read during the day, he could tell me ALL about it.
A few nights ago I was not feeling well. Nothing major, but enough that I was gonna pass on our bedtime read for the night. My son was disappointed, but after a few minutes said, “Can I read to you instead?” I’ll be honest, I said no a couple of times at first. But he kept insisting that it was my turn to be read to, and he told me I could even choose the book–how could I turn that down?
So, out of my three choices, I picked The Mitten by Jan Brett, and below is a picture I snuck while I was getting my bedtime book.
So I’ve discovered a new occasional perk of #RaisingReaders….a break. 🙂