Book Review Parenting Raising kids Raising Readers Uncategorized

The Barefoot Book of Children–A book review

Books in general are my passion, but I am also obsessed with Children’s literature (hence this blog).  So when I saw the opportunity to be a reviewer for Multicultural Children’s Book Day, share my love of reading, and get a free book out of it, I had to jump on that opportunity.


The book I received is titled The Barefoot Book of Children, written by Tessa Strickland and Kate DePalma, illustrated by David Dean, and published through Barefoot Books.  Now when it comes to multicultural, this informational book literally covers multiple cultures. It has the best of both worlds, with its colorful illustrations and questions that will make your child (and you) think. The Barefoot Book of Children takes the reader through how although we are all very similar, the way we live our lives may be different, depending on our culture or something as simple as where we were raised.

Although I had read it once alone as soon as I received it, as I was reading the book with my daughter I realized that we were going to spend a LOT of time reading this book. The illustrations alone were enough to spend a few minutes on each page.  Each page has a variety of cultures depicted, many of which were new to her, so she wanted some time to stare, which I happily gave her. Additionally, there’s a page in the book that talks about different languages, and my daughter, who happens to take Chinese, was super excited to point out which symbols were part of the Chinese language.

One of the most amazing features about this book is that they realize how important the illustrations are and how they may lead to questions themselves, so there is a section at the end titled, “A Closer Look at the Illustrations”. This section is great because when your child asks a question about something in one of the pictures, instead of stuttering or guessing (which is what I often do) you can go right to the back and find the answer. (It also allowed me to double check my daughter and make sure what she pointed to was actually Chinese. It was.)


If you are interested in exposing your children to cultures different than your own, this would be a great introductory book to do so. If you want to facilitate questions in a classroom or in your house about our differences and how to learn to accept them, again, The Barefoot Book of Children is a great book for that. Also, if you want help or additional resources after you read this book, the publisher even has activities and resources to help you out.  You can find that information here.  I was honored to have the opportunity to participate, and I feel I really lucked out with a wonderful book.



Multicultural Children’s Book Day 2017 (1/27/17) is its fourth year and was founded by Valarie Budayr from Jump Into A Book and Mia Wenjen from PragmaticMom. Our mission is to raise awareness on the ongoing need to include kid’s books that celebrate diversity in home and school bookshelves while also working diligently to get more of these types of books into the hands of young readers, parents and educators.  

Despite census data that shows 37% of the US population consists of people of color, only 10% of children’s books published have diversity content. Using the Multicultural Children’s Book Day holiday, the MCBD Team are on a mission to change all of that.

Current Sponsors:  MCBD 2017 is honored to have some amazing Sponsors on board. Platinum Sponsors include ScholasticBarefoot Books and Broccoli. Other Medallion Level Sponsors include heavy-hitters like Author Carole P. RomanAudrey Press, Candlewick Press,  Fathers Incorporated, KidLitTVCapstone Young Readers, ChildsPlayUsa, Author Gayle SwiftWisdom Tales PressLee& Low BooksThe Pack-n-Go GirlsLive Oak MediaAuthor Charlotte Riggle, Chronicle Books and Pomelo Books

Author Sponsor include: Karen Leggett AbourayaVeronica AppletonSusan Bernardo, Kathleen BurkinshawMaria DismondyD.G. DriverGeoff Griffin Savannah HendricksStephen HodgesCarmen Bernier-Grand,Vahid ImaniGwen Jackson Hena, Kahn, David Kelly, Mariana LlanosNatasha Moulton-LevyTeddy O’MalleyStacy McAnulty,  Cerece MurphyMiranda PaulAnnette PimentelGreg RansomSandra Richards, Elsa TakaokaGraciela Tiscareño-Sato,  Sarah Stevenson, Monica Mathis-Stowe SmartChoiceNation, Andrea Y. Wang

We’d like to also give a shout-out to MCBD’s impressive CoHost Team who not only hosts the book review link-up on celebration day, but who also work tirelessly to spread the word of this event. View our CoHosts HERE.

MCBD Links to remember:

MCBD site:

Free Multicultural Books for Teachers:

Free Kindness Classroom Kit for Homeschoolers, Organizations, Librarians

and Educators:

classroom-kindness- kit/

Free Diversity Book Lists and Activities for Teachers and Parents:

Book Review Parenting Raising kids Raising Readers Uncategorized

A Mix of Old School and New School


A few days ago we took a quick trip to our local library and checked out our usual hoard of books. Now for my daughter, finding books are usually pretty easy. She has a few authors and series that she’s really into, and for the most part after we’ve found them once, she can usually find her way back to that section on our next trip. My son however, does not yet have certain authors or series that he’s looking for, so he’s more dependent on me to help him. Luckily for us, the Children’s section at our library usually has some seasonal or holiday books set up on shelves, so that’s where we started.

“Hey, I’ve read this book, this is The Mitten!”

“It sure is, let’s check it out!” Even though his teacher had read it at school, I figured its a classic book from Jan Brett, and he was clearly excited about it, so we could get some extra mileage out of it.

My next move was to take him over to the Mo Willems section, because although there are times I don’t think its possible, we have yet to read every Elephant and Piggie book there is.

These books are both hilarious AND easy to read!

Luckily for me, while looking on that shelf, I noticed a new book, The Cookie Fiasco, which is part of the new Elephant and Piggie Like Reading series. (Author Mo Willems has ended the Elephant and Piggie series, but he knew it would be too much to leave us cold turkey.) That was an easy sell, so we grabbed it and went on to check out.

So as they settled in for our bedtime reading, I overhear the two of them arguing over which of the books he picked we were going to read. Of course by bedtime I have little to no patience for children arguing, so I told (possibly yelled to) them we would just read both to shut it down, and I’m glad I did.

Even though they had both read The Mitten before, they were still really into the story as well as the illustrations that both bring the book to life and do some foreshadowing.

The mitten silhouettes on the edges also contribute to the story.

Next, we read The Cookie Fiasco, and when compared to The Mitten, this book is louder, much more colorful, and funnier. They enjoyed watching these new characters try to figure out how to share their cookies, and loved when Elephant and Piggie made their guest appearances. My son even let my daughter “borrow” the book for the night, even though they were arguing mere moments earlier.

In hindsight, I probably should’ve read the louder book first and then ended the evening with calming Jan Brett, but hey, hindsight is 20/20.  This evening’s reads also reminded me to mix in more classics with our newer bedtime books. When I go to the Children’s section of the library, the first section you’ll find me looking is in the new books, I’m always looking for the latest books to share with my children. But in reality, I need to broaden our scope, take the time to look through those shelves, and find more of those “old school” books to mix in with the “new school”. Much like I eventually learned to appreciate the “old school” music my parents made me listen to, I’m sure my children will appreciate the exposure to the “old school” books….just hopefully sooner than I did.

Book Review Parenting Raising kids Raising Readers Uncategorized

Book/Journal Must-have

Thanks to an email I got from Brightly, which is a great website for anyone who is #raisingreaders, I looked into and then ordered two copies of a diary/journal for my two loves. Now journaling is personally not something I’m really into, but this one is rather unique and something we can do together.


I started it with each of them last night and they were both super excited about it. In fact, instead of reading a book until she fell asleep, my daughter looked through the pages of the journal until she fell asleep and then took it to school today to look at it some more. Here’s some examples of the pages they completed and some that we haven’t done yet.

Some pages have concrete ideas like these my son did…
And other pages require some creative thinking.

So, if you’re one of those parents like me that wants to keep all the memories possible from your child’s childhood, but isn’t quite as organized to do it the way you want, or if you just want to give your child a space to do some creative thinking, this would be a great resource to do either. It is definitely a keepsake that appears like it will hold up for years to come (it has a hardcover) and will be great to look at when they’re older.

Book Review Parenting Raising kids Raising Readers

Did I create a monster?

About a month ago I was working at my school’s Scholastic Book Fair and had some time to peruse the cases (honestly, for like the 100th time, I have an addiction). Somehow, for only the first time I ran across this book–

And a $5 price tag?–Win/win!

So, here’s my thought–sure, some of it may be over her head (I’m sure she doesn’t know 1/2 the people on the cover) or some stuff she may not be interested in, but for 5 bucks? There’s got to be something in this book that my 7-year-old will like. So, I sent a picture of the book to my husband, he seconded my idea, so I bought the book.

When I gave it to her that afternoon, I told her it could be a “car book” (Yeah, I had just made it up). It was a book that would stay in the car so she would have something to look at on short and/or long trips. From my perspective, it would also give her something to focus on in the car so I could listen to my music instead of Kids Place Live.  She was excited and went straight to reading it, and I went straight to listening to some 90s R&B. When we got home and pulled into the garage she said, “So mom, I can’t bring this book in the house?…Then can I stay in the car?” Put one in the win column for mama! Don’t worry, I didn’t leave her in the car.

So, here’s where the monster part comes in. Since she’s getting all this new information, the focus has become sharing all this information with me or her father, completely backfiring my plan for me to reconnect music like in the car while she enjoys her book in silence.

“Mom look, did you know this book has sign language?”

“Dad, did you know the state bird for Illinois is the Cardinal?”

Our latest conversation has been about Presidents. Since my husband is a Social Studies teacher, my child has decided she needs to quiz him on his knowledge of American Presidents.

“Dad, did you know Abraham Lincoln was the 16th President?” “Dad, who was the 21st President?”  I could go on and on, because she goes on and on…Now for the most part, he’s been a good sport about it all and will play along with her.

Even this morning, over a month after she first got her “car book”, she’s still getting new information from it. Although I focus my attempts at #raisingreaders at nighttime, I’ve discovered that reading in the car actually works too!  You have to get it in wherever you can. So, did my “car book” purchase give me the time to enjoy the music I enjoy? Not as much as I wanted. But was it worth the $5 spent? Definitely.

Did you know Hellen Keller was born on June 27th? Thanks to her, I do!



Book Review Parenting Raising kids Raising Readers

Quote and guest blogging

I saw this quote on Twitter the other day and it resonated with me and particularly my journey with my son, who is just learning to read. You can read more about my journey raising readers at my guest blog post here with Book Review Mama.