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Parenting Raising kids Raising Readers

The Little Things…

It’s almost 11:30 pm as I’m writing this, and my daughter just left my room with a cheesy smile on her face.

She had recently started reading The Lightning Thief, and about an hour ago I had gone into her room to turn out her lamp so she could go to sleep. However, she was not at the end of a chapter, so she told me she would turn off the lamp when she got to a good stopping place. Apparently it took 60 minutes to get there. 🤷🏾‍♀️

She came in to my room smiling because she felt like she had to tell someone that it was so good she could not stop reading, so she read an extra two chapters before she put in down. And naturally that she’ll finish it first thing in the morning. She looks so happy and wired I’m not convinced she’ll be able to fall asleep, but we’ll see.

I say all this just to say that her smile and joy about the book was contagious and I’m not sure if I’ll be able to fall asleep myself (I was reading when she walked in.). Just another reminder as to why I am intent on #RaisingReaders and sharing with others reasons why you should too.

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Book Review Parenting

#Bedtimeread–Your Name is a Song

In this colorfully illustrated picture book, Your Name is a Song by Jamilah Thompkins-Bigelow, our main character is upset after her first day at school because no one can pronounce her name correctly. On their walk home, her mother explains to her that her name is a song, and by using lots of other names as examples during their conversation, she turns the her daughter’s mood around.

By the next day at school, the young girl has gained the confidence to sing her name as a song, as well as a few others. My kids and I both enjoyed the suspense in wondering what the girl’s name was, as well as the beautiful illustrations done by Luisa Uribe.

As a person with a name that has been mispronounced most of my life, I could definitely understand what the main character was going through, and it made the book that much more powerful to me. I think that Thompkins-Bigelow does a wonderful job of explaining how important names are at a level that children will be able to understand. My favorite part of this bedtime read of a few nights ago is when Momma explains to her daughter, “…Their real names were stolen long ago so they dream up new ones. They make a way out of no way, make names out of no names–pull them from the sky!” What a way to explain how and why parents come up with unique names!

This is a beautiful book to share with young children at the beginning of a school year. It is a great way to boost the confidence in children who may be nervous about sharing their names and shows others how important it is to say their classmates/friends names correctly. Plus, I can only imagine the cheesy smiles and joy some kids would get hearing their name in a book, and there are definitely some original names in there. (And if that freaks you out at all, the awesome part is that Thompkins-Bigelow has the pronunciations next to them. Plus, how awesome is it for your kids to see an adult put in the work to say words correctly?)

Your Name is a Song by Jamilah Thompkins-Bigelow, illustrated by Luisa Uribe, has a release date of July 2020. We loved it, and I’m sure your kids will too!

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Parenting Raising kids Raising Readers Uncategorized

After Reading the Books, Don’t Forget The Conversation!

During these momentous times of conflict and protest we are currently in, one suggestion that I’ve seen on a variety of platforms, and even given myself, is to arm ourselves (and our children) with knowledge through books. I’ve seen great lists of books everywhere, from engaging picture books to powerful YA novels and everything in between. And while this is a great first step, the conversations with young people around the books can be just as influential as the books themselves.

I realize at times it can be difficult to have some of these conversations, and that there are times we can “get away” with not talking if the kids don’t ask any questions–trust me, I’ve been guilty of doing that myself. However, you also don’t want your child to walk away with the wrong impression or understanding, so having those talks are important. You don’t have to be armed with a whole set of questions, but just a simple, “What are you thinking?” or “Do you have any questions?” can get it started. I know my kids tend to see things in black and white, so I’ve had to clarify things they’ve seen on TV, and the same would apply with books.

Even with your older kids, who may be reading books independently that deal with sensitive issues, don’t forget to check in with them and see if they have any questions or thoughts about what they’re reading that they want to talk about.

Using books to help #RaisingReaders who understand the importance of equity and become anti-racist is a great step, but don’t forget to have those important conversations!

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Parenting Raising kids Raising Readers

Last night’s #BedtimeStory

In light of current events and conversations, this was our bedtime story last night…

It doesn’t solve anything, but its a start…#KeepReading

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Parenting Raising kids Raising Readers Uncategorized

Bedtime Reading during Quarantine

So, for many of us still under Stay-At-Home orders, it is becoming increasingly difficult to maintain a sense of normalcy, in fact, sometimes I feel like we’re just creating a “new normal”.  One piece of our lives that I am trying to keep normal is our #BedtimeReads each evening. However, right now we cannot go to the library, I don’t have access to my office stash of books, and buying books regularly is not an option. On the positive side though, we do have access to our library online, so that’s something the kids and I have been diving into, both individually and collectively.

I decided that we needed a chapter book for our bedtime read, something that would take more than one day, with cliff hangers that had us kinda looking forward to bedtime (yeah, so there’s an ulterior motive here).  Luckily, and surprisingly, neither my 11 year or my 8 year old had read the book Holes by Louis Sachar, so that’s what I decided to go with.  For those of you who haven’t read this book, its about a teenager named Stanley who is unjustly sent to a camp for a crime he didn’t commit.  At Camp Green Lake, all the boys have to dig 5 feet holes every day, and Sachar takes readers on a historical journey to help us try to figure out why.  And for an added bonus, there’s a movie to go along with the book!

Holes was the perfect book for us to read together. It took us about 10 days to finish, both kids enjoyed it and were able to follow along with the jumps back and forth in time. Each night there were pleas to “keep going”, and we were so into it that I read it during the day a couple of times! I didn’t tell them that there was a movie version of the book until after we finished, so they were super excited about seeing Stanley and the other characters come to life.

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So, if you’re looking to create some consistent routines, especially to end your day, I would suggest finding a good chapter book like Holes that you and your kiddos can get into, and one with a movie they can watch later just might give you a couple of extra hours of peace.