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Parenting Raising kids Raising Readers Uncategorized

The Kind of Peer Pressure I Can Get Behind…

My 12 year old daughter loves reading, and can become obsessed with characters in some of the series she reads. I feel like it is an absolute bonus that she has some friends that also love reading.

A while ago she was on a Zoom call with a couple of her friends, one who had recently had a birthday. My daughter was down the hall in her bedroom, so for the most part I couldn’t hear the content of their conversation. But then, the friend shared that she had received a gift card from Barnes and Noble and asked the other girls if they had any suggestions as to what she should get with her gift card, and MAN, did things get shriekishly loud after that question.

The girls emphatically told the birthday girl that she needed to get the Percy Jackson series by Rick Riordan, and why that was super important. And when I say emphatically, I mean it wasn’t just a casual suggestion, they were making it sound like a requirement, with tons of supporting details. My daughter then proceeded to move over to her bookshelf so she could accurately tell her what else she needed to get with her gift card. In the process, my daughter also got some new book suggestions from the other two girls that she proceeded to tell me about after the gabfest was over.

Now after I finish a really good book or a friend asks me for suggestions, I do often do like my child did and go over to my bookshelf or look at my Goodreads account to get titles. But I may be missing the boat here, maybe I also need to emphatically screech at my friends to tell them what they should be reading? Either way, listening (eavesdropping?) in to this conversation was a case of peer pressure this mama could actually deal with.

Keep #RaisingReaders!

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Parenting Raising kids Raising Readers

We May Have Turned the Corner!

Hopefully I’m not jinxing myself, but I think my son has fallen in love with a new series, and maybe even a whole genre…

I’ve talked extensively on this blog about how I’ve handled the difference between raising my two readers, with my daughter being obsessed with books and my son…not so much. Now don’t get me wrong, he loves our #bedtimereads, probably more than my daughter, and is capable of reading himself, but its just not his first choice. But the tables may be turning…

In his class recently, they had to choose a science fiction book to read. Initally he chose The Wild Robot Escapes by Peter Brown, which is an excellent choice. He was excited when he started it, but about halfway through I think he decided it didn’t have enough action in it for his taste, so he was looking at some other options. He came across the last book in Stuart Gibbs’ Moon Base Alpha series, Waste of Space, and became obsessed with the audiobook. Most of the time he was listening as he was falling asleep, and he was struggling to fall asleep because he kept wanting to extend his listening, something I had only seen his sister do up until now. Once he finally finished, he immediately wanted another book. I had to hide the shock on my face, and then my fingers began to do this…

There was no way I was going to let this moment pass without finding a new book for this child. He has decided that Science Fiction is his genre of choice and he prefers audiobooks, so we did some filtering to find some options and landed on a new book, The Mighty Odds by Amy Ignatow. We couldn’t stop laughing at the summary of the odd superpowers these kids accidentally acquire, so he borrowed it from the library immediately. Plus, we were both excited by the fact that its a series, so he’d know what his next read would be. And man I tell you…he finished the book in a little over 24 hours!!

I’m so happy to see this new journey that my son is now on, and I’m also very thankful for his teacher for introducing him to the science fiction genre. It is not my genre of choice, so the likelihood of me recommending that a book from that genre to him was slim to none. I’m just hoping he stays this excited about books for a while, so if you have a moment to cross your fingers, say a prayer, something, please feel free to do so! 🙂

Keep #RaisingReaders!

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Raising kids Raising Readers Uncategorized

Black History that May Be New to You

One of the things my kids and I really enjoy is reading about important figures in history we knew nothing about previously, but are grateful to learn about. It makes us feel special to learn about someone’s contributions that not many other people know about. So for Black History Month, I would like to share some of those books that we’ve read that highlight people or events you may not have heard of before.

Do you know who Sarah Goode is? We didn’t before we read this book. Sarah Goode was the first African-American woman to receive a patent and was the inventor of those cool cabinet beds. We enjoyed learning about Sarah’s skill at carpentry, as well as her persistence to make sure her hard work was patented. You can read more about the book Sweet Dreams, Sarah by Vivian Kirkfield here.

Sometimes its not a new person that we knew very little about, but a moment or era in history that we learned about, which was the case when we read, Follow Me Down to Nicodemus Town, by A. LaFaye, illustrated by Nicole Tadgell. This fictional book teaches us about the very real time after the end of slavery, when many Black people moved to the midwest and became Homesteaders. Definitely a book that made me want to learn more about this time. You can read my review of the book here.

Lastly, Sonny’s Bridge: Jazz Legend Sonny Rollins Finds His Groove by Barry Wittenstein and illustrated by Keith Mallett is our last bedtime read that introduced us to someone new. In this case, its about jazz musician Sonny Rollins, a Again, we really enjoyed Sonny’s passion for jazz and how committed he was to his passion, even when he had to step away because the fame got to be too much. Here’s where I talk more about this book.

Also, readbrightly.com is one of my favorite go-tos when I need new book ideas for the kids. They have an article on their website right now that has even more titles that can help expand your kids’ knowledge while #RaisingReaders. You can find that here.

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Parenting Raising kids Raising Readers Uncategorized

The Amazing Powers of Cat Kid

I absolutely LOVE Dav Pilkey, the author of graphic novel series such as Captain Underpants and Dog Man. Are they my personal favorites? Nada. As much as I love books, the likelihood of you finding me with a Ricky Ricotta book in my hand are pretty low. However, Pilkey is the one author that I know will get my son to crack open a book and read it from start to finish, and for that, I love Dav Pilkey.

Now it gets better…not only does he get my child to read, but now he might get him to write too?! So in Dav Pilkey’s latest series Cat Kid Comic Club, the main characters are writing short comic stories, which has inspired my child to do the same thing! Naturally, he comes up with this great idea when he should be falling asleep (read more about his sleeping/reading habits here), but I’m still thrilled with it. In this book, the characters even talk about how to come up with ideas to write about, and my child used that philosophy to brainstorm ideas. Let me introduce you to…Robo Cheata

So, I share all this to say two things: 1) Dav Pilkey does a great job of getting kids into books, so if you think your child is remotely interested in silly stories, he’s your guy and 2) it may not be Dav Pilkey, it may be a different author your child wants to read that you aren’t excited about, but if they’re into it–let your child read try it out.

Remember, your goal is #RaisingReaders!

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Parenting Raising kids Raising Readers Uncategorized

A Few of Our Fave #BedtimeReads from 2020

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!