Changes to Bedtime Reads during Quarantine

Changes to Bedtime Reads during Quarantine

So, like many of us, your new normal has probably become spending a LOT of quality time with each other thanks to COVID-19, which has its advantages and disadvantages.

One disruption to our routine is our library trips. Our local public library is where I would grab the new picture book releases and get many of our bedtime reads, but right now it is closed.

Now as much as I love books and reading, our bank account does not allow me to purchase every book that I would like to purchase, not to mention I don’t have enough shelf space for every book I would buy.

So, if your family is anything like mine, two things might be true: 1) You have spent a TON of extra time with your kiddos and may be interested in a break in “parenting-duties” and 2) You may be running out of books to read to your kids at bedtime that aren’t “free”.  If either of these are the case, I have a recommendation for you–virtual storytime!

A positive that has come out of this pandemic is that a lot of children’s book authors are doing their part to help kids, parents, and teachers with not being able to be at school right now. They are making videos of themselves reading their books available to the public, which is not something you can often find.  So, why not have Ame Dyckman (author of Dandy) or Mac Barnett (author of Sam and Dave Dig a Hole) read their books to your kids before bed? Now, I don’t recommend making a regular habit of this, but different times call for different measures, right? Below are a couple of websites with lists of authors reading their books online, hopefully you’ll find something your kiddos will enjoy!

A List of Authors Doing Virtual Storytime or Art Lessons

The Big List of Children’s Authors Doing Online Read-Alouds & Activities

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCowhHSUaWp3KJDcuI0nR0vw

Even through Coronavirus–keep #RaisingReaders!

 

Books vs. Electronics

Books vs. Electronics

A friend sent me this cartoon recently, and I thought it was perfect for this blog. Although it may look extreme and give you a giggle, this is yet another reason why I am convinced that raising readers is an important mission.

 

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Don’t get me wrong, I have nothing against electronic devices, and my kids do have them, but they also have bookshelves full of books, library cards, and listen to books as they fall asleep. Balance is important. How do you make sure your readers have balance?

Keep #RaisingReaders

A Cautionary Tale…

A Cautionary Tale…

My 10 year old daughter is an avid reader, and as she’s getting older, she’s reading more realistic fiction books with characters who are her age or a little older, which means they are often dealing with some potentially heavy issues. Now normally, being an avid reader of kidlit myself, or with the assistance of the Internet, I can usually be aware of the content of what she’s reading. This helps me to be prepared to have conversations with her or answer her questions about what she’s reading if necessary. However, recently, I got blindsided by a topic that I wasn’t even expecting…Santa.

Now, I knew the inevitable day would arrive when she no longer believed in Santa, and I thought I was prepared to deal with that. However, I was not prepared to have the conversation as a result of a book she was reading. So this is how it went down:

My child comes up to me and says, “Mom, you gotta listen to this, its so funny”

Me: “Ok, sure go ahead…” (half-listening)

Child: “…..and Mom slipped the truth about Santa on Christmas Eve. I cried myself to sleep and refused to open my presents in the morning…” Isn’t that funny?

(Child walks back to her room)

Me (delayed response): Wait? What?

So now of course it’s too late to mention it, so I had to come up with a different way to ask her how she felt about Santa, if for no other reason than to make sure she knows that her brother still believes.

I share this story not to encourage policing what your child is reading, but more to make sure you’re actually listening when they’re reading out loud to you. They could be giving you clues…

Keep #RaisingReaders

 

 

 

Raising Tidy Readers (Occasionally)

Raising Tidy Readers (Occasionally)

My daughter starts Middle School next year, but apparently all of the attitude and what not that comes with it has started early. *eye roll*

So, in my efforts to keep things sane between us, I’ve tried to reach my hand across the aisle. One way I did this recently was to “help” her clean her room, in a manner that was different than my normal repeated, increasingly louder, requests for her to do so. This time, while she was cleaning, I was in her room with her, not cleaning, but rather I was reading to her while she was cleaning.

We have been reading the Whatever After series by Sarah Mlynowski for some years now (read about our love of the series here and here), but we had gotten behind on the latest one, Spill the Beans. There’s nothing wrong with the book, but we just keep getting distracted by other titles or I’m reading to both children, and he doesn’t want to read something we’ve already started, which I totally understand.

So this particular Saturday, as much as I wanted to attack my own to-do weekend list, I told my daughter it was time to clean her room, and while she was cleaning, that I would read some more of Spill the Beans to her. That seemed to appease her, and as you can see in the picture below, she went to work while I read the next 3 chapters in the book.

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Now as much as I would just prefer for her to keep her room clean day to day, I have come to terms with the fact that it won’t happen. And is reading to her while she cleans something I’m willing to commit to every weekend? Nah. However, it is something I can do every once in a while in my mission to maintain my sanity and also to keep #RaisingReaders. Just a reminder to take advantage of any opportunity to read to your children that you can!

Book Reviews–Spoon and Chopsticks by Amy Krouse Rosenthal

Book Reviews–Spoon and Chopsticks by Amy Krouse Rosenthal

Even as an adult, I love everything I’ve read by Amy Krouse Rosenthal, like not that I just love them for kids, but I love them myself.  I feel like I should have a Rosenthal shelf in my house. You can see my excitement about one of her last books, Dear Girl, here. Recently, thanks to a conversation with a colleague, I was introduced to two of her earlier books, Spoon and Chopsticks, which I think are great books for bedtime reads.

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Even though my colleague recommended Spoon to me, we read Chopsticks first, because Spoon was checked out of the library. Chopsticks is a great picture book all about the transition from only being able to function with a partner, to figuring out how to do things independently. It’s a great lesson for twins, siblings, or kids who have that one friend that they can’t do anything without. The message of the book is NOT that you can’t have a solid dependable partner, but more that you can be successful both alone and with a friend.

After what seemed like forever, we got to pick up Spoon from the library. Now in this book, our main character, Spoon, has basically decided that he’s jealous of his other friends. The knife gets cut things, the fork gets to eat all kinds of things that spoon doesn’t, and of course, you can’t beat the chopsticks, there’s two of them that get to hang out with each other all the time.  However, as we adults know, perception is everything. So as the story continues, we learn how the other utensils also wish they could do the things spoon can, such as eating ice cream. After we finished reading Spoon, I immediately asked my kids what the message of the story was, and they were instantly able to tell me, “be happy with what you have” and “be careful what you wish for”, which thrilled me.

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So, if you are looking for some cute, engaging, funny, and well illustrated books that will also teach lessons, these books (and really any other book by Amy Rosenthal) are the way to go!

*I recently found out that there’s one more book in this series coming out in February 2020–Straw! I’m so excited to see what we learn from that character.