Book Review Parenting Raising kids Raising Readers summertime Uncategorized

Blue Sky White Stars–A Book Review

I’ll be honest, I don’t usually have a specific bedtime read for my babies for the 4th of July like I do for other holidays. However, thanks to the Twitterverse and my addiction to books, I discovered I already had purchased the perfect book earlier this summer– Blue Sky White Stars, written by Sarvinder Naberhaus and illustrated by Kadir Nelson.

Now, I realize you’re probably thinking, if its so perfect for Independence Day, why is she telling me about it now, after July 4th? Well, although the book is perfect for the 4th, it is not exclusive to that holiday.  Trust me, it’s not like you would be reading The Polar Express in June.

Blue Sky White Stars is a poetic tribute to the American flag and can be read at any time of year. It does not have many words in the book at all, but the words that are written by Sarvinder Naberhaus are powerful. Speaking of powerful, the illustrations in this book are AMAZING. I’ve been a fan of Kadir Nelson’s work for a long time (see: Henry’s Freedom Box or Abe’s Honest Words), but I was still in awe over these pictures. Both of my children were in amazed as well, so even though it took mere seconds to read the words on each page, we stared at the illustrations quite a bit longer.  Here are two illustrations from the book:

This one, also on the cover, was the favorite of my kids. They loved that you could see the fireworks in their eyes.
Although they were all great, this was my favorite.


Blue Sky White Stars is a great short read that can spark some great conversations with your children about the flag, America, and the power of wonderful illustrations. Although this time we did not have a lot of conversations about the words, this is definitely a book I look forward to rereading with my children as they get older!



Book Review Parenting Raising kids Raising Readers summertime Uncategorized

Book Reviews Coming Soon!

We just got back from our family vacation, and I was thrilled to come home to #bookmail!

From the author Kim Bogren Owen, I received the book Art Parts: A Child’s Introduction to the Elements of Art.  I get to share this book with my art loving kiddos to see what we think, plus we got some extra supplemental things to go with the book that I can’t wait to use and share with you as well.


I’m also super excited to be a part of the #Solobook launch team! This is the latest book written by Kwame Alexander, with Mary Rand Hess. Personally, I have loved everything that Mr. Alexander has written, so I was super thrilled to be invited to this launch team. Now, chances are I won’t be sharing this book with my 8 and 5 year old kids just yet, but I cannot wait to read it and share it with you!


So, my goal is to get dive into #Solobook and explore some art parts with my kids this week so I can share all the goodness with everyone!


Parenting Raising kids Raising Readers summertime

Going on a trip? I’ve got a tip! (Summer tip #3)

Like many of you, we’re planning on taking a vacation this year.  And in preparation for that little trip, I will be bringing in some books.  I started this a couple of years ago, when we took our first vacation to the beach. For that trip, I grabbed Pete the Cat: Pete at the Beach. It was just a small gesture, something they could read before the trip, as well as on the drive down. However, it also helped them make connections with their beach experience.

Plus, who doesn’t love Pete the Cat?

It is something I also noticed both my kids experienced when they each made their trip to the zoo when they were in Kindergarten. In class they learned a lot about different animals they would see, and even had their own coloring book (that also had words) about those animals. And when we actually went on the field trip, they made references to their learning. For example, this year my son was explaining to me how orangutans are endangered as we are walking to the primate section. I was in shock, yet impressed at the same time.

So this year one of the highlights of our trip is going to be visiting an aquarium. Now luckily, my daughter is really into aquatic animals, and has already asked way too many times whether or not we’ll be seeing dolphins. She’s already got background knowledge, but during our next library trip we’ll look into getting some books, both fiction and non-fiction, that connect to that part of our trip.  Even if you’re going to visit family, trust me, there’s a book for that.

Not only will it make the vacation more enjoyable, it will also expand their vocabulary, and importantly, keep them reading over the summer.

In short, my tip is to somehow, someway, connect literacy to your vacation this summer. Not to mention, reading on vacation may buy you some silence in the car, plane, or train on the way to your destination, which will kick off your vacation the right way. 🙂

Have you made any connections with books for your vacations? Feel free to share below. Also, you can find my first two summer tips here and here.



Parenting Raising kids Raising Readers summertime Uncategorized

Library Time!! (Summer Tip #2)

So, last week I mentioned that I would share some tips for #RaisingReaders during the summer, so the progress that you guys have made in step with teachers all year doesn’t go to waste.  You can see that original tip here. My second tip is to take some time this summer to explore your local library.

There are obvious reasons for this suggestion, first and foremost being–its free! Summers can be long, “boredom” (yeah, I put it in quotes because let’s be real, its often not real boredom) can set in quickly, and before you know it, you’re spending dollar after dollar for their entertainment. I mean, I just spent $50 at the movies today for me and my 2 to see the Captain Underpants movie, and we cannot afford for that to happen on a regular basis. We can afford however, to spend $0 at the library for the same length of time as the 90 minute movie. Not only is the library free, unlike the park, which is also free, its air conditioned. And even for those of you who don’t live within the city limits of your local library, its still free to sit in the library and enjoy a book.

Secondly, there are SO many options at the library! Maybe your child has outgrown the books they have on their shelf, or maybe they’re just tired of them. Take them to the library, and there’s hundreds of books they can choose from. Is your child into dinosaurs? There’s books at the library for them. Stories about princesses? Got those too. Historical fiction? Yep. Books about teen angst? Tons of them. Books for you about dealing with teen angst?–got those too.

Now I do suggest to try to make a plan when it comes to going to the library, otherwise, if your kids are anything like mine, they will wander around the library aimlessly for a good chunk of the summer. And by make a plan, I mean simply asking, “So, what kinds of books do you think you want to check out this time?” on the way to library. Also, when in doubt, have your child talk to the librarian, they can usually steer them in the right direction.

Lastly, most public libraries usually have some sort of summer reading programming for the summer, which can include incentives for reading books like trinkets and stickers, as well as activities, such as crafts or guests like magicians. I would suggest looking into what your local library has to offer.


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Here’s our library’s summer booklet. My kids are excited with all the options inside.



Story times are also popular at libraries during the summer.

So, the next time you hear, “I’m bored, can we go to the movies?”, for the 40th time, try steering the car towards the library instead of the movie theater. (Did I mention I spent $50?)