Book Review–Baby Kai and the Monster in the Closet

Book Review–Baby Kai and the Monster in the Closet

Davy, his brother Baby Kai and the rest of the family are back in author Danual Berkley’s latest book, Baby Kai and the Monster in the Closet. In the first book about this family, they went on a pirate ship adventure, and you can read more about that book here. This time, younger brother Kai is struggling to fall asleep because, like many other kids, there’s a monster behind his closet door. In this story we get to see Baby Kai pleading his case to his parents for help to no avail, so he has to deal with this problem all on his own. Luckily for him, there are a couple of twists that let Kai and the reader know that monsters aren’t always all bad.

The illustrations in this book, created by Amariah Rauscher, are awesome and consistent with the illustrations in Davy’s Pirate Ship Adventure, so if you’ve read it, there’s continuity with the characters. The illustrations also play an important role in figuring out the twists in the story, which is a concept in picture books that I love. During my first read I didn’t notice things that I saw after reading it again, and I think that makes for more lively bedtime reads, especially if, like me, you have kids that like to read a book more than once.

 

So if you are raising a reader who has some fears about monsters hiding in their closet or under their bed, this book can help with lighten that concern. Additionally, as author Danual Berkley has done in the past, he makes it a point to make sure that all members of this African-American family are present in the story, which helps to expose your young reader to that sort of representation. You can read more about his quest to achieve diversity in my interview with him here.

This book was just released on June 7 of this year, and you can find this book on Amazon or Barnes and Noble. You can also learn more about budding author Danual Berkley at his website, danualberkley.com.

High Five by Adam Rubin–An Interactive Bedtime Read

High Five by Adam Rubin–An Interactive Bedtime Read

In our house we love books by Adam Rubin, particularly the Dragons Love Tacos books. So when we learned that there was a new book coming out, we had to read it.

Hive Five is story all about…you guessed it–high fives! The main character is coaching the reader in preparation to participate in a high five-ing competition, which means they need to practice their skills. As you can see even in the cover, the main character actually wants the reader to high five the pages of the book, and my kids LOVED it.

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Rubin asks the reader to be creative in their high fives, even coming up with routines to wow the judges. We had spins, dances, and some hard slapping of the pages of this book, which I was not prepared for when we started reading. I had looked the book over, but for some odd reason, I thought I was going to be able to read through it without them wanting to actually high five the book. What was I thinking?

So as a suggestion, I would read this book with your kiddos when you are having one of those nights where you are not in a rush to get them to sleep. Who knows what kind of high five routine your child will come up with, so you want to be prepared to let them enjoy this interactive book to the fullest!

#RaisingReaders

The Power of the book Hair Love by Matthew A. Cherry

The Power of the book Hair Love by Matthew A. Cherry

On Memorial Day I was watching the 3rd hour of the Today Show and they were having a conversation about fathers styling their daughter’s hair. Al Roker learned how to do his daughter’s hair when she was young, but the other co-hosts had stories of themselves or their spouses trying and failing to style their child’s hair, which is also where my husband falls when it comes to doing my daughter’s hair. I’ve gotten over it, especially since she can at least put her own hair in a ponytail now, but I was slightly bitter about it for a while. Today however, I am inspired by a new book that highlights some daddy/daughter “hair love”.

Hair Love, written by Matthew A. Cherry, is about a young girl who loves her natural hair, and even describes it as doing magic tricks. She’s got a special day coming up, and decides that she wants to do her hair herself, especially since her dad has been working so hard recently, and he must be tired. However, dad wakes up and after some failed attempts, together they do their best to create the perfect hairstyle.

SPOILER ALERT: There are a couple of major reasons why I think this book is outstanding, but one of them does spoil the ending of the book. First, I love just about everything Vashti Harrison illustrates, and this is no exception. From the expression on the character’s faces to the detail of dad’s tattoo, it is all beautifully done.

Secondly, I love love love the relationship between father and child that is illustrated in this book. Daddy tells her her hair is beautiful and is clearly involved in his daughter’s day to day life. That in itself is not something you see often in kids’ books, which is partly why I loved it. But also…mom is there too. We don’t know it until the end (hence the spoiler alert), but mom coming home is the reason she wants to make sure her hair is perfect. And although this may seem trivial to some, it made it more powerful for me, particularly this illustration at the end, where Harrison makes it clear that mom and dad are married. Again, it is something that really shouldn’t give me all sorts of touch-feely emotions, but because it isn’t often seen in children’s picture books, it does.

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Look at those picture frames!

If you want to maybe inspire your child’s father to do your daughter’s hair or if he’s not like mine and he already does and you want to give him props, then you should read this book. Or, if you would like to read a book with your child about an imaginative and ambitious little girl and her family, then you should read this book. 🙂

 

Look at Our Stack of Picture Books!

Look at Our Stack of Picture Books!

Here’s a stack of library books I recently got from our local public library:

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It had been a while since I got a stack of picture books this big, but I’m happy I did. I decided to share this picture with you for a few reasons:

Look at the variety of books in this stack–we’ve got an Elvis biography, an informational book about segregation and a number of “silly” books. I grabbed the book Don’t Touch My Hair solely because my daughter has curly hair that people want to touch, so I knew she could identify with it, and I was right. The book I’m Tough is part of a series of books that my son and I used to read years ago when he was younger, but we hadn’t read this one. He jumped up and down in excitement when I showed him that I had checked this one out. The options these days for picture books are endless, and you and your children should take full advantage.

My kids are 7 and 10 and are both mostly chapter book readers. However, they still enjoy a good picture book now and then, especially when they’re being read to. We had a great time giggling over these different stories, and it was a nice change of pace for them from the biographies and serious historical fiction they had been reading.

Picking out these books didn’t take very long. Our public library has a “New Books” section, and I got all of these titles from there, so it didn’t take me very long at all to pick them out. Even if your library doesn’t have that type of section, librarians often have books on display that you can pick from.

As you are #RaisingReaders, regardless of how old they are, don’t forget that there’s always time for a good picture book!

Awww, My Kids Still Indulge Me!

Awww, My Kids Still Indulge Me!

So, I’ve shared before that when it comes to my kids’ books, I refuse to believe that they’re outgrowing them. They are both big Harry Potter fans and my daughter has read the entire series, but I won’t let her get rid of her Elephant and Piggie books. I own this, with no shame.  However, in the last couple of days, my confidence has grown and I have found that these books can still come in handy.

We are in the process of moving, so my kids have packed most of their books, but I had them keep some of them out because we must always have something to read available. The other evening, my son grabbed this classic for the three of us to read before bed:

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What?! I loved this book as a child, and for them to love it too is icing on the cake. We hadn’t read it in quite some time, yet I still thought they’d behave as if they were too old to play along. But no, we had a great time reading about Grover’s insistence that we stop turning the pages of the book.

Then, a few days later, in my cleaning/packing, I found some Elephant and Piggie books. I decided I Love My New Toy! was going to be our bedtime read for the evening. Again, I was thinking it would be a quick read where they were half listening. However, they were all into the facial reactions of the characters and even giggled in the right places. Although I couldn’t let them know it, I was amazed that they fell right back into it, like it was the first time we had read it.

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So I share all this to say, in your #RaisingReaders journey, you are completely justified in keeping those books that your child has outgrown…at least a few of them anyway.  You could always bring them back out and take a nice stroll down memory lane.