Book Review Raising kids Raising Readers Uncategorized

An Extended Bedtime Read- Little Cloud: The Science of a Hurricane

Have you ever had one of those nights where you started the kids’ bedtime process just a little earlier in the hopes that that means they’ll be falling asleep faster? Has that attempt ever backfired on you? Yeah, that happened to me last night, but for once I actually was ok with it.

downloadI was thought I was being slick. It wasn’t super early, but early enough that I was anticipating getting in a decent amount of TV or reading time in, but my book choice derailed my plans. We read an ebook copy of Little Cloud: The Science of a Hurricane written by Johanna Wagstaffe and illustrated by Julie McLaughlin, a cute informational book about how hurricanes form. Now I’m sure you’re wondering how a book about hurricanes could derail bedtime, because before we started the book, I felt the same way. However, in school both of my kids have learned a lot about clouds, the water cycle, and the water crisis, and so they had a lot to add to the facts in this book. My son just had to elaborate on what makes up clouds and the different types of clouds. My daughter saw sandbags in one of the illustrations and took us off on a tangent about their many purposes. The book only has 30-something pages, but with all those extra conversations, it took us almost 30-something minutes to read it.

See those sandbags in the corner? Yeah, had a whole extra conversation about those.

But, and especially considering how our school year has ended, anytime I experience my kids recalling things they learned I get excited for them because that means it stuck.  So, I decided I wasn’t disappointed that our bedtime read was a little longer than usual, because I ended up with a #proudmama moment.

Whether your own kids are water “experts” or not, I would recommend this cute book, just be warned ahead of time, it may bring out questions and/or comments, so be sure to start bedtime early that night. 🙂



Book Review Parenting Raising kids Raising Readers Uncategorized

Short Stories–When You Need a Bedtime Book in a Pinch

As a parent who works in an elementary school, I have an added bonus in being able to bring books home regularly to read to my kids for our bedtime reads. Also, we go to our public library pretty regularly, so if I can remember to grab a book (or let’s be honest, books) I usually do. However, sometimes I forget to do either. The thing is, when I don’t have a book to grab right away at bedtime, sometimes I have the urge to send them to bed without a book, which is a routine I would NOT like to start.  So, when in a pinch, and I don’t feel like reading The Book With No Pictures for the 100th time, I have found that books full of short stories are the way to go. Here are a couple of my go-tos:

imgres  We have had this book for well over a year and a half, and we just finished it last week. I initially mentioned it in my blog here, when we had just started the book. I have the ebook version of the book, which is part of the reason we didn’t finish it sooner. We would forget about it because it wasn’t sitting on one of their bookshelves. Like I mentioned in the first post, this book has a pattern to it, and my kids could both recite parts of it each time I read it. They also loved that the stories were about them–it’s written as if they had an adventure that day and I am reminding them about their experiences. Like the title says, there’s a month’s worth of stories, so its a great quick grab for kids who like silly stories.

imgresThis is another one I’ve written about before. Titled 50 Wacky Things Animals Do, this one is great for kids who enjoy nonfiction material, animals, and just weird things in general. We would read about a couple of animals a night until we finished the book. This is definitely one they wanted me to read more of each night!



Lastly, this book has been our most recent bedtime read that is full of short stories. Now, 20190130_1550416267061602993784651.jpgI’ll be honest, I’ve had this one for years, it was on clearance when I bought it, and when I looked up images of it, it looks like a lot of the copies are being sold on ebay. So, while you may not be able to get this exact book, there are other books that are full of folktales, and they will serve the same purpose.  African Folktales, retold by A. Ceni, is a book full of tales that originated on the continent of Africa. I love stories with a lesson/moral, so these short stories can spark some discussion after we read them.



So in order to not get into a #RaisingReaders rut, and even if you don’t grab any of these specific titles, I recommend that you have some sort of book full of short stories on hand that you can grab in a pinch.

Parenting Raising kids Raising Readers summertime Uncategorized

A Little Competition Never Hurt…

I realize that there is truth and evidence to the idea that incentive-based reading programs don’t do much to create lifelong readers, which is always my goal.

And while the summer reading program in my children’s school district isn’t really incentive based, they can log on and see how long (& what) other kids in their school are reading. After logging on and seeing what their classmates were doing, this is what happened in my house:

You’ll have to excuse the messy hallway, but hey I’m not interrupting reading for something I can clean later. I’m actually going to grab my own book, get in my own comfy spot and join them.


Book Review Parenting Raising kids Raising Readers Uncategorized

Bedtime Read–It’s NOT Jack and the Beanstalk

I’m a big fan of Josh Funk’s books, and if you haven’t read any of them, you gotta go find one. I’ve even written about one before here. They have the right amount of humor with great illustrations, and still require the reader to do some thinking.

Tonight, we read It’s NOT Jack and the Beanstalk, which is his latest released book. I’ve been itching to read it for a while, but I’m trying (and failing) to rein in my book budget and hadn’t got around to it. But when I saw it on my child’s tablet under Kindle unlimited (AKA free), I instantly knew what we were reading tonight.

The cool thing about this book is that it is a fractured fairy tale, but not your average fractured fairy tale. Our main character Jack actually interacts with the narrator– who is actually trying to tell the original version of the story. I don’t want to give much away, so I’ll just give a few pieces of info–

*It’s a funny book. Both my 6 year old and my 9 year old were giggling throughout.

*Its not a requirement, but I would suggest that if your child isn’t familiar with the story of Jack and the Beanstalk to read that first. Trust me, it will be fine without, but it is so much better when they have that background knowledge.

*Read it yourself beforehand. Because of the multiple characters, especially with one being the narrator, there are speech bubbles and text all over. I think I read everything in the right order, and my kids had no complaints, but if I had read it myself first I think my delivery would’ve been a little better.


*Give them some time to look at the illustrations. There’s lots to see and of course they enhance the story even more.

Lastly, one of the cool things about the author Josh Funk is that he also has a cool website that has supplemental things that go along with his book, including coloring pages and other activities. It’s a win-win!

So, on your quest of #RaisingReaders, especially if you or your children are fans of fairy tales, I would recommend It’s NOT Jack and the Beanstalk.


Book Review Parenting Raising kids Raising Readers Uncategorized

Bedtime Book Recommendation– A Month of Bedtime Stories

Through the glorious website Bookbub, I get daily emails about deals on ebooks. And these are not just regular deals, but $5.99 or less deals. You can choose the categories/genres of books you would like to read, as well as your ebook provider, Amazon, Kindle, etc. One recent find of mine is our current bedtime read, A Month of Bedtime Stories, authored by Neil Roy McFarlane.


This is an adorable book that, as the title suggests, is made for reading to your child at night. The interesting thing about this book is the point-of-view, because the author is talking directly to you (your children). We’ve read 3 stories so far, and each time I as the reader explain what adventures my children had during the day, which usually include a trip into the forest and some wacky talking animals.

For example, there’s one story that involves your child looking for potatoes, but ending up in a flying saucer with an alien. There’s usually some sort of potion or something that makes your child “forget” everything that just happened, which explains why you’re retelling them about their adventure that evening.

Here’s some reasons why I’m recommending this book:

1. The different point of view is a welcome change and changes the dynamic of our time together, they get to be the main character of the story, not someone else.

2. The stories are short. I’m reading them on my Nook, but they don’t appear to be more than 7-8 pages each, which is perfect timing to wind down at night.

3.  Also, the book has no illustrations, so the fact that the stories are short works out well for my 5 year old, who is a visual reader and learner. I feel like if they were any longer, I would lose him.

4. The stories are funny. So far we’ve encountered a cow sleeping in a tree, a bee in a submarine and an alien who looks a lot like a dog, and I’m only 3 stories in! Both kids find the stories giggle-worthy.

5. The stories seem to have a pattern. There’s always a part about going into the forest in the beginning, and each story ends with three cheers for your child and “hip hip…”. This is a great clue for my son to know that the story has come to an end.

The only caveat I’ve had with the book so far is that the author is from the UK, so in one story he talked about pounds instead of dollars, so I had to explain to my children what pounds were. Otherwise, we’ve had a great time with our bedtime reads, and I can’t wait to read the next 27 stories!