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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!

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Raising kids Raising Readers Uncategorized

Reading Traditions

As I’m writing this, it is my son’s 8th birthday, and we just finished our bedtime read. I was particular about my choice since it is a special day, and I luckily, I had just borrowed this gem from the library:

This book, by the daughter and husband of the late Amy Krouse Rosenthal, is a love letter to young boys that will help them grow into responsible, compassionate men.

One reason I love this book is because it says almost all the things I want to say, but am afraid that I won’t remember to say. People always quote the prolific advice their parents gave them, and gosh darn it, I want my children to do that too.

Another reason I’m all in with this book is because I think this is going to be a great book to start a tradition with. Since the Rosenthals have said almost everything I want to say, in order to make it stick, I think I’m gonna read it on his birthday every year. It’ll be our thing, and I will know I’ve given sound advice at least once a year.

I’ve already written about the companion book, Dear Girl, you can read about it here. Of course, my plan is to read that one to my daughter every year, so I’ll have that tradition going with each of them.

So, as you’re looking to raise readers, think about what sort of reading traditions could be appropriate for your kiddos. As for me, let’s just hope I can remember to break out the book each year.

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Parenting Raising kids Raising Readers Uncategorized

Since He Asked Me To Read It…#RaisingReaders

Robots aren’t really my thing at all, so when my son brings me a book titled Robots At Your Service and says, “I really think you should read this” I’m utterly confused. But since it looks short, I tell him it’ll be my bedtime read that night and we’ll talk about it tomorrow.

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Here’s the thing, as odd as I thought the choice was for me, I realize that my child is also giving me an opportunity to have a conversation with him. Right now he still wants to tell me everything, but I know there’s a chance the day will come where puberty, hormones, or just general teenager-ness will change that. So the fact that he’s inviting me to converse with him, and about a book no less, is something that I’m taking full advantage of. If I can make talking about books a “thing” now, then that may still be a thing in the future. I share all this to say, as you are #raisingreaders, if you have a child wanting you to read or just to talk to you about their book, go for it!

Additionally, did you know that scientists/inventors are trying to create microbots that can go inside a human’s body to figure out what’s wrong with them? Me either, but thanks to my son, I learned about it through this book! 🙂

 

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Parenting Raising kids Raising Readers

In Case Reading Out Loud Isn’t Your Thing…

On a recent Sunday morning, my 7 year old son came into my bedroom to ask me for a piece of paper. What for, you ask? This child was excited because he had found the solar system in his kid dictionary and wanted to write about it. Specifically, he wanted to write down the age old mnemonic device that many of us learned about the planets, “My Very Educated Mother Just Served Us Nine Pizzas” (Or whatever food starting with P you may have learned.)

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Here he is, invading my space on a Sunday morning with his dictionary…

He was inspired to write this down because for the last few days he has been listening to Stink: Solar System Superhero and apparently this was part of the story. His plan was to create his own new sentence about the planets, which I thought was admirable, but quite a lofty goal for a relaxing Sunday morning. But his motivation got me to thinking about the power of listening to books. I love the fact that he is getting just as much out of listening to Stink’s adventures on CD as he would if I was reading it to him.

My daughter is also loving the books she’s listening to, which are part of the Wayside School series. When I recently went into her room to turn off her lamp, instead of laying down and falling asleep, she was sitting straight up because she was just that into the story. imgres-7As an added bonus, we almost always get audio books from the library, which cost my favorite amount: FREE.

So, although I’ve written about this before, I just wanted to remind you that audiobooks can be a perfect alternative to reading aloud with your children, especially if you’re not feeling particularly entertaining with your reading style.

Don’t get me wrong, I still advocate for reading aloud to your children, even if you don’t feel like its your wheelhouse. They appreciate the effort, the cuddles, and the time spent together, even if you feel like you’re stumbling over words or not doing cool voices.

Whatever you decide, keep #RaisingReaders!

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Book Review Parenting Raising kids Uncategorized

Book Review–Get to Know Your Universe series

Occasionally, I get books in the mail (#bookexcursion) or bring books home that one of my kids will grab before I get a chance to read it. In this case, both of my children have grabbed these books and kept them from me for a while.

These Get to Know Your Universe Science Comics are right up both of my kids’ alley, so they may be good for your readers too.

*If you have a reader who likes graphic novels or comics, this series could be for them, OR

*If you have a reader who likes nonfiction, this series could be for them, OR

*If your reader asks a lot of “why?” questions, these books could work for them, OR

*If you have a reader that wants to learn more about any of the variety of topics they cover, including dogs, sharks, or volcanoes, this series could be for them.

As you are #RaisingReaders, you probably have a child that fits in at least one of these categories. My kids each fit in more than one, which explains why they disappeared from me so quickly. This series of books have the right combination of information and fun that kept both of my children reading these books over and over.