Whew, July is Rough!

Whew, July is Rough!

For the last couple of years, probably since my son has been in school, July has been a rough month when it comes to #RaisingReaders.  Is it just me?

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June is good. We are still in our routines from the school year, they usually come home with a couple of books from school they are excited about reading because they get to keep them. The public library starts its summer reading program with a bang (this year they had a awesome performer who swallowed a sword) and we go there pretty regularly and get new books, both written and audio. Although some of it may be extrinsic, they are motivated readers at the beginning of summer.
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August is also good. School starts midway through the month, so we start getting back into school routines before then. They are excited to go back and they want to be prepared (and sometimes I guilt them into being prepared), so they pick up books more often. That book that they brought home from school in June, they grab that off the shelf again and decide to finish it.

But man, July, not so good. Part of it is the routine piece, with camps/vacations and just staying up late in general, there are nights we don’t have a #bedtimeread.  Sometimes, not often, but sometimes, they’ve found other activities to do, games, tables/game consoles, so the suggestion of a book instead can produce a tantrum. Also, they don’t want to be reminded of anything related to school, so if there’s no tantrum, suggesting a book gets a side-eye from either child. I don’t want to make reading a chore or an unpleasant experience, so I don’t push it.  Usually they fall asleep reading a book and/or listening to an audio book, but the other night my son did neither!

Now because I know August is coming and I know there is not a complete aversion to books, I’m not horribly concerned, but it is still a struggle. So, if anyone has any suggestions, I’m all ears! Keep #RaisingReaders!

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!

I Have A Balloon by Ariel Bernstein—Book Review

I Have A Balloon by Ariel Bernstein—Book Review

Have you ever, even just for a moment, felt like deep down your children do actually love each other, but most of the time will do anything they can to irritate each other (and you)? Then you need to read this book, for yourself, and to them.

We came across this book at the library, quick shout-out to the librarians for putting it on display, it makes my quest for the perfect picture book so much easier. At any rate, I Have a Balloon by Ariel Bernstein was just right for a bedtime read for my kiddos.

We have two main characters, Owl and Monkey. Owl has a plain red balloon he isn’t super excited about. However, when he shows it to Monkey, all of a sudden, it becomes as he says, “The only thing I’ve ever wanted, since right now”, which of course means Owl suddenly loves it. Sound familiar or is it just my kids who don’t understand the concept of sharing with each other?

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Monkey starts to offer Owl different things to trade for the balloon, but naturally he doesn’t want any of these things. I mean, why would he, when he’s got this lovely balloon that he didn’t love 5 minutes earlier. *insert eye roll here*

I read this to each of my kids separately, and they both found the story funny.  I made sure I told them that Monkey and Owl reminded me of them, which they found amusing, but I was so serious. I love Monkey and Owl, and my children, and I do think they love each other, but would it kill them to share the balloon?

The best thing is, I discovered today that there’s a sequel to I Have a Balloon, titled Where is My Balloon?, and I can’t wait to read that one with my kiddos.

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The Very Hungry Caterpillar – 50th Anniversary — A Teacher’s Reflections

This was one of my favorite books as a child, I distinctly remember checking it out of the library multiple times.  I’m amazed and happy that it is still popular today. This blogger, Jennie shares some of the backstory and some interesting stats about this wonderful book.

 

Fifty years. That’s a very long time. For a book to still be alive, vibrant, and read all over the world – fifty years later – is astounding. The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle is celebrating it’s 50th anniversary this year, with a golden book jacket. The caterpillar in the story wasn’t always a […]

via The Very Hungry Caterpillar – 50th Anniversary — A Teacher’s Reflections

 

Book Series Review– Eloise by Kay Thompson

Book Series Review– Eloise by Kay Thompson

If for some reason you are interested in trying to see if you can run out of breath during a #bedtimeread, then I highly recommend the Eloise books by Kay Thompson. Or, if you or your children like books about mischievous children (or are mischievous children themselves), then they might want to get to know Miss Eloise.

In my son’s class when they’re the Star of the Week, they can have an adult come in and read to the class. Recently, a parent came in and read Eloise, and my son could not stop talking about it and asked if I could get it from the library. I had to put it on hold, so he may not have been the only student from his class that made that request.

Although this book was written in the 1950s, I personally have never read these books. Eloise is a young child who has a nanny and basically runs havoc in the hotel that she lives in, which is the part my child naturally could not get enough of.

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Here’s the thing, since Eloise herself is telling the story, the book reads like you would expect an active 5 year old to talk, and that’s how I ran out of breath. There’s a lot of repeated phrases, and not very many periods. Both of my children loved listening to the book, even though there were some aspects that they thought were a little strange about Eloise, including the lack of parental supervision.

Since they enjoyed that one, I decided to get some of Eloise’s other books, including Eloise at Christmastime and Eloise in Moscow.

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Dad got to read the Christmastime book (yay!), and I got to read the one about Moscow. As much as we enjoyed the original book, I’ll be honest and say the Moscow one was not one we could identify with. The important thing for me to reiterate is that this book was written in 1950s, when America’s relationship with Russia was clearly not a friendly one and it is very clear in this book. Since my children don’t know anything about Russia, they didn’t really relate to any of it. Eloise had a good time of course, and continued to tell her story in her cute rambling manner, but for us, not so much.

Now from my research, it appears there’s many updated versions of Eloise’s stories, including a movie and “easy-to-read” books, none of which our family has read, but I can imagine that she’s still as rambunctious as she was in the 1950s.

Although Eloise in Moscow wasn’t a hit, we still enjoyed reading about Eloise’s adventures, even if I was out of breath when it was over.

Keep #RaisingReaders!