Bedtime Read—Sharing History through a Picture Book

Bedtime Read—Sharing History through a Picture Book

My favorite event in history is the Montgomery Bus Boycott, so as my children have gotten older, I feel like it is time to share my admiration for the event with them. From school, they know the basics of the event, and key players Rosa Parks and Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., which is a plus.  We recently read a book that facilitated a little more of our conversation.

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Boycott Blues: How Rosa Parks Inspired a Nation by Andrea Davis Pinkney and Brian Pinkney was a great picture book to deepen our conversation about the Montgomery Bus Boycott and the Civil Rights Movement.

In this book, the storyteller is a “dog-tired” dog who is playing the Blues and Jim Crow is a large black cloud that is surrounding Montgomery during the event. These symbolic aspects are conversation pieces themselves, but we didn’t delve too much into that. We focused more on the logistics of the event itself, including talking about how Dr. King was involved and the unification of the Black community during the Boycott.  Even after we were finished with the book, we had conversations about related people and events, including Ruby Bridges.

This book is poetically written, and reading it aloud in the right cadence added to the beauty of the book. As with all books illustrated by Pinkney, the pictures do a great job of showcasing the mood of this historical event.

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So, I’m sharing our bedtime read experience not only because Boycott Blues is a great book, but also because if there’s a historical event that you want your children to know more about, finding a picture book to help you start that conversation is a wonderful starting point.

Keep #RaisingReaders!

Raising Readers with Hamilton

Raising Readers with Hamilton

Because of my obsession with books, as well as my superior expressive reading ;), I do most of the bedtime reading with the kids. However, I do recognize when it makes more sense for their father to have that role, and we recently had one of those moments.

My kids are obsessed with the Hamilton soundtrack. Yes, they’re a tad bit late to the party, but they’ve arrived. And it’s arrived with a whole unexpected conversation about why they can’t use curse words, but I digress…

To coincide with their desire to play the soundtrack every day, I found a book that I thought they would enjoy–

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This book, written and illustrated by Don Brown, is all about the rivalry and eventual dual between Alexander Hamilton and Aaron Burr. Now, I was all set and ready to read this to the kids, excited even, but then a light bulb went off–why not have their Dad read it to them? My husband is a high school Social Studies teacher, and a general history buff. It would make more sense for him to read it to them, especially if they have extra questions once the story begins, because there’s a big chance I won’t be able to answer them.  And guess what? I was right!

The kids were super excited about the book, my husband enjoyed reading something to him that he already had background knowledge about, and although I love reading to the kids, I had the night off!

So, in your #RaisingReaders quest, if you’re looking to involve another reader, think about what books the reader and the kids could enjoy. Also, if you have kids that enjoy Hamilton, this is a great book for them too!

Let Your Children Lead in 2019!

Let Your Children Lead in 2019!

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I just wanted to quickly wish everyone a Happy New Year, and to remember to keep raising readers, no matter where that may take you and your reader(s)!

In 2018 I gave into Harry Potter (really the fantasy genre as a whole) and developed a true appreciation for graphic novels. As a result, my kiddos continue to grow as readers and as educated citizens in general, even though that’s probably not the path I would have taken to get them there. But that’s the power in giving them choice–as long as I keep an eye on the long term goal (to enjoy books), it has been less of a headache for me and them to let them take the lead as often as I can.

So if you haven’t tried letting them take the lead, take this new year as an opportunity to let them lead the way!

 

Bedtime read Book Review–Charlie Takes His Shot by Nancy Churnin

Bedtime read Book Review–Charlie Takes His Shot by Nancy Churnin

Ever have one of those books that slowly but surely grabs your child’s attention, even during one of their super goofy periods? I did recently, and was pleasantly surprised that it was a non-fiction book that did the job!

We recently read Charlie Takes His Shot, a picture book biography by Nancy Churnin, illustrated by John Joven.  This is a biography of Charlie Sifford, who broke the color barrier in the game of golf. Sadly, I had never heard of him, and neither had my children, but they were engaged with the story right away.

The opening scene of the book (see below) grabbed my busy bodied children right away, and then Churnin jumps right into giving the historical context, which also grabbed their attention.20181228_212557-17620592454310736355.jpg

We learned all about the struggles Mr. Sifford had to deal with when trying to play professionally on PGA tours when there was a literal “Caucasian rule” that said he could not play on PGA courses.

One of the many interesting things I enjoyed about the book was concept that Charlie’s success was not only due to his golfing skills, but also the help of others. Jackie Robinson, who broke the color barrier in baseball, was actually one of those people. Although it often can appear to be one person who makes such a big change, it actually takes the support and efforts of many to achieve such a historical change and that I love that this book makes that so clear.

The bright colorful illustrations are wonderful in this book and all three of us learned something new with this great bedtime read.

This book is great for a child who enjoys, golf, Civil Rights, and/or biographies.

Keep Raising Readers!

 

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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

 

Fun Bedtime Read: Q is for Duck…No Really

Fun Bedtime Read: Q is for Duck…No Really

Here was my pitch for our #bedtimeread this evening: “We’re going to read an ABC book, but it’s going to be tricky, because you guys already know your ABCs.” I got some puzzled looks, but I was prepared with a book I knew they would enjoy: Q is For Duck. This book by Mary Elting and Michael Folsom is not your normal alphabet book. For this book, the reader gets to guess why the item has been labeled with a letter that is not the one it normally starts with, like in the title.

At first, my kiddos were confused, and their guesses were off.  However, they soon caught on and were super excited to guess why certain letters were chosen for certain animals. Here’s some examples from the book:

One way I can always tell when my kids really like a book is when they ask to keep the book to reread it before they fall asleep, and this was one of those evenings. I let my son have it, but I didn’t find out until the next morning that at some point my daughter had the book too. (Yeah I know, I should’ve known this was going down, oops.)

They loved the book so much that my daughter decided to plagiarize the entire book so she could quiz her friends at school the next day!

Now, the only exception is that I wouldn’t recommend reading this to a child doesn’t solidly know their ABCs, we don’t want to create any confusion. Other than that, this is a perfect book for some #RaisingReaders fun.

My Mom Has X-ray Vision—Book Review

My Mom Has X-ray Vision—Book Review

Our latest bedtime read, My Mom Has X-ray Vision, was a big hit with both the kids and myself. This picture book, written by Angela McAllister and illustrated by Alex T. Smith is about a young boy, Matthew, who is trying to figure out why his mom knows what he’s doing, even when she can’t see him.

Now, I know what you’re thinking, you don’t want your children to know your secrets, and you don’t want this book to reveal them. Trust me, I felt the same way, but I still feel like your skills will be safe.

I’ve shared before that my kids love analyzing illustrations, and this book is perfect for that. We loved figuring out why Matthew’s mom knew what he was doing, like in this example below.

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Although Matthew never really figured it out, we delighted in determining if Matthew’s mom really had some super powers (of course she did 😜).

This book is good bedtime read for young children, and is great for taking some time to look at illustrations to see what they notice.

Keep #RaisingReaders!

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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!

Book Review–Get to Know Your Universe series

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.

 

Help!…Harry Potter is invading our holidays (including Christmas) too!

Help!…Harry Potter is invading our holidays (including Christmas) too!

I’ve written multiple times about my kids’ attachment to Harry Potter for two main reasons, 1) I didn’t see it coming and had NO IDEA it would be this addictive for them and 2) it pushes me as a parent to support something my kids adore that I have no interest in. You can read my previous posts here, here, and also here (good grief that’s a lot of HP!).

So what do I mean when I say that Harry has invaded our holidays? Well, naturally, since they are obsessed, my kids have decided to represent their perspective Hogwarts houses (Hufflepuff and Slytherin) for Halloween. This was not my first choice, but they were both pretty adamant about it, and finding the costumes was simple, so we were good to go.

Now, I like to start my Christmas shopping early, that way I can space it out and I’m not overspending. Since we borrowed books from either a friend or the library, my daughter only owns a couple of the Harry Potter books. From my readings about HP fans, it appears that many of them read the books over and over again, not to mention that she’s already reread parts of the ones she owns. With that and the fact that there’s these new 20th anniversary cover versions, I’m thinking that I’ll get her a complete set.

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However, as I was looking through the Scholastic Reading Club flyer, I also noticed the illustrated versions and began to second guess myself. Should I get her the nice big illustrated ones, even though we can’t get all of them yet? Or should I stick with my original idea?

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What a quandry…

I came up with what I think is a compromise. I’m sticking with my original plan for her, but I think I’m going to get my son the illustrated version of the first book. He’s “read” the books, but in all honesty I know he hasn’t read every word like my daughter has. I also know that he loves illustrations of any kind, so he would be all about this version. I’m not committed enough to buy more than one of the illustrated ones, but I think this is the route I’m going to go.

I say all this to say, my commitment is to #RaisingReaders. And for me that means buying costumes and books, and whatever else I need to in order to keep them as active readers, even if its for a series I have no interest in.