Our #BedtimeRead Favorites of 2019

Our #BedtimeRead Favorites of 2019

My kids and I have read a lot of books during 2019, so I thought I would highlight some of our favorites. Most of them are picture books, because we still love a good story. However, we read a couple of chapter books we enjoyed this year too. These are in no particular order, and they are not all books that were released in 2019, they are just books we enjoyed this year.

screenshot_20190619-231722_google6782167213844116503.jpgThe Last-Last Day of Summer by Lamar Giles was one of the chapter books that we read this year. Now this one was a title that was released this year, and is an energetic science fiction story about two boys who go on an adventure right before they have to go back to school.  Although it is a chapter book, there are a few pictures throughout the book, which really add to the craziness of the eccentric characters that are in this storyline. This was one that I blogged about earlier this year, so you can read our feelings about it in more detail here. This was definitely one that when we finished it, all 3 of us were wondering/hoping if there’s going to be a sequel!

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We are pretty big animal fans in our house, so if we’re reading non-fiction at bedtime, animals are usually the topic of that book. We love books by Jess Keating as well, so this was definitely a top one for us. We learn new things about animals, some animals which we never knew existed! Even though this is a picture book, there’s a lot of information in it, so we stretch a book like this out for a few days, maybe even a week.

I was at a meeting with other educators when I learned about a series of books featuring 20190918_2003267157701794092831027.jpgdifferent utensils by Amy Krouse Rosenthal.  There’s one titled Spoon and in February 2020 there will be one released titled Straw, but the one we’re putting on the list this year is called Chopsticks. This cute story is about a pair of chopsticks that are basically attached at the hip, but an unfortunate event causes them to be separated. This is great book for kids who need help finding their individual strengths as opposed to their group/pair identity. I wrote about this book earlier in 2019 here.

 

download-2In our house we tend to lean ourselves toward series, or books by the same author. If I Built a School by Chris Van Dusen falls into that category, thanks to his other books we’ve enjoyed, If I Built a Car and If I Built a House. As an educator, this one spoke to my heart too, because the main character was creating such an awesome place for learning!

 

Hair Love by Matthew Cherry was definitely one of my top picks of the year, probably20190529_2101385361337492258340228.jpg even the decade, but I love that my kids really enjoyed it too. This picture book’s beautiful illustrations, done by Vashti Harrison, add to the adorable story of a dad trying to figure out how to do his daughter’s hair. This book also has been made into a short film, and although the story line differs, the message is still the same! I also wrote about my obsession with this book here.

 

 

download-3Chapter Two is Missing! by Josh Lieb was one of the funniest books we read in 2019, and we read some funny books. Don’t be fooled by the missing chapter, this is still a picture book that can be read in one sitting, especially since there’s a whole missing chapter. 😉 As the readers we were able to figure out where that chapter may have gone, but it was entertaining watching the characters in the book try to figure it out.

 

We read quite a few more books this year, and these are by no means the only ones that are our favorites, but I don’t have enough time to list all of those, nor do you have that much time to read all of them. But if you are looking for some #bedtimereads for 2020, this may be a place to start!

Keep #RaisingReaders!

A Cautionary Tale…

A Cautionary Tale…

My 10 year old daughter is an avid reader, and as she’s getting older, she’s reading more realistic fiction books with characters who are her age or a little older, which means they are often dealing with some potentially heavy issues. Now normally, being an avid reader of kidlit myself, or with the assistance of the Internet, I can usually be aware of the content of what she’s reading. This helps me to be prepared to have conversations with her or answer her questions about what she’s reading if necessary. However, recently, I got blindsided by a topic that I wasn’t even expecting…Santa.

Now, I knew the inevitable day would arrive when she no longer believed in Santa, and I thought I was prepared to deal with that. However, I was not prepared to have the conversation as a result of a book she was reading. So this is how it went down:

My child comes up to me and says, “Mom, you gotta listen to this, its so funny”

Me: “Ok, sure go ahead…” (half-listening)

Child: “…..and Mom slipped the truth about Santa on Christmas Eve. I cried myself to sleep and refused to open my presents in the morning…” Isn’t that funny?

(Child walks back to her room)

Me (delayed response): Wait? What?

So now of course it’s too late to mention it, so I had to come up with a different way to ask her how she felt about Santa, if for no other reason than to make sure she knows that her brother still believes.

I share this story not to encourage policing what your child is reading, but more to make sure you’re actually listening when they’re reading out loud to you. They could be giving you clues…

Keep #RaisingReaders

 

 

 

Dandy by Ame Dyckman

Dandy by Ame Dyckman

I realize that it’s winter and there is probably snow on the ground where you are, but my kids and I recently read a book about Spring that you’ll want to share with your kids for sure, even if you wait til the sun comes out.

Dandy, written by Ame Dyckman and illustrated by Charles Santoso is an adorable picture book that made me and my kids laugh out loud. In this book, the neighborhood is full of impeccable lawns, which means the emergence of a weed, even if it is a dandelion, is a problem. When one dad goes to snip that weed, his daughter Sweetie shows up–ready to protect her new dandelion friend, Charlotte.

No matter when or how he tries, Dad cannot get rid of Dandy, even with the pressure from the other dads in the neighborhood.

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This book doesn’t have a ton of text, but the text it does have, combined with the awesome illustrations made for a giggling #bedtimeread for me and my crew, even though there are definitely no dandelions out our window right now.

Keep #RaisingReaders!

Raising Tidy Readers (Occasionally)

Raising Tidy Readers (Occasionally)

My daughter starts Middle School next year, but apparently all of the attitude and what not that comes with it has started early. *eye roll*

So, in my efforts to keep things sane between us, I’ve tried to reach my hand across the aisle. One way I did this recently was to “help” her clean her room, in a manner that was different than my normal repeated, increasingly louder, requests for her to do so. This time, while she was cleaning, I was in her room with her, not cleaning, but rather I was reading to her while she was cleaning.

We have been reading the Whatever After series by Sarah Mlynowski for some years now (read about our love of the series here and here), but we had gotten behind on the latest one, Spill the Beans. There’s nothing wrong with the book, but we just keep getting distracted by other titles or I’m reading to both children, and he doesn’t want to read something we’ve already started, which I totally understand.

So this particular Saturday, as much as I wanted to attack my own to-do weekend list, I told my daughter it was time to clean her room, and while she was cleaning, that I would read some more of Spill the Beans to her. That seemed to appease her, and as you can see in the picture below, she went to work while I read the next 3 chapters in the book.

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Now as much as I would just prefer for her to keep her room clean day to day, I have come to terms with the fact that it won’t happen. And is reading to her while she cleans something I’m willing to commit to every weekend? Nah. However, it is something I can do every once in a while in my mission to maintain my sanity and also to keep #RaisingReaders. Just a reminder to take advantage of any opportunity to read to your children that you can!

Book Reviews–Spoon and Chopsticks by Amy Krouse Rosenthal

Book Reviews–Spoon and Chopsticks by Amy Krouse Rosenthal

Even as an adult, I love everything I’ve read by Amy Krouse Rosenthal, like not that I just love them for kids, but I love them myself.  I feel like I should have a Rosenthal shelf in my house. You can see my excitement about one of her last books, Dear Girl, here. Recently, thanks to a conversation with a colleague, I was introduced to two of her earlier books, Spoon and Chopsticks, which I think are great books for bedtime reads.

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Even though my colleague recommended Spoon to me, we read Chopsticks first, because Spoon was checked out of the library. Chopsticks is a great picture book all about the transition from only being able to function with a partner, to figuring out how to do things independently. It’s a great lesson for twins, siblings, or kids who have that one friend that they can’t do anything without. The message of the book is NOT that you can’t have a solid dependable partner, but more that you can be successful both alone and with a friend.

After what seemed like forever, we got to pick up Spoon from the library. Now in this book, our main character, Spoon, has basically decided that he’s jealous of his other friends. The knife gets cut things, the fork gets to eat all kinds of things that spoon doesn’t, and of course, you can’t beat the chopsticks, there’s two of them that get to hang out with each other all the time.  However, as we adults know, perception is everything. So as the story continues, we learn how the other utensils also wish they could do the things spoon can, such as eating ice cream. After we finished reading Spoon, I immediately asked my kids what the message of the story was, and they were instantly able to tell me, “be happy with what you have” and “be careful what you wish for”, which thrilled me.

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So, if you are looking for some cute, engaging, funny, and well illustrated books that will also teach lessons, these books (and really any other book by Amy Rosenthal) are the way to go!

*I recently found out that there’s one more book in this series coming out in February 2020–Straw! I’m so excited to see what we learn from that character.