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.

 

Our Bedtime Read–Just Read! by Lori Degman

Our Bedtime Read–Just Read! by Lori Degman

I had to write about this book right after our bedtime read tonight because it was just SO cute! Just Read!, written by Lori Degman and illustrated by Victoria Tentler-Krylov is a rhyming book that goes through all the reasons, ways, and places that you can read!

This book made my daughter realize that reading while in the grocery store was an option, made my son wish that he had a pool with aquatic animals he could read in, and made me envy this family’s car:

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Look at all the books in that car! I’m jealous!

Just Read! could bring about some great conversations with kiddos about everything that is considered reading (the kid in the grocery store was reading a cookbook) and what could be considered missed opportunities for reading (waiting at the doctor’s office). The illustrations in this book are wonderful, and reflect a wide variety of families, kids, and ethnicities. It was a quick read, but very inspiring for those kids who have just started to be able to read independently. Even though my kids have been able to do that for quite some time, it was still a very enjoyable read for the three of us!

#KeepRaisingReaders

Spring Has Sprung, and So Will Your Reader

Spring Has Sprung, and So Will Your Reader

We used to have two young trees in our backyard that were about the same size. However, one of the trees starts blooming and sprouting leaves much faster in the Spring than the other. One Spring, I looked at the one that wasn’t sprouting and asked my husband if we needed to cut it down because I thought it might be dead. He assured me it wasn’t dead and that I just needed to wait. Sure enough, a few weeks later the tree completely bloomed and was right on par with the other tree.

I share this analogy because it was right about the same time that I was concerned about my son becoming a reader. As much as I try not to compare my two kiddos, let’s be honest, I do. And while my daughter has been an eager reader very early on, my son has been more reluctant and it has stressed me out just a tad. I was concerned that he wasn’t going to be the reader my daughter was going to be, and that it would affect his academics, his future, *insert any of my many mom exaggerations here*.

However, much like that tree that I was considering chopping down, my child bloomed. He’s still not an avid reader like his sister, and I’ve (basically) come to terms with the fact that he probably won’t be. But, he can read books, does get excited about them and even has some favorites. And most importantly, I’m no longer worried that he’s going to be homeless on the corner because he’s not a reader.  I realized that he was just like the tree, and although he didn’t start as quickly, he is moving at his own pace and is doing just fine.

So, while you are #RaisingReaders and waiting for your flowers to bloom, be patient, it’ll happen when you aren’t even looking.

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!

Follow Me Down to Nicodemus Town by A. LaFaye–a Book Review

Follow Me Down to Nicodemus Town by A. LaFaye–a Book Review

One of the many things I love about a good picture book is when I learn something new–whether its a person I hadn’t heard about or a time in history I knew little of, I love learning something new through the simplicity of a picture book. One of these more recent lovely occasions is through reading the book titled Follow Me Down to Nicodemus Town by A. LaFaye.

This book is about a young girl named Dede who lives with her parents who are sharecroppers. They want to own their own land, but like many other African-Americans of that time, they are never able to get ahead. One day though, Dede notices a flyer that is looking for African-Americans to move to Kansas to develop and eventually own their own piece of land. Her family makes the decision to make that move, and during their first winter in Kansas, they meet the NiukaNska, or Children of the Middle Waters and develop a fellowship with them. In a few years’ time, the town of Nicodemus starts to develop, the family works hard and ends up owning their own place.

I love that this book takes place during the Reconstruction period, which is a time period I don’t feel is written about often. Additionally, although I myself live in the Midwest, I knew very little about Exodusters, who were African-Americans that migrated to the Midwest. Nicodemus, Kansas was an actual settlement that was created and inhabited by only African-Americans in the late 1800s–who knew? This book would be a great way to introduce kids to this period of time in our history. It’s straightforward, yet can still facilitate lots of discussion (especially through the details in the illustrations) about what was happening in our country during this time.

I would recommend this book for kids 3rd grade and up, in order for them to get a true understanding of what’s happening. Unless you’re from Nicodemus of course, then you and/or your child might have known all this history of course.

Keep #RaisingReaders!