Parenting Raising kids Raising Readers summertime Uncategorized

How I Achieved Car Trip Silence…

Reading? They did, but only part of the time.

Were they sleep? Not that lucky.

Decided to be quiet just to be nice? Ha!

Here’s the deal–recently the kids and I took a trip home to see some friends and family, which is about a 3 hour drive. Since my children have decided that this is going to be the summer where they argue constantly (!!), and I was going to be the only adult in the car, I needed to come up with something that was going to keep them relatively engaged. Last year when we made this same trip, we tried our hand at listening to an audio book, Flora and Ulysses by Kate DiCamillo. It worked pretty well, its a wonderful book, and they were into it. But I’ll be honest, having no other adult to talk to with cruise control on the interstate had me looking like this:


Naturally that is not a good look, so I had to switch back to music every so often.

This trip I decided to go with something slightly different…podcasts. Now I’m not risky enough to just try any podcast, I had to make sure it was something they would enjoy. Enter these lovelies:

Thanks to Kids Place Live on satellite radio, we’ve gotten familiar with both of these broadcasts. We listen to Mindy Thomas in the mornings during the school year and the kids love her goofy antics. We don’t catch the Story Pirates as often, but they take story written by kids, and turn them into plays they act out on the radio. When I told the kids about the options they were excited about both, so I was very optimistic.

For me, the difference between the podcasts and the audio book was the length of time. Although there are multiple episodes, each episode is less than an hour, sometimes only 30 minutes. So, I knew that if I did start to get tired again (which I did), there was an end coming near and I easily turn on music.

Now I expected them to enjoy the novelty of listening to the podcast, but what I did not expect was the silence that ensued as soon as I turned on The Story Pirates. After dealing with their bickering for what has felt like the longest first two weeks of summer ever, their silence was music to my ears. We listened to one episode of each podcast on the way down, and they begged for the same on the way back.

So, if you’re looking for something for your kiddos to listen to on a long car ride, I would definitely recommend either of these podcasts. Not only will they enjoy it, but you might too, and if nothing else, their silence will lower your blood pressure, I know it did mine!


Book Review Raising Readers Uncategorized

Book Review for Pattan’s Pumpkin–MCBD 2018!

Once again, I feel very honored to be able to do book reviews for Multicultural Book Day. This year I had the opportunity to review two books, the first being Pattan’s Pumpkin: A Traditional Flood Story from Southern India.  This picture book, written by Chitra Soundar and illustrated by Frané Lessac and published through Candlewick Press is a traditional tale about a family who has to deal with a flood.


Pattan is a generous man who cultivates his land, growing all sorts of herb and fruits, including pumpkins, and shares all he gains with those around him. The interesting thing about Pattan is that those that he shares with includes bulls, goats, and even elephants! Now, Pattan and his wife live by a river, and the river is starting to flood. Luckily, Pattan thinks to harvest this HUGE pumpkin he planted, and not only he and his family fit inside, but all of the animals climb inside and ride out the flood as well. Naturally, Pattan, his wife, Kanni, and all the animals are grateful to the pumpkin for saving their lives.

Now, imagine a young reader who thinks that elephants only belong in jungles or zoos–in this book Pattan even rides elephants near his house.  The fact that this Indian family lived with animals that many of us only see in the wild or in captivity, not as pets, is a highlight I believe kids will notice. 20180126_225321

I also feel that it is also something important for an adult reading to children to note as a cultural difference. This tale does a wonderful job of highlighting the positive relationship between man and nature and how important it can be.  I read this book with my 6 and 8 year old, and I thought that it may be a little young for them, but they enjoyed it just as much as I did!

So, this book is a great read aloud or bedtime read, especially if you want to expose your child to the importance of being one with nature, Indian culture or folktales or stories from other cultures.


Multicultural Children’s Book Day 2018 (1/27/18) is in its 5th year and was founded by Valarie Budayr from Jump Into A Book and Mia Wenjen from PragmaticMom. Our mission is to raise awareness of the ongoing need to include kids’ books that celebrate diversity in home and school bookshelves while also working diligently to get more of these types of books into the hands of young readers, parents and educators.  

Current Sponsors:  MCBD 2018 is honored to have some amazing Sponsors on board.

2018 MCBD Medallion Sponsors

HONORARY: Children’s Book Council, Junior Library Guild

PLATINUM:Scholastic Book Clubs

GOLD:Audrey Press, Candlewick Press, Loving Lion Books, Second Story Press, Star Bright Books, Worldwide Buddies

SILVER:Capstone Publishing, Author Charlotte Riggle, Child’s Play USA, KidLit TV, Pack-n-Go Girls, Plum Street Press

BRONZE: Barefoot Books, Carole P. Roman, Charlesbridge Publishing, Dr. Crystal BoweGokul! World, Green Kids Club, Gwen Jackson, Jacqueline Woodson, Juan J. Guerra, Language Lizard, Lee & Low Books, RhymeTime Storybooks, Sanya Whittaker Gragg, TimTimTom Books, WaterBrook & Multnomah, Wisdom Tales Press

2018 Author Sponsors

Honorary Author Sponsors: Author/Illustrator Aram Kim and Author/Illustrator Juana Medina

Author Janet Balletta, Author Susan Bernardo,  Author Carmen Bernier-Grand, Author Tasheba Berry-McLaren and Space2Launch, Bollywood Groove Books, Author Anne Broyles,  Author Kathleen Burkinshaw, Author Eugenia Chu, Author Lesa Cline-Ransome, Author Medeia Cohan and Shade 7 Publishing, Desi Babies, Author Dani Dixon and Tumble Creek Press, Author Judy Dodge Cummings, Author D.G. Driver, Author Nicole Fenner and Sister Girl Publishing, Debbi Michiko Florence, Author Josh Funk, Author Maria Gianferrari, Author Daphnie Glenn, Globe Smart Kids, Author Kimberly Gordon Biddle, Author Quentin Holmes, Author Esther Iverem, Jennifer Joseph: Alphabet Oddities, Author Kizzie Jones, Author Faith L Justice , Author P.J. LaRue and, Author Karen Leggett Abouraya, Author Sylvia Liu, Author Sherri Maret, Author Melissa Martin Ph.D., Author Lesli Mitchell, Pinky Mukhi and We Are One, Author Miranda Paul, Author Carlotta Penn, Real Dads Read, Greg Ransom, Author Sandra L. Richards, RealMVPKids Author Andrea Scott, Alva Sachs and Three Wishes Publishing, Shelly Bean the Sports Queen,  Author Sarah Stevenson, Author Gayle H. Swift Author Elsa Takaoka, Author Christine Taylor-Butler, Nicholette Thomas and  MFL Publishing  Author Andrea Y. Wang, Author Jane Whittingham  Author Natasha Yim

We’d like to also give a shout-out to MCBD’s impressive CoHost Team who not only hosts the book review link-up on celebration day, but who also works tirelessly to spread the word of this event. View our CoHosts HERE.

TWITTER PARTY Sponsored by Scholastic Book Clubs: MCBD’s super-popular (and crazy-fun) annual Twitter Party will be held 1/27/18 at 9:00pm.

Join the conversation and win one of 12-5 book bundles and one Grand Prize Book Bundle (12 books) that will be given away at the party!

Free Multicultural Books for Teachers:

Free Empathy Classroom Kit for Homeschoolers, Organizations, Librarians and Educators:

Hashtag: Don’t forget to connect with us on social media and be sure and look for/use our official hashtag #ReadYourWorld.

Parenting Raising kids Raising Readers Uncategorized

Expression for the win!

So, I’ve shared in previous posts, like this one, that my daughter and I have bonded over the Whatever After series by Sarah Mlynowski. We just finished the 6th book out of 10 in the series and if you haven’t already read any of them, I strongly suggest them. They are funny fractured fairy tales, and we both love them.

My daughter recently had a book fair at her school, and she created a “Wish List’ of books she wanted that included the latest book in the series, Abby in Wonderland, which I of course okayed. Now after we finished book 6, she informed me that she when she got the book, she was going to read it… by herself!


Does she not realize I’m as invested in this series as she is? Why would she do this to me? So I told her that I didn’t think that was fair, and this was her response,

“Alright mom, I’ll wait. You do read with really good expression and that makes the book fun. Even though all the voices sound the same.”

Now, I’ve always wanted to be a great storyteller, I love listening to people who can read doing different voices for the characters and I admire their skills. I can’t seem to do that consistently (or well), so I just try to make sure I add some expression when I do read. I thought I was doing a decent job, but I didn’t have official confirmation until this moment. So I’m here to tell you, even if you can’t make the monster sound monsterly or have a teeny tiny fairy sounding voice, your child can still enjoy the story to (almost) the same extent.

Side note: I ended up telling her she could read it without me. It’s a special edition, so it won’t affect the storyline for me.