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Thursday, April 27, 2017

Smudge, the Little Lost Lamb

Smudge, the Little Lost Lamb by James Herriot, illustrated by Ruth Brown (Macmillan, 1991). 

This is a sweet book about a little lamb who, one spring day, decides to venture out from his farmyard to explore the world. However, he soon becomes lost and is unable to find his way home. Luckily he meets some nice people along the way who eventually help return him to his mother. The story is text-heavy so probably best for ages 5 and up. I really like the watercolor illustrations. A nice read for springtime. 






Thursday, April 13, 2017

Emma's Easter

Emma's Easter by Lisa Bullard, illustrated by Constanza Basaluzzo (Millbrook Press, 2012).

This is a very cute book about a little girl celebrating Easter with her family.  It's unique in that Emma's parents are interracial; she and her little brother are mixed. The story itself is standard; they dye eggs, go on an egg hunt, attend church, and have dinner with family. The problem is that Emma can't find the egg with her name on it. Of course she eventually finds it... but that bunny sure is sneaky!

There are little blurbs with facts about Easter throughout, which I like because I always enjoyed learning about the origins and traditions of holidays and how different cultures celebrate them. I also appreciated, as someone who is secular, that on the page that explains the Christian story of Easter and shows the family at church, there is a blurb saying that Easter is also a special day for people who aren't Christian and that the day also celebrates spring and new life. There is also a glossary and some activities and resources in the back. 

All in all, I thought the book was very cute and will have to check out the other holiday books from Cloverleaf. 






You can see more Easter books on my Pinterest board here.


Tuesday, March 14, 2017

The St. Patrick's Day Shillelagh

The St. Patrick's Day Shillelagh by Janet Nolan, illustrated by Ben F. Stahl (Albert Whitman & Company, 2002). 

This is a lovely book about a family heirloom that gets passed down from generation to generation.  It starts with Fergus, a boy in Ireland during the potato famine who must immigrate to America with his family. He cuts a branch from a blackthorn tree to bring a piece of his country with him and whittles it into a shillelagh, or walking stick. Every St. Patrick's Day he tells his son his story of leaving Ireland. This tradition gets passed down through the generations until we see young Kayleigh being told the story by her grandfather. This is a great book to use for teaching about family history.





For more St. Patrick's Day children's books, you can check out my Pinterest board here

Also, if you need some good Celtic music, I recommend AccuRadio.  They have several different stations, such "Songs of the Sea," "Celtic Legends," "First Fiddle," and "St. Paddy's Party." I swear I'm not being paid, I just really love their options! I think Irish music is so beautiful and whenever I hear it, I feel connected to my Irish roots. (Although only 16% according to AncestryDNA.) 

Hope everyone has a great St. Patrick's Day with some good craic!

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Valentine's Day

Valentine's Day by Gail Gibbons (Holiday House, 1989).







For more Valentine's Day books, see my Pinterest board.

Friday, February 3, 2017

Minou

Minou by Mindy Bingham, illustrated by Itoko Maeno (Advocacy Press, 1987).  

Growing up, we had a dog. Despite not having a cat of my own until I was a teenager, I have always been a cat lover. "Kitty" was one of my very first words. So I loved this book about a Siamese cat in Paris. 

Minou is a loved, pampered kitty.  But when her elderly owner becomes ill, she is left to fend for herself on the streets of Paris, something she doesn't know how to do. Luckily another cat teaches her how to survive and she becomes a mouser at Notre Dame Cathedral. Written by the then-Executive Director of the Girls Club of Santa Barbara, this book promotes independence and self-reliance to girls. Adults (and kids familiar with Paris) will also enjoy seeing the famous landmarks in the pictures. However, as a kid, I just knew I loved the story of the sweet Minou. 







Monday, January 23, 2017

Rice and Rocks: Multicultural Children's Book Day



Rice and Rocks by Sandra L. Richards, illustrated by Megan Kayleigh Sullivan (Wise Ink Creative Publishing, 2016.)

It's that time again!  This is my third year participating in Multicultural Children's Book Day, which is January 27. Thank you to the author for providing me with this book to review.  It actually had been on my "to read" list for a while, so I was so happy when we were matched. Also, just an interesting coincidence... I saw that she is from a town in Long Island five minutes from where I used to live before moving back to my home state of Connecticut earlier this year. 




This is a fun book about a boy named Giovanni who is embarrassed to have his friends come over for dinner because his grandmother will be serving rice and beans, or "rice and rocks" as he calls them. He thinks his family's traditional Jamaican dish will be seen as weird to his friends. But with the help of his aunt and a magical talking parrot, he learns how rice and beans is a staple in all different countries around the world, just prepared in different ways. I really enjoyed the creative story, fun illustrations, and important message. 

For more information, see the author's website here.


This book also provides a great excuse to cook with kids! For a good place to start, here is a website with 24 different rice and beans dishes from around the world.






About MCBD:

Multicultural Children’s Book Day 2017 (1/27/17) is its fourth year and was founded by Valarie Budayr from Jump Into A Book and Mia Wenjen from PragmaticMom. Our mission is to raise awareness on the ongoing need to include kid’s 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. 


Despite census data that shows 37% of the US population consists of people of color, only 10% of children’s books published have diversity content. Using the Multicultural Children’s Book Day holiday, the MCBD Team are on a mission to change all of that.


Current Sponsors:  MCBD 2017 is honored to have some amazing Sponsors on board. Platinum Sponsors include Scholastic, Barefoot Books and Broccoli. Other Medallion Level Sponsors include heavy-hitters like Author Carole P. Roman, Audrey Press, Candlewick Press,  Fathers Incorporated, KidLitTV, Capstone Young Readers, ChildsPlayUsa, Author Gayle Swift, Wisdom Tales Press, Lee & Low Books, The Pack-n-Go Girls, Live Oak Media, Author Charlotte Riggle, Chronicle Books and Pomelo Books



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 work tirelessly to spread the word of this event. View our CoHosts HERE.

MCBD Links to remember:


MCBD site: http://multiculturalchildrensbookday.com/


Free Multicultural Books for Teachers: http://bit.ly/1kGZrta


Free Kindness Classroom Kit for Homeschoolers, Organizations, Librarians and Educators: http://multiculturalchildrensbookday.com/teachers-classroom-kindness-kit/


Free Diversity Book Lists and Activities for Teachers and Parents: http://bit.ly/1sZ5s8i


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


Thursday, January 19, 2017

Happy Birthday to Me...

Tomorrow is a big day for me... it's my 30th birthday!  I can't believe it.  I'm looking forward to celebrating with family and then next week taking a mini-vacation to Miami with friends. 

I always loved my birthday parties as a kid because my mom threw me some great ones.  I always had a theme and fun, creative activities.  Here is a photo from my 7th birthday when I was obsessed with Aladdin.  We had a magician perform also, so it was sort of a combo theme.  



Another one of my favorite parties was themed "The Birthday Lady Vanishes" when I was turning nine. It was a mystery party where all my guests had to make up a character and come in costume with a name and some facts about their alias. We made a short movie with cheesy camcorder tricks to make it look like various items and then finally the birthday girl "disappeared." I played two parts, the detective there to solve the case and the disappearing wealthy socialite birthday lady. I still have the VHS tape. I remember another fun decorating detail was that my mom and I made "Wanted" posters of all my friends.  

Anyway, to tie in this birthday post with children's literature, I will share one of my favorite birthday books. It's Happy Birthday, Moon by Frank Asch (1982).  I loved the Weston Woods video, and luckily it's available on Youtube, so I will share it with you below. (The film is actually only 6 minutes, the video here repeats for some reason.)
 
You can find more birthday books on my Pinterest here.