It’s been a few weeks since we’ve released new books, so I’m excited to share a varied collection of picture books and chapter books for your perusal! The books this week all have to do with bringing what you read in books into everyday life.
For young kids we’ve got an adorable book that combines the joy of two of the joys of preschoolerhood: the alphabet and trucks! (no really: the title of the books is Alphabet Trucks!) Try talking about the letters you see on signs, license plates and on the sides of trucks as you drive along with your little person or people. I love this image from Too Small to Fail; even babies benefit from hearing your voice! Talk in the car!
There’s also a new Smithsonian book (with audio) called Octopus’ Den that I’m including because my son’s favorite friend to visit at the Monterrey Bay Aquarium is the giant Pacific Octopus. We always like to read about creatures in books, and then try to visit them in real life!
For older readers, try the True Story of George, which tells the slightly trippy but fun tale of the adventures of a toy named George. In one scene, on of our protagonists, Katie, writes a letter to a friend in need.
Katie was sending stamps to a friend. Her friend had the chicken pox and he was working on his stamp collection while he waited to get better. Nowadays people don’t send letters much. They send emails. But you can’t send stamps by email.
Why not sit down for a letter writing session with your kids? I’m sure grandma, grandpa or a friend with chicken pox would love to receive a hand-written letter!
How else could you bring these books to life?
Toy store decisions – think carefully.
Credit: xBlackxCreedx. morguefile.com. http://mrg.bz/Ea7AOf
My mom taught me that you always show appreciation when someone is kind enough to give you a gift. As a parent, I show the same respect when someone gives my child a gift, too. Still, I secretly wish there were a best-selling guidebook called “Gifts Parents Pray You Won’t Buy Their Kid.” Because the truth is, some types of kid gifts send parents screaming into the streets.
Here are four types that come to mind, with examples from a toy catalog I just received this morning:
Now that Thanksgiving has come and gone, it’s serious holiday shopping time. If you are reading this, you must have survived Black Friday madness, scrambling for those amazing deals at the malls and chain stores. Have you also gone a bit mad with the credit cards this Cyber Monday?
Holiday shopping: fun or stressful?
Credit: mantasmagorical; morguefile.com. http://mrg.bz/HDdpSJ
I love the holidays and their many rituals, from decorating our homes to hosting family gatherings. But the holiday shopping season can get to me, from ubiquitous merchandising to crowded stores filled with cranky customers, including me!
In recent years, holiday gift giving started to become a topic of conversation in my extended family as well. We agreed that as new children joined our family, it was not surprising that holiday gift giving spiked. Yet we also agreed that more gifts didn’t necessarily add up to more holiday joy:
Bookboard Winter Favorites
I relish everything about the winter holidays. The chilly weather, the longer nights, the smells of freshly cut Christmas trees and holiday baking, the chance to snuggle under a blanket and read stories by firelight, and especially the extended opportunities to spend time with family and friends.
Every adoption is its own unique story.
Credit: Diana Dull Akers
In addition to Thanksgiving overlapping with Hanukkah this year, November is also National Adoption Month. It’s a topic very close to my heart.
Though I write for a living, I struggle to find words that describe the joy of adopting our daughter Hope six years ago.
My husband and I were late bloomers to love, marriage, and attempts to become parents. As we watched my brother and his partner go through the process of adopting their baby girl, Zoe, we became inspired to pursue adoption ourselves. We spent a year in classes, completed countless forms and screenings, and started jumping at every phone call.
Photo: John Gara/BuzzFeed
For the first time since 1888, Thanksgiving and Hanukkah will converge. That’s right, Thanksgivukkah! And we won’t get the chance to celebrate it again for 78,000 years. This calendar oddity has resulted in some really fun – and feasty – mash-ups. Buzzfeed offers up potato latkes with cranberry applesauce and pecan pie rugalach. There are menurkey menorahs, “challahday” cards and chocolate coins that read “gobble tov”. Sounds like a lot of fun, especially if the alternative is eight days of leftover turkey.
It’s turkey time!
I love Thanksgiving, but I’ve always had my issues with turkeys.
As a kid, I would watch my mom prep the turkey. When she reached into that cavity and pulled out the bag of turkey guts, I’d run from the room, horrified. (Classic kid’s disconnect: I ate the turkey later with no qualms.)
When I was old enough to start hosting Thanksgiving, I had different troubles with turkeys. How do I safely thaw a 20-pound birdsicle? What in the heck is trussing? What’s the perfect roasting time to avoid a poisonous undercooked bird and an overdone dry one?
Holiday/birthday overlaps are challenging!
Credit: EFF; via Wikimedia Commons; (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0)
I’m glad my husband was born December 26th. That fact inspired me to introduce myself to this charming stranger.
“Born the day after Christmas, huh? Your birthday must have sucked as a kid.” (I know. How romantic.)
“It’s true,” he said, explaining, “Everyone is in holiday hangover mode. My birthday gets lost in the shuffle.” Sad, huh?
Thanking all vets for their service.
Image: Diana Dull Akers
In the last months of his too short-life, my father asked his three children to make him a promise. I can hear his words some thirty years later.
“It’s not important to me that you visit my grave all the time and place flowers. But it is important to me that you place a flag by my grave on Veterans’ Day.”
In the sacrosanct words of Aerosmith, “Life’s a journey, not a destination.”
Whether you want to read about fantastic places, finding your way home, personified meteorological phenomena, or the nomadic wanderings of a salmon, these books will whet your appetite for embarking upon your own adventure. Or maybe it’ll make you want to stay cuddled up & reading with your favorite little person/people under a blanket. Either way is fine with me, and you don’t need a passport or travel insurance to cuddle up and read.