December 2013

What Stands Out from Your “Year in Review?”

by On December 30, 2013 in General, Holidays

It’s that time of year when the folks at Facebook create for their users a “year in review” montage, presumably highlighting the most important photos we’ve posted all year.

Each year generates milestone photo ops. Credit: Diana Dull Akers

Each year generates milestone photo ops.
Credits: Diana Dull Akers

While their highlight reel doesn’t match mine, it was still a fun walk down memory lane, and as I viewed the images, I noticed something. The photos that mattered most to me depicted simple, every day life moments with my family.

Sure, I loved looking at special event photos. My daughter’s first day of school was so memorable for us both, and we have wonderful photos from holiday?gatherings, birthdays and summer vacation.

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Nursing the Holiday Hangover: Share a Story Together

by On December 26, 2013 in General, Holidays

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It’s a familiar scene in many households. The post-gift giving carnage and communal exhale after the expectations for the winter holiday season have been released, and we find that while we may be rich in family, friends, egg nog, chocolate and leftovers, not much has changed. New socks, new soap, new dongles and doohickeys may occupy ?our physical spaces, but while things are probably messier, they remain almost the same, despite the frantic preparations and stress of the holidays. To what end?<!–more–>

The kids have thoroughly exhausted and probably abandoned the wrapping paper wasteland, the tree is leaning a little too far to the right and we can finally turn the damn Christmas Carols off. We are experiencing the post-gift-giving let down, and hair-of-the-dogging ourselves through the holiday hangover. Some of us get downright depressed, some of us start jonesing for school and work to resume, and some of us just keep the party rocking til New Years.

<a href="http://bookboard.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/12/IMG_2659.jpg"><img src="http://bookboard.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/12/IMG_2659-300×199.jpg" alt="IMG_2659" width="300" height="199" class="alignright size-medium wp-image-5666" /></a>

Whatever your proclivities or inclinations during this time of year, however, one thing remains constant. The most precious time we can spend together as a species, let alone as families and friends, is in the act of sharing stories. Sitting around a table playing cards, digging out a board game, going for a late night walk, learning to knit or cuddling up on the couch to read together are all ways to foster the sharing of stories, fiction or non-fiction, personal or produced, from one person to another. We often don’t really NEED new things at this overly commercial time of year, and while it feels good to get a really thoughtful gift from someone, the novelty invariably wears off and we resume our state of equilibrium as it existed before.

Stories don’t gather dust, don’t go out of style and they feel like a relaxing balm to our hyper-scheduled psyches. Forget about that bit of scotch tape that’s stuck on the carpet, grab a loved one and share a story together. It’s the best gift we can ever give one another.

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12 Days of Bookboard

by On December 24, 2013 in Childrens Books, Holidays, Reading, Releases

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Our 12 Days of Bookboard are drawing to a close. We’ve really enjoyed sharing our special holiday selections with you. Over the 12 Days, we’ve featured books that reveal the wonder of winter (<a href="http://share.bookboard.com/shelves/bb_3ed4a80e146107d725acb/index.html?selectedBookID=245" target="_blank">Cub’s First Winter</a>, <a href="http://share.bookboard.com/shelves/bb_3ed4a80e146107d725acb/index.html?selectedBookID=313" target="_blank">Under the Snow</a>, <a href="http://share.bookboard.com/shelves/bb_3ed4a80e146107d725acb/index.html?selectedBookID=316" target="_blank">About Penguins</a>, <a href="http://share.bookboard.com/shelves/bb_3ed4a80e146107d725acb/index.html?selectedBookID=244" target="_blank">Winter Trees</a>) light-hearted books that take Santa and Tractor Mac on new holiday adventures (<a href="http://share.bookboard.com/shelves/bb_3ed4a80e146107d725acb/index.html?selectedBookID=473" target="_blank">Santa Retires</a>, <a href="http://share.bookboard.com/shelves/bb_3ed4a80e146107d725acb/index.html?selectedBookID=472" target="_blank">Santa’s New Jet</a>, <a href="http://share.bookboard.com/shelves/bb_3ed4a80e146107d725acb/index.html?selectedBookID=288" target="_blank">Tractor Mac Saves Christmas</a>), books that introduce international folk tales (<a href="http://share.bookboard.com/shelves/bb_3ed4a80e146107d725acb/index.html?selectedBookID=460" target="_blank">The Boy and the North Wind</a>, <a href="http://share.bookboard.com/shelves/bb_3ed4a80e146107d725acb/index.html?selectedBookID=243" target="_blank">Little Red Elf</a>), and books about the joy, warmth, traditions and meaning of the season (<a href="http://share.bookboard.com/shelves/bb_3ed4a80e146107d725acb/index.html?selectedBookID=431" target="_blank">May All Children</a>, <a href="http://share.bookboard.com/shelves/bb_3ed4a80e146107d725acb/index.html?selectedBookID=246" target="_blank">When I Dream of Christmas</a>, <a href="http://share.bookboard.com/shelves/bb_3ed4a80e146107d725acb/index.html?selectedBookID=142" target="_blank">We Share One World</a>).

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Thank you for joining us on our journey through the 12 Days of Bookboard. We wish you a very happy holiday season and new year, with plenty of reading, family warmth, and traditions of your own.

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From “Summer Slide” to “Holiday Hiccup”

by On December 23, 2013 in Childrens Books, General, Holidays, Reading

Have winter fun and avoid the holiday hiccup. Credit: Karpati Gabor, morguefile.com. http://mrg.bz/7eeVww.

Have winter fun and avoid the holiday hiccup.
Credit: Karpati Gabor, morguefile.com. http://mrg.bz/7eeVww.

Six months ago, everyone was talking about “the summer slide” and how to combat the effects of kids’ learning loss when school lets out.

Now it’s time to think about summer slide’s lesser known counterpart: the “holiday hiccup.”

Parents of young kids feel it coming. Winter?break is only a few short weeks, but just like in summer, things turn upside down, from sleep schedules and daily routines to kids’ energy levels. And just as they did in summer, kids will insist, “no school work, I’m on a break!”?The problem is, for many kids, even a few weeks’ break can result in learning setbacks mid-school year, often just as progress is being made.

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Eccentric New Books

by On December 20, 2013 in Childrens Books, Reading

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We know the New Year is a time to do a little searching and self-inventory. Our latest crop of new books is themed around that search:

<iframe src="http://share.bookboard.com/shelves/bb_b227a7b5170558e0756f0/index.html?embed=true" height="440" width="650"></iframe><!–more–>
<ul>
<li><a href="http://share.bookboard.com/shelves/bb_b227a7b5170558e0756f0/index.html?selectedBookID=485">Ace Lacewing</a> is a bug detective searching for clues – we’ve got a couple of great books in the series.</li>
<li><a href="http://share.bookboard.com/shelves/bb_b227a7b5170558e0756f0/index.html?selectedBookID=487">The Making of a Knight</a> gives a glimpse into the life of a young paige on his way to becoming a knight.</li>
<li><a href="http://share.bookboard.com/shelves/bb_b227a7b5170558e0756f0/index.html?selectedBookID=486">Pirate Bob</a> contemplates the meaning of happiness.</li>
<li><a href="http://share.bookboard.com/shelves/bb_b227a7b5170558e0756f0/index.html?selectedBookID=489">Forward Shakespeare</a> tells the story of a teenager who loses his sight, but learns to live a new kind of life with the help of his seeing-eye dog.</li>
</ul>
We’ve also included a new crop of Smithsonian nature books for all the animal lovers out there. There’s plenty to unlock and explore, so get your kids’ years started with a resolution to keep reading!

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What are Your Family Holiday Traditions?

by On December 20, 2013 in Holidays, Reading

winter_snowman

Photo: Susan Sachs Lipman

For many families, the winter holidays are a time of special rituals and traditions. When we celebrate the changing seasons and the holidays that mark them, we elevate the sacred from the everyday, the way people have done for thousands of years. At the same time, we strengthen our own family bonds by adding to our unique family memory banks.

Winter holidays are also a time when families tend to spend quality time together during school vacations and longer nights. For my family that often means more time to settle into our favorite books. We love to read by the fire and anywhere else in each other’s company. I asked my compatriots at Bookboard to share some of their beloved family holiday traditions and memories as well.

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What could you buy with $54.99?

by On December 18, 2013 in Childrens Books, General, Holidays, Reading

5499graphic1

You’re on a holiday budget. What could you buy for $54.99?

  • A half pair of running shoes
  • 1 tank of gas plus snacks from the mini mart
  • 2 extra large pizzas plus tips for the delivery dude
  • 3 movie tickets plus refreshments (priced a tub of movie popcorn lately?)
  • 4 novelty t-shirts
  • 5 nothing-special bottles of wine
  • 10 large café mochas plus a bagel or two at your favorite java joint
  • 400 plus wonderful fiction and non-fiction books for kids and parents to enjoy all year long, whenever the mood to read strikes

Ooh, that last one sounds good, doesn’t it?

The gift of reading is priceless (and affordable)

The gift of reading is priceless (and affordable)

And that’s exactly?what you’d be offering the kids and families on your list with a Bookboard gift card. We’ve had Bookboard in our home for a year. Our daughter has read 281 books to date, worth the equivalent of $2464 in book?purchases. From a budgetary perspective, such a bargain! From a parent’s perspective, watching our kid stay motivated in the face of reading challenges? As they say in the ad biz, priceless.

So how did you spend your last $54.99?
 

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10 Fun and Unusual Holiday Gifts for Kids

by On December 16, 2013 in Childrens Books, Holidays

We’re always on the lookout for cool and unusual kids holiday gifts, the kind that convey our fondness and knowledge of the recipient, as well as our desire for them to have fun with something truly unique and worthwhile. Looking for something that won’t already be under the tree? Check out these choices.

spy_kit
Pssst. Know a spy in training? They’d enjoy 4M’s Spy Science Secret Messages kit. Future cryptologists can learn how to send top-secret messages by writing on X-ray paper, using invisible markers, utilizing a cipher wheel, and more.

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Early Literacy Skills: Print Motivation (and Boogers)

by On December 12, 2013 in Childrens Books, Reading

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<a href="http://share.bookboard.com/shelves/bb_84d0348414997d6866d88/index.html?selectedBookID=72"><img style="margin-right: 15px;" alt="Richard was a Picker" src="http://bookboard.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/04/Richard-was-a-Picker.jpg" height="150" align="left" /></a>The Bookboard guys know that this drives me bonkers: one of the most popular books in our collection is a book called <a href="http://share.bookboard.com/shelves/bb_84d0348414997d6866d88/index.html?selectedBookID=72">Richard was a Picker</a>. The theme of this book is… yup, you guessed it. Boogers. Now, one of the professional dictums of children’s librarianship is defending a child’s right to read, so I try very hard to just rejoice in the fact that our readers are reading what they enjoy. I encourage everyone to follow Betty?Rosenberg’s First Law of Reading: never apologize for your reading tastes.<!–more–>

Boogers aside, this book is really great for pointing out an early literacy skill that we call <a href="http://bookboard.com/blog/2013/03/every-child-ready-to-read-bookboard-style/">print motivation</a>. One of my favorite early literacy tips to give parents is as follows: read what you and your kids enjoy reading! If boogers inspire you to read more together and have fun while you’re doing it, then by all means, please read about boogers!

I have put together a collection of fun books for parents and kids to share together, and none of them center around boogers =). Enjoy!

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From Black Friday to…Turn-Around Tuesday?

by On December 9, 2013 in Childrens Books, General, Holidays, Reading

Credit: Austin Hodgins, http://moviewriternyu.files.wordpress.com

Turn-Around Tuesday!
Credit: Austin Hodgins
moviewriternyu.files. wordpress.com

OK, by now we’ve all survived?Black Friday, Small Business Saturday and Cyber Monday. (Heck, some of us even survived?“brown Thursday” — a.k.a. Thanksgiving night shopping. Tryptophan clearly doesn’t slow everyone down.)

As a counter to all this holiday consumerism focus, I would like to propose “Turn-around Tuesdays” throughout the remainder of the holiday season.

Let’s assume you were already tuckered out after the high-profile shopping days that kicked off the season.

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