Posts From Christmases Past (And a few new ones too!)

One thing I love about the holidays is the tradition of storytelling, movies, and songs that we revisit each year. I look forward to watching “A Christmas Story” and “The Sound of Music,” to hearing Willy Nelson and Nora Jones sing “Baby it’s Cold Outside,” to reading “Twas the Night Before Christmas” aloud to my children in their classrooms. It’s one of my favorite poems – in my first Christmas post for this blog, I explained why.  And here are my other “posts” of Christmases past: I somehow managed to write about both The Elf on the Shelf and Robert Frost in one post; a few years ago I wrote about storage, then I focused on the specific gift recipients, and last year, I reflected on images in Christmas books.  Here’s what has caught my eye this year:

The Christmas Wish by Lori Evert and Per Breiehagen 

Screen Shot 2014-12-22 at 1.49.29 PM

[Read more…]

Get Up, Get Up

Today, I’m featuring my favorite guest poster again: former elementary school teacher and current busy mom of three young girls, Maura Dyson. Here are her pics for fall books:

We have been having the most beautiful weather here in New England…the air is cool and the skies are blue! It’s the perfect weather to get your little ones active  – whether it’s jumping in a pile of leaves, apple picking, or running through mazes at the local farms. Keeping your littles ones moving through books is another great way to pass time on a beautiful fall day.

One of our favorites is: The Little Old a lady Who Wasn’t Afraid of Anything by Linda Williams. Children love to act this story out, using their whole body to stomp their feet and wiggle their hips!

Screen Shot 2014-10-20 at 11.02.14 AM

The classic fable Stone Soup is also a great story where children can use their imagination by stirring a big pot and throwing different vegetables in the pot to make a yummy delicious soup.

Screen Shot 2014-10-20 at 11.03.10 AM

A more current book we adore is Pumpkin Soup by Helen Cooper, where the soup calls for slices of pumpkin, water and a pipkin of salt. Children love to look at the pictures of this book and to act out the parts of the animals who are cooking the soup!

Screen Shot 2014-10-20 at 11.03.52 AM

Lastly, I recommend Five Little Pumpkins by HarperCollins Publishers. This is a great book for early preschoolers using their fingers and hands to motion each pumpkins movement on each page. After a beautiful day, curl up with your child and watch their eyes brighten and their imagination come alive with one of these fun books!

Screen Shot 2014-10-20 at 11.05.01 AM

Have a spooktacular month!

Back-to-School Books for All Ages

Today: my very first guest post from Maura Walsh Dyson – my oldest friend from days of drawing all over our Hello Kitty books together. For many years, Maura taught kindergarten and pre-K in Connecticut and at the international preschools in New York City. Today she is raising three feisty but very sweet girls in CT. Here are her experienced and wise choices for fall, back-to-school reading!

It’s been eight years since I had my own classroom, however the teacher in me continues to think the beginning of the year starts when the school year begins in late August or early September. I still have a burst of excitement and a twinge of anxiety when I start to see the buses practicing their runs, the first of the apples at the farmers market, and colors hues of mums that symbolize the last burst of color in our gardens before Mother Nature puts them to sleep for the winter…

Now, as a mother of three girls, who are each starting a new school this year, I am seeing the same excitement and anxiousness in them as well. Over the years as a teacher and now as a parent I turn to children’s books to help ease the jitters of new beginnings such as the first day of school or to welcome a new season or holiday that we as families find comfort in, such as the beginning of Autumn. Thus, the idea of warm apple pies, candles burning in jack o’ lanterns and fires crackling in our living rooms.

Screen Shot 2014-09-03 at 2.53.25 PM

This year has been different for me as I have a third grader, kindergartner, and a first year preschooler. Each child enjoyed and found comfort in a different book depending on where they were in her stage of life. My oldest curled up beside me to listen to Picking Apples and Pumpkins by Amy and Richard Hutchings. It’s a story about a little girl who goes apple and pumpkin picking with her family and friends. It helped remind my daughter of the memories she has captured throughout the years and how we have that outing to look forward to in the upcoming weeks. Although, I already did make my first pie of the season. I could not resist! Another book she enjoyed listening to was Alexander and the Terrible Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day, by Judith Viorst. This is a fun book about having a very bad day! She is old enough now to relate to this and know some days are just better than others and that’s life!

Screen Shot 2014-09-03 at 2.54.42 PM

My second daughter went to kindergarten this week and rode on the bus for the first time. She found comfort in books such as Off to School by Barton’s Editorial Team and The Night Before Kindergarten by Natasha Wing. Her favorite book over the last few weeks has been Miss Bindergarten Gets Ready for Kindergarten by Joseph Slate because the characters are all animals which are her favorite! Lastly, she enjoyed Pinkalicious and the Pink Pumpkin by Victoria Kann which brought a smile to her face! The thought of a pink pumpkin, how silly is that!

Screen Shot 2014-09-03 at 2.56.10 PM

My third daughter, who starts the twos this week, has enjoyed Apples Apples by Salina Yoon, Duck and Goose Find a Pumpkin by Tad Hills and DW Goes to Preschool by Marc Brown. The latter may be a little advanced for her, but I improvised by focusing on the pictures of the classroom, the boys and girls playing, washing hands, having snacks and most importantly the mommies and daddies coming to pick them up at the end of the day!

Although it’s been a few years since I have been in a classroom, I continue to surround my own children with literacy. I strongly believe books have the ability to comfort, promote imagination and allow excitement in each little learner. Happy School, Happy Autumn and Happy Reading!