Ep. 37: Lisa Graff, Author of Far Away

This week I’m sharing an interview with the wonderful middle grade author, Lisa Graff.

Lisa Graff is the award-winning author of A Clatter of Jars, Absolutely Almost, A Tangle of Knots, Umbrella Summer, among others. Her new book is called Far Away.

You can also listen on iTunes or wherever you get your podcasts.

Books Mentioned On This Episode:

Far Away

Absolutely Almost

A Tangle Of Knots

Umbrella Summer

Lost in the Sun

The Thing About Georgie

Shark Lady

Up For Air

To learn more about Lisa Graff you can visit her website LisaGraff.com. You can also follow her on Twitter @lisagraff or on Facebook @lisagraffauthor.

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If you’re enjoying the podcast, please share it with a friend and be sure to subscribe. If you could also take a moment to rate and review A Bookish Home on iTunes to help people find the show, I’d be so grateful.

Are you reading a book mentioned on the blog or podcast? I’d love to hear. Tag me on your favorite social media @ABookishHome.

Happy Reading and Listening!

Laura Szaro Kopinski

ABookishHome.com

Affiliate links are used in this post. At no extra cost to you, we may receive a small commission if you purchase something through the links provided. Thanks for supporting A Bookish Home!

 

Celebrate the Bookish Birthdays of Two Potters…

This week I’m reposting some ideas for celebrating Harry Potter and Peter Rabbit. Enjoy!

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Are you looking to add a dose of literary fun to your family life this week? Celebrate one of these upcoming bookish birthdays!

Two wonderful literary Potters, Harry and Beatrix have birthdays coming up. Harry Potter was born on July 31st and Beatrix Potter on July 28th.

 

Celebrate Harry Potter’s Birthday:

Attend a Harry Potter Birthday Party

If you or the little ones in your life are Harry Potter fans, check your local library or bookstore to see if they have a birthday celebration planned for Harry that you can attend. This is such a wonderful way to engage with the book and spark excitement for readers of all ages.

 

Can’t attend a Harry Potter birthday celebration? Why not throw your own?

If you’re looking to celebrate at home, I love this Sorting Hat Cupcakes recipe from Little Sugar Snaps. When you bite into them, the cupcake reveals which Hogwarts House you would be in!

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Gather your friends for some cupcakes and nerdy Harry Potter debate over whether you’re actually a Ravenclaw or Gryffindor. If you have little ones, I also love the idea of eating these cupcakes during a family read aloud of Harry Potter or while you just chat about your favorite characters.

 

Read One of the 20th Anniversary Editions of Harry Potter

You can celebrate Harry’s birthday by checking out these new editions issued by Scholastic to celebrate the 20th anniversary of publication. (For more on celebrating this milestone check out Harry Potter Twentieth Anniversary Year).

The books feature new cover designs by Brian Selznik with the original interior illustrations of Mary GrandPré.

 

Enter to Win Tickets to Harry Potter and the Cursed Child

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I recently learned that there is a weekly lottery for tickets to Harry Potter and the Cursed Child on Broadway! Check out Today Tix Lottery: “Every Friday, we release 40 tickets for some of the very best seats in the theatre at $40 ($20 per Part) for every performance for the following week. Submit your entry from Friday at 12:01AM ET to Friday at 1:00PM ET.” For more information or to purchase general tickets visit: Harry Potter the Play

Celebrate Beatrix Potter’s Birthday:

Have some bookish fun with younger readers in honor of Beatrix Potter’s birthday on July 28th.

 

Read Peter Rabbit by Beatrix Potter

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I am such a big fan of Peter Rabbit. There is nothing better than snuggling up with my daughter while we read this classic. We’re also automatically in the Beatrix Potter spirit in her room since the nursery has a Peter Rabbit theme! This is a great time to enjoy this book with your children and share the magic of the story.

 

 

 

 

Watch a Peter Rabbit Read Aloud on Storyline

While the book is the perfect size for tiny hands and one-on-one sharing, I find it doesn’t work as well for reading to a larger group.  I actually love this Storyline Online read aloud with Rose Byrne and have shown it to kindergarteners in my school library. Everyone can see the illustrations and Byrne is a wonderful narrator. Storyline also has many other free read aloud videos.

 

Enjoy Peter Rabbit Coloring Pages

These Peter Rabbit coloring pages are available for free from Educational Coloring Pages. This would be a fun activity to follow your read aloud!

 

 

I hope these ideas add some bookish excitement to your home!

Happy Reading!

Laura Szaro Kopinski

ABookishHome.com

Summer Reading Resources for Kids…

As an elementary school librarian, I always spent the end of the school year encouraging students to read over the summer. This time of year can be magical for reading, with more free time and the opportunity to hopefully curl up with a book outside.

But it can also be challenging for kids to maintain an active reading life. Without their teachers and classmates, kids might have a harder time figuring out what to read next and without classroom and school libraries they may have less access to books.  That freedom also means less structure, without built in time to read every day at school.

You can support your child as a reader this summer by connecting them with books they enjoy as well as by making reading part of your family’s routine.

 

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Your local public library is a great resource for this. Visit the library as a family each week to check out books and find out what summer reading programs your little ones can participate in. In addition to fun activities for kids to take part in over the summer, many public libraries also create reading challenges to inspire kids to read during vacation.

Often libraries have summer reading lists available for kids. These are great tools for moments when kids are stuck for an idea of what book to read next. You can also stop by your local bookstore and stock up on books for the whole family to read over the summer.

15 Summer Themed Books for Kids:

1. Baby Loves Summer!

by Karen Katz

“Little ones will love lifting the flaps in this new Karen Katz book to reveal a big yellow sun, flip-flops, an ice cream cone, and everything else that Baby loves about summer! The sturdy format and easy-to-lift flaps make this a perfect summertime treat for parents and children to share.”

 

2. Hush, Little Beachcomber

Written by Dianne Moritz, Illustrated by Kelly McGee

“Hey, Little Beachcomber, what do you say? Let’s take trip to the beach today! Cold root beer athe pier, seagulls, wuick dips, beach-sand pies..Hush, little beachcomber, and don’t say a word..Just enjoy the day!”

 

3. Jabari Jumps

by Gaia Cornwall

“Jabari is definitely ready to jump off the diving board. He’s finished his swimming lessons and passed his swim test, and he’s a great jumper, so he’s not scared at all. “Looks easy,” says Jabari, watching the other kids take their turns. But when his dad squeezes his hand, Jabari squeezes back. He needs to figure out what kind of special jump to do anyway, and he should probably do some stretches before climbing up onto the diving board. In a sweetly appealing tale of overcoming your fears, newcomer Gaia Cornwall captures a moment between a patient and encouraging father and a determined little boy you can’t help but root for.”

 

4. Saffron Ice Cream

by Rashin

“Rashin is excited about her first visit to the beach in her family’s new home. On the way there, she remembers what beach trips were like in Iran, the beautiful Caspian Sea, the Persian music, and most of all, the saffron ice cream she shared with her best friend, Azadeh. But there are wonderful things in this new place as well — a subway train, exciting music… and maybe even a new friend!”

 5. The Honeybee

by Kirsten Hall and Isabelle Arsenault

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“Buzz from flower to flower with a sweet honeybee in this timely, clever, and breathtakingly gorgeous picture book from critically acclaimed author Kirsten Hall and award-winning illustrator Isabelle Arsenault.”

 

6. Backyard Campout

The backyard campout is tonight. Jada and Jamal Perkins have never slept in a tent before. Neither have their best friends, Carlita Garcia and Josh Cornell. Camping is going to be so much fun. Or is it? It’s really dark in the backyard. And what’s that noise? It’s coming from the bushes.  

7. Like Bug Juice on A Burger

“In this sequel to Like Pickle Juice on a Cookie, Eleanor is off to summer camp. At first she’s excited, but when she gets there she finds bugs, no electricity, and terrible food. And worst of all: swim class, where she just can’t seem to keep up with the other campers. But as the days go by, Eleanor realizes that life is full of special surprises—even after some belly flops.”

 

8. Alvin Ho: Allergic to Camping, Hiking and Other Natural Disasters

by Lenore Look

“Alvin, an Asian American second grader who’s afraid of everything, is back, and his worst fear has come true: he has to go camping. What will he do exposed in the wilderness with bears and darkness and . . . pit toilets? Luckily, he’s got his night-vision goggles and water purifying tablets and super-duper heavy-duty flashlight to keep him safe. And he’s got his dad, too.”

 

 

9. The Vanderbeekers and the Hidden Garden

by Karina Yan Glaser

“While Isa is off at sleepaway orchestra camp, Jessie, Oliver, Hyacinth, and Laney are stuck at home in the brownstone with nothing to do but get on one another’s nerves. But when catastrophe strikes their beloved upstairs neighbor, their sleepy summer transforms in an instant as the Vanderbeeker children band together to do what they do best: make a plan. They will create the most magical healing garden in all of Harlem.”

 

10. The Parker Inheritance

by Varian Johnson

“When Candice finds a letter in an old attic in Lambert, South Carolina, she isn’t sure she should read it. It’s addressed to her grandmother, who left the town in shame. But the letter describes a young woman. An injustice that happened decades ago. A mystery enfolding its writer. And the fortune that awaits the person who solves the puzzle.

So with the help of Brandon, the quiet boy across the street, she begins to decipher the clues. The challenge will lead them deep into Lambert’s history, full of ugly deeds, forgotten heroes, and one great love; and deeper into their own families, with their own unspoken secrets. Can they find the fortune and fulfill the letter’s promise before the answers slip into the past yet again?”

 

11.Where the Heart Is

by Jo Knowles

“It’s the first day of summer and Rachel’s thirteenth birthday. She can’t wait to head to the lake with her best friend, Micah. But as summer unfolds, every day seems to get more complicated. Her “fun” new job taking care of the neighbors’ farm animals quickly becomes a challenge, whether she’s being pecked by chickens or having to dodge a charging pig at feeding time. At home, her parents are more worried about money than usual, and their arguments over bills intensify. Fortunately, Rachel can count on Micah to help her cope with all the stress. But Micah seems to want their relationship to go beyond friendship, and though Rachel almost wishes for that, too, she can’t force herself to feel “that way” about him. In fact, she isn’t sure she can feel that way about any boy — or what that means. With all the heart of her award-winning novel See You At Harry’s, Jo Knowles brings us the story of a girl who must discover where her heart is and what that means for her future.”

**Jo Knowles will be a guest on an episode of A Bookish Home, the podcast in September!**

12. The Family Fletcher Takes Rock Island

by Dana Alison Levy


The Family Fletcher Takes Rock Island (Family Fletcher Series) by [Levy, Dana Alison]

“The Fletchers are back on Rock Island, home of all their best summer memories. But from the first day they arrive, it’s clear that this year, things have changed. FIRST, a giant fence is blocking their beloved lighthouse. SECOND, they have new neighbors. THIRD, who the heck is the weird artist guy who’s never actually painting? And FOURTH, there’s now an ice cream truck! Can the island stay the same even with these crazy transformations? “

 

13.  The Lotterys Plus One

by Emma Donoghue

“Meet the Lotterys: a unique and diverse family featuring four parents, seven kids and five pets – all living happily together in their big old house, Camelottery.Nine-year-old Sumac is the organizer of the family and is looking forward to a long summer of fun.

But when their grumpy and intolerant grandad comes to stay, everything is turned upside down. How will Sumac and her family manage with another person to add to their hectic lives?”

14. Junior Ranger Activity Book

by National Geographic Kids

“Calling all explorers and nature-lovers! From Acadia to Zion, discover all 59 of the United States’ amazing National Parks in this jam-packed book of games, trivia, jokes, fun facts, and so much more, all inspired by the National Parks outdoor-based Junior Ranger Program. Great for generating pre-trip excitement, long car rides, poking around historical sites, or general learning, these fun and sometimes silly activities will entertain while they draw kids into the majestic and historic importance of America’s national parks. Check out the most amazing park habitats, plus awesome sights and animals you might see, from birds to bears. Fun facts are jam-packed onto every page, so kids learn something amazing about each cool park.”

 

15. Smithsonian Maker Lab Outdoors

by DK

“Twenty-five science projects and experiments to be done outside will spark kids’ creativity and help them develop science skills through hands-on learning.

Projects focus on Earth and the environment, plants and animals, weather, water, and physics, bringing science learning home and into the backyard. Young scientists can build a wormery and learn about compost, crack rocks with water and learn about freezing and thawing, build and launch a water rocket to see Newton’s laws in action, and more.”

In addition to connecting the kids in your life with great reads, you can look for other ways to bring books into your summer routine.

Your family could visit a local bookstore,  listen to audiobooks in the car together, attend an author event, or read together outside.

Bring bookishness into any summer travels as well. Check to see if your destination has a local bookstore or public library your family can visit.  Don’t forget to check the events offered as well!

 

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Finding books you love to read during the summer is important as well. Modeling an active reading life for your children is so valuable and of course means enjoyable reading time for you!

Stay tuned for summer reading recommendations for adults in next week’s post.

And of course, if you are looking for book ideas for you and your family, subscribe to A Bookish Home and follow me on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook @ABookishHome.

Happy Reading!

Laura Szaro Kopinski

ABookishHome.com

Affiliate links are used in this post. At no extra cost to you, we may receive a small commission if you make a purchase through the links provided. Thanks for supporting A Bookish Home!

 

Ep. 32: Elise Hooper, Author of Learning to See

This week I’m sharing an interview with Elise Hooper, author of Learning to See: A Novel of Dorothea Lange, the Woman Who Revealed the Real America. This is an inspiring historical fiction novel that will sweep you up into the life of an unforgettable, pioneering woman.

Learning to See: A Novel of Dorothea Lange, the Woman Who Revealed the Real America by [Hooper, Elise]

You can also listen on iTunes or wherever you get your podcasts.

 

Books Mentioned On This Episode:

Learning to See: A Novel of Dorothea Lange, the Woman Who Revealed the Real America

A Life Beyond Limits

Impounded

The Other Alcott

Daisy Jones and the Six

To learn more about Elise Hooper you can visit her website Elisehooper.com. You can also follow her on Instagram @elisehooper.

 

Start your 7-Day Free Bluprint Trial at myBluprint.com now!

If you’re enjoying the podcast, please share it with a friend and be sure to subscribe. If you could also take a moment to rate and review A Bookish Home on iTunes to help people find the show, I’d be so grateful.

Are you reading a book mentioned on the blog or podcast? I’d love to hear. Tag me on your favorite social media @ABookishHome.

Happy Reading and Listening!

Laura Szaro Kopinski

ABookishHome.com

Affiliate links are used in this post. At no extra cost to you, we may receive a small commission if you purchase something through the links provided. Thanks for supporting A Bookish Home!

 

 

Ep. 31: Susan Tan, Author of the Cilla Lee-Jenkins Series

This week I’m excited to share an interview with Susan Tan, author of a middle-grade series I completely adore–Cilla Lee-Jenkins. The third installment is called Cilla Lee-Jenkins: The Epic Story. Cilla is on her own heroine’s quest this year as she braces for middle school, navigates changes in her family, and continues to grow as a writer and reader.

 

You can also listen on iTunes or wherever you get your podcasts.

Books Mentioned On This Episode:

Cilla Lee-Jenkins: Future Author Extraordinaire 

Cilla Lee-Jenkins: This Book Is A Classic

Cilla Lee-Jenkins: The Epic Story

Anne of Green Gables

Ramona series

Little Women

Ms. Marvel

This One Summer

Jasmine Toguchi series

To learn more about Susan Tan you can visit her website Susantanbooks.com. You can also follow her on Twitter @SusanMTan and on Instagram @Susansmtan.

If you’re enjoying the podcast, please share it with a friend and be sure to subscribe. If you could also take a moment to rate and review A Bookish Home on iTunes to help people find the show, I’d be so grateful.

Are you reading a book mentioned on the blog or podcast? I’d love to hear. Tag me on your favorite social media @ABookishHome.

Happy Reading and Listening!

Laura Szaro Kopinski

ABookishHome.com

Affiliate links are used in this post. At no extra cost to you, we may receive a small commission if you purchase something through the links provided. Thanks for supporting A Bookish Home!

 

April Showers and Reads with May Flowers

On this rainy Tuesday, I’m throwing it back to a post from last spring. Here are books with plenty of flowers to get you through all those showers. Enjoy!

 

 

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I know I’m not supposed to judge a book by its cover, but luckily in this case, Perennials’ gorgeous design did not disappoint. I completely fell into the story of Lovey Sutherland, who is called back to her family’s farm in Oxford, Mississippi and finds it might be time to try to make peace with the past. Compelling and heartfelt, I think this novel is perfect for fans of Taylor Jenkins Reid and Jojo Moyes. Julie Cantrell also brings this lush setting to life and the descriptions of the flower gardens central to this story will make you want to go start planting immediately–a perfect choice for spring. Bonus: Mississippi authors Eudora Welty and William Faulkner are weaved into the story. Highly recommended and I already have my library holds in for more books by Julie Cantrell!

 

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As I was soaking up all of the beautiful flower descriptions in Perennials, I kept thinking back to the book I pored over last spring: Floret Farm’s Cut Flower Garden: Grow, Harvest & Arrange Stunning Seasonal BloomsThis is not your typical gardening book. The photos in here are absolutely stunning and you will you want to start digging up your yard immediately

 

 

 

Here’s a peek at Floret Farm from when owner and Cut Flower Garden author Erin Benzakein was interviewed after winning Martha Stewart’s “American Made”:

 

Last year I discovered I don’t exactly have the greenest thumb (I’m really better at the planning and research phase!), but I’m going to try again and this year I want to involve my toddler in the flower garden. She did just receive her own set of gardening tools from a family member, so my little helper will be all set to help water and play in the dirt!

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If you have an older child, they could look at Cut Flower Garden or another gardening book with you and help choose what you’re going to plant. Reading a gardening book together would also be a great example for kids of a “How To” book, which I know students at my elementary school practice writing. Check out the gardening section of your local library and bring home a stack!

There are also so many wonderful picture book read alouds with gardening inspiration for this time of year that you can read together:

 

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I adore My Garden by Kevin Henkes and for fans of Perennials, this is the perfect children’s book pairing! A child likes to help her mother in the garden, but also dreams of her own magic garden where things like jelly beans, chocolate, and seashells would grow. When I read this book to my students and ask them what would grow in their own magical garden their imaginations run wild–book trees, candy flowers and more! The illustrations in this book are also so bright and colorful. Highly recommended.

 

MissRumphius Miss Rumphius by Barbara Cooney is a recent favorite that I received from another librarian as a baby shower gift. As a child listening to her grandfather’s stories, Miss Rumphius says, “When I grow up, I too will go to faraway places, and when I grow old, I too will live beside the sea.” And she does–traveling the world and having many adventures before settling in Maine and deciding it’s time to “make the world more beautiful” with the simple act of planting many, many lupines. A lovely, inspiring read.

 

thegardener

Set in the 1930s, this historical fiction picture book by Sarah Stewart is told in a series of letters. The Gardener is a Caldecott Honor winner that tells the story of Lydia Grace, who is sent to go live with her uncle in the city after her father loses his job. She uses her gardening skills, a passion of hers, to help brighten the world around her and hopefully cheer up her curmudgeonly uncle.

 

 

Do you have a favorite read with “May flowers”? Share it in the comments or let me know on Instagram or Twitter @ABookishHome.

Happy Reading!

Laura Szaro Kopinski

ABookishHome.com

 

Ten Steps to Get the Most Out of Your Local Library

Today I’m sharing a post from last winter that I hope you’ll find useful! Check out some of my tips for making the most of your public library card.

 

 

Are you a library user? It’s time to take advantage of all modern libraries have to offer!

I first fell in love with libraries as a college student, which is probably a bit late for a librarian.

It wasn’t the camaraderie of late-night study sessions or the peace and quiet that could be found in my college’s libraries, though that was nice too.

What actually began my devotion to libraries was a lesson in frugality from an unlikely source–the University of Oxford in England. I was lucky enough to be spending a year studying abroad there and instead of spending hundreds of dollars buying books for my courses (as I was used to stateside), I was provided with a list of books each week and told to request them through Oxford’s library system.

Photo Credit: Tejvan Pettinger

Wait, I can get all the books I need and want for free? I was hooked.

In the decade or so since, I’ve sought out my local library in all the cities and towns I’ve lived in (right now I’m an avid user of The Chelmsford Public Library) and in my job as an elementary school librarian I’m able to share this library joy with kids every day. (You get a book, you get a book…everybody gets a book!)

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Listening to “The Good House” by Ann Leary from the library

I still think it’s incredible that a library card can get you any book you want, no matter the state of your bank account.

What libraries can offer also seems to get better and better all the time (let’s hear it for free ebooks and audiobooks on your devices!).

However, I’ve found that people don’t always know how much their library can do for them. Do you?

How to Become a Savvy Library Patron:

Step 1: Find your local library and sign up for a library card.

If you haven’t already, it’s time to pay your library a visit and get your library card. Make sure to bring proof of your address–your license or a utility bill will work. Don’t forget a tote bag (or two!) to fill up with your first check-outs!

 

Step 2: While you’re there, browse the new releases.

Library card in hand, it’s time to look around for some great reads to bring home. I like to start in the “New Books” section at my library. It’s a smaller sampling of what the library offers, which makes it a good place to browse. If you’re having trouble spotting a good pick, the Indie Bestsellers list would be a good place to peruse new titles.

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Don’t forget to look at the array of new nonfiction titles your library offers, from cookbooks and gardening, to business and biography–give one a try, they’re free!

 

Step 3: Choose a magazine or dvd.

Is your tote bag getting full? Time for some lighter entertainment. Most libraries have a wide range of magazines you can choose from. I like to stock up on Boston MagazineCooking Light, “O”, Real Simple, and more.

 

 

Looking for a free movie night? You can also borrow one of the library’s DVDs. Some libraries charge to borrow one (maybe $1), but happily mine does not.

 

Step 4: Bring your little ones into the children’s room.

The children’s room is a great place to play, explore, and of course choose books. We’ll meet friends for a playdate in the children’s room or bring our daughter there for a change of scenery and some new toys to play with.

We also love choosing new children’s books to bring home and read together. Give your child their own tote bag and invite them to go “book shopping” and fill it up with any books they want to borrow.

If you’re having trouble choosing, you could check out my previous posts about recent award winners, diverse children’s books, or titles with a bookish theme–perfect for a library trip!

 

Depending on when you’ve stopped by, there might even be a storytime or craft you can take part in. More on that next.

 

Step 5: Grab a copy of your library’s event calendar or check it out online.

The library is a fantastic source of free activities for you and your family. Take a look at your library’s events calendar, usually available at the front desk or online. This week alone my library’s event calendar has story times, yoga for babies or preschoolers, a YA author event, stuffed animal sleepover, writers group and multiple book clubs.

 

Step 6: Login to your online library account and place your first book requests.

Login to your library account online. Usually you’ll just need your library card number and a pin they’ll assign you. You can do this when you get home, or if you think you might want some assistance, ask one of the librarians to help show you on your phone or other device. Worried about bothering them? Don’t be. They’ll be happy to help!

Being able to request books through my online library account has made a big difference in my reading life. As soon as I hear about a book I think I might want to read, I search for it in my library’s online catalog and request a copy. If my library doesn’t have it, they’ll have it sent from another library within the network. When the book is ready, I get an email alerting me to pick it up at my library’s circulation desk. Magic!

When people say they don’t want to use the library because they’re too impatient to wait for books, my response is to start placing book requests. My “To Be Read” pile (which is pretty much stacks of books all over the house) never runs out because book requests I’ve placed at various times are always becoming available. I can’t wait to pick up my next two!

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If you haven’t subscribed to the blog yet, you can sign up to get an email when there is a new post. This is a great way to start adding to your “to be read” list and library holds.

 

Step 7: Reserve a Museum pass.

You can get free or discounted museum passes through your library. Ask for a brochure at the circulation desk or check out the list online. It’s a good idea to book the pass at least a few weeks in advance, especially if you’re trying to go to a popular museum or zoo. It takes a little planning ahead but this is a big cost saver.

 

Step 8: Download an ebook or audiobook.

Screen Shot 2018-03-14 at 9.34.01 AM.pngI’ve been using the Overdrive app on my phone to listen to audiobooks and also to send ebooks to my Kindle. I was excited to see they have a new app called Libby, which I found very user friendly in terms of setting up your account and linking your library card.

You can download Libby in the App store or you can use the app your library recommends. Then search for ebooks/audiobooks in the app and download them. Again, you can have your librarians walk you through this on your device if you have trouble with this step.

I mostly download Kindle books to read on trips. In my everyday life, audiobooks have been a game changer for getting reading in while I commute, clean up the house, or go on a walk.

You can check out these audiobook recommendations for a few ideas.

 

Step 9: Continue to build your library “To Be Read” list.

Whenever you hear about a new book you want to read, request it from the library. Think about the format you prefer when you place the hold. Do you want a hardcover to read before bed? Is this a book you’d like to listen to in the car? Or is this the beach read you’ll want as an ebook for an upcoming trip? It can take some experimenting to figure out what kinds of books you like to read at different times.

 

Step 10: Wait for the delightful emails that your books are now available.

Pick up your print books at the library or download your ebooks/audiobooks. Read and repeat!

What do you like best about your local library? Leave a comment or let me know on Instagram or Twitter @ABookishhome

Happy Reading!

Laura Szaro Kopinski

ABookishHome.com

Celebrate Dr. Seuss’s Birthday

Each year, Dr. Seuss’s birthday is celebrated on March 2nd with Read Across America Day. Join in the celebration of these classic books and of the importance of reading! You can take part at home or see if there is a celebration at your child’s school or local library.

Here are some of my favorite ways to celebrate:

Have A Green Eggs and Ham Breakfast

Green Eggs and Ham is a Dr. Seuss classic. This story is a crowd pleaser for children of all ages. That “Sam-I-Am” asks over and over again for the main character to try green eggs and ham. Sam sure is persistent before he finally gets his wish! And low and behold, the green eggs and ham are a hit!

What better way to start off Dr. Seuss’s birthday than to read the book aloud to your kids at breakfast and then eat some of your own green eggs and ham! You can scramble eggs and add chopped up spinach or kale to make them green. I’ve also made our eggs green by mixing in avocado. Or if you want to get a bit fancier, you can buy some green food dye to use. You can either chop up small bits of cooked ham, or if like my family you’re not big ham fans, serve your eggs with sausage or bacon instead. And if getting out the door in the morning is too rushed to make this happen, why not do breakfast for dinner? 

Attend the Dr. Seuss Birthday Party at the

Dr. Seuss Museum in Springfield, Massachusetts

Saturday March 2nd from 10am-5pm

Photo via springfieldmuseums.org

The birthday celebration at the Dr. Seuss Museum looks too good to be missed! With Dr. Seuss’s birthday falling on a Saturday this year, this could be the perfect time to join in the fun!

“Celebrate beloved children’s author and Springfield native Theodor “Ted” Geisel–aka Dr. Seuss–on his 115th birthday. This action-packed day features Seuss-inspired cakes and decorations; a dance party; art and science activities; and meet and greets with The Cat in the Hat, Thing 1 and Thing 2, the Grinch and the Lorax.”

Highlights from this year’s celebration include:

“The Cat in the Hat and Friends, 11 am-1 pm, 2-4 pm
The Cat, Thing 1 and Thing 2, the Grinch and the Lorax are here to celebrate their creator’s special day. Get a hug or a high five and snap a selfie with your favorite character.

If I Ran the Zoo, Noon-3 pm
Meet from our friends from Forest Park Zoo! Theodor Robert Geisel (Dr. Seuss’s dad) was superintendent of Forest Park Zoo and his work may have inspired many of Dr. Seuss’s wild characters!  Get up close and personal with some birds, mammals, and reptiles.

Karaoke and Dance Party, 11 am-3 pm
DJ Marty invites you to bust a move in your dancing shoes and maybe even belt out a tune of your own.

Dr. Seuss Photo Booth, 11 am-4 pm
Grab a Seussian prop to take some fun and memorable family photos.

Seuss Puppet Theaters, 11 am-4 pm
Create your own performance with our Seuss shadow puppet and finger puppet theaters.”

Museum Hours

Tuesday–Saturday: 10 am–5 pm Sunday: 11 am–5 pm Monday: Closed

Admission

Adults: $25    Seniors (60+): $16.50     College Students: $16.50    Youth 3–17: $13 Children Under 3: Free    Springfield Residents (with valid ID): Free 

For more information visit the event website.

Read Oh The Thinks You Can Think! And Make Something Up!

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If you want a book that celebrates the power of the imagination, look no further than Oh The Thinks You Can Think! Dr. Seuss comes up with so many fantastical creatures and settings. For older children, I love to make the connection with kids that this is an awful lot like what great fantasy writers like J.K. Rowling have done. Someone had to dream up Quidditch, Butterbeer, and Blast-Ended Skrewts! Challenge your kids to come up with their own made-up creatures, games, foods, or places. Then they can draw, paint or use craft supplies to make their creations the way they imagine them. And of course, name them!

Favorite Dr. Seuss Read Alouds to Share:

Green Eggs and Ham

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“Do you like green eggs and ham?” asks Sam-I-am in this Beginner Book by Dr. Seuss. In a house or with a mouse? In a boat or with a goat? On a train or in a tree? Sam keeps asking persistently. With unmistakable characters and signature rhymes, Dr. Seuss’s beloved favorite has cemented its place as a children’s classic. In this most famous of cumulative tales, the list of places to enjoy green eggs and ham, and friends to enjoy them with, gets longer and longer. Follow Sam-I-am as he insists that this unusual treat is indeed a delectable snack to be savored everywhere and in every way. “

Oh The Thinks You Can Think

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“Relates in verse some of the unusual thinks you can think if only you try. A mad outpouring of made-up words, and intriguing ideas.”

The Sneetches And Other Stories

The Sneetches and Other Stories“Dr. Seuss creates another timeless picture-book classic with The Sneetches and Other Stories. Are you a Star-Belly Sneetch or a Plain-Belly Sneetch? This delightful book contains four tales with deliciously subtle takes on how silly it is to be, well, silly. “The Sneetches,” “The Zax,” “Too Many Daves,” and “What Was I Scared Of?” make this energetic compilation a must-have for every library. Full of Dr. Seuss’s signature rhymes and unmistakable characters, it’s perfect for new and lifelong Seuss fans.”

Yertle the Turtle and Other StoriesYertle the Turtle and Other Stories

“Dr. Seuss presents three modern fables in the rhyming favorite Yertle the Turtle and Other Stories. The collection features tales about greed (“Yertle the Turtle”), vanity (“Gertrude McFuzz”), and pride (“The Big Brag”). In no other book does a small burp have such political importance! Yet again, Dr. Seuss proves that he and classic picture books go hand in hand.”

Take $10 Off When You Spend $50+ On Supplies with code SAVE10 at shop.mybluprint.com 2/19-2/20/19.

The Lorax

The Lorax (Classic Seuss)

” ‘Unless someone like you…cares a whole awful lot…nothing is going to get better…It’s not.’

Long before saving the earth became a global concern, Dr. Seuss, speaking through his character the Lorax, warned against mindless progress and the danger it posed to the earth’s natural beauty.”

Oh The Places You’ll Go

Oh, the Places You'll Go!  From soaring to high heights and seeing great sights to being left in a Lurch on a prickle-ly perch, Dr. Seuss addresses life’s ups and downs with his trademark humorous verse and illustrations, while encouraging readers to find the success that lies within. In a starred review, Booklist notes, “Seuss’s message is simple but never sappy: life may be a ‘Great Balancing Act,’ but through it all ‘There’s fun to be done.’” A perennial favorite and a perfect gift for anyone starting a new phase in their life!

The Cat In The HatThe Cat in the Hat

“Poor Dick and Sally. It’s cold and wet and they’re stuck in the house with nothing to do . . . until a giant cat in a hat shows up, transforming the dull day into a madcap adventure and almost wrecking the place in the process! Written by Dr. Seuss in 1957 in response to the concern that “pallid primers [with] abnormally courteous, unnaturally clean boys and girls’ were leading to growing illiteracy among children, The Cat in the Hat (the first Random House Beginner Book) changed the way our children learn how to read.”

 

Dr. Seuss’s ABC: An Amazing Alphabet Book!

“From Aunt Annie’s Alligator to Zizzer-Zazzer-Zuzz, this sturdy board book version of Dr. Seuss’s ABC is now available in a bigger trim size. With Dr. Seuss as your guide, learning the alphabet is as fun and as funny as the feather on a Fiffer-feffer-feff!”

 

Can’t Choose? Try this Collection:

Your Favorite Seuss: Thirteen Best-Loved StoriesYour Favorite Seuss (Classic Seuss)“From his very first book to his very last book, here in one big volume are 13 classic Dr. Seuss stories, everyone’s favorites. All of the words and virtually all of the illustrations are included. Each story is prefaced by a short essay by someone whose life was changed by Dr. Seuss or who is simply an unabashed admirer. Also included are photographs of Dr. Seuss, memorabilia, and original sketches from his books.”

How will you celebrate Dr. Seuss’s Birthday? Be sure to check to see if your local library or bookstore has a Read Across America party you could attend. If your child’s school will be celebrating, you could also volunteer to be a guest reader.

Happy Reading!

Laura Szaro Kopinski

ABookishHome.com

Repost: 10 Bookish Reads to Cozy Up With Next

This week I’m sharing a post from last winter on one of my favorite topics: books about books. Happy reading!

 

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Is there anything better than “books about books”? This is a genre I can’t get enough of. Turning the pages and spotting references to favorite books and authors, finding out the characters inhabit bookstores or libraries each day, and reading loads of dialogue between characters about the titles they love––heaven!

Here are 10 Bookish Reads for you and the little ones in your life. Happy reading!

ajfikry1. The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry by Gabrielle Zevin

If you are on the lookout for your next bookish read and have not yet picked up this gem of a book, place your library requests or bookstore orders immediately! This is a reading experience to be treasured. I grabbed this book and curled up on the couch with it anytime my daughter was asleep one rainy Saturday and alternated between laughing out loud, reaching for the tissues, and looking for another book dart to mark a passage I loved. A young toddler comes into the life of a thirty-something widower bookstore owner, changing the course of not only their “stories”, but also the entire community’s. Bookish references abound in this one and great reads are at the center of the characters’ lives. This book was also a wonderful fictional look at raising a reader. A.J. Fikry has certainly zoomed to the top of my list of recent favorites–highly recommended.

 

You can also check out this interview with the author, Gabrielle Zevin from NPR:

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2. First Impressions: A Novel of Old Books, Unexpected Love, and Jane Austen by Charlie Lovett

I got this book recommendation from a wonderful “Lifetime mother-daughter book club” episode of my favorite reading podcast, “What Should I Read Next” with Anne Bogel. (If you haven’t listened to this book recommendation podcast, this would be a great episode to start with. This book was recommended by the mother and daughter on the show sharing their favorite reads and getting book recommendations.) First Impressions is a bookish mystery for Jane Austen fans and Anglophiles, that alternates between Jane’s perspective and modern day Sophie Collingwood’s, a recent Oxford graduate about to take on the greatest literary puzzle she could imagine. Bonus–it will inspire you to re-read Pride and Prejudice. 

 

The Wilder Life

3. The Wilder Life by Wendy McClure

Little House on the Prairie fans, this is the book for you! Wendy McClure shares her account of immersing herself in the world of the series and embraces all things Laura Ingalls Wilder. I’m fascinated by how Wilder,  like L.M. Montgomery, and Louisa May Alcott blended the real stories of her upbringing and family life with fiction. Like Avonlea and Orchard House, the setting of the various Ingalls’ homesteads is also such a rich part of the story and McClure makes pilgrimages to them all–from the Big Woods of Wisconsin, to Plum Creek, and South Dakota. This is a delightful literary travel memoir and reflection on the series. For a more scholarly look at the world of Laura Ingalls Wilder and reality versus fiction in her work, you can also check out Prairie Fires: The American Dreams of Laura Ingalls Wilder by Caroline Fraser.
onetrueloves4. One True Loves by Taylor Jenkins Reid

If you’re a fan of Liane Moriarty or Jojo Moyes and haven’t picked up a Taylor Jenkins Reid book, I highly recommend this author. She writes smart, tug-at-your-heartstrings women’s fiction that is impossible to set down. In One True Loves, Emma Blair has spent her twenties with her high school sweetheart Jesse, traveling the world and having adventures far from their small Massachusetts hometown. After being married for only a year, tragedy strikes and Jesse’s helicopter crashes somewhere over the Pacific. Emma moves back home to rebuild her life and takes over her parents’ bookstore. After several years, she falls in love again with Sam, an old friend, and becomes engaged. When Jesse is found alive, Emma’s world is turn upside down. Keep the tissues handy as you’ll be as torn as Emma about how to choose between the husband she lost and the fiancé she has built a life with. This book also dives into Emma’s complicated relationship with her family as well as the world of the bookstore, which she rebelled against growing up.

 

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5. The Losers Club by Andrew Clements

The wonderful Andrew Clements has done it again with another funny, relatable, middle-grade school story–and in this one, he celebrates being bookish! This has taken the top spot as my new favorite Clements book and was a hit when I helped choose it as the 4th and 5th grade parent/child book club pick at my school. Alec is a lifelong bookworm who is actually constantly being sent to the principal’s office for reading too much at school. (Which breaks my librarian heart!) In the after-school program, he’s forced to sign up for a club, but he just wants to spend his time reading. His solution–call the club “The Losers Club” and hope no one else wants to join so he can read in peace. When things don’t exactly go according to plan, Alec makes some interesting discoveries about himself and the people around him. Clements weaves in a stellar book title every few pages and even includes a full list of books read by Alec and his classmates at the end of the story –the young readers in your life will devour this title.

 

AnotherDayAsEmily

6. Another Day as Emily by Eileen Spinelli

This is a quick read that completely warmed my heart. I read it in a few hours one afternoon and couldn’t wait to recommend it to students. Eleven-year-old Suzy researches Emily Dickinson as part of a summer program at the public library. When things don’t seem to be going her way, she decides to channel her inner Emily and live like a 19th-century recluse. Her experiment exasperates her parents and baffles her friends, but left me charmed. This book was in my reading pile because it’s part of this year’s Massachusetts Children’s Book Award program. 4th, 5th and 6th graders across the state are presented with 25 nominated books. If they read 5, they are eligible to vote for their favorite. Many states have reading programs for elementary kids, and the nominee lists are great places to seek out new books for the little ones in your life.

 

OurStoryBegins

7. Our Story Begins: Your Favorite Authors and Illustrators Share Fun, Inspiring, and Occasionally Ridiculous Things They Wrote and Drew as Kids, Edited by Elissa Brent Weissman

I flipped through this book gleefully as I saw how many author contributed, from the author of my childhood favorite Ella Enchanted, Gail Carson Levine, to authors and illustrators of incredible contemporary titles like Wonder (R.J. Palacio), One Crazy Summer (Rita Williams-Garcia), Escape from Mr. Lemencello’s Library (Chris Grabenstein), and Where the Mountain Meets the Moon (Grace Lin). This is a fascinating look at the varying journeys of accomplished authors and illustrators–the childhood sketches, attempts at novels, and encouragement from teachers and parents that got them where they are today. A truly inspirational and entertaining read for kids and adults alike.

 

LibraryBookForBear

8. A Library Book for Bear by Bonny Becker

This delightful picture book makes kids of all ages laugh out loud. Bear is a bit of a curmudgeon and has all the books he could ever need (seven to be exact). Why would he possibly want to go to the library with Mouse? A sweet, funny tale about being open to trying new things and discovering your next favorite book at the library.

 

ReadingMakesYouFeelGood

9. Reading Makes You Feel Good by Todd Parr

Why does reading make us happy? Is it being able to read the signs at the zoo? Or sharing a story with a friend? Todd Parr explores the many wonderful reasons why “Reading Makes You Feel Good”. A perfect book to share with the littlest readers in your life. I love to ask my K-2 students why they love to read after sharing this title. They always come up with adorable reasons!

 

TheLibrary10. The Library by Sarah Stewart

Elizabeth Brown was born a bookworm. Her piles of books are her constant companions. She even creates a check-out system for lending books out to friends when she is away at school. (I love that she conducts “midnight raids” to take overdue books back from classmates). When others are out socializing, she’s staying in content with her book. She also reads while grocery shopping and vacumming (if only she’d had access to audiobooks!). As she gets older and moves into a house of her own, the piles of books become towers until she eventually runs out of room. The solution? Create a public library for her town. This is a fun bookish read aloud for kids of all ages and certainly pleases us bookish introverts!

What I’ve Been Reading Lately…

It is so wonderful when you have a stretch of time as a reader when you adore book after book.

Here are some of the books I’ve been over the moon about lately:

Harry’s Trees

by Jon Cohen

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Picking up this book in and of itself was magical for me. This was a recommendation that Anne Bogel gave me during our interview. (A dream come true!) I am a huge fan of her blog and What Should I Read Next? podcast. I had asked for suggestions given that I was re-reading Anne of Green Gables, Little Women, and Pride and Prejudice at the timeThis is exactly the kind of uplifting book I had hoped for, with a quirky cast of characters in a community you come to deeply care about. A+ to Modern Mrs. Darcy! Harry’s Trees also wound up being a January pick for her online book club.

“Thirty-four-year-old Harry Crane, lifelong lover of trees, works as an analyst in a treeless US Forest Service office. When his wife dies in a freak accident, devastated, he makes his way to the remote woods of northeastern Pennsylvania’s Endless Mountains, intent on losing himself. But fate intervenes in the form of a fiercely determined young girl named Oriana. She, too, has lost someone—her father. And in the magical, willful world of her reckoning, Oriana believes that Harry is the key to finding her way back to him.

As Harry agrees to help the young girl, the unlikeliest of elements—a tree house, a Wolf, a small-town librarian and a book called The Grum’s Ledger—come together to create the biggest sensation ever to descend upon the Endless Mountains…a golden adventure that will fulfill Oriana’s wildest dreams and open the door to a new life for Harry.

Harry’s Trees is an uplifting tale about love, loss, friendship, and redemption. Fans of Fredrik Backman’s A Man Called Ove and Gabrielle Zevin’s The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry will find in its relentless good humor a much-needed remedy for these fraught times.”

 

Bear Town

by Fredrik Backman

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I wasn’t convinced that a book about hockey would draw me in, but I kept hearing about this book and enjoyed A Man Called Ove, so I decided to finally try Beartown. I’m so glad I did. Fans of Friday Night Lights will find themselves captivated by this small town story, and like me, struggle to put it down.

“People say Beartown is finished. A tiny community nestled deep in the forest, it is slowly losing ground to the ever encroaching trees. But down by the lake stands an old ice rink, built generations ago by the working men who founded this town. And in that ice rink is the reason people in Beartown believe tomorrow will be better than today. Their junior ice hockey team is about to compete in the national semi-finals, and they actually have a shot at winning. All the hopes and dreams of this place now rest on the shoulders of a handful of teenage boys.

Being responsible for the hopes of an entire town is a heavy burden, and the semi-final match is the catalyst for a violent act that will leave a young girl traumatized and a town in turmoil. Accusations are made and, like ripples on a pond, they travel through all of Beartown, leaving no resident unaffected.

Beartown explores the hopes that bring a small community together, the secrets that tear it apart, and the courage it takes for an individual to go against the grain. In this story of a small forest town, Fredrik Backman has found the entire world.”

 

Get 12 Free Own Forever Classes and a year of Bluprint for only $69.99 at myBluprint.com through 2/17/19.

The Poet X

by Elizabeth Acevedo

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The Poet X is one of the best young adult novels I’ve ever read. Winner of numerous awards including the National Book Award, Pura Belpré Award, and the Michael L. Printz Award, this is an unforgettable coming-of-age story, filled with hope and writing that has to be stopped and savored.

“A young girl in Harlem discovers slam poetry as a way to understand her mother’s religion and her own relationship to the world. Debut novel of renowned slam poet Elizabeth Acevedo.

Xiomara Batista feels unheard and unable to hide in her Harlem neighborhood. Ever since her body grew into curves, she has learned to let her fists and her fierceness do the talking.

But Xiomara has plenty she wants to say, and she pours all her frustration and passion onto the pages of a leather notebook, reciting the words to herself like prayers—especially after she catches feelings for a boy in her bio class named Aman, who her family can never know about. With Mami’s determination to force her daughter to obey the laws of the church, Xiomara understands that her thoughts are best kept to herself.

So when she is invited to join her school’s slam poetry club, she doesn’t know how she could ever attend without her mami finding out, much less speak her words out loud. But still, she can’t stop thinking about performing her poems.

Because in the face of a world that may not want to hear her, Xiomara refuses to be silent.”

Merci Suarez Changes Gears

by Meg Medina

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Merci Suarez Changes Gears  was recommended to me by Katie Cunningham, Senior Editor at Candlewick on the podcast. Her praise was spot on and I absolutely adored this book. I revisited Merci recently before my interview with author Meg Medina (coming soon!). This is the kind of story you want to press into the hands of middle schoolers–and the kind of story adults wish they had read during those tumultuous years! I could not have been more thrilled to see Meg Medina win the Newbery Medal for this outstanding book. Fingers crossed we see more of Merci and the Suarez family soon!

“Merci Suarez knew that sixth grade would be different, but she had no idea just how different. For starters, Merci has never been like the other kids at her private school in Florida, because she and her older brother, Roli, are scholarship students. They don’t have a big house or a fancy boat, and they have to do extra community service to make up for their free tuition. So when bossy Edna Santos sets her sights on the new boy who happens to be Merci’s school-assigned Sunshine Buddy, Merci becomes the target of Edna’s jealousy. Things aren’t going well at home, either: Merci’s grandfather and most trusted ally, Lolo, has been acting strangely lately — forgetting important things, falling from his bike, and getting angry over nothing. No one in her family will tell Merci what’s going on, so she’s left to her own worries, while also feeling all on her own at school. In a coming-of-age tale full of humor and wisdom, award-winning author Meg Medina gets to the heart of the confusion and constant change that defines middle school — and the steadfast connection that defines family.”

Drawn Together

by Minh Lê, illustrated by Dan Santat

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A boy and his grandfather are unable to speak the same language, resulting in frustration and distance, until they find a different way. Drawn Together is a deeply moving book about family and the power of connecting through stories.  I was so happy to see this book win the Asian/Pacific American Award for Literature.

“When a young boy visits his grandfather, their lack of a common language leads to confusion, frustration, and silence. But as they sit down to draw together, something magical happens-with a shared love of art and storytelling, the two form a bond that goes beyond words.”

I Love You, Little Pookie

by Sandra Boynton

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I spotted this book at my local bookstore over the weekend, Silver Unicorn Books and knew I had to get it for my little Valentine! We are huge Sandra Boynton fans around here and I Love You, Little Pookie is a wonderful new addition. This sweet story is sure to be shared on repeat like other Boynton favorites!

“I Love You, Little Pookie is an affectionate and heartfelt celebration—for Valentine’s Day and every day—enlivened with those funny and captivating Boynton drawings. And Pookie’s Mom wisely knows that the best way to say I love you is simply to say it:
Through the days,
through the nights,
come rain or come shine,
I love you, little Pookie.
You’ll always be mine.”

What have you been reading? Share your recommendations! And if you’ve picked up a book after reading the blog or listening to the podcast, I’d love to hear. Leave a note in the comments or find me on Twitter or Instagram @ABookishHome.

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Happy Reading!

Laura Szaro Kopinski

ABookishHome.com

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