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.

 

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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.

 

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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.

 

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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.

 

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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!

Ep. 24: Meg Medina, Author of Merci Suárez Changes Gears

This week I’m thrilled to share an interview with Meg Medina, author of Merci Suárez Changes Gears, which recently won the Newbery Medal!

We chatted before the award was announced and I was over the moon with excitement to see this fantastic middle grade book win.

Congratulations to Meg Medina on this much deserved award!

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

Books Mentioned On This Episode:

Merci Suárez Changes Gears

Mango, Abuela and Me

Burn Baby Burn

Becoming

The Poet X

The Fire on High

Dealing in Dreams

You Don’t Know Everything Jilly P

 

You can find Meg Medina at MegMedina.com. She is on Twitter @Meg_Medina and Instagram @MegMedinaBooks.

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 Twitter or Instagram @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!

Read Alouds to Celebrate Valentine’s Day

Valentine’s Day is almost here! These books are perfect to share with your little valentine.

Pair one of these books with some sweet treats for a winning Valentine’s Day gift.

Picture Books:

Click, Clack, Moo I Love You!

by Doreen Cronin

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“It’s Valentine’s Day and on the farm – that means a Valentine’s party! Little Duck is wildly excited. She hangs balloons, streamers, sparkling lights, and hearts everywhere, and hand-makes a valentine for everyone. On top of a hill, a little fox hears the music from the party and follows Little Duck’s many decorations to the barn…but foxes are not at all welcome on farms. The chickens stop dancing. The sheep stop dancing. The pigs stop dancing. The mice hustle off to hide. Will Little Fox ruin the dance? Or, perhaps, she’s just what the party needs!”

Hedgehugs

by Steve Wilson

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“Horace and Hattie are hedgehogs, and the very best of friends. Together, they make daisy chains, splash in puddles, and have tea parties. But there is one thing they can’t do—hug! They are just too spiky. Throughout the seasons, these two hedgehogs will try many different ways of hugging. But will Horace and Hattie find a hug that feels just right?”

Here Comes the Valentine Cat

by Deborah Underwood

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“Cat does NOT like Valentine’s Day. It’s much too mushy, and no way is he making anyone a valentine—especially not his new neighbor, Dog. Dog refuses to respect the fence. He keeps tossing over old bones and hitting Cat in the head! But just as Cat’s about to send Dog an angry “valentine” telling him exactly what he can do with his bones, Dog throws a ball over the fence. What is Dog playing at?”

Somebody Loves You, Mr. Hatch

by Eileen Spinelli

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“One wintry day, a postman delivers a mysterious package with a big pink bow to a lonely man named Mr. Hatch. “Somebody loves you” the note says. “Somebody loves me!” Mr. Hatch sings as he dusts his living room. “Somebody loves me!” Mr. Hatch whistles as he does his errands in town. “But who, ” Mr. Hatch wonders, “could that somebody be?” After some time, Mr. Hatch discovers just who his secret admirer is and, in doing so, enjoys the biggest surprise of his life!”

Love, Splat

by Rob Scotton

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“It’s Valentine’s Day and Splat has a special valentine for a certain someone in his class. Her name is Kitten, and Splat likes her even more than fish sticks and ice cream. But Kitten doesn’t seem to like him at all—she always ties his tail and pokes his belly when she sees him. And then there’s Splat’s rival, Spike, who also likes Kitten. Will Splat’s heartfelt valentine win Kitten’s paw in the end?”

Pinkalicious: Pink of Hearts

by Victoria Kann

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“Everyone in her class is assigned to make an extra-special Valentine’s Day card for one person in the class. Pinkalicious creates a magnificently pinkerrific card. Will the valentine that she gets in return measure up?”

 

Board Books:

Llama Llama I Love You

by Anna Dewdney

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“With short and simple rhyming text, the Llama Llama board books introduce Llama Llama to babies and toddlers before they’re ready for longer full-length stories. And their small size and durable pages are perfect for little hands.

In Llama Llama I Love You, little llama shows his friends and family how much he loves them with heart-shaped cards and lots of hugs. What could be sweeter than Llama Llama on Valentine’s Day?”

Babies Love Valentines

by Holly Berry-Byrd

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“With colorful artwork and especially sturdy lift-a-flaps, this chunky board book introduces classic Valentine’s Day traditions like giving cards and candies.
Simple sentences reinforce future language structure.
Grasping and lifting the flaps helps develop fine motor skills.”

 

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Huggy Kissy

by Leslie Patricelli

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“When you’re an adorable bald baby, your family finds lots of ways to show you how much they love you: Mommy lifts you uppy, Daddy kisses you on the tummy, and everyone wants to snuggle. What’s not to love? With comedy and warmth, Leslie Patricelli offers a universal tribute to love and affection in a board book full of instant appeal for little valentines everywhere.”

Happy Valentine’s Day Mouse!

by Laura Numeroff

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Join Mouse from If You Give a Mouse a Cookie as he celebrates Valentine’s Day with all the friends he loves. This board book with sturdy pages is perfect for preschoolers, who will enjoy the simple introduction to the fun of Valentine’s Day.

Where Is Baby’s Valentine 

by Karen Katz

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“Baby made a valentine for Mommy. Where could it be?
Is it behind the lamp? No, those are pretty, sparkly flowers!
It’s a shiny, glittering delight as you lift the sturdy flaps to help Baby find her very special valentine.”

 

What are you favorite Valentine’s Day reads? Leave a note in the comments or let me know on Twitter or Instagram @ABookishHome.

If you’re enjoying A Bookish Home, be sure to tell a friend and subscribe to make sure you’ll never miss a new post.

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 purchase a book through the links provided. Thanks for supporting A Bookish Home!

Get Ready for the Oscars of Children’s Books

It’s almost time for the Oscars of Children’s Books! The American Library Association (ALA) Youth Media Awards will take place Monday, January 28th. So many prestigious book awards will be announced including the Caldecott Medal, Newbery Medal, Coretta Scott King Awards, and more. It is so exciting to find out which books will be chosen, discover new titles to add to your list, and learn which authors and illustrators lives’ will be changed forever! 

There is a livestream of the event beginning at 11am EST on 1/28. I’m planning to have a viewing party with my daughter in our pjs, with some popcorn of course. If you and your family can’t watch the award announcemenst live because of school or work, ALA also usually shares a recording of the awards later that day.  Watching the awards with the little ones in your life can be a great way to build enthusiasm around books and reading. I always loved showing the announcement of awards like the Caldecott and Newbery to the students in my school library. 

To get in the award season spirit, you and your child could check out some of the past winners from your local library and read them together. Taking a look at award lists, past and present, is also a fantastic way to find new books to read.

Each medal in the list below has a link to the ALA Youth Media Award official page, with more information about the medal and access to a full list of past winners:

The Caldecott Medal

caldecottThe Caldecott Medal is awarded “to the artist of the most distinguished American picture book for children.”

The list of amazing past Caldecott winners is a mile long: Wolf in the Snow (2018), This is Not My Hat (2013),  Jumanji (1982), Where the Wild Things Are (1964), The Snowy Day (1963), and so many more.  You have probably seen the gold medal, or the silver Caldecott Honor medal on many of your favorite picture books. 

Here are some of the picture books I’m rooting for this year:

Alma and How She Got Her Name

by Juana Martinez-Neal

28234753.jpg“If you ask her, Alma Sofia Esperanza José Pura Candela has way too many names: six! How did such a small person wind up with such a large name? Alma turns to Daddy for an answer and learns of Sofia, the grandmother who loved books and flowers; Esperanza, the great-grandmother who longed to travel; José, the grandfather who was an artist; and other namesakes, too. As she hears the story of her name, Alma starts to think it might be a perfect fit after all — and realizes that she will one day have her own story to tell. In her author-illustrator debut, Juana Martinez-Neal opens a treasure box of discovery for children who may be curious about their own origin stories or names.”

You can listen to my interview with author/illustrator Juana Martinez-Neal on episode Episode 11 of A Bookish Home, the podcast.

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The Day You Begin

by Jacqueline Woodson, illustrated by Rafael Lopez

37506301.jpg“There are many reasons to feel different. Maybe it’s how you look or talk, or where you’re from; maybe it’s what you eat, or something just as random. It’s not easy to take those first steps into a place where nobody really knows you yet, but somehow you do it.

Jacqueline Woodson’s lyrical text and Rafael Lopez’s dazzling art reminds us that we all feel like outsiders sometimes-and how brave it is that we go forth anyway. And that sometimes, when we reach out and begin to share our stories, others will be happy to meet us halfway.”

The Rabbit Listened

by Cori Doerrfeld

35248504.jpg“When something terrible happens, Taylor doesn’t know where to turn. All the animals are sure they have the answer. The chicken wants to talk it out, but Taylor doesn’t feel like chatting. The bear thinks Taylor should get angry, but that’s not quite right either. One by one, the animals try to tell Taylor how to process this loss, and one by one they fail. Then the rabbit arrives. All the rabbit does is listen, which is just what Taylor needs.”

What If…

by Samantha Berger, Pictures by Mike Curato

35959676.jpg“This girl is determined to express herself! If she can’t draw her dreams, she’ll sculpt or build, carve or collage. If she can’t do that, she’ll turn her world into a canvas. And if everything around her is taken away, she’ll sing, dance, and dream…

Stunning mixed media illustrations, lyrical text, and a breathtaking gatefold conjure powerful magic in this heartfelt affirmation of art, imagination, and the resilience of the human spirit.”

Adrian Simcox Does NOT Have A Horse

by Marcy Campbell and Corinna Luyken

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“Adrian Simcox tells anyone who will listen that he has a horse–the best and most beautiful horse anywhere.

But Chloe does NOT believe him. Adrian Simcox lives in a tiny house. Where would he keep a horse? He has holes in his shoes. How would he pay for a horse?

The more Adrian talks about his horse, the angrier Chloe gets. But when she calls him out at school and even complains about him to her mom, Chloe doesn’t get the vindication she craves. She gets something far more important.”

 

A Big Mooncake for Little Star

by Grace Lin

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“Pat, pat, pat…

Little Star’s soft feet tiptoed to the Big Mooncake.

Little Star loves the delicious Mooncake that she bakes with her mama. But she’s not supposed to eat any yet! What happens when she can’t resist a nibble?

In this stunning picture book that shines as bright as the stars in the sky, Newbery Honor author Grace Lin creates a heartwarming original story that explains phases of the moon.’

Julian Is A Mermaid

by Jessica Love

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“While riding the subway home from the pool with his abuela one day, Julián notices three women spectacularly dressed up. Their hair billows in brilliant hues, their dresses end in fishtails, and their joy fills the train car. When Julián gets home, daydreaming of the magic he’s seen, all he can think about is dressing up just like the ladies in his own fabulous mermaid costume: a periwinkle curtain for his tail, the fronds of a potted fern for his headdress. But what will Abuela think about the mess he makes — and even more importantly, what will she think about how Julián sees himself? Mesmerizing and full of heart, Jessica Love’s author-illustrator debut is a jubilant picture of self-love and a radiant celebration of individuality.”

Dreamers

by Yuyi Morales

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“In 1994, Yuyi Morales left her home in Xalapa, Mexico and came to the US with her infant son. She left behind nearly everything she owned, but she didn’t come empty-handed.

She brought her strength, her work, her passion, her hopes and dreams…and her stories. Caldecott Honor artist and five-time Pura Belpré winner Yuyi Morales’s gorgeous new picture book Dreamers is about making a home in a new place. Yuyi and her son Kelly’s passage was not easy, and Yuyi spoke no English whatsoever at the time. But together, they found an unexpected, unbelievable place: the public library. There, book by book, they untangled the language of this strange new land, and learned to make their home within it.”

Drawn Together

by Minh Lê and Dan Santat

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“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.”

Blue

by Laura Vaccaro Seeger

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“How many shades of blue are there? There’s the soft blue of a baby’s cherished blanket, the ocean blue of a romp in the waves, the chilly blue of a cold winter’s walk in the snow, and the true blue of the bond that exists between children and animals.

In this simple, sumptuously illustrated companion to Caldecott Honor Book Green, award-winning artist Laura Vaccaro Seeger turns her attention to the ways in which color evokes emotion, and in doing so tells the story of one special and enduring friendship.”

For more on the Caldecott Award, you can also listen to Episode 22 of A Bookish Home, the podcast with Ashley Waring, librarian and member of the 2017 Caldecott Award Committee. Ashley gives us a behind the scenes look at this prestigious award!

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The Newbery Medal

newberyWhile the Caldecott is awarded based on the book’s illustrations, the Newbery Medal focuses on the writing and is awarded to the author of the most distinguished contribution to American literature for children.”

There are so many wonderful past Newbery winners to add to your To Be Read list including Hello Universe (2018), Last Stop on Market Street (2016), The One and Only Ivan (2013), The Tale of Despereaux (2004), Bud, Not Buddy (2000), Number the Stars (1990), From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler (1968) and many more.

Here are some of the books I’ll be rooting for during this year’s Newbery announcement:

You Go First

by Erin Entrada Kelly

35068526.jpg“Twelve-year-old Charlotte Lockard and eleven-year-old Ben Boxer are separated by more than a thousand miles. On the surface, their lives seem vastly different—Charlotte lives near Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, while Ben is in the small town of Lanester, Louisiana. Charlotte wants to be a geologist and keeps a rock collection in her room. Ben is obsessed with Harry Potter, presidential history, and recycling. But the two have more in common than they think. They’re both highly gifted. They’re both experiencing family turmoil. And they both sit alone at lunch.

Over the course of a week, Charlotte and Ben—online friends connected only by a Scrabble game—will intersect in unexpected ways as they struggle to navigate the turmoil of middle school. You Go First reminds us that no matter how hard it is to keep our heads above troubled water, we never struggle alone.”

Front Desk

by Kelly Yang

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“Mia Tang has a lot of secrets.

Number 1: She lives in a motel, not a big house. Every day, while her immigrant parents clean the rooms, ten-year-old Mia manages the front desk of the Calivista Motel and tends to its guests.

Number 2: Her parents hide immigrants. And if the mean motel owner, Mr. Yao, finds out they’ve been letting them stay in the empty rooms for free, the Tangs will be doomed.

Number 3: She wants to be a writer. But how can she when her mom thinks she should stick to math because English is not her first language?

It will take all of Mia’s courage, kindness, and hard work to get through this year. Will she be able to hold on to her job, help the immigrants and guests, escape Mr. Yao, and go for her dreams?”

The Parker Inheritance

by Varian Johnson

35238085.jpg“The letter waits in a book, in a box, in an attic, in an old house in Lambert, South Carolina. It’s waiting for Candice Miller.

When Candice finds the letter, she isn’t sure she should read it. It’s addressed to her grandmother, after all, who left Lambert in a cloud of shame. But the letter describes a young woman named Siobhan Washington. An injustice that happened decades ago. A mystery enfolding the letter-writer. And the fortune that awaits the person who solves the puzzle. Grandma tried and failed. But now Candice has another chance.

So with the help of Brandon Jones, the quiet boy across the street, she begins to decipher the clues in the letter. 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 summer ends?”

 

7-Day Free Bluprint Trial at myBluprint.com through 1/29/19.

Merci Suarez Changes Gears

by Meg Medina

38185346.jpg“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.”

I’m excited to share that an interview with Meg Medina is coming up soon on A Bookish Home, the podcast!

 

The Poet X

by Elizabeth Acevedo

33294200.jpg“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.”

 

Hey, Kiddo

by Jarrett J. Krosoczka

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Hey, Kiddo is the graphic memoir of author-illustrator Jarrett J. Krosoczka. Raised by his colorful grandparents, who adopted him because his mother was an incarcerated heroin addict, Krosoczka didn’t know his father’s name until he saw his birth certificate when registering for a school ski trip. Hey, Kiddotraces Krosoczka’s search for his father, his difficult interactions with his mother, his day-to-day life with his grandparents, and his path to becoming an artist.

You can listen to my interview with Jarrett J. Krosoczka on Episode 13 of A Bookish Home, the podcast.

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The Truth As Told By Mason Buttle

by Leslie Connor

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“Mason Buttle is the biggest, sweatiest kid in his grade, and everyone knows he can barely read or write. Mason’s learning disabilities are compounded by grief. Fifteen months ago, Mason’s best friend, Benny Kilmartin, turned up dead in the Buttle family’s orchard. An investigation drags on, and Mason, honest as the day is long, can’t understand why Lieutenant Baird won’t believe the story Mason has told about that day.

Both Mason and his new friend, tiny Calvin Chumsky, are relentlessly bullied by the other boys in their neighborhood, so they create an underground club space for themselves. When Calvin goes missing, Mason finds himself in trouble again. He’s desperate to figure out what happened to Calvin, and eventually, Benny.”

Some of the other awards I can’t wait to hear announced are:

The Coretta Scott King Awards

coretta scott awardThe Coretta Scott King Awards are given “to outstanding African American authors and illustrators of books for children and young adults that demonstrate an appreciation of African American culture and universal human values.”

Some of the great past winners you could check out are Piecing Me Together (2018), Out of Wonder: Poems Celebrating Poets (2018), Firebird (2015), Heart and Soul (2012), My People (2010), and Elijah of Buxton (2008).

 

The Pura Belpré Award

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The Pura Belpré Award is given “to a Latino/Latina writer and illustrator whose work best portrays, affirms, and celebrates the Latino cultural experience in an outstanding work of literature for children and youth.”

Some of the past winning titles include La Princesa and the Pea (2018), Juana and Lucas (2017)Drum Dream Girl (2016), I Lived on Butterfly Hill (2015), and The Dreamer (2011).

 

The Theodor Seuss Geisel Award

Geisel_200The Theodor Seuss Geisel Award is given, “to the author(s) and illustrator(s) of the most distinguished American book for beginning readers published in English in the United States during the preceding year.” Past winners you might want to check out to enjoy with your beginning reader are Charlie & Mouse (2018), We Are Growing! (2017), The Watermelon Seed (2014), Up Tall and High (2013), and Bink and Gollie (2011).

The Robert F. Sibert Medalseibert200w

The Robert F. Sibert Medal is given, “to the author(s) and illustrator(s) of the most distinguished informational book published in the United States in English during the preceding year. ” Some past winners to share are Twelve Days in May: Freedom Ride 1961 (2018), Giant Squid (2017 Honor Book), Funny Bones: Posada and His Day of the Dead Calaveras (2016), Balloons Over Broadway (2012), and We are the Ship (2009).

For a full list of awards and past winners you can visit the ALA Youth Media Awards page.

I hope you’re able to tune in to the livestream of the ALA Youth Media Awards on Monday 1/28 at 11am EST.

Happy Reading!

Laura Szaro Kopinski

ABookishHome.com

Ep. 22: Ashley Waring, Librarian and Member of the 2017 Caldecott Award Committee

This week my guest on A Bookish Home is Ashley Waring, a librarian in Arlington, Massachusetts and member of the 2017 Caldecott Award Committee. This year’s Caldecott Medal announcement is coming up on Monday January 28th at the ALA Youth Media Awards, so this is the perfect time for a behind the scenes look at this prestigious award for picture books!

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

I hope you tune in to this year’s Caldecott Medal Award announcement! The full ALA Youth Media Awards will be livestreamed Monday, Jan. 28, 2019, at 8 a.m. PT. These also include the Newbery Medal, Coretta Scott King Awards, Geisel Award and more.

You can find more information about the ALA Youth Media Awards here, including lists of past winners for each award.

 

Books Mentioned On This Episode:

2017 Caldecott Award Winner:

Radiant Child

 

2017 Caldecott Honor Books:

Leave Me Alone!

Freedom in Congo Square

Du Iz Tak?

They All Saw A Cat

 

Locomotive

Bad Blood

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.

Are you reading a book mentioned on the blog or podcast? I’d love to hear. Leave a note in the comments or you can find me on Twitter and Instagram @ABookishHome.

Happy Reading and Listening!

Laura Szaro Kopinski

ABookishHome.com

 

 

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

What I’ve Been Reading…

I’m enjoying that a quiet January allows plenty of time to curl up with a good book. Preferably by the fire. Bonus points for a hot beverage.

 

Here are a few of the books topping my list this month:

 

The Best We Could Do

by Thi Bui

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The Best We Could Do is a memoir and graphic novel. When Bui becomes a mother, she is compelled to explore her family’s history. Bui and her family came to the US from Vietnam as as refugees in the 1970s, but she takes us back even further, chronicling the experiences, events, and people in Vietnam that would end up shaping her own upbringing. Timely, thought provoking, and sure to stay with you, The Best We Could Do is not to be missed.

“This beautifully illustrated and emotional story is an evocative memoir about the search for a better future and a longing for the past. Exploring the anguish of immigration and the lasting effects that displacement has on a child and her family, Bui documents the story of her family’s daring escape after the fall of South Vietnam in the 1970s, and the difficulties they faced building new lives for themselves.
 
At the heart of Bui’s story is a universal struggle: While adjusting to life as a first-time mother, she ultimately discovers what it means to be a parent—the endless sacrifices, the unnoticed gestures, and the depths of unspoken love. Despite how impossible it seems to take on the simultaneous roles of both parent and child, Bui pushes through. With haunting, poetic writing and breathtaking art, she examines the strength of family, the importance of identity, and the meaning of home.”

 

The Read-Aloud Handbook

by Jim Trelease

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The Read Aloud Handbook has been on my TBR list for some time. After seeing it cited repeatedly in Sarah Mackenzie’s The Read-Aloud FamilyI finally put this one at the top of my list. I was not disappointed. Jim Trelease’s classic handbook was packed with research on the importance of reading aloud to children as well as practical tips. Inspirational and useful, I would recommend this book to anyone with young children.

“Recommended by “Dear Abby” upon its first publication in 1982, millions of parents and educators have turned to Jim Trelease’s beloved classic for more than three decades to help countless children become avid readers through awakening their imaginations and improving their language skills. It has also been a staple in schools of education for new teachers. This updated edition of The Read-Aloud Handbook discusses the benefits, the rewards, and the importance of reading aloud to children of a new generation. Supported by delightful anecdotes as well as the latest research (including the good and bad news on digital learning), The Read-Aloud Handbook offers proven techniques and strategies for helping children discover the pleasures of reading and setting them on the road to becoming lifelong readers.”

 

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The Me I Meant to Be 

by Sophie Jordan

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I’ve been looking to add more young adult books to my reading rotation and this one was a total delight. School Library Journal calls The Me I Meant To Be, “a positive story about friendship, respect, love, and adolescence with smart, strong female characters.” Fans of teenage rom coms are sure to enjoy spending a weekend escaping into the world of The Me I Meant To Be.

“Girl Code: Never date a friend’s ex: Willa Evans has no intention of breaking the code. So what if she’s always secretly loved her next-door neighbor Zach? As her best friend’s boyfriend, he was always off-limits and it needs to stay that way, even though they just broke up. Even though every time she turns around he’s there, tempting her…

No keeping secrets from your bestie: Flor Hidalgo has a lot on her plate: her breakup with Zach, her dad’s new dating life, and her struggling grades. So why can’t she stop thinking about her hot, know-it-all tutor? At least she’s got Willa, her constant in the chaos.

Breaking the code breaks friendships: Two friends find themselves tempted by love that defies the rules in this steamy romance perfect for fans of Jenny Han and Simone Elkeles.”

Winnie’s Great War

by Lindsay Mattick & Josh Greenhut, Art by Sophie Blackall

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Fans of the Caldecott winner Finding Winnie will be excited to delve further into this intriguing tale in Winnie’s Great War, a new middle grade novel set during World War I. The backstory of the real bear that inspired Winnie-the-Pooh tugged at my heart and kept me turning the pages rooting for Winnie and her friend Captain Harry Colebourn.

“A wartime adventure unfolds through the eyes of the world’s most beloved Bear.
The story of the real bear that inspired Winnie-the-Pooh has been capturing readers’ imaginations since the publication of the Caldecott Medal award-winning picture book, Finding Winnie.But there was so much left to be told – not just about Winnie, but about the great world events she witnessed. Now, the creative team behind the bestselling picture book has reunited to bring you Winnie’s Great War.

In a triumphant blending of deeply researched history and magnificent imagination, we follow our irrepressible Bear on her journey — from her infancy in the woods of Ontario, to her unlikely friendship with Captain Harry Colebourn and her time as the mascot of the Second Canadian Infantry Brigade, to her experiences in wartime London before she met Christopher Robin Milne. Told in beautifully crafted language and infused with Sophie Blackall’s irresistible renderings of an endearing bear, the book is also woven through with actual entries from Captain Harry Colebourn’s wartime diaries. The result is a one-of-kind exploration of the realities of war, the meaning of courage, and the indelible power of friendship, all told through the historic adventures of one extraordinary bear.”

 

 

 

Lady Pancake & Sir French Toast

by Josh Funk, illustrated by Brendan Kearney

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This silly race through the fridge is sure to please little ones ready for a laugh. Perfect for reading aloud.

“A thoroughly delicious picture book about the funniest “food fight” ever! Lady Pancake and Sir French Toast have a beautiful friendship—until they discover that there’s ONLY ONE DROP of maple syrup left. Off they go, racing past the Orange Juice Fountain, skiing through Sauerkraut Peak, and reeling down the linguini. But who will enjoy the sweet taste of victory? And could working together be better than tearing each other apart? The action-packed rhyme makes for an adrenaline-filled breakfast . . . even without a drop of coffee!”

 

Goodnight, Anne

Written by Kallie George, Illustrated by Genevieve Godbout

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We loved reading the bedtime story Goodnight Anne, inspired by Anne of Green Gables. Before she goes to bed, Anne wishes everything she loves a goodnight–from the Lake of Shining Waters to Mrs. Lynde. Delightful.

A beautiful bedtime picture book based on the best-selling Anne of Green Gables, introducing the irrepressible and beloved Anne to younger readers. It’s time for Anne to go to bed, but not before she wishes goodnight to everyone and everything she loves!

“Under the watchful eye of her adoptive mother Marilla, Anne has come to cherish life at Green Gables — the dearest, loveliest spot in the world, and her true home. Every night before she goes to bed, she thinks of all the people and places she loves: her family, her bosom friend Diana, her splendid teacher Miss Stacy, beloved tree Snow Queen, the Lake of Shining Waters and the brilliant sky above. Anne even wishes goodnight — or good riddance! — to pesky classmate Gilbert and nosy neighbor Mrs. Lynde. And through it all, Anne’s imagination takes flight on a whimsical journey through Avonlea.”

 

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.

If you’re enjoying the blog, be sure to tell a friend and subscribe to make sure you’ll never miss a new post.

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. 21: Ann Braden, Author of The Benefits of Being An Octopus

I am thrilled to share that my guest this week is Ann Braden, author of one of my favorite middle grade novels of the year, The Benefits of Being An Octopus. Hand this book to fans of Wonder, Absolutely Almost, or Out of My Mind. And then if you are a parent, librarian, or educator–get another copy for yourself as well. This is a story that will touch your heart and change your perspective after walking for a bit in 12-year-old Zoey’s shoes.

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

 

 

I hope you are able to stop by your local library or bookstore to pick up a copy of The Benefits of Being An Octopus! 

You can find Ann on her website AnnBradenBooks.com. She is also on social media @AnnBradenBooks. You can find more information on Kids Need Mentors here.

 

Books Mentioned On This Episode:

The Benefits of Being An Octopus

Bluejay Dance

Homecoming

Wonder

Absolutely Almost

Out of My Mind

Just Like Jackie

Orbiting Jupiter

Tight

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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.

Are you reading a book mentioned on the blog or podcast? I’d love to hear. Tag me on Twitter or Instagram @ABookishHome.

Happy Reading and Listening!

Laura Szaro Kopinski

ABookishHome.com

 

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

Ep. 20: Doug Burgess, Author of Fogland Point

This week, Doug Burgess joins me on the podcast to discuss his book, Fogland Book. This book is my favorite kind of mystery–quirky small town, richly drawn characters, and a plot that keeps me guessing. It was such a treat to get to dive into the backstory of this book with Doug and hear more about the setting he brings to life, Little Compton, Rhode Island–next door to where I grew up.

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

I hope you head over to your local bookstore or library to pick up a copy of Fogland Point.

 

You can learn more about Fogland Point on Poisoned Pen’s website and follow Doug on Instagram @FoglandPoint.

Books Mentioned On This Week’s Episode:

Fogland Point

Murder on the Orient Express

Death of a Peer

Dead Water

Louise Penny’s Inspector Gamache series

Judgement of Caeser

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 Twitter or Instagram @ABookishHome.

Happy Reading and Listening!

Laura Szaro Kopinski

ABookishHome.com

 

 

 

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

What I’ve Been Reading…

Lately, I’ve been loving hibernating with a good read while the snow falls.

Luckily, there are books from my TBR list scattered all over the house, so I have quite the stockpile at the ready.

Here are some of the books I’ve been reading lately:

One Day in December

by Josie Silver 41wMPIhMMHL._SX339_BO1,204,203,200_-2

This is the perfect book for fans of Love Actually and One Day to curl up with this holiday season. I spent a completely delightful afternoon on the couch devouring this one as I sipped hot chocolate. A lovely escape.

“Laurie is pretty sure love at first sight doesn’t exist anywhere but the movies. But then, through a misted-up bus window one snowy December day, she sees a man who she knows instantly is the one. Their eyes meet, there’s a moment of pure magic…and then her bus drives away. 

Certain they’re fated to find each other again, Laurie spends a year scanning every bus stop and cafe in London for him. But she doesn’t find him, not when it matters anyway. Instead they “reunite” at a Christmas party, when her best friend Sarah giddily introduces her new boyfriend to Laurie. It’s Jack, the man from the bus. It would be. 

What follows for Laurie, Sarah and Jack is ten years of friendship, heartbreak, missed opportunities, roads not taken, and destinies reconsidered. One Day in December is a joyous, heartwarming and immensely moving love story to escape into and a reminder that fate takes inexplicable turns along the route to happiness.”

Jane Austen at Home: A Biography

by Lucy Worsley


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Have you read Pride and Prejudice over and over? Own a prized copy of Persuasion Jane Austen At Home is a must read. I love books about books and this one does not disappoint. Lucy Worsley’s writing is engaging and this book was full of surprising, inspiring details about Jane’s home life and writing career that make me adore Jane Austen even more.

“Take a trip back to Jane Austen’s world and the many places she lived as historian Lucy Worsley visits Austen’s childhood home, her schools, her holiday accommodations, the houses–both grand and small–of the relations upon whom she was dependent, and the home she shared with her mother and sister towards the end of her life. In places like Steventon Parsonage, Godmersham Park, Chawton House and a small rented house in Winchester, Worsley discovers a Jane Austen very different from the one who famously lived a ‘life without incident’.

Worsley examines the rooms, spaces and possessions which mattered to her, and the varying ways in which homes are used in her novels as both places of pleasure and as prisons. She shows readers a passionate Jane Austen who fought for her freedom, a woman who had at least five marriage prospects, but–in the end–a woman who refused to settle for anything less than Mr. Darcy.”

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Girl, Wash Your Face

by Rachel Hollis

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If you’re looking for some tough love to start chasing down New Year’s resolutions, Girl Wash Your Face fits the bill. I recently started listening to Rachel Hollis’s Rise podcast and following her on social media. I found some of the chapters more helpful than others, but there are definitely useful insights and it’s an interesting peek behind the scenes at this online personality. To preview some of the book, you can listen to Hollis read chapters on several episodes of the podcast.

“As the founder of the lifestyle website TheChicSite.com and CEO of her own media company, Rachel Hollis developed an immense online community by sharing tips for better living while fearlessly revealing the messiness of her own life. Now, in this challenging and inspiring new book, Rachel exposes the twenty lies and misconceptions that too often hold us back from living joyfully and productively, lies we’ve told ourselves so often we don’t even hear them anymore.

With painful honesty and fearless humor, Rachel unpacks and examines the falsehoods that once left her feeling overwhelmed and unworthy, and reveals the specific practical strategies that helped her move past them. In the process, she encourages, entertains, and even kicks a little butt, all to convince you to do whatever it takes to get real and become the joyous, confident woman you were meant to be.”
 

The Perfect Score

by Rob Buyea

Rob Buyea is the master of the middle grade school story. I can’t count the number of times his Because of Mr. Terupt books were devoured by eager readers in my elementary school library! I recently picked up The Perfect Score and Buyea is definitely at it again, capturing the daily life at school and the dynamics between children, teachers, and parents so well. Next up for me is the recently published sequel, The Perfect Secret.

“No one likes or wants to take the statewide assessment tests. Not the students in Mrs. Woods’s sixth-grade class. Not even Mrs. Woods. It’s not as if the kids don’t already have things to worry about. . . .
 
Under pressure to be the top gymnast her mother expects her to be, RANDI starts to wonder what her destiny truly holds. Football-crazy GAVIN has always struggled with reading and feels as dumb as his high school–dropout father. TREVOR acts tough and mean, but as much as he hates school, he hates being home even more. SCOTT’s got a big brain and an even bigger heart, especially when it comes to his grandfather, but his good intentions always backfire in spectacular ways. NATALIE, know-it-all and aspiring lawyer, loves to follow the rules—only this year, she’s about to break them all.
 
The whole school is in a frenzy with test time approaching—kids, teachers, the administration. Everyone is anxious. When one of the kids has a big idea for acing the tests, they’re all in. But things get ugly before they get better, and in the end, the real meaning of the perfect score surprises them all.”

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Crafty Llama

by Mike Kerr, Illustrated by Renata Liwska

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I’ve been loving reading this book to my toddler. Crafty Llama has such a sweet, cozy feel (perfect for this time of year) and I really like the message about the joy of “making”.

“Llama loves to make things. It doesn’t matter what, really–something special, something lovely. Beaver loves to make things, too. But he likes things to be useful. On this lovely day, Llama is inspired. She is having fun making things, like gifts for her friends. And soon many of her friends are inspired right along with her. But Beaver needs to think about what Llama and the other animals are making. What useful thing can he do with this day?”

The Elephant

by Jenni Desmond

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I am such a big fan of Jenni Desmond’s nonfiction picture books. The Blue Whaleis one of the most engaging books I’ve read aloud to kids and full of facts that I still remember several years later! The Elephant continues in that vein with a book brimming with surprising bits of knowledge (For example an elephant produces 300 pounds of dung a day and their tusks measure the length of 8 feet, or two seven-year-old children toe to toe.) The illustrations are useful to kids and beautiful. Highly recommend as a class read aloud to spark more research or discussion.

“In this, Jenni Desmond’s third nonfiction children’s book about one of the large, endangered animals of Earth, we join a young boy as he learns about The Elephant.
From Africa to Asia, the elephant makes its home. Light on their feet, despite their great weight, these magnificent creatures appear light and graceful because they’re always walking on their tip-toes. They have excellent hearing and can detect the rumblings of other elephants from six miles away.”

There’s still time to wrap up read alouds you already own for your little ones! A Christmas Wish and Fa La La Tra-la-la are two of our favorite books from the Bookish Advent Calendar I made for my little one. Check out that post for all the details.

Happy Reading!

Laura Szaro Kopinski

ABookishHome.com

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

Ep. 16: Candlewick Press Senior Editor, Katie Cunningham

This week we’re getting a behind the scenes peek at Candlewick Press, a publisher that is constantly putting out kidlit that I adore. Candlewick Senior Editor, Katie Cunningham highlights standout titles and gives insights about her work as an editor that bibliophiles will love hearing about.

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

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To learn more about Candlewick and stay in the know about forthcoming titles, you can visit Candlewick.com and follow them on social media @Candlewick.

Books Mentioned On This Week’s Episode:

Alma And How She Got Her Name

House of Dreams: The Life of L.M. Montgomery

Journey

Because of Winn Dixie

Louisiana’s Way Home

Maps

Yaqui Delgado

Shapes Trilogy

This Is Not My Hat

Rescue and Jessica

Julian Is A Mermaid

We Are Here to Stay

Merci Suarez Changes Gears

Patchwork Bike

The Stuff of Stars

The Assassination of Brangwain Spurge

An American Marriage

Sex Object

Teaching My Mother to Give Birth

All You Can Ever Know

There Will Be No Miracles Here

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 Twitter or Instagram @ABookishHome.

Happy Reading and Listening!

Laura Szaro Kopinski

ABookishHome.com

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