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!

Create A Bookish Advent Calendar

I’m so excited to add a new bookish tradition to our family’s holiday celebration this year!

I made an advent calendar using Christmas books:

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I’m all about finding ways to bring my love of reading into our family life. I also am trying to avoid too much holiday busyness and choose what traditions I start carefully, so while I didn’t make time for a holiday card and will probably forget to move the Elf on the Shelf half the time, creating this was pure joy for my inner book nerd.

I’m beyond excited to share this with my daughter and celebrate the season with a different holiday read aloud each day. If you’re looking for a new tradition or a way to bring books into the holidays, here’s how I went about creating this advent calendar.

First, I searched my house for Christmas board books or picture books that we already own or have gotten as gifts. Once I figured out how many I had (fifteen), I requested others from the library. I decided not to buy new books for this project, but you certainly could if you want.

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I wrapped the books, marked them 1 to 25 with a sharpie, and will put them under our tree. My toddler and I will open one book together each day and have a special Christmas read aloud.

I made sure to put any library books first in the order so we can return them quickly! I chose to keep all my books Christmas themed, but you could wrap up any books in your house or incorporate general winter read alouds.

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I’m looking forward to snuggling up with my daughter and having a Christmas read aloud every day for the next few weeks. Adding in some cups of hot chocolate and cookies for a few of these story times also sounds festive.

Most of these books will only take a few minutes to read together, but I think this will be a great way to build anticipation and connect over a busy few weeks.

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We celebrate Christmas in our family, but you could  wrap up a book for each night of Hannukah and number them one through eight. If your family isn’t religious, another idea would be to choose a week’s worth of winter books sometime in December and wrap them up to create some special read aloud moments.

TistheSeason

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Here are the 25 books in our Bookish Advent Calendar:

1. Fa La La 

by Leslie Patricelli

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“Baby is so excited about the upcoming Christmas season! There are things to decorate: a tree, a gingerbread house, a doggy! Celebrate the season with humor and joy as everyone s favorite baby puts a special spin on Christmas.”

2. Pick A Pine Tree

by Patricia Toht

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“Part of the magic of the Christmas season stems from the traditions that families and friends take part in every year: hanging up stockings; putting lights in the windows; and, one of the most important of all, picking out and taking home the Christmas tree”.

3. A Christmas Wish: A Peter Rabbit Tale

Peter Rabbit Christmas Wish

“It’s Christmas Eve and Peter Rabbit is wide awake, listening out for Santa Claus. He hears all sorts of noises in the night, but none of them turn out to be Santa! Can Peter stay awake long enough to see Santa? Another addition to the adorable line of very young stories set in Peter Rabbit’s world. The simple tales deal with the early experiences and emotions of small children, as seen through the eyes of Beatrix Potter’s classic characters.”

4. Red & Lulu

by Matt Tavares

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“Red and Lulu make their nest in a particularly beautiful evergreen tree. It shades them in the hot months and keeps them cozy in the cold months, and once a year the people who live nearby string lights on their tree and sing a special song: O Christmas Tree, O Christmas Tree. But one day, something unthinkable happens, and Red and Lulu are separated. It will take a miracle for them to find each other again. Luckily, it’s just the season for miracles. . . . From Matt Tavares comes a heart-tugging story combining the cheer of Christmas, the magic of New York City, and the real meaning of the holiday season: how important it is to be surrounded by love.”

5. Olivia Helps With Christmas

by Ian Falcon

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“Christmas is coming, and Olivia is incredibly busy. She has to wait for Santa, make sure dad sets up the tree, wait for Santa, watch mom make the Christmas dinner, wait for Santa, oversee the care with which the stockings are hung and, of course, OPEN HER PRESENTS! Do you see how hard it is to be so helpful during the holidays? A lovingly-told and lavishly-illustrated Olivia Helps With Christmas is the perfect stuffing for any stocking, and a bright star atop the Olivia series.”

6. How the Grinch Stole Christmas!

by Dr. Seuss

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“Every Who down in Who-ville liked Christmas a lot . . . but the Grinch, who lived just north of Who-ville, did NOT!” Not since “’Twas the night before Christmas” has the beginning of a Christmas tale been so instantly recognizable. This heartwarming story about the effects of the Christmas spirit will grow even the coldest and smallest of hearts. Like mistletoe, candy canes, and caroling, the Grinch is a mainstay of the holidays, and his story is the perfect gift for young and old. “

7. Waltz of the Snowflakes

by Elly Mackay

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“It is a cold and rainy evening when Gran gives her granddaughter something special: tickets to the ballet. Her granddaughter is reluctant to go. The weather is terrible and they have to wear fancy, uncomfortable clothes. But as the curtains rise on The Nutcracker, the girl’s eyes light up as she’s introduced to the magic of the theater. The bright costumes, the intricate dances, the magical music, and a new friend all combine to captivate the girl and to bring color to an otherwise dreary evening. Waltz of the Snowflakes is Elly MacKay at her finest, mixing her acclaimed paper-cut artwork with vibrant colors in this whimsical, dreamlike, and inspiring wordless picture book. A must-have for any ballet- and theater-obsessed reader and the perfect gift to be shared during the holidays or any time of year when the world outside needs a little bit of color and vibrancy.”

8. The Polar Express

by Chris Van Allsburg

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“A young boy, lying awake one Christmas Eve, is welcomed aboard a magical trip to the North Pole . . . Through dark forests, over tall mountains, and across a desert of ice, the Polar Express makes its way to the city atop the world, where the boy will make his Christmas wish.”

9. A Very Merry Christmas Prayer

by Bonnie Rickner Jensen

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“Enjoy the wonder of Christmas with a thankful heart. These little woodland animals are full of joy over so many blessings, from twinkling lights and sparkling snowflakes to family fun and the gift of God’s love. Join the celebration with gratitude and make this your own very merry Christmas prayer!”

10. The Little Reindeer 

by Nicola Killen

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When a jingling sound wakes her from her sleep, a little girl’s dreams come true when she meets a lost reindeer in the forest. They set off on a magical adventure and it becomes a Christmas never to forget

11. The ABCs of Christmas 

by Jill Howarth

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“LEARN the ALPHABET and DECK the HALLS! Spread the joy of Christmas with this sparkly board book that features clever word associations and delightfully festive illustrations.”

12. Too Many Tamales 

by Gary Soto

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Christmas Eve started out so perfectly for Maria. Snow had fallen and the streets glittered. Maria’s favorite cousins were coming over and she got to help make the tamales for Christmas dinner. It was almost too good to be true when her mother left the kitchen for a moment and Maria got to try on her beautiful diamond ring . . . This is the story of a treasure thought to be lost in a batch of tamales; of a desperate adn funny attempt by Maria and her cousins to eat their way out of trouble; and the warm way a family pulls together to make it a perfect Christmas after all.

13. A Christmas for Bear

by Bonny Becker

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Celebrating Christmas for the first time, Bear and his friend Mouse have a party, but whenever Bear comes back from the kitchen with more treats Mouse has vanished in search of a present.

14. Santa’s Sleigh Is On Its Way To… series

by Eric James

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“It’s Christmas Eve and Santa’s sleigh is already on its way to your home-town. It promises to be the best Christmas ever; But things don’t go according to plan! Is Santa okay? And what was that very important task you meant to do before you went to bed?

The story is available in over 120 different locations within the UK, US and Canada (generic version also available) with bespoke artwork and locations unique to your chosen location.”

15. The Gingerbread Man Loose at Christmas

by Laura Murray

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“Everyone in class is busy practicing songs and making goodies for their trip to town to thank community helpers, and the Gingerbread Man has made a gift for someone extra sweet. But before he can deliver his gift, whipping wind and swirling snow come to town, too. Slushy sidewalks are no place for a cookie, but this Gingerbread Man won’t let a little bad weather stop him!”

16. Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer Lift the Tab Board Book

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Pictures of Rudolph, Santa, Sam the Snowman and other characters from the original stop motion animation appear on the pages of this Lift-the-Flap Tab Book, which has tabbed edges and fun flaps to lift on every page.

17. Christmas for Greta and Gracie

by Yasmeen Ismail

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Greta and Gracie are sisters – Greta is chatty while Gracie is quiet and it’s all fine until, one day, everything changes. It’s nearly Christmas and together the sisters decorate the tree, shop for presents and even try a spot of ice-skating! But Greta, of course, always knows best – poor Gracie can’t get a word in edgeways. Then on Christmas Eve, while Greta is quietly sleeping, Gracie hears a funny noise …whatever could it be? She creeps downstairs to investigate, and the next morning her very special revelation leaves chitty chatty Greta lost for words!

18. The Nutcracker in Harlem

by T.E. McMorrow

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“In Harlem in the 1920s, in the middle of a family Christmas party, Marie receives a nutcracker from her Uncle Cab, which leads to a marvelous dream in this resetting of E.T.A. Hoffmann’s familiar tale. Includes historical notes.”

19. Duck & Goose: It’s Time for Christmas

by Tad Hills

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Goose is more interested in skating, sledding, and making snow angels than in helping Duck decorate their big Christmas tree.

20. Ninja Claus

by Arree Chung

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It’s nearly Christmas, and Maxwell only has one thing on his mind–catching a glimpse of Santa Claus. No sweat for an experienced ninja like himself!On Christmas Eve, Maxwell rigs a super-special ninja trap and lies in wait. But when the trap is sprung, is it Santa who’s been captured? And might Santa have some super-special ninja tricks of his own?

21. A World of Cookies for Santa: Follow Santa’s Tasty Trip Around the World

by M. E. Furman

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A World of Cookies for Santa takes readers across the globe to see all the treats that await Santa on Christmas Eve. M. E. Furman provides recipes for children to bake some of Santa’s cookies for themselves.

22. The Night Before Christmas

by Clement C. Moore

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“Capture the thrill of a traditional Christmas with Clement C. Moore’s treasured seasonal rhyme. Brought to life with the warm and playful artwork of Henry Fisher, this magical story is full of character and humour, and will delight children new to the story as well as parents who know it from their own childhood.”

23. Merry Christmas, Little One!

by Sandra Magsamen

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Little ones will love this gently refreshed backlist classic Christmas lift-the-flap board book from the bestselling baby and toddler brand creator, Sandra Magsamen. With heartfelt rhymes, adorable illustrations, and engaging lift-the-flaps, children will be merrily reading and playing along all through the season.

24. Pete the Cat Saves Christmas

by Eric Litwin

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Spend the holidays with your favorite blue cat! In this rockin’ spin on the traditional tale The Night Before Christmas, Pete the Cat proves that giving your all in the spirit of Christmas is the totally groovy thing to do.

25. Little Blue Truck’s Christmas

by Alice Schertle

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“It’s the most wonderful time of the year! Little Blue Truck is spreading cheer by delivering Christmas trees to his animal friends. Can you help count each green tree from one to five and back again? Don’t forget to save one for Blue! Beep! Beep!

What books will you use in your bookish advent calendar? I’d love to hear and see your photos! Tag me on Instagram or Twitter @ABookishHome.

And if you decide to make this a tradition for your family, you could ask relatives to give children’s Christmas books as presents or keep your eyes peeled at used bookstores or tag sales this year

Have you subscribed to the blog? Sign up to receive a notification whenever there’s a new post or podcast episode.

Happy Reading!

Laura Szaro Kopinski

ABookishHome.com

Affiliate links for Indiebound and 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. 11: Author and Illustrator Juana Martinez-Neal on “Alma and How She Got Her Name”

Author and illustrator Juana Martinez-Neal joins me on the podcast this week to discuss her latest picture book, Alma And How She Got Her Name. Juana is also the illustrator of La Madre Goose and La Princesa and the Pea, for which she won the 2018 Pura Belpré Medal Award for Illustration. We chatted about the backstory of Alma, Juana’s journey as an illustrator, and the ways this book can start important conversations in homes and classrooms.

 

 

This episode is also available on iTunes or wherever you get your podcasts.

 

Shownotes:

Learn more about Juana Martinez-Neal on her website http://juanamartinezneal.com.

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If you’re enjoying the podcast, be sure to subscribe and rate and review on iTunes or wherever you get your podcasts. To stay up to date on bookish happenings, you can follow me on Twitter @ABookishHome.

Happy Reading and Listening!

Laura Szaro Kopinski

ABookishHome.com

 

Note: As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.  I also participate in the Indiebound Affiliate program.

Halloween Read Alouds To Enjoy With Your Baby or Toddler

Halloween is around the corner. Add to the excitement by sharing one of these books with your little one!

Here are five fun read alouds to introduce the holiday to your baby or toddler:

Look for these at your local bookstore or library. You can also use the links below to order online from Indiebound or Amazon. Descriptions are from the publishers.

 

EEK! Halloween!

by Sandra Boynton

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Sandra Boynton’s books are always a hit in our house. In Eek! Halloween!, kids will enjoy watching the chickens as they find out there’s no need to be nervous about the “strange” things going on. A pumpkin with flickering eyes? A witch? An elephant dressed as a mouse? “Relax, silly chickens! It’s HALLOWEEN!”

“Boynton celebrates Halloween! A new addition to the Boynton on Board series, with over 21 million copies sold, Eek! Halloween! is all treat and no tricks, a journey with Boynton and her nutty characters through the tradition of Halloween. It starts with an uh-oh—the chickens are nervous! Strange things are happening. One chicken saw a pumpkin with flickering eyes, another spied a mouse of enormous size. They all saw a wizard and a witch, and a spooky robot. “WHAT’S GOING ON HERE? WHAT DOES IT MEAN? / Relax, silly chickens! It’s HALLOWEEN!”

Indiebound     Amazon

 

Little Blue Truck’s Halloween

by Alan Schertle

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This adorable lift-the-flap book is sure to delight as your little one finds which animal is “hidden” behind their Halloween costume. Rhyming texts and a chance to guess the animal sound adds to the fun of this read aloud.

“Beep! Beep! It’s Halloween! Little Blue Truck is picking up his animal friends for a costume party. Lift the flaps in this large, sturdy board book to find out who’s dressed up in each costume! Will Blue wear a costume too? With the delightful rhymes and signature illustration style that made Little Blue Truck a household name, Blue’s new adventure is full of festive costumes, fall colors, and plenty of Halloween fun!”

Indiebound    Amazon

 

Boo!

by Leslie Patricelli

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Patricelli’s holiday books are some of my favorites for young readers and Boo! is no exception. Boo! is a silly and sweet introduction to celebrating Halloween.

“The inimitable Baby brings a humorous spin to the holidays in a cheerful board book fit for trick-or-treat bags. It’s almost Halloween! How should Daddy carve the pumpkin? So many expressions to choose from! What should Baby be—a princess or pirate, ballerina or clown? When the jack-o’-lantern’s ready (looking suspiciously like Baby), it’s time for a little ghost to head out in the slightly scary night. But fear turns to excitement as the pumpkin fills up with treats. WOW!”

Indiebound      Amazon

 

 

Happy Halloween, Biscuit!

by Alyssa Satin Capucilli

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Your little one will love lifting the flap to search for biscuit as he gets lost in a pumpkin patch, hides under a Halloween costume, and more.

“Trick or Treat, Biscuit! Lift the flaps to reveal spook-tacular surprises on Biscuit’s first Halloween adventure! Biscuit and the little girl are going trick-or-treating on his first Halloween. What kinds of silly surprises are in store for them? Pull back the flaps to find out!

Indiebound    Amazon

Llama Llama Trick or Treat

by Anna Dewdney

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Fans of llama llama will have fun reading about ways to take part in the holiday–carving a pumpkin, choosing a costume, and preparing for trick-or-treating.

“In Llama Llama Trick or Treat, little llama finds the perfect costume, picks out a pumpkin for a jack-o’-lantern, and then goes trick-or-treating with Mama and his friends!”

Indiebound    Amazon

 

What are you favorite Halloween reads? Leave a note in the comments or let me know 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

 

 

What I’ve Been Reading…

Fall in New England means apple picking, gorgeous foliage, pumpkin spiced everything, and most importantly–the start of cozy reading season.

Here are the books I’ve been curled up with this month:

Look for these at your local bookstore or library. You can also use the links below to order online from Indiebound or Amazon. Descriptions are from the publishers.

The Lotterys More or Less

by Emma Donoghue

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A sequel to The Lotterys Plus One is here! If you or the kids in your life are fans of books that feature the adventures of big, rambunctious families with a lot of heart then pick up this series by Emma Donoghue. This book, set during the holidays, would also make a great gift for the kids in your life. The Lotterys, with four parents, one grandparent and six siblings are from a variety of different backgrounds and celebrate an array of holiday traditions in this entertaining sequel. Their rich, quirky family culture continues to make me wish I was their neighbor and could drop by for a visit. You may know the author from her adult novels, Room and The Wonder. Fans of this series could try The Vanderbeekers series by Karina Yan Glaser next.

“Sumac Lottery is the keeper of her family’s traditions — from Pow Wow to Holi, Carnival to Hogmanay, Sumac’s on guard to make sure that no Lottery celebration gets forgotten. But this winter all Sumac’s seasonal plans go awry when a Brazilian visitor overstays his welcome. A terrible ice storm grounds all flights, so one of her dads and her favorite brother can’t make it home from India. And then the power starts going out across the city… Can Sumac hang on to the spirit of the season, even if nothing is going like a Lottery holiday should?”

Indiebound    Amazon

 

 

Vox

by Christina Dalcher

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For fans of The Handmaids’ Tale looking for their next read, my recommendation is Vox. This page turner by Christina Dalcher similarly evokes fear by making this alternate reality, where women are limited to 100 words per day seem plausible.

“Set in a United States in which half the population has been silenced, Vox is the harrowing, unforgettable story of what one woman will do to protect herself and her daughter.

On the day the government decrees that women are no longer allowed more than one hundred words per day, Dr. Jean McClellan is in denial. This can’t happen here. Not in America. Not to her. Soon women are not permitted to hold jobs. Girls are not taught to read or write. Females no longer have a voice. Before, the average person spoke sixteen thousand words each day, but now women have only one hundred to make themselves heard. For herself, her daughter, and every woman silenced, Jean will reclaim her voice.

This is just the beginning…not the end.”

Indiebound    Amazon

 

A Big Mooncake for Little Star

by Grace Lin

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Grace Lin is one of my favorite Kidlit authors. You may know her from her middle grade titles such as the Newbery Honor book, Where the Mountain Meets the Moon, easy readers like the sweet and funny Ling and Ting series, and so many more. Her newest picture book is a beautiful, imaginative story of the phases of the moon. This would make a fantastic read aloud in an elementary classroom or library and is also perfect for one on one sharing at bedtime. Highly recommended.
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.”

Indiebound    Amazon

The Good News About Bad Behavior: What Kids Are Less Disciplined Than Ever – An What To Do About It

by Katherine Reynolds Lewis

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If you are a parent, caregiver or educator interested in some of the latest research and theories on kids and behavior, The Good News About Bad Behavior is a compelling read. As Booklist noted, “In her first book, Lewis researches and explains how we got here and the ways that adults can help the kids in their lives improve through connection, communication, and capability.”

“Why don’t our kids do what we want them to do? Parents often take the blame for misbehavior, but this obscures a broader trend: in our modern, highly connected age, children have less self-control than ever. About half of the current generation of children will develop a mood or behavioral disorder or a substance addiction by age eighteen. Contemporary kids need to learn independence and responsibility, yet our old ideas of punishments and rewards are preventing this from happening.
To stem this growing crisis of self-regulation, journalist and parenting expert Katherine Reynolds Lewis articulates what she calls The Apprenticeship Model, a new theory of discipline that centers on learning the art of self-control. Blending new scientific research and powerful individual stories of change, Lewis shows that, if we trust our children to face consequences, they will learn to adapt and moderate their own behavior. She watches as chaotic homes become peaceful, bewildered teachers see progress, and her own family grows and evolves in light of these new ideas. You’ll recognize your own family in Lewis’s sensitive, realistic stories, and you’ll find a path to making everyone in your home more capable, kinder, and happier–including yourself.”

Indiebound    Amazon

 

 

The Wedding Date and The Proposal 

by Jasmine Guillory

If you’re looking for a delightful romantic comedy to escape into, Jasmine Guillory’s The Wedding Date fits the bill. Entertainment Weekly called The Wedding Date, “A swoony rom-com brimming with humor and charm.” and NPR said, “This novel reads like a truly contemporary contemporary romance in that the hero and heroine grapple with issues anyone dating today will relate to.” The companion book, The Proposal comes out on October 30th and is sure to please Guillory’s fans. As Buzzfeed notes, “With sharp banter, a well-rounded cast of characters, and plenty of swoony scenes, Jasmine Guillory defends her position as one of the most exciting rom-com writers out there.”

The Wedding Date

Indiebound    Amazon

 

The Proposal    

 Indiebound    Amazon

 

What have you been reading? I’d love to hear your recommendations. Leave a note in the comments or let me know 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

Five New Picture Books to Read This Month

Are you looking for picture books to share with your children or students?

Here are a few of my favorite new releases.

Look for these at your local bookstore or library. You can also use the links below to order online from Indiebound or Amazon. Descriptions are from the publishers.

 

Grow Up, David!

by David Shannon

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David is back! The series that includes No David!, Davis Goes to School, and more returns after an 8 year gap. The David books were always in high demand with kindergarten and first graders in my library. Kids will be thrilled to get their hands on Grow up, David! and it doesn’t disappoint.

“Little-brother antics have never been so endearing — or true to life! David Shannon’s beloved character in his bestselling book No, David! captures the attention and hearts of young children as few characters can. Readers relish David’s exuberance, defiance, and wildly energetic curiosity, and when there’s trouble, you can bet “David did it!” Now he’s taunting his older brother by eating his Halloween candy, making a bathroom mess, and following him up the tree house. “You’re too little!” won’t stop David’s tricks in this all-time “read it again” favorite.”

Indiebound    Amazon

 

A Parade of Elephants

by Kevin Henkes

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Kevin Henkes is the beloved author/illustrator behind Lily’s Purple Plastic Purse, Chrysanthemum, Kitten’s First Full Moon and many more. A Parade of Elephants would make a delightful bedtime story for preschoolers and toddlers.

 

“Up and down, over and under, through and around . . . five big and brightly colored elephants are on a mission in this picture book for young children by Caldecott Medalist Kevin Henkes. Where are they going? What will they do when they get there? It’s a surprise! With a text shimmering with repetition and rhythm, bright pastel illustrations, large and readable type, and an adorable parade of elephants, Kevin Henkes introduces basic concepts such as numbers, shapes, adjectives, adverbs, and daytime and nighttime.”

Indiebound    Amazon

 

 

Lost in the Library: A Story of Patience & Fortitude

by Josh Funk, illustrated by Stevie Lewis

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Fans of Library Lion by Michelle Knudsen will enjoy this new title by Josh Funk.  Lost in the Library is ideal for sharing in public and school libraries.

“Steadfast Fortitude and curious Patience are waiting every morning to greet visitors of the Library. That is until, one early morning, when Fortitude finds Patience is missing. The city is about to awake, and the lions absolutely must be in their places before the sun rises. Now, Fortitude must abandon his own post to find his best friend in the Library’s labyrinthine halls.”

Indiebound    Amazon

 

The Day You Begin

by Jacqueline Woodson and Rafael López

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This book has been on my TBR list since it came out and I finally got my hands on a copy!  Elementary school teachers, librarians, and parents: I can’t recommend this picture book highly enough. Run to your school or local library and borrow a copy! This would spark such valuable discussions about feeling like an outsider, acceptance, differences, and classroom community. A must read.

“National Book Award winner Jacqueline Woodson and two-time Pura Belpre Illustrator Award winner Rafael Lopez have teamed up to create a poignant, yet heartening book about finding courage to connect, even when you feel scared and alone.

There will be times when you walk into a room
and no one there is quite like you.

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.”

Indiebound    Amazon

 

Lovely Beasts: The Surprising Truth

by Kate Gardner, Illustrated by Heidi Smith

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This beautiful and fascinating nonfiction picture book is full of surprising facts about animals we might deem frightening, mean, or ugly. Engaging and perfect for reading out loud. Follow up with The Blue Whale by Jenni Desmond or Feathers, Not Just for Flying by Melissa Stewart.

“Spiders are creepy. Porcupines are scary. Bats are ugly. Or are they . . . ? This captivating book invites you to look beyond your first impressions at these awe-inspiring animals in the wild. After all, it’s best not to judge a beast until you understand its full, lovely life.”

Indiebound    Amazon

 

What picture books are topping your list of favorites right now? I’d love to hear your recommendations. Leave a note in the comments or let me know 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

What I’ve Been Reading…

The Vanderbeekers and the Hidden Garden

by Karina Yan Glaser

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Vanderbeeker fans, the wait is almost over! The sequel to the enchanting middle-grade novel,  The Vanderbeekers of 141st Street comes out on September 25th and it does not disappoint. This time, the lovable Vanderbeekers are on summer vacation–having adventures in their Harlem neighborhood and trying to create a community garden. This is a must-read for the kids in your life and would make a fantastic classroom read aloud for upper elementary. Look out for my interview with author Karina Yan Glaser on Episode 6 of  the A Bookish Home podcast, coming up on Thursday, September 20th. Amy Poehler also recently optioned the rights to The Vanderbeekers of 141st Street, so I’m hoping we see this heartwarming, funny book on the big screen soon!

Look for The Vanderbeekers and the Hidden Garden at your local library or bookstore or order online:

Indiebound    Amazon     Amazon Kindle

What We Were Promised

by Lucy Tan

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What We Were Promised is the stunning debut novel by Lucy Tan that draws the reader into the world of modern Shanghai from the views of the wealthy Zhen family, and Sunny, the housekeeper employed at their luxury high rise. Fans of The Expatriates by Janice Y.K. Lee will find What We Were Promised also delivers keen observations and a carefully woven story with deeply buried secrets.  Library Journal declares, “A novel of class, culture, and expectations; readers who enjoyed works like Kevin Kwan’s Crazy Rich Asians will likely find Tan’s surprising and down-to-earth tale an entertaining read.” And Booklist writes, “Tan’s first novel is beautiful and compassionate as it explores how identity is reinvented and the importance of confronting the past to move into the future.” Lucy Tan will be on the podcast to discuss What We Were Promised on October 4th!

Look for What We Were Promised at your local library or bookstore or order online:

Indiebound.    Amazon     Amazon Kindle

I’d Rather Be Reading:

The Delights and Dilemmas of the Reading Life

by Anne Bogel

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Bibliophiles and fellow fans of author Anne Bogel’s Modern Mrs. Darcy blog and What Should I Read Podcast will enjoy her new book of essays on the reading life: I’d Rather Be Reading.  I listened to the audiobook and it was a treat to hear some of Anne’s backstory as a reader and the role books have played in her life as I took note of countless literary references. If you’re looking to make the leap from podcasts to audiobooks, this conversational collection would be an excellent place to start.

Look for I’d Rather Be Reading at your local library or bookstore or order online:

Indiebound     Amazon     Amazon Kindle

Forever or a Day 

by Sarah Jacoby

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This gorgeous picture book examines the mysterious nature of time. In Forever or a Day, we look at time from a child’s point of view. The narrator notes, “Sometimes it’s far, far away–like when you will be old, gazing out at the sea” and later,  “You cannot hold it. You cannot give it to someone in exchange for a snack.” School Library Journal notes, “This is a book that bears repeated readings. Its treasures reveal themselves on close examination and its subject matter is, of course, profound…. A lovely lap book, exceptionally well-suited for intergenerational sharing again and again.” For those doing Mock Caldecotts this year, I think Forever or a Day‘s detailed illustrations and complex topic would be perfect for discussion with older picture book readers.

Look for Forever or a Day at your local library or bookstore or order online:

Indiebound     Amazon

Charlotte Walsh Likes to Win

by Jo Piazza

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Jo Piazza is the author of six books, including The Knockoff and How to Be Married. In her new novel, Charlotte Walsh Likes to Win, a Silicon Valley executive decides to return to her small hometown in Pennsylvania to run for the Senate. The campaign that follows will turn her life upside down in more ways than she ever expected. Library Journal writes, “Piazza’s contemporary representation of what women go through to become successful politicians is both insightful and honest. Rooted in current events, the plot precisely captures the modern political environment. It’s easy to empathize with and cheer for this likable heroine.”

Look for Charlotte Walsh Likes to Win at your local library or bookstore or order online:

Indiebound    Amazon     Amazon Kindle

 

What have you been reading lately? I’d love to hear!  Leave a note in the comments or let me know on Twitter @ABookishHome.

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

Happy Reading!

Laura Szaro Kopinski

ABookishHome.com

 

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