Blind Date with a Book

This January I started a new gig as a librarian assistant at a local junior high. The first big display I was able to do was one for Valentine’s Day. I have seen Pinterest posts about bookstores and public libraries doing Blind Date with a Book events so I decided that is what we should do too.

I had my library aides each pick a book, wrap it, and write a brief synopsis on the front.

The first morning the books were available, 8 of the 12 were checked out! I was ecstatic! I immediately begin wrapping more books.

Overall, we wrapped 39 books and all but 4 were checked out. The kids, mostly young ladies, were absolutely loving it. I had 4 girls fill out the “Rate your Date” card.

Overall, it was a blast and something that I plan to do in the future.

Creatively Teaching in the Home

If you’ve been around a bit, you know that in July 2018 I had my beautiful baby boy. As a teacher and lover of books, I started reading to him in the womb! Naturally, I continued reading to him once he was born. Sometimes I actually read aloud my books as a way to allow me to continue reading!

Now, as a sweet 2.5 year-old, he absolutely loves to read. A trip to the library is something to get excited about. (Of course, this bibliophile momma loves that!)

Lately, I have really begun to focus more on “teaching” him. We are working on our alphabet (with help from Leap Frog’s Letter Factory). While most of my “teaching” happens through reading, I want to be more purposeful with him. I began to think about our patterns and routines and discovered that we spend a lot of time in the bathroom. (Can you say potty training?!) Naturally we read more there and have many conversations. I realized that this room has become his classroom (along with the kitchen table). As such, I decided to tape some alphabet cards to his bathroom wall. This gives me a visual to work with both for him to see and to remind me to talk about the letters.

So, if you are starting to think about ways to be more purposeful in teaching your child their letters or numbers, think about an area of the house in which you spend a great deal of time and make that your classroom. You do have to be ok with your house, or at least portions of your house, looking like a pre-school classroom. To me, that’s ok! I welcome it.

What ways are you purposefully teaching your child(ren)?

Dred Scott v. Sandford: The beginning of the end for slavery in America

When my dear friend sent me this book and asked if I wanted to review it, I had to say yes! Not only because it is historical, which is my first love, but the author is 12- year old Judson A. Smith. TWELVE YEARS OLD!

In this picture book, Judson explains just why Dred Scott v. Sandford was a pivotal case in American history. He explains just what the Supreme Court does and why this case was so important. Using simple text and visually appealing art (which he did himself), Judson walks you through Dred Scott’s life and the decision that helped to expose the evils of slavery.

Awesomeness:

-Did I mention Judson is 12?!?

-Uses primary sources to support his text.

-Great as an introduction to this case. Would also be a great tool for ELL students.

Available on Amazon.

Amora

After the loss of their twelve-year-old daughter, Amora and Leo’s marriage crumbles. Once Amora accepts Christ, Leo becomes irate enough to denounce his wife and send her to the Colosseum.

Leo’s son, Esteban, finds himself alone and lost. Both men will experience hurt and pain beyond belief as they learn to truly accept Christ’s love and forgiveness. And, learn to forgive others.

I tend to forget about this time period in Christian history. As someone who has stood in the Colosseum, I could picture the scene as Christians were sent to their deaths. This book pulls on your heart strings and helps you to remember that no sin is too great for God’s forgiveness.

If you are a fan of Francine Rivers’ Mark of the Lion series, then you will certainly enjoy this book.

Awesomeness:

-The relationships between the character’s are pretty realistic.

-The battle scenes and gladiator training are cool.

-The history at the back really helps to inform the reader.

-The characters grow in their understanding of forgiveness.

Cautions:

This book touches on several difficult topics such as the death of a child, martyrdom, marital discord, and verbal and physical abuse. None of the issues are written in unnecessary detail and they all add to the depth and complexity of the story.

Hope is a Dangerous Place

Kelsey and Harmonie are your average teenagers. They attend school, play sports, hangout on the weekends. They enter their sophomore year of high school full of plans and expectations; they could not have imagined the adventure they would embark on all because of one little journalism assignment.

Ms. Montez is new to town and has expectations of her own. As the new English and Journalism teacher, she is excited to grow the young minds that sit in her room. She decides to have her three young journalism students investigate the history of the town.

Kelsey and Harmonie eagerly jump into their new assignment. As they begin to dig deeper and deeper into the town’s history, they find themselves in danger… multiple times. What happened to the town’s namesake? Why are people so determined to leave the past in the past? Kelsey and Harmonie will found out even if it hurts them.

Awesomeness:

-Female lead characters
-Father/daughter relationship
-A teacher’s drive to make her students feel seen
-The desire to see God move in the people of the town

Cautions:

-Some language, overall minor
-Kelsey and Harmonie are locked in the library when it is set on fire
-The sheriff is crooked
-Death by gunshot

This is book 1 in Jim Baton’s Hope Trilogy. While some very dramatic things happen to our leading ladies, at the end, the townsfolk are beginning to see the need for change.

Will You be Friends with Me?

I recently watched Dr. Katherine Phillip’s Talks@Columbia talk entitled “Why Diversity Matters“. Toward the end of her talk, she challenged her audience to the following: the next time we meet someone new, do not focus on the similarities but the differences between us. She encourages us to celebrate our diversity.

In her book, Will You be Friends with Me, Kathleen Long Bostrom hits on this very idea. It does not matter the style or texture of our hair nor our preferences in art materials. It does not matter the foods we like or the way we consume them. All of these differences are worth noting and celebrating!

Bostrom’s book encourages children to notice the differences between themselves and their friends and celebrate those differences.

The timing of this book, quite frankly, is perfect. This is a great and safe way to talk to your children about differences. It is also a wonderful way to help our children see that differences are not bad, but worth celebrating. The realistic and adorable illustrations help to show what some differences may look like. The illustrations show children participating in fun activities that your child probably does as well.

I encourage you to pick up a copy now and help the children in your life do the very thing Dr. Phillips encourages us to do: note and celebrate our differences!

For more about the author please check out kathleenlongbostrom.com

Our World

Do you ever marvel at the curiosity of a toddler? They get big-eyed at everything. My son is into saying “wow” every time he discovers something new. Our World is a way to introduce your toddler to the WOWs of the world. This beautifully illustrated geographical book is a wonderful introduction to the different plants and animals our world has to offer.

The simple text helps your child understand just what is happening. The questions asked within the description allow you to engage your child in conversation and help them think about new places.

This book is not only filled with delightful information meant to teach children about the world, but it folds out into a globe! This book is sure to incite many “wows” and “aws” from your little ones. So grab a copy and jump on in to Our World!

The Greatest Treasure

Soolie was enjoying the Easter Play when all of a sudden a Pirate entered demanding the treasure map Old Man Carnaby had been talking about. Afraid and not sure what to do, Soolie sat with eyes glued to the scene unfolding. Old Man Carnaby calmly explained to Captain Bluebeard that he misunderstood and the treasure map he was talking about was not what the captain thought. Instead, this treasure map led to the greatest treasure. Of course the captain was intrigued and desired to know more.

Eventually Soolie understands that the captain is a part of the play and he relaxes. He is able to listen as Old Man Carnaby explains to the captain that God is the greatest treasure.

This is a fun picture book filled with great reminders that life in Christ is far better than any earthly treasure. Get ready to put on your best pirate voice and learn just how great the greatest treasure is!

Library’s Most Wanted

Imagine, walking into the library and seeing your face plastered on the bulletin board! Above it reads: WANTED. That is exactly what happens to Deputy Librarian Libby’s patrons. In an effort to save the books, she scares off her readers creating a veritable ghost town. 

There have been times in my life where I have found it hard to lend books to kids (and adults) because I knew they would not always be returned in the condition I lent them. But as I have gotten older, I, like Libby, have come to understand that books are meant to be enjoyed. And in order for them to be enjoyed, they need to be in people’s hands. Once Libby comes to this same realization, she enlists the help of a toddler to round up her readers again. 

This fun Western-themed picture book is sure to delight both children and adults. I think many of us can relate to Libby’s desire to want to protect books rather than let them loose in the hands of readers. Using fun western quips, Leiloglou has created a book that teaches the importance of putting books into the hands of even the youngest readers. 

Awesomeness:

-The illustrations in this book are so fun! 

-Emphasizes that books are meant to be read and enjoyed. 

*Carolyn Leiloglou is a homeschooling mama and writer. You can find out more about her at housefullofbookworms.com.

*I was asked to write a review for this book. I was in no way compensated and the thoughts and opinions are mine.

The Green Ember

Heather and Picket lived a lovely life with their parents and younger brother, Jacks. Until one day, their world was turned upside down and they were left fighting for their lives.

Heather and Picket spent their days playing in idyllic meadows, listening to their father’s tales, and generally, enjoying life. One morning Heather comes down stairs to find a strange woman in her home. Unfortunately, she and Picket are not allowed to remain in the house for the duration of her visit but are, instead, sent to pick berries. Upon their return home, they discover that their house has been attacked and suddenly find themselves running for their lives. They hastily make a plan to meet at the seven mounds and take off in different directions.

Finding herself cornered by a wolf, Heather thinks this is the end, but the sudden arrival of two unknown rabbits turns their luck around. Once rescued, Heather and Picket are escorted to a rabbit haven completely unknown to them. They know no one save their two saviors, but everyone on the mountain knows them.

Heather and Picket will learn about their family’s history and the war between the rabbits and the beasts of prey. Here they will have to find their place within this society and will learn that things are not always what they seem.

I was first introduced to these books on Sally Clarkson’s podcast. She and her son Joel were talking about their friendship with the author and the fact that Joel was narrating the audiobooks. I immediately bought the series but did not pick them up until now.

This book was absolutely delightful. Several times I found my heart beating fast as the intensity of the story picked up.

Awesomeness:

Very cleverly written story.

Unique storyline and characters.

Light vs. Dark

Cautions:

There are several battles in this book, and like in a real battle, not everyone makes it. However, the writing is tastefully done.