Read Aloud #4–The House That Jane Built

Read Aloud #4–The House That Jane Built

As March comes to a close, my last read aloud to recommend for Read Aloud month is an Informational story–The House That Jane Built: A Story About Jane Addams, by Tanya Lee Stone, illustrated by Kathryn Brown.


I stumbled upon this book during our most recent trip to the library, and although I had heard of Jane Addams, I can’t say that I know a whole lot about her, so I decided to pick it up.  As usual, I read the book to myself before I shared it with the kids (just in case it ends up a dud), and after finishing, I knew I had to read it to my babies.

After the election, I wrote a post about trying to raising kind children (read post here), and I was reminded of that after reading this book. Jane Addams started her work with the less fortunate because she knew she had the means to do so, something she realized as early as age 6. So I figured this would be a great read aloud to start the conversation with my children about how they can help make the world a better place.

As I read the book, I had their undivided attention the whole time, which I was honestly surprised about, and then after the last sentence, “With all that she did, both inside and outside the house that Jane built, her childhood wish to help fix the world came true”, I asked them what they would do to help fix the world. Silence. A long silence. So I followed up: “You know you guys are more fortunate than some other people, so what would you do to help those people?”

5 year old response: “If someone didn’t have a penny, or a nickel, or a dime, or a quarter, or a dollar (yeah he went through them all), then I could give them some of my money.”

Ok, I’ll take that.

8 year old response: “You know those things for people who don’t have enough food? I could send them $10 so then they can eat.”

Ok…so clearly our next conversation needs to be about ways to help others that isn’t monetary, but tonight was a start.

So, if you need to have that starter conversation about helping others with your own children, or if you’ve already done that and need more examples, or if you just need a good informational book to share with your children….this may be the one for you.



Enjoying the moment

Enjoying the moment

“Mom…” my daughter says as she comes into my room where I’m reading.

“Yes?” I reply.

“I wanna lay and read with you.”

“Well come on then.”


Think she’ll still want to spend her Saturday evenings reading with me in 10 years?

#Wishfulthinking #RaisingReaders


Write a note–in a book

Write a note–in a book

Recently, my 5 year old son was in a high school play. His part was not huge by any means, he literally ran on stage near the very end of the play and had no lines. But it was a pretty big deal to him, and even made me teary-eyed when he did it. The cast and crew, which included his principal (he was a photographer) and his principal’s daughter, were all super nice to my cute little boy.  So nice in fact that they gave him all kinds of gifts when the three days of performances were over. One particular gift that tugged at my heartstrings was (of course!) a book that his principal gave him, Dragons Love Tacos.

The book is wonderful and he was super excited to read it. However, when my husband sat down to read it to him that night, he noticed this:

How cool is this!


After wiping my sweating eyeballs, I started thinking a couple of things:

  1. This is awesome! Now we will always keep this book, because it has this personalized note inside. It will help bring back the memory of his play experience for years to come. I’m already imagining him opening the book up again when he’s 20. Love it!
  2. Why don’t more people write notes in books? Why don’t I write notes in books? I give books as gifts often, but I never think to write in the book. I’ve been missing out on meaningful opportunities!

When I started writing this post, I Googled “notes in books as gifts” and there’s tons of websites on this topic, how to do it, should you do it, and tons of examples of good notes written in books. Now I really have no excuse. Next time you give a book as a gift, even if it’s to your own children, but it is a book you want them to keep, consider writing a memorable note along with it.


Read Aloud #3–Dear Dragon

Read Aloud #3–Dear Dragon

This is the third in read aloud book reviews to celebrate and promote March as Read Aloud month. You can read the first two selections here and here.

It doesn’t happen as often as I would like, but there are times when both my 8 year old daughter and my 5 year old son actually want to hear the same book at the same time. Most times their interests are different enough that the books they want to read are different, especially once my daughter gained an interest in chapter books. However, there are occasions where I can have them both in the same room at the same time to do our bedtime reading. Usually those occasions are when I bring home a new book, and Dear Dragon by Josh Funk, was one of those books.



Of course, you know a read aloud has been a hit in your house when it gets requested multiple nights in a row, and Dear Dragon earned that honor for at least 3 consecutive nights.  This book is about two pen pals, one a human, the other a dragon and their letters to each other.  There are many many things we loved about this book, so I’ll just list them here:

  1. Its in letter format, so it’s a different look instead of the typical text across the top of the page.
  2. It rhymes! You can’t go wrong with a book that rhymes. Plus, as the one reading aloud, it gives you a certain cadence that makes the book more entertaining for the listeners.
  3. The main character is a little brown boy! Much like I mention in my Nerdy Book Club post, one of the reasons this is important is because there’s no mention of his color, he’s just a little kid named George who happens to be a pen pal with a dragon. #weneeddiversebooks
  4. The illustrations are wonderful, and also essential to the story. It did take some explaining to my son, but George and Blaise have some misinterpretations of each other’s letters. So the illustrations show what the pen pal is thinking AND what was actually going on.
  5. Its a funny book, and who doesn’t enjoy a funny book? Once your child catches on with the illustrations, they will find the humor in story, hence the multiple requests for the book many nights in a row.

I had actually won Dear Dragon through a Twitter contest from Mr. Schu (BTW, if you don’t know Mr. Schu, you should. He may actually love kidlit more than I do.). So, after I told Mr. Schu and Josh Funk that my kids loved the book and were going to be disappointed when I had to take it school the next day, this happened:


Yes! There’s all kinds of coloring sheets and activity pages to go along with the book, including a page where my children each wrote their own Dear Dragon letters. (And they forgave me for taking the book away from them to school.)

So, if your children like rhyming, wonderful illustrations, diverse characters, or just good books, then you should add Dear Dragon to your library/bookstore list!


Read Aloud #2-The Book With No Pictures

Read Aloud #2-The Book With No Pictures

March is Read Aloud Month, so to support that I am sharing some of the read alouds that my kiddos and I love.

My first read aloud review was a Dr. Seuss classic, so I decided to stay on the funny book train with my next selection– The Book with No Pictures by B.J. Novak. This book was first introduced to my daughter early last year by her 1st grade teacher, and not long afterwards we saw it in Barnes and Noble and she just had to have it.  At the time, I had seen the book before, but I had never actually took the time to open it.

Once we got the book home, she pretended as if there was some big secret that I was about to be let in on and she actually could not wait until bedtime so we could read it. Me, being the unassuming adult who was convinced this could not be that big a deal, was not concerned at all (but secretly thrilled about my child being so excited about bedtime). I mean, this is the cover of the book– how bad could it be?


Well, my girl was giggling as soon as I opened the book and laughed through the ENTIRE thing. Without giving the whole book away, author B.J. Novak (yes, the same actor that was on The Office) has decided that if there are no pictures, the reader (that would be you), has to read whatever words are on the page.  And trust me, there are some silly words, noises, phrases, everything but pictures, on the pages. Here’s a sneak preview of what will have to come out of your mouth while reading:

Yep, really. Not even a real word.


One of the other reasons I selected this read aloud to highlight, was not only was it funny then, but its still funny now. It has been over a year since we purchased that book and she still cracks up whenever I read it. Every once in a while, when its bedtime and we’re not in the middle of a chapter book, she’ll slip this book behind her back and bust it out with a cheesy smile on her face. Now I’ll be honest, its not my favorite book by any means, but I’ll play up my fear/distaste of reading the book, mostly because it makes her want to hear me read it even more.  I’ll go to any lengths (almost) to make sure my children enjoy reading, even if that means making silly noises. A few weeks ago I even visited and read it to her 2nd grade class, and again, even though a good chunk of them had heard it before, they were nearly in hysterics.  I mean really, I don’t get it, but maybe I would if I was 8?

If you don’t mind looking silly and want a funny book for your child, I recommend this one. Also, side note, getting book recommendations from your child’s teacher or asking your child what the teacher has been reading in class can help if you’re stumped trying to find a new book to read. As for me, next time I’ll read the back before I buy:



My post on The Nerdy Book Club

My post on The Nerdy Book Club

Since even before I started this blog a few months ago, I have dreamt of having a post on The Nerdy Book Club, and today it happened! I’m so grateful and SO excited! Click below to read the entire post!


I purchased the book Twenty Yawns by Jane Smiley and Lauren Castillo because 1) I have an addiction to children’s literature and 2) it is one of the books our school will be reading for our Mock Caldecott award this year. As I often do, I decided to take it home to read and share […]

via Why Twenty Yawns Almost Made Me Cry by Deana Metzke — Nerdy Book Club

Read Aloud #1- Dr. Seuss, of course!

Read Aloud #1- Dr. Seuss, of course!

As I mentioned in this week’s earlier post, since March is Read Aloud month, I want to share some of my favorite read alouds to help anyone who is #RaisingReaders and add to their bedtime book arsenal. Since my school district and hundreds of others had Read Across America events celebrating Dr. Seuss this week, why not start with one of my favorites from that classic author?

Read Aloud #1…


I know, I know, its not Green Eggs and Ham, Cat in the Hat, or even Oh, the Places You Will Go!, but I think it’s still a good one.

In this story, our main character Marvin is not ready to “go”, and throughout the simply worded rhyming book, he’s told to go in many different ways, by whomever needs him to leave.  Although we never are explicitly told where he needs to go, many assume Marvin needs to go to bed.

I picked this particular book because 1) any Dr. Seuss book is almost always a good read aloud. 2) I LOVED this book when I was a child, so it makes my read aloud that much more joyful to share with my children. Now to be honest, I can not for the life of me remember why I enjoyed this book so much, so I even texted my mom to see if she remembered, and her only response was, “rhythm?”, which was not really helpful. However, every time I see the cover of this book I get a smile on my face.

So even if you’re not into this particular book or if you think your child is too old for it, hopefully it still sparked some ideas for you. If you’re ever struggling to come up with titles to read with your child, try reflecting on what books you remember fondly as a child, like I did with Marvin, and choose some of those. I know, you may be concerned about how old the books you loved as a child might be, and if that would keep your child from enjoying it. However, my daughter loved Marvin K. Mooney, and it was published in 1972! Also, chances are many of the books you enjoyed may be considered classics, and those are usually pretty timeless. When all else fails, grab a book by Dr. Seuss!

Do you have a favorite Dr. Seuss book? Feel free to share it in the comments below!