If You Have a Girl or Know a Girl, You Need This Book!

If You Have a Girl or Know a Girl, You Need This Book!

Usually, when I check out books from the library, I’m returning them at the last possible, even a day or two later. (Shhh, don’t tell!) However, occasionally I check out a book from the library and I want to return it immediately because I need other readers to experience the book right away.  Dear Girl, written by Amy Krouse Rosenthal and Paris Rosenthal, and illustrated by Holly Hatam is one of those books.

This book is the perfect gift for those of us who may not be able to adequately articulate what we want our daughters, granddaughters, or nieces to know. It’s nice and concise, yet, still an inspirational letter to a young girl explaining how to deal with life. Here’s a few of the phrases/pages that got me excited:

 

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I’ll be honest, I’m kinda mad my daughter went through my library stash and read this book before me and without me. Nonetheless, I’ll be buying my own copy to give to her. Even though its a picture book, I have a feeling that we may need this book to refresh ourselves during puberty/teenage years.

If you know a girl that you want to embrace their individuality, learn to be empathetic, or just a girl that may need a little extra inspiration navigating this crazy thing called life, this book should be added to their library.

#RaisingReaders

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Dude, You Need to read Dude! by Aaron Reynolds

Dude, You Need to read Dude! by Aaron Reynolds

Every once in a while before bed, you need to be able to just grab a book that you know is going to be entertaining, but also is not going to be a long bedtime read for your child. Either you’re ready for bed yourself, your favorite show is about to come on TV, or maybe your child has had a long day and sleep is a welcome change. At any rate, Dude!, written by Aaron Reynolds and illustrated by Dan Santat is one to add to your reading rotation.

Here’s the good news–there’s only one word you have to be able to read to read this book (I’m sure you can figure out what that is).

Here’s the bad news–because there’s only one word, in order for you (and your children) to truly enjoy this book, you’ve got to read with some expression. Now, the author and illustrator have helped you with this with the way they write the words (i.e. duuuude vs. DUDE!), but I would still suggest glancing through the book first before reading it to your child the first time.

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This book is naturally great for a young pre-reader or a beginning reader, but it even works for a child who is reading independently. This is because even though the language may be simple, the illustrations add a lot to the story, so there’s much to see/analyze to make the story complete. My kids, both independent readers, loved this book and were way into the illustrations.

So when you need that funny quick read while #RaisingReaders, this would be one I would suggest.  You can check this book out from your local library or find it wherever children’s books are sold.

*I received an ARC of this book from the publisher as part of #bookexcursion.

One Hundred Posts + Danual Berkley Author Interview = Giveaway!

One Hundred Posts + Danual Berkley Author Interview = Giveaway!

OMG! I can’t believe it, but this is my 100th blog post! To celebrate, below is my first (of hopefully more) author interviews and my first (again, of hopefully more) book giveaway! Enjoy!

As I shared in this previous post, I recently got to review a book written by a local author, Danual Berkley. And as an added bonus, he agreed to let me interview him for my blog. During our conversation, we covered some of everything–from his childhood to his writing process to his own trials #RaisingReaders. Here’s what I learned:

I think the story of how he became an author is pretty original:

“I actually became a writer by accident. When I was in the 11th grade, my teacher, who was Mrs. Homer at the time, made it mandatory that everyone had to do the Young Author’s competition. She said we would either do a short story or a poem and being the 11th grade teenager I was, I was gonna do the poem. I decided to write a poem about a bully, who had bullied me in elementary school. I didn’t want to do the whole, sad feel bad for me, so I wrote it from the bully’s perspective.” Danual ended up winning 3rd place in the whole state with that poem!

He started writing again while he was deployed to Iraq. “My job was to escort convoys from one place to another. So I had an extremely dangerous job, so to escape my reality and to kind of enjoy life, I would start writing again. I would start writing adventurous stories…about these made up characters in made up places.” After a while, his buddies began requesting to hear his adventure poetry and after their tour in Iraq, one of them even suggested that he consider writing as a career, and that started him on this journey.

He has a lot of ideas when it comes to what he wants kids to get from his books:

“The first thing is, there’s a lack of representation for children of color. That’s the main thing I want to do, I want to close that gap…The second thing is the educational value for non-blacks. I want to educate non-African-American children on what Black culture is. A larger topic is the negative stereotypes about black men in general. They say that black men don’t raise their kids or we don’t get married or settle down. In my book, you clearly see a father who is devoted to his family, to his children.” Mr. Berkley wants to make sure that men like himself, and life experiences like his become more commonplace in children’s books than they are now, and he’s doing his part through his books to help that.

I had to know what his favorite childhood books were:

“My favorite children’s book would have to be Green Eggs and Ham, because believe it or not, my nickname is Sam. I don’t know how they got Sam out of Danual, but my nickname is Sam. My mom she would read Green Eggs and Ham to me, so it was my favorite.” Also, when he was in high school, Danual really got into Shel Silverstein’s poetry, which of course has influenced his current writing.

Here’s what we can expect from him in the near future:

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This is the cover of a book of poetry that Danual is working on, but he also has more books with tales of adventure coming with the characters of his first book, Davy’s Pirate Adventure.

And of course, he has his own stories and trials when it comes to raising his own kids to be readers (his sons are 7 & 2):

“Well for the youngest one its real easy…my wife has this package that comes every month that has a book in it that we read. My oldest, when he’s in school, he has a reading assignment every day. Usually how we try to do it is 15-30 minutes of reading a day, but its getting increasingly difficult because the older one doesn’t want to read, he’d rather be on his tablet.” So Danual and his wife have tried to make a concerted effort to do a couple of things: 1) they have been trying to make reading fun, starting with helping their 7 year old use expression when reading and 2) making sure they are reading themselves in front of their children. As his wife told him, “You can’t be an author and have kids who don’t read!”

I really enjoyed my time talking with Danual, he is very easy to talk to and I appreciated hearing his story as well as his drive to share his story and his books with as many people as possible. You can find out more about him at https://www.danualberkley.com/.

Another super cool thing about Danual: He gave me some books to GIVEAWAY!! So, you have some options. I’m giving away 2 copies of Davy’s Pirate Adventures on Twitter, so you can head on over to my twitter page @DMetzke so you can enter to win! But, he also gave me a book pack, which includes a copy of Davy’s Pirate Adventures AND his first book of poetry, Wonderful Magical Place AND two hardback Princess Truly books, written by Kelly Greenawalt, and illustrated by Amariah Rauscher, who illustrates Danual’s work. You can enter to win that pack below:

http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/2efacd490/?

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Wash After Reading: A Book Review for Do not lick this book

Wash After Reading: A Book Review for Do not lick this book

Recently we had a bedtime read first. After reading our book, my daughter said, “Everyone who touched this book needs to go wash their hands!”…and we did. The book we had just finished was Do Not Lick This Book by Idan Ben-Barak and illustrated by Julian Frost.

When I received this book, I was expecting it to be a cute, Elephant & Piggie type book. Don’t get me wrong, it was still cute, but this is actually an Informational book. The book follows Min, who is a microbe from one item to the next, with some cool, super up-close pictures of those items. The interesting thing is that the reader is the one who “carries” Min from object to object, picking Min up with your finger.

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So, as the reader, I started Min on her journey. The whole idea freaked my daughter out (in a good way, she was giggling the whole time) so she moved away, while my son stayed put. He even participated in carrying Min later on, which of course meant that he ended up chasing his sister, trying to place Min on her. I found this amusing, her, not so much.  Even though he never did touch her with Min, my daughter was still the one who proclaimed that we all needed to wash our hands. And so, for the first time ever, off to the bathrooms to clean our hands we went.

From the title to the “about the author” at the end, this book grabbed and held our attention, and we learned some things in process. Although you may feel a little gross after reading, I would recommend this book for young budding scientists.

*I was able to read an ARC of this book thanks to the publisher and #bookexcursion, the release date for the US is June 2018.

Davy’s Pirate Ship Adventure–A Book Review

Davy’s Pirate Ship Adventure–A Book Review

Here’s what’s cool: this is my first time doing a book review for a book whose author lives in the same town as I do!

Here’s what’s cooler: Davy’s Pirate Ship Adventure by Danual Berkley. This book brings you into a young boy’s imagination of his family’s journey on a pirate ship. As with most pirate adventures, there are some hiccups that you run into, but luckily Davy has some creative ways of dealing with those issues.

One of the first things that struck me about this book is that the whole family is on this imaginative pirate ship journey.  Usually in stories like this you see the kid by themselves, or maybe the kid and one parent, but in Davy’s adventure, mom, dad, and little brother are there. The fact that they are an African-American family is definitely an added bonus. While reading, my daughter pointed out that the mom’s hair looked like hers (curly)–I’m telling you #representationmatters.

When I read Davy’s Pirate Ship Adventure with my kids as our bedtime read, they enjoyed twists and turns in the book, and we all thought the illustrations were pretty cool too! We especially liked the last two pages of the book, because they give the reader background information on all the characters in the book.

This book has a great rhythm to it when you read it aloud and would be cute for your next bedtime read for any young child, especially those with active imaginations.

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My son loved the fact that even the little brother has skull & crossbones on his diaper!

Here’s what’s coolest: Since Danual Berkley lives in the same town I do, he has agreed to participate in my first #RaisingReaders author interview!! Check back soon to learn more about this author, including any adventures he may have #RaisingReaders!

Duck, Duck…Moose?

Duck, Duck…Moose?

Duck, Duck, Moose by Joy Heyer is a cute picture book that answers the question—what happens to duck when goose flies South for the winter?

In this rhyming book, duck runs across different animal friends who all want to play with him. However, none of them are like his friend goose, so he stays pretty frustrated, constantly saying that he can’t wait until “goose gets back”.  In the end, duck found a nice alternative game for his friends, because really, does anything sound better than duck, duck, goose?

This would be an entertaining book for any child up to about 8 years old, especially those that are familiar with the game duck, duck, goose.

#RaisingReaders37811837

A Perfect Mother’s Day Ending…Don’t Blink!

A Perfect Mother’s Day Ending…Don’t Blink!

I had a great Mother’s Day this year, punctuated by my accidental selection of the perfect bedtime read. Don’t Blink, by Amy Krouse Rosenthal is a wonderfully entertaining book that is best read right before bedtime.

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The whole premise of this book is that if the reader can keep from blinking, then they don’t have to turn the page, which means they don’t have to go to bed.  My children thought this was hilarious and were up for the challenge! For the next 20 minutes, they were bouncing around, engaging in staring contests and trying to hold their eyelids open, all in a failing effort to keep me from turning the page–I loved it! But this also means I had to have the energy for it. If it had been one of those evenings where I’m about to pull my hair out and the babies are working my nerves, then this would not have been the book to read.

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I really think what thrilled me the most is that every time I think my kids might be too old for this type of gimmick, they slide right back in. That makes my heart happy.

So, if your child enjoyed The Book With No Pictures or if you enjoyed The Monster At The End of This Book, then this book should be your next bedtime read!

#RaisingReaders