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.

The Harry Potter Phenomenon Continues…

The Harry Potter Phenomenon Continues…

 

I’ll admit, I don’t understand the pull of Harry Potter. I read the first one with my daughter, but was able to stop after finishing, whereas she was not. Since then, she has been talking about the characters with her friends who are also reading it and recommending the series to anyone who hasn’t. Also, she got her brother into it and he knows what’s going on through the movies and audiobooks. They even “play” Harry Potter, casting spells on each other. She does her best to keep me up to speed with all that’s going on, although I don’t understand much of it any more.

One of my daughter’s goals this summer was to finish the Harry Potter series, and book #5 has been quite the feat. Three check-outs and renewals from the library later…

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The book is hiding her huge smile from her accomplishment!

I’ll be honest, I never experienced anything like it during my childhood reading, so I continue to be impressed by it all. Although this series is not for everyone, there’s some sort of magnetic force that pulls the reader in, so if you need something to hook you child in, Harry Potter may be worth a try.

#RaisingReaders

*Side note: If you haven’t already, enter my giveaway that ends at midnight on 7/6/18! Enter here!

 

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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How I Achieved Car Trip Silence…

How I Achieved Car Trip Silence…

Reading? They did, but only part of the time.

Were they sleep? Not that lucky.

Decided to be quiet just to be nice? Ha!

Here’s the deal–recently the kids and I took a trip home to see some friends and family, which is about a 3 hour drive. Since my children have decided that this is going to be the summer where they argue constantly (!!), and I was going to be the only adult in the car, I needed to come up with something that was going to keep them relatively engaged. Last year when we made this same trip, we tried our hand at listening to an audio book, Flora and Ulysses by Kate DiCamillo. It worked pretty well, its a wonderful book, and they were into it. But I’ll be honest, having no other adult to talk to with cruise control on the interstate had me looking like this:

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Naturally that is not a good look, so I had to switch back to music every so often.

This trip I decided to go with something slightly different…podcasts. Now I’m not risky enough to just try any podcast, I had to make sure it was something they would enjoy. Enter these lovelies:

Thanks to Kids Place Live on satellite radio, we’ve gotten familiar with both of these broadcasts. We listen to Mindy Thomas in the mornings during the school year and the kids love her goofy antics. We don’t catch the Story Pirates as often, but they take story written by kids, and turn them into plays they act out on the radio. When I told the kids about the options they were excited about both, so I was very optimistic.

For me, the difference between the podcasts and the audio book was the length of time. Although there are multiple episodes, each episode is less than an hour, sometimes only 30 minutes. So, I knew that if I did start to get tired again (which I did), there was an end coming near and I easily turn on music.

Now I expected them to enjoy the novelty of listening to the podcast, but what I did not expect was the silence that ensued as soon as I turned on The Story Pirates. After dealing with their bickering for what has felt like the longest first two weeks of summer ever, their silence was music to my ears. We listened to one episode of each podcast on the way down, and they begged for the same on the way back.

So, if you’re looking for something for your kiddos to listen to on a long car ride, I would definitely recommend either of these podcasts. Not only will they enjoy it, but you might too, and if nothing else, their silence will lower your blood pressure, I know it did mine!

#RaisingReaders

Be Patient and Respect the Process

Be Patient and Respect the Process

I recently read a post a friend of mine shared on Facebook (not hers, but someone else’s) that basically talked about living in the moment with your children, not trying to hurry them, and as a result, hurrying life away. As usual, these things make a lot of sense, and I try to adjust my life accordingly, sometimes more successfully than others. However, this go around, within a day, I encountered a situation involving reading with my son that actually helped me put it into practice!

A short time ago we visited our local public library, and one of the books I checked out was This Book is Out of Control! by Richard Byrne. Yes, I checked out a children’s book to read myself (first), and this book was laying on my bed when my son came to chat. Since we’ve read the other books with these characters, he saw the book, opened it, and started turning the pages. Exciting, right? Initially, not so much, because he was turning the pages very quickly, like too quickly to actually be reading the words. Of course, my first reaction is to tell him, “Dude, you can read the words. How about you slow down and actually read the words so you know what the story is about?” But hey, I’m trying to resist the constant need to redirect, trying to let him have his moment, so I say nothing…

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A few moments later, after he’s turned all the pages, he goes back to the beginning of the book. Now this time, I’m still not sure if he’s reading the words, but he’s definitely going slower than he was the last time. And then, at the end he’s like, “Mom, look…” and proceeds to explain to me part of the plot!

Now, naturally I don’t honestly know what would have happened if I had interrupted his first read through, but there’s a chance I could have turned him off to the book completely. It could’ve been frustrating to the both of us, but instead, I was the only one who was frustrated, and that was only in my head, and only for a moment.

I’m sure I’ve mentioned before that patience is a virtue, especially when it comes to my son, and here’s just another example that sometimes when #RaisingReaders, you just have to let them do their own thing.

Side note: If you or your children haven’t read We’re In a Book! or This Book Just Ate My Dog!, also by Richard Byrne, I suggest you do so.

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.