Exploring education through books, travel, and adventure

Tag: kidlit

Ring in the New Year with Freedom Soup!

Ring in the New Year with Freedom Soup!

Can you believe we are just days away from ringing in the New Year? I say it every year, but I honestly can’t believe another year has gone by! I have a gorgeous new book to share with you that would make a perfect read […]

It’s Okay to be a Unicorn

It’s Okay to be a Unicorn

Have I ever mentioned how much I love picture books? Once or twice? Maybe? Ok…well, I really do love them. A picture book can tell a story, it can make you laugh, it can hit you right in the feels, and it can send a […]

Halloween Morning Basket Fun and a FREEBIE!

Halloween Morning Basket Fun and a FREEBIE!

I am a Halloween slacker! It has never been my favorite holiday! Christmas is my jam…I go all-out! But this year, I want to add a little Halloween fun to our homeschool day! I have decided to put together a fun and easy Halloween Morning Basket to add some festive fun to our mornings! Here are some awesome books and activities that you can include…and a special FREEBIE!!

Spook-tacular Books

It seems everyone does morning baskets differently! The one thing that most of them seem to have in common is BOOKS! My favorite subject!! So of course, I wanted to come up with a selection of fun books to read aloud to the kiddos. Here are some fun chapter books and picture books you could include!

Chapter Books

First up is Amelia Fang and The Barbaric Ball. This book is amazing. This is the first book in a series by Laura Ellen Anderson and it will have you and your kids laughing-out-loud! This is full of vampires, yeti’s, and other spooky but not so scary creatures! The book is full of illustrations that will keep your kids engaged and entertained! We absolutely love this series!

Next up is one of my all-time favorite books. The Wizards of Once by Cressida Cowell is non-stop excitement, fun, and laughter! This would be a great read at any time of the year but fits in perfectly near Halloween with its magical and mystical beings!

Scary Stories for Young Foxes is a super spooky book featuring all kinds of stories perfect for Halloween. It is full of adventure, suspense, and heart!

Next up is Nightbooks which has a spooky factor of about a million. This is an action packed book that follows a young boy who is imprisoned by a witch and must tell her scary stories in order to stay alive. So you are getting scary stories within a scary story!

City of Ghosts is a hauntingly good book by author Victoria Schwab. This one definitely has the spooky factor perfect for halloween. The kids and I really liked this one. The sequel is out now and we can’t wait to read it!

Picture Books

If you have followed me for a minute you know about my deep love of Sleeping Bear Press Alphabet Books. They are amazing! J is for Jack-O’-Lantern is all about Halloween and it is the perfect combination of poetry and non-fiction. Awesome for all ages.

How to Make Friends With a Ghost is a fun and whimsical new book all about making friends with a ghost! This is such a fun book with a beautiful message about friendship as well!

Though not a “Halloween” book, Mary Who Wrote Frankenstein definitely has a spooky feel to it! This is the story of Mary Shelley and how she came to create Frankenstein and his monster. This is a really dark book but is so beautifully done. The illustrations are so gorgeous…and I can’t get enough biographical picture books! Another great choice along the same lines is a book called She Made a Monster: How Mary Shelley Created Frankenstein.

Fun-Tastic Activities

Morning Basket’s are such a fun time to add games, puzzles, and other activities! You could make some halloween slime, bake some halloween treats, and even decorate your school area with some fun decorations!

One way we love adding some fun to our morning basket is with Mad-Libs! My kids are in LOVE with Mad-Libs. Mad Libs are such a fun way to add some grammar learning to your day without it feeling like schoolwork…mama win, right??

Here is a great Halloween themed Mad-Lib book!

Puzzles are another fun addition to your baskets. My kids love to work on puzzles while I read aloud. Here is a great puzzle from Vermont Christmas Company!

Freebie Alert!

My friends at Education.Com were so generous and sent me an amazing FREEBIE to share with you!! This would be a great addition to your morning basket!

Halloween will be here soon and this crossword is a great way to incorporate the holiday into reading and writing practice! Be sure to check out more (reading activities) at https://www.education.com/resources/ela/reading/

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Malamander – A Must-Read New Middle-Grade Book

Malamander – A Must-Read New Middle-Grade Book

“If the impossible is possible anywhere, it’ll be possible in Eerie-on-Sea” Welcome to the sleepy beach town of Eerie-on-Sea. It is winter, and everything is different during the winter. You see, legend has it that a monstrous creature called the Malamander prowls the shore of […]

All The Impossible Things- A Must-Read New Middle Grade Novel

All The Impossible Things- A Must-Read New Middle Grade Novel

  Some books have a way of simultaneously breaking your heart and making it swell. All The Impossible Things was a gut-wrenchingly beautiful story that captured my heart and attention.  I hope that my words can do this book justice because it is just so […]

My Most Anticipated August New Releases!

My Most Anticipated August New Releases!

I have a new hobby. You might even call it a sport. It takes great skill, determination, and endurance…I stalk Amazon for upcoming new book releases. Oh, it’s a thing. So, instead of just stalking alone and creating beautifully long wishlists, I have decided to share with you guys! Every month I am going to share my most anticipated new releases for the following month! There are so many amazing titles coming up for the fall…like really, really good. It wouldn’t be fair to keep all of the goodness to myself…so let’s see what is heading our way for August!

August New Releases

August is just the tip of the iceberg for new releases. September and October might even be more delicious. So, this list will be comprised mostly of picture books and several non-fiction resources that we desperately want to add to our collection. I will hopefully have a post put together soon with some Middle-Grade books we are anxiously awaiting!

Manhattan: Mapping The Story Of An Island

This looks like a gorgeous book. The combination of history and picture books is irresistible to me! I can’t get enough. There is something about the way history is presented in a picture book that just makes it so captivating and accessible. Manhattan: Mapping the Story of an Island is full of history, timelines, and stories of what made it the place it is today! Definitely adding this to our collection! Manhattan is due to arrive on August 6th.


You Are My Friend: The Story Of Mister Rogers And His Neighborhood

I grew up watching Mr. Rogers Neighborhood on our local PBS station. He was the sweetest man who always shared such a wonderful message. You are my Friend: The Story of Mister Rogers and his Neighborhood is the story of Fred Rogers long before the world knew him as Mr.Rogers. He struggled to make friends as a child and was often sick, but he pushed past everything to share a message of kindness and compassion. As a picture book biography addict, I have to say I am so excited to see this book! I think it will be another great one! You Are My Friend releases on August 6th.


Mary Blair’s Unique Flair: The Girl Who Became One Of The Disney Legends

Disney lovers, you’d better hold on to your Dole Whips because this one is going to be fantastic. Mary Blair’s Unique Flair is a biographical picture book all about the life of Mary Blair who is extremely well known for her work as an artist, animator, and designer for Disney! Mary worked on such films as Alice in Wonderland, Peter Pan, and Cinderella…and if you have ever ridden It’s a Small World…that is the work of Mary! To say I am excited about this book would be an understatement. Biographical picture books are my VERY favorite books…and when you add in some Disney…yep…excited! You can find Mary Blair’s Unique Flair on August 13th…or pre-order like I did!


Miep And The Most Famous Diary: The Woman Who Rescued Anne Frank’s Diary

Another amazing biographical picture book coming your way. This is the story of Miep Gies. While we have all heard the story of Anne Frank, not many have heard of Miep Gies…I know I hadn’t. Miep is the woman who sheltered Anne and her family for many years…and is one of the only reasons why we have heard Anne’s story. I am so excited to read this book. Books like this are why biographical picture books are so amazing…they introduce you to so many amazing people. I already know I will love this one! This lovely book arrives on August 15th.

A Taste Of The World: What People Eat And How They Celebrate Around The Globe

Well, this book just ties in perfectly to our around the world unit that begins in the fall. We are planning to travel the globe and learn all about other countries…including food and celebrations! This is going to be such an incredible addition! My kids love learning about other countries and cultures and especially love cooking and eating new foods! I have seen snippets of the inside of this book and it is absolutely gorgeous! I have pre-ordered this as well! (Man I hope my husband doesn’t read my blog…) A Taste of the World arrives in the US on August 15th.


Dancing Hands: How Theresa Carreno Played The Piano For President Lincoln

I hope you aren’t tired of picture book biography recommendations because here comes another one. They have introduced me to SO many amazing people I have never heard of. Dancing Hands: How Theresa Carreno Played The Piano For President Lincoln is the story of Theresa Carreno who was a child prodigy piano player. She lived and breathed piano and often wrote her own songs. Theresa and her family had to leave their native Venezuela because of the revolution and ended up coming to the United States. They arrived at a place that was so strange and unfamiliar and where no one spoke Spanish. They also arrived in the middle of the Civil War. Theresa never stopped playing though and was eventually asked by President Lincoln himself to come and play at the White House! I cannot wait to get my hands on this book. It sounds like an incredible story and the illustrations are absolutely gorgeous! Dancing Hands arrives on August 27th.

There are so many more books arriving in August, but for now, I just wanted to share my tip-top favorites! What are your most anticipated reads for August?


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Llama Destroys the World is a Laugh-Out-Loud Gem

Llama Destroys the World is a Laugh-Out-Loud Gem

You guys…have I got a hysterical book recommendation for you! What was the last laugh-out-loud hysterical book that you’ve read? I can’t remember the last book that had me cracking up as much as this one did. Llama Destroys the World is a brand new […]

Summer: My New Favorite Book to Teach Kindness

Summer: My New Favorite Book to Teach Kindness

“No act of kindness, no matter how small, is ever wasted”- Aesop   Friends, have I got a wonderful new book for you. Teachers, homeschool families, parents…this is a book you are going to want to read with your kiddos. Summer, is a new release […]

Celebrating Children’s Book Week with my Top 10 All Time Favorite Children’s Books!

Celebrating Children’s Book Week with my Top 10 All Time Favorite Children’s Books!

Did you know that this week is the 100th anniversary of Children’s Book Week? This year in honor of the 100th anniversary there will be two week-long celebrations…this week, April 29th-May 5th, 2019 and then again November 4th-10th, 2019. This is my kind of celebration. An entire week dedicated to celebrating children’s books…yeah, sign me up! Do you think they will have balloons? Cake?

Anyway, in honor of this most amazing of weeks, I have created a list of my Top 10, All Time FAVORITE Children’s Books! This was no easy task friends. This took time, may have caused a sleepless night or two, and most certainly ended up being way more difficult than anticipated. But, I did it. So, without further ado, my Top 10 Favorite Children’s Books EVER…disclaimer…there are so so so many more books that I want to add to this list…but I will behave…mostly.


So, you might be wondering, what are the criteria for choosing an all-time-favorite children’s book? Well, in a nutshell…I have no idea. Why do we choose a favorite of anything? A favorite color, a favorite animal, a favorite sports team? It is just something that feels right…it brings joy…it makes you smile…it triggers memories. There is no one reason that I have chosen each of these books. I have chosen some books that I have loved since I was a kid…and some books that are brand new favorites. There may be no rhyme or reason, but that is ok, there doesn’t need to be. Right? We will just go on assuming that you agreed with me…so, let’s get to the books!

Where the Wild Things Are

Oh, good gravy do I love this book. This has been a favorite of mine for years and years. I mean, my son is named Max…soooo. Every time I pick up this book, which is frequently, I just get lost looking through the illustrations. It isn’t a complex book with a million words, but it is so beautifully done that I think it will always be a treasure! Where the Wild Things Are is a Caldecott winning book…and with good reason! I wish I had created a Where the Wild Things are themed nursery when my son was little…how awesome would that have been? I just love this book full of imagination!


The Very Hungry Caterpillar

I adore Eric Carle. Truly a gift to children’s books. The Very Hungry Caterpillar was published in 1969 and is still as beloved today as it was back then. I chose this book because I absolutely love Eric Carle’s unique and beautiful art style. This is a book that I read again and again and again with my kiddos…but I never grew tired of it because it was so beautiful! I was very tempted to cheat and add all of my favorite Eric Carle books, but I will behave. Just incase you were wondering though, I also LOVE The Tiny Seed, Papa, Please Get the Moon for Me, The Mixed-Up Chameleon…ok…all of them.


The Napping House

I have read The Napping House approximately 6, 473 times…and I still love it. The Napping House is by Audrey Wood and illustrated by Don Wood. It is an absolutely beautifully illustrated book that is so cleverly written. We love the repetition and sequencing of the story. This is a book I love not just because it is beautifully written and illustrated, but also because it is full of so many memories of reading to my kiddos!


Sigh. I love this book. Cordelia is written and illustrated by the absolutely fantastic Michelle Nelson-Schmidt. I had the pleasure of hearing Michelle read this book aloud at an Usborne Books & More National Convention in Tulsa, OK. The book wasn’t even available to purchase yet but we all received a signed copy. We knew that Michelle was going to be revealing her new book and we were so excited to be able to hear her read it aloud. Y’all, the room was silent. There were tears. Ooohs and ahhs. This book hits you right in the feels. Cordelia is all about a little girl who can fly. She loves to fly. Until one day, people question her and tell her that she can’t. Cordelia is heartbroken…until she realizes…who is anyone else to say what she can and cannot do! Such an inspiring book about believing in yourself! Cordelia is available through your Usborne Books & More Consultant…here is a link to my page if you don’t have one! We also have the SWEETEST Cordelia plush doll! https://l4353.myubam.com/p/5956/cordelia

Hello Lighthouse

Hello Lighthouse is the winner of the 2019 Caldecott Medal…and for good reason. This book is breathtaking. The illustrations make you feel like you are a part of the story. This is not only a book full of some of the most gorgeous illustrations I have ever seen, but it is a wonderful story. Author/Illustrator Sophie Blackall’s words and illustrations will make you feel like you are standing on the coast looking at the lighthouse. You can imagine the sea breezes and waves crashing. It is just a spectacular book and absolutely deserving of the Caldecott!


Ocean Meets Sky

Ocean Meets Sky has quickly become one of my very favorite books of all time. This is a newer book, just published in 2018…but it is stunning. Written and illustrated by the amazingly talented Fan Brothers, Terry and Eric, this book will be an amazing addition to your home library. This book sits on my picture ledge bookshelf so that I can always see it. It is breathtaking from cover to cover. You will join Finn as he sets sail in search of the place where the ocean meets the sky. Together, you will visit the Library Islands and see 100 bookish birds. You will take an adventure full of imagination and love. I just can’t say enough wonderful things about this book. If you haven’t read this one yet, I highly recommend it. I also adore The Night Gardener which is also written and illustrated by The Fan Brothers.


Mary Wears What She Wants

Another new title. Mary Wears What She Wants is the story of Mary Edwards Walker who was a pioneer in womens rights…years ahead of her time! Mary is known for wearing pants…which is something that was quite unheard of at that point in history. This book is about what Mary might have been like as a child. Such bright vivid illustrations, this book encourages children (and adults) to be themselves and not to care what others or society says they should do! The message is delivered in such a wonderful way and I love that I was introduced to Mary Edwards Walker. Biographical Picture Books have become some of my very favorite books because I have been introduced to so many people that I have never heard of! This is definitely one you will want to read. Mary Wears What She Wants is written and illustrated by Keith Negley! You can read a little bit more about Mary Wears What She Wants in a previous blog post right here.

The Bluest of Blues

Another brand new release, The Bluest of Blues is one of the most gorgeous books I have ever seen. I was immediately drawn in by the incredible illustrations. In fact, I purchased this book solely based on the stunning cover. I know you aren’t supposed to judge a book by its cover, but I couldn’t help it. Let me tell you, the inside is just as beautiful as the outside. This book quickly became a favorite because not only were the illustrations intoxicating, but it is a biographical story as well. The Bluest of Blues is about the life of Anna Atkins. Anna was a botanist and the creator of one of the first books of photographs. She was also a pioneer for her time, much like Mary Edwards Walker. Anna entered the field of science when it was practically unheard of for women to do so. Anna is known for her gorgeous cyanotype prints. This book is a keeper for sure. It not only is gorgeous to look through but it serves as a great introduction to a wonderful woman! The Bluest of Blues is written and illustrated by the amazingly talented Fiona Robinson. You can read my full review of The Bluest of Blues right here.


Oh, Matilda. I have read this gem by Roald Dahl at least 20 times. When I first started my favorite book list I was only thinking in terms of picture books…but there are so many amazing chapter books for kids (ahem…and adults) that I couldn’t leave them out! Matilda is the sweet story of a little bookworm. I think that is part of the reason I love the story so much…because I relate so much to sweet Matilda! She is such a special girl but stuck with the worst couple of parents a kid could have. This story is so heartwarming, but in true Dahl fashion, is also hilarious! This is a book that I enjoyed as a child and also got to enjoy again as an adult when I read it to my kids. This is definitely one to read with your kiddos!

Where the Mountain Meets the Moon

Where the Mountain Meets the Moon by Grace Lin is pure magic. This is a chapter book but it is also filled with the most delicate and gorgeous illustrations. What an amazing storyteller Grace Lin is…it was truly a mesmerizing book for me. I read it in one sitting…and have since read it again. My oldest daughter has also read it and fallen in love. I plan to read this aloud to my kids when we learn about China next year. Where the Mountain Meets the Moon is the story of Minli who sets off on a journey to find the Man on the Moon to change her families fortune. The story is woven with Chinese folktales and is absolutely beautiful. I am already looking forward to reading this one again.


There are so many amazing books that I want to add to this list…in fact, I have already thought of 5 more that I really should add, ahem…Mary Who Wrote Frankenstein. But, I promised 10, so 10 it is. I have a feeling there will be several more of these posts in the days and weeks to come!

What are your favorite children’s books of all time??

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The Bluest of Blues- A Book Review

The Bluest of Blues- A Book Review

I have been completely smitten with biographical picture books lately. I have always found it fascinating to learn about someone from history, but there is something so special about reading about it in picture book form. Picture books add a certain element of magic to […]