Exploring education through books, travel, and adventure

Tag: Read Aloud

A Ben Of All Trades- A Stunning Look into the Life of Young Benjamin Franklin

A Ben Of All Trades- A Stunning Look into the Life of Young Benjamin Franklin

We all know about the many accomplishments and contributions of Benjamin Franklin. He was such an important person in the history of the United States. But, what was Ben Franklin like as a child? A Ben Of All Trades- The Most Inventive Boyhood of Benjamin […]

Music For Tigers- A Captivating Middle-Grade Read

Music For Tigers- A Captivating Middle-Grade Read

There is nothing better than getting so entranced by a book that you are able to finish it in one day. Music For Tigers completely captivated me from the very first pages. It was full of lovely and diverse characters, adventure, mystery, messages of conservation, […]

The Other Side of the Wall Book Review and Tea Party!

The Other Side of the Wall Book Review and Tea Party!

I love it when a book inspires creativity! This happens A LOT at our house! So often we will be reading a book and all of a sudden an idea pops up for a craft, art project, or recipe! Well, I have just finished reading The Other Side of the Wall by Amy Ephron and guess what? Inspiration central! We decided it would be so fun to wrap up our reading of the book by having an English tea party! I can’t wait to show you!

The Other Side of the Wall

Before we jump into our English tea party, let’s chat a little about the book! The Other Side of the Wall is the third book in the series by Amy Ephron. The book follows brother and sister, Max and Tess as they spend Christmas break with their Aunt Evie in London. They are staying at the very swanky Sanborn House while they wait for their parents to arrive. Max and Tess soon find themselves mixed up in a mystery of sorts. They meet a boy named Colin, who lives year-round at the hotel. Colin lives in a fancy apartment on the 8th floor of the hotel…which doesn’t sound so strange, except for the fact that the hotel only had 7 floors yesterday. Mysteries keep appearing around every corner, like the strange 1920’s costume party that is happening in Colin’s apartment, the mysterious marble that definitely seems to be more than meets the eye, and the fact that everyone seems to ignore Colin. Max and Tess find themselves with more questions than answers as they try to find the keys to the mysteries before them!

Our Thoughts

We loved this book! I should first add that this is the 3rd book in the series but I didn’t find it at all difficult to follow along with the story having not read the previous two books. I have just checked the first two out of the library though because I really did enjoy the story, the characters, and Ephron’s writing style. If you love a book that is full of mystery and suspense with some holiday atmosphere thrown in then I think you will love this one. It was a quick read because I was very engaged in the story and kept wanting to read more! It is always good to get engrossed in a book that you can’t put down!!

Books and Tea

It didn’t take long for inspiration to strike while reading this book! A book set in England lends itself perfectly to a host little tea party! When we first meet Colin, he is enjoying quite a fancy little tea at the hotel so we thought we would create a tea party of our own! We do poetry teatime a lot here at our house…but it is usually a casual affair! Tea at Sanborn House needs to be fancied up a bit!!

The kiddos got the table set, we made cucumber sandwiches, we made scones, and we had some tea. Now, two out of the three of my kiddos LOVE any excuse to dress up so they, of course, had to get fancy for the occasion. Max even dug out the 3-piece suit that he hasn’t worn since our cruise! He thought the vest was very Colin-ish! I had to agree! I love that they will still indulge their mother in her crazy bookish whims!

Cucumber sandwiches for the win
Cucumber Sandwiches
Pinkies up with tea and a cucumber sandwich
Pinkies Up!
The Other Side of the Wall lends itself perfectly for a posh little tea party!

For More Information

If you would like to order your own copy of The Other Side of the Wall you can follow this link here!

I would like to thank my friends at Penguin Random House for sharing this book with us! We truly enjoyed it and are looking forward to starting from the beginning with The Castle in the Mist!


Author Bio

Amy Ephron (www.amyephron.com) is the author of The Castle in the Mist, her first book for young readers, which was nominated for a SCIBA Award, and of Carnival Magic, a companion book. Amy has also written several adult books, including A Cup of Tea, which was an international bestseller. Her novel One Sunday Morning received the Booklist Best Fiction of the Year and Best Historical Fiction of the Year awards and was a Barnes and Noble Book Club selection. She is a contributor and contributing editor at Vogue and Vogue.com, and her work has appeared in numerous other publications. She was also the executive producer of Warner Brothers’ A Little Princess. Amy lives in Los Angeles with her husband; between them, they have five children. You can follow her on Twitter and Instagram @amyephron.

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Three Cheers for Olive Ewe!

Three Cheers for Olive Ewe!

You may have guessed by now that I really LOVE picture books…like, a lot! They are one of my favorite types of books to read and I absolutely LOVE sharing new picture books with you! Well, today I have a new book that I think […]

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 special! I can’t wait to share it with you!

All The Impossible Things

Ruby “Red” Byrd is a young girl that is trying to find her way while navigating the foster care system. Red has been moved from home to home and is counting down the days until she is reunited with her mother. 397 days. 397 days until Red’s mother is released from prison and they can be a family again. In addition to the turbulence of being moved from place to place, Red has an inner turbulence. Whenever she is angry or scared, the wind begins to blow. Red is struggling to control her power over the wind, the more she pushes it back, the more it tries to come to the surface. The more and more Red’s life spirals out of control, the more control she loses over her wind!

After being removed from another home, Red is finally placed with the Grooves. Jackson and Celine Groove are sunshine on a stormy day. They greet Red with open arms. The Grooves run the Groovy Petting  Zoo and they are just as quirky and loveable as their zany array of animals. Red seems to be settling into her life at the farm and makes friends with a  tree-climbing goat named Billie, a donkey named Fezzik, and Tuck the tortoise! Not to mention sweet Marvin and his family! Just when things seem to be running smoothly, the tornado that is Red’s mother returns. Red has been so eager to have her mother back…but will things be different this time? Will Red finally have the family she has always dreamed of?

My Thoughts

To say that this book blew me away would be an understatement. I was hooked from the first few pages and couldn’t put it down. I was so invested in the story and the characters that I HAD to know what happened. Let’s just say very little laundry got done and my kids may have eaten cereal for dinner…but it was worth it!

Author Lindsay Lackey writes in such an incredible way that it made the characters come alive for me. I felt the emotions right along with them. Anger, fear, sorrow, happiness, disappointment, joy…I felt it all! As someone who has no experience with the foster care system, I was worried that I  might not have a connection to the book. The opposite was true. I felt so connected to the story and to the characters. Lackey tackles several extremely heavy topics in the pages of the book, such as loss and addiction, and she handles them so beautifully and gently but without minimizing their seriousness.

About halfway through the book, I decided I had to get my hands on every other book that Lindsay Lackey has ever written. I fell in love with her writing style. You guys…this was her debut novel! MIND.BLOWN. I hope that this will be the first of many amazing books to come! She is a gifted storyteller and I think this is going to be the first of many beautiful books!

If you are looking for a beautiful story with elements of magic, adventure, heartache, and love, then this is an absolute gem you don’t want to miss. I would like to thank Macmillan for sending me an advanced copy of this book in exchange for my honest review. All thoughts are my own.

About the Author

lindsay lackey photo

Lindsay Lackey has trained as an opera singer, worked in children’s and teen services at the public library, and for a major publishing house in publicity and marketing. Now, she writes magical novels for middle-grade readers and unabashedly believes in impossible things. Born and raised in Colorado, she lives in the San Francisco Bay Area with her husband and their spoiled dog.

Lindsay’s debut middle grade novel, ALL THE IMPOSSIBLE THINGS, released on September 3rd, 2019 from Macmillan’s Roaring Brook Press.

For more information on Lindsay Lackey, you can find her website here.

To order your own copy, click right here.

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10 Amazing Books to Read to Your Kids on Earth Day!

10 Amazing Books to Read to Your Kids on Earth Day!

Earth Day is right around the corner! My kiddos are so excited to celebrate by heading to the beach to pick up some trash! In addition to helping clean up the beach, we will be reading a LOT of books! Whenever a holiday, special occasion, […]

Friday Favorites- Fabulous Picture Books

Friday Favorites- Fabulous Picture Books

  Happy Friday! Today is the first of what I hope to be MANY “Friday Favorites”. Every Friday I am hoping to share with you some of our very favorite books from the week. I always have so many books that I want to showcase, […]

Add Adventure to Learning with Literary Adventures for Kids

Add Adventure to Learning with Literary Adventures for Kids

 

Have you seen the movie The House With a Clock in Its Walls? I was so intrigued by this movie from the very first preview! Imagine my book nerd excitement when I found out that it was a book long before it was a movie! I was SO excited that we decided to purchase both the book and the newly released movie for our kids for Christmas!

As you may have guessed from previous posts, we are a huge read-aloud family! We start every day with a book! Most of our read alouds we just read and discuss as we go, but I wanted to do something a little different with this book. I was SO excited to find the online book clubs from Literary Adventures for Kids! They had exactly what I was looking for…actually it was more than what I was looking for! These online book clubs are not your mamas book discussions! This was completely out of the box thinking!! So, I want to share with you what this book club was all about and why we enjoyed it so much!!

What IS Literary Adventures for Kids?

Literary Adventures for Kids is an amazing website with a TON of literary study courses for kids of all ages. They have courses for:

  • Preschool-Early Elementary Literature Studies
  • Elementary-Middle School Literature Studies
  • High School Literature Studies

You will find courses that feature classic novels, poetry, modern literature, and even picture books!! The best part is, everything is completely set up for you and you can tailor the courses to fit your needs. You can use it as a self-paced literature study as I did…or you can use the course with a book club that you are a part of! The courses are very reasonably priced as well! Before I give you a review of the course I took on The House With a Clock In Its Walls, I want to give you a sampling of some of the other courses you will find here! You will find online book clubs for books like:

  • Mary Poppins
  • The Birchbark House
  • Stellaluna
  • The Giving Tree
  • Of Mice and Men
  • The Scarlett Letter

And so many more!

What Makes Literary Adventures for Kids Different!

I mentioned above that Literary Adventures for Kids is not your mamas book club! It takes what you would picture a typical book club to be…and expands it by leading you down “Rabbit Trails of Discovery”. I absolutely love this term they use because it is so accurate. As you are reading through each chapter of the book you will be learning about art, history, science, and more! When you reach the end of the book they even give ideas for an end of book party to celebrate! My kids and I are planning to do this when we watch the movie this weekend!

Rabbit Trails and Magic Dust

So, what exactly are rabbit trails and magic dust? Dachelle, the creator of our online book club uses the term rabbit trails to describe the discoveries that you will have while reading the book. For example, when reading the very first chapter of The House With a Clock In Its Walls, you learn that the house is filled with clocks. We take our rabbit trail by learning all about clocks! The course includes videos on the history of telling time, what sundials are, learning about Big Ben, and more! These rabbit trails are completely unexpected areas of learning. You are doing so much more than just discussing the book…you are discovering so many different topics! Just in chapter one, we take rabbit trails to learn about clocks, Sherlock Holmes, and Alladin’s Lamp! Just awesome! Dachelle also uses the term “magic dust”. The magic dust refers to the hands-on activities that are also included. During chapter one we made our own sundial!! This was such a huge hit with my kiddos! There are many hands-on projects as well as some cooking…instant pot mashed potatoes and chocolate chip cookies…YES PLEASE!

For More Information

To check out the amazing list of courses that are offered you can head on over to Hide the Chocolate Blog! There are so many courses that I know you will find one that you will love!!

You can save $5 by using code: HSONTHEBEACH at check out! (Coupon valid until 12/31/19)

Thank you so much Dachelle for sending me this fantastic book club to review! The kids and I absolutely loved this course. I can honestly say that the rabbit trails took us into such unexpected areas of learning that I never would have thought of on my own!

 

 

 

 

 

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Raising Readers – One Books at a Time!

Raising Readers – One Books at a Time!

  I have loved books for as long as I can remember! My Mom actually used books as bribery to potty train me when I was 2 (OK, that is moderately embarrassing!) We would walk to the store together and I would get to pick […]


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