Story time is the best time of the day. Whether we're snuggled up on the couch or cozy in our pjs before bed, reading stories with my little ones is one of my favorite things to do. Everyone has a favorite book they remember from their childhood, and every day, parents and kids are discovering new classics of their own. There are many fabulous children's books out there, some of which everyone knows about and others we would have never discovered had my son not simply pulled a random book off a library shelf. I created this blog to share some of these wonderful stories with you. Think of it as a year's worth of the best children's books around, since no day should be without a great story. In the end, I hope we'll all have discovered at least a few new titles that will have made their way onto our list of family favorites. Enjoy!

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Day 142: Stars

I have always been fascinated by the night sky.  There is something so magical about gazing up at those little lights twinkling in the darkness.  When I look at the stars, I feel an overwhelming sense of wonder.  Beauty.  Serenity.  Timelessness.  How incredible to gaze upon the same stars that piqued the curiosity of Galileo and Aristotle, knowing they have been in the skies longer than life has existed on Earth?  Like finding shapes in the clouds, I love looking for constellations in the sky, too.  Just the other night, my son and I went on a night walk to see Venus and Jupiter, which were particularly brilliant with the new moon.  Orion was front and center in our sky, too, so we stood out in the cold as long as we could bear, pointing to the stars that make up his belt, telling the myth of the great hunter, and looking for other shapes and figures in the sky.  My son found his own snail constellation.  It was wonderful.

A good friend of mine recently recommended this book to me, and I was thrilled to find it at the library this past week.  I loved it from the moment I read it.  (Add another book to my ever-growing home library wish list!)  The book starts off talking about stars as we most commonly think of them -- celestial bodies glowing high above us in the night sky -- but then proceeds to feature different, yet perhaps equally powerful, types of stars. "A star is how you know it's almost night.  As soon as you see one, there's another, and another.  And the dark that comes doesn't feel so dark."  But what about the type of star you can cut out of shiny paper and keep in your pocket?  Or pin on your shirt as a sheriff badge?  Or place on a wand?  Or give to a friend?  Those kinds of stars can be magical, too.  "Some days you feel shiny as a star.  If you've done something important, people may call you a star.  But some days you don't feel shiny.  Those days, it's good to reach for the one in your pocket." Perhaps my favorite stars author Mary Lyn Ray mentions are those we can find in nature: "White stars in June grass become strawberries in July.  Yellow stars on pumpkin vines become October pumpkins." I love the gentle way in which this beautiful story encourages children to think about the many meanings and uses of stars, even their own inner star,  and Marla Frazee's illustrations are absolutely gorgeous.  I can't even describe how much I love the cover illustration, or the one of the dandelion being blown into a thousand stars in the sky, or of many families cuddled together on blankets stargazing on a stone wall at night.  I'm imagining all kinds of fun crafts and activities one could do with this book, too.  It was published in 2011, so you might find it, as I did, on your library's shelf of new books.  If you've never bundled up to go outside in your pajamas and look at the night sky with your own little star, I highly recommend it.  Then go get cozy and snuggle up together to read this great book.


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