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, June 27, 2013

Day 209: Living Color

A few days ago, a follower of the blog asked me for some nonfiction suggestions for 5-8 year olds.  As I searched through some past posts to see what titles I could share, I realized that I haven't featured many nonfiction titles on here.  Making nonfiction appealing to little ones can be tricky, but there are some gems out there that my kids and I absolutely love.

Living Color is one such book.  In fact, it's the kind of book for which I knowingly and willingly pay overdue library fines, because my son loves it that much and we've already renewed it as many times as we're allowed.  (I plan on sneaking it back to the library tonight so that it will be there for him to take out again tomorrow.)  Time to add another title to our must-own list!

We found this book on the library shelf in the nonfiction section about animals, and it was love at first read for my little nature lover.  In Living Color, author and illustrator Steve Jenkins has created a fabulous book that "takes a look at color in the animal world and some of the ingenious ways it is used."  Creatures of all kinds are sorted by color within its pages -- birds, spiders, snakes, fish, lizards, mammals -- each with an informative little description about what makes this animal unique.  The end of the book features an illustrated glossary of each animal mentioned within, including more information about the creature's size, habitat, and diet.  There is also an interesting page spread about why animals are different colors, how their colors are created, and how their colors have evolved through natural selection.  It's fascinating, colorful, and full of information for curious little minds.

If your child loves animals, science, or nature, be sure to look for this book the next time you are at the library.  My daughter (almost 3) loves looking at the pictures with us and learning about the animals, though doesn't have the attention span to sit through the reading the whole thing.  My 5 1/2 year old son, however, asks me to read this to him from cover to cover on a regular basis.

I've learned that Steve Jenkins has some other fabulous nature books out there, too, so am eager to look for more of them when we go to the library tomorrow.  In fact, I just realized that he also wrote Hottest, Coldest, Highest, Deepest, another great nonfiction book that we've read and loved.  If we're lucky, perhaps we'll find ourselves coming home with more than one of his books tomorrow.  If the others are as good as these ones, we'll be sure to let you know.

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Day 208: Cookies: Bite-Size Life Lessons

Sometimes when we're at the library and I don't have my list of "books-to-find," I turn to the shelves to find particular authors whose works we've enjoyed in the past.  Other times, my searches are more random, but last week, while I quickly perused the shelves for a few new books and my kids played with the puppets and trains, I employed the former strategy.  I was in the Q-R-S section, so looked to see what other stories Amy Krouse Rosenthal might have waiting for us.  We've enjoyed Duck! Rabbit! and Bedtime for Mommy, so I thought she might be a good bet.  When I saw a book called Cookies, I immediately took it off the shelf and added it to our pile.  We love baking cookies almost as much as we love reading, so I knew my kids would be excited to read it, too.

What a gem of a story!  Cookies: Bite Size Life Lessons explains the meaning of 21 different words -- some common, some new -- by defining them in terms of scenarios to which kids can easily relate.  The idea behind this adorable story is so creative and brilliant.  I just love it!  The illustrations are lovely, too.  Here are a few of my favorite examples from the book:

Cooperate means, How about you add the chips while I stir?
Modest means you don't run around telling everyone you make 
the best cookies, even if you know it to be true.
Trustworthy means, If you ask me to hold your cookie until you come back, 
when you come back, I will still be holding your cookie.
Open-minded means, I've never seen cookies like that before, but, uh, sure, I'll try one.  
Regret means, I really wish I didn't eat so many cookies.

Sweet, isn't it?

My kids are always asking me what words mean, and sometimes I struggle to define them in a way they can easily understand.  When this happens, I've found it is better and more meaningful to use the word in context rather than giving them a more traditional definition.  Cookies does just that, only far better and more creatively than I ever could.  It's sweet, clever, and a great way to teach children about some of life's most valuable qualities.  Combine reading this story with baking cookies of your own and you've got a perfectly fun-filled afternoon!


Tuesday, June 11, 2013

2013 Summer Reading Theme: Dig Into Reading!

This year's early literacy summer reading theme is Dig Into Reading!  While digging into a book is wonderful any day of the year, here are some that you might want to check out if you really want to get into this year's summer reading theme.  Enjoy, and happy reading!

(Click the images to read more about the books on, or click the linked titles to read my reviews as they originally appeared on this blog.)

Diggers and trucks!
Goodnight, Goodnight Construction Site by Sherry Dusky Rinker

Roadwork and Demolition by Sally Sutton

In the garden
 My Garden by Kevin Henkes

 The Curious Garden by Peter Brown

 Muncha! Muncha! Muncha! by Candace Fleming

 The Carrot Seed by Ruth Krauss

Digging for dinosaurs!
 See Me Run by Paul Meisel

 Flip-O-Saurus by Britta Drehsen and Sara Ball

 Dinosaurumpus! by Tony Mitton

 How Do Dinosaurs Say Goodnight? (and others from that series) by Jane Yolen


 I've never read this book so I can't vouch for its quality, but I'm so curious to check it out. It looks so fun! I stumbled across this book on Amazon and am going to look it up in our local library system.  We love building sandcastles at the beach in the summer, and while this book is probably more complicated than we can handle, it still seems like it would be fun to read.  I'll let you know if we find it and what we think!

What other books should be on this list?  Please share your favorites below!