Jun 25, 2012

Book Blogger Hop June 22-28

Book Blogger Hop

This week's question: Do you immediately write a review upon finishing a book or do you wait and write multiple reviews at once?

I normally write the review as soon as I am done with the book. If I don't, I will confuse the book with the next one I read and the reviews will be all mixed up, or they won't get done at all.

Even if I decide to wait a few days before writing my review to let things sink in, I normally will not start a new book until the review is done.

How do you handle your reviews? Let me know in the comments.

May 6, 2012

Book Blogger Hop May 5-11

Book Blogger Hop

This week's question: What are the  next five books in your TBR (to-be-read) pile? And don't worry, you can change your mind and read something different-we won't check?

My list is never set in stone because I review children's books. Our family goes to the library once a week and whatever my 20 month old grabs off the racks is what we're reading for the week.

Here's my list:

1. The Girl Who Played with Fire by Stieg Larsson- This is my own personal read, not for review on the blog. I just finished The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo because of the movie being out and I decided to read the whole series.

2. The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet's Nest by Stieg Larsson- The last one in the series.

3. May I Bring A Friend? by Beatrice Schenk De Regniers - This was one of my favorite books to read as a child and I can't wait to introduce it to my son. There will be a review for this one.

4. Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day by Judith Viorst- Another childhood favorite that I will be reviewing with my son.

5. The Little One Series inspired by The Purpose-Driven Life by Amy Warren Hilliker- This series introduces the five purposes from The Purpose-Driven Life: Knowing God's love, Being a member of God's family, Growing in Christ, Helping People, and Telling others about God. I will be doing a review of these books but I will hold the review until my son and I have gotten through all of the books.

What books are in your TBR pile? Let me know in the comments.

May 5, 2012

Caldecott Challenge 1938 to Present

Laura of LibLaura5 and Anna Z of A to Z Library are hosting the Caldecott Challenge. The full details are here.

In a nutshell, I will be reading through all of the Caldecott Medal Winners and Honor Books by year, starting from 1938. I will be blogging about my progress here as well as tweeting using hashtag  #nerdcott.

This is a STRESS FREE challenge and there is no set deadline and I am quite happy about that. I plan on reading them in order and I know that some of the older titles may be harder to find. At this time, I have not decided how I will tackle the posts for this challenge. I may do video reviews for each individual book. I may do a single post for all the books for each year or even each decade. 

I guess I will decide once I read the first set of books. Here is a list of all the books.

Are any of you participating in the challenge? Be sure to let me know and link your blog in the comments.

Book Challenges and Reading Incentives

The past few weeks I have been working on getting my blog set up the way that I want and joining a few blog hops and book challenges.

Because my son is not yet 2, he doesn't really have certain books that he likes over others. I decided to join a few book challenges to help with this. Not only do I have "rules" to follow and my blog readers to hold me accountable, I also have a list to go by for picking out books. This makes it easier for me to find books to share with my son, but it also helps me go out of my comfort zone and find books that I may never have heard of or chosen on my own.

This is a great idea for parents as well. When you have a reluctant reader, a book challenge, with some incentive at the end, may be a good way to get them motivated. You don't have to worry about them not being able to find a book they like-there are book challenges for just about every genre. And when you have a list to follow, it helps to keep you involved as well as your child.

Most book challenges have some general rules, but you can always create your own. Use a book log like this to keep track of your child's reading and have a reward or incentive agreed upon from the beginning. The reward can be a trip to the ice cream shop, a pizza party, or anything that you want. Just be sure to let them choose the incentive.

If your child is not able or chooses not to complete the challenge, still praise them for what they did accomplish. You want them to know that you are proud of any of their accomplishments, no matter how small.

Do you participate in any book challenges or read-a-thons with your child? What types of incentives do you offer? Be sure to let me know in the comments.

May 4, 2012

Read to Me Book Challenge-Max Celebrates Cinco de Mayo

Max is invited to a fiesta at Jose's house. They are celebrating Cinco de Mayo. Food, music, dancing, and a parade are all part of the fun.

This is a very cute book with colorful illustrations about what goes on at a Cinco de Mayo celebration. The book explains the English translation of the words "Cinco de Mayo" and "fiesta." It shows the traditional clothing, foods, music, and some of the activities that occur at a fiesta.

As noted in other reviews out there, the book doesn't take the opportunity to explain the reasoning and history of Cinco de Mayo, only to say that it is a holiday in Mexico.

I read this book to my almost two year old (20 months). He enjoyed the illustrations and could point out tacos since we eat them quite a bit in our house, but he doesn't understand the concept of holidays.

This book is a Read-it! Readers Red Level, meaning that it "presents familiar topics using common words and repeating sentence patterns." This book is meant for children who are just beginning to read. The focus is more on them learning to read the words and not necessarily understanding the whole background of the holiday.

For this reason, I believe it is a very well written book for the age level it was meant for. To find out more about Cinco de Mayo and activities for your children, check out Apples 4 the Teacher's Cinco de Mayo page.

Do you have anything special that you do for Cinco de Mayo? Let me know in the comments.

Apr 28, 2012

Book Blogger Hop: BEA

Book Blogger Hop
In an effort to meet new bloggy friends, I decided to join the Book Blogger Hop hosted by Jen at Crazy for Books. 

The question for this week: Are you attending the Book Blogger Convention and/or Book Expo America in NYC in June? If not, will you participate in the online event Armchair BEA?

Because this is the first few months of my blog, I will definitely not be attending any of the conventions in NYC, but I will try my best to participate in Armchair BEA.

I can't wait to meet new bloggy friends!!!

Are you attending any of the Book Blogger events? Let me know in the comments.

Apr 27, 2012

Book Review-Once Upon a Potty by Alona Frankel

I received this book a few months ago from a friend when I mentioned to her that I wanted to introduce the concept of potty training to my then 18 month old son. He wasn't very interested in the potty, or the book, for that matter. Now, at 20 months old, he is used to seeing the potty around the house and he is getting interested in the book.

Once Upon a Potty is a book about a child who receives a big present from his grandmother.  He opens it and finds this strange thing inside. He goes through the motions of trying to determine what this thing is (maybe a flower pot or milk bowl for the cat).

He finally realizes that it is a potty for "making Wee-Wee and Poo-Poo into."

This book was originally written in 1975 for the author's own son who was potty training at the time. It is a bit dated in that the potty illustrations have not been updated. Of course the sound strip was added after the fact but the illustrations and text have not been changed.

In our current generation most parents, including myself, try to teach our children the anatomically correct  words for their body parts, so that is definitely a drawback to this book.

Also, if your children are literal about pictures, they may be a bit confused about their potty. The "potty" in this book is not a potty chair like we use today, but more of a pitcher with a handle.

Overall, the general concept of teaching your child about the purpose of a potty is there and my son enjoys pushing the buttons and hearing the sounds. Because he was already familiar with his potty, this book didn't do too much damage, but I probably wouldn't recommend it to a parent who is new to potty training or a child who has never seen a potty before.

If you are interested in purchasing this book, you can find it here.

What are your favorite books about potty training? Let me know in the comments.

Demibooks Storytime for iPad

For all of you iPad lovers and owners out there, Usborne Books has teamed with Demibooks to offer high quality, educational, interactive books for your children.

Storytime is a Reader App that houses several books for readers to enjoy.  There will be Kane Miller titles within the app available for purchase, as well as titles from other publishers and independent authors.

How does it all work?
Usborne Books & More is partnering with Demibooks to promote Storytime.  Through direct sales, home shows, book fairs, fundraisers, grants, school and library sales, Usborne Books & More promotes Usborne and Kane Miller print books. Now, we're adding digital titles to the Usborne Books & More catalogue. 
If you work with an Usborne Books & More sales consultant, please enter your consultant’s ID code when you register Storytime. If you don’t have the code right away, don’t worry you can add this later in Settings – but please do add this to your account as soon as you can and get the current month’s "UBAM Book” free for you to download. It’s a way for us to thank you!
How will customers know when books are added to Storytime?
When we add new books to the Store, you will get a notification on your iPad's Notification Center. Please accept notifications when you first install Storytime. You can always go to the iPad's Settings - Notifications to change how Notifications are displayed for Storytime.
You can also touch the Refresh button on the Store screen to see any new content added to the Store.

How much is Storytime?

Storytime is actually a free download.  There will be an opportunity for users to make in-app purchases of different titles.  There will initially be 5 Kane Miller titles available for purchase, costs vary from $2.99-$5.99.

What other books are going to be made into interactive e-books through this process?

There a number of items in the the pipeline and as they are closer to being made available, you will be able to see a "Coming Soon to Storytime" button on those titles.

I will be purchasing these interactive e-books not only to showcase and demo to my customers, but to provide reviews here on the blog.

As you all know, I am an Education Consultant for Usborne Books and More. By entering my consultant id P3864 you will be allowed to download a title for FREE!!!*

What are your favorite Usborne and Kane Miller books? Let me know in the comments and you may see them in the Storytime Reader app.

*By using my consultant ID, Usborne Books will track your in-app purchases and I will receive a small commission.

Mar 2, 2012

Happy Birthday Dr. Seuss!!

In honor of Dr. Seuss' birthday, we did the only logical thing: pull out all of CJ's Dr. Seuss books and read them all.

I took advantage of one of those trial offers to a kid's site and got six Dr. Seuss books and this bag for only $0.99. You sure can't beat that deal.

He took a moment to hold up two of his favorite books from the set.

Mr. Brown Can Moo is his absolute favorite book of all times. He loves all the crazy noises that we make when we read it.

He took a break from reading to play with the iPad cover, only to realize that I had the iPad in my hand taking pictures of him.

Time to clean up before nap time.

What special activities do you have planned for Dr. Seuss' birthday? Be sure to let me know in the comments.

10 Tips for Reading Aloud to Children

Based on "Thirty DO's to Remember When Reading Aloud" by Jim Trelease

First of all let me just say, I LOVE THIS BOOK. It has the best tips on how to begin reading aloud and which books to choose, suggests ways to create reader-friendly home, classroom, and library environments. And my favorite, it gives tips on luring children away from the television.

1. Remember: The art of listening is acquired.

2. Set aside at least one traditional time each day for a story.

3. Read slowly enough for the child to build mental pictures.

4. Use plenty of expression, change your tone of voice, and adjust your pace to fit the story.

5. Encourage involvement; invite the child to turn pages for you.

6. Ask "What do you think is going to happen next?"

7. During repeat readings of a predictable book, stop at key phrases and allow the child to provide the words.

8. If you can't finish a chapter, find a suspenseful spot at which to stop.

9. Vary the length and topics of your readings, fiction and nonfiction.

10. Reading aloud comes naturally to very few people. To do it with ease takes practice. It's worth it!

What tips do you have for reading aloud to children? Be sure to let me know in the comments.