Wednesday, November 30

The 12 Days of Children's Christmas Books

Who needs eight maids a-milking when you could read fantastic books instead? Okay, sorry, corny joke, but I did pick twelve Christmas books in honor of that song. You could give a kid the 12 days of Christmas books! Or read a book the 12 days leading up to Christmas. Or do a cool display. Or anything else your heart desires.

Personally, I'd read them every night before Christmas. This was always a family tradition of mine, to read holiday books together. This list, actually, is a collection of my very, very favorite reads from those many December nights. You see, I realized that there were certain books that I eagerly looked forward to every year. So yes, there are a lot of holiday books out there, but here are the ones that get me every time, with the last being my most favorite of all...

Snowmen at Christmas
Written by Caralyn Buehner, illustrated by Mark Buehner
978-0803729957 (Dial, 2005)

Ever wondered how snowmen celebrate? After everyone's asleep, they have their own big Christmas party, of course! Eating icy treats, they sing and dance, and eagerly await their snow gifts from snowman Kris Kringle. This book is written in wonderful rhyme, so it's perfect to read aloud. And then the pictures are so detailed and fun! Of course, I will also admit that it is written by a former teacher at my old elementary school, so I am especially biased...but still! So good. I sure love reading about the snowmen at Christmas.

Monday, November 28

Reviews of the Week 11/28

A solid group of 4-stars today. My holiday-break-reads were fun, inspiring, hilarious, and completely tragic. Yeah, I have quite the rollercoaster of emotions for you this week...


Wednesday, November 23

Harry Potter, The Boy Who Lived Will Never Die

It's practically Friday, right? What with a wonderful holiday tomorrow. So I'm just going to do a Fun Friday post today. Mainly because I found this comic online and it made me laugh really hard so I had to share it.

Harry Potter, my friends. His awesomeness will never die. In both the sense that the excellent series will continue to garner fans in years to come and...because people will want to keep making a buck off of it by creating all sorts of spin-offs. For instance, the recent release of Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them (yes, both the movie and screenplay book). A return to the wizarding world and the writing of J. K. Rowling for Harry Potter fans everywhere! (...and sadly, I have not yet seen the movie or read the screenplay. Soon to be remedied! Thanksgiving-tradition-of-going-to-a-movie to the rescue!)

Which brings me to the subject of this comic. Apparently, the only way to make a really excellent movie out of J. K. Rowling's to have her write the screenplay itself.

But hey, it makes for a funny comic strip...

Behold, George Rottkamp's comparisons between the Harry Potter books and movies.

Monday, November 21

Reviews of the Week 11/21

Thanksgiving this week! So yes, my mind is already on time with family eating delicious food. But there's always still time for books. The ones this week were pretty good, especially a certain picture book that's been garnering some Caldecott buzz...


Thursday, November 17

15 Extension Activities for I Want My Hat Back

Welcome back to my new series of posts highlighting some of my very favorite, favorite books and the supplementary games, songs, and activities you could use with them. This could be useful for library programs, the classroom, home schooling, or (of course) to just have fun with your kids! Previously, I've created fun activity lists for books like If You Plant a Seed and Mother Bruce. Now I'll share ideas for...

Oh, the irreverent humor of Jon Klassen in I Want My Hat Back. This is practically a classic by now, it's just so great. It's short, it's to the point, and man, does it have the best ending. So what sort of activities can go along with this book? Well, here are some ideas that will appeal to its target audience of kids aged 4 - 8 years.

1. Make your own pointy hatPlaying by the Book knows just what to do after enjoying this book: make and decorate your own beloved headwear! Her instructions (and my source for the photo) can be found here.

Monday, November 14

Reviews of the Week 11/14

What?? Two five-star ratings in one post?? I know, crazy. But there were some serious favorites that I read this week. Granted, they are biased favorites, because they appeal to my personal preferences, but I think a lot of other people will like them, too. Obviously. So see what you think!


Friday, November 11

Mock Newbery 2017

So maybe I'm calling it too early, but too bad. I want to share the books that I think should receive some Newbery attention.

Granted, with recent shake-ups in the norm (yes, I'm referring to the picture book that won last year, and the recent graphic novel honorees), it's pretty hard to get a good feel for what the committee might be eyeing. But I'm still going to take a stab at it. Or at least share some of my favorite middle-grade fiction from the last year, anyway.

And no, I know, I've never been spot on right, but I've gotten an honoree or two (see my mock 2015 and mock 2016). This year, there's a lot of good, but not one that just totally stands out to me like the last few years. It's a hard selection this year. I seriously spent a lot of time thinking about these.

But here are what I would call "the most distinguished contribution[s] to American literature for children"

Tuesday, November 8

Reviews of the Week 11/7: Sizing-Up Some Sequels

I got a bunch of new picture books from the library the other day, and they all happened to be sequels. So I'm just going to declare this another sequel list (like I've done before) and my reviews of the week all in one. Because I'm efficient like that. And! Included today? A New York Times Best Seller!


Friday, November 4

Turkey Book Displays and Book Return Poster

By far my most popular display I've made is my No-Shave November. Which I do love. It's pretty hilarious. So I don't really have a lot to add to the November library display collection...

Except for turkeys. I think they're so funny. So I couldn't resist adding to my book return meme collection (see the Batman, Yoda, and Gandalf ones here) with a new printable perfect for Thanksgiving:

And yes! You are free to print it and use it. If you want the pdf, here's the Google drive link.

Anyways, now I'm craving some turkey. Here are some other turkey library displays that I just want to gobble up!

Wednesday, November 2

15 Extension Activities for If You Plant a Seed

Welcome back to my new series of posts highlighting some of my very favorite, favorite books and the supplementary games, songs, and activities you could use with them. This could be useful for library programs, home schooling, or (of course) to just have fun with your kids! The first book I did was What This Story Needs is a Pig in a Wig, and then Mother Bruce. Now I'll share ideas for...

First and foremost, Kadir Nelson's If You Plant a Seed is a shining example of gorgeous, realistic illustrations. The art in this book is my favorite favorite. And then on top of all that, it has a really important message about selflessness and working together. The harvest and gratitude themes make it a really great read for November. Really, it's a genius book and definitely one of my favorites (see my original review back here). Here are some activities that will appeal to its target audience of about 4 - 7 years. 

1. Plant a seed—I know. Big surprise here. It really almost goes without saying. Here's a great resource to get you started: planting a bean in a cup (from Peep and the Big Wide World). (photo from marajane)