Books that Celebrate Our Veterans

Books that Celebrate Our Veterans

In the United States, Veterans Day falls on November 11 every year. Veterans Day serves as a reminder to Americans to take the time to honor our military veterans, those who have fought to protect our country and the lives of others around the world. We dedicate November 11 to all of our veterans in remembrance of the anniversary of the end of World War I. While our girls don’t understand World War I, and quite frankly, don’t understand much about wars and our military in general, they have this holiday off of school every year, and I’d like for them to start to understand why. So…

Of course, we’re going to read some books about it! I have my eye on a few more books about veterans and Veterans Day, but I’m having trouble getting my hands on them right now… In the meantime, I’ve got four terrific titles to share with you, with hopefully more inspirational and informational reads to follow.

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DIY Light Table Box Directions

DIY Light Table Box Directions

I had had my eye on this beautiful light table for years, but had a hard time with both the price tag and the space it would take up in our playroom-less house. So, I moved on from it to a light table “box” from the same company, one that could be easily moved around as needed, or even stored out of the way when necessary. But, the price tag continued to give us pause… Until my handy husband realized he could probably make the same thing himself for a fraction of the price!

So, more than a year ago, he tinkered away and created a beautiful DIY light table box for our younger daughter’s 4th birthday. In fact, we loved his creation so much that he even helped a friend make one for their children, too! And, many, many of you asked for the step-by-step of how to make this yourselves. So, at long last — but hopefully in time for the holiday season — we’ve finally gotten it together for you! Read on to see how you can create your own beautiful light table box for your who family’s enjoyment.

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Two Many Birds by Cindy Derby — Author Interview AND a Giveaway!

Two Many Birds by Cindy Derby — Author Interview AND a Giveaway!

Ooh, do I have a treat for you today! Cindy Derby (author-illustrator of How to Walk an Ant and illustrator of Outside In, among others) has her second book as an author/illustrator releasing November 10, 2020 — Two Many Birds! And I’ve got both an interview with Cindy, as well as a giveaway of Two Many Birds happening over on my Instagram page. Check out the fascinating interview below, and be sure to pop over to Instagram for your chance to win a signed copy of Two Many Birds as well as an original bird painting from Cindy!

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Recent Favorites from a Second Grader #2

Recent Favorites from a Second Grader #2

About a month ago, I posted my first “Recent Favorites from a Second Grader” book recommendation post — and you all loved it! Turns out I’m not the only one who can’t keep up with what my independent reader is reading and loving. Many of you also have readers who are also moving into reading more and more chapter books independently.

So, every month or so, I’ll have our older daughter (a seven-year-old second grader) tell you about 4 or 5 of her favorite books lately. These might be books she’s read independently, family read alouds, or audiobooks. I’ll transcribe her reasons for why she loves these books, and add a few of my own thoughts if I have anything important to add.

Up today, we’ve got five of her favorite recent reads from October!

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November Family Focus: Gratitude and Thankfulness

November Family Focus: Gratitude and Thankfulness

I’m sure it was no big surprise to many of you when I posted our November Family Focus booklist last week, and you saw that our Family Focus Traits for November are gratitude and thankfulness. This was one of those months we planned intentionally in advance, knowing that we’d be talking about this right now as a family anyway. We officially kicked off our gratitude and thanksgiving Family Focus month on Sunday, and the girls are already incredibly excited about this!

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Our Book Choices for Native American Heritage Month

Our Book Choices for Native American Heritage Month

Did you know that Native American Heritage Month takes place in the United States every November? While I love books about gratitude and thankfulness and even have favorites about the Thanksgiving holiday itself, I usually hold off on featuring them on our front-facing bookshelf till closer to Thanksgiving. Instead, we take the first part of November to focus on reading and educating ourselves about Native Americans, in honor of Native American Heritage Month.

According to the National Congress of American Indians, Native American Heritage Month is

“A time to celebrate rich and diverse cultures, traditions, and histories and to acknowledge the important contributions of Native people. Heritage Month is also an opportune time to educate the general public about tribes, to raise a general awareness about the unique challenges Native people have faced both historically and in the present, and the ways in which tribal citizens have worked to conquer these challenges.” (from the NCAI website)

For more information about Native Americans in children’s literature, I love Dr. Debbie Reese’s website, American Indians in Children’s Literature, and the First Nations Development Institute Children’s Literature Recommended Reading List.

Now, keep reading to see our favorite books to read that are written by and feature Native Americans, for your November and year-round reading pleasure!

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The Couch Potato by Jory John and Pete Oswald

The Couch Potato by Jory John and Pete Oswald

Give me a show of hands if your children (and, let’s face it, you…) are obsessed with Jory John’s and Pete Oswald’s Seed/Egg/Bean series! If you, like my girls and I, have your hands in the hair, then rejoice, because… There’s a new member of the gang! Today, I’m thrilled to introduce you to The Couch Potato, by the fantastic John and Oswald duo! Read on to get a little insight into this hilarious addition to the series.

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The Power of One by Trudy Ludwig

The Power of One by Trudy Ludwig

Do you know Trudy Ludwig’s books? I’ve written before about Sorry! and The Invisible Boy. Those books have been two of our favorites for a while in our house, and both made it onto a variety of Family Focus Trait booklists this year. In other words, they’re wonderfully done and very powerful. So, when Trudy Ludwig reached out to me to see if my family would like her newest book, The Power of One: Every Act of Kindness Counts, you can bet I jumped on that offer! Read on to see a little about this new gem of a book.

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Merci Suárez Changes Gears by Meg Medina

Merci Suárez Changes Gears by Meg Medina

Do you have a favorite last line from a book? I usually think about my favorite leads, or first lines, in books. I mean, it doesn’t get much better than when Fern asked her mother “Where’s Papa going with that ax?” to open Charlotte’s Web. How could you not keep reading after that, because you just have to know where Papa is going and what he’s going to do with that axe! But, I shared two closing paragraphs from some nonfiction I’d read recently last week, and today’s recommendation, Merci Suárez Changes Gears by Meg Medina has another incredible closing line. The kind of finality that sticks with you after you close the book. One that makes you think and makes you want to return to the book again and again.

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20+ Terrific Thankfulness and Gratitude Picture Books

20+ Terrific Thankfulness and Gratitude Picture Books

If you’ve been following along on our Family Focus Traits adventure in 2020, you might have been able to guess that thankfulness and gratitude would be our chosen traits for November… While we assigned some traits to their months randomly (like honesty in May), and some because our girls needed them at that moment (teamwork and cooperation in March), others connected to themes we might already be talking about in a given month (such as growth mindset in January or compassion and empathy in February). While we want our girls to practice and develop attitudes of thankfulness and gratitude year-round (in fact, I wrote a post about this last November!), these traits fit perfectly in with conversations our family would already be having throughout Thanksgiving month. If you want to join us, check out the booklist below of more than 20 terrific picture books to help foster an attitude of gratitude!

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