A Dozen Delightful Math Books

A Dozen Delightful Math Books

Ah, math… I personally loved math classes. The idea that there was one right answer and I could easily know if I was right or wrong really appealed to me. But, I know many people don’t feel the same way about math and worry about passing their feelings on to their kids, especially their girls. I also know from my teaching days that many parents are more than a little confused about “new math” and feel lost trying to help their children solve problems without just “putting a zero there” or “putting a little one up here.”

So, whether you love math and can’t wait to share that with your kiddos, you fall into the second group mentioned above, or your thoughts are somewhere in between, this post is for you! I searched high and low and read a TON of books about math to find the very best. I wanted books that were well-written and engaging, but that also a) used accurate mathematical thinking (for example, the number 10 is NOT a zero added to a one, which many a children’s book like to let kids think… Come on! 0 + 1 is 1, not 10!) and b) encouraged children to think in unique ways about numbers and other mathematical concepts.

Below, I’ve got a dozen delightful math books for your mathematical pleasure. Check them out, and then let me know if I missed any of your favorites!

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Picture Books with Characters Who Stand Up to Others

Picture Books with Characters Who Stand Up to Others

Have you been following along with us as we move through the year with a Family Focus Trait each month? We have been loving the intentionality and focus that it brings to conversations we’re having with the girls, and I have to say I may be more excited about October’s trait than I have been about any all year. And what makes this even better for us is that when we created our family’s school mantra for this school year, one of the girls named this trait! I was thrilled that it was on her mind before we had even focused on it, and even more thrilled by the timing, since I knew this was coming next. So…

In October, we’ll be reading picture books with upstanding role models, books with characters who stand up to and for others, facing down both friends and foes. Because being able to stand up for what’s right and respectfully but strongly tell others what’s right is absolutely a skill we want our children to carry with them through life.

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Camping-Themed Active Learning Journal Pages

Camping-Themed Active Learning Journal Pages

As some of you may remember from a few weeks ago, we took an amazing RV trip at the end of the summer, the week before school started. When making plans for what I wanted to take with us (which included a lot of books, of course, as well as some sticker-by-number and sticker-by-letter activity books and open-ended art supplies), I remembered that my friend Theresa from the Literacy in Motion account on Instagram created wonderful travel-themed active learning journal pages for her little ones when they traveled this summer. I took some of her ideas and managed to create a few unique pages of my own, and you all were incredibly eager to see these pages up close!

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My Family Builders Product Reviews

My Family Builders Product Reviews

Earlier this summer, Vera, also known as The Tutu Teacher, briefly mentioned that she loves My Family Builders blocks. If you don’t follow Vera, her recommendations tend to be exceptional, so I of course immediately went to the My Family Builders website to see what these blocks were… And, they looked so wonderful that I bought the small set immediately! And, while on the website, I also decided to splurge for their Happy Family Card Game. Now, I’m here to tell you in an unbiased, unsponsored review that our whole family is absolutely thrilled that we now own these two products!

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A Favorite Read-Aloud Tip

A Favorite Read-Aloud Tip

A few weeks ago, I posted something in an Instagram story about the books I had read aloud to our girls over dinner, and I was flooded with questions about if we read aloud to our girls every dinnertime. And the answer? No, not every dinnertime, as we try to make that a time to focus on family conversation, but I will read aloud at dinner if my husband is working late.

However, I DO read aloud almost every single breakfast, and most lunches that the girls eat at home. We started this when our oldest was about 1.5 years old, and we’ve been going strong in mealtime read alouds for the 5.5 years since. Read on to see what makes this such a successful time for our family to read aloud!

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50+ Books to Help Build Compassion and Empathy

50+ Books to Help Build Compassion and Empathy

Drum roll please… Our family character trait(s) for February are… compassion and empathy! (You can read more about our 12 character traits for 2020 here and here.) With Valentine’s Day in February, we wanted to focus our month on love and kindness, but in terms of having family conversations about our behaviors, those are both very broad, general terms. The more we thought about how we wanted to help our girls grow, we realized we wanted to help them SEE others more. To see other people and notice how they might be feeling. To put themselves in others’ shoes and act on what they observe. So, while we also obviously hope our children are kind in every way and show love to important people in their lives, we really want them to start to notice. To pay attention to others. To stop and help if it seems that they can, or to make amends for their own choices if they need to do so…

In other words, to approach the world around them with compassion and empathy!

As Jamie C. Martin wrote in Give Your Child the World: Raising Globally Minded Kids One Book at at Time, “Books help your family grasp on a new level that what we have in common with our worldwide neighbors far outweighs what separates us… It naturally develops compassion… because we all have similar needs, hopes, and desires. Great stories build an empathic foundation that leads to a life of service and concern for others” (p. 26). To that end, we love to use children’s literature to help our children develop fully as people. So, of course, we’ll be reading a lot of books showcasing compassion and empathy in February! Below, I’ve got 50+ amazing books for you to read with your children. Check it out, read along with us, and let me know if I’ve missed any amazing stories that our girls need to know and love!

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Books to Foster Growth Mindsets in Children

Books to Foster Growth Mindsets in Children

As a teacher, I studied and pondered the effects of mindset on our behaviors a lot, hoping to help my students see challenges and learning opportunities as chances to grow, rather than obstacles they might not be able to overcome. Now, as a parent raising two girls to approach challenges and new endeavors with optimism, perseverance, and a positive mind, I find research into growth and fixed mindsets even more fascinating and compelling (which I didn’t think was possible!).

So, what are growth and fixed mindsets? In a fixed mindset, one believes that qualities such as intelligence, personality, and moral character are set in stone, or fixed; he believes he cannot change these aspects of his lives and therefore feels he must prove himself or fear failure. A person with a growth mindset, however, believes that his intelligence, personality, and character can be changed through hard work, perseverance, dedication, and support from others; they believe that their potentials are unknown and unknowable (from chapter 1 of Carol Dweck’s Mindset: The New Psychology of Success (How We Can Learn to Fulfill Our Potential)).

For more information, I highly suggest reading Dweck’s Mindset. While I had read snippets of her research through my education and professional development, I figured her actual book would be heavy and hard to read. Boy, was I wrong! I am so glad I finally picked it up, because I don’t want to put it down!

So, to help with the important goal of raising growth-mindset-oriented children, I’ve compiled a HUGE (25+!) list of picture books to encourage growth mindsets with children of all ages, to help them understand that challenges are learning opportunities, failures chances to try again, and potential unimaginable! I’ve got fiction, biographies, and what I’ve called “direct instruction” books, books written explicitly to teach children about growth mindset.

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The Importance of Front-Facing Books– and How to Display Them

The Importance of Front-Facing Books– and How to Display Them

If you’ve followed me for any period of time at all, then you know by now that I LOVE our front-facing bookshelf. It was an investment we chose to make almost 4 years ago (see photo below), and it has been worth every single penny. Being able to see the cover of a book is so beneficial in so many ways to children!

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Being Your Child’s Writing Cheerleader

Being Your Child’s Writing Cheerleader

Notice any special publications on the bookshelf above? I’m reposting (with some edits) a post that I did more than ago, in the spring of 2019. But, I believe this information is even more important for you now, as parents are trying to navigate helping their children learn at home. Last week, I had the privilege of “attending” a virtual workshop for parents on how to help our children through writing workshop at home, put on by the lovely ladies from Inspire Literacy.

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Beautiful Books to Gift

Beautiful Books to Gift

This will come as no surprise to any of you all, but I love to give books as presents. Chances are good that if you have ever received a gift from our family, it was either a book or came with a book. Today, I’m thrilled to be partnering with my friend Nicole from Instagram’s @beginathome account to bring you 20 absolutely beautiful books perfect for gifting, whether for baby gifts, birthdays, or Easter baskets (because yes, Easter is right around the corner, in case you forgot in all the chaos of life lately…).⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀

Check out my ten(ish) of my favorite beautiful books to gift below, then hop over to Nicole’s Instagram post (and while you’re there, be sure to check out the rest of her inspiring account @beginathome!) to see her ten picks.

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