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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The “Grace” Series by Kelly DiPucchio

The “Grace” Series by Kelly DiPucchio

Do you know Kelly DiPucchio’s Grace for President and Grace Goes to Washington (both illustrated by LeUyen Pham)? If not, then stick with me to hear all the reasons that you should, especially right now. Are you looking for books featuring strong female characters for Women’s History Month? Yes, Grace is fictional, but she breaks through a lot of barriers for women! How about books to read with your children during election madness between now and November? DiPucchio has you covered! Need a refresher on how the electoral college, the branches of government, and checks and balances work? Maybe read these more for yourself than for your children… A diverse main character and cast of supporting characters? Check! Wonderful messages of making good on promises and using teamwork and cooperation to find compromises that not only make everyone happy, but foster inclusivity? You betcha! Now that I’ve got you hooked, read on for a bit more about each of these wonderful titles. Continue reading “The “Grace” Series by Kelly DiPucchio”

A (Nonsponsored) Review of Libro.fm

A (Nonsponsored) Review of Libro.fm

About nine months ago, I switched my audiobook membership from Audible, which I had used on and off for about 10 years, to Libro.fm. If you’ve never heard of Libro.fm, you’re not alone — I had also never heard of it until a friend in my book club mentioned that I should check it out, since I love both our local bookstore AND audiobooks so much. A brief minute on the Libro.fm website was enough to convince me to switch, and I haven’t looked back since. Read on to see an unsponsored review of our Libro.fm experience, why we love it, and some of the titles we’ve enjoyed listening to with our Libro.fm account. If you make it all the way to the bottom, I have a (nonsponsored, normal) referral link for you to try Libro.fm out! Continue reading “A (Nonsponsored) Review of Libro.fm”

Terrific Books for Black History

Terrific Books for Black History

As you likely know, February is Black History Month in the United States. Though this started as a week to raise awareness (Negro History Week) in 1925 and expanded to a full-month’s celebration in 1976, I urge you to take this Black History booklist use it, year-round, to educate and influence the next generation! While it’s important to remember that we do have a special month to focus on the amazing people who paved more smooth roads for future generations and their hopes and dreams, it’s also important to recognize these accomplishments and achievements throughout the rest of the year, too. You’ll see the big-name anti-slavery and Civil Rights leaders on this list, but you’ll also see lesser-known authors and artists, athletes and advocates, and more, as well as informational stories about experiences and movements in Black history. My hope is that we can all use this to continue to deepen our awareness of the contribution of Black Americans to our society!

So, whether you’re looking for specific resources to expand your students’ awareness of Black history during the month of February, or you’re hoping to help your children learn more about Black history throughout the year, I hope you’ll find the list below helpful! Bookmark it now and check in from time to time, as I’ll continue to update it as new titles appear (and, based on 2019 and 2020 so far, we’re on a terrific trend for stories about lesser-known people and events from Black history!). Continue reading “Terrific Books for Black History”

My Year in Review, and Looking to 2020

My Year in Review, and Looking to 2020

This website has been live for a little over 13 months now, and it’s been quite a journey to learn how to run a website! This will be my last post till the girls go back to school in 2020, and I wanted to do a quick wrap-up of 2019, as well as give you a sneak peek of what will be happening with Children’s Lit Love content in 2020! Continue reading “My Year in Review, and Looking to 2020”