#100PictureBookSummer Kickoff

Volume 2, Week 1

Late last spring I stumbled upon a stellar list, 100 Picture Books for Your Summer Reading, put together by blogger and book reviewer Book Nerd Mommy.  (She did it again! Check here.) I challenged my kids, and really myself, to read through its entirety, and we did, with only a few substitutions. This summer, I’ve extended the same challenge with one small but significant change… Aspiring authors need to study the market (aka momma needs mentor texts), so we’re going rogue and doing it without a list! Our summer breaks start early around here, the last day of school was May 24.  Thankfully, it lasts right at 10 weeks, which makes the math part of this challenge an easy pill to swallow. So, the plan is, 10 different picture books each week for 10 weeks. They won’t all be new books, though most will.  We’ll definitely leave room for some from our own shelves and plan to visit a few ‘old favorites’ as well.  In the course of the past year, I’ve also found my way to a few new (or at least new to me) blogs that approach the study of picture books from different angles and I’m hoping to incorporate these into our reading.

If you’re reading this and have similar plans for the summer, I’d love to hear from you! I’d love to hear your favorites. I’d love to hear what you learn.  Make suggestions! Send recommendations! (Feel free to use the hashtag, too!) This time around, I plan to be a little more specific in my reading list, while also letting my kids pick out books that call out to them from the library shelves.  I hope to read more from local authors and I want to read more non-fiction.  I intend on engaging with some of the stories and incorporating ‘beyond the book’ activities.  But the goal in all of this is really just to read, read, read.  Let me (re)introduce you to my counterparts in this daring undertaking:

OC– She’s 8 now and fully submersed in the world of MG (middle grade) chapter books.  She agreed to play along with these picture books but is also hoping to spend more time lost in her own age-appropriate novels.  Her demeanor is as spunky as her hair is curly. She’s inspired, intelligent and inventive and never meets a stranger (or a book she won’t devour).

MC– He’s 6 years old and as enthusiastic, energetic and eager as ever.  He loves funny stories and will laugh about them long after the cover is closed.  He’s really grown a lot this past school year and is always excited to put his newest super power to good use. (Reading!) He gets excited by new books and big words that he can manage on his own.  He also loves telling stories and has a strong affinity for drawing/creating.  I’m eager to see how that guides his choices of picture book favorite.

YC– I don’t have a favorite child but I do have a favorite age (so far.) It happens to be 4, which is the exact age of my youngest child.  At 4, it seems like kids are both experts on everything AND experiencing life for the first time (that they can recall.)  It’s been a magic age for my older two kids and this third time around is no different.  The kid behind the age is different, however!  YC has always been the comedic relief of the family, but as he’s grown so has his knack for making others laugh. He’s silly and he loves it. He loves characters who share this trait, as well.

So, without further ado… our first week of our #100PictureBookSummer starts now.

  1. Whobert Whoover written by Jason Gallaher, illustrated by Jess Pauwels (There might just be a Paper People interview about this book in the near future!)
  2. Monster Trucks written by Joy Keller, illustrated by Misa Saburi (a fast favorite and another future Paper People interview!)
  3. LMNO Peas by Keith Baker
  4. Elephant & Piggie I Really Like Slop! by Mo Willems (MC gets great practice reading with this series, I get the feeling these two characters will be constant companions.)
  5. Elephant & Piggie Are You Ready to Play Outside? by Mo Willems
  6. The Legend of Rock Paper Scissors written by Drew Daywalt, illustrated by Adam Rex (I cannot even begin to tell you how many epic Rock, Paper, Scissor battles we’ve had around here lately.)
  7. Not A Box by Antoinette Portis
  8. Apple Pie ABC by Allison Murray
  9. Square Cat ABC by Elizabeth Schoonmaker
  10. What Do You Do with an Idea? written by Kobi Yamanda, illustrated by Mae Besem
  11. Something Extraordinary by Ben Clanton

Hmm…somehow, I managed to slip an extra book in there.  Oh well, I always think ‘an extra, just in case’ is a good idea.  It’s been a great first week of summer and these books really kicked things off well. As an added bonus, check out Joy Keller’s blog Picture This: A Blog for Teachers. In a recent post, she ties in a fun math activity using a ten frame and her debut picture book Monster Trucks.  I don’t know about your kids, but mine love to play school, especially during the summer. Later, when everyone is awake, I’m going to print off the adorable worksheet associated with the post. Their ‘classroom’ is still set up from yesterday so it’ll be a perfect time to do a few fun math exercises and then hand it off to today’s ‘teacher’. I’m off to work on another great author interview that I’ll share in the coming weeks.  I hope your school year wrapped/wraps up well.

 

Thanks for reading, come back anytime!

–          JP

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The Big Finale!

Today is a great day.  Not your run of the mill great day either; I’m talking about a ‘stars have aligned, my hair isn’t frizzy and I’m having the best cup of coffee ever’ kind of great day.  On top of all that goodness, it’s the last day before school starts in our house, the official end to our #100PictureBookSummer, marks 6th months to the day that Magnolias & Manuscripts has been in existence… and it’s my birthday. See, what I mean!

Before I talk more about our day, I want to rewind a few months.  On a not so hot, not as humid, late springtime afternoon I received an unexpected package.  Feeling confused and excited, I opened it to find one of the more thoughtful gifts I’ve ever received.  A dear family member surprised me with the most wonderful vote of confidence and whole hearted support, in the form of an adorable monogrammed book bag you see at the top of the post and my very own stationery.  Being the sentimental type, I cried and knew that I was holding in my hand something very significant.  The book bag lit such an enthusiastic fire under me, from a writing perspective.  I’m convinced that it’ll always stand out as a turning point in my journey.  It validated that there are people who believe in me, and on those days where I’m feeling so far from the top of this picture book mountain, I look at the bag and remember that I need to believe in myself. The bag quickly became one of my most treasured possessions and has lovingly carried each and every library haul on our 100 book journey.  Here are numbers 91-100, and I’ve included the link to the full list if you’re interested… But like I said last week, this week was all kids choice.  We went ‘off-list’ and picked ones that called to us from the library shelves. Here they are, in no particular order…

  1. Super Fly Guy by Tedd Arnold
  2. Hide and Sheep by Andrea Beaty & Bill Mayer
  3. Maxwell’s Mountain by Shari Becker & Nicole Wong
  4. Jack by Tomie dePaola
  5. No Dogs Allowed by Linda Ashman & Kristin Sorra
  6. Fortunately, Unfortunately by Michael Foreman
  7. Doodleday by Ross Collins
  8. My Brave Year of Firsts by Jamie Lee Curtis & Laura Cornell
  9. Llama llama, Time to Share by Anna Dewdney
  10. How this Book was Made by Mac Barnett & Adam Rex

http://www.booknerdmommy.com/100-picture-books-summer-reading/

In order to mark all of the goodness of today, but especially to celebrate the fact that my kids and I have eagerly devoured every part of 100 books this summer, we spend the morning at Barnes & Noble.  Being a family that is frugal and faithful library patrons the actual BUYING of books are saved for extra special occasions, and today was exactly that.  Each of our kids and their momma chose a book to add to our home library, and then we had lunch! We took our time, read a few, talked about a few more and made very careful decisions.  YC picked a favorite from week one, MC chose one that features a familiar feline, OC decided on the first of a fancy new series, and I decided to surround myself with extraordinary women. Regardless of whether you’ve been following along from number 1 or just caught the last 10, I appreciate you being here. This summer has been one for the record books, and I loved sharing our journey.  The start of school marks the end of my mid-week posts, but also the start of exciting new opportunities. h Join Emma Bland Smith and I on Sunday for a conversation about her debut picture book, Journey: Based on the story of Or7, The Most Famous Wolf in the West. As always…

Thanks for reading, come back anytime!

-JP

Week Nine!

We’ve started cashing in! Well it turns out we should have been doing that all summer long, but we started cashing in on Summer Reading prizes nonetheless. The theme is Building Better Readers, so my kids have made lego characters and filled tool boxes that are displayed on the wall.  We even had a silly and sweet pizza lunch yesterday thanks to the ‘Free Kids Buffet’ coupons they earned.  (Don’t worry, we started at the salad bar… which is good because we ended with chocolate pizza!)  My kids are proud of their accomplishments, and I’m just proud that I could see this challenge through.  Ten more books and we’ll hit our 100-book mark, and just in time because school starts next week.  We’ve strayed from the list a bit more, with OC asking for chapter books and my boys asking to ‘pick their own’.  I guess taking a stack from the hold shelf doesn’t hold the same appeal.  So, most of the list below are from Book Nerd Mommy’s 100 Picture Books for Your Summer Reading list, but the next ten are all ‘kids pick’.  Also, I have a fun celebration planned for next Wednesday, which happens to also be my birthday AND the last official day of summer. It’s going to be great.

  1. 1 Zany Zoo by Lori Degman & Colin Jack
  2. Flora the Flamingo by Molly Idle
  3. Stand Tall, Molly Lou Melon by Patty Lovell & David Catrow
  4. Ninja by Aree Chung
  5. I’m Bored by Michael Ian Black & Debbie Ridpath Ohi
  6. More Pies by Robert Munsch & Michael Martchenko
  7. Where Are The Words? By Jodi McKay & Denise Holmes
  8. Last Stop on Market Street by Matt de la Pena & Christian Robinson
  9. The Napping House by Audrey Wood
  10. The Best Pirate by Sue Mongredien & Dan Taylor

Here’s the full list: http://www.booknerdmommy.com/100-picture-books-summer-reading/

As I wind down my Wednesday posts with the challenge next week, I have one more ‘guest reviewer’ to introduce to you.  YC, as he’s known here, is a man of many aliases and can often be found wearing dingy white tube socks and someone else’s shoes.  He’s the entertainer of the bunch. Sitting on the brink of the magical age of four, he’s part toddler, part ‘big boy’ and all heart. YC provides countless laughs every day.  He quotes movies… appropriately in conversation, he’s the first to give hugs, smothers me with adorable kisses and is the proud owner of countless imaginary friends. (Toby is a dragon, Zack is a bear, and there’s a whole herd of ‘his kids’ that tag along too).

If I really get down to the bottom of who he is, inside that precious little body is a boy appropriately and adorably sure of himself, as only a ‘threenager’ can be.  He’s the one who likes to swing higher and driver faster, he possesses an on-point comedic timing and he doesn’t hesitate to stand up for himself (even to kids more than twice his age/size).  Something about his personality exudes a confidence and a calmness that is contagious.  When I find myself in the midst of a motherly-spiral, he gives me a hug, and I immediately start to calm down.  (If you read between the lines here, I just pointed out that like any good third born, he knows exactly how to work the system and when he needs to turn up the charm to stay on my good side. Did I mention that he’s funny?)  I asked YC what it was he likes most about reading.  He ‘loves when someone says the words to (him).’   I’m guessing that means while he’s sitting on their lap because he still fits perfectly there.  As the last line of the last book says, YC is “…the smallest, the bravest, (one of) the best.”

So that wraps up their time in the Magnolias spotlight and nearly wraps up our summer.  I hope you join me next week for numbers 91-100, and to hear how the four of us celebrate our success.  I also hope you’ll join me here Sunday, for the first of my Paper People interviews!

 

Thanks for reading, come back anytime!

-JP

Week Six

I’m afraid my adorable guest reviewers have left me high and dry this week.  Well, that’s not technically true since it’s been raining every day, but regardless, I’m solo.  I can’t blame them though, spending a week at the farm, swimming, picking watermelons and chasing bunnies does sound like a lot of fun.  Thankfully I didn’t lose momentum without them, (let’s be honest, I’m doing this for me anyway!)  I think this is one of the best groups of books yet.  I substituted a couple from the list with some books I needed for other projects, and they were a wonderful fit.  Strategically, or coincidentally placed throughout Book Nerd Mommy’s list (see link at the bottom for the full list) are wordless picture books, this week was no exception.  Journey was a beautiful story about the power of creativity, color and imagination.  Maybe Something Beautiful had a similar theme and was based on true events.  Journey: Based off of OR7 The Most Famous Wolf in the West was also based on true events, and was written by a debut picture book author.  Let Me Finish was also written by a debut author, and I’m pretty sure was based off of the events of my everyday life… okay not really, but its adorable and I completely empathize with the struggle!

This probably doesn’t come as much of a surprise, but I’ve been trying to educate myself on the ins and outs of debut authors. Your only ‘debut’ once, and we all hope to be there one day, right?  This desire has been exacerbated (nursing word!) by participating on a book launch team, and seeing some of the behind the scenes goodness.  Little (or widely) known fact: Authors are responsible for the majority of their books marketing.  Some publishing houses even want a written marketing plan from their authors.  It seems prudent to me, to learn as much as I can, while writing as much as I can, and reading as much as I can.  That’s it folks, one day if I make it big, that’s the advice I’ll share… Read. Write. Learn. Always and Often.  I’ll be the guinea pig and let you know how it turns out! Here’s the list of books from this week and a link to Book Nerd Mommy’s full list of 100 Picture Books for Your Summer Reading.

  1. Let Me Finish! by Minh Le & Isabel Roxas
  2. Maybe Something Beautiful by F. Isabel Campony, Theresa Howell & Rafael Lopez
  3. Journey by Aaron Becker
  4. Journey: Based On the True Story of OR7 the Most Famous Wolf in the West by Emma Bland Smith & Robin James
  5. Put Me in a Zoo by Robert Lopshire
  6. They All Saw a Cat by Brendan Wenxzel
  7. If I Had A Gryphon by Vikki Vansickle & Cale Atkinson
  8. Billy and Goat at the State Fair by Dan Yaccarion
  9. The Adventures of Beekle by Dan Santat
  10. City Shapes by Diana Murray & Bryan Collier

You’ll be happy to know that I did complete my homework from Sunday, and even turned it in early…Writing in first person, it was more fun than I thought! Also, stay tuned later this month, I’m interviewing Randy Lynn Mrvos, editor of Kids Imagination Train and author of Maggie and the Summer Vacation Show and Tell just days before the books big release!

Here’s the link I promised you!

http://www.booknerdmommy.com/100-picture-books-summer-reading/

Thanks for reading, come back anytime!

-JP

Week 5 of Our #100PictureBookSummer

 

I can’t believe that we’re half way through our summer reading list!  I have to be honest, I lost track of the week with yesterday being a holiday and today feeling like ANOTHER Monday.  But I’m here, we’ve been reading and this week is all about OC.

Seven and a half years ago, we dove head first into our life as parents with the birth of this precious girl.  She made her grand entrance earlier than expected, and with a little more excitement than we planned.  Wouldn’t you know it, she still does things on her own time and always with a bit of flair.  Her curly hair was and still is, a perfect match for her personality.  She’s equal parts cautious and impulsive, inquisitive and certain, and one hundred percent generous and thoughtful.   Lucky for me, she has the memory of an elephant; that often comes in handy when you’re an absent-minded momma.  She’s the first one to read any of my manuscripts, and she’s the silent third party of all my critique partnerships.  OC reads well, reads often and loves it most when she’s reading to her younger brothers. This week, with the list below, I asked her to read a little deeper into each story.  I wanted to know, not only her favorites but also the theme in each one.  We talked about the main characters, and the change each one underwent as the story unfolded.  She couldn’t pick out of the following two, and who was I do decide?  (spoiler alerts below)

  1. Ellie by Mike Wu
  2. The True Story of the Three Little Pigs by A. Wolf as told to Jon Scieszka, illustrated by Lane Smith
  3. Caps for Sale by Esphyr Slobodkina
  4. Swatch by Julia Denos
  5. Sleep Like a Tiger by Mary Logue and Pamela Aagarenski
  6. Red Cat, Blue Cat by Jenni Desmond
  7. Balderdash! By Michelle Markel and Nancy Carpenter
  8. Are We There, Yeti? by Ashlyn Ashtee
  9. Tuesday by David Wiesner
  10. Cloudette by Tom Lichtenheld (this one was a personal homework assignment from a friend, and a perfect fit… thanks, JH!)

For the full list of books we’re reading check out Book Nerd Mommy’s blog here http://www.booknerdmommy.com/100-picture-books-summer-reading/

“First, I really liked Red Cat, Blue Cat.  At the beginning of the book, they don’t like each other, until they try to be just like the other one.  Once they tried to be each other and it didn’t work out, they realized that being their own selves was the best of all.  That’s how it should be, really, you should always be happiest with who you really are.  I also liked Ellie, she was so sad because she didn’t have a talent.  All she wanted to do was help, but in the end, she discovered she had the greatest talent of all and saved the day.  We all have special things about us, we just need to use them.”

Wise words, from my wise girl.  I appreciate these books and the conversations they inspire more with each passing week.  But then again, picture books have always been, and will always be pure magic.  Thanks for hanging in through 50.  Wish us luck for our last few weeks!

Thanks for reading, come back anytime!

-JP

Week Three of Our #100PictureBookSummer.

This week, the local chapter of SCBWI held a panel on ‘Creating Books for Children’ and the different avenues of publishing (traditional vs self).  I’ve not been able to make it to any SCBWI meetings prior to this one, but for a first timer, it surely did not disappoint.  It was energizing and inspiring to be in a room full of like-minded people from right here in my own community.  Because of this meeting, our library haul came in a little later than usual, but my kids have not wasted any time diving in. (To clarify, SCBWI is the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators.)

Here’s our list for the week, and again, I’ve included the link to the Book Nerd Mommy post containing the entire list of 100 Picture Books for Your Summer Reading.

  1. Puddle Pug by Kim Norman
  2. Through the Forest by Stephanie Broccoli and Catherin Bidet
  3. Corduroy by Don Freeman
  4. Chicka Chicka Boom Boom by Bill Martin Jr, John Archambault, and Lois Ehlert
  5. ..Jane by Patrick McDonell
  6. What A Wonderful World by Bob Thiele and George Scieszka
  7. Rain by Linda Ashman and Christian Robinson
  8. The Snurtch by Sean Ferrell and Charles Santoso
  9. Float by David Miyares
  10. Up in the Garden, Down in the Dirt by Kate Messner and Christopher Silas Neal

 http://www.booknerdmommy.com/100-picture-books-summer-reading/

(Jamberry continues to elude me! I’ve read the adorable story; I want my kids to read it too but I can’t seem to get my hands on a copy.  Each year we make strawberry jam, except we call it jelly… and I think it’s technically strawberry preserves but you get the point.  Jamberryyyyyy, where are youuuuuu?)

I don’t plan to make a habit out of this, but I went out of order on the list.  Float and Up in the Garden, Down in the Dirt are two that wouldn’t have come home this week had I not, but I’m sure glad they did.  What’s great about this group of books is that theme, which is summed up in the title of one of its own, What A Wonderful World.  From learning about Dr. Jane Goodall to the magic world of earthworms that exists below the surface.  The stories in these books embraced the wonders of the world in which we all live, even if sometimes those wonders includes the perfect puddle for jumping.  I’m making a prediction here, all three of my guest reviewers will choose the same book from the stack.  Never mind what mom thinks, what does she know anyway?

 

And I was right, today’s favorite was…

The Snurtch–  (spoiler alert!) OC says, “In the beginning, the Snurtch is always bothering her but then everyone realizes they have their own Snurtches”.  MC and YC agreed, calling the book “hilarious” and “silly” respectively.  That’s high praise for boys their age.

(YC wanted to make sure that Puddle Pug was listed as an Honorable Mention, “because, Mom, you see, there’s dogs and puddles and I like that too.”)

Ironically, or not, all our ‘snurtches’ were out in full force this morning, so I thought it a perfect opportunity for us each to describe them, hoping they would run and hide.  Mine is orange, with yellow hair and horns.  OC decided hers was “teal, and turquoise, and purple, and black, and blue with some brown.”  MC is fully immersed in the ‘imitation is the greatest form of flattery’ phase, otherwise known as ‘I’m going to say exactly what my mom says’ so his was also orange, but with some nudging, has black hair and bull horns.  YC’s is green (as is everything in his life) with green eyes and green hair.

We still have a couple of days to love on this stack of books.  I hope you have something good to read on this warm Wednesday afternoon as well!

 

Thanks for reading, come back anytime!

-JP

Week Two of Our #100PictureBookSummer

What a fun week of books this has been!  There was something for everyone in this stack. As we made our way through numbers 11-20, each day my kiddos had a new favorite.  In fact, it was hard to get them to commit to one, but I finally managed, thanks to a little wheeling & dealing.  (Toddlers are the world’s best negotiators.) Here’s our list:

  1. When Sophie Gets Angry… Really, Really Angry by Molly Bang
  2. If You Want to See a Whale by Julie Fogliano & Erin E Stead
  3. Owl Moon by Jane Yolen & John Schoenherr
  4. Frederick by Leo Lionni
  5. Tap the Magic Tree by Christie Matheson
  6. The Rainbow Fish by Marcus Pfister
  7. The House in the Night by Susan Marie Swanson & Beth Krommes
  8. Tin Lizzie by Allan Drummond (this one was a substitution, I couldn’t find Pedal Power by Allan Drummond)
  9. Hooray for Hat by Brian Won
  10. Going Places by Peter and Paul Reynolds.

If you’re just joining us on our #100PictureBookSummer, here’s the link to Book Nerd Mommy’s 100 Picture Books for your Summer Reading that we’re following.

http://www.booknerdmommy.com/100-picture-books-summer-reading/

I couldn’t put my finger on an underlying theme through all ten books this week, but there were lessons there for sure.  In Owl Moon, Tin Lizzie and If You Want to See a Whale, it was one of patience and persistence.  Going Places and Frederick celebrated those who think outside the box, and Hooray for Hat and When Sophie Gets Angry… helped to illustrate emotions and simple, silly ways to overcome those which are not so fun.  Tin Lizzie also did a beautiful job starting a conversation of conservation (tongue twister) and change.

I can’t pick a favorite, but if you’ll indulge me for a moment I do want to share a sweet story.  We live in such a rural area that it takes two libraries (and two library cards) to get all 10 books each week.  I try to get as many as I can from our local, small town library, and Owl Moon was one of those.  As the rest of my family was running around, burning off the last of their summer evening energy, I picked up Owl Moon and snuck to my room to enjoy it in quiet.  As I opened the cover, I stumbled upon a touching and tender surprise.  Twenty-nine years ago, I lost my older brother.  My parents channeled their grief and honored his memory in many ways over the years.   I’m not sure if they even remember all that they did to help my sisters and I to remember him. I am fairly certain that when they bought and donated a book to the library in his honor, they never thought about the effects it would have almost thirty years later.  As I looked on the inside cover of Owl Moon, I saw his name, my parent’s name, and my own.  It was like I had been given a heavenly hug and a playful nudge of affirmation.  I was quick to share the moment with my own family, and I savored every word of the book (amidst the running, jumping and squealing in the background).  I guess I do have a favorite, after all.

*Sniffing & clearing my throat*… And now, on to my guest reviewers…

They were asked, “Which book was your favorite? Why?” and then I elaborated a bit.

OC- When Sophie Gets Angry… Really, Really Angry.  Her opinion, “I like that book because it teaches a great lesson about how you can’t be rude” … In my opinion, OC identified with Sophie because she roars when she’s angry too.  It always takes her a while, but she usually figures out how to channel her emotions and work through her ‘volcanic explosions.’

MC- Owl Moon.  His opinion, “I think it was super cool how they went looking for owls in the night time!” … In my opinion, MC is fascinated with the tree line, aka ‘woods’ behind our house and the animals that live there.  We do hear owls from time to time, we’ll just have to try and spot one now. (Thankfully minus the snow.)

YC- Hooray for Hat.  In his words, “I love the grumpy elephant and all the hats!” … My opinion, YC is three… he loves hats and all things silly. End of story.

Time to place holds on our next week stash… so glad you’re following along!

Thanks for reading, come back anytime!

-JP

 

PS- these opinions are just that, opinions… and kid’s opinions at that.  Our ‘reviews’ are only my attempt to keep my children engaged in their summer reading and taking the stories deeper than face value.  We are (obviously) not compensated for these reviews… of library books… by toddlers.

Week One of our #100PictureBookSummer

I’m excited to report that our #100PictureBookSummer is off to a great start.  Thanks to a little careful planning and a couple of library cards, we are well on our way. My kids were excited to come home to a stack of ‘new’ books yesterday and dove right in.  Here’s our list for the week:

  1. Gaston by Kelly DiPucchio & Christianson Robinson
  2. Leonardo the Terrible Monster by Mo Willems
  3. Jamberry by Bruce Degen*
  4. Octopus Alone by Divya Srinivasan
  5. Diary of a Worm by Doreen Cronin & Harry Bliss
  6. The Wonderful Things You Will Be by Emily Whinfield Martin
  7. Giraffes Can’t Dance by Giles Andrea and Guy Parker-Rees
  8. You Are (Not) Small by Anna Kang & Christopher Weynat
  9. The Snowy Day by Ezra Jack Keats
  10. A Poem for Peter by Andrea Davis Pinkney & Steve Johnson

*As I was typing this, I realized that we didn’t make it home with Jamberry for some reason.  Hm, well that’s a sweet one (no pun intended) to kick our week off next week! Here’s the link to Book Nerd Mommy’s 100 Picture Books for your Summer Reading that we’re following if you missed last week’s post.

http://www.booknerdmommy.com/100-picture-books-summer-reading/

These first ten were a wonderful mix of new and old favorites, featuring everything from adorable puppies to terrible monsters.  There is a definite theme that carried through many of these books and that is the importance of being true to yourself, even if what you know to be true goes against the grain of popular opinion.  I’d be hard-pressed to pick a favorite from this list.  As a mom, I want to use the pages of Emily Whinfield Martin’s delightful little book as wallpaper in my kid’s bedrooms so they can be surrounded by its wonderful message of love.  I’m also a history buff and I knew that I was holding an important piece of history as I read The Snowy Day, but the combination of The Snowy Day and A Poem for Peter together was powerful.  Diary of a Worm and Leonardo tickled my funny bone and caused a healthy dose of giggles from both my kiddos and me.

When I approached my daughter with the prospect of a summer filled with books, she was quick to agree, but not without making she and her brothers received a bit of recognition too. Always a negotiator, she thought it would be fun if she and her brothers could share their favorite books with you as well. That was an easy deal to shake on, so here’s a little about the three guest book reviewers that will be joining me all summer.

  • OC (oldest child) is seven years old, with wonderfully curly hair and a personality to match. She’s well rounded and a bit impulsive; you can be sure there are grass stains on her powder pink dancing tights.  She has an inquisitive mind to match her giant and generous heart.
  • MC (middle child) is five and a future superhero if there ever was one. He loves fighting bad guys, hunting zombies and practicing his ‘incredible ninja moves’.  He does life at his own pace and is filled with an incredible amount of energy and enthusiasm for life… all day every day.
  • YC (youngest child) is three years old and our comedic relief. He loves making us all laugh and does it well.  He’s into (almost) anything his older brother tells him is cool, but really loves trucks, trains, and playing in the dirt.  He believes ‘the more, the merrier & the messier, the better’.

So, there you have them, without a doubt, the cutest and chattiest guest reviewers to ever grace these pages. I’ll have more from them next week and a fresh batch of books! Happy Summer!

Thanks for reading, come back anytime!

-JP

The Summer of 100 Picture Books.

Whew, okay, I’m glad that’s over.  Maybe you disagree, but for me, spring cleaning is fun at the beginning, exhilarating when you’re in the thick of it and utterly exhausting as you near the end.  Now that I’m (almost) clutter free, I can say without hesitation that I am very eager for summer to start.  I’m happy you found your way back here today because I’m excited to share a bit of our summer plans.  Look at the title of this post again, it’s more than that, it’s a goal!

Earlier this week, via Instagram, I came across Clarissa, aka @book.nerd.mommy, and her post 100 Picture Books for Your Summer Reading.  Let me tell you, it’s a great list; new titles, old favorites and everything in between.  For the past few summers, my kids and I have all had big reading plans.  The unfortunate truth is that I often lost track of things through swimming lessons, play dates and summer excursions.  This summer, there’s no excuses, we have a list to follow, and by my calculation, we have 10% covered just with our own home library.  I’ve included the link to her blog post, where you’ll find her carefully selected titles, with a brief explanation of what makes each story so lovable.  She also shares a free printable version of the list.  My list is printed and posted on my bulletin board already! I extended the challenge to my kids, and my oldest, who loves to answer for her brothers eagerly accepted.

In the spirit of the sweet, slow pace of summertime, I plan to scale my blog posts down to once a week.  In place of my Wednesday posts, I’ll let you know how our #100PictureBookSummer is going. My plan is to keep you posted on our progress, and share our favorites from the week. Here’s the link…

http://www.booknerdmommy.com/100-picture-books-summer-reading/

If you can, take a few minutes to peruse her website.  Clarissa has a wonderful ‘Beyond the Book’ section of arts and craft activities to help Picture Books become interactive for children.  She also shares recipes to accompany some of your favorite books (Truffula Tree Cupcakes, anyone?), and literacy tools for those of us with young, growing minds.

Here’s to 100 books, 10 fun weeks and 1 great summer. If you think this sounds fun, we’d love for you to join us.  I’ll be sharing here and on Instagram (@jennifergprevost).  Our first batch of books will be ready for pick-up from the library today!

I hope everyone has a safe and happy Memorial Day weekend.  My thoughts are with those who have lost someone, now or then, near or far, in service for this great nation.

Thanks for reading, come back anytime!

-JP