MARDI GRAS FUN

Mardi Gras is March 4 this year.  It is a great opportunity to expose your child to different celebrations.

This is a list of five fun Mardi Gras Picture books recommended by Holidays Central:

King Cake for Cassius: A Mardi Gras Story by Diane Renton Boyle [Trafford Publishing, 2004]
Boyle explains Mardi Gras through Cassius, a boxer. Cassius discusses the traditions and terms associated with Mardi Gras. Boyle includes a Mardi Gras activity list, float ideas, and a recipe for king cake.  Ages 4-8.

Mimi’s First Mardi Gras by Alice Couvillon, Elizabeth Moore, and Marilyn [Pelican Publishing, 1991]
The history and traditions of Mardi Gras through the eyes of young Mimi includes descriptions of  the different groups in the Mardi Gras parades, delicious beignets, and experiences with trinkets,  doubloons, and floats. The illustrations are lovely in traditional purple, gold and green. Ages 4-8.

Throw Me Something, Mister: Two Young Children See their First Mardi Gras Parade in New Orleans by Malcolm Wright [AuthorHouse, 2006]
Erin and Nathan travel to New Orleans for their very first Mardi Gras parade. They wear costumes and experience the floats, the bands, and different foods and catch beads and doubloons. Experience the celebration of Mardi Gras through Erin’s and Nathan’s eyes. Ages 9-12.

Jenny Giraffe’s Mardi Gras Ride by Cecilia Dartez [Pelican Publishing, 1996]
Jenny Giraffe learns about Mardi Gras and the entire Carnival season all the way through Lent. Children will get exposure Mardi Gras terms and activities in this Jenny Giraffe Series book. Ages 4-8.

Mardi Gras: A Cajun Country Celebration by Diane Hoyt-Goldsmith and Lawrence Migdale [Holiday House, 2005]
Joel, a young Cajun fiddle player, shares information on the history of Mardi Gras, and how it is celebrated in Eunice in South Louisiana. Joel also describes different types of Mardi Gras celebrations. In exchange for food for a large public dinner, partygoers and musicians entertain residents. The text is lively and photographs support the text wonderfully. Ages 9-12.

Also here is a really fun Mardi Gras craft project from No Time For Flash Cards:

twizzler candy necklaces for parties Fat Tuesday is March 4th this year and even though we don’t have any Mardi Gras parades locally I have been telling my kids all about it and showing them photos of the different parades and explaining how beads and other trinkets are thrown from the floats. We decided to make our own beads from purple, yellow and green Twizzlers. My daughter was game from the start but my son was not into the idea until his sister came down stairs and said I was letting her eat her finished necklace. Then he came up asking if he could make one too and honest to goodness I have never seen a child bead that quickly! These candy necklaces are fun ( and include a great patterning lesson) and could be made as party treats with any combination of colors.

Gather your materials. You will need some multi-colored Twizzlers , some stiff beading thread, scissors and tape.DIY candy necklaces

Cut your Twizzlers into beads. Even if the ends stick together you can give them a squeeze and the hole will reappear.

Also, don’t forget my book, Before I Was Born.  It makes a wonderful present for Valentine’s Day or any day.  When you buy Before I Was Born you are giving two gifts.  A gift to the child who receives the book and a gift to a unknown child who benefits from the sale of the book.  I donate 100% of the cost of the book to Story Storks.  The folks over at Story Storks give a new book and a packet on literacy to children born in two area hospitals.  If you would like to purchase a copy of the book, just send me an Email at blag515@gmail.com.  The cost of the book is $20 and will be tax deductible for you.

SNOW DAY BOOKS AND A CRAFT PROJECT

The past few days have been bitterly cold.  Almost everyone in the country was introduced to the concept of the polar vortex.  I found this adorable craft and books about snow on the web site No Time For Flash Cards.

January 6, 2014

winter activity for preschool Snow has clobbered many of you along with freezing temps but here in the Pacific North West we are still green and wet and needed to make our own snow . Whether you are in sunny Florida or too cold to go outside Minnesota you can play with snow and stay warm while you do with this fun indoor winter activity for kids . This is a fun exploration that is opened ended and really encourages creativity. My daughter ran with it and I love what she made. She has always wanted to make a snowman and even though we’ve never had enough snow ( that she can remember) to make one she managed to make one with this winter activity .

Gather your materials. You will need some contact paper, painter’s tape ( you could use real tape but it might muck up your windows), cotton balls, q-tips ( some cu in half) , cotton pads and a window!snow themed preschool activity

Start by taping the contact paper to your window sticky side out. I find it’s easiest if you tape the top edge on first then peel and tape the sides and bottom last.snow window sticky window activity

Get the snow bits ready by the window and invite your child to explore.  As she created she told me all about how this was her yard and it snowed and she was playing…Snowflakes came first…snow activity for kids

Then she discovered that dabbing the cotton ball created little puffs of cotton on the window.snow mural for preschoolVery similar to when we made a pompom window last year.cotton ball snow window art activity

Snowman time!snow window activity for 3 year olds

She didn’t forget arms.snow window toddler activity

I loved watching her and really didn’t get involved at all. This was all her.snow windowShe explored textures, shapes, and cause and effect with serious intent while also working on fine motor skills and storytelling as she went.

Books About Snow

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un-brella

Un-Brella by Scott Franson is such a cool book. There is not a single line of text in the book , and it’s not missing a thing! The illustrations are so vivid, so layered and tell the story perfectly. A little girl has a magical umbrella that brings sun on a snowy day and snow when her yard is green and sunny. My 2 year old was beside himself laughing and saying “No no” to the little girl wearing her swim suit in the snow. Grab this book and enjoy!

snow snow snow

Snow! Snow! Snow!by Lee Harper captures the excitement of a snow day spent sledding and defying gravity for those precious few moments as you zoom down the hill. My son gave the book a thumbs up but my daughter wasn’t as into it although when the 3 dogs in the book landed with a thump both kids were giggling. Edited to add :  The next morning my daughter ran to this book and smiled the whole way through loving it! Funny how 8am reading gets a different response than 5pm after a long day.

the snowy day

The Snowy Day by Ezra Jack Keats is a classic. Some classics are the type of books that lose their relevance and leave readers wondering what the hype is about. This book is timeless. A little boy goes exploring in the snow and discovers his world in a new way. The illustrations are magical and the way that  they convey the emotions this little boy experiences throughout the day are nothing short of perfect.

Also, don’t forget my book, Before I Was Born.  It makes a wonderful present. When you buy Before I Was Born you are giving two gifts.  A gift to the child who receives the book and a gift to a unknown child who benefits from the sale of the book.  I donate 100% of the cost of the book to Story Storks.  The folks over at Story Storks give a new book and a packet on literacy to children born in two area hospitals.  If you would like to purchase a copy of the book, just send me an Email at blag515@gmail.com.  The cost of the book is $20 and will be tax deductible for you.

Reading on a Snowy Day

It is winter here in spite of what the calendar indicates.  Winter is the perfect time to snuggle up and read a picture book to your child.  Somehow that quiet snowfall leaves a space in time that begs to be filled by a fire, an afghan, and a beautiful picture book.

Here are some suggestions from the Family Reading Corner for winter reading:

Winter Words… Brrr!

by Family Reading Partnership

SnowmanReading11CLRWith snow in the forecast and much more cold weather ahead, it’s time to read about the season with your children and appreciate winter while it’s here. Sure it’s chilly, but that the fun! There are plenty of ways to play with snow and traditions you can start now so your family will look forward to this time of year.

Winter books to read with your young child:

“The First Day of Winter” by Denise Fleming. What does it take to build a snow person? A song and friends! Written to the tune of “The Twelve Days of Christmas” this tale describes the ten days leading up to creating the perfect snow creature (will it be a snow man or snow woman?). Collecting trimmings such as a cap, mittens, and pockets builds the anticipation. Fleming illustrates her books with handmade paper images that are warm and colorful and uses playful words combinations.

snowballs “Snowballs” by Lois Ehlert. Each image in the book is a collage with added found objects such as buttons, fabric, and seeds. Children can recreate Ehlert’s illustrations outside with real snow and household items. Pack some snowballs; roll them in more snow to make them big, then add clothes, kitchen gadgets, sewing materials, and whatever else is handy to make a whole family out of snow. Make an indoor snow family by using white paper circles and small items you have at home, glued or placed on the paper snowballs.

“It’s Winter” by Linda Glaser, illustrated by Susan Swan. Even though this is written as a story, this book is full of facts about cold weather, snowflakes, and the change of seasons. Illustrations are beautiful cut-paper artwork and there are suggestions for activities in the back of the book. This book is the third book in a series of four titles on the various seasons, appropriate for early elementary ages.

“Snow” by Roy McKie and P.D. Eastman. Two kids play in the snow and tell us about the fun they have skiing, making snow angels, building an igloo, making a snowman, and finally relaxing with mugs of hot cocoa. The rhyming text in this book is designed for beginning readers.

“Animals in Winter” by Henrietta Bancroft. Illustrated by Helen K. Davie. Where do monarch butterflies go in winter? What does a woodchuck do when the grass is covered in snow? What do mice and deer find to eat when it is cold out? Each illustration in this short book has a few lines of simple text about the winter habits of a variety of animals.

“Snow” by Uri Shulevitz. You know the kind of day when the snow falls lightly, but steadily? The fluffy snowflakes drop down lazily and no one thinks it is anything to worry about. In this story, a boy and his dog know that a few snowflakes can add up to a city being transformed into a winter wonderland, despite what all the grown-ups think. The simple, poetic text paired with watercolor and pen-and-ink illustrations mimic the mood of this slowly building snowfall.

 Also, don’t forget my book, Before I Was Born.  It makes a wonderful present. When you buy Before I Was Born you are giving two gifts.  A gift to the child who receives the book and a gift to a unknown child who benefits from the sale of the book.  I donate 100% of the cost of the book to Story Storks.  The folks over at Story Storks give a new book and a packet on literacy to children born in two area hospitals.  If you would like to purchase a copy of the book, just send me an Email at blag515@gmail.com.  The cost of the book is $20 and will be tax deductible for you.

Chanukah

give books

Chanukah is early this year.  It starts November 27 and coincides with Thanksgiving.  In keeping with my header, I would like to suggest you give some thought to including books in your gift giving for the Chanukah season.  I would like to share some titles with you that I found at the Nerdy Book Club:

Tolerance


The Latke Who Couldn’t Stop Screaming: A Christmas Story by Lemony Snickett and illustrated by Lisa Brown (2007)

Reminiscent of the Ginger Bread story, Snickett’s latke scampers out of the kitchen and encounters several Christmas icons. The dialogue between the latke and symbols expresses the differences between the rituals and the importance that one’s identity be accepted.

The Christmas Menorahs: How a Town Fought Hate  by Janice Cohn and illustrated by Bill Farnsworth (1995)

Cohn’s story is based on events that occurred in Billings Montana in 1993. Families of different backgrounds and faith united against anti-Semitic attacks. The book provides multiple avenues for discussing the importance of standing up for one’s beliefs.

Elijah’s Angel  by Michale J. Rosen and illustrated by Aminah Brenda Lynn Robinson. (1992)

A renowned African American Christian woodcutter and a young Jewish boy create a memorable relationship that illustrates the importance of respecting religious differences.  This book can be a starting point for understanding the fundamental differences between Judaism and Christianity.

Poetry

Hanukkah Lights: Holiday Poetry Selected by Lee Bennett Hopkins and pictures by Melanie Hall (2004)

This small collection of poetry is found in An I Can Read Book Level 2 book.

Hanukkah Haiku by Harriett Ziefert and illustrated by Karla Gudeon (2008)

This is a very short book designed for preschoolers. However, it provides good examples of how haiku can describe simple aspects of Chanukah

Holocaust and Chanukah

One Candle by Eve Bunting and illustrated by K. Wendy Popp (2002)

Through the eyes of a child, readers will learn about how Jews celebrate Chanukah as well as hear a retelling of how some Holocaust survivors cherished the celebration of Chanukah in Buchenwald. Passing the story from one generation to the next reaffirms the importance of following traditions.

Nine Spoons: A Chanukah Story by Marci Stillerman and illustrated by Pesach Gerber (1998)

See previous Nerdy Book Club posting- Notable Holocaust Picture Books Illustrate People Making a Difference.

Historical Fiction

Emanuel and the Hanukkah Rescue by Heidi Smith Hyde and illustrated by Jamel Akib (2012)

Readers will get a glimpse of 18th century American Jewish history in Massachusetts. Jewish immigrants from Portugal were afraid to reveal their Jewish identity. The use of their menorah becomes a lifesaver.

Hanukkah at Valley Forge by Stephen Krensky and illustrated by Greg Harlin (2006)

This book takes Chanukah back to the time of the Revolutionary War.  George Washington comes upon a soldier who is lighting Chanukah candles. The dialogue provides information about Chanukah and the significance of fighting for freedom.

Folk Tales

Hershel and the Hanukkah Goblins by Eric Kimmel and illustrated by Trina Schart Hyman (1985)

Hershel comes to the rescue when a town is besieged by goblins who prevent them from celebrating Chanukah. While fighting off the goblins readers learn various things about Chanukah. Good overcomes evil when Hershel is able to outsmart the group of scary goblins.

The Magic Dreidels: A Hanukkah Story by Eric A Kimmel and illustrated by Katya Krenina (1996)

Story teller Kimmel retells the tale of “The Tablecloth, the Donkey and the Stick” in a Chanukah setting . A goblin outwits a trickster woman who is trying to take advantage of a young Jewish boy. Everyone benefits from the goblin’s goodness.

Also, don’t forget my book, Before I Was Born.  It makes a wonderful present. When you buy Before I Was Born you are giving two gifts.  A gift to the child who receives the book and a gift to a unknown child who benefits from the sale of the book.  I donate 100% of the cost of the book to Story Storks.  The folks over at Story Storks give a new book and a packet on literacy to children born in two area hospitals.  If you would like to purchase a copy of the book, just send me an Email at blag515@gmail.com.  The cost of the book is $20 and will be tax deductible for you.

NOVEMBER IS PICTURE BOOK MONTH

PBMLOGO-COLOR_WEBRES

We all know how important it is to read to our children.  And the very first books that are read are picture books.  What would childhood be without the irreplaceable pleasure of sitting on a loved one’s lap anxiously awaiting the turn of the page.

Picture Book Month is a literacy initiative that celebrates the joy of print picture books during the month of November.  You might want to go to this site http://www.picturebookmonth.com and take a look at all the fun things going on there during November.

To help celebrate Picture Book Month, I will be giving away once a week a copy of my my book, BEFORE I WAS BORN.  To enter to win a copy of my picture book, BEFORE I WAS BORN, just leave a comment on the importance of picture books to you.