Once Upon a Story
November 17, 2014

 Before you leave today, make sure you check out my giveaway for Snowman’s Story!  Click the image below to enter! There are some fun freebies over there, too!


And now for this week’s reading.


For me:

The Riverman

Aaron Starmer

Brown Girl Dreaming

Jacqueline Woodson


For the kiddos:


Hailey Twitch and the Campground Itch

Laura Barnholdt, illustrated by Suzanne Beaky

Waiting is Not Easy!

Mo Willems


My Big Book of Trucks and Diggers

Chronicle Books

Yes, still. The kiddo has kinda latched on to this one.


Go, Dog, Go!

P.D. Eastman

A classic that my 5yo is now reading on her own.

Happy Monday, Friends!

November 14, 2014

 Snowman’s Story by Will Hillenbrand

Published by: Two Lions

Release date: November 2014

Ages: 4-7

Pages: 32

From the publisher:

One wintry day, a hat lands on the head of a newly made snowman and brings him to life. Hiding inside the hat is a rabbit, who listens to the snowman read a story to some animal friends. When the snowman falls asleep, the rabbit hops away with the book. But the snowman isn’t about to let his story or the mischievous rabbit get away. The chase is on Filled with charm and fun, this wordless picture book from a beloved illustrator lets kids tell their own version of the story, even as they delight in the action-filled pages.

About the Author:WillHillenbrand2012 (2) - Copy

Will Hillenbrand has illustrated many beloved picture books, including Kiss the Cow by Phyllis Root; and Sleep, Big Bear, Sleep!, and Sneeze, Big Bear, Sneeze! by Maureen Wright. He has also written and illustrated a number of picture books, including Down by the Barn, the Bear and Mole series, and Mother Goose Picture Puzzles. Will enjoys visiting schools to talk about the creative process involved in making a picture book. He lives with his wife, Jane, and their son, Ian, in Terrace Park, Ohio. For more information, visit his website: http://www.willhillenbrand.com.


My thoughts:

(PSST! Once you’re done reading, scroll all the way down to the bottom for some free goodies, and a giveaway!)


I’ve written before about how much we enjoy wordless picture books. It’s a chance for my emergent reader to “read” the story, in her own words. And they’re often so richly illustrated that that story can change with every reading.

Snowman’s Story opens with an inquisitive bunny who discovers a top hat in a winter field. At this point, the reader already has an idea where this story might be going. Sure enough, a strong wind whips the hat up and onto the head of a nearby snowman, constructed by the forest animals. Immediately, the snowman comes to life, but instead of leading everyone “down the streets of town”, he opts for reading his newfound friends a story. When the story ends, bedtime looms and the sleepy animals depart, waving goodbye to the yawning snowman. But wait. Has anybody remembered the inquisitive bunny? Out he pops, grabbing the book, and suddenly the chase is on. Through the woods, over a gorge, ducking snowballs, Snowman and his friends eventually find the sneaky bunny, who has a surprise of his own.

 In our current Christmas collection, we have two copies each of The Snowman by Raymond Briggs, and the Golden Book version of Frosty the Snowman.  In each case, one copy is so well-loved that the binding has split and the book falls apart in your hands. One of the Frosty books is from my parent’s childhood, so it’s on its third generation. Knowing that tiny hands don’t always equal gentle hands, we packed our old copies away somewhere safe a few years ago and bought newer copies to replace them. Thank goodness, because our children love both classic stories as much as we did.

 Snowman’s Story feels like a blend of the two. It has the warmth and richness of The Snowman, with the adventure and kid-appeal of Frosty the Snowman. Usually when I receive picture books for review, I immediately read them with my own pint-size reviewers. Who better to offer an honest opinion? This time, though, I’ve hidden the book. Every year, in the 24 days leading up to Christmas, the kiddos and I unwrap a seasonal book to share after dinner. The selected books are a mix of classic and contemporary, books we’ve had for years (or even from my childhood), and books I buy new. This year, I look forward to adding this one to the rotation. I’m anticipating frequent reads.

Check out this book trailer:

And now…



Want to win a copy for yourself? Two Lions/Amazon has generally offered a copy to give away. Enter below by 11:59m on Sunday, November 30th.  (U.S addresses only, please)


Even MORE Fun!


Help Snowman Find his Story (free downloadable game!)
Snowman’s Story Coloring Sheet
Follow all the stops on the SNOWMAN’S STORY blog tour!
Mon, Nov 3
As They Grow Up
Tues, Nov 4
Cracking the Cover
Wed, Nov 5
Geo Librarian
Thurs, Nov 6
5 Minutes for Books
Fri, Nov 7
Momma Drama
Sat, Nov 8
Booking Mama
Mon, Nov 10
Just a Little Creativity
Tues, Nov 11
Kid Lit Frenzy
Wed, Nov 12
Children’s Book Review
Thurs, Nov 13
Displaced Yinzer
Fri, Nov 14
Once Upon a Story
Unleashing Readers






November 3, 2014


For me:

The Graveyard Book

Neil Gaiman, illustrated by Dave McKean

The Blossoming Universe of Violet Diamond

Brenda Woods

Save the Cat: The Last Book On Screenwriting That You’ll Ever Need

Blake Snyder

For the kiddos:


Ivy + Bean: Break the Fossil Record

Annie Barrows, illustrated by Sophie Blackall


Aaron Becker

 Day Dreamers: A Journey of Imagination

Emily Winfield Martin

My Big Book of Trucks and Diggers

Chronicle Books

Diggers Go

Steve Light

Room on the Broom

Julia Donaldson, illustrated by Axel Sheffler

Happy Monday, Friends!

October 29, 2014

My Yellow Balloon cover My Yellow Balloon by Tiffany Papageorge, illustrated by Erwin Madrid

Published by: Minoan Moon

Release date: October 2014

Ages: 4-8

Pages: 32

From the publisher:

It all started at the carnival…That’s where Joey makes a new friend: a bright yellow balloon. Joey and his beloved balloon do everything together, until the balloon accidentally slips off Joey’s wrist and flies far, far away. What will Joey do without his special friend?

Honest, unflinching, and ultimately reassuring, My Yellow Balloon ™ will resonate with anyone who has endured the darkness of grief, while offering hope for brighter days ahead.

My thoughts:

This week, I had a conversation with two others regarding books that deal with loss.

It’s a subject I have some personal experience with. A year and a half ago, my then almost 4yo lost her grandmother. As we often do, we turned to books as part of our grieving process and as a gateway to child-led conversation.

There are books about loss. Many, in fact. We read several of them. And yet of all the ones I weeded through, and of the ones that we read, there was only one that I really felt I would recommend.

I can now add a second book to that list.

This duo knows their stuff. Tiffany Papageorge comes from a theater background, as well as work with CBS and Disney. Erwin Madrid has worked for both Dreamworks, and in the video game industry.

The text is pretty straightforward. A young boy receives a balloon at a carnival from a balloon handler that is on the surface a kind old man, but the adult reader gets the impression that perhaps the gentleman is a bit something more, as he selects a ballon specifically for Joey, without looking and without pause. It is, of course, the perfect balloon for the child. Joey and his balloon then do everything together, and the balloon stands watch over the boy while he sleeps.

And then the balloon slips away.

Joey felt angry.

Joey felt confused.

Joey felt sad.

It seems that heavy feeling of sadness will be his new normal. Until, slowly, color comes figuratively (and, as beautifully demonstrated by the illustrations, literally) back into his life.

The ending is predictable, perhaps bordering on cliched. It’s a challenge to do a loss book that doesn’t have a predictable pattern. Joy, loss, grief, renewal. You WANT that pattern, to let the child know that the emotions, all of them, are real and normal. And that, at some point, the sadness eases. In a world where the picture book trend is “less is more,” My Yellow Balloon is unique in its longer word count.

But y’all, the illustrations. Madrid’s exquisite use of color and light, of saturation and lines, take the reader on an emotional journey even without the text. The story appears to be set in an earlier time period, giving it a classic feel. The illustrations begin bright and bold, moving to sepia-toned and shadowed as Joey enters a period of grief, then slowly warming again over time. Dramatic? Yes. But effective. And there is a foldout spread in the middle that is both beautiful and heart-wrenching.

Nobody wants to read the stories about loss, especially to young children. But it’s good to know, when the situation does arise, there are books out there.



October 1, 2014

1423183851 My Bibi Always Remembers by Toni Buzzeo, illustrated by Mike Wohnoutka

Published by: Disney Hyperion

Release date: September 2014

Ages: 3-5

Pages: 32

From the publisher:

Little Tembo, a baby elephant, is thirsty and her herd cannot find any water. But Bibi, the matriarch, “remembers the way to wet.” As Bibi leads them across the parched savannah, Tembo happily follows, every now and then getting distracted by her own memories of games she loves to play. With touching family moments interspersed between Tembo’s playful actions, this tribute to grandmothers will make a perfect read-aloud.


My thoughts:

When this book first arrived on my doorstep, I was getting ready to go out of town for the weekend with my eldest.  So after unwrapping it, I set it next to the reading chair upstairs, intending to get back to it the following week.

Upon my return on Sunday afternoon, it was my 2yo who followed me around, declaring we read the “e’phant book.” Knowing his attention span (about 3.5 seconds, on a good day), I gave him the book to flip through, but picked another one for bedtime.

Nice try, mom.

He accepted it that night, but the following day was chasing me again, “Read me e’phant book!” So that afternoon, I sat down and we started with the first page.

And read the whole thing cover to cover. And then he asked to read it again.

Perhaps it’s the lovable baby elephant as the main character, or the wide variety of African animals to identify, or the repetition of

When Bibi calls

everyone comes–

aunties, sisters, Mama–

one by one.


Searching for wet

which somehow has the slow, plodding feel of an elephant’s gait. Doesn’t matter. He was enthralled.

If you’ve read Stay Close to Mama or Just Like My Papa by this author-illustrator duo, you know that Buzzeo has a passion for the the animals of the African savanna. My Bibi Always Remembers, like its two predecessors, blends the wilds of this part of the world with tender family relationships, in this case a grandmother matriarch. Wohnoutka’s color palette is broad, taking us from the bright yellows and golds of morning, to the sharp blue skies of afternoon, and into the reds and purples of sunset. Through it all you have Little Tembo, a smiling, rambunctious, not-quite-obedient (elephant) toddler.

The sense of family comes through strongly. The elephants appear to smile, as they progress through their day–marching, resting, bathing–led by Bibi, larger, more wrinkled, more serious in expression than the others. Yes, it’s a story about elephant relationships, but it’s not a far leap to see one’s own human relationships in these giant animals.

A book to share between generations, a bedtime story, or, according to my own little reader (who continues to request this book) an anytime story, My Bibi Always Remembers is a beautiful addition to Buzzeo and Wohnoutka’s previous collaborations.


September 22, 2014

Ah, here it is, Banned Book Week. The week where teachers, librarians, booksellers, avid readers and book industry professionals band together to defend and promote books that others have attempted to remove from the hands of children.

It’s a passionate crew, y’all.

According to the above website 307 reported challenges were made to the Office of Intellectual Freedom in 2013. And that’s only a fraction of the books that were challenged in schools and libraries across the country last year.

There are other passionate people out there, y’all. On both sides.

And you know what?

I get it.

I’m a parent. This year, I’m a parent with a kindergartener who peruses the library on her own and is making her own book selections at school. I’m not there to influence her decisions, even if I wanted to. I’m not there to protect her 5yo eyes from viewing images she may have questions about. And in the coming years, I won’t be there to prevent her from picking up a book, reading the inside flap, and discovering that her world, its problems, its people, are much bigger than they may seem now.

As a parent, that’s tough. We want to keep our children innocent. We don’t want them exposed to violence, we’re not always prepared with quick answers to tricky questions, we’re afraid of the peer pressure they might experience.

What do I do if my 10yo wants to read The Hunger Games? Isn’t that violent?

Did you know The Diary of Anne Frank mentions sex(ual urges)? How can that be considered appropriate for an 8th grader

And so, sometimes, we, as parents, react with a knee-jerk response.

We remove the threat.

Or at least we attempt to.

Singularly, or alone, we raise voices, we pound fists, we storm the compound.

We demand that the book be removed.

Problem solved.

Child protected.

I get it.


Except it’s wrong.

Children need tough books. They need books that deal with scary issues. They need books about war, and hurt, and fear. They need a book about families that look like their own, especially if their own family looks different than many others. They need books. They need books with imperfect protagonists, even broken protagonists.  They need books with unhappy endings.  They need books that deal with their physical and emotional awakenings and the turbulence of adolescence.

Because somewhere, there’s a child dealing with scary issues. There’s a child impacted by war, eaten by hurt, living with fear. There’s a child with a family that doesn’t look like any other family in town, who struggles with loving his/her own parents,  and being ridiculed for that love. And as much as I, as a parent and human being wish it weren’t so, there are many, many broken children whose lives feel like a series of unhappy endings. And we’ve ALL experience middle school and know how horribly confusing that time can be.

But that’s not my kid.

And if that’s true, thank goodness for that. But if it’s not your child, I can say with absolute certainty that someone your child is in contact with on a regular basis is hurting or confused child.

Hurting kids need books written for them.

Those that are not hurting need books that show them a world beyond their own, to teach them compassion, forgiveness, patience, tolerance.

We all need those banned books.  We all need access to those banned books.

I recently saw Meg Medina speak on her new book Yaqui Delgado Wants to Kick Your Ass. I was disappointed to hear that a school in my home state of Virginia cancelled her author visit because the title was deemed in appropriate. Nevermind that the book, written for a young adult (12-17yo) audience, deals with a topic familiar to many teens, has received many awards, and is widely praised for both its writing and its relevance.

The word “ass” is in the title, and that’s too strong of a word for adolescent ears.

Because, as we know, that’s the worst language a teen hears on a typical school day. Right?

Medina admits that in the final stages of publication, she expressed concern to her editor for this very reason.  Parents would reject it based solely on the cover. Librarians would keep it from prominent display.

The editor’s response (I’m paraphrasing):

Who did you write this book for? The parents/teachers/librarians? Or the teen being threatened and bullied?

They kept the title.


As a parent, I get it. Would I allow my child at 10 years old  to read The Hunger Games? Nope. At least not willingly. It is violent. (Also, not written for a 10yo audience, but that’s another rant). That’s my personal decision as a parent, and a conversation I can have with my child.

Would I allow my 5yo to read And Tango Makes Three? Yep. Would every parent? Nope.

And that’s okay, too. We get to make those choices as parents.

Let’s just leave it on the shelve for the child who needs it, okay?

He might very well sit next to your child in class.



September 1, 2014


For me:

The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks

E. Lockhart

I am relatively new to the Lockhart scene, but now am working my way through her works. She writes with such clear voice, and startling realism. It would be nice if everything in life were wrapped up neat and pretty. But it’s not, and Lockhart clearly recognizes this.

The Meaning of Maggie

Megan Jean Sovern

Only a few chapters in. Again, a novel about dealing with the not so pleasant life. This time a young girl’s experience with her father’s illness, which will forever change her family.

For the kiddos:


Ivy + Bean: Doomed to Dance

by Annie Barrows, illustrated by Sophie Blackall

Continuing our journey through the Ivy + Bean books with my 5yo. This one regarding dance, commitment, running away, and a giant squid was a hit. Bonus points for the cleverly woven From the Mixed Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler references.


 Chu’s First Day of School 

by Neil Gaiman, illustrated by Adam Rex

I’m so glad that Chu is back just in time to accompany my child to her first day of kindergarten (!!). This book, as title suggests, addresses a child’s common fears about starting school, but still features Chu doing what Chu does best. And if you don’t know what that is… I’m not going to be the one to ruin it for you. But my 5yo remembered :)

Flora and the Penguin

by Molly Idle

I was fortunate to have the opportunity to meet and hear Molly speak at National Book Festival this past weekend. She is just as beautiful, inside and out, as her books. My daughter, already a Flora fan from the first book, is thrilled with the signed copy I brought home for her. We’ve read it several times already, and she keeps it at the end of her bed to read after lights-out. No better endorsement than that!

Happy Monday, Friends!



August 26, 2014

Watch Out Hollywood! More Confessions of a So-Called Middle Child cover Watch Out, Hollywood! More Confessions of a So-Called Middle Child by Maria T. Lennon

Published by:HarperCollins

Release date: August 2014

Ages: 8-12

Pages: 224

From the publisher:

Hilarious tween heroine Charlie C. Cooper—reformed bully, misguided fashionista, and so-called middle child—is back! This sequel to Confessions of a So-called Middle Child will delight fans of Louise Rennison, Mean Girls, and Harriet the Spy.

Charlie’s adventures offer a fresh look at middle school, bullying, and mean girls. In Book Two, Charlie navigates sudden celebrity and auditions for a television series, but a little white lie may endanger the one friendship Charlie can truly count on—and her connection to swoon-worthy crush Bobby! Poignant and seriously funny, Charlie’s account of her dilemma is one all tweens will relate to.

Charlie knows what it feels like to be stuck in the middle, but it’s finally her time to shine. After saving her friend Marta in the old Houdini tunnels of Los Angeles, Charlie’s become a local hero, gained sudden celebrity, and *MIGHT* just become a TV star! But will Charlie let her newfound fame go to her head? Watch out, Hollywood!


Note about today’s special guest post:

I have been sharing books here on this blog for several years. When reviewing picture books, I’ll often include the thoughts and reactions of my own young children, but when reading middle grade or young adult books, I’m on my own…my children are not yet old enough for those titles.

I read the first book in this series a while ago, though never reviewed it here. What I enjoy most about Charlie is her flaws, her brutal honesty. A reformed bully, yes, but not sappy-sweet. Charlie has learned a lesson or two about compassion towards others, but she’s still a teenage girl, one struggling with her desire to fit in while standing out, loving her family while rolling her eyes at their lameness. Charlie cannot be categorized. She is real, and complex, and, well, a pre-teen.

A couple of months ago, I shared Confessions of a So-Called Middle Child with with a friend’s daughter, Allison. She finished it almost immediately, and asked if there would be any more.

As a matter of fact…

Not only was there another one releasing, but it was releasing soon, and I happened to have a copy at home. I handed the book over to her the following week, and she finished it within two days, and then agreed to guest post here on Once Upon A Story.

So today, I’m pleased to have my first guest post by a young reviewer, right in the middle of those “middle grade” years.  I give you…

Allison’s thoughts:

In Spring of 2014 I read Maria T. Lennon’s book entitled Confessions of a So-called Middle Child and enjoyed it cover to cover. She writes with a very unique style, both straightforward and detailed at the same time. From the perspective of a teenager in middle school, she captures perfectly the essence of growing up and adds an unusual twist to it.

In Ms. Lennon’s second, Watch out Hollywood! More Confessions of a So-called Middle Child, the same techniques are applied and the storyline is as exciting as ever. When Charlie, our “hero”, has become very popular with the media, an offer is made to her from an agent who promises her own TV show. But what Charlie doesn’t know, is that telling a tiny little lie to get the part can result in big social troubles with potentially everyone at her school. All the people she considered as friends are quickly turning on her. Now, Charlie has to fix what she has done and make up for her mistake before it is too late.

Ms. Lennon has brought the story to life. The challenges that Charlie face have become bigger than ever, and she has done an excellent job of illustrating that for the reader. This book has used amazing storylines to point out that doing something bad early on won’t help your situation; it will just expose more and more problems later on. As a 6th grader, I would recommend this series to my friends, and I hope that there is a third book!


Thank you, Allison, for taking the time to stop by!

Want to know more about Maria?Maria Lennon photo_credit Chiara Berruto
Maria T. Lennon is a graduate of the London School of Economics, a novelist, a screenwriter, and the author of Confessions of a So-called Middle Child, the first book featuring the irrepressible Charlie C. Cooper. When not driving one of her four children to school or volunteering at school libraries, she can be found sitting in a parked car, a café, or a library, writing novels, travel articles, or just passed out. To learn more, and to download a free curiculum guide, visit her website: http://confessionsofasocalledmiddlechild.com/.
Follow all of the stops on Maria T. Lennon’s blog tour!
Wed, Aug 13
The Hiding Spot
Mon, Aug 18
Satisfaction for Insatiable Readers
Tues, Aug 19
The Book Monsters
Wed, Aug 20
The Children’s Book Review
Thurs, Aug 21
Kid Lit Frenzy
Fri, Aug 22
Booking Mama
Mon, Aug 25
Read Now, Sleep Later
Tues, Aug 26
Once upon a Story
Wed, Aug 27
The Late Bloomer’s Book Blog
Thurs, Aug 28
The Haunting of Orchid Forsythia
Fri, Aug 29
Beauty and the Bookshelf

And now…


One lucky winner will receive both books featuring Charlie C. Cooper–CONFESSIONS OF A SO-CALLED MIDDLE CHILD, new in paperback, and WATCH OUT, HOLLYWOOD! MORE CONFESSIONS OF A SO-CALLED MIDDLE CHILD, in hardcover! (U.S. addresses only.)

1. Fill out the form below

2. One (1) entry per household

3. U.S Residents only, please.

4. Giveaway closes at 11:59pm on Tuesday, August 8th.

Good luck!


August 8, 2014

You Are Not Small You Are (Not) Small by Anna Kang, illustrated by Christopher Weyant

Published by:Two Lions/Amazon Publishing

Release date: August 2014

Ages: 2-6

Pages: 32

From the publisher:

Two fuzzy creatures can’t agree on who is small and who is big, until a couple of surprise guests show up, settling it once and for all!

The simple text of Anna Kang and bold illustrations of New Yorker cartoonist Christopher Weyant tell an original and very funny story about size—it all depends on who’s standing next to you.

My thoughts:

We received this book a month ago. Which means, for the last month, I’ve been biting my tongue, trying not to say too much, because I knew I had this blog tour stop coming up.

You Are (Not) Small was an insta-hit in our house. The book arrived in the afternoon mail, we opened it right after naps. We read it once. Got to the end. And read it again. Both the 2yo and the 5yo, one on either side of me, demanding another read.

First, I love the play on perspective. I have a 5yo who, compared to her peers, is “small.” But if you ask her, she’ll tell you she’s “big”. She’s five, after all. Five year olds are big kids. “Small” is her 2yo brother, nevermind that he’s only a few inches shorter and a few pounds lighter. This books takes the idea of big and small and turns it on its head, with an ending that had my preschooler both thinking and giggling.

The text is simple, another reason this book was perfect for both my children. My youngest may not have understood the message about perspective, but he followed the simple plot. My oldest, who is just learning to read, recognized several of the words, and was able to read parts independently, something that’s hugely satisfying for an almost-kindergartener. Pair this with bright, bold illustrations and plenty of white space, and both kids were captivated.


I asked Anna and Christopher to share a little bit about themselves by answer a few questions. Here are their responses:

Chris Weyant and Anna Kang

You Are the best at recalling random and useless facts; nagging (according to my daughter).

You Are (Not) a fan of wet socks; shopping.

You Are happiest when reading.

You Are (Not) afraid to try new foods.


You Are the best at being able to identifying any actor just by their voice in commercials and radio.

You Are (Not) a fan of chalk.

You Are happiest when drawing or being with my kids. Or even better, drawing with my kids.

You Are (Not) afraid to try fixing stuff (even though I may make it worse).

Thank you, Anna and Chris, for taking the time to visit!
Want to know more?
Christopher Weyant’s work has been published worldwide in books, newspapers, magazines, and online. His cartoons are in permanent collection at The Whitney Museum of American Art and The Morgan Library & Museum in New York City. Anna Kang received her MFA from USC’s School of Cinematic Arts. YOU ARE (NOT) SMALL is their first children’s book; they are currently at work on a sequel. They live with their children in New Jersey.
Be sure to visit all the stops on their blog tour!
Mon, Jul 28
Cracking the Cover
Tues, Jul 29
As They Grow Up
Wed, July 30
Susan Heim on Parenting
Thurs, July 31
5 Minutes for Books
Fri, Aug 1
Kid Lit Frenzy
Mon, Aug 4
Geo Librarian
Tues, Aug 5
Just a Little Creativity
Wed, Aug 6
Children’s Book Review
Thurs, Aug 7
Children’s Book Review

And now…


Two Lions/Amazon has offered to give away one (1) copy of You Are (Not) Small to a lucky reader. To enter:

1. Fill out the form below

2. One (1) entry per household

3. U.S Residents only, please.

4. Giveaway closes at 11:59pm on Friday, August 22nd.

Good luck!

Congratulations, Courtney W.!


July 14, 2014


For me:

The Night Gardener

Jonathan Auxier

Perfectly chilling, with an classic storytelling feel. Irish immigrant children, an old house, a family literally wasting into nothingness. I have so much more to say about this book, and if I get the chance, I will. For now, if you’re the type who likes something dark and twisty, this is wonderfully written.

A Thousand Splendid Suns

Khaled Hosseini

What?! An adult novel? Why yes, I do sneak one of those in every once in awhile. Actually, this is the third time I’ve started this book and I’ve always had to put it aside for some other commitment. I’m finally sinking into it, and it’s fantastic, as are Hosseini’s previous novels. So many characters coming together in the most unexpected of ways.

For the kiddos:

In addition to Sara Pennypacker’s Clementine series, which we are reading our way through, my 5yo has recently declared that she wants to start reading books all by herself. Which is great. Except that we’ve been reading chapter books aloud for months, and so she’s developed a taste for stories with slightly more complex plot structure. ‘Hop on Pop’ just isn’t cutting it.

So on an excursion to our local indie bookstore Hooray for Books! I searched around and came across this series from Penguin Books for emergent readers.

Bake, Mice, Bake!

We picked up Bake, Mice, Bake and a Ladybug Girl text, both at the upper end of Level 1.  She’s not quite reading them independently, but I was surprised how many words she did know, and how quickly she picked up on words she didn’t after just a few repetitions. It won’t take long before she is reading them independently.


A new milestone is on the horizon.


Happy Monday, Friends!

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