Christmas Books for Little Readers

 

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Hi there– Do you have favorite Christmas books that you go back to every year?  I have a stack right here on the coffee table, just waiting for the grand-girls to come through the door.  We like sweet. We like funny. We like endearing Christmas books.  Here’s a few if you happen to have little readers on hand at Christmas:

513uldt0lkl-_sy337_bo1204203200_The Christmas Pageant by Tomie DePaola makes use of the text from the gospels of Matthew & Luke, along with the simple, charming illustrations that are instantly recognizable as DePaola’s work.  The story takes us through the Christmas story as presented by a group of children in their Christmas program celebrating Jesus birth.


unknownFather Christmas
by Raymond Briggs is almost wordless, but chronicles Christmas Day for a rather grumpy Santa through a series of detailed illustrations.  This British Santa packs his thermos of tea, flies over Buckingham Palace and makes a Christmas pudding.  You have to admire this intrepid Santa and enjoy his little celebration when he finally arrives home.

61twq0ouzvl-_sx399_bo1204203200_Christmas in the Country by Cynthia Rylant is the sweet story of a small girl who describes her Christmas in the country home of her grandparents.  There’s the awkward Christmas tree that “seemed sometimes like an embarrassed guest” and Christmas dolls and aunts & uncles & cousins bringing pies– a gentle story made even better by DianeGoode’s tender illustrations

51jka-7wl-_sx398_bo1204203200_Auntie Claus by Elise Primavera is a rollicking adventure of Sophie and her mysterious Auntie.  When she stows away in her Aunt’s luggage, she finds herself on a revealing trip to the North Pole and learns a lot about herself and Christmas.  Vivid illustrations and a satisfying ending made this a fun book to read together.

Ten Tips for Reading with Kids!

 

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Hey friends who know kids (that should be about everyone)–  Saturday we had a baby shower here for smart, articulate, beautiful Emily.  For part of the morning, the 5 hostesses (all her mom’s age) decided to give a little “Mom Advice” to Emily, just starting out on this mothering thing.  It felt a little bit like the fairies in Sleeping Beauty hovering around to bestow blessings on the new baby!!  It really was a sweet time together– and here’s my advice on reading:

TEN TIPS FOR READING WITH KIDS

#1. Start early.  One friend told me her mom read to her as an infant and since the baby wasn’t tracking stories quite yet, the mother read what she enjoyed– Shakespeare!  Awesome.  It’s never to soon to ladle all those sweet words and sounds into your baby’s head…

#2. For tiny readers, it’s all about rhythm, rhyme and repetition.  That’s why most every 3 year old is content to to read Brown Bear Brown Bear or Hop On Pop over and over.

#3.  Sing along books are great!  Even my 3rd graders loved to chime in on The Lady with the Alligator Purse!
Nadine Wescott has a whole series of sing-along books that are whimsical fun.

#4. Work reading into your schedule– the obvious before bed slot or during lunch or a wake up story…  The year Aaron was in kindergarten, we read every day while his sisters napped after lunch.  A sweet memorable time together.

#5.  Never be bookless!  Always have a stash in your diaper bag or in the car or tucked in a backpack–so waiting for appointments or in line or in traffic, you can pull out a story!

#6.  Some books are boring– Skip those!!  Look for books with color and lively language and humor, lots of humor–  Our favorite funny books include– I Ain’t Gonna Paint No More (naughty baby with a paintbrush) and Never Mail an Elephant (obvious foibles) and the Monster at the end of the Book (better read with the Grover voice!).

#7.  Wear out your Library Card!  Keep a fresh stack of books rotating through your house.  Last summer for Grammy Camp, we had a Library Scavenger Hunt.  We made an illustrated  list — a book about a cat, a Dr. Seuss book, an ABC book…   and rounded them up for a bagful of books to tote home.

#8.  Talk about the books you read together–  anticipate what will happen next.  Ask which character is the most interesting, why?  Imagine a different ending to the story.

#9.  Bribing children to read is totally acceptable!  We had summer reading charts that looked like large Candyland games with a family outing at the end for all who finished.  And when we lived in Spain, someone mailed us a set of World Book Encyclopedias. I paid my boys 25 cents a page to read entries.  When the kids were older, I would check out colorful library books on topics they enjoyed and leave them on the coffee table, pretty sure they would pick them up.

#10.  Just keep on reading!  As they get older and schedules get full, you have to be creative.  On vacations, pick up a book that relates to your trip and read together.  Jim Trelease (author of the amazing Read Aloud Handbook) would make his high school kids wash the dishes for their chores and then sit at the kitchen table and read to them!  One year we had a 30 minute ride to school and read through The Hiding Place, Brother Andrew, Tom Sawyer…  to pass the commute.

So much joy in reading with kids– Hope your lap is full of books and little “readers!”  And one last picture– our little grand-girl Mae, a book lover.
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Thank you to albinfo.ch for the illustration.

 

 

Christmas Books for Kids

Hello all–  The week after Thanksgiving, I climb up on a chair to reach the large pile of Christmas books that have been stored away on the top shelf of our bookcase since last year.  I trundle them off to school for a Christmas story each morning– and my very favorites end up back on our coffee table to open up at home.  I love these “old friends.”
Here’s a few of the best:

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Julie Vivas’ illustrations make this telling of the Christmas story magical– the booted angels, the very pregnant Mary, the joy of the shepherds as they peer into the manger.  I adore the friendly drawing of the angel seated at a table with Mary– a sort of homespun annunciation.  The text of the story is taken straight away from the King James Biblical narrative.  The grand words and humble drawings together evoke a delight and joy that this wonderful story deserves.
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Mooseltoe,
  heart-warms me every time!  It’s the story of an over organized Dad who has check lists galore to summon up the most perfect Christmas for his family.  It all goes well until the night before Christmas when he realized he has forgotten the Christmas tree!!  His resourcefulness and heroic effort save the day.  You’ve just got to love this guy.  Margie Paratini has written a great book for kids– and for their moms who are living by their own checklists in December!

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Too Many Tamales (by Gary Soto) is a dear story told by young Maria, who starts the day kneading the masa with her mother to make tamales for the big family celebration.  When mother leaves the room, Maria slips on her mother’s sparkling diamond ring and continues to work.  As the guests arrive Maria realizes she doesn’t have the ring!  Is is cooked into a tamale?  She recruits the cousins to help her find the missing ring and the result is comically sweet.  I think you’d enjoy this lovely story of one family’s Christmas.

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IMG_7985Peter Spier is a Caldecott winning illustrator (for his book Noah’s Ark) and this book titled Christmas! in it’s English edition is among his best!  (My copy is from a trip to Italy).  There is little text in this well told story.  The intensely detailed drawings supply every big and little moment in a family’s Christmas– from grocery shopping to stamping Christmas cards, from cookie baking to greeting grandparents at the door.  I love the table laden with the Christmas feast and heads bowed as father prays.  And there’s the post Christmas clean up and at the end one sprig of a Christmas tree at the Christmas tree farm sprouting for next year. There’s a whole lot of fun conversation potential browsing over this book with a sofa full of kids.

Favorite Blog — Katherine Marie


Hi there– Don’t you love to find a comfy spot on the couch with a big mug of tea and browse through a favorite blog?  I know I do.  So I’m happily sending along a link to one of my very favorite blogs.  I think you’ll like it.

Katherine Marie’s beautiful, inventive blog is chockfull of cute as a button crafts/activities that she summons up to do with her lovable children.  If you’re a mom, or a teacher, or a grandma, or just anyone who loves fun– you’ll fall for this blog too.  Her joy in daily living and in her faith shine through. And her brilliant photography shows her professional skills.  So you can see for yourself at:

http://katherinemariephotography.com/

I’ve copied a few of her flag day pics– which could inspire ideas that would be just grand for the Fourth of July.  (but there’s so much more on the blog… Check the pink lemonade stand kit or the construction day plans)