I’m Buying Books for Birthdays!!!!!!!

Curious George Birthday Cake

Many of you will recall that back during the holidays My Friend Amy started a challenge to have people buy books for the holidays to help out the publishing industry and promote reading called I’m Buying Books for the Holidays. Well I’m continuing that trend except it’s called I’m Buying Books for Birthdays, which I know a lot of you already do. But here is the thing my daughter turned 5 this last week and accordingly she wanted a birthday party. She has been planning a Curious George party since before she turned 4. She announced when she was 3 that she wanted a princess party for when she turned 4 and a Curious George party when she turned 5.  She loves Curious George. It’s her favorite PBS kids show and just loves all the crazy curious stuff he does. So as the big day approached she still wanted Curious George for her birthday.

curiousgeorgeandthepuppiesSo we planned the party and I am not a big fan of lots of sugar or lots of cheap plastic toys that break, may have lead, pose a choking hazard and so forth. I wanted to try something different. What would a teacher and lover of books choose to hand out as party favors? Did you guess right? Books!!!

Each child received a Curious George Book with a book mark for total of 6 books.  The book marks I got from PBS kids as part of the Curious George birthday party site, which is really awesome by the way. It had everything from games, invitations to party favors and easy instructions for the cake. I loved it!!! The planning was a piece of cake (pun intended). The games were also educational charades and bingo. Her party was a blast and I actually spent less on party favors this year than I did for her princess party. Another bonus was making everything biodegradable all the party favors with the exception of the candy were made out of paper.

curiousgeorgesnowydayI liked giving the books away and I hope the other kids liked it. I know my daughter did, but she loves books and frequently sleeps with them. We did have a pinata and so they still got lots of sugar despite my intentions to not give out a lot of candy, but a ten pound pinata is a lot of candy and it’s a family tradition so I’m not sure we can give it up.  Anyone have any ideas?

If you have children and plan to do a party give books out as party favors and/or give books to your friends and family for their birthdays. It can’t hurt the publishing industry and over a whole year of giving books that’s got to do something to help. Most important your sharing your love of books and promoting literacy in the people you care about most.


Rapunzel’s Penance

rapunzels-revengeTonight I went to the King’s English Bookshop because 1) I wanted to support my local bookstore and 2) all the Hales were going to be there – you know the ones Shannon, Dean and no relation Nathan of Rapunzel’s Revenge. 3) My daughter (munchkin #1) is totally in love with Rapunzel’s Revenge, she was so excited to get her own copy, which thankfully they had because being new to this whole meet the author in person thing I probably should have bought it ahead of time just to make sure I had a copy – I had one already, but needed one for her.  

I was also there for a fourth and final reason – my sister had sent me on a mission to get an autographed copy for her and being that she lives in the middle of 40 acres of sage brush. . . in another state . . . it wasn’t likely she would make it. But the big reason  was . . . well . . . um I cut her hair not once but, twice way back in our childhood. So it would seem fitting that I pay some sort of penance and this was it (For the whole story see our review of Rapunzel’s Revenge.) The first offense I was like 4 the second time I won’t confess my age, but I definitely knew better. I did really want to be Rapunzel. My daughter does too (I hope that’s where the similarity of her Rapunzel stage ends).

Now, Shannon made my daughter who suddenly turned shy 4-year old (she will monologue at various public places at the top of her lungs) smile and laugh. Her hair was in braids, which it normally is because when you want to be Rapunzel the best way to keep your hair untangled and easy to brush is to well . . . wear it braids. Shannon told her she could be Rapunzel, which she so wants to be. She was so excited to meet the authors and illustrator and I think it has finally solidified in her mind which does what – authors write and illustrators do pictures.

The store was a bit crowded and I managed to knock over several books on our way out and on our way in especially while wrestling munchkin #2 (8 months) who decided that it would be a good time to try and crawl on the floor and was trying her darndest to get there. Which of course culminated in her crying while I handed the cashier my credit card. It was crazy, but worth it.

Munchkin #1 had a huge grin on when we walked out of the book store and then proceeded to do what we call her am excited dance/walk. (Within 5 minutes of leaving we had go to the corner Star Bucks coffee shop to go the bathroom, but I am sure that had nothing to do with the dance). Right now she is sleeping with her book. It’s so cute. The orginal plan was for Santa to bring the book, but when I saw that Shannon and Company were going to be at the local bookstore – I couldn’t pass it up so we went to meet them- that was way better than getting the book from Santa. Santa now plans to bring the stuffed frog she has been begging for and as long as it doesn’t turn into a prince we’ll be okay.

And as for my sister I accomplished my mission and Shannon even customized it for you, it says

For Holly – who would be Rapunzel if her sister hadn’t so ruthlessly chopped off her hair.  

So Holly I have your book and will send it soon, or if you move to Idaho I just might be willing to bring it to you.

Cybils, Poetry Friday, the Kidlitosphere and more!

I just wanted to share what I have learned this week through blogging. Just think, cue A Whole New World from Disney’s Aladdin or if you’d rather Dvorak’s New World Symphony. Can you hear the music? Good

I had no idea the kind of people I would meet through book blogging. It really is a whole new world for me and my sister and we’re having a lot of fun. We’ve learned so much and met some wonderful people in the book blogging world and we have Natasha @ Maw Books to thank. (I meet her through a mutual friend, she mentioned she blogs, I checked it out, talked with my sister and Book Scoops was born). Here’s some newly learned information that we wanted to share.

1. There is such a word as Kidlitosphere (my new favorite word) – a group of bloggers that read, love and review children’s and adolescent literature. It’s what we read. We are so glad to be part of this group, which includes some pretty awesome people from SAHMs to authors to teachers to librarians to engineers and  many more. The one thing we have in common is reading kid lit.

2. Cybils (Children’s & Young Adult Bloggers’ Literary Awards) – If you are looking for some great titles to add to your library or not sure what to have your kids read. Check out the CYBILS. There is also a great guest  post by Jen Robinson at Shelf Space about them as well. Her blog is one of my favorites of this week.

3. Poetry Fridays – Want to know about some great poetry? Well every Friday participating kidlit bloggers post poetry and some volunteers to host or in other words puts the links together for everyone. It’s fun. For a better explanation look over at the poetry foundationBig A little a keeps the running list of blogs that are hosting.

4. Carnivel of Children’s Literature – Every month, a list of links about children’s books. For more info check out this post at Chicken Spaghetti

5. Also I am participating in the Comment Challenge, which has been fun so far. We both are enjoying meeting new people and making comments on other blogs. It would be nice if Holly could move so then she could get some other Internet connection besides dial-up. Yep that’s right folks she has been blogging with dial-up, which we all know is sooo ffaaasst, it’s driving her batty. So send positive thoughts/prayers her way that her house will sell soon.

So here’s to another great week of blogging!


Thank You to All the Veterans!

grandpaonavy1As Veteran’s day is fast approaching, Tuesday November 11th, I want to pay tribute to the many veterans who have served our country. My family and I look up to veterans as heroes. How many times have you thanked a vet only to be told, “I was just doing my job”?

My son recently told me a story passed down from this Great Grandpa Julius about narrowly escaping death on a night when under heavy bombardment. GGJ Served in the U.S. Army during WWII, leaving a loving wife home for almost five years. My own Grandpa O served in the Navy during WWII as a radio operator (what a scary job – they were prime targets. I would especially like to honor these two great men today. Thank you for your service!

rangerbookIn honor of Veteran’s Day I am reviewing the book U.S. Army Special Operations Forces: Airborn Rangers by Michael Burgan. I learned many fascinating things in this book, which includes photographs, maps and illustrations. Did you know the first American colonists formed ranger groups to help the British in the French and Indian War (1754-1763)? There have been ranger units in every major war and many small conflicts ever since. The training rangers endure is brutal – actually I think all military training is brutal, but this sounds awful!

Does your family have oral stories to pass down? Have they been written down for you and future generations? I love to sit and listen as my Grandpa tells stories of his service. I want to be able to share these stories with my chldren in the years to come. Although some are written, I have a goal of recording more this year.

grandpaonavy2There are many men and women who paid the ultimate price for the freedoms we have today. Since we can’t thank them personally, I challenge you to pass on a kind deed in their honor for Veteran’s Day. Please share your kind deed ideas with us in the comments section and/or share stories of those veterans you know.

Thank you to all the Veterans – may you have a happy and peaceful Veteran’s Day!

Ode to Reading Grandparents

Grandma O Reading Harry Potter

Reading is an important skill and helping children develop a love of the printed word often is a family affair. Part of why we love reading so much also has to do with our grandparents reading to our parents and taking them to the library. So we thought we’d give a thank you to our grandparents (who also let us eat lots of ice-cream).

Grandpa O Reading 1776

Grandparents B and Grandparents O read to us as children and certainly instilled within our parents a love of reading. Also one of the benefits of developing life long reading is a healthy brain. It’s one of the best ways to exercise your brain especially as you grow older. Let me just say I love exercising my brain this way!

The other benefit is you can talk to your grandkids about the books you are reading. In fact Grandma O likes to read young adult fiction and read the entire Harry Potter series. One of her main reasons is its fun, but she particularly enjoys being able to discuss the books with her grandchildren. She just recently finished the 3rd book Brisingr in the Inheritance Series by Christopher Paolini.

Grandpa B

Both Holly and I remember reading The Cat in the Hat at our grandparents B house. They had a lot of books to choose from and even though Grandpa B can’t see as well as he used to he uses a special machine for the blind to read books to him.

We have lots of memories of reading and lots of postitive memories which is so important in fostering a love of reading for children. How are you fostering a love of reading with children and people you know?