Other highlights of the week – Two Gage doctor appointments, both with very different opinions. I’m currently on the fence and have a ton more research to do. Instead of doing that, I have cleaned our laundry room top to bottom and I’m exhausted, lol.
The board of our Friends of Library group welcomed 4 new board members on Monday and I successfully balanced the books for the month. Only 11 more months as treasurer (not that I’m counting or anything. I hate being in charge of this much money).
ETR phone meeting complete. IEP coming up on Tuesday. Sending positive energy my way for that would be appreciated. Since he’s a homeschool kid I’m not stressing too much because if I send him back to public school we have to redo the whole process anyway. It feels like wasted time that’s only going to stress me out. Have you had to be part of an IEP meeting? It’s a group of educators taking turns telling you what your child’s deficits are. Can it be useful? Yes. As a parent do I usually end up crying in the car after? Yes.
I’ve been reading so many picture books this month that I’ve been struggling to finish books over 40 pages, lol. Here are two that I read and liked… (The TBR book service I mentioned below is having a giveaway for one lucky person to try it for free here)
I had the honor of being a finals judge for the Cybils Awards again this year for both board books and picture books. The five of us exchanged a flurry of emails after we’d read these 7 finalist board books and chose a winner…
🎉Big Bear, Little Bear by Marine Schneider was universally loved and a perfect book to read and reread with your wee babes. Simple and sweet with touches of humor, it has a nostalgic feel that’s sure to please. 🎉
The other finalists were also fantastic and I can easily recommend all of them for the 0-3 crowd. ❤️ Comparrotives by Janik Coat (I was so charmed by this parrot!) ❤️ Circle Under Berry by Carter Higgins was Gage’s favorite. ❤️ Animals Go Vroom by Abi Cushman had a fun animal story with peekaboo pages. ❤️This is Still Not a Book by Jean Jullian was full of whimsy with funny pictures and pull up pages. ❤️Turn Seek Find Habitats by Ben Newman is a new take on hidden picture fun with the turn of a wheel changing what you seek every time through. ❤️ Caution! Road Signs Ahead by Toni Buzzeo and Chi Birmingham is an easy choice for your car loving toddlers with big road signs and what they mean.
For the Picture Books category we had 7 fabulous choices and between the 5 of us finalist judges we chose…
🎉 Watercress by Andrea Wang and Jason Chin 🎉 This has won many awards this past year for good reason. A quiet story with heart and an important message. Eat weeds for dinner that your family picked on the side of the road? That’s a tough sell for any kid. This was my and our favorite.
Other finalists ❤️ Someone Builds the Dream by Lisa Wheeler and Loren Long ❤️ I loved this one almost as much but for different reasons. Want to teach your kid to celebrate everyone who contributes to building bridges or rides or parks? This is your book! ❤️ Bodies Are Cool by Tyler Feder❤️. Every child needs to spend some time with this book. Seriously. This book celebrates every body type you can imagine. I can’t recommend this one enough for body diversity awareness. And it’s really fun too! ❤️ The Midnight Fair by Gideon Sterer and Mariachiara Di Giorgio❤️ This story of animals taking over the fair at night has no words and doesn’t need them. Loved it. ❤️ Change Sings: A Children’s Anthem by Amanda Gorman and Loren Long. Beautifully celebrates the difference one child can make in the world. ❤️Itty-Bitty Kitty Corn by Shannon Hale and Leiden Pham. Cat or unicorn lovers will want this one. ❤️ Arlo Draws An Octopus by Lori Mortensen and Rob Sayegh Jr, is perfect for any budding artists out there.
Highlights of the Week We had a lovely get together with my parents celebrating their 53rd wedding anniversary and my Dad’s 75th birthday.
I signed up for Book Riot’s TBR: Tailored Book Recommendations and these 3 beautiful hardcover books arrived on my doorstep with a letter from Rey telling me why she chose each one. I started the first already.
Gage went to the dentist and had no cavities.
Go Bengals! They might be out in-state rivals but they’re representing Ohio so I hope they can pull it off!
Could’ve been better The dentist said Gage needed braces by summer. I had to make yet another trip to the school that Gage doesn’t attend to fill out more paperwork for his ETR/IEP meeting next week. If you don’t know what those letters mean consider yourself blessed. Started the process of getting Gage officially diagnosed with ADHD. It’s a ridiculous process considering, but I’m finally ready to try medication and we’ve got to jump through a bunch of hoops yet. We put off of February trip and now I wish we’d just taken off for a few weeks.
Books finished this year – 59.
Plans for the weekend Watch the Super Bowl and try to sneak in some reading! Are you planning to watch the Super Bowl?
It’s been another great week for picture books! I’ll list them in the order I liked them best and give you a few thoughts. In the morning as we start our day I read a picture book (I sometimes make him read, but the morning goes a lot better for everyone if I don’t make him ‘work’ first thing, lol). Sometimes we just talk about the story or the time in history and sometimes we explore more with writing or videos. He always has to sum it up or include important points in his journal. All in all, most days it takes 10-25 minutes.
I love this writing/illustrating duo. Their books are timeless even if they seem like a quaint story of a time gone by. Clover is told that she has to stay on her side of the fence because white people lived on the other side and blacks stayed on their side. But one summer she always saw a girl sitting ON the fence and in time made her way to the top of the fence too. I adored this book and the hope it gives for the children of today paving the way to a better future.
It didn’t take us long to realize that this book overlapped with The 5 O’Clock Band that we read last year. This was more about a moment with Bo Diddley that Andrews had when he was just a young boy with a beat up trombone he found on the street. Gage loved this true moment in time and we had fun with the photos in the back. Loved it. As always, Collier sparkles as an illustrator.
This eye-catching book is a great starting point for a discussion about race. It starts with the story everyone has and how it’s impossible to know the whole of anyone if we just look at the outside. He uses the example of shedding our skin as we move through life and how preferable that would be. Wouldn’t that be lovely? Unfortunately, that isn’t the world we live in so a real conversation must happen after the book is done. But it was visually appealing and a conversation starter.
Ellen’s parents and others celebrate when it becomes legal for them to be married in the eyes of the government. Until then, jumping the broom was the way slaves married. I loved the celebration of new beginnings and progress being made. It didn’t have as much detail about the tradition as I would have liked, but it was a good starting point and I loved the illustrations.
This inspiring story of a boy finding the courage to do something unexpected is gorgeously illustrated. Langston was good at basketball, but he ADORED dancing. A sweet story sure to appeal to younger kids.
I liked the idea of this book based on the few details about the man that we know. Stephen was of several slaves who gave tours of Mammoth Cave in Kentucky. The cave is the biggest in the world and he made a few discoveries during his 20 years. The story was a little to little for me to really love it, but the history at the back was interesting.
The first black woman to get her pilot’s license in 1921 had to go to France to learn to fly. I loved the additional pages with timelines and photos in the back It was also fun to read about this period because of how it relates to Jason’s great grandfather who learned to fly in this era.
Highlights of the week The snow was beautiful? How much did you get where you are? We ended up with about a foot, but the drift in our yard has made it more like a few feet. Tomorrow will be about freezing and sunny so hopefully some of it will melt.
What does Black History Month look like for our homeschooling? I checked out 28 picture books. We are using two for month long lessons so they’ll show up later and we’re reading, watching, writing, talking about one book a day. Yes, this means even weekends we’ll have books to read. Our first three have been terrific.
My Name is James Madison Hemings is for older kids who you can have deeper conversations with. Thomas Jefferson had 4 children with his slave Sally Hemings and this is their story from the perspective of one of the sons. How would you feel if you lived in one room under the terraces built in the hillside with your three siblings and mother while your father had his other family in the palatial Monticello? What if your father listed you as property, next to the sheep and hogs in the farm book?
There was so much to unpack and it led to great discussions about how people who do great good can also do bad things. By focusing only on the good doesn’t that show an incomplete picture of history? I could go on, but you get the idea 😁. We also watched a video that I’ll try to link to below. Such an important story.
Dave the Potter: Artist, Poet, Slave was a real man who made approximately 40,000 pots with poetry sometimes carved in. Some of these pots are still around today, 200 years later. We paired this with videos of current potters and learned more about the process.
Freedom in Congo Square is about a real place in New Orleans where black people could meet once a week (it became the only place they could congregate on their one day off a week) and keep their African traditions alive. The pictures are colorful and the reading easy for younger kids.
We’re going chronologically through a history book, so not all the books will be about slavery.
I’ll keep our picture books to a once a week recap, but want to make sure I highlight the really good ones – like these!