Thursday, November 28, 2013

A Gift for Everyone! The Ultimate Gift Guide Round-Up With 23 Gift Guides from The Kid's Co-Op, An Indie Book List to Help You Find the Perfect, Unique Gift and a Christmas Give-A-Way!

Confession #1: Books are on the top of my list of gifts to give and receive. 

Confession #2: I'm kind of a hippie. I love supporting my local farm share. I prefer my local coffee shop to chains. I buy almost everything second-hand. I like discovering and supporting other independent artists. I'm an indie filmmaker. 

Confession #3: I bite off more than I can chew -- often...This year this combination means I decided to put together an Indie Book Gift Guide, even though I certainly didn't have the time to do so! Still, it had to be done. After all, two of my (and my sons) favorite, new children's books of 2013 were indie books: The Magic Poof and I Am Mixed

In addition to my Indie Book Gift Guide, there's 23 diverse gift guides from The Weekly Kid's Co-Op. As for the Indie Book Gift Guide, I've kept it simple with a few top picks in each category. They are either books I've read and love, books I've been eyeing for awhile or books that have been recommended to me by bloggers and/or readers I trust.

(Quick Bonus Gift Giving Tip: When in doubt for someone on your list, donate to a charity in their honor. #GivingTuesday is just around the corner. Key organizations I plan on supporting this year include No Kid Hungry and the American Cancer Society

Confession #4: Notification of a charity donation that was inspired by me is the only gift I like to receive more than a good book.

Children's Books (Ages 3-8)
Many of these books are also available as eBooks on Kindle or Nook, so you can look for them there as well. 

Multicultural Kid Lit Top Picks

Beautiful Rainbow World created by Suzee Ramirez and Lynne Raspet with original lyrics by Daria Marmaluk-Hajioannou *New Book - Added in 2014*

My boys and I love this vibrant book that highlights the beauty, diversity and joy of of children around the world. Plus, the lovely song that inspired the book had my sons twirling and dancing around the house and full of utter joy!

The Magic Poof written by Stephen Hodges and illustrated by T. Kyle Gentry

My boys were both immediately drawn to this picture book with Wild Thing exclaiming excitedly about having a book with someone who looked like him. What I loved most about the book was the universal, valuable message that what makes us different is also what makes us unique, special and, perhaps, magical! 

In addition to Amazon and Barnes and Noble, copies can also be purchased directly from The Magic Poof website at the lowest rates currently available. Don't forget to comment so that you're entered to win a signed copy!

I Am Mixed written by Garcelle Beauvais and Sebastian A. Jones
and illustrated by James C. Webster

This book about twins growing up in a mixed race family is one of the best gifts WIld Thing and Caterpillar received this year. In the book, the children share about their rich cultural backgrounds and celebrate their unique and wonderful family

I Am Mixed is available on Barnes and Noble and Amazon.

Wilbur, The Would Be Tree written by David N. Fischer and Joan M. Wilson
and illustrated by Sharon K. Olden

Though about a tree, I still decided to feature this book as multicultural kid lit because of its goal and message as Wilbur's initial struggles with being different evolve into an understanding of how special and unique he truly is. 

Bonus - this book was written by my dad! 

Wilbur, The Would-Be Tree is available through Barnes & Noble and Xlibris.

The Bug Barians by Author Marty Byk and Illustrator JoAn DiMaggio

I love the idea of a Leaf Erickson bug and of Viking bugs in general. Via Mother Daughter Book Reviews I loved reading that the book features a diverse cast of characters including a Jamaican bug and a fabulous female Bug Barian who saves herself and her friends through her own strength.  I look forward to reading this book, and I LOVE the illustrations!

Visit The Bug Barians site for complete links of the books availability, including Amazon, Kindle, 
Barnes and Noble, Nook and iPad versions.

Pinata written by Ken Locsmandi and Sebastian A. Jones
Art by Tomo

My mother is actually reading this fun and sweet book to my kids as I write. It tells the story of a pinata maker and his pinatas, who discover their fate and try to escape. However, our hero Pinata discovers how much joy he can bring to children, including the pinata maker's granddaughter and returns to face his demise, only to eventually be saved and treasured by the granddaughter. I also appreciate that the book includes various Spanish words for children to learn and that the granddaughter, our heroine, is in a wheelchair. The book also includes instructions for making your own pig pinata! 

Pinata is available through Stranger Books with 10% of your purchase going to Kids Need To Read.

Sports, Pets, Music and More!

Anna and her Rainbow-Colored Yoga Mats written by Giselle Shardlow
and illustrated by Paul Wrangles

This was the perfect book to transition from Multicultural to Sports because it is actually both. Anna's love of yoga sets her apart as does her hearing impairment. Eventually, Anna's love of yoga spreads to her classmates. This book has a fabulous message and is perfect for yoga classes or for children with no previous yoga experience. I've been a fan of Giselle of Kids Yoga Stories for awhile. Her site is fabulous!

Anna and her Rainbow-Colored Yoga Mats is available at Kids Yoga Stories and on Amazon.

Bash and Lucy Fetch Confidence written by Lisa and Michael Cohn
and illustrated by Heather Nichols

As a mother who often does my creative work with my little ones nearby, this book is on my must-read list since it was written by a mother and her 5 year-old son. The book shows the way a pet can boost a child's confidence -- in sports and life. 

You can purchase Bash and Lucy on Amazon or directly from the authors here.

Wombat's Musical Adventure written by Chrissy Tetley
and illustrated by Theresa Burns

Another book that's on my list because my boys love music, particularly exploring different instruments, and I love nurturing their love for music. In this book, Wombat tries to find an instrument that is just right -- not too big, not too small. 

Wombat's Musical Adventure is available on Amazon, Barnes and Noble and the Book Depository.

Character Building

Playing with Purpose: Character Building Made Fun
Written by Chelsea Lee Smith

Chelsea of Moments A Day is another writer whose work I follow and love. This eBook features 100 fun and simple activities that can help children (particularly under 6) learn about and develop positive character traits. This book would be a great gift that you could give to your entire family for the new year!

Playing with Purpose is available at Moments A Day. I'm also looking forward to checking out

Learning to Speak Life: Fruit of the Spirit by Carlie and Michael Kerchavel
This guide is perfect for families who value family Bible time as it explores the fruits of the
spirit in ways that the whole family can understand with several activity ideas to go with each fruit, including role play ideas, silly sayings and more. Bonus idea: get it for a children's minister, Sunday School teacher, or youth minister in your life. 

This guide is available in the Amazon store in paperback and eBook versions.

5 Indie Children's Books with Great Messages selected by Elsa Takoaka
(Selections include books for ages 4-12).

Elsa is a former Spanish and E.S.L teacher, a mother of two, the future Indie author 
of Goo and Spot books, and reviewer of indie books.

Destiny and Faith's Summer Adventures by Teddy O'Malley

This early chapter book is from an undiscovered gem of a writer. The book is fun and fresh as it follows the adventures of twins as they learn sign language and so much more!

Destiny and Faith's Summer Adventures is available on Amazon.

Let's Hear It For Almigal written by Wendy Kupfer and illustrated byTammie Lyon

Elsa isn't the only one loving this book. It won the Best Children's Book Picture at the National Indie Excellence Awards and has been nominated for the Reader's Choice 2013 Award for Favorite New Special-Needs Children's Book. The book follows Almigal's journey as a hearing impaired girl desperate to hear "every single sound in the entire universe." It eventually followers her decision to get cochlear implants. 

Autographed copies of Let's Hear It For Almigal can be bought from the author at,
and copies are also available through IndieBound and on Amazon and Barnes and Noble.

Arlo Needs Glasses by Barney Saltzberg

A 5-star reviewed picture book about a free-spirited dog who needs glasses -- perfect for a child new to wearing glasses. 

Arlo Needs Glasses is available on Amazon.

Little Miss HISTORY Travels to the Statue of Liberty written by Barbara Ann Mojica 
and illustrated by Victor Ramon Mojica

Wild Thing (my 4 year-old son) loves adventures, mysteries to uncover and exploring new places. 
This book is on my list for him as it seems like something he will love!

This book, as well as the first Little Miss HISTORY book, is available on Amazon.

The Curious Disappearance of Professor Brown or the Pumpkin of Doom 
written by Tim Flanagan and illustrated Dylan Gibson

This is Elsa's book for middle school aged readers, particularly reluctant readers. The mystery, quality art, and humor (yes, a little bit of bathroom-humor) might be the perfect thing for a emerging pre-teen reader. 

This book is available as a Kindle Edition on Amazon.

My Top YA/Comic Pick (Ages 12 and up)*

"13" - Volume 1 from Creator/Writer Dani Dixon

   "13" is a comic book series about a society where every kid gets a superpower for one year when they turn 13. It features a diverse cast, and an intriguing and engaging story arc to pull in and interest any reader. Perfect for the comic book lover or SciFi fan on your list. 

13: Volume 1 includes comic book issues 1-5 as well as bonus materials. Dixon also has 13 trading cards available for the series. Both can be found at  She previously shared 10 tips for encouraging kids to make their own comics on my blog.
*I know many adults that love this comic series too. 

Books For Mommies!


I Just Want to Pee Alone: A Collection of Hilarious Essays About Mother
Various authors, including Jen of People I Want to Punch in the Throat who has been featured 
by The Huffington Post, Babble and Headline News.

If you have a kindle loving mama on your Holiday list who loves to laugh, this humorous collection could be perfect. Or, buy it for yourself! "Motherhood is the toughest – and funniest – job you'll ever love. Raising kids is hard work. The pay sucks, your boss is a tyrant, and the working conditions are pitiful – you can't even take a bathroom break without being interrupted with another outrageous demand."

I Just Want to Pee Alone is available for Kindle on Amazon.

The Mother of All Mommy Meltdowns: Real Stories of Moms' Finest (Worst, Completely Awful) Moments written by "A Bunch of Hot Mamas Losing Their Cool" including Crystal Ponti of Mommi Fried.

"Every mother, at some point, inevitably becomes her own worst enemy. In a millisecond, her halo crumbles and she has a moment so crazed it is forever known as the one…The Mother of All Meltdowns." - This collection of essays celebrates those meltdowns as a release for all moms who have ever lost their cool. It also highlights the silver lining within those moments and helps every mom remember that we are human, and we will survive!

This book is available on Amazon for download and in print. 


Dreamcatcher by Author Tara Pohlkette

This book of poems and essays is focused on capturing all of those little moments - the magical, beautiful moments between a mother and child as they learn and grow together. The excerpts I've read are beautiful and touching. I can't wait to read more.  

Dreamcatcher is available through Pohlkotte Press

Plus, you can also find over 15 more great book ideas in this post highlighting books by bloggers I absolutely love -- many of these books are focused on nurturing creativity in children and creative play ideas and activities from bloggers like Red Ted Arts, Imagination Soup, Nurture Store, The Artful Parent and many more. Check it out!

I truly hope you will consider supporting an independent author or artist this holiday season and that you will shop at local businesses first. It can make a big difference -- and PLEASE join me in being a part of #GivingTuesday! - Thanks. :) 

And now (finally!) it's time for The Kid's Co-Op. I've pulled together all the gift guides shared last week and consolidated and organized them for you starting with my favorite: the Ultimate Gift Guide for Sustainable Giving from ALLterNATIVElearning. She shares one of my favorite sustainable gift giving tips -- resale, which is the way my family shops every year! 

What Do We Do All Day? has fabulous book and toy gift set ideas and a guide focused on math gifts for kids. Learning with Mouse also has fun and educational gift ideas with game recommendations for brainy kids, and Powerful Mothering has Wooden Learning Toys for those under 3. Three other educational gift guide picks are Two Daloo's Best Toys for Speech and Language DevelopmentTrue Aim Education's Gift Guide focused on Character Building in Children, and School Time Snippets' Educational Stocking Stuffers.

B. Inspired Mama also shared great Stocking Stuffer ideas during her Gift Guide Week. 

Buggy and Buddy shared her Top Gifts that Inspire Creative Play, The Measured Mom shared Gender Neutral Gifts for Kids, and Fantastic Fun and Learning highlighted Gifts for Future Astronauts.

For kids interested in exploring the world and all of its beauty and diversity, Multicultural Kid Blogs shared its Multicultural Kids Holiday Gift Ideas and The Educators' Spin On It shared a Toy/Gift Guide for Exploring the World.

For toddlers and babies, there were several guides I liked: House of Burke's Ultimate Toddler Gift Guide, Play Trains' Train Gift Guide for Toddlers, The Eyes of a Boy's Ultimate Toddler Holiday Gift Guide and Nothing if not Intentional's Unique (and Affordable) Gift Ideas for Babies and Toddlers.

I also loved the Kid Made Gift Ideas from Teach Beside Me and Mamas Like Me.

Now for the final three: Imprints From Tricia's Gift Guide focuses on Favorite Toys for Under $15, Gifts that Strengthen Relationships from The Connections We Share, and I love Stir the Wonder's creative Gift Guide highlighting Experience Gifts for Kids. Now it's time to link up and play! Happy Holidays! (Pssst...Don't forget to live your comment requesting the Poof!)

Saturday, November 23, 2013

Sensory Ice Play: Exploring the Letter "I" Through All Five Senses

Tot School Letter of the Week: Toddler and PreK Learning Activities for the Letter "I" 

If you've been following along with our Tot School Letter of the Week explorations since they began in August, you know that we explore each letter through all five senses and that I often include preschool level learning activities too so that both of my boys, Caterpillar (2) and Wild Thing (4) are involved. I originally anticipated that we would be on the Letter N by now, but we've been taking our time and taking a relaxed approach and enjoying the explorations and find ourselves just now sharing about the Letter "I" which is among my favorites, tied with "a" and "p." (P has great pomegranate and pumpkin activities, which are quite seasonal right now, so if you missed it, pop over and check it out, and if you want more pumpkin fun, we shared 13 fabulous pumpkin activities from the Kid's Co-Op last week).

The first Letter "I" activity we did was for touch and involved sensory ice play. 

First, we explored the ice while it was still in the ice cube trays. (Tip: we got these cute shaped ice cube trays at Ikea for 99 cents each). Then, it was time to stir and touch. 

Finally, some painting seemed like a good idea. 

Not only is ice a great sensory experience, but the word really stresses the long "i" sound well with my toddler. I made an ice word card for him that worked well, since ice is such a short and simple word. 

From ice, it wasn't a long leap to ice cream, our letter "i" word for taste. I arranged for us to do our ice cream activity on Wild Thing's birthday and the ice cream taste test was a big hit! 

You can see we tried three different flavors and added toppings -- it was an exciting birthday treat. Plus, Wild Thing learned to read the word ice on his I is for Ice Cream word card. If you look closely, too in the ice cream photo you can see our vase of irises in the background. 

This small bouquet of irises was only $2 at Trader Joe's, so we explored them for the sense of smell. The boys love smelling flowers. I kept asking if they wanted me to get out purple paint so that they could paint some pretty purple iris flowers themselves, but they weren't interested. After a few days, I had a different idea and set out this invitation to play (or rather invitation to paint) on our creative table one afternoon. 

Success! Though looking at the iris flowers and painting their own purple flowers was not of interest, painting with the iris flowers was the perfect adjustment. 

For sound, we explored instruments -- and learned some new vocabulary while we were at it. While the boys were familiar with lots of instruments: drum, piano, guitar, bells, cymbals, etc. I had not realized that the word "instrument," was a new word for them. Once Wild Thing learned it, he couldn't stop saying it and the instrument basket became a quick favorite. We've been getting it out and exploring it regularly. It is much of the reason that we spent two weeks on the letter "I"! 

I also discovered that music time and instrument exploration works well as a simple sibling play activity and encourages practice taking turns and sharing. It also encourages innovation. Wild Thing found two other items to add to the drum we already had so that he could create a drum set that he and his brother could play at the same time, so I decided that "i" is also for impromptu drum set! 

I like the drum set best because it is actually not that loud. Our clean up bell, which became part of the instrument basket, often got taken out of rotation for the sake of my sanity. You can also see the instrument basket and some other instrument photos over at The Good Long Road on Facebook in the Tot School Photo Album. Here's the infamous bell. It was interesting to see how different each of the boys were with it. 

Finally, for sight, I pulled out two small magnifying glasses for them. One of our letter "i" books had a page featuring an inspector. Thus, "i" was for inspector and investigations -- learning some more new vocabulary words -- and having a lot of fun in our yard looking for insects (another "i" word). 

In addition to looking through dirt and in tunnels for insects, our tree with exploding sap gained their attention a lot as did some of our more colorful leaves. We also worked on filling in our letter "i" pages with insect stickers. 

All in all, we're really enjoying our tot school and preschool learning activities. Wild Thing is looking forward to the Letter "J," but wanted us to wait and do it when G'Ma was here. She just arrived yesterday, so I expect will start our explorations soon. Sharing this at: Montessori Monday.

You might also like:
Letter B Baskets
Letter D + ABC Activities from the Kid's Co-Op
It's All About Fall! 

Thursday, November 21, 2013

It's All About Perspective: The Gratitude Shift {21 Days of Gratitude}

Inspired by Inspired by Familia: A Reflection on #21DaysofGratitude

Today is the final day of Inspired Familia's 21 Days of Gratitude Challenge. (Psst. You should also check out these gratitude free printable prompts she shared.) I participated last year and loved the way it prompted a series on my blog about teaching gratitude, including one of my most popular posts ever -- gratitude postcards, which are perfect for young children. This year, I wanted to share about how the practice has affected me personally. My gratitude practice hasn't been as visible on my social media this year (mainly because I've been reducing social media time to focus on family), but I have focused daily on gratitude. This has inspired me to focus on adjusting my perspective and successfully embracing what I call "the gratitude shift." 

Here's how the gratitude shift works: 

Sink full of dirty dishes? Instead of mentally complaining about not having a dishwasher, I flip the switch and think "I am grateful that I have food to cook and feed to my family." 

Fighting kids? 

"I am grateful that I have two healthy boys and that I have the ability to help them learn to get along." When I start with that phrase in my head, 
I can more affectively respond to them. 

On a rare occasion, that extra moment to stop and focus and make the gratitude shift has allowed them to work it out themselves. 

This is the benefit of a daily gratitude practice - a positive perspective shift. It's still very much a work in progress for me, but I'm happy to have begun this process. It encourages me to recognize the blessings in my life and to realize that these blessings are everywhere. So, on this the final official day of 21 Days of Gratitude, I encourage you to consider continuing the practice. Look around you right now and find an opportunity for a gratitude shift. Perhaps it's a pile of laundry that needs to be folded and put away or that needs to be washed: "I am grateful that our family has clothes to wear." Or dirty floors that need to be mopped (that's my house today): "I am grateful that our family has a home." Or a co-worker that drives you crazy: "I am grateful that I have a job that allows me to provide for my family." etc. etc. 

It's not always easy, and they're may be some situations where making the shift is quite challenging, but I believe it is possible and I believe that the shift empowers us and those around us to move toward more and more positivity in our lives. 

Think it's too late to join? It's not. 

Share what you are grateful for today and use the hashtag: #21DaysofGratitude. 

Revisit the schedule here and read through what other bloggers have shared through the project for inspiration to keep gratitude at the center of your holiday focus. I've noticed amazing benefits when I shift my holiday to a focus on appreciation rather than I wants. I wrote about that benefit last year in a piece called "Making the 'I Wants' Fall Away" and I revisited that idea as I shared my first 17 Days of Gratitude in "Appreciation and I Wants 2013." I've shared the prompts from the month below, you can always start with Day 1 today or on December 1st if you missed it this month. What I've learned is that taking a gratitude challenge is beneficial any time of year, and that I always appreciate this annual reminder. Oh, and real quick, here's Days 18-21 from me:

Day 18 - A book: True Love by Thich Nhat Hanh, a book I go back to time and time again. I shared a favorite passage from the book and its meaning to me here.

Day 19 - A gift you received: my piano. Family friends gave us their piano, which was truly an amazing gift.

Day 20 - What you do everyday: I am grateful that I get to work with my husband to raise a family together and build a production company together that is committed to making engaging films around important topics and empowering youth to create media as well. I am also grateful that I do this work from home so that I can focus on our sons.

Day 21 - Something you can't live without: My family. Of course. 

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

52 Toddler and PreK Books Inspired by Picture Book Month

Top Picks from Project 101: Weekly Library Challenge and the Virtual Book Club for Kids 

This week for Project 101: Weekly Library Challenge, where I share what we have been reading this week and loving from the library, I thought it would be fun to look back through the year (and a bit from 2012 too) at the library books we've shared that connect with Picture Book Month, a campaign to promote literacy and reading through the celebration of books. Each day in November is linked with an author and theme. I love how the calendar has reminded me of many of our favorite reading experiences from the past year and encouraged me to revisit some of these books and activities. In addition to drawing from past books we've read and shared, I've also included 3 new favorites we've gotten at the library recently. 

November 1 - Tomie dePaola: I discovered Tomie dePaola through the Virtual Book Club for Kids as the selected author in December last year. We loved reading: The Quilt Story, The Popcorn Book, and I Love You Sun I Love You Moon, which I found in a bilingual version.

I'm highlighting that book because we also created a fun Bilingual Literacy Game that I definitely want to revisit with Wild Thing now adding new words as his Spanish vocabulary has grown over the last year. Here's the bilingual literacy game we did with the book, as well the other activities we did with dePaola's book, including our fun game of Quilt Twister

November 2 - ABC/123: We love ABC books at our house. In my latest renewal of library books, I discovered that we were on our 6th renewal (in a row) of ABC Kids by Simon Basher. Wild Thing absolutely adores this book, which was featured in our Weekly Library Challenge at the end of September. I'm thinking it might be under the Christmas tree this year.  
November 3 - History: The two history picture books I want to share come from the first few weeks of Project 101 earlier this year. We read Of Thee I Sing: A Letter to My Daughters by Barack Obama, which focuses on so many historical figures and moments in U.S. History and Rosa's Bus, which tells the story of Rosa Parks. 
November 4 - Friendship. For this, another book discovered through the Virtual Book Club for Kids definitely came to mind: Little Blue and Little Yellow by Leo Lionni. I love this sweet book about the friendship of little blue and little yellow and how their embrace, after a quest to find one another, creates green. Wild Thing and Caterpillar had lots of fun exploring this book through a fun sensory bin that we did as we decided to move, draw, eat and learn with this fabulous book

November 5 - Nature. One of Wild Thing's favorite things to explore and learn about in nature are flowers and bees. Much of his interest in bees grows out of a love for Winnie the Pooh and his honey. Recently, we featured The Honeybee Man by Leila Nargi as part of Project 101 and our Tot School/PreK Learning Activities for Letter H, another book we keep rechecking from the library. I also have to recommend What If There Were No Bees? a book about the grassland ecosystem by Suzanne Slade, a great book for learning about the importance of bees. We shared it last year along with a fun bee sensory bin. Both shed light on a very important part of nature -- bees!

November 6 - Mice. When it comes to books featuring mice, we always seem to end up reading books where mice are supporting characters -- minor, but important as is the case with a book from the library that we're reading and loving right now: Z is for Moose by Kelly Bingham. Wild Thing adores this abc book about a moose who really, really wants to be in the zebra's ABC book. However, when Zebra gets to M he decides to go with Mouse! It is heartbreaking for Moose who initially gets angry before sobbing toward the end of the book. Zebra finds a way to make it right, in the end, cleverly deciding that Z is for Moose (okay, actually Z is for Zebra's Friend, Moose!) 
November 7 - Royalty: My boys love Things That Go! especially cars and trains. In fact, they love them so much that I did a series of posts about Things That Go on the blog. For cars books, Leo Timmers has many fun ones and his book Vroom! features a special royal car. We shared it in a round-up 100+ Children's Books about Things That Go as part of Project 101
November 8 - Bunnies: Through Project 101 this year, we discovered Too Tall Houses by Gianna Marino, a lovely book featuring a rabbit and owl whose friendship is tested by competition and overgrowth before they finally learn the value of sharing their resources. The book prompted us to share more of our favorite bunny books
November 9 - World: For Earth Day, as part of Project 101 we shared one of our favorite books celebrating the world and encouraging kind treatment of all of the creatures and plants and animals in the world: One Tree, through this tree we see the cycle of life. 
November 10 - Writing: The Day the Crayons Quit written by Drew Daywalt and illustrated by Oliver Jeffers, who we discovered through This Moose Belongs to Me, is one of our new shares for this week's Project 101. Both Caterpillar (2) and Wild Thing (4) ask me to read it to them over and over. In fact, Caterpillar fell in love with the book first. It surprised me a bit that he did as the book is full of letters from Duncan's crayons who are all refusing to color for different reasons. It has more text than most books I read with Caterpillar, but he enjoys it so much. I do too -- it's quite clever. 

With Wild Thing, reading the letters and seeing the letters written by the crayons and the accompanying pictures excites him about writing and coloring, which I appreciate. He's been a bit of a reluctant writer at times. I shared a bit about our process and some successful and fun activities that have excited him about writing

November 11 - Seasons: This one is from our home library: Winnie-the-Pooh All Year Long shows Piglet and Pooh playing together through every season. Wild Thing and Caterpillar both adores this book we picked up at a yard sale for 25 cents!
November 12 - Bears: This was easy. My boys know this book by heart: Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See? written by Bill Martin Jr. and illustrated by Eric Carle. We also did 4 activities to go along with this book through the Virtual Book Club for Kids, including a food pantry donation grocery hunt
November 13 - Books: As much as we love books (clearly), I don't think we've really read a book about books! (If you have a suggestion for one we should check out, please share it). However, we recently read A Splendid Friend, Indeed by Suzanne Bloom which opens with the bear reading as duck comes along and insists on joining in and being bear's friend. Bear hesitates at first, but eventually realizes that duck is a splendid friend, indeed!
November 14 - Zoo: Last week, I shared one of our favorite zoo books, a vintage book entitled Where's Wallace?, which we shared as our Picture Book of the Day last Thursday. We love this engaging hide-and-seek book. 
November 15 - Cats and Dogs: We're going with a classic: Go Dog Go! by P.D. Eastman featured in our Things That Go! Dr. Seuss Edition post with 10 activities to go with Dr. Seuss books that go! 

November 16 - Sea: Wild Thing loves whales, yet I would have to say that the book connected with the sea that he seemed to enjoy the most was The Circus Ship, which we discovered through Project 101. A ship carrying circus animals crashes off the coast of Maine and the animals end up finding a new home among the small seaside town. 

November 17 - Sue Fleiss or Robots: So this is one for our library list: Robots, Robots Everywhere! by Sue Fleiss. I think Wild Thing would love it, especially if we kept our milk jugs and other recycled materials and made a robot similar to one he saw at an Earth Day event last year and loved! 

November 18 - Steve Jenkins: I See A Kookaburra! Discovering Animal Habitats Around the World was another book from the library that ended up in heavy re-check rotation. Wild Thing became quite obsessed with the book and with animal habitats. He actually made his own animal habitat book. We probably had a stretch where we read the kookaburra book several times a day for weeks! It's a must read. 
November 19 - Dinosaurs: For dinosaurs, we're sharing a Project 101 Pick for this week. Right now, we're reading Dinosaur World by Claire Llewellyn and Thea Feldman and Wild Thing loves learning new dinosaur facts. Since it's not really a picture book, though, I also have to share All Abroad the Dinotrain by Deb Lund, which is by far our favorite dinosaur picture book. We shared it along with a fun dino-inspired activity last May
November 20 - Librarians: We have to share Miss Dorothy and Her Bookmobile by Gloria Houston because our main library is a bookmobile. We have lots of fun playing pretend bookmobile outside with our tricycles and push cars too
November 21 - School: We've shared lots of books about school through Project 101. Our top 2 are Miss Mingo and the First Day of School and Maisy Goes to Preschool

November 22 - Rebecca Emberley or Bugs: This was a tough choice because we really love Emberley's books, but I had to go with a classic bug book instead: The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle not only because one of my son's blog nicknames is caterpillar, but also because one of our favorite service projects was inspired by the book and is a service project that has inspired others: our Very Hungry Caterpillar Virtual Food Drive

November 23 - Elephants: No contest with this one: Elephant and Piggie Books by Mo Willems definitely shoot straight to the top. We especially love Can I Play Too?, Listen To My Trumpet (we also featured a few other elephant books in our post about Listen To My Trumpet which connected with our activities for learning the Letter E), and Let's Go For A Drive, a Project 101 feature in August.  
Elephant + Piggie illustration from Mo Willems  Doodles!
November 24 - Birds: January's Virtual Book Club for Kids' author was David McPhail and his book Boy, Bird and Dog became a fast favorite. We made a storytelling bucket to go with it and took our bucket to the park where we found the perfect treehouse
November 25 - Frogs: - We discovered both of these frog picture books during a library scavenger hunt inspired by Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See? in which the boys hunted through the library to find books featuring the animals in their Brown Bear book. We loved Swimmy for its lovely illustrations, in particular, and Jump, Frog, Jump had the boys leaping around for days. I also really loved Frog by Susan Cooper in which a frog accidentally jumps into a backyard swimming pool and needs to be saved. (Confession: I remembered this last frog book after I made the collage and was too tired to go back and make a new one -- my apologies). 

November 26 - Clothing: Our clothing book is another we discovered through the Virtual Book Club for Kids. Trouble with Trolls is a lovely adventure book in which Treva encounters trolls and gives up articles of winter clothing (hat, mittens, sweater, boots) to keep the trolls from taking her dog. WIld Thing loved dressing up and acting out the story, and it provided wonderful literacy learning as we explored the blended sound that comes from combining the letters t and r. 

November 27 - Reptiles: I'm realizing this is our third Leo Lionni book. Mo Willems is the only other author whose had as many books shared in our Picture Book Month-inspired round up. A Color of His Own, though, might be my favorite of the Lionni books. It's a tight race between it and Little Blue and LIttle Yellow and both are lovely stories of friendship. I also love that A Color of His Own celebrates the uniqueness of the chameleon, and the chameleon's journey to learning to value that uniqueness. We featured this book during Project 101 in May, along with 5 library finds for me that I truly loved. 

November 28 - Holidays: With Christmas on its way, I decided to share some Christmas Books That Go!, including some classic Christmas picture books like How The Grinch Stole Christmas and The Polar Express. I highly recommend Snow Sounds from the list, a Winter book that is one of the library books that I just had to buy because the boys liked it so much. They both know it by heart. 

November 29 - Monsters: Another simple choice for us since we adore Where the Wild Things Are. Yes, it is where my oldest son's blog nickname came from, and we had a simple Where the Wild Things Are 1st birthday celebration for him.  

November 30 - Jungle: We loved discovering Where's My Mom? by Julia Donaldson through the Virtual Book Club for Kids, particularly its message that mommies and kids do not have to look alike! It's also fun to journey through the jungle with the baby monkey looking for his mommy. (P.S. Julia Donaldson was also the featured author for Nov. 10 during Picture Book Month). 

Now, I'd love it if you would share. What are your favorite picture books? Which book is a must for our Library List? Is there one on our list that your family loves? We'd love to know! Sharing this at: Saturday Book Club

You might also like:
The Magic Poof Book Review
Bilingual Picture Books
Project 101: There Was A Tree