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Treasure Hunt Sale!

So I’m feeling really guilty about not posting here in a long while… Life has been busy and good! I’ve been a little focused on my local business, not to mention family life and my day job!

To celebrate back-to-school, I will be highlighting some books that are on sale on my website, but these are not necessarily advertised so it’s a bit of a treasure hunt!

I’ve already started sharing some of these on my Facebook page and will be sharing them there first so be sure to like my page, if you don’t already.

First up is…. drum roll, please…

Asia Box Set for ONLY $14.99!

(That’s less than the regular price for ONE book!)

This set includes 4 hardcover books that retail for $15.99 each for a total value of $63.80, plus a cute gift box! The set normally retails for $24.99 (already a bargain!), but I think we are closing these out so get yours before they’re gone forever!

I will highlight more books over the coming days/weeks on Facebook, but if you can’t wait or if you want to order all at once to save on shipping, you can view the back-to-school flyer here.

Also, be sure to click on the Internet Only Specials to get even more books on sale.

If you purchase $40 or more, you will be eligible for Customer Specials too!

I know. So many RULES and things to remember! But isn’t that what back-to-school is all about??

Happy reading!! Enjoy the savings…

PS: While We Were Out (included in this set) is one of our favorite books! It’s about a bunny that has adventures inside the house while everyone is away, but there’s a surprising little twist at the end…

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Books are Good for You!

Quote for the day:

“Any book that helps a child to form a habit of reading, to make reading one of his deep and continuing needs, is good for him.”

— Maya Angelou

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“Half of an Elephant” by Gusti

In celebration of Cinco de Mayo, I’d like to share a Kane Miller book from Mexico that my daughter and I really enjoy. Half of an Elephant by Gusti is a fun book with illustrations made of found objects like washers and springs and rusty metal – even sliced bread!

The book begins with the world suddenly splitting in two and the front half of an elephant goes searching for his other half. Soon he realizes that many other animals are in the same predicament and the elephant attempts to join with the other animal halves he meets – unfortunately without much success. Finally he looks on the bright side and realizes there are benefits to his new situation, such as not having an itchy tail because he doesn’t have a tail.

Meanwhile, on the other half of the world, the elephant’s back half is busy joining with other animal halves in an attempt to become whole. One such mismatch involves half of a monkey, but the elephant’s rear is too heavy for the monkey to jump from tree to tree so that does not work out. Eventually the world joins back together and the two elephant halves are reunited, but not in a way you’d expect. This book celebrates differences, reinvention, and self-acceptance. We love the charming and creative illustrations and there is one page in particular that is made up of a jumble of animal halves – fun and a little challenging to try to match them!

See more reviews at Usborne Books & More. ¡Feliz Cinco de Mayo!

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Owning Books vs. Library Card

This is such a great guest blog post by Read Aloud Dad… I really like how he points out that owning books and owning a library card are so different and don’t really overlap that much – BOTH are important!

Thanks Read Aloud Dad!

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Raising Readers

Quote for the day:

“If you want to raise readers, you must provide them with books as soon as humanly possible. This is a parental obligation on par with vaccinations.”

– Deirdre Donahue, children’s book reviewer, USA Today 

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5 Ways to Get Books on the Cheap

The research says that books in the home can be just as important as having college-educated parents when predicting the future education level of a child. I believe that every family should have a library card (and use it often!) – and that children should have their own library cards when they reach an appropriate age. However, there is something special about owning books that you can enjoy over and over and writing your name in them. So how do we get more books in our homes to ensure that our children will develop a life-long love of learning?? Here are five inexpensive ways to build a home library for your children:

  1. Gifts and “hand-me-downs” from friends and family. Hint: Suggest books the next time someone asks what your child wants/needs for his birthday.
  2. Thrift stores and consignment shops often have inexpensive books for purchase.
  3. Used bookstores. Trade your unwanted books for children’s books.
  4. Library sales, rummage sales, and garage sales.
  5. If you want NEW books, consider hosting an Usborne Books & More show (online or in person) and get FREE books as host/hostess incentives! Better yet, join Usborne and get all your books at wholesale prices or less!

If you have other ideas for building a home library, I’d love to hear them!

Disclaimer: Yes, I am an Independent Educational Consultant for Usborne Books & More. And it is so much fun! Imagine what it might be like to earn additional income and vacations for your family plus have access to fabulous books at great prices, while also helping others, promoting literacy and meeting new friends. With Usborne, you can do fundraisers, grant-matching, bookfairs, reading incentive programs, home shows, direct sales, and so much more! Have you ever considered doing something like this? Email me or click here if you’d like more information.

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Games Make Reading Fun!

As promised in an earlier post, here are some great games mentioned in Reading Magic: Why Reading Aloud to Our Children Will Change Their Lives Forever by Mem Fox. Games can make reading aloud more fun for both you and your child and add spontaneity to learning!

  • Turn the book upside down and start reading (or start reading on the last page of the book) and see if your child notices and corrects you. I don’t do this very often, but it’s funny to see my daughter turn into a little teacher/parent when I do. “No – this way!”
  • Read the wrong words. For example, if reading Little Red Riding Hood, begin with “Once upon a time there were three little pigs…” This game teaches that the illustrations should match the words. This one elicits giggles and “That’s not what it says!” responses.
  • Sometimes skip reading altogether and just discuss the pictures with your child. I think my daughter really likes this because she has more time to really absorb what’s in each illustration and find all the hidden gems.
  • Point out words that are repeated and see if your child can spot more. I admit that we have only done this a couple of times and not very successfully.
  • Seek out letters on the page. For example, if your child’s name begins with “M”, see how many “M”s you can find on the page. One of my favorite letter recognition memories is when we were driving by the Golden Arches of McDonald’s and Maddie pointed and shouted excitedly “Big M! Big M!”
  • Stop mid-sentence and let your child finish (works best with favorite and familiar books). This also can let you know if your child is bored and not paying attention (and you haven’t noticed) – then you can find ways to re-engage.
  • Allow your child to turn the pages. Along with teaching the child left-to-right reading and page-turning, this game also helps keep an easily distracted child focused on the book and invites participation.

More games from Fox to help pre-readers learn include the following:

  • Use alphabet fridge magnets to write your child’s name. Also, these can be used to spell a simple word such as “can” and change one letter at a time to make different words like cat, rat, rut, rub, etc.
  • Encourage “writing” (scribbles).

Above all, keep reading aloud light, fun and spontaneous. Don’t bog your child down with too many rules and it’s best to leave out fun-killers like “Don’t be silly! Sit Still! Pay Attention! No! That’s Wrong!”  You get the idea…

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Value Education? Give Your Child Books!

Here is yet another article mentioning the link between books in the home and  increased education levels and improved socio-economic mobility. This has been a hot topic since May 2010 when an international study was published that showed that books in the home are as important as parents’ education level in determining the education level a child will attain. The research results indicated that as few as 20 books can make a difference, but the magic number is 500 books to be about equivalent to university-educated parents. So let’s see here… Say each book is about $7 on average x 500 books = $3,500. That is much less expensive than the university education I received! Not meaning to be flip here, but seriously… How can we get books in more homes and to the kids that really need them? Please share your ideas… I have some of my own that I’ll share in future posts. 🙂

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“Seasons” by Anne Crausaz

Hooray for Spring!! And Seasons by Anne Crausaz is a great way to experience the changing seasons.  Crausaz will have you and your children smelling, listening, tickling and tasting all through the spring, summer, autumn and fall. I love the simple, bold and colorful illustrations in this unique Kane Miller book from France.

Seasons

by Anne Crausaz
Recommended for ages 4 years and up (my 3 year old likes it!)

40 pp

Hardback $15.99

“With simple, poetic words and accessible, energetic images, this small, square, joyful picture book celebrates the five senses through the four seasons…The shelves of picture books about the seasons are crowded, but this one stands out for its direct invitation to children to notice and wonder about the changing natural world around them.” – Booklist Online (February 24, 2011)

“The simple, understated illustrations along with the descriptive prose give a rich, evocative earthy sense: smell the blossoms of spring and lay back in the tender young grass listening to the birds singing; in summer breathe in deeply and enjoy the aroma of fresh tomatoes on the vine and basil, pad barefoot in the rich garden soil…and so on through the seasons.” – Biblio Reads (February 24, 2011)

“ The graphically designed, flat-dimension illustrations are both attractive and subtly effective in pairing the senses with the seasons as the girl enjoys the special moments of nature year-round.” – Kirkus Reviews (February 15, 2011)

“The illustrations are a style unlike I have seen before – they are simple and yet the striking contrasts in color are beautiful. What a wonderful and unique look at the seasons!” – In the Pages… (February 15, 2011)

“Seasons is my Frederick at the moment, giving me wonderful memories of each of the four seasons.” – NC Teacher Stuff (February 2, 2011)

“Exuding an overall serenity, the book should have children seeking out the sights, smells, and sounds of the passing seasons.” – Publishers Weekly (January 17, 2011)

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Voice Magic – Tips from Mem Fox

I really enjoyed reading Mem Fox’s Reading Magic: Why Reading Aloud to Our Children Will Change Their Lives Forever. She has some great tips for using your voice to transform books from ho-hum words to magical music. All you drama majors can stop reading now, but for those of us who majored in more technical and less expressive subjects (yes, I know… BORING!), here are Fox’s voice tips that I have found so helpful:

  • Sensationalize the opening line of a book to grab attention.
  • Savor the closing line. Say it slowly to make it “more delicious” and create a transition from the book to next activity (hopefully bedtime!).
  • There are at least 7 ways to vary your voice. Think high/low, fast/slow, loud/soft and pause.
  • Pay close attention to the story line to know how to vary your voice using these “7 ways”.
  • Take cues from the written words. For example, consider how you might express “the wind whispered…” vs. “the wind howled…”
  • Aim for highly interesting.
  • Experiment and develop your own style.
  • Use a sing-song voice to make the story like music.
  • Read a book the same way each time to help children remember the tune. This will also make them more likely to practice “reading aloud” to themselves.

Some don’ts from Mem Fox…

  • Don’t be overly expressive.
  • Don’t be cutesy, sugary, patronizing.

I will share more tips from Mem Fox’s book soon – she has many more ideas for creating reading magic and I love her ideas for reading games to play. In the meantime, you can learn more about Fox and watch videos of her read alouds here.

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