The Children’s Books I Gifted in 2018

Hello lovelies!

Today I want to share with you some of the amazing books I stumbled upon this year. I collected these through dusty thrift stores, winding indie bookshops, online sales, and big chain stores. These each ended up in wrapping paper, in the hands of the kids that I love.

(Look out in the future for a detailed post on exactly why books are wonderful presents, and my seven reasons why you should give them.)

So let’s get into it!

1. The Book of Mistakes, by Corinna Luyken

Oh my goodness. This might well be my favorite picture book now. It’s a story about a girl’s artwork. She keeps making mistakes, but each ink blot and splatter just adds to the great picture her work becomes by the end. She turns a few smudges into leaves, fixes disproportinate limbs with roller skates, and by the end the grander message is revealed: mistakes aren’t useless, they are part of the creative process.

This book is written minimalistically, but the illustrations are absolutely grandiose and I am kind of in love with them. It’s short and simple enough for young kids, but beautiful and meaningful enough to keep older kids engaged. I found it on my way out of a bookstore. I wasn’t even looking, but as I passed by the sale rack on my literal way out the door, it caught my eye. It became a gift to all of my siblings, so that they may know their mistakes do not define them, but grow them.

The Book of Mistakes
From The Book of Mistakes, by Corinna Luyken

2. Winnie the Pooh, by A.A Milne

What a classic, right? There’s so much already written on the philosophy, illustrations, and whimsy of our dear old Pooh-Bear. It’s chockful of beautiful ideas, cleverly woven into a simple story of childhood at it’s most quintessential. However, it isn’t as commonly read to kids anymore.

I found an ancient copy of this in a trade-and-buy used bookstore. Of course, I think that makes it more appealing. The pages are yellowing, and they have that unstrippable, distinct ‘old book’ aroma. I gave this to my youngest brother (he’s eight) with the promise that whenever I come home from college, I’ll read him another chapter.

Winnie the Pooh
From A.A Milne’s Winnie the Pooh.

 

3. I Love You Forever, by Robert Munsch

This is a book which has a good deal of childhood nostalgia to me. When I was little, my mom used to hold my hand and sing this same song to me as the mother sings to her child in the book,

“I’ll love you forever,
I’ll like you for always.
As long as I’m living,
My baby you’ll be.”

It wasn’t until recently I realized that she made up the melody (of course- the book didn’t sing it!) and this was a bit of a mind boggle for me.  My boyfriend’s newborn nephew received this one, in hopes he will always know that he is loved.

I'll Love You Forever
From I’ll Love You Forever, by Robert Munsch

In conclusion, if you are looking for birthday gifts or other holiday gifts, I honestly don’t think you can go wrong with these options. Share a little love and encourage the kids in your life towards literacy.

 Are there any books you love now that were gifted to you? What do you think the ideal gift is? Comment below and let me know!

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Three Pictures Books Spotlighting Strong Women of Colour

Hello lovelies! Today I’m sharing something with you I haven’t shared before here: my little sister is adopted from Haiti. She is just starting to read. Something that my mother and I have been striving to do is find books that star girls who look like my sister. The same thing goes for dolls, toys, etcetera. As a white woman, my eyes hadn’t been naturally opened to the cultural whitewashing before this. Why is a “default” Barbie doll white when an estimated 37% of Americans are not? Why do we have to search so hard and especially highlight multicultural books, but Caucasian characters in literature are again, “default”? That’s my small food-forthought ramble for today.

On to the books! Here are some children’s books that show strong female role models who are also women of colour. (This is by no means an all-encompassing list of diversity, but are simply a top few- I may continue on with this series if there is interest, so let me know!)

These all encourage girls to embrace themselves and reach their fullest potential, and are all fairly affordable also.

  1. Malala’s Magic Pencil, by Malala Yousafzai (for the young writer)
  2. Firebird, by Misty Copeland (for the young dancer)
  3. I Love My Hair! by Natasha Tarpley (for the young girl with natural hair)

 

What do you think about these books? What would you add to the list? Comment below and let me know!

Book Giveaway! (The Little Prince)

You may have read my post raving over The Little Prince, by Antoine Saint d’Expury. Honestly, it’s a book I think everyone should read once. It’s whimsical, beautiful, childlike, and profound. That’s why I’m running a free book giveaway! Great news: there will be one lucky winner who will receive a copy of this book. Exciting, right?

Here is what you have to do to enter.

  • Follow our blog
  • Like and comment on another post

And for each one of these non-mandatory things you do additionally, you will receive another entry!

    • Follow our Pinterest
    • Like a blog post
    • Comment on a blog post
    • Share a blog post (via email, instagram, google, tumblr, Facebook, etcetera!)
    • Shout out this blog on yours! (Worth three entries!)

 

You guys have a ton of options for interacting and entering, so I’m looking forward to getting things buzzing and talking more with you all! Your support means so much to me, and I appreciate how all of you help me grow my blog and integrate more into the literary community here.

Comment below with each thing you did to enter, and if you want, share with me what you’re reading- y’all know I always love to hear.

I will announce the results in two Saturdays. Happy entering! 

2019 Resolutions: 50 New Books

Hello lovelies! Today I’d like to keep you updated and myself accountable by sharing my literary resolution this January. In 2019, I will read 50 books.

Why? Obviously, I do love to read, and on average I can finish a book in a day or two. However, I most often find myself rereading old favorites and staying within particular genres. That is why I have made it a goal to push myself to read new fiction in a variety of genres. You can’t tell from my list so far, but I would like to add more historical fiction and young adult.  This listing is by no means full, but here are some things I know I want to read this year.

The Joy Luck Club, by Amy Tan

Tropic of Squalor, by Mary Karr

Works of Love, by Soren Kierkegaard

Either/Or, by Soren Kierkegaard

Conversations with Tim O’Brien, by Patrick A. Smith

The Girl With a Dragon Tattoo, by Stieg Larrson

A Thousand Mornings, by Mary Oliver

Self-Reliance, by Ralph Waldo Emerson

On Education, by Jean-Jacques Rosseau

The Sorrows of Young Werther, by Goethe

Norwegian Wood, by Haruki Murakami

I’d love to hear your recommendations for more books! What are you hoping to read this year? What were your best reads of 2018? 

Current Reads, Bookshelf Adoptions and TBRs

Hello lovelies! Today I’d like to take a moment and share with you my current reads and future reads, and the stories of their adoption into my shelf.

The last new book I read was Memoir of a Geisha, by Arthur Golden. I found it at a Goodwill for a couple dollars. The pages have gently yellowed, and the color on the cover’s edges has started to slightly rub off, but aside from that, it is in good condition.

The last book I reread was Walden, by Henry David Thoreau. This book was a graduation gift to me from a very beloved teacher (and now, friend.) When we went over the transcendentalist writings in English class, she noted my interest and accordingly encouraged it. I read it in a hammock in the forest within two sittings, cocooned by the sound of birds and rustling leaves.

The poetry compilation I am currently reading is The Book of Twilight, by Pablo Neruda. I was given a very generous gift certificate to the Strand bookstore (a New York bookstore with eighteen miles of shelves. I think that might be a bit of heaven.) Anyway, after hours of peaceful foraging, this was one of the books I emerged with.

The novel I am currently reading is East of Eden, by John Steinbeck. I acquired it from a used bookstore in North Carolina. The place smelled like apples, and the book is clean of any scent except that faint, crisp aroma.  The copy is fairly unused. The edges are intentionally deckled, which instantly endears me to the format.

The next book I plan to read is actually one I’ve read before, though the last time I encountered it was years ago. When I was at a local bookstore, I found a weathered copy of Ivanhoe, by Sir Walter Scott. It was printed in 1964 and has a 60 cent price marker as part of the original cover. It has an extremely strong ‘old book’ smell.

What have you been reading? Comment below and let me know! 

If You Enjoyed “The Little Prince,” You Will Like This Book

You enjoy dipping into the French language and you love uniquely styled, soft illustrations. You have an affinity for whimsical worlds, especially if many unusual creatures are sentient. You want to get lost in an unconventionally heroic tale, but you also want to reflect on some larger implications. You want the incandescent yet gritty truth of love’s nature. When philosophies are poignantly revealed through a childlike story and unique symbolism, your heart is happy.

If this describes you, you probably enjoyed The Little Prince, by Antoine Saint de-Expury, and you will enjoy A Tale of Despereaux, by Kate Dimicallo.

The Tale of Despereaux is the story of a heroic mouse, a gentle princess, an ambitious serving girl, and vengeful rat. (If you have seen the movie, I would beg you to disregard it, as it doesn’t do any justice to the book.) It is about the way their destinies get tied up together by such oddly dreadful things as soup. Kate Dimicallo talks directly to the reader in her simplistic yet pointed manner, emphasizing the meaning of each situation in a way that only adds to the engaging plot.

As an adult, I still cherish it as one of my favorite novels, and certainly as my favorite middle-grade novel. If the many features l listed of The Little Prince are also what endeared it to your heart, I encourage you to read its medieval counterpart by Dimicallo.

“Stories are light. Light is precious in a world so dark. Begin at the beginning. Tell Gregory a story. Make some light."And because Despereaux wanted very much to live, he said, "Once upon a time...” ― Kate DiCamill.jpg

 

 

 

 

 

Three Picture Books That Promote Self-Worth

The books that we read to our kids can bind us together in enchanting entertainment, or send important messages that they then grow up hearing. These three treasured books do both very well.
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A Bad Case of Stripes, by David Shannon
In this book, the main character Camilla is diagnosed with (you guessed it) a bad case of stripes. Essentially, her illness reflects the wishes of those around her. When people shout out colors at her, she turns those shades. When various healers come to help, she sprouts bacteria or leaves or crystals. The one thing that will help her is accepting her love of something everyone else seems to hate. When an old woman comes to her door with a plate of lima beans, she is faced with a decision.
While it promotes important values, A Bad Case of Stripes is also a plain fun book. It has bright, creative illustrations and humorous details that make it whimsical as well as wise.
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Chrysanthemum, by Kevin Henkes
This is a story about a young mouse girl who struggles with her name. At first, she loves it and everything about it. However, teasing at school makes me ashamed of her floral, multi-syllable nomenclature. It takes the help of an encouraging teacher to reunite Chrysanthemum with her original self confidence.
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You Are Special, by Max Lucado
This is one of my favorite childhood books of all time.
The story is set in a town of wooden puppets who judge others by sticking stars or dots onto them. Punchinello is an outcast puppet who only receives dots. When he meets a puppet without any stars or dots, he realizes it is because she does not let them stick, not because no one tries to judge her. This friendship leads Punchinello to meet the woodcarver, who shows Punchinello that he is loved simply because the woodcarver made him, and that is enough.

How do you teach the kids in your life that they are valuable? What books would you add to the list?