Five Picture Books for Young Gryffindors

Hello lovelies! I am excited to share this new blog series with you all! I will be going through the different Hogwarts houses and sorting picture books into them.

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So without further ado, let’s get right into it.

 

A Gryffindor is BRAVE

Sheila Rae the Brave, by Kevin Henkes.

You may be familiar with Chrysanthemum, another popular book by Kevin Henkes. Sheila Rae is a very brave young mouse girl- some might call her reckless, or arrogant. When she encounters true fear, she finally learns that true bravery is much more important than showing off or boasting.

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Sheila Rae the Brave, by Kevin Henkes

 

A Gryffindor is COURAGEOUS

Courage, by Bernard Waber.

I love this book. In it, Waber shows that not all heroes are the ones rushing into burning buildings to save the day (though we love those heroes too!) He focuses on the small and daily acts on courage, like introducing yourself to a new person and being the first person to apologize after an argument. And as a bonus, the illustrations reminisce of Dahl-like pictures, too.

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Courage, by Bernard Waber

 

A Gryffindor is CHIVALROUS

Do Unto Otters, by Laurie Keller

What is real and modern chivalry? Respect for the people around us. In Do Unto Otters, Laurie Keller uses a cute otter to teach a powerful lesson. Respect is treating those around us the way that we ourselves would want to be treated.

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Do Unto Otters, by Laurie Keller

 

A Gryffindor is DARING

What Do You With a Problem? by Kobi Yamada

My favorite book off of this entire list, and one of my favorite children’s book authors in general: Kobi Yamada makes books that are delightful to the eyes and heart. He brings a metaphor to life with action and art.

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What Do You Do With a Problem, by Kobi Yamada

 

A Gryffindor is BOLD

Saint George and the Dragon, by Margaret Hodges

This is a classic tale of adventure, daring, bravery, and heroism. A brave knight must save an endangered princess from the fearsome dragon that threatens her people. This good versus evil fight with vivacious illustrations will inspire any young Gryffindor’s heart.

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Saint George and the Dragon, by Margaret Hodges

 

 

Thank you all for reading! If you enjoy our content, you can support the blog by liking and sharing. What do you think about these book choices? Which house are you? Comment below and let me know your thoughts! 

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Five Reasons Why Books Make Great Presents

neil gaimanHello, lovelies! Today I’d like to talk to you all about why books make great gifts. This is a follow up to my latest blog post, which was on some of the books I gave last year.   

First, they can be suited to a variety of different tastes.

I believe that books are suitable presents to many different kinds of people, not just the typical bookworm you might suspect. “Books” are not just dense novels. When I say books, I am also referring to poetry, graphic novels, humor, memoir, self-help, hobby books, and more. Audiobooks are also very useful for those with long drives, visual impairments, or dyslexia.

Second, they are both useful, and show you care. 

Books are practical gifts, in a way. For some, they might even be used for school. They are beautiful on a shelf, and they smell wonderful (or at least I think so!) They have purposes and can be used as an activity. However, books also are loaded with meaning. This leads us to the next point. Books can be an intimate experience. To pick a book is to find words suitably woven together for a soul. Picking the perfect book shows you know the recipient’s interests, needs and desires well.

Third, they add to the well-being of the recipient.

Encouraging reading in young children (and readers of all ages) gives a lifelong skill that will help them in every aspect of life. In an education system where students are increasingly falling behind in literacy, finding that perfect book to spark interest in a child is something invaluable.

Fourth, they aren’t expensive and are easily accessible. 

Comparatively to many presents you might get, books are surprisingly inexpensive. Barnes and Noble has a series of beautifully bound classics that average around ten dollars each. Used bookstores offer a range of unique books for even lower prices- I picked up five gorgeous copies of The Little Prince (which you guys already know I love) at a used bookstore for around $2 each, and that knocked out a good portion of my gift exchange shopping. And don’t forget to support your local indie bookstores!

Fifth, they last. 

I still have books on my shelf that relatives gave me a decade ago. The books I’ve been collecting my whole life will serve in my future classroom library when I teach, impacting even more lives. Books, unlike a candle or a bag of candy, are a legacy. I have books that my mother read as a child. When you give a book, you are giving something with the potential to last.

 

So what do you think, readers? Have you ever been given books that you still have? Do you, like me, love to give them? I want to hear your experiences in the comments below!

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.

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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.

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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.

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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!

Three Picture Books Spotlighting Strong Women of Colour

Hello lovelies!

I believe that children need books that show people like themselves. This is one of the many reasons why diversity is important. 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, but are simply a top few- I may continue on with this list at a later point, since this is so important!)

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

Malala’s Magic Pencil, by Malala Yousafzai (for the young writer)

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Firebird, by Misty Copeland (for the young dancer)

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!

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