Kids Books You MUST Check Out

May 13, 2015 at 6:06 pm (Reviews) (, , , , , , , , , , , , , , )

We’ve been spending more and more time at the library than usual.  About 2-3 hours A DAY.  Before it was every few days, but with this rain – in the tradition of Noah – occurring in the northern Houston area the past few weeks, we’ve been trapped indoors.

So these are our top favorites for the week:

1. Snippet the Early Riser – Bethanie Deeney Murguia (http://amzn.to/1cxqz9Z)

We adore the illustrations in this tail of a snail that wakes up long before his family is ready to start their day.  In the book, you’ll meet a ton of different insects, and then finally discover the source of this family’s plight – Snippet just goes to bed way too early.  It’s a common hazard in family’s with small children and I think most kids and adults alike will be able to relate.

2. When a Dragon Moves In – Jodi More (http://amzn.to/1cxqsew)

Again, the illustrations are fantastic! Kiddo loves the beach setting and the fact that dragons are actually moving into the kid’s sandcastle.  She hasn’t yet caught the nuance that it’s this little dude’s epic imagination at work, but kiddo is – after all – only four.

3. When Rain Falls – Melissa Stewart (http://amzn.to/1bPVhdO)

This is soothing.  And completely appropriate for our current household situation.  So much rain and so many days when it merely threatens to rain, it was nice to read through how rain effects everyone and everything.  We read this right before bed and in the middle of the afternoon several times.  Lovely, lovely, book.

4. Freckleface Strawberry – Julianne Moore (http://amzn.to/1cxsknL)

This isn’t just one title, this is a series of which we have read two. Freckleface Strawberry is an adorable little girl with flaming red hair, completely covered in freckles.  I relate to these books so well because I was the freckle-faced short kid in my class.  Kiddo loves her “because she has so many freckles.  And you know what I like best of her? She has a nickname!”  Kiddo loves nicknames.  Her cousins call her “Fruitcake,” her daddy calls her “Booger,” her tia Danielle calls her “Nugget.”  I call her heathen, but that’s besides the point. Not really, I call her “Nugget” a lot too.

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Mosey’s Field and Schiffer Publishing

July 16, 2014 at 10:10 pm (Reviews) (, , , , , , , , , , , , )

MoseyTitle: Mosey’s Field

Author: Barbara Lockhart

Illustrator: Heather Crow

Publisher: Schiffer Publishing

Genre: Picture Book

As a homeschool mom, a story time host, and a book blogger, I can’t just can’t get enough of Schiffer books.  They are educational, riveting to crowds, and just plain gorgeous.

Recently we read, reviewed, and enjoyed Song for Papa Crow.  We even got to interview the author!  This week, we’ve been blessed with a copy of Mosey’s Field and the kiddos today loved it.  We read it twice and no one who had sat through the first reading  complained or got antsy.

Mosey’s Field tells the story of a corn farm and walks children through all the seasons of field corn from the eyes of a dog.  Mosey watches the seeds get planted and notes how “the stalks grew tall and the leaves crisscrossed each other, green upon green, so there were only tiny patches of sky.”

P1020496It’s not surprising to discover that both the illustrator and the author of this book are teachers.  Barbara Lockhart is a retired kindergarten teacher and Heather Crow is a teacher and freelance artist.  Kids respond well to the story, want to follow the adventures of Mosey, love the illustrations, and know a little bit more about where food comes from by the time they are done hearing the story.

Designed for booklovers ages 0-6, it is a lengthier picture book and you’ll want to be aware of your audience’s attention spans before you tackle it.  Great for kids who are used to being read to, if you’re just introducing your child to the world of books I’d start with a few shorter titles with the intention of working up to this.  Our kiddos at the bookstore today did great!

At one point in the story Mosey is on the opposite side of the corn field, near town, away from home.  Mosey can’t see home and the family is out wondering where their pup has gone.  My kiddo in particular was very relieved by the ending and asked me to tell the author that she’s “glad Mosey found his family” but will have you know that page 22 was a moment of great contention in her little soul.

P1020500If you’re in the Humble area, join us at Half Price Books for story time on Wednesdays, 10:30 am.  To the right we are reading Marit Menzen’s Song for Papa Crow, which has become quite a household and store favorite.  Join us next week and we’ll revisit Mosey’s Field.

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Interview with Marit Menzin

July 10, 2014 at 8:45 pm (Interviews) (, , , , , , , , , , , , , )

MaritAlong with the story time kids, I had the opportunity to interview the author of Song for Papa Crow, Marit Menzin.

First, questions from the kids:

“What made you want to write a book like this one, about crows and singing?” – Justin, age 9

I love animals and nature, and I’m childlike in the sense that I always keep asking questions. I live in Lexington, Massachusetts where I see most of the birds featured in Song for Papa Crow in my backyard. The idea for my book came to me when I helped one of my children with a school project on birds. When I discovered that father crows take care of their offspring longer than most other birds, and that the whole flock would come to help a wounded crow, I asked myself: What would happen if a little crow was teased by songbirds for his unique song? And, what if in his quest to make friends he learned the other birds’ songs, but when he was in danger his father wouldn’t recognize his song? This idea is not farfetched, as I learned to my surprise that crows can mimic sounds made by animals and other birds, as well as sounds made by humans.

P1020327“What moral were you trying to get across?” – Ethan, age 11

When I wrote my story I wasn’t thinking about morals, but there are many morals that I subconsciously conveyed: Every child is special, and every child has unique gifts. Be proud of your family, and with who you are. It’s a good idea to tell your parents where you’re going, and whom you’re hanging out with so they’ll know where to find you. Your family loves you no matter what. Your family is the most important thing.

“My question is about Papa Crow. Will he always save Little Crow? That’s my question.” – Ayla, age 3

Yes. Papa Crow will ALWAYS save Little Crow when he hears his voice. For Papa Crow, Little Crow’s voice is the sweetest thing in the world.

“Exactly why did you make the singing scenes? And who did you write the story for?” – Ian, age 7

I made the singing scenes because the birds I see and listen to in my backyard inspired me. I also thought that it would be fun to research bird songs and rituals.

northern_mockingbird_glamour“Why did you make the mockingbird the rock star?” – Alex, age 9

Although Song for Papa Crow is a fiction picture book, the story line is based on true facts. The mockingbird is a great singer who can imitate the sounds of other birds, and is also one of the few birds that can be heard singing at night.

Questions from Anaklian Whims Blog:

What led you to Schiffer Books? (www.schifferbooks.com)

I heard of Schiffer Publishing from a local author I ran into when my art was exhibited at my local library. JungkeSml

What inspired your collage art? It’s a very unique way to illustrate.

I doodled and painted since my early childhood, and I experimented with different art media including oils, and pastels. But I only started developing my collage technique when I took classes with the Caldecott award-winning illustrator Ilse Plume at the deCordova Museum.

I see that you are a freelance collage artist. You do book covers for hire? What sort of cost would an indie author be looking at?

I designed the cover for my book. In general, a cover price can range anywhere from $150 to $4000 but an Indie Author could pay $250-$1000 depending on what she’s looking for and how much work is involved.

Do you have more kids’ books of your own in your future?

I’m currently working on the illustrations for a new book.

I see you do school visits. What would it take to get you to Texas?

I would love to visit Texas. You’ll have to add travel & lodging expenses to visit cost. For more about this author/illustrator, visit: http://maritmenzin.com/

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Story Times are Magical

July 1, 2014 at 3:15 pm (Education, Events) (, , , , , , , , , , , )

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Every Wednesday during the summer I make an appearance at Half Price Books Humble, 10:30 am sharp.  I make an announcement over the intercom – NOT my forte – place snacks on the children’s table, and pick out stories to read out loud to whoever arrives.

Sometimes I have crowds!  Sometimes it’s just me and Kiddo hanging out reading as we would at home.  Sometimes I have authors come and read their books to the kids.  But ALWAYS it is a little bit magical.

P1020286How appropriate then that Edward Castro joined us for a second time with his book Hanna’s Magic Light.

Not available yet in a physical copy, Castro read to the kids from a bound manuscript while his agent showed the pictures on her tablet. The kids were riveted by the story about Hanna and her Daddy and the magical dome light in the car, turned lesson on finding your own inner light.

At the end, each kid received a cupcake and/or cookie as well as a “magic light” of their own to take home – Glow Sticks made into a necklace.

Tomorrow is Wednesday again. We won’t have Castro back this soon, but we will be featuring Song for Papa Crow, compliments of Schiffer Publishing.

Castro will return later in July.  For those who cannot make middle of the week events, this will allow you to meet the author and purchase a hard copy of his picture book, as he hopes to have some in print by then:

July 26

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Song for Papa Crow

June 30, 2014 at 10:23 pm (Education, Reviews) (, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , )

songforpapacrowTitle: Song for Papa Crow

Author: Marit Menzin

Publisher: Schiffer Publishing

Genre: Children’s Picture Book

I was delighted to have Schiffer Publishing contact me to review a selection of their picture books.  There can never be too many children’s books here in the Klemm household, as kiddo devours them for breakfast, elevenses, lunch, dinner, and bedtime.  We’re readers. We read.  We’re also artists and we love admiring quality picture books.

As a homeschool mom of an aspiring birder, I couldn’t find Song for Papa Crow any more perfect.

This is a lovely story about how Little Crow loves to sing.  He sings his heart out and in the course of teaching children what birds of North America make what sounds, we also follow Little Crow on a a journey of self-discovery and why it’s a beautiful thing to be yourself.

Menzin’s collage art is gorgeous.  Kiddo and I adore all the rich colors.  We spend a good deal of time outdoors and it’s wonderful to see nature portrayed with so much texture even while confined to the pages of a book.

Of course, after every book, I ask kiddo what she thinks.  My three year old smiled broadly and responded, “I think it’s ridiculous.”  Ridiculous, naturally, being pronounced ridicooooolous and said for the sheer enjoyment of using the word.  Proven by the fact that she has asked for me to read “the Papa Crow one” at least twice a day since our first reading.

Now, a week later, I ask kiddo:

“Would you like to say anything about Papa Crow to our readers?”

“Yes,” she says decisively.

“What would you like to say?”

“Nothing at all, I just want it to be SEEN.”

Powerful words from a three year old, I think.  She’s right, we could talk about how awesome Papa Crow is all day, but when all is said and done, Menzin’s collages simply must be seen.

Songs for Papa Crow will accompany us to Story Time at Half Price Books Humble for the next two weeks (July 2nd & 9th).  We meet every Wednesday, all summer, at 10:30 am.  Though we typically read multiple titles, we tend to choose a favorite to feature each week.  We will also have a few Schiffer Kids Spring 2014 Catalogs for patrons of Story Time to peruse.  Snacks are provided.

I look forward to reading more from Schiffer Books as well as Marit Menzin.  The Klemms are officially fans for life.

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This Wednesday at Half Price Books!

June 23, 2014 at 3:52 pm (Events) (, , , , , , , , )

HannasMagicLightEvent

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Happy Birthday Dr. Seuss!

March 2, 2014 at 11:37 pm (Events) (, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , )

Dr SuessThis is an annual event at most Half Price Books stores. If you missed it this year, keep your eyes peeled for signage in your favorite store next year.

P1010171Oh The Places You’ll Go!

P1010181One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish

There was also had a bowl of colored Gold Fish at the table with a pretty nifty sign of the book cover.  Each kid got a party bag with an HPB cup inside so they could scoop goldfish from the bowl.

P1010184My kiddo with The Cat in the Hat (Kevin Pickle)

P1010185 I think we were just as excited as the kids to take a picture with a real, live Cat in the Hat.

P1010187I got the idea for Truffula Tree Cupcakes on Pinterest.  It’s chocolate cupcake mix, icing dyed green with food coloring, I added dark green sprinkles for fun, and cotton candy on a kebob stick.  Do the cotton candy last minute, I tried to do it too soon and the humidity of Houston caused the cotton candy to crystallize and shrink.  We had to buy a second batch of cotton candy and redo it right before the party.

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If I Were a Frog… or a puppy…

July 3, 2013 at 8:32 pm (Reviews) (, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , )

A Weekly Low Down on Kids Books

If I Were a FrogTitle: If I Were a Frog

Author: Duncan Jones

If I Were a Frog is cute and clever.  A detailed journey of constantly trying to see the world as another animal who is wishing to be another animal, Jones teaches children the concept that the grass may seem greener on the other side but only because you’re seeing it from far away – up close it’s still just grass.

The kids at the Half Price Books Humble story time really enjoyed this one.   They caught on really quickly that the animal in the background was soon to be the featured subject and they couldn’t wait to find out about the the Lion King and the Bear.

I’m proud to have this as a part of my child’s library.  She already picks it up from the stack and asks to have it read.  We cheated and have been reading it every day this week before story time, even though the author specifically sent it for us to read AT story time… it was too good to resist.

Spanish O'MalleyTitle: Tell Me How You Say Goodnight

Author: Teddy O’Malley

Photographer: Angie Dickens

This was another we received from the author this last week to read at Half Price Books Humble story time. The kids could not stop gushing about puppies and how cute they were. Obviously, using puppies to get a kid to go to sleep while teaching them how to say goodnight in languages around the world was a good call!

Kids love practicing saying new words and phrases just as much as they love playing with tiny puppies and snuggling things that are soft. What a cool way to document the lives of a litter of puppies! Have them be household names and teachers to children around the world.

I find it is the simplest books that are the most appealing to kids.  My kiddo sees me flipping through ‘the puppy book’ and immediately dictates: Read it again, read it again!

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Homeschooling / Life With a Toddler

March 28, 2013 at 12:34 am (Education) (, , , , , , , , , , , , , )

Tea Time
We have tea parties with our geography lessons. She knows her southern states and can identify North America on a world map. No matter what, she can always find Texas, even when all its borders aren’t clearly drawn on… she looks for the Gulf of Mexico.
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Card Games
She loves to play cards… these are first word matching puzzle cards. The nice, straight rows are all her doing. She’s quite the neat-nick.
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Arts & Crafts
Painting is the best. Featured here is an acrylic on canvas piece.
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Story Time
Story time at Half Price Books cannot be missed. It is an essential part of our weekly lives.
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What’s Happening in March?

February 28, 2013 at 8:24 pm (Events) (, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , )

HortonHearsAWhoBookCoverRead Across America Day
Each year, young and old alike celebrate Read Across America Day on March 2 in conjunction with Dr. Seuss’ birthday. Join your fellow bookworms at Half Price Books for a special Dr. Seuss Story Time on Saturday, March 2, at 3 pm.  The Humble location will be reading Horton Hears a Who and crafting clover pinwheels.  Regular story time is every Wednesday at 10:30 am.

HPB Humble Book Club
Looking to expand your reading pleasure? Join the discussion at our HPB Humble Book Club. We meet the first Monday of each month from 7:30 to 9 pm.
March – Lords of Finance
April – On Chesil Beach


Poetry night

Journaling 2ndthurs

 March 9 Humble

StPattys 2013

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