Let’s Do Some Math

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Some days as a stay-at-home parent feel like one long reading performance. Book after book is read, and you keep waiting for your kid to want to move on to something else, but they keep on wanting you to read more. I’ve wondered a few times just how many books I’ve read to Rose in her life, but not until today have I ever tried to actually calculate a real number. 

Let’s start with the average number of books we read each night. We usually read 3 books at bed time. Rose gets 2 books, and after she brushes her teeth, she gets 1 “extra” book. She is 4 years old. Here’s the baseline math for that:

3 books/night x 365.242(avg. days per year) = 1,095.726 books/year

1,095.726 books/year x 4 years = 4,382.904 total books

But that is not all (as The Cat in the Hat says) oh no, that is not all!

That doesn’t even include extra books throughout the day. Let’s take a conservative estimate and say that we have averaged 2 additional books each day. Some days we read more, some days less. 

2 books/day x 365.242(avg. days per year) = 730.484 books/year

730.484 books/year x 4 years = 2,921.936 additional books per year

Let’s add them together:

4,382.904 total bedtime books               + 2,921.936 total extra books                  =7,304.84
We may as well round that up to 7,305 books over 4 years. 

That’s a lot of books. 

How many have you read with your kids? Share your answers with me, if you can figure it out!

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A Brief Change in Direction

I wrote an account of our first experience taking Rose ‘to the movies,’ and it’s up on The Broad Collective’s website where I’ll be writing the occasional piece in family stuff in Athens, GA. If you have time, please take a look. There’s a lot of great writing over there from other folks as well. 

Here’s the link

No Words/No Pictures

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Books for young kids are supposed to have two things: Words and pictures. The pictures tell part of the story, and the words fill in the rest. Two books have recently entered our house that buck that trend, and which both Rose and I love.

The first is a book with no words–also known as a “wordless picture book”–called Journey, by Aaron Becker. In wordless picture books, the illustrations tell the entire story, and Becker is a master. Journey is about a bored girl who finds a magical piece of chalk that lets her journey to a fantastic land. Eventually she finds her way back to the real world, where she finds a new friend. The illustrations in Journey are bright and colorful and fun to look at, and they don’t ever seem to get old. The best part about reading the book with Rose is hearing her tell the story each time. The first time we read it together, I asked her what she thought was happening on each page as we constructed the story together. By the time we had read it a few times, she was able to narrate the events on her own.

It generally goes something like this:

Rose: “She drawed a door with the chalk. Then she went through it into the, what’s that called?”

Me: “Forest.”

Rose: “The forest. And then she came to a river, and she made a boat, and she got in the boat.”

And so on.

  
The other book that bucks the trend does so in another way, and maybe you can guess based on the title of this book: The Book with No Pictures by B.J. Novak. Exactly as the title implies, there are no pictures in this book. Some pages are filled with words splashed all over the page. Some pages have just a couple of sentences. What makes this book special is having a reader who is willing to commit to reading it out loud and having fun with it. The conceit of the book is that whoever is reading it has to read every single thing on the page, no matter what. So that means that I end up saying things like “I am a monkey who taught myself to read,” while Rose is in hysterics. You can see the author (who you may recognize from The Office) read some of it to a group of elementary school kids.

  
Both of these are amazing books that you can get plenty of mileage out of, so run down to your local bookstore today and buy a copy, or check one out from your library.

Dragons Love Temper Tantrums

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Well, it’s been a while since my last post. Like almost two years.            

Bad blogger. Bad.                            

I’m going to try to revive my posts, and actually get something up occasionally, maybe once every couple of weeks, but don’t hold me to that. On to today’s post.                       

Rose is now almost 4 years old, and a willful and determined individual. A few weeks ago she decided I display her determination and willfulness in spades. We were getting ready for a friend’s birthday party by writing in, and wrapping her present: a copy of the amazing book Dragons Love Tacos by Adam Rubin, illustrated by Daniel Salmieri. This is a book that we thought we had our own copy of already.                                             

As it turned out, we were wrong.  Very wrong.                                   

Rose decided that she wanted the book. We explained that we had already written a birthday message to her friend. Cue the waterworks.    Epic meltdown by any standard ensues.                                      

Rolling on the floor. Yelling. Crying. The whole shebang.  

Oh yeah, and one more thing. This happened twenty minutes before bedtime.                                           

So we did the only thing we could think of. We called our local bookstore to see if they had a copy, and luckily they did, so I stayed home with Rose while my wife went and picked up the book. I did all of our usual bedtime stuff, and when the book entered the house we read it. Rose loved it, and it has been a treasured part of our household library ever since!                            

The lesson here: support your local bookstore! (And in case you’re wondering, for us that bookstore is Avid Bookshop in Athens, GA! They are really the best).                         

And here is Rose with her prized book. Go grab a copy of your own! 

Middle Grades Book Review: The Circle by Cindy Cipriano

There’s something I’ve noticed about most middle grades books involving magic.  They all involve a character who is completely unversed in the world of magic being introduced to said world.  Harry Potter knows nothing about magic, and so he has a sense of wonder and amazement every time he sees something as simple as using magic to open a door.  It makes sense, since we are looking through the character’s eyes and being introduced to magic along with him or her, but at the same time it was incredibly refreshing to read a book that features a protagonist who is already immersed in a world of magic.

Cindy Cipriano’s The Circle  is the first book in a new series about a boy who comes from a family of fae.  At the book’s opening, Calum Ranson has already had plenty of adventures, including one that caused his cousin Finley to go missing.  Calum has been in the human world for some time, forbidden from travelling back to the “Otherworld,” essentially a magical fairy land.

I won’t give away any spoilers, but most of the book centers around Calum’s desire to find his cousin, while being forced to stay in the “Realm of Man.”  He meets a new human friend (Laurel) who is more involved than he realizes, and also pulls in another cousin in his quest to save Finley.

A lot of what I liked about The Circle came from the richness of the culture and world of Calum’s people.  Cipriano has thought this all through very well, and you get the sense that she isn’t just coming up with it all on the fly.  At the same time, she also captures the essence of middle school and trying to figure out who you really are at that age.  Middle school readers will see themselves in this book, even though there are fairies and magic.

One thing that was missing, at least for me, was a pronunciation guide.  There were a lot of names that were hard to figure out, and it would have been nice to have a guide in the back to help out with that.  All the same, I suspect that most readers will decide how they want to pronounce the names, and pronounce them that way, whether it’s correct or not.  It took me years to learn the right way to pronounce Princess Eilonwy’s name from The Black Cauldron, but that didn’t take away anything from my enjoyment of that book, and it was much the same with this one.

I will warn you that the ending doesn’t really wrap things up very neatly, and in some ways presents more questions rather than answers, but I actually appreciated that.  Cipriano could have given us an easy solution, and then brought on a new problem for the second book, but instead it seems that the problem will continue into the second book instead.  Overall, I enjoyed the book and would certainly recommend it to a middle grades reader who enjoys a good Harry Potter-esque book.

 

**I was provided with a promotional advanced copy of this book to review by the author**

Giveaway For a New Book

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Sign up for an awesome giveaway today and you could win a prize pack, including a new book for your little one and a gift card for yourself! Read on for more info!

Congratulations to Monette Pangan on the release of her children’s book

Buy the book at Amazon
To celebrate, Monette is offering one lucky winner a prize pack that includes a book tote, keychain, signed paperback, a mini collage album, and $25 Amazon Gift Card

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A GWR Publicity promotional event paid for by Anchor Group Publishing. Giveaway is sponsored by the author.

Llama Llama, Rose is Memorizing a Book

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We’ve been reading the book Llama Llama, Red Pajama by Anna Dewdney quite a bit lately, and as it turns out, Rose is starting to memorize it. I noticed for the first time last night, when she asked for it by name at bed time. Rose squeaked out what sounded suspiciously like “llama llama,” and when I held up the book, she nodded happily.
On about the second page, there is a line about the baby llama getting a kiss from his mama. When I read that line, I usually lean down and kiss Rose on the head. Well, last night Rose leaned her head up, obviously waiting for her kiss.
Later in the book, as the baby llama gets upset that mama isn’t coming upstairs to check on him, a few things happen. First, he “hums a tune.” Last night, after that line, Rose started humming just like I do when I’m really getting into the storytelling.
Next, baby llama “starts to moan.” Of course, Rose knew to do that as well.
And at the very end of the book the baby llama gets two more kisses. Rose again leaned up for her kisses, and waited until she got both.
This strikes me as a new level of interaction between Rose and her books, and thus also a new level of literacy. It’s so exciting to see her connecting to books more fully. I can still remember reading to her every night for so long and getting very little reaction. I stuck with it though, and moments like this are my reward.