Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Book Love 2017

"Peter," she whispered, "turn around very, very slowly."
The boy turned in his chair.  He couldn't believe his eyes.  Lying on the piano was a lion, staring at Peter and licking his lips.  

Every year on Valentine's Day, I like to share a book that I absolutely adore.  This year, it is Jumanji by Chris Van Allsburg.

In elementary school, I was the type of kid that always got my work done quickly.  This gave me a lot of time to explore my teachers' classroom libraries.  In third grade, I would almost always choose this book to read.  I loved the idea of a horrific board game that comes to life.  I would sometimes read every word of the book, but mostly I poured over the illustrations. 

Van Allsburg is one of my favorite illustrators because he takes fantasy and turns int into the most lifelike images I ever ever seen.  I love every detail.  The cobra has the same pattern as the arm chairs.  The lions hip bones poke out as he hunts for the children under the bed.  The lamp cord wraps around the rhinoceros's snout. 

Santa was good to me this year and got it for me.  It is difficult to find an available copy of this book at the library.  My at home library is one book closer to completion. 

Friday, February 3, 2017

Brotherly Love

This week we had our first round of "I can mess with my brother, but you cannot!" If Henry has a toy and especially if it is one of Joshua's toys,  Joshua needs it at that moment.  The other day Henry was playing with one blue block and one yellow block of which there are many.  For some reason, only those blocks would do, despite the fact that Joshua was playing with trains.

Two days ago, we were at the church so I could exercise with a group of women.  I was doing my best to get any sort of workout with a screaming fifteen pound weight attached to me.  A little girl took one of Henry's toys from the floor.  He was too busy being my screaming fifteen pound weight to notice.  But Joshua noticed and could not fathom that someone else take Henry's toy.  He was very concerned.  Meltdowns are rare in this household, but Joshua melted down, screamed sobbed.  He could not face that injustice that someone would take Henry's toy. 

Saturday, January 14, 2017

Martin's Big Words by Doreen Rappaport, Illustrated by Bryan Collier

He said "together"
when others said "separate."
He said "peace"
when others said "war."  

If you visit the children's biography section of a public library, you will likely find many - dozens even - biographies about Martin Luther King.  Many are okay, some are great, but Martin's Big Words is my favorite.  During my Christmas posts, I mentioned that I enjoy nonfitction picture books and this one truly stands out.

This is a fast-paced, simplistic telling of Martin Luther King Jr.'s life.  There is no way to detail the nuances and details of his life in 32 pages.  But what stands out to me is he importance of the themes in his life - fight for equality with words not fists.  Love will change the world, not war. 

And the illustrations?  Well, Bryan Collier expertly bases many of them off photographs from Martin Luther Kings life.  I also love how many of the images have stained glass in them making the book feel a bit religious.  I highly recommend this book especially if you are introducing King's life to younger audiences.  Judging by the medals on the cover a lot of other librarians agree with me. 

Monday, January 9, 2017

Time For Addison

I used to find it very difficult to think of ideas for Family Home Evening for a toddler.  I have pushed through that and now I think it is lots of fun.  But I have complained with lots of parents that it is hard to find ideas.  I decided it might be fun to share a bit of what we do. 

A couple things to note:
  • I usually get my ideas from other places and then tweak them.  I will be sure to link to all my sources.
  • Lessons last about 2-5 minutes.  Therefore, I refuse to prep for more than 10 minutes.  These are not examples of cuteness perfection.
  • I always try to include a scripture that we look up in physical scriptures.
  • My child is a very kinesthetic learner so my lessons reflect that.

 Tonight's lesson is going to be the story "Time for Addison," from the January 2017 Friend Magazine.  First, we look up the scripture, John 13:34.  Then we read the story, but to keep Joshua focused, he will act out building the tower, then playing with figures, and then the cards. 

Attached to the story is a "Choose The Right Card" One of the challenges to to show love for your family every day in a week.  I threw together a little chart with hearts so when we do something that shows love every day, he can add a heart.  I have a few ideas in mind of what we might do - art projects, little chores, playing with Henry etc.  I have found that little things like this help keep the lesson with him.

And that's it.  Super easy!  Joshua loves the time we spend together and I like finding creative things to do.

Firefighter Daddy

As a new safety protocol, Jerry is required to wear a safety jacket at all times at work.  To make things easier, he wears it to and from work as well.  Every evening when Jerry comes home, JOshua says, "Daddy Firefighter?"

He is convinced that Jerry has a career putting out literal fires.  Not the figurative fires of an HR manager.  That may be a little too complex/boring for Joshua to grasp at this point in his life.

Sunday, December 25, 2016

Merry Christmas

Dear Family and Friends,

Merry Christmas!  2016 has been a big year for us.  We have visited family and friends in Texas, Tennessee, and Utah.  We have enjoyed visits from family as well.  But biggest of all were the arrival of baby Henry in July and a move to Washington in September.

Jerry is enjoying his new challenges as the HR manager at the Stretch Island Fruit plant.  Michelle manages to find a little time to write and read and loves teaching the teenagers at church.  Joshua is a burst of energy who loves splashing in puddles, racing trucks, and building playgrounds for his toys.  Henry delights everyone with his sweet smile. 

With every cross-country move, we become increasingly aware of the distance between us and those we love the most.  We sincerely hope that you have a joyful holiday and blessed 2017. 

Jerry, Michelle, Joshua, and Henry

Saturday, December 24, 2016

SIlent Night: The Song and Its Story by Margaret Hodges, Illustrated by Tim Ludwig

Perhaps he might write a little song, something as simple as the Bible story, something that every child could understand.

It all started with a broken organ at the church in Oberndorf, Austria on Christmas Eve.  The Christmas mass just wouldn't be the same without music.  Father Joseph Mohr knew his congregation needed a song so he wrote a simple poem then rushed it over to Franz Gruber who created a lullaby on his guitar.  Today this is one of the most loved and most spiritual of all the Christmas carols.

One of the greatest discoveries I made as a librarian was nonfiction picture books.  There are many I like, but this one stands out because of excellent pacing and illustrations that perfectly match the subject.  This book tells the story of the origins of Stille Nacht, it's travels as a folk song across Austria and Germany, the rediscovery of the song's true origin, and it's popularity across the world.

It recounts the famous Christmas Eve truce during the First World War.  Then highlights other lesser known moments.   The peaceful tune reminded a Russian soldier that his enemy prisoners were humans, and coaxed a soldier during the Korean War to cease fire.  This book taught me something remarkable about the my most cherished Christmas song.  The things that draw us closer to the divine, also remind us of the humanity in others.