Posts Tagged “Childrens books”

The Seekers: The Secret of the Turtles

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This is a #sponsored whereby we were provided a sample copy for purposes of this review. All opinions expressed herein are strictly my own. This post contains affiliate links.

Seekers Profile Pic

Children’s books come in many shapes, sizes and varieties. Some about princesses, while others about frogs. Easy readers, designed to capture a child’s interest while enhancing their reading and vocabulary skills.

The Seekers the Secrets of the TurtlesAnd then, my favorite… lap books, where cuddling is a prerequisite. Sometime I refer to these a “Granny reads” because I imagine my mom sitting close to the grandchildren, sharing these stories. Different from the “Granny reads” are those chapter books for reading aloud together. These are the kind that you crawl in your kid’s bed to read and leave on the nightstand for the follow evening.

That’s the kind of book The Seekers: The Secret of the Turtles is, authored by Cece Younger. It is just heavy enough, or wordy enough to be tricky as a read alone book, but with an adult’s inflection and perhaps interpretation, this story can best be enjoyed. We need these kind of stories… those that remind us that even though our little sprout is learning to read, or can read alone… they shouldn’t always be left alone to read. Again, different from those cute “message” books that I consider perfect Granny material… books like The Seekers: The Secret of the Turtles, allow children to express their inquisitive nature and expand their vocabulary.

Be sure to visit Behind Your Dreams, Within Your Reach’s website, where you can purchase your child’s nightstand copy.

This is an adventurous tale of a princess, her magical gift, an incredible journey and a message of friendship. Like any journey, there are challenges and obstacles that Princess Isabeau and the Seekers must overcome and in doing so, characters are introduced and friendships bond. Guided by a mermaid and accompanied by a whale, Princess Isabeau is on the adventure of a lifetime while discovering herself and exploring the seas.

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Top 5 Easter Basket Ideas & Easter Gifts For Children

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Something about creating colorful, meaningful Easter baskets, gets me ready for Spring.

5 Incredible Easter Basket IdeasIt feels like we’re just getting over Christmas, still stashing toys away (and maybe still opening boxes) and yet Easter is well on its way. Don’t get me wrong, I’m ready for Easter; waiting for Spring… just don’t know I’m quite ready to “rid” of toys to make way for new ones via the Easter Basket. Nor do I wish to over-fill a basket with candies and sweets.

Educational Easter Basket Ideas

Here are five terrific Easter basket ideas that combine the best spring time sweets and treats with learning fun and play.

1. Books – Easter is the perfect time to gift books about animals, family, seasons, and nature. Perhaps gift a series like one from American Girl or Heroes of Olympus for older children, and we’ve always loved Junie B. Jones by Barbara Park. Or try a larger book for the entire family like National Geographic Book of Nature Poetry.

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2. Yowie Surprise Chocolate Egg – these aren’t your regular surprise eggs… nope, these come packed with Easter Basket ideas with Yowie surprise eggseducational value (not to mention 100% milk chocolate tastiness!). These edible eggs come in a variety of colored foils (although the packaging does NOT indicate what prize is inside). Yowie eggs are filled with replicas of wild animals (many endangered) or 1 of 6 Yowie characters. This concept was designed to educate children and families on the ecosystem and natural world include those endangered or threatened species.

3. Movies – My favorites to include at Easter are Disney Nature series. We couldn’t get enough of Oscar in 2012’s Chimpanzee or the adorable bear cubs of Disney Nature’s Bears. Parents, please don’t forget the Educator’s Guide with lots of information and activities.

4. Subscription Services – Include a playful postcard in the Easter basket that explains the subscription. Magazines are wonderful gifts that keep giving and what child doesn’t love seeing his or her name on mail? Pley, a toy rental company, offers a monthly subscription whereby children are shipped a toy from their wishlist that they later return for another to try. We’ve been fortunate to partner with Pley for this sponsored post and feel it is a wonderful Easter gift idea, as it will bring all the excitement of new toys without all the clutter and expense. Their extensive list includes 300+ variations of Lego and Megabloks, among many other other toy brands.

5. Baking Supplies – Sure Easter is the perfect time to indulge in sweets, but who said they can’t come in the form of unbaked ingredients? A basket of cupcake mix, colorful icing tubes, sprinkles and cookie cutters offers an afternoon of family entertainment (with a mix of math). These Eiffel tower measuring spoons will be perfect for my Paris obsessed daughter.  Or if monsters are more your child’s thing… check out these Monster High or Monster Truck cookie cutters. Kitchen accessories offer so many fun Easter basket options.

Easter season is yet another opportunity to creatively sneak in a little learning fun with the above Easter basket ideas and more if you visit our article on “5 Reasons Easter Baskets are Better Than Christmas Stockings“.  We hope you love Easter as much as we do and we hope you love Homeroom At Home enough to subscribe to our mailing list, visit and like us on Facebook and Instagram and share this article with your circle of friends and loved ones. Comment below with your standard Easter Basket “go-to” item. And we’re curious, what unique Easter Basket gift will you include this year?

 

 

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Book Review: Baba Didi and the Godwits Fly

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Hardcover of Baba Didi and the Godwits Fly

We love doing book reviews especially when we come across a true gem with creative illustrations, a good story line and meaning beyond great characters.  Nicola Muir’s Baba Didi and the Godwits Fly is just that kinda of “gotta-share” book we like to bring to our readers.  We were provided a free copy of this book to review but the post is not compensated and the opinions that I’m about to share are in fact all mine.  Actually, just before typing this up, my daughter asked me to read her this story again before taking her nap… and I’m glad I obliged because once again it lifted my spirits and helps me to stay on track despite the continual distractions that surround me.

So here’s the deal, Baba Didi tells the story of the Godwit birds to her grand-daughter explaining that they represent something far more than a small brown bird on a long journey.  This story, as told as a light-hearted conversation between grandmother and grand-daughter, delivers a message of resilience, perseverance and overcoming adversity in away that children can understand.  In her explanation to Isabella, Baba Didi relates her own story of migration to this 18,000+ mile journey of the Godwits.

Illustrator, Annie Hayward, beautifully captured the little birds and their bigger message.  Love the colors through out and facial expressions on what appears to be canvas artwork.  Lovely!  My favorite illustration is that of a city with boats docked and airplanes in the sky, about 1/2 way through the book, where Ms. Hayward offers a peaceful greeting between sea and shore. My daughter took an extra long pause on the page illustrated by a Croatian immigrant family departing on a colorful boat and be waved off by another family on the shore.

Storytime with Baba Didi and Daddy

Additionally, we love a story that can showcase some geography without the boring lessons of “this is here and that is there”.  In this story children learn that the Godwit birds fly to and from places in Russia, Argentina, China and New Zealand. And while Baba Didi and the Godwits Fly doesn’t take you around the world with them, it does offer the opportunity for further discussion and exploration of these countries and cultures.

Suggestions to couple with the reading of Baba Didi and the Godwits Fly:

  • Create small paper Godwits and place on a globe or map highlighting places they migrate (Japan, Korea, US, New Zealand, Australia, China, Russia, Argentina).  Talk about which of these places you’ve been or learned about. What is something you’ve found special in your travels?
  • Draw one of these places from a “birds-eye” view.
  • Discuss why it is important to travel or learn about new places and cultures.
  • Have a few examples from your childhood or recent family experiences when you’ve (singular or plural as a family) had to overcome challenges.  When has your family had to overcome fear (a big move, a new job, a huge storm)? How did you plan for it, either before or after?  What lessons were learned?  Give examples for other challenges – since life is filled with big ones and lots of smaller ones too.  Examples might be a party canceled, major traffic delays, a missed flight or flat tire.  How did you cope with these setbacks?  What would be done differently?
  • Invite your children to a discussion by asking them when have they wanted to quit?  This will open doors to many follow up conversations and be sure to let them know that grownups too sometimes want to give up.  Here are my top 10 examples but see what your kids come up with and then as a family how you can support one another to make it the whole journey.
  1. losing a boardgame or sports game
  2. getting lost driving and wanting to turn around for home
  3. homework (includes book reports and finishing assigned book)
  4. fundraising (or saving for a big item when little splurges are tempting)
  5. exercise
  6. an art project not turning out like your vision
  7. running a race
  8. burnt cookies (or pot roast or cake or casserole or coffee or…)
  9. remodeling
  10. eating healthy

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