Day 5 of 12 Days of Guest Bloggers: Author Todd Tarpley

My son, Madden, is obsessed with Ninjas. He loves reading books about Ninjas and he most certainly love pretending to be a ninja. When we discover a Ninja book, we read every book by the author. Then we eagerly wait for more.  I have been following NinjasRead on Twitter for quite some time. It’s a group of authors who have all written Ninja books. They get the need for Ninjas. I am SO very honored to have author Todd Tarpley join us for the 12 Days of Guest Bloggers. Appropriately, today is also National Ninja Day.

Day 1, Day 2, Day 3, Day 4


It’s December, which means two things: Christmas and National Ninja Day! Here is a poem to celebrate.


The Ninjas ‘fore Christmas

‘Twas the night before Christmas, and all through the village

Not a pirate was stirring to plunder or pillage.

The wind ‘gainst the windows was all one could hear

‘Til at last came the voice of a wee buccaneer.


“Is Santa here yet? Is he coming tonight?”

“Blimey!” cried Papa, “he’s coming, all right!

“But ye must close yer eyes and not make any noise

“Then Santa will bring us all presents and toys.


Just at that moment, up high on the hill

Nine little ninjas sat perfectly still.

There was Baxter and Bixler and Burpy and Blinky,

Ethan and Ella and Slurpy and Stinky.


And up in the tree was a ninja named Fin

Whose nose had turned red from the cold winter wind.

They crouched ’neath the moon in the fresh-fallen snow

And peered toward the enemy village below.


“You have to remind me of something,” said Fin.

“Why don’t we like them? Please tell me again.”

“Because,” whispered Ella, “as everyone knows,

Pirates and ninjas have always been foes.”


All of a sudden there came a loud crash

A boom and a bang, a screech and a smash

They saw two straight tracks leading into the snow

Then they heard the faint sound of a soft “Ho, ho, ho.”


“Santa’s the name,” said the jolly old man

As he brushed off the snow and reached out his hand.

“My reindeer got lost in the fog and the snow.

Now our sleigh’s broken down with just one stop to go!”


“Hooray!” cried the ninjas. “The town will be joy-less!

The pirates will wake to find Christmas is toy-less!”

Santa frowned toward his reindeer, cold and exhausted.

He looked toward the village, forsaken and frosted.


“Wait,” began Fin, “I’m not saying we WOULD,

Be we COULD help deliver the gifts—yes, we COULD.

It IS Christmas Eve, and just maybe—who knows?

Maybe pirates and ninjas don’t HAVE to be foes.”


“Let’s do it!” cried Stinky. “I’m in!” added Slurpy.

“Me too!” shouted Bixler. “Brrrrppp!” bellowed Burpy.

And when they were finished the sleigh was like new,

With a giant black cloak and new skis of bamboo.


“On, Baxter! On, Bixler! On, Burpy! On, Blinky!

On, Ethan! On, Ella! On, Slurpy! On, Stinky!”

With young, red-nosed Fin at the front of the pack

And Santa Claus steering, dressed only in black.


From rooftop to rooftop so nimble and swift

They slid down each chimney and dropped off each gift.

And just as the very last package was brought

The littlest pirate crawled down from his cot.


He tiptoed across the old wooden-plank floor,

And caught a quick glimpse of the closing front door.

Prying open the shutters with rusty old hinges,

“Papa?” he said. “I think I see NINJAS!”


Every lamp in the village was instantly on.

Every doorway flew open, every pirate sword drawn.

“Shiver me timbers!” the pirates commanded.

“Ye’ll walk the plank now—we caught you red-handed!”


Surrounding the ninjas, their faces aghast.

“Wait!” said the littlest pirate at last.

“The ninjas aren’t evil! They’re not here to pillage!

They came to help Santa bring toys to the village!”


“Blimey!” cried Papa, “I reckon it’s true–

Thar’s a ninja-ized sleigh with two skis of bamboo!

From this moment forward, our rivalry ends!

Now pirates and ninjas will always be friends!”


And when it was time, Santa sprung to his sleigh.

With a call to his reindeer they lifted away.

And they heard him exclaim with a final hurrah,
“Merry Christmas to all, and to all a HEE-YAA!”


Todd Tarpley is the author of picture books including “Beep! Beep! Go to Sleep!” and “My Grandma’s a Ninja!” He’s also a member of “Ninjas Read!” which celebrates National Ninja Day on December 5 and encourages ninja readers year-round.

Day 4 of 12 Days of Guest Bloggers: Deana Metzke

I’ve connected with Deana Metzke over twitter. I always appreciate her focus and intent to #raise readers. Be sure to follow her on Twitter. Deana has guest blogged here before; be sure to check it out!

Previous Days of 12 Days of Guest Bloggers:

Day 1, Day 2Day 3


Making new Christmas traditions with books

For a variety of reasons, including age difference and different interests, bedtime reads at our house are done individually. The only times we read as a group of 3 are when one parent is not available at bedtime, when we read a chapter book together, or this magical time of year!

When I was child, one of the things I enjoyed about the Christmas season was the holiday-themed books that my mom would bring out when she brought out the decorations, including these books that she regifted to me a couple years ago. deana-metzke-1

And one tradition we had growing up was that on Christmas Eve, she would read the true story of Christmas to my brother and I before bed. Naturally, I wanted to create some sort of tradition with my own children, and I think I have found one that fits us, at least for now.

A couple of years ago, I stumbled across a book titled, Disney Christmas Storybook Collection.  It combines my children’s two loves, Christmas and anything Disney. There are holiday themed stories from all sorts of Disney characters, including characters from my era, like The Lady and the Tramp and more recent characters, like Anna and Elsa from Frozen. I mean, there’s almost 20 stories in this book!


Now, as excited as we all were about this purchase, it actually took me a couple years to get into a good rhythm with it. Here’s how it went down:

Year 1: I busted out the book, the kids were super excited, but I didn’t get the book until later in December, so we didn’t get to enjoy all the stories, because like many kids their age, they are over Christmas once the 25th has passed. There was also conflict about who got to sit on my lap during the stories. And, their occasionally OCD mother was convinced we needed to go in story order from cover to cover, so they were a little frustrated with me—how’s that for some Christmas spirit?

Year 2: Still started it a little late, so we still didn’t get through it all. However, after a couple of days, I did have an epiphany and decided we didn’t have to read the stories in order (especially since at this rate, we would never get to read about WALL-e’s Christmas at the end of the book).  Dad got in on the act this year, so if they weren’t super long (some stories are longer than others) they could read one story with me and read another with him. Kids still love the stories and I am loving our new tradition.

Year 3 (this year): Ok, so this year I’m planning on busting out the book on time, December 5th at the absolutely latest. I mean, between my husband and I, we should be able to get through it all, right? My plan this year also includes letting the kids take turns selecting which story we read and also alternating which bedroom we read in each night.  Gotta be all about equality with these two.

Now I’m not suggesting that everyone go out and purchase this book, but I am suggesting that for those of you who are #raisingreaders, this time of year is the perfect time to create a tradition that includes books of some sort. With them being 5 and 7 years old, I know I may only have a couple more years before they are over this Disney-themed book, so I am going to relish every moment I have until I have to come up with a new tradition.





Day 3 of 12 Days of Guest Bloggers: Julie of @flyingelephantsdc

If you aren’t following Julie’s instagram account, you are missing out. She has a sweet feed of beautiful books and fun activities to do with kids throughout Washington DC. I’m so honored to have her join the 12 Days of Guest Bloggers.

If you missed the first couple of days, check out:

Day 1, Day 2,


Christmas has always been my favorite time of year. Christmas brings a whole month (or more) of lights and decorations, yummy food and treats, music and activities, friends and family, and most of all, celebrating Christ’s birth. As a girl, I remember laying on the couch in the dark, watching the lights dance on the Christmas tree. As a teenager I took over the Christmas decorating, sometimes starting right after Thanksgiving dinner had been cleaned up, and keeping it up through Three King’s Day on January 6th. I think my oldest, who just turned 4, is picking up some of my excitement for the season. We often take drives in the evenings to look at Christmas lights in the area, at his request.

img_2138Christmas picture books have become a sweet little corner of our Christmas observance since having children. Last year we started a Christmas book advent. Reading a new book every evening about the season helped us to take time every day to pause from all the busyness and just enjoy the season. Our calendar includes books of all kinds: Christ-centered, Santa Claus and his reindeer, stories of kindness and giving, classics, and more. My favorite ones are those that are quiet, sweet, and thoughtful; all qualities that I try to emphasize at this time of year.

One of our favorites is “Drummer Boy” by Loren Long. It tells the story of a little toy drummer boy who is given to a boy and by accident ends up on a journey to different places, carried by man, wind and animal. At each new place, the Drummer Boy meets a new character and each time, despite fear, cold, and loneliness, he plays his drum for them because that’s what he knows how to do. Each time his simple act warms the heart of the character he plays for until the end, when he returns to the boy. Filled with the spirit of Christmas after hearing the Drummer Boy’s song, the boy places the drummer boy in the nativity display in his home. The Drummer Boy plays for the baby Jesus and this time it is the Drummer Boy’s heart that is warmed.

This sweet version of the Drummer Boy’s story is told with the same patience that the Drummer Boy displays as he is carried from place to place not knowing if he will ever be returned to the boy and the coziness of a warm home. In each place, the drummer boy overcomes his feelings and seeks to bring comfort to the characters he encounters. He simply does what he knows best and that makes all the difference to those he meets. There are so many lessons that can be gleaned from the Drummer Boy about patience, perseverance, kindness, and serving others. The Drummer Boy also teaches us — maybe most importantly — to give our best no matter what circumstances we might find ourselves in or how we may be feeling. By giving what we can, we forget ourselves and enlarge our hearts, making room for more. The beautiful acrylic pictures, dominated by blues and greys, help readers feel the quietness and specialness of the story.

Christmas is so many things, just like the Drummer Boy’s story. May we take time to experience and feel all of them this season. Merry Christmas!

Julie’s bio:

I am a stay-at-home-mom; a wife; a hometown explorer; a former research librarian, library lover, children’s librarian wannabe. I started @flyingelephantsdc on Instagram this summer to share my love of children’s books and things to do with kids in the DC area.





5 Tips to Pinterest Perfect in Real Life


I love Pinterest. I love how it inspires me to imagine fun activities, new traditions, and perfect décor. This is especially fun to do around the holidays. But the truth is that as a Mom of three kids under the age of five, I don’t have the time or energy to be “Pinterest Perfect”. Instead, I need to focus on keeping the puppy out of the trash can, and the toddler off the resident Mount Everest (aka, the dining room table). That being said, anytime I can masquerade as the “Pinterest Perfect Holiday Mom”, sign me up. I’m all about looking like I do it all (even if I don’t).
Here are 5 Tips to Pinterest Perfect in Real Life:
1. Holiday/Christmas Books: Raising readers is really important to me. Holiday books are super fun with chocolate milk for the kids, lattes for the parents, and some cozy blankets all while nestled by the Christmas tree. You can see it, right? Bliss. It will make for pristine Instagram moments too. But aside from looking good on social media, kids love to be read aloud to and it is a wonderful time to go screen-free! It also means that there will be some priceless memories being made in the simplest, but richest way.
2. Decorate Sugar Cookies: This is a tradition I started years ago with my own brothers and sisters, and now I do this with my kids. We decorate sugar cookies. Make the dough (they have the premade dough at the grocery store), cut out the cookies, bake them, then give the kids sprinkles and frosting and let them go to town. Don’t worry about the mess – the dog will get it. Embrace the giggles from your kids as they get creative. You can’t buy that sweet memory.
3. One Craft: I’m not big on crafts. Mud and dirt don’t bother me, but glitter strewn across my kitchen gives me hives. But Holiday Coloring Pages printed off the internet, I can handle. Let your kids go to town on coloring them – don’t worry if they are in or outside the lines. When they are done, display that beautiful piece of art. I like hanging my kids’ art on the kitchen cabinets. It’s how I frequent my favorite art gallery while making PB&J. Multitasking at its finest.
4. One special Holiday outing: There is so much to see and do and experience around the Holidays. But there is NO TIME FOR IT ALL. Do one and do it big. Visit Santa in your Christmas sweater best. Drive through your neighborhood to see the holiday lights while blasting holiday music. It doesn’t have to be expensive or exhausting to be special.
5. Holiday Stay In: Make time to be at home as a family. Do a Holiday movie marathon while you enjoy candy canes. Eat pizza by candlelight while wearing silly Santa hats or reindeer antlers. Have a dance party with Holiday music. Soak up the time to just be together.
The most important thing about the holidays is spending time with the ones you love. Making sure that stays the center of the Holiday season is a must for me. If you take any of my suggestions, I’d love to see a picture! Tag me on Instagram: @bookreviewmama.

Day 2 of 12 Days of Guest Bloggers: Anna with

I’ve been following Anna on Instagram for a while; I really admire how she creates these incredible crafts based on the children’s books she reads to her children. I am so excited have Anna guest blog here today! When I received her post, I immediately went and bought the craft supplies from today’s posts to do with my kids!

See Day 1 here!


Walking in a Winter Wonderlandwinter-wonderland-1

Even those of us who love the holiday season know the stress of this time of year.  So many things to do! Lists to make! Events to attend! Magic to sprinkle! What we too often forget is that this time can be stressful for our kids as well.  Schedules are crazy, sugar is everywhere, and anticipation is high.  Oh the anticipation! This constant chorus of something is coming something is coming something is coming can be exhausting for our little ones.  Each year I have to remind myself to stop relentlessly pointing ahead to Christmas, and instead slow down and point to the everyday magic present throughout this season.

So amid piles of books about Christmas Day and Santa and elves (which we love, don’t get me wrong), a book like Walking in a Winter Wonderland comes as a cool breath of fresh air. It was Tim Hopgood’s vibrant mixed media illustrations that initially drew me to this charming book.  They feature a family’s adventure on a snowy day, accompanied by the lyrics to the classic holiday song.  Stories like this can serve as a gentle reminder to pay attention to the simple wonders of winter: the thrill of that first snowfall, the glistening trees, and the warm comfort of home.

We tried to capture some of this magic by creating our own tiny winter wonderland in a jar.  The process is pretty straightforward, but I made two versions because (holiday reality check!) things don’t always go as planned. winter-wonderland-2

For our first attempt, we used an adorable vintage style glass jar I found at a craft store.  Turns out, hot glue doesn’t hold on glass very well, especially once submerged in water and shaken up.  Soon after taking pictures, all those cute little figures popped right off the bottom and floated freely in our winter wonderland.  Whoops.  Somewhat beautiful in its own right, but not quite what we were looking for.  Oh, well.  You live, you learn, you buy more glitter.

We were much more successful with attempt #2 by using a plastic peanut butter jar (more preschool friendly!) and gluing our figurines to the lid instead of the jar bottom.

Here’s how you can make your own miniature wonderland (and be successful the first time!):

  1. Using hot glue (or another strong adhesive), attach figures to the inside of a jar lid. If using a jar with a metal lid, try lightly sanding before you glue in order to help the adhesive hold. winter-wonderland-3(How cute are these little deer?!? I found them at Michael’s.  On sale!)
  1. Fill jar about 2/3 of the way with water
  2. Add a few generous squeezes of clear glue. This helps to keep the “snow” afloat in the jar for some time after you shake it. winter-wonderland-4(This picture is from attempt #1… the jar will still be empty for the successful version!)
  1. Shake in your glittery snow!
  1. Put some glue around the top of the jar to help seal it before screwing on the lid.
  1. Turn over, give a little shake, and enjoy your miniature winter wonderland! winter-wonderland-5

Anna is a kid lit enthusiast and crafter with a love-hate relationship with glitter.  In another life she taught middle school language arts, but now she spends her days wrangling kids and scouring the local library for new books.  You can find her favorite stories and the projects they inspire on Instagram  or





Day 1 of 12 Days of Guest Bloggers: Erin from

For the first 12 days of December, I’m hosting 12 different Guest Bloggers. I’m excited to have them each share their holiday/Christmas posts with us. Erin from has guest blogged here before. I’m excited to have her join me again!



The Night Before Christmas

Author:  Barbara Reid (Poem by Clement C. Moore)

Published by: North Winds Press (Imprint of Scholastic Canada)

Released: 2013

Ages: 2 – 8

From the Publisher:

“Barbara Reid reimagines everyone’s favorite Christmas poem in her own extraordinary style, featuring a lively cast of young creatures anticipating the most exciting night of the year! The classic poem is brought to life by her signature Plasticine illustrations, full of humor and astonishing detail, making this a Christmas treasure to read year after year.”


This is an amazingly illustrated (photos of Plasticine scenes) re-telling of the classic Clement C. Moore Christmas poem. It is intended for children, but the delightful story will be enjoyed by all ages due to the amusing antics of the mice – there is subtle humour here for all ages (who knew that some mice enjoy flipping through a book while using the washroom?).  fullsizerender_1It is the perfect story to use as a read-aloud for all ages of children in anticipation of the Christmas season, especially on Christmas Eve.  Barbara Reid is one of my favourite Canadian children’s authors – we have many of her board books and picture books – and my three kids LOVE exploring the detail of each illustration.  This one is no exception.  My children pour over and point out the many details of the captivating world of this mouse family who live in a hollow log in the forest.  The mice are eagerly preparing for Saint (mouse) Nicholas’ arrival and have hung their stockings by the chimney with care.  Watch the antics of this large mouse family as they experience the clatter of St. Nick’s arrival on this special night.  It is a celebration of the excitement and anticipation children feel in this Christmas season.  Not everything goes perfectly; a lot of humorous things happen – but all turns out well in the end and a large and loving family is together in celebration.

My Experience:

My three year old has already started asking to have me read this to them – I first introduced her to it last year, and it quickly became the favourite of the season.  She loved pointing out how the mice children are not completely adhering to the text of the poem by resisting bedtime and sneaking cookies.  fullsizerender_2The book is full of fun and sly humour.  We find new things to smile over and discover in each reading (we are already at about 20 for this season alone!). My 22 month-old twins are very detail oriented and each can spend huge amounts of time on each page pointing out things like dimes used as plates and bottle caps as a bowl.  They love that the reindeer are full sized, but St. Nick is a tiny mouse.  This is a wonderful way to get the whole family into the magic and excitement that surrounds Christmas!

Why/How Use it with kids:

  • explore the intricate drawings by creating a “seek and find” for each picture – you could try to find the same mouse across many of the pages, or have your child describe what each mouse is doing or thinking at that point in the story
  • have children identify the “big world objects” in each image (like dimes, thimbles, bottle caps) and explain what they are being used for. This is a great example of recycling!  What other objects could the mice take and use? This can lead to a great example of things around us that we can reuse for other purposes
  • have children pick another animal or creature and describe/create/draw the story from that perspective.  What a great time for a diorama or mini-book!  What other Christmas stories could be told from the perspective of tiny creatures?

    Handmade by: Artist Alice Helwig
    Handmade by: Artist Alice Helwig

About the Author:

Barbara Reid is married and has two daughters. She is the author and illustrator of more than a dozen picture books, and the illustrator of over twenty five. Barbara lives in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. When she is not busy writing or illustrating books, Barbara visits schools and libraries, where she is thrilled to meet young students and see the wonderful artwork they create. Each of Barbara’s distinctive and detailed illustrations starts off as a pencil drawing. Then she forms her drawing using Plasticine. She has received every major Canadian children’s book award and in 2013 she received two more outstanding honours: she was named to the Order of Canada and received the Vicky Metcalf Award for Literature for Young People.


Bio For Erin

Wife. Adoptive mom to toddler twins and a 3 year old. Career as a Teacher-Librarian temporarily on pause. Reads tons of books to the kids. Longs for two minutes alone in the bathroom. Lives for sloppy kisses. Figuring out life on the fly with laughs, friends, and grace!

I am a “mature” mom – jumped into this in my very late 30s and am now starting to explore my 40s ;-). My hubby is 7 years older, and we joke that our poor kids will have to keep explaining the two old grey-haired fogies at their graduations to all their classmates. Ah well, just think how wise we’ll be by then!

Book Reviews: As a Teacher-Librarian and AVID reader, one of my main filters for understanding the world is through books (in all formats).  At this stage, I use a lot of books to help my kids explore and understand the world, too.  I want to share what I’ve learned with you. As a former Senior Education Specialist, I have led resource review and selection for a major urban school board, was seconded to a provincial Department of Education as a Manager for Literacy, Numeracy & School Libraries, and have my Master’s degree in Information Literacy and Adult Education.  I’ve been a teacher for 18 years, a Teacher-Librarian for 14 years and am passionate about sharing my knowledge. I am a Director on the board of and do professional reviews for a children’s book review journal: Resource Links
Join me on the journey as I explore being a “mature” mom to multiples, toddlers, and adopted children through the lens of children’s books.  I’m learning a lot – the tables are turned on this teacher!

Follow Erin on her blog at or on

Instagram at

Twitter at @RaisingMom3

Facebook at






12 Days of Guest Bloggers

It’s December! We just put out Christmas tree up last night and my kids finally feel like Christmas has begun for us! I stayed up late adding little notes to our Christmas books of simple, fun activities we will be doing leading up to Christmas.


Activities like drinking hot chocolate with lots of marshmallows, hosting a Christmas party with friends, making ornaments, etc. Simple rich things we can do together.

I’m really REALLY excited to launch a new blog tradition here at Book Review Mama! We are are having 12 Days of Guest Bloggers. I have some INCREDIBLE book lovers (authors, crafters, instagrammers, bloggers, moms, dads, etc) coming to share special books and traditions and memories of the holiday season. The last few weeks have been spent practically squealing (I may or may not have squealed in the middle of my hair salon at one point) each time I checked my email corresponding with these fabulous people.

I hope enjoy my first ever 12 Day of Guest Bloggers!! It’s going to be incredible!


Guest Blogger Deana Metzke reviews Big Rig

Deana Metzke is guest blogging for me today. We connected over Twitter several months ago and I’m thrilled to have her here!! Deana says, ”

I am a 30-something wife and mom of two who is trying her best to raise children who will enjoy reading long after I’m gone. During the day, I am also a Literacy Coach at an elementary school, which strengthens my drive (or adds to my stress) to have my own children be book lovers.”


During our library visits, my children each check out a book on CD and listen to it as they fall asleep. My son’s recent selection was Big Rig by Jamie A. Swenson, and it oddly has had quite the impact on me and my son (although he doesn’t know it).



My son is in Kindergarten, and although I tend to be anxious (a little over-anxious if you ask my husband) about his abilities as a learner, one thing I will admit is that he soaks up information like a sponge. Unlike my daughter, who is not a big talker about school, my son tells me all the details about his day. The great thing about that is I can see and hear all the learning that he’s already done this early into the school year. (Now the bad thing about that is, the recount of his day, the string of words coming out of his mouth, is pretty steady for quite some time, and there’s a slight possibility that I may tune him out sometimes–don’t judge.) He’s really gotten into math, and I got to learn what the “letter of the day” was each day, along with the sound that letter made. One of the other highlights has been my child learning some sight words, sight words being words that you usually cannot sound out, so that you have to be able to read them on “sight”, like here, have, my.

The other night I decided to read Big Rig to my son, even though since we also got the CD to go along with it, he had listened to it the night before. By listening to the story the previous night, he had a head start on me, because I hadn’t even heard of the book before we picked it up at the library.

As you may have guessed, the story Big Rig is about semi trucks or 18-wheelers, something I only had basic knowledge about. Probably also not surprising, this book is full of the sounds associated with semis. Now I consider myself to be decent at making the required sounds when reading, but…he’s already heard the professionals on the CD, would I be able to stack up? Well, I didn’t have to find out right away, because he himself decided to make the honking noise of the 18-wheeler all on his own– yes! This is not just impressive to me because it relieved me of my duties, but also because he was able to follow along and knew when it was time for the honking! This book is simple in structure and language, so my son was able to read aloud with me at other points in the book, so exciting!

Almost just as exciting for me, I actually learned some things about big rigs in the book, like the fact that when their tires blowout, they call the pieces “alligators”, and thanks to the illustration in the book, they actually do look like alligators.

truckSee? Don’t they look like alligators? Am I the only one who didn’t know this?

There’s even a little glossary at the end of the book that explains all the big rig vocabulary in the book, and that is also read on the CD. He still listens and follows along with this book before he falls asleep each night, and each night he’s reading along with the book more and more. So, I never thought I’d say it, but I LOVE big rigs!







You can connect with Deana on Twitter or at her blog.

Guest Post Book Review: Library Day by Anne Rockwell

I am so excited to Erin from www.RaisingMom.CA be a guest blogger today! We met over Instagram and it is a real treat to have her here. Be sure to check out her blog and Instagram!


Library Day by Anne Rockwell and Lizzy Rockwell

FullSizeRender(1)As a Teacher Librarian, libraries are my passion, and I am working hard to instill a love of libraries in my children.  We read a lot of books in our house and my kids have their own “libraries in their rooms”, a shared “library” in the toy room and see Mom and Dad’s shelves in our bedroom and the larger library in the bonus room on the top floor of our house that houses the comfy reclining leather chairs and the piano.  It is a quiet space to retreat to read and my 3-year-old daughter has already started asking for space to put some of her books (time for Mom to do some weeding of her collection!).  We are fortunate to have a vibrant local city library network and we take frequent trips to borrow books and attend programs.  The kids love the library!

Of course, we love books (especially print books for younger kids) and we also know the value of resources in all formats to meet the needs of all learners in the community. Libraries have an essential role in every community as gathering spaces and information hubs and I was hoping to see this reflected in this book.

FullSizeRender_4I eagerly grabbed the new title Library Day by Anne Rockwell (illustrated by her daughter, Lizzy Rockwell), with hopes that it would capture (through the eyes of a child) all that current libraries have to offer. I was not disappointed! Through bright illustrations, a child’s afternoon visit to the library with his father for story time is depicted. Don is made to feel welcome in the space as he explores all the different resources that are available to him in many formats, makes a new friend, gets a new library card, and discovers items that are about topics he is interested in.  Adults and other children around Don are modeling learning and exploring and he is made to feel very welcome in the many spaces within the library. Don checks out several resources that are of interest to him and plans are made for a return visit for an upcoming puppet show.

I was so pleased at how the many amenities that a library has to offer were showcased in this picture book – from library programming to computer technology to books and magazines to movies and human resources.  The importance of children in the library was emphasized, as was creating bright and welcoming spaces for them and placing resources at their level and height/line of sight.

My daughter pointed out many of the topics that Don was interested in as being things that she liked, such as a magazine about pets and a book about apples and pumpkins.  She exclaimed that she, too, liked story time at the library.  All in all, I think that this is a great book to introduce children to the vital role that libraries play in our communities.  I hope that the real thing will live up to the high standard set in this book!


Bio For Erin

Wife. Adoptive mom to toddler twins and a 3 yo. Career as a Teacher-Librarian temporarily on pause. Reads tons of books to the kids. Longs for two minutes alone in the bathroom. Lives for sloppy kisses. Figuring out life on the fly with laughs, friends, and grace!

I am a “mature” mom – jumped into this in my very late 30s and am now starting to explore my 40s ;-). My hubby is 7 years older, and we joke that our poor kids will have to keep explaining the two old grey-haired fogies at their graduations to all their classmates. Ah well, just think how wise we’ll be by then!

Book Reviews: As a Teacher-Librarian and AVID reader, one of my main filters for understanding the world is through books (in all formats).  At this stage, I use a lot of books to help my kids explore and understand the world, too.  I want to share what I’ve learned with you. As a former Senior Education Specialist, I have led resource review and selection for a major urban school board, was seconded to a provincial Department of Education as a Manager for Literacy, Numeracy & School Libraries, and have my Master’s degree in Information Literacy and Adult Education.  I’ve been a teacher for 18 years, a Teacher-Librarian for 14 years and am passionate about sharing my knowledge. I am a Director on the board of and do professional reviews for a children’s book review journal: Resource Links
Join me on the journey as I explore being a “mature” mom to multiples, toddlers, and adopted children through the lens of children’s books.  I’m learning a lot – the tables are turned on this teacher!

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