Lost in a Book

This weekend I was away at a conference for work and had the opportunity to explore the little town in which we were staying. My friend and I wandered into a quaint gift shop with shelves overflowing with beautiful trinkets. Of course I gravitated towards the small book shelf and picked up a new eye catching book:

This is the first children’s book I have come across that focuses on a tattoo so of course I had to stop and read it through.

I don’t know if this has happened to you but as I opened the cover I immediately became so engrossed in the incredibly sweet story a father is telling his son. I truly became so involved in the story that once I came to the last page I was startled to look around me and realize that time had momentarily stopped.

What an incredible feeling to be so drawn in that the world seems to stop and all that exists is you and the story. In this book a little boy is asking his father about his tattoos and the stories that go along with each one. Each tattoo paints a picture of an important time in the father’s life that culminates to the last and favored tattoo- the one that symbolizes the birth of his son.

 

Let me tell you, there is nothing like a great Dad story to bring tears to my eyes. Especially a story that can take me away, draw me into the pages, and carry me across the bridge of the author’s perspective and into my own interpretation. It’s not every book that takes you to this place, but when one does, it’s such an amazing feeling and so good that you just have to share!

 

Wishing you lots of love in your reading!

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Celebrating the Earth

I have a Sunday morning ritual that fits perfectly into the theme of this week’s book choices. After coffee and some of my own reading I lace up my sneakers and take my two dogs out for a leisurely walk in the woods. Our property is surrounded by forests, farm land, and trails.  This morning was especially beautiful with the sun shining brightly and a gentle wind whispering. It was the perfect time to reflect on Earth Day.

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April 22nd is the official day to celebrate the Earth and spend time thinking about all we can do to protect it. This is such an important day to teach our children about. We truly need to spend time learning and talking about about all we do and how it impacts the Earth. So this week my recommendations are based on helping teach our kids (and even ourselves) about ways to help this beautiful place we live in.

For the younger readers these are some of my favorites: Why Should I Recycle, It’s Earth Day!, and The Earth Book. Each of these books explains how one person can make a difference and why it is important to think about how we take care of the Earth.

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For a bit more here are some great books that really touched my 9 year old this year.

National Geographic Kids Human Footprint.

This was such a cool book that introduces kids to how they impact the world. It uses pictures to help illustrate the immense number of ways what we do can negatively effect the world. “What is your human footprint? Well, it’s 13,056 pints of milk, 28,433 showers, 12,888 oranges, 14,518 candy bars, and $52,972 worth of clothes, all in one lifetime.” Very eye opening not only to my son but to me as well!

The last one that we looked at this week was Help Your Parents Save the Planet: 50 Simple Ways to Go Green Now!

This book, similar to the Human Footprint explores daily activities and how kids can make small changes that can truly make a world of difference. It was exciting to go through these ideas and be excited that some are already in practice at home and some the kids are looking forward to implementing.

It is amazing how making small little changes in our daily lives can truly add up and make a big difference. So even though officially Earth Day has passed I urge you to take a look at these books and continue to be aware of your own footprint and how to educate our children and raise awareness and intention around protecting the Earth.

Until next time….

Happy Reading!

 

Autism Awareness

It is amazing how literature can open doors to places you have never personally explored. I especially love how children’s literature can be a foundation for learning and acceptance.

April is Autism awareness month and through my work I support many families that Autism has touched. This isn’t the case with many people. I don’t ever remember knowing about Autism until I was much older, possibly in college. I don’t want my children to grow up with the same unawareness. I want them know people of all abilities and I want them to have an understanding of the challenges many people work to overcome.

 I was so happy to see a shelf dedicated to stories about Autism at one of my local libraries and I wanted to share with you two of my favorite Autism awareness books. First is Lucy’s Amazing Friend. In this story there is a little boy Daniel who isn’t as engaged as the other kids in his class. He has the support of an aide and does some different things in school. He enjoys doing some things that other kids think are strange or weird. There are times when he gets teased for being different.

In this story Lucy, a little girl in Daniel’s class befriends him, not because a teacher asked her to or out of sympathy. She found they had things in common and those outweighed their differences. She not only realizes how great he is but shows their classmates things about him that they weren’t able to see initially.

The second book is called My Brother Charlie.
I LOVED this one and highly recommend checking it out!

This true story is about the journey of a set of twins and how one, Charlie, wasn’t developing the same as his sister. There is an openness in the parents’ and sister’s sadness when he was first diagnosed with Autism. This story is in the voice of the sister (a side we often don’t take the time to look at) and shares how they live their life as a family. There is an emphasis on love and understanding in addition to openness.

My boys go to a school where there isn’t much diversity. I guess that’s what happens in a two room school house in New Hampshire. Through these books we talked about Autism and the strengths and challenges that can occur with the diagnosis. We talked about how everyone is different and brings strengths to this world. We talked about how now matter how different or strange someone can seem that it is important to be open minded and curious and always friendly and kind.

If you’d like more information on Autism and other resources check out the Autism Speaks Website

So no matter if you choose to read books from other countries or about people who experience life differently it is so important to expose our children to diversity.

 

Much love and happy reading!

 

 

Pick of the Week

I visit the library several times a week and my book bag overflows with great choices. It is such a thrill to gander through the librarians selections of notable reads. Often I am drawn to these as they caught someone’s eye so they must be something to check out. This week while visiting our local town library I picked up a fantastic one called I am Yoga.

I recently have been working hard on my goal of becoming more fit and yoga has been one of my favorite practices. Of course I was drawn to this small book with beautiful images.

Not only did my boys and I enjoy the simple beautiful prose we especially loved the glossary of yoga poses.

This was our bedtime story and they were both so excited to jump out of bed and practice each pose. It was a good time to explain how stretching our body can help clear the mind and bring peace.

Throughout the book the author describes how beneficial and all encompassing a yoga practice can be for the soul and the world.

The author opens a door between the mind body through simple sentences utilizing great imagery and simple mantras to incorporate into our lives.

 

This is one book that I would read over and over again, reminding myself and my children the beauty that comes along with intentional practice. I hope you will take the time to look at this beautiful little book!

 

Until next time…

 

-Happy Reading and…

For Myself

This morning I woke with an aching back and a desire to spend the day in bed. I put on a favorite skirt, pushed through the morning, made it through work. Today I stepped out of my box. I did two things for myself that were new and foreign and simply put my mind and body first. While sitting down nervously and anxiously waiting for the first of my two caring activities to begin I opened my book: Tiny Buddha’s 365 Tiny Love Challenges.

I opened to this week’s passage and it was a reflection on humility and how difficult it can be to ask for help. The writer was reminded of a time she was force to ask for help. She shares how uncomfortable and foreign this simple act can be. As a culture we are valued when we can do it all- multi task to the max! We find technology and tools that help ourselves achieve this goal. Often a person who appears to not have it all together is looked down upon.

Well today, I humbly say, I needed some help, both in mind and body. And after the overwhelming feeling that I wasn’t good enough or didn’t deserve it I realized that it was ok. Truthfully it felt oh so good to allow myself a pass, to recognize that I don’t need to shy away from the fact that I am far from perfect and that I can find way to receive help. So this afternoon/evening I opened up, I became in tuned to my own inner voice and said I need this. I enlisted two women and spent 90 minutes in my small quest for balance.  I have to say this was an incredible  and eye opening thing! I spent time on me. I stepped out of my role as mother, worker, wife, community member and simply was just Jessica. It felt good and I think I may work to incorporate a bit more to say that:

No, I cannot do it all.

Yes, I do need help.

And that it is alright!

Peace and Politics

This is not the blog I planned to write today. This week’s post was planned to honor strong female characters throughout children’s literature. But, today that’s not what’s on my mind. (Come back for some great suggestions in the weeks to come!)

I sat in Church this morning and realized I HAD to write about this today. The sermon led by a lay leader and chair of worship committee was titled A Stranger at The Table. During the part of the service she called upon the congregation to share any joys or concerns. An older woman stood and shared a concern with a shaky and heavy tone. She brought forth a memory of when she was a child during world war 2 and was listening to the radio with her father. The program was filled with the strong and hateful words of Hitler. His desire to rule by force and demolish any who did not fit into his mold. Tears could be heard in her voice as she shared how concerned she is during this political race and how much she feels the similarity to the words of a current candidate and Hitler.

Now I am not one to vocalize my political opinions and I often shy away from any type of debate. I am a strong believer of everyone’s right to their opinion. I don’t like to rock the boat or put someone off by sharing what I think. However today I apologize in advance if I have done so to you.

Shortly after her comment we started into the first hymn- “Our World is One World”

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The words of the hymn so perfectly melded into what the woman shared in her fear. The idea that the world in which we live is a shared place. We all own a piece and not one person is greater, stronger, or more right than another. As the service continued my mind went to a few children’s books that remind me exactly what she and the lay leader was preaching.

First is by Dr. Seuss- The Butter Battle Book

If you haven’t read this great book it’s a MUST. Seuss highlights the battle of two groups that don’t see eye to eye. They build a wall (sound familiar?) to keep the other out and away. One side brings a gun to the wall, then the other outmatches with a larger more dangerous weapon, and so forth. And what do these two sides decide and could parish over…. which side to butter their bread!

I know in our day we’re not battling over butter but sometimes it feels like it could become that petty.

Last night confidently my youngest picked out One as his bedtime story.

This is what I would wish upon the world and especially our dear men and women who are hoping to be the commander in chief. If anyone has connections we should send each one of them a copy of this book! This book falls under many lists relating to bullying. Honestly I’m feeling that politicians take a look at themselves and how it may be seen as bullying.

So again, I am sorry if I have created cause for offence. My heart is concerned and I really believe politicians and votes should take a bit more guidance from children’s literature as the fight for control.

Peace ~ Love

Seasons Change With Laughter

 

I was out for a walk with my family this weekend and in Southern New Hampshire winter is fading into spring. I was talking with my Dad as we prepare for my youngest sister to move down south where they don’t experience such drastic changes in weather. She is very excited to be away from some of the wrath of winter. For me, I love the change of the seasons.

Each season it is exciting to anticipate the weather and natural changes. Right now it’s so exciting to see little shoots of plants breaking through the brown grass. I am energized as the sun stays out longer and the sun warms our skin at the brink of summer. The cool breeze and colorful fall is something to look forward to and there’s such a childlike bliss of the first snowfall. I really couldn’t image what it would be like to have similar weather year round.

Last week while scouring the library I found an aptly titled book Winter Woes.

This lyrical book brings light and laughter to the end of winter. I wasn’t surprised to find out the author is from New Hampshire. Marty Kelley highlights the things that most of us dislike about winter- especially as some years it continues into April. I love witty books and this is one that I believe I enjoyed just as much as the kids. In reading more about the author we found that he has several other seasonal books that we have put on our to read list. They include:

                                      

I have yet to check these out but I am thinking I have found yet another fantastic author that I will have to surly check out all of his literary works.

Check out his website:

http://www.martykelley.com/all-about-me.html

 

Keep laughing, reading children’s lit with wit and as always…

Happy Reading!