Happy New Year! 2020 Reading Plan Ideas!

Reading Plan Ideas imageHappy New Year!

I hope that your holidays were special, relaxing, and everything you needed to get ready for a brand new year. I’ve seen so many “decade in review” posts the last few days…I’m not even going to try…my memory is terrible. What I know is that I am looking forward to a NEW year and a NEW decade and I think it’s best to keep looking ahead and not look back!

I’ve also seen a lot of folks who are thinking about and sharing their reading plans for the new year – maybe they want to read 60 books this year or they want to read a book set in each state or they want to read books about folks not like them…I love all of this. Most of the folks I know who are making reading plans/resolutions consider themselves readers.

What are your reading plans for the new year?

My plans are the same as always – read, read, read and encourage others to do the same. I realize that I am not a typical reader (I do teach children’s literature and I am a librarian, after all – reading is part of what I do…it’s my life) and sometimes it is difficult for me to understand why others simply do not make the time to read. However, I think that’s what you have to do…you have to make the time. You are truly not too busy to read a little each day. If you are a teacher or a parent, I think it is critical that you do so.

So, how to sneak in a few minutes each day to read. How do I do it?

  • I listen to audiobooks. I have a subscription to Audible, but you could always check out the options available to you at your public library. I listen to books while I am in the shower (waterproof speaker!); while I am getting ready for the day in the morning and while I am getting ready for bed at night; I listen while I am making dinner; and when I am in the car without the preschooler. All of those little moments add up! Next plan is to purchase bluetooth earbuds so that I can listen other times throughout the day (walks across campus, in the grocery store, etc.)
  • I read while my kid watches TV. Yes, I let my kid watch television and I sometimes even let her play on a device. While she is doing that, I read. Not always…sure, this is also when I am doing laundry, making dinner, or trying to send an email or any number of the other things that need to be done, but sometimes…I sit and read. You should too. This is usually when I get magazine reading done or go through stacks of picture books. Added benefit is that often, the preschooler’s eyes will glance over to me and she’ll want to read too.
  • I read a few pages before bed each night. This is really only a FEW pages. I am tired when I get to bed at night and I know you are too. Find something to read that you can handle a few pages at a time. I find that this is a great time for graphic novels. Graphic Novels, by the way, are not only for children.
  • I always have stacks of books from the library around. This is important. Let’s say you decide to try some of these ideas, but then you don’t really have any books around. First step is to find your nearest public library and figure out a day each week to go and browse. Your kids can play in the children’s area and you can gather a stack of books.

Other ideas you could try…

  • Purchase something like a Kindle and download all the books you can. I do not like using an ereader, but maybe that’s what will work for you. You really don’t even need to buy a Kindle, download an ereader app on your phone and instead of scrolling through social media…read something.
  • Let’s say you are not a reader and you never talk about books with friends. Post something on FB to your friends about what they like to read. Maybe you’ll hear about something that just sounds so interesting, you’ve got to read it. You could then have some sort of book club with your friends. Knowing that you are meeting up with folks who have read the same book might be the inspiration you need to read.
  • Wake up about 15 minutes earlier than you do now and make it a habit to turn on your lamp and read first thing in the morning. I bet what you do now is grab your phone and check out your feeds…resist that urge and pick up a book instead. Actually, why don’t you think about every time you pick up your phone and scroll through feeds…is that time you could be reading?
  • Think about books you loved as a kid and start with those. Were you hooked on Spring Valley High or Babysitter’s Club? Maybe you just need to train your brain to read and become engaged with print again…after you do that, you’ll be ready to move on to other things.

Finding things to read –

Maybe the problem is, you haven’t found the thing that really interests you. So, here’s what you do – go to the public library and browse. Do you like to cook? Find the cookbooks. Do you like true crime? See what you can find in that genre. Do you like to binge watch any particular shows? See if they are based on a book and read the book. It doesn’t matter if you’ve already watched the series and you think you know what will happen. Try it anyway. Go to the nearest book store and browse. Do judge a book by its cover. Pick things up and read the first few paragraphs. Into sports? Go to the sports books – you don’t have to read long novels to be a reader – check out some non-fiction, biographies, photography books. Do you own a business or perhaps want to grow professionally somehow? Check out the business books; self help books – there is something for you on those shelves. You just have to find it.

Here are some places on the internet to visit for ideas/suggestions of what to read –

Book Riot https://bookriot.com/

Epic Reads https://www.epicreads.com/

What Should I Read Next? https://www.whatshouldireadnext.com/

There is a whole world out there, readers. I know you can find something you would be interested in reading, if you would just give it a try.

Happy New Year, readers!




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#Cybils – Book Review Blitz!

I have been reading SO MANY picture books and board books for Cybils! Here are some reviews of just one stack…

Ogilvy by Underwood – Ogilvy is a bunny who is new to town. One day, Ogilvy decides to go to the park to make some friends, but is made fun of because they will not put themselves in a box – they will not declare that the sweater they are wearing is a sweater or a dress. A story about friendship and accepting differences. One thing interesting about this book is that you do not ever find out the gender of Ogilvy – no pronouns are used. Illustrations are mixed materials and I can see some classrooms who have students create their own Ogilvys using collage.

Download coloring sheets here. From the illustrator’s website!

No Room for a Pup! by Suneby and Molk – You know this story…kid wants a dog, but mom says no because there is no room. Mom and daughter (Mia) live in an apartment in a big city and Mia keeps asking for a puppy. One day, there is a sign for free puppies and Mia and her grandma hatch a plan to get one of those puppies. A twist on a Yiddish folktale. You could incorporate this with other puppy tales and the age old assignment of writing a letter or creating a presentation about “why you should get a pet.”

Love Makes a Family by Beer – BOARD BOOK! Examples of what “love” is…illustrations make this book great for families of all kinds.  Here is a lesson plan from Welcoming Schools that would work well with this book. 

Just Read! by Degman – Bright, lovely illustrations. I can see this as an excellent beginning of the school year read aloud in a classroom or (especially) library. Check out the book trailer. 

The End of Something Wonderful by Lucianovic – This book is about what happens when someone dies (a pet or other loved one). A good one to have on your shelves…just in case! Here are some resources from Fred Rogers Productions about talking with children about death. 

I Want a Dog by Agee – Pair this with No Room for a Pup! (see above). Check out Agee’s website for links and interviews and more.

My Papi Has a Motorcycle by Quintero – Listen to Yuyi Morales talk about this book! She talks about a giveaway that is no longer active, but worth watching to hear her talk about the book. Read the review from Social Justice Books. 

Babymoon by Barrett; illustrated by Martinez-Neal – Beautiful illustrations. A great gift for families with a new baby in the house.

Once Upon A Goat by Richards; illustrated by Barclay – A queen and king wish for “a kid.” They get a goat. Cute twist on a fairy tale, “once upon a time.” Check out these activity ideas (with other suggested titles) from Random House Books. 


Have you read any awesome picture books lately???


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#IMWAYR It’s Monday! What are you reading?! 10.14.19

Opinions are my own! 

It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? From Picture Books to YA!

It’s Monday! What are you Reading? is a meme hosted by Kathryn at Book Date. It is a great way to recap what you read and/or reviewed the previous week and to plan out your reading and reviews for the upcoming week. It’s also a great chance to see what others are reading right now…you just might discover your next “must-read” book! Kellee Moye, of Unleashing Readers, and Jen Vincent of Teach Mentor Texts are the smart folks behind giving It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? a kidlit focus! Join me! 

Listening to: I missed a week posting about my books – so let me catch up! Right now, I’m listening to Jacqueline Woodson’s Red at the Bone. Of course, it is beautiful and I am loving it. Finished Jason Reynolds’ new one, Look Both Ways. I literally finished the book and said out loud, “how does Reynolds keep doing that?!?” The book is so, so good. Finished The Turn of the Key by Ware, which I read for a book club I am in. I enjoyed it – but, it is the book equivalent of one of those horror movies where you say things like, “why don’t you just leave?!” and “why would you follow him?!” Also finished Between the World and Me by Coates, Pet by Emezi, and Raising a Screen-Smart Kid by Miner. All highly recommended!

On my nightstand: I have put down The Miracle & Tragedy of the Dionne Quintuplets by Miller. Now I am reading the graphic novel of The Handmaid’s Tale – cannot put down.

Reading with the preschooler: Reading her phonics readers from school, mostly.

Other: As you may have realized (because of the current increase of Book Review posts), I am a Cybils Round 1 Judge. Reading lots and lots of awesome picture books and board books for this committee.

What are YOU reading?


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Book Review – Pride Colors

I am a Cybils Round 1 Judge for Fiction Picture Books/Board Books! The nomination period for the public is open NOW! If you know of an excellent book that deserves a nod, nominate it here by October 15: http://www.cybils.com/2019/10/the-2019-cybils-nominations-are-now-open.html

As a Round 1 Judge, I get to read picture books/board books and review them!

Pride Colors by Robin Stevenson – Board book that explains the rainbow flag and its meaning to the very young. So colorful – bright photographs. You can use it to talk about pride and the rainbow flag any time of year, but one to bring out around Pride Day (in June), for sure. I didn’t realize each color of the rainbow flag had a particular meaning – did you? Read this book to find out what those meanings are!

Learn more about the author here – https://robinstevenson.com/

Check out 13 Rainbow Craft Ideas to Help Kids Celebrate Pride here – https://www.huffingtonpost.ca/2018/06/14/rainbow-craft-ideas_a_23459239/


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Peek-a-Bruce – Book Review

I am so excited to be a Cybils Round 1 Judge for Fiction Picture Books/Board Books! The nomination period for the public is open NOW! If you know of an excellent book that deserves a nod, nominate it here by October 15: http://www.cybils.com/2019/10/the-2019-cybils-nominations-are-now-open.html

As a Round 1 Judge, I get to read picture books/board books and review them!

Peek-a-Bruce by Ryan T. Higgins – I am sure you know Bruce. He is the star of several books by Ryan T. Higgins. Peek-a-Bruce is written in a board book format and is about Bruce “playing” hide and seek with a group of ducklings. What makes me giggle about this book is that I think caregivers will relate to Bruce – the ducklings are following him around “playing,” when Bruce is, in fact, just trying to have some quiet time for himself. Read this board book and then kick off a fun game of “hide and seek.” Or, if you are a parent of a preschooler, just live your life – ha!

Learn more about Ryan T. Higgins here – https://ryanthiggins.com/

Learn more about Bruce books and download activities here – https://books.disney.com/?s=bruce

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This Beach Is Loud! – Book Review

I am so excited to be a Cybils Round 1 Judge for Fiction Picture Books/Board Books! The nomination period for the public is open NOW! If you know of an excellent book that deserves a nod, nominate it here by October 15: http://www.cybils.com/2019/10/the-2019-cybils-nominations-are-now-open.html

As a Round 1 Judge, I get to read picture books/board books and review them!

This Beach Is Loud! by Samantha Cotterill – A fiction picture book about a boy who feels overwhelmed at the beach and the strategies he and his dad use to help him calm down. It is one book in the Little Senses book series. Little Senses is, “stories for wonderfully sensitive kids.” The illustrations in this book are lovely. This book is best for younger readers (perfect for PreK – Kindergarten). The story is relatable for many young children. A book to share with all little ones who feel a little anxious at times, but especially a good choice for children with sensory issues or those on the autism spectrum. Cotterill’s blog has a printable activity you can use to help make a trip to the beach successful for your little one (or for you to use in a lesson if you were to share this book in a classroom or library). Download it at this link, http://mummysamdesign.blogspot.com/2019/07/beach-day.html#more

Learn more about the author/illustration here – http://mummysam.com/

Learn more about the series here – http://mrschureads.blogspot.com/2019/06/the-little-senses-series.html


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Superhero Story Time!

As you may know, I work at the University of South Carolina and they currently have an AMAZING comic book exhibit going on – read about it here. 

Superheroes and comic books go hand in hand, so it was only fitting that this month’s theme for story time focused on superheroes! Here is what we did (on a Saturday morning for Parent’s Weekend – we had a few college students with younger siblings stop by…success!):

Started with a movement activity. This one from Jbrary was perfect.

Superhero, superhero turn around
Superhero, superhero touch the ground

Superhero, superhero put on your suit
Superhero, Superhero put on your boots.

Superhero, Superhero, jump up high
Superhero, Superhero, fly, fly, fly

Superhero, Superhero, turn around.
Superhero, Superhero, please sit down.

Read Superhero Instruction Manual by Kristy Dempsey; illustrated by Mark Fearing

I have a portable magnetic tabletop dry erase board that I use as a kind of flannel board. I have a set of Superman magnets that we used for this flannel board activity (from Jbrary).

5 superheroes ready to fly
Here comes the villain, Stop that guy!
This superhero can save the day.
Off he flies – up, up, and away!

Count down from 4, 3, 2, 1, 0

Read Thunder Pug by Kim Norman; illustrated by Keika Yamaguchi

Played a couple of rounds from this game: I Can Do That!

Wrapped up with Super Rawr! by Todd H. Doodler

We had so much FUN! Of course superhero masks and capes were involved.

Resources I used to plan storytime:

Sunflower Storytime https://sunflowerstorytime.com/2015/05/10/superheroes/

Jbrary https://jbrary.com/preschool-storytime-superheroes/



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