105 Ways to Give a Book

Thursday Three: Reading Games

When my kids were little, I wanted to get them ready to read in a fun way. I looked to all the right books for activities. But if I decided to have my daughter write letters in a cookie sheet covered with shaving cream, I knew that the doorbell would ring and I'd return to a overturned tray on the good carpet and a preschooler with foamy cheeks declaring herself to be Santa Claus. Not like that happened or anything.

Anyway, there were tons of great ideas to introduce reading concepts, but I didn't need great ideas - I needed easy ideas. I have all sorts of respect for the moms who take Junior around photographing items to make a personalized alphabet book with a laminated cover. However, I was a bit energy-challenged, that is to say, lazy, and these are some games that worked for me.

1. Easy ABC's
Maybe the shaving cream thing seems a bit involved, but there are many easy opportunities to learn the alphabet. Going to the beach? Take turns drawing letters in the sand and watch the waves wash them away. Need to get outside? Grab a big paintbrush and a bucket of water and "paint" letters on the sidewalk. Stuck coloring again? Draw multicolored letters for your preschooler to name or decorate. When my three year old niece was crazy about erasing things, I wrote letters lightly in pencil and let her erase them after she named them. She also liked scissors, so I drew words for her to cut out. Look for little chances to toss in some ABC's.

2. Storytelling 101
"How was your day, dear?" sounds cliche, but not to a preschooler. Take time to talk about the day's events. What did we do today? Then what did we do? Help your child find the words to describe his day and tell his story. Of course, you can also add some fun elements of your own. A phrase like "Is that when the dancing elephants came in?" can take the story in a whole new direction. Sometimes it can even thwart an oncoming case of the grumps. For reading readiness, it helps with sequencing.

3. Rhyme Time
Even with my daughters as teenagers, we still make up silly rhyming songs. We're just better at it now. But preschoolers won't judge your imperfect rhymes. In fact, the sillier, the better! Work together to think of the next line as you drive to the grocery store. Giggling is encouraged. While you're checking out, you can try my other favorite rhyme game. Pick a word and figure out which words rhyme with it. You can let them come to you, or you can go through the alphabet sounding out each letter. So, rose leads us to explore b-b-bows and d-d-does. This little time-killer works with phonics and stores up some rhyming pairs for your next silly song session.

Previously posted at PBS Booklights.

Bringing It Home

It's past time for a personal post, if for nothing else than to explain myself for the last month. I have all these blog-worthy events, including Book Expo America and my own 48 Hour Book Challenge, without the time to blog about them. But I am coming to the end of the month of crazy, and hope things will be a bit more functional.

Starting back at work in mid-May was wonderful, but certainly a new time drain at the most difficult period of the school year. On my fifth day of work I was doing a solo booktalking session at an elementary school, so it seems obvious that my first week at work was busy getting ready for making those presentations along with all the other new job stuff.

But nothing compares to the next two weeks where I went to BEA, did a school booktalk broadcast, went to a booktalking session, did and ran 48 Hour Book Challenge while arranging and/or attending Also-Teen's voice recital and dance practices. Then the second week I worked most days while helping my kids through the work and/or stress of finals, and gave a talk at the Children's Book Guild of Washington D.C. (thanks for having me!). Closed that week out with a teen sleepover at my house and then took my seventh eighth grade Girl Scouts to Great Wolf Lodge for their cookie money event.

This week I simply have to work while getting Also-Teen to her dance rehearsals and three recitals while finalizing her paperwork, course selection, and hopefully housing for the Broadway Artists Alliance program she's doing in New York City in August. (If anyone in the city will not be using their apartment during the week of August 5th, you could help a future Broadway star and her mother.)

Only then can I fully address the looming problem I've been avoiding all month. My mother will need month-long radiation treatment at Johns Hopkins in Baltimore where neither she nor I live. I'll be figuring that out in the next week, God help me.

There's a lot of good stuff there that was making the last few weeks crazy. Seriously positive, exciting, wonderful events. So I can't really complain. But I can explain the chaotic feeling and be ready for a calmer summer.

Nonfiction Monday: Blue

Blue: 350 Inspiring Ways to Decorate with Blue
by House Beautiful, 2011
review copy from library
Blue: 350 Inspiring Ways to Decorate with BlueThis probably doesn't count for Nonfiction Monday - hosted today at Simply Science - but I had to post a little something about this title. I can't say that I generally grab books on decorating, but when I saw this little blue book, I had to take it home. It's unlikely I'll ever reach a fraction of the style exhibited in the featured rooms or arrangements but it's fun to look and possibly come away with an idea or two. One of the best part is the paint swatches. And when did you ever hear that before? But here each color swatch is described by a designer and they capture so much of the feel of the variety of tones and shades with careful, often poetic words. Two of my favorite descriptions:

John Saladino on Benjamin Moore Oriental Iris:
"I'm attracted to periwinkle blue. It's soothing and serene and metamorphic because it goes from gray into blue into lavender, depending on the time to the day, the season, and the person looking at it. No two people see color the same way. Blue combines two things I love, the ocean and the sky, which lifts me out of the quagmire of reality."

Thomas Jayne of Benjamin Moore Heavenly Blue:
"This is the color of the sky in Old Master paintings, when the varnish has yellowed. It has a luminous quality. You could paint the whole room or just the floor - you'd feel as if you were floating."

Links to material on Amazon.com contained within this post may be affiliate links for the Amazon Associates program, for which this site may receive a referral fee.

Science & Stories Program: Bubbles

STEM Friday focuses on books that promote Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math. Over the year I’ll be sharing the preschool program I created for the library and that I’m presenting once a month. The concept behind the program is to introduce science topics by combining fiction and nonfiction, songs and mini-experiments, action rhymes and hands-on times. As a preschool program the information conveyed is basic, and intended to encourage a questioning, observational approach to scientific topics. At the end, I leave up the mini-experiments for the kids to explore with me or a parent, and I explain that experiments should be done with a grown-up.


Book: Bubble Gum, Bubble Gum by Lisa Wheeler

Action Rhyme: Bubblegum
Bubblegum, Bubblegum
Icky, Sticky Bubblegum
Icky sticky, icky sticky bubblegum
We blow, and blow, and blow and pop!
Oh, no! It’s on my toe!
(Pull, pull and pull until it comes off)
(repeat with different body parts)

Book: Pop! A Book About Bubbles by Kimberly Brubaker Bradley

Experiment: Lots of Bubbles
Pour some drinks and spot the bubbles in soda, water, and milk. Now take a straw and gently blow into the drink. Now what happens with the bubbles? The water will bubble, but the bubbles disappear quickly. The soda will keep making bubbles, but they don’t stay around either. The milk is stickier than water so the bubbles will stay at the top of the glass for a while.

Book: Bubble Bath Pirates! By Jarrett J. Krosoczka

Experiment: Give the Duck A Bath
Put a rubber duck in a tub with a little bit of bubble bath. The bubble bath solution doesn’t do anything on its own; you have to swish it around. Why? You need to add air to the water which you do by swishing your hand in the water. The more air you move into the water, the more bubbles you have.

Book: Bubble Trouble by Margaret Mahy

Experiment: Bubbles In The Sun
Blow bubbles, outside if possible, and observe that all bubbles are spheres and see the rainbows that the sun makes on the soap.

Links to material on Amazon.com contained within this post may be affiliate links for the Amazon Associates program, for which this site may receive a referral fee.

Seventh Annual 48 Hour Book Challenge: Winners

The top winner of the Seventh Annual 48 Hour Book Challenge is not a person, but a cause. The pledges from our band of crazy-reading bloggers totaled $1220 for Reading Is Fundamental! As a few more pledges come in, that number may go up a bit but for now let's give that amount it's own line...

$1220. WOW!!!

In the interest of opening up our potential prize giveaway, I've selected random winners from each of three categories of participation, that being up to 23 hours, up to 35 hours, and up to 48 hours. Our winners will receive a special MotherReader prize package along with RIF's Celebrations collection to be donated to a school or non-profit of the recipients choice. Those winners are:

Sprout's Bookshelf
A librarian-in-training and lifelong children's book addict.

Kid Lit Geek
Another children's librarian, book reviewer, and voracious reader.

Over the Moon and Sun
Who came in with a perfect 48 hours of reading, blogging, and connecting.

Door prizes were selected from all the participants, just to keep it fun. Karen at Literate Lives will received a signed ARC of The Prairie Thief by Melissa Wiley; Courtney at Stilettos Storytime will receive a signed copy of The Latte Rebellion by Sarah Stevenson. Ms. Yingling will receive notecards and a copy of Solace in Nature from Jone Rush MacCulloch. All winners please email me your address at MotherReader AT gmail DOT com.

I'm out of time and energy to list our Twenty-Hour club, but you might as well look at the Finish Line since thirty of them participated for twenty or more hours. So we may not have as many folks as last year, but we have passionate ones!

Thanks to all of the bloggers who mentioned, tweeted about, and otherwise promoted the 48 Hour Book Challenge. Thanks to the bloggers for your contributions to Reading Is Fundamental and just for making this such a wonderful event!

Links to material on Amazon.com contained within this post may be affiliate links for the Amazon Associates program, for which this site may receive a referral fee.

Seventh Annual 48 Hour Book Challenge: Finish Line

You made it! On this Finish Line post, leave the direct link to your final summary page, which should include: the amount of time spent on the challenge, books read, and amount pledged to Reading is Fundamental

I am donating one dollar to Reading is Fundamental for everyone who finishes the challenge, which means to me that you signed in as a participant, read/blogged some books, and signed in at the Finish Line. So perhaps that little extra incentive can get folks to record their time and complete the 48HBC all official-like. Given different starting times over the weekend and time zones, the end is set at Monday, June 11th, at 7:00 a.m. Eastern Standard Time. All final summary posts should be up by then. That said, sometimes there are folks who need some nudging, so I won’t announce any winners until later that evening.

Thanks again to everyone who participated and supported and promoted the 48 Hour Book Challenge! Read on!

MotherReader 48HBC Update II

It's been hard to stay focused on reading and blogging today with the normal distractions of life. Teen having some finals panic attacks, so we talked that out. Also-Teen didn't finish a book for school, so we did a little together reading. And my stupid leg is still hurting.

Finished off last night with a book that packed a punch, Barbara Wright's Crow. It was cruising along plot wise and then kicked into high gear. (Reminded me of Elijah of Buxton from a few years back.) That was about three hours of reading last night. This morning I started with an easy one, Ice Island by Sherry Shahan and then to Fairy Lies. Taking out interruptions (see above, part 1), that was three and a half hours of reading. Oh, but one of those interruptions was reading part of The Girl Who Survived (see above, part 2). So make that four and a half.

Add in a half an hour to write this up, and two hours on Unbreak My Heart, by Melissa Walker, and we're up to ten hours and five books so far in the second half of my 48HBC. I still have five hours of my allotted 48 hours, so we'll see what happens there. I'll be back on this post with that update. Oh, and reviews will be coming out during the week. Since I have the signing in and out posts here, I don't like to make the page untidy with my reviews. It's what I do for you, the participants.

Edited to add: Finished one more book, Brendan Buckley's Sixth-Grade Experiment, and some social media time for another three hours. So my total for the second half is thirteen hours and six books.

Final Summary: 25 hours, 11 books. Donating $25 to RIF for reading pledge, plus a dollar per 48HBC finisher.

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MotherReader 48HBC Update I

Generally I would divide my updates into four twelve hour periods, but starting at 10:00 at night did not make a good first show of hours. With the week I had with BEA and booktalking and school needs, I could not pull an all-nighter. My awkward starting time was so that I could officially start the 48HBC at the end of my birthday. The day itself had not lent itself to reading, but I could at least make the connection before the day was through. I surprised myself by putting in three hours before bed, reading Rebecca Stead's new book, Liar & Spy and Gary Paulson's Crush. I guess I wasn't as exhausted as I thought.

I was up at 7:00 a.m. with leg pains that I've had since BEA. I knew that the walking made my legs ache, but adding a five hour bus ride home after all that exercise must have sealed the pain in. It's getting ridiculous. Since I was up, tired or not, I was able to finish Lisa Staff's Double Dog Dare and Loretta Ellsworth's Unforgettable in four and a half hours. Then it was time for an event break for Also-Teen's voice recital. She did a lovely job singing "Baby Mine."

Back home and eating pizza while reading Adam Rex's Cold Cereal and then checking in with this post for a total of two and a half hours. For the next two hours, I'll be starting reviews and doing a little social media time. So, for this first twenty-four hours I have read five books and participated in the 48HBC for twelve hours.

Summary: twelve hours, five books

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Seventh Annual 48 Hour Book Challenge: Starting Line

Stock your snacks and stack your books, because this is happening. This. Is. Happening.

Review the rules and info. When you start your 48 hours, sign in with Mr. Linky below. Keep track of your time — which includes reading, blogging, and some connecting (for every five hours reading/reviewing you can take one hour of blog reading, tweeting, and general bookish socializing). To keep the Starting Line post at the top of my blog, I won’t publish my personal posts until sometime Saturday afternoon.

On Sunday, I’ll have a Finish Line post where you can leave the link to your final summary, which should include the amount of time spent on the challenge. Feel free to round to the quarter hour. Please include the amount that you've pledged to Reading Is Fundamental in your post. As another incentive to sign out on the Finish Line post, I''ll give a dollar per 48HBC finisher.

Let's rock and read.

Three Reasons for the 48 Hour Book Challenge

Late last night I got back from Book Expo America and I am dying to talk all about it. But somehow BEA was moved a week later this year, and bumps right up against the 48 Hour Book Challenge which starts tomorrow. So let's put a pin in my BEA trip, which I can say was both quick and satisfying, and get ready for the big event. The official starting line post will go up first thing tomorrow morning and you should sign in when you are ready to begin your 48 hour period over the June 8-10 weekend. Check the FAQ's and the rules and this special Thursday Three of reasons to participate in the 48 Hour Book Challenge.

1. Permissive Reading
I'm guessing that the book blogger crowd doesn't have a huge problem making time to read. However, there's still something that puts it on the back burner even for the most passionate of us. Reading is something we do when the jobs are done. If you're a librarian, it's unlikely to be part of your job schedule and frowned upon at the desk. Surely, everyone knows about the ability of booksellers and librarians to place hands on a book and absorb the knowledge and nuance within to further advance our reader advisory skills? No? Then when does this reading get done? On your own time, around a million other responsibilities. Even jobs that basically require book knowledge don't prioritize reading. So here's one weekend that does. You have MotherReader's permission to read like crazy during the 48 Hour Book Challenge.

2. Community Involvement
Reading books, writing reviews may be a solitary pursuit, but book blogging is not. Without community, we can feel like we're shouting titles into the wind. That's not to say that only book bloggers are reading book blogs. Having been to events where librarians refer to me by my blog name, I know that my words get out there. I'd love to have more of those casual readers become part of the conversation in the comments, but I can understand that they may come to a book blog to read, not relate. And that's okay. But I also know from years of doing this, that it's harder to keep blogging without feedback and connection. The Blogging Blahs is a virus that kills blogs, and the inoculation is sadly simple. Comment. Connect. Contribute. Ask not what the community can do for you, but what you can do for the community. And in doing so, you'll find your own support system and BFF's - blogging buddies forever. There are lots of ways to start or restart, and I'll suggest now and I'll suggest the 48 Hour Book Challenge.

3. Giving Back
A few years into the 48HBC, people suggested connecting the informal readathon to charity. I was reluctant to name one, because I couldn't choose just one of the great causes out there in books, reading, and literacy. But this time I saw the promotion for Book People Unite and I wanted to pledge to Unite as, you know, Book People. But what did that mean? Was sharing the video, however charming, enough? Not when it hit me that it's about numbers. Standing up together to make an impact. Certainly dollars are part of the numbers, but I don't want anyone to get caught up on some required pledge amount to participate in the 48HBC. That's one reason that I choose Reading is Fundamental, because you donate money directly to their site no involvement - NO JUDGMENT - from me. Pledge $.25 an hour, planning on about a twenty hour readathon, and it's five dollars to RIF. One hundred participants do that and it's $500 dollars. If some want to pledge more or get sponsors, than it's even more support for an organization that has been firmly, proactively, and consistently part of the kidlitosphere community and, you know, literacy. I hope that making the 48HBC more of an "official" readathon hasn't turned off participants who may already feel tapped for financial requests from a struggling corner of the charity sector. But if other causes get the attention with their celebrity names, showy events, and political savvy, we have to know that we can make an impact if we do it together. You can start tomorrow with the 48 Hour Book Challenge.

Book Expo America

Today I'm on my way to New York City for Book Expo America (BEA). It's my third year attending, and it's like being a kid in a candy store, except for bibliophiles. At BEA, the publishers reach out to booksellers, librarians, bloggers, and authors hoping to create buzz and collect purchase orders for their newest releases. They give away Advance Reader's Copies (ARC's) and posters and bookmarks in the hopes of launching the next Harry Potter series. Or in this economy, to make a decent profit.

For me the best part is the author signings. I love the chance to connect with some of my favorite authors, however briefly. There are thirty special signing tables set up where authors rotate through the schedule in one hour blocks, and there are also times when authors are signing at the publishers booths. The schedule is maddening. How can I possibly navigate the 2:00-3:00 p.m. zone with Patrick McDonnell, Marla Frazee, Peter Brown, and Ally Condie signing books? Can I afford the time on line for even ticketed authors like John Green, and my favorite, Mo Willems?

Adult books and teen books dominate BEA, but focusing on the children's titles and a few select teen books is one way for me to keep this event manageable. This year I'm also doing a quick trip, with really only a day and a half at BEA. So as much as I'd like to linger, I suspect I'll be running around quite a bit. I also ship my books out through the service at Javitts, which is expensive enough to make me a more choosy about the books I pick. Whatever I end up with, it's just a fun way to hang out with book people. Hope to see you there!

Countdown to 48 Hour Book Challenge

One week to go until the 48 Hour Book Challenge on June 8-10th, and do you know where your books are? Mine are helpfully scattered throughout my house, waiting to be chosen for the magical weekend. One year I went with one word book titles as a theme. One year I concentrated on books about eleven year olds. Both times it just kind of started out that way, so I went with it. Now I have no plan, except to tackle some of the books I'll bring back from Book Expo America.

And here's the problem. With the later scheduling for BEA this year, I haven't been able to pull together signed books for prizes. You know, the things that get you excited. Like the year of the Catching Fire ARC. Good times. So I don't know what I'm going to be able to get in my day and a half, but I'll do my best for you. Here are some possibilities from my index card schedule of events. (I go old school, bitches.)

Tuesday afternoon:
Patrick McDonnell, The Monster's Monster, Little, Brown (2-3:00)
Ally Condie, Reached, Dutton (2-3:00 in-booth)
Peter Brown, Creepy Carrots, Simon & Schuster (2-3:00 in-booth)
Melissa Marr, Carnival of Souls, HarperCollins (2:30-3:30 in booth)
Jon Klassen, This Isn't My Hat, Candlewick (3:00-4:00)
Marla Frazee, Boot and Shoe, Beach Lane (2-3:00)
March Brown, Ten Tiny Toes, Little, Brown (3-4:00)
Maggie Stiefvater, The Raven Boys, Scholastic (3-4:00)
M.T. Anderson, Feed, Candlewick (3:30-4:30 in booth)

Sharon Creech, The Great Unexpected, HarperCollins (9:30-10)
Lois Lowry, Son, HMH/Houghton Mifflin (10:30-11:30 in booth)
Kristin Cashore, Bitterblue, Dial (11-12:00 in booth)
Mo Willems, Goldilocks and the Three Dinosaurs, Balzar and Bray (10:30-11:30)
John Green, The Fault in our Stars, Dutton (10:30-11:30)
Jerry Spinelli, Third Grade Angels, Scholastic (10:30-11:30)
Walter Dean Myers, All the Right Stuff, Amistad (11:30-12:30)
Jackie Woodson, Each Kindness, Nancy Paulsen Books (12-12:30)
Maureen Johnson, The Name of the Star, Putnam (12:30-1:00)
Emily Jenkins, Invisible Inking (1:30-2:00)
Mo Willems, The Duckling Gets a Cookie, Walker and Company (2-3:00)
James Howe, Otter and Odder, Candlewick(2-3:00)
Libba Bray, The Diviners., Little,Brown (3-4:00 in booth)
Susanne Colasanti, Keep Holding On, Viking (3:30-4:00)
Rachel Cohn, Beta, Disney-Hyperion (3:30-4:30)
Rosemary Wells, Following Grandfather, Candlewick (3:30-4:30)

Now, I'm not insane. I know I can't get to all of these. So if anyone would like to donate a signed book for a prize in the 48 Hour Book Challenge, perhaps a publisher whose authors I so helpfully listed, I would be most grateful. As always, I can be reached at MotherReader AT gmail DOT com. And fellow BEA Blogging Buddies, if you find yourself with a copy or two you can part with for the cause, I'll be again, most grateful. I can promise that I'll be in the shipping room at 5:00 on Wednesday, sending my books home. Oh, and look for me at these signings!

One prize package is already nailed down, and that is the contribution of Reading Is Fundamental which will allow our three picked winners to select the school or non-profit for the RIF multicultural book collection, Celebrations which, in honor of RIF's 45th Anniversary is made up of 45 books and activities for each to be used by teachers, parents, and community members. Pretty nice, right? But I'm sure I'll be finding some special prizes in the next week, so stay tuned.

Links to material on Amazon.com contained within this post may be affiliate links for the Amazon Associates program, for which this site may receive a referral fee.