International Book Giving Day #GiveABook

ibdgposter2014International Book Giving Day is February 14 and we have something BIG PLANNED! Follow on us on Facebook details and an easy way to help!

International Book Giving Day’s focus is on encouraging people worldwide to give a book to a child on February 14th!

Three simple ways to celebrate International Book Giving Day!

1. Give a Book to a Friend or Relative.

Celebrate International Book Giving Day by giving a child a new or gently used book.

2. Leave a Book in a Waiting Room or Lobby.

Choose a waiting room where kids are stuck waiting and there are few to no good books available.  For example, your local WIC or county assistance office! The goal here is to spread the love of reading to kids, so choose a fun book, nothing controversial.

3. Donate a Book.
Wrap up a box of children’s books that your kids have outgrown and get them in the hands of children who could really use a book or two. Donate your books to your local second hand store, library, children’s hospital, or shelter. Alternatively, donate your books to an organization working internationally to get books in the hands of kids, such as Books for Africa.
Finally, visit and share how you’ll be participating this year!

10 Multicultural Children’s Books for 2014

Last year, I posted a list of 10 wonderful multicultural children’s books. I still stand by that list but a few are out of print and there have been many newly published titles since then. In light of Multicultural Children’s Book Day, (hosted by Valarie Budayr from Jump Into a Book and Mia Wenjen from Pragmatic Mom) I thought it was time for an update!


So here are 10 MORE children’s books to enjoy celebrating the multicultural world in which we live.

Here are 10 children’s books to enjoy celebrating the multicultural world in which we live.

1. FarmyardJamboree_HCwCD_WThe Farmyard Jamboree
The cover does not do this fun toe-tapper justice!

Sing and dance along with a young boy who introduces different members of his family along with a new farmyard animal and animal baby on every page of this rollicking early learner, inspired by a Chilean folk tale.

Ages 3 to 7 years
Written By: Margaret Read MacDonald
Illustrated By: Sophie Fatus
Sung By: Bob King

2. MamaPanyasPancakes_PB_W_1Mama Panya’s Pancakes – A Village Tale from Kenya

On market day, Mama Panya’s son Adika invites everyone he sees to a pancake dinner. How will Mama Panya ever feed them all? This clever and heartwarming story about Kenyan village life teaches the importance of sharing, even when you have little to give. There’s a bonus recipe for Mama Panya’s pancakes at the back of this book so you can carry the story into your kitchen!

Notable Books for a Global Society
Winner of the Oppenheim Toy Portfolio Gold Award

Ages 4 to 10 years
Written By: Rich Chamberlin, Mary Chamberlin
Illustrated By: Julia Cairns

3. the-barefoot-book-of-jewish-tales_ukushbcd_w_1Jewish Tales

This engaging collection includes eight delightful tales from the Jewish tradition. Each story has been chosen for its appeal to families and each has a simple — yet powerful — message. Written by Rabbi Shoshana Boyd Gelfand, herself a mother of three, this is a fantastic set of stories to share and to treasure. Includes two story CDs narrated by Debra Messing.

Ages 7 and up
Written By: Shoshana Boyd Gelfand
Illustrated By: Amanda Hall
Narrated By: Debra Messing

4. themountainsoftibet_gen_wThe Mountains of Tibet!

A Tibetan woodcutter dreams of exploring the world, but is too busy with his life to ever leave his valley. After he dies, he is taken on a journey through the cosmos and all the places on Earth as he makes choices that lead him to a new life. First published as part of the debut list for Barefoot Books in 1993, this gentle and inspiring look at life after death is just as relevant today.

For all ages
Written By: Mordicai Gerstein


5. lolasfandango_hccd_w_1Lola’s Fandango
One of our favorites! Even if audible stories are not your thing you should make an exception and listen to the story-CD that comes with both the paperback and hardcover versions! It is very well done and truly brings the story to life!

Lola is a young Spanish girl in awe of her glamorous older sister. However, she discovers her own talent and duende, or spirit, through secret fandango lessons from her father. The text is infused with the rhythms, movements and sounds of the dance and the humanity of Lola’s family is beautifully portrayed by Micha Archer’s collage-paintings.

Ages 4 to 10 years
Written By: Anna Witte
Illustrated By: Micha Archer
Narrated By: The Amador Family


6. TalesFromOldIreland_PBwCD_WTales from Old Ireland
Celebrate the wonder of Ireland with the seven enchanting stories in this captivating collection. The rich traditions of Irish storytelling are honored with larger-than-life characters, myths and legends around every bend, and plenty of magic. Book with double CDs include stories read by Grammy-nominated singer Maura O’Connell.

Ages 6 and up
Retold By: Malachy Doyle
Illustrated By: Niamh Sharkey
Narrated By: Maura O’Connell

7. thegirlwithabraveheart_ushb_w_2The Girl with the Brave Heart
Shiraz, a kindhearted young girl growing up in Tehran, has a miserable life at home with her stepmother and stepsister, who treat her like a servant. When the wind blows Shiraz’s ball of wool into the garden next door, she spends the day helping and caring for the old lady who lives there, with miraculous results. Then her stepmother sends her own daughter off on the same mission . . . but will the results be the same?

This folktale is smartly illustrated and has a unique and  thought-provoking ending that may escape the youngest readers. I suggest this book for children on the higher end of the publisher’s recommended age range.

Ages 4 to 10 years
Written By: Rita Jahanforuz
Illustrated By: Vali Mintzi

8. MyGrannyWentToMarket_PB_W_2 My Granny Went to MarketA Round the World Counting Rhyme

A charming tale for the youngest adventurers! Fly away with Granny and count with her from one to ten as she spins around the world on an unforgettable shopping trip. This colorful, rhyming story is followed by a counting page for reinforced learning.

Ages 3 to 7 years
Written By: Stella Blackstone
Illustrated By: Christopher Corr

9. wisefool_hc_w The Wise Fool – Fables from the Islamic World

Meet Mulla Nasruddin, a legendary character whose adventures and misadventures are enjoyed across the Islamic world. This witty collection of stories portrays his eccentric, engaging and irreverent character. Nasruddin always has a twinkle in his eye, a sliver of wisdom in his ramblings, and a few good surprises up his sleeve!

Ages 6 and up
Written By: Shahrukh Husain
Illustrated By: Micha Archer

10. TheStoryTree_PBwCD_W_4 The Story Tree – Tales to Read Aloud

If you’re going to get just one new book from the list, CHECK THIS ONE OUT! The Story Tree was the perfect book to carry with us on our summer vacation this year. We read one of the seven stories from around the world each night and adored them all. A Jewish tale, called The Blue Button, is our personal favorite. :)

Ages 3 to 7 years
Retold By: Hugh Lupton
Illustrated By: Sophie Fatus


Click on any of these books to order from publisher, Barefoot Books, and save 20% off your ENTIRE order with coupon code FIRST2014! Exp 31 March, 2014.

Multicultural Children’s Book Day is Jan 27!

Did you know that census data that shows 37% of the US population consists of people of color, only 10% of children’s books published have diversity content?

Children’s reading and play advocates Valarie Budayr from Jump Into a Book and Mia Wenjen from Pragmatic Mom have teamed up with 60+ bloggers to create an ambitious national event: Multicultural Children’s Book Day!

January 27th will be the first ever Multicultural Children’s Book Day as a way of celebrating diversity in children’s books. Mia and Valarie’s mission is to not only raise awareness for the kid’s books that celebrate diversity, but to get more of these types of books into classrooms and libraries. Another goal of this exciting event is create a compilation of books and favorite reads that will provide not only a new reading list for the winter, but also a way to expose wonderful new books to families, teachers, and libraries!

Here are some ways YOU can help celebrate Multicultural Children’s Book Day:

– Have children bring in their favorite multicultural book to school on this day and share it with the class.
– Suggest a special Multicultural Children’s Book Day book read aloud time at your school or library.
– Suggest a Multicultural Children’s Book Day classroom or library display.
– Take a trip “Around the World” by reading children’s books about or from each continent.
– Visit the Multicultural Books for Kids Pinterest Board for more reading ideas.
– Do a craft or activity which relates to the many cultures in our world.
– Pick a new multicultural children’s book to read for bedtime on Jan 27!

Google Celebrating Grimm

If you haven’t searched for something on Google today you are in for a fun little treat…


A wordless retelling of Little Red Riding Hood to celebrate the 200th anniversary of Grimm’s Fairy Tales, a collection of European folk tales first published in 1812 by German brothers Jacob Ludwig Carl Grimm and Wilhelm Carl Grimm.

Scarecrows, Children’s Stories, Make-a-Wish

The other weekend was my first weekend free from work in over a year. You see, I had to give up my little children’s books and gift shop at a local weekend market in order to better focus on other ventures.

At the same time I was invited join another mom and her family at the Make-A-Wish foundation walk-a-thon. She lost her baby, James, to medical errors 11 years ago. She and her family memorialize baby James by supporting the Make-A-Wish Foundation.

I couldn’t think of a better way to spend my first obligation-free weekend.

The walk was held at the Morris Arboretum and as an added bonus [to me anyway] the arboretum was hosting a scarecrow design contest. One of the themes was Children’s Stories!

Here are some photos I snapped during our walk:

Storia – New Reading App from Scholastic

Download the app for free and the first five ebook downloads are free!

Storia®, the free, fun, interactive and educational reading app from Scholastic, is designed with kids in mind – featuring learning activities, read-to-me books, a developing dictionary, and private parent settings.

Storia includes:

Learning activities-to enhance growth with helpful games
Read-to-me books-to create interactive experience
A dictionary-to comprehend the content
Highlighter and note-takers-to pinpoint the important information
Personalized Book Shelves- to organize each child’s reading levels
Private parent settings-to ensure your child is progressing with reading

The free app and the five free ebook downloads are the perfect supplement tools to enhance your child’s learning experience. Storia® also offers more than 2,000 titles for kids from toddlers through teens, about 350 of which are enriched with vocabulary, comprehension, and video activities.

The Storia® app can be downloaded FREE to PC, iPad or Android tablets (with more platforms to come later this fall) to start a digital library for home or classroom use, and comes with five FREE ebooks – including a special Clifford the Big Red Dog® ebook in honor of his Big Red 50th birthday this year.

Additional Storia® ebooks can be purchased through The Scholastic Store online or Scholastic Book Clubs.

Weekend Flash Sale at Barefoot Books

Use coupon code SEPTSALE and save 20% off your entire order PLUS get free shipping if you final order is over $60.
Coupon good on SALE AND CLEARANCE ITEMS too!

Lastly, don’t forget to check out the many new releases, such as The Kite Princess, Finn at Clee Point, and Red Riding Hood!

Olympic Medal Craft & Fun Info

Today, I had the pleasure of hosting a craft at a local marketplace. We made replicas of the London 2012 Summer Olympic Games medals.

The craft is simple but fun and a great conversation/lesson starter. The main supplies you will need are glue, purple ribbon, gold (or silver) glitter, crayons or other crafty supplies to embellish your medals, and a printer. I printed mine in black and white on a pale yellow paper. You could print on card stock to make your medals sturdier but regular weight paper worked just fine. A link to the FREE printable of the 2012 medal is included at the bottom of this post.

If you’re up for detail work, grab some white paint and add rings, London 2012, and lines like you see on the real ribbons.

We also learned some interesting facts about the Olympics and the medals.

- In ancient times, athletes were awarded olive wreaths to crown their heads instead of medals.
- The 2012 Gold Medal is made up of 92.5% SILVER and only 1.34% GOLD. The rest is COPPER.
- Despite gold making up a tiny percent of the gold medals, they are worth about $650 in precious metals due the current high price of gold.
- The front of Summer Olympic medals always show the Greek Goddess of Victory, Nike. The Host City designs the back of the medal.
- The color of the ribbon also changes. This year, the ribbons are a deep purple.
- The Summer Olympics are held every 4 years in a different city. This year the games are hosted by London, United Kingdom and in four years Rio de Janeiro, Brazil will host the 2016 games.
- An Olympiad is a period time measuring 4 years. The London 2012 Games are officially called the Games of the XXX Olympiad. XXX is the Roman numeral for 30 and we are now within the 30th Olympiad since the start of modern Olympic games.
- Modern Olympics Games were started in 1896 but the games have roots dating back to 776 B.C. That’s almost 2800 years ago! Wow!
-Summer Sports include: Aquatics, Archery, Badminton, Basketball, Boxing, Canoe/Kayaking, Cycling, Equestrian, Fencing, Football, Golf, Gymnastics, Handball, Hockey, Judo, Modern pentathlon, Rowing, Rugby, Sailing, Shooting, Table tennis, Taekwondo, Tennis, Triathlon, Volleyball, Weightlifting, Wrestling.
- WORD PLAY: Don’t meddle with an Olympic athlete’s medal which is made of precious metals for he or she has shown great mettle during the games.
-205 different countries (and a few territories) are competing in the 2012 Olympic Games.

Learn more about the many countries competing this year with highly acclaimed The Barefoot Books World Atlas by Nick Crane for children. The World Atlas was released less than a year ago and is already in it’s 4th printing due popularity.

“This fresh and informative atlas offers engaging, fact-filled overviews of Earth’s oceans and continents….With its emphasis on sustainability, interconnectedness, and diversity, the book offers young armchair travelers and globe-trotters much to discover” — Publishers Weekly

Ideas: Watch a few games and then find the winner’s home country in your Atlas and learn fun facts about the surrounding region.

Hang up the included pull-out world map next to your TV. When a game starts look for each competing country on the map. Isn’t it amazing that people who live so far apart, speak different languages, and who come from completely different backgrounds can share a common passion for their chosen sport?

You can make your own medals by downloading the FREE PRINTABLE (PDF) 2012 OLYMPIC MEDAL CRAFT here.

Arlo Needs Glasses! Review and Contest

Last week a fun new book landed on my doorstep, Arlo Needs Glasses by Barney Saltzberg.

Arlo Needs Glasses (Workman, July 2012) is the latest book from Saltzberg, the bestselling author of Beautiful Oops!, Peekaboo Kisses, and Good Egg.

Arlo Needs Glasses was inspired by Barney’s own four-legged-friend. Just like his character, the real-life Arlo is not very good at playing catch either.

“He just couldn’t get the ball to land in his mouth,” says Saltzberg. “We tried over and over and I honestly had never seen anything like it.” Thus, the idea for Arlo Needs Glasses was born.

At first I was underwhelmed at the thought of yet another children’s book inspired by someone’s pet. But as soon as I opened the book and we started reading it I knew we were in for a treat.

Saltzberg’s brush and pencil strokes are full of whimsy in this brightly illustrated mixed media book. The book is taken to another level with carefully thought out and crafted pop-out and interactive features. On one page you’ll find a whirling ball, on another a giant pull-out phoropter (the machine eye-doctors commonly use to check vision), and even pull out glasses for Arlo or you and your child to try on.

If your child needs glasses or knows someone who does – for my little guy that’s his Daddy, Pop-pop and cousin – the text and illustrations of this book simply and clearly explain WHY they needed glasses and why glasses are so cool.

Check out the book trailer below to get a better feel for what to expect.

To celebrate the release of this new book, Workman is hosting a fun doggy photo contest. It’s so easy to enter and 5 winners will receive an autographed copy of Arlo Needs Glasses.

What has four eyes and four legs? Your dog in glasses! Share funny photo of your dog wearing glasses for a chance to win a signed copy of Arlo Needs Glasses by Barney Saltzberg. Be silly, but promise to not put your pup through too much embarrassment.

Enter by posting your photo on your Pinterest board with the hashtag #ArloNeedsGlasses. Then follow Workman’s board: Workman will repin the photos to the “My Dog Needs Glasses!” board.

Five photos with the most likes and re-pins by July 31st will win an autographed copy of Arlo Needs Glasses. Entrants must be U.S. residents.

Here’s my entry:

Dog looking too cool in sunglasses

My doggy-nephew, Brady, looking too cool in shades.

P.S. If you get your hands on this book, and I definitely recommend it, don’t forget to look for the hidden poem included within the eye chart!

Great Summer Reads for Children of All Ages

Is your family looking for some new reading material this summer?  Check out these seasonally appropriate books.  These selections come highly recommended by other readers and are sure to delight your children as well.

Reading level:  Ages 0 and up

Bright Baby Touch and Feel Summer

summerAuthor: Roger Priddy

Price:  $4.95

Reader review:  3 out of 5 stars

Board Book: 12 pages

Publisher:  Priddy Books (May 10, 2011)

Babies will love the visual stimulation of the cold ice cream, the hot sun, and sandy beaches.  Accompanied by touch-and-feel textures, this book will quickly become a favorite.

Reading level: Age 2 and up


Author: Gerda Muller

Price:  $10

Reader review:  4.8 out of 5 stars

Board Book:  10 pages

Publisher:  Floris Books (August 1, 2004)

This wordless book, filled with exquisitely detailed illustrations, will inspire creativity and imagination.  Once summer is over, grab author Gerda Muller’s Autumn, Winter, and Spring.

summerSummer Days and Nights

Author: Wong Herbert Yee

Price:  $12.08

Reader review:  5 out of 5 stars

Hardcover:  32 pages

Publisher:  Henry Holt and Co. (April 10, 2012)

A little girl spends her summer day catching a butterfly, sipping lemonade, jumping in a pool and going on a picnic.  At night, the rustling leaves eventually lull her to sleep.  This beautiful book is perfect for story hour or a bedtime tale.

Reading level:  Ages 5 and up


Author: Alice Low

Illustrator:  Roy McKie

Price:  $8.99

Reader review: 4.5 out of 5 stars

Hardcover:  48 pages

Publisher:  Random House Books for Young Readers (May 22, 2001)

Other formats:  Kindle Edition, Paperback, Board Book

A boy, a girl and a dog will make perfect summer companions for your beginning reader.  Your youngster will delight as the characters share their summer adventures – swimming, fishing, gardening, watching fireworks, and toasting marshmallows.

summerHow I Spent My Summer Vacation

Author:  Mark Teaque

Price:  $6.99

Reader review:  4.3 out of 5 stars

Paperback:  32 pages

Publisher:  Dragonfly Books (July 8, 1997)

This rootin’ tootin’ tall-tale is perfect for young readers.  Follow along as Wallace Bleff shares his oral report titled, “How I Spent My Summer Vacation.”  Apparently, Wallace’s trip to visit his aunt turned into quite the wild-west adventure!  The rollicking rhymed verse and laughter-inducing illustrations will be a crowd pleaser.

Reading level: Ages 9 and up

summerOne Crazy Summer

Author:  Rita Williams-Garcia

Price: $6.99

Reader review: 4.4 out of 5 stars

Paperback: 240 pages

Publisher: Amistad (December 27, 2011)

Other formats: Kindle Edition and Hardcover

Awards received:  Scott O’Dell Award for Historical Fiction, Newberry Honor Book, National Book Award Finalist, and Coretta Scott King Book Award

Rita Williams-Garcia, distinguished author of books for children and teens, delivers an emotionally challenging and beautifully written story.  This heart breaking yet funny story follows three girls as they travel to Oakland, California.  The year, 1968, is one of the most tumultuous years in recent American history.  As such, this powerful tale is sure to be a memorable one.

Let these books enhance your children’s summer entertainment!

Guest blogger and first-time dad Logan Clement works in graphic design (for this company).  He has always appreciated beautifully illustrated picture books; now that he can enjoy sharing them with his daughter, they have become even more special!