Paris State of Mind

Friday, April 20, 2018

We flew in and out of Paris a few years ago and I stayed just long enough to enjoy one of the most satisfying meals of my life on the outskirts of town. With luck I will someday return to the City of Lights for a proper holiday. Meanwhile I think this selection of children's books is a fine start for any budding francophile.

8 More Easter Picture Books

Saturday, March 31, 2018

Honestly I'm not sure how it is already Easter tomorrow. We had an impromptu egg hunt in our backyard yesterday and plan on dying eggs this afternoon. My littlest won't get a basket this year, but our preschooler is excited about finding one on Easter morning. We've started a new tradition this year with the Easter Story Egg and it's been a short (less than 5 minutes) meaningful way to celebrate Holy Week. If you're looking for some really last minute books these are some that we've enjoyed over the last couple of weeks, including both secular and religious.
Finding a picture book that conveys the Christian message of Easter is a little tough and while neither of these books is perfect, they are a good starting place if you want to add the religious element of Easter into your seasonal celebration. We've supplemented with our own doctrinal and theological beliefs and I've changed some of the words when I read them aloud—a tactic I know has a limited shelf-life.
Easter Croc: Full of pop-up surprises! is a cute one for preschoolers. Croc is pretty grumpy from the get-go, so it's an easy way to talk to little ones about feelings and asking politely for what they want.
As mentioned before, the Easter Story Egg is a book that can be read all at once or each day from Palm Sunday to Easter Sunday. Beautifully crafted nesting eggs pop apart to reveal matching art that corresponds with a daily rhyme and scripture.

Note: Books pictured in the top basked include: Happy Easter, Mouse!, 5 Little Bunnies, Plant the Tiny Seed, and The Runaway Bunny; all generously provided by the Harper Collins Children's Team

Find a dozen more Easter picture book recommendations here

St. Patrick's Day Picture Books

Sunday, March 11, 2018

When it comes to St. Patrick's Day we love celebrating with a gathering of friends for a traditional meal that includes corned beef, soda bread, and an assortment of other sides. Wearing green is a given and I might dye the milk if I remember to. But that's about the extent of our celebrations.

After years of searching I have really only discovered a couple worthwhile St. Patrick's Day picture books. It's not that I have anything against leprechauns, it's just that a lot of those books feel gimmicky and poorly written. And while Green by Laura Vacarro Seeger isn't technically about the holiday it is an award winner that features various shades of green across the spectrum. Meanwhile, St. Patrick's Day in the Morning is definitely one to read on or before March 17th and some day we'll finally add This Is Ireland to our home library.

Two New Valentines Picture Books

Thursday, January 25, 2018

A look at love and not love and all the subtle, or rather very deliberate, omissions we take when making a move. Especially when it involves young love. My favorite spread involves a peanut butter and jelly sandwich. Guaranteed you’re sure to find both the images and text a heartwarming combination. This Is Not a Valentine by Carter Higgins and illustrated by Lucy Ruth. Published by Chronicle Books.
"It was a cold, dark night, perfect for scaring, but Fran had something else on his mind." Armed with pink paper, scissors, and glue Fran worked on an unusual looking shape. While his friends tried to guess what it was, Bunny informed everyone he was making a heart and that Valentine's Day was right around the corner. But that meant, GULP, that Fran must be in love. Gross! As his friends talked about how mushy and yucky love was, Fran felt flustered, so he escaped to the roof where he could think. Spotting his beloved a distance off, Fran realized that love is more than a paper heart, it’s a feeling it your real heart, even if it sometimes feels a little funny. A welcome new picture book perfect for Valentine's Day. Valensteins by Ethan Long. Published by Bloomsbury Publishing.

See nine other Valentines books here

LOVE: a picture book

Friday, January 19, 2018

We see glimpses of love from the moment we are born and it weaves throughout our entire life. Punctuating seemingly mundane moments and magnifying the momentous ones. Love can captivate our senses and color our relationships. With luminous illustrations and thoughtful text, LOVE is more than a celebration of its namesake, it is a rich narrative carrying us through beautiful phases of what it means to be alive. Recommended for ages 4+.

For a simple love related craft simply punch out various shades of paper hearts and sew them together on your sewing machine. Be sure to swap out the needle for a new one once your heart bunting is complete.

To win a copy of this book, simply 1. Follow @bookbloom on Instagram and 2. Leave a comment completing the sentence Love Is.... Giveaway ends Friday, January 19 at 6:00pm CST. Open internationally.

LOVE by Matt de la Pena (@mattdelapena) and illustrated by Loren Long. Published by G.P. Putnam's Sons Books for Young Readers (@penguinkids).

Two Daughters

Sunday, January 14, 2018

Nearly six weeks ago we welcomed our second daughter into the world. For years I said I never wanted to have a December or January baby. Which is exactly why I had a December baby. In truth, it made the holiday season more memorable and sweeter than I could have imagined. We were lucky to have five weeks together as a family with my husband on paternity leave and cold weather keeping us indoors. My birth experience and recovery were much easier the second time around. And nursing has been a thousand times better than last time. Life changes with a newborn and overall I feel so incredibly fortunate to be able to do it all over again.

Photo by Amy Rau.

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