Monday, March 12, 2018

Seed School: Growing Up Amazing by Joan Holub

  • Title: Seed School: Growing Up Amazing 
  • Author: Joan Holub
  • Illustrator: Sakshi Mangal
  • Age Range: 5 - 8 years
  • Grade Level: Preschool - 2
  • Hardcover: 32 pages
  • Publisher: Seagrass Press (February 6, 2018)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1633223744
  • ISBN-13: 978-1633223745

About the book:

Welcome to the wondrous world of seeds! Just like people, seeds come in all shapes and sizes. In Seed School by Joan Holub, you'll meet the charming cast of characters who--with the help of soil, water, and sunshine--grow into vibrant fruits, vegetables, and flowers.

While some of the seed friends seem to sprout and grow up in just one season, one odd-looking seed with a cap takes many years to become the strong oak he was destined to be. Sakshi Mangal's delightful illustrations bring this whimsical story about friendship, diversity, and the natural world that surround us to life.

Grow on!

My Review:

So I had to wait a bit to write this review to prove a point. You see shortly after receiving Seed School: Growing up Amazing in the mail, my youngest was so inspired by the message of this book that she had to plant seeds. We HAD to go to Home Depot and pick out seeds. She selected carrot seeds. She also noticed that I had recently received a crate of wine and said it would be best to re-purpose the cardboard crate for the carrots. Brilliant. And just recently, they sprouted! We have the tiniest little carrots.sprouts beginning to grow. 

While these carrot seeds know exactly what they will become, the story of Seed School follows a little acorn that doesn't know what he will grow up to be. In seed school, he learns that he needs patience, soil, sun, water, and air to become a plant. It isn't until the end that the acorn learns that with a lot of hope and patience he will grow into a beautiful oak tree. This latest children's book from Joan Holub is full of smiling seeds and happy trees. It is the perfect antidote to today's dreary world. 

I think what made me fall in love with this book is how it included science without feeling like a forced non-fiction book. So many times my kids pass on non-fiction reading because it comes across as pushy. This book sneaks in just enough fact with a delightful fiction story. 

My five-year-old was also inspired by this book to ask questions and seek out seeds. Here are a couple of ways we extended the learning in the book out into nature: 

  1. We went out hunting for acorns around the yard. Since the book was about an acorn, we tried to find acorns and the big oak trees from which they fell. 
  2. We went on a hike through the woods to find other types of seeds. This required some more effort on my part to point out the many ways that seeds are hidden right in front of our very own eyes.
  3. We went out and purchased seeds to plant and watch them grow. Let's hope we have a bountiful harvest of carrots.
  4. We talked about seeds at the dinner table. Kids don't often realize they eat seeds. Or, we dig the seeds out before eating the fruit. I set aside two avocado seeds and am thinking of ordering this nifty little boat to try and sprout an avocado tree. 
Has anyone had luck growing an avocado tree? I imagine, from what i read, it takes a lot of patience, kind of like the acorn in the story. 

Check out Joan Holub's new book: 

FTC Disclosure: Thank you Joan Holub for sending me a copy of Seed School in exchange for a fair and honest review. This post contains affiliate links to Amazon. If you purchase the books through these links, I receive a small portion of the payment, which I use to support this blog. Thanks for your support!  

Monday, January 29, 2018

To my very own Hermoine Granger

To my dearest, very own Hermoine Granger,

As I watch you reading book seven of the Harry Potter Series, I feel that now is the best time to share with you the hardest lesson I have had to learn as a parent. When I had you, the strongest instinct I felt was the desire to protect you from sadness and harm. However, as you have grown, I have realized this is a futile exercise. There are few things that I can assure you in life, but one thing I can assure you is that someday you will experience sorrow, sadness, and pain. I cannot protect you from that. I thought I could. These things sit off in the distance along the horizon and will come as sure as the sun setting each day.

You know how Dumbledore tried so hard to protect Harry from the dark? Was he able to protect Harry? No. But, Dumbledore knew that there is always light to found in the darkness. You just have look. You can't prevent the pain, but you can make yourself strong enough to beat the pain. Maybe that is what my job is as a parent? To help you become strong enough to handle the pain the world throws at you.

I know it can be hard to find the light, especially when there are mean words being said. You feel alone and hurt. This I know. But know this, throughout your life you will find diamonds in the rough. These are friends that are true. These are friends that stand by you no matter what and bring joy to your soul in the darkest of time. They know how to find the silver lining of any situation, no matter how horrific. That is why I run with Team in Training. My teammates are joy-makers. They take the horrific loss of having a family member with cancer and turn it into a cause to find a cure. And when you find a joy-maker, hold onto that friendship with all your heart and soul. That is why I spend so much time talking with my friends that I made in college and grad school. It may have been well over ten years since we were near each other, but our souls are intrinsically connected. They bring joy to my heart and help me through those tough days that wear me down.

But, don't worry if you don't know who your joy-makers are yet in your life. It took a long time for me to figure out how to fill my life with people who help me see the silver linings in every situation.  When you find them, never let them go.

And the best way to do that is to become a joy-maker yourself. Be you. Be beautiful, intelligent, witty you. Be unashamed of the light you are bringing into the world. Give you love. Give it liberally and without reservation. This will make you a joy-maker. It also might make you have your heart broken a couple of times along the way- by friends, by loves, by people who come and go out of your life. However, the love you put into this world, you may think it might be lost during times of darkness, but it always comes back to you. Like a theory of relativity, the love put into the universe will come back to you in greater proportions.

So my dearest very-own Hermoine Granger- let yourself feel this pain. I know you are hurting. And it is OK. Feel it. Embrace it. Let it run through your body. Then, when you are ready let it go. Just like the theory of love, my theory of pain is that pain felt and dealt with can be released to make room for more love.

And if you ever need to know where to find love, please, come talk to me. I will give you all the love you need to get by, to get through, and to thrive in this world.


Monday, December 18, 2017

An Important Shopping Message from a Very Overwhelmed Momma

This dang Santa countdown clock is driving me crazy. It lurks in our living room telling me, "You will never get it all done. Ho Ho Ho!" Seriously, I just got finished submitting my grades for the course I was teaching, stayed up half the night grading finals and projects, only to realize that it is now magically six days until Christmas. This means I will now be fore-fitting lunch breaks to finish that which I have not done yet. Which is basically EVERYTHING. 

I am pretty sure that I can't breathe. No really...OK, maybe I just am breaking out in hives. 
Now, if you are one of those super-put-together-I-finished-shopping-before-Thanksgiving-Moms, GOOD FOR YOU. You can go back to Pinterest and making a mess out of your house with the shenanigans that your Elf on the Shelf is getting in to. Our elf has been stuck in the same spot for the past five days.

I am over here just trying to not let one more ball drop. It has been one of the most hectic past couple of months in my life, and what I really need is probably a good dose of Christmas cheer.

Work, family, our country, the all seems a little overwhelming right about now. 
Have you watched the news lately? 

HOWEVER, what ALWAYS works for my kids (and me!) is some quiet time reading books. 
Enter BOOKROO book subscription service! I was lucky enough to receive a Bookroo box earlier this month. We had just gotten home from a hectic trip to see family where we experienced major delays at the airport and a few other mishaps along the way. Can I just say seeing the beautiful turquoise box on our front steps when we got home was like a warm kangaroo hug? Wait, do kangaroos hug? I don't know, but I am going with it.
 WHY DO I LOVE LOVE LOVE BOOKROO? (I mean I just used all caps, and I HATE all caps under normal circumstances). Inside were two magically wrapped, beautiful hardcover children's books for my kids to read. Of all the Bookroo boxes I have gotten, I have NEVER received a book we already had, which is impressive since we have probably over 1000 children's books in our house.

Even our dog doesn't TOTALLY mind Little J reading him a book about a fluffy cat. Well, maybe he is a little put off by the book, but Piggie and Gerald seem amused.

But, the real reason I love Bookroo is because it is the perfect gift for literally any child. I mean I cannot think of a reason not to give this subscription as a gift. In fact, I bought a three month subscription for my brother's kid. I wish I could share the pictures my brother sent me of his kid opening up the books. There is this look of pure joy on his face that is priceless. His kid's birthday is in January- so I got the birthday covered, too.

Gifting a Bookroo box is also nice because you can do it at the last minute, and then you can give them a card or send them an email telling them about the gift. Because lets face it, one of the toughest thing is when the holidays are over, and all the packages have been opened. You can't tell me you don't remember being a little bummed as a child when you knew there were no more presents to open up? Well, with Bookroo, your little giftee will get mail!  What could be better? I really cannot think of a single thing.

So for all you last minute shoppers out there- consider checking out and sending children's books to all the little readers in your life.

FTC Disclosure: Thank you Bookroo for sending me a Bookroo box exchange for a fair and honest review.  Thanks for your support!

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