Friday, January 24, 2014

How I'm A Frog! by Mo Willems Taught Me to "Lean In"

A couple of weeks ago, my oldest was reading I'm a Frog! by Mo Willems to Little Miss J, while I sat nearby listening to them. The book is about Piggie pretending to be a frog and a confused Gerald trying to understand what it means to pretend. As with all Mo Willems books, they are simple enough to keep my toddler entertained yet complex enough to engage my seven year old daughter. We sat there giggling over how Gerald was convinced that Piggie had spontaneously turned into a frog.

The giggling continued until we got to page 40, where Gerald asked Piggie if even grown-up people play pretend. "All the time," stated Piggie. And that was when my daughter turned to me and said, "Just like you mom! You know, when you go to work and pretend to be something you aren't."
I was stunned. I was shocked. Does she really think I am a sham? I really didn't know what to say. I let it drop and complained to my husband of my failure as a parent, an employee, and a woman. I racked my brain trying to think of what it was that I said to make her think my work and life's passion was just all pretend to her.

A week later, I started reading Lean In: Women, Work, and The Will to Lead by Sheryl Sandberg for a book club I had joined at work. It was on page 28 that I had my eureka moment. "That's it!" I shouted from my bed over to my husband, who was ironing his clothes before bed. "What's it?" He glared at me. Seriously, had I awoken one of the kids over my exclamation it would have been a long night settling them both back to bed. I went on to read to him the story that Ms. Sandberg recounted from a lecture by Dr. Peggy McIntosh:
"She explained that many people, but especially women, feel fraudulent when they are praised for their accomplishments. Instead of feeling worthy of recognition, they feel undeserving and guilty, as if a mistake has been made. Despite being high achievers, even experts in their fields, women can't seem to shake the sense that it is only a matter of time until they are found out for who they really are-- imposters with limited skills or abilities."
That was it. Maybe my own self-doubts were observed and internalized by my daughter. That was why my daughter thought I "pretended at work." I began to list all the times I had discounted something I had done at work after my husband had highlighted my accomplishment. I cringed as I recalled saying at the dinner table, "I had to pretend I knew what I was talking about at that meeting." While I thought it was just my husband and I conversing about the monotony of workplace meetings, she was internalizing the statements as facts. My hyperbole of understanding had become an explanation of inadequacy to my daughter.

It occurred to me that maybe I could gain just as much advice on "leaning in" from my daughter as I could from a business executive. A couple of days later, I pulled I'm a Frog! out and suggested we reread it. However, after our second read of the book, I came away with a slightly different perspective. We started to talk about adults pretending. My daughter pointed out that I pretended until I was finally able to obtain the certification for my field, a certification that requires years of job experience before you are eligible to sit for the exam. Her tone was not negative or judgmental. It was just matter of fact.

I realized that for a seven year old, pretending is learning. Kids pretend they are doctors, pretend they are mothers, pretend they are teachers, pretend they are writers, and pretend they are archeologists digging for treasure. While they may not grow up to be any of these things when they get older, the act of pretending has allowed them to learn about all sorts of things, about emotions, about adventure, about themselves, and about life. Their whole lives are focused on "reach projects" that as adults we are often too afraid to take on. Pretending allows them to not be afraid. Pretending allows them to be whatever it is they want to be. Pretending, for a child, is another word for learning.

Whatever she truly meant by her remarks, she made me realize just how much she is learning by my example (how I present my own challenges and accomplishments at work) more so than what we tell her about her own challenges and accomplishments. It is incredible what I am learning from my daughter by "leaning in" to reading with her, and this experience proves just how valuable reading out loud with an older child can be for both the parent and child.

Monday, January 20, 2014

Great Children's Books by Diane Cantrell: Riley's Lost Tooth and Good-bye Baby Max

About the Books

Riley's Lost Tooth by Diane CantrellTitle: Riley's Lost Tooth Author: Diane Cantrell Illustrator: Heather Castles Publication Date: February 16, 2010 Publisher: Brown Books Publishing Group Number of pages: 24 Recommended age: 4+ Summary: Oh no! One of Sunday's very favorite humans, Riley, has lost her tooth! But where did it go? How did she lose it? Why does no one besides Sunday seem to care? It isn't long before the tooth fairy steps in and tries to teach the pups all about growing up. Join Sunday and her two puppy-pals, Precious and Mr. Lee, as they try to hunt down . . . Riley s lost tooth!

Amazon | Barnes and Noble | Author Website


Book Trailer for Riley's Lost Tooth

  Good-bye Baby Max by Diane CantrellTitle: Good-bye Baby Max Author: Diane Cantrell Illustrator: Heather Castles Publication Date: February, 2008 Publisher: Bridgeway Books Number of pages: 32 Recommended age: 4+ Summary: Mrs. B's class excitedly awaits the birth of three baby chicks. When Max is unable to crack open his shell, the children's loving teacher assists them in expressing their feelings of loss and planning a special good-bye.  

Amazon | Barnes and Noble | Author Website


The Buzz

Riley's Lost Tooth: "The book is well written and the illustrations are beautiful. The book will definitely appeal to all children (including children at heart like this reviewer) and their parents / grandparents / elder siblings and other care givers. The book is strongly recommended as a good gift that is educational and also entertaining." ~ 5 Star Review, S.V. Swamy, Amazon

Good-bye Baby Max: "This book is amazing! I have given it as several gifts to my friends with children. It is very well written and the illustrations are fun and colorful. This book it a great tool to help parents and teachers talk to children about loss of a pet and a loved one in general. I would highly recommend this book to everyone!" ~ 5 Star Review, Dawn N., Amazon

Good-bye Baby Max: "This colorful, hardcover children’s title Good-bye, Baby Max (Bridgeway Books, Texas, 2007) by Diane Cantrell & Heather Castles is special in its purpose of teaching an invaluable lesson: that of properly saying the final farewell to a loved one who is no more ... Diane Cantrell has created a very purposeful book for children-one that is at once a story, a poem, and a healthy course of helping children get over grief. The book’s illustrations by Heather Castles are very appealing to a child’s imagination. There is a good deal here in Good-bye, Baby Max to learn for children ages 4 to 8 years and the 32-pages book is a must read for all kids of this age category." ~ Ernest Dempsey, Book Corner

Good-bye Baby Max: "I bought this book to help my nieces and nephews deal with the loss of a beloved pet. The storyline and illustrations were used as a springboard to discuss their own loss. I highly recommend this book to anyone that has young children and is looking for a way to help them cope with a loss in their lives." ~ 5 Star Review, Jeanne B., Amazon

Good-bye Baby Max: "[Good-bye, Baby Max] is a tender story about death, a tough topic for young children. Kindergarteners eagerly await spring and the hatching of the class' three chick eggs. But one chick, Max, dies. What ensues is a gentle exploration of grief and its many expressions -- from tears to songs to artwork. At the end, the surviving chicks' peeps encourage the children to embrace the living without forgetting the dead." ~ Michele Siuda Jacques, Detroit Free Press


About the Author: Diane Cantrell

[caption id="attachment_16288" align="alignleft" width="201"]Diane Cantrell Diane Cantrell[/caption] Diane Cantrell began her career in education teaching Pre-K, Kindergarten, and Transitional First Grade. She also worked as a counselor providing assistance to parenting teens in a local school district. As a Licensed Professional Counselor, Diane has provided therapy for adults, families, and children in agencies and private practice settings. As part of her private practice, she offers parent training to her clients and to parents in local schools. Diane is presently writing and publishing children’s books as well as provides counseling services to adults and children in her private practice, Life Designs Counseling. Diane’s time at Fort Sam Houston I.S.D. provided inspiration for Good-bye, Baby Max. The book, which is based on a true story, describes how Ms. B helps her kindergarten class cope with the loss of a classroom pet. At the time Diane wrote the book she was working with many children who were experiencing a great deal of loss in their lives. Her hope in writing Good-bye, Baby Max was that the story would help parents, children, and other caring professionals begin talking about losses rather than responding to their losses from a state of fear. Her second book, Riley’s Lost Tooth, was written for her granddaughter, Riley as a Valentine’s Day present. Mr. Lee, and Sunday are main characters in the book as is Precious, who died before the book was written. When Diane is not involved in writing or listening to people’s stories, she enjoys being with her husband, Rich, and their two dogs, Sunday and Mr. Lee. Diane and Rich live in San Antonio, Texas.

Website | Twitter


* $100 Book Blast Giveaway *

Prize: $100 AmazongGift card or PayPal cash (winner's choice) Contest runs: January 20th to February 19th, 11:59 pm, 2014 Open: Internationally How to enter: Please enter using the Rafflecopter widget below. Terms and Conditions: NO PURCHASE NECESSARY TO ENTER OR WIN. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED BY LAW. A winner will be randomly drawn through the Rafflecopter widget and will be contacted by email within 48 hours after the giveaway ends. The winner will then have 72 hours to respond. If the winner does not respond within 72 hours, a new draw will take place for a new winner. Odds of winning will vary depending on the number of eligible entries received. This contest is in no way sponsored, endorsed or administered by, or associated with Facebook. This giveaway is sponsored by the author, Diane Cantrell and is hosted and managed by Renee from Mother Daughter Book Reviews. If you have any additional questions - feel free to send and email to Renee(at)MotherDaughterBookReviews(dot)com. a Rafflecopter giveaway MDBR Book Promotion Services

Miri Attwater and All That Glitters by E.S. Ivy- A Review

Several months ago, I wrote a review for the first book in the Miri Attwater series: Miri Attwater and The Ocean's Secret by E.S. Ivy. Well, I am excited to bring to you the second book in the series: Miri Attwater and All That Glitters.

Age Level: 8 and up / Grade Level: 3 and up / Series: Miri Attwater, Mermaid Princess Adventures

(If you haven't read the first book, stop reading because there will be spoilers. Check out my review of the first book.)

The story begins as Miri continues to adjust to life under the sea. While the rest of her friends are at summer camps up on land, she is spending the summer in Kai Kaona, an underwater mermaid world. The adjustment for Miri, as you might imagine for anyone who just found out she is a mermaid after living her entire life thinking she just had a strong affinity for salty foods, has been strained. Her birth mother, who she is visiting this summer and just so happens to be a Queen, shows little to no interest in developing a relationship with Miri. She also has to attend Huikela classes, which is like synchronized swimming for mermaids. Learning to dance in unison with other mermaids who have known about their fins their whole lives is hard enough, but she soon finds that friendships with girls deep in the see can be as cliquey and petty as those up on land. Luckily, she finds some true friends along the way to help her swim through these troubles. She has Fisk Gillespie, a mer-boy, who is a true friend to her. And, she also makes friend with a servant girl named Giselle. Together the three of them embark on adventure and fun as they try to find out who stole the crown that was to be used in the coronation and replaced it with a fake.

The second book in this series, I felt, was a much quicker read. However, I think it was partly because the masterfully laid out mystery in the book had us quickly turning pages wanting to find out just who stole the crown. Just as in the first book, E. S. Ivy uses her scientific background to weave real science seamlessly into the storyline. This is an especially attractive feature of this book because the storyline of a girl finding out she is a mermaid princess will draw any young girl in, and the science in the story will reassure her that science is fun.

One of our favorite parts of the book is when Miri thinks she is seriously ill because her skin starts turning green. Her friend Fisk assures her it is just algae growing up her skin and takes her to where all the fish get the algae removed from the surface of their bodies. This part will have you giggling, just as Miri was giggling in the book. It had us wondering if fish really do need help to keep them from growing algae on their scales? This started a discussion with my daughter about the ecosystem that lives deep beneath the ocean. I would love to see companion books to go with this series, much like the Magic Treehouse series, that explains the science principles that inspired these books.

We are looking forward to the next book in the series. These books offer a welcome respite from typical princess stories that focus on the girl finding her prince. They are funny and engaging without having to include violence or love story lines. This makes them the perfect books to share with my daughter knowing that the age appropriate stories with resonate with her completely.

Check out more about Miri Attwater at E.S. Ivy's blog: Miri Attwater's World.

I received my an advanced copy of book two as a newsletter subscriber. You can be the first to find out what will happen next for Miri by subscribing to the newsletter at

Miri Attwater, a middle grade science fantasy series Miri Attwater, a children's fantasy science series - Mermaids aren't real, are they?

E.S. Ivy's Author Blog
Miri Attwater's World -series website and blog

Sunday, January 12, 2014

Girls Rock! Tales of a Rockhound

 On Saturday, I had the pleasure of having coffee with a dear friend and colleague of mine. She was sweet enough to bring each of my girls books as gifts. While I adored the books she brought for my little one, I especially loved the book she brought for my oldest. She brought her a signed copy of Julie the Rockhound by Gail Langer Karwoski and illustrated by Lisa Downey. My oldest has always been a huge fan of rocks. We have taken trips to caverns, have gone panning for rocks, and are members of the Tellus Museum, so this book was perfect.

Julie the Rockhound is a delightful story about Julie spending the day with her father searching for rocks, quartz to be specific. For any parent that has had their washing machine clogged up because their child stuffs little pebbles in their pockets while on the playground at school, this book is a refreshing story of science and fun. The book is scientifically accurate and explains complex concepts in a way that kept both my seven year old daughter and my 19 month old toddler entertained. I love that the book is a fiction story that packs in learning without it feeling forced for the reader. I also love that this book has a young female girl as the lead character out digging in the dirt with her dad. What a fantastic way to teach your young girls that loving science is completely normal and fun. We need more books like this so my daughters aspire to be scientists instead of princesses and pop stars.

Today, we were lucky enough to be blessed with an absolutely gorgeous January day here in Georgia. The book so inspired my oldest that she asked if we could go on a rock hunt. We headed to one of the area trails and found lots of fun way to find rocks, explore, and play! Here are some of the ways we found fun with rocks...

This awesome trail starts with a boardwalk through a marshy area.

The hunt began along the trail.

We found small rocks and lots of big rocks. We all took turns standing on top of the big ones.

The paths were littered with stepping stones, which were fun to hop from stone to stone. The trails were especially muddy from all the rain we have been having, so the stones were not only fun but functional as well.

We spent time tossing rocks into the nearby stream to see who could make the biggest splash.

In the flooded marshy area, we tried to see how big we could make of the rings as we tossed bigger rocks into the water. (I know it is hard to see, but that is what happens when Georgia Clay mixes with the water.)

 When we got home, my daughter washed and then painted several of the rocks to decorate our garden while I put little Miss J down for her nap. Luckily, I had some small bottles of outdoor paint for her to use.

 Pretty flowers on the stones to go near the flower beds.

Santa brought Miss M a microscope for Christmas. We used it to take a look at one of the small shiny stones we found on the walk. It is amazing how different things look up close. (If you don't have a microscope, a magnifying glass is a great alternative. Magnifying glasses can also be easily carried out in the field, which makes them a good thing to throw in the backpack.)

Finally, she puts her favorite rocks into her rock box. We found a really great way to store the random assortment of rocks that somehow make it into our house is a cheap tackle-box. There are plenty of compartments to separate out the different types of rocks. (If only I had saved my Caboodles from 20 years ago, she would have a pretty pink tackle-box.)

Rocks aside, my girls, my crazy dog, and I all enjoyed the sunshine, exercise, and fresh air. It was a great way to spend the afternoon, getting outside and into nature. My little scientists in training returned to the house muddy and tired, just the way kids should be.

Do you have a rock hound at home? Any other ideas for play with rocks on a sunny day?

Saturday, January 4, 2014

Jilli, That's Silly!: A Story About Being a Girl by Christa Carpenter- A review

My family fell in love with the illustrations of Mark Wayne Adams when we purchased The Belly Button Fairy from Bobbie Hinman, the author, at the Decatur Book Festival several years ago.  So, you can imagine my delight when I was contacted by Mr. Adams to review a copy of Jilli, That's Silly!: A Story About Being a Girl by Christa Carpenter and illustrated by Mark Wayne Adams. My oldest daughter squealed with delight when we opened the package and saw the cover of the book. It spoke to her- one seven year old girl to another. 

Have you ever spent the day with a seven year old girl? Well, if you haven't, after reading this book  you will have a pretty good idea what it is like to be a seven year old girl. Jilli is a girl on the move, jumping from one thing to the next at lightening speed. All the while, an exasperated mother tries to talk some sense into her daughter's silly behavior. The book was actually a bit uncomfortable to read the first time with my daughter because the overreaching message that mothers need to let their daughters act silly because that is what being young is all about hit a little too close to home. Throughout the book, the mother repeatedly tells her daughter how silly she is acting. I can relate to that mantra. I am am constantly telling my oldest to calm down, stop being so silly, be careful, and the list goes on. However, at the end of the book, the mother sagely tells her daughter that all that silly behavior was exactly how a girl should act when she is seven. 

The book ends with a page of discussion questions. My daughter and I spent some time using those questions to talk about just what it means to be silly. I explained how sometimes her silly behavior gets a little bit out of hand and gets her in trouble. And likewise, she explained to me how I could do a better job just letting go and having fun. This book is perfect for mothers and daughters to read together. Sometimes a mom needs to be reminded what it feels like to be a young girl.

My daughter was so smitten with this book, she insisted on sitting at the computer and writing a review. I have copied and pasted it verbatim, minus her name.

Dear, Christa Carpenter, and Mark Wane Adams, my name is Miss M. I am seven years old. I liked Jilli That’s Silly because she was trying her mom’s cloths and shoes on and they were too big for her, and she was pretending to be a rock star to. And she brought her baby dolls and all their things to, and she had a book her mom’s lipstick, a scarf, and a comb all in her bag. And she brought all of the things from the kitchen outside, and she was bossing her brother around like a mom would do, and she dressed up her dog and cat. And this book reminded me of when I was trying my mom’s shoes on.
                                               I   LIKED   JILLI   THAT’S,   SILLY   A   LOT!!!!!!   

(She was very proud of the last sentence. She thought it was great that she used all caps. It is taking everything for me to not change that part. I feel like all caps is yelling. Again, this difference in tastes between a mother and daughter is why reading this book is so important.) I should also add here that my daughter so loved the part where Jilli tried on her mom's clothes that she went right for my closet and put on a couple of my dresses. 

If you would like to purchase the book, you can find it on Amazon or through Barnes and Noble. To read more about the author and illustrator, check out the Mark Wayne Adams, Inc. website.

Age Range: 5 - 7 years 
Grade Level: Kindergarten - 2 
Hardcover: 36 pages 
Publisher: Mark Wayne Adams, Inc. (January 1, 2013) 
Language: English 
ISBN-10: 1596160152 
ISBN-13: 978-1596160156

 * I was given this book free-of-charge by the author in exchange for my honest opinion. All opinions expressed are my own.

Friday, January 3, 2014

Ten Ways to Find Children's Books on the Cheap

Yesterday, the organization Read Aloud posted the following quote on their Facebook page:
 “Growing up in a home with 500 books would propel a child 3.2 years further in education, on average, than would growing up in a similar home with few or no books."
 This quote included the following image, which was shared from FirstBook's Facebook page:

The statistics, to me, are daunting. Fill a home with books, and a child is being primed for success in life. Granted, the epidemiologist in me wants to ask if these studies accounted for confounding factors, but at face value the message is clear: lots of books at an early age are key to later success. 

However, books can be expensive. This expense or perceived expense may be a barrier for some households from acquiring books. For that reason, I feel compelled to share with you the top ten ways I have stacked the books in our home. We are well over that "500 books" mark, but I promise you most of those books we got for free or close to free. I feel that I should begin by saying that I firmly believe the right book for a child is the one that he or she wants to read. A book that will never receive literary acclaimed purchased from the Dollar spot at Target is a great book in our house if the child loves to read said book. So, without further ado, here is my list: 

  1. Get a Library Card! Seems obvious, but so many people do not utilize the full scope of their library system.  Hands down, my favorite use for our library card is the access to electronic books through their Overdrive online eBook library. My oldest daughter and I have used this to borrow chapter books on a whim in our pajamas from bed.You don't need to keep that book forever, just borrow it for now.
  2. Blog Hop- Before starting this blog, it NEVER would have occurred to me that there was this whole world of bloggers giving away books. A while ago, I won three fabulous books from Pragmatic Mom's website. (One of the books I won was Z is for Moose by Kelly Bingham and illustrated by Paul O. Zelinsky, which we read four times tonight.) Her blog is great, and she is constantly giving away books to her readers. Another blog to check out is the Mother Daughter Book Reviews. This blogs links to so many great blogs, and she gives away great new books. 
  3. Check out the Dollar Spot at Target. We have this one Sesame Beginnings book titled Bubbles, Bubbles that I purchased years ago from the Dollar Spot that I can recite from memory. Both of my daughters just LOVE this book. It is simple, but this book is perfect for the earliest reader. No need for an expensive board book when you can entertain a toddler for hours with a book that only cost a dollar. 
  4. Become a supporter of the Kohl's Cares program. If you have a Kohl's near your house, make sure to check out the books they sell for this charity for only $5 a book. I just looked, and their new selection of books include Put Me in the Zoo, The Nose Book, Go, Dog, Go!, Big Dog...Little Dog, and Hand, Hand, Fingers, Thumb. Not only do they offer gorgeous hardcover editions of these books, but they also sell adorable stuffed animals to go with the books. I don't have some of these books, so I guess I will be heading to Kohl's tomorrow. 
  5. Get a book with that kids' meal. I live in Georgia, and Chick-fil-A is kind of a big deal down here. What is a big deal for my girls are the books they get in their kids' meals. Right now, the books are a series of titles from the #1 New York Times bestselling creators Doreen Cronin and Betsy Lewin. McDonald's is also offering books now in their kids' meals.
  6. Look for books on the cereal aisle. Every now and then, I will notice that Cheerios will have books inside of their cereal boxes. What better way to start the morning than with a good book? So the plan is to purchase that box of cereal at a BOGO event with a coupon. You get a book and a box of cereal for practically free. 
  7. YARD SALES. My mom is the Queen of scoring great finds at yard sales. When my parents came to visit at Christmas, she brought a bag of books that she purchased for a quarter a piece. Most of the books were in almost new condition. Another person's trash is a ticket to adventure for my kids. 
  8. Volunteer at your child's Scholastic Book Fair. Did you know that Scholastic Book fair volunteers get invited to this very special warehouse sale? And did you know that most of the books at the warehouse sale are at least 50% list price? I was not aware of this small little nugget of information until I received the invitation from my daughter's PTA. It is a book-lover's paradise. Santa purchased MANY of the books that my children received on Christmas morning at a deep discount.
  9. Shop at library book sales. If you followed my advice for number one and got your library card, you would probably be aware that you local library may periodically sell books. The Cobb County Library and The Friends of the Library host a biannual book sale at the Jim Miller Park. Check out my library book sale finds from last March.  
  10. Read up on literary events happening in your community. One event that I love to attend each year is hosted by Marietta Reads! This event includes a wide range of activities, all of which are focused on promoting reading. It is held annually in Marietta Square, and my daughters love every bit of this fall festival. A favorite spot to check out is a section where there are boxes of books for free. Children are given plastic grocery bags and are encouraged to fill the with books of their liking. Read up on my post from that event from last fall. Again, your local library is usually in the know for these awesome events.
I would love to hear your suggestions on ways to acquire children's books on the cheap. Leave a comment below, and add to my list. 

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Just A Wrinkle in Time

Happy New Year! This past year certainly had its highs and lows. I think the central theme was being busy. It is amazing how quickly time passes when you are an adult as compared to when you were a kid and the days seemed endless.

One of my favorite bookish memories from 2013 was reading A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L'Engle with my oldest daughter. This book was a favorite of mine as a child, and I love rereading books I haven't touched since childhood to see how differently I understand them as an adult.What is even more interesting is seeing the book through the eyes of my child.

While there were many parts of the book that went over my daughter's head, she was able to
blindly believe the story could take place, while I questioned the possibility of each adventure. Remembering what it feels like to believe is one of the reasons it is so important to read with your children. As Madeleine L'Engle wrote, "Believing takes practice." This is so true. It is very easy as an adult to read about a tesseract and totally dismiss the possibilities. However, a child just believes.

My favorite discussion I had with Miss M came when we read the part where Mrs. Whatsit was explaining the tesseract. As she explained the travel to the kids, she said, "You see, though we travel together, we travel alone." My daughter quickly interrupted me to let me know how completely ridiculous that statement seemed to her.  To her you are either with someone or you aren't. This is one quote where age is an advantage. How true a statement! How hard to accept as both a parent and child!

We had a long discussions about how even though I am always there for her, I cannot be there to help her deal with those three girls that are constantly telling her they aren't her friend. I can give advice. I can listen to her feelings. But, I cannot walk through her struggles for her....that is something she must do all on her own. She seemed to understand, but unfortunately, this is something she has to experience to understand.
I thought this was fitting to talk about since it is the first day of the year. While we can make resolutions to make changes in our lives and we can seek help to achieve those changes, ultimately, we are the only ones that can make that change. Whether it is losing weight, quitting smoking, fighting off depression and anxiety, all these battles must be fought from within, regardless of how much outside help received.

I also think that it is fitting that I explain why I love to post quotes from children's books on my blog. My freshman year of college, my roommate obsessively wrote down quotes. I am not sure if she realized how much I admired or noticed this habit, but it is something that has always stuck with me. When I transferred to a different school my sophomore year, she gave me a beautiful box filled with quotes related to all the fun times we had shared on scraps of paper. I saved that box and have it stored at my parents' house. I hope kids still do that today, but I am guessing they just text the quote to each other or write it on their Facebook wall? If I were a teacher, I would make handing writing notes a requirement of my class. 

I have so many posts in store this month! Including two reviews of books that we absolutely loved. I hope you join me this year on our reading adventures. May your new year be filled with many happy reads!
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