Celebrate Martin Luther King Jr. Day with Great Kids Books

Next Monday is Martin Luther King Day!

In honor of the life and vision of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., I usually share a list of my favorite read aloud books that encapsulate the ideas we celebrate on our day of recognition of the life of this American Hero. 
Here is a link to one of those old posts. 

This year I decided to go out and look at what kind of lists that other “experts” have put together.
WOW!  There are so many great titles….and I am happy to see that many of the books I recommend are included on many lists.

So enjoy your journey to find some great reads!
Remember…..this isn’t a subject that should only have ONE DAY to explore. is a great pinterest board that has a variety of books relating to many cultures.  Worth a look!

 This link will cover the basics for you.  The books are current and well chosen.

This site is so worth checking out.  Rebecca over at A Book Long Enough has curated an amazing and broadly scoped list of books. You should also check out her post about WHY multicultural books are so important.


Would you believe that the PRAGMATIC MOM has put together 60….yes 60 lists of multicultural books broken down in some great common sense categories!

I am always amazed by the wonderful insights that children have about the “dream” that MLK had.

I always asked the kids to look around the group of kids that are sitting together listening to the stories…..

Then I asked  if they believed that Martin Luther’s Dream has come true….

Isn’t it wonderful that our kids are in fact living in a world where little black boys and black girls will be able to join hands with little white boys and white girls as sisters and brothers”….as they sit side by side with children of all colors.  


We know that the issues of racism, discrimination and diversity will continue to be something that we struggle with.  The news is filled with the “bad news” related to these issues.   It is critical that our children are exposed to thoughtful and carefully guided “Courageous Conversations” surrounding race.

I believe that well written children’s books are a wonderful way to start. 

I am now heading back to look more closely at all these lists!

Have A Wonderful Day!




Link Parties

The Best Halloween Read-A-Louds!


Spiders and Witches and Bats OH MY!

It’s time to get yourself to the library or bookstore to find some great books for Halloween.

If you are volunteering at your kid’s Halloween parties….what better way to set a calming tone than a great read-a-loud.
Just have them at home to curl up on a cool evening for a family read-a-loud.

Check out this link for a nice annotated list of favorites from back in 2011.
Here are just a few of the titles on that list:

  • The Little Old Lady Who Was Not Afraid Of Anything by Linda Williams
  • Night of the Pumpkinheads by Michael Rosen 
  •  The Hallo-Wiener by Dav Pilkey 
  • Bats at the Library by Brian Lies 
  • The Hobyahs by Robert San Souci 

I realized that this list needed updating.SO….here are some newer titles that are truly “beWitching”!

Skeleton Hiccups by Margery Cuyler 

The skeleton can’t get rid of his hiccups and they cause him lots of problems.  Readers will giggle along as he tries all the typical remedies.

The conclusion is a satisfying one for little ones.

This is nice NON-scary story with a “scary” character.

Frankenstein Makes a Sandwich by Adam Rex

Poetry sometimes gets a bad rap for being boring.  Not in this book of fun poems featuring all kinds of monsters.  There are 19 in all making this a good choice for a quick read.

Click Clack Boo! A Tricky Treat by  Doreen Cronin and Besy Lewin 

The animals on Farmer Brown’s farm are up to Halloween mischief in this fun to read book in the series that never fails to be a hit with kids.  Those tricky animals continue to surprise the Grouchy Farmer with Halloween high jinx!

Creepy Carrots by Aaron Reynolds

This is a Caldecott Honor book so the illustrations are sure to please.  Little rabbit is very greedy, eating carrot after carrot.  But then….he imagines the carrots are “stalking” him.  The idea is preposterous but makes for a fun and scary story!
Ghost in the House: A Lift-the-Flap Book
by Ammi-Joan Paquette

Cumulative stories make wonderful join in the fun read-a-louds.  This one has a catchy rhyming format too!  This is a perfect not-so-scary choice for the under 6 set!

I could go on and on…..but hope you take a moment to look at the books on the old post from 2011 and then head to the library for some delightfully spooky reading enjoyment!

Halloween Reading 1937 WPA Poster available at
Have a Wonderful Day!


Quick Gift Bag Ideas and a Tutorial!

As May winds to an end…..Graduations and End of Year Thank-yous are upon us! 
I have to admit that I often give gift cards for these events!  
Graduates AND Teachers love gift cards!
The trick to making a gift card personal is the presentation!

These are the simplest little gift bags that you can make using a single piece of  decorative scrapbook paper!

I like the fact that there are two little pockets on bag.

One side for the gift card….
The other side for a heartfelt note!

Remember that those notes to thank the teacher are actually MORE appreciated than the actual gift…. In fact…you wouldn’t even need a gift..just have one side include a thank-you from your student and the other side from you!

 I made the little green bag out of a half sheet of paper!
I put together a Pinterest Board with some other very fun gift card presentations!
Hop over and take a peek!


If you are looking for some PUNtastic Teacher Appreciation gifts…..hop over to this post on Skip to My Lou!  Very Clever!!!!

Oh and I just had to share this link with a tutorial for making customized gift bags out of wrapping paper….GENIUS! 

Hope this post has inspired you….or at least reminded you…..about the gifts you need to organize in the next week!

Have A Great Day!

Link Parties

Easter Basket Book List!

Everyone has a bit of Spring Fever about now. With Easter just a week away, it is time to think about what to tuck into those Easter Baskets. Of course there will be candy and eggs!
Here is an idea!  How about some great books  How about some great Spring themed books?

There are some obvious Easter Books….

This was a favorite of my kids….a true classic!  The Mother Bunny becomes the famous Easter Bunny even though she has the huge job of raising her many children.

Then of course there is the touch and feel Pat the Bunny.  No nursery collection is complete without this one!

Now on to some favorites that you might NOT know!
MUD  by Mary Lyn Ray is a romping read a loud that just makes you want to go out and play in the “sticky, gooey, marvelous oozy stuff”.
Big Belching Bog is written by Phyllis Root and beautifully illustrated by Betsy Bowen (both Minnesotans by the way)!  Not only is this a fun read about secret at the bottom of the bog, it has many interesting facts about the animals who make bogs their home.  A great choice for the little scientists out there! 

HMMMM…Is it a Duck or is it a Rabbit?
In this book by Amy Krouse Rosenthal, optical illusions and forms in the clouds make for a fun read for both the kids and grown ups.

It Looked Like Spilt Milk by Charles G Shaw is another book about cloud formations.  After reading this book, kids can tear paper shapes into their own cloud shapes…..or even better…head out to a grassy hill and see shapes in real clouds.

HMMMM….is there an APP for that?  I hope NOT!

The Rabbit in Eric Rohmann’s book My Friend Rabbit is not the Easter Bunny!  But this rabbit is infectious and the comical illustrations make it clear why it is a Caldecott Winner!
It is always good to have a friend to tell you “Not to Worry…..I have an idea!”

Green by Laura Vaccaro Seeger is a simply beautiful book about the many things in the world that are green!  Another Caldecott Winner (2012) that has luscious illustrations and die cuts add to the book.

The Story About Ping by Marjorie Flack is a very very old story which has held its appeal over time.  The misadventures of a little lost duckling have just enough “drama” to keep the story interesting.  Everyone will sigh in relief when Ping is safe at home on the “wise-eyed boat which is his home”

There you have it…..some alternatives to Thomas the Train or SpongeBob books….I’m just sayin’!!!!

I could go on and on and on with more books that would be good fits for this list….but both you and I have other things to do!
But…..I would love to hear your additions to the list….add a comment and share with us!

Happy Spring!

Wrapped Fabric Wall Art!

Oooh…I wasn’t going to complain about the weather!  But REALLY….it is either way way below zero or snowing at Sweetwater!  Seriously….school has been cancelled for COLD 3 days in January….and the rumor is that on Monday there is a chance we will make it 4 days!

Before I get to the Wall Art project, I thought you might enjoy this little parody that was posted on Facebook by an alum of our school!  The time stamp on it means that she whipped this up in less than 15 minutes!!!  Guess we are pretty good educators….and her talent is amazing.  Enjoy!

“The Night Before Finals”

Twas the night before day two of finals, when all through the town
The high-schoolers were studying, not making a sound.
The Facebook chat bar was absent of dots of green,
Since one must prioritize when one is a teen.

Their younger siblings watched them, filled with fears,
For that would be them in a few short years.
Then mamma dragged the kids away and put them in bed,
because her normally sane teen is not currently right in the head

When out in the kitchen I heard the telephone ring
I sprang from my seat to go answer the thing.
Away from my desk (dungeon) I flew like a flash
And into the kitchen I promptly dashed

I heard on the phone a voice familiar to me
The automated voice message system of the city of SLP
The computer-lady then said a phrase that relieved all my sorrow:
“For grades K thru 12 there is no school tomorrow”

Upon realizing the meaning of her words, I released all my dread
I was so sleep deprived, I could soon rest my poor head
More rapid than eagles the Facebook posts came,
And they all whistled and shouted and I did the same!

Now on to the project!
This bright happy fabric called out to me from the sale bin!
It is a nice outdoor canvas weight.
Perfect to create a splash of color for the wall.
I had a plain wooden stretcher frame in my stash of stuff.
I had some quilt batting.
I have a glue gun.

It was simple enough to wrap the batting around the stretcher and glue it down.
The corners were mitered and the edges were trimmed!
I used the staple gun to attach the fabric to the frame.

You know the drill….put one staple in the middle of each side….stretching it tight…
Staple the mitered corners tight…
Then go around and secure the fabric tightly all around! 
The whole project was finished in 20 minutes…..
less the time it took for the little “drama” 
of needing  Mr. S to pry out the stuck staple in the staple gun!

 A little Winter time cheer for the Laundry Room Wall!

Here are a couple of wrapped fabric wall pieces from the past….

Lots of impact for very little effort and money…

and what I really love is that they are so easy to switch out when you want a change….and I always seem to want to change….

Have A Wonderful Weekend!