Monthly Archives: October 2016

a family read-aloud

Dusting my bookshelves at home this weekend, my eyes rested on a favorite book by Patricia Polacco called Thunder Cake.  I removed it from the shelf and took a seat on the staircase nearby and began reading  –  (a bad or good habit I have when dusting – depending on  who you ask!)

I love this story and I love the books by Patricia Polacco.   She is a prolific writer/illustrator who has many books that I consider family treasures.

Often parents ask me how is it possible to find books that can be read aloud to children of different ages that they will all enjoy.

I think the books of Patricia Polacco fill the bill.

First of all, they are full of wonderful illustrations that invite you into the story, and keep you there until the very end.  The stories themselves are both personable and relatable – about families, siblings, grandparents, school – stories that entertain and reflect humor, compassion, courage, conflict, fears,love and genuine warmth.

And if you think “too preachy” – I’d say not at all.  To me, they are just what our children might be looking for in today’s speedy world.

For when stories make us laugh, feel sad, happy, courageous, empowered, wide-eyed – and encourage conversation – you know they are special.

So if you are unfamiliar with this author, check her out on-line.  Her books cover many real-life subjects, so read through the descriptions first.  They are perfect for elementary school-aged children and preschoolers together, as well as for me!

For there’s nothing quite like a good family read- aloud to bring us together and fill the chilly November evenings ahead.

Okay – back to finish my dusting.


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in love

I am in love – that total infatuation that happens when one finds oneself head-over-heels completely in love.

And this feeling is especially warm and wonderful when it’s a two-year-old grandson who has stolen your heart.

I have to say – we have so much in common.  I believe I am actually a two-year-old at heart.

We both love to read books out-loud, look for adventures, splash in puddles, find sticks (and then more sticks), be silly, run and chase, climb, laugh, pretend, sing songs, question, talk.

We found our special place to share – under a weeping willow tree – a magical spot in itself, with its cascade of leafy branches hanging down.  It’s a perfect tree for “peek-a-boo hiding, a perfect spot to stop, and remember.

Probably the best thing about spending time with a two-year-old is totally responding to the moment, to the “now” that is his world.

And then when one offers you a hand – a lovely two-year-old hand – to hold and take you someplace, anyplace together – who could help but fall in love.

Thank you, Theo – for a special week together.

And now – back to my grown-up world.


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early darkness

I know … gone…almost overnight, it seems…the lazy after-dinner-walks, bike rides, concerts,cookouts, visiting with neighbors that summer evenings bring.

Now we find ourselves closing blinds, changing into our “cozies”, preparing for a night at home earlier and earlier. And I understand  most people regret this time of year.

But I for one welcome the balance it provides in our lives.

For now we do different things with our time – our personal time, our family time. We read more, we talk more, we bake more, we connect more intimately with one another – drawing closer during the chilly days of early winter’s approach.

In our busy go-go world, thanks to Mother Nature for dimming the lights and the north wind whispering “slow down”.

And so our schedules and routines do just that.

And even the die-hard lover of summer succumbs to the lure of a cozy winter night.

This gift of warmth, of comfort, of home -embrace it.

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books on the bus

I heard a great true story recently that put a smile on my face and hope in my heart.Because it was about children reading books – devouring books – loving books.

And where?

On their school bus!

Exactly!  A retired farmer turned school bus driver in Door County, WI realized most of his passengers had quite a long ride on his rural bus route before arriving at school. There was not much to do besides be loud and raucous.

So this ingenious problem solver brought in some books for kids to look at – all kinds of children’s books.  And guess what?

The children loved them – wanted more.  Book drives were started and the books poured in – and the children read. All the children read – little children read to big children who read to little children and all read to themselves.

Pretty soon all the buses in this Door County area had books on them.  Special pouches were designed on the back of each seat to hold the books.

Don’t you just love the idea?  Don’t you just love that nobody decided showing a video would be better?

I won’t say “I told you so” but I am thinking it. Because I believe and I know that if we surround our children with books in our everyday life, not just in reading class – and actually give them the time to read them – they will read them – and love them.

Books on the bus – what a great idea!


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