Monday, December 31, 2012

Meet the Author: Joanna Marple

Meet the author, Joanna Marple. Her many jobs have included working as a librarian, well-digger, educator, translator, school-builder, researcher but her favorite job is writing for children. Ms Marple is the author of Snow Games, an ebook published by uTales.

Today, Ms Marple will share with us her Fab Five!

What is your favorite book?

Charlotte’s Web

What is your favorite color crayon?


What is your favorite bird?


Who is your favorite superhero?

Dr Doolittle, I know he isn’t really a superhero, but he does have a super power, speaking to the animals!

Where is your favorite writing spot?

In bed.

Monday, December 10, 2012

Meet the Author: Tameka Fryer Brown

Meet children’s author, Tameka Fryer Brown.  Her books include, Around Our Way on Neighbors’ Day, a lyrical story that celebrates the closeness and community of a multi-cultural neighborhood. My Cold Plum, Lemon Pie, Bluesy Mood is her second and soon to be released picture book. This story follows Jay as he explores a variety of colorful moods and learns how to deal with siblings and standing up for himself. You can learn more about Tameka Fryer Brown by visiting her website and facebook author page.

Today, Tameka Brown will share with her Fab five (+ 1)

Who is your favorite author?
Two picture book authors who repeatedly write books that I love (and am jealous that I didn't write) are Jacqueline Woodson and Kevin Henkes. Henkes because of the child-centric, laugh-out-loud humor in his stories; Woodson because of the emotional authenticity and depth she is able to convey in the sparsest text.


What is your favorite color crayon?
 My favorite color (Crayola) crayon is cerulean.

Where is your favorite writing spot?
Anywhere at home--as long as there is complete silence!
What is your favorite childhood memory?
Spending the weekend at my granny's house. She spoiled me all kinds of rotten.

What is your favorite bird? 
In reality, I'm afraid of birds, but I do love to look at pictures of parrots. They are so colorful...and talented, too!

What is your favorite hobby?
Writing. I've gotten fairly good at it.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

[Closed] Gratitude Giveaway 11/15/12 - 11/25/12

This hop is hosted by I Am A Reader, Not A Writer. I am giving away a stationary gift set as my way of saying Thank You! for visiting my blog and following it. I have made so many friends through this blog of mine and appreciate all the comments, advice and kind words that so many of you have made over the years. Thank you so much!

Please leave a comment with your name, email and how you follow this blog (via email, GFC or Facebook pageFollowing this blog is NOT a requirement but it is appreciated :D

As always, this is a blog hop with over 150 blogs participating, so please feel free to visit any and all of the participating blogs for more fun and cool giveaways!

Friday, November 9, 2012

Perfect Picture Book Friday: Virgie Goes to School With Us Boys

Title: Virgie Goes to School With Us Boys

Author: Elizabeth Fitzgerald Howard

Illustrator: E.B Lewis

Publisher: Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers; 2000

Suitable for: 5 and up

Topics: School life, African-American history, Women’s Experience

Opening: Virgie was always begging to go to school with us boys. All summer long she kept asking and asking.

Book Summary: All Virgie wants is to go to school with her brothers George, Will, Nelson, Val, and C. C. But they keep saying she's too little for the long, seven-mile walk, and that girls don't need school.
Well, Virgie doesn't agree, and she's not gonna let anything stand in her way.

Links to resources:
Lesson Plan for this book on page 28 of document recommended for grades 1-2: 
Reinforcing activity 
Lesson plan for grades 3-5 

Why I like this book:
In post Civil War South, Virgie is determined to prove she can go to school just like her brothers. The story is written in the point of view of her brother, Cornelius (C.C) but you can clearly see, hear and feel Virgie’s strength and determination. Virgie shows a lot of courage stepping outside of the role that society has placed on her. She is brave, determined and enthusiastic. I love that she not only learns what she can at school, but she also takes that knowledge back to her parents, “that way, might seem like they’ve been to school too. Learning to be free, just like us.” This is a great book for all children but especially for girls, including the girls who are not really into school. In this book, they see just how lucky they are to be able to go to school and receive an education without the prejudice and challenges that girls and women had in the past and those that still can't get equal educational opportunities in many oppressed and poverty stricken countries today.

To see a complete listing of all the Perfect Picture Books with resources, please visit author Susanna Leonard Hill’s Perfect Picture Books. Or click on the Perfect Picture Book Fridays badge in the right sidebar.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

[Closed] Thankful for Books Giveaway Hop! 11/8 - 11/13

It's a Book Giveaway Hop!

I have so much to be grateful for. For this hop, I will give away two prizes, one to the winner and the other will be donated to a non-profit organization, that caters to the care and welfare of children, of the winner's choice.

The prize is a $10 Amazon giftcard

To be eligible, there is one rule,
 leave a comment below with your name, email and which organization you would like to send $10 prize to should you win.

As always, this is a hop so hop along and see what treasures can be found from over one hundred participating blogs. :)
Happy Hopping!
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Friday, November 2, 2012

Perfect Picture Book Friday: Quiet in the Garden

Title: Quiet in the Garden

Author: Aliki

Illustrator: Aliki

Publisher: Green Willow Books: Feb 3, 2009

Suitable for: 4 – 8 years

Topics: Gardens, Animals, Food

Opening: I love to go into the garden.
I sit quietly.
I see flowers and plants.
It makes me feel peaceful.
If I am very still,
I see birds, insects,
and creatures I had
not noticed before.
I can even hear them!

Book Summary: Sitting quietly in his garden, a little boy observes the eating habits of birds, butterflies, bugs, and other small animals.

Links to resources:
The book includes instructions on how to make your own garden and detailed illustrations of plants typically found in a garden
Classroom Activities from the publisher.
Garden Activities for Children 
Garden coloring pages 
Garden Critters coloring page 

Why I like this book:
Quiet in the Garden takes children on a journey through a garden. They learn about the animals that live in our gardens. It starts off with a little boy sitting quietly in his garden enjoying the peace until he realizes the garden is alive and busy. Turns out, the garden is not so quiet after all with all the munching and conversations of the different animals. In the end, the little boy has a picnic with all his garden friends. Quiet in the Garden encourages children to safely explore nature, respecting the animals that live in nature. Children will notice that the little boy does not disturb or interfere with the animals as he watches them, quietly.

To see a complete listing of all the Perfect Picture Books with resources, please visit author Susanna Leonard Hill’s Perfect Picture Books. Or click on the Perfect Picture Book Fridays badge in the right sidebar.

Friday, October 26, 2012

Perfect Picture Book Friday: Yafi's Family

Title: Yafi’s Family

Author: Linda Pettitt

Illustrator: Jan Spivey Gilchrist

Publisher: Amharic Kids; 2010

Suitable for:  4 – 8 years

Topics: Adoption, Family, Love, People & Places: Ethiopia

“Raaah!” “Yafi, you Big Little Lion – you scared me! Ethiopian grandma Elsa would be very proud of that roar!”

Book Summary:  An Ethiopian boy’s journey of love, loss and adoption. Yafi (Yafee), his parents, and two sisters, eight-year-old Kari and ten-year-old Anna, remember his early life and his adoption experience by telling stories, revisiting memories, and looking at photographs. Yafi's Family is the story of love, loss, and a boy's discovery of how wide and how deep the bonds of family can be.

Links to resources:

10 Five Minute Bonding Activities for Foster and Adopted Children 
Games and Activities to promote Attachment 
Waiting to Belong has some wonderful tips for helping families bond with their adoptive children. 
Multi-Cultural Coloring Pages  

Why I like this book:
This is a very heartwarming story that shares all the emotions of what families go through during the adoption process. I admit I fought back tears to no avail. Yafi’s Family is a loving tale of adoption from other cultures. I love that this family doesn’t take away his memories of his birth family. The story is told in the style of a conversation between Yafi and his adoptive family as they remember the day they met Yafi, how he adjusted to his new life with them and even validate his feelings of missing a mother he never really knew.

I think this book is great for families who are in all stages of adoption as it shows the different challenges and rewards that adoptive families go through when they open their hearts and homes to children, including challenges of adopting an older child who still has memories of his birth family. 

Friday, October 19, 2012

Perfect Picture Book Friday: What Does A Muslim Look Like?

Title: What Does A Muslim Look Like?

Author: Mohamed Abdel-Kader

Illustrator: Abdullah Badawy

Publisher: Twenty Stories Publishing; August 17, 2012

Suitable for: 3 +

Themes/Topics: Muslims, Multicultural, Diversity

Opening: On a bright afternoon in the middle of May, brother Jack and sis Jane left their school to go play.

Book SummaryWhen Jack and Jane make new friends at school, they are surprised to learn that they are Muslim. Their curiosity leads them to discover that Muslims come in all colors and hail from various backgrounds from around the world.

Links to resources:
Coming soon from the author and publisher: lesson plans to go with the book.

Why I like this book:
What does a Muslim look like? Do you know? If you walked down your street or through the mall, could you tell if you saw a Muslim, big or small? "What Does A Muslim Look Like?" is a great introduction for children (and adults alike) to learn who and what a Muslim looks like. The story follows two young children who learn that their new friends are Muslim. But they are confused because their Muslim friends look just like them. Jack and Jane soon discover that Muslims come from all walks of life and different countries around the world, including the US. It is written in fun and simple rhymes. The story does not go into details about the religion per se but mostly describes the diversity of Muslims around the world. 

Monday, October 15, 2012

Organization Spot Light: Islamic Writers Alliance

Catch the Spirit…Be a Muslim Champion

We Are Muslim Champions Serving Allah
We Work For The Benefit Of Muslims
We are Champions of Literacy for Muslim Children, Youth, and Teens
We Are Champions of Creative Writing for Muslim Students
We Are Champions for Islamic School Libraries
We are Champions for Aspiring Muslim Writers Striving to Become Published

The Islamic Writers Alliance Inc. (IWA) is a USA based professional Muslim non-profit organization with an international membership. It was founded in 2004. Members include published and aspiring writers, editors, artists, publishers, journalists, playwrights, web designers, retailers, and marketing consultants. The IWA is an inclusive organization and welcomes adult Muslim men and women of all races, ethnicities, linguistic backgrounds, abilities, and creeds.

Purpose: IWA's purpose is to promote literacy world-wide. The IWA has established successful programs designed to meet the established goals and purpose of the organization.

One of its well known programs include the yearly book awards of fiction and non-fiction Islamic books to Islamic school libraries (20 schools to date)

Help the IWA Promote Literacy
Awareness is knowledge, and knowledge is power, and the only way to attain that is through education, which is the opposite of illiteracy. This is the main goal of the IWA, to help empower people worldwide to attain knowledge and power through the easily attainable goal of literacy.

It is easy to donate to the Islamic Writers Alliance, Inc. All you need do is click on the 
Muslim Champion navigation link and use the convenient Donation button to make your gift.

Friday, October 12, 2012

Perfect Picture Book Friday: Little Mouse's Big Book of Fears

Title: Little Mouse’s Emily Gravett’s Big Book of Fears

Author: Emily Gravett

Illustrator: Emily Gravett

Publisher: Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers; September 9, 2008

Suitable for: 4 and up

Themes/Topics: Fears, Phobias, self-help for children

Opening: I’m scared of creepy crawlies (especially spiders!)

Book Summary: Little mouse documents all of her fears in a journal but in the end, she realizes that everyone has fears, even big people.

Links to resources:
Visit the author’s website for games and activities
Discussion: Have your child(ren) describe their fears and then write them down. Then have them look up the correct term for their fear using Little Mouse’s list or this List of Phobias
List of Phobias: here.
Phobia Collage: fun activity here. I think this activity can be tweaked and adjusted for any age group.
Analyzing illustrations: This activity is geared for older children.

Why I like this book:
Aside from the awesome and detailed illustrations with mouse-chewed pages, :D I love that the book begins with: Everyone is afraid of something. Living with fear can make even the bravest person feel small. Emily assures children that everyone fears something and that fears can be defeated. The text is very simple, easy for children to understand and relate to as little mouse describes her fears. It is a great book to learn about different kinds of phobias. At the top of the page, the correct term of each of little mouse’s phobias are displayed. The illustrations provide an opportunity to talk about specific fears that a child might have. I love that little mouse’s fears are validated in that she is not told to be brave or to even overcome her fears. But in the end, she learns that everyone is afraid of something, even the lady in the kitchen who is afraid of her.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Hashtag Alert: Picture Book #bedtimepicks

Hey everyone, here is a fantastic resource for parents out there who are looking for great bedtime books to read with their children and to also share their great picks with others. This fabtabulous idea comes from Tara Lazar who has been using the hashtag #bedtimepicks to share the books she reads with her children at night.

So, what great #bedtimepicks are YOU reading tonight?

Monday, October 8, 2012

In the News: HEART Women & Girls Project

Check out this wonderful website:


HEART Women & Girls is committed to building self-esteem and leadership through health and wellness programming for faith-based communities.


Our vision is to create “leaders of wellness,” who are young girls and women inspired by their faith, to be a voice for health and wellness in their communities.


HEART offers a variety of programming to fit the needs of each community.  Programs can range from one day to six weeks and cover a variety of topics.  HEART facilitates healthy conversations and empowering women and girls with critical thinking and decision-making skills about important issues and health needs focusing on the following areas:
  • Self-esteem / body-image
  • Media literacy
  • Reproductive health
  • Physical activity & nutrition

Friday, October 5, 2012

Perfect Picture Book Friday: Global Babies

Title: Global Babies

Author: The Global Fund for Children

Illustrator: Photography

Publisher: Charlesbridge Publishing; February 10, 2006

Theme: Multiculturalism, People & Places, Geography, Baby Faces

Age: 0 - 2

Summary: Appealing photos of babies from seventeen cultures around the globe are woven together by simple narration. Global Babies presents children in cultural context. Diverse settings highlight specific differences in clothing, daily life, and traditions, as well as demonstrate that babies around the world are nurtured by the love, caring, and joy that surround them.

Ideas: Dress up clothes from a variety of countries. Music from variety of cultures. Ethnic food tasting. Multicultural coloring pages. Find the different featured countries on a map or globe.

Why I like this book:
Short and sweet, straight to the point, just the way toddlers like it. No matter who you are or where you are from, babies everywhere are loved! :D The photos are absolutely beautiful. I read this book to my toddler classroom all the time and they love it. It is great for observing and describing what they are looking at. I also keep a copy in their classroom library so that they can get it any time they want to look through the book. The photos are colorful and grabs their attention. A great book to have at home and school to introduce and promote diversity.

To see a complete listing of all the Perfect Picture Books with resources, please visit author Susanna Leonard Hill’s Perfect Picture Books.  Or click on the Perfect Picture Book Fridays  badge in the right sidebar.

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Book Buzz: What Does a Muslim Look Like?

What does a Muslim look like? Do you know? If you walked down your street or through the mall, could you tell if you saw a Muslim, big or small? Chances are, you probably wouldn't know if you saw a Muslim. That is because Muslims come from many different countries and speak many different languages. Muslims wear a variety of ethnic and cultural fashions as well as Western fashions. They enjoy all kinds of sports, participate in a wide range of hobbies and work in every kind of occupational industries from scientists, doctors, professors, chefs, teachers, artists, naturalist, business owners and more! So what exactly does a Muslim look like?

When Jack and Jane make new friends at school, they are surprised to learn that they are Muslim. Their curiosity leads them to discover that Muslims come in all colors and hail from various backgrounds from around the world. Beautifully illustrated by Abdullah Badawy and written with fun rhymes, this book is for children of all ages who want to learn about diversity.

Check out the site for more information about the book.
Also, you may find the book at Amazon and Barnes and Nobles.

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Giveaway Winner!!!!!!

It is a pleasure to announce the winner of the 2nd Annual Summer Giveaway Hop...........

!!!!!!Ashley Evans!!!!!!

Congratulations Ashley! Be on the look out for an email confirming your prize!

Friday, August 10, 2012

Good Deed Friday: Loyalty

True friends do not abandon you when you are in trouble. 

Ali ibn Abi Talib (ra) said: "A friend cannot be considered a friend unless he is tested on three occasions: in time of need, behind your back and after your death."

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Recommended Picture Book: Keep Your Ear on the Ball

Title: Keep Your Ear on the Ball

Author: Genevieve Petrillo

Illustrator: Lea Lyon

Publisher: Tillbury House Publishers: Aug 31, 2007

Topic: Self-Reliance, Visual Impairment, Children with Disabilities, Ball Games, Schools, Respect

Age: 6 and up

Davey looked like every other new kid that ever came into our class. Ms. Madison walked him in and said, "Boys and girls, this is Davey." He was medium height. He had medium brown hair and medium brown eyes. A regular kid.

Everybody wants to help Davey. But Davey has one answer for all, "Thanks, but no thanks." Davey is blind; however, he is perfectly capable of doing everything on his own. His well- meaning classmates stop offering help when they see how able Davey is. They respect his self-reliance?until he tries to play kickball. After several missed kicks and a trampled base keeper, no one wants Davey on his team. 

Working together, the children figure out a way to offer help that respects Davey's unique abilities and his desire for freedom.

Activities and discussion points at Tillbury House Publishers 

Why I like this book:

I must confess, I teared up at the end of this book *grin* it is such a wonderful story that teaches children the value and importance of interdependence and independence. It is a great gift to be able to help someone, especially a friend with a disability. But it is an even greater gift to be able to help someone help by allowing them to do things for themselves but still be there for them. In this story, Davey's classmates do just that! They learn that he is quite capable of even kick ball when they give him a chance, and a genius plan that allows Davey to prove his abilities :D This book is a great addition to any home or classroom library. It offers a great opportunity to explore and learn more about disabilities like visual impairment and how to respond to the visually impaired with respect.

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Annual Summer Giveaway Hop!

It's the annual summer giveaway hop!!! Thanks to I am a reader, not a writer, and Mary @ Bookhounds for co-hosting this event. 

This year, The Family-Ship Experience along with Family Reads will join the hop! This is an international giveaway so anyone can enter. However, if the winner resides in the US, they will also receive Family-Ship bookmarks as well!

I have a long list on my tbr list so instead of giving away a book, I will giveaway a $10 dollar gift card to either Amazon or Barnes & Noble that way you can get a book from your own tbr list :D

Rules for joining?

Be a follower (via GFC)
Leave a comment with your email and whether you are int'l or not

Easy Peasy!!! :) 

Now, you want to win some more awesome prizes? Then hop along and visit these other blogs in the Summer Giveaway Hop!

Monday, July 30, 2012

Meet the Author Susanna L Hill

Meet children's author, Susanna L Hill. She is the author of 10 books! They include: Punxsutawney Phyllis, Taxi!, No Sword Fighting In The House, Not Yet, Rose, Airplane Flight!, Freight Train Trip!, Can't Sleep Without Sheep, April Fools, Phyllis! and The House That Mack Built. Don't forget to visit her blog too!

What is your favorite book?

Really, this is an impossible question.  I have been a voracious reader ever since I learned how (which was a bit late at 6 1/2 :))  I have favorites from my childhood and favorites as a grown-up.  I have favorite picture books, middle-grades, YAs, and adult books.  But for right this very second, I will choose Bedtime For Frances by Russell Hoban, Make Way For Ducklings by Robert McCloskey, The Wolves Of Willoughby Chase by Joan Aiken, Umbrella Summer by Lisa Graff, and anything by Sarah Dessen :)

What is your favorite color?

I love most colors, so I'd like to pick rainbow, but that would be cheating :)  My favorite color is blue, with yellow and pink close behind.  If you want specifics, let me just pull out my Crayolas.... for blue, cornflower or robin's egg, for yellow, goldenrod or dandelion, and for pink, carnation, cotton candy, and magenta.  I really like the name of jazzberry jam though :)

What is your favorite writing spot?  

When I go on school visits, I always tell this story.  I started writing when I was about four, lying on the kitchen floor with scrap paper and a green crayon, asking my mom how to spell things while she cooked dinner.  Now that I'm grown up and have a house, I have an office of my own.  It has a desk, a printer, writing books and resources of all kinds, but where do you think I work?  Not in my office!  I still work in the kitchen.  I don't lie on the floor anymore, but I sit in the sunny spot at the kitchen table :)

Which of your book characters is your favorite?  

Another tough question!  I love all my book characters.  But I think if I had to pick one I'd pick Phyllis.  She is spunky and fun and has an unshakeable belief in herself which I admire.  (I confess, though, that I am currently writing a character I love as well - whether or not she'll ever see the light of day beyond my computer files remains to be seen :))

What is your favorite childhood memory?  

I am very lucky.  I had a wonderful childhood with so many great memories that I have lots to pick from.  But if I have to choose just one right now, I will say it was when I was about 5.  I had a bad dream that a GIANT bumblebee was coming to sting me.  He was huge - 3 times the size of my head! - and I could see his needle-like stinger coming closer and closer...  I woke up screaming in the dark of night, and it wasn't my mom who came to comfort me as usual.  My dad came in and sat on the edge of my bed.  He asked about the dream and I told him.  Then he rubbed my back and asked me what I wanted for my birthday (which was months away!)  "A pony!" I said straight off, and then went on to list other things, quickly becoming absorbed in what delights I could possibly want.  I fell asleep again, completely happy, comforted by his presence, with my mind full of birthday presents.  I have never forgotten that.  And I used the same method on my own children many, many times :)

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Recommended Picture Book: Say Something by Peggy Moss

Title: Say Something

Author: Peggy Moss

Illustrator: Lea Lyon

Publisher: Tillbury House, Publishers; April 1, 2004

Topic: Bullies, Assertiveness, Respect, School

Age: 5 and up

There is a kid in my school who gets picked on all the time. I think he is sad..... because he keeps his head down when he walks down the hall - and he hardly ever says hello. I don't pick on him. I feel sorry for him.

Summary: A child who never says anything when other children are being teased or bullied finds herself in their position one day when jokes are made at her expense and no one speaks up, not even her friends sitting near by.

At the back of the book there are discussion topics for both children who witness bullying and teasing and for the child being bullied and teased. It also has links for places where children can go to get help.

Check out the publisher's website for before and after discussion points, activities and games that promote anti-bullying and tolerance. It also helps children discuss ways to take a stand against those who bully and stand up for the bullied.

The Safe Schools Coalition website is LOADED with lesson plans that promote tolerance for elementary, middle and high schools.

ADL Curriculum Connections also has wonderful extension activities and discussion to go along with the book.

Why I like this book:
This book really hits home how bullying and teasing hurts kids and how it is able to keep going. Most children feel that if they don't bully or tease and that if they just feel sorry for the victims, then they have done their part. Say Something is a starting board for open discussions on how saying nothing is not the same as standing up for what is right. But say what? Many children are afraid to 'say' something out of fear of becoming the next victim of bullying. However, this story shows a very practical and safe way for children to help someone who is being teased or bullied. I also really like that it is written in first person from the point of view of a child who witnesses teasing and bullying then experiences it. It lends a more authentic voice to the story and character and allows children to better feel and relate to the characters. This is a must read and have in every home and classroom.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Ramadan Book Features

Here are some wonderful books about Ramadan for children of all ages. Check out the review pages for educational resources to use with these books.

Check out my review here.

Check out my review here.

Check out my review here.