Tuesday, February 27, 2018

Have You seen the Sleep Fairy? by T.K.R

Have You seen the Sleep Fairy?
by T.K.R.
Published January, 2018
Clink Publishing
30 pages

Publisher's Summary
Have YOU seen the Sleep Fairy? This is the story of a sleep deprived mother and father who are rescued by this shyest of fairies, who only comes out at night when all the children in the home are asleep. She helps children get into the habit of sleeping through by leaving tiny items of interest under their beds for a few days until she can trust them to sleep through on their own. This sweet story is simply told by the author and beautifully bought to life in this new illustrated children’s story. Get your children into the habit of sleeping through by reading The Sleep Fairy to them and applying the idea to your family routine. Here’s to you and a peaceful night’s sleep.

I am thrilled to be the stop on the blog tour and to have the author as a guest blogger today. 

Motivation behind having the book published
Having been blessed with four children in 33 months sleep soon became a distant memory. A historical luxury that we always took for granted soon became a rare commodity. In the early days when all four children were in nappies there was not much we as parents could do but to be organised, try and stick to routines and feed the babies well and hope that they would sleep through.

What we soon learned is that you are only as good as your lowest common denominator when it comes to a good night’s sleep. Meaning that if we were lucky enough to have three good sleepers, all it took was one child to wake up in the night for us to have a bad night’s sleep and a difficult day ahead.

Nobody is great the next day on a bad night’s sleep. I have a distinct lack of sense of humour, I have a heightened sensitivity to noise and my patience goes out the window. Not ideal when your raison d’etre when you have children is to nurture and care for them in a gentle, kind and happy manner.

More importantly for growing and happy children is their own sleep. According to the National Sleep Foundation, babies, young children and teens need excessively more sleep than adults to support their rapid mental and physical development. We had read about these important sleep facts when the children were young and were privy to tables like the one below. We realised that we needed to come up with a plan to help us all get back to sleep.

The plan
I think we read every book and blog on this subject that there is available, anywhere. Black out rooms, night lights, routine with a bed time song, wind-down time, warm milk, no milk, sleep trainers (who we swiftly asked to leave when neither my wife nor I could stomach the “cry it out” approach), temperature control, bed-time snacks, cosiest of beds, a soft toy sleep friend, bananas, massage, massage with magnesium, more iron, less screen time. Seldom was there a solution but when you are desperate you can’t sit back and do nothing.

After a particularly bad patch at breakfast one morning we were all running on empty and I told the children about the “Sleep Fairy”. A very shy fairy that only visits houses where everyone in the house is asleep – including all children and parents. Everyone must remain in bed for the entire night for the Sleep Fairy to visit. When she visits she places a tiny little “treasure” below their beds and as a reward. She does this for four nights only. After the fourth night she whispers a promise in the children’s ears that she now trusts them to sleep through. She will continue to visit every night but the only proof of her having visited is the sleep she leaves in the corner of their eyes.

We put the plan into action and for four nights the children slept through, and every morning under their beds were little trinkets – stickers, crayons, card games – from the Sleep Fairy. We had great excitement each morning when the children discovered their little gifts. We achieved more than a good night’s sleep for everyone, we also experienced the jubilation and excitement of a visit from a fairy which got all the positive endorphins going and set-up our whole family for a happy and exciting start to the day.

Sometimes after a holiday away or when routines have been disrupted there will be one of our children who will think it a good idea to wake up in the night and pay us a visit. Once this happens more than a couple of times we roll-out the Sleep Fairy tale again and within four days our family is back on track. Rested, sane and happy.

The method behind the madness
We had heard that young children form sleep habits in three consecutive efforts. Get them to sleep through for three nights in a row and your battle would likely be won. We chose four nights for our Sleep Fairy throwing in an extra one just for good measure.

The Sleep Fairy worked for us and has worked for some of those friends that we have shared this story with. I thought that by writing and illustrating a book about our sleep solution that we would be able to share with others what essentially has saved us from total insanity at the hands of sleep deprivation.

Subsequent to the book being published a few friends have purchased the book and were delighted to report first time “sleep throughs”.

Sweet dreams.

Purchase from Amazon UK - https://www.amazon.co.uk/Have-You-Seen-Sleep-Fairy-ebook/dp/B078H9MNZW/

About the author: Living in Chelsea, London with his wife and four children author T.K.R is no stranger to sleepless nights. When not writing children’s books, he runs his own business, Captivate Marketing (Pty) Ltd which focusses on the tools and tactics associated with amplifying his clients’ global brands.

Monday, February 26, 2018

It's Monday, What Are You Reading? February 26, 2018

Please visit the amazing blogs: Teach Mentor Texts and Unleashing Readers who host this terrific meme each week.

Here are a few books I have read over the last 2 weeks, including vacation week. Click on the covers to learn more about each book. 

Currently Listening

Currently Reading

Wednesday, February 21, 2018

Boo Boos that Changed the World by Barry Wittenstein

My Friend Alyson Beecher at Kid Lit Frenzy hosts weekly link up to share Nonfiction Picture Books. Please visit her amazing website.

Boo Boos that Changed the World: A True Story About an Accidental Invention (Really)
by Barry Wittenstein 
Illustrated by Chris Hsu
Published February 13, 2018
Charlesbridge Publishing
Nonfiction Picture Book
Review copy provided by publisher

Goodreads Summary
Did you know Band-Aids were invented by accident?! And that they weren't mass-produced until the Boy Scouts gave their seal of approval?
1920s cotton buyer Earle Dickson worked for Johnson & Johnson and had a klutzy wife who often cut herself. The son of a doctor, Earle set out to create an easier way for her to bandage her injuries. Band-Aids were born, but Earle's bosses at the pharmaceutical giant weren't convinced, and it wasn't until the Boy Scouts of America tested Earle's prototype that this ubiquitous household staple was made available to the public. Soon Band-Aids were selling like hotcakes, and the rest is boo-boo history.

My Thoughts
I just love books that explain how ordinary, everyday items came to be. This book will change how you see these trusty Band-Aids. Can you believe they were once packaged in 18 inch strips that needed to be cut? It brought me back to my childhood when they talked about those little red strings that used to be inside the Band-Aid packages. I definitely remember those. 
The story is told with a narrative and friendly tone that engages the reader. The illustrations are done using muted tones that give it an historical feel. I think kids will find it fascinating and will perhaps get them thinking about how other things were invented.  I would recommend it for your nonfiction collection for grades 3-5. 

 Image from Charlebridge Publishing website https://www.charlesbridge.com/products/the-boo-boos-that-changed-the-world 

About the Author
Barry Wittenstein has always been involved with writing, from contributing to his high school and college newspapers, to writing and performing poetry on stage in San Francisco, songwriting, sports writing, and now picture books.
He has worked at CBS Records, CBS News, and was a web editor and writer for Major League Baseball. He is now an elementary-school substitute teacher and children's author.
Barry particularly likes nonfiction, and profiling mostly unknown people and events whose stories have never been told in children’s literature. He is the author of Waiting for Pumpsie and The Boo-Boos That Changed the World. He lives in New York City. To learn more, visit his website: https://onedogwoof.com/ or on Twitter: @bwittbooks

Listen to the podcast where Barry Wittenstein talk about this book. 

Praise for Boo Boos that Changed the World
★”Appealingly designed and illustrated, an engaging, fun story about the inspiration and inventor of that essential staple of home first aid.” -- Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

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Wednesday, February 7, 2018

Somebunny Loves Me by Perry Gripp

Somebunny Loves Me 
by Perry Gripp
Published December 2017
National Geographic Kids

Goodreads Summary
This adorable new title from Emmy Award-winning singer-songwriter (and animal lover) Parry Gripp shows us the magical world of furry friendship and teaches young readers to be kind to animals of all shapes and sizes.

Through adorable, uplifting photographs, and sweet, silly text, kids will learn not only how to interact with animals, but also just what makes you a good friend for your fuzzy, feathered, or scaly new bud. This fun book will inspire young animal lovers to understand their perfect new pal, giving kids lessons on being gentle with pets, making sure to care and love them, how to be patient, and more. Lyrical text illustrates the fun and companionship that dogs, cats, lizards, fish, rabbits, and all sorts of animal friends can offer. Parents and families considering or who've just gotten a new pet will have fun sharing and learning all about animals together. Plus, turn each page and sing along with Parry with an original song and music video!

My Thoughts
Oh my cuteness! This book is beyond adorable. With a variety of animals from turtles to fish to bunnies (of course) there is an animal for everyone here. Each gorgeous photograph is accompanied by a simple rhyming poem on a solid brightly colored background. 
I think my favorite picture was the guinea pig eating a cucumber, or maybe the little brown bunny snacking on lettuce oh forget it, it's too hard to choose. I can see this book being read over and over again with with lots of "awww's". 

               Picture taken by me. 

Watch the trailer.

Somebunny Loves Me would make a great gift for Valentines Day or Easter or just to give your favorite animal lover. Ages preschool-age 7. 

Tuesday, February 6, 2018

Nature's Lullaby Fills the Night by Dee Leone

Nature's Lullaby Fills the Night 
by Dee Leone
Illustrated by Bali Engel
Published Feb. 6, 2018
Sterling Publisher's
40 pages
Review copy provided by publisher.

Goodreads Summary
Night falls, and the world sings a lullaby in this beautifully imagined picture book. The lush illustrations and gentle, rhyming text will lull young readers to sleep.
Shh—listen. Can you hear the quiet, loving sounds of the nighttime world? From moths fluttering their powdery wings, to a nightingale’s sweet trills, to swaying willow trees softly shushing, shushing everyone to sleep, this rhythmic, rhyming lullaby will soothe and calm little ones. The tender, nature-filled bedtime scenes sweep across land, sky, and sea, with animal parents everywhere tucking in their children. A final scene featuring a mother and her baby brings the whole story back home.

My Thoughts
Wow! Just...wow! This book is gorgeous. The poetry is brilliant and the illustrations are just perfect. I felt sleepy just reading it myself. 
The reader travels through nature at night and is treated to the sights and sounds of animals, trees, flowers, and oceans. The accompanying illustrations are done using dark blue backgrounds that fill the page. Soft moonlight illuminates night creatures and landscapes, giving the reader a glimpse of nighttime activities.

Here is the opening stanza.

Moths with powdery wings so soft
gently stir the air aloft.
Their flitter-flutter lullabies
barely whisper, "Close your eyes". 
Leone, Dee 2018.

Trust me, you will want to add this breathtaking book to your poetry or bedtime book collection. It will appeal to a wide range of readers and listeners. 

Check out the beautiful book trailer.

See what others have to say about this book.

Enter the giveaway!
I would like to thank Sterling Publishers for offering a giveaway of this book.
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Monday, February 5, 2018

It's Monday, What Are You Reading? February 5, 2018

Please visit the amazing blogs: Teach Mentor Texts and Unleashing Readers who host this terrific meme each week.

Here are a few books I read this week. Click on the covers to learn more about each book. 

A little nonfiction for space fans. Grades 4+

Cute book for those bridging to longer chapter books. Grades 2-4. 

Heartbreaking and beautifully written book of finding one's place in the world.  Grades 6+

Currently Reading

Listening to...

What are you reading friends?

Saturday, February 3, 2018

Celebrate this Week-WRAD Edition

Each Week Ruth Ayres hosts a platform where she writes about something to celebrate from the week and invites others to celebrate with her. Visit her blog, Ruth Ayres Writes to read more. 

The highlight of my week was definitely World Read Aloud Day. I was so excited to be able to schedule 7 Skype author visits for every class in our K-5 school. 
The day was very busy and tons of fun. The teachers did a great preparing the students by reading the author's books to them and visiting websites so the kids were excited to see the authors live on the screen. They asked great questions and were captivated as the authors talked about themselves, their writing and read their books. Each author had a pet to share so that was an added bonus. 

Lynn Plourde

Madelyn Rosenberg

Anica Mrose Rissi

Stacy McAnulty

Lita Judge

Dana Alison Levy

Maria Gianferrari

The authors were beyond amazing and they all volunteered their Skype session for FREE! I would like to thank them and author Kate Messner for providing a list of authors who are willing to do free Skypes on WRAD. It was a special day I hope to repeat next year. 

Thursday, February 1, 2018

A Couch for Llama by Leah Gilbert

A Couch for Llama 
by Leah Gilbert
Published Feb. 6, 2018
Sterling Children's Books
40 pages
Review copy provided by publisher.

Goodreads Summary
When a family finds a surprising new home for an old couch, a llama becomes the happiest creature of all.
The Lago family really loves their couch. It’s perfect for reading, snuggling, playing, and jumping. But all good things must come to an end, and, one day, the family realizes the time has come to replace it. As they drive home with their brand-new bright-red couch, though, it gets knocked off the top of their car into a field . . . where a llama tries to make sense of this new thing. At first confused—It doesn’t talk! It doesn’t taste good! It doesn’t budge!—the llama soon realizes how comfy the couch is and settles right in. Can the family get its furniture back—and keep llama happy, too? Leah Gilbert has written and illustrated a warm picture book that touches both the heart and the funny bone.

My Thoughts
I could relate to this family as our couch often serves many purposes and gets much love. When the Lago family finds that they need to replace their beloved couch, the family of 5 piles into their bettle car to find one. One might question their choice of transport as they hoist the couch onto their tiny car and tie it with rope. It soon falls off the car and into Llama's field. 
I like how this family seems very real. They lounge on their couch, eat on it and play on it. The family is racially mixed with mom and the baby having light skin and Dad and the two older kids having darker skin. This helps kids (and adults) see that there are many different kinds of families. 
While the story leaves one with questions like, Why would the family want the couch after it has been in a field with a llama?, I suggest you just suspend reality and go with the silliness of it. 
I really liked the illustrations, especially the llama's facial expressions which are hilarious. The page spreads are done in a variety of formats, adding interest for young readers.

Image from Amazon. https://www.amazon.com/Couch-Llama-Leah-Gilbert/dp/1454925116

I think this book would appeal most to readers 3-7.

See what others have to say about A Couch for Llama.

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I would like to thank Stering Publishers for offering a giveaway of this book to one lucky reader.

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