Archive for August, 2012

August 30, 2012

Week 2 Winners

And the winner from Week 2
(for the awesome Ivy and Bean and the Ghost that Had to Go) is:

#7: Melissa East

Congrats and happy reading!

And the runners-up (who will each win a set of mini Ivy and Bean notes):

#9: Anne W

#1: Sarah P

#10: Jasmine

Thanks to everyone who entered! Remember the prize package, which will go to one of the winners from all the previous weeks from all the previous blogs, is awesome! (See below) More books and notes each week for nine weeks! Come back soon!

August 27, 2012

Another free Ivy and Bean book

Ivy and Bean set out to break a fossil-digging world record in this book, which could be yours for free if you comment below! Just make sure that I have your email address so I can get a hold of you if you win! And three runners-up will be getting a set of mini-notes, Ivy and Bean style. ūüôā

Title: Ivy and Bean Break the Fossil Record
Author: Annie Barrows
Illustrator: Sophie Blackall
Genre: Realistic Fiction
Age: Early readers, early elementary school

Remember, when you are done with a book, you don’t have to forget about it. Why not find some fossils with your kids? You could just dig in the backyard, or you could buy a fossil kit at a toy store or museum store, or you could make your own kit: take a toy, break it apart (a lego person or animal would work well), bury the pieces in some dirt or dried beans or rice or soil or whatever you like, and have your kid dig it up and see if they can put it back together and figure out what it was!

And when you are done, come back here because we will be giving away these books every week! To enter, leave a comment below and remember that I need to be able to contact you if you win. So either check back next week or leave an email (if your username isn’t linked to an email, that is.)

Want to check out some other cool book blogs that are also, reportedly, giving away Ivy and Bean prizes? See below.

Media Darlings
There’s A Book ¬†
Kid Lit Frenzy
In the Pages
The O.W.L.
Coquette Maman
Ruth Ayres Writes
Watch. Connect. Read.
One Page to the Next
Van Meter Library Voice
The Family That Reads Together
Roundtable Reviews for Kids
The Children’s Book Review ¬†

Leave a comment below to win! And don’t forget to leave an email–or check back next week to see if you’ve won! Last week’s winners announced tomorrow.

August 23, 2012

admit it: you liked princesses, too

In my past few years as a mom (geez, have I really only been a mom for 4 years? it feels like it’s all I’ve ever been!), I’ve met many a small child. And many a small girl. And I’m not sure I’ve met one yet that doesn’t like princesses in some form or another. And yet, I’m not sure I’ve met a mom who has not apologized, in some form or another, for their daughter’s princess obsession. And the apology always includes the condition “I was never into any of this stuff.”

Well, after meeting hundreds of princess-loving girls with their hundreds of princess-hating moms, I have to say that maybe we are misremembering slightly. And I would probably be guilty of the same thing. After all, I would definitely say I wasn’t into princesses as a child. But when I watch Cinderella with my son, who likes his own fair share of Disney princesses, I can quote most of the movie. So, um, I must have been at least a little bit into them? And my husband probably wouldn’t say he was into princesses either, but he knows all the lyrics to Aladdin and thinks Walt Disney wrote The Little Mermaid. So . . . maybe we are kidding ourselves somewhat?

And if kids are going to be into princesses, we can make the most of it with good princess role models. This princess, who lives, as you might guess, on 8th Street, is one of those.

Title: Princess of 8th Street
Author/Illustrator: Linas Alsenas
Genre: Picture book/Realistic Fiction
Age: 2 – 7

When the Princess of 8th street, who is not maybe the best at making friends because she seems rather shy, is forced by circumstances of her mother’s errands to interact with other kids at the park, she is timid at first. But then she meets . . . the Princess of 10th street! And that, which I think is a brilliant punch line for a story, is about all there is (and all there needs to be) in this simple book. Kids who read the story will learn that there IS room in¬†a princess’s life to make a few friends. And there’s room within a two block radius for two princesses.

Parents of shy kids or kids that have had a hard time joining in playground activities, can use the book to show how it might be scary to meet new friends, but that something good may come of it. And even though a kid may feel different and isolated, hiding in dress-up costumes, there may be someone else out there with the same fantasies! (In fact, if they are princess fantasies, that’s almost guaranteed.)

Or, if you have a very outgoing kid, the book might be used as a way to suggest some more quiet, creative play times. Maybe you could have a tea party like the princess in the book and bring out the inner imagination in an otherwise rough-and-tumble child. (The tea party could be outside in a tree house and could involve a less dainty snack than tea, if that’s what it takes.) It’s all about finding your child’s comfort zone and stretching it just a little.

I love to use use books to stretch my kids’ idea of the world, to let them see new ideas, and then to convince them to try to experience them for themselves. It’s not over when you close the cover!

What do you think? Were YOU a princess person growing up? BE HONEST!

August 22, 2012

And the Ivy and Bean #1 winner is…



If for some reason I can’t find Gail, I will rerun the contest in one week. If you didn’t win this week, keep coming back! Week 2’s contest is still running and there will be lots more Ivy and Bean to give away! ¬†Thanks for stopping by everyone and happy reading!

I numbered the comments from 1 to 7 (discounting the second comment by the same person) and put the numbers into a random number generator at If you want to read all the detail stuff, do so here.

And remember, a grand prize winner is picked from all the earlier winners to win all this cool stuff pictured below:

August 20, 2012

A lie about cartwheels–and it could be yours for free!

Ivy and Bean are outside with the rest of the gymnastics club. They are taking turns doing cartwheels. Bean does one and then sits down, somewhat dizzy. Emma does nine in a row. Zuzu does twelve¬†plus a backbend. And when it’s Ivy’s turn, she says she is guarding the jackets. When others protest that you can’t be in Gymnastics Club if you are just going to guard jackets and start to doubt whether Ivy can even do a carthwheel, Bean intercedes.

“She can do a cartwheel. I’ve seen her.”

Ivy, who has never done a cartwheel in her life, is surprised by her friend Bean. But any reader with a good friend—the kind of friend who has your back, the kind of friend who doesn’t hesitate to lie about your cartwheeling ability, won’t be surprised at all. And it is this powerful friendship that I love so much about these books.

But, after some shenanigans with boys playing soccer, the cartwheels soon to become irrelevant:

“Like I was saying, I can’t do a cartwheel at the moment,” said Ivy.

“Why?” asked Zuzu with her hands on her hips.

“Because,” Ivy said, “we’ve got an emergency situation going on. Right over there.” She pointed.

Emma, Zuzu, and Bean followed Ivy’s pointed finger across the playground. She was pointing directly to the girls’ bathroom. The one right outside their classroom.

Duh, duh, duh. (Hear the music?)

Title: Ivy and Bean: The Ghost that Had to Go
Author: Annie Burrows
Illustrator: Sophie Blackall
Age: Early Chapter Book, Early Elementary School
Genre: Realistic Fiction

And so begins another adventure with the two friends, this one about “The Ghost that Had to Go.”

Ha! (If you didn’t laugh, read it again and remember that Ivy was pointing to the bathroom.) Okay, see, now you are laughing. To laugh some more, write a comment below to enter to win a FREE COPY of Ivy and Bean and the Ghost that Had to Go (Book 2). More details about the contest are here. (Remember, I’m giving away one book every week for NINE weeks, so come back next week too!)

And for ideas about things to do with your kids, check out this page on Ivy and Bean’s way cool website!

Comment away!

August 17, 2012

Make friends with your kids and win an Ivy and Bean book

Did you have a best friend growing up? Someone with which you could waste hundreds of glorious hours? If so, they you will certainly relate to the wonderful Ivy and Bean from this best-selling series. If you haven’t met them, here’s a good intro from the¬†Ivy and Bean website: “The moment they saw each other, Bean and Ivy knew they wouldn’t be friends.” You can guess how that turns out!

Ivy and Bean books are great for early readers, especially girls, and fun for parents to read, too, either as a read-aloud, or just to get some info so you can talk with your kids about them. When your daughter slips the bookmark in her copy and goes to turn off the light, you could snuggle up next to her and talk about your own childhood friends. Did you do anything like Ivy and Bean? Does your daughter have a best friend? Ask her if they ever do anything like Ivy and Bean. I always find bedtime is the best time for confidence-inducing conversations.

These books are great for me right now because we just moved to a new house. The Wizard of Why¬†is nervous about making new friends. He’s still at an age where he doesn’t mind if the books are about girls or boys, and I can’t wait to unpack my copy of Ivy and Bean and read it to him. He’s going to love the story. Of course, the prime audience for these books are early readers, and probably girl early readers at that, but there’s no rule that says you have to stick to that! Because the Ivy and Bean series starts out with two neighborhood girls who meet, it’s great for families who are moving.

One thing I’ve done with my son is talk to him about how I will be making new friends too. This week we tried out a new playgroup (our first one actually; I’ve never done one before) and I told him how he might find some new kid friends and I might find some new mom friends. And judging by the way he was rolling around in the grass in a middle of a pile of four-year-old boys while I gabbed on about working and staying at home, I think we both did. Of course, we can overload our little ones if we tell them too much–they need to know that we are the rock, that we are always there. But we can also model for them, show them that we also have things to deal with in life–like making new friends–and show them how it isn’t scary, but something exciting, and that most importantly, it is something with a solution. Reading and discussing books are often a great way to do that.

I’ve blogged about Ivy and Bean before, in this post here, and I will be doing so again (a lot!) as we count down to the release of the next book in their series.

What is an Ivy and Bean Blog-a-Bration?

1) Every week for nine weeks I will be giving away one Ivy and Bean book. (yea!)

2) On the last week (week 9), which will be in early October, one winner from all the previous winners on all the blogs participating will will an awesome prize package that includes a complete set of the hardcover books, Ivy and Bean paper dolls, an Ivy and Bean button factory, a poster, Ivy and Bean Silly Bandz (yes! we are THAT cool!), Ivy and Bean stickers, and a super-secret prize that is, apparently, still in the works (which may be why it’s super-secret?).¬†On the right is a picture of all that awesomeness.

So, enter away! Leave a comment HERE (or at another location where this blog is posted) BEFORE MONDAY, AUGUST 20th, at midnight Eastern time and tell me¬†one thing about your best friend growing up. Or, if you’d rather not, just tell me your name and a way to contact you.

And come back next week for another Ivy and Bean giveaway! If you want to know all the rules and how I will pick the winner, please read this. And if you can’t wait to win a contest, you can find the books at¬†your local indie book store here.

August 17, 2012

Ivy and Bean Blog-a-bration with lots of book giveaways!

Ivy and Bean are getting ready to release their 9th book. And I am here to help them count down the weeks until it comes! With free books for you! And when I realized how long it was going to take me to explain all of the nitty-gritty stuff, I decided I should put it in a separate post. ūüôā Good luck!

Here are the details of the Ivy and Bean Blog-a-Bration:

1) Every week I will be giving away one Ivy and Bean book. (yea!)

2) On the last week (week 9), which will be in early October, one winner from all the previous winners on all the blogs participating will will an awesome prize package that includes a complete set of the hardcover books, Ivy and Bean paper dolls, an Ivy and Bean button factory, a poster, Ivy and Bean Silly Bandz (yes! we are THAT cool!), Ivy and Bean stickers, and a super-secret prize that is, apparently, still in the works (which may be why it’s super-secret?). On the right is a picture of all that awesomeness.

CONTEST DETAILS:¬†One entry per person. Enter by leaving a comment ON THE POST (NOT HERE–THIS IS JUST THE RULES!) that includes a way to contact you.

People may enter by commenting on this blog in any of its published locations, which include,, and I will choose one winner with a random number generator.¬†(Comment number 1 on will be assigned #1. Comments will be numbered successively, with comments on next and comments on last (so the last comment on NashvilleParent will be the highest number). If that doesn’t make sense, ¬†take a coffee break and then reread. Or just email me.) ONE winner will be chosen from each week’s comments. As in, NOT one from each site, but one total. I will also be giving away sets of Ivy and Bean mini notes, in separate posts, only at

Ivy and Bean Contest Deadlines:

Book 1: Blog posted Friday, August 17. Comment deadline: Monday, August 20, midnight Eastern time.
Book 2: Blog posted Monday, August 20. Comment deadline: Saturday, August 25, midnight Eastern time.
Book 3: Blog posted Monday, August 27. Comment deadline: Saturday, September 1, midnight Eastern time.
Book 4: Blog posted Monday, September 3. Comment deadline: Saturday, September 8, midnight Eastern time.
Book 5: Blog posted Monday, September 10. Comment deadline: Saturday, September 15, midnight Eastern time.
Book 6: Blog posted Monday, September 17. Comment deadline: Saturday, September 22, midnight Eastern time.
Book 7: Blog posted Monday, September 24. Comment deadline: Saturday, September 29, midnight Eastern time.
Book 8: Blog posted Monday, October 1. Comment deadline: Saturday, October 6, midnight Eastern time.
Book 9: Blog posted Monday, October 8. Comment deadline: Saturday, October 13, midnight Eastern time.