Posts tagged ‘family reading’

December 9, 2013

Calm, wintry nights

After seeing the chaos of Black Friday reflected in the news, I pulled my children close and reminded them that we don’t have to be like that. My oldest (who just turned eighteen) said, “Isn’t it ironic that the day after we give thanks, we trample people to death to get a better deal on something we probably could have afforded anyway?”

But it’s easy to get caught up in the hype of Christmas—stores start piping in the music shortly after Halloween. This year a few stores snuck Christmas ornaments on shelves next to cornucopias and Indian corn. I bet they sold more than a couple, too, because Christmas is like pumpkin pie on Thanksgiving—yes, you just stuffed yourself and probably should wait, but why? There’s the pie right there…

But there is a certain joy in waiting.

Of quieting your heart in expectation of what is to come.

To me, that’s what the season between Thanksgiving and Christmas is, quiet expectation. Expectation reflected in the manger scene by our front door—Mary and Joseph near an empty cradle, waiting.

That expectation is also reflected by the pile of books under our Christmas tree. It waits for dinner to be done, dishes to be cleared, hot cocoa to be marshmallowed, and the fire to be crackling. Then the children gather around Daddy and he reads one story each night between Thanksgiving and Christmas.

My favorites are the calm, quiet stories. Here are a few on the top of the pile:

Quiet Christmas coverTitle: The Quiet Christmas Book (New this year!)
Author: Deborah Underwood
Illustrator: Renata Liwska
Genre: picture book
Ages: Listening 3 yrs and up; Independent 8 and up

If you haven’t yet discovered Deborah Underwood, you’re in for a treat.

Her characters are gentle natured woodland animals getting ready for Christmas, but without the hustle and bustle of other books.

Check out the book trailer below!

onewintrynightTitle:  One Wintry Night
Author: Ruth Bell Graham
Illustrator: Richard Jesse Watson
Genre: picture book
Ages: Listening 3 yrs and up; Independent 8 and up

Gorgeously illustrated story about a boy hearing the Christmas story for the first time.

littlefirtreeTitle:  The Little Fir Tree
Author: Margaret Wise Brown
Illustrator: Jim LaMarche
Genre: picture book
Ages: Listening 3 yrs and up; Independent 8 and up

Another sweet book. A little tree wishes to be part of something—anything—and winds up being part of something he never could have imagined.

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How about you? Which Christmas books make your family’s must-read list?

December 5, 2012

Snicket’s wrong questions make for fun reading

In case things were getting a little too serious around here, I’d like to introduce Daniel Handler (aka Lemony Snicket) to introduce the latest book I read, Who Could That Be At This Hour?, which tells the story of Snicket’s rather unusual childhood. And while I’ve been talking about a lot of serious books you can talk to your kids about, nothing gets a good relationship going like a shared laugh. So read this one with your kids now. Laugh together. Build up a foundation of shared reading. And then when the time comes, it will be all the easier to read and talk about the books I blogged about earlier. This would be great holiday reading! Something to share with the kids when school is out.

Anyway, he’s funny as you can tell, and so are his books. If you haven’t read him before, he has a cynical, slightly dark, but extremely fun voice. Definitely recommend this first installment in his “All the Wrong Questions” series. Great laid-back holiday reading!

whocouldthatbeatthishour

Title: Who Could That Be at This Hour?
Author: Lemony Snicket
Genre: Mystery, Humor, Lots of Fun
Age: Reading to Adult, chapter book/early middle grade level

What about you? Do you have favorite funny stories? Have you asked the wrong question at the wrong time? What are you going to read with your kids when school is out?