Posts tagged ‘giveaway’

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. 🙂 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 DETAILSOne 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.

May 23, 2011

Winner of Lily Hates Goodbyes

Congratulations Romelle!  You won a great picture book, Lily Hates Goodbyes!  I’ll be contacting you shortly to find out where to send it!


May 3, 2011

Giveaway: Lily Hates Goodbyes by Jerilyn Marler

Well, the author ever so nicely provided me with a copy of this book to review (see my original post and review here) and then I asked her if I could give it away, since I thought it would be nice if it went to a family with military connections that could really use it.  However, my son has since sat on it (unintentionally, I think) and it doesn’t look perfect anymore.  SO, long story short, I’m still doing a giveway, but I will be buying a copy for you myself.  You are welcome.

This really is a great book, so definitely enter and encourage any families in the military you know to do so as well.

Rules:  You may enter one time for each of the following items.  Contest is open to U.S. residents until May 20th at midnight in Nashville, TN.  Winners will be notified by email after that as well as announced on the site (so make sure to check back and provide your email!)  Winners will be chosen using


1) Mandatory entry: Just leave your email address or contact information.


2) Subscribe to this blog via email.

3) Subscribe as a WordPress user.

4) Follow me on Twitter (and leave me your handle so I know you are!).

5) Follow the blog on Facebook (search: the family that reads together).

6) Rate my blog on Top Mommy Blogs; the scale is in cupcakes.  🙂

May 2, 2011

The sweetest goodbye involves American military heroes and their little girls

I’m lucky that I don’t have a personal story to go along with this book.  And I’m lucky that there are others who are willing to take on that personal story, to send their loved ones far, far away to served our country.  So I won’t tell my usual parenting yarn here.  I’ll just thank those whose own parenting yarns involve, in the words of the main character of this book, “about a billion days” without a parent.

Title: Lily Hates Goodbyes
Author: Jerilyn Marler
Illustrator: Nathan Stoltenberg
Genre: Picture Book, Military Family
Age: 2 – 7

Summary and Review:

Lily hates goodbyes.  This is the sad but sweet refrain that gives rhythm to this beautiful book about the sacrifices American military families make when the military parent is away.  The book is geared toward children of military personnel to help them deal with the pain of missing a parent for “about a billion days”.

This book is really well written and beautifully illustrated with colorful drawings in a really accessible style.  The goal of the book—to help young children deal with the long absences and unknowns of having a parent in the military—is clear, but unlike other books that are written with such a specific purpose, it doesn’t sacrifice anything to reach that goal.  The writing is perfect, the verse easy to read and poignant.  There are a few repeated refrains such as “a billion days” and “Lily hates goodbyes” that lend a sense of poetry to the prose.  The story is easy to follow and filled with ideas of things other kids might try, such as looking at the moon and thinking about a faraway parent who can also see the moon, or creating a memory box with pictures to show the parent when he/she returns.

Follow up with the kids

This is one of those books that’s meant to be followed up on.  I’ve often talked in this blog about how parents can talk with their son or daughter about the meaning of a book or a book’s character as a way to indirectly talk about real issues in their son or daughter’s life.  Kid are often much more comfortable talking about things in terms of an imaginary situation.  This book is a perfect example of how to do that.  Kids who might be too scared to say that they themselves are sad can observe that Lily is sad.  They can observe that she’s mad.  They might then go on to say that yes, they know why she’s feeling that way because they have felt the same way she does.

This is a book that can bring comfort, ideas, and most importantly, real conversation between parents and children.  And promoting that is the reason I started this blog in the first place.

The author also includes ideas in the back of the book for ways to get the most out of it.  Learn more at  It’s a great find and I’m excited to recommend it to you!  I’m also excited to be able to give away a copy!  More details in tomorrow’s post!

March 29, 2011

You just won a sarcastic dog!

A really awesome, funny, and talented sarcastic dog.  And you will get to find out if he can EVER learn to like cats!  The winners are:

Stephanie McCarthy (comment #8)


Lynne Marie (comment #2)

Winners generated at

Thank you everyone for playing!  And thank you Scholastic for sponsoring this giveaway!  We will have more giveaways coming up, including one for a children’s painting app for your phone.

Winners, I will contact you via email and ask for your mailing address.  If for some reason I don’t hear back, I’ll choose another winner.

March 20, 2011

A Road-Tripping Giveaway


In the cat versus dog debate, I’m with the cats.  I know a few people who can enjoy both species, but let’s be honest, most of us are cat-people or dog-people, and not often the two shall meet within the same person.  I realize that as a cat person, I am always a few short steps away from being a crazy cat lady, a term that applies just as well to men as it does to women (I have several male friends who are “crazy cat ladies” and yes, you know who you are).  But if cat people are a few steps away from hoarding twenty felines in their homes, dog people are a few steps away from pouring Perrier in the water bowl and carrying their furry friend around in a designer handbag.  Cats would never stand for a designer handbag, and that’s why I like them better.

Ike LaRue, on the other hand, would, I have a feeling, LOVE a designer handbag.  In this cute story, he would, if he could, specifically choose a designer handbag that was not in the vicinity of his neighbor’s cats and preferably somewhere on a cruise ship that would itself be in the vicinity of Mexico.

I will admit to never having read an Ike LaRue adventure before this one.  I’d heard of them certainly, but until recently, our paths had never crossed.  I’m lucky, however, that they recently did.

Title: LaRue Across America
Author/Illustrator: Mark Teague
Genre: Picture Book
Age: 4 – 8

Summary and Review:

Ike LaRue is a sarcastic dog.  A sarcastic, clever, well-spoken, and whiny (but hilarious!) dog who doesn’t much like cats.  Specifically, he doesn’t like the two cats he is now stuck with on a cross-country road trip.  And as he writes letters to his neighbor, the hospitalized owner of the cats, he tells her in no uncertain terms why he thinks everyone would be better off if the cats just went home (and he went on a cruise).

When Ike’s neighbor falls sick and Ike’s owner, Mrs. LaRue, agrees to care for the cats, Ike’s vacation is—according to him, at least—completely ruined.  The cruise ship doesn’t take cats, so they plan a cross-country drive instead.  And while the rest of the inhabitants seem to be enjoying the views and the adventures, Ike writes postcards home to the cats’ owner, stretching the truth and feigning to care about the happiness of others while he tries to get permission to send the cats home.  He’s even willing to put them in a box and mail them.  I love the language of the book–the dog has great vocabulary and grammar!  A notch up from your average picture book and I like the chance to introduce my son to great writing.  And the pictures are gorgeously fun.

Each page of this beautifully illustrated book shows a different destination on the trip.  One thing I appreciate is that the trip doesn’t take them to stereotypical tourist places of the Mount Rushmore type.  Instead, they visit Bumbletub, Ohio, and Pea Gravel, South Dakota, amongst other locales.  I love that the endpapers are illustrated maps of the United States.  My son really enjoys checking the map with every turn of the page and asking where they are now.  This is a great way to reinforce some basic geography and learn a little about the 50 states as they read.  I do wish there were a few more details about the places they visit…you do learn about the Empire State Building and the Great Lakes, for example, but in other places the story sometimes has nothing to do with the geography of the area and I think that’s a lost opportunity.  (That’s the teacher in me, I suppose.)

This is a picture book geared towards older kids.  My son is three and at this point the humor and sarcasm go over his head.  However, he still enjoys the book, requests to read it, and loves the maps, and will only enjoy it more as he gets older.

If you like this book, I would definitely check out the other LaRue books, in which he writes letters to try to come home early from obedience school, gets framed for a cat-napping, and even runs for mayor!

You can see a trailer of this book at:

Follow-up with the kids:

Definitely take advantage of the map in the book.  With each page, look at the postcard and where it’s addressed from. (This would be a great time to show kids how a letter should be addressed, with the date, location, salutation, etc.  It may be the digital age, but can we pass these habits along to at least one more generation?)  Then find the location on the map.  You might also want to take this a step further, and for each location he visits you can research on the internet or an atlas to find out one or two more things about those places.

For older kids who are into story-telling, I think this would be a great voice to copy.  Have the kids write their own postcards from Ike LaRue (or their own sarcastic pet) and see if they can mimic the hyperbole, the stretching of the truth, and the insinuation of dangerously dire circumstances.


And now for the giveway!  I have TWO COPIES of LaRue Across America to give away, and I’m excited about that.  I will choose a winner at random and your copy will be sent to you straight from Scholastic.  This giveaway is sponsored by Scholastic and is open to any addresses in the United States.

You may enter once for each of the following things.  For each entry, please post a separate comment below.  CONTEST CLOSES ON MONDAY, MARCH 28 AT MIDNIGHT CENTRAL TIME. Winner will be announced on the 29th.  Good luck!

One entry for:

  • tell me your favorite picture book

One extra entry each for:

  • subscribing to this blog — Link at top right
  • following my twitter feed — Link at top right
  • tweeting about the contest with a link to this blog
  • posting a link to the contest on your own blog
  • RATE my blog on Top Mommy Blogs (the scale is in cupcakes, 10 means you like it a lot, 1 means you are just suffering through for the contest :); comments optional) — Link at right

Good luck!

(Note: My copy of LaRue Across America was provided free by Scholastic. This review contains my own thoughts and opinions about the story.)

March 18, 2011

A giveaway for dogs, cats, and everyone who likes to travel

Come back tomorrow for a review of LaRue Across America and details on how to win your own free copy!

February 2, 2011

Contest Day! Want to illustrate a children’s picture book?

Okay, you now officially have 36 hours from the time stamp on this post to enter the contest for the series of videos on how to illustrate a children’s book.  The videos are created by published children’s illustrator Will Terry–and I’ve watched the demos–they are cool!

Some of you already entered last week, and your names will go in the hat.

Entry rules as follows:

  1. one entry per person
  2. additional entries for each of the following: being subscribed to the blog; posting a link to this blog entry on facebook or a relevant listserv
  3. comments must include an email for notifying you if you win

All names will be put in a hat, one drawn at random, and the winner notified by email.

Good luck everyone!  If only I could draw one iota–I would love to learn from something like this!

January 26, 2011

Illustrator Video Giveaway

I am very excited about this!  One week from today on Wednesday, February 2, I will be posting a giveaway great for anyone aspiring to illustrate children’s books!  The video series, hosted by a published children’s illustrator Will Terry, will give you tricks of the trade from the mechanics of drawing, color, and technique to the literary qualities of creating a good character.  Check back for my blog entry and comment on the entry to win!  (Or subscribe to the blog now so you know you won’t miss the post!)

Anyone who writes a comment on the blog entry will be entered. 

(UPDATE: Because I’m clearly new at giveaways and don’t give great instructions, your name will be entered whether you comment on THIS POST OR the GIVEAWAY POST on FEB 2.  So you have from now until 36 hours after the Feb 2 post to comment in order to win.  If that isn’t clear enough, then just email me!)

Entry rules as follows:

  1. one entry per person
  2. additional entries for each of the following: being subscribed to the blog; posting a link to this blog entry on facebook or a relevant listserv
  3. comments must include an email for notifying you if you win

All names will be put in a hat, one drawn at random, and the winner notified by email.