Love, Laughter, and Life

Adventures With a Book Lover


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Reading for Research Month 2019 is Here! #ReFoReMo

Reading for Research Month is here! March Madness of the Picture Book World, here we come!

This is my 4th or 5th year participating in ReFoReMo. Happy 5 years to #ReFoReMo! Focused blog posts guide researchers (us) to read picture books that illustrate the information found in blog posts. I look forward to this month as an opportunity to read lots of picture books and study their techniques, formats, and picture book elements. If you love picture books, this month of reading is for you.

Is it a coincidence that Reading for Research Month occurs the same month as Read Aloud Day on March 2? I think not (or maybe so, but it is a cool coincidence.)

Read, friends. Read.

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Book stacks from previous ReFoReMo! Be prepared for the time AND space commitment! LOL

Great things happen during ReFoReMo:

– picture books are read, studied, dissected

– blog posts are shared by professionals in the kidlit field

– the kidlit community gives support to one another

– interaction between fellow writers, authors, bloggers, and kidlit enthusiasts is invigorating and addicting

– learning about picture books, in oh so many ways, grows in direct correlation to the amount of time spent reading and studying PB texts

– libraries are flooded with requests for picture books (which, as we all know, trickles back to authors – yay!)

– so much fun to be had!

REGISTRATION opens today! Visit ReFoReMo to register.

And start requesting those books! Find the book list here.

I’ve printed the book list and registered for ReFoReMo. Who’s with me?

 

 

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Love, Z: Picture Book & KID KANDY

Love, Z by [Sima, Jessie]

Love, Z

Written & Illustrated by Jessie Sima

Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers, 2018

 

Love, Z is a great example of a robot tale about the meaning of love. I grabbed Love, Z from a library display and checked it out. Simplicity, good story, nice interactions, clean and beautiful illustrations, and great examples of love help Z (and young readers) understand love. I fell in love with the adventures of Love, Z.

Love, Z is the perfect book to springboard conversations about love and how it looks to different people, even robots.

Blurb from Amazon:

When a small robot named Z discovers a message in a bottle signed “Love, Beatrice,” they decide to find out what “love” means. Unable to get an answer from the other robots, they leave to embark on an adventure that will lead them to Beatrice—and back home again, where love was hiding all along.

KID KANDY

Build a Love Robot

Materials: construction paper, scissors, glue sticks, markers

1. Cut shapes from construction paper-hearts, circles, rectangles, triangles.

2. Arrange shapes on a table until you find the perfect design for a love robot. Use glue stick to glue edges together. Don’t forget to add arms, legs, and faces (eyes, nose, mouth, ears).

3. Use a marker to add details to your robot. Give him or her a name! As you create, think about what love means to you. Tell your mom or dad your thoughts and let them tell you what they think about love.

4. Find a nice spot to hang your robot where you can see him or her. May I see? Ask for help and take a picture and add it to the comments. We’d love to meet your new friend.

Love, A

 

 


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Snow Cream Strikes Again!

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Yesterday, 2-hour late start.

Today, NO SCHOOL. At all. As a kid, I would love it. As a Nana, I can’t keep up! (But I still love it.)

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Sledding, shoveling, driving RCs (rock crawlers to you folks not in the RC club know), and clambering in very deep snow and cold temps leads us to the refreshment portion of the day.

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It’s time to make Snow Cream!

  1. Fill one large bowl with clean snow. CLEAN snow.
  2. Mix between 1/4-1/2 cup sugar into 1 cup of milk. Dissolve sugar. Add 1 tsp. vanilla to milk. Stir well.
  3. Pour small amounts of sweetened milk over ice cream and stir. If you don’t have enough liquid, add more milk. I like to reduce the sugar as much as possible, so start with the smallest amount.

Once the snow is creamy, scoop into bowls and enjoy! Snow cream is a hit in this house.

P.S. IF you are a mommy, daddy, auntie, or Nana, and a fan of Irish cream, uhm, the coffee creamer version could help you survive snow days. Maybe after the kiddies are tucked in bed at night. A little Irish cream snow treat.

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Circle Time Preschool Puzzles: The Nesting Syndrome

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What to do when there is only 1 child?

Make a puzzle circle! Miss Autumn (2) was quite content to sit inside the puzzle circle and work puzzles. Simone was happy to supervise. A cozy nearby fireplace added ambiance and warmth for this cold winter day activity.

There is something about the NEST format of play. Are you a nest person? I am. I’ve always loved playing inside a circle formed by things-toys, books, supplies, whatever I’m working on-spread in a circle which surrounds me.

I really need to research this nest phenomenon. Does it point to a specific need, like security? Is nesting organizational in nature? Am I completely OCD and this is how it manifested itself when I was a child? Am I a circle person? Is this a form of marking my territory, albeit the creation of play boundaries and personal space instead of doggy pee trails? What does that mean?

Not nesting, as in I’m pregnant and preparing for the imminent birth of my child, though I also experienced that type of nesting. I clearly remember nesting the entire Memorial Day weekend. I thought I was just making things tidy, cleaning house, and putting baby things away. Lo and behold, our first baby came 3 weeks early and arrived before lunch on the Tuesday after Memorial Day. Surprise! I was baby nesting.

There is also the type of nesting performed by birds. I am not a bird. But I am amazed at the intricate, sturdy, vastly creative and unique types of nests these little bird brains build. With that in mind, I’m sure bird brain is a complement.

Back to play nesting. I have memories of Barbie nests, toy box nests (where the toy box is empty and I am surrounded by the toys), and fabric nests. The fabric nests lets you know this nesting trait carried over to my adult years. I remember a specific photo of my two preschoolers, complete with a circle of toys and nearly empty toy box. Donavyn and Autumn (grands) love sitting inside blanket nests. Is nesting hereditary?

Any ideas? Do you nest? Have you seen young children exhibit nesting? I’d love to know more about the nesting syndrome.

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Picture Books of the Moment: Gage & Autumn Picks

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Meet Gage (3 going on 4) and Autumn (2 going on 16). Gigi is also featured above, all 3 of them enjoying a Babybel cheese break.

Preschoolers have discerning tastes and interests. I’d like to add that both of these magnificent grands are eloquent, opinionated, book afficionados. Here are their current favorite picture books. And why I think each has preschool staying power.

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“Again!”

This remark nearly guarantees a great picture book. They should call it the AGAIN Award. SPOILER ALERT: Both grands love Peter and his adventures in the snow, though Gage is convinced the snowball did not melt, but is in fact, tucked beneath Peter’s chin as he sleeps. Don’t believe me? Look at that page. The background white section looks exactly like a snowball. They both love the snow adventures.

Why I think this book deserves the AGAIN Award:

Simplicity of text, universal preschool and young reader experiences, nature focus, playfulness of a child’s day in the snow

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Froggy and his silly antics keep Gage and Autumn glued to the story. They love me to read this to them as they eat lunch. They love jumping to the conclusion before I even get there. The laughing portions of the book have great child appeal.

Why I think this book deserves the AGAIN Award:

Humor, age-appropriate excitement and desire to enjoy life, Froggy’s disregard for reality (hibernate in winter), repetitive language

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Of all the books we read, this one surprises me. Not that it’s a bad book, but, you know, she dies at the end. Despite that, Gage LOVES this book. He knows the ending and he loves how the old lady gets larger and larger. I always use a sing-song voice when I read it, so music complements the retelling. Who knew?

Why I think this book deserves the AGAIN Award:

Illustrations, musical options, repetitive, cumulative, silly, full of exaggeration, contains extra details that can be shared as readers mature

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This book was a hit the very first time I read it, with both Gage and Autumn. They love memorizing the story and retelling it themselves. I did hear that older brother, Donavyn, was purposely saying the wrong thing as she was reading to herself. This made her very angry! (This might have happened with the next book instead…). Preschoolers love reading about the caterpillar.

Why I think this book deserves the AGAIN Award:

Nature aspects of change, life cycle, eating, growing, overeating; days of the week; interesting pages and features like holes and different-sized pages; simple text and easy to recall story; classic picture book tale

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This was one of the first books I dug out to share with Gage and Autumn. They loved it and immediately memorized the pattern of text and wanted to read it alone. This book is easy to figure out by simply turning the pages. The bright colorful illustrations help readers retell and enjoy the story.

Why I think this book deserves the AGAIN Award:

Predictable, patterned, colorful illustrations, teaches colors, simple text, imaginative (blue horse?!), fun to read, readers enjoy being in control and being the ‘teacher’ as they read

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Anything with a flap is award-winning for preschoolers. This simple book has repetitive text and involves visual and textual clues to use to guess the answer. Fill-in-the-blank reading is lots of fun and both Gage and Autumn love shouting the answers. Animals, flaps, mystery! I can’t tell you how many times I’ve taped this book back together.

Why I think this book deserves the AGAIN Award:

Lift the flaps, simplicity, animal connections, emotions, cause and effect, thinking skills to figure out which pet is best

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Three words: Hug, Bobo, Mommy. Who says you can’t tell a story with only 3 words? Everybody knows about hugs and mommy’s. Gage and Autumn love this book because of the mommy factor. Mommy’s are important and it would be horrible if she went missing. All the animals work together to help Bobo. So many good things in three words and great illustrations.

Why I think this book deserves the AGAIN Award:

The mommy factor, hugs, friends, helping, simple text, universal needs and desires, family, being lost and getting found

Introducing the AGAIN Award. You heard it here first, friends.

Let’s find other books that deserve the AGAIN Award. For in those beloved books, we will find the joy of reading and the shared experiences of lap time.

 

 

 

 


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Storystorm Winner!

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I’m a Storystorm winner!

Storystorm is a month-long brainstorming project for writers of picture books organized and hosted by Tara Lazar. Mark your calendars for January 2020 when Storystorm will blast off the new year with daily posts, ideas, tips, and interactions with other writers. It’s that good.

Everyone who participates in Storystorm is a winner. I have a full notebook of ideas from this past month of Storystorm and previous years of Storystorm. I just began my second notebook. Those notebooks are gold mines for writers of picture books. Really!

I can’t tell you my ideas. They are SECRET. For now. Let me tell you there are some real gems lining those pages.

Whoop!

What do you do to brainstorm?

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Monday Moments: The Weather App was Correct=Snow!

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Lately we’ve been required to take the weather app predictions with an entire shaker full of salt (instead of a few grains).

But not today! The app said snow, and snow is the happening event. I think they are quite a bit off on the amount of snow they predicted, as I spent over an hour shoveling and my tracks, trails, and cleared areas disappeared beneath more inches of the pretty fluff before I finished.

What is .2 of an inch anyway? Not the mountains of snow piled around the RV and shop. Do they measure snow AFTER they melt it in a cup? I keep sweeping .2 off the deck. And the next time I look, I need to do it again. Percentage of error seems to be quite high.

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.2 frozen in my hair

Blowing wind, heavy snow, cold air. Winter is back. With near 50 degrees last week, I was thinking spring, bulbs popping up new flowers, pleasant walks, sunny skies. Wait. I thought the groundhog did not see his shadow and spring is coming early?

Winter or not, I love the white stuff. So beautiful. A bear to drive in (I watched a semi back down the hill near us when he couldn’t make it to the top). Slippery footing. Cold. So peaceful. Quiet.

No late start today. I think that is going to change tomorrow. Get out those snow clothes back out. It’s sledding time!

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.2 melting on my glasses, soaking my hat and coat

What’s the weather in your neck of the woods?


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Snow Day Tea Party

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In our area of the northwest, we often have winter snow days or late start days when the roads are slick early in the morning. Just recently, an overnight heavy wet cold snow fell, causing slippery roads and perfect conditions for a late start (for school to start). It’s only 2 hours late, but one can have plenty of fun in those 120 minutes.

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First up was sledding down the pasture hill. The 5 grands did a wonderful job sharing one sled, pairing up with each other and racing to see who could travel the longest distance down the slope.

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Once the proper bright red noses and cheeks were acquired, we trooped inside for a snow day tea party, all ages included. This was not the traditional apres snow play hot cocoa and cookies, as both Nana and mommy (Auntie) were fresh out of hot chocolate mix. This was find what’s in the pantry and enjoy it to the fullest. So tea it was.

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Tiny tea cups, spoons, saucers, and tea pots were filled with tepid herbal tea. Honey dripped stickily into cups and was stirred in. Spills were mopped up with place mats and towels, and peanuts stood in for tea cakes. For one young girl, those tea cake peanuts tasted marvelous when they were soaked in tea and scooped out with a spoon.

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A fun time was had by all. Pinkies up for the next snow day late start!

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Once the 3 older grands went to late school, the 2 younger ones had another type of snow day.

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First Organize, Then Write

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As long as I can remember, I’ve always had to tidy the nest before beginning and completing projects.

In college, I had to clean my room, organize my desk, do the laundry, and make lists of things I needed to get done before I could tackle homework and class assignments.

In high school, I had to make my bed and I’m assuming put away belongings in the room I shared with my sister. I don’t remember those years as far as organizing, except I was on the college track and academic and social paths were solidly beneath my feet in order to ensure that I was able to attend the college of my choice. Go, Western Washington University!

Before that, I remember enjoying nesting when I played. Literally, I loved surrounding myself with a circle of toys (the nest) and playing contentedly within nest borders. I suppose that was a form of nesting.

Now, at the age of 56, something in my personality requires the same urgency to organize my surroundings and then write and/or work on deadline projects.

You can imagine the trouble this causes when living in a tiny RV. There is only so much room for organizing and tidying! I work at the RV table-aka-desk. Each time I need to work, the table HAS to be cleared in order to make space for the laptop and assorted files, books, and resources I need for references. I pull out the TV tray for my desk extension and prop work items around me. When it’s time to stop writing, reversing the nesting process gives me plenty of opportunities to think creatively about where to store (and be able to find again) my work items. Poor honey, he really puts up well with my hogging of space.

Just last weekend, I tackled the messy paper stack on the RV bench. Also known as my filing cabinet and book shelf. It was pretty bad.

Surprise! When I pulled out the stacks of things to be sorted and properly filed, I discovered that condensation was making the back of the cushion damp and a tiny bit of mold was happily growing in the corner. Lovely, that. This type of cleaning need requires immediate removal of all cushions, the wiping down of cushions and mold areas, and thorough drying of said items.

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We tend to forget, my honey and I, that this task is often necessary at least once a winter season. So I cleaned, organized, and reassembled.

While I still have a pile of little writerly notes (IDEAS, friends, those precious papers are filled with inspiration!), the rest of the RV dining area/office/guest bedroom/and family room is tidy and ready for work projects.

That is, until the pitter-patter of little grands enters the RV. Things quickly get scooted out of the way and piled in the corner of the bench. This habit is also called JOB SECURITY for the need to organize THEN write.

How about you? Do you have any quirky habits or needs that have to be fulfilled before you tackle a big project or activity? Please tell me someone else out there has to nest!


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Today is Multicultural Children’s Book Day! Book Review: Just Like You by Keosha Sath #ReadYourWorld

Today is a special day! Help me celebrate Multicultural Children’s Book Day by reading about a fun new book! I was gifted this book by @MascotBooks so I could participate in MCBD2019! Thank you, @MascotBooks and @KeoshaSath.

I’m pleased to introduce you to Just Like You, Keosha Sath, and Mascot Books!

Just Like You

Written by Keosha Sath

Illustrated by Yasushi Matsuoka

Published by Mascot Books (2018)

Ages: 5-6 years old

Themes: Self-confidence, Imagination, Equality, Career

Synopsis: From Amazon:

In this book, a small child is inquisitively asking her mother questions about life. The book begins with the mother and daughter in the car on the way to school. They then visit different job occupations throughout the day. The mom is so busy thinking about giving the best answers, that she forgets the most important job is being a mom.

The importance of this book is to show all little girls that they can work in male dominated jobs. The book also plants the seed to strive to be the person in charge. This book encourages more girls to think about obtaining science, technology, engineering, and mathematics jobs, as there is a shortage of women in these fields.

Why I love this book:

I love the opening pages when the little girl asks, “Mommy, why do I have to go to school today?” and the mother answers, “So that you can be whatever you want to be when you grow up.”

What a perfect statement and preface for giving permission to dream big and grow up to be whatever you want! I want all little girls (and all children) to have the self-confidence and permission to pursue any career that interests them, regardless of who is traditionally found working in specific occupations.

I love the bold, colorful, beautiful illustrations that accompany the story. Just Like You is told through conversation only. Mommy and the little girl have different colors of print to distinguish who is speaking. This style of writing keeps the story moving and captivating. During the conversation, a variety of careers and multicultural characters illustrate the story. I love the beautiful family featured on the pages of Just Like You. Young readers will enjoy the suggestions and open discussion of career options found in Just Like You.

Connect with Keosha Sath:

Instagram: Keosha Sath

Facebook: Keosha Sath

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Multicultural Children’s Book Day 2019 (1/25/19) is in its 6th year and was founded by Valarie Budayr from Jump Into A Book and Mia Wenjen from PragmaticMom. Our mission is to raise awareness of the ongoing need to include kids’ books that celebrate diversity in homes and school bookshelves while also working diligently to get more of these types of books into the hands of young readers, parents and educators.

MCBD 2019 is honored to have the following Medallion Sponsors on board

Medallion Level Sponsors

Honorary: Children’s Book Council, The Junior Library Guild, TheConsciousKid.org.

Super Platinum: Make A Way Media

GOLD: Bharat Babies, Candlewick Press, Chickasaw Press, Juan Guerra and The Little Doctor / El doctorcito, KidLitTVLerner Publishing Group, Plum Street Press,

SILVER: Capstone Publishing, Carole P. Roman, Author Charlotte Riggle, Huda Essa, The Pack-n-Go Girls,

BRONZE: Charlesbridge Publishing, Judy Dodge Cummings, Author Gwen Jackson, Kitaab World, Language Lizard – Bilingual & Multicultural Resources in 50+ Languages, Lee & Low Books, Miranda Paul and Baptiste Paul, Redfin, Author Gayle H. Swift,  T.A. Debonis-Monkey King’s Daughter, TimTimTom Books, Lin Thomas, Sleeping Bear Press/Dow Phumiruk, Vivian Kirkfield,

 

MCBD 2019 is honored to have the following Author Sponsors on board

Honorary: Julie Flett, Mehrdokht Amini,

Author Janet Balletta, Author Kathleen Burkinshaw, Author Josh Funk, Chitra Soundar, One Globe Kids – Friendship Stories, Sociosights Press and Almost a Minyan, Karen Leggett, Author Eugenia Chu, CultureGroove Books, Phelicia Lang and Me On The Page, L.L. Walters, Author Sarah Stevenson, Author Kimberly Gordon Biddle, Hayley Barrett, Sonia Panigrah, Author Carolyn Wilhelm, Alva Sachs and Dancing Dreidels, Author Susan Bernardo, Milind Makwana and A Day in the Life of a Hindu Kid, Tara Williams, Veronica Appleton, Author Crystal Bowe, Dr. Claudia May, Author/Illustrator Aram Kim, Author Sandra L. Richards, Erin Dealey, Author Sanya Whittaker Gragg, Author Elsa Takaoka, Evelyn Sanchez-Toledo, Anita Badhwar, Author Sylvia Liu, Feyi Fay Adventures, Author Ann Morris, Author Jacqueline Jules, CeCe & Roxy Books, Sandra Neil Wallace and Rich Wallace, LEUYEN PHAM, Padma Venkatraman, Patricia Newman and Lightswitch Learning, Shoumi Sen, Valerie Williams-Sanchez and Valorena Publishing, Traci Sorell, Shereen Rahming, Blythe Stanfel, Christina Matula, Julie Rubini, Paula Chase, Erin Twamley, Afsaneh Moradian, Lori DeMonia, Claudia Schwam, Terri Birnbaum/ RealGirls Revolution, Soulful Sydney, Queen Girls Publications, LLC

 

We’d like to also give a shout-out to MCBD’s impressive CoHost Team who not only hosts the book review link-up on celebration day, but who also works tirelessly to spread the word of this event. View our CoHosts HERE.

Co-Hosts and Global Co-Hosts

A Crafty Arab, Agatha Rodi Books, All Done Monkey, Barefoot Mommy, Biracial Bookworms, Books My Kids Read, Crafty Moms Share, Colours of Us, Discovering the World Through My Son’s Eyes, Descendant of Poseidon Reads, Educators Spin on it,  Growing Book by Book, Here Wee Read, Joy Sun Bear/ Shearin Lee, Jump Into a Book, Imagination Soup, Jenny Ward’s Class, Kid World Citizen, Kristi’s Book Nook, The Logonauts, Mama Smiles, Miss Panda Chinese, Multicultural Kid Blogs, Raising Race Conscious Children, Shoumi Sen, Spanish Playground

And guess what? They are having a super Twitter party with visiting authors answering questions and LOTS of prizes!

twitter party announcement

TWITTER PARTY Sponsored by Make A Way Media: MCBD’s super-popular (and crazy-fun) annual @McChildsBookDay Twitter Party will be held 1/25/19 at 9:00pm.E.S.T. TONS of prizes and book bundles will be given away during the party. GO HERE for more details.

We will be giving away Book Bundles every 5 minutes!

Twitter Party Details:

When: Friday, January 25th

Time: 9 pm to 10 pm EST

Where: On Twitter! Follow McChildsBookDay to participate

Hashtag: #ReadYourWorld

Sponsored By: Make A Way Media

And wait…that’s not all! There are free resources available for teachers and parents!

FREE RESOURCES From MCBD

Free Multicultural Books for Teachers: http://bit.ly/1kGZrta

Free Empathy Classroom Kit for Homeschoolers, Organizations, Librarians and Educators: http://multiculturalchildrensbookday.com/teacher-classroom-empathy-kit/

Hashtag: Don’t forget to connect with us on social media and be sure and look for/use our official hashtag #ReadYourWorld.