Love, Laughter, and Life

Adventures With a Book Lover


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Book Report: Astronaut-Aquanaut: How Space Science and Sea Science Interact by Jennifer Swanson

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Astronaut-Aquanaut: How Space Science and Sea Science Interact

Written by Jennifer Swanson

Published by National Geographic Partners, LLC; 2018

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I received two copies of Astronaut-Aquanaut by Jennifer Swanson, one to keep and one to give to my grandson’s school. We made the delivery in January, giving the book to his teacher. Thanks so much to Jennifer!

You can learn more about Jennifer and her books by visiting her web site.

 

AMAZON BLURB:

Journey from the deepest trenches in the oceans to the farthest humans have ventured into space and learn what it takes to explore the extremes. You might just be surprised by how similar the domains of ASTRONAUTS and AQUANAUTS really are.

Space and the ocean. If you don’t think they go together, think again! Both deep-sea and space explorers have to worry about pressure, temperature, climate, and most importantly, how to survive in a remote and hostile environment. Join us on an amazing journey as we go up in space with astronauts and dive deep down in the ocean with aquanauts to explore the far-off places of our planet and the solar system.

With a strong tie into STEM topics–such as making connections, making comparisons, and recognizing patterns across content areas–readers will discover the amazing science and incredible innovations that allow humans (and sometimes only machines) to survive in these harsh environments.

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WHAT I LIKE ABOUT THIS BOOK:

Astronaut-Aquanaut is a gorgeous book! Colorful illustrations, photos, graphs, and detailed information fill the pages. Despite ample pictures to look at, the text is skillfully written and explains so many space and ocean concepts! I learned many new ideas and information. I had no idea how similar deep sea science and deep space science are to each other.

This book really is an excellent resource for anyone who wants to learn about becoming an astronaut or an aquanaut. The pages are filled with so many cool tidbits, factoids, and real life experiences of those individuals who have pursued careers in both fields.

STEM based, Astronaut-Aquanaut is primed for leading young explorers to delve far and wide and learn more about both areas.

This nonfiction picture book, geared for older readers, is an excellent example of a text that instructs, entertains and informs.

Way to go, Jennifer Swanson!

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Book Report: How to Walk an Ant by Cindy Derby

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How to Walk an Ant

Written and illustrated by Cindy Derby

Roaring Brook Press, 2019

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Cindy Derby, Roaring Brook Press, and KidLit411 gifted me with a copy of How to Walk an Ant. Thank you for such a delightful book!

Opening lines:

“My name is Amariyah, and I am an Expert Walker.

No, I don’t mean I walk perfect,

I mean I walk things.”

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Amazon Blurb:

There are nine steps to becoming an ant walker, and Amariyah, the expert ant walker, is here to show you how it’s done.

This irreverent and quirky picture book, How to Walk an Ant, follows a young girl as she goes through the process of walking ants, from polite introductions to tragic leash entanglements.

In the end, this unique book from author-illustrator Cindy Derby shows that as long as you’re doing what you’re best at, you may find a like-minded friend to tag along.

*Zero ants were harmed in the making of this book.
**Oops, 7 ants were harmed in the making of this book.

 

Why I Like This Book:

Quirky and irreverent is correct! I loved reading about Amariyah and her efforts to educate me in the best ways to walk ants (always carry plenty of thread, …). The illustrations perfectly match the story and I had to laugh loud and giggle to myself several times as I read. Seriously, which picture book do you know where FUNERAL plans are a part of the appendix?

The writing is clear and entertaining. Amariyah has a unique voice and I love her personality and adventures. A limited palette for the illustrations allows images to pop into life. Add diagrams and insets, and anyone who reads How to Walk an Ant will quickly reach expert level. This book is a fun read.

Spring is here, the best time to practice walking newly emerged ants. Read How to Walk an Ant and then head outside to practice walking ants.

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KID KANDY:

Ants on a Log

Ingredients: celery, peanut butter (or other nut butter if you can’t eat peanuts), raisins

4 Steps to Eating Ants

1. With an adult, wash and cut celery sticks into 3-4 inch pieces

2. Spread peanut butter in the celery (log) trough.

3. Plop ants (raisins) on the peanut butter.

4. Eat ants on a log. Now you are an expert eater of ants.

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Book Report: Borrowing Bunnies, A Surprising True Tale of Fostering Rabbits by Cynthia Lord

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Borrowing Bunnies, A Surprising True Tale of Fostering Rabbits

Written by Cynthia Lord

Photographs by John Bald

Illustrations by Hazel Mitchell

Farrar Straus Giroux Books for Young Readers, 2019

 

“Come along on a surprising adventure with two very special bunnies as they find their forever families!” (back cover)

I send a special thanks hopping to Cynthia Lord, for gifting me with a beautiful copy of Borrowing Bunnies, complete with three autographs! Thank you for the bunny keepsake! Thanks also goes out to Kathy Halsey and Group Blog for offering the opportunity to win a copy of this adorable bunny tail. Tale. Hop on over to read about great books.

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Amazon Blurb:

Newbery Honor author Cynthia Lord likes fostering rabbits—or, as she fondly calls it, “borrowing bunnies.” This is the heartwarming true story of the author’s own journey with two very special rabbits.

In the spring of 2016, Peggotty and Benjamin were saved by Maine’s Cottontail Cottage Rabbit Rescue after their previous owners had neglected them. But before the two Netherland Dwarf rabbits could be adopted, Cynthia had to help them learn to trust people and feel safe inside a home. The bunnies slowly settled in, enjoying their clean pens, nibbling new foods, and playing with fun toys, while Cindy’s husband, John Bald, photographed Benjamin and Peggotty’s every step toward adoption. At that time, hundreds of viewers were drawn to Cindy’s Facebook page to watch their progress. Now, she has adapted the rabbits’ true story into a picture book that explores love, responsibility, empathy, and letting go—along with fostering’s many surprises, both big and small.

Young readers will delight in watching these bunnies thrive while also learning a few fun animal facts. With Cindy’s pitch-perfect blend of warmth and real-life experience, Borrowing Bunnies is a new classic in narrative nonfiction.

Things I Like About Borrowing Bunnies:

1. BUNNIES! At once glance, I was in love and wanted to run out and foster (to keep-ok, that is called adoption) a baby bunny! Fortunately, I live in an RV and there is no room for in indoor bunny. Outdoors will not work, as we have a hunting pair of hawks who return each spring to nest, raise their young, and teach them to hunt-right in our pasture.

But read on, friends. Be prepared to spend time and resources to care for, love, train, and snuggle with these cuties.

2. New information. I learned so much about rabbits and their habits. Wonderful illustrations and photographs merge on colorful pages, telling the story of fostering bunnies. I’m still wondering how to potty train a bunny though. Is it like a kitten where you just keep putting it back in the kitty box until it potties and makes the connection? One of my junior high friends had an indoor pet rabbit and it left a trail of bunny pellets everywhere it traveled.

3. Narrative. Cynthia Lord writes in a clean and captivating way, engaging me and explaining along the way. Young readers will love the bunny story and not even notice how much they are learning!

4. Illustrations and photos. Perfect combination of information, character profiles (bunnies), and adorableness.

5. Overall package. This book is just right. Spring, when we tend to think of baby bunnies and other assorted baby animals, is the optimum time to read Borrowing Bunnies. This book would fit right into an Easter basket or collection of spring animal books.

6. Emotions. Some sections of this book will make you cry, laugh, love, and experience loss. Readers are exposed to the emotions connected with fostering and caring for animals. Discussing these emotions will help young readers understand their feelings.

I hope you are encouraged to purchase or check-out Borrowing Bunnies and read all about real life bunnies. Maybe one day you will foster baby animals!

 

KID KANDY:

Here are a few fun things you can do after reading Borrowing Bunnies:

~ hop and leap like a bunny

~ use blankets to make a soft bunny nest for stuffed animals or yourself

~ curl up in your nest and read Borrowing Bunnies!

~ visit a zoo or farm to see and pet live bunnies

~ eat a bunny salad for lunch (carrots, lettuce, radishes, peas)

~ pick dandelions to make bunny bouquets (bunnies love dandelions)

~ use paper, markers, glue stick, and cotton balls to make a bunny picture; draw the bunny with long ears and whiskers; glue a cotton ball on for a tail

Hoppy Day!

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Hey, friends! If you are a writer of picture books and stories for young readers, this writing contest is for you! 50 words to tell a story (beginning, middle, end)? You can do it! Visit Vivian Kirkfield at her blog for details. Best wishes!

via The #50PreciousWords Writing Contest is OPEN: March 2-6


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It’s that time of year, writers. If you are a SCBWI member, this is a great opportunity! The application window is March.

Let’s turn those ideas into the best stories possible!

Thanks to Kathy Temean over at Writing and Illustrating!

via BOOK WINNERS and SCBWI WORK IN PROGRESS AWARDS Opportunity


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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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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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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.