Archive for February 2012

I Believe In You, by Marianne Richmond

I wish I didn’t nag my daughters so much. I truly believe in their power to make good choices and do the right thing. As winter drags on, however, there seem to be too many days when, for instance, the walk to the Y becomes an endurance test because we have left the house with only one mitt or no hat, or someone’s lips are raw from licking and lack of lip balm use!

I Believe In You is one parent’s lovely collection of positive, encouraging thoughts for children. It touches on all the themes that are important to us these days – telling the truth, not letting other people’s moods dictate our feelings, and being responsible for our actions. Sometimes life’s challenges can weigh like a huge anchor, so it’s good to have a book like this to strengthen the most important messages I can share with Elizabeth and Sophie. I believe in each of them; their job is to become the best person they can be and I will be there to support them. This book is highly recommended.


Valentine’s Day is a special day around our house and not just for all the kissin’ and huggin’ we share! This Valentines we celebrate Sophie’s 5th Birthday. This is a pretty special time of childhood – all sorts of new adventures like beginning Tae-Kwon-Do classes, preparing to start French immersion in the Fall and making a move to do many more “big girl” things around our home and in daily routines. (Note – thanks to Teaching Mamma’s blog for the idea to practice tying shoes)

Here is Sophie’s list of current favourite books – perfect for turning 5 and beginning to see herself as a Reader, as well as story listener/selector:

(1) Baker, Baker, Cookie Maker by Linda Hayward, Illustrated by Tom Brannon
This book features Sesame Street characters and a simple word recognition and rhyming which is supporting Sophie’s book reading efforts.

(2) Paula the Vet by Julia Donaldson – I think we picked this one up in the clearance bin of a book store. With cartoon illustrations, it features lots of animals and again is written in a good rhyming style which Sophie has committed to memory and likes to read to us from memory.

(3) Rain, rain by Maryann Kovalski – Sophie asked to borrow this one from the daycare library overnight and it ended up spending a few days at our home. This is a story Sophie likes to tell about how the weather impacts two girls visit with their Grandma. It includes the familiar children’s song of the same name, which makes it fun.

(4) Richard Scarry’s Best Word Book Ever – There is no denying the appeal of Scarry’s books to children. Sophie received this one on her 3rd birthday and still likes to take it out for a read. I also saw a recommendation for his book Cars and Trucks and Things that Go to encourage interest in reading for boys. We have given this books as several successful birthday gifts!

(5) The Rainbow Magic Fairies series by Daisy Meadows still often have Sophie in their grip (or fluttering wings)! I had sort of hoped we had left Rachel and Kirsty behind, but we always seem to have one of them on the go. Luckily fairy books come in other styles, such as one we borrowed recently called The Mud Fairy by Amy Young. It tells about the special gift that every fairy possesses and how each is unique and need not be the stereotypical fairy gift. In our Disney-dominated world of similarity for girls, this is a refreshing message that deserves several more reads before we return it to the library!

Happy Birthday Sophie! Hope your coming year is filled with many more great stories and reading!

Imaginary Garden by Andrew Larsen, Illustrated by Irene Luxbacher

I haven’t been using my creative thinking for this blog entry – or it could have been posted over two weeks ago.

On that weekend our family ventured to the Lillian Smith Library for a Family Literacy event with Andrew Larsen. We had borrowed one of his books prior to that session – Imaginary Garden. This is a lovely story of Theo and her Poppa. Author Larsen told us we all have stories to tell and this can be one of the best gifts we will ever share. His quote is the title of this blog. He showed us some early home-created versions of the stories he created and reinforce how important oral story telling is, in any day and age.  This book is supported by amazing illustrations to encourage story tellers to use drawing to tell their stories. Author Larsen shared some ways this book stimulated readers imaginations and has taken on a life of it’s own since it was published.

Using one’s imagination and wondering is a main theme in so much writing – both for children and adults. This session helped reinforce how creative thinking needs to be encouraged the same as reading and math skills.

Have you and your child shared imagined stories, as well as books, lately? If you need some help, check out Imaginary Garden. It is a find that is truly inspiring!