Purpose of this Blog...

You may have noticed that not all books are equal in capturing children's imaginations and in cultivating those innocent, tender souls. My goal is to help you find the ones that do!
(Painting by Mary Cassatt: "Mrs Cassatt Reading to her Grandchildren" -1888)

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

A Giveaway for St. Nicholas Day!

As mentioned in my last post, to celebrate crossing 1,000 likes on my Good Books Facebook Page, I'm going to be hosting several giveaways throughout this holiday season.  

Here's the first one, a special "St. Nicholas Bundle" sponsored by EmiliasPost (the package will arrive at your house just in time for St. Nicholas Day!)...

The Saint Nicholas Bundle features:

  • 4 hand-illustrated postcards (featuring Saint Nicholas on the front and postcard design on back)
  • 1 bag of St. Nicholas chocolate gold coins (by Paidea Classics)
  • 1 handmade St. Nicholas cookie cutter with a cookie recipe
  • 1 “Life of St. Nicholas” card with instructions for celebrating his feast day

This is seriously the sweetest bundle of goodies from EmiliasPost, an Etsy shop that a young friend of mine recently started.  As a busy mom, she and a friend wanted to find some way they could help Syrian refugees - so they came up with the idea of selling the bundles on her Etsy page to benefit IOCC's Syrian Relief Fund

Traditionally, the chocolate gold coins are put in children's shoes that have been left out on the night of December 5th for St. Nicholas' visit.  But they make great stocking stuffers too!

I can't fail to mention this year's book recommendation for St. Nicholas Day on December 6th:  St. Nicholas and the Nine Gold Coins by Jim Forest, luminously illustrated by Vladislav Andreyev. 

...the popular perception of Saint Nicholas today diverges greatly from his original veneration as a compassionate almsgiver and defender of the poor. Saint Nicholas has been reduced to the pop culture fi gure of Santa Claus, a jolly old man who brings presents to good little boys and girls. Th is book reacquaints those boys and girls with the authentic Santa Claus—Nicholas, a man who found greatness not simply in spreading "good cheer," but in being a true icon of Jesus Christ in word and deed.

Just as St. Nicholas gave gold coins to help the poor, I hope you take time this Advent season to teach your children to consider those who are poor and needy.

Everybody does Black Friday shopping, how about some Advent Giving...
I know this is a busy time with Thanksgiving approaching and with December right around the corner!  But I hope you'll stop by EmiliasPost Etsy Shop and (in the spirit of St. Nicholas) consider purchasing a St. Nicholas Bundle to send to someone special this December.
The St. Nicholas Bundles are $20, which includes shipping; 100% of the proceeds goes to IOCC Syrian Relief. You can also donate directly through IOCC here.

But back to my Celebratory GIVEAWAY! 
Leave a comment for your chance to win this bundle of joy...

  • You have from today through Sunday, November 29, 2015 to post a comment here and/or on Facebook for a chance to win the St. Nicholas Bundle.
  • Comments closed at midnight.  
  • Winner announced on Monday, November 30, 2015. 

Please watch and come back to see if you're the winner, then email me your address so EmiliasPost can get the bundle mailed out to you in time for St. Nicholas Day!
UPDATE 11/30/15: Thanks to everyone who participated in this giveaway! Congratulations to my giveaway winner, Maria, who is one of my Good Books For Young Souls Facebook followers.

One Thousand Facebook Followers? Kindred Spirits!

Wow, yesterday my Good Books For Young Souls Facebook Page hit 1,000 "likes"!  I realize that many of you who follow my blog, follow me on Facebook as well - so thank you!  And thanks to all you Facebook followers who've made it over here to the blog, and take time to read my posts!

To celebrate, I'm planning some fun giveaways.  Watch Facebook for updates!

Nice to know there are so many "Kindred Spirits" out there in Facebookland who enjoy children's books as much as I do!

Monday, November 16, 2015

Advent Book Calendars!

It can be challenging to find ways to help children keep their focus on the birth of Christ during the annual "Countdown to Santa and Christmas Presents" that our frenzied culture of consumers gets so caught up in. Well, thank goodness for another kind of countdown: Advent, a time of joyous expectation.

An Advent Calendar of Christmas Books: I'd like to share some ideas for incorporating beautiful Christmas picture books into your family traditions during this time of anticipation. It takes a little planning, but it's worth the forethought and effort...
photo - detailgalblog

1- You need to determine how many books you need - this will depend on how many days leading up to Christmas you'd like to do this activity (during all of Advent - from November 15, if you're Eastern Orthodox, or the 25 days of December - or maybe just the last week leading up to Christmas).

2- Need book recommendations? Click here for my Christmas Book Resource Page, if you need book recommendations.


3- Choose the books. Gather Christmas books you already have. This is also a nice way to start collecting Christmas picture books - buy a few a year to add in!  You can also do what my daughter does: add library books - just be sure to label and read the ones from the library first, so they won't be overdue.


4- Decide how you want to display your Advent Calendar of Books.  Some families put them in a basket, wrapped or unwrapped; others wrap them up and number them so their children can open one each night.  Either way, it's a fun read aloud activity for the whole family!

5- Challenged for time? If you don't have time to get all these books, you might be interested in one Advent Storybook, with a reading for each night of December, or The Story of Christmas, a book set and advent calendar.  You can find both on Amazon - pictured below.

Whatever you choose to do, I pray you have a blessed Advent, in preparation for the coming of our Lord at his Nativity!

Friday, November 6, 2015

Practicing Thanksgiving with Tomie dePaola

Today I practiced Thanksgiving (the table, not the food) in order to showcase a sweet book that helps children give thought to the important act of giving thanks. It's by Tomie dePaola.

I don't know about you, but when I'm planning a special event, I like to do a practice run of my table-scape. Especially for holiday celebrations.

This year I won't be hosting Thanksgiving (we will be visiting my daughter, son-in-law, and grandsons in New York!)  But the temperatures here in Southern California have finally started falling, so it actually feels like fall - prompting me to break out my new (old) brown ironstone transferware, and celebrate with this little photo shoot!

In the same way that we practice setting our table, we need to help our children practice being thankful!  That's where this joyous book by Tomie de Paola comes in...(want to mention that I got my dishes and this book on Ebay!)

Let he whole Earth Sing Praise (2011) is a sweet and simple book, with text inspired by Old Testament Scripture and artwork styled after designs and embroideries of the Otomi people from the mountain villages around San Pablito, in Puebla, Mexico.

Joy is to be found everywhere - in the sun and moon, stars and comets, mountains and rivers, plants and creatures...in everything, give thanks!

I'm thankful for all my readers, and am offering a Fall Giveaway for the first person to leave a comment here!  It's a stenciled burlap "Happy Thanksgiving" Banner...it comes in three pieces, but they can be strung together in one long banner, or however you'd like.

Here's a Thanksgiving giveaway for everyone -  this lovely quote from St. Basil the Great:
When you sit down to eat, pray. 
When you eat bread, do so thanking Him for being so generous to you. 
If you drink wine, be mindful of Him who has given it to you for your pleasure and as a relief in sickness. 
When you dress, thank Him for His kindness in providing you with clothes. 
When you look at the sky and the beauty of the stars, throw yourself at God’s feet and adore Him who in His wisdom has arranged things in this way. 
Similarly, when the sun goes down and when it rises, when you are asleep or awake, give thanks to God, who created and arranged all things for your benefit, to have you know, love and praise their Creator. 
-St. Basil the Great