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)

Monday, February 29, 2016

Leaping Out of February and Into March

Happy Leap Day!


This lovely "Jack Be Nimble" from Eulalie Grover's Mother Goose is by American illustrator Frederick Richardson [1862 – 1937].

See the whole, beautiful book here, on Project Gutenberg.

Richardson is also known for illustrations of works by L. Frank Baum, Hans Christian Andersen, and Andrew Lang, to name a few.  To view more of his illustrations, go here.

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Two Congratulations for WORLD READ ALOUD DAY...

Congratulations to my Giveaway winner, Rebeca!  I'll be sending her a beautiful new read aloud book by Jane G. Meyer, When God Made You

Hearty congratulations are also in order on this day for my friend Brandi, who just helped launch a new reading website - Reading Together Romania!  This is a big. deal. !!!!!

I hope you all read aloud lots of good books today and everyday...
Go to Reach Out and Read, Lit World, Reading Together Romania

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

What Was God Thinking...?

On the first and last pages of her exquisite new picture book, When God Made You, Jane G. Meyer poses a question to young readers: "What beautiful thing was God thinking when he made you?"

Jane's lyrical text and Megan Elizabeth Gilbert's vibrant water color illustrations celebrate God's special masterpieces: children, of all diverse backgrounds and unique talents.

I'm sure that kids of every age will enjoy pouring over the book while being introduced to boys and girls from all over the world...Makani from Hawaii; Brigid from Ireland; Chinedu from Africa; and Mateo from Greece, to name a few.

My favorite is an Arabic girl, Alia...

When God made Alia, He took black silken hair from a desert horse's mane, 
wound the strands round a silver flute, 
and blew one note into the sleeping child's ear.  
From a cool desert spring, God shaped three tear-shaped droplets 
onto Alia's lips and blessed them: 
one for clarity, one for purity, and one for boldness. 
Satisfied, God said
Alia, SING! 

This book is carefully crafted from cover to cover - the last pages are devoted to beautiful thoughts and prayers.  There are also explanations running around the outer edges of the pages disclosing the meanings of the children's names featured in the book, as well as their country of origin.  

Would you like a chance to win this book?  I'm doing a Giveaway today!  Please leave a comment for a chance to win Jane G. Meyer's When God Made You.  Giveaway ends February 23, 2016 at midnight.  Winner announced on my blog a week from today, 2/24/16. Update, 2/24/16:  Giveaway over.  Congratulations to my winner, Rebeca!

I love the fun end papers showing all kinds of children doing all kinds of things!  Maybe one looks like your child...

Saturday, February 6, 2016

New York Wanderings Part II: Ferdinand in the Big Apple

Today's entry is a guest post by my daughter, Mary...

Hello Good Books for Young Souls readers!  We'll get to Ferdinand in a minute, but first I want to share a little bit about my love of New York City with you.

I remember so well my first visit to The Big Apple. I was 17, and it was November of my Senior year of high school when I embarked on a tri-generational visit to NYC with my dearest Mama and her mother, my Grandma . I loved the city that I had come to know through books, TV, and film. Experiencing New York first hand was intriguing. I embraced the energy of this "city that never sleeps."

Fast forward to now - as a mom of two young kids, I find that the city, though ever-diverting, can become exhausting and overwhelming rather quickly with my little family in tow. The constant barrage of sensory stimulation suddenly seemed way beyond just an energetic "city vibe" when my husband and I went on our first NYC excursion with our two young sons for a stroll from Grand Central station to meet a friend in SoHo, nearly two miles of city blocks south.

Since that initial and somewhat overwhelming family visit, I've tried to relax my standards a bit and focus on helping my family enjoy New York City, rather than becoming distracted by my "to do" list or trying to do too much in one day.

With the help of Mommy Poppins (an indispensable website for families), we tend to choose one neighborhood or destination to explore, bring lots of snacks to enjoy when our excursion is finished, and then find ourselves a special and renowned treat before we head back home.

So our visit with my mommy dearest, Good Books Grandma, followed much the same format. We decided to go to the Upper West Side (which we love, especially because of its prominence in Nora Ephron's You've Got Mail)...

Upper West Side

...and planned to spend the day trying new things like Audrey Hepburn and George Peppard's characters in Breakfast at Tiffany's, another of my favorite New York City flicks!

After enjoying a leisurely drive past snow-covered Central Park and a delicious lunch at a cute and kid-friendly eatery that we stumbled upon, we headed to the New York Historical Society.  (It's right next to the American Museum of Natural History - another favorite spot that my mom blogged about here.)

This was a first visit for both of us, and seemed like a great spot to soak up some local history and art, while also finding some fun for my boys. A big draw was the NYHS's Holiday Train Exhibit, which my three-year-old loved!


But what I had really been wanting to check out was the "Little New Yorkers" program in the NYHS's DiMenna Children's Museum. It turned out to be fantastic, and just the sort of "New York moment" that I had been looking for for my oldest son.

We arrived at the colorful and interactive Children's Museum (in the downstairs of the NYHS) a few minutes before their Friday 3:30 program began. My three-year-old had fun exploring the train table and making new friends...

...while my little guy helped grandma as she perused the wall of books in the Children's History Library. There were lots of great titles we found to read during our visit, many of them about New York and US History. (I loved the NY skyline mural which made this feel like a rooftop library!)

Soon it was time to begin the program, and after a fun sing-along song and short introduction to today's book with our wonderful educator, our group took a short field trip up the elevator to find a more fitting setting in which to read Munro Leaf's Ferdinand, which was the book selection for the day...

How perfect! While we listened to Spanish classical tunes softly playing throughout the gallery, our educator talked with the children about Picasso's "Le Tricorne" which is newly on exhibit at the NYHS. (Note the PICASSO signature in the photo below.)

Measuring roughly 20 square feet, this HUGE curtain (once meant to be a backdrop for a ballet, and believed to be Picasso's largest painting) really brought the bullfighting story to life for me. I can only imagine how much more so for the tiny people who were enjoying the story so intently!!

After finishing the story and discussing Picasso's painting, we took the elevator back downstairs to work on this week's "Little New Yorker's" craft: a bull mask, complete with a flower crown.

Because as we all know...

"he liked to sit just quietly and smell the flowers"

Now, my oldest son has loved Ferdinand since he was about 20 months old. "Except I don't like when he sits on that lil' bee," he'll tell you.
Fair enough, my son.
Regardless to say, he took the task at hand very seriously...

"...there was a little bull and his name was Ferdinand."

"All the other little bulls he lived with would run and jump and butt their
heads together...but not Ferdinand."

"He liked to sit just quietly and smell the flowers."

He wore his mask all day, and enjoyed wearing it all around the DiMenna Children's Museum while he explored the exhibits. (See that little bull horn peeking out from between the windows?)

And for all I know, he is sitting there still, wearing his bull mask, smelling the flowers just quietly.

He is very happy.

We really loved our visit to the New York Historical Society! We ended the day by finding some macarons from the whimsical and decadent Sugar and Plumm - Purveyors of Yumm for the trip back home.

But of course, what we enjoyed most was our visit with Grandma! I'll never forget how we found a quiet but engaging spot in the midst of the Big Apple, with a little help from Ferdinand!