Top Five Finds at the Library

Some more great finds to read to the kiddos!

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In Enzo’s Splendid Gardens by Patricia Polacco- This rhyming tale begins when a bee lands on a tree. The story is repeated and added as each page is turned. It illustrates the ripple effect of one little action and how it causes other actions causing quite a commotion in Enzo’s Splendid Gardens.

Kermit the Hermit by Bill Peet- What a great book to talk about being greedy and selfish and then to talk about generosity and helping others. My kids loved listening to this story.

A Giraffe and a Half by Shel Silverstein- This is fun to read aloud. I love that it’s full of if… then statements which are silly and nonsensical. Another great rhyming book.

James Herriot’s Treasury for Children Illustrated by Ruth Brown and Peter Barrett- My kids LOVED these stories. Elle is quite the animal lover and after hearing each story she urged her brother and I to act them out. They love pretending to be cats and dogs. These are very lovely stories recalled from a veterinarian’s life. The illustrations are beautiful too. They are a bit long, but the kids are so wrapped up in the rich language and engaging story that their attention is kept all the way to the end. I highly recommend this treasury for every family.

Miss Nelson is Missing by Harry Allard and James Marshall- Do you remember this one as a kid? It’s a classic, as in I remember listening to this book when I was in school. I actually had used this as a conversation starter to relate Miss Nelson to myself and that Ms. Viola Swamp may show up as Elle’s teacher if she continued to misbehave. We were having a little difficulty with wanting to pay attention. I think this book helped to illustrate how kids don’t appreciate what they have until it’s gone.

What is a favorite picture book you’ve read lately?

Top Five Finds from the Library

The Gum Chewing Rattler by Joe Hayes- This was not one of my personal favorites, but my daughter really enjoyed the tall tale – or was it really true? It’s a story about a kid’s encounter with a rattle snake, very interesting.

G is for Goat by Patricia Polacco- An alphabet book all about goats. I love this author/illustrator and everything about her style. So, for me, this alphabet book gets top ratings. 😉

Thank you Mr. Faulker by Patricia Polacco- A true retelling of when the author was in school and could not yet read in 5th grade. It’s a tribute to a teacher who never gave up, and to all teachers who don’t give up on their students. Extraordinary story, encouraging to any reluctant or late reader.

A Sick Day for Amos McGee by Phillip C. Stead- Adorable. A zookeeper who, without fail, takes care of his animals and is quite a friend. He stays home sick one day and his zoo animal friends come for a visit.

Puppy Mudge Takes a Bath by Cynthia Rylant- This series will probably be a well loved series in my house. It’s about a big dog, who wouldn’t love that!? I have put this early reader on the list because Elle read 80% of this all by herself! We have previously read aloud some of the Henry and Mudge series and they are so fun. It’s so difficult to find an early reader that is interesting. I also find it difficult to find the “right” level of reader for my emergent reader. This wasn’t too much, and it was engaging enough for Elle to want to read it.

What was your favorite pick from the Library as a child?

Top Five Finds from the Library

Often, you can find us at the library choosing books to bring home and enjoy. I have found that the more we read, the more selective or wary I am to the books we open up to read. I have been happily utilizing “good book” lists around the web so that I can place books on hold and not have to scour the stacks.

Amos & Boris was my favorite in this bunch. I try to share only books that we enjoyed because they were good and lovely or because the story evoked great emotion in us.

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Imogene’s Antlers by David Small- A lighthearted tale about a little girl who woke up with antlers one day. The book chronicles what happens during her eventful day. Kids are delighted when they get a peek into the next day when Imogene’s antlers are gone.

Amos & Boris by William Steig- I found this book as a recommendation on a couple of book lists and decided to check it out. It’s such a fabulous story about two unlikely friends. I love the language and how the friendship between the mouse and whale is described and how each friend appreciates the other for who they are.

Lucy’s Summer by Donald Hall- Set in a New Hampshire town in 1910, this story is rich with glimpses into the past. It would make a great living literature book to learn about the day to day life in the early 1900’s. I caught myself explaining a lot of little details from the time period. Elle enjoyed it because it was about a little girl and there were things she could relate to, even though her day to day life is a lot different.

The Summer My Father Was Ten by Pat Brisson- A bit of a cautionary tale mixed with a nostalgic tale. A father and daughter are gardening and the father tells about the summer when he was ten. He was playing with the neighborhood boys and when a little fun turned into trouble he deeply regretted what happened. Happily though, amends were made and a lasting, unlikely friendship was born. You’ll want to read this one.

James and the Giant Peach by Roald Dahl- We just finished listening to the audio book (read by Jeremy Irons) and we thoroughly enjoyed this fantastic adventure! I had never read this book (or saw the movie) as a kid so it was a treat to hear it with my kids. The word a** was used once or twice so use your own discretion. I’m sure it’s much easier to edit while reading aloud yourself than while listening to the audio book. I love how the story is descriptive and imaginative. It’s enchanting.

What have you found at your Library lately?

How I Realized that I Needed to Limit Screen Time for My Kids

I don’t want to admit it, but I know that I have become the mom who lets her children have too much screen time. You know, when she gets busy cleaning or planning or cooking or whatever and decides that while she gets these things done, and in order to be able to get these things done the kids can watch a movie or play games on the tablet or whatever device to “keep them busy.”

limit screen time

I did it. I was there. This is how I know: the kids whined and complained ALL.THE.TIME., they weren’t happy with turning off any show (even if I gave them fair warning), there was a lot of disobedience, bedtime became difficult, they were always hungry (bored is more like it), and I was angry and irritable.

It was very easy for me to go from “harmless” intentional screen limits to a nonchalant and permissive attitude. “Sure you can watch a show, I need to catch up on dishes.” “Okay, let’s do a movie night, I need to fold laundry.” “Alright, you can play games on the tablet, I need to pay bills anyway.”

I don’t have an issue with my kids watching shows or movies but I do have a problem when their eyes are glued to a screen all day, every day. (They really didn’t watch all day, every day… but it felt like it.) And I knew that I didn’t want them to have access whenever they asked. I had actually used TV as a reward if my daughter was ready for her day on time. She could watch one show before we started school, and that was usually it for the day.

But then quiet time came and they were behaving well, why not allow them more TV while I am on the computer doing work in the afternoon? Then, they were quiet and occupied while I cooked dinner. But as I became more lax, and this became more than an occasional occurrence, I knew I wasn’t doing the right thing. I knew they were getting too much screen time.

I started brainstorming how I was going to get out of this, because it was great to have time to myself, but I knew this was such a very bad habit that I had allowed. I talked to a couple of friends. One recognized too much screen time in her home and implemented no screens because she was just so sick of her children’s behavior. Another friend revealed that she’s had days like mine where she’ll allow screen time for her kids so she can get some of her work done. She also mentioned that they have certain times they allow screens. To really kick me into gear was another blogger who I regularly read. She is currently doing a series in the month of October called 31 Days of Screen Free Activities for Kids.

It was quite convicting to see this series just as I had been contemplating what I would be doing to quit all this screen time nonsense. Rosilind has come up with an amazing list of things you can do with your kiddos – check it out! Seriously, this could not have come at a better time.

After seeing what other mommas have been through and what they do in regards to screen time, I have come up with screen time rules in our house. Well, a screen time schedule, I suppose. This is what it looks like in our house right now: Wednesdays are Kid Movie nights, Friday afternoons each child may choose one show and they can watch those 2 shows together, the weekend allows each child 30 minutes of time on the tablet. That’s it!

Yes, only 3 opportunities are built in for screen time. And to explain a little, Wednesday nights are movie nights because we host an informal Bible study and they can look forward to this “event” and be occupied in the other room. We will occasionally say “let’s have a family movie night” which is a great surprise for them, obviously not on days that behavior was an issue. And I will occasionally have a specific educational game available for school lessons that they can do for 10-15 minutes on the computer or tablet. But not yet. I don’t want to give too many exceptions, I just can’t.

My reasons for the “schedule” are: that it is too easy to become lax, it gives a sense of consistency, and it seems to be just the right amount that the kids look forward to the screen time but not seem to want more. I have a feeling that a lot of behavior issues for my 5 year old are not only because I allowed so much screen time but because there was a lack of regularity and consistency in day to day life. We have been all over the place and I can see how it’s hard to know what mom expects if things are always changing. But that’s for another post.

improvement quote

We are in week 2 since the addition of the screen time schedule and I have already seen an improvement in behavior, manners, imagination, desire to be helpful, and kindness. The kids have been perfectly fine with the rules and I have had no complaining about the rules. There are times when my daughter asks to watch something but she’s totally okay when I tell her to remember it for when she gets screen time. They have been playing very well with each other. I “caught” Elle reading a book to Finn this morning, it was so lovely to see. Several times I’ve seen them take dolls or stuffed animals on adventures. It didn’t take too long for them to figure out what they could do to keep busy and play.

How is screen time limited in your home?