Red Canoe Reader is on Nerdy Book Club!

I’m so excited to share my big news! I have a post on Nerdy Book Club Blog!  It is titled TEN BOOKS TO HELP YOUR CHILD BECOME MORE COMPASSIONATE.  It describes ten books about compassion, kindness, acceptance of differences, empathy and caring. Hopefully, some of these title might lead your children to, as R.J. Palacio describes in her middle grade novel, Wonder, “choose kind”.

I would love for you to pop over and read my post! Then, while you’re there, explore The Nerdy Book Club. You’ll find lots of titles to add to your kids’ TBR lists, interesting information about children’s book authors and some books to use in your classrooms. I have gained so much from reading the articles on this website, and I’m very honored to be posting on it today! And finally, I’d really appreciate it, if you would both, “like” the post and share the post on Facebook or Twitter! Thank you for all of your support!



Seven Picture Books You Don’t Want to Miss

First of all, you may be wondering about the flowers.  These were a special gift from my son-in-law that brightened my day! Even though we’ve had unusually warm weather, my garden is a long way from blooming. These are helping me wait! Now, on to what I want to share today. There are so many picture books published every week. I follow lots of publisher websites and Twitter accounts, as well as Instagram accounts to help me learn about all of these. I often add the titles to my reserve list at the library, and thankfully I have a great local library which usually has every one. And if they don’t, they are happy to order it! Once I get the books, if I like them, I share them on Instagram. If you’d like to see my favorites, be sure and follow me there. The link is toward the bottom of this page on the right hand side. Or another option is to wait for me to share them on Red Canoe Reader. That’s what I’m doing today! Here are seven picture books you don’t want to miss!


BY KATHY JAKOBSENSeven Picture Books You Don't Want to Miss

Are you planning a family trip to Washington, DC this spring to see the cherry blossoms and visit some of the museums and monuments? If so, My Washington, DC, is a great book to prepare your kids for the experience. Kathy Jakobsen’s lavish paintings illustrate each stop that the two characters, Becky and Martin, make along their way as they explore our capital. The kids learn lots of little known facts, as well as a lot about history. The book ends with some fun facts about Washington, along with a seek and find throughout the pages in the book. The paintings contain so many details, that your kids will pour over the book for hours. It might even keep them occupied during your travels!

Washington, D.C.; history

the unexpected love story of alfred fiddleduckling

by timothy basil ering

Seven Picture Books You Don't Want to Miss

I was completely enthralled by this story. The illustrations are exquisite from the first endpaper to the last. Timothy Basil Ering’s words and paintings draw you into the story as you find yourself rooting for Alfred Fiddleduckling, Captain Alfred, his dog and his wife.  You are hoping they can all find each other in the end, and the magical conclusion on the final pages of the book convinces you this will happen. In between, Ering uses his beautiful words and colorful illustrations to describe Alfred Fiddleduckling’s voyage, his love for the violin and the beautiful music Alfred creates as he drifts through the sea. I heartily recommend this story, that will warm your heart as you cozy up with your kiddos and get to know Alfred.

Caring; friendship; family; perseverance 

that’s me loving you

by amy rosenthal

Seven Picture Books You Don't Want to MissThis sweet book is the perfect one to share with your little one before his or her first day of school, or anytime the two of you will be separated. Amy Krouse Rosenthal’s reassuring text promises that “wherever you are, wherever you go, … that feeling you always have in your heart? That’s me loving you.” I could see this as a graduation gift for your child before they leave for college, or a book that will help your little ones as they struggle to work through their grief over losing a loved one. The simple, muted and whimsical illustrations add to this tender family story. Be sure and look for this on your next trip to the library!

Families; love.; grief


by rebecca young

Seven Picture Books You Don't Want to MissRebecca Young’s lyrical text and Matt Ottley’s magical illustrations tell the story of a young boy who is forced to leave his home and everything he has ever known to find another. All he carries with him is a backpack filled with a water bottle, a book and a blanket, along with a teacup filled with a speck of soil and a few seeds. Sometimes his days are peaceful and sometimes they are filled with peril. But as he travels, the seeds begin to grow, and grow, until he has an apple tree to protect him from the sun, to give him food to eat and to provide a cozy nook for reading. This beautiful story reminds us of what it must be like for the children who are currently fleeing their homelands in search of safety. And of how, even though we all face hardships, with bravery and determination we can succeed.

Determination; bravery; immigration; refugees.

the friend ship

by Kat Yeh

Seven Picture Books You Don't Want to MissThe Friend Ship ✨by Kat Yeh ✨illustrated by Chuck Groenink. Hedgehog is lonely and craves to be surrounded by friends, so he bravely sets sail in search of The Friend Ship. As he and a curious beaver sail along, they encounter animal after animal who also would love to find some friends, but no one has seen The Friend Ship. After sailing the world, Hedgehog’s boat is full of animals, but he’s so sad that he hasn’t found The Friend Ship. He’s instantly surrounded by his shipmates who offer encouragement “you can count on me”, we’ll stick with you till the end!”, and “don’t give up!” He vows to sail on, after all of the reassurances that he will indeed find The Friend Ship, until he meets an elephant on a very small island, who asks “isn’t that it right there?” This tender story will lead to a discussion with your little ones about friendship and the fact that friends are out there waiting for us. We just need to be a friend and to remember to keep looking!

Friendship; kindness; perseverance.

barefoot book of children

BY tessa strickland, kate depalma and david dean

Seven Picture Books You Don't Want to Miss Barefoot Book of Children will help your kiddos better understand the diversity of our world. It reminds us, that although children live in many different places and in many different situations, they all need a home to live in and people to teach them about the world. Barefoot Book of Children will help your little ones understand that there are many different families in our country and in our world. Some may be large, some may have a mom and dad, some may have two dads, some may be a foster family or some families may be yearning for someone who is very far away. The colorful illustrations will lead to a better understanding of our differences and to the fact that even though we eat different foods, play different games, speak different languages and worship differently, we all have love to give and we all have our own story to share.

Families; diversity; differences.


BY salina yoonSeven Picture Books You Don't Want to Miss

After reading and loving Salina Yoon’s, Be a Friend last fall, I decided to look for more of her books and I wasn’t disappointed after reading Found. Bear finds a lost bunny in the forest and decides to help the sad little rabbit find it’s home. He posts flyers all over the forest, by the pond and even on the top of the highest tree on the mountain. Sadly, he doesn’t get a response, so he decides to take the sad bunny on a picnic. They have an absolutely perfect day, until…they encounter Moose who is thrilled to find his long lost Floppy. However, Moose knows that sometimes passing along a special toy to someone who will love it very much is the kind thing to do. This heart warming book is full of empathy and kindness messages to share with your little ones.

Empathy; kindness.

That’s all for this time, but look for a post about more of my favorite picture books next month. Meanwhile, have you found some picture books lately that have become family favorites, old or new? We’d love to hear about them in the comments!


Kids’ Books to Remember and Some New Links for Mom and Dad

Well, February has arrived and that means we’re one week closer to spring! However with our warmer than average temperatures and our below average snowfall, I’m not feeling quite as anxious as I usually am. In fact, we were able to walk downtown for lunch yesterday (a four mile round trip) on February 9th. That’s amazing! Usually, even if the temperatures warm up, the sidewalks are a sheet of ice, so we’re trapped at home. This has been great! I hope you and your families have also had a chance to spend sometime outside this week, to prevent the usual February cabin fever!

I haven’t spent all of my time outside, though. For one thing, I just baked a heart shaped cake, a family Valentine tradition for us, as well as when I was growing up. It’s something I love to do. It brings back so many happy memories! And after a trip to the library, I’ve been able to find several good titles for this week’s Kids’ Books to Remember. Finally I found some links to articles that I think you’ll find very interesting. So here we go!

kids’ books to remember: read aloud

These are great choices for read alouds for all ages, or for the independent reader. kids' books to remember

Ginger Pye by Eleanor Estes

The Moffats by Eleanor Estes

The Wind in the Willows by Kenneth Grahame



KIDS’ BOOKS TO REMEMBER: picture books

The picture books this week are all about strong, courageous girls who are not afraid to work hard to achieve their' books to remember

Grace for President by Kelly DiPucchio

Miss Rumphius Barbara Cooney

Dancing in the Wings by Debbie Allen

KIDS’ BOOKS TO REMEMBER: chapter books

Back in Time with Thomas Edison: Qwerty Stevens Adventure by Dan Gutman, time travel and historical' books to remember

Tuck Everlasting by Natalie Babbitt, fantasy.

Pictures of Hollis Woods by Patricia Giff, realistic fiction.






links for mom and dad

Books to Help Kids Understand What It’s like to be a Refuge

These choices are for all ages including picture books, chapter books and young adult.

For Girls and Their Besties (A Valentine’s Day Post)

This is a great one for Betsy Tacy fans or for those of you looking for your next family read aloud.

spreading kindness

Here are some more picture books about kindness, which are perfect for Valentine’s Day week or any week of the year.

life is good when there is love

A truly lovely post that will make you think about the love in your lives.

I want to thank you for inviting me into your inbox today! I’m always looking for links to share with you and remembering books I don’t want you to miss. Have a wonderful week and Happy Valentine’s Day!



25 Picture Books for Holiday Gifts

Are you beginning to panic, just a little bit? It’s less than three weeks until Christmas and you don’t even have ideas for everyone! I’m here to help! Here is a list of some of the best picture books for holiday gifts, no matter what age the recipient might be.

picture books for holiday gifts: friendship


It Came in the Mail By Ben Clayton

This picture book is about a very unique and caring friendship between a little boy and his mailbox. Liam really wants mail, but he never receives a thing. Then, one day he had an idea! Maybe if he wrote a letter, the recipient would write back.

Max and Marla by Alexandra Boiger

Max and Marla are great friends, even though Marla is an owl. Their dream is to be winter Olympians! This story tells the tale of their perseverance and teamwork as they work together to overcome the many obstacles they encounter as they struggle to achieve their goal. In the end, they realize the real prize they have earned is their friendship!



Strictly No Elephants by Lisa Mantchev, illustrated by Taeeun Yoo

This little boy and his elephant show everyone the true meaning of friendship. Friends “help each other, lift each other over cracks, brave the scary things with you, and never leave anyone behind.” May our kiddos find friends, as well as be one.



Be a Friend  by Salina Yoon. The story of Dennis and Joy, how they express themselves and the friendship that follows will encourage your children to reach out to others and to “be a friend.”

 The Adventures of Beekle, the Unimaginary Friend by Dan Seekle, won the Caldecott Medal for best picture book of the year in 2014 and is truly a gem. Beekle was born on the island of imaginary friends and was awaiting his turn to be imagined by child, but his turn never seemed to come. So he did the unthinkable he sailed through some very scary waters to the real world. It turned out to be such a strange place and he struggled to find something familiar. When he stumbled upon a playground filled with children he felt much happier, but he still didn’t find his child. When he had just about given up hope, his child found him, and together they found that the world seemed to feel a little less strange! Not surprisingly, the illustrations are amazing, extremely colorful and somehow very comforting. Especially at the end when Beekle’s child finds lots of friends – real and imaginary. This is definitely a book that deserves a special place on your bookshelf!

picture books for holiday gifts: kindness

PICTURE BOOKS FOR HOLIDAY GiftsSidewalk Flowers by JonAmo Lawson and Sydney Smith. A little girl walks through a gray city with her distracted father and picks flowers along the way. The flowers become gifts to those she encounters, and in the process transforms the city and it’s inhabitants. May your children find beauty in their world and share it with others.

My Heart Will Not Sit Down by Mara Rockliff and illustrated by Ann Tanksley. Kedi, although she and everyone else in her African village have very little, is inspired to help the children of New York City during the depression, because her heart “will not sit down.” Perhaps Kedi’s story will inspire your little ones’ hearts “to not sit down”, so that they will want to help those around them in a way that they can.

Seeds of Freedom, The Peaceful Integration of Huntsville, Alabama, by Hester Bass, illustrated by E.B. Lewis.We can work together peacefully to make big changes. “It starts with one person; that could be you.”

Good People Everywhere, by Lynea Gillen and illustrated by Kristina Swarner. “Today millions and millions of people will do very good things. And so will you. I wonder what you will do?”

picture book giftsThe Three Questions is a beautifully written and illustrated story by Jon J. Muth and is based on Leo Tolstoy’s short story, The Three Questions. Tolstoy’s story was written for adults, and in this version, Mr. Muth tells the story with kindness and warmth so that children can understand Tolstoy’s ideas.

Boxes for Katje by Candace Flemming. The historical fiction story is set in Holland immediately after the second World War. Food and clothing were extremely scarce, due to the fact that nothing could be farmed or manufactured during the war. One day, a little girl, Katje, receives a box from America containing socks, soap and chocolate. It caused a huge celebration in Katje’s family, and she sent a thank you note to the little American girl who sent the package.This prompted another box to arrive, which was so large that Katje could share the contents with her neighbor. This continued, until the Americans had sent enough food, soap, warm clothing and chocolate for the entire town! And then Katje sends a thank you gift to America. This story will lead to an understanding of conditions after the war, and how the kindness of a few people can help so many.

kindness books Because Amelia Smiled, by David Ezra Stein. It’s a delightful story about the magic of a little girl’s smile and how that magic traveled the world.  This is an enchanting story which describes how one little girl’s act of kindness can change lives.

A Girl with a Cape, by Amy Logan. Amy was inspired to write this book after becoming very concerned about adults lack of kindness and courtesy toward others. She is a big believer that children model adult behavior, so this was very distressing to her. She was also concerned about the bullying that was occurring in schools and increasing every year. Out of this concern, came the idea for her book. It explains how a child’s small acts of caring and kind words, and an adult’s response and praise for those acts can add up to make a real difference.

How to Heal a Broken Wing by Bob Graham. This book is great for a read aloud and gives the kids the opportunity to create a conversation for each page. The story describes a little boy’s kindness and his parents support as he helps a bird with a broken wing.

picture book giftsEach Kindness by Jacqueline Woodson. This book is a beautiful illustration of the impact that kindness can make in the world when a little girl learns that “each kindness makes the world a little bit better.”

Enemy Pie by Derek Munson. In this story a little boy learns how to turn a “best enemy” into a best friend with his dad’s help.

picture books for holiday gifts: Ones you don’t want to miss

Waiting by Kevin Henkes. This tells the story of some toys who are happily waiting on a windowsill. They are all waiting for marvelous things, but they are very happy to patiently wait until something amazing happens! This is a Caldecott Honor Book and I certainly understand why. The pastel illustrations draw you into this charming story and leave you with a warm and cozy feeling.

picture books for holiday giftsWhen Spring Comes by Kevin Henkes. The latest book from Kevin Henkes, is beautifully illustrated by his wife, Laura Dronzek (I’m not familiar with her illustrations, but this book definitely makes me want to see more. Actually, I think I’d like for her to decorate my house!). This is a lovely, sweet story that pulls you in through the beautiful and vibrant illustrations covering the end papers and then keeps you turning each page to learn what’s coming next. It made me feel so joyful and cozy, as it engaged all of my senses. It’s a wonderful read aloud for preschool children, which will lead to an understanding of what to expect as Spring emerges all around them.

Night Gardener by Terry Fan and Eric Fan. A wonderful new picture book that has received starred reviews in Kirkus, School Library Journal and Publisher’s Weekly. It has amazing illustrations and is a charming story about the magic of how a young boy brings a small town together.

picture books for holiday giftsWhat to Do with a Box by Jane Yolen. Have you ever searched for the perfect gifts for your little one for the holidays, and then when all of the presents were opened and the wrapping paper scattered everywhere, all they really want to do is play with the boxes? Especially, if they are really large boxes? To the character in this story, a box can become anything, and provide hours or even days of entertainment, when he lets his imagination go. It’s muted illustrations and imaginative text will make you want to rush out, find a box and sail away to some far off destination!

Last Stop on Market Street by Matt De La Pena. This book won almost more awards than you can count. In addition to the 2016 Newbery Medal, it also won a 2016 Caldecott Honor Book Award,  a 2016 Coretta Scott King Illustrator Honor Book Award,  a New York Times Book Review Notable Children’s Book Award of 2015 and a Wall Street Journal Best Children’s Book of 2015. It tells the story of a boy and his grandma’s bus ride through the city on a Sunday after church. Grandma’s appreciation of everyone and everything they encounter helps CJ to find the beauty in the world that he never thought about before.

picture books for holiday giftsFinding Winnie: The True Story of the World’s Most Famous Bear by Lindsey Mattick. From the amazing end papers, through the family photo album at the end of the book, the story and the illustrations in this year’s Caldecott Winner, tell the story of the little bear who inspired the Winnie the Pooh books, It was written as a true story for the author’s son about his great great grandfather and his bear who became Winnie in the A.A. Milne books. I think this is going to be my new “go-to” gift! This is one to keep!

picture books for holiday giftsAsk Me by Bernard Waber. The illustrations in this book by Suzy Lee captivated me when I first saw it on the book store shelf. The golds, oranges, and reds are so alive and so happy. Ask Me is a heartwarming story about a walk that a father and daughter take through the park and woods. We learn that this is just an ordinary walk on an ordinary day, but each of them are delighted to be with one another, to be outside and to be enjoying and observing everything around them. The little girl keeps up a running narrative telling her dad to ask her lots of questions about everything from ice cream cones to lightening bugs. This continues until Daddy tucks her in with a good night kiss.

picture books for holiday giftsI Wish You More by Amy Krouse Rosenthal and Tom Lichtenheld. This is a charming story that would be a perfect graduation or baby gift. The narrator wishes the children many things from “I wish you more ups than downs,” to “I wish you more stories than stars.” And each wish is accompanied by a darling picture which perfectly illustrates the wish.

The Dark by Lemony Snicket. It tells the story of Laszlo who is afraid of the dark. It would be a great read aloud with your child who might be feeling the same way. It brings up lots of thoughts and ideas about the dark and why we need it. A wonderful bonus for this book, are the illustrations by Jon Klassen. You may recognize his style from another very popular book during the last year, Sam and Dave Dig a Hole.

picture books for holiday giftsFamilies, Families, Families! By Suzanne Lang and Max Lang. This is a heartwarming book that will help all children understand that families don’t have to be just like their family. In fact, it doesn’t matter who makes up a family, but what actually matters is “if you love each other, then you are a family.” The delightful illustrations of all kinds of animal families march through the pages of this book. The story will bring lots of giggles, as it offers opportunities for discussions about their friends, and how their families might be different than their own. Hopefully, these conversations will lead to acceptance, understanding and kindness toward others. I am a strong believer that our little ones can lead us to this end, if we give them the guidance. This book is a great place to begin!

PICTURE BOOKS FOR HOLIDAY GIVINGThe Journey by Francesca Sanna. Our world is struggling with the refugee crisis and our children are hearing about it. Unfortunately, during the past year in our own country, many unkind things have been said about refugees, which might leave our kids with a poor understanding of what it really means to be a family who must flee their country to save their lives. Journey helps children learn what it truly feels like to be forced to travel to an unknown country to insure their safety and to not be frightened any more. This book is based upon many refuge stories the author heard at a refugee center in Italy. She made a collage of these personal tales to create this touching book.

Have you Seen Elephant by David Barrow. This book is sure to become a favorite that you will reading over and over again. The charming illustrations from this first time author just give you a happy feeling. You might notice that it is all dialogue, with the best line being when the elephant tells the little boy that “I must warn you though. I’m VERY good.” when they begin to play hide and seek together. Your children will soon be emphatically (and probably very loudly) pointing out the elephant in each hiding place, as the dog is doing on each stop along the way, but the little boy just can’t find Elephant.

picture books for holiday giftsThis is Sadie by Sara O’Leary. The charming illustrations of this book pulled me in and then the story captivated me. As you can tell, I love this book! It describes all of the places and all of the things a child can do with imagination. It’s tells about the childhood that we dream about, and wish for all of our children. It’s definitely on my baby gift list!




This list is a lot longer than I planned, but 2016 has been a great year for picture books, and I don’t want you to miss any as you search for the perfect books for the little ones on your list! What picture books are you giving for holiday gifts this year? Please let us know in the comments below!

On the blog:

36 Chapter Book Gifts for Kids
Midsummer Reading Ideas for Your Kids
New Picture Books for All Ages
Friendship Books for Kids

Friendship Books for Kids

I saw this quote on Facebook recently, and I thought it was so true. ” We need to care less about whether our children are academically gifted and more about whether they sit with the lonely kid in the cafeteria.”  I had been struggling with finding a theme for this post, and then after reading this and looking through my stack of library books, I realized so many of the ones I want to share with you are about friendship. As the new school year begins, perhaps you’ll want to share some of these with your kids, no matter what their age, to start some conversations about friendship and kindness.

Lost in the Sun by Lisa Graff


Trent is starting middle school and he’s heard the stories about it being such a rough time. However, after his experience in fifth grade he is hoping that it’s a big improvement and he can make a fresh start! You see, Trent accidently hit his friend with a hockey puck during a casual pickup game, and his friend died. So now, Trent is quite certain everyone in town hates him. He’s never invited over to join the baseball games in the park or to go over to a neighbor’s to play. That could be because he can’t forgive himself. Then after Trent stands up for a girl in the park, Fallon, who is being teased and bullied because of her severe scar, they slowly become friends, but it’s not easy. As you read this book, you’ll find your heart breaking a bit for both of the kids, but you’ll also find yourself feeling very proud of how they tackle their problems.

 AR 4.5, Lexia 700                             Friendship, bullying, grief, middle grade chapter book

See you next year by Andrew Larsen and todd stewart


See You Next Year by Andrew Larson and Todd Stewart reminds me so much of our summer vacations each year as I was growing up. Instead of the beach, we went to a lake cottage, but my family established many traditions during that annual trip, just as the main character in this story does. And just like the little girl in the story, we were happy that nothing changed. Our days were long and lazy with lots of outside time, just as hers are.  But this year something does change. She makes a friend! It turns out that it’s nice to have someone to build sandcastles with you, to play in the waves with you and to write postcards with you on a rainy day. Reluctantly, on Saturday her family tells her new friend “see you next year” and heads for home. But on Monday when the mail arrives there’s a surprise for the little girl. . .  The muted illustrations in the story will make you reminisce about those lazy beach days with your family, and perfectly illustrate this sweet story. If you’re looking for a book to share with your little one that will lead to conversations about your families summer traditions and friendship, this is a great choice.

Friendship, beach vacations, traditions, picture book

Max and Marla by Alexandra Boiger


Max and Marla are great friends, even though Marla is an owl. Their dream is to be winter Olympians! This story tells the tale of their perseverance and teamwork as they work together to overcome the many obstacles they encounter as they struggle to achieve their goal. In the end, they realize the real prize they have earned is their friendship! The charming water color and ink illustrations are a perfect accompaniment to this endearing story about true friends.

Friendship, teamwork, perseverance, picture book 

Waylon! One Awesome thing by sara Pennypacker

waylon friendship

friendship end papers
The end papers: full of ideas for the Waylon’s next awesome thing

Ms. Pennypacker, the author of the middle grade Clementine series and the big favorite from the past year, Pax, has written a delightful book about a new fourth grader, Waylon, who is aspiring to be a great science hero, as well as struggling to become the peacemaker, both at home and at school. You see, Arlo Brody, the largest boy in the fourth grade, is dividing the class into two groups. While part of Waylon yearns to be chosen for Arlo’s group, another part of him wants to join his friends in the other group. When Arlo actually picks Waylon, because of his resourcefulness and wacky ideas,  Waylon is torn. His friends are in the opposing group and can’t believe that Waylon has deserted them! At home, Waylon is struggling to bring his family back together. They always did everything together, but since his sister, Neon, who just turned 14, is wearing all black and only says “What’s the point?” in response to anything and everything, and wants nothing to do with her family, they are drifting apart.

Waylon is determined to make peace in both his class and  his family. It turns out that even though he feels his world is exploding, all he needs is “one awesome thing” to make everything right again! That “one awesome thing” turns out to be Waylon’s friendship, kindness, empathy and perseverance, which brings everyone together again.

This book would be a great read aloud with your child or to a class. It is a great discussion starter about class cliques and groups, bullying, friendship, empathy and kindness. At home, it’s also a book that might help your younger kids gain a better understanding about their older siblings and the struggles they are dealing with in their lives.

P.S. Be sure and notice the endpapers. They are priceless!

Kindness, friendship, family issues, bullying, class cliques, middle grade chapter book                          Lexia 650 AR 4.0

It came in the mail by Ben Clanton


This picture book is about a very unique and caring friendship between a little boy and his mailbox. Liam really wants mail, but he never receives a thing. Then, one day he had an idea! Maybe if he wrote a letter, the recipient would write back. There was just one problem – he didn’t have anyone to write to. So he decides to write a letter to his mailbox. As soon as he puts the letter into the box, it begins to rattle and shake and suddenly a fire breathing dragon appears, with a tag saying “For Liam”! Liam loved the dragon, so he wrote a thank you note. Not only did he thank the mailbox for his new dragon, but he also asked for more mail. And, my did he receive mail! So many wild and crazy creatures kept arriving that he soon had no more room! Then another idea came to Liam. Maybe his friends were wishing for mail too. He could send mail to every friend he knew! This will bring lots of giggles, but it’s also a great story to provoke a conversation about Liam’s thoughtfulness toward his friends.

Friendship, kindness, humor


Here’s another post about kindness and friendship that you might want to check out.

Kindness Picture Books For Kids

These are just a few books about friendship. There are so many! What are your favorites? I’d love to hear about them in the comments below!

Screen Shot 2015-10-18 at 4.27.56 PM


Our Summer Adventure at The Eric Carle Museum

After reading about the opening of the Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art in 2002, I knew I wanted to visit. The museum was founded by Eric Carle and his wife, who after visiting Japan in the 1980s and visiting many picture book museums, decided to create their own picture book museum. This opened in 2002 in Amherst, Massachusetts. It houses over 6000 illustrations in its permanent collection, as well as many more pieces in the many exhibitions which are held every year. The good news is that I get to visit next week! My husband and I are traveling to our niece’s wedding in Doylestown, PA this week. After the festivities and the special family times that are sure to occur, we are taking a road trip to Massachusetts! I plan to take lots of pictures and share them with you once we get back home.

eric carle museum exhibitions

When we made the decision that we would add the museum to our travel plans, I began doing my research. I was delighted to learn that there are three special exhibitions at the Eric Carle Museum this summer, featuring three renown American illustrators, Robert McCloskey, Eric Carle and Louis Darling. After learning this, I checked out many books by these men, and as a result had so much fun revisiting old favorites!

The art of eric carle: hide and seek

During Eric Carle’s fifty year career, he has illustrated more that 70 books. In reading about this exhibit, I was amazed to learn that Mr. Carle has hidden an R and a C in many of his illustrations, which are the first letters of his children’s names. He’s also hidden names of people and places that are important to him. This exhibit invites the visitor to find these hidden gems. We’ll see how well I do!

Americana on Parade: The Art of Robert McCloskey

eric carle museum

When I read about this exhibit at the Eric Carle Museum, I couldn’t have been happier. You see, I began a love affair with Robert McCloskey’s books when I was in my Children’s Literature class at Purdue, many many years ago. My professor was friends with Robert McCloskey, so we were extremely fortunate to have him visit our class and talk about his books. I remember him as a quiet man and very kind. I didn’t really realize at the time how amazing it was to have this opportunity to chat with a two time Caldecott Award winner in our small group setting. I look back now and I can’t really believe it! However, I have proof. Here’s my signed copy of Time of Wonder. Two years later my brother started college in Boston, so I was able to have many joyful visits to The Public Garden, the swan boats and of course the duckling statues. And thanks to Robert McCloskey’s books, I also developed a love of the rocky beaches of Maine.

eric carle museum

The Eric Carle Museum’s exhibit is in celebration of the 75th anniversary of Make Way for Ducklings. The exhibit of over 90 pieces includes sketches, drawings, watercolors and paintings. I can’t wait!

Louis darling: drawing the words of Beverly cleary

The Eric Carle Museum is celebrating Beverly Cleary’s 100th birthday by presenting this exhibit of Louis Darling’s illustrations of Beverly Cleary’s books. Mr. Darling illustrated Ms. Cleary’s books beginning with her first work, Henry Huggins in 1950 until his untimely death twenty years later. In all, he illustrated twelve of Beverly Cleary’s books. After learning about this exhibit, I visited my local library and was able to find these copies that are illustrated by Louis Darling. After his death, and through the years new copies of her older titles were newly illustrated, but if you look hard you can find some titles with the original illustrations. Here are two that I found!

eric carle museum


I’ll be posting again in a few weeks and report on our trip. In the meantime, why don’t you visit your library or peruse your book shelves for copies of Eric Carle’s, Robert McCloskey’s and Beverly Cleary’s books? I’m sure you’ll enjoy revisiting these classics, as much as I did! Can you find the hidden letters in Eric Carle’s books? Let us know in the comments below.

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Kindness Picture Books for Kids


When I was an LMC Director, I would have orientations for all of the classes at the beginning of the year. We would go over the behavior expectations for the library, as well as the “how-tos” of finding and checking out books. When it came to my expectations of the kids, I always emphasized the most important of those was kindness. The kindness principles included sharing with one another, being helpful to other kids and being respectful of each other’s feelings. The kids knew that I would tolerate many things in the library, but if I saw an unkind act, that was when there would be a consequence! I stressed that the most important thing they could do each day was to be kind to those around you. The kids who had been at Patterson since kindergarten or first grade (most of them) knew about my feelings, because they had heard and discussed many kindness picture books with me during their storytimes.

During those storytimes, I included a series of kindness picture books. I would often begin the series with Because Amelia Smiled, Lexile 760; AR 3.5. It’s a delightful story about the magic of a little girl’s smile and how that magic traveled the world. Another book with a similar theme is One Smile, AR 3.7. This is an enchanting story which describes how one little girl’s act of kindness can change lives. I would challenge the kids to try smiling at lots of people during the next week and then reporting back during the next storytime about the difference it made with others. Read aloud, kindness, circle story.

kindness books

Then a few years ago a friend told me about a local author and her new book, A Girl with a Cape, by Amy Logan. Amy was inspired to write this book after becoming very concerned about adults lack of kindness and courtesy toward others. She is a big believer that children model adult behavior, so this was very distressing to her. She was also concerned about the bullying that was occurring in schools and increasing every year. Out of this concern, came the idea for her book. A Girl with a Cape is now one of my favorite examples of kindness picture books. It explains how a child’s little acts of caring and kind words, and an adult’s response and praise for those acts can add up to make a real difference. It’s also an excellent example of cause and effect. Kindness, cause and effect, read aloud.       

kindness picture books


Kindness picture books

I have compiled a list of kindness picture books that are great read alouds for all ages for home or for the classroom. Therefore, this list is directed at both parents and teachers.  These books can prompt many discussions about kindness in the world, kindness at school and kindness at home and how it can begin with them, as well as discussions about bullying. I have included categories for each book in italics at the end of the summary to help you find the books that support your needs. Also, Lexile and AR levels, are listed, if available, but please remember these don’t apply to wordless picture books. Finally, I found all of these books in my public library and I hope you can do the same. However, I’ve included links for purchasing the books, if you would like to do that. 

kindness picture book

A Home for BirdLexile 360; AR 2.2, by Philip C. Stead. Vernon, the toad, finds a silent bird while foraging in the forest. The bird is sad and Vernon is determined to help him find his home. They travel great distances and visit many places before finding Bird’s home. Because Bird never speaks, there are lots of opportunities during the story to discuss what Bird is thinking and feeling. Feelings, read aloud, kindness. 

kindness picture books

How Kind by Mary Murphy, AR 1.1. A kind deed in the barnyard inspires a chain of kindness among the animals. pre-K, circle story, kindness. 

The Kindness Quilt by Nancy Elizabeth Wallace, Lexile 540; AR 3.1. The story begins with the retelling of the fable of The Lion and the Mouse, which leads to the class making an acts of kindness quilt after realizing what they do every day can be an act of kindness.

kindness picture books

The Monster’s Monster by Patrick McDonnell, Lexile 610; AR 3.5. The giant monster teaches the three little monsters by example about gratitude.  Read aloud, bullying, kindness, gratitude.

kindness picture books

Each Kindness by Jacqueline Woodson, Lexile 640; AR 3.4. This book is a beautiful illustration of the impact that kindness can make in the world when a little girl learns that “each kindness makes the world a little bit better.” Read aloud, kindness, bullying.

Kindness picture books

How to Heal a Broken Wing by Bob Graham. This book is great for a read aloud and gives the kids the opportunity to create a conversation for each page. The story describes a little boy’s kindness and his parents support as he helps a bird with a broken wing. Read aloud, wordless picture book, kindness.

Hank Finds an Egg by Rebecca Dudley. This is a wordless picture book which will help an adult to initiate a conversation with a child about kindness. Wordless picture book, kindness.

Little Bird by Germano Zullo. This is another wordless picture book that is a very unusual story about generosity and kindness. It gives lots of opportunities for discussion due to the minimal amount of text and wonderful, expressive illustrations. Wordless picture book, kindness.

kindness picture books

Enemy Pie by Derek Munson, Lexile 330; AR 3.2. In this story a little boy learns how to turn a “best enemy” into a best friend with his dad’s help. Read aloud, kindness, bullying.

Ben Rides On by Matt Davies, Lexile 730; AR 3.6. Ben’s act of kindness to a bully brings big rewards. This also includes a good bike safety message. Read aloud, bullying, kindness, bike safety.

Finally, a book I recently found while researching for this post, is Good People Everywhere by Lynea Gillen. This is a very simple, beautifully illustrated picture book with a soothing message to children that there are truly good people everywhere in their lives. Pre-K, kindness, read aloud, gratitude.

These are just a few of the wonderful kindness picture books. What are your favorites? What can I add to the list? Please let me know in the comments below.

On the blog: 14 Books to Help Your Child Be More Compassionate







A Ball for Daisy

A Ball for Daisy

By Chris Raschka

Schwartz and Wade Books

New York


As I may have mentioned, one of my sons is a librarian at our local public library. This is a great help to me in so many ways! For one thing he always has the “inside scoop” on the newest books as they arrive in the library and he’s always looking for ones he thinks I might like. When he comes over for dinner, he’ll often bring some books for me to preview. Then usually on the next holiday, there is that book tied up with a ribbon! And if HE isn’t giving me a book, then my husband or one of my nieces will surprise me with a newly published picture book. For Mother’s Day, 2012, Adam surprised me with A Ball for Daisy. Of course any gift from your children is special, and this was no exception! This book happened to be the Caldecott Medal Award Winner for 2011. This medal is awarded each year to the artist of the most distinguished American picture book for children. Once you read this book, I think you’ll agree the committee made a great choice!

A Ball for Daisy is a wordless picture book. I immediately fell in love with the adorable dog, Daisy, but I wasn’t at all sure how I would share this with my first grade classes. I knew they would love the illustrations and find Daisy very appealing, but how could I “read” it to the children? However, I was determined to do just that! When my first class came to the library I still didn’t have a plan, but then as we discussed the cover of the book and what it might tell us about the story, it came to me. I would have the children create the story to go along with the pictures! They loved the experience and all wanted a chance to contribute – even the children who rarely were brave enough to raise their hand. I especially loved their reactions when Daisy’s ball popped. They showed so much empathy for Daisy and immediately related her experience to experiences in their own lives. I’m always striving to teach children to have more empathy for others and suddenly that was happening during my lesson. Wow! What a great bonus! In fact, A Ball for Daisy turned out to be one of everyone’s favorite story times.

I highly recommend sharing this book with your children or your class and using the same method. You and your child could take turns making up the text for each page. The children will gain confidence in their creativity from this experience, they will gain language practice and most importantly they will have some one on one time with mom or dad.

If you find that you and your child have fun with the wordless picture book technique, here are a few more you might try:

Zoom by Istvan Banyai

The Snowman by Raymond Briggs

Anno’s Counting Book by Mitsumasa Anno

Daisy Gets Lost by Chris Raschka

Do You want to be My Friend? by Eric Carle

Journey by Aaron Becker


After reading several of these, your child may be inspired to write their own story for one of these books or create the illustrations and the text for a book of their own! Let me know about your experiences with wordless picture books with your child. Do you have some other favorites?Screen Shot 2015-10-18 at 4.28.46 PM