Beautiful Oops by Barney Saltzberg and Helping Kids Work Through Mistakes

beautiful oopsI first picked up Beautiful Oops by Barney Saltzberg while shopping for a baby shower gift last year. Because I’d gone to an actual bookstore, I found myself thumbing through books I probably wouldn’t have noticed online. Beautiful Oops is a collection of mistakes turned into illustrations. A torn piece of paper, for example, becomes the toothy grin of a friendly alligator. Every time I see my children get angry about a mistake (especially in art), this book comes to mind. After a particularly frustrating discussion during an art project last week, I put together an impromptu activity around Beautiful Oops. Continue reading


Reading for the First Day of School

It’s time. My friends in Arizona have been back for weeks now, while our neighbors here in North Carolina won’t go back for another fortnight. It’s the first day of school at our house and I’m remembering this episode of The Cosby Show (like I do every first day of school). It’s especially appropriate this year because I have a new Kindergartener sitting at the table waiting to start and a fourth grader trying to sneak in one more hour of summer vacation before breakfast. Whenever the first day of school is for you, starting the year off with books is a great choice. Here are 5 book lists full of ideas for back-to-school reads worth reading again and again: Continue reading

9 Books for a First-Grade Classroom

9 books for a first-grade classroomOne of my very closest friends will be a first-year teacher (teaching first grade) this fall and is looking for suggestions for her classroom library. As you could probably guess, the first thing I wanted to do when I heard the news was hop on a plane and go shopping for books and shelving. We’d have so much fun setting up her classroom! Nevermind the desks, chairs, or learning stations. I want to buy knick knacks for her desk and line all the walls with books. Instead, I’m sitting halfway across the country perusing Amazon for my very best recommendations. Here are 9 that keep coming to mind: Continue reading

5 (More) Lucky Finds We Ended Up Loving

5 more lucky findsIt’s always a treat to find great library books on our own. I place requests for a fair number of books as they are recommended to me, but we also do plenty of grabbing whatever looks good. With 4 sets of hands pulling books off the shelves (and one of those sets is much faster than the rest) on most of our trips, we end up with quite a few books. Here are five picture books we’re reading right now that we all enjoy: Continue reading

Our Favorite Star Wars Book

character encyclopediaI grew up loving Star Wars, so I have complicated feelings about the current popularity of the franchise. On the one hand, I love how easy it is to find Star Wars books, t-shirts, and coloring books. On the other hand, I worry that it won’t be the same weird, secret club for my children that it was for me. It’s just so normal these days. That said, my children (and their gift-giving grandparents) have embraced Star Wars with open arms. Of all the toys and books we have floating around our house, only one has been the family favorite for years: Star Wars Character Encyclopedia. Continue reading