"the book was better"—you hear that a lot after a movie :)

 
 

They tell me I say it every time. So yes, I’d love this tote bag!

Unfortunately it doesn’t ship to Australia, but for our north American readers, what a great gift for yourself or a reading friend.

It would be perfect for shopping (for books or anything at all) or an everyday handbag (for carrying books or anything at all).

3 minutes with Kate DiCamillo: the magic of reading aloud

I stare at him, open-mouthed. I’m struck with a sudden knowledge that this boy that I’m so afraid of is in fact just like me. He’s a kid who likes a story.

This just in! Four hours ago, on the PBS News Hour, Kate DiCamillo talked about the magic and power of reading aloud. It was a short but wonderful segment.

I know you’re busy, I really do, so I hope you can find a little time to listen or read the transcript. Spoiler: the kid in the top quote was the school bully :-).

Here’s another small excerpt:

We humans long not just for story, not just for the flow of language, but for the connection that comes when words are read aloud. That connection provides illumination. It lets us see each other.

You might also like this post and this very special book, or a whole host of Kate DiCamillo books.

Bruno: a brilliant book for embracing differences in people and in life

Bruno: a brilliant book for embracing differences in people and in life

ages 2 to 8 years
Most everyone has had almost-perfect days, stupid days, rainy days, peculiar days and uninteresting days. It’s the mix that makes life interesting. Bruno is a cat who tells the story of six very different days in his life.

They’re the sort of days we’ve all had—with surprising, quirky twists. Among those days, there are totally relatable moments, like this one:

That day, the power went out on my street, At night, so as not to be in the dark, I lit candles. It was very pretty. Since they don’t happen very often, I really like days when the power goes out.

And totally fantastic days, like when Bruno and his friend Ringo, a horse, find that they can breathe underwater and end up in a backwards swimming race with their new friend Bup, a fish. Bruno muses:

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Mark & Rowan Sommerset: It's not a book, but it's something we made!

Mark & Rowan Sommerset: It's not a book, but it's something we made!

We’ve long been fans of the the uber-talented, uber-funny, author/illustrator duo Mark and Rowan Sommerset so, when the email came to say they’re selling their home, I immediately checked it out. Well, my oh my! Their publishing arm is worthily called Dreamboat Books and their house is all of that. I couldn’t wait to share it with you! Video below, but first click here for a gorgeous slide show (there’s a luxury yurt!)

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The Huge Bag of Worries: a comforting tale for little or big worriers

The Huge Bag of Worries: a comforting tale for little or big worriers

ages 3 to 10 years
My Ivy is a worrier; she comes from a long line of worriers on my side so there was really no escaping it. She worries that she will miss out, that someone might speak unkindly and that she won’t get to hug me when I’m in hospital having the baby. Nearly every day there is a new worry or 10. I wasn’t really sure how to help her because it’s something I only learned to deal with in adulthood, and those methods don’t really work for a 5 year old.

Talking to a friend, she recommended The Huge Bag of Worries (she uses in her speech pathology practise) and it has been a game changer!

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a timely reminder (to me) that reading together should be a treat, not a prescription

When I say to a parent, ‘read to a child’, I don’t want it to sound like medicine. I want it to sound like chocolate.
— Mem Fox

This from Mem Fox really resonated with me today.

I always love reading to my kids, it’s one of the highlights of my day and gives me rest from constant busyness + connections on a physical, mental and emotional level and great discussions that give me insight into their amazing minds.

 But, in my enthusiasm to read many and varied books to them, our reading doesn’t always come across like chocolate (sometimes you’d think I’m trying to take them to the dentist!).

 So I’m grateful for this timely reminder that what is most important is helping my kids love books, not how many we read in a day.

get ready for a fun and noisy chain reaction of calamities!

get ready for a fun and noisy chain reaction of calamities!

ages 3 to 8 years
When I was in my early 20’s I was privileged to teach English in China, an amazing experience filled with people, culture and experiences. And I got to visit the Beijing Zoo.

I had no real interest in the zoo itself, but I’d always wanted to see a panda. So in 42-degree heat and what felt like 110% humidity I made my way across Beijing. And … it was rather disappointing. The panda WAS cute, but

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