April 2 – International Children’s Book Day

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About the Holiday

Since 1962, International Children’s Book Day (ICBD) has been held on April 2 to commemorate the birthday of Hans Christian Andersen. Part of the International Board on Books for Young People, which promotes understanding through children’s books, works to ensure that children everywhere have access to books, and helps to protect the rights of children worldwide in accordance to the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, ICBD is sponsored each year by a different member country. This year Lithuania is the sponsor and encourages readers to slow down and enjoy a good book. You can learn more on the IBBY website.

Remarkably You

Written by Pat Zeitlow Miller | Illustrated by Patrice Barton

 

In her stirring Remarkably You, Pat Zeitlow Miller celebrates each child’s individuality and gifts. She talks directly to the reader assuring them that they are exceptional, whether they’re bold, timid, small or “practically grown.” She then fills them with confidence, telling them that they are smart, have power, and can change the world.

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Image copyright Patrice Barton, 2019, text copyright Pat Zeitlow Miller, 2019. Courtesy of HarperCollins.

With encouragement Miller beckons each child to find their place in the world and do what they can; and when that is done to “choose a new problem and do it again.” How do kids know where they fit in? “Just look for the moments that let you be you.” Miller goes on to validate each child, saying, “You have your own spirit, unparalleled flair. / So rock what you’ve got—every day everywhere.”

She then channels how every parent or caregiver feels about their child—“You are a blessing, / a promise, a prize. / You’re capable, caring, courageous, and wise.”—and emboldens kids to embrace who they are and get out there and enjoy life—their own, remarkable life.

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Image copyright Patrice Barton, 2019, text copyright Pat Zeitlow Miller, 2019. Courtesy of HarperCollins.

You will absolutely love reading this book to your child, grandchild, students, or any child who captures your heart. In her lovely and imaginative rhymes, Pat Zeitlow Miller celebrates each child as a special individual with unique traits that are valuable and an asset to the world. She reveals that the secret to happiness is staying true to yourself and using those traits to forge your own path. A glorious story, Remarkably You is an instant boost for any child—and no one could blame an adult for peeking inside for a little lift from time to time too.

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Patrice Barton’s rakish, enthusiastic, thoughtful, and freewheeling kids will melt your heart as they dip a toe into the sprinkler, wobble on skates, create a funny face with post-it notes, and gather to help each other and their neighborhood. Her softly hued pencil and mixed-media illustrations rejoice in diversity of all kinds, and each page shines with the acceptance and freedom all kids should feel while growing up and discovering themselves.

Remarkably You is a book you’ll love giving to new parents, caregivers, and the children in your life (even if they’re not so young any more). It would be a favorite go-to book to add to home, classroom, and public library shelves.

Ages 4 – 8

HarperCollins, 2019 | ISBN 978-0062427588

Discover more about Pat Zeitlow Miller and her books on her website.

To learn more about Patrice Barton, her books, and her art, visit her website

Children’s Book Day Activity

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You’re Amazing Magnets

 

You can remind your kids about how special they are with these complimentary sayings. Print them out and attach adhesive magnet strips to create decorations for a child’s room, their locker, the fridge or anywhere they’ll see them and take the message to heart. You can also use heavy paper or poster board, markers, and stickers to create your own encouraging magnets.

You’re Amazing Magnet Templates

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You can find Remarkably You at these booksellers

Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Books-a-Million | IndieBound

 

 

 

June 22 – It’s Great Outdoors Month

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About the Holiday

June, with its lazy feel and longer days, is the perfect month to spend time outdoors. Great Outdoors Week was established in 1998, but it quickly became apparent that only seven days were not nearly enough to enjoy everything nature has to offer. In 2004 the holiday was expanded to encompass the entire 30 days of June. So whether you enjoy activities on land or water, pack a picnic, grab some toys or equipment, and get out to play! Or if you just like quiet time, take a book and find a shady spot to read! Or if you love discovering new places, slip on your walking shoes and explore! Or…well, there’s just so much to choose from…!

Bringing the Outside In

Written by Mary McKenna Siddals | Illustrated by Patrice Barton

 

For kids there’s something magical about an open door. Going out leads to unexpected adventures, blissful messiness, and astonishing discoveries. Coming in means comfort, encouragement, and that homey feeling of being wrapped in love. Bringing the Outside In is an exuberant celebration of this harmonious juxtaposition for every season of the year.

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In springtime four children in jackets and boots and their adorable puppy race to play on a blue, blustering day. Under soft, billowing clouds they leap into puddles, dig in the dirt, pick wildflowers, and play tug-of-war with the wind. Happily sated and with “Worms in our clutches / Wind in our hair, / Boots full of puddle, / Mud everywhere!” the kids skip toward home. They are greeted with smiles, towels, hooks for their coats, and a mop for the drips. Even the puppy knows it’s time for “Wiping it off, / Mopping it up, / Dumping it / out again.”

With the repeated chorus “We’re bringing the outside in, oh, / Bringing the outside in…” the spring turns to summer and the four kids are visiting the beach with pails, swim fins, goggles, float, and a ball to toss. With buoyant abandon they collect sea shells, meet hermit crabs, get properly soaked, and revel in the warm sunshine. The sun, sand, and sea follow them home, where they kick off their sandals, gather at the mudroom’s big double sink, and pin their suits on the clothes line while “Shaking it off, / Washing it up, / Drying it out again.”

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Autumn once again finds the kids outside amid its brilliant colors and “Bushels of apples, / Leaves stuck on clothes, / Acorns in pockets, / Smells in our nose!” Back inside the kids make art of some of the apples and leaves they’ve collected, untangle more leaves from hair, clothes, and the puppy’s ears, and sweep even more out the door. With the onset of winter the kids plop in the snow, build snowmen, sled, and eat icicles. After a fun-filled afternoon and with “Slush on our seats” and a “nip in our fingers,” they know it’s time for “Bringing the outside in, then…Brushing it off, / Warming it up, / Thawing out again.”

A full year has passed, but the enchantment of spring, summer, autumn, and winter have not been forgotten outside. As the kids, comfy in their matching pajamas, huddle on the round rug poring over a box of photographs and souvenirs of their escapades, they’re happily “…keeping the outside in, oh, / Keeping the outside in….” And whenever they want to relive the “Treasures collected, / Pictures in heaps, / Stories remembered, / Memories for keeps!” that box contains, all it takes is a quick “digging it up” and “dusting it off” and “bringing it out again!”

Mary McKenna Siddals’ effervescent tribute to the joy of outdoor play perfectly captures the bouncy wonder young children exhibit in the freedom of a natural environment. Using evocative, lyrical language, Siddals imbues simple childhood pleasures with poetic resonance. The repeated phrases make this a great read-along, read-aloud book, and the children’s actions could easily be turned into fun movement games for school or family story time.

Patrice Barton’s endearing illustrations of the adorable ethnically diverse children at play are inspired and inspiring. Vivid swirls and streaks create splashing water, wind-whipped hair, swinging tires, and plenty of drips, drops, and delight. Children will love seeing themselves so affectionately depicted and will want to linger over the details on every page. One wonderful aspect of Bringing the Outside In is that the children can represent friends or they could be siblings.

Bringing the Outside In is a must for school libraries and would be a wonderful, often-read addition to a family library.

Ages 3 – 8

Random House Books for Young Readers, 2016 | ISBN 978-0449814307

Visit Mary McKenna Siddals’ Website to discover more about her and her books! You’ll also find lots of hands-on and online activities for Bringing the Outside In and her other books as well as teachers’ resources, and lesson plans.

Join in the fun with Mary McKenna Siddals on the Bringing the Outside In Facebook Page!

Visit Patrice Barton’s Website to view more of her adorable artwork, books, and blog posts!

Great Outdoors Month Activity

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Personalized Painted Pail

 

A trip to the beach or park isn’t complete without a pail to collect shells, seaweed, sea glass, pebbles, sticks, nuts, or other things in. But why should all the cool stuff be on the inside? With this craft you can decorate your pail to show your unique personality!

Supplies

  • Plastic or metal pail
  • Craft paint in various colors
  • Crystal Clear Acrylic Coating, for multi-surface use
  • Paint brush

Directions

  1. Paint designs on the pail
  2. When paint is dry spray with acrylic coating to set paint
  3. Let dry