May 2017 Recap

May was an amazing reading month – I read so much, and most of the books I finished were ones I really enjoyed.

I didn’t get a lot done in the way of blogging – I was hoping to get posts written ahead before we left on vacation, but it didn’t happen. Then I intentionally left my computer at home and conceded that the blog was going to be put on a brief hiatus. 😉

May 2017 in Stats

Books Read This Month: 24
Books Read This Year: 76

Things That Happened
  • Book club – My Antonia for my in-person book club and Hannah Coulter in the Facebook group.
  • We went on vacation to Florida! We went to Legoland, Disney, and Animal Kingdom. We also had days spent at the pool in between the amusement parks.
  • We wrapped up the “official” school year, although we’ll be doing some light things for the summer.
What’s Cooking

    Lots of quick-and-easy meals, as we’ve been busy with baseball & softball. I keep thinking I should make myself a belated birthday cake, but so far I haven’t bothered. We were in Florida for my actual birthday, which is why it hasn’t happened yet.

    But! The smartest thing I did was schedule a Home Chef box to arrive right after vacation. We got home late Monday afternoon, and Tuesday morning a meal box was at my door. IT. WAS. AWESOME. I want to do that every time we’re coming home from vacation, as it made re-entry so much easier.

What I’m Anticipating in June
  • H’s birthday! 🙂
  • Baseball and softball will end. G’s team will have a tournament, so I’m not sure of the exact ending date.
  • Taekwondo camp, and VBS.
  • Belt testing. G tries again for his 1st degree recommended black belt, and H goes for brown belt. I am *so* hoping she passes because that’ll move her up into the advanced classes. Why do I care? Because then she’ll be in the same class as G again, which makes my life easier. 🙂
  • Book club – Into Thin Air for my in-person book club and Uprooted in the Facebook group.
Books I Read in May

I shared the list of books I read in a post on Thursday, so I’ll share my favorites of the picture books we read in May:

  • The Gardener by Sarah Stewart

    Beautiful illustrations, and a sweet story

  • The Bear Ate Your Sandwich by Julia Sarcone-Roach

    Really funny, and great illustrations

  • Mother Bruce by Ryan T. Higgins

    Made my girls laugh, especially the pictures of the grumpy bear.

  • The Firehouse Light by Janet Nolan

    H really liked this one, and asked for it several days in a row. Interesting story, and well-done at showing the passage of time. It’s a wordier book, and wouldn’t hold the attention of toddlers.

  • Xander’s Panda Party by Linda Sue Park

    Cute story.

Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links. Thank you for supporting The Deliberate Reader!

Have a MAGICAL November and December with Us

We’ve had a really nice discussion about the Modern US books featured in the Family Exploration Book Club in September & October. While we’re still discussing Stuck in Neutral, I wanted to be sure and share the titles for November and December in time for everyone to locate the books.


For the youngest readers, the picture book selected is The Boy from the Dragon Palace adapted by Margaret Read MacDonald, illustrated by Sachiko Yoshikawa

For November’s chapter book title, we’re reading The Sisters Grimm by Michael Buckley, illustrated by Peter Ferguson

December’s selection is Pip Bartlett’s Guide to Magical Creatures by Jackson Pearce and Maggie Stiefvater

Chat about the books

We’d love to chat about the books with you in the Facebook group – tell us what you & your family think about the titles, or share additional ideas for books (or crafts, or food) that connect to the theme!

Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links. Thank you for supporting The Deliberate Reader!

Birthday Books for My Birthday Girl

My baby turns 2 today, so it’s a perfect time to add favorite books to our own collection. We added:

The Pout Pout Fish

The Pout-Pout Fish by Deborah Diesen, illustrated by Dan Hanna. She loves this book. She’s been missing it since I took it back to the library last month, and I’m sure she’ll be thrilled to have it back.


Moo! by David LaRochelle, illustrated by Mike Wohnoutka. All the kids like this one – it’s so much fun.

Kitten's First Full Moon

Kitten’s First Full Moon by Kevin Henkes. I’ve been meaning to buy this since my oldest was a baby, and I finally am. He helped me open the box when these arrived yesterday and was so happy to see this one in the stack for her.

Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links. Thank you for supporting The Deliberate Reader!

Previously on The Deliberate Reader

One year ago: For the Love by Jen Hatmaker
Two years ago: Blog Break, New Baby Edition

The Book Itch by Vaunda Micheaux Nelson

The Book ItchThe Book Itch: Freedom, Truth, and Harlem’s Greatest Bookstore by Vaunda Micheaux Nelson, illustrated by R. Gregory Christie

An engaging and accessible way to tell the story of Lewis Michaux, founder of the National Memorial African Bookstore in Harlem. The illustrations help bring the era and setting to life, and are a reason to not get the book in the electronic version – I originally borrowed the book for my Kindle and couldn’t really see the illustrations well enough to appreciate the book. Get the print version!

Although it’s a picture book, it’s not one for toddlers, and even my new kindergartner wasn’t interested in listening in for it. The second grader was a better fit for it, and I think it could easily be read to or by children through fifth or sixth grade, up until they’re ready for Micheaux Nelson’s middle grade book about Michaux, No Crystal Stair.

Find the book: Print | Kindle | Goodreads

Publisher’s Description:
In the 1930s, Lewis’s dad, Lewis Michaux Sr., had an itch he needed to scratch—a book itch. How to scratch it? He started a bookstore in Harlem and named it the National Memorial African Bookstore.

Book Details

Title: The Book Itch: Freedom, Truth, and Harlem’s Greatest Bookstore
Author: by Vaunda Micheaux Nelson, illustrated by R. Gregory Christie
Category: Juvenile nonfiction
My Rating: 4 Stars

Disclosure: I received a review copy of the book from NetGalley, but I actually read it as a library book (the illustrations were impossible to see in the advance copy I had). I was not required to write a positive review, and all opinions are my own. This post contains affiliate links. Thank you for supporting The Deliberate Reader!

Previously on The Deliberate Reader

One year ago: Book Review: The Tarantula in My Purse by Jean Craighead George
Two years ago: New on My Bookcase (vol. 24)

Reading Around the World: Week 2 – Africa

Give Your Child the World Week 2 AfricaContinuing on with Jamie Martin and Sarah Mackenzie’s children’s book club, although I’m quite behind their official schedule.

Week two is coordinated with the chapter on Africa from Martin’s fantastic book Give Your Child The World.

This week I read the following titles with my kids:

Lala SalamaLala Salama: A Tanzanian Lullaby by Patricia Maclachlan, illustrated by Elizabeth Zunon
Beautiful illustrations, and a soft and gentle story that’s perfect for bedtime.

Elephants of AfricaElephants of Africa by Gail Gibbons
Informative nonfiction title – my older two weren’t that interested in it but the youngest liked making elephant noises for every page.

Anansi and the Moss-Covered RockAnansi and the Moss-Covered Rock retold by Eric A. Kimmel, illustrated by Janet Stevens
Generally I don’t like folktales (from any culture) so I wasn’t feeling enthusiastic about starting this title, but it was a lot of fun.

Rain SchoolRain School by James Mumford
Great story, and I’m not sure I’ve ever read a book set in Chad before, so that was nice.

Jambo Means HelloJambo Means Hello: Swahili Alphabet Book by Muriel Feelings, illustrated by Tom Feelings
We skimmed this one mostly, but the illustrations are wonderful.

Bringing the Rain to Kapiti PlainBringing the Rain to Kapiti Plain: A Nandi Tale by Verna Aardema, illustrated by Beatriz Vidal
My oldest had wandered off when we read this one, but I hope to get him to listen to it later – I’m curious to see if he recognizes the structure of it being like “This is the House That Jack Built”

Throw Your Tooth on the RoofWe also read Throw Your Tooth on the Roof: Tooth Traditions from Around the World by Selby Beeler, illustrated by G. Brian Karas, although that really would have been a better fit with week 1, as a multicultural book. My kids got a little bit bored with it, and we just kind of dipped into it here and there, mostly seeing how many cultures were mentioned having tooth traditions involving 1) mice 2)throwing the tooth on the roof or 3) burying the tooth.

Anna HibiscusAnd I was somewhat hoping to get to it this week but it didn’t happen. Later this year though we will be reading Anna Hibiscus by Atinuke, as it is *such* a great book. It’s not a picture book though, which is all we managed this week. 🙂

Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links. Thank you for supporting The Deliberate Reader!

Previously on The Deliberate Reader

Two years ago: Read This, Not That: Fair Play Mystery

50 Picture Books about Australia

On Monday I shared the books we’ll “officially” be reading as part of our Family Book Club. But perhaps your library doesn’t have Mem Fox’s Possum Magic, or perhaps you just want one or two dozen others to read because your kids are like mine and can’t get enough picture books. In that case, I’ve compiled a list of 50 possibilities for you.

50 Australia picture books

Headed to the library? I’ve got a printable for that.

If you want to look for any of these titles at your library, here’s a PDF printable of all 50 books.

And some others, which I didn’t have the chance to preview:

Still Want More?

Despite including several titles by Mem Fox already in this list, she’s got plenty more – not all of them very Australia-heavy on their content, but every one of hers I’ve read has been worthwhile. My kids are particularly partial to Where Is the Green Sheep?

In addition, Bronwyn Bancroft has many additional picture book titles besides the three listed in this post, and all are very Australia-focused.

Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links. Thank you for supporting The Deliberate Reader!

Previously on The Deliberate Reader

One year ago: Searching for Sunday by Rachel Held Evans

Reading about Iran

Interested in joining in with us for the Reading Together: A Family Exploration Book Club? Our theme for May and June is Iran, and you’ve still got time to find the books and join our new co-host Katie from Cakes, Tea, and Dreams for the discussion.

RTFEBC Iran Books

What are the three books we’ve selected? The picture book is Forty Fortunes by Aaron Shepard, illustrated by Alisher Dianov. (Can’t find it? I’ll list some other suggestions below). The elementary grade book to be discussed in May is Shadow Spinner by Susan Fletcher, and the middle grade / teen book for June is Persepolis by Marjane Satrapi.

Want some additional picture book options?

If your kids are anything like mine, you can run through a half dozen picture books in a day, and they like nothing more than doing just that. In case you can’t easily locate Forty Fortunes, or if you just want more options, here are some more possibilities. Asterisks (*) mark ones I especially enjoyed, and the tilde (~) denotes one I haven’t actually seen, thanks to it vanishing off my library holds shelf before I could borrow it.

Chat about the books

We’d love to chat about the books with you in the Facebook group – tell us what you & your family think about the titles, or share additional ideas for books (or crafts, or food) that connect to the theme!

Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links. Thank you for supporting The Deliberate Reader!

Previously on The Deliberate Reader

One year ago: Savor by Shauna Niequist

What the Kids are Reading (in February 2016)

Late in January I finally closed out my Usborne kickoff parties and cashed in on the free books I earned through them.

I got a TON of books, and we’ve been reading and reading them. Here are the board books I received – stay tuned for later posts about all the other books. It was an amazing shipment! So, yes, most of the books we read in February were either picture books about the Arctic or Korea, or our new books. Since I’ve already posted about those themed picture books, today’s post is all about the books we actually added to our bookshelf. So exciting!

Board Books and Activity Books

Busy Train bookBusy Train Book
I *thought* I was just getting this as a display book for home shows. Ha! My kids – all of them – LOVE this book. Who knew a train driving around in loops could be so amazingly entertaining?

My Wild Animal WorldMy Wild Animal World
Another huge hit here – my youngest is obsessed with opening the big book, and then removing the 9 individual books, flipping through them, and then putting them back in the big book. The other two love reading these with her too, so it’s a double win!

Slide and See Under the SeaSlide-and-See Under the Sea

And yet another huge hit with the toddler. She loves the textures, she loves the various interactive features – it’s fantastic. I’ve even caught the other two flipping through it, and both are eager to read it to her.

Little Red Penguin ShapesLittle Red Penguin Shapes

The toddler likes lifting the flaps on this one, but it doesn’t captivate her as much as some of their other choices. However, I like the smaller size on this, as it’s easy to keep in my purse and pull out when I need a little bit of distraction.

Pop-Up JunglePop-Up Jungle

Really pretty pop-ups, but it’s probably the least popular of all the board and interactive books I’ve gotten from Usborne, perhaps because it’s got all these tempting elements – the snapping crocodile jaws, the swinging monkey, the slithering snake – and I won’t let her grab any of them.

Peek Inside the ZooPeek Inside the Zoo

A great first lift the flap book, as the flaps are bigger than in some of their other titles. Pretty illustrations too – I really like it. That said, it just misses being one of the biggest hits of this order, but I can see my youngest liking it more as she gets a bit older. It’s suggested for kids 3 and up, and based on my experiences with my three, I’d agree with that. 🙂

Felix and Ella's VacationFelix & Ella’s Vacation

It’s a huge, reusable sticker book: of course my kids are obsessed with it. It was all I could do to keep them from tearing into it the first day it arrived. We haven’t had it long enough to really test the long-term re-usability factor of the stickers but so far they’re definitely movable.

Big Book of ColorsBig Book of Colors

My 4 year old LOVES this. The 6 year old really likes it too, but not as much as his sister. I have to admit I kind of wanted this one for myself – I love the colors, I love the color wheel, I love the acrylic overlay that lets you see how colors change. Love love love. It’s great for color vocabulary too.

I Want to Be a Lion TamerI Want to Be a Lion Tamer by Ruby Brown, illustrated by Alisa Coburn

Usborne has a handful of books that are great transitions from board books to picture books, and this is one of them – the pages are thicker and plastic-coated, so while they feel and turn more like picture books, they’re sturdier like board books. This has great illustrations with an old-fashioned feel, and the message is fantastic. I really debated between choosing this one or the I Want to Be An Astronaut, but like this one so much I may end up getting both. 🙂

Look Inside Mummies and PyramidsLook Inside Mummies and Pyramids

I got this as a fun extra for our upcoming homeschool history program, and cannot WAIT to pull it out and let my son see it. He’s going to love it, I’m certain.

Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links. Thank you for supporting The Deliberate Reader!

Previously on The Deliberate Reader

One year ago: How I Decided to Homeschool and How I Decided on a Curriculum
Two years ago: Women Heroes of WWII
Three years ago: Let’s Talk about Spoilers

newest reads board books interactive books February 2016February 2016 Usborne board books

Korea-Themed Picture Books

Interested in joining in with us for the Reading Together: A Family Exploration Book Club, but have children too young to appreciate the chapter books we’ll be reading? While the “official” picture book for our theme is The Firekeeper’s Son, here are 19 other options in case you can’t find that one at your library, or if you read it and want more!

Twenty Picture Books about Korea

20 Korea-Themed Picture Books:

Asterisks mark ones that I especially enjoyed

Korean History

I do love learning about history through picture books, and all three of these are well done – focusing one small aspects of history (often with a personal connection) to bring it to life.

Korean Immigrant or Korean-American Experiences
Based on Korean Folktales

The lack of asterisks here is perhaps based more on my usual indifference to folktales than a fair reflection on the quality of these books. If you’re a fan of folktale retellings, you may appreciate them more than I did.


If you’re looking for picture books best for the youngest of readers, you may want to try one of these. The above books all are longer picture books, and none of my toddlers would have wanted to sit through them.

  • * Bee-Bim Bop!Bee-Bim Bop! by Linda Sue Park, illustrated by Ho Baek Lee by Linda Sue Park, illustrated by Ho Baek Lee
  • * The ZooThe Zoo by Suzy Lee by Suzy Lee
    (Note: This is a really great book, but the Korean setting is incidental to the story, and if I weren’t looking for it I’d easily miss the limited hints about the setting that are provided. Do read the book, but unless you have no other options pick another one to support the theme. And, don’t feel like this is only for younger readers – the illustrations are detailed, and lead to fun discussions about the contrast between the text, and what the pictures show.)
  • My Cat Copies MeMy Cat Copies Me by Yoon-duck Kwon by Yoon-duck Kwon
    (Note: Another one where the setting is incidental to the story. It was originally published in Korean, and the illustration style and technique are apparently traditionally Korean, so you can always branch off on that if this is your only book option.)
Other Options

Thinking that perhaps you want to give the other readalouds a try? In March we’ll be reading The Kite FightersThe Kite Fighters by Linda Sue Park and in April we’ll read When My Name Was KeokoWhen My Name Was Keoko by Linda Sue Park, both by Linda Sue Park.

Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links. Thank you for supporting The Deliberate Reader!

Previously on The Deliberate Reader

One year ago: Book Review: Ender’s Game by Orson Scott Card
Two years ago: Book Review: Pizza, Pigs, and Poetry by Jack Prelutsky
Three years ago: Reading Through Grief

What the Kids are Reading (in December 2015)

December 2015 Picture Books

We did read more Christmas books than those listed below; these are just the new-to-us ones I tried from the library. One of these days I should make a complete listing of the Christmas books, instead of having them scattered across various posts from different years. Maybe that’ll happen for 2016. 😉

A Tale of Two BeastsA Tale of Two Beasts by Fiona Roberton

Probably my favorite from the month – I loved the double perspective this one provides, as the story is told twice, once from the viewpoint of the little girl, and once from the animal’s point of view. The way the illustrations are also adjusted for each recounting is really clever too. The kids liked it as well, and have asked for it repeatedly.

AnimallyAnimally by Lynn Parrish Sutton

Very sweet story, with lots of fun adverbs plus of course all the great animals. I can see why this one was recommended to me so highly.

There's a Mouse about the HouseThere’s a Mouse about the House by R. Fowler

I got this one because of a relative raving about how much her children loved it when they were growing up. Initially, I was skeptical about how much my kids would like it, but I didn’t need to be – my kids are OBSESSED with putting the little mouse through each page’s slot. The one drawback is that the mouse is easy to lose, even with the little pocket on the front cover (ask me how I know this.) At least the back cover has a template for making your own replacement mouse. 🙂

Old AbeOld Abe, Eagle Hero: The Civil War’s Most Famous Mascot by Anne Lee

Good as an older picture book, as it’s got more text on each page. I’d recommend it if you’re looking for material about the Civil War that doesn’t get into graphic detail, but just touches on the time period, or if you’ve got animal lovers. Otherwise, it’s not a must read or one that I’d suggest for younger readers, as it likely won’t hold their interest. My 6 year old thought it was ok,; my 4 year old didn’t stick around for more than a page or two. I’ll try it again with them in another year or two.

Blue Whale BluesBlue Whale Blues by Peter Carnavas

Cute story, and the kids were amused at the “wrong” names and uses for various items they easily recognized (the upside down shopping cart that the Whale calls his bike, etc.). They also thought it was hilarious when Whale is sad that his “bike” is “all wet.”

Johnny Appleseed the Story of a LegendJohnny Appleseed: The Story of a LegendJohnny Appleseed: The Story of a Legend by Will Moses by Will Moses

A school book for G, and he liked it, and he liked telling daddy about what he’d learned about Johnny Appleseed. Nice illustrations too, but it’s not a toddler or preschooler-targeted picture book: it’s very text-heavy, and is unlikely to keep their interest. As a readaloud for a first grader, it’s excellent.

The Christmas Miracle of Jonathan ToomeyThe Christmas Miracle of Jonathan ToomeyThe Christmas Miracle of Jonathan Toomey by Susan Wojciechowski, illustrated by P.J. Lynch by Susan Wojciechowski, illustrated by P.J. Lynch

New to us all this year, and what a wonderful book! Both the story and illustrations are lovely, and I want to buy a copy to add to our regular advent reading rotation. The 4 year old wasn’t that interested in it, but I think by next year she’ll like it.

Christmas OrangesChristmas OrangesChristmas Oranges by Linda Bethers, illustrated by Ben Sowards by Linda Bethers, illustrated by Ben Sowards

Gorgeously illustrated, but I wasn’t expecting to get choked up by the story. It’s another picture book that’s better for 6 & up at least, both because of the amount of text, and because of the themes discussed.

Click Clack Ho Ho HoClick, Clack, Ho! Ho! Ho!Click, Clack, Ho! Ho! Ho! by Doreen Cronin, illustrated by Betsy Lewin by Doreen Cronin, illustrated by Betsy Lewin

I adore Click Clack Moo and others by Cronin and Lewin, but this one wasn’t one of my favorites of theirs. I’m also not a big fan of Santa-focused books though, so that plays a huge role in my feelings. Try it from the library (most medium to larger ones should have a copy) and see if it’s a good fit for your family before buying it.

Llama Llama Holiday DramaLlama Llama Holiday DramaLlama Llama Holiday Drama by Anna Dewdney by Anna Dewdney

My first Llama Llama book, and maybe I shouldn’t have picked this one as my introduction to the series? I was unimpressed with it. Thinking I should give Llama Llama another try, because I know they’re hugely popular, and maybe this was just not representative of what they’re usually like.

Disclosure: Several of these are Usborne books, and I’m an independent consultant for them (i.e., I sell them). I’m still going to give you my honest opinion on their books though, because every book isn’t right for every reader. If you buy from my link I’ll receive a commission, which goes to support the blog and my homeschooling adventure. Non-Usborne titles are linked to Amazon, and those are affiliate links. Thank you for supporting The Deliberate Reader!