Books, Local, Michigan, Reading

Small Business Saturday – Picture Book Edition


As we approach small business Saturday, consider shopping your local authors and illustrators! Here’s a round up of newly released picture books by Michigan authors and artists that I recommend for your bookshelf.

Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links. I earn a small commission each time someone makes a purchase through one of my links, which helps to support the blog. 


Science With Scarlett: What Color Will It Be?

Written by Gary Abud Jr. and illustrated by Liz Craft, this is a fabulous book written in rhyme that teaches children (and adults!) about color and the way our eyes see it. They suggest LED finger beams to really make the story come to life! 

Image result for abcdetroit kari jo wagner 


 By Kari Jo Wagner and illustrated by Aprilia Muktirina is the sweetest glimpse into the beautiful and unique city of Detroit. I scored a copy through an Instagram contest (Thank you @kidlitinthemitten and @green_mitten_mama for the generous gift!) My kids love looking through and seeing places we’ve visited together downtown. Snag it for your little sweeties and be amazed at all our little big city has to offer! 

Image result for triple the fun mackinac island

Triple the Fun on Mackinac Island

 By Victoria Buursma and illustrated by Natalie Wohletz  is a fun and adventurous tale of triplet sisters at Michigan’s favorite summer spot – Mackinac Island! I love the bright colors that really remind me of those warm summer days biking by the lake on my favorite island. 

 The First Men Who Went to the Moon

 By Rhonda Gowler Greene and illustrated by Scott Brundage is sure to capture the attention of aspiring astronauts. Rhythmic prose and factual information are  helpfully supplied alongside the story. This new book will inspire as well as introduce new and important vocabulary surrounding the extraordinary moon landing.  (This review also appeared in the Growing Book by Book Children’s Books About the Moon list I wrote)

Wild Honey from the Moon

By Kenneth Kraegel is a new release by an incredibly talented Michigan author and illustrator. I was in love with the title and cover alone, but the theme of pure maternal love, magical forest friends, and beautiful dialogue really put this book in the must buy category. Perfect for your budding readers who will be enchanted by the plot development over seven adventurous chapters.

The GREAT Pumpkin Contest-2nd edition

The Great Pumpkin Contest

By Lynn Magie looks like a delightful read set in New England during the picturesque fall season. Each year, two neighbors attempt to grow the biggest pumpkin and each season has a different ending!



Goodness Gracious: A Gratitude Book for Children

By Kathleen A. Green and illustrated by Lori McElrath Eslick is a lyrical book full of gratitude reflections and ponderings on the everyday things we overlook. Perfect for this season to remind us what’s truly important. 

Haggadah Regatta

 By Carol Bloom Levin, who generously offered this synopsis of her educational and engaging book. “This family Haggadah combines the best parts of a Passover seder with the tale of a little matzah raft. The raft sails at sunset with two kids and a tribe of shoes. Tracks along the seder trail lead to holiday candles, ten frightful plagues and a lot of questions. The Haggadah crew show readers why Jews retell the Passover story year after year. Levin’s playful illustrations capture the seder rituals and relate them to our world today. The language is welcoming with prayers and songs in English and Hebrew. Haggadah Regatta invites readers and non-readers alike to participate in the seder. The crew learns that actions really matter… especially if you happen to be an only kid named TwoZooZEEM.”



Books, Highly Sensitive Children, Reading

2019 Picture Book Picks for Sensitive Kids


Picture Books for Sensitive Kids

Sharing a story is a special time for you and your little one.  A picture book makes us think, question, and even giggle.  It should be a time that you and  your child feel safe and content. If you have a sensitive child, you may find yourself quickly flipping pages trying to make sure the words and pictures won’t lead to any new fears or tears. I hope I can help you with this list. After some research, these books top my list as some of the cutest, quirkiest, silliest, and most thought-provoking reads of this year. Since every child has their own sensitivities, please make sure you look through your favorites thoroughly before completing your holiday shopping!


Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links. I earn a small commission each time someone makes a purchase through one of my links, which helps to support the blog. 



Bear Came Along 

Written by Richard T. Morris and illustrated by LeUyen Pham. This book will delight your little readers with a group of curious forest friends and a personified river. I absolutely love the pops of color and the expressive faces of the animals in this book. This story  keeps the pages turning in this journey of adventure and teamwork.


Hum and Swish.jpg

Hum and Swish  

Words and picture by Matt Myers. I stumbled upon this picture book at the cutest little bookstore while vacationing in North Carolina. I opened it up and was entranced by the underlying message. A young girl simply wants to create and is bothered by all of the adults asking about her creation. She befriends another artist painting alongside her who is also focused on the process rather than the product. An enlightening reminder about the creative process and letting it be without a label.


This Beach is Loud.jpg

This Beach Is Loud!

Written and illustrated by Samantha Cotterill. Perfect for any child with sound sensitivity or any sensory challenges, this book demonstrates how excitement, fear, and anxiety can all be a part of a special day and smartly interweaves strategies that can help. (Check out Nope. Never. Not For Me! for another great story in the Little Senses series) 




Authored by Jean Reidy and illustrated by Lucy Ruth Cummins. This book is SO cute. A girl and her peaceful pet turtle are in for a tough transition when she heads back to school. Truman the turtle has a difficult time separating and takes it upon himself to reunite as quickly as possible.


A StoneSat Still.jpg

A Stone Sat Still

Written and illustrated by award winner Brendan Wenzel. Beautifully depicted, this book takes us on a journey of what it’s like to be part of the background as a stone, but also how necessary every part of nature is. 


A Friend for Henry.jpg

A Friend for Henry

Story by Jenn Bailey and pictures by Mika Song.  Henry wants a new friend but his strict parameters don’t always allow for others’ differences. He soon figures out that friends may be similar but don’t have to be exactly alike. A beautifully simple story about someone on the spectrum navigating the social situations of school.


I wonder.jpg

I Wonder

Written by Kari Anne Holt and illustrated by Kenard Pak (one of my favorites!) Has your child ever asked you an unusually deep and interesting question? I just love those moments because they really highlight the genuine curiosity and awe in which children see the world. This book opens up the conversation for many intriguing wonderings about life. 


Our Favorite Day.jpg

Our Favorite Day

Story and pictures by Joowon Oh. Cozy in its simplicity, Oh paints a picture of a practical routine broken up by the joy of a grandchild’s visit. There are no zoo trips, swimming lessons, or festivals to attend, but rather quiet delight in a grandparent’s home, creating art and special moments together.


The Night is Yours.jpg

The Night is Yours 

Written by Abdul-Razak Zachariah and illustrated by Keturah A. Bobo. I can almost feel the humidity lift in this tribute to cool summer nights and the fun that takes place under the moonlight. Set in the courtyard of an apartment building with a predominately African American cast, this book will refresh any bookshelf. 

Can I Keep It

Can I Keep It?

Authored and illustrated by Lisa Jobe. A little boy wants a pet, but his mother helps him understand that each animal might be happiest under different circumstances. This tale ends happily when the boy gets a furry friend of his own. 


Seagull & Sea Dragon.jpg

Seagull & Sea Dragon

Story and pictures by Sydni Gregg. Beautifully illustrated in bright hues. Head to the coast for an unlikely tale of friendship!

Books, Gifts, Reading

Gifting the Perfect Picture Book

person holding red and white gift box with ribbon bow


Have you ever wanted to gift the perfect picture book to an expectant mother, young child, or teacher? I know I have and the idea of finding the right one is simply overwhelming. The market is so saturated with strong writing and beautiful illustrations that it can be hard to know where to start. I’m still learning myself, but my experience as a book curator has given me a new perspective on this daunting task. Here are my tips:


  • Consider the receiver’s interests and taste. Does your niece love construction vehicles or your pregnant pal adore mid-century modern style? Consider her interests and style when selecting a book. This is where it can be helpful to flip through a book in a bookstore to get a better sense of the story and illustrations.


  • Preview on Amazon. If visiting a local bookstore isn’t an option for you (which is sadly the case for many of us), you can usually use the “Look Inside” tool on Amazon. You may be able to see a couple pages on your phone app, but the desktop version is much more thorough.


woman using gray laptop computer on her lap


  • Check out recent award-winners and starred reviews. I’m always worried that someone is going to have the book I gift them. This is especially the case when attending a baby shower. If you want to (almost) guarantee they don’t, research the latest starred reviews on Kirkus, the monthly selections on School Library Journal, or the annual award-winners courtesy of the New York Times or the Caldecott committee if the timing is right. If a book has been published in the last few months, you have a better chance of finding something fresh and appealing.


  • Double-check for sensitive material. Covers can be deceiving. Read a review and some book tags if you want to be careful about the material you’re gifting. This may not be the case with a simple baby book, but even picture books can be used to wade through difficult situations like death or violence. So peruse a couple reviews on Barnes & Noble or check the tags on Junior Library Guild to ensure you are buying the best book possible.


Happy book buying!

Books, Family, Literacy, Preschool, Reading

Reading with Your Preschooler

adult black and white books boy


As someone who was a classroom teacher, reading specialist, and now mother, I have a LOT to say about reading. But for today, I am just going to focus on the preschool age, specifically ages 3-4.


In the United States, there is increasing pressure to have our children reading earlier and earlier. Not just being read to, looking at books, but actually READING by themselves. As an (older) millennial, I remember attending half day kindergarten, reading aloud, and really beginning the reading process in school in first grade. That has since shifted and students are expected to be reading in kindergarten. Many of our children are ready at this point and there is nothing wrong with that, but pushing our children before they are developmentally prepared can leave them frustrated and with negative attitudes about reading.


Children in the preschool age should be given the freedom to explore books to develop a love of  reading. Here are some simple ways we try to do this at home. And the best part is that the only materials are you, your child, and a book!


  • Leave books in most rooms. Just like toys, books are fun and always leave space for discovery.


  • Let your preschool “read” a book on his own. You do not always need to read it aloud. Let him develop his own concept of a book and a story through the pictures and perhaps even some words.


  • In a book with sparse text, use your finger to track the words. This will help anchor your child’s understanding of how we read left to right and that each word is its own unit. You should not do this with all books and don’t even need to do it on every page.

photo of a boy reading book







Continue reading “Reading with Your Preschooler”