I used to read 50+ books each year. In a bound suede journal which my grandmother gave me, I proudly kept track of the titles I had finished, a running tally of total books read in a year, and a list of books to be devoured still. My New Year’s health resolution was how many books I would strive to read that calendar year.
As a little girl, I remember my sisters and I tagging along occasionally in the summers as my Dad visited his classroom for various reasons we often paid no attention to. While he might be doing an inventory of equipment and compiling orders of beakers, burners, and other scientific tools, we would explore the old and often empty building, climb up and down what we thought were dramatic staircases, play school, draw on the chalkboards, etc. My memories are foggy but happy ones.
It has been a good long while since my last post, but most of you know why… somehow I decided to start my own business. How did this even happen!? Sometimes my head is still spinning, and other times, it just makes perfect sense.
With two weeks left until Halloween, the last place I want to be is anywhere that sells Halloween costumes. I don’t need to leave the house to hear the sounds of chaos or multiple children pleading for something they don’t need all at the same time. But don’t get me wrong, I am SUPER excited for Halloween and to share a few more costume ideas that you can make for your whole family, still in time for Halloween!
March 2nd was Dr. Seuss’ 114th birthday celebration. My social media feeds were a confusing mix of people lovingly and excitedly celebrating Seuss-day, aka Read Across America day, and others voicing an anti-Seuss movement, which stems from the opinion that Dr. Seuss’ works are steeped with racism and stereotypes.
Around our house, the New Year brought with it some sniffles, allergies, more teething for the twins (it’s like never-ending!), major nostalgia of being super pregnant a year ago and realizing my babies are about to turn ONE (EEK!), and also some real clumsiness on the part of this momma. To put it short, y’all, I’ve been a HOT mess! Meanwhile, for the rest of my family, the New Year brought some record COLD temps and/or snowfall where they live.
I am grateful for being a mom of 3 under 3 in a part of the country that is afflicted with boring, predictably 70 degree weather. Except for a few days ago as I drafted this, of course. That day, I turned the heat on and wore my coat. But anyway, I also feel like our big boy is missing out on experiencing real winter and snow, something he actually lived through for his first 2 winters, though he has no recollection of it. My life is full of conflict, I know.
It’s always magical to see children learning from a young age to appreciate and celebrate their heritage as well as the diverse heritage of others. I’m one of those people who loves the word diverse, y mas en español, diverso, porque todo suena mejor en español. I can’t help but mention here that I recently had a conversation with a man who shuddered as I described my high school alma mater as diverse. He claimed that “diverse” is a word that democrats have stolen and made dirty… don’t get me started on that. So I just want to say it again: (Dear Sir) I LOVE THE WORD “DIVERSE”!
As teachers, sometimes our hands are tied by school or district policies when it comes to exposing our little learners to cultural or religious holidays. I was always glad to be allowed to teach holidays, as long as these were taught in an all-inclusive way that made children aware of the diverse ways and days people celebrate but didn’t promote one over another.
As promised in Teaching Gratitude, here are some recommendations for 15 books that help accomplish just that. I spent some quality time making this list and book descriptions as useful as possible. (I hope you find it SUPER useful!) In my opinion, recommended target ages are helpful but VERY flexible, and they’ll often differ from source to source. (I cited the range I most agree with.) The books on this list can be used year-round, not solely at Thanksgiving time.
Happy reading and teaching gratitude!
The Giving Tree by Shel Silverstein (Ages 5-8 per Scholastic)
Honestly, this book is great for all ages, as it can lead to some pretty deep reflection and conversations. I’ve also read it with great success to Pre-K students to celebrate Earth Day and discuss gratitude for and stewardship of our planet and environment.
Check out the 1973 animated short film of The Giving Tree with soothing narration from the author himself. There are some controversial interpretations of this book (which for fun, I encourage you to look into), so pre-read it and be prepared to guide the conversation in the direction that you want. Available in multiple languages, called El arbol generso in Spanish.
The Thankful Book by Todd Parr (Ages 3-6 per B&N)
A little something for everyone, but mommas will love this one: “I am thankful for walks because they are special times for just you and me.” Aw. Let me go for a walk with my kids now and cry.