• Reading with Walnuts Archive

    As I watched a cascade of wet leaves swirling around outside my window earlier this morning, it dawned on me: Thanksgiving is next week. If you find yourself staring mindlessly at grocery store displays of cranberry sauce and canned pumpkins, you’re not alone. It seems like so many people are walking around in a daze, feeling like they’d much rather fast-forward past the holidays this year. A strange time though it may be, I can’t imagine skipping the one day of the year when families and friends come together to celebrate and give thanks for all they already have. Pardon the expression, but forgoing Thanksgiving would seem to be un-American…and that’s definitely not the message I want to share with my kids. For those of [&hellip

    Read More...

    I miss the days when I didn’t have to bribe my kids to go outdoors. As a toddler, my younger daughter used to bang on the back door, her ‘subtle’ signal that she wanted to play in the backyard. It didn’t matter if it was pouring buckets or sleeting on a cold, spring-ish day; this kid needed to breathe the fresh air and feel the wind on her skin. It was partly because I knew she had developed a true affinity for all the creatures who lived outdoors permanently. To her, it wasn’t fair that they could be outside whenever they wanted. Sometimes, I wondered to myself if she might be part animal. Perhaps that is why the new picture book Halfway Wild speaks to me [&hellip

    Read More...

    Blame it on Jaws. Ever since that blockbuster hit movie theaters back in the summer of 1975, it spooked novice and seasoned swimmers alike and made otherwise confident boaters look over their shoulders a little bit more often. Even 40 years later, the eerie music still freaks me out every now and then while swimming. So it’s no wonder sharks in general have gotten a bad rap, and why so many beachgoers stay ashore when they think they might have spotted the telltale fin emerging from the water. Seeking to remedy this comes Please Be Nice to Sharks, a full-color children’s book that celebrates this ocean creature by zeroing in on the different species and their individual characteristics. Right from the start, readers will learn [&hellip

    Read More...

    Happy Earth Day! If your weather is as nice as ours is today, it’s the perfect opportunity to get outside and enjoy the fact that spring has finally sprung. If April showers have upended your outdoor plans, then a good book may be just the ticket. Yesterday, I had the privilege to read to a class of second graders for an Earth Day celebration, and one book in particular captivated this rambunctious crew. Critter Litter: See What Animals Leave Behind masks itself as an educational read with a hidden surprise on each page. Each photo spread is dedicated to one of 12 different animals and features fun facts, photos and illustrations. The biggest attraction is the lift-the-flap feature that reveals the “critter litter” this dirty dozen [&hellip

    Read More...

    If you read my blog, you know how much I love books. Cultivating a passion for reading is something I have been doing since my daughters were born! With that being said, I’m thrilled to introduce my guest blogger who happens to be my almost (gasp!) 12-year-old daughter. She recently read and reviewed an advance copy of Cici Reno #MiddleSchoolMatchMaker, due out this month from Sterling Children’s Books. Read on to find out what she thought of this book and whether it’s something you might like to pick up for your own middle schooler: Cici Reno is a 7th grader at Alton T. Wright Middle School. At the “Back to School Campfire”, Cici’s best friend, Aggie, spots a boy she really likes, Drew Lancaster. She [&hellip

    Read More...

    The first time I took my baby daughter to the beach, I made sure to pack all the essentials: sunscreen, bug spray, a towel and, oh yes, a book. Yes, she loved to dig in the sand and unearth shells, dead crabs and other “treasures,” but that’s not what I remember most about her first experience with the sun and surf. The beach is where she made her first connection with words and reading. After pointing to a picture of a child in Busy Beach, she proudly touched the top of her head and announced “har” (which I took to be “hair.”) I think my smile outshone the sun that afternoon; wow, I must be doing something right, I thought to myself. As a new [&hellip

    Read More...

    The annual school Science Fair is upon us once again, and that means it’s time to start thinking up clever topics. I’m always amazed how the lemon light bulb and potato-powered battery make their appearance every year. Maybe this year, they can head back to the produce department, and let another veggie take center stage…like the zucchini. Never Insult a Killer Zucchini! is a delightful new picture book that pays tribute to this elementary school rite of passage. If you’ve been wracking your brain to help your kid come up with a prize-worthy experiment, this book not only provides food for thought, but pokes fun at the craziness of kids (and parents!) trying to outdo their classmates. Readers will enjoy this riotous romp, as the [&hellip

    Read More...

    It’s hard to believe that it will not only be a green Christmas this year, but possibly one of the warmest on records. And while it may be too soon to tell what January and February will bring, it doesn’t exactly put us in the seasonal mindset. If you’re looking to get into the holiday spirit –or are secretly hankering for a dusting of snow (don’t worry, we won’t tell)–two new picture books will surely satisfy your fix this season. The Tea Party in the Woods is a tender, unsuspecting story of a girl who sets out to deliver a pie to her grandmother. But before you think you’ve heard this one before, you can stop yourself right there. The lush watercolor imagery of this [&hellip

    Read More...

    When my husband was younger, his family celebrated Christmas…even though they are Jewish. His parents hung stockings by the fireplace, and his dad even dressed up as Santa for the neighborhood kids. (No Christmas tree, but enough to make him and his younger brother feel like they were not being left out of what felt like the rest of the world’s celebration.) I can’t imagine how he must felt, but I’m sure he and many other kids can relate to those same feelings shared by the title character in the delightful new picture book, Dear Santa, Love, Rachel Rosenstein. Determined to experience the joys of the season–especially a visit from Old St. Nick–she challenges her own family’s decision to remain faithful to its Jewish upbringing. [&hellip

    Read More...

    On the eve of All Hallow’s Eve means that Thanksgiving can’t be too far behind. One of my favorite pre-Turkey Day memories comes from hunkering down to watch (of course) “A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving” on TV. Before my favorite part when Snoopy and Woodstock sit down to their own feast (natch), the Peanuts gang piles into the family station wagon and heads out to Grandma’s house singing, “Over the River and Through the Woods.” It always made me laugh to hear their voices practically tripping over each other; never mind how out of synch they sounded, their cacophony created its own special harmony…much like family life. That’s the same feeling I got from reading the new picture book by the same name as the popular [&hellip

    Read More...