• Reading with Walnuts Archive

    As much as I hate to admit it, summer is quickly drawing to a close. If you happen to live in a place where school has already started, then you know the sting of those first few weeks: Everyone is desperately trying to get back into the swing of things, and you promised yourself you would start off the new school year without yelling. (OK, so promises are made to be broken.) But seriously, we know how hard it can be to motivate your kids to get to the bus on time, do their homework and get to bed…just so they can wake up and start all over again. To give my girls a little boost, we ease into the whole homework cycle by making [&hellip

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    As August begins to wind down and the new school year looms in the not-so-distant future, my thoughts always turn to ways to get my kids back into the groove. (And of course, if you know me well enough, that usually involves a good book.) For any parent who’s fretting over how their child will fit in to a new class of kids, the delightful Ally-Saurus & The First Day of School offers some much-needed reassurance. This story follows the antics of a precocious tot who appears to be more comfortable as a dinosaur than in her own skin. Like so many imaginative, young kids her age, her cuteness borders on near-frustration for her ever-patient parents. So when the first day of school arrives and [&hellip

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    This week, my fifth grader experienced her first bout of writer’s block…something that every good student must contend with at some point in their academic career–and one I know all too well. She was attempting to write a speech for school, but couldn’t quite get started. How do you motivate a kid who’d rather be doing anything but sit still? Perhaps that’s why Poppy’s Best Paper struck a chord with us. At a time in the year when kids have had just about enough of school work, this story follows the tale of a confident young rabbit who is certain she can crank out the best paper in her class, without even trying. But this smugness suddenly turns sour once Poppy, back at home, takes [&hellip

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    There are few things I love more than getting my hands on a new book, especially kids’ books. (And if you happen to be an avid reader of this blog, you’ll understand this completely). The heavenly scent of freshly printed pages gets me every time (no e-readers for me, thank you very much), and the opportunity to dive head first into a new world is incredibly compelling. Books for kids have an important job to do, as far as I’m concerned: They must not only hold their attention, but stimulate their mind and capture their imagination. This season, I’m delighted to find two great picture books that tap into this love of learning with the great outdoors. Bug Detective is the bible for all things [&hellip

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    As a child, I adored Little Golden Books. My mother kept me on a steady diet of these beloved storybooks when  I was younger, and once I could learn to read, I enjoyed perusing them by myself. Whether it was a wallflower kitty or a precocious pup, I always felt like I could relate to their adventures. Once I had kids of my own, I knew they would inherit my burgeoning collection of Golden Books–and hopefully, my love of reading. So naturally, when I heard about The Land of Nod’s bedding, room decor and gift collection inspired by these classic stories, I was thrilled! Each item in the Little Golden Books for Nod line pays tribute to a well-loved character, featuring designs so true to [&hellip

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    Anticipation is as much a part of the holiday season as a nutty fruitcake is. And as any parent knows, all that waiting can also drive you nuts! For all those over-eager little ones who can barely make it to December 25th, comes a delightful new picture books that aims to stave off that holiday hunger. When, When, When will it be Christmas? answers that all-important question in a colorful countdown format that is both engaging and calming. Rather than employ a traditional 3-2-1 blast-off approach, author/illustrator Cathy MacLennan chooses fitting imagery that crescendos with excitement at the turn of each page, but in a careful, slow-build approach. From bright-red birds helping to tie festive holiday bows, to Santa’s reindeer hanging lights, each illustration gently [&hellip

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    Kids’ books are one of my most favorite things, especially this time of year as the holidays approach. But while there seem to be no shortage of great Christmas books, our stash of Thanksgiving titles always appears to be lacking. I think we’ve stumbled upon a new one worth adding to our library. Gollywood, Here I Come! is a spirited read that will tickle your funny bone and captivate even the most fidgety listener. It stars a young turkey starlet, Anamazie, who aspires to leave her small town and someday walk the famous red carpet. Her dreams are nearly crushed after she fails to earn the top spot in “Gobbleville’s Got Talent” until a better opportunity comes along. Readers will be whisked away along with [&hellip

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    Does your kid know his Carter from his Clinton? His Roosevelt from his Reagan? If U.S. history elicits snores and cries of boredom, then it’s time to remind your pint-sized patriot that yes, even these famous men were once kids. In honor of Election Day, we’re giving a shout-out to an awesome middle-grade book that will get kids interested in American presidents faster than you can say ‘Ulysses S. Grant.’ Kid Presidents: True Tales of Childhood From America’s Presidents gets our vote for entertaining education, as it profiles presidents way back to their (sometimes mischievous) youth. Who knew that Abraham Lincoln grew up with a stepmother who was anything but cruel? Or that Reagan was legally blind as a boy until a pair of glasses [&hellip

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    What’s Halloween without a good ghost story? Before my husband and I had kids, we made our yearly trek to Tarrytown, N.Y., where “The Legend of Sleepy Hollow” was reenacted by a local theater troop. Held within a stone’s throw of a dark cemetery through which the Headless Horseman was said to make his nightly ride, this was the ideal experience to get us into a spooky state of mind. Because my kids are still a bit too young to experience this terrifying, but terrific tale, we’ll have to settle for some other festive fables. If your own brood’s Halloween style is more Henry Hugglemonster than Headless Horseman, we’ve found a new book worth checking out with you this season. Monster Party! is the best [&hellip

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    When I was pregnant with each of my daughters, my husband presented me with a stash of gourmet sodas in unusual flavors: key lime pie, pomegranate and even Shirley Temple (a throwback to my youth when my dad treated me one whenever we went out for dinner). It couldn’t have been more thoughtful…and depressing at the same time. Did I really think I could make it through nine long months without a sip of Chardonnay? Amazingly I did, but not without developing a strong dislike for pineapple-flavored bubbly stuff. If I’d hand my hands on Momosas while I was pregnant, I would have been able to ditch those fruity sodas once and for all. This paperback book is filled with more than 130 non-alcoholic cocktail [&hellip

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