Day 9: Fun Children’s Books for Thanksgiving and Fall

See, the awesome thing about writing every day is that I have had a stack of books that I’ve needed to talk about and since I’ve committed to talking to y’all daily, NOW is the chance to tell you about some super cute books for children that celebrate the autumn season and some that celebrate Thanksgiving. And hey, I’m even telling you about ’em kind of early enough that if you want to pick up these books for Thanksgiving you STILL can.

Or you can just get a jump on next year.

As always, these books were provided to me for review and the opinions about them are solely my own. Well, fine – mine and my kids’. I have the kids check out every book I review — because sure, it’s fine if I like it, but you also want to know if your kids will like them too.

Fancy Nancy Apples Galore
Fancy Nancy: Apples Galore! (I Can Read Book 1)

I’m pretty sure I’ve mentioned the Fancy Nancy books here before — because I love this series. I love Nancy and can appreciate a kid who wants add a bit of flair to what she does. I also love the way these books manage to integrate newer “fancy” vocabulary words in a way that is informative, fun and not at all heavy handed. This book finds Nancy on a class trip to an apple orchard, with a trip buddy who is a bit of a boy who cried wolf (seriously, practical jokers? BOO). It’s a fun book, and you’re early readers might enjoy it.

Thanksgiving Day Thanks book
Thanksgiving Day Thanks

Filled with facts about the origins of Thanksgiving and Thanksgiving facts, this book focuses on Sam the bear and his animal classmates as they discuss the first Thanksgiving, what they’re thankful for, and creating Thanksgiving day projects. Sam struggles a bit – in thinking of what he’s thankful for, as well as determining what his project would be. Of course, he figures it out in the end. This book is cute – and gives a bit of the historical background for the holiday (hey parents, it’s okay if you’ve forgotten the stuff you learned in elementary school history – I know a lot of people are gonna disagree with that, but hey, I remember Algebra, so sometimes a little history has to disappear for that to happen).

Pete the Cat: The First Thanksgiving

I guess children’s book authors were counting on us old folks needing a reminder for how to explain Thanksgiving and the pilgrims and the Native Americans to our kiddos. I kind of love how it’s done in this book, one of the many in the Pete the Cat series (Don’t know Pete the Cat? We sure do love Pete around here. The only way we could love him more is if he was a dog). Pete the Cat is a pilgrim in his class play – and Pete acts out the journey to the New World, the difficulties the pilgrims faced that first winter in what became Massachusetts and the eventual meeting with the Native Americans and celebration of the first Thanksgiving. It’s a short, easy-to-read book (and easy to read out loud, meaning you’re not going to be recounting history lessons for forty minutes when all you wanted was to read a bedtime story to your kids). Nicely done, and as typical for most Thanksgiving books, gives you the opportunity to lead into a conversation with your kids about what they’re thankful for (the answers are always fun… and sometimes surprising).

Fancy Nancy Budding Ballerina
Fancy Nancy: Budding Ballerina

More Fancy Nancy! (Whut?) Though this book doesn’t have anything to do with fall or Thanksgiving, really, it’s a fun short read that has Fancy Nancy in ballet class (ideal because just think of all the fancy words in ballet — don’t worry, you’ll learn a bunch here — you’ll even learn how to pronounce some of ’em). Nancy decides to teach her dad how to do ballet in this cute story. I love the illustrations, I love how Nancy is a really genuine and enthusiastic kid. And I love that this demonstrate, and pirouette.

That’s it for now, but I just received a box of holiday books waiting to be read and shared with you. I’ll try to get those up before the end of the month (writer’s block will kick in and I will be SO HAPPY to have something to talk about. There are some cute new holiday books so be on the look out for that!).

I love this time of year and everytime I think about Thanksgiving I get really hungry. And then I think of all the amazing things that I’m thankful for. It’s always a good reminder to count our blessings.

If you have kiddos in the three to eight years old age range, be sure to check these books out. Note, all links are affiliate because it’s my blog and sometimes it’s nice to make a few cents from Amazon (and I’m not exaggerating – I’ve made 89 cents so far this quarter. That’ll get me…not much).


Fun Children’s Books for Back To School

If I was a more organized blogger, I’d have probably written and posted this over a month ago – when some of y’all were getting your kids ready for school ALL THE WAY BACK IN AUGUST. Here in Michigan, law says public school can’t start until after Labor Day, which means that while kids all over the country are already back in the swing of things, my peeps are enjoying (I hope!) their first day of third and sixth grade today.

I received some fun school related books to review – and I forgot to tell you about them. I hope you’ll give me a free pass because this summer was ridiculously hard. Maybe next year, I’ll get my self together and be legit with an editorial calendar or something.

Stranger things have happened.

Amelia Bedelia’s First Library Card

I grew up with Amelia Bedelia stories – silly, literal Amelia Bedelia (who doesn’t love saying that name?) – and in this update, Amelia gets new life…as a kid! I don’t know that I love it, to be honest – this updated and young Amelia, but the book and illustrations are fun and the story is cute. Seeing as how I have a kiddo just itching to get her first library card, I thought this book was a fun read. Amelia’s class goes to the library, learns about how to find books, and gets their first library card. And when Amelia Bedelia checks out her book, something goes wrong… it wouldn’t be Amelia Bedelia otherwise!

My New Teacher and Me

My New Teacher and Me!

This delightful story from Al Yankovic (yeah, that’s the one) surprised me – a skeptic because, well… I don’t love his music. I don’t love the parodies, I don’t find him particularly amusing but I think that this is the right target demographic for Weird Al, because I really kinda dug this story about Billy on his first day of school. Admittedly, I’m a sucker for a rhyming story for kids and the bright illustrations enhanced the details of the wild stories Billy tells his doubting teacher, Mr. Booth, on the first day of school. A lovely tale about imagination and thinking beyond what’s already known. It was almost inspiring. I liked it.

Clark the Shark

Clark the Shark reminds me of any number of students I’ve seen over the past several years that my kids have been in school – only, y’know… he’s a shark. Easily excitable, not always on task, boisterous in a way that can be annoying to others… Clark the Shark struggles because his behavior makes his friends not want to play with him and causes the teacher to reprimand him often. A little lesson in self control teaches Clark that there’s a time and a place for that playful behavior. A good book for that oh-so-enthusiastic kiddo in your life – in a not preachy way, it provides a good lesson – that the enthusiasm is great, but sometimes we need to take it easy, or as Clark’s teacher says: “Stay Cool.”

Those are a few of the books that have found their way to our bookshelves and our hearts as we roll into a new school year. Opinions, as always, are my own, though the books were sent to me for review. These books are appropriate for ages four to eight, approximately – though your mileage may vary depending on your kiddo.

Happy School!

Our Favorite Children’s Books For Summer

One of my favorite blogging perks – since no one is clamoring to send me on lovely trips to write about them (though I’m TOTALLY open to that, FYI) – is getting brand new books in the mail to review. I get quite a lot of books, and it makes me and the little people tremendously happy. It also makes me friends happy because for some reason, I get a bit of romance novels and I really don’t care to read or review those so they immediately get passed on to friends who will dig ’em.

The kids’ books I mention on my blog have met a few criteria:

  • My daughters like them
  • I like them
  • I believe they have enough staying power to not get annoying after you’ve read it to a kid four times in a row

When I get books, Pumpkin goes through them first (most of what I’ve received has been more fitting for a 4 – 8 year old age group, so The Princess opts out of a lot of the reading). She tells me what she likes, and I read and pare the list down from there. What you’re seeing here are some of our latest faves.

Fanciest Doll in the Universe

Fancy Nancy: Fanciest Doll in the Universe

I’m forever a fan of the Fancy Nancy series – I love the illustrations, I love the concept, and I love the sneaky vocabulary lessons (“Then my mom tries consoling me. That’s fancy for making me feel better.”). In this latest book, Nancy’s little sister draws all over Nancy’s favorite doll with a permanent marker. Nancy is devastated that her doll is “ruined” and mad at her little sister. In the end, of course, the sister-drawn tattoo ends up being a good thing, and Nancy realizes her sister won’t always be little forever. I kind of dug this – I remember Pumpkin ruining her older sister’s stuff. It’s a sibling thing and it’s pretty common and I love how they covered it.

Sticky, Sticky, Stuck!

A family so wrapped up with work, cell phones, television and the like that they fail to pay attention to little Annie except to tell her she’s sticky. So when Annie makes a sticky sticky sandwich and the whole family gets stuck they realize they actually kind of like to spend time with each other and it’s good to put the phones down and connect with the people in front of us. Uh, whut? Yeah. Kind of heavy handed, but a cute way to share a good message. And yes, I put the iPhone down for awhile after reading it.

Pete the Cat: Pete at the Beach (My First I Can Read)

The Pete the Cat series (we just received Pete at the Beach, Pete’s Big Lunch, and Play Ball) are great because they are for beginning readers and are entertaining and somewhat challenging but not so challenging that you’re filling in every third word for your reader.

Tyler Makes Spaghetti!
But perhaps my favorite of the bunch is this offering from chef Tyler Florence (apparently, he’s also penned Tyler Makes Pancakes! which sounds equally fun). With the focus I’m working on instilling in my kids – eating more whole foods and less meals from packages (I’m not all the way there yet, by the way. My addiction to snack foods isn’t likely to end any time soon, but for meals, I’m doing a pretty darn good job), I love this book’s focus on the simple and natural ingredients that encompass a meal of spaghetti and meatballs. The book finishes with Tyler Florence’s recipe – and yeah, I’ll be giving that a try soon with the kids in the near future.


So these are some of the latest pages we’ve been turning. What have you been reading with your kiddos this summer?


Though these books were sent to me free for review, the opinions expressed are my own. Amazon affiliate links used because why on earth not.

Children’s Books for Black History Month

Perhaps one of my favorite things about blogging is getting love from book publishers – occasionally I come home from work to find books in the mail and my kids and I rip open the packages and read ’em and decide which are the best of the bunch.

A few weeks ago, I received several books in honor of Black History Month – the kids and I did some reading and of the bunch, these are our favorites. These books are well written with great art and were extremely informative (actually, so informative that I learned a lot, which I love).

In the Land of Milk and Honey by Joyce Carol Thomas

This book was our favorite. Lyrical prose, gorgeous art. This book is a true story of the author’s trip from Oklahoma to California in the late 40s. A former California girl myself, I have to say I loved seeing my old home, even in illustrations.

At the welcome party
limber-legged dancers
shimmy in and out of each other’s arms
And ever-changing rhythms
call the feet to follow the beat
here in
this Land of Milk and Honey

I was drawn in by the words and Floyd Cooper’s illustrations create a vivid backdrop for this tale. If you close your eyes, you’re almost there on a train making your way through dusty states on a quest to reach a land where lemons grow as big as oranges.

Beautiful story.

I’ve Seen the Promised Land: The Life of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Written by Walter Dean Myers, Illustrated by Leonard Jenkins

My public school education not lacking so much that I didn’t know the story of Martin Luther King Jr., but this goes beyond “I Have a Dream” and details the life of MLK before his famous speech. This book is straight-forward and it’s narrative isn’t flowery, pretty or lovely. It’s history and it’s pretty straight up. This might be too “old” for Pumpkin, but The Princess sat and read it cover to cover.

I like the simplicity and matter-of-fact way it’s written.

What I really love though are Leonard Jenkins’s paintings. The illustrations in this book are so compelling and they really bring everything together.

Nelson Mandela
Words and Paintings by Kadir Nelson

Can I just admit something really quickly? History wasn’t my best subject in school. I once cried my way from a B+ to an A- (it worked too. It shouldn’t have but it did), and so it is with embarrassment that I admit that I didn’t really know a whole lot about Nelson Mandela before reading this book.

And so my girls and I learned together while reading this book.

When Nelson Mandela was a child, his father died and he was sent to live with a powerful chief. He  left his mother and his family to live with this chief. He grew on to become a lawyer, defending the poor and powerless.He was ultimately arrested for fighting apartheid, met his wife and had children, while continuing to fight apartheid. He went into hiding to avoid the warrants out for his arrest but ultimately he was captured and spent over 27 years in prison.

This book takes a complicated story and makes it easy to understand and the illustrations are bold, genuine, and straightforward.

So check them out – they’re pretty awesome new additions to our home library. The books were sent to me for review, but as always, the opinions are mine alone (I received a few others, but… they didn’t pass muster and rather than say bad things about books I don’t dig, I’d rather focus on the ones we loved).

Stay tuned because some great Valentines books for kiddos are coming soon. My kids are really happy lately about this whole “mom’s a blogger” thing. Hey, me too.