A blog for kids (and their parents) who love books, words, and dreaming big...
I'm so glad you stopped by! Welcome.

Thursday, February 18, 2016

Libraries and bicycles...

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"My two favourite things in life 
are libraries and bicycles. 
They both move people forward 
without wasting anything." 

~ Peter Golkin

Visit a library (maybe even on a bike!) and move yourself forward.... :)

Monday, February 15, 2016

To Meet Mr. Lincoln

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To Meet Mr. Lincoln

If I lived at the time
That Mr. Lincoln did,
And I met Mr. Lincoln
With his stovepipe lid

And his coalblack cape
And his thundercloud beard,
And worn and sad-eyed
He appeared:

"Don't worry, Mr. Lincoln,"
I'd reach up and pat his hand,
"We've got a fine President
For this land;

And the Union will be saved,
And the slaves will go free;
And you will live forever
In our nation's memory."

~ Eve Merriam

Wishing you all a Happy Presidents' Day!

Sunday, February 14, 2016


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I got a valentine from Timmy
Eva even sent me two
But I didn't get none from you.

~ Shel Silverstein

Silverstein's narrator of this poem sounds so disappointed. Hope your day will be the opposite of disappointing! Happy Valentine's Day!

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

The world beyond your door...

Photo courtesy of

“Read for fun, 
read for information,
 read in order to 
understand yourself 
and other people 
with quite different ideas. 
Learn about 
the world beyond your door. 
Learn to be compassionate 
and grow in wisdom. 
Books can help us in all these ways.” 

~ Katherine Paterson

I couldn't say it better myself. I read for all of these reasons... and I hope that you do, too! :)

Tuesday, February 9, 2016

I Love You More Than Applesauce

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I Love You More Than Applesauce

I love you more than applesauce,
Than peaches and a plum,
Than chocolate hearts,
And cherry tarts,
And berry bubble-gum.

I love you more than lemonade,
And seven-layer cake,
Than lollipops,
And candy drops,
And thick vanilla shake.

I love you more than marzipan,
Than marmalade on toast;
For I love pies
Of any size,
But I love you the most.

~ Jack Prelutsky

This is a fun poem that makes me smile. (And drool!) :) 

I thought it was appropriate one to share this week, since it's almost Valentine's Day....

Monday, February 8, 2016

No place like home...

Photo courtesy of PublicDomainPictures.net

An excerpt:

     Aunt Em had just come out of the house to water the cabbages when she looked up and saw Dorothy running toward her.

     "My darling child!" she cried, folding the little girl in her arms and covering her face with kisses. "Where in the world did you come from?"

     "From the land of Oz," said Dorothy gravely. "And here is Toto, too. And oh, Aunt Em! I'm so glad to be at home again!"

~ from The Wizard of Oz,
written by L. Frank Baum

You may have noticed that I haven't been posting every day in the last week or so. Things around our house have been very, very busy. Our high school theatre and music departments are currently putting on a production of the musical The Wizard of Oz (three shows down, three more to go!) and our family has been involved with that. My husband helped build the set, my daughter and I painted many, many of the set pieces, I've created several of the props, plus my husband and I have helped with decorations in the hallway, a special meet-the-cast event, and much more. AND my son Ben is in the show, as a Munchkin and citizen of the Emerald City. 

Needless to say, we haven't been home much! I feel like Dorothy, so glad to be here at home today, getting a bit of a break before the next show. While I'm here, I thought I'd post this excerpt from one of my favorite books. I have always been a HUGE fan of The Wizard of Oz -- the book, the play (I was in it many years ago, as a 6th grader, and played a Munchkin, just like Ben!), the musical, and especially the movie. While I can appreciate Baum's words above, and I almost always prefer books to their movies, in this case I like the final line of the movie better: "And, oh, Auntie Em! There's no place like home!"

Thursday, February 4, 2016

The characters are suddenly people...

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When asked: What do you like best about being a writer?

“One of the things is 
doing what I like more than 
anything else in the world, 
and being allowed to do it, 
and being paid to do it. 
It’s great. 
And I like setting something 
going and seeing that 
all the characters 
are suddenly people 
who behave like themselves, 
as if they had nothing to do with me at all. 
They come out with remarks 
that I never would have 
thought of myself personally. 
It’s a very odd feeling. 
I like that very much.” 

~ Diana Wynne Jones, 
in The Wand in the Word: 
Conversations with Writers of Fantasy

I've had that experience before, writing along and then all of a sudden a character becomes its own person, saying things and doing things that I never expected. Jones is right -- it's a very odd feeling. It's also very cool! :)

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Is It True?

Image courtesy of Clker.com

Is It True?

The groundhog plays a little game.
(Woodchuck is his other name.)

If he finds no shadow here,
Spring is very, very near.

But if he sees his shadow small,
Winter isn't done at all,

And back into his hole he'll creep 
For six more weeks of winter sleep.

~ Margaret Hillert

Happy Groundhog Day! Will the groundhog see his shadow today -- or not? Here at our house, we're not ready for spring yet. We haven't had much of a winter so far this year....

Monday, February 1, 2016

Winter white trees...

Photo courtesy of PublicDomainPictures.net

An excerpt:

Have you seen snow trees?
Winter, bright, white trees?
Turned-to-ice-at-night trees,
sparkling-in-the-light trees.
I can hear the SNAP
of the winter white trees!

~ from Have You Seen Trees?,
written by Joanne Oppenheim

I love the images and the rhymes in this excerpt! 

A big snowstorm is predicted to hit much of the midwest this week. But here in the Chicago area the forecast is calling for rain, much to my family's dismay. I'm posting this photo and excerpt in the hopes that those predictions will be wrong and that we'll seeing some winter bright white trees around here soon....

Sunday, January 31, 2016

Singing to you...

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"There is 
something about poems 
that is like loving children: 
They keep returning home 
and singing to you all your life."

 ~ Felice Hoffman,
 in The Place My Words are Looking For

I love it when poems sing to me. Do you? :)

Saturday, January 30, 2016

Travel with me...

Photo courtesy of PublicDomainPictures.net

I know a way to open doors
and find adventure, tears and pleasure
where witches whisper,
frogs are men
and pirates on wild shores
call us to join a quest for untold treasure.
what we find depends on where we look.
A thousand worlds, or more, await us.
Travel with me,
we'll go by the book.

~ Karla Kuskin

I love to travel and visit new places. However, I don't often have the money to physically travel around the country -- or the world. Luckily, I can travel by book whenever I feel like it! Through reading I can travel to the most remote places on the globe. I can even travel to other worlds, other universes. How about you? Do you like to "go by the book"?

Thursday, January 28, 2016

A library book...

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"If I was a book, 
I would like to be a library book, 
so I would be taken home 
by all different sorts of kids."

~ Cornelia Funke

I have to agree with Funke. I can't imagine a happier book than a library book loved by a wide variety of children -- and adults! What kind of book would you like to be?

Wednesday, January 27, 2016


The word I want to share with you this week is flummox [fluhm-uh ks], a verb that means "to bewilder; confound; confuse". I like how the word sounds -- and it is fun to say! Here are a few sentences I came up with using this week's word:

She quickly rattled off the directions to her house, 
leaving me completely flummoxed.

Said the magician to his assistant, 
"This trick will really flummox the audience!"

Please don't use all that jargon that I'm not familiar with -- 
it will only flummox me.

How would you use the word flummox? I'd love to read your sentences! Please feel free to share them with me. :)

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

The way of life...

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Have you ever noticed a tree standing 
   naked against the sky, 
How beautiful it is?  
All its branches are outlined, and in its nakedness 
There is a poem, there is a song.  
Every leaf is gone and it is waiting for the spring.  
When the spring comes, it again fills the tree with 
The music of many leaves, 
Which in due season fall and are blown away. 
And this is the way of life.

~  Krishnamurti

I love to see trees lush and green in the summer or ablaze with color in the fall. But I also appreciate the naked trees of winter. There is a poem there, and a stark kind of beauty. Can you hear the song in the bare branches?

Monday, January 25, 2016

Powerful things.

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An excerpt:

     But Peter's word lists were not just scribbles. Words, Peter learned, were powerful things. And when he put them in long, neat rows, he felt as if the world itself clicked into order.

~ from The Right Word: 
Roget and His Thesaurus,
written by Jen Bryant

Words are very powerful things indeed. Can you think of words -- something you've heard or read or even said -- that have made a difference in your life or the world around you?

Sunday, January 24, 2016

Enjoy the writing...

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"Try to enjoy the writing itself. 
Don't even think 
about publication. 
Just focus on making 
every sentence, every paragraph,
 every page the very best 
you can make it. 
Then, rewrite, rewrite, rewrite 
until the work is even better!" 

~ Suzanne Lieurance

I think that this is very good advice for writers. Enjoy the work, make it the best that you can, and then rewrite it and make it even better. (Easier said than done, I know!)

Saturday, January 23, 2016

Jack Frost

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Jack Frost

Someone painted pictures on my
Windowpane last night --
Willow trees with trailing boughs
And flowers, frosty white,

And lovely crystal butterflies;
But when the morning sun
Touched them with its golden beams,
They vanished one by one.

~ Helen Bayley Davis

I've always loved looking at the pictures that Jack Frost paints on my windows! I like the images in Davis's poem, especially the "willow trees with trailing boughs" and the sun's "golden beams". What do you like (or dislike) about this poem?

Thursday, January 21, 2016


Photo courtesy of PublicDomainPictures.net

"Literature is my utopia." 

~ Helen Keller

Mine, too. Just give me some good books and a comfy place to sit and I will be in heaven. :)

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

The Penguin

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The Penguin

A penguin isn't thin -- it's fat.
It has penguinsulation.
And it toboggans through the snow
On penguinter vacation.
The penguin's a penguinsome bird
Of black-and-white fine feather.
And it will huddle with its friends
In cold, penguindy weather.

~ Douglas Florian

Happy Penguin Awareness Day! :)

I love penguins and I love this poem with Florian's fun play on words. It makes me smile every time I read it!

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Algid and Gelid

This week seems like an appropriate time to share two words -- two synonyms -- that I learned recently. The first is algid [al-jid], an adjective that means "cold, chilly". The second is gelid [jel-id], another adjective that means "very cold, icy, or frosty". I've written a few sample sentences using these words:

It has been positively algid 
here this week. (True story!)

Penguins would love this gelid weather.

I love snow, but I don't like 
the algid temperatures that accompany it.

I'd much rather drink a mug of hot cocoa today
 than a gelid glass of water.

Do you like it when it's algid and gelid outside? How would you use these two words?

Monday, January 18, 2016

I dream a world...

Image courtesy of PublicDomainPictures.net

An excerpt:

I dream a world where man
No other man will scorn,
Where love will bless the earth
And peace its paths adorn.
I dream a world where all
Will know sweet freedom’s way,
Where greed no longer saps the soul
Nor avarice blights our day.
A world I dream where black or white,
Whatever race you be,
Will share the bounties of the earth
And every man is free,
Where wretchedness will hang its head
And joy, like a pearl,
Attends the needs of all mankind—
Of such I dream, my world!

~ from the opera Troubled Island,
written by Langston Hughes

Wishing you all a MLK Day filled with peace, love, and big dreams!

Sunday, January 17, 2016

Unarmed truth and unconditional love...

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"I refuse to accept the view 
that mankind is so tragically bound 
to the starless midnight 
of racism and war 
that the bright daybreak 
of peace and brotherhood 
can never become a reality. 
[...] I believe that 
unarmed truth and unconditional love 
will have the final word in reality."

~ Martin Luther King, Jr.

In honor of Martin Luther King, Jr. Day tomorrow, I'm sharing this quote from the man himself. Let's do what we can to make peace, brotherhood, and unconditional love our reality....

Saturday, January 16, 2016

Under my hood...

Photo courtesy of PublicDomainPictures.net

Under my hood I have a hat
And under that
My hair is flat.
Under my coat
My sweater's blue,
My sweater's red.
I'm wearing two.
My muffler muffles to my chin
And round my neck
And then tucks in.
My gloves were knitted
By my aunts.
I've mittens too
And pants
And pants
And boots
And shoes
With socks inside.
The boots are rubber, red and wide.
And when I walk
I must not fall
Because I can't get up at all.

~ Karla Kuskin

Have you ever had days like this? I sure have.... :)

Thursday, January 14, 2016

One kind word...

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"One kind word
 can warm 
three winter months." 

~ Japanese proverb

Warm someone up today with a kind word or deed.... :)

Wednesday, January 13, 2016


Photo courtesy of Wikipedia.org

Have you ever heard of a binturong [bin-too r-awng]? A binturong is an animal, a kind of civet that lives in the trees of South and Southeast Asia and has a long, prehensile tail. My family and I love to watch the binturongs at our zoo, especially my son, Nick. It's Nick's 17th birthday today, and in honor of that, binturong is our word of the week. I wrote a few sentences using the word:

Binturongs are also called bearcats.

Binturongs smell like popcorn. 
(Really, they do!)

The binturong walked across the log 
like an acrobat on a tightrope.

How would you use the word binturong? Are there any unusual animals that you like to watch at the zoo?

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Now I Am Six

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When I was One, 
I had just begun. 
When I was Two, 
I was nearly new. 
When I was Three, 
I was hardly Me. 
When I was Four, 
I was not much more. 
When I was Five, 
I was just alive. 
But now I am Six, 
I'm as clever as clever. 
So I think I'll be Six 
Now and forever and ever. 

~ A. A. Milne 

Tomorrow is my son Nick's birthday. He's a *bit* older than six now -- eleven years older -- but I'm sharing this poem in honor of his special day....

Monday, January 11, 2016

No snow?

Image courtesy of PublicDomainPictures.net

An excerpt:

     "No snow," said radio.

     "No snow," said television.

     But snowflakes don't listen to radio, snowflakes don't watch television. All snowflakes know is snow, snow, and snow.

~ from Snow,
written by Uri Shulevitz

I'm glad that snowflakes don't listen to the radio or the tv. Ours kept saying we wouldn't get any snow, either, but we finally did anyway. :)

Sunday, January 10, 2016

A library...

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"Here is where people,
One frequently finds,
Lower their voices
And raise their minds."

~ Richard Armour

Lowered voices and raised minds -- two reasons why I love libraries so much!

Saturday, January 9, 2016


Image courtesy of PublicDomainPictures.net


Snowflakes softly falling,
coasting on the hills,
Children building snowmen,
sharing Winter thrills.

Skaters on the ice pond,
dressed in outfits bright,
Lacy fir and pine trees--
such a lovely sight.

Drifts along the roadside,
frosted windowpanes,
Fence posts capped in ermine,
lining country lanes.

Crystal brooks and streamlets,
fairyland delight,
World of glistening beauty
blanketed in white.

Purple shadows lengthening,
moonlight on the snow,
Families snug and cozy
'mid the hearth fires' glow,

Fellowship and laughter,
happiness sublime,
Many joys to cherish
when it's wintertime.

~ Beverly J. Anderson

I love all of these "Winter thrills". Do you?

Friday, January 8, 2016

Snow What Fun!

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I love snow. I love to watch it fall from the sky. I love to go sledding in it, and ice skating, make snow angels and snowmen. And once I'm done playing out in the snow, there's nothing I like better than wrapping up in a warm blanket,  with a cup of hot chocolate and a good book!

Even though it's been many years since any of my kiddos have sat on my lap to listen to me read a story, I still enjoy reading and looking through picture books. Here are a few that I found at our library recently and wanted to share with you:

No Two Alike,
written and illustrated by Keith Baker, 2011

Two little birds explore the winter wonderland all around them and discover that, though many things are similar to each other, each one is unique. I love the gently rhyming text and Baker's creative scenes on every page, like the bird skiing on pine needles in the picture shown above.


written and illustrated by Claudia Rueda, 2009

Winter has come. It is time for mother bear and her little one to go to sleep until spring. But little bear wants to stay up and play in the snow. This is a cute story, perfect for reading at bedtime when your own little cub doesn't want to go to bed!


Red Sled,
written and illustrated by Lita Judge, 2011

This delightful story about woodland creatures who find a sled is told through Judge's illustrations and a bit of onomatopoeia.


When Winter Comes,
written by Nancy Van Laan
and illustrated by Susan Gaber, 2000

This engaging book uses rhyme and repetition to tell about what happens to animals and plants when winter comes.


Diamond in the Snow,
written by Jonathan Emmett
and illustrated by Vanessa Cabban, 2006

Mole has never seen snow before. When he finds something smooth and sparkly sticking out of the snow, he thinks it must be a diamond. However, the diamond keeps changing shape in his hands -- maybe it's magic?  This charming story shows just how magical wintertime can be.


Anna's Wish,
written by Bruno Hachler
and illustrated by Friederike Rave, 2008

It hasn't snowed in years. In fact, Anna has never even seen snow -- except for in her dreams. But then she spies a little white horse in the bakery window, standing on a cake that looks like snow. Maybe, if she just wishes hard enough...


Winter is for Snow,
written and illustrated by Robert Neubecker, 2013

A little girl is not fond of the cold and the snow, but her brother sets out to convince her that there are many wonderful things about winter. I know some people who are like the little girl in this story, who are always trying to wish winter away and skip ahead to summertime. I'd love to send them all copies of this book! :)


You Make Me Smile,
written and illustrated by Layn Marlow, 2013

It is a very special day for a little girl and her snowman! This is a sweet, magical story about friendship.


This Place in the Snow,
written and illustrated by Rebecca Bond, 2004

The morning after a big snowfall, the plow comes through and makes a mountain of snow. The children work together to make their own splendid place in the snow. I especially liked Bond's poetic text. Plus, this fun book reminds me of my son Ben and the other boys on our cul-de-sac. The plow always piles the snow up at the edge of our yard -- the kids love to build forts there, with sledding paths and more.


written and illustrated by Uri Shulevitz, 1998

The whole city is gray. Then, one snowflake falls to the ground. And another. The grownups say it will just melt away, but one young boy with his dog waits for the snow... and soon the city is white.


For even more wintry picture books, check out this previous post of mine:

Have you read any of the books above? If so, what did you think of them? What are your favorite picture books about winter?