Bribing My Readers – The Food Method

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I’m not going to pretend I have reluctant readers. I don’t. I wake in the morning to kids reading on the couch and I catch kids pretending to use the bathroom after bedtime but really sneaking in extra book time. My little angels can make a power play like the best of us, though, and if they know I want to read something specific (cough*poetry*cough), they may politely refuse just to be contrary. And now that they can both read basically anything they want by themselves, I’m not quite as indispensable as I once was.

These cases call for desperate measures, and I have been known to resort to bribing in the cause of good literature and quality family time. I feel no shame. If you, too, are willing to lower your ethical standards to expand your children’s literary horizons, here are my proven methods:

  1. The Blatant Bribe: This one is simple and works 100% of the time. Simply say, “Whoever wants to read with me may grab a lollipop from the candy bin!” Your children will trip over themselves to get at the forbidden candy. The secret is to offer something long-lasting, to allow them to eat it on the couch (gasp!), and make clear that the treat is totally transactional. As long as you start reading quickly, they’ll eventually be so hooked on the books that it will be absolute Greek tragedy when you have to, you know, stop reading so you can make dinner or something unreasonable like that.
  2. The Subtle Bribe: Whip out your Trader Joe’s chocolate croissants, your homemade cookies (if you’re feeling fancy), a mug of hot cocoa, anything that smells divine. When your littles follow their noses to the kitchen table, immediately whip out the book and start reading. Don’t announce. Don’t ask for opinions. While their mouths are full of warm, sweet goodness, dive deep into the book. They will likely stay glued without you having to acknowledge your trickery.
  3. The Force Feeding: As stated before, I parent early risers. For this and other reasons, our family dinner is a 6:45a family breakfast. This means that I fly solo at dinner time, and sometimes we three larks are just a hot mess at 5:30PM. Instead of micromanaging their manners failures or making some floundering attempt at “how was your day,” or “what made you sad/mad/glad,” I pull out our dinnertime book box, full of poetry and nonfiction and sometimes historical fiction. So many books my children would never have read on their own time have been absolutely loved over plates of grilled cheese or curry. This is also the one and only place my children have managed to memorize poetry. When I hear one of them recite, “The bee is not afraid of me,” I suddenly care a lot less how they hold their fork. But if your readers aren’t hiding books in the bathroom closet, you don’t have to pull out the hard stuff at dinner. This is absolutely a perfect time to introduce something with a fast moving plot or something to make them giggle, and I definitely do that, too. One more positive about the force feeding method – no sugar is required. This method is approved for all you rockstar parents with children who think a fresh peach is dessert. I am not of your kind, clearly, but I admire you from afar. From very, very afar.

Now that you are armed with the tools you need to bribe your children, here are some lovely food-themed books to pair with your snack or meal:

 

Eddie’s Kitchen and How to Make Good Things to Eat by Sarah Garland

Was there ever a cozier, more quotable children’s book? We Asbys will often say, “But Eddie knew what to do!” or “What a floury little fairy princess you are,” and immediately we love each other more. Extra points if you read this one with a British accent.

 

I Will Never Not Ever Eat a Tomato by Lauren Child

This one is absolutely hilarious and as a plus, convinced my daughter to try “green drops from Greenland.”

 

A Few Bites by Cybèle Young

Another story of a sibling and a reluctant vegetable eater, beautifully imagined and illustrated.

 

Bebe Goes Shopping by Susan Middleton Elya and Steven Salerno is the only bilingual book about which my youngest did not yell, “No Spanish!” when she was in her English-only phase. It’s funny, musical and cheerfully illustrated, and definitely one of my favorites for introducing new Spanish words.

 

Max Explains Everything: Grocery Store Expert by Stacy McAnulty and Deborah Hocking

Speaking of cheerful illustrations, this one is a delight. It even features a little potty humor, so you know it’s a win even for the older kids.

 

Can I Eat That? by food critic Joshua David Stein and Julia Rothman is silly nonfiction, which is the very best kind.

 

 

A Fine Dessert: Four Centuries, Four Families, One Delicious Treat by Emily Jenkins and Sophie Blackall

Emily Jenkins and Sophie Blackall working together on the same book? I knew I was in heaven before I opened this one and I was not disappointed. Light enough for my kindergartener and heavy enough for my third-grader, inclusive and diverse, perfectly written and illustrated, I can’t say enough good things about this one. Definitely make your own blackberry fool from the recipe in the back. Unless you are a rockstar vegan, of course.

 

Dragons Love Tacos by Adam Rubin and Daniel Salmieri

Perfectly hilarious, whether your kids like spicy salsa or not.

 

Please, Mr. Panda by Steve Antony

Great for the youngest of readers, and it features donuts. Asby family win for sure.

 

 

A is for Artichoke is a board book, and even my kids, who are way past the alphabet book stage, enjoyed going through to see if they had tried all the foods in the book. This is great for parents who are reading to a toddler and an elementary-schooler and are struggling to find common ground.

 

 

Speaking of those older kids, you can whip out James and the Giant Peach or Charlie and the Chocolate Factory or the Clementine series, the last of which is not about food at all really, but her name is Clementine, so I think it counts. The series collection is even called “A Box of Clementines.”

 

 

My maybe favorite food book is this memoir in disguise as a cookbook by Jenny Rosenstrach. It’s an oldie but a goodie. I also loved It’s Not About the Broccoli and French Kids Eat Everything.

 

What are your favorite food-featuring reads??

Happy bribing!

 

Asby Choice for Family Book Club: Greek Myths

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I always thought book clubs were groups of people reading the same book, with half of them desperate to talk about it and the other half, who just read the first three chapters the night before, just wanting to drink wine and discuss The Bachelor. And despite my recurring joke that my English major was like attending one lovely book club meeting after another, real book clubs never seemed very compelling to me. And anyway, like my son who refused to compete in a school-wide literary quiz-show competition, I like to choose my own books, thank you very much. 

It wasn’t until I read The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society (and watched the film, with its lively little timer), that my idea of “book club” began to expand a bit. What if book club could be just an excuse to eat food and talk about what we’re reading? I started to think about family book club as a ritual and what that might look like. If we needed a little more structure, could we have a theme? But how are you supposed to choose a theme for the four of us, one firmly in the sci-fi camp, another preferring novels where nothing has to happen as long as people feel a lot of things, one child wanting action-packed plots above all else, and the last requiring very colorful illustrations? I let it simmer for a bit and came up with this collection of books, all grounded in Greek myth (theme!!) but all very much chosen by each reader (freedom!!).

(In this very imaginary family book club that I organized in my head, we were also eating these cookies or maybe these donuts, which have nothing to do with Greece, but are absolutely delicious.)

 

My son would choose Percy Jackson and the Olympians for sure, also available in graphic novel or illustrated form. I haven’t met a third-grade boy who didn’t find this series totally (if you’ll excuse me) epic.

 

Now my daughter would have some options:

 

Cy Makes a Friend, because this book club includes even the tiniest of readers. (You know, the ones who aren’t ready for Medusa’s decapitation.)

 

Cupid and Psyche is sure to delight kids who love Beauty and the Beast, and is beautifully illustrated by K. Y. Craft.

 

Pegasus is another treasure illustrated by Craft, but this one is scarier, so maybe save it for older readers. My son and I both have loved it for years.

 

A classic for good reason, D’Aulaires’ Book of Greek Myths is a great introduction for any young grecophile-to-be.

 

Encyclopedia Mythologica: Gods and Heroes Pop-Up by Matthew Reinhart and Robert Sabuda, covers more than just Greek myth, but the pop ups are mesmerizing and both of my kids have spent many hours reading about these 3D gods and goddesses

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Persephone the Phony (Goddess Girls Book 2) by [Holub, Joan, Williams, Suzanne]

Goddess Girls, an early chapter book series by Joan Holub and Suzanne Williams, is definitely a hit with kids, but with too much focus on trivial teenage drama for my taste. It is, however, a surefire way to get kids excited about mythology. It also removes the teeth from some of the darker myths, which, depending on your perspective is either a pro or a con. And in this imaginary book club, I don’t get to choose the books anyway, right?

 

I like Heroes in Training (also by Holub and Williams) much better. It has all the pros of Goddess Girls (kid-approved, easy to read, fast-moving plot), but without so much relational angst. It is slightly scarier, but not significantly so.

 

George O’Connor’s Olympians series does not sugarcoat everything, so you may want to preview these based on what you think your kiddo can handle, but they are certainly thrilling, and sure to draw even a reluctant reader to the book basket.

 

Ilium (Ilium series Book 1) by [Simmons, Dan]

When I asked my husband what his choice would be, he immediately responded in his characteristic minimalist text style: “Ilium by Dan Simmons.” Set on Earth and Mars, it features both the great Greek gods and also sentient machines.

 

Circe by Madeline Miller felt so absolutely personal to me at every step. I read Miller’s Song of Achilles and liked it from a safe distance, but when I read Circe, I felt transported in a way that I typically don’t with myth. It was also the springboard for this entire theme, as I had just finished it when I started thinking about family book club, and by sheer coincidence (or, ahem, the Fates), my son was reading one of Riordian’s graphic novels.

 

Happy reading, whatever theme you may choose for your own imaginary book club!

(And please do share your ideas in the comments!)

What to Read When Moving House

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Moving day is coming, but we aren’t really making any major changes – same school, same town, and, crucially, same library. It has me thinking of my third grade creative writing essay that I shamelessly plagiarized from an episode of Nickelodeon’s Doug. Spoiler: the BFF isn’t moving far away as feared, just moving into the basement bedroom. No big deal after all.

We have friends, though, who are doing the real deal move, the let’s cross multiple state lines and change jobs, day care, neighbors, house, and donut shop (donuts are very important to Asbys and Asby affiliates). This friend has requested a post about books for moving, STAT. Apparently her son’s teachers accidentally spilled the beans, and he came home saying something like, “I moving, Mama?” Aunt Meg to the rescue!

The following books will be helpful in processing any move, big or small, and are certainly worth plagiarizing. But don’t. Seriously, third-grade-Meg. That’s not cool.

 

Mabel and Sam at Home by Linda Urban and Hadley Hooper

This one is lovely on all fronts. The siblings manage to be both real and ideal, a perfect book for modeling sibling affection without hitting your kid over the head with it. The book addresses fears about moving very subtly, enough that if your kid is having those feelings, they are reassured, but if they aren’t, then the book won’t introduce any negativity into the move. I can’t get enough of Mabel the tour guide, introducing Sam to all the “artifacts” after he says things look different in the new house. This one will make adults chuckle and kids immediately jump into a pretend play marathon. It’s a winner for sure.

 

For more sibling sweetness in a longer picture book that also addresses moving, try Dear Sister, an Asby favorite.

 

The Snow Lion by Jim Helmore and Richard Jones

The illustrations! The imagination and bravery of the protagonist! The introvert-positive perspective! So much to love here.

 

Zola’s Elephant by Randall de Seve and Pamela Zagarenski

Another beautifully illustrated book of imagination and friendship.

 

The Day You Begin by Jacqueline Woodson and Rafael Lopez

With poetic prose, colorful illustrations, and a willingness to put words to the difficulty of starting a new school, of feeling different and new, this almost universally adored book is perfect for a child experiencing anxiety about starting a new school or for teaching inclusion to kids who have lived in the same place since the beginning of time.

 

My Two Blankets by Irena Kobald and Freya Blackwood

A lovely book about moving to a new country, with a new language. If you are looking for more books about big moves like this, try The Name Jar or Mustafa or Good-Bye, 382 Shin Dang Dong. 

 

Florette by Anna Walker

Perfect for a rural to metropolitan move, this gorgeously illustrated book is for city-lovers and garden-lovers alike.

 

Geraldine by Elizabeth Lilly

This one addresses new school fears, but because the characters are anthropomorphized animals, it can give enough distance for a child worried about a new school to engage with the story. It may be easier to read about a giraffe who feels awkward and unusual in a new school, than to read about another kid who feels that way.

 

I Walk with Vanessa by Kerascoet is a wordless story about being an ally, about the power of simply walking alongside a new student. This book’s focus is on the power of allies, not necessarily the new student in her own right, but it is an excellent tool for teaching empathy and kindness.

 

Ira Says Goodbye by Bernard Waber

A classic for good reason, this one is told from the perspective of the friend who is left behind.

 

Before I Leave by Jessixa Bagley

This one is also about friends being separated, and how to deal with change.

 

Alexander, Who’s Not (Do You Hear Me? I Mean It!) Going to Move by the fabulous Judith Viorst and illustrated by Robin Preiss Glasser in the style of Ray Cruz

Another classic, this one told from the perspective of the mover, in Viorst’s sassy style.

 

Moving House by Mark Siegel takes the whole “moving house” business quite literally.

 

Lenny and Lucy by Philip C. Stead and Erin E. Stead

The Steads always deliver perfection, and this is no exception.

 

Whether you are packing boxes or staying put, enjoy these books that celebrate bravery and inclusion, but most of all, are just fun to read.

 

 

 

 

Books to Read When You Don’t Feel Like Reading

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Even a bibliophile like me can experience read-aloud fatigue. Maybe my throat hurts. Maybe I’ve been talking to people all day and I just don’t feel like talking anymore. Maybe I’m sleep deprived. Maybe I don’t want to have my character voices micromanaged by my six-year-old.

If you want all the snuggle that comes with a read-aloud session but don’t feel like performing, these wordless books are perfect. They are also good for kids who want to “read it myself!” but don’t have the skills yet, or any reluctant readers who need a boost.

On a more somber note, these books would also be a perfect gift for cancer patients who are also parents. Even when their mouth hurts from the chemo, they can still read with their littles.

     

David Wiesner is the king of wordless. Pick up almost any of his books, and you’re sure to be delighted (and blissfully silent). Flotsam and Sector 7 are two of my favorites, but you can’t go wrong if Wiesner is on the cover. His creativity knows no bounds, and kids (and adults, if you’re like me) will pour over every page.

 

     

Barbara Lehman is another giant of wordless. She, too, has some Caldecott bling, and well-deserved. While Wiesner is still my favorite for the illustrations, Lehman’s adventures are just as exciting.

 

    

Well, as soon as I said Wiesner was my favorite, I remembered Aaron Becker. If you haven’t read his trilogy of fantasies featuring a magic crayon, STOP WHAT YOU ARE DOING AND ORDER IT RIGHT AWAY. Maybe you’re thinking the magic crayon thing has been done before, but that’s silly because who can get enough magic crayons?

 

  

And now for Mark Pett. He’s the wordless master who will absolutely pull your heartstrings. I know I’ve mentioned one of his books before, but it’s worth revisiting again and again. I’ll try to squeeze The Girl and the Bicycle into at least three more posts before the year is out.

 

The Arrival by Shaun Tan is an absolutely magical story of immigration. My kids, who typically don’t respond well to this color palette, could not get enough of this story. Tan uses fantasy to create an absolutely true story of being new in a strange land. If you’ve been looking for an immigrant story to read to your children, this is a winner. Empathy times ten in this one.

 

Grace for Gus by Harry Bliss is another fun one. There’s a bit of seek and find for adults (most kids won’t notice Woody Allen or Donald Trump in the background, but they might recognize Calvin’s friend Hobbes), a little vicarious scandal (she sneaks out in the middle of the night to be a sort of money-making guinea pig hero?), and a protagonist who is so understated and cool about her own awesomeness, that she is sure to delight both kids and adults. If I remember correctly, this one is almost wordless, but I think it still counts.

 

I sort of have a thing for illustrations that are a mix of black-and-white and color. But there is even more to love about You Can’t Take a Balloon Into The Metropolitan Museum. Educational and so much to see in this one. From the illustrator who brought you Fancy Nancy, this is a delightful trip through the Met, especially if you, you know, live on the other side of the country and it’s not really an every day option. Weitzman and Glasser’s version is way more exciting than anything the Asbys could pull off anyway. This is why books are better than flights.

 

Little Fox in the Forest by Stephanie Graegin is a sure winner. The illustrations are charming and cozy, and the story is lovely. Grab your child and a favorite stuffy and snuggle up.

 

    

Back to how perfect these books would be for parents on chemo, here are a couple of memoirs I can’t stop thinking about: The Bright Hour: A Memoir of Living and Dying by Nina Riggs and Everything Happens for a Reason and Other Lies I’ve Loved by Kate Bowler. (These are clearly for the grown-up readers in your home, as the subject matter is understandably heavy.)

Here’s hoping you all enjoy the magic of a very quiet read-aloud.

*P.S. I know the picture I posted has absolutely zero of my recommended books in it, but I saw No Talking on the shelf and couldn’t resist. One of my children takes issue with the photo and keeps arguing, “But No Talking isn’t wordless!!” I tried to argue for irony, but my kiddo wasn’t having it.

 

Books for Night Owls and Larks

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My son takes issue with the term night owl. “What’s the other kind of owl? A day owl?” he says. Schooled by my third-grader, I almost titled this post “Books for Owls and Larks,” but thanks to Google, I now get to wow him with my knowledge of the northern hawk owl and northern pygmy owl, both of which hunt during the day. So take that, nine-year-old prodigy!

We are confirmed larks, my children and I, and that sweet hour between five and six am is the best part of the day. Everyone is fresh (well, not my husband; he’s sleeping) and nothing is rushed, and absolutely no one is texting me or asking me for a Girl Scout cookie. I’m drinking coffee and the day doesn’t have any mistakes in it yet. Clark is talking to me about video games or school or what he would do if he won the lottery. Helen is having her sacred alone time in her room, reading and playing the piano and, as long as we don’t stick our heads into her room and interrupt, everything is peaceful and no one is fighting yet.

Even when my kids are jet-lagged and it should feel like 2a to their little west coast bodies, they will consistently wake between five and six am, even on the first day of travel. It’s like they can sense the sun. Not that it’s visible yet at 5am, but I’m sure they know it’s coming.

So whether you’re reading these books at a 6p bedtime for your early risers, or at a 9p bedtime with your little night owls, these are the books that should be on the nightstand.

 

Dream Animals: A Bedtime Journey by Emily Winfield Martin

This is one that is so simple you can read it to your toddler, and so beautiful even your older child will be transfixed. (Also, Emily Winfield Martin is a Portlander! Check out her stunning book of paper dolls, too.)

 

Don’t Let the Pigeon Stay Up Late by Mo Willems

I know everyone already knows how awesome Mo Willems is, but I couldn’t leave this one off the list. At least I didn’t put (the lovely) Goodnight Moon on the list, right? Well, I guess now I have, but I’m not sorry. As long as I’m at it, don’t forget about Ira Sleeps Over and There’s a Nightmare in My Closet, both classics, both wonderful. And as long as we’re talking about nightmares . . .

 

Tiger Vs. Nightmare by Emily Tetri

This one is definitely scary (don’t be fooled by the cute tiger on the cover), but is a beautiful and inspiring story of bravery and friendship, with a female protagonist to boot.

 

After you’ve spooked your children with Tiger vs. Nightmare, win them back with a gift of The Night Lion by Sanne Dufft coupled with a stuffed lion. You won’t be sorry.

 

I’m Awake! by Maxwell Eaton III

Of course I love that this tiny hamster is waking Dad (break those gender stereotypes!), but also this book is straight up hilarious. Even an early bird like me has experienced so many exhausted mornings like this one, if on a slightly smaller chaos scale. It will be relatable to any parent, lark and owl alike.

 

The Insomniacs by Karina Wolf and the Brothers Hilts

Why can’t people be nocturnal, too??

 

Bedtime for Mommy by Amy Krouse Rosenthal and LeUyen Pham

This role-reversal bedtime book is so much FUN, like all of Rosenthal’s delightful children’s books. If, like the Asbys, Rosenthal’s books have been a periodic everyday part of your bedtime routine, and you haven’t read her NYTimes article You May Want to Marry My Husband,” you absolutely should. Make sure you have tissues nearby.

 

More role-reversal hilarity in Sleepy the Goodnight Buddy by the fabulous Drew Daywalt and Scott Campbell

 

The Big Bed by Bunmi Laditan and Tom Knight

Absolutely hilarious, and with a trickle of potty humor (see what I did there?) to delight your elementary-schooler.

 

Tom’s Midnight Garden by Philippa Pearce

Classic nighttime fun for your older child! Now in graphic novel form, too!

 

The Sleeper and the Spindle by Neil Gaiman and Chris Riddell is a much needed re-imagining of the classic fairy tale, with a strong female protagonist and stunning illustrations. This is classic Gaiman, though, and too dark for most young readers. Save this one for a much older child or even just yourself.

 

Happy reading and sweet dreams!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Books: Cheaper than Flights

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After returning from a cross-country flight, a good friend of mine vowed to never travel again. She figured if she happened to get curious about a place, she could just read about it. This wouldn’t be just as good, it would be better. Think of the cost savings! The stress reduction! The extra notch on the ol’ Goodreads belt!

Her advice was, alas, too late for me. Somehow our four “free” vouchers with British Airways have turned into (what should be expected) a not-free-at-all trip to Italy. And to the bewilderment of my friends, we decided to use our vouchers not for two lovely trips for our adult selves, but no, we have decided that we want to travel instead with our two young children whose days and nights will be completely mixed up and who will likely have zero interest in spending hours in museums or at historical sites.

But what’s done is done, and I can still capitalize on half of my friend’s wisdom, the best part, the reading part.

And if you would like to visit Florence and Venice with your children without, you know, flying across the world with your children, these books will transport you there with absolutely zero jet lag.

 

Stone Giant by Jane Sutcliffe and John Shelley

If you only read one book about The David, this should be it. It has every element of the history I want my children to know before seeing the sculpture in person, and is interesting and engaging so that information will actually stick. And hopefully your children can get all the sillies out about seeing a naked sculpture at your dinner table, rather than, you know, pointing and giggling in person. Which would be fine. I guess. But maybe that’s another pro for the reading-instead-of-traveling column.

 

Carnival at Candlelight and Monday with a Mad Genius by Mary Pope Osborne and Sal Murdocca

Going strong at 50+ chapter books and counting, you can always count on Mary Pope Osborne to deliver history in a kid-approved package.

 

Pippo the Fool by Tracey E. Fern and Pau Estrada

I wasn’t sure how to get my kids excited about seeing the Duomo, and then I found Pippo.

 

Olivia Goes to Venice by Ian Falconer

Oh, how I love Olivia. I know Bill Watterson and other anti-franchisers would be furious with Ian Falconer for giving corporations the right to make Olivia books that don’t even approach the quality of the original, but I can’t be mad at Falconer, because his books are so lovely. While Olivia Goes to Venice isn’t the best of the series, it is great fun (“Olivia required another gelato”), and it’s a must-read for your book-trip to Venice.

 

Lionboy by [Corder, Zizou]

The Lion Boy Trilogy by Zizou Corder

I read the first book of this trilogy with my son and we really enjoyed it. Book one is spent trying to get to Venice, but book two is where you actually arrive and park for a bit. Unfortunately (or not), we simultaneously started book two and The Giver, and since few can compete with Lois Lowry we haven’t made it back to Lion Boy. But if you’re looking for a Venice book for an older child, the Lion Boy series is a good bet.

 

The Year I Didn’t Go to School by Giselle Potter

What? Giselle Potter skipped school for a year to be a street performer with her family in Italy? Yes, please!

 

Pick up a pint of gelato on your way home from the library, and buon viaggio!

 

Books That Will Substitute for Yoga in a Pinch

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We placed an offer on a house this week. I would like to say I have been cool as a cucumber through this process, but I mostly vacillate between insomnia and saying weird things like, “We could be choosing the house we are going to die in.”

Needless to say, I am a hot mess. And when this happens, the best medicine is a Moscow Mule a here-and-now book. All of these lovely books celebrate the gift of an ordinary day, and they will help ground you in the beautiful life you are actually living. So if you feel frantic and meditation and yoga seem like something people without young children have time to do, grab one of these instead.

 

What Happens on Wednesdays by Emily Jenkins and Lauren Castillo

I love this one so much. I spent a few years dropping hints every Mother’s Day that I’d like an Asby riff on What Happens on Wednesdays, with drawings from my darlings in it, but, alas, I must be content with reading about the day of this delightful preschooler in Brooklyn. From the “Today is not a kissing day,” refrain to “I can see my hands in the dark,” this one never, ever gets old. And once it becomes part of your family history, try this on your future preteen: The next time he cringes at your spontaneous hug, say, “Oh, today is not a hugging day?” If you’re lucky, nostalgia will kick in and he’ll feel like a hug after all.

 

The Hello, Goodbye Window by Norton Juster and Chris Raschka

This perfect book is a wonderful gift for any lovely grandparent, godparent, or special child-care offerer in your life. “You can be happy and sad at the same time, you know. It just happens that way sometimes,” is an oft quoted line at the Asby house. There’s also, “When I get tired I come in and take a nap and nothing happens until I get up.” Everything about this books is perfectly crafted; definitely add it to your collection.

 

Let’s Go Home: The Wonderful Things About a House by Cynthia Rylant and Wendy Anderson Halperin

Nothing happens in this book; Rylant and Halperin simply walk you through the coziest house ever. But when life feels overwhelming, a cozy home tour may be just what you need. My daughter wants to read this one over and over again.

 

The Relatives Came by Cynthia Rylant and Stephen Gammell

There is more plot to this one (the relatives do come), but it still absolutely grounds you in the present moment, especially the line, “But none of us thought about Virginia much. We were so busy hugging and eating and breathing together.” This one, like the others in this post, can be read a thousand times without growing tired of it.

 

Wishing you all a peaceful week of reading!

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