Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Great Books to Share at Bedtime

There is no better way to end an evening for a child, a parent or a grandchild than by reading together.  Even older children enjoy this ritual.  My grandson is in second grade and he enjoys reading series books and there are plenty of them.  But these books which feature fun stories have simple illustrations and don’t cut it as far as I am concerned for developing imagination or appreciation for literature.

There are many excellent books that fit this bill.  And rather than an excitement filled series book, the beautifully illustrated books on this list can be the perfect prescription for a bedtime read.  Here are some of my favorites and some new ones that come highly recommended and have parent/grandparent positive reviews at Amazon.

For Younger Children….

Good Night Owl written and illustrated by Greg Pizzoli
This book was named a Theodore Seuss Geisel Honor book yesterday morning by the American Library Association. It is a beautifully illustrated picture book describing an owl who can’t sleep until he finds out what is making a noise.  Great reviews – especially for bedtime.  To quote one – “warm colored illustrations set the perfect mood for this bedtime story.”

When Winter Comes by Nancy Van Lann  Illustrated by Susan Gaber

With beautiful illustrations this book quietly asks the questions we all have…  When winter comes what happens to fish, animals, mice, etc. and to a little boy (gets tucked in and goes to bed).  This book is one of my favorites.  It is a perfect go to sleep read.  An early reader can read it to herself as you read in a soothing quiet voice.  Before you know it, you will both be nodding off.

Time for Bed by Mem Fox  Illustrated by Jane Dyer

Each page features an animal parent and child and bedtime with two short rhythmic written lines and ends with a mother tucking in a young child.  I have a hardcover copy of this book but it is a popular board book also.


For older children...  

Even once children can read for themselves, it is a good idea for adults to read with them.  This is often the best way to introduce children to books that would otherwise go unnoticed.  I must say that I am unimpressed with the books my grandson brings home from the school library.  Yes he is getting experience with reading himself but he is not being introduced to literature, history, ideas, artistic beauty, etc.  These two books are ones we shared with our children and I have kept them to share with our grandchildren.

Hiawatha by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow  Illustrated by Susan Jeffers

Longfellow’s classic poem is complimented with captivating, stunning illustrations.  Older children can read this themselves but it is a an outstanding book for an adult to introduce to and enjoy with an older child.  Check out all the books illustrated by Susan Jeffers including Stopping by the Woods on a Snowy Evening, All the Pretty Horses (my favorite for young children), Silent Night (my personal favorite) and Brother Eagle, Sister Sky. Susan Jeffers is a talented illustrator who adds to the pleasure of reading beloved poems and songs.

D’aulaires’ Book of Greek Myths by Ingri d'Aulaire and Edgar Parin d'Aulaire


This book of Greek myths has been the best introduction to Greek myths for generations and it is still in print.  The well told myths are complimented with sophisticated drawings that are enjoyed by children and adults alike.  It is an excellent way for adults to introduce classical literature to a younger generation and enjoy it together.  My husband and I, like many reviewers at Amazon, shared this book with our children and have kept it on our bookshelf ready to share it with grandchildren. This is a great book for bonding with older children.

Sunday, January 15, 2017

Grandparents' Role with Martin Luther King, Jr. Message

I usually write a post for Martin Luther King Day but this year I have had a bit of writer’s block.  What is new to say after all, and I hate being preachy.  Then sometimes when I least suspect it, thoughts come together.  That happened for me today.   

First of all, our pastor gave an excellent sermon this morning tying together the scripture of Jesus’ baptism with MLK’s talk in Selma.  Later I was browsing through my Twitter feed, when I came across a tweet by Generations United with an article in the Washington Post first published in 2010 entitled, “Young and old together: Fulfilling Martin Luther King Jr.'s mandate of service.”  

Our pastor talked about our interconnectedness and how even very small things can lead to something bigger and unexpected.  She shared a heartwarming example.  An older man who was visiting our church for the first time when we had the Christmas pageant was moved by the three young children dressed as sheep who crawled down the aisle.  It moved him to donate 3 sheep to someone who needs them somewhere in the world through the Heifer project…… an unexpected, unnoticed and meaningful connection made between the very young and the old. 

Generations United is an organization that connects and provides resources to groups that are working to improve the lives of young and old through intergenerational programs. Sometimes the generations are helping each other by reading together or shoveling snow.  Sometimes they are banding together to help others at a food pantry or just sharing each other’s perspectives.  They are fulfilling Martin Luther King’s mandate of service and understanding.

This article talked about MLK’s grandmother, Jennie Williams, who “cooked his favorite foods, read to him at night and told him stories about the world beyond Auburn Avenue. She told him about places and people he would grow up to see, and about ideas he would one day work to change.”  Sounds like many grandparents to me.
There is an interconnectedness with our grandchildren that will outlive us.  Yes we want to make them happy and enjoy every minute that we contribute to their happiness.  But we have so much more to give.  Our example, involving them in learning values, experiencing helping others, etc.  These are much more important gifts to give our grandchildren.

Well, I hope I wasn’t too preachy.  Sorry about that.  But this MLK Day I want to share the importance of grandparents connecting with our grandchildren on  values.  And since many of us were alive when MLK lived, we can share that living history which always has its own special aura.

I'll end with sharing one of my favorite MLK quotes.  We included this quote with our son's yearbook parents' subscription.

"The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy."