Resolution: Turn Your Kids on to Books!

Posted January 9, 2020 by Cathy Ogren
Categories: Reading

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“From your parents you learn love and laughter and how to put one foot before the other. But when books are opened you discover you have wings.”~ Helen Hayes

Here are ten easy reading resolutions for the new year to encourage your child to read:

Frequent the library

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Fill your house with books

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Read to your kids

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Choose a variety of books to have on hand – fiction and nonfiction

Share books

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Keep books in the car

Create a cozy reading space or let your kids find a place of their own

(Poor dog just lost her cozy spot)

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Create a fun activity to go along with a book

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Don’t forget about children’s magazines – a different feel, a different look

Be a role model and let your children see you reading

“There are many different ways to enlarge your child’s world. Love of books is the best of all.” ~Jacqueline Kennedy

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“Turn the pages of your imagination…READ!”~Author Unknown

 

A New Home for the Holiday

Posted January 2, 2020 by Cathy Ogren
Categories: Life and Family

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My momma always said, “Life was like a box of chocolates. You never know what you’re gonna get.” ~Forrest Gump

Truer words were never spoken. This year instead of hosting Christmas festivities, my daughter, her husband, and their three daughters hosted us and my son-in-law’s family – his mother, two brothers/wives and a two-year-old. For three days there were thirteen people—nine adults, two two-year-olds, and two four-year-olds—walking, running, jumping, and tumbling around my daughter and son-in-law’s home.

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On Christmas Eve we celebrated an updated Slovak meal – Oplatky (a traditional Christmas wafer), oyster stew (a New England addition), Grandma’s Katie’s fried fish, coleslaw, French fries, and Christmas cookies.

Christmas Day brought Santa gifts, a gift-wrapping mess, and some wild and crazy little ones!

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The afternoon was spent preparing for Christmas dinner, taking naps, and quiet reading time for the non-nappers.

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The dining table was readied. No kid’s table allowed. Everyone had a place at the big table set with Christmas china, shiny silverware, and red and green cloth napkins, a beautiful centerpiece, and one more surprise gift that acted as a place card.

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Dinnertime is what our family calls the “witching hour” for the little ones. Usually, no one is happy with anything. My husband and I hoped for the best as we all gathered around the table. Dinner began with a prayer said by the grandchildren. We clinked our glasses, shared delicious food, talked about our favorite part of the day, and laughed. As I looked around the table, I saw the joy of a family gathering together, and not one child asked to be excused from the table early. It was a Christmas miracle!

Behold the happy family!

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Don’t look for us there. My husband and I had returned to our home to enjoy the peace and quiet of the Christmas season!

I wish you all a healthy, happy, and prosperous 2020!

 

 

 

Happy Holidays!

Posted December 26, 2019 by Cathy Ogren
Categories: Special Days

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“Blessed is the season which engages the whole world in a conspiracy of love.” ~Hamilton Wright Mabie

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A special thank you to all those who follow and read my blog. I appreciate that you take the time to do so. Happy Holidays to you all!

Are You an Odd Dog Out?

Posted December 19, 2019 by Cathy Ogren
Categories: Award-winning Picture Books

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Have you ever felt like you don’t quite fit in? No worries. Written and illustrated by award-winning Rob Biddulph, Odd Dog Out is a character you want to get to know. Odd Dog dances to a “different beat.” Although she tries her best, she just doesn’t fit in. With a sigh, Odd Dog goes in search of a place where she’ll be like everyone else. She travels far and wide until she finds others just like her. She settles in and is happy until she notices someone “whistling a different tune.” Odd Dog confronts him, telling him how sorry she feels that he’s an outsider. His response is, “I love to stand out from the crowd!” Odd Dog comes to the realization that it’s okay to be yourself and returns home where she is welcomed back by those who missed her. Biddulph’s story is written in delightful rhyming text with vivid illustrations that include lots of dachshunds that readers will adore. The book promotes a positive self-image and encourages readers to have the strength to stand up and “Be who you are.”

If you’re still looking for that special holiday gift for a child, don’t wait a minute longer. Run to your nearest bookstore and pick up Rob Biddulph‘s fabulous book. It’s a perfect gift for readers young and old who dare to dance to a different beat!

Sea Glass Summer

Posted December 12, 2019 by Cathy Ogren
Categories: Picture Books

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If you’re like many of us who have been inundated with snow, sleet, wind, and rain, this may be the book that will lift your winter spirits.

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Sea Glass Summer written by Michelle Houts and illustrated by Bagram Ibatoulline tells a story of how a young boy called Thomas spends the summer at his grandmother’s island cottage. She gifts Thomas with a magnifying glass that was his grandfather’s. Each day, Thomas and his grandmother search the beach for treasures left behind by the sea. His grandmother finds a piece of sea glass which she hands to Thomas, saying “…after being broken, tossed in the saltwater and sand, the pieces turn smooth and cloudy.” She adds, “…your grandfather used to say that each piece of sea glass has a story all its own.” That night, with his sea glass nearby, Thomas dreams of a ship from long ago as seen in Ibatoullines’ realistic illustrations. As the ship is christened with a bottle of champagne, pieces of the bottle fall into the ocean. Sea glass days and sea glass night dreams make up Thomas’ summer. At the end of the summer as Thomas and his grandmother are ferrying off the island, Thomas drops his grandfather’s magnifying glass and pieces fall into the sea. The story fast forwards to many years later when a young girl who is visiting a family island cottage shows her Papaw Tom a piece of sea glass she found. He carefully examines it and says, “…each piece of sea glass has a story of its own.” That night with her sea glass nearby, she dreams of a boy named Thomas.

I’m fascinated by this story because our family loves hunting for sea glass on the beaches of New England. Bagram Ibatoulline’s realistic illustrations are beautifully rendered, and Michelle Houts’ story inspires imaginative thinking. The author and illustrator weave a story of family, history, and the art of sea glass. Make sure to check this out!

Nothing Wee about Me!

Posted December 5, 2019 by Cathy Ogren
Categories: Picture Books

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Nothing Wee About Me! is written by Kim Chaffee (author of Her Fearless Run: Kathrine Switzer’s Historic Boston Marathon) and illustrated by Laura Bobbiesi. In this imaginative tale, a wee girl named Liesel uses Grandma Rose’s soup ladle to wish for magical adventures. With her trusty ladle, Liesel confronts a pirate, a fire-breathing dragon, rescues a prince, and uses her ingenuity to save a town from an erupting volcano. She does all this just in time to return Grandma Rose’s ladle and enjoy a bowl of Grandma’s Sunday soup. Liesel proves there is nothing WEE about her in this romp through the world of imagination! Readers will enjoy Liesel’s adventures and Laura Bobbiesi’s charming illustrations rendered in soft pastels. There is nothing wee about this book!

 

 

Happy Thanksgiving!

Posted November 28, 2019 by Cathy Ogren
Categories: Holidays

Tags:

Gratitude can transform common days into thanksgivings, turn routine jobs into joy, and change ordinary opportunities into blessings. – William Arthur Ward

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May this Thanksgiving bring joy and happiness to you and all those you love!


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