It’s no secret by now that I like books. Sometimes holding them just as much as reading them. There are always one or two untouched ones in my bag. Right now, there is In Defense of Food by Michael Pollan (yeah, I whip that one out in line at Baskin-Robbins) and 32 Third Graders and One Class Bunny by Phillip Done (ok, this one is touched and very well-loved with coffee and laughing tear stains) … in case you were wondering.

My oversized purse loaded down with books has been a superb, safe way to wean myself off of the diaper bag once I discovered that it’s existence was no longer warranted. Something to weight down the non-negotiable accessory of a designer bag with ripped yoga pants. Something to trick my easily swayed mind into believing those snot-sucking nasal aspirators, wet wipes and adult meds were still in there. Something to be-still-the-baby-itch. 

Suffice it to say that when I worked at my children’s Scholastic Book Fair for a few mornings last week, my husband made me leave the wallet at home. Fortunately, the media specialist was kind enough to let me start a wish pile on the foldout table with the teacher’s own picks. So for two days, when I wasn’t ringing up kid purchases and fetching Justin Bieber posters with the leftover change, I was loitering. Wandering aimlessly through rows of children’s books- touching nearly every single one and judging plenty by their cover. I know- practice what you preach but let’s face it….Monster High? I would like to have a word with the publising house that signed them and their whole line of absurd merchandise.

I have decided that today, I will bail on the more emotional blog that I have saved as a draft for next week in order to share with you parents a few of the glorious Book Fair finds – some new, some old. It may somehow make my own bill from the end of the week more legit? There are just four picks here. Quality over quantity. Amen to that.

Note: I am a full-blown sucker for good lit for boys because, frankly, there is a shortage of high quality books in the world for some of our rambunctious little gents. So, if my picks seem XY heavy, then steal the ideas for your tomboy’s Easter basket or good report card reward. They will dig them too. Bet you a muddy footprint on your newly shampooed carpet.


Bats At The Ballgame somehow managed to make me more excited about spring training than I already am. My grandpa would have LOVED this one. He used to teach me how to make the bobwhite calls when he wasn’t beating me in a game of Horse and teaching me the rules of hoops and making sure that I didn’t miss one Ozzie Smith standing backflip at shortstop as a Cardinals fan. This one gives the aviary world credit where credit is due. The fact that these bats rule the field when the last fan has left the building is too much fun to disbelieve. The noctural dudes are really living it up on their field of dreams. Big thumbs up for the story and illustrations. Baseball + bats. What more could you ask for?


Outside Your Window: A First Book Of Nature

 Believe me. It’s worth the hardback price on this one. This may very well solve a case of couch potatodom. The illustrations are out of this world and if this doesn’t make you want to get outside and explore, then see your doctor.



Out Of My Mind

I am halfway through this book right now. I feel completely confident about recommending it despite the fact that I haven’t even finished it myself. I will have my nose in it as soon as I plop myself and my faux diaper bag down at the next playground chaperoning endeavor. Yes, I can do both effectively at the same time. It now comes as no surprise to me that Sharon Draper is a multiple Coretta Scott King Award- winner.

Description: Melody is not like most people. She cannot walk or talk, but she has a photographic memory. She can remember every detail of everything she has ever experienced. She is smarter than most of the adults who try to diagnose her and smarter than her classmates in her integrated classroom- the very classmates who dismiss her as mentally challenged since she cannot tell them otherwise. Melody refuses to be defined by cerebral palsy. And she’s determined to let everyone know it- somehow. (Source: Amazon)


Truckery Rhymes

It’s the Stinky Cheese Man and Other Fairly Stupid Tales guy at it again! I never (ever, sorry husband) walk by a Jon Scieszka (pronounced SHEH-SKAH) book without picking it up. He consistently cranks out Caldecott worthy books and he is also really darn funny. And funny is good when you are teaching a kid to love reading. Not to mention he teams with David Shannon on this one. That’s right, David Shannon of the No, David! series. Now if that isn’t a duet between the book covers. Pop goes the Diesel, alright.

While we are on the topic of Mr. Scieszka, I have found his web-based literacy program for boys to be a fun place to hang out when you are stumped on getting your little guys (your own or in the classroom) to ditch the Wii, tree climbing or Legos for an occasional book in the shade of climbing tree. Check it out below.

There are three kinds of people. The one that learns by reading. The few who learn by observation. The rest of them have to pee on the electric fence for themselves.

-Will Rogers-

P.S. Gotta run to work. Will edit the typos later. Going public, not perfect.

xo, SB

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