By Chrysta Naron “Once I unlocked the mystery of the alphabet that led to words, a multitude of words connecting me to the world, there was no stopping me.” —Gloria Naylor Every word in the entire English language, every word your child will ever read or say, is made up of only 26 letters. Learning the alphabet is the gateway to reading, but in order to master it, kids need to relate the letters to their names, sounds, and to real-world objects. This is the way letters become more than . . .
By Chrysta Naron May is the time to celebrate and lift up the mothers and mother figures in our lives. But rather than just limiting our celebration to one day, let’s make a DIY Mother’s Day gift that lets them know how much we appreciate them every day. I love to kick off most kid projects with, you guessed it…a book! While there are many incredible picture books for this special day, I am particularly fond of A Chair For My Mother by Vera B. Williams. Most other Mother’s Day books focus . . .
By Laila Weir We have a saying in our family of three children: Siblings are friends for life. But along the way to that lifelong relationship are plenty of challenges, competition, and complicated feelings. Encouraging first children to get excited for an upcoming sibling, and then supporting both younger and older children through the emotional ups and downs of their relationship, will help them develop that special bond. And a well-selected book is among parents’ most powerful . . .
By Tulani Thomas In my family, Earth Day is every day. We strive to cherish our planet and never take it for granted. Every day we can do small acts that make a big difference: This is the ethos that I have always taught my children. I try to incorporate nature-friendly living into so many areas of our lives that it becomes second nature (pun intended). We turn the lights off when leaving a room, use reusable water bottles, turn the water off when brushing our teeth, and, yes, eat loads of . . .
By Carlene Murray As a mother of three young children and an early childhood educator, I’m always looking for ways to help my charges learn about other cultures and traditions from around the world, as well as explore their own heritage. I’m fortunate to live in an area where my kids see faces of many colors everyday, and nothing warms my heart quite like seeing a group of children from different backgrounds bonding and playing together. But no matter where you live, reading a wide variety of . . .
By Karen Williams Who among us can resist an adorable puppy? For many kids, dogs are their first loves and best friends. Dogs, and puppies especially, have an incredible ability to connect with us and teach us about unconditional love, joy, and empathy. If your little one adores pups, try these sweet picture books about puppies for your next story time. And did you know that dogs can be comforting, receptive audiences for children who need practice reading aloud? Furry friends make great . . .
By Karen Williams I’ve always been proud of the fact that my daughter loves to drink water! Ava is a teenager now, but from the time she was young, I instilled in her the value of this essential resource and talked about how vital water is for not only our bodies, but also our planet. We all know that our bodies are largely made of water, but did you know that 71 percent of the Earth’s surface is water, as well? March 22 is World Water Day, a day to celebrate and reflect on the . . .
By Karen Williams Happy Women’s History Month! What a wonderful time to highlight and celebrate the groundbreaking contributions women have made to our world. From being pioneers in several fields to careers as inventors, authors, athletes and so much more, women have made a tremendous impact in society, and continue to do so to this day. It’s never too early to learn about how women have shaped the course of history, showing courage, wisdom, and empowerment. So how did it all start? . . .
By Maya Payne Smart Jump at the Sun: The True Life Tale of Unstoppable Storycatcher Zora Neale Hurston is a lovely picture book biography of a singular literary talent. Author Alicia D. Williams masterfully weaves threads of Hurston’s complicated life story into a tale simple and propulsive enough to maintain the attention of young children, yet complete and nuanced enough to satisfy Hurston’s grownup fans. The book traces the jagged rise of the iconic writer, from a spunky young girl . . .
By Karen Williams Award-winning author Toni Morrison is well known for her powerful writing that examines the black experience in America, with a particular focus on women and girls. Both a Nobel Prize and Pulitzer Prize winner, she is best remembered for her classic novels The Bluest Eye (1970) and Beloved (1987), which was later adapted into a movie with Oprah Winfrey’s support. Her vast and impressive body of work includes 11 novels, nine non-fiction books, two short stories, and two . . .