Category Archives: books

Moomins!

Last night, we finished reading Moominland Midwinter. I don’t know why I jumped from Comet to this one, but it just felt right for the moment. After spending months reading it a little bit several nights a week, we have finally finished.

I love the growing confidence of Moomintroll over the course of the winter, I love Too-ticky and Little My. I even love getting to know the Groke a bit better. One of the illustrations that has stayed with me from childhood is the snow horse and the eerie feeling of waiting for the Great Cold. We will probably take a break from the Moomins, but rest assured we will return to this most wonderful of imaginary lands.

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Dance Books

My daughter, 6, is interested in ballet as so many other girls her age are. It is part of the package of being a girl: ponies, ballet, and pink. She asked me to get some books about dance, and I brought home a stack of over 20 from the library. These are the ones that made the cut by being worth reading, not amplifying the ballet message too much, and keeping the kids’ attention. My son, 3, also really loves reading these.

Tallulah’s Solo, a book in the Tallulah series, features an older sister/younger brother relationship. Tallulah envisions herself being the best dancer and getting adoring attention from her fans while the other dancers are relegated to the background. She spends her time in class both practicing but also trying to keep her brother in line. When he gets a better part in the ballet, she is upset, but with some support comes around to repair her relationship and then the two siblings get a dual role in the next ballet. My kids request this one over and over.

Ballerina Rosie, one of Sarah Ferguson the Duchess of York’s series to highlight red-headed protagonists in a positive light, hits my daughter’s interests on so many fronts. It has pink, it has a red-headed girl protagonist (with the same name!), and it is about ballet. In this story, Rosie loves to dance until she takes lessons and seems to lack the ability. After a wonderful gesture from her teacher, Rosie gets her confidence back, and she finds that was all that was missing.

Barn Dance was one of the books I got to broaden the scope from just ballet. In this charming story, the animals all sneak into the barn at night to have an old-fashioned barn dance, and the farmer’s boy happens to see it happening and tags along. Written in a lyrical style that evokes fiddle tunes, the writing matches the theme, and I often read it to a dance tune.

A similarly themed book, Tap-Dance Fever, features a tap-dancing girl who just can’t stop. She passes through her rural setting tapping her toes on everything. The townsfolk try all kinds of solutions to stop her, but she persists. In the end, her dancing is a boon for the town and all the people who were disgruntled by it originally. A fun read with an indomitable female protagonist whose do-good attitude is refreshing.

The last book to make the cut is Color Dance. This one combines dance with color mixing as children dance through the pages with scarves of different colors. It is very visual and puts a spin on the usual dance stories being about a person.

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Finn Family Moomintroll

I recently finished reading Finn Family Moomintroll to my kids for their bedtime book. At first, the number of characters and language were hard for them, but now they love it. We skipped a few books to start Moominvalley Midwinter because the kids really wanted to meet Too Ticky who they have met in the Moomin Matching game. I can’t describe how happy I am to be sharing these characters with my kids, and they love them!

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Books Without Words

There are some amazing books without words, each page worth at least 1,000 words.  FlotsamGon, and numerous others are amazing stories to share with kids. I remember finding a treasure in the cast-off books of my neighbor. Max by Giovannetti became a favorite in our house. The unidentifiable rodent’s comic misadventures slowly lost their binding until my sister photocopied the book for each of us siblings.

The librarian at my school forwarded a link to No Flying Tights, a blog that reviews graphic novels, with words and without. I look forward to delving into this resource for the image-rich works of art to share with my kids.

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Another Chapter

It is amazing how slowly some things go these days. That applies to the K-1 health curriculum I have been reading. Today on the T ride in to work, I read the second chapter. It re-energized me to keep after this project because it was so good. It also made me understand a bit more of the scope of what I would need to prepare for using this curriculum as well as getting at least one more person on board to be a facilitator with me. It is just so crucial for the kids to get intentional messaging about gender, their own bodies, and all of the other things they wonder about at this age instead of just picking it up from their peers and from the media at large.

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New Books

With the flop of the last set of books, I got some new ones from the library. My daughter is exposed to enough Disney inspired role models through her peers and teachers, I decided to get a few “true” stories about women (and one man) that could serve as a balance to the princesses and queens who passively let the princes and kings take care of them. We have only started one of these books, so further reviews will follow when they have been read.

Eleanor: Quiet no more is the store of Eleanor Roosevelt, When Marian Sang is about Marian Anderson, and Harvesting Hope is the story of Cesar Chavez. I hope to regularly insert biographies into the reading selections to build a repertoire of people whose stories are of courage, action, and love.

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Reading

My daughter is really getting into reading. She enjoys finding words she knows and has many different tools that she uses to learn words. Her sight words are still very few, but her enthusiasm is growing daily.

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