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Cuddle Up With a Book on Valentine’s Day

The one enduring love of my life is books.

I never get mad at books for not making the bed. I’m never upset when books forget my birthday. And the only time I have to compete for books is when I want to read a new title at my local public library.

For all of these reasons – and regardless of how many sweethearts you have in your life – books are a great way to celebrate St. Valentine’s Day. Here are some book recommendations for you to share with kids because one of the best gifts you can give children at any time of the year is a lifetime love of reading.

The Kiss That Missed – David Melling

If You’ll Be My Valentine – Cynthia Rylant

Zombie in Love – Kelly DiPucchio

Guess How Much I Love You? – Sam McBratney

10 Valentine Friends – Janet Schulman

Love, Splat – Rob Scotton

A Giant Crush – Jennifer Choldenko

Happy reading!

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Stories Fit for a Prince or a Princess

Reading with kidsWith the British royal wedding only a few days away, royal fever seems to be gripping many people around the world.

And since I enjoy any excuse to read with my child, it seems like a good time to introduce some royalty-themed books into our nightly routine.

The Prince’s Bedtime by Joanne Oppenheim and illustrated by Miriam Latimer is a wonderful read even if your little guy – like mine – isn’t too interested in the royal wedding. The problem facing the king and queen is universal: how do I get my child to fall asleep? All parents will be able to relate to the prince in the story who is only too willing to let his parents jump through hoops to get him to sleep at a reasonable hour. But it’s one wise old woman who finds the way to send him off to dreamland, no hoops required.

The Princess and the White Bear King by Tanya Robyn Batt and illustrated by Nicoletta Ceccoli combines Greek myths and Norwegian folk tales to spin a story of a brave young princess who withstands many trials, and her own foolishness, to win a husband worth having.

The Real Princess: A Mathemagical Tale by Brenda Williams and illustrated by Sophie Fatus is a mathematical take on the classic story of the Princess and the Pea. In this story, math plays a much greater role in the discovery of a real princess fit to marry the prince and take over the kingdom. Any parent who’s ever struggled with the stereotype that girls don’t like math will want to scoop this book up and make it part of their nightly reading ritual.

The Seven Wise Princesses: A Medieval Persian Epic by Wafa’ Tarnowska and illustrated by Nilesh Mistry is a great book to introduce children to Persian literature, which has been a dominant force for centuries. This book is based on a poem by Nizami, a Sufi poet who was born in the 12th century in what is today Azerbaijan. With ten stories told by different princesses from China to India to Greece to Morocco, it is a wonderful way to introduce children to folk tales from other cultures.

For more great books to read, check out the Barefoot Books website and KidCulture’s Amazon.com reading list.

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Filed under Africa, Asia, Europe, Listen, Middle East, Read

Hear the World

kids listening to musicLike most people, I love listening to lots of different kinds of music.

From Edith Piaf to Bob Marley to Loretta Lynn to Ali Farka Toure, I’m interested in many different voices.

I’ve succeeded in getting my son hooked (a little). He enjoys French children’s music; in fact, it’s his favorite CD to listen to in the car.

And we both enjoy a CD of African lullabies that I bought him when he was a baby. 

I’m always looking for new ways to broaden our collection and a relative recently gave us Putumayo’s  Picnic Playground with fun children’s songs from around the world.

The Putumayo World Music company and their Putumayo Kids collection is a great resource for CD’s from different countries and regions of the world. According to their website, their goal is to “introduce children to other cultures through fun, upbeat world music.” As a result, they’ve been acknowledged by the Parents’ Choice Awards and the National Parenting Publications Association. 

But you don’t have to buy a CD in order to get your child to listen to different music from around the world. YouTube has many songs from other cultures that are fun for kids. As always with YouTube, you have to monitor it carefully to ensure your child doesn’t accidentally see something inappropriate.

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Read All About It: St. Patrick’s Day

I admit, I’ll take any excuse to introduce kids to books. To celebrate St. Patrick’s Day, here are some books you might like to try.

The Night Before St. Patrick’s Day by Natasha Wing and Amy Wummer

The Luckiest St. Patrick’s Day Ever by Teddy Slater and Ethan Long

St. Patrick’s Day in the Morning by Eve Bunting and Jan Brett

It’s St. Patrick’s Day by Rebecca Gomez and Mary Morgan

Jack and the Leprechaun by Ivan Robertson and Katy Bratun

Happy Reading!

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Israeli Bean Soup

Cooking the Israeli WayI found this recipe in Cooking the Israeli Way, part of a great cookbook series geared toward children.

This recipe stood out for me because I love soup (clearly) and I like that this is a fast, vegetarian dish that still packs a lot of protein and fiber.

Israeli Bean Soup

1 tbsp. vegetable oil

1 onion, peeled and diced

1 can beans (navy or kidney)

1 small can tomato puree

2 cans beef broth

3 cloves garlic, minced

½ tsp. salt

¼ tsp. pepper

2 tbsp. chopped fresh parsley

3 c. water

Heat over over medium-high heat in a pot. Add onion and sauté until brown. Add beans, tomato puree, broth, garlic, salt, pepper, and parsley. Boil soup, stir occasionally, cover and simmer for 20 minutes.

 

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Hanukkah Books

One great way to celebrate this eight-day holiday with your family is by sharing a book a day (or night). Here are eight suggestions for Hanukkah books you can give as gifts or incorporate into your usual story time.

Light the Candles: A Hanukkah Lift-the-Flap Book by Joan Holub; illustrated by Lynne Avril Cravath

The Borrowed Hanukkah Latkes by Linda Glaser; illustrated by Nancy Cote
All About Hanukkah by Madeline Wikler, illustrated by Judyth Groner
Moishe’s Miracle: A Hanukkah Story by Laura Krauss Melmed; illustrated by David Slonim
Eight Winter Nights: A Family Hanukkah Book by Laura Krauss Melmed; illustrated by Elisabeth Schlossberg
Biscuit’s Hanukkah by Alyssa Satin Capucilli, Pat Schories, and Mary O’Keefe Young
Hanukkah Moon by Deborah Da Costa; illustrated by Gosia Mosz
The Miracle Jar: A Hanukkah Story by Audrey Penn; illustrated by Lea Lyon

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Ramadan Mubarak!

Ramadan 2010 began today – so Ramadan Mubarak to the 1.6 billion friends, neighbors, and relatives around the world celebrating the holiest month of the Islamic calendar.

If you’re interested in reading more about Ramadan and sharing what you learn with your children, check out these books on Amazon.com or ask your local librarian for recommendations.

If you’d like to know how Muslims are celebrating around the world, read this article from the Christian Science Monitor and see how Muslims from New Jersey to Israel to Indonesia are marking the month. In New Jersey, school administrators in ten districts are canceling classes on the final day of the month of Ramadan.

And, if you’re like me and curious about attending services at a mosque, you can watch Friday services online at www.alhikmatlive.com, and watch other video content provided by an imam in Miami. (For more information on the project, read the Miami Herald article about it.)

The important thing is to expand your knowledge about Islam and Muslims and share that with your children. Because we all have to share this one planet, so we’d better find ways to get along. And that’s a worthy project for the holiest Muslim month of the year – no matter what religion you practice.

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