Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Recommended Picture Book: Snow School by Sandra Markle

Title: Snow School

Author: Sandra Markle

Illustrator: Alan Marks

Publisher: Charlesbridge, Feburary 1, 2013

Age: 4 -8 years

Topic: Snow Leopards, survival and hunting skills, how snow leopards learn

Opening: It’s May – springtime in Pakistan’s Hindu Kush Mountains. But high up on gravel-strewn slopes, where only the hardiest plants grow, snowflakes still dance in the icy wind.

Book Summary: Twin snow leopard siblings survive their first year of life in Pakistan's Hindu Kush Mountains by learning critical skills from their mother, including how to hunt, where to find shelter, and to stay away from humans.

Author’s note offers link to learn more about snow leopards in their natural habitat and how to protect them
Includes amazing facts about snow leopards
Reading is Fundamental website has an excellent guide to that helps extend learning opportunities. Most of the activities are geared for children between the ages of 5-12

Why I Like This Book:

Snow leopards are such beautiful creatures. As such, they are endangered as people hunt them and taking over their natural habitat. In this story, we see up close and personal just how these animals survive their harsh environment and how these lessons are passed down from mother to cubs. Informative and very well written in a story format which makes it very appealing to follow these cubs adventure and learning. The illustrations are beautiful and done in watercolor and pencil.  

Saturday, June 27, 2015

Islamic Children's Book Day 2015

Welcome to the first ever, 

Islamic Children's Book Day.

You can learn more about this new initiative and how you and your family can participate in Islamic Children's Book Day below, information was taken from and

Hosted by authors Razeena Gutta of and Emma Apple of, it is hoped that this day creates awareness about great Islamic children’s books, worldwide. You can help by sharing your top picks, current reads and wish list for future purchases.

How to get involved?
  •  Authors and Publishers
Download the PDF flier and share on your pages with the hashtag #IslamicBookDay. Share your story with us, organize a book reading with your local community or simply post pictures of all your books so readers can find them easily.
  •  Parents/Teachers/Bloggers/Book enthusiasts
Buy or borrow a new Islamic book for your child, organise a story-time with your friends or family with the existing books you have, share pictures of your family’s favourites with the hashtag #IslamicBookDay. Download the PDF to share with your friends or simply click and save the image above for easy sharing on social networks.
  • Bookstores and Online Book Retailers
Share your range of Islamic children books with the hashtag and your location to make it easier for people to find you locally.
  • Magazines and media outlets
Please share with your readers as much as you can. You can encourage them to post pictures with the hashtag, or share with them the ideas below.
  • Other ideas
  1. Creating craft projects that relate to books is a great way to extend the learning and have a lot of fun in the process
  2. Make bookmarks as gifts for friends or neighbors
  3. Encourage your children to ‘make’ or ‘draw’ their own books with their own stories
  4. Help your children write a letter to their favorite Islamic book author (we are quite sure they would reply!)
  5. And, of course, read together!
Share your books with us, and share your plans and crafts too! Simply post to any social media platform with the hashtag #IslamicBookDay and we’ll all be able to find it easily.

Join the event on Facebook by clicking here. 

Islamic Children’s Book Day is supported by  –
Shade 7 Publishing – Hajera Memon
Sweet Apple Publishers – Zanib Mian
Reem Faruqi (author)
Kids of the Ummah – Peter Gould
Mind works Publishing – Janette Grant
Siraaj Mowjood (author)
Read It (Book retailer – Canada)
Daybreak Press – Najiyah Maxfield

Friday, April 24, 2015

Recommended Picture Book: Flora and the Flamingo by Molly Idle

Title: Flora and the Flamingo

Author: Molly Idle

Illustrator: Molly Idle

Publisher: Chronicle Books, February 2013

Age: 3 and up

Topic: Friendship, Ballet, Flamingos, Emotions

Opening: This is a wordless book.

Summary: In this innovative wordless picture book with interactive flaps, Flora and her graceful flamingo friend explore the trials and joys of friendship through an elaborate synchronized dance. With a twist, a turn, and even a flop, these unlikely friends learn at last how to dance together in perfect harmony.

Printable activity sheets can be found here
Common Core aligned teacher's guide for Flora and the Flamingo. 
The five basic positions of ballet here.

What I like about the book:
This book is just too cute for words!!! The fact that it is wordless allows readers to interpret the actions, reactions and interactions between Flora and the Flamingo she wishes so desperately to dance with. The illustrations are just adorable, simple yet elegant, detailed but not overwhelmingly. Children will see a reluctant relationship bloom into a wonderful friendship.

Friday, April 17, 2015

Recommended Picture Book: Hands Say Love by George Shannon

Title: Hands Say Love

Author: George Shannon

Illustrator: Taeeun Yoo

Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers (December 16, 2014)

Age: 2-5

Topic: Hands, Love, Family

Opening: Hands that do all they can do are also saying, "I love you."

Summary: Hands touch, hold, and hug. Hands feed, give, and share. Hands create, mend, and heal. Hands say love! Every day, our hands show the most important people in our lives how we care about them, from parents helping children learn to walk to families playing and working together to friends waving hello and good-bye. This perfect read-aloud for toddlers celebrates the many hands-on moments we share and reminds us that even the simplest gesture can be a profound expression of love.

Let child(ren) come up with their own ways of saying "I Love You" with their hands.
Encourage child(ren) draw a picture of something they like to do with their hands.
Teach the sign for “I love you.” The sign for “I love you” in American Sign Language is the pinky finger, index finger, and thumb pointed straight (with the middle two fingers held down to the palm). Another fun thing to do is make up an original sign together for your own family to use to tell each other how much you love each other. Find more hands-on activities that teach children about love here.

Why I Like This Book:

This gentle book for toddlers and young children celebrates all the loving ways the hands of their caregivers care and love them. Cute pictures illustrate loving and kind acts. From holding, to hugging, entertaining to feeding, healing and so much more. Starting at the beginning of the day to the end, follow along as memorable hands-on moments are created and shared. 

Friday, April 10, 2015

Recommended Picture Book: Red: A Crayon's Story

Title: Red: A Crayon's Story

Author: Michael Hall

Illustrator: Michael Hall

Publisher: Greenwillow Books (February 3, 2015)

Age: 4-8 years

Topic: Identity crisis, social issues, emotions and feelings,

Opening: He was red. But he wasn't very good at it.

Summary: A blue crayon mistakenly labeled as "red" suffers an identity crisis

Resources: find a fun printable activity here.

What I Like About the Book:

Hilarious and touching.

Red wants anything to be the perfect red. He tries his but all he can manage is blue. Even with the help and encouragement from his friends, Red is more blue than ever. It is not until he meets a new friend, he begins to appreciate himself, as does everyone else.

A great story to help children learn to be themselves and appreciate their unique abilities and talents. Red's new friend does not try to push Red to be a better red but encourages Red to see that the color he makes is equally beautiful and useful. It illustrates to children we can't all be or do the same but we can all be important and come with our own unique talents and abilities to share with the world and make it a more beautiful place to live in.