Book Corner, Holiday, Holiday Books, Kindness, Seasonal

Chinese New Year

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Happy New Year: 新年快乐 (xīn nián kuài lè)

This year Chinese New Year (or Lunar New Year) begins on February 5th.  Chinese New Year is the beginning of the Chinese calendar and is also known as the Spring Festival.   2019 is the Year of the Pig and pigs symbolize wealth and fortune in China.

This 15 day festival can be a great time for your family to learn about the Chinese culture, the traditions associated with this festival and have a little bit of fun.  Here are some fun things you and your family can do to learn about and celebrate Chinese New Year.

  1.  CLICK Here to find out what your Chinese Zodiac symbol is (we are snakes, a dog and ox over here)
  2. CLICK HERE for ideas for a craft projects for Chinese New Year.  You can make some fun decorations together and plan a Chinese New Year Feast.  Red is the color of Chinese New Year and it is thought to bring luck.
  3. Make Chinese food together or order take-out from your favorite restaurant.  Dumplings are eaten every day during the festival.
  4. Find a local Chinese New Year celebration.  People from all over the world celebrate this festival and there are many events here in the USA.  Check out your local art museum or go to your closest China Town.  We went to a dragon dance a few years ago at our local art museum and it was beautiful.

Books for Chinese New Year

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From the publisher: “When her Chinese grandmother comes to visit, a young Chinese-American girl learns of and participates in the customs and beliefs celebrating an authentic Chinese New Year.”

 

 

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From the publisher: “In this picture book celebrating Chinese New Year, animals from the Chinese zodiac help a little girl deliver a gift to her grandmother.Ruby has a special card to give to her grandmother for Chinese New Year. But who will help her get to grandmother’s house to deliver it? Will it be clever Rat, strong Ox, or cautious Rabbit? Ruby meets each of the twelve zodiac animals on her journey. This picture book includes back matter with a focus on the animals of the Chinese zodiac.”

 

unknown-2From the publisher: “When a boy goes to the market to buy food and comes home with an old wok instead, his parents wonder what they’ll eat for dinner. But then the wok rolls out of the poor family’s house with a skippity-hoppity-ho! and returns from the rich man’s home with a feast in tow! With spirited text and lively illustrations, this story reminds readers about the importance of generosity.”

 

(Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links. This means if you click on the image of the books above you will be taken to Amazon.  20% of all profits made through this site will be donated to our charity of the season.  You can see the current charity on our Book Corner page.  Thank you for supporting our site and a very noble charity.)  

 

Holiday, Holiday Books, Kindness, Seasonal

Candlemas

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Candlemas, February 2nd, is known by many names: Groundhog Day, Imblog and St. Bridgids Day.  Candlemas is a beautiful and long forgotten winter holiday that marks the half way point until spring.  Throughout history people would gather and celebrate light, hope and renewal.

Candlemas-Day Verse

If Candlemas Day be fair and bright
Winter will have another flight.
If Candlemas Day brings cloud and rain,
Winter won’t come again.

Today on February 2nd most people focus on a small furry mammal named Phil, in the little town of Punxsutawney Pennsylvania.  The world holds its breath as the poor little groundhog is removed from his cozy slumber to look for his shadow (if he doesn’t find it that means an early spring).  I admit I am one of those people who LOVE that silly tradition and I watch it live on the internet.  My kids and I also watch Bill Murray’s Groundhog Day movie every February 2nd, we LOVE that ridiculous movie.

I invite you and your family to take some time to pause on February 2nd and reflect upon your own hopes and dreams for the year.  Maybe you light some candles to mark the fact that we are half way to the spring equinox or try one of the other ideas below.

Happy Candlemas!

Here are some ideas to celebrate Candlemas:

  1. Make candles as a family (this kit is a favorite of ours)
  2. Have a candlelit dinner and talk about everyone’s hopes and dreams
  3. Call someone who may be lonely and provide a little light in their lives
  4. Plant a seed or bulb and watch it grow as the days get closer to spring
  5. Make Valentine’s Day cards to send out to the older folks in your life.  They will love a little handwritten note from you.

Here are some of our favorite books to read on February 2nd.

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A fun book about a groundhog who has trouble hibernating.  He wakes up for all of the fall/winter holidays (Halloween, Thanksgiving and Christmas) and sees what he has been missing all these years.  This is such a cute book and is great for ages 3 and up.

 

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This book is not only funny but filled with lots of facts about weather, the history of Groundhog Day and other groundhogs around the world.  My kids and I read this book every year and it still makes us laugh.   This book is great for kids 5 and up.

 

 

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This is an ancient Irish story that celebrates St. Brigid.  In this beautiful story you hear about how Brigid’s got her famous blue cloak and the first of the miracles that it performed.  St. Brigid is a patron saint of Ireland and a wonderful role model for kindness.  She set up convents all over Ireland that catered to the poor and hungry.  This book would be great for children ages 5 and up.

 

(Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links. This means if you click on the image of the books above you will be taken to Amazon.  20% of all profits made through this site will be donated to our charity of the season.  You can see the current charity on our Book Corner page.  Thank you for supporting our site and a very noble charity.)  

Book Corner, Holiday Books, Kindness

Valentine’s Day Books

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These are some of our favorite LOVE and Valentine’s Day Books.  We hope that you will check them out and share them with a child you love.

CLICK HERE for a Kids in Service Book List printable that you can take with you to the local library or bookstore.

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Somebody Loves You Mr. Hatch is my FAVORITE book for Valentine’s Day. Watch as one small event can turn Mr. Hatch’s lonely life from dull and ordinary to one of love, friendship and joy.  This book is great for ages 5 and up.  I hope you will share this book with someone you care about this Valentine’s Day.

 

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We are BIG fans of Peter H. Reynolds in this house and had to put this book on the list.  This is a sweet story of the power of love.  The illustrations are so sweet and there is a surprise illustration at the end.  We recommend this book for ages 3 and up.

 

 

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This sweet and short book by Eric Carle teaches all about love and the many expressions used to explain love.  The illustrations are great as you follow the very hungry caterpillar through the story.  This is a book for ALL ages!

 

 

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This is one of my new favorite poetry books.  We are big fans of haikus in this house and this sweet book is full of them.  The illustrations are so sweet and we think that this book would be great to share with ages 3 and up.  This book is no longer in print but should be in your local library.

 

 

unknown-5This is not a new book but it was new to us this year.  This book is written and illustrated by Felicia Bond who illustrated all of the If you Give a Mouse a Cookie books.  This sweet story follows a little girls journey as she collects the hearts that rain from the sky and turns them into beautiful Valentine’s Day cards for those she cares about.  This would be a great book to read before you make your own Valentine’s Day cards.  This is a great book for ages 3 and up.

 

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This BEAUTIFUL book is on my list of FAVORITE  CHILDREN’S BOOKS OF ALL TIME.  This story illustrates the many versions of love found through out this world.  Love knows no boundaries and can be found all around us.  The beautiful text and illustrations in this book show just that.  This would be a great book for ages 3 and up.

 

 

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This is such a FUN book that is done to the tune of Clementine.  I LOVE to sing this book to my children (despite my terrible voice) and suggest you do the same.  The illustrations make this book such a joy to share as this poor man tries to share his love with his sweet Valentine.  We recommend this book for all ages if you are singing the text 🙂

 

 

(Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links. This means if you click on the image of the books above you will be taken to Amazon.  20% of all profits made through this site will be donated to our charity of the season.  You can see the current charity on our Book Corner page.  Thank you for supporting our site and a very noble charity.)  

Book Corner, Holiday, Holiday Books

Holiday Books

(Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links. Read our policy below)

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Here are some books that center around the theme of Kindness. Click on the picture of the book to be taken to Amazon for more information. CLICK HERE for a Kids in Service Book List printable that you can take with you to the library or local bookstore.

For the Kids

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Every now and again a picture book will surprise me and blow me away.  My kids and I were doing an author study this month of Kate DiCamillo and loving all of her humorous books.  This beautiful book was a big surprise and did bring “GREAT JOY”.  This is the sweet Christmas story of a little girl and her caring heart for the man who lives on her street corner.  This story of kindness and hope is perfect for EVERYONE ages 5 and up.

 

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This picture book is a simpler version of the New York Times best seller, the Invisible Thread.  Both are the true story of a woman named Laura who builds a friendship with a boy named Maurice who she met on a NYC street while asking for money.  I LOVED the adult book and was so excited when I found this book last year for my children.  It is a heartwarming tale about their first Christmas together and the start of their life-long friendship.  I recommend it for ages 5+ and highly recommend the adult book as well.

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This is my FAVORITE Berenstain Bears book and it is a wonderful lesson for children about the importance of giving  and serving others in their community.  I recommend this for children ages 4+.  From the Publisher: “Brother and Sister Bear can’t wait for Christmas and all the presents they’ll open. But during the Christmas Eve pageant, something special happens! The Bear cubs learn a very valuable lesson about the joy of giving to others.”

 

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If this book does not make you smile, I do not know what will?  The illustrations are so vivid and expressive.  This beautiful story about giving will be come a family favorite for kids 3 and over.  From the Publisher: “We’ve all heard the story of the three wise men who brought their gifts to Baby Jesus. But what about the camels who carried them? Here is the story of Humphrey the camel and his long, cold journey to Bethlehem.”

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From the Publisher: “A family of adorable pigs decides that this year they will make their gifts to each other for Christmas rather than buy gifts. Each family member is excited to try. Momma makes breakfast, Dad makes a blanket, and sister Rosie sings a song. But the littlest pig struggles to come up with an idea. What can he make?”

 

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This favorite book has become part of a Winter Solstice tradition in our family.  You can read more about that HERE.  From the Publisher: “By moonlight in the quiet forest, a young boy and his family decorate their favorite tree with popcorn, apples, tangerines, and sunflower-seed balls as a gift for the animals of the woods.”

 

 

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This is our FAVORITE Hanukkah story but it can be a bit frightening for young children.  This is a story about a traveler who comes upon a small village where they are not celebrating Hanukkah because goblins have taken over the synagogue.  The traveler sets out to defeat the goblins using his wit.  A wonderful story about staying strong, being brave and standing up for what you believe in.  I think this book is wonderful for children ages 6 and up.  Maybe younger if your child is okay with the ideas of monsters.

 

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This short and sweet book brought tears to my eyes.  The illustrations are bold and fun and the story is simple and so sweet.  This story is sure to put you in the Christmas spirit and is great for ages 3+!  From the Publisher: “It’s the most wonderful time of the year, and a mother and daughter are enjoying the sights and sounds of the holiday season. She spreads the spirit of giving wherever she goes. And when she reaches Santa, she tells him her Christmas wish–for peace and love everywhere, all the days of the year.”

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From the Publisher: “The beginning of winter is marked by the solstice, the shortest day of the year. Long ago, people grew afraid when each day had fewer hours of sunshine than the day before. Over time, they realized that one day each year the sun started moving toward them again. In lyrical prose and cozy illustrations, this book explains what the winter solstice is and how it has been observed by various cultures throughout history.”

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From the Publisher: “Armand, an old Parisian living on the streets of Paris, relished his solitary life. He begged and did odd jobs for money to keep himself warm and fed, and he liked his carefree life. Then one day just before Christmas, a struggling mother and her three children walked into his life. Though he tried to ignore their troubles, Armand soon found himself caring for the family and sharing his unusual home under the bridge with them. It did not take Armand very long to realize that he had gotten himself ready-made family; one that he loved with all his heart, and one for whom he would have to find a better home than the bridge.”

 

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From the Publisher: “Sadie and her four little brothers are very poor and always hungry. On the first night of Chanukah, Sadie performs a generous act, and in turn receives a frying pan that cooks up sizzling hot, golden latkes on command. Sadie tells her brothers never to use the magic pan, but when she goes out one afternoon, the mischievous boys can’t resist. They remember the words to start the pan cooking . . . but what were the words to make it stop?”

 

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From the Publisher: “Based on her bestseller Unwrapping the Greatest Gift, Ann Voskamp expands her presentation of the timeless Advent tradition of the Jesse Tree with this beautiful keepsake. Each December, families can celebrate the coming of Jesus by opening the book to see a stunning 13-inch, three-dimensional Jesse Tree pop up from the page. At its foot are 25 doors, one for each day of Advent, which hide meaningful, beautifully detailed ornaments that are ready to be hung on the tree. Also inside is a simple devotional book with a reading for each ornament.”

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From the Publisher: “Based on the overwhelming success of The Greatest Gift, Ann Voskamp has expanded her presentation of the timeless Advent tradition of the Jesse Tree so families can celebrate together. Each day, families can read the provided Scripture passage (in connection with the original book), engage with a specially written devotion to help children of all ages understand the Advent theme for the day, and participate in suggested activities to apply the theme. This special edition is beautifully illustrated.”

For the Adults

 

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From the Publisher: Beginning with Jesse, the father of David, The Greatest Gift retraces the epic pageantry of mankind, from Adam to the Messiah, with each day’s profound reading pointing to the coming promise of Christ, so that come Christmas morning you find that the season hasn’t blurred past you but your heart’s fully unwrapped the greatest gift you’ve always yearned for. Sure to become a holiday staple in every Christian home, The Greatest Gift, a New York Times bestseller, is the perfect gift for the holidays and a timeless invitation into the richness of the true meaning of Christmas.”

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This book started a new tradition in my family a few years ago.    This is a heartwarming, fictional story about a family who saves their change all year long in a jar to pass on anonymously to someone in need at Christmas time.  This story has gone on to create a whole movement of real life Christmas Jars.  Thanks to this book, people are changing many lives and spreading hope and love with a jar of loose change.

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This book is about a family who is grieving the loss of their husband/father at Christmas time.  Anonymous gifts begin to appear daily on their door step and with each gift, they are given a little more hope and healing.  This beautiful book inspired a friend and I to do something similar a few Christmas’ ago when another friend lost her husband.  This is a wonderful tale to read at Christmas time to inspire you to spread some love and kindness to someone in need.

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This is a fun book filled with joy, love, hope and holiday spirit!  You will fall in love with Joy, Miranda and the characters they meet along the way on their road trip from Chicago to Phoenix.  This is a light read that is sure to put you into the holiday spirit.

 

 

(Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links. This means if you click on the image of the books above you will be taken to Amazon.  20% of all profits made through this site will be donated to our charity of the season.  You can see the current charity on our Book Corner page.  Thank you for supporting our site and a very noble charity.)  

Book Corner, Gratitude, Holiday Books

Thanksgiving Books

(Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links. Read our policy below.)

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Here are some of our FAVORITE Thanksgiving books.  These books are about gratitude, family, friendship and tradition. Click on the picture of the book to be taken to Amazon for more information. Enjoy!

 

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This is a sweet book for children ages 4 and up.  Mrs. Moose wants a Turkey for Thanksgiving and Mr. Moose is determined to go out and find one.  Along the way  Mr. Moose meets up with all of their Thanksgiving guests and they join him to find a turkey.   This book is about friendship and gratitude and is a wonderful tale for Thanksgiving.

From the Publisher: “Mr. and Mrs. Moose invite all their animal friends for Thanksgiving dinner and the only one missing is Turkey. When they set out to find him, Turkey is quaking with fear because he doesn’t realize that his hosts want him at their table, not on it.

 

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This is a sweet book of a family preparing for their Thanksgiving feast.  While they prepare, they give thanks for the many blessings in their life.  The book is told in rhyme from the perspective of the little boy and it is a great story for children ages 5 and up.

From the Publisher: “Little P.K. spends Thanksgiving Day playing with his friends and taking stock of just how much they all mean to him. From breakfast with his family, to playing football with his pals, to spending time with relatives and neighbors, this is a day to count his blessings, and “mostly I’m thankful for all of my friends!” Bright and colorful illustratations make this seasonal book pop off the shelves.”

 

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This book involves another tale of Bear and his friends.  This time Bear decides he wants to thank his friends with a feast but realizes he doesn’t have food to offer.  Bears friends arrive one by one and each bring a food to share.  Soon there is a feast for all but Bear feels very badly that he has nothing to share!  This is a story of friendship and gratitude and perfect for ages three and up.

From the Publisher: “What better way for Bear to say thanks, than to have a big dinner with all his friends! Bear has come up with the perfect way to say thanks—a nice big dinner! When Bear decides to throw a feast, his friends show up one by one with different platters of delicious food to share. There’s just one problem: Bear’s cupboards are bare! What is he to do?
     Karma Wilson’s playful text and Jane Chapman’s charming illustrations bring to life this celebration of family and friendship. Young readers will delight in discovering the special gift Bear has to share.”

 

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This fun Thanksgiving tale has the turkey running for his life through the barnyard.  This fun tale about friendship and gratitude is sure to delight ages 2 and up.

From the Publisher: “With Thanksgiving only one day away, can Turkey find a place to hide from the farmer who’s looking for a plump bird for his family feast?
Maybe he can hide with the pigs . . . or the ducks . . . or the horses . . .Uh-oh! Here comes the farmer! Run, Turkey, run!”

 

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I have LOVED this book for years. One of the teachers I use to work with had her Kindergartners and 1st graders put on a play based on this book.  This funny and silly book is about friendship and giving thanks.  This is one of my favorites and perfect for children ages 3 and up.

From the Publisher: “On the night before Thanksgiving, a group of children visit a turkey farm and meet Farmer Mack Nuggett and his coop of cockerels: Ollie, Stanley, Larry, Moe, Wally, Beaver, Shemp, and Groucho. The children and turkeys giggle and gobble, and everything is gravy. As the trip comes to an end, the children leave the farm with full hearts — and bulging bellies — reminding people and poultry alike that there is much to be thankful for.”

(Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links. This means if you click on the image of the books above you will be taken to Amazon.  20% of all profits made through this site will be donated to our charity of the season.  You can see the current charity on our Book Corner page.  Thank you for supporting our site and a very noble charity.)