Monday, April 30, 2012

It's Monday: What Are You Reading (3)

It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? From Picture Books to YA!  is a meme hosted by Jen and Kellee at Teach.Mentor.Texts. 

I hope all of you enjoyed your week of reading, I know I did.  First I read Sean Griswold’s Head.  I thought this book was very sweet, but dealt with a serious subject of parental health issues.  It’s not something often covered in YA books, since YA sometimes are a bit on the self centered side.  This book offered a variety of perspectives on health, fitness, education, friendship, and the vulnerability of teen romance.  I quite enjoyed reading it.  I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend it to YA readers.  I also read Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher.  It was a very powerful book, about teen suicide.  I strongly think this book could be used as a tool with teens.  I finally read and enjoyed Absolutely True Story of a Part Time Indian. I heard so much about this book but it didn’t cross my path until this week.  I couldn’t put it down; it was a quick read, not to say it wasn’t mature and full of emotion!  I read it before dinner, handed it to my husband who read it in one sitting after dinner.   If you haven’t picked up this book, I strongly strongly recommend it.  Finally I read Super Slugger: Wall Ball. Set in a snowy April, this tell the story of classmates and baseball teammates.  The story was rather mediocre, but I did enjoy the book’s inclusion of Poetry Month in the classroom, and a teacher who was passionate about sharing poems.  I think this series could be popular with 3rd - 5th graders.

YA/MG Reads:


Thirteen Reasons Why
by Jay Asher
- 4 stars on goodreads

The Absolutely True Diary 
of a Part-Time Indian
by Sherman Alexie
- 5 stars on goodreads

Super Sluggers: Wall Ball
by Kevin Markey
- 3 stars on goodreads

Sean Griswold's Head
by Lindsey Leavitt
- 4 stars on goodreads

And a Few Picture Books:


Fairly Fairy Tales
by Esmé Raji Codell
- 5 stars on goodreads!

Dog Loves Books
by Louise Yates
- 4 stars on goodreads

How Do I Love You?
by Leslie Kimmelman
& Lisa McCue (Illustrations)
- 4 stars on goodreads

Dinosaur Dig!
by Penny Dale
- 3 stars on goodreads

2 more Fly Guy Books
by Tedd Arnold
- 3 stars each on goodreads

2 more books about Bears
- 3 stars each on goodreads

1 more book about Tigers
-3 stars on goodreads

and several rather dull books 
about Numbers, Dogs, and Trains 
- 2 stars each on goodreads

This Week I Will Read:

Take a Bow by Elizabeth Eulberg
(Carried over from last week.  I still love Elizabeth Eulberg.  
To be honest, I bought this book and I can't find it!  
I am sure it's at the bottom of a bag somewhere!)

The Penderwicks #2 and #3 by Jeanne Birdsall
(I so enjoyed the first of the Penderwick books.  
I am hoping these are just as delightful!)

Curveball: The Year I Lost my Grip by Jordan Sonnenblick

I am sure I will also read anything else that catches the eye of my 3 year old in our book piles, from the library, and many, many, many rereads of our favorites.  Make sure you leave me a message in the comments and share what you are reading too.  I always love suggestions!  And, If you have a list, I will be sure to visit to see what you've included. 

Sunday, April 29, 2012

13 Reasons Why Review

In Thirteen Reason's Why, Hannah has sent a set of tapes to the people who touched her life in her high school. The series of tapes reveal her thoughts as she makes the decision to commit suicide. She feels alone and betrayed by some of her classmates, used and forgotten by others. The series of tapes sets the tone for this book along with a narrative from Clay, who is the 7th person to receive these taped messages from Hannah. Clay doesn't understand how he could be involved in Hannah's death, but is compelled to listen not only because of threats from his dead friend, but also to discover more about her life, retracing her pain, anger, and hurt.

This was a very painful book to read. Your heart will break as you feel everything from pain, anger, relief, and sympathy. There were many times in the book I was angry with Hannah, for her actions as well as the others involved. The characters were a very sincere representation of teenage classmates who are often self-centered and can be cruel.

The story is told in a unique way, with transcribed audio of Hannah's tapes plus Clay's first person point of view as he listens, reacts, reflects, and remembers. Author Jay Asher provided many unique characters in this style which also forces readers (much like the listeners on Hannah's tapes) to continue with the story to discover more and more truths. In this way Asher has created a very active reading experience.

Not all readers will enjoy the experience of reading this book. In fact, I don't know that I 'enjoyed' it per say. I did share experiences with the characters in a deep and meaningful way. The book was a unique look into the lives of teens, their thoughts, and their experiences. I sincerely don't regret reading this book either. I can think of many of my teen students to recommend this book. It is thought provoking and real. Recommended to teen readers, teachers, school staff, parents, and YA readers.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Chloe and the Lion (and Mac and Adam too)

The new children’s book Chloe and the Lion is from author Mac Barnett and illustrator Adam Rex.  Here is what I knew about Barnett and Rex before I read the book: next to nothing.  I knew that Adam Rex was funny because I want to retweet everything that I see on his twitter account because the guy is hilarious. As for Mac Barnett, I hate to admit, I hadn’t seen his books on the KidLit radar, I hadn’t heard about his other fabulous picture books or his awesome MG novel series (Brixton Brothers).  After reading Chloe and the Lion, I can tell you that both Barnett and Rex are clever, funny, and adorable creators of KidLit and I predict they will continue to make a splash in this genre for years to come.

Chloe and the Lion is collaborated on before your eyes in this story within a story book.  Both author Mac Barnett and illustrator Adam Rex are on-going characters, in the shape of claymation dolls, in this adventure.  Mac wants things one way, Adam another.  When they part ways citing creative differences, the book comes to a halt.  Readers get to see behind the curtain of creating a book.  Revisions and editing are all fair game as the story is written and rewritten before your eyes.  Not only is all of this happening in a children’s book, it is hilarious.  I read it to myself, read it to my 3 yr old, and made my husband read it.  I knew my husband thought it was funny because rather than laughing he handed it back to me thoughtfully and declared, you know, that was really funny.  Three year old laughed at Adam’s hand protruding from the lion’s mouth for a good portion of the book.

Children and adults of all ages will appreciate both Barnett’s clever storytelling and Rex’s layers of illustrations.  Rex offers hand drawn characters, layered backdrops, and as mentioned before, adorable claymation dolls.   He stretches the imagination of readers, utilizing artistic techniques not often found in books written for children.  As for Barnett’s offering, he charms readers with his short temper, lack of confidence, and stubbornness.  That’s not to say that Barnett comes off as dislikable.  He is a charming hoot!  His story finally comes to together, plus he manages to satisfy readers, artists, and characters alike.

This book might appeal to a certain crowd of readers.  If you like slightly dark humor, enjoy being a voyeur into the world of collaboration, or you already have had the treat of enjoying Rex and Barnett’s other work, this book is for you.  If you like happy endings, beautifully drawn fairytale scenes, or have the expectation that books are just books, still check out this book, but be warned, you might change your mind after reading.

On a personal note, I wanted to add that a couple days after reading this book with my 3 yr old, he had a story to tell me.  He began, "Once upon a time there was a boy.  The boy had a Mom and a Dad who loved him very much.  One day there was a dragon.  The dragon came and ate the boy up.  The boy put his arm out of the dragon's mouth.  He waved at his Mom and Dad.  The Mom and Dad pulled on the boy and the dragon coughed him up.  They lived happily ever after." So, let me add to my praise of the book simply by saying, The book is inspiring young storytellers. The End.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012


Books.  I love books.  I love books because they help you experience with all of you senses, something new, something familiar, something in fantasy, something real.  Great authors take you on a ride.  Great characters hold your hand on that ride.  And most of all, great stories make you feel.  I wasn’t convinced when I started reading The One and Only, Ivan that this book would take me anywhere.  Don’t judge me, but I am just not all warm and fuzzy with animals like some people.  I mean, I like animals.  I like polar bears, puppies, and kitties, even rhinos and elephants.   But knowing that The One and Only, Ivan featured Ivan, a gorilla, as a protagonist made me dubious at best.  I read reviews and heard some discussions, so I knew I had to look closer at the book.  I was pleasantly surprised.  Not only did I enjoy the read, but days later I am still thinking about this gorilla that held my hand on a poignant ride. 

Ivan is the headliner in a small circus.  He tells his story in simple short chapters that include both details of his daily life, his interactions with both man and beast, and reflections on his own life and his thoughts on many other subjects.  Along the way readers meet fellow circus mate, Stella, an aging elephant, Bob, a scruffy stray dog, and then young Ruby, the circus’s newest star, a baby elephant.  Ivan’s life seems to have been boxed in literally by the walls of his enclosure, but young Ruby, 8yr old human Julia, and Ivan’s own awakening all open eyes on a larger world beyond the tiny circus walls.  Ivan uses artwork, storytelling, and friendship to build something very significant: Hope

This hope will pull readers into this heart wrenching, but loving story of Ivan and his friends.  I wasn’t expecting to enjoy the story or the characters as much as I did.  I should mention that the book is somewhat sad, Ivan made me cry and but also, made me think.  He just came alive through the pages of the book.  I loved that!  Author Katherine A. Applegate created something magical writing Ivan.  She wrote a children’s book that will engage readers with careful reflection and beautiful hope.  I hope Ivan will be read and loved by many many children.  I recommend this book for late elementary to middle grades. Students who like animals, personal narratives, and friendship stories will enjoy this book.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Top Ten Characters

Another Meme this week.  A meme is a chance to share a post with others posting on the same topic.  This week I am trying: Top Ten All Time Favorite Characters In Books.  I have chosen to highlight children's and YA book characters.  

Be sure to check out the other great Top Ten Tuesday Lists like mine.

 In No Particular Order:   
Top Ten All Time Favorite Characters In Books

1. Ramona Quimby by Beverly Cleary– I think of Ramona like a best friend from childhood.  We shared so many days reading together, snuggled under blankets, laying in the sun, and everywhere in between.  Ramona was truly the first character that I connected with on a very, very personal level.  It wasn’t because Ramona and her books were ultra-deep, rather they were common.  I mean that as a sincere compliment.  Every child has lived through shameful misunderstandings at school, jealously towards siblings, and worries about being a big girl.  Being 8 years old and reading about Ramona helped me to be a little less self-centered and realize we all struggle to grow up, we all feel crazy sick when we have the flu, and we all love our families, our pets, our books, and our stuffed animals in a way we think no one else could possibly understand. Wow, even writing this makes me want to go back and reread all of the Ramona books.  : )

2. Brian from Hatchet series by Gary Paulsen – I will admit that Hatchet is my beloved favorite book ever.  Some will argue that what makes the book so amazing is the epic battle of Man vs. Nature, with Nature being the star of the show.  I disagree.  To me, Brian is the driving force of the story because we learn from him, want him to succeed, and share his pain, suffering, and finally triumph.  I just love this kid and would read his adventures forever.  Brian is clever, resourceful, thoughtful, and strong.  I admire Brian for many attributes that I, myself don’t have.  Maybe that’s part of the reason why I like him so much.

3, 4, & 5.Harry Potter, Ron Weasley, and Hermione Granger by J.K. Rowling – These three friends all make my list because I was blessed enough to see them grow, mature, and persevere in an amazing journey.  Each one is very likable to me. First, there is Harry who is smart, powerful, choosing goodness over evil, and guiding us on his journey to find himself and those who seek to ruin him.  I always felt like Harry invited us along on story, sharing himself not only with the cast at Hogwarts, but also with readers.  No doubt, Harry was written to be likable.  Truly, he was able to make me believe in the magic, for that I am very, very grateful for the experience. Then of course, there were the two friends who are way more than sidekicks.  Ron and Hermione weren’t just along for the ride in the Harry Potter series.  They took risks and matured alongside Harry too.  Ron is loyal and funny, scatterbrained, and nervous.  Love him.  And Hermione who is smart and serious, beautiful and delicate, but showed amazing strength and aptitude! These three friends are favorite characters of mine because of their individual strengths, but also because of all they did together.

6. Biscuit the Puppy by Alyssa Satin Capucilli– Woof! Woof! If you have a little one or teach the youngest school aged kids, you know Biscuit.  I love his soft warm yellow fur and his small cries of Woof! Woof!  He always seems to be gentle and kind, loving and sweet.  There is just something about him that makes you feel comfortable.  Whether he is making new friends, going to bed, going to the doctor, a new school, or sharing a snack, Biscuit is a joy.  Preschoolers and Kindergarteners love his stories, and beginning readers love the accessible words and predictable patterns offered in these short and sweet books.

7. Heather Wells by Meg Cabot– (Please note that techniquly Cabot's Heather Wells series is an adult series.) Heather Wells is a former teen sensation.  She finds herself struggling along, living with her ex-fiance’s brother (who she kinda has a thing for), working at a residence hall, struggling to fit into her size 12 jeans, and solving murder mysteries on the side.  Heather Wells is flawed, but lovable.  She makes bad choices, but somehow triumphs.  I love the play on her size, her former stardom, and her painfully tragic lovelife.  She is more mature than college students she works with, and this too gives Heather a unique dynamic.  Of everyone on this list, maybe I like Heather because she is the only character who still is in a current series.  I can’t wait for the next 2 books to come out in this series.

8. Laura Ingalls from Little House on the Prairie by Laura Ingalls Wilder – Laura Ingalls was another heroine whose life felt somehow familiar.  Her dynamic with her family, her struggle to decide between right and wrong, and her hardships living on the prairie all connected with me.  Okay, maybe I didn’t live on the prairie, but Laura made me feel like I could have done so.  I have read and reread these books a number of times and always enjoy Laura’s spirit and intelligence.  She taught me a lot about being proud of your strengths, helping others, and valuing family.

9. Wilbur from Charlotte’s Web by E.B. White – It’s Wilbur’s innocence that really makes him lovable to me.  He is born into a world not willing to care for him.  He makes friends with Fern and the most unlikely group of animals.  He also makes famous the farm that is ready to make a meal from him.  Wilbur’s tale is full of hardship and sorrow, but this simple pig always finds a way to put on a brave face and survive despite the odds.

10. D.J. Schwenk from Dairy Queen Series by Catherine Gilbert Murdock – D.J. is the dairy farm tomboy who navigates family hardships, romantic heartbreaks, sports, and learns lessons about herself along the way.  She is full of surprises, but always manages to be herself, not changing for her family, friends, or boyfriend. However she does mature and strengthen throughout her 3 book series.  She isn’t girly or silly, she doesn’t need saved by friends or a boyfriend, she is amazing and the Dairy Queen books are well worth the read. Reviewed Here!!

Monday, April 23, 2012

It’s Monday! What are you Reading?

It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? From Picture Books to YA!  is a meme hosted by Jen and Kellee at Teach.Mentor.Texts. 

      This week, I read a few great books!  One of the books was Wonder, which lived up to all of the wonderful recommendations and reviews.  This book has stayed with me in the days since I read it.  I am working on my review, but, don’t wait for my review, just find the book, share it with your students, your family, or your friends.  This week I also read the first of the Penderwicks books written by Jeanne Birdsall.  This was an old fashioned book detailing a charming story about 4 sisters and their summer cottage.  I plan to reserve and read the other 2 books soon.  This book was just a pleasure to read.  Some of the other books I read this week were a little more difficult.  I read both Breadcrumbs and NeversinkBreadcrumbs  was just difficult to read because I didn’t connect with the protagonist and the fantasy part of the story was a little too dreamlike for me.  I guess I was expecting something different!  That being said, the story was interesting especially the weaving of many different fairytales.  Neversink was also difficult for me.  I was reading this as an e-book and took every chance I could to be distracted, checking email, playing games, and looking for other e-books before I finally forced myself to finish it last night.  I think this book might be a good fit for animal lovers who like sensitive characters, thoughtful speaking animals, and stories of success.  Actually, if you like all of those things: I suggest you read The One and Only, Ivan instead! 

Here are the MG novels I finished: 

by R.J. Palacio
– Review Coming

The Penderwicks
A Summer Tale of Four Sisters, 
Two Rabbits, and a Very 
Interesting Boy
by Jeanne Birdsall
 - 4 stars on goodreads

by Anne Ursu
- Review soon to come

by Barry Wolverton
 - 3 stars on goodreads

Picture Books also read this week:


A Nap in a Lap
by Sarah Wilson
- 3 stars on goodreads

Time to Pee!!!
by Mo Willems
- 4 stars on goodreads

by Mo Willems
- 4 stars on goodreads

Duck Soup
by Jackie Urbanovich
- 3 stars on goodreads

3 Fly Guy Books
by Tedd Arnold
- Each 4 stars on goodreads

Press Here
by Hervé Tullet

Plus 2 Books About:
Polar Bears

Also 3 Books About:
- One earned 4 
stars on goodreads!

And 1 Book About:

This Week I will Read:

Sean Griswold's Head by Lindsey Leavitt
(I am halfway through this book and really enjoying it a great deal.  
I feel bad it's taken me this long to read since I have had it for months.)

13 Reasons Why by Jay Asher
(Carried over from last week)
Take a Bow by Elizabeth Eulberg
(I love Elizabeth Eulberg.  She was part of my inspiration for starting 
this blog!  Can't wait to dig into this one, I know it will be a treat.) 

M+0 4EVR by Tonya Cherie Hegamin

Super Sluggers: Wall Ball by Kevin Markey
(Because we are into Baseball season full swing, 
I thought this might be a good read. Pun intended btw!)

I am now up to date (barely) with my reading goal. My Lil Guy is still choosing some interesting books from the library shelves.  After reading a few Fly Guy books to him, he really enjoyed the easy, fun, short chapter books.  I see many more of these in our future.  Thank Goodness our library has a stocked shelf of these. So, that is what I am reading.  What are you reading these days?  Leave me a comment and I will be sure to visit your blog and check out your list too!

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Press Here

Sometimes it seems that the world is full of electronic devices, gadgets, buttons, and entertainment at our fingertips.  We depend on buttons to start so many things in our daily lives. This book puts a spin on the push button world, turning a book into an interactive and responsive experience.  Press Here is written by Hervé Tullet, a French author and artist.  He has captured something utterly unique by combining simple illustrations, really just dots of brightly colored paint, and instructions, that when followed can make a little magic happen before your fingertips.

As you open the book, you see that the book instructs readers to Press Here.  This simple instruction changes the book, first to two dots, then three.  Throughout the book dots morph into different colors, positions, and sizes, all controlled through readers magic touch.  It’s a very unique book.  A must read for young children.

I read the book with my 3 yr old Lil Guy who was more than willing to touch, rub, push hard, tap, shake, and interact with the book in every way.  He was amazed and laughed.  He couldn’t wait to turn the page and see what magic he had created.  This book was truly a surprising little delight for us to share.  I can see this book being a wonderful read aloud, a great book to share with toddlers, preschoolers, and young children everywhere.

Want to see more? Check out this video showing how much fun this book can be for children:  (Be warned: this YouTube video includes rather lively and fun music.)

Thursday, April 19, 2012

The Trouble With Chickens and
The Legend of Diamond Lil

The Trouble With Chickens and The Legend of Diamond Lil were written by Doreen Cronin and illustrated by Kevin Cornell.  Each book offers an adventure of JJ Tully, a former search and rescue dog with skills to track and rescue, but with an aging body.  The books offer short chapters with frequent hand drawn illustrations.  The books are perfect for 2nd and 3rd grade level readers.  Kids will enjoy the antics of JJ and his other pet and animal friends.  While some books this level are too mature in content or too babyish in language, this series offers a happy medium that will engage younger readers in a story perfect for the age-set.  (And I mean that with sincere praise!)

In The Trouble with Chickens, we are introduced to JJ in his country home.  He moves at a slow pace for a former search and rescue star, but still has sharp instincts.  In this installment of the series, JJ meets a family of chicks and mother hen.  He plays detective and discovers that there is a plot that puts the chicks and himself in danger.   It’s all intrigue without being scary.  The book is funny too, with little jokes via dialogue between the characters. 

In Legend of Diamond Lil, which I actually read first, JJ continues to play guard dog to the chick family.  This time he is distracted by a new to the neighborhood female dog.  JJ tried to keep his mind on the business of keeping the chicks safe, but knows there is something suspicious about the new girl.  Several character continue from the first book.  The mystery in this book had a few twists and turns, but was also guess-able.  Kids like that.  Having read this one first, the books could be read out of order and still enjoyed.

Late Elementary students are in need of books like this.  Each book is about 50 pages long, very readable with excellent vocabulary.  I might put it on the level of Magic Tree House series as far as readability and interest.  Students who like animals, humor, mysteries, and possibly danger will enjoy these books.  Recommended for Reading Levels 2nd and 3rd grade. 

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Hound Dog True

Original Cover
Hound Dog True is a middle grade novel from Linda Urban.  I picked up the book several times without reading it, mostly because I had no idea what it was about and the cover gave nothing away.  I am not a huge fan of novels about dogs, (because, you know, the dog always … dies.) and I feared this was going to one of those kind of books.  Finally I got on a reading roll, reading everything in sight one weekend.  I picked up Hound Dog True and felt a little awkward.  Let me be clear, the book’s characters are so awkward (wonderfully so, I might add) that I couldn’t help but feel awkward too.  I felt so bad for little Mattie who was bullied and subverted into near silence at her previous schools.  My heart was just aching.  There was goofy Uncle Potluck, mysterious Quincy who lives next door, and little lost Moe, a forgotten button who is a reminder of worries and woes.  When worries come to a boiling point, Mattie is surrounded by this supporting cast of characters who have their own troubles but form a little family. 

Readers will enjoy the candid story, but will also learn from the book.  Targeted to tweens, but suitable for older students too, this book offers an emotional look at adolescence.  Author Linda Urban doesn’t shy away from a look at a bully and the lasting effects either.  I noted how Mattie had an encounter with bully ‘Star’ in the classroom’s coat closet.  This brief encounter for Mattie has left a huge scar on her confidence.  At first glance, Star was only repeating a very little something from Mattie’s secret notebook.  It was nothing to Star except a brief moment to knowingly torture a weaker classmate.  Yet, Urban is able to take this one moment and show how bullying and aggressional behavior in girls can be vicious and cruel.  To Mattie, she was remembering and having flashbacks months, maybe years later.  Sadly, this is an ugly truth about bullying.  The bully has little remorse for their actions, while the introverted Mattie has replayed the moment of pain in her head much, much too often. 

Loving the NEW Paperback Cover
This book can, and should be a powerful tool in classrooms and libraries.  It promotes a right to be heard for awkward students, it turns a mirror on unkind bullies, it gives a voice to the shy, and it creates a success story for readers rooting for young Mattie.  Unlike most books about shy pre-teens, Mattie doesn’t suddenly win a contest or learn to sing loudly in the church choir.  She learns that being shy is part of who she is, but doesn’t have to silence her.  She learns that friendships don’t all look alike.  She learns that accidents sometimes create opportunities.  She learns all of this and more, and readers of Urban’s Hound Dog True, if they read and connect the way I did, will learn all of this too.

Monday, April 16, 2012

Math Literacy

Some people say that Math is a language of its own.  It has its own vocabulary, its own set of rules, and it takes a special skill set to master it.  Yet, Math isn’t always promoted like reading as a target for early literacy.  While parents are reading to tots at home and going to the library as a family fun activity, Math is often still seen as a chore.  Reading is synonymous with cuddles, read-alouds, and high-interest stories.  Math is seen as homework, boring, and difficult.  What if Math was given a make-over?  What if Math could join reading in the cuddly cozy bedtime routine?  I started reading about this phenomenon recently, and wow, it makes sense!  (See websites like Bedtime Mathfor more details.) There are a lot of simple ways to introduce Math, take away the stigma of boring, and build even the youngest children into mighty mathematicians.  And by the way, YES call your Lil One a mathematician as well as a reader.  This really does improve Math confidence. 

What is Math Literacy?  More than just reading about Math, Math Literacy is developing Math skills to be used throughout life.  Much of our early reading skills are developed before we are able to read independently, vocabulary, phonics, letter recognition, and recognition of patterns in books are all examples of early literacy skills.  What are some Math Literacy skills?  Early Math Literacy is developed much like early Reading skills.  Short songs and rhymes, Number toys and games, books, number play, and talking about Math are all important to develop Math skills.   By ages 3-5 children will already start to show emerging signs of Math literacy, such as being able to:
  • Recite numbers
  • Count objects
  • Recognize patterns and shapes
  • Compare sizes
  • Use Math vocabulary
Before entering into kindergarten, most children will be able to count and recognize numbers 1 to 20.  How can we support them as parents and teachers?  How can we make Math fun and interesting?

Math vocabulary is one of the first ways that you will begin teaching Math Literacy.  Using numbers, size, and shape descriptors can be integrated before babies and toddlers even begin to talk.  Once your Lil One has started their Math vocabulary, it’s time to start practicing that vocabulary using games and number play.  We play I-Spy using shapes everywhere we go.  My Lil Guy practices looking for shapes on pretzels and tortilla chips.   You can do the same thing comparing sizes of everything from trucks and cars out the window of your car, to comparing shoes sitting in the front closet.  Remember Math is everywhere.

Counting and Simple Number Operations are easy to integrate.  Try including this in your bedtime routine: count the pieces of clothing as you take them off before your bath (1 sock, 2 sock, 3 shirt, 4 pants, 5 underwear).  You can also talk about Math as you read your before bedtime books.  Try counting on fingers for the youngest mathematicians and continue to build on this routine counting by twos, fives, or tens.  For older children, try one of those bedtime math websites, play flashcard games between bedtime reads, or challenge each other with math teasers.  Make it fun though, and talk about it together.  In our house, since dinnertime is family time we try to integrate Math during meals.  We count grapes, compare sizes and shapes of all different kinds of foods, and again we talk about it.  

More Ideas from Beth @ Library Chicken: Try cutting fractions of sandwiches, comparing 1/2 to 2/4. Also, playing games such as Pokemon cards, which are good both for letter recognition and for counting, because the card game involves counting by 10s.
I love this idea!! My Lil Guy loves games and I agree playing games is perfect for Math Literacy!  I think games such as Hi Ho Cherrio really do reinforce Math skills.  Hi Ho Cherrio is just one that we play.  It is all about subtrating and add numbers 1 to 10. Perfect for toddlers up to 1st grade!

Finally, I have to mention that many children’s books  offer fun spins on Math.  Readers of all ages can enjoy a book while sharpening their math skills:   
  • For toddlers try to introduce Math and counting with these books: The Five Little Monkeys Series from Eileen Christelow, Couting Kisses  by Karen Katz, Five Green and Speckled Frogs by Constanza Basaluzzo,  and Ten Dirty Pigs/Ten Clean Pigs by Carol Roth.
  • For older Kindergarten to Elementary School aged children, try these Math themed books: Math Curse by Jon Scieszka, Zero the Hero  by Joan Holub, If you Made a Million by David M. Schwartz, and The Doorbell Rang by Pat Hutchins.
  • Update: I wanted to add this suggestion from Beth @ Library Chicken: Sir Cumference and the First Round Table, Sir Circumference and the  Dragon of Pi, both by

I hope this got you thinking about Math Literacy as much as it did for me.  Please share any additional ideas YOU have for ways to share Math with children in the comments.  I will add additional book suggestions, additional resources, or ways to share early Math Literacy with children into the post.