Adult Non-Fiction ~ How Music Works

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In case you were feeling a bit of letdown after so many great musical book recommendations a few weeks ago, I’ve got another one for you today. This one for the adult set. (And somehow I failed to get a picture, so thanks to Amazon for the visual.)

It is no mystery that David Byrne (creative force behind Talking Heads) is knowledgeable about the ins and outs of music. Sprinkled with terms such as “sonic landscapes” and “tonal architecture”, his book chronicles the changes in technology and culture that have aided in the evolution of music its composition, performance, and enjoyment (recordings, live concerts etc.) and Byrne’s place in it.

Half of the book holds a general history while the other half contains Byrne’s own personal experiences from his garage band days, as a part of Talking Heads and his various collaborations.  These weren’t quite as interesting because I’ll admit I’m not super familiar with his albums and music so many or the songs and people were unknown to me.  Confession: I skimmed these sections a bit. But I did love some of his insights and could even relate to many of his experiences.

After hearing the song ‘Mr. Tambourine Man’ for the first time he said, “The world was suddenly a bigger, more mysterious, and more exciting place—all because I’d stumbled onto some recording.” (94) Oh, how many times I’ve felt that way after hearing a piece of music, sometimes even re-hearing a piece in a way I’d not heard it before. Music can open up a realm of new possibilities and ideas.

He goes on to say:
Music tells us things—social things, psychological things, physical things about how we feel and perceive our bodies—in a way that other art forms can’t. It’s sometimes in the words, but just as often the content comes from a combination of sounds, rhythms, and vocal textures that communicate, as has been said by others, in ways that bypass the reasoning centers of the brain and go straight to our emotions. (94)

Later on he waxes poetic about mixtapes, calling them “pocket-sized audio wonder cabinets.”  I think this is a fabulous term! Obviously I’m a bit partial to the idea of mixtapes and think he summed it up quite nicely here:

The mixtapes we made for ourselves were musical mirrors. The sadness, anger or frustration you might be feeling at a given time could be encapsulated in the song selection. You made mixtapes that corresponded to emotional states, and they’d be available to pop into the deck when each feeling needed reinforcing or soothing. The mixtape was your friend, your psychiatrist, and your solace. (110)

 

The history portions were fascinating, filled with questions to ponder about the nature of music and our relationship to it (some along the lines of “if a tree falls in the wood…”) and showing that the pulse of our world is often a rousing drumbeat.  Highly recommended for anyone at all interested in music.

 

How Music Works book review

How Music Works

Written by: David Byrne

Number of Pages: 352

Publisher: Three Rivers Press, 2017

Age Range: Adult

Rating: 4/5

And just for kicks…

Picture Book Review ~ Musical Biographies part 5

Disclosure: Some of the links below are affiliate links, meaning, at no additional cost to you, I will earn a small commission if you click through and make a purchase. 

Folk songs are some the most singable songs out there and I used a ton of them in the classroom when I was teaching. From the more patriotic “This Land is Your Land” to the silly “She’ll Be Coming ‘Round the Mountain” and everything in between, the majority of these songs started out much like the spirituals being adopted and adapted by various communities and changing slightly over time. But many of them have been used to convey messages, particularly of a political nature and one of the names most synonymous with this movement is Pete Seeger.

Born in NYC in 1919, Pete was shy but had a love of music and the truth instilled in him from an early age. He protested and attended rallies for the rights of workers during the Depression. He learned to play the banjo and absorbed the folk music he heard at festivals. He dropped out of school to form a band and met Woody Guthrie who let him tag along to some of his concerts and meetings he played at across the country. And did what he could to make a difference. WWII, marriage, civil rights, and various government issues all shaped Pete and Pete shaped those things right back. His discography isn’t extensive, he only released 5 official albums in his lifetime. But his influence is incalculable. And this book does a superb job of showing both pieces of that puzzle.

Pete Seeger book review

Pete Seeger book review2

Stand Up and Sing!: Pete Seeger, Folk Music, and the Path to Justice

Written by: Susanna Reich

Illustrated by: Adam Gustavson

Number of Pages: 32

Publisher: Bloomsbury, 2017

Age Range: 8-12

Rating: 4/5

 

One of my favorite ways to get my students involved was with music. As I mentioned above I sang a lot of folk songs with them particularly. Sometimes we’d just sing a capella, sometimes with a CD accompaniment, and often with the help of a picture book. There are so many great ones out there to choose from I’ll have to dedicate a whole post to them to do it justice but I wanted to leave you with a few to get you started. And add the caveat that kids (little ones at least 🙂 don’t care if you can’t carry a tune. Be enthusiastic, sing out, and they will join in. I promise!

 

This Land is Your Land by Woody Guthrie and Kathy Jakobsen

Yankee Doodle by Mary Ann Hoberman and Nadine Bernard Westcott

The Wheels on the Bus by Jane Cabrera

Down by the Station by Will Hillenbrand

 You Are My Sunshine by Dare Coulter

Down By the Bay by Raffi

Five Little Monkeys by Eileen Christelow

 

Oh, and so many more! Watch for a whole list to come a little later and thanks for joining me this week. I love sharing my favorite books and music with you and when those things overlap it just makes it all that much better. Happy Reading!

 

 

Picture Book Review ~ Musical Biographies part 4

Disclosure: Some of the links below are affiliate links, meaning, at no additional cost to you, I will earn a small commission if you click through and make a purchase.        

There probably aren’t many who aren’t familiar with the story of Joshua Bell’s social experiment in the DC metro station. I lived just outside of Washington, D.C. for many years and while I was in the area when this occurred I wasn’t a witness to the performance. I often wonder what my reaction would have been. But just in case you have no idea what I’m talking about, this book is perfect for you!

How often do we stop to really pay attention to what’s happening around us? The answer: not very often. One of the most accomplished violinists in the world decided to see what would happen if he dressed as a vagrant and played music in the busy metro station on a priceless instrument. Of the over 1,000 people who walked by only 7 stopped for more than one minute to listen. He had a little over $30 in his case when he finished. While several people seemed to want to stop they didn’t, yet every child tried to stop. This lovely little book tells the fictionalized account of a boy who was in the metro station that day but, like so many of the other children, was dragged by his mom on their way. All day long the music plays in Dylan’s head and changes how he and his mom see the world.  There’s a note about Joshua Bell and how he and the experiment came to be. And a note from Joshua himself about why he does what he does.

And for those who want to know more, this same creative duo brings to life a short biography of Joshua Bell’s beginnings. In the Dance of the Violin, we see young Joshua determined to play with a real orchestra. He practices a very difficult piece in order to win a contest, but when the day of the contest arrives he makes a mistake. Instead of giving up he asks to start again and plays perfectly and blows everyone away.

There’s another author’s note with this one telling us a bit about what really happened and giving us a little more information about Joshua Bell and his amazing talent.

Man with the Violin Book Review

The Dance of the Violin

Written by: Kathy Stinson

Illustrated by: Dusan Petricic

Number of Pages: 32

Publisher: Annick Press, 2013

Age Range: 4-10

Rating: 4/5

 

The Man With the Violin

Written by: Kathy Stinson

Illustrated by: Dusan Petricic

Number of Pages: 32

Publisher: Annick Press, 2017

Age Range: 4-10

Rating: 4/5

Joshua Bell book review

Here’s a brief clip to give you an idea of what the experiment was like though it only gives you the barest idea of his talent. Look him up and give him a listen if you’re not familiar with him. He’s one of those performers that is unmatched and indescribable.

Picture Book Review ~ Musical Biographies part 3

Disclosure: Some of the links below are affiliate links, meaning, at no additional cost to you, I will earn a small commission if you click through and make a purchase.   

I was raised on jazz. I am by no means a connoisseur or well-educated critic but I’ve been surrounded by the sounds from an early age and have had more than a passing exposure to some of the greats (and I’m sure I have great holes in that exposure as well.) But even in the most educated and critical of circles there aren’t many who will deny that Ella Fitzgerald was one of, if not the, best female jazz vocalists. Ever. She’s far and away my favorite and I thoroughly enjoyed reading this first book and learning more about the first lady of song.

When Ella Fitzgerald’s star was just beginning to rise she found herself (and her band) being barred from clubs and performance halls because of the color of her skin. She was about to give up when a benefactor stepped in, bargaining with the nightclub owner to book a week of performances for Ella. She promised to sit in the front row of each performance. The benefactor? Marilyn Monroe. While the two women had never met before, they became great friends and the performance run was a great success.

I absolutely love this story of friendship and standing up for what is right. Marilyn used her influence to make a difference not only for Ella and her band but for the civil rights movement at large. It just goes to show what good can come when we work together! A powerful message that is much needed in a world that seems intent on having us tear each other to pieces.

Bonus. There’s also a brief bio of each woman and a fabulous photograph of the two of them at the back.

Ella Queen of Jazz book review

Ella Queen of Jazz

Written and Illustrated by: Helen Hancocks

Number of Pages: 32

Publisher: Francis Lincoln Children’s Books, 2017

Age Range: 5-12

Rating: 4.5/5

 

My love for Frank Sinatra knows no bounds. Because of my upbringing (see above) I had very different tastes in music than all of my friends. While they had posters of N’Sync and The Backstreet Boys on their walls I had posters of Elvis, The Beatles, and a framed photograph of Frank Sinatra above my bed. I watched all his movies, I bought cheesy memorabilia, ventured to Hoboken, the works. But first and foremost I am in love with the voice.

I had decided I needed to write a kid friendly book about him, but someone beat me to it.  This is the book I should have written but someone beat me to it!  It’s a lovely little recap of the life of the Chairman of the Board. Covering his childhood in Hoboken, his obsession with Bing Crosby, his need to perform, his journey to New York and the recording studio and on into the movies and his influence all around the world, there’s not much they’ve missed. There’s also an author’s note, bibliography, and list of favorite songs for young listeners. And check out the sweet illustrations, and those end pages. *sigh* It’s the perfect introduction to Frank’s world.

Frankie Liked to Sing book review 2

Frankie Liked to Sing

Written by: John Seven

Illustrated by: Jana Christy

Number of Pages: 32

Publisher: Abrams Books for Young Readers, 2015

Age Range: 4-10

Rating: 4.5/5

 

I’m a sucker for brass. But I’m also quite picky about what I like to listen to (and don’t ask me to explain what…I just know it when I hear it!) Trombone Shorty is a more recent addition to my music collection. I don’t love all his stuff across the board. I much prefer his classic jazz/blues sounds to the songs that have more of the r&b bend but boy, oh boy, can he play!

He’s been nominated for a Grammy, has worked with Bo Didlely, Lenny Kravitz, Eric Clapton just to name a few, can also play the trumpet, tuba, drums, and organ, and is a published author! In this delightful autobiography he tells readers how he got his nickname and how music has influenced his life. Bryan Collier’s fabulous illustrations garnered a Caldecott honor and Coretta Scott King Illustrator Award.

His second book, The 5 O’Clock Band, also illustrated by Bryan Collier was released in June of this year.

Trombone Shorty book review

Trombone Shorty

Written by: Troy “Trombone Shorty” Andrews

Illustrated by: Bryan Collier

Number of Pages: 32

Publisher: Abrams Books for Young Readers, 2015

Age Range: 5-12

Rating: 4/5

 

I’ll leave you with some of Trombone Shorty’s tunes to help you lose a bit of the Wednesday slumps. Enjoy!

Picture Book Review ~ Musical Biographies part 2

Disclosure: Some of the links below are affiliate links, meaning, at no additional cost to you, I will earn a small commission if you click through and make a purchase.   

Blues and Jazz are kissing cousins in the music world. With roots in Africa and branches stretching from New Orleans to Chicago and everywhere in between there’s a special flavor and feeling in each musician’s take depending on where they’re from, who their influences are, the year they were born and more. Since it began primarily with slaves there were a lot of local influences that stayed local for the first little while until recordings became easier and outsiders began to take notice.

Today we’re spotlighting a few of the early (but by no means earliest) pioneers of the blues and jazz music scene.

Born near the Mississippi Delta in 1915, McKinley Morganfield, was immersed in the blues from an early age. His Grandma Della had other ideas for how she wanted to him to live his life, “but Muddy was never good at doing what he was told.” Eventually he left the racially segregated south and his life as a share-cropper and migrated to Chicago where he soaked up the jazz, bebop, and blues. He fought his way to a recording contract and became influential to everyone from the Beatles, Rolling Stones, Bob Dylan and more.

The text has chunks of rhythmic repetition interspersed with the story. The illustrations are rough, earthy, and brimming with life just like the music and musician they are portraying. There’s an author’s note, a bibliography, and further listening list for readers who want to know more.

Muddy Waters book review

 

Muddy: The Story of Blues Legend Muddy Waters

Written by: Michael Mahin

Illustrated by: Evan Turk

Number of Pages: 32

Publisher: Atheneum Books for Young Readers, 2017

Age Range: 6-10

Rating: 4/5

Muddy Waters is one of those people you know, even if you don’t know you know them. Modern musicians continue to be inspired him or by those who were inspired by him. Here’s one of his own and one by Son House who came a bit earlier and was one of his inspirations. (Shout out to my friend Katie who introduced me to Son House several years ago. He’s become a repeat player on many a playlist in my world!)

 

Women didn’t always get a public voice in music outside of church settings. And they didn’t often get a chance to be leaders or headliners on their own. Lil Hardin Armstrong did it all.

Born in Memphis in 1898 she played her mother’s organ and took lessons from a young age, including playing for her local church. Her mother insisted on the classics but Lil was more influenced by W. C. Handy and other jazzy neighbors. She earned a spot as a piano player in the New Orleans Creole Jazz Band and migrated north to Chicago where she met Louis Armstrong. Together they wrote songs, played music, and formed their own band. Later she toured in Europe, designed clothing, opened a restaurant, and eventually died doing what she loved best, playing music.

Excellent back matter includes a little more about Lil, a list of songs to listen to, photographs, a timeline, author’s note, bibliography, and more. I’d heard of Lil Armstrong, knowing her as the wife of jazz great Louis Armstrong, but hadn’t realized she was a jazz great in her own right. I loved learning more about this amazing powerhouse of a woman.

Born to Swing book review

Born to Swing: Lil Hardin Armstrong’s Life in Jazz

Written by: Mara Rockliff

Illustrated by: Michele Wood

Number of Pages: 32

Publisher: Calkins Creek, 2018

Age Range: 6-10

Rating: 4/5

We’ll keep on trucking through the years to another jazz legend tomorrow. Hope to see you then!

 

Picture Book Reviews ~ Musical Biographies

Disclosure: Some of the links below are affiliate links, meaning, at no additional cost to you, I will earn a small commission if you click through and make a purchase.   

Welcome to music week, here on the ol’ blog. It’s no secret that I’m a fan of all kinds of music (my tastes run the gamut from classical to anything I can sing along with.) I’ve even spotlighted a few great picture books already and I can pretty much guarantee that I’ll share even more as time goes by. Most of what I have for you are biographies of music makers but we’ll throw in a few books based on songs or sing-along texts and books featuring instruments at the end. So, there should be something for everyone. And as always, if you’ve got favorites I fail to mention please share them in the comments so I can add them to my lists!

Let’s start off today with some rock and roll music. No discussion would be complete (or could even really get started) without mentioning the King.

In 1935 Tupelo, Mississippi was still struggling to bounce back from the Depression but despite the growing racial tensions the streets hummed with music. Elvis soaked up it all up and sang every chance he could get. He was very shy and his family moved a lot but music was his constant. As times changed he knew he had to take a chance and record the songs he’d been singing, the mix of black and white, blues, jazz and his own style. When “That’s All Right” played on the radio it became an instant sensation and a legend was born.

An author’s note tells us a bit more of Elvis’s story after finding success and there’s also a timeline of the major points of his life from birth to death. This is a great example of following your dreams despite the odds. And I don’t think I have to suggest that any readings should be paired with a few listenings as well. There is a plethora of audio and video available for all of the people I’ll be featuring this week. Listen to their songs, watch their performances (musical and otherwise), and soak in the abundant amazingness of talent!

Elvis Book Review

 

Elvis: The Story of the Rock and Roll King

Written and Illustrated by: Bonnie Christensen

Number of Pages: 32

Publisher: Henry Holt, 2015

Age Range: 7-10

Rating: 4/5

Aside from Elvis, there probably isn’t a name more synonymous with rock and roll than the Beatles. Their influence reaches well beyond the boundaries of music to movies, pop culture, fashion, and even equal rights.

The book starts with a brief bio of John Lennon’s childhood, particularly his trouble at school and escape into music. It then introduces each of the other Beatles, showing how their paths cross and how they eventually became a world-wide phenomenon. All four boys had experienced loss and loneliness and all found solace in music in various ways. But it wasn’t until they joined together that they all found what they’d been missing and were able to use that to create something amazing. Anyone interested in some background on the fab four or are introducing them to a new generation of fans will find something here to pique their interest. There’s also some great back matter; an author’s note, glossary, notes and sources for those who want to know even more.
For a grown-up resource, try this fab book: Meet the Beatles: A Cultural History of the Band That Shook Youth, Gender and the World by Steven D. Stark. Or for a unique look at their entire history presented in a graphic format try Visualizing the Beatles: A Complete Graphic History of the World’s Favorite Band by John Pring.
Fab Four Friends book review

Fab Four Friends: The Boys Who Became the Beatles

Written by: Susanna Reich

Illustrated by: Adam Gustavson

Number of Pages: 32

Publisher: Henry Holt, 2015

Age Range: 7-10

Rating: 4/5

I’ll leave you with one of my favorite Elvis songs (mostly ’cause I can’t narrow down the Beatles songs to save my soul.) Did you know Elvis sold more gospel records than rock ones? This is one that always makes me tap my toes and feel like a believer.

Tune in tomorrow when we’ll go a little further back in our musical history for some blues and jazz spotlights. Happy Reading/Listening! 🙂

 

Picture Books about Growth Mindset

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There’s a lot of talk right now about growth mindset. I know it’s been a big focus in the schools, many adopting curricula to specifically teach it to their students. For anyone unfamiliar with the idea you can visit this website for more info.

But the brief rundown is that there are two basic outlooks to learning and failure. With a fixed mindset, the individual believes that intelligence is predetermined and set. You are either smart or stupid and no amount of work will change that. (High IQ? Awesome, you win. Lower IQ? You will never catch up or be as successful.) Therefore when they fail or face setbacks they take on a defeatist attitude, giving up, knowing that there’s nothing they can do about it, and that it just reinforces what they already knew. Studies are showing that teacher/parent reactions can contribute to the fixed mindset as well. Praising a child for being ‘smart’ rather than for ‘working hard’ or even trying reinforces the idea that it’s not within their control.

With a growth mindset, however, the learner recognizes that while they may begin at a certain point they can get better if they put in effort, practice, and keep at it. This isn’t just for book learning but for physical skills like sports, painting and so forth. Failure is more often looked at as a stepping stone to success rather than the end product (think of  Edison’s famous quote about finding 10,000 ways that don’t work.)  There’s more to it than just that, obviously  but that’s the gist.

As an adult, I’ve dealt with some of my own struggles with growth mindset often as a side effect of depression. I have not done a ton of study on this so I don’t know how the overlaps affect each other and if they can even be grouped together…the chemical imbalances of depression don’t follow the rules of everything else so it may be trying to compare apples and oranges. But the results are the same; a feeling of discouragement and hopelessness and “why bother.” So, reinforcing a growth mindset, even in adults, can only be helpful.

That said, I want to highlight a few books today that demonstrate and reinforce a growth mindset. I’m sure this is a topic I’ll revisit as time goes by so if you’ve got favorites please mention them in the comments below. I’d love to have a massive list to reference and share with you all!

After the Fall book review

After the Fall by Dan Santat–After Humpty Dumpty falls from the wall he gives into the fear of heights and failure and misses out on so many of the things he used to love. But he’s determined, eventually, to do something and that changes everything. This one is my absolute favorite. I don’t know how many times I’ve read it and yet I still get a little teary when I get to the last spread!

What Do You Do With a Problem? by Kobi Yamada–Looking closely at a problem can reveal something altogether different than what you at first assumed. Look for the rest in the series (What Do You Do With an Idea?, What Do You Do With a Chance?)

The Book of Mistakes by Corinna Luyken–I’ve spotlighted this one before but I absolutely love the idea that our “mistakes” can be turned into something beautiful. And this shows the process, step by step. It’s gorgeous. (Beautiful Oops is another great one along the same lines.)

The Girl Who Never Made Mistakes by Gary Rubenstein–A young girl who never makes mistakes, finally makes one, a big one, in front of everyone.  Learning to laugh at herself makes all the difference.

The Thing Lou Couldn’t Do by Ashley Spires–An otherwise brave adventurer faces a task she’s never tackled before and finally convinces herself she doesn’t want to rather than try. After going through various emotions she decides not to let the task defeat her.

A Whistle for Willie by Ezra Jack Keats–This simple classic shows the joy of persevering.

How To Catch a Star by Oliver Jeffers–This one is all about dreaming big and thinking outside the box. Both important skills in developing a growth mindset.

The Dot and Ish by Peter Reynolds–Both of these similar art tales show the value in ignoring the naysayers and trusting in yourself. With a little encouragement and effort anything is possible.     *I’m a day late and a dollar short on this but September 15th is actually International Dot Day… “a global celebration of creativity, courage and collaboration.” You can join the community of thousands of others around the world in a host of activities or celebrate on your own. Check out their website for more information.

 

There are so many great resources for helping us all to be successful people. Don’t forget to share a few of your favorites in the comments!

Kindness is the Answer

Disclosure: Some of the links below are affiliate links, meaning, at no additional cost to you, I will earn a small commission if you click through and make a purchase.   

Even after all these years I struggle to put into words the feelings I felt watching the Towers fall that fateful September day. Anger, fear, shock, awe, gratitude, wonder, amazement and everything in between coursed through my veins at various moments over the days that followed and still do when I stop to really think about what happened to individuals, communities and our nation (and world) as a whole. At a remembrance program this evening one of the speakers mentioned that he missed the feelings of September 12th. After the biggest shock had settled in (it would never really wear off) there was room for the outpourings of love and faith and hope and humanity that surged immediately after the attacks. Our country is in desperate need of those feelings again and each of us has the choice and opportunity daily to either react and give in to the hatred and negativity that we are constantly bombarded with or take a stand and represent the love, hope, positivity, goodness and more that each of us needs in our lives.

On a similar note, if you haven’t heard about or had a chance to watch the documentary Won’t You Be My Neighbor, I highly recommend you do so immediately. Fred Rogers was an incredible example of living your beliefs and accepting everyone for who they are. You can’t help but walk out of the movie theater feeling lighter, more hopeful, and eager to share that light and glow with everyone you come in contact with. And that was exactly his point. You don’t need to do anything over the top or miraculous, just be you. And let those around you be them. Love and appreciate each other for our similarities and differences. There’s a great magic in accepting and being accepted and that magic can change the world.

I can’t wait to learn more when I dig into his biography a little later as well. Darn library hold list…I think I’m #126. :/ But if you get a chance check out The Good Neighbor: The Life and Works of Fred Rogers by Maxwell King and let me know how it is!

I’ll leave you with a few quotes by the great man and the challenge to make a difference today, tomorrow wherever you may be.

How Important Mr Rogers quote

 

Mr Rogers quote self worth

 

Mr Rogers quote be kind

35 Bedtime Stories for Kids

Bedtime Books

 

As we come to the close of this Labor Day weekend we come to the unofficial end of summer. Days get shorter, leaves start turning and we all reluctantly go back to a more scheduled and routine lifestyle. I’d like to hope that bedtime stories are a part of the routine during all seasons of the year but even my own bedtime reading routine suffers when it’s warm and light outside. So, as you’re transitioning back into those routines be sure to squeeze in a few minutes one on one with the littles in your life to talk about the good and the bad things that happened during their day and read together even if it’s just one page or poem before turning out the lights. This one habit will transform your relationship and their reading skills, I guarantee it.

And while you can absolutely read any book at all during this time, there are more than a few that are tailor made for sending the reader off to dreamland in style. Here are just a few of my favorites:

In a Blue Room by Jim Averbeck

A Different Pond by Phi Bao*

Bedtime for Bear by Bonny Becker

Something Extraordinary by Ben Clanton

The Uncorker of Ocean Bottles by Michelle Cuevas*

The Storm Whale by Benji Davies

Windows by Julia Denos*

Llama, Llama Red Pajama by Anna Dewdney

The Night Gardener by Terry Fan*

Time for Bed by Mem Fox

Hush Little Baby by Marla Frazee

Night Lights by Susan Gal

Goodnight Everyone by Chris Haughton

Kiss Goodnight by Amy Hest

Hush! A Thai Lullaby by Minfong Ho*

Bedtime for Frances by Russell Hoban

Forever or a Day by Sarah Jacoby*

One Minute Till Bedtime by Kenn Nesbitt*

Babushka’s Doll by Patricia Polacco*

Goodnight Gorilla by Peggy Rathmann

Goodnight, Goodnight Construction Site  by Sherri Duskey Rinker

Little Owl’s Night by Divya Srinivasan

The House in the Night by Susan Marie Swanson

The Quiet Book by Deborah Underwood

Bear Snores On by Karma Wilson

Have an older reader? Don’t underestimate the power of picture books, especially those above with an * by them which indicates a little more depth in the text and/or illustrations. Or read a few pages (or a whole chapter) from one of the favorites below. Keep this time separate from any school reading or skills practice for the child. Allow them to do the reading if they choose but bonus points if you do all the reading and just let them revel in the story. Discussion can occur if they take the lead, but again the goal is to simply enjoy the tale and the time together.

Mr. Popper’s Penguins by Richard Atwater

The Miniature World of Marvin and James by Elise Broach

The BFG by Roald Dahl

The Tale of Desperaux by Kate DiCamillo

The Hundred Dresses by Eleanor Estes

The Wind in the Willows by Kenneth Grahame

The Phantom Tollbooth by Norton Juster

The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe by C.S. Lewis

Clementine by Sarah Pennypacker

The Trumpet of the Swan by E.B. White

I’d love to hear about your favorite bedtime reads and any tips for making it a habit. Share them in the comments below!

Happy Reading!