Our Bookshelf: Sleepy time books

My children are getting older now, the oldest is now in his last year of middle school, and the youngest in her last elementary grade, however we all still enjoy a good picture book. I, as an illustrator, especially relish them.

Over the years we collected some favoritesthat were a part of our bedtime ritual for many years. A couple of new ones joined the “sleepytime pile” lately. I want to share them today.

Sleepytime books

  1. The Man in the Moon by William Joyce– beautiful story, stunning artwork, this one is one of the longer books we have. Children always adored it and moved on to The Guardians of the Childhood series when they got older.
  2. When the Sky is Like Lace by Elinor Lander Horwitz and illustrated by Barbara Cooney, this book is absolutely magical, calm blues and grays and sandy yellows of whimsical illustrations always left an impression. We still are on the lookout for lacy sky and quote this book when it is.
  3. If Your Monster Won’t Go to Bed by Denise Vega, illustrated by Zachariah Ohora- this is the latest addition to our collection. It’s a playful and hilarious recipe for putting a monster to bed. It is not so much of a calming book, but definitely a favorite already.
  4. Sleep Like a Tiger by Mary Logue and illustrated by Pamela Zagarenski– this is an absolutely brilliant book, especially for reluctant sleepers, illustrations are magical with delightful textures and details.
  5. Once upon a cloud by Claire Keane– this is not so much of a direct sleepytime book, but sweet color palette and calm dream-like text is a winning combination for a bedtime read
  6. Grandfather Twilight by Barbara Berger is another classic and is a huge favorite we followed the process of winding down and welcoming a good night’s rest along with Grandfather Twilight and his companions.
  7. A Poem for Every Night of the Year edited by Allie Esiri is a delightful collection the older kids would appreciate, we so enjoy completing our day with a poem and maybe even a short discussion.
  8. I Don’t Want to Go to Bed by Astrid Lindgren and illustrated by Ilon Wikland, this book is another longer read as we follow a little boy that doesn’t want to go to bed but has a chance to peek at  forest animals’ getting ready for bed through the neighbor lady’s magical glasses. Illustrations are absolutely adorable.
  9. Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star by Jerry Pinkney– this is one of the most gorgeous books that we own. Little chipmunk has an adventure and finally settles in for the night.

 

 

 

September Round Up + First Week of October

September flew by and first week of October is also gone.

What was our September like?

-We were quite busy with school and extracurricular activities. After we settled in the routine our tempo picked up a little bit. Both kids had their MAPS testing, still awaiting the results, but  I am confident they did well. Both kids had their camps at choir. D. also participated in Songs of Holocaust event with his choir. Both got through the first bad cold (I got it too, ugh).  There were a couple of outings- we went to the Ice Core Lab and learned about Antarctic Ice and the process of getting it, it was very interesting, we got to go to the lab itself, the temperature was very low, kids got to learn first hand what it must be like to do a work of getting the ice from Antarctica.

We also went to Denver Botanic Gardens, which we try to do every year around the same time (many thanks to our friends for taking us along). The flowers and trees were absolutely beautiful and all of us got to sketch a little right there in the gardens.

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Fall is truly here now, especially comparing the the first week of September with it’s “still summer” warmth.

-First week of October was very special for us as we had dear friends visiting. It also coincided with our first break this school year.  We went to the mountains and saw some first snowflakes and to Colorado Springs to the Garden of the Gods. It was absolutely lovely to have them over and we are truly thankful they came to visit.

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-I am working more and more on my art, I had some good things happen in September and I hope October is even better. Etsy shop is coming soon too.

 

What were my kids reading:

This list runs from beginning of school and through the month of September. I only count new books, something they haven’t read before. But as usual there were tons of re-reads.

D. read:

Fiction: Tuck Everlasting by Natalie Babbitt, King Arthur and His Knights by Howard Pye, Matilda by Roald Dahl

Non Fiction: How I Killed Pluto and Why It Had It Coming by Mike Brown, The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind by Bryan Mealer and William Kamkwamba

Russian: Скифы в Остроконечных Шапках С. Фингарет, Каштанка и другие рассказы А.П. Чехов, М. Горбовцев “Мишкино Детство”

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C. read:

Ollie’s Odyssey by William Joyce, The One and Only Ivan by Katherine Applegate, The Magic Finger by Roald Dahl, Primates by Jim Ottaviani and Maris Wicks, A Nest for Celeste by Henry Cole, The Fantastic Flying Journey by Gerald Durrell

In Russian:Сельма Лагерлёф “Путешествие Нильса с дикими гусями”,  “В Лесу” М.С. Соколов-Микитов

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Overall, the month of September was good to us, let’s hope October will be even better.

 

 

 

JANUARY READS

What my children read in January (listing only new books, there were many many re-reads as always)

Sunflowerous Reads

D, 10 y.o.

  • The Princess, the Scoundrel and the Farmboy (Star Wars) by Alexandra Bracken
  • The Adventures of a South Pole Pig : A novel of snow and courage by Chris Kurtz
  • Heart of the Samurai by Margi Preus
  • The Voyage of the Dawn Threader, The Silver Chair, The Last Battle by C.S. Lewis
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D. read in January

In Russian:

Жюль Верн “Дети Капитана Гранта”

 

C., 7 y.o. read a lot of picture books, I will only list those that she herself chose as her favorites

  • The Whisper by Pamela Zagarenski
  • Finding Winnie: The True Story of the World’s Most Famous Bear by Lindsay Mattick
  • Earwig and the Witch by Diana Wynne Jones
  • The Right Word : Roget and his Thesaurus by Jennifer Fischer Bryant
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C. read in January

In Russian:

Виктор Драгунский “Денискины Рассказы”

October Reads

What my children read in October:

Sunflowerous Reads

D., 10 y.o., Grade 5

In English:

  • Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe; The Horse and His Boy, Prince Caspian by C.S. Lewis

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  • The Magician’s Elephant by Kate DiCamillo

The-Magicians-Elephant

  • Tales of Ancient Egypt

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  • Liesl & Po by Lauren Oliver

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  • Toys!: Amazing Stories Behind Some Great Inventions by Don Wulffson

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In Russian:

  • Павел Бажов: Малахитовая Шкатулка, Медной Горы Хозяйка, Каменный Цветок
  • Лучано Мальмузи: Неандертальский мальчик– все три книги

Plus tons and tons of re-reads. And everything Star Wars.

C., 6 y.o., Grade 1-2:

In English:

  • If You Want to See a Whale by Julie Gogliano, ill. by Erin G. Steadif you want to see a whale
  • The Mischevians by William Joyce

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  • Interstellar Cinderella by Deborah Underwood

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  • Autumn: An Alphabet Acrostic by Steven Schnur

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In Russian:

  • Борис Заходер: Серая Звёздочка
  • Евгений Шварц: Новые Приключения Кота в Сапогах
  • Маури Куннас: Викинги Идут!
  • А. Куприн: Слон

And again, lots of re-reads.

Once again, a pretty good month. Children read a lot and most importatly shared what they’ve read with each other. Love to see them getting each other excited for new books.

September Reads

September is over, more than 10% of our school year is done (am I not the optimist :D). Today I just want to write down what children read throughout the month, to keep track mostly.

Sunflowerous Reads

D.:

In English:

  • Rudyard Kipling “The Jungle Book”
  • Wonder by R.J. Palacio
  • Skelling by David Almond
  • The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman
  • Wildwood Imperium by Colin Meloy
  • How to Break a Dragon’s Heart by Cressida Cowell

In Russian:

  • Галина Демыкина “Мой капитан”
  • Э. Сеттон-Томпсон “Винипегский волк”, “Мустанг-иноходец”
  • Ж. Реми-мл. “Битва за огонь. Пещерный Лев”

Plus re-reads that I couldn’t possibly keep track of

C. read

In English:

  • Mercy Watson series by Kate DiCamillo
  • Captain Cat by Inga Moore
  • Arrietty (from Studio Ghibli Picture Book series)
  • The Fantastic Flying Books of Morris Lessmore by William Joyce
  • Room on Broom by Julia Donaldson
  • Whale Shines: An Artistic Tale by Fiona Robinson
  • Together we are reading (taking turns) Appleblossom the Possum by Holly Goldberg Sloan

In Russian

  • “Минус и Большой Мир” Свен Нурдквист
  • “Серая Шейка” Д.Н. Мамин-Сибиряк
  • сборник “Волшебное Слово”
  • Басни Крылова
  • Аля, Кляксич и Буква “А” Ирина Токмакова
  • Вместе : “Мы живем в каменном веке” (Пешком в историю)

And again, lots of re-reads I didn’t write down

also we read Haiku Books

What have I noticed this month:

D. absolutely insists we wait for him for read-alouds, no picture book is too simple or too childish. I am really glad he cares still. I have made a resolution to have D. read at least one “classic” and one “award” book per month, but still let him have his way with series that he enjoys. All of these work out. The most re-read book for him was Harry Potter, that is his nightstand series of choice. There doesn’t seem to be a non-fiction in my records, but I am sure he read something…will ask him tomorrow morning.

C. is a confident and independent reader, she likes comic books a lot, much more than D. I do wish we had more time for read-alouds. This will be next month’s goal.

Haiku

End of August/September is a special time. Time of transition from summer to autumn, time when the cricket outside our window sings with all its might, time when the weather changes five times a day, time of shadows getting longer and sun changing angle, so the golden light lasts well into the morning. Time of the nights getting chillier, time of asking ourselves whether we should get our comforters out or maybe we can get by for another week or two. Time of longing for a season that is to come and time for saying goodbye to summer with its delights. In other words – a haiku time!

We had a good haiku week in Sunflowerous House:

learning about haiku1. We read haiku books:

Hi, Koo: A Year of Seasons by John J. Muth, absolute delight– soft and sweet illustrations, quiet thoughtful poems

Hi Koo

Don’t Step on The Sky: A Handful of Haiku by Miriam Chaikin, illustrated by Hiroe Nakata a lovely collection of poems, mostly summer theme so it brought to mind memories that are still fresh

don't step on the sky

Cool Melons–Turn to Frogs! The Life and Poems of Issa by Matthew Gollub, illustrated by Kazuko G. Stone, a book about great haiku master Issa, his life story and poems

cool melons turn to frogs

The Year Comes Round: Haiku Through the Seasons by Sid Farrar, illustrated by Ilse Plume, another wonderful collection, with a few poems dedicated to each season

a year comes round

2. Haiku are amazing because they are an embodiment of mindfulness,  each moment so wonderfully concentrated. The task I gave to kids first was to go outside and carefully observe the world around them. They brought back the news of first fallen leaves, of a stray cat sneaking into the grass, of a toy forgotten in the middle of the lawn, that there are fewer bees comparing to a month ago…

D. then sat down and write a couple of haiku of his own

D' s haiku 5th grade

3. We learned about haiga (an artwork based on a haiku) and looked at some beautiful haiga paintings in The Art of Haiku book, there is a video too

art of haiku

(Long but interesting article on haiga can be found here). Then I asked kids to either make a haiku or pick a favorite one from a book and illustrate it. Both made their own:

C's haiga

C’s haiga
“Beautiful and Purple Flower”

D's Bees fly over bush Basking in the sun An early sunset.

D’s
Bees fly over bush
Basking in the sun
An early sunset.

I chose to illustrate a poem by Kodoujin

kodoujin three drops art

We are going to continue reading and writing haiku, it is a wonderful exercise in mindfulness, a great reason to pause and look around, it is one of the most relaxing poetry forms to me

Favorite books in addition to The Art of Haiku mentioned above:

The Classic Tradition of Haiku: An Anthology, this book was a great find, it has most famous haiku, as well as less known, notes on poets and Japanese versions in romaji included.

the classic tradition of haiku

Haiku in English: The First Hundred Years is another book I love to read by myself and aloud

haiku in english

When I think about visual equivalent of haiku– how a mundane moment becomes a beautiful art, Makoto Shinkai’s work comes to mind immediately, so when I am in my “haiku mood” I love to rewatch

5 centimeters per second

and

The Garden of Words

Mozart week in Sunflowerous House

This past Tuesday, January 27, was birthday of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart. Sunflowerous kids love Mozart. It was first composer C. started to recognize without fail every time when she was very little. We listen to Mozart quite a lot. So naturally, we decided to celebrate the composer’s birthday in out own little way.

Mozart for children

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