Jennifer's books

Goodbye, Vitamin
American Fire: Love, Arson, and Life in a Vanishing Land
Mrs. Hemingway
Poetry Will Save Your Life: A Memoir
The Princess Diarist
Watch Me Disappear
Hello, Sunshine
Peak Performance: Elevate Your Game, Avoid Burnout, and Thrive with the New Science of Success
A Man Called Ove
The Heirs
Our Souls at Night
White Fur
Confessions of a Domestic Failure
The Map That Leads to You
The Little French Bistro
Love the Wine You're With
Always and Forever, Lara Jean
Midnight at the Bright Ideas Bookstore
The Party
New Boy

Jennifer Curry's favorite books »
Showing posts with label Kidlit. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Kidlit. Show all posts

Monday, December 31, 2018

I read 127 Books in 2018. Here are the 18 I recommend.

This was an absolutely fantastic reading year! I read all the time all year long. I read genres I usually don't and I stepped outside of my comfort zone.

Part of the reason for my big number is largely in part of my Book of the Month subscription and my discovery of the joys of listening to audiobooks when in public rather than dealing with the public.

I know you don't have all day, so I am sharing my 18 favorite reads this year using ten words or less for each. Let's get on with it.

My Favorite Books of 2018

Beartown - Friday Night Lights for hockey. Favorite read of the year.

The Chilbury Ladies Choir - Historical fiction novel told through letters with sassy strong women.

An American Marriage - False accusation, jail, marriage whoas. The book and audio = incredible.

The Woman in the Window - Hitchcock throwback thriller set in modern times. Creepy page turner!

The Music Shop - My heart swelled with this music shop love story.

How to Walk Away - An accident + hospital stay + hot Scottish physical therapist

Inspired - Inspired me to read the Bible in hopeful new ways

All We Ever Wanted - "Me too" rich kid and rich parent drama

Whiskey & Ribbons - About a fatally wounded cop, his wife, and his bff

Charlotte Walsh Likes to Win - Female in politics drama with a very abrupt ending

Rush - The Help meets Greek Like

The Wedding Date - Romcom about a couple pretending to date for a wedding

Calypso - The latest work of satire by humorist David Sedaris

The Library Book - Part nonfiction, part true crime about libraries and a fire

The Girl Who Drank the Moon - Outstanding fantasy for middle grades - full of magic

Last Christmas in Paris - Bawled my eyes through this love story told through letters

Almost Everything - Latest by Anne Lamott - almost everything she knows for sure

The Summer Wives - Soapy historical fiction with dynamics of the rich and poor

What books did you read and love in 2018? Tell me!

Wednesday, August 9, 2017

Book Review: The List

The List by Patricia Forde

Let me preface this review by saying my opinion is very much influenced by the comparisons to The Giver and Fahrenheit 451. Why? Because I absolutely love both of these books. I read The Giver as middle schooler and never forgot it, so I was thrilled when I got to teach it as an adult. As far as Fahrenheit 451 goes, it is one of my all-time favorites. I have highlighted, underlined, and written notes in my multiple copies of the novel. So, when The List was compared to the two of these works, I jumped at the chance to read it. Unfortunately, it did not live up to my personal hype.

However, this is still a good book and I can easily it working well in middle-grade classrooms for teaching the basics of literature (symbolism, allegory, themes, etc.). This middle grades novel tells the story of a dystopian world called Ark following the Melting (a result of global warming) where the people are forbidden from speaking using non-list words. The general idea is that language, art and music are what led to man’s downfall; therefore, extraneous words should be avoided. Young Letta, the main character, is a wordsmith, meaning she is responsible for documenting the proper list words. Letta develops a friendship with a desecrator (someone who does not follow orders and instead pursues the arts) and uncovers a harmful conspiracy by the leader, John Noa.

It has a very intriguing premise and may work well for teaching; however, it was pretty slow moving for me. The lengthy descriptive passages seemed to weigh the novel down rather than add to it. I wanted to be more attached to the characters and the plot. I also wanted the reader to see the power of words when more emphasis seemed to be placed on the power of art in general. It may be that I have just been saturated with dystopian novels, so for young people being introduced to the genre, they may feel differently. And, as I said earlier, as a former teacher, I was constantly picking up on how easy it would be to teach.

* I received this book free from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

* You may purchase this book from Amazon here. This is an affiliate link. Thank you for supporting my blog!

Thursday, June 22, 2017

If You Have Lego Fans In Your Home, You Need These Books

Introducing the BRICK Series

I am one of those people who will do whatever it takes to get my kids to read. Take this a step further, and I will do anything I can to get them to read the classics. As a teacher, I fully believed in allowing students to read material or view material in other mediums (films, graphic novels, etc.) to help their overall appreciation for the text. (I’m such a rebel – ha!)

Just learning about Macbeth's witches
Totally normal to see this in our home

I was thrilled to come across the BRICK series. Essentially these books are comic versions of classic stories told using Legos, creative photography, and storytelling. Lo and behold, as soon as my son saw these in our home, he grabbed hold of them. So, I just kept adding to our stack. The kids are drawn to the bright pictures and ask questions about what they are “reading.” It makes me very happy to answer questions about Macbeth to my little ones. (Once a teacher, always a teacher.)

* I do need to point out that these books are not all intended for children. Apparently, some people have mistakenly purchased the Bible thinking it would be a Children’s Bible. Its Lego pictures depict the more graphic scenes in the Bible, so use your own discretion. My husband and I are fine with it as we think it will open doors to difficult, but necessary conversations about truth and interpretation. However, the creators of the BRICK Bible did take note of parent’s complaints and have released a smaller less graphic one – The BRICK Bible for Children. *

Brick Shakespeare

Brick Greek Myths

Brick Shakespeare

Brick Fairy Tales

Brick Bible

Brick Bible for Kids

If you like the idea of your elementary children knowing Shakespeare and mythology, these are fun books to add to your collection.

* You may order all these books from amazon by clicking the links or simply clicking the picture. These are affiliate links. Thank you for supporting my blog!

Tuesday, June 6, 2017

Book Review: When God Made You

When God Made You by Matthew Paul Turner

Mom friends, Dad friends, Teacher friends, and people of the Earth, if you need a book for kids, you must get your hands on When God Made You by Matthew Paul Turner (and illustrated by David Catrow). I have heard great things about this book from people I respect, so when it arrived in my mailbox yesterday, I immediately sat both kids down and read it. Then, I made my husband read it to them again right after.

And, I cried. I cried because it is so beautiful. This book is stuffed full of meaningful truths about the way God designed each of us uniquely and gifted us with individual talents. It emphasizes the idea that God smiles at you and loves you just as you are. 

“Discover. Explore! Have faith but love more. And learn and relearn all that God made you for. Use your talents and passions, those gifts that God fashioned. Think up ideas and then put them to action.”

As I read over the lines, I got goosebumps over and over. The lines in this book are the lines I have been trying to teach my own children. God loves you. You are special. Live a life filled with love. Loving God, loving others, and loving yourself. 

“A you who views others as sisters and brothers and lives by three words: love one another.”

The rhymes are clever and they flow – unlike some children’s books where the rhyming becomes forced and awkward. The illustrations are bright, colorful, and represent the beauty of diversity in the world around us. It is pretty enough to be a coffee table book – but, of course, I think it will end up being a well-worn book that moves from room to room in our home.

This book is a gift, y’all. A gift I plan on giving every new baby who enters my life. When I attend a baby shower or come to visit with a friend who has a new baby, I always (always) gift them with a book. Pregnant mom friends, the secret is out. I might as well buy this book in bulk because I am giving it to all the babies. 

You can find out more here:

I received this book from Blogging for Books for this review.

Thursday, April 27, 2017

Amazon Prime Has Movies for Kids Based on Classic Children's Books

Anyone who knows me well knows that I could not survive without Amazon Prime. Our poor mail lady brings packages to our door several times a week. Diapers, wipes, coffee, Clorox wipes, and more come directly to my doorstep whenever I need them. In just TWO days!

(I’ll pause here to admit my extreme jealousy of those who live in towns where they can get their Amazon Prime goods delivered in a matter of hours. We have an Amazon distribution plant here locally. Something is not right about this issue. It is very unfair. And the Spartanburg Prime Peasants are angry.)

But, in addition to shopping for products, I love Amazon Prime for television! There are tons of shows and movies that we like to watch, and several are exclusive to Amazon Prime. Plus, they have added premium channels like HBO that you can pay for monthly.

Now, we are too cheap for anything premium, but I have found the loophole. You know during the summer when everything is on reruns? Well, you can pay for one month of HBO, watch it that summer month, cancel it and then do it again the next summer (or during Christmas holidays when everything is on repeat). You can cancel and restart anytime.

Today’s post is not really about my love of Amazon Prime, but my litlovingmom love of Amazon Prime’s children’s movies based on classics. I am a big fan of using visuals alongside books. There is something special about seeing your favorite book characters and stories “come to life” on a screen. It is also a great way to introduce “reading and seeing” to young children. If they can see how the words on the page turn into grand adventures, they will be more interested in reading.

Amazon Prime’s collection keeps growing, but here are my five of my current favorites.

If You Give a Mouse a Cookie

We are huge fans of this series, and my children practically have them memorized. However, this movie has the same characters, but the plot does not follow the book. If your children are fans of the series, they will like “hearing” and “seeing” their favorite mouse on a new adventure.

Room on the Broom

If you have not read this fantastic picture book, you need to get it today! It is a wonderful, creative story about helping others. In this story, the witch is not scary. She uses her spells to help others. But, there is a frightening dragon the witch and her animal friends have to fight. The great thing about this movie is that it follows the book line by line. I can’t count the number of times we have watched this one.

The Snowy Day

Ezra Jack Keats’ The Snowy Day is a classic that everyone should have in the home library. Thankfully, Miss Dolly Parton sent us our copy through the fantastic Imagination Library program. Right at the holidays this year, Amazon Prime released this beautiful adaptation. It features Boyz II Men. Do I need to say anything more?

We’re Going on a Bear Hunt

For those parents who are fans of onomatopoeia and repetition, this is the book and movie for you. We read this book all the time in our home – and act it out. So, we were thrilled when this movie joined the Amazon Prime collection.

Reading Rainbow

Parents who grew up in the 80’s will be thrilled to know the Reading Rainbow is on Amazon Prime. The first four seasons are available, so these cover many wonderful children’s books. I loved Reading Rainbow as a kid, so I love being able to share it with my children. LeVar Burton is just awesome. I can still sing the theme song – anyone else?

What Amazon Prime movies or shows based on children’s books should I add to our watchlist?

* This post contains affiliate links. Thank you for supporting my blog!

Thursday, April 13, 2017

Board Books for Book Nerds and/or Babies

Being a parent of little ones is fun for many reasons, but one of the most selfishly fun reasons is because you are the one in control of what your children own. You buy the stuff. You can buy them whatever you want! So, when you love books, you buy them books. When you really really love books, you buy them books about books. Therefore, I present this list of Board Books for Book Nerds and/or Babies for all my fellow bookworm parent friends and for anyone looking for excellent baby shower gifts. (And, it’s totally okay to buy these for yourself instead of your kids.)

That's a nice stack of bedtime reads

***Warning: This post may make you having you saying, “Take all my money!”***

Babylit Series

If you are a fan of the classics, you have to include some (or all) of the books in the fantastic Babylit series. These board books just make my day. I love reading baby versions of Romeo and Juliet, Wuthering Heights, The Odyssey, and Edgar Allen Poe to my babies because I can. There is sure to be an adapted classic for every bookworm. Babies have brains, y’all. Start ‘em young. Ha ha ha! Truthfully, these books are fun for book-loving moms and dads, but they do incorporate baby learning by covering colors, numbers, opposites and more.


Les Petits Fairy Tales

Oh my word, these are fun! Back when I was a teacher, I loved to show my students “60 second Shakespeare” videos. Basically, these videos condensed the plays into 60 seconds. With this board book series, you have the same thing. The classics are brightly illustrated and the story is told with one word per page. Genius! My favorite is Rapunzel because one page simply says “Scissors.” Both of my kids learned all the basic fairy tales from these fun books.



Cozy Classics

Another terrific series, Cozy Classics, also focuses on condensing popular novels into one word per page stories for little ones. The difference with this series is the illustrations are actually made up of needle-felted scenes, so the characters look more puppet-like. If you want to go ahead and introduce your 6-month-old to War & Peace, this is the series for you.


Mini Myths

If you are a fan of myths, you must purchase a few of the Mini Myths series board books for your kids. They are so clever! These books combine allusions to mythology while also teaching children lessons. How can you resist titles such as Be Patient, Pandora!, Don’t Get Lost, Odysseus! and Play Nice, Hercules! I certainly can’t, which is why I am constantly adding more to my collection.



Haiku Books

I am a huge fan of haikus. When I hear the 5-7-5 pattern, my heart goes pitter patter. Just me? Ha ha ha! Seriously, though, I love a good haiku. And kids do too! They are often some of the first poems kids learn to write. You can start them early with these books.


* You may read more about these books on amazon by clicking on the titles or the book covers. These are affiliate links. Thank you for supporting my blog!*