Books & Gratitude

Two notebooks, a pen, and a leaf on a table. The cover of the top notebook says "today I am grateful." I will be writing a "week in review post" each Sunday, where I review both what I'm grateful for as well as the books we've read this week. Photo by Gabrielle Henderson on Unsplash

Gratitude and books… gratitude for books… week in review.

A couple of years ago I thought I’d write down everything I was thankful for on a daily basis. I was inspired by The Book of Awesome, which really is awesome, to recognize all the great things in my life. While I do still feel grateful for a lot in my life, the habit of writing it down has been lost along the way. I’m starting over, though I’m being more realistic this time. Rather than writing it every day, I’m going to be writing it once per week.

I’ve been meaning to start my “week in review” practice again, and I think this is a great space for it. For my week in review, I’ll do two things: write down things that happened in the past week that made me grateful, and I’ll share the books we’ve read together as a family, as well as any books I’ve finished on my own. That’s a nice way to wrap up the week. Here’s my first entry 🙂

Gratitude & Books—week in review, www.marianamcdougall.com. Each week, Il'l share what I'm grateful for in the week that just ended and I'll also share the books we've read. Background photo of hands holding a book, by Pexels on Pixabay

 

Gratitude for this Week

This past week, I got to spend time with my mom and my three kiddos at the pool close to the building where we’re living for the summer. It was a lot of fun to see the kids interacting with their Vó Bia and having fun in the pool. I’m grateful for hot weather, sunshine, and time spent with special people.

Later in the week, we had my dad, stepmom, and my brother with his family over for dinner. I’m so grateful for the abundance of food to which we have access, and I really enjoyed cooking dinner for all of us. I made shrimp with spaghetti sauce as well as a salad, and my stepmom brought the corn cake that the entire family simply loves. This week, I’m grateful for the time and ability to cook, and for the time spent with loved ones.

This past week, I took my kiddos to martial arts as usual, and they were able to practice breaking boards. They were so excited when they broke them; the look on their faces was too precious for words. This week, I’m thankful that my children are able to learn discipline, integrity, respect, and self-defense in a wonderful environment, with an excellent teacher.

This week, I continue to use my Happy Planner, a tool that I discovered during our RV adventure trip. I totally fell in love with this company; these planners are simply awesome. I’m thankful I get to write down my plans on a beautiful planner (and that I get to use lots of fun stickers).

This week, I’m thankful that despite increased pain in my joints, I still have my mobility. I’m also grateful for meeting a doctor who knows about Ehlers-Danlos syndrome and has not dismissed my pain. While I’m as of yet undiagnosed, it feels good to be heard and to get referred for imaging.

This week, I’m thankful for having access to a great library full of wonderful materials, and for the opportunity to read books, both by myself as well as to my children. Which brings me to…

Kids’ Books We Read this Week

Kids' books we read this week. Photo of two girls sitting on wooden chairs outside, reading books. Photo by Max Goncharov on Unsplash.

 

This past week, Dan took the kiddos to the library, and they came back with the whole collection. I kid, I kid. But they did bring a LOT of books home. They also brought some DVDs. Here are the books we read together this week, and my thoughts on them.

A Very Improbable Story by Edward Einhorn and Adam Gustavson

A Very Improbable Story sees the main character play games of probability with a cat so the cat will get off his head in time for the boy to get to soccer. G-boy (age 7) enjoyed the book, but I think the probability concepts were a bit over his head.

I think this would make a great book for to use in a math lesson about probability. You could even repeat some of the games played in the book to help the kiddos understand the concept. It would also be a good starting point to talk about fractions and how they relate to probability.

 

Llama Llama Red Pajama by Anna Dewdney

We own a copy of Mama Llama misses Mama, which my younger 2 kiddos really love—we read it quite a few times during our RV adventure. We had read Llama Llama Red Pajama prior to this, but it had been a while.

I like the rhyming in the book, but my kids tend to imitate the behaviour they read about… I hope I don’t have anyone screaming at the top of their lungs at bed time… then again, the kiddos are older now. But still, after reading this, my oldest took forever to fall asleep. Argh.

 

What’s So Bad About Being an Only Child? by Cari Best

In this book, the main character wants a brother or a sister. She can’t have that, so she basically fills the house with rescued animals. This one wasn’t my favourite, but the kids seemed to enjoy it.

If You Take a Mouse to The Movies: A Special Christmas Edition, by Laura Numeroff, illustrated by Felicia Bond

“If You Give a Mouse a Cookie” has been a favourite in the household since we were gifted a “treasury of children’s stories” book. This book, “If You Take a Mouse to the Movies,” is another take on the original. I thought it was sweet that the book opens with the author and illustrator sharing their favourite Christmas traditions and memories. At the end of the book, there are Christmas recipes, crafts, and sheet music for carol adaptations featuring Mouse (like in “Mouse’s 12 Days of Christmas). There’s also extra sketches by Felicia Bond, “just for fun.”)

 

Santa Bruce by by Ryan T. Higgins

Bruce the bear doesn’t like Christmas and wants to sleep all winter long. Unfortunately, his friends have other plans, and he spends Christmas Eve delivering gifts. At the end of the book, Bruce the Bear still wants to sleep all winter next year, but his friends continue to have other plans. This one wasn’t my favourite either, but the kiddos seem to have enjoyed it.

The Clever Stick by John Lechner

The stick is very clever, but it can’t talk. So it must find a way to communicate its creativity. I thought this was a super cute book, and I enjoyed the simple illustrations. The kids loved it. I may buy a copy of this book to keep at home. I think it would also make a great starting point for a creativity or art lesson in the outdoors.

Did You Take the B from my _ook? by Beck and Matt Stanton

This is a fun book to read with kids. My little ones loved yelling out for the B to come back, and they thought reading all the words without the “b” was hilarious. This isn’t my favourite type of book, but my kids are all over it, so I’ll keep reading it to them 🙂

Nighty-night, Cooper Laura Numeroff and Lynn Munsinger

This is a sweet book about a little kangaroo who needs a few extra snuggles from Mama before heading into her pouch to sleep. He also needs some extra songs, and there is sheet music for singing bedtime favourites (with changed lyrics) at the end of the book. 

I wasn’t a big fan of this one. The illustrations weren’t my favourite, and I couldn’t get past the kangaroo having to have a bedtime routine by getting out of his mama’s pouch and then get back into it. I know it’s a kids’ book and it’s fantasy, but it just struck me as odd. My children seemed indifferent. This is one of the few books they didn’t ask to read more than once from this weeks’ library haul.

Babysitting Basics by Leah Browning

My oldest daughter wants to buy a dog. Since she knows I don’t want a pet and therefore won’t buy one, she’s figuring out all kinds of ways she can make money faster. So she’s been picking up books about babysitting and reading about babysitting online. This book does exactly what the title promises: teaches some babysitting basics to give kids a boost of confidence before their first job. My kiddo read it several times, and took notes (completely unprompted).

If I built a House by by Chris Van Dusen

I kind of love this book. The main character’s imagination for the coolest house he’d build is fun to read about. The kids and I enjoyed looking through the book and deciding which room we’d most like to have if these rooms were actually possible. I love the illustrations, especially the one that shows the main character’s plans for the house he would build.

Stolen Words by Melanie Florence and Gabrielle Grimard

A sweet book on a very difficult topic. Stolen Words tells the story of the beautiful relationship between a Cree grandfather and his granddaughter, who wants to learn some words in Cree. This is a hard moment for her grandfather—a residential school survivor, who was forced to give up his language and can no longer remember them. His granddaughter helps him find his words again. 

This is an excellent children’s book about a very ugly period in Canadian history. It would be an excellent supplement or starting point for a unit of study into the mistreatment of indigenous peoples during the colonization period and beyond.

Children Just Like Me: A New Celebration of Children Around the World

We didn’t read this entire book (yet), but we pick pages here and there to read. I was thrilled to find a Brazilian boy pictured in the book. There are kids from several different countries. Each page is dedicated to a child, the place they live, the traditions in which they take part, and more details about their life as a kid. K-girl loves this book and frequently takes it off the shelf to read about another kid somewhere out there in our big world. This would be an excellent book to purchase and have at home to browse whenever we want.

Weird but True! Ripped from the Headlines

Again, we haven’t read the whole thing, but this book has some cool, if seemingly unbelievable stuff in it. K-girl especially loves to read about animal headlines. Another book that would be good to purchase and have at home.

Guinness Book of World Records: Wacky and Wild!

K-girl is going through a “weird and gross” phase with her reading. Some of these world records are really odd, some are very dangerous. I highly recommend the “do not try these things at home” talk before opening up this book if your kiddo is the adventurous type.

Midnight Feast Magic: Sleepover Fun and Food, by Rosalind Peters and Polly Peters

This book has all kinds of ideas for things to eat and spa stuff to make using food ingredients. I find that the pages are a bit too busy, but my oldest loved reading about all the things she could do next time she had some friends over.

Five Minute True Stories: Animal BFFs  by Aubre Andrus

We didn’t read the whole book, but we did read several stories within it. I’m not a an of zoos, and a lot of the stories in the book are about friendship between zoo animals. I just had a conversation with the kids as a reminder of why we shouldn’t support zoos, and we still read the stories. I believe in reading and discussing, rather than prohibiting children from reading things that don’t match up with our family values. Prohibiting reading materials causes a lot more harm than good, so it’s best to be prepared to discuss what we read.

The book I read this week

Books we've read this week. Photo by iam Se7en on Unsplash

This week, I finished reading “Everywhere in Chains” by James Casper. James (also known as Grandpa Jim to my kiddos) and his wife Kate allowed us to stay in their beautiful cabin in Minnesota during our RV trip. Before we hit the road again, he gifted us a copy of his books.

You can read my full review on Goodreads, but for now, suffice it to say that it’s definitely worth the read. I found the story engaging and the metaphors relatable. I don’t want to give away too much, but I’ll say this: the novel tackles incarceration, mental illness, compassion, the corporal works of mercy, and other difficult topics in a way that makes them easy to understand yet shows how implementing these lessons is extremely difficult for many who consider themselves faithful. I recommend a read.

2 thoughts on “Books & Gratitude

  1. I like these posts – my kids devour books and this is a good place to get new book ideas. I’ve put a couple on hold at the library now based on your reviews.

    The London library used to have a book/CD kit of If You Take a Mouse to the Movies that we listened to over and over again each holiday season. I don’t know if they still have it but my kids loved it. Beside the story it has a couple of silly Christmas carols – common carols but with a mouse-twist.

    Also – We own Children Just Like Me and really like it!

    1. So glad these are helpful! Our oldest devours books as well; the other two are still learning to read, but we read together often. We love the library to discover new books, and will likely be purchasing some of the books we’ve really enjoyed (including Children Just Like Me) 🙂 Best try-before-you-buy system ever, lol!

      Thank you so much for reading my blog 🙂

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