Thursday, May 31, 2012

Library Is Another Word For Adventure


Can I share a secret with you? My children frequently tell me they do not want to go to the library. But once we're there, it's difficult to get them out the door. Summer is also a time I hear the phrase I'm bored tumble from their sassy smoochie little faces.


So I'm planning a new strategy this summer. Playing on my son's obsession with his National Park's Passport, I'm making Library Passports. And I'm sharing the templates with you.


I'm heading to CVS (totally nutty about CVS, am I) tomorrow to pick up little spiral notebooks, and 50 glue-sticks (can never have enough glue-sticks). The children can adhere this template to the cover:




I'm making a template for the inside pages, something like this:




But I may change it. I'll take lots of photos (big surprise there) and share how they assembled their Library Passports over the weekend. Please help yourself to the templates and if you have creative ideas on how to make the passport more exciting for the kids, please share.


I can see them sharing the Library Passports with their new teachers in the fall, how about you?


Don't forget to sign up for the library summer reading program here.


xoxo Michele


Wednesday, May 30, 2012

{Lib Jr.} Summer Reading For Boys: Rivers and Lakes

All that John's missing is the corncob pipe and straw hat - but I'm betting he'll start an inside-out-backwards-shirt trend this week (when you're camping and mama doesn't pack 15 shirts you get to wear them an extra day like this; it's all in my Mama's Camping Rulebook ~ which is ideally printed in my head and can be changed repeatedly without having to look for a pencil with an eraser).

Summer and camping are BFF's, so there is no greater time to focus on rivers and lakes by borrowing the above beauty from the library. Start with The Adventures of Tom Sawyer, add a favorite Veggie Tales movie, make a few of the experiments in Rivers and mighty Mississippi have mercy: you and your children are library learning. 


Look for a few picture books like The Raft and River Beds as well. These are the books your children will read under the covers with a flashlight long after you've fallen asleep.


Nick has Gary Paulsen on his summer reading list for school, but we add poetry (Langston Hughes is one of our faves), movies (don't miss Rivers and Tides) and music (Rhythm On The River is ultimate summer traveling music) ~ an awesome way to library. We cooked from The Dutch Oven Cookbook while camping and plan to add this menu at home during the summer.

But I've saved the best for last. Holling Clancy Holling - you are my newest swoonie author crush. I'm predicting these will be my fave all time read alouds of the summer. There are four books: Minn of the Mississippi, Paddle-to-the-Sea, Seabird, and Tree In The TrailDreamy times infinity, sweet friends.   

Loaded with breathtaking art and sketches, Minn of the Mississippi tells the story of a snapping turtle and her adventure on the Mississippi River. All four of the books are gift-worthy (these will be in our permanent collection soon). 


Share borrowed beauty and knowledge this summer with the boys you love. You can sign your children up for the library summer reading program here.



xoxo Michele

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

American Pastoral

“Everybody else is working to change, persuade, tempt and control them. The best readers come to fiction to be free of all that noise.” ~ Philip Roth

We've been away on a camping trip that I never wanted to end ~ so while I'm traipsing the wilderness in my mind, finishing up our book club read for June (American Pastoral) and working on my Summer Reading For Boys post, please forgive my tardiness this week. I'll be back just as soon as I can get my brain out of the lake.


xoxo Michele

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Summer Reading For Girls: Oceans


Library learning over the summer is as sweet as lemonade and wet Rocket running through the house wearing John-John's goggles (don't ask) blinding him so he's knocked over chairs and me and is now drying himself in the pile of laundry that I'll have to re-wash. Sweet library, the things you don't see because I only show you sweet photos.


I'm a fan of sharing all the borrowed beauty the library offers ~ and they are so much more than books. The library welcomes us to engage all five of our senses: I live for putting together themed collections for my children and all the children I pretend are mine (which is now in the hundreds). 


Start with a craft or drawing book, like Ralph Masiello's Ocean Drawing Book.



I need some music. And all this ocean art has us curious about sea creatures. I feel some poetry coming on. Did I mention I'm getting hungry for some new summer recipes? 





Chapter books. My darling daughter is now asking for chapter books (for those of you that follow my saga, darling daughter has rejected chapter books until discovering these beauties).


These are a few of the chapter books on our summer reading list. We just started reading The Callahan Cousins aloud last week:


So far we're loving it. Especially since it's a series. And the author's website is terrific, with detailed info on the cousins. Oh, and it has maps. I'm absolutely nutty for maps. Maps and summer and lemonade and air conditioning. And lots of sangria. I'm all set. 


Library living is meaningful, memorable and magical for families. 

I hope you'll visit your library today, put a collection together with your children and leave a comment on your borrowed beauty. I have a boy's collection coming up after Memorial Day Weekend. 

Live. Learn. Library.

xoxo Michele

Monday, May 21, 2012

Soul Sisters, Seattle, and Starbucks


A dear friend of my daughter's is moving to Seattle next week. Her excitement of a new adventure tempered by the impending distance of sweet soul sisters prompted a wave of memories for me about visiting that drop dead gorgeous city with girlfriends and frequenting Starbucks long before they became, you know, Starbucks

How does a local coffee hangout become an international obsession?


These are just six titles the library shares on Starbucks - there are plenty more. As I started reading this one, I realized there are life lessons here for me. Me and my daughter. My daughter and her friends. My daughter and herself.

Live. Learn. Library.
(And thank God for the invention of the internet so soul sisters stay that way.)


And just for the record, the only coffee I buy now is from Summit Coffee Company. They are local legends of all kinds of goodness.

xoxo Michele 

Friday, May 18, 2012

Cry, The Beloved Country



Dear Nicholas,


As you approach the end of fifth grade, my heart is bursting with joy and excitement for your future. Your bottomless well of curiosity, your unquenchable thirst for truth, knowledge and discovery is a precious gift from God.  

It is truly a privilege to read to you almost every evening. The book we are sharing right now is beyond my vocabulary, my limited vision; and yet as we cuddle together I cherish the bonds of us and a newly discovered land built from words on a page. With each sentence spoken I see a framework expanding in you, but it doesn't resemble bricks or mortar. My beloved son, you are cultivating wings. 

xoxo Mommy



I'm completely giddy knowing this book was read to Paul Farmer by his mother when he was around Nick's age. You can find a helpful study guide for Cry, The Beloved Country, here


When we complete the book we plan to watch the movie. It is my goal, my purpose really, to deposit every treasure I find at the library into my children. Which could keep me busy for twenty more lifetimes and explains my OCB (Obsessive Compulsive Bookorder).

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Library Junior {aka Lib Jr.}



Who says Nick Jr. should have all the fun? 


Welcome to Library Junior.


This summer is all about Lib Jr. for our family, and I hope you'll join me over the next few weeks as we start making lists of great summer reads for the children.

Stop the presses. Arielle wants to be a Lit Chick.



Summer fun begins at your local library. Have you signed up for the Summer Reading Program yet? 

xoxo Michele

Monday, May 14, 2012

The Library Is A Freeway


Your local library is a freeway to anywhere and the books you read are the vehicle. 

We went to Maine tonight without leaving North Carolina. 

Where will you go today?

xoxo Michele

Friday, May 11, 2012

Library Living: Muchas Smooches Mother's Day


I'd love to open my eyes to this beauty on Sunday morning. Hydrangeas, chocolate, my favorite tea, and books from the libraryCan I stay in bed all day?


Or maybe some magazines... I've been wanting to read Tina Fey's bossybook.


Giada and some Elvis. Don't judge my crazy crush on Elvis. The library provides affordable crushes, sweet friends. What would your children pick out for you?

Happy Mother's Day Weekend.

xoxo Michele

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Readers Gonna Read


E-books. Hardbacks. Paperbacks. Magazines and Cookbooks. Your local library shares them all. Tomorrow I'll feature my favorite collections for Mother's Day. 

Yes, it's hip to share gifts from the library with your mom. And what a great adventure for children and fathers to check out borrowed beauty, wrapped in a beautiful ribbon with a bouquet of flowers and placed on a tray of "breakfast in bed" for sweetie mommie. I sure hope my hubby reads this.

Go Green. Go Library.

xoxo Michele



Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Container Joy


Like the commercial, my home was where plants went to die. A veritable garden hospice. Not anymore. We've found our niche in container gardening. We picked out some sassy vessels, seeds and plants, soil and fertilizer. Each morning the children check to see if their "green babies" need water. 


We call it container joy, and it was inspired by library books like the beauty above. For less than a trip to the market we planted a garden our entire family has invested in raising. 

Libraries inspire all types of growth - even in a lazy farmer wannabe like me. 

xoxo Michele 

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

The Wild Things Cried: Maurice Sendak


"Oh please don't go - we'll eat you up - we love you so!"
                                              ~ Where The Wild Things Are


Maurice Sendak 
June 10, 1928 - May 8, 2012

He lives on at your local library.

xoxo Michele

Monday, May 7, 2012

Librariologist Living: Carl Sandburg


We have become completely obsessed with National Parks, and this past Sunday we visited Carl Sandburg's home. 


I've read some of his poetry, but I didn't know much about him. He and his family moved from Michigan to this property of 248 acres in the 1940's. His wife needed more room for her goats. Carl needed solitude to write. Their wishes came true at Connemara {Irish meaning: "Of the sea."}


He brought close to 16,000 books from Michigan. Sixteen thousand books. I tried counting all the books he had read on Abraham Lincoln and lost track around 125. 


The opposite wall is full of books as well. The hallways, the basement, every room except for the kitchen and bathrooms were draped in book beauty. Carl dropped out of school in the 8th grade to help his family, but his love of reading was a lifelong endeavor.


His wife Lilian raised champion dairy goats, and their bloodline lives on in the kids we saw this weekend. Can I say goats and glorious in the same sentence? We will be returning soon or the children might run away. 


When we arrived at home I went online and put these two books on hold at our local library. History is living beauty - to visit antiquity in person and to be transported there through the pages of Carl Sandburg's words - the treasure seeker in me is singing love songs.

You can find more library treasure here

xoxo Michele

Friday, May 4, 2012

Cinco De Mayo


Hope your weekend is full of family, fun and great reads from the library. I'll be stalking our library's book sale, which coincides with Town Day, which coincides with Cinco De Mayo, which means Seis De Mayo will be spent in lounge pants and sipping Tylenol through a smoochie straw.

xoxo Michele

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Librariologist Living: David Macaulay


History. Does the subject just make you giddy or ready to click to a different blog with pretty photos of this season's smoochiest sandals? Bear with me. 


If you're a mom, you'll want to know about history, even if you think you don't. So I've coerced convinced our family that we are treasure seekers (our fave fictional characters are from her beloved book with that title) of antiquity. Keep bearing with me.

Hilarious Disclaimer: I don't know much about history; I found it utterly wretched while attending school, and it seemed that dates meant more to my teachers than the event itself. But I don't let that stop me from rolling around in antiquity. Are you still there?

So where to start. I usually let the enthusiasm of my children guide us. But if you want a personal recommendation, it would be David Macaulay.


I highly recommend borrowing one book and a corresponding PBS Video. Watch the movie as a family and then read the book together. David is a genius when it comes to loving process rather than dates.



Not So Hilarious Disclaimer #2: Your smoochie spring sandal budget? After spending time with history, it will be spent on these


Which David Macaulay book and DVD beauty would you borrow first?


xoxo Michele


Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Everything Is Illuminated


The library is the only place I know that shares the collective past of every subject under the sun. This month I would love for you to join our family as we become treasure seekers of antiquity. Librariologists. That's a word, right? It is now. To participate, all you need is your library card.

xoxo Michele