Every Kid Needs a Pocket Book!

And I don’t mean the kind mom and grandma carry around! I mean these awesome little books from Usborne! They fit just about anywhere – hence their name! But also perfect for the car, camper, purse, or backpack! They are full of information on a variety of subjects! Even some for coloring and doodling, with some puzzle and quiz books too!

Pocket Books
I am choosing the one about birds for our craft subject this week because I absolutely love this marionette bird craft!!



A Word of Hope and Encouragement

For parents of reluctant readers! One of my biggest regrets in my life is that I was never a big reader as a child or teen! I am still not a big reader of books. Most of my reading consists of articles about things that pertain to home schooling, education and housekeeping! But as a home school mom, I felt like reading would and should play a huge role in our home schooling adventure. So of course, my first born was determined to be a reluctant reader! It was a struggle to get him to realize he could read on his own. He knew all the letter sounds, he just had to put them together. Once we got that down, we battled moving beyond basic phonics readers. Eventually we made it to books with chapters and not so many pictures. The day my son said he finished his first chapter book without many pictures was a day of rejoicing in this house! It had been about a two year process, but I never gave up on him. I would always suggest and pick books a little meatier than he would have picked on his own, just so we’d have them on hand when he was ready to try them. My daughter was completely different. She always wanted to be doing whatever her big brother was doing, so she jumped into reading with enthusiasm! I am proud to say that now both of my kids love to read! They read at breakfast, lunch and bedtime! The purpose of this story is to encourage you to always be challenging your kids, and never under estimate them!

And as a side note – provide them with all kinds of books to read! I am always sneaking in books I know my kids wouldn’t pick on their own! I purposefully set them out on the couch and coffee table to promote curiosity during one of those “I’m so bored I’m going to flop around on the couch” moments. And you know what? This approach works!! So if you have reluctant readers, don’t give up on them! Just keep poking, prodding and promoting curiosity!

Spring into Reading and Watch their minds bloom



Why children’s books? Why Usborne? Well, let me tell you about it. I saw a little something about being an Usborne Books & More consultant back in January, but didn’t think much of it. But about a month ago, a friend invited me to her Usborne Books & More Facebook party and I got so geeked out over the books! After working with kids, being a mom and home schooling for 7 years now, I have seen and read a lot of books for all ages! This company takes children’s books to a whole other level! I am so completely blown away by the quality and content that I just want to share them with as many people as possible! I really, truly believe in the power of books – that they can take a child from being a little interested in something, to being fascinated by it when it is presented in the right way.  Usborne Books takes educational content and makes it so much more appealing than an ordinary book! They use beautiful photos and illustrations, lift the flaps, and in some cases, internet links and references that pull you in and beg you to dive deeper into a subject! I can tell you right now, that my kids would much rather have a good book to look at and learn from than a textbook, or listening to me read from a teacher’s book. Even though some of the books I got in my Usborne consultant kit were for kids younger than my own, they still went through them all more than once because they were so engaging! The more we see, the more impressed we are with what’s offered! I am passionate about these , and getting them into the hands of children to get them excited about learning! And to promote their curiosity! 


Secret Confession Inside

SECRET CONFESSION -Are you ready?? — I am a book snob. — For real. I hate cartoon and tv character books! Children deserve good books! And not just ones with their favorite cartoon or movie character!! They need good books that let them know there is a beautiful, wonderful world outside of tv shows, video games and apps on a handheld device!! Books encourage kids to think outside of tv and video game world! They encourage them to use their imaginations and come up with their own ideas and characters! I believe we have a responsibility to give them good books – not just what they like, but adding in some of what they might not like or don’t know they like until they’ve tried it out. When your kid doesn’t like veggies or other things that are good for them, you don’t give up and give them only sweets! It’s the same with good books really, you’re just feeding their minds and imaginations! Now, on to today’s book and activity links!


The book for today is the The Peek Inside a Fairy Tale Little Red Riding Hood. This book is engaging because it has cut outs that allow you to peek through to the other pages! The windows peek through to show you inside the house when you are on the outdoor scenes, and allow you to peek through the inside and outside of the house, and through the trees of the forest too! You are going to hear me say this a lot, but I won’t apologize for it – love the illustrations of this book! Here’s the video review of it!

And there are more books in the Peek Inside Series! These aren’t fairytales, more informational, but still amazing!

 peek inside collection

Here are some quick links to some crafts!

You can make a craft stick basket for your Little Red, and you can make it just in time for Easter fun!

I also like this paper basket craft!

Here are some adorable, colored printable finger puppets!

Or if you’d like to color your own, print these.

And the last craft is using handy dandy toilet paper rolls to make cute characters!

Some other ideas would be to:

Make a special basket of goodies for someone who is sick, or just as a nice surprise.

Make a basket and talk about what kind of healthy foods you should put in it! Talk about food groups – dairy, fruits, veggies, etc.

Don’t forget the fun of acting the story out!!

And there’s a fun song near the bottom of this page!

Curiosity is out there, go promote it! Happy reading and happy doing!

Getting into the good stuff!

So I am starting off with the Animal Stories for Bedtime book. This one has some of my kid’s favorites and is such a great collection! What some might call a treasury of stories, every child needs a book, or several, like this! Even though my kids are older now, nine and twelve, they still get out their treasury books to read when we can’t make it to the library! And of course, it’s not just for bedtime! You can find the book here on my personal Usborne Books & More website. And you can see more of the book here in a YouTube video.

Before we get too far into the posting of activities, here’s a tip: start collecting! Easy crafts and activities involve a lot of the same craft supplies! Some of those items are: toilet paper or paper towel tubes, craft(popsicle) sticks, glue, yarn, tissue paper, tissue boxes, paper bags, oatmeal canisters with the lids, orange juice or half and half cartons, crayons, kid friendly washable paints and markers! Go ahead and start stacking up on these for future fun! Think of it as another way to recycle! And remember, these activities may seem redundant to you, but kids love them! And if you get bored with my suggestions, the internet is full of other ideas! Be brave and have fun!

In case you aren’t into activities, here are some other fun things you can do during or after reading a story:
1. Do the voices of the characters and/or role play it once you’ve read it.
2. Ask what their favorite part was and share your’s.
3. Go back and look at the illustrations and pick a favorite one.
4. Talk about what you could change about the story to make it different, or tell/talk about it from a different character’s perspective. What would it be like if we make it sillier? More serious?
5. Make a sensory bag. Find things that can represent different characters or parts of the story, put them in a paper bag or pillowcase, close your eyes, reach in and see if you can guess what you have before you pull it out. This is really fun for kids under 6.
6. Play dough – always fun to do some “sculpting” of characters and scenery.

Although there are many stories in this book, the story I’m giving activities for is The Three Little Pigs.

Something fun to do with cooking would be to read the story and make a snack of “pigs in a blanket.“ (Just in case anyone needs instructions.)

Here’s your first toilet paper tube craft opportunity!

This site has printables! Something fun to add to the printables would be to texture the houses with spaghetti noodles for hay, pretzels for sticks and maybe gummy candies like Mike and Ike’s or Hot Tamales for bricks!

This site has a lot of different printables and ideas.

But my favorite find was this awesome wolf mask! You can print it out and save it for other stories with wolves in it!

Hope these  links and ideas help you on your journey to promoting curiosity! Happy reading and have fun!


Extra! Extra!

Read all about it! Brandy starts a blog and becomes a book consultant!

Wait – what?

Yes folks, this is me, starting a blog and becoming a book consultant for the amazing book company Usborne Books & More! I’ve always had a place in my heart for children’s books, and I’ve always loved working with children, so I decided to combine these two things into a blog and see where they take me! I don’t have it all figured out just yet, but the plan is to show you the amazing books from the Usborne Books & More library, and pair them with fun ideas and activities to foster a love of reading and learning!

Children are naturally curious! We just have to promote that curiosity by giving them the tools they need to explore the world around them. I believe the best tools are books. Books are so important! Reading with your child is a way to spend time with them. A book in the hands of a child is like a treasure chest of fun! Reading opens up a world of possibilities for children to discover! And when you can take what they read and extend it with an activity, it enforces what they’ve learned and makes reading even more fun!

I will ask that you be patient with me! There are so many different kinds of books to explore! My goal is to explore all of the Usborne Books & More library, which includes books for newborns and extends all the way in to the middle school age, so it’s going to take a while to get through them all! If you are looking for a specific age group, ask me! I would love to show you all your options and come up with some activities for you to promote curiosity in the little ones in your life!

And so we begin!

Click here to view my personal Usborne Books & More Store!