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Today is Chinese New Year, also known as the Lunar New Year. The Lunar New Year is celebrated by several countries, but Chinese New Year is the most well known in America. Korean New Year, Têt of Vietnam, and the Losar of Tibet are also celebrated today and have similar celebrations to Chinese New Year. Traditionally,the Chinese New Year festival was for people to honor their ancestors. Chinese families like to clean their house to sweep away any ill-fortune and to make way for incoming good luck in the new year. Another tradition is also to decroate the house with red paper-cuts to represent good fortune, happiness, wealth, and longevity. Celebrations also include lighting firecrackers and giving money in hong bao (red paper envelopes). Each year is represented by an animal from the Chinese Zodiac, and each year has a different meaning. This year is the year of the rat - the year of renewal. We are including some of our favorite books to teach children about Chinese New Year.

❤️Kelsey & Jessie

1. The Dancing Dragon

I chose The Dancing Dragon by Marcia Vaughan to include first because my dad used to read it to my class as a mystery reader. It was always a hit because the book progressively folds out to show a group of dragon dancers. The text of the book is a simple rhyme that that explains the celebrations of a Chinese New Year festival. It is a very engaging book for young children to teach about a new holiday.

2. The Great Race

The Great Race is written by Emily Hiles to tell the story of how the 12 animals were chosen as the Chinese zodiac signs. The Jade Emperor wanted to find 12 animals to be his guards. He decides to have a race to see who could go through the Heavenly Gate first. This book has bright and colorful illustrations that are engaging to see who will win the race! This is a great book to depict the story of the 12 zodiac animals, which is an important part of the Chinese New Year tradition.

3. My First Chinese New Year

My First Chinese New Year, by Karen Katz, is part of her "My First Holiday" series. I love the simple pictures of this book. This book introduces the traditions of celebrating Chinese New Year. I like that this book shares the traditions of this very important holiday, along with the reasoning behind all of the traditions. It does so in a simple way for young children to understand.

4. Celebrate Chinese New Year

Celebrate Chinese New Year is a book by National Geographic Kids and is part of the Holidays Around the World series. I like to include nonfiction books in these recommendations because there is a lot to learn. I like National Geographic Kids because they are very informational but very colorful, engaging, and simple to follow. These books really make learning fun! This is a great resource for learning about Chinese New Year!

5. Ruby's Chinese New Year

Ruby's Chinese New Year is a book by Vickie Lee that introduces the 12 animals of the Chinese Zodiac. In this book, Ruby needs help to deliver a gift to her grandmother on Chinese New Year. She meets all 12 animals from the Chinese Zodiac while on her journey to see who can help her. This is a fun story that describes the characteristics associated with each of the zodiac animals in a simplistic way. At the end of the book, it includes directions for crafts for kids, like making paper fans, lanterns, and good luck banners.

Disclosure: We are not sponsored by any of these book authors or publishers. We are simply sharing our favorite books and providing links in case you are interested 😊

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January 22nd is Celebration of Life Day! It started as a day to celebrate children, but it is now a day to celebrate life at all ages! It's all about celebrating and loving you! It is a good day to reflect on what you have in your life to celebrate and to appreciate the stage of life you are in. Here are a few books that we recommend reading with kids to celebrate the joys of life.

❤️Kelsey & Jessie

1. Celebrate You!

Celebrate You! is a sweet book by Sherri Rinker that celebrates all the milestones of life. The text is presented in a fun, upbeat rhyme. It touches on the struggles and the challenges that you face, the dreams that you desire, and the commitment to get where you are. It is also a great book for teaching language because of its rich use of adjectives! What a cute book to read to celebrate the people in your life that you are proud of!

2. Hooray for You!: A Celebration of "You-ness"

The book, Hooray for You! by Marianne Richmond is the perfect book for Celebration of Life Day! It has an inspiring message about celebrating "you-ness" or what makes each person unique. It mentions celebrating how you look, what you can do, and what is in your mind. The book is filled with positive affirmations that can help build confidence in both children and adults!

3. Silly Wonderful You

Silly Wonder You by Sherri Rinker is a great book about celebrating our children. Life is very different before having children. Sometimes life can feel hectic with children, but we can love and celebrate even the things that may not seem like positives! One of the best parts of having children is that life is filled with more love!

4. Only One You

Only One You by Linda Kranz is an inspiring book for both children and adults. This book was used as the book of the year for our school staff. Adri's parents share their wisdom in a simple, yet powerful way. There is only one you in the world, so it is your job to make it a better place. What an empowering message! We should celebrate the fact that we are all unique in our own ways and all have different abilities to make change in this world!

5. Be Who You Are

If you have read our blog posts in the past, you will know that we LOVE Todd Parr! The book Be Who You Are! is perfect for Celebration of Life day! This book focuses on being proud of ourselves and loving all the things about ourselves that make us unique! He mentions being our own color, wearing different clothes, and speaking different languages. We love that Todd Parr ends all of his books with a motivational statement to love who you are.

Disclosure: We are not sponsored by any of these book authors or publishers. We are simply sharing our favorite books and providing links in case you are interested 😊

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As we finish the first week of school after winter break, it is time to start thinking about Martin Luther King, Jr. Day. His birthday is celebrated on January 15th, and he is remembered on Martin Luther King Jr. Day on January 20th. We remember Martin Luther King Jr. for all the work and sacrifices he made for the civil rights movement. He helped end segregation in the United States and helped end unfair practices towards the black community throughout America. MLK is an inspiration to this day. He continues to inspire activists to fight for racial equality and justice. As part of MLK day, it is important to remember the history of Martin Luther King Jr.'s life, as well as reflect on the civil rights issues in America and consider our part in fighting for social justice. We can start by educating our children about Martin Luther King Jr. and why he is an important person to remember. We can teach them about equality and the importance of diversity. Below you will find some of our favorite children's books about MLK, equality, and diversity.

❤️Kelsey & Jessie

1. I am Brave: A Little Book about Martin Luther King, Jr.

Children are never too young to be exposed to non-fiction books about important people in history. This book, I am Brave: A Little Book about Martin Luther King, Jr. is a board book by Brad Meltzer from the Ordinary People Change the World series. This book includes simple text with factual information about MLK, as well as inspirational messages that are simple for young children to connect back to their personal lives. It is a great book that introduces the concept of diversity and that everyone has opportunities to be a leader!

2. Who Was Martin Luther King, Jr.?

This book, Who Was Martin Luther King, Jr.?, is a wonderful non-fiction children's book by Bonnie Bader. She writes several books in the Who Was?? series that educate children about important historical figures. We love this book because of its teachings of MLK. It starts with his childhood life and moves through his adult life. It also teaches about what MLK did to fight for racial equality. In addition to teaching children about the importance and history of Martin Luther King, Jr., we like these books because they introduce non-fiction books to children in a short and concise way. They also include elements such as a table of contents and chapters that are easy for children to understand.

3. A Kids Book About Racism

A lot of times, it is hard to talk about the concept of racism with children, but it is never too early to start the conversation with them, and this is a great place to start. A Book About Racism is by Jelani Memory and he rights in a simplistic and child-friendly way to teach children about the concept of racism. The inside of the book reminds me a little of the book, A Book With No Pictures, in the way that it has only words organized in interactive ways on the pages. The book talks about what racism is, how it makes people feel, and how to identify it when it is happening. The book is basic but has a meaningful impact and can help start the conversation with young children.

4. The Day You Begin

The book, The Day You Begin, is by Jacqueline Woodson. It is about the feeling of nervousness when you feel like you do not always fit in. It is a wonderful book for EVERYONE because it touches on several differences, such as having different skin colors, speaking a different language, having a disability. Woodson writes, "There will be times when you walk into a room and no one there is quite like you until the day you begin to share your stories." What a powerful message to remember the humanity in all people and that everyone is different but it's our experiences that make us similar and can make us feel connected.

5. All Are Welcome

This is one of our favorite books with such a kind message! All Are Welcome is a book by Alexandra Penfold that truly celebrates diversity. This book follows a group of children through a day in their school, where everyone is welcomed with open arms. All the kids come from different cultures and they learn from each each other's traditions. As Martin Luther King, Jr. said, "“I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character.” This book really emphasizes MLK's belief of equality.

Disclosure: We are not sponsored by any of these book authors or publishers. We are simply sharing our favorite books and providing links in case you are interested 😊