Posts Tagged ‘family life’

Understanding Sam and Asperger Syndrome

Posted on October 27th, 2012 by Carolyn Hart

Storytime Standouts looks at Understanding Sam and Asperger Syndrome, a picture book about a young boy who is diagnosed with Asperger Syndrome.Understanding Sam and Asperger Syndrome written by Clarabelle van Niekerk and Liezl Venter, illustrated by Clarabelle van Niekerk
Picture book about a child with Asperger Syndrome published by Skeezel Press



You will also be interested in our page featuring picture books about Autism and Asperger Syndrome

Sam, his sister Emma and their parents live in a house with a red door. Sam was a happy boy but he was a little different. We follow Sam through his week and learn that he has difficulty making friends, he can become “stuck” and reluctant to change. Sam notices when his clothes feel scratchy and when his classmates tease him. He finds being in school challenging at times.

One evening, without his parents knowing, Sam leaves his house and walks away. His family worries as they scramble to find him and to keep him safe. This incident, together with his difficulties at school, precipitates a visit to the doctor. Sam is assessed and, before long, the family learns that Sam has Asperger Syndrome, a form of autism.

Understanding Sam and Asperger Syndrome is an appropriate story for children in preschool, kindergarten and early primary grades. It provides readers with perspective on the challenges faced by Sam, his family and his classmates. As well, Understanding Sam and Asperger Syndrome celebrates Sam’s abilities.

At the conclusion of the story, readers are offered 10 Helpful Tips including Treat your friend as a regular kid, take turns, and “change is hard, hang in there.” The tips are each accompanied by a one or two paragraph explanation.

Understanding Sam and Asperger Syndrome was a Seal of Approval Winner Holiday 2008 from The National Parenting Center

It was also nominated for Speech Pathology Australia’s Book of the Year in the lower primary category

Understanding Sam and Asperger Syndrome at Amazon.com

Understanding Sam and Asperger Syndrome at Amazon.ca

Mirror by Jeannie Baker, an almost wordless picture book

Posted on June 13th, 2012 by Carolyn Hart

Storytime Standouts looks at an almost wordless picture book about families. One family lives in a village in Morocco and and the other lives in Sydney, Australia.

Mirror created by Jeannie Baker
Almost wordless picture book published by Candlewick Press

Our page about Wordless and Almost Wordless Picture Books

Designed to be read side by side, Mirror is essentially two picture books. Once the reader opens the cover, she discovers a wordless picture book about an Australian family on one side and a parallel story about a Moroccan family on the other. Both stories begin at dawn.

We meet an Australian boy who lives comfortably in the suburbs with his mother, father and a baby. After breakfast, he and his dad climb into the family van and drive on crowded streets to ‘Hardware Planet.’ They buy construction materials and a beautiful woven carpet.

The Moroccan boy’s day begins with a breafast of fresh eggs, plucked from a hen’s nest, and milk just collected from the family cow. After breakfast, he and his father pack up a handmade carpet, climb onto a donkey and travel dusty roads to an open-air market. Once at the market, they make a trade that will likely surprise and delight young readers.

Mirror features remarkable collage illustrations and a fascinating concept. The book will be enjoyed by children aged five and up and offers ample opportunities for discussion – how individuals and families are alike and different and how seemingly very different cultures may not be “different” at all.

Mirror includes introductory comments and afterwords written in English and Arabic.

Joint Winner 2011 Children’s Book Council of Australia Picture Book of the Year
2011 Australian Indie Award Best Children’s Book
2011 The English Association and the UK Literary Association 4-11 Award Best Children’s Illustrated Book (non fiction)

Mirror at Amazon.ca

Mirror at Amazon.com

Our page about Wordless and Almost Wordless Picture Books

Some Dads… by Nick Bland, a delightful picture book about fathers

Posted on May 2nd, 2012 by Carolyn Hart

Storytime Standouts looks at a delightful picture book that celebrates fathers and fatherhood – Some Dads… by Nick Bland

Some Dads... by Nick Bland, a delightful picture book about fathers Some Dads… written and illustrated by Nick Bland
Picture book about fathers published by Scholastic



In his cheery tribute to fathers, Nick Bland depicts all sorts of animal parents exuberantly interacting with their offspring. We laugh at an over-protective elephant papa who fills a swimming pool with life rings and a mischievous sheep who can’t resist throwing a water balloon at his child.

Readers, both young and old, will enjoy the playful rhyming and the jubilant illustrations. Some Dads… is an excellent choice for Father’s Day or Dads’ Day at preschool, delivering a fun and affectionate message about diversity and unconditional love.

Some dads like strolling.
And some dads rock’n rolling.
And some dads just love the outdoors.

Well suited to children aged two and up.

Some Dads… at Amazon.com

Some Dads… at Amazon.ca



Here Comes Hortense! written by Heather Hartt-Sussman

Posted on April 18th, 2012 by Carolyn Hart

Storytime Standouts looks at a picture book about family life, emotions and social situations, Here Comes Hortense! written by Heather Hartt-SussmanHere Comes Hortense! written by Heather Hartt-Sussman and illustrated by Georgia Graham
Picture book about jealousy, emotions and blended families, published by Tundra Books



When a six year old boy, his grandmother and her new husband go on vacation to a theme park, all is well until Hortense arrives. Hortense is Bob’s granddaughter and she is suddenly a threat. Nana shares her hotel room with Hortense, she sings “Lavender’s Blue” to her and she sits next to her for all the scary rides. To add insult to injury, Hortense even devises a special name for Nana!

Nana’s grandson is despondent. He can’t believe that Hortense has taken his special place with his grandmother.

It is not until Nana and Gramps take a ride in the Tunnel of Love that the two children are able to gain perspective and learn to like each other.

Note: Here Comes Hortense! is a follow up to Heather Hartt-Sussman and Georgia Graham’s picture book titled Nana’s Getting Married

Here Comes Hortense! at Amazon.com

Here Comes Hortense! at Amazon.ca



The Value of Child’s Play

Posted on November 4th, 2011 by Carolyn Hart

Child's Play written by Silken LaumannChild’s Play: Rediscovering the Joy of Play in Our Families and CommunitiesSilken Laumann
Parenting book published by Random House





In her book, Child’s Play: Rediscovering the Joy of Play in Our Families and Communities, Silken Laumann, challenges parents to reconnect with their children and to build safe, supportive communities.

Ms. Laumann suggests that neighbors (parents and children) get together once a week, at a neighborhood park, to allow children opportunities to enjoy unstructured time together – ride bikes, skip, kick or throw balls, play tag, road hockey or basketball or enjoy the swings. She points out that unstructured play helps to keep children healthy, creative and active. Enjoying the park together gives parents and neighbours opportunities to meet, talk and get to know each other.

Child’s Play: Rediscovering the Joy of Play in Our Families and Communities at Amazon.com

Child’s Play: Rediscovering the Joy of Play in Our Families and Communities at Amazon.ca


Beginning to Read – Day 4

Posted on August 18th, 2011 by Carolyn Hart

In today’s Beginning to Read class, we spent some time exploring rhyming. Some of the children have a good concept of rhyming while others are just beginning to understand. We began with eight pictures (king, ring, tree, bee, house, mouse, etc.). The children looked at the pictures and matched the rhymes. We later played an active game and they listened in order to determine whether two words rhymed.

image of rhyming wordsHearing rhyming and developing phonemic awareness is a key to reading success. If you would like to print some pictures of rhyming words, follow this link to Storytime Standouts’ free printable rhyming words. For additional information about rhyming and phonemic awareness, click here to check out our Phonemic Awareness page.

image of words in the at word familyWe also played a fun game that served as a review of this week’s word families. The children were given three or four cards, each a different colour (red, green, etc.). Then, each of the children with a red card stood at the front of the group. The children held the cards up and we ‘read’ the words. Occasionally the children positioned themselve correctly and the three letters formed a word. More often, the children had to rearrange themselves in order to spell a word. In some cases, the letters could be used to spell more than one word (tip, pit / rat, art). The children had lots of laughs with this activity because they ‘read’ silly words before finding the correct word. “TPA” became “PTA” and perhaps “APT” before “PAT” was revealed.

This activity was a review of each of the word families we studied this week. If you would like to print out some word family resources, follow this link to Storytime Standouts’ free word family printables .

Today’s story was The Gaggle Sisters’ River Tour written and illustrated by Chris Jackson. This was a challenging story for some of the children because it includes some relatively difficult vocabulary (hauled, sobbed) and there is a considerable amount of text. I am happy to say that all three groups remained engaged and interested throughout the story.

The Gaggle Sisters River Tour at Amazon.ca

The Gaggle Sisters River Tour at Amazon.com


Adult Fiction – Left Neglected by Lisa Genova

Posted on August 8th, 2011 by Carolyn Hart

Storytime Standout's review of adult fiction, Left Neglected by Lisa GenovaLeft Neglected by Lisa Genova
Adult fiction published by Gallery Books an Imprint of Simon and Schuster





I’m taking a break from routine this week and, for the first time in months, I managed to read an adult novel in one day. This is quite an accomplishment and is a testament to Lisa Genova’s captivating Left Neglected. Not a children’s book, Left Neglected is adult fiction. It is an exploration of how a brain injury impacts a career-oriented young mother of three. Sarah Nickerson and her husband are barely juggling face-paced careers and parenthood when Sarah is critically injured in a car accident. Following surgery, Sarah is diagnosed with a neurological syndrome referred to as Left Neglect. Individuals with this syndome have damage to the right hemisphere of their brains and, as a result, do not properly process information about the left side of their bodies and ‘the left side of the world.’

A fascinating exploration of what it means to suffer brain damage, Left Neglected will be enjoyed by anyone who struggles to manage family and career – especially those who are interested in self exploration.

Left Neglected at Amazon.com

Left Neglected at Amazon.ca


Next to Impossible – Choosing My Top Ten Picture Books

Posted on August 5th, 2011 by Jody

While thinking about what to pack for a mini family vacation next week, it struck me that I should come up with a list of my TOP TEN picture books. As soon as I began trying to choose, it became my TOP TWELVE.  I thought it’d be a good exercise because whenever we go away, we have to be very firm with our youngest child about what she can and cannot pack. If you have ever read Robert Munsch’s Too Much Stuff (see how I snuck an extra book in there that’s great but won’t be on my top ten twelve?) you’d have great insight into how my five year old packs. I don’t like limiting how many books our girls can bring, but if we didn’t, we wouldn’t have enough room to bring our clothes! Hopefully it’ll be a while before they figure out that I have NO limit thanks to my Kindle. But if, like them, I was stuck picking ten stories for bedtime or any other time, I wondered which ones would make my list. These are not in order by favourite because that’s just asking too much of myself.

Olivia written and illustrated by Ian Falconer

Olivia is the funniest pig ever! She’s determined, stubborn, and highly amusing. I love the simplicity and the truth of Olivia. She’s tiring, she’s demanding, but she’s so loved. I only wish that Ian Falconer and Kevin Henkes would write a book together so that Olivia could play with Lilly (see below).

Lilly’s Purple Plastic Purse by Kevin Henkes

Lilly is perhaps my favourite story book character. She perfectly encapsulates the ego centric child in such a charming, fun way. I love the way Henkes uses simple sentences in his writing to tell you so much. “Lilly loved school. She loved the pointy pencils. She loved the squeaky chalk”. I love Lilly.

The Princess and the Pea by Hans Christian Andersen

I’m not sure what makes this story one of my favourite fairy tales, but it is. I love the queen piling on all of the mattresses and bedding and I love the version where the prince realizes he loves her, even if she isn’t a real princess.

Suki’s Kimono by Chieri Uegaki and Stephane Jorisch

This is a beautiful story about independence and confidence. It’s not easy for Suki to wear her kimono to school when even her sisters are wearing brand new clothes and all the kids stare at her. But she’s not afraid to be who she is and wear what she wants. I read this book, the first time, years ago and still enjoy it every time I read it to my daughters or to a class.

The Paper Bag Princess written by Robert Munsch and illustrated by Michael Martchenko

My kids love this book because Elizabeth says Ronald is a “bum”. I love it because Elizabeth is clever and strong and not only defeats the dragon, but gets her happily ever after by NOT getting her happily ever after.

Hand, Hand, Fingers, Thumb written by Al Perkins and illustrated by Eric Gurney

I love the simple rhyme and rhythm of this book. To this day, whenever I cross a street and say to my kids “Hand”, they both reply “hand, fingers, thumb”. It’s delightful.

You are Special written by Max Lucado and illustrated by Sergio Martinez

This book makes me smile every time I read it. I love the message that believing in oneself comes from inside, not from the beliefs of others. The symbolism of the stickers falling off of the Wemmicks when they stop caring about how others see them is beautiful.

The Seven Silly Eaters written by Mary Ann Hoberman and illustrated by Marla Frazee

This book is adorable. The pictures are fantastic and I love the pickiness of the kids. The rhyme is awesome and the chaos and love projected in the words and the pictures are realistic and amusing.

Wemberly Worried by Kevin Henkes

Just so you understand how difficult it was for me to pick only 12 favourites, I should mention that I absolutely LOVE,  LOVE,  LOVE every Kevin Henkes book I’ve ever read, including Zebra Wall, which is a novel that I didn’t even know, until last year, that he had written. Wemberly is me. She is my oldest daughter. She is every kid who hates uncertainty and is comforted by the familiar.

The Kissing Hand written by Audrey Penn with illustrations by Ruth E. Harper and Nancy M. Leak

The first time I read this story, I cried a little. Our oldest daughter was almost three when I bought it and read it to her. It was exactly what I wanted and still want for my children- to know that wherever they go and whatever they do, I love them and I’m with them.

Goodnight Moon written by Margaret Wise Brown and illustrated by Clement Hurd

I can recite this book word for word. I love the line “Goodnight nobody”. When our youngest daughter was born, we decorated her bedroom as the ‘great green room’. We had all of the details; “the old lady whispering hush” drawn on the wall,” two kittens and a pair of mittens”. For a border, we wrote the words of the story.  It will forever be one of my favourites.

Guess How Much I love you written by Sam McBratney and illustrated by Anita Jeram

I loved this book even before I really understood it. I gave it to my mom before I had kids and she nodded as though she had some sage understanding of something I did not. Then I had kids and I really got it; because even though they love me to the moon, I love them to the moon and back.

There. I did it. I narrowed it down and chose twelve favourites. I’m so very proud of myself for not even mentioning Sleepy Bears by Mem Fox, Pocket Full of Kisses by Audrey Penn, every other Kevin Henkes book, or Hooray for Diffendoofer Day by Dr. Seuss. It’s probably safe to say that I, too, need strict guidelines for what I can and cannot pack.

Our Newest Contributor Introduces A Great Summer Read: The Lemonade War by Jacqueline Davies

Posted on August 2nd, 2011 by Jody

The Lemonade War by Jacqueline Davies

It’s safe to say that reading a book that you can relate to provides a more enjoyable read. Add humour, sibling rivalry, sibling loyalty, and a little competition just makes it better. In The Lemonade War, Jacqueline Davies has created a book that not only encompasses all of these elements, but speaks to a variety of age groups. While her story details the ‘battle of the stands’ between brother and sister, Davies weaves in the topics of friendship, determination, ambition, and forgiveness. She does so through realistic characters, funny dialogue, and a number of interesting situations that the kids find themselves in as a result of their war.

The Lemonade War - Middle grade fiction that explores friendship, determination, ambition, forgiveness.Evan Treski loves and even likes his little sister…most of the time. Jessie Treski idolizes her big brother. While she is smart enough to skip a grade and go into grade four, the same grade her brother is going into, she knows that she’s not the best ‘people person’. That’s Evan’s gift; hers is math. When the two find out they will not only be in the same grade, but the same class, Jessie thinks this will just make things easier for them. She’ll help Evan with math and he’ll help her with friends. Evan feels differently. He’s mortified. How can he possibly go into the same class with his baby sister? How can he keep his friends if they find out how dumb he is compared to her? Rather than telling each other how they feel, they embark, in typical sibling fashion, on an entrepreneurial war. They will see what matters more; people skills and flexibility or strategic plans and organization. One of them will win The Lemonade War, but both of them are willing to do almost anything to come out ahead.

As a teacher, I thought this was a fun, light, close-to-summer read. Though it’s not new, I hadn’t heard of it and I didn’t expect to enjoy it nearly as much as I did. Once I read it to my grade five class, who enjoyed and connected with the sibling rivalry, I brought it home to read to my 8 year old daughter. Re-reading it, this time as a mom, I was able to connect to it on a new level. My 8 year old reminds me of Jessie with her thorough plans and detailed organization. My 5 year old daughter reminds me of Evan, with his charm and easy social skills. It was easy to imagine the two of them participating in a Lemonade War of their own. Jacqueline Davies realistically portrays the feelings of her main characters, making you connect with both Evan and Jessie. That connection has you turning the pages, unsure of who you want to come out the winner!

The Lemonade War website includes teachers’ guides, lesson plans, a wordsearch and more.

The Lemonade War book trailer

The Lemonade War at Amazon.com

Lemonade War at Amazon.ca


Saluting a Canadian Picture Book Favourite: Under a Prairie Sky

Posted on June 30th, 2011 by Carolyn Hart

Storytime Standouts looks at Canadian picture book Under a Prairie SkyUnder a Prairie Sky written by Anne Laurel Carter and illustrated by Alan and Lea Daniel
Canadian Picture Book published by Orca Book Publishers





It is nearly Canada Day (July 1) and my thoughts have turned to picture books with a decidedly “Canadian look.” This afternoon, I pulled Under a Prairie Sky off my bookshelf and spent some time enjoying the detailed, striking watercolour illustrations and the equally dramatic text. A terrific Canadian picture book read aloud for four and five year olds, Under a Prairie Sky is the story of a farm boy who aspires to be a RCMP Officer when he grows up. While harvesting wheat with his father, he is sent to find his younger brother before a storm arrives at the farm. Knowing that this is a job that will demand the detective skills of a Mounted Police Officer, he quickly changes his clothes, dons a Stetson and mounts his trusty black horse. He follows young Will’s trail through the fields and into the wild, taking in flora and fauna native to the Canadian prairies.

Under a Prairie Sky at Amazon.com

Under a Prairie Sky at Amazon.ca


Father’s Day Wordsearch Printable

Posted on June 18th, 2011 by Carolyn Hart

Here is one of our many free PDF printables for children – a Father’s Day Wordsearch PDF. Enjoy!

image of PDF icon  Father's Day Word Search

Our early literacy printables, including our Father’s Day Wordsearch are in PDF format, if you don’t already use Adobe Reader, you will need to use it to access the downloads.


Please note: some of our early literacy printables are available to Storytime Standouts members only. To become a member of the website (without cost or obligation), please click on the “Members” tab and register as a user.

You will find our selection of free printable alphabets here and all of our early literacy printables here.

If you appreciate our Father’s Day Wordsearch, please support this site by visiting and purchasing from Amazon.com or Amazon.ca.


Pink by Nan Gregory and Luc Melanson – Simply Wonderful

Posted on June 9th, 2011 by Carolyn Hart

Pink by Nan Gregory and Luc MelandsonPink – written by Nan Gregory and illustrated by Luc Melanson

We’ve all seen them, “The Pinks,” Vivi calls them, but not out loud. Every day at school they parade their glory – from hair bows to tippy toes, every shade of perfect pink.”

Poor Vivi would love to be just like “The Pinks.” Her rather ordinary world is not at all pink. She lives, with her blue collar parents and her baby brother, in a brown working class world that leaves her yearning. Her parents are not unaware of her desire to be a “Pink,” they have had their share of disappointments but they have found ways to accept and live within their means.

One day, when Vivi is running an errand for her mom, she discovers the ultimate pink treasure. She sees a beautiful doll, dressed in a cascading pink bridal gown. It is displayed prominently in the window of an exclusive neighbourhood shop. Vivi feels she must have it so she does chores and small jobs all winter to earn money. She saves and saves in order to buy the beautiful doll. She is certain that having the spectacular doll will enable her to live like the wealthy “Pink” girls she sees at school.

Pink is a marvelous story that is both poignant and thoughtful. Vivi wants so much to be a “Pink” and her young heart is filled to bursting with desire for the doll. When Vivi witnesses one of the “Pinks” leaving the store with “her” doll, she is heartbroken but ultimately enriched by the experience.

It would have been so easy to create a magical happy ending and have Vivi’s world become a pink one. Thankfully, Ms. Gregory understands that life is not always fair and that if we take time to look, beauty (and especially pink) is all around us. When sharing this thoughtful story with a child, be sure to take note of Mr. Melanson’s illustrations and especially his masterful depictions of Vivi’s emotions.

Very highly recommended, for children four and up.

Pink at Amazon.com

Pink at Amazon.ca

Highlighting Picture Books to Celebrate Mother’s Day

Posted on May 3rd, 2011 by Carolyn Hart

Storytime Standouts Recommends Mother's Day Picture Books

Here are some lovely picture books that celebrate mom. They would be perfect for a Mother’s Day storytime.












Bearcub and Mama written by Sharon Jennings and illustrated by Melanie Watt
A picture book about the relationship between mother and child, published by Kids Can Press


Rich, warm, luminous illustrations enhance the story of a young cub and his mama. As the cub grows, he gains independence and gets separated from his loving, supportive and encouraging mother. Thankfully, he remembers the lessons she taught him and returns, through a snowstorm, to their cave. When he awakens in the morning, she is right there beside him. A lovely and reassuring story, best suited for preschool children.

Bearcub and Mama at Amazon.com

Bearcub and Mama at Amazon.ca

Bright Red Kisses written by Teresa Toten and illustrated by Deirdre Betteridge
A picture book about Mommy getting ready for an evening out, published by Annick Press

“The air is full of tickles” and Mommy is rushing to be ready for seven o’clock. Fortunately, she has enlisted the help of her young daughter. Lotions, creams, powders, sprays and polishes help to prepare Mommy for a special night out. Beautiful language, captures the excitement and anticipation perfectly; “In the back of Mommy’s closet the fancy dresses sleep. I wake them up and shake them up. I love to watch them leap.” A delightful story to share with young children, this might be a perfect antidote for those who plead, “Please don’t go.”

Bright Red Kisses at Amazon.com

Bright Red Kisses at Amazon.ca

Free Mother’s Day Theme Printables for Children

As an extension activity, children will enjoy our free printable “Things You Can Learn From Mom” wordsearch

image of PDF icon  Things You Can Learn From Mom

Wordsearch

Mother's Day Writing Paper for Kids from Storytime StandoutsInterlined paper for Mother’s Day

image of PDF icon  Writing paper for kids - Mother's Day

Mother's Day theme interlined paper for beginning writers.

image of PDF icon  Writing Paper for Kids - Happy Mothers Day




We think you’ll like this related post and poem

Storytime Standouts Looks at Picture Books About Moms and MotherhoodThe Reading Mother














Follow Storytime Standouts’s board Mother’s Day for Preschool and Kindergarten on Pinterest

Follow Storytime Standouts’s board Mother’s Day for Preschool and Kindergarten on Pinterest.


Family Diversity, Anticipating the Weekend – Monday is One Day

Posted on March 29th, 2011 by Carolyn Hart

Storytime Standouts looks at Monday is One Day, a picture book about families and family diversityMonday is One Day – written by Arthur A. Levine and illustrated by Julian Hector
Picture book published by Scholastic Press





Monday through Sunday,
the whole week through,
each day I count the ways
I love to be with you!

Monday is One Day shows young readers that it is not easy to go to work especially when earning a living means spending time away from those we love. Illustrations depict family diversity including one parent, two parent, young parents and old, living in rural, city and suburban homes. The message of unconditional love flows beautifully throughout Monday is One Day and it is lovely to see all the families enjoy leisure time together on Saturday and Sunday.

Printable T Rex as seen in the story

Monday is One Day at Amazon.com

Monday is One Day at Amazon.ca

You may also be interested in our page titled “Diversity.” We highlight picture books and chapter books that celebrate and inform us about human diversity including learning disabilities, physical disabilities, allergies, single parent families, interracial families, same sex parents, aging, death and more.

Don’t miss our page of quotes about diversity.


The Day Leo Said I Hate You, a picture book about anger

Posted on March 10th, 2011 by Carolyn Hart

You may also be interested in visiting our page about children’s books that reflect diversity.

Taking a look at a picture book about a child’s frustration and anger…


The Day Leo Said I Hate You written by Robie H. Harris and illustrated by Molly Bang
Picture book about anger, frustration and emotions published by Little, Brown and Company

When young children feel anger, it can be a frightening experience for them. They may be completely overcome by frustration and may be unable to control their words.

Here we meet Leo, a little boy who has been told, “No” more times than he can count. His mommy doesn’t want him to roll tomatoes across the floor and she doesn’t want him to drop string beans into the fish bowl.

Leo announces that he hates “No.” Mommy calmly says that she understands his feelings but, “There are some things you just should not do.” Leo decides that his bedroom is the best place to be but, when he begins drawing on the wall, his mommy is certain to be annoyed and it is not long until he cannot contain his emotions any longer. He shouts, “I HATE YOU.”

Strong, bold Photoshop illustrations are sure to resonate with children who have felt overpowering emotions.

A valuable resource for families, The Day Leo Said I Hate You! is a reassuring story of enduring love – even when it has been a very long and extremely emotional day.

The Day Leo Said I Hate You! at Amazon.com

The Day Leo Said I Hate You! at Amazon.ca


Zero Kisses for Me – Not Even a Tiny Bit Bleah

Posted on March 6th, 2011 by Carolyn Hart

image of cover art for Zero Kisses for MeZero Kisses for Me written by Manuela Monari and illustrated by Virginie Soumagnac
Picture book published by Tundra Books

I have the good fortune to share read alouds with children regularly in my classes. I always look for engaging stories that will hook my students. Sometimes I am lucky enough to find a book that doesn’t just hook the kids – some books have children talking about the story a week later and begging for a reread. Zero Kisses for Me is one of those delightful books that children love to see, listen to and cheer about.

Life is tough when you’re always being kissed.” When you’re kissed before you go out in the rain and when you’re kissed and called, “Honeybunch” or “Flower Bud.” By the end of the day, you can be “tired of being everybody’s tootsy-wootsy… huggy-bear… kissy-snooks.” You might even demand, “No more mush!” And, you might exclaim, “BLEAH” – the perfect word to make a story memorable and a great word for young children to hear and relish.

Fun illustrations add to the atmosphere in Zero Kisses for Me and convey the little bear’s determination and frustration beautifully. A great read aloud for boys and girls, aged four to six, especially those who enjoy many, many kisses each and every day. Although not a Valentine’s Day book, this would be a terrific choice to reach for on February 14th.

Zero Kisses for Me at Amazon.com

Zero Kisses for Me at Amazon.ca

You will also be interested in our Valentine’s Day printables. Storytime Standouts is on Pinterest – Check out our Valentine’s Day Board


Listen As Scully Experiences A Screaming Kind of Day

Posted on March 2nd, 2011 by Carolyn Hart

A Screaming Kind of Day – written by Rachna Gilmore and illustrated by Gordon Sauve
Winner of the 1999 Governor General’s Award for Children’s Literature, Text

A Screaming Kind Of Day introduces Scully, a young, hearing impaired girl. She awakens and opens her eyes to her brother’s face, teasing and taunting. A noisy chase begins and is only stopped when mom intervenes. She is studying for a test and has little patience for her children and their screams. The grey weather outside matches Scully’s mood and, when the rain eventually comes, she wants to go outside to experience the rhythm and intensity of the storm. Careful to avoid her mom, Scully sneaks outside to dance, touch, smell and feel the wild weather. Before long, Mom is at her side and is angry. Once inside the house again, Scully resists going to her room and shouts, “I hate you.” Before long, restorative sleep calls and Scully rests. When she awakens, the Screaming Kind of Day has been washed away and harmony has returned to the family.

After dinner I sit by the open window.
No rain.
The sky is silky pink with licks of lavender.
The green smells full and glad.
I sigh and look at Mom. “Can we go outside, Mom? You know, wait for the stars?”

Much more than a story about a deaf child, A Screaming Kind of Day explores family dynamics and provides reassurance at the end of a challenging day. As well, it encourages the reader to appreciate the sensory impact of a rainstorm and to consider conflict from several perspectives. A lovely story to enjoy with children aged four and up.

Rachna Gilmore’s Teacher’s Guide for A Screaming Kind of Day

A Screaming Kind Of Day at Amazon.com

A Screaming Kind of Day at Amazon.ca

You may also be interested in our page titled “Diversity.” We highlight picture books and chapter books that celebrate and inform us about human diversity including learning disabilities, physical disabilities, allergies, single parent families, interracial families, same sex parents, aging, death and more.

Don’t miss our page of quotes about diversity.



And Tango Makes Three – Celebrate Family Diversity with Roy and Silo

Posted on February 23rd, 2011 by Carolyn Hart

Storytime Standouts looks at picture book, And Tango Makes ThreeAnd Tango Makes Three
Written by Justin Richardson and Peter Parnell, illustrated by Henry Cole





Roy and Silo are male chinstrap penguins at New York’s Central Park Zoo. They love each other very much and make a nest together. Sadly, Roy and Silo do not have an egg to keep warm. One day their keeper decides to give them an egg that needs protection. Many days pass, Roy and Silo attend conscientiously to the precious egg. At long last the shell cracks and baby Tango arrives. Together, Roy and Silo become fathers. Based on true events, And Tango Makes Three is charming and thoughtful. Highly recommended.

Best for ages 4-8

New York Times article about Roy and Silo from 2004

New York’s Central Park Zoo

And Tango Makes Three at Amazon.com

And Tango Makes Three at Amazon.ca

You may also be interested in our page titled “Diversity.” We highlight picture books and chapter books that celebrate and inform us about human diversity including learning disabilities, physical disabilities, allergies, single parent families, interracial families, same sex parents, aging, death and more.

Don’t miss our page of quotes about diversity.


Danger and Suspense in Out On the Ice in the Middle of the Bay

Posted on February 16th, 2011 by Carolyn Hart

Out on the Ice in the Middle of the Bay
written by Peter Cumming and illustrated by Alice Priestly
Despite warnings that she must not to go outside alone, young Leah leaves the safety of her far North home and sets out to explore an enormous iceberg. “Leah walked away from her house, past the church, down to the beach, and out on the ice towards the iceberg that looked like a magical island of snow.” Just as Leah begins her adventure, a small polar bear cub is drawn to the same intriguing iceberg. As the moon rises, girl and bear cub meet in middle of the frozen bay. Meanwhile, Leah’s father and the bear cub’s mother race desperately to locate their offspring.

Out on the Ice in the Middle of the Bay is filled with suspense as Leah explores the cold and dangerous world outside. It prompts the reader to consider not only the ways that Leah and the cub are alike but also how Leah’s father and the polar bear mother are similar.

32 pages, this is special read aloud for children aged 4 to 8

Out on the Ice in the Middle of the Bay at Amazon.com

Out on the Ice in the Middle of the Bay at Amazon.ca


Yong Chen’s A Gift, A Special Chinese New Year Picture Book

Posted on February 1st, 2011 by Carolyn Hart

image of the cover art for A GiftA Gift written and illustrated by Yong Chen
Chinese New Year picture book published by Boyds Mills Press



image from the Chinese New Year picture book, A GiftBeautiful, warm illustrations accompany a gentle, heart-warming story in A Gift.

Chinese New Year is usually spent with friends and family but, for Amy’s mom it is a time to feel homesick. Her brothers and sister live in far away China. When a package arrives from China for Amy, she and her mom are excited to open it and read the accompanying letter. The letter explains that, while working in a field, Amy’s uncle found a beautiful stone. Amy’s Uncle Zhong subsequently took the stone to his brother, her Uncle Ming, who spent many days carving and polishing the stone until his work revealed a lovely dragon. The carved dragon, a symbol of China, will be worn by Amy on a red string necklace, symbolizing luck.

Readers will note the contrast between Amy’s western-style family home and her uncles’ rural, Chinese experience. Many important details including an orange tree and a rice cooker in the kitchen, a Buddha statue in the garden, Chinese characters on a wall, sampans in a river, a water buffalo pulling a plow and Amy’s traditional costume will be observed by children and could be explored further.

Best for children aged four to eight.

A Gift at Amazon.com

A Gift at Amazon.ca

image of Chinese New Year Writing Paper for Kids

Storytime Standouts offers all sorts of writing paper for kids. You might be especially interested in our free Chinese New Year early learning printables:

image of PDF icon  Writing paper for kids - Chinese New Year #1

Chinese New Year theme interlined paper for beginning writers.

image of PDF icon  Writing paper for kids - Chinese New Year #2 (with Dragon)

Chinese New Year theme interlined paper for beginning writers.

image of PDF icon  Five Chinese Dragons Chant






Please visit Storytime Standouts’ Chinese New Year Pinterest Board

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