Father’s Day Press Release: How US troops all over the world can say ‘I love you’ to their kids back home

GHMILY Anniversary Edition Cover ArtPress Release: Bestselling storybook Guess How Much I Love You and nonprofit United Through Reading help deployed military dads deliver a special message to their kids, perfect for Father’s Day

Although millions of children in the US will be celebrating Father’s Day with their dads on June 21, for many children whose fathers are serving in the military, dad won’t be at home. But thanks to nonprofit United Through Reading and a very special storybook, there’s a way for every dad to tell his kids he loves them this Father’s Day – however far away he might be.

United Through Reading helps thousands of military men and women separated from the children in their lives during deployment to share in the magical bedtime story experience together, wherever they are in the world. And so service members all over the country – and the world – have the opportunity to be video-recorded reading storybooks to their children at home, whether it’s from a tent in Afghanistan, a base in Djibouti, Africa, or one of nearly 200 recording locations worldwide.

Guess How Much I Love You by Sam McBratney and illustrated by Anita Jeram is one of United Through Reading’s most popular book choices, especially for Father’s Day – its story celebrates the unique bond between father and child. The tale of Big Nutbrown Hare and Little Nutbrown Hare’s attempts to measure their love for one another has resonated with parents and children all over the world, and has struck a particular chord with military families facing separation. A global bestseller celebrating its 20th anniversary this year, Guess How Much I Love You has become one of the world’s best loved picture books.

Guess How Much I Love You is one of United Through Reading’s favorite book titles,” says United Through Reading CEO, Dr. Sally Ann Zoll, Ed.D.  “Since it was written 20 years ago, we have been providing the storybook to service members near and far to record for their loved ones at home. The story is simple, but the message is a very special one, reassuring little ones at home that a Father’s love is immeasurable with the beloved line, ‘I love you right up to the moon and back.’ For service members who are away from home, the story serves as a reminder that their love can close the distance.  This book is a treasure!” ​

PRT Farah Completes United Through Reading Read-a-thon

U.S. Navy Hospital Corpsman 1st Class Jennifer Kleve, left, a medic with Provincial Reconstruction Team (PRT) Farah, helps set up a camera for U.S. Army Capt. Jacob Estrada, right, security force commander for the PRT, prior to his participation in a United Through Reading Read-a-thon on FOB Farah, Jan. 18. Participants in the program were encouraged to read to children in their families or to students at Birch Elementary in Idaho, to promote childhood literacy. United Through Reading is a non-profit organization that enables deployed service members to share their love and support with their children by reading books aloud on DVD. PRT Farah’s mission is to train, advise, and assist Afghan government leaders at the municipal, district, and provincial levels in Farah province Afghanistan. Their civil military team is comprised of members of the U.S. Navy, U.S. Army, the U.S. Department of State and the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID). (U.S. Navy photo by Lt. j.g. Matthew Stroup/released)

Learn more: Deployed dads deliver #FathersDay message with @UTR4Military and #GuessHowMuchILoveYou

A heartfelt video especially for Father’s Day featuring military parents reading Guess How Much I Love You to their children back home in a United Through Reading recording. http://youtu.be/-PvcCmSkfZE



United Through Reading is a non-profit 501 (c)(3) public benefit organization that has been around for more than 25 years; it’s mission is to unite military families facing physical separation by facilitating the bonding experience of reading aloud together.  United Through Reading offers service members the opportunity to be video-recorded reading storybooks to children at home which eases the stress of separation, maintains positive emotional connections, and cultivates a love of reading and early childhood literacy.  At nearly 200 recording locations worldwide, service members can read to the children who are special to them from units on ships, in tents in Afghanistan, on bases around the world, and at more than 40 USO centers worldwide.  Since its inception, nearly 2 million military parents, spouses and children have benefited from the program.



 IBSN:  9780763674489 $16.99 / $19.00    

Guess How Much I Love You is celebrating its 20thanniversary in 2015.Now available in a deluxe anniversary edition, Guess How Much I Love You is one of the most successful children’s books of all time, selling 28 million copies and published in 53 languages. Published by Candlewick Press, Sam McBratney’s timeless, endearing story of Big and Little Nutbrown Hare, beautifully rendered in Anita Jeram’s watercolours, has charmed people of all ages. It has become one of the world’s best-loved picture books, and the phrase ‘I love you right up to the moon and back’ has come to signify a way of saying ‘I love you’ to someone special. You can find out more about this extraordinary book here http://www.guesshowmuchiloveyou.com/us.


Candlewick Press is an independent publisher based in Somerville, Massachusetts. For over twenty years, Candlewick has published outstanding children’s books for readers of all ages, including books by award-winning authors and illustrators such as the National Ambassador for Young People’s Literature, Kate DiCamillo, M. T. Anderson, Jon Klassen, and Laura Amy Schlitz; the widely acclaimed Judy Moody, Mercy Watson, and ’Ology series; and favorites such as Guess How Much I Love You, Where’s Waldo?, and Maisy. Candlewick is part of the Walker Books Group, together with Walker Books UK in London and Walker Books Australia. The Walker Books Group has a unique ownership structure that includes all of its employees worldwide. Visit Candlewick online at www.candlewick.com

17 Ideas to Help Beat the Summer Slide

designThough the term Summer Slide sounds fun and innocuous, it actually refers to learning loss. Learning loss is inevitable when young, developing minds are idle for 3 months. Reading skills and levels are particularly impacted with research indicating that kids who do not read over the summer can lose up to three months of reading achievement. In addition, this learning loss is cumulative over the years, which is a daunting obstacle to overcome as children get older.

It’s expected that anytime you stop practicing a skill for several months, there will be some catching up when you pick up the skill again. Reading every day is vital to combatting Summer Slide, but there are also other innovative and interactive methods parents can apply to keep summer fun while stimulating young minds at the same time:

(1) Read Something Every Day. This is the #1 rule and parents should lead by example and read too. Whether it’s a magazine, the newspaper, a comic book or novel, encourage children to read at least 30 minutes every day. Keeping a basket of books in the car is a great way to steal some reading time.

(2) Read at Least 6 Books this Summer. Create your own home reading program with an incentive for completing 6 reading level appropriate books. If you don’t know your child’s reading level, consult their teacher. Parents know best what will motivate their own children. Challenge your child to come up with a name, theme and logo. It can be as simple or as complicated as you’d like, with your own timeframe and rules. Just make sure to follow through and encourage your young readers.

(3) Read Aloud with Your Child. It seems counterintuitive to read aloud with your child when they learn to read on their own. But reading aloud with your child presents many benefits, especially as they get older. Consider a family book club where you and your child take turns reading aloud to each other from a mutually selected book.

(4) Read the book and then watch the movie. Many books have been adapted for the big screen, it’s tempting for all ages to skip the book and fast forward to the movie. For early readers on to YA Fiction, incent and reward your child with a book movie party after they’ve read the book first. Then, hold a critic’s review and discuss the differences and similarities, likes and dislikes.

(5) Book swap with friends. Get together with friends and have informal book swaps where kids can borrow books from each other. No matter what librarian, parent, teacher or website recommends, peers can be the best source of good reads.

(6) Cook with Your Children. Reading recipes, measuring, and preparing can develop comprehension, math, and motor skills. In addition, children who engage in meal prep are more likely to eat different foods.

(7) Trips to Museums and Zoos. Museums are great resources for learning and most of the time, kids aren’t even aware they’re learning. Be sure to take your time and allow kids to read all of the great signs and graphics set up at each exhibit.

(8) Keep a Journal. A great way to keep writing skills polished over the summer is to have kids keep a daily journal. Jotting down just a couple of sentences a day can help keep up sentence structures, penmanship, and vocabulary.

(9) Listen to Audiobooks. A long car trip is the perfect opportunity to listen to an Audiobook. The Library has a huge selection of Audiobooks to choose from. Also, on hot summer days, staying inside and listening to an audiobook for a few hours can be a perfect, relaxing, mid-day activity.

(10) Regular Game Nights. Games can make kids into better students. In addition to being fun, they can teach valuable math, reasoning, executive functioning, teamwork, and sportsmanship skills.

(11) Join the Summer Reading Program at the Library. Summer library reading programs began in the late 1800s as a way to encourage non-working school children to read during summer vacation. Today, library reading programs are the public’s most popular choice for summer reading programs. Commit to visit the library once a week during the summer and let your child take their time browsing and selecting books. It’s free, air-conditioned, and the books are always changing, you’ll be surprised at what you’ll find.

(12) Incorporate geography. Print out a map of the world and ask your child to pin countries and states where the characters in the books live or visit. This can be a fun way to initiate interest in different locations around the world. Also, readers may gain satisfaction in keeping track of all the different cities they have virtually traveled to through their reading.

(13) Give Kids Access to Books. Even if you have a large selection of books in your home library, visit the Library regularly. The inventory at the Library changes by the hour and it’s guaranteed that kids will find something new to read every visit. Also, book ownership is important in establishing an appreciation for books.

(14) Give Kids a Choice in Selecting Books. Allow them to choose what they want to read. Even if it’s 100 graphic novels, giving kids a choice will capture their attention and interest longer.

(15) Keep Up with the Math Facts. There’s many way to keep up with math facts and many of them require no more than a few minutes of investment at a time and best of all, flashcards aren’t required. Quiz facts while waiting for meals, riding in cars, taking walks, or riding bikes. Just a few minutes a day can keep the dust off.

(16) Set Aside Time Every day. Most people want to avoid routines in the summer, but sticking to a time every day for reading will help develop expectations and good habits during the usually unscheduled summer months.

(17) Set Goals and Celebrate. Reading shouldn’t be a chore, and the habits that young readers develop now can benefit them into adulthood. Have a discussion at the beginning of summer and set realistic goals. Be sure to reward and celebrate accomplishments along the way and at the end of summer.


Klutz Activity Kits Make Creating Fun

Klutz Felted Friends


If you’re like me, sometimes you’re skeptical about the value of an all in one activity kit. Concerns about ease of use, quality, and ability to capture attention spans of kids generally conquer my desire to purchase them. Recently, I had the opportunity to review several Klutz brand activity kits, and my opinions have been transformed. Head over to The Children’s Book Review and read about what makes these kits great to have on hand at home and why they also make great gifts.


Book of the Day: Kira-Kira by Cynthia Kadohata

kira kiraKira-Kira

By Cynthia Kadohata

Ages 10 and Up

Published by Atheneum Books for Young Readers (December 2006)

Publisher’s Synopsis: kira-kira (kee ra kee ra): glittering; shining Glittering. That’s how Katie Takeshima’s sister, Lynn, makes everything seem. The sky is kira-kira because its color is deep but see-through at the same time. The sea is kira-kira for the same reason. And so are people’s eyes. When Katie and her family move from a Japanese community in Iowa to the Deep South of Georgia, it’s Lynn who explains to her why people stop on the street to stare. And it’s Lynn who, with her special way of viewing the world, teaches Katie to look beyond tomorrow. But when Lynn becomes desperately ill, and the whole family begins to fall apart, it is up to Katie to find a way to remind them all that there is always something glittering — kira-kira — in the future.

Book of the Day: My Father’s Dragon by Ruth Stiles Gannett

my father's dragonMy Father’s Dragon

By Ruth Stiles Gannett

Ages 4 – 8

Published by Random House Books for Young Readers (Yearling 2005)

Publisher’s Synopsis: When Elmer Elevator hears about the plight of an overworked and underappreciated baby flying dragon, he stows away on a ship and travels to Wild Island to rescue the dragon. RUTH STILES GANNETT wrote My Father’s Dragon just a few years after her graduation from Vassar College in 1944. It was an immediate success, becoming a Newbery Honor Book, and was soon followed by two sequels, Elmer and the Dragon and The Dragons of Blueland. All three dragon stories have been continuously in print in the more than 40 years since their publication. The author’s other books include Katie and the Sad Noise and The Wonderful House-Boat- Train. She is married to the artist and calligrapher Peter Kahn. They have seven daughters and seven grandchildren.

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