Friday, October 2, 2015

Increasing Emotional Intelligence: My Dream for You is Happiness

So in the last little while I've been wondering what books I can use to help my kids understand and control their emotions. Some temper tantrums may have started this train of thought.

I was thinking about the guest post that Lindsay did for me, and how she recommended Your Fantastic Elastic Brain as a tool for teaching kids about how they can have a growth mindset.

"What book can I read to my kids that will help them learn that they can react to disappointment as a temporary setback instead of a crushing defeat?" This is my question. Because they react to not getting a snack right before dinner or having to do chores before screen time as if it were the end of the world.

Anyway, I thought about what I was going to do today and remembered that I needed to review My Dream for You is Happiness, and something clicked. This book is very straightforward about happiness. My favorite line is "There will be tummy aches and stormy days and times when you want to stay and play when it's really time to go. It's OK. You can still be happy."

Choosing happiness. That is definitely something I want my kids to learn. It's something I still need to be reminded of regularly. I think that's only human.

So let me tell you about this book.

My Dream for You is Happiness
by Carole Ann Hausman,
illustrated by Joanne Raptis

When I got an email asking me if I'd like to review My Dream for You is Happiness I read the description and I was like, "I dunno, this could go either way . . . It could be horribly cheesy." But then I looked at the cover again and I was like "Aww, that's so cute! It reminds me of My Neighbor Totoro. I want to see all the other pictures inside." So then I googled the illustrator and spent more time than I had intended looking at her work online. And I requested a copy of the book.

And hooray! It's not super cheesy! It's just the right amount of cheesy. Just great. A simple text with lots of adorable pictures and a nice message.

The art is in the chibi style. If you're not familiar with it, among it's hallmarks are huge heads and eyes. According to an online tutorial I read, chibi bodies should only be 1.5 times the size of the head. I was reading about this because I was reading Melissa Wiley's book recap Our Week In Books and then browsing adorable chibi instagram journal of chotskibelle and searching "How to Draw Chibis" online so now I'm pretty much an expert. Not. :)

The cover does give you a good idea of what the interior art will look like: muted tones, simple backgrounds and great light/shadow. Each page is illustrated with a different child in a scene, and I feel this helps make the book even more universal. Boys, girls, babies, parents, grandparents, and puppies are represented. Skin tones vary. I'm not going so far as to say everyone will recognize themselves in its pages, but I did appreciate the variety.

Since the book was published by a very small press (so small that the website has only this one book on it) I'm guessing it didn't have a big team behind it. I think the book would've benefitted from a couple of small changes: it has one typographical error in the front-matter, and in the corner of one picture there's a sunshine that stands out as quite odd to me. But over all I'd say it's a really sweet book and nicely done.

I plan on keeping it in my collection, and using it as a tool to help teach my kids about choosing happiness. We've read it together already, but I think with repeated readings its message will sink deeper into their minds.
Turns out bookstores reward people who refer customers to them. The images above are affiliate links, and if you use them to make a purchase, I get a small commission at no extra cost to you.

While we're talking about buying stuff, this is some of the illustrator's work that I mentioned looking at. Custom chibi drawings from the Joanne Raptis's Etsy shop. I think it would be so unspeakably cute to have a family portrait done.
UPDATE: So I read this book with the kids again, then asked them what happiness meant to them. They were confused by this question, so I rephrased: "What makes you happy?" By this time they had got into the dress ups and started going crazy. Benjamin (pictured right) said, "I'm happy when I'm silly!" Both boys agreed that they were happy when they were full of good food. I plan to ask them again when they get home from school. And I challenge you to ask your kids what makes them happy. Then share what they said in the comments below. 

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

More about Bookroo: an Article, a Quiz and Review

So you remember a while back when I posted about Bookroo? I had Jane from the Bookroo team do a guest post for me, and I explained all about their subscription box.

Well I wanted to tell you a few other fun Bookroo things:

1. I also did guest post for Bookroo. It's called 3 Selfish Reasons to Read to Your Kids. I had fun writing it. :) I hope you like it. And I hope that your kids become learning zombies effortless learners.

2. Bookroo has a fun quiz I took with the kids. You have to guess which picture book is being represented by each of the minimalist posters. We did pretty good! I was super proud of myself for guessing some of the harder ones. *breathes on knuckles, polishes them on shirt*

I'll spoil this one for you. Now you'll know that it's not Runaway Bunny.

3. I got my first Bookroo box! Some people liked the previous post and subscribed through my affiliate link, so I got a free box. Thanks guys. We loved it!

We picked the 2 picture book box (instead of the box that comes with 3 board books) and we got Penguin Cha-Cha by Kristi Valiant which I had never heard of before but which is adorable (I especially love Julia's red dancing dress, which shows up at the end), and Say What? by Angela DeTerlizzi, which I had read and loved previously. In fact, we have a little paper copy of Say What?, which came free in a Cheerios box, so I could theoretically take advantage of Bookroo's policy and get a discount on my next box. But I actually like having the bigger, hardcover version, so I'm gonna keep it. I'll stick some amazon-affiliate links here in case you want to look further into the books we got:

It looks like if we had just bought these two books from Amazon, we would have paid $27.35 + shipping (because I don't have Prime and it's not more than $35). A one-time Bookroo box costs $19.99 and has free shipping. If you buy a few months in advance, the price drops even further. So, at least in this box, Bookroo is keeping their promise that the retail value of the books will always exceeds the subscription price.

I was interested to see that the books we got didn't come with dust jackets. That must be one way that Bookroo keeps costs low. I've heard friends say that they hate dust jackets. Too much fuss. Always getting torn or falling off or what have you. I like them, myself, because they help keep the book in good shape for longer. Regardless, the book is the same as it would otherwise be, and the kids didn't seem to notice. In fact, it has probably been easier for me that they didn't have jackets, because Jubilee has been requesting Say What? in bed, and she really does kind of mess up dust jackets. Since she's only two, I'll give her a pass.

I wasn't present for the Bookroo Unboxing, which is too bad. I had big plans about taking tons of photos and being like "ooh that wrapping paper is so cute." But what happened was our box arrived on a Saturday when I was gone from like noon to midnight, almost, chaperoning some of the young women in my ward (church congregation). We went to a big activity with a service project, workshops, dinner, and a dance. I have a special place in my heart for such activities, because I met Jacob at a church dance. Anyway, Jacob was at home with the kids all afternoon and evening, so they got the box and opened it up right away. I don't blame him. He said it was a great way to entertain the kids for a while, and that they had a lot of fun with it. I thought it was super cute how there was a personalized note on the inside of the box's lid. That's about all I can speak to as far as packaging. :)

If you want to look into Bookroo, here's my affiliate link. I still think it would be super adorable to have a book club centered around the Bookroo box. Put the kids on a webcam with their cousins or far-away friends who got the books and enjoy reading them to each other. Reading books to someone over webcam definitely works better if you each have a copy. :)

Thursday, September 24, 2015

Two Cool Things: Cybils and KidLitCon 2015

When I get asked for reading recommendations, I often go to the Cybils shortlists. If you've been reading Everead for a while you'll know that I love the Cybils. I recommend them highly as a place to find good books. They're divided into fifteen categories, and they make it easy for me to find what I'm looking for. An early reader? Yes. A YA realistic fiction book? Gotcha covered. New poetry? Yes! There is more than Shel Silverstein out there. All the books on the shortlists were published in the year prior. This is new, good stuff.  I like to think of the Cybils as the "bloggers choice" award. The criteria for winning are that a book have 1) strong kid appeal and 2) high literary merit. (Kind of like Kix. Kid-tested, adult approved.)

I have been selected as a Cybils judge again this year! Hooray! So from October 1-15 a form will appear on the Cybils site where anyone can nominate their favorite kidlit/YA book of the year (specifically published in the last 12 months). In fact, please do this if you can! Anyway, once all the nominations are in the first round Cybils panelists read all the nominees in a category and pick 5-7 of them for a shortlist. These are announced Jan 1. Then second round Cybils panelists decide which of the shortlisted book should be this year's winner, and those are announced on Feb 14.

This year I will be a Round 2 judge in the Graphic Novels category. So thrilled.

2. Speaking of thrilling stuff, I'm going to KidLitCon again this year! So memorize my face (above) and find me if you're going to be there.

I went a few years back when it was in NYC. It was a great experience. Though I never properly blogged about it (only wrote this excited bit and this recap of the first leg of my trip), I loved connecting with other bloggers, and hanging out with my brother Ransom who met me in the city.

This year is going to be even more awesome because I am on two panels! Whaaat? I'm pinching myself that I get to be presenting. And twice over! I will be on a panel about non-fiction and on this panel about judging book awards. I'm totally starstruck by the people I'll be presenting with. Wish me luck!

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

New YA Non-Fiction: Symphony for the City of the Dead

When I think back on the reading I was required to do in high school, it's mostly fiction that comes to mind. The non-fiction texts I read back then were pretty much exclusively textbooks (though I did read Anne Frank: The Diary of a Young Girl in 9th grade). Was the market devoid of YA non-fiction? It's possible. I mean, what's the difference between non-fiction for adults and non-fiction for "young" adults a.k.a. teens?

I don't know if I can fully answer those questions, but I have read a non-fiction book for teens I want to talk about.

Symphony for the City of the Dead: Dmitri Shostakovich and the Siege of Leningrad
by M. T. Anderson to be released 9/22/2015
I received an uncorrected proof from the publisher, with the understanding that I would review it.

There are three main reasons I wanted to read this book, when the pitch for it came up in my inbox:

1. M.T. Anderson - The man won the National Book Award for The Astonishing Life of Octavian Nothing, Traitor to the Nation, Volume I: The Pox Party (historical fiction) and I tried to read that book but I gave up on it. I also tried to read by him, Feed by him, but put it down early. (That one is YA sci-fi.) Anyway, lots of authors I like (including John Green and Shannon Hale) like M.T. Anderson's books and promote them, so I've been looking for one that works for me.

2. Shostakovich - I am not the Stewart family expert on composers. That would be my husband, Jacob. So when I read "Shostakovich" it rang a bell but I couldn't pull up any particular music in my head. And I wanted to fix that.

3. Cover Art - It has a really nice cover. I liked it even better, the further I got in the book.

So. Did Symphony for the City of the Dead work for me? Was it the M.T. Anderson book I could finish? Yes! A few chapters in I told Jacob, "reading this book is like listening to NPR." And by that I meant that 1. it was enjoyable 2. it made me consider political stuff and musical stuff from a new perspective 3. the human element was big, and 4. I felt smarter after doing it.

Anderson includes quotes, cites sources, adds maps and images, but successfully makes the book a flowing narrative. Admittedly, I couldn't see the maps. I got a galley, so I just got a grey rectangle with the words "Map to come" in it. But it was always placed right around when I was thinking, "you know, I could really use a map..." I'm confident that the finished book will have excellent visuals.

I appreciated that Anderson discussed the sources he was drawing from. In particular, he talked about a biography of Shostakovich that was once thought to be an autobiography, but has since been discredited a bit. "Take this with a grain of salt," is his basic message, but he goes into all the details. If the book were written with an adult audience in mind, would that be glossed over? I hope not. Would a discussion of the validity of the source throw off the pacing of the book? I've seen it happen. Anderson does a good job of hitting all the targets and still keeping things moving.

I was glad Symphony for the City of the Dead was written for a teen audience, because I think that kept it from being too gory. I super appreciated that. I'm the sort of person who avoids horror movies at all costs, and only watches war movies that are rated OK for 13-year-olds. Sometimes when you're reading a book that quotes from first-hand accounts of war, you get a detailed account of violence that becomes seared in your brain and haunts you. After reading this book I did not have nightmares. I did want to fill my basement with a year's supply of non-perishables, because Anderson did a great job of portraying the horrors of war and Hitler's siege of Leningrad (the longest siege on record). There was one passage that I skipped, I confess, which talked about the torture of one of Shostakovich's friends. But other than that, I didn't feel compelled to skip any of the book, despite all the sufferings described.

Do I now have a piece of music to associate with Shostakovich? Yes, I do. The book talks about several of Shostakovich's symphonies and other pieces in detail, and of course hinges around Shostakovich's Seventh Symphony, which is the Leningrad Symphony. But it's actually a different piece of music I hear when I think of him. The day after I finished the book, I happened to watch Fantasia 2000 with my daughter, and when Bette Midler announced that the music for The Steadfast Tin Soldier animation was Shostakovich I cheered. I love that one! And holy moly I like it even more now that I know more about the man who wrote it.

For your listening pleasure, here's a video of two guys playing it (one is playing the orchestral reduction).

Besides gaining familiarity with Shostakovich, I learned irreversibly the difference between Lenin and Stalin (which I think someone had explained to me before, but the details had become muddy in my mind). I got that now. I know who Lenin is. I know who Stalin is, I know who Shostakovich is, and I already knew who Hitler was, too, but I learned more about him also. Speaking of which, Symphony for the City of the Dead gave me a whole new perspective on WWII since I've never read anything from the USSR at the time. They call it The Great Patriotic War, by the way, not WWII.

I highly recommend Symphony for the City of the Dead, if it sounds interesting to you. Here is a summary of each part of the book:

Part One deals with the situation in Russia/USSR before WWII and the early life of Shostakovich.
Part Two deals with the German invasion and the siege, and makes up most of the book. It discusses the later works of Shostakovich, his family life and his politics during the war. 
Part Three deals with Cold War and post-war stuff, and perceptions of Shostakovich after that. 

I wonder if the Fred Astaire movie I loved, Silk Stockings, was inspired by Shostakovich at all. If so, it's in very poor taste. Ha! It definitely features a composer with nervous mannerisms and wears glasses. It definitely simplifies the politics of the time, and insults the Communist Party. A product of it's time (1957), I'm sure. Still, I loved that movie as a child. Great dance moves.

Anyway, if you'd like to shop for Symphony of the City of the Dead, here is an affiliate link where you can do that. When you make purchases after clicking on my affiliate links, I get a small commission. Should I go back and link the other books I've mentioned? I'll go back and do that, too.

And, if you're looking for more YA non-fiction, I can recommend The Year We Disappeared. I mention it on my list of Books for a 14-year-old Boy.

Have you read any YA Non-fiction? Tell me about it. 
Share me your recommendations. 

Thursday, September 3, 2015

Books I've been reading lately

Wow, moving changes everything, doesn't it? We just moved from Georgia to Connecticut and, as I expected, it has thrown me for a loop. However, I didn't anticipate all the ways that life would change. I had guessed the big ones (new house, new climate, new schools, new doctors, new church assignments, new job for Jacob) but I feel like you can never know all the little things until they come up. New way of doing dishes? Unanticipated. New furniture arrangement that puts a damper on late-night blogging? Would not have guessed.

Thankfully moving doesn't really change everything. Same husband (nine years now!), same kids (cute as ever), same church, same blog, same love of reading.

Here's what I've been reading lately.*

Art Before Breakfast by Danny Gregory

This is a slim book that's out to get you making art. I admit I didn't take it as a workbook and do everything it said to do, but Gregory says in the book that that's ok. So basically the book begins by making the case for making art. It answers the questions "Why should I bother making art?" and "Why should I bother making art when I know I'll never be that good at it?" The answers to both of those were satisfactory for me, so I started making some art.

After that, Gregory delves into some basics of art-making. Different materials and techniques you can use. I had a lot of fun trying some of these out. The hands-down favorite was making a ketchup painting with my four-year-old. Yep, coolest mom ever status: achieved. The book also offers up some cool challenges to take (like drawing your breakfast every day for a month) some cool party ideas (definitely want to try these sometime) and general encouragement to make art. I give it the thumbs up.

If you want to read more about this one, I recommend Lisa Congdon's interview of Danny Gregory.

As You Wish:Inconcievable Tales from the Making of The Princess Bride by Cary Elwes

This is the story of the making of The Princess Bride, as told by The Man In Black, Cary Elwes. In fact, because I got the audiobook version, it really was told by him! And bits were narrated by other cast members as well.  We took it on a road trip, of sorts, and the whole family enjoyed it. I mean seriously. The first time we turned it on, Benjamin, now 7, whined about it. By the end of disc two he whined when we had to turn it off for a bit. And, cutest of all, he totally internalized all of Cary Elwes's talk about the rigorous training for the sword fight. "I'm so tired. When we get back, can I have a hot bath, like Cary?" Any book that teaches my kid how to chill out after a long day is cause for celebration.

Anyway, I grew up in a family where we watched The Princess Bride over and over. My mom was a fencer and she couldn't get enough of the sword fight. I now know all the details of how that was made. :) She sewed a custom Man In Black costume for my oldest brother, which the younger ones subsequently wore. I read the novel of The Princess Bride and adored it. What I'm trying to say is that I was pretty much destined to love this book. Jacob, however, first saw the movie after we met. He liked it, but had only seen it once. He still loved As You Wish, and instigated a movie party immediately after we finished it. And, superbonus, he kept saying "as you wish" to me for a couple weeks afterward.

If you'd like to read a couple more reviews of this one, I recommend Janssen's and Amy's.

The Buried Giant by Kazuo Ishiguro

I really loved Ishiguro's The Remains of the Day, so when I saw this interview of him I had to listen to it. Then I had to read his new book The Buried Giant of course. It's about an elderly couple in ancient England. They're living in a cursed land where people forget important things. and they're trying to find their way to their son's village. As the novel goes on, you find yourself asking interesting questions: "Do they even have a son? Would they recognize him if they saw him? Would he recognize them? Would he be as happy to see him as they think he would be? What is going on with this mist of confusion?" Anyway, it's really fascinating. It's slowly paced, but rather than being boring it ends up being haunting. That Ishiguro. So good.

Fortunately the Milk by Niel Gaiman

This is a slim and silly story. Dad goes out for a gallon of milk and takes forever to get back. His kids ask, "What took you so long?" and he regales them with an epic story of what it took to get them some milk. I read it in one sitting, and it made me smile throughout. I fully intend to read this one aloud to my kids, and I think I miiiiight have to push it on some unsuspecting family members. (I'm looking at you, Grandpa!) The illustrations by Skottie Young were fabulously fit to the tale, and made me want to return to his renderings of the Oz books. Definitely pick this one up if you're looking for something fun to read to the whole family.

The Fourteenth Goldfish by Jennifer Holm

Jacob and I read this one to each other as we drove to and from Boston a couple weeks ago. Since Jacob is a scientist, I knew I couldn't give this one the thumbs-up unless he liked it, too. It's the story of eleven-year-old Ellie and her scientist grandfather, Melvin, who has discovered the cure for aging. Now that he is young again, a mix-up with the police has made it necessary for Melvin to attend middle school with Ellie for the time being. It has a set of deep themes that run through the book and make it more than just a fun read. Plus, Jacob laughed out loud at least twice at the insider science jokes. We each give it the thumbs up.

Words of Radiance by Brandon Sanderson

You may have remembered me mentioning that I was starting this book? Way back when? Well don't let my slowness to finish deter you. It was a good one. I finished it the week after we moved in. I won't recap it here, instead I'll refer you to my review of the first book in the series, The Way of Kings. You'd definitely want to start there. I'm looking forward to book three.

Oh man, you guys. There is more where this came from! I think I should just stop here. But please:
Tell me what you've been reading lately!
Fill in the blanks: If you hate___ you'd hate this book

*As usual, the images of book covers here are affiliate links. If you click through and make a purchase, I may earn a small commission. Just wanted to make that known. Thanks for supporting Everead.

Thursday, August 20, 2015

Can't We Talk About Something More Pleasant?

Aging. Death. Passing On. Dying. 

It's not really the sort of topic you bring up when you're trying to make people feel at ease.

Roz Chast's parents wouldn't discuss the subject at all with her, which made things difficult for their only child. Her book, Can't We Talk About Something More Pleasant? is an illustrated memoir of the years Chast spent with her parents in their senescence.

The book is excellent. So excellent that I *want* to talk about it.

This is my Grandma Mary, who passed away in 2009
I actually moderated a panel about aging and eldercare for my church in April this year. It was a fascinating experience. I knew that there was a lot I didn't know about caring for the elderly, but I still don't think I've done more than scratch the surface. On the panel we had a lawyer, a financial planner, an elderly woman who had taken care of her mother for many years, and a young woman who had cared for her elderly grandparents until they passed away. There were so many good questions and people wanting to keep talking about the subject that the panel reconvened for a second night. Unfortunately round two was just after we made the move to Connecticut.

One of the main things that I took away from the panel was that though caring for your dying relatives is unquestionably complex and taxing, it can also be life-changing in a good way.

So, when Can't We Talk About Something More Pleasant came on my radar, I was interested, and reserved it at the library. Come to find out Roz Chast is a cartoonist for The New Yorker.

Amazon affiliate link, in case you'd like to shop for this one.
I don't even think I can articulate how well this book was paced. You know, going into it, that her parents are going to die. So Chast guides us to the questions she had during the experience: Which parent is going to die first? How is this different from what I expected? How bad do things need to get before someone steps in here? How much is this going to cost? How do I feel now that it's all over?

The book was so thought provoking that I found myself mentioning it in casual conversations. Someone would say something and I'd respond, "that reminds me of this book I'm reading..." I found it fascinating to read the little details of their lives that came up in the book. I determined not to hoard things. I made myself a cheesetainer.

I want my parents to read it. I think we could have some great discussions, since I know they're more open to the subject than the Chasts were. Though, heads up, Mom: the book has maybe 3 or 4 uses of unsavory expletives. It's worth it, though.

"Well. Here we are. In our lives." says my dad, every so often.
The coloring is great. The lines of the artwork are imperfect and expressive. Chast's style reminds me a bit of The Far Side comics by Gary Larsen. I tried to read another graphic novel memoir right afterward and just felt like it was overloaded with text. This one is really artfully composed and layed out. It's easy to read. I should say that it's visually easy to read. Whether or not you find it "easy to read" will probably depend on your own experiences with aging, death, passing on and dying.

Anyway, I recommend it. I feel like reading it helped me think more deeply about what I want out of life and about how I can support and comfort others.

Will you talk to me about this uncomfortable subject?
If you've lost a close relative or friend, what advice do you have for those who face this certainty in the future?

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Bookroo book subscription: A Free Coupon and a Funny Story

Good morning, friends! Today I have something fun to share with you. Jane Tanner, one of the co-founders of Bookroo, is going to share some stories with us.

But first let me introduce Bookroo. It's a book subscription box, like Kiwi Crate or something, but instead of being filled with crafts, it's filled with books! 

all photos via Bookroo

This idea is so good. I will brag that I had the same, excellent idea once; I just didn't do a single thing about it. The Bookroo team, on the other hand, has made my dream come true.

So. You can order an ongoing subscription, or pay in advance for three or six months and get a discount. What kind of books do you get? You can choose whether you'd like to get board books or picture books. If you choose board books, you'll get a box with three board books in it. If you choose picture books, you'll get a box with two picture books in it. And, the best part, the books are wrapped up like presents. I just love that! But then, receiving gifts is one of my strongest love languages, second only to words of affirmation. :)

Anyway, Jane reached out to me about collaborating on something and I think we're kindred spirits: we adore books, we read to kids, we cheer for the BYU Cougars. No surprise then that we decided to swap guest posts on each other's blogs.

Since I had once fantasized about starting a kidlit subscription box, I asked Jane to write about "something funny or embarrassing or amazing that happened in the very earliest days of Bookroo." I wanted something to make me laugh, really, and Jane delivered. Her post starts out with the two brothers who started it all. . .

Bookroo was Kesler and Tayler’s brain child. They’d worked on a couple of entrepreneurial endeavors in the past together, and when Tayler was looking for fun ways to get new books for himself to read but couldn’t find a program he liked, he called Kesler. They batted the idea around and then realized that doing a book subscription service for children would be way more fun. And so Bookroo was born.

They shared the idea with their older brother, Chandler, and soon the three of them were having discussions about it. First, Kesler just enlisted my help with the logo, and the imagery for the site, but since reading to children was something I so passionately believed in, soon I had officially joined the Bookroo team, followed shortly thereafter by Chandler’s wife Tiffany, and Tayler’s wife Becca. It was just such a FUN idea to work on! And thus our team was formed. Three brothers (or “bro-lers” as we sometimes call them since all 8 brothers in the Tanner family’s names end in -ler) and their wives, out on an adventure to make reading accessible, convenient, and affordable for parents and exciting for kids and parents alike.

Since some of us live in Utah and the rest in California, Bookroo has given us a wonderful opportunity to keep extra in touch and work together even though it’s long distance. We’ve perfected the Google Hangouts team meeting and use a number of tools to keep us coordinated throughout the week. Unfortunately, with all businesses there’s the occasional snafu, especially if you’re coordinating long distance. Probably the funniest moment thus far was when our supplier sent us the wrong book! We’d been debating between these two different books to be the last one included in the month’s shipments--they were both great books--but we’d ended up deciding to go with Book A rather than Book B. The books arrived, our Utah contingency wrapped and shipped them out, and everything was great--pictures were pouring in and people were loving the books!

bookroo.jpgbookroo monthly book subscription for kids.jpgbookroo book subscription for children.jpg

Then at our Google Hangouts sync up a week later, we were talking about how things had gone that month. Someone mentioned the books we’d sent out at which point Kesler said, “Wait, I thought we sent out Book A.” It came out that we had in fact sent Book B, because that’s the book that the supplier had sent us! The Utah crew had assumed the California crew switched the order on them, and the California crew assumed the right books had shown up! To this day, we still aren’t sure how the supplier even knew we were considering Book B, and why they thought it was ok to switch our order, but we had a good laugh about it, and are glad that we liked both books so much!

To us, Bookroo is an exciting opportunity for families--both ours and yours. Bookroo boxes unite us behind a common mission--to improve the world and the minds and imaginations of children through reading! Come check out our site, and start sending Bookroo boxes to the children in your life--it’s an investment in their future!

Thanks, Jane! I definitely chuckled about "bro-lers" and about the mix-up!

Time for coupons and special offers, yes? If you order through my Bookroo booster link, you'll get $4 off your first box of any subscription length. If you order before the end of August, you'll also automatically get a coupon code sent to you that allows you to send a FREE box to a friend. (But seriously you have to send it to a friend or relative. Share the love!) What's in it for me? If you order through the links in this post then I get shop credit for future Bookroo boxes. So hey, thanks! Books all around!

How does checkout work? 
1. Click over to Bookroo
2. Select whether you want board books or picture books. 
3. Select how long in advance you want to pay. The longer you go, the cheaper it is per box. One month prepay is 19.99/box. Three month prepay is 18.66/box. Six month prepay is $17.50/box.
4. Fill in shipping info, billing info, and create a login to track your orders.
Hooray! Surprise book presents once a month!

But what if I already have a lot of books and I get one that I already own? No problem; send a photo of you giving the book to a friend and get $5 off your next box. Bam!

But what if I can't decide between picture books and board books? No problem; tell them and they'll switch off between the two, month by month. So easy!

More info and FAQ's on the Bookroo site of course, those were just my two big questions.

To me, Bookroo sounds like the perfect thing for grandparents to send to grandkids. (Feel free to send them my post via email. Copy and paste:

It also sounds like the perfect thing to gift at a baby shower

It also sounds like the perfect way to get cousins in a book club together. Sign both families up for Bookroo and then have a little Skype session once a month. Baby book club. I'm dying of the cuteness.
Ok, I think that's all I've got. What questions do you have? Of everyone you know, who would be most excited to learn about Bookroo? Share this post with that person and you'll bring a little more "hey that's cool" into her day.
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