Pretzel Time!

Ever since reviewing Brother Giovanni’s Little Reward, I’ve been craving pretzels. What could be better than soft, warm pretzels fresh from your oven at home?

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Well, guess what! It turns out that pretzels are ridiculously easy to make. So easy, in fact, that your kids can help you do it!

We found this soft pretzel recipe to do with your kids on Highlights.com. If you make some pretzels this weekend, be sure to shoot us a photo on our Facebook page or on Twitter!

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Mid-Week Review | Last Stop on Market Street

Last Stop on Market Street by Matt de la Peña; Illustrated by Christian Robinson  ISBN: 9780399257742
Last Stop on Market Street
by Matt de la Peña; Illustrated by Christian Robinson
ISBN: 9780399257742

Synopsis: CJ and his grandma take a bus ride together, discovering the beauty and wonder of their vibrant neighborhood.

Review: There is a simple reason why Last Stop on Market Street is a multiple award winner (Caldecott Honor, Newbery Medel, and Coretta Scott King Award to name a few). It is an amazing book.

In his innocent selfishness, CJ asks his grandma the questions that we often ask ourselves. Why can’t we have the nicest things? And each time, grandma wisely shows that we already do.

Parents who are trying to instill a sense of wonder in the mundane could benefit from Grandma’s outlook and answers. Non-parents too.

Age Recommendation: 3-5

Quality Rating (1 is low, 5 is high): 5

Who was Martin Luther King, Jr.?

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Today, we celebrate the birthday and legacy of Martin Luther King, Jr. Many people are familiar with Martin’s name and his association with the Civil Rights Movement, but here are 10 things that you may not know about him.

  • Martin Luther King, Jr.’s original name was Michael until his father changed both of their names to Martin.
  • He was a middle child.
  • At age 3, one of Martin’s good friends was white. They played together constantly until age 6 when they went to different schools. Then his friend’s dad said they couldn’t play together anymore.
  • Martin skipped two grades and graduated high school at age 15.
  • He was influenced by Henry David Thoreau’s decision not to pay his taxes as a nonviolent protest against slavery.
  • In 1948, Martin graduated from Morehouse College at age 19.
  • He entered Crozer Theological Seminary in Chester, Pennsylvania as one of only six black student out of one hundred students total. He graduated at the top of his class.
  • At Crozer, he learned about Mahatma Gandhi and his peaceful protests.
  • In 1959, Martin and his wife, Coretta, went to India and visited places where Gandhi went. He was struck by Gandhi’s commitment to nonviolence when Gandhi said, “If you are hit, don’t hit back; even if they shoot at you, don’t shoot back. Just keep moving.”
  • After Martin was arrested for driving in Georgia with an Alabama driver’s license, his followers sought help from Vice President Richard Nixon and Senator John F. Kennedy, both of whom were running for president. Nixon refused to engage the issue, but Kennedy and his brother, Robert, vowed to do everything in their power to get Martin free.

9780448447230If you want to know more about Martin Luther King, Jr., you can read Who was Martin Luther King, Jr.? by Bonnie Bader. That’s where these facts came from, but there’s a lot more to Martin’s story that I didn’t list here.

Happy birthday, Dr. King!

Snow Day Activities!

In West Michigan, most of the schools are closed today. That means that there are kids at home with parents who are pulling out their hair and wondering what to do. Fear not.

Baker Bookworms Storytime starts at 10:30 AM.

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And this afternoon at 2 PM, we’re showing Zootopia on the big screen!

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And if you need another reason to visit us, we’ve got all of our kids’ activity books at 20% off, today only!

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5 Question Interview with Crystal Bowman!

crystalbowman4I recently sat down (digitally, that is) with Crystal Bowman to talk about her books. Crystal is the author of over 100 books, many of which have been bestsellers and award-winners. She’s a delightful lady who loves sharing her gift with others.

Here’s what we we talked about.


Crystal, what would you like parents/grandparents to know about your most recent book?

jy654I want parents/grandparents to know that my most recent book (as well as all of my books), is in line with the teachings in the Bible. Though authors have creative license to make their devotionals or Bible stories kid-friendly and fun to read, I want the spiritual take-away to always be true to Scripture.

What’s something that you’re passionate about?

Teaching children that God loves them very much and that every child is uniquely created by God for His purpose. I am passionate about writing books for children because I want to reach them while they are still teachable.

What makes a great children’s book great?

The content has to be great as well as the writing. You can have good writing with bland content, and you can have good content with not-so-great writing. A great children’s book needs both.

What’s your favorite children’s book?

on-the-night-you-were-bornI have so many, it’s hard to narrow it down to one. I love On the Night You Were Born, by Nancy Tillman. It’s so deeply emotional yet sweet. It captures everything that young parents are experiencing and feeling when they bring a child into the world. Great writing and great content!

What’s something about writing that has surprised you?

How hard it is. Even though it is one of my deepest passions–it’s hard. The more I write the harder it gets because I keep learning more and more, and there are so many dimensions and elements that have to exist in a good children’s book in order to be a book that people will want to buy. I also feel that every book I write has to be better than or equal to the previous one. Since I have written over 100 books, the bar keeps getting higher.


We’ll check back in with Crystal from time to time since she’ll definitely have more new books to talk about!

VeggieTales Winter Apparel Search & Find

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As a parent of small children, I know the frustrations of kids’ winter apparel.

Kids are so excited to go outside and play that they’ll often start the winter gear process themselves, and always in the wrong order. So you end up having to remove coats and boots to get the snowpants on. Once the snowpants are you, you have to struggle to get their boots on and in such a way that snow won’t find its way in (but it will anyway). Once the boots are on, they put on their coats and hats, and the search for gloves begins. They have the left one in their hands, but the right one could be anywhere in the house. Your child is sweating profusely by the time you finally find the right glove tucked into their stuffed animal bin where it was pretending to be a miniature sleeping bag for their smallest stuffed bunny. You return triumphantly, place the glove onto the child’s hand, and they tell you that they need to go potty.

This is parenthood in wintertime.

But what if the search for winter gear wasn’t a stressful chore, but a fun activity? Thanks to this downloadable VeggieTales activity sheet, maybe it can be. Click here to download.

So when your child comes in out of the cold, serve up some hot cocoa and this search and find sheet!