Boys Book Club: The Knight at Dawn

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Published: 10/17/2013
(I didn't take pictures, I completely suck.  However, I'm including links to everything and I'll try to be better next time!)

There are a plethora of beginner reading books targeted at young girls.  Just look at American Girl- they made an entire industry out of it.  For boys, I feel like it can be a little harder.  Some of that is based on the subject matter- "beginning readers" on dinosaurs? Pterodactyl is not a fun word for a six year old.  Let's be honest.  We do love "The Magic Tree House" series at our house, though, and think they're fun for boys and girls.  However, to encourage my boys a little extra, I wanted to do a "boys book club".  Girls were welcome, but we were going to do stereotypical "boy" stuff.

Since our homeschool group is doing the middle ages right now for history, we decided our first club read would be "The Knight at Dawn".  Everyone read the book before coming.  We started off with a little light discussion about adjectives that describe Jack and adjectives that describe Annie.  Then we talked about who thought they were more like Jack, and who thought they were more like Annie.  Next, I read a few selected pages from the companion book, "Knights and Castles" from the fact checker series that accompanies many of the Magic Tree House.  Finally, we did a Venn Diagram comparing Facts about the Middle Ages with Fiction from the book.  We included facts we knew that weren't included in the book, facts that were in the book, and then talked about the fictional elements. I wrote this out on my white board- sitting and writing is not boy book club appropriate.  This whole section took about 10 minutes, and was really to set us up for our next activities.  In case you've been living under a rock, here's what a Venn Diagram looks like:
So, the plan now was for stations.  We had four sisters who came along for the ride, and I made them a group, and then we had eight boys.

Station 1- Headwear
For the boys, I planned helmets.  We used the idea from Layers of Learning, but modified it slightly in that we covered our milk jugs with aluminum foil and added feathers to the top.

It's all about the style, baby.

For the girls (because I didn't have enough milk jugs) we did foam and sparkle tiaras.  They liked it.

Station 2- 
You can turn popsicle sticks, rubber bands, plastic spoons, and marshmallows into deadly weapons.  Well, mostly deadly.  A short discussion about simple machines, a reminder of what we read in the section about weapons, and the boys were all set.  Directions were from Sturdy for Common Things.
 If you want to take it next-level, check out Storm the Castle's "How to Build a Catapult" section, which is epic.

Station 3- 
We made Book Club journals, which were just dollar store spiral notebooks that we glued in activity pages to.  We didn't do them at book club, we just made them. Sitting and doing worksheets is not what boy book club is about.  My plan is to have stickers next time so that I can give kids a "Passport Page" for each book they read. I used the same site as for the catapult directions for a word search and a crossword puzzle.

Station 4-
Snack time! I know I talked about turkey legs, but brain surgery has made me lazy.  My brilliant mother, who stopped at the store for me, came up with this:
GENIUS!! They've got crowns, horses, rooks, all kinds of knightly themed images, pressed right in!!

Station 5-
This was, after all, boy book club, so we had to finish it up with a sword fight.  Well, maybe we didn't have to, but why WOULDN'T we finish it up with a sword fight? I was actually rather concerned when my sons started getting all of their Nerf swords out so I could see if I needed to ask people to BYOS (bring your own sword).

We didn't.

It turns out there is a substantial amount of space in my home dedicated to foam weaponry.

So, that was it! Boys Book Club, meeting one.  I think everyone had a really great time, and I'm looking forward to our next book club, which will be a higher reading level book with a Renaissance theme- so look forward to a report on that, coming at the end of the month!

Giveaway: "I See Me!" Books for Preschoolers

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Published: 06/05/2013
One of our most popular posts is always the Readers Recommend: Preschools list for Preschools in Prince William County, so I know that there are lots of you getting your child ready for preschool!  Here's a fun giveaway for the little one in your life!

For parents who want to help their toddlers become ready and excited for preschool, children’s publisher I See Me! introduces a new personalized storybook, The Very Important Preschooler (V.I.P.).
Celebrate your favorite little preschooler with this adorable new personalized storybook, The Very Important Preschooler (V.I.P.) Your child will learn that being a “V.I.P.” means making new friends at preschool, sharing, helping out, cleaning up, learning new things and more. The Very Important Preschooler is filled with lots of great messages for your little preschooler and is personalized throughout the story and on the cover with his or her name! Written by Jennifer Dewing, Illustrated by Jill McDonald.



I See Me! personalized children's books provides the highest quality, most personalized children's books available. We offer personalized books and gifts for all celebrations from Birth to 12 years old.   Our mission is to increase self esteem in children through personalized books that celebrate the uniqueness of each child. The goal of our books is to show each child how absolutely unique and special he or she is, to teach the child how to spell his or her name, and to build vocabulary skills.  
We'll be giving away two Very Important Preschooler books! Enter using the Rafflecopter below!
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Kick off Summer with Books

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Published: 06/12/2012


CRIBS: Caring Relationships Involving Book Sharing is kicking off the end of the school year and the beginning of summer vacation for kids ages 5-8 with a free reading celebration. Our goals are to help children have fun with books and share in quality reading time with family. Join us in games, door prizes, a magic carpet story time, and our all new CRIBS Market. Share your summer Reading Hopes and Dreams for a free registration to our Great Adventure Reading +STEM Camp. Contact Barbara G. Edwards, Director for more information.
When:   Saturday, June 16, 2012  at 2:00 PM
Where:  Canterbury Woods Center    12184 Chaucer Lane  Woodbridge VA 22192
Contact   bgedwards@comcast.net.  571 338 4167

Reading Freebies for Summer!

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Published: 05/21/2012
Teachers want your kids to keep reading during the summer.  For some of you, that's probably easy, but for others, it might be like pulling teeth.  If only there were some free summer reading incentive programs for your children!


Never fear, there are! Bribery is an awesome tool in the parenting tool kit ;) 


We're not here to judge.


Here's a great list of ways to keep your child reading throughout the summer!  


1. Prince William County Library's Summer Quest Program is always a great option.  TEENS CAN GET VOLUNTEER HOURS, but there are reading programs for both younger, elementary, and middle school children to earn rewards for reading books.  For older children, be careful not to let them get discouraged as this program is by number of books, not time spent reading or that you read in a given day, so if your child picks up War and Peace, they're not going to make it to 20.  In the past, rewards have included swim passes for local water parks like Splashdown in Manassas or Water Works in Woodbridge, Kids in Motion and House of Bounce passes, free slurpees or ice cream, and more. Online registration for this program begins JUNE 1, 2012 and if it's like last year, you cannot sign up in person anymore, so be sure to register before you go.  All Prince William County Libraries, both Regional like Chinn Park Regional Library and Bull Run Regional Library to neighborhood libraries like Dale City and Independent Hill participate.  


2. Books A Million will have a Kickoff for their Summer Reading Program on Saturday, May 19th.  The Prince William County Books A Million is located inside Potomac Mills Mall.  This event includes a free cookie with drink purchase, and a free insulated lunch bag when you participate in the Books A Million Summer Reading Program. 


3. TD Bank (which used to be Commerce Bank.  Sorry, TD, but I miss Commerce desperately).  has several locations in our area including TD Bank Woodbridge near the Kohls, TD Bank Dumfries on Route 1, and TD Bank Manassas on Liberia Avenue.  All branches, however, will be participating in their $10 for 10 Books program.  Children fill out a form with the 10 books that they've read, and TD Bank will deposit $10 into a new or existing youth savings account. Cash Money.  Awesome.  The TD website also includes several ideas for making reading more fun.


4. Barnes and Noble will allow children to earn a free book for every 8 books they read and record in their reading journal.  Their website also includes parent and educator kits to make reading more fun. To pick up your free book, you'll need to head to Fair Lakes or Seven Corners, but there are some great field trips (or malls, mommy needs love, too!) at each stop. 

5. Pizza Hut's Book It Summer Program isn't quite the same as school-year Book-It, but sounds fun anyway.  Students who were in grades K-6 during this school year can go to the Book It Summer Reading Challenge Sweeptstakes and enter to win a Diary of a Wimpy Kid Summer Prize Pack when they've completed reading 5 books.  Other parents suggest continuing Book It at home by continuing to provide a personal pan pizza to your child when they've read the requisite number of books.  The prize pack includes books 1-5, 2 DVD movies, a tote, plush, and $20 Visa Gift Card.  50 winners will be selected from among the online entries. 


6. Sylvan Learning Centers Summer Book Adventure Program allows children to track their pages and then take quizzes (very similar to how Accelerated Reader or "AR" works) and collect points.  Then they have the chance to win prize incentives using their points.  Sylvan is also sponsoring a "Page Per Day Sweepstakes" where parents who pledge to read a page per day with their child can enter to win $500 for back to school expenses. 



7. iVillage and PBS have teamed up to give you a Summer Reading Challenge.  Sign up now on their website and you'll get weekly reminders and chances for your reader to win $1,000 or other great prizes all summer long. The 6-week program begins June 18th. 


8.  Need more Word Girl than iVillage is giving you?  Scholastic (yes, the people who bring you those send-home book orders and twice a year Book Fairs where your kid wants to buy wiggle-eye pencils) has a program called the Scholastic Summer Challenge.  Kids read books, log hours, and win prizes.  Being Scholastic, they've also got sections for parents and educators, too! 

9. Chuck-E-Cheese Reading Rewards will give your child 10 tokens for reading for 2 weeks.  Just put a check mark on each day that your child reads (keep it on the fridge or a bulletin board) and bring it with you to the CEC nearest you.  PS- Chuck also offers bribes for things like tooth brushing, keeping your room clean, being a good patient/citizen, using table manners, and just about any other common childhood ailment :) 


10.  Don't forget your child's school!  Many schools require a certain amount of reading and might even ask for a project or journal to be kept.  If your school has a summer reading requirement, make sure you know before September!  Also, some schools (depending on the principal/program) offer a special treat for children who read during the summer like a pencil or certificate, so know your school's programs and prepare accordingly!

Am I missing something? Email me and I'll add it to our list! 

May 2012 Library Special Events Highlights

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Published: 05/03/2012
Instead of inundating you with 2,000 status updates, here are a few of the library events for this month that look kid-friendly and fun! Note the ones that require you to pick up free tickets or passes!!  Prince William County Library events do fill up quickly, so mark your calendars now!  These events are also on our calendar at the top of the page!

May 3rd Signing Storyhour at Chinn Park Library 10:30-11:00am
May 3rd Mother's Day Craft at Potomac Library- Arrive by 4pm to get free passes for the 4:30pm program

May 10th Shenanigans- Make Mom a Charm Bracelet at Central Library, Must Preregister in Person. 4:00pm
May 10th Family Craft Night at Chinn Library 7:00pm

May 12th Mad Hatter's Tea Party at Potomac Library- Free Tickets Required 2pm-3pm

May 13th The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe at Bull Run Library 2pm-3pm

May 16th Fire! Fire! Storyhour at Chinn Park Library 10:30am

May 17th American Girls Book Club at Bull Run Library- Must Preregister 7pm

May 23rd Animal Adventures at Central Library, Free Tickets Available May 16th 10:30am or 11:15am

May 31st Crafty Critter and Insect Exploration at Chinn Park Library 11am-1pm

Guest Post: Adding Reading to Your Outdoor Play

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Published: 04/25/2012

Happy Tuesday, friends! Ginny from The Writing Well is sharing some tips and tricks for incorporating literacy into your outdoor play now that the weather is getting warmer.  She has several classes coming up this summer to enrich your child's writing- check her website for more details! 

As the days get longer and the weather grows warmer, our thoughts naturally turn to outdoor play.  Enhance your outdoor time with reading and writing activities that make learning fun and natural. 
Detail scavenger hunts
Help your child take notice of the world around her with this “I Spy” activity.  Take a walk outside, visit a favorite park or simply head to the backyard; bring along a notebook and pens.  Ask your children to tell you (or write down) any details they notice: an unusual tree or brightly colored bench are good examples.  Once home, turn your details into clues for a scavenger hunt.  Make clue lists using pictures or words, then head back to the spot for some hunting fun.  
Mixed media
Go beyond finger paint with an activity suited for all ages.  Use shaving cream, play sand, rice or even oatmeal, whatever you have on hand.  Take plastic sheeting, cutting boards or aluminum pans outside; spread the material of your choice on the surface.  Let children use their fingers, sticks or paintbrushes to write or scribble, then take pictures to record the results.  
Natural object letters and shapes
This is a great activity for toddler and preschool “collectors”.  Let your child gather rocks, leaves, sticks, flowers, blades of grass – whatever strikes his fancy – on an outdoor excursion.  Use the objects to form letters, numbers or shapes on the sidewalk or front steps.  Have little ones still learning their letters?  Use sidewalk chalk to draw an outline first.  
“Found object” stories 
Suitable for children Pre-K and up, this activity is a fun, reusable option with different results every time.  Drop objects collected outdoors into an old shoe box.  Pull out one item at a time and place it on the table; continue until you have a row of five or six objects.  Model using the objects as inspiration for a story (is the stick a fairy wand, or perhaps the mast of ancient sailing ship?), then let your child take the lead.  Let younger children dictate; confident writers can pen stories on their own.
Wordless picture stories
Inspired by the work of David Weisner (author of Flotsam), wordless picture stories are great for budding photographers and pre-writers.  Take photos of scenery and objects on your next outing: capture animals, rocks, trees, or even street signs and cars.  Print the images and use them to tell a story in pictures: order them as desired, then staple together or glue into a notebook.  If you’d rather keep the images digital, simply copy and paste them into a document file.  
The key to developing a lifelong appreciation for literacy is integration.  Make it a part of your family’s everyday life inside and out, and your child’s interest in reading and writing will become as natural as the springtime sunshine.  

Ginny Kochis is owner of The Writing Well, a tutoring and homeschool consulting business based in southern Springfield.  State certified and the mother of two young children, Ginny is dedicated to providing Northern Virginia families with engaging learning experiences in reading and writing.  Services include individual and group tutoring, classes and workshops, and homeschool assistance.  Join The Writing Well this summer for week-long workshops in study skills and writing.  Visit Ginny’s website, http://www.thewritingwellonline.com for more information or contact her at thewritingwell@earthlink.net or 703-909-7425.


Join The Writing Well this summer for two valuable four-day workshops.  The Study Skills workshop helps students discover how they learn, then teaches skills to foster successful study habits.  Students will learn to how to read with a purpose, take effective notes, get organized, manage their time well, and more.  The writing workshop gives students the opportunity to read, write and share a variety of pieces across all genres - both fiction and nonfiction. Topics include effective brainstorming and planning, building and defending strong arguments, creating solid characters and plots, and revising creatively.  Workshops are $80 for four days of instruction and are Monday through Thursday from 10 AM to noon.  Workshops sessions begin July 9 and end August 2; two sessions are available for each workshop.  Contact Ginny at 703-909-7425, thewriitngwell@earthlink.net or http://www.thewritingwellonline.com.

Weekly Library Programs

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Published: 04/18/2012
Someone asked today about Library Storytimes.  These programs are fantastic because they're free, recurring, and generally do not require you to arrive early for a token, although some do.  If you've been to one of these storytimes, please share your opinions on it in the comments section below!  These programs are generally offered each week, although they may be cancelled due to holidays, school being out, renovations, etc.  They are also listed on our calendar, and we remove them when we know they are cancelled.

Most of these programs are for preschool aged children, unless otherwise noted.  Other special events targeted at families or older children also happen, but are typically one-time events, also listed on our calendar. 

Monday
Spanish Circle Time, Bull Run Library, 11am
Lunch Bunch, Chinn Library, ONCE A MONTH, 12pm
Bedtime Story Hour, Chinn Library, 7:15pm
Beginning with Books, Chinn Library, ALTERNATING WEEKS/PREREGISTER, 10:30am
Mishmash, Potomac Library, 2pm

Tuesday
Tales for Two's and Three's at Bull Run Library, 10:30am and 11am
Tuesday Storytimes, Independent Hill Library, 10:30am
Tuesday Tales, Chinn Library, 10:30am
Music and Motion, Central Library, ALTERNATING WEEKS, 10:45am

Wednesday
Magic Carpet Story Time, Potomac Library, 10:30am
Storytime, Dale City Library, 10:30am
Wednesday Storytime, Independent Hill Library, 10:30am
Wendesday Wonders, Chinn Library, 10:30am
Wonderful Ones (12-24 months), Bull Run Library, 10:30am
Muncha Buncha Books, Central Library, 10:45am

Thursday
Preschool Pals, Bull Run Library, 10:30am and 11:15am
Muncha Buncha Books, Central Library, 10:45am
Shenanigans (K-5), Central Library ALTERNATING WEEKS/PREREGISTER, 4pm-5pm
Book Babies, Potomac Library, ALTERNATING WEEKS/PREREGISTER, 10:30am
Thursday Storytime, Lake Ridge Library, 10:30am
Story Time with Miss Glenna, Nokesville Library, 10:30am
Bedtime Stories, Potomac Library ALTERNATING WEEKS, 7:30pm

Friday
Friday Flicks, Chinn Library, 10:30am

Saturday
Saturday Stories, Bull Run Library, 11am
Second Saturday Story and Craft, Chinn Library, SECOND SATURDAY, 10:30am

Sunday

Summer Lovin....On the Cheap :)

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Published: 05/18/2011
I love a deal.  I think I've swooned over coupon deals more times than y'all should have to put up with! For summer, though, I like to be especially frugal because there are a lot of days to fill between school ending a school starting and only so much money to spend on each one!!


Bowling- 
1. AMF Lanes (formerly part of kidsbowlfree.com, which you can try if you're traveling/visiting relatives) is offering 2 free games per kid per day from Memorial Day to Labor Day.  Adults can add on 2 games per day for $27.95 (one time fee).  Shoes are not included.  Buy your own and make it free or rent them for $4 a kid. 

Movies- (It appears AMC is not doing their summer movie program this year, so I'm including some really inexpensive Fairfax options for those of you willing to drive.  Call AMC and complain, you have my blessing!) 
1. Regal Cinemas Summer Movie Express (Manassas and Fairfax locations) is offering 2 G/PG
movies for $1/ticket on Tuesdays/Wednesdays at 10 am.

2. Rave Motion Pictures (Fairfax Corner and Centreville) is still having a FREE summer movie
festival for 8 weeks on Tues/Wed morning at 10am.

3. University Mall Theatres  will be hosting a Summer Cinema Camp from June 20 to September 2nd.  Monday-Friday there will be a 10am family-friendly showing.  Tickets are $2, or, buy a season pass for $11 or a pack of 10 tickets for $15.  Their Tuesday showings are always $2 each for tickets, popcorn, and sodas.

Reading-
1. Barnes and Noble will give your child a free book when they bring in a reading journal showing they read 8.

2. Borders has the same program for ages 12 and under, but you read 10 books.  The link I've provided is to the Krazy Coupon Lady, who has the form that you need to fill out in PDF form.  Scroll down and print it out.  

3. Prince William County Library Summer Quest- All ages can earn prizes for reading.  This year it's online and it's FREE :) Registration starts June 1st.

Amusement Parks-
1. Busch Gardens is again offering its free preschool pass! All you have to do is be a Virginia Resident!! Note to my military mommas, you can score free tickets to Busch parks (including Busch Gardens and Sesame Place).

Vacation Bible School-
1. Free or Cheap, have you read our VBS Listings yet? You'd think these churches want people to show up with their prices ;)

Theatre/Arts-
1.  Fairfax County (I'm sorry guys! They just have really great stuff!) Park Authority offers free performances throughout the summer.  I'd recommend the one at Frying Pan Farm Park because your kids will love running around and checking it out afterwards!

2. Wolf Trap has changed its Theater in the Woods presentations so now you get two performances for $8! Check out the schedule and order your tickets early- they sell out! Afterwards, you're almost at Tysons Corner, so you may as well do a little shopping ;)

3. Locust Shade Park (Yay PWC!) offers performances in their ampitheater for $4 per person all summer. 

4. There are free concerts throughout the summer at Sean Connaughton Plaza


Swimming-
1. Waterworks Park has a Tot/Parent Swim every Wednesday (Starting June 2) from 9-10:30 for $3.50 per child with parents free.

2. Splashdown will offer a similar program on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 9-10:30 for $4 a child.

Baseball-
The Potomac Nationals offer games for $1 on Mondays, with $1 tickets and $1 hot dogs all night long.

An Interview with Jamey Long

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Published: 03/07/2011
We were able to meet Jamey Long through 3 Story Tellers monthly book club.  My son and my friend's daughter are quite confident he's the coolest person on earth.  His book series about "A Possum" is very adorable.  Jamey is also available to come and speak to school groups/classes/writing workshops.  One of the coolest parts about the books is that they come with free audio downloads so you can put them on your (or your child's) mp3 or ipod.  It works really great in the car!




PWC Moms: How did you start writing?
I started writing for one of my kindergarten students when I was teaching at
HCA (Holy Cross Academy) in Fredericksburg.  Her father was hit by a car
around Christmas time and passed away on Valentine's Day.   He never
regained consciousness so she never got to talk to her dad again.  I wanted
to give her some good memories of the holidays and wrote a Christmas story
for her.  She loves animals and I loved possums so I wrote her A Possum's
Christmas Tale and Opie was born.  The kids liked the book so much they
wanted more stories so I started writing one for every holiday to tell
children about the true meaning behind what we celebrate.  I then moved on
to important events in history.

PWC Moms: Why a possum?
I grew up in Kansas and one morning something big got between me and the
front door when I was getting the paper for my parents before school.  It
was dark and I could not see what it was.  They put out a trap and brought
me home early from school later in the day.  It turned out that it was a
hungry possum.  I have been fascinated with them ever since.  I have moved
several times, to new states and houses.  One has always ended up coming to
my home no matter where I was at.  In fact, when I started going to Grace
Baptist Church, one even crossed in front of my car before service going
into the woods.

PWC Moms: What's your favorite subject to write about?
I liked all of my subjects.  I think the holidays are important so the
children remember the real meaning behind things.  History is also
important.  One of my most favorite events in history is the Titanic.  When
my book, A Possum's Night on the Titanic, was completed, I sent it off to
Dr. Ballard (he found the ship in 1985).  He sent me back an autographed
photo and note saying "Good luck on the writing efforts" and that he really
enjoyed my book.  I donate a dollar of every book sold to the Titanic
Historical Society


PWC Moms: What's your favorite part about writing for kids?
I like seeing them learn.  My parents tried to get me interested in reading,
writing, and history.  It was very hard for me to care at a young age.  The
older I get, I see the importance in it and believe that children should
learn it at an early age so they can pass it on to their kids one day.  I
really enjoy when they tell me they have seen Opie around town or on one of
their adventures.  Opie has become a very busy little possum and it is nice
to see that he has found a warm home in the hearts of children.





Thanks to Jamey Long for taking the time to talk to us! If you want to see more of Opie, you can check out his website at http://Opiepossum.tatepublishing.net/

Getting Your Child to Love Reading

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Published: 01/10/2011
Some kids take naturally to reading.  My 2 year old, for example, makes me read on a daily basis until I can no longer speak because my throat has gone dry.  Others can do it, but might prefer a root canal.

Whether your child loves books or maybe needs a little encouragement, here are some great resources!!

1) Parents with children on the spectrum can sign them up for a Book Club through POAC if they are between ages 4-12 and on the high end of the spectrum, able to separate from parents.

2) Signed up for Book-It yet? Ask your child's teacher!! Prefer non-food options? The Potomac Nationals also offer a reading program for schools!! Chuck E Cheese also offers printable incentive charts if that's more your style!

3) Want to DIY it? You can download book club discussion materials and get suggestions about age-appropriate selections from Wake County Schools.

4) Take your child to an honest-to-goodness independent bookstore.  These stores are amazing and truly set up to encourage children to love books.  Try Fairy Godmother Bookstore in DC, Jabberwocky in Fredericksburg, or Hooray for Books in Alexandria.  Yes, yes, I know that the mega-mart down the street has more selection and a 50% off sale, but I also know that there's nothing like a magical bookstore.  Plus, if you like a deal that much (or if you're like me and love the smell of old books!) check out Prospero's in Manassas.  They've got beautiful classics and gently loved newer titles, too!

5) Speaking of local independent bookstores, Three Story Tellers in Occoquan offers Book Clubs for children in grades 1-4 that include a snack, craft and time to meet the author!! I've got my 1st Grader signed up and think you should, too!! (Yes, I made this bigger so you'd notice it). We miss Three Story Tellers now that they're gone!!


Got other ideas? Please share them in the comments below!! Have you hosted a book club? Does your school offer one? Let me know!

Review: Barefoot Books

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Published: 07/12/2010
When Prince William County Mom and Barefoot Books Rep Liz Garland emailed me about featuring her business, she told me to start by picking a book.

Which was, seriously Liz, a little bit daunting!

I went to the Barefoot website thinking that it would be the standard books that you see at each and every school bookfair, but I was quickly surprised (and overwhelmed) by the options that were so different. 

I think my favorite thing about Barefoot books is that there is a little something in here for everyone, and the books are produced with such care and quality they are truly heirloom worthy (your grandchildren will love these books) and present worthy (because I doubt that the child you give them to will have anything like them).  With my educational background in comparitive religion, I loved that there was a book of blessings of many faiths- I love teaching my children that we're all more similar than we are different, even if we subscribe to a particular faith (Barefoot's Book of Blessings).  There are also classic tales from many of the world's cultures.  I also really appreciated that there are so many offerings that are forgotten classics, at least at our house.  It seems like even our bookshelf has become overrun by a certain someone whose name rhymes with Dalt Wisney- books about talking animals, cars, jungle creatures, and bugs have taken the place of some of the fairy tales that really should be providing a basic foundation for any child- if not for their moral, for providing a basic cultural background (or maybe I've just been reading a little too much E.D. Hirsch lately.  Either way.)

Back to Barefoot.  As I continued to look through my options, I ran across beautiful books on Pirates, Princesses- complete with dress up outfits!- and even a host of selections for families living natural/health focused lifestyles, including Vegetarian Children's Cookbooks and even books on Yoga.

When I finally decided I couldn't pick, Liz asked me the ages of my children (2, 4, and 6- one girl, two boys) and said she'd be able to help me pick the perfect book.  With a vacation coming up that included a loooong road trip, Liz expertly picked The Three Billy Goats Gruff (one of those forgotten fairy tales!) which came with a beautiful book AND a CD.  This was brilliant! Because I am one of those HORRIBLE mothers that refuses to have a DVD player in her car (and yes, I know that's a gateway to child abuse, my 6 year old tells me all.the.time about how unfair his life is), books are a favorite pasttime in the car.  However, since daddy couldn't come on this trip with us and Grandma gets a little car sick, having this book on CD was great! (The only downside was that I should have, apparently, bought one of the gift packs, because we listened to The Three Billy Goats Gruff from roughly Richmond, Virginia to Charlotte, North Carolina.  Mommy was then ready for more options!!)

Barefoot Books gets a huge thumbs up from me, not only because it saved me on our car trip, but because its local distributor setup allows me to support a fellow local mom, and because of their diverse options.  It also gets a thumbs up from all three of my children- for a grand total of 4 thumbs up from PWC Moms. 

Distributor Liz Garland is graciously giving away a free item of choice ($14.99 or under, please) to a lucky PWC Moms reader.  To win, you may leave a comment here, and also, follow the link below to Liz's Facebook Fanpage and leave a comment there.  (That's 2 chances to win) In your comment either place, please tell us your favorite book from the Barefoot Books website.(Giveaway is closed)

Thanks Liz, and Barefoot Books for this great giveaway!

Click HERE to see Liz's Barefoot Books fanpage.
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