February 2015
Monday, February 02, 2015
What if I woke and found four paws?
What if I woke and what I saw
should have been toes but was a paw?
Would I whine until master came
and bid me stop with just my name?

Would I sniff and lick the dawn dew
and each and everything that’s new?
Would I fetch a ball, lick to greet,
or sit, stay, come for many a treat?

Would I beg to hear, ”that’a boy,”
or lounge in bed and gnaw my toy?
Would I wag my tail, to and fro,
until the summer sun did go?

And If I woke and what I saw
should have been toes but was a paw,
I’d bark, enjoy the restful day
for puppies love to sleep and play!

I’d snuggle into every hug
and curl up on the softest rug.
I’d go for walks, fetch all tossed sticks,
and beg for treats for all my tricks.

But as dusk dawned and day ‘came night,
I’d wish that by the morning light,
my toes I’d find again and end
the journey of this four-pawed friend.
Posted by Michelle
Monday, February 09, 2015
Five Picture Books Filled with Love
In honor of Valentine’s Day, here are some picture books about love and friendship that have been read many of times in our house.

1) Granite
by Susan Butcher and David Monson, illustrated by Sarah Douglas

The real life story of Granite, a sled dog, and his struggle to overcome an illness and lead his team to four Iditarod victories. The story also has an underlying theme of love, both the owner’s love for her dog as well as the dog’s love for his owner.

8-yr-old’s favorite of the five books because she just likes it. “It’s a good book.”

2) How to Be a Baby By Me, the Big Sister
by Sally Lloyd-Jones and Sue Heap

One of life’s greatest friendship is that between siblings—a friendship that starts at birth although not always appreciated or realized until later in life. This humorous book tells the story of a big sister who explains to her little baby brother what he can and cannot do as a baby. I love the touching illustrations toward the end of the book where you see the big sisterly love starting to shine through and that friendship starting to form.

4-yr-old’s favorite of the five books because the girl in the story has a baby brother. She would also like this one read on Valentine’s Day, but she doesn’t know why.

8-yr-old’s choice for reading on Valentine’s Day because she has younger sisters, and she knows that “it’s nice to look over them.”

3) Llama Llama Mad at Mama
by Anna Dewdney

Although running errands with Mama is not always fun, especially for Llama, he learns that working with Mama can make the shopping more enjoyable and in the end, his anger at Mama for making him go shopping is replaced by his love for Mama.

6-yr-old’s favorite of the five books because it’s really funny, and Llama throws a tantrum.

4) I Love You Through and Through
by Bernadette Rossetti-Shustak, illustrated by Caroline Jayne Church

All children want to know that they are loved, no matter what. The simple language of this books shows children that, good or not-so-good, they are loved everyday for all that they are.

6-yr-old’s choice for reading on Valentine’s Day because “everything is loved.”

5) Guess How Much I Love You
by Sam McBratney, illustrated by Anita Jeram

What parent doesn’t want to hear his child express how much he loves his father or mother, and in turn what child doesn’t want to know that he is loved just as much and even more…a classic that I don’t think I will ever tire of reading.

What are some of your favorite children’s book about love and friendship. Feel free to leave a comment below.
Posted by Michelle
Monday, February 23, 2015
Why I Read?
“Read! Read! Read!” a homemade bookmark my daughter made for her classmate informs. As National Reading Month (March) approaches, I could not agree with her sentiment more.

I am not only a writer, but I am a reader.

Why do I like to read?

1) Entertainment

Curling up on the couch with a cup of joe and a good book sounds ideal, especially in the winter. I enjoy getting lost in the fictive dream of a great book. It gives me a few moments of escape from everyday worries and concerns, and perhaps at the same time, gives me a boost to keep writing my own stories, which leads to reason number 2.

2) Education

I read to educate myself on how a story is structured, how to develop plot and characters, how to set-up the story arc, and how to keep the reader turning the pages. The more I read, the more I learn about writing and, in turn, improve my writing skills.

3) Inspiration

A good story inspires the imagination, so I read to be inspired and not just in my writing. Stories can inspire us to take a new perspective, empathize more with others, try a new activity, to paint or draw a picture. I let inspiration beget inspiration. (See post www.michellekarene.com/default.php?content=blog&sid=3&date=2015-01-19#70).

As I thought about why I enjoy reading, I also wondered why do my children like to read?

8-yr-old: “Because it’s fun, but I only like to read what I haven’t read before.”
Some of her favorite books include the following series: Magic Treehouse, My Weird School, Junie B. Bones, Berenstain Bears, Diary of a Wimpy Kid.

6-yr-old: “Because it’s just so fun, sometimes it’s funny…because it’s just fun to read and it’s fun to know and it’s just cool and exciting.”
Some of her favorite books include Elephant & Piggie, The Never Girls, Olivia, Berenstain Bears, and Froggie.

4-yr-old: “Because you see all the pages [pictures/illustrations].”
She enjoys looking at any picture book.

March will be a fun month in my household as we dive into reading. In honor of National Reading Month, my goal is to read at least one novel (YA or MG) a week and a new picture book each day. I hope you all join me and enjoy a good book this March because as my daughter’s homemade bookmarks inform, “reading is joy,” “reading is cool,” and “reading is believing,” so “Read! Read! Read!”

Why do you read? What are you reading now? Any recommendations? Feel free to leave a comment.
Posted by Michelle