4 great books for Martin Luther King day

***While this post does contain affiliate links, the books featured are completely the opinion of Booktomato.  Thanks for supporting businesses that help support this blog.***

Today is Martin Luther King day, and living in Memphis, we unfortunately have a very important MLK site in our city.  I say unfortunately because the now famous Lorraine Motel where Dr. King was shot and killed is located in downtown Memphis.  The National Civil Rights Museum is now housed in the old motel, and every year on MLK day, they have a ton of special exhibits and activities.  The first time I took my kids to the museum for MLK day, I was a little nervous. I was worried that the focus of the day would be on how he died, and that I would spend the car ride home uncomfortably explaining things about guns and violence to very young kids.  When we got there though, I was pleasantly surprised.  At a site that symbolizes so much sadness, people were celebrating.  Music was playing.  Craft tables were set up for the kids.  People from all different races and backgrounds were coming together to remember his life and not his death.  I encourage you and your family to do the same, and here are some great books that can help. 

books we are excited about in 2017!

Hi y'all!  We hope your holiday was pure magic, and that the first days of the new year find you content, peaceful, and ready to kick 2017's booty.  We took a small break from the blog to be with family for the holiday, and we're excited to be back to bask in the book world for 2017.  

Let's dive into the list of what books we are most looking forward to in the new year. BTW - this post contains affiliated links which means if you buy one of the books listed here, I get a small fee, but I choose books completely based on my own opinion.  Thanks! 

Hogwarts Library
By J.K. Rowling

Two biggies for Harry Potter fans coming out in the next couple months: The Hogwarts Library and the screenplay to the new movie Fantastic Beasts and Where To Find Them.  The library is a box set featuring all of the new material published after the last Harry Potter novel, so it includes Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them (the novel not the screenplay), Tales from Beedle the Bard, and something described as "extensive commentary from Albus Dumbledore". Plus twenty percent of the sales go to J.K. Rowling's charity, Lumos, which helps end institutionalization in children.  Fantastic Beasts was such a great movie, and I would love a copy of the screen play with new illustrations that I've never seen.

Mighty, Mighty Construction Site
By Sherri Duskey Rinker

I don't know about you, but when Rinker's first construction site book came out - Goodnight, Goodnight, Construction Site, my younger child was a toddler, and he was OBSESSED with that book.  If you have a child who makes you read that book over and over again, wait until February when you can add this book and a little variety to your story time collection. 

My husband and I heard this author, Brad Meltzer, on a podcast one time, and he was awesome.  I love his idea to write children's books about real people who changed our world for the better.  There are many, many of these "I am" books, and they are great.  This month, I am Jim Henson will be hitting stores.  From Sesame Street to The Muppets, Jim Henson has touched so many lives.  This is someone I want my kids to know about and learn from for sure. 

Who doesn't need another Pete the Cat book?  Preschoolers just love these books, and for good reason!  They are funny and unique.  We will definitely add this one to our Pete the Cat library. 

What books are you looking forward to in the new year?  I'm sure my list only starts with these here and will continue to grow and grow! 


books for the little yogi

WE DID IT!! We made it through the Christmas season.  I love the holiday season, and I have to confess that I fall into the holiday camp of more is more.  Not necessarily more money spent or more materialism, but I do feel like this is the season for allowing myself and my kids some indulgence.  We spend all year practicing moderation, so come Christmas, I am ready to put colored lights on anything that doesn't move, bake too many cookies, listen to Elvis sing Blue Christmas on a loop, watch every claymation special,  just jump in whole hog.  

However, sometimes that indulging gets the best of us all, and we need a little calm injected into our lives.  Now that Christmas day has come and gone, I am ready to recalibrate my life - more salads, less fudge.  And that holiday season chaos, as much as I sincerely love it, needs to step aside for another year.   I need to use my hands for more yoga, less online shopping.  

Here is a list of the best books to inspire the big and little yogis in your life.  Yoga is a wonderful thing to learn no matter what time of year it is, no matter what age you are.  It's so calming and restorative.  Take a look.  

I Am Yoga by Susan Verde and Peter H. Reynolds

The illustrator of the beloved Judy Moody series, Peter H. Reynolds, and yoga instructor and author Susan Verde team up to bring a kid's yoga guide that is calming, simplistic, and yet playful.  The book includes 16 poses and words with contemplative images perfect for meditation time. This would be a great introduction for first-time-yoga-trying elementary school kids.


Little Yoga by Rebecca Whitford and Martina Selway

The preschooler's guide to yoga!  Each page is bright and happy, showcasing a simple pose on one side with the other side illustrating the animal the pose is supposed to imitate.  Toddlers can do a lion pose while growling like a lion or tweet like a bird while doing a tree pose.  If your little one enjoys this book, you should check out Yogakids, a DVD by Marsha Wenig.  My kids really liked it when they hit the toddler age.  The video shows kids doing poses and is calm but also not too calm as to not be engaging for little ones.  

You Are A Lion and Other Fun Yoga Poses by Taeeun Yoo 

What makes this one different from the others is they uplifting illustrations and the way the artist Yoo connects our bodies with nature.  Each page features a pose that sparks motion and playfulness. 

Zen Socks by Jon J. Muth 

Stillwater the panda is back!  This one isn't specifically about yoga instruction, but I included it in this list for young yogis because of the way this very wise panda promotes the ideals of patience, understanding, and compassion all while maintaining a feeling of zen-like calm.  This is one of those that teaches a message without being too heavy-handed.  Also, just thumbing through the art work on each page is enough to set me into a zen state.