Happy 1st Birthday to 1bookperday!

When I started this blog last June, I did it with a clear goal in mind: to promote reading to children. Not only for the love of books, but also as a unique parent-child bonding experience and an effective tool to better parenting. I wanted to recommend a book for every day of the year ( from the book we read) and I planned to do it daily, for one year (at least). I was facing one challenge, and I was aware of it. Will I be able to squeeze thirty minutes from my busy days to focus on inspirational writing, without sacrificing my family and other commitments? It was hard indeed, but, to my surprise, only at times. Most of the time, this modest blog was the highlight of my days, and both, my husband and my son,  showed a lot of respect and understanding for my undertaking.

We have read many books, haven’t we? We’ve had lots of laughs with exquisite read-alouds by Julia Donaldson and the wacky wonders by Oliver Jeffers or Mo Willems My son loved stories about trucks and other mighty machines, especially a superbly entertaining monologue by a garbage truck in “I stink” by Kate and Jim McMullan. Valeri Gorbachev’s cosy tales and illustrations, Keiko Kasza’s amusing fables or Leo Lionni’s classics, worked as “comfort food” anytime. “Ugly Fish” by Kara Lareau proved to be the scariest story in my son’s opinion I was moved to tears when reading “The Happy Lion” by Louise Fatio or  “Giraffes Can’t Dance” by Gilles Andreae. Every book we’ve read was a unique experience, that enriched us with new feelings and thoughts.

Which books did you find most memorable, useful, entertaining…?

Now, 365 posts and books later, with undeniable, yet minor delay, I have finally reached my goal. I feel happy, fulfilled and I have to admit, quite proud of this achievement. But I wouldn’t have done it without you. Thank you All, for your loyalty. Your encouraging comments, ‘likes’ and subscriptions were most motivational. Thank you so much!

The goal has been reached, but my appetite for this blog has only increased in the course of writing. I am going to take a short break now, and hit the road with my family, but in a couple of weeks, I am planning to resume 1bookperday in a new format. I am hoping to publish weekly posts, which will give you more time to read the books and ideally, share your comments and reflections. I would love to see more interaction! I am also hoping to make the book choices more selective. A monthly theme, perhaps? And maybe YOU know of books worth reading and recommending? Any ideas, suggestions or feedback will be greatly appreciated.

And for now, enjoy the summer and  keep reading to your children. There are so many wonderfully written, and most inspiring picture books out there. And I’ll be back in a couple of weeks with new titles and reflections. Okay, I will probably miss writing, so I hope you won’t mind a little book for a leap year in the meantime.

A. Ch.

365. “Tell Me My Story, Mama” by Deb Lund

To have their biography written, a person needs to wait most of their life and achieve something extraordinary. Or sensational. But every person has their exciting story and there is only one other person who knows it from the very day one: the mother. So, “Tell me my story, mama”.

About the time when I was in your belly. How everyone wanted to touch it for good luck and dad had to lean over to give you a hug. How my foot was sticking out, and how I kicked. And how you could see me with a special camera. And how you couldn’t have enough of crackers and rice for other food was making you sick. How you and dad picked out my name. And about the horrible snowstorm and the night-time trip to the hospital. And tell me the best part: about when you saw me for the first time. 

This story belongs to a certain girl, but every child has their own, unique beginning. Why not to share it with them? Parents might think that children are too little to understand. Sure they are, but the less they understand, the more charming the story becomes. Plus, children might be little, but they do have big questions, that we should not ignore.

The other day, as we were browsing through photos with my son, he saw a picture of me and his dad, from the ‘dating era’ and asked: Mommy, but where was I then? I told him that he was still in my heart. Not sure how he really interpreted it, but he seemed content with the answer.

“Tell Me My Story, Mama” turns pregnancy into a magical and adventurous tale, that children want to hear over and over again. Cute,  warm and humorous script and engaging watercolors, by Hiroe Nakata.

364. “Ice Cream Soup” by Frank Modell

Yesterday, there was a party at Iguana’s, today Marvin and Milton are throwing a birthday party. You would think that it  costs a lot of money, but not when you are as creative as Marvin and Milton. They already had a lot of things at home. They wrote the invitations, blew up balloons, made paper hats… They even baked a cake and made ice-cream… soup. Well, the baking part was not as successful as they had hoped, but who cares about food if they are having a good time! Here come the guests! With quite some surprises…

I think that it was Marvin and Milton’s best party ever. Because they did it themselves. I am not saying don’t throw birthday parties for your children, but  leaving some room for their own contribution is not a bad idea.

Lots of humor in dialogues and cartoons. Dorky, funny characters. A part of a successful Marvin and Milton series, by this great artists and writer, a regular contributor to The New Yorker and “Sesame Street”, among others.




363. “Mañana, Iguana” by Ann Whitford Paul

There is no day for a party like Saturday. Iguana thought so too. Her friends, Tortuga, Conejo and Culebra were very excited about the idea. However, when it came to helping Iguana with writing invitations, cooking, decorating the place…, Tortuga claimed he would do things too slowly, Conejo too quickly and Culebra was willing to help mañana, when he would grow his arms. All in all, Iguana prepared the party by herself and by herself greeted the guests. As the three lazy friends were watching the fine fiesta from the outside, they realized their mistake. Perhaps they could make it up to Iguana by cleaning up?

I am sure you can already see similarities between the story and an old folktale, “The Little Red Hen”. “Mañana, Iguana” is a refreshing take on this classic, with a Spanish twist. The story is cleverly written in Spanglish, which makes it as amusing as educational. Children can learn several animal names as well as the days of the week in Spanish, among others.

Lively and engaging writing and humorous illustrations, by Ethan Long. A convincing way to show children that helping pays off and lame excuses not so much.

362. “David Gets in Trouble” by David Shannon

David Shannon’s work was the subject of my blog only 3 days ago, and I wasn’t planning on bringing it up any time soon. Yet, we have been reading another book by this peculiar writer and illustrator and my  son simply loves it. I just must mention it.

David, whom you might know from the bestseller “No, David!”, tends to get in trouble. But he doesn’t mean to. For example, he just wants to play baseball in the backyard, and ends up breaking a window. He leaves for school without his pants, but not on purpose. He just forgets. He spills  red juice on the carpet, but it just slipped. And so on and so forth. He’s got an excuse for every incident. Until the night-time.  Then the only thing David has to say is “I’m sorry.”

And that’s all that matters for a loving and understanding parent. Most children get in trouble at times, but in most cases, they don’t mean to. Children are not mischievous by nature, rather curious and fearless. It takes a while for a little person to learn to bear responsibility for their deeds (some adults never learn this crucial skill), but eventually children start to apologize for their mistakes. A lot depends on the parents, though. They need set an example.

Hilarious, and so true to life a story, plus, as always in Shannon’s books, highly compelling pictures.

361. “Where’s My Tail?” by Susan Schafer

Tails seems to be one of the most intriguing animal parts, for children and for children’s book writers alike. No wonder, the sheer number of different types of tails is already mind-boggling. But what are the tails for anyway? Do animals need them?

As Little Lizard discovered, when his own tail magically fell off, tails are indispensable. So what happened to the Little Lizard’s?  Perhaps a frog could help him solve the puzzle? After all, she seems to have lost hers too. Well, the frog’s tail fell off when she was a tadpole and she didn’t care about having one now. It would weigh her down when jumping into the water. What about a bear? He looks tail-less too. Oh, no, one must not ignore bear’s stubby little tail. Did raccoon ever lose his tail? Nope, he needs his bushy tail to blend with the background when in danger. What about a snake? His tail is so long that he could share it with Little Lizard, perhaps? The snake did not like that idea.  But actually, Little Lizard didn’t need to borrow any tail anymore, as his own had already grown back.

Isn’t is amazing? Lizards lose their tails when grabbed by an enemy, but in most cases, the tails grow back. Your children can learn this and other curious facts about the animal tails from this entertaining and very educational Little Lizard’s adventure. Highly engaging, colorful pictures by Doug Cushman.

360. “All You Need for a Beach” by Alice Schertle

Is one grain of sand enough for a beach? Sure, you just need to add trillions of grains more. And of course, you must have the sun, to warm up the sand. And an umbrella to add some shade. Don’t forget the seagulls in the sky and fish in the water. For you need some water. An ocean perhaps, to dip some toes in it. Your toes. Oy, yes! “All you need for a beach is… YOU!”

A perfect beach recipe would no be complete without YOU and a perfect summer can’t pass without a beach experience. So, don’t wait and plan your trip to the sea, lake or whatever water you have nearby.  This frolic and lively rhyme will surely bring you in the beach mood.

A superbly refreshing (like the ocean breeze) story and warm and sunny pictures, by Barbara Lavallee.

359. “Too Many Toys” by David Shannon

Spencer had a lot of toys, in every corner of the house. Big toys, small toys, blocks, cars, rubber ducks, you name it. Some of them were stimulating and educational, some not. Spencer was getting toys from everybody on any occasion. He didn’t object, but his parents started seeing the need of purging. After a long haggling, mom and Spencer prepared a box of earless bunnies and headless aliens to be given away. But wait a minute… The toys can go, but no the box! After all it was Spencer’s favorite spacecraft! 

Spencer has too many toys. So does Victor, Maya, Evan and most of other children these days. So, on behalf of their parents (I hope you don’t mind),  I am asking all the generous grandmas, aunties, and family friends to think twice before buying a new toy to their grandchild, niece or nephew. They will love you even if you show up empty-handed, and the parents will appreciate the less hazardous floor conditions (stepping on a scattered Lego block can be really painful, and tripping over a misplaced truck can lead to the ER). Thank you in advance.

A true to life story, told with lots of dry humor, and typical Shannon, bright, bold and quite eerie pictures. Very engaging all together.

358. “Unlovable” by Dan Yaccarino

As a result of successful bullying by the cat, Alfred the dog got to believe that he was “unlovable”. It was hard to think otherwise, if the parrot, fish and other dogs ridiculed him as well. Alfred was very lonely. One day, a new dog, Rex, moved in with a new family next door and the two dogs seemed to bond really well. Over the fence. Alfred was convinced that the friendship would last as long as Rex didn’t know how “unlovable” he was. To his surprise, however, Rex didn’t mind what he saw…

Once again, Dan Yaccarino proved that he is not only an exquisite artist, engaging with his bold and vivid illustrations, but also a very convincing writer, who can touch his readers’ hearts and make them think. “Unlovable” shows how simple it is to crush somebody’s self-esteem, but also how easily it can be restored. All you need is one true friend, who knows how lovable you are. A warm and very uplifting story!


357. “Daddies” By Janet Frank

Happy Father’s Day! I hope that all daddies are enjoying their special day. Whether your family let you sleep in an extra hour, made you your favorite breakfast, or prepared some other surprises, I hope you feel loved and appreciated.  On my end, I have one more book to celebrate fatherhood.

“Daddies”  pays tribute to both fathers and their jobs.  An interesting twist, isn’t it? After all, dads spend most of their time at work, so what do they do? From baking bread for our breakfast and growing vegetables for our dinners, to building planes, driving cars, keeping us safe and healthy, or even writing books that we love to read, “dads do almost everything”. But regardless of how useful and exciting the job, “Daddy rushes home-to us!”

Okay, perhaps sometimes, you would rather stay longer in the office than run home to deal with a screaming baby, but I can promise you that this phase is only temporary. There is nothing like seeing your child’s excitement, when dad comes home.

A truly warm rhyme and illustrations (by Tibor Gergely), in the familiar tone of Little Golden Books.  A great way to honor dads and their jobs at the same time.


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