Friday, September 16, 2016

Great Halloween Books for Kids

It's hard to believe that Halloween is just around the corner!  If you're like me, you've started buying and/or putting out some seasonal decor, and you've at least started thinking about your kids' trick or treat costumes.  (My two year old consistently tells me that she wants to be a "pink princess," while my almost-four year old doesn't seem to have any idea what he wants to be.)  In addition to pumpkins and costumes, Halloween is also a great opportunity to get some new books into your rotation!  Usborne Books & More has some great titles for a variety of ages.

Illustrated Ghost Stories:  This hardback volume with a padded cover and a ribbon bookmark contains 13 short stories that are sure you get you and your kiddos in the mood for a ghostly evening of tricks and treats!  Just be aware that between the illustrations and the scary stories, this might be a little too much for the littlest kids; it's recommended that this book be read with kids ages 8 and up.

That's Not My Monster:  On the other end of the spooky spectrum, That's Not My Monster is an adorable book that's perfect for babies and toddlers, and even preschoolers will probably enjoy "reading" this one on their own!  Each page of this board book has a patch of texture to touch, and there's also a little white mouse hidden somewhere in each picture.

Zombies Sticker Book:  Do you have a kiddo whose already gotten onto the zombie bandwagon?  This sticker book is just for them!  Your child can use the provided stickers to create the illustrations and the help tell the story in this book about the zombie apocalypse.  (Recommended for ages 5-7.)

Monster Activity Pack:  This carrying case contains four different monster-themed activity books.  Whether your child likes to color, draw, write, use stickers, or play games, they'll find it in this set!  (Recommended for ages 5-7, though younger kids can likely use it with assistance.)

Pop Up Haunted House:  As your kids turn the pages of this fun book, they'll explore the various rooms of the haunted house.  There are tabs to pull and hidden characters to discover, with lots of spooky details.  At the end of the book, a 3-D house pops up to surprise them!

Spooky Stencil Cards:  This set of 16 stencil cards is perfect for children to use to create drawings, Halloween cards, or even decorations.  The cards are durable and reusable.

All of these titles are currently available for purchase by following the links posted!  Order soon to ensure delivery in time for Halloween.

Saturday, September 10, 2016

Usborne Books & More Kids Birthday Club!

I'd like to introduce my Usborne Books & More Kids' Birthday Club!  During the month of your child's birthday, you can receive 10% off the purchase price of the books you purchase from me.  

It's really simple!  Sign your kids up for the Birthday Club by providing me with your contact information and your child(ren)'s birthdate.  Then I'll send you an email that will contain ordering information and a voucher.  That's it!

Simply click here to provide your information and to join the club!  Happy Reading!

Friday, July 22, 2016

3 Great Ways to Save Money on Books for Your Early Reader

Usborne Books & More has a wonderful selection of "Phonics Readers."  These books are aimed at some of our earliest readers, and each title features a story with rhyming text and phonic repetition designed to help develop essential language and early reading skills.  Watch the video below for a "tour" of one of these titles, "Kangaroo at the Zoo."

Usborne has about 20 different titles in this series, each one of which contains a fun story and cute illustrations.  As you can see in the video, each book is a sturdy paperback that will hold up well to little hands, and it contains guidance notes for parents at the back.  A single copy of one of our Phonics Readers is $6.99, and all of them can be found by clicking this link.

However, the title of this blog post is "3 Great Ways to Save Money on Books For Your Early Reader."  So how can you do that?

Option One: Purchase a "Combined Volume."  Cow Takes a Bow and Other Tales and Raccoon on the Moon and Other Tales are our two combined volumes.  Each of these two books contains six different stories from the Phonics Readers, as well as a set of guidance notes at the back.  Each of these hardback combined volumes can be purchased for only $14.99!

Option Two:  Check out Ted and Friends!  This hardback book is also a combined volume, but this one contains a total of 12 titles from the Phonics Readers series.  "Ted and Friends" also has the added bonus of a listen-along CD.  The book and CD together can be purchased for only $19.99!

Option Three:  Order the Phonics Box Set.  While the previous options are a great way to get a good selection of stories at a great price, there really is something to be said for having the smaller, individual Phonics Reader books.  They're easy for kids to handle, and they can more easily find the specific story that they're looking for (instead of trying to flip through a larger book to find where a particular story starts).  This box set contains an individual copy of all 20 Phonics Readers books (and, of course, a sturdy box in which to keep them organized!) for only $69.99.  That's a 50% savings over buying each title separately!

Of course, there is a bonus 4th way to save money on these books; host an Usborne Books & More party on Facebook for your friends and family!  As a party host(ess), your main job is to invite people and to interact with the posts on the party event page.  Your consultant does most of the work!  The more books your party guests purchase, the more you can earn in free and/or discounted books.  For more information or to book a party, just click this link and fill out the form!

Sunday, July 17, 2016

Mission: Spread Happy

There's been a lot of tragedy and sadness in our world lately.  A lot of people are angry; a lot of people are sad.  A lot of people are hurting.  

At the same time, there seems to be a growing desire -- even a growing need -- for individuals to find some way to make a positive impact in the world.  Can we stop bad things from happening?  Probably not.  But can we do our part to help people and to spread some cheer in our little piece of the world?  Absolutely.  Can we get our kids involved?  Definitely!

A number of Usborne Books & More consultants have started a mission to "Spread Happy."  Sound interesting?  Keep reading!  :)

Usborne has two books that are filled with suggested activities for kids (and their families) to complete a variety of "acts of kindness."  Do Nice, Be Kind, Spread Happy was published in 2014, and Be the Change, Make It Happen was published earlier this year.  Each book is 96 pages long, with approximately 80 different activities ideas.  The age recommendation for both books is 7 and up, though there are a number of ideas presented that younger kids can certainly do (especially with the help of older siblings or family members).  

What kinds of activities do these books suggest?  Here is just a small sampling of ideas:
  • Offer to walk a neighbor's dog
  • Surprise someone with an "unbirthday card"
  • Write a thank you note to your mail carrier
  • Find a place to go volunteer
  • Donate books to a charity or send them to someone who would enjoy them
  • Say hello and smile to everyone you see; keep track of how many people smile back!
If you're interested in purchasing one or both of these books, you can do so by clicking the book title links, or just click through to my online shop here.  I hope that you'll be a part of #missionspreadhappy

Thursday, July 14, 2016

3 Amazing Books for Baby's 1st Year

For a number of reasons, it is so important to read to your baby!  Long before they can begin to understand the words on the pages, babies benefit from looking at books and listening to words and stories.  Not sure where to start when choosing those books?  Here are three "Must Have" books for the babies in your life!

Baby's Very First Fingertrail Playbook Cats & Dogs
This adorable board book contains bright, high-contrast illustrations that babies will find engaging and interesting.  There are simple words on the pages and images to talk about.  Older babies will enjoy following the textured fingertrails, and there are colorful, sturdy flaps to lift and peek inside.

Hello Baby! Day and Night and Hello Baby! Rainbow Colors
Okay, so I might be cheating a little, since I'm counting these two separate books as one for my list of must haves.  :)  These "Hello, Baby" cloth books are brand new to Usborne this summer, and they are perfect for infants.  The handles are a hard plastic with rattle-like beads that a teething kiddo can chew on with no worries.  Each page has a bright, clear illustration to look at and talk about, and baby can feel (or gnaw on) the soft, padded fabric.

123 Counting
Did you know that young babies don't see color?  So these books, with images that are primarily high-contrast black and white, are perfect for those youngest kiddos!  This book can help with visual development and focus while introducing kids to numbers and some basic first words.  A really cool feature of this book is that the panels actually fold out and can be stood up, so the little one working on tummy time has something to look at!

Obviously, this is a really small selection of the books for babies that Usborne Books & More has available.  Click the links for any of the book titles to have access to the full online catalog!

Welcome to my Blog!

Welcome!  I've started the "Usborne Books Lover" blog as a way to share books that are available through Usborne Books & More, as well as some general reading and literacy tips.  I thought that I'd start, though, by sharing a little bit about myself!

I've always considered myself to be a "reader."  I was one of those little kids who would go to the public library and check out a huge stack of books, only to finish all of them within a day or two.  As I grew up, I loved to read Little House on the Prairie, Amelia Bedelia, Mrs. Piggle Wiggle, the Baby-Sitter's Club books, Sweet Valley Twins, Sweet Valley get the idea.  By 7th grade, I decided that I wanted to be an English teacher, and I loved learning about and reading the "classics" and the "great authors" through junior high and high school, and I loved my AP English Literature class.

I attended Franciscan University of Steubenville, where I earned my Bachelor's degree in English Literature, and I did become an English teacher.  I taught for 8 years in Colorado (grades 8-11) before we moved to Washington.  At that time, I started teaching English online, and here I am, 7 years later, still working for the same online education company (and I've added a Masters Degree in Educational Technology from Boise State University).  My favorite part of teaching has always been exposing kids to literature and books; I often told my students that if they thought they didn't like to read, it was probably because they haven't found the right books yet.

While I still love the "classics" and reading novels, my scope of appreciation has changed a bit in recent years.  I now have a three and a half year old son and a two year old daughter, and I'm expected our third child (a boy) in October.  Needless to say, I now spend quite a bit of time reading children's books!  After "attending" a few Usborne Books parties via Facebook and seeing how much my kids enjoy the books I'd purchased, I decided earlier this year to take the plunge and sign on to be an Independent Consultant.

With hundreds of titles available that cover a huge variety of topics and that are geared towards all ages of kids, from babies to teenagers, there is something in the Usborne Books & More catalog for everyone!  Feel free to browse my website, or let me know in the blog comments if there's something specific that you're looking for!  I love being a personal book shopper.  :)

I hope that you'll follow my blog, as I'm really excited to share my love of reading, literacy, and Usborne Books & More with you!