Is it the Sun or the Sea? Oh! Yes! It’s the watermelon I see!

July is considered to be the Watermelon month, but here in Greece, it’s the beginning of the real watermelon harvests. If you wonder about the first recorded watermelon harvest, well it occurred nearly 5,000 years ago in Egypt and is depicted in Egyptian hieroglyphics on walls of their ancient buildings! That’s so cool, indeed!To taste a watermelon is to know “what the angels eat,” Mark Twain proclaimed.

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This sweet fruit with the refreshing flavor was bitter with hard, pale-green flesh, generations of selective breeding, spanning several countries and cultures, produced the sweet red fruit. If you wonder about Watermelon well here are some facts to read and some books on watermelon, too!

The thing is, watermelon is an excellent source of Vitamin B6, which is vital for normal brain function. Moreover, the water percentage in this delicious fruit is similar to the water percentage in the brain.

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Watermelon is packed with Vitamin A, which is great for your eyes. It helps to boost your eyesight power,  keep your eyes healthy and your eyesight sharp.

Add watermelon to your summer salads and smoothies, grill it or eat it raw, just feel the joy of crunching it!Eating watermelon or drinking watermelon juice each day is one of the most delicious ways to stay hydrated during hot summer months!

Don’t miss reading while eating watermelon!

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”Happiness is a watermelon on your Head” by Daniel Hahn.

A cauliflower hat, a fish bonnet, a few large animals, a flying boar called Melvin and a whole lot of watermelons.  To the villagers who watch her going about her day, it is clear that Miss Jolly is irritatingly happy. Her never-ending cheerfulness leaves three of her neighbors highly confused and jealous, driving them to ridiculous and hilarious measures in an attempt to compete with Miss Jolly in the happiness – and headgear – stakes. Beautiful and insane in equal measure, this wacky book follows three local busybodies on their journey to discover the secret of true happiness!

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”Watermelon Party” by Jasmine Cabanaw.

Watermelon Party is based on a real event that happened at Rocky Ridge Refuge. On July 4th, Janice put out a watermelon, and one by one the animals gathered around the watermelon, sharing in its juicy sweetness side by side, despite their differences in species and size. It is the perfect story of friendship, love, animal rescue, and good, old summertime fun! There is also a bonus game of “Duck, duck, goose!” A little duckling rides in on the first animal. In each illustration, the duckling is sitting on a different animal, until the very end, when the duck lands on a surprised goose. The writing style is light and fun. The repetitive rhyming scheme will help children with their reading skills and learn action words.

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”Peter ‘Spit’ a Seed at Sue” by Jackie French Koller.

Irresistible summer fun!

Just then we heard a fella yellin??
He was sellin? watermelon! . . .
We chomped and slurped
And gulped and burped,
Then Peter spit a seed at Sue. . . .

Four friends turn a boring summer day into a rollicking, watermelon-seed?spitting adventure that takes them all the way into the town square, where everyone can?t help joining in on the fun. But when the mayor arrives, will she put a stop to it all?

 

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”One Watermelon Seed” by Celia Barker Lottridge.

Max and Josephine tend their garden while readers follow along, counting from one to ten as the garden is planted. Then readers can count in groups of tens as the garden is harvested, while they search through the pictures for the many small animals that are hiding throughout. A concise and clever text introduces color and rhythm, and the illustrations are bright and engaging, making this a perfect counting book for children.

 

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”The Watermelon Seed” by Greg Pizzoli.

This book introduces us to one funny crocodile who has one big fear: swallowing a watermelon seed. What will he do when his greatest fear is realized? Will vines sprout out his ears? Will his skin turn pink? This crocodile has a wild imagination that kids will love. This book is highly engaging with its whimsical illustrations and ability to capture and calm feelings of anxiety with humor and a wild imagination. The best part of all is the crocodile’s burps!

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”Watermelon Wishes” by Lisa Moser.

When Grandpap teaches Charlie how to plant watermelon seeds in the spring, Charlie hopes they’ll grow a “Wishing Watermelon.” Grandpap has never heard of such a thing, and when he asks Charlie what he would wish for, Charlie won’t tell. Through a whole summer of biking, fishing, basketball, and waiting for watermelons together, Grandpap tries to guess his grandson’s harvest wish.

Lush, vivid paintings evoke the friendship, teamwork, and affection between grandfather and grandson as they share their wisdom and this special summer together.

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”Watermelon Day” by Kathi Appelt.

Here’s a book that encourages patience as you watch young Jesse wait all summer long for her watermelon to ripen.  You can almost taste the sweet juicy fruit as she anticipates biting into it for her family’s annual watermelon day, time for fun and tasty watermelon!

 

Till next month’s Rock Post, do read as many books as you can, play on the beach and have tasty bites of watermelon.

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“To move, to breathe, to fly, to float, To gain all while you give, To roam the roads of lands remote, To travel is to live.” Hans Christian Andersen “The Fairy Tale of My Life: An Autobiography.”

Oh! yea! Summer is here and if you want to live it fully then you do have to think of doing something like  “pulling a full sized boat over a mountain” according to Werner Herzog, the famous German screenwriter. Visions come to life when we disconnect ourselves from the daily routine and head to the beach! Sailing away is the best option if you wish to explore more your own self and think of the fun and adventure included.

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Every sailing trip has an educational aspect once you opt for leaving the known surroundings you have made the right decision because that’s your chance to know something new and open your mind while spending quiet moments looking at the sea, under the dazzling sun, that’s Harmony enveloped by Serenity.

Adrift! A little boat adrift!

And the night is coming down!
Will no one guide a little boat
Unto the nearest town?

So Sailors say—on yesterday—
Just as the dusk was brown
One little boat gave up its strife
And gurgled down and down.

So angels say—on yesterday—
Just as the dawn was red
One little boat—o’erspent with gales—
Retrimmed its masts—redecked its sails—
And shot—exultant on!

Emily Dickinson

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But if you still think of the tides and how to best enjoy them, deepen your toes in the sand and read a book that will probably inspire you to write more and discover the true meaning of summer holidays. Here are some books I consider great for you to choose.

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Boats Float!
From steamships to ghost ships, to the little and big in-between ships, this fun, the rhyming book explores a wide array of boats. The third in George Ella Lyon’s transportation series, Boats Float! Takes to the Seas with dynamic illustrations that will keep even the youngest of readers eager to turn the page.
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The Circus Ship.

When a circus ship runs aground off the coast of Maine, the poor animals are left on their own to swim the chilly waters. Staggering onto a nearby island, they soon win over the wary townspeople with their kind, courageous ways. So well do the critters blend in that when the greedy circus owner returns to claim them, villagers of all species conspire to outsmart the bloated blowhard. With buoyant rhymes and brilliantly caricatured illustrations evoking the early nineteenth century, Chris Van Dusen presents a hugely entertaining tale about the bonds of community — and a rare hidden-pictures spread for eagle-eyed readers of all ages.

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Down to the Sea with Mr. Magee!

With enough lunch for three, Mr. Magee and his dog Dee head out to the sea. But what begins as a fun day in the sun turns a bit bumpy when one playful whale decides to say hello. Soon the crew that once was floating finds themselves flying! How will they get down? Who will come to their rescue? And when will they ever get to eat lunch? Down to the Sea with Mr. Magee is a great read-aloud, sure to provide fits of giggles.

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Sail Away, Little Boat!

A red toy boat that sports a yellow stripe on its sail travels from brook, to river, to the ocean. Arriving at the seashore, it is quickly embraced by three children. The back page has a visual epigraph: the little boat floats in a luxurious bubble bath with its new, yellow rubber-ducky friend. Ishida’s brilliantly colored spreads, done in mixed media, cast a swirling, whirling spell of balanced design. Working together in perfect pace, both text and illustration explore the natural world with circular lines and round, playful shapes that convey the toy boat’s passage among deer, whirligig beetles, Past silver-swift minnows/that scatter and school, onward to the river where lickety-split/the sleek otters slide. Delightful sounds, rich language, imagery, and buoyant verse characterize the writing. The book supports standards in science, art, and the language arts while providing children with an artistically rich visual and aural experience.

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Toy Boat!

A little boy has a toy boat. He made it out of a can, a cork, a yellow pencil, and some white cloth. The boy and his boat are inseparable, until one day when the wind pushes the toy boat out into the wide lake. Alone now, the little boat must face fierce waves, a grumpy ferry, a sassy schooner, and a growling speed boat. How the little boat misses the boy! But if he is going to survive, he must figure a way to do it on his own.

Loren Long has a timeless and magical touch. As he did with The Little Engine That Could, he creates a world of toys and children that go right to the soul. Toy Boat will sail into young hearts and stay there.

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If you want to be a real dreamer then travel and see, there is more to actually live!Till next moth’s Rock Post, live your life up to the most and sail away so you can find your way!

“Have Patience with all things, but, first of all with yourself.” (Saint Francis de Sales.)

Life’s rhythms can be really destructive if we let impatience and negative thoughts to conquer our thinking and psyche. Being tormented  is a word especially good for talking about a mental pain or anguish, and its ultimate root is the Latin word torquere, “to twist.” When experiencing intense feelings, impatience blocks your way of thinking, filling your mind with a total blank. You may think that adults are more prone to be tormented by various issues but this is not the case thinking of that adult as a kid, years back. Certain examples of kids’ behavior are associated with an emotional intensity that is often mistakenly perceived as emotional immaturity.  This specific emotional intensity, essential to the learning process has to do with gifted children, those who need understanding and support to accept their rich inner experiences and value emotional intensity as a strength.

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Critical self-evaluation and self-judgment, feelings of inadequacy and inferiority occupy kids’ minds, and these emotionally intense gifted kids often experience intense inner conflicts. Different ways of expressing themselves and their intense emotions can be the solution through stories, poems, artwork, music, journal entries or physical activities. Most of the times, what  is more, productive is to write down on paper your thoughts than hyper-analyzing them, as the saying goes: ”Too much Analysis brings Paralysis.” Speaking from personal experience and too much Analysis on the issue of Emotional Intensity, thinking of being able to find a solution I ended up that listening to your instinct is the best thing to do. What it feels right to do, will wash fear away if you can trust the guidance you receive from your intuition.

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Thinking of books that can uplift your emotions here are some which I find fantastic to use in class as a part of a Read Aloud Day, before summer holidays.

  • Taking a Bath with the Dog and Other Things that Make Me Happy by Scott Menchin (Author, Illustrator)

    51fazsmh1rl-_sx258_bo1204203200_From celebrated illustrator, Scott Menchin comes a wise and witty meditation on the true secret to happiness.
    ”I miss your smile today, Sweet Pea. What would make you happy?”
    What do you do when it seems as if nothing will make you happy? For one little girl, it’s a good time to take a survey, from subjects including a quick little rabbit (running around in a wheel), a balding gent (counting rings on a tree), a snazzy centipede (shoes, lots of shoes), and other sundry characters. Enlivened by his whimsical characters, Scott Menchin’s amusing story shows us that just doing what we love to do best can bring the biggest smiles of all.

  • Sometimes I’m Bombaloo (Scholastic Bookshelf) by Rachel Vail (Author), Yumi Heo (Illustrator)

    711439Vail & Heo deliver a wise, warm take on tantrums.
    Let the Scholastic Bookshelf be your guide through the whole range of your child’s experiences–laugh with them, learn with them, read with them!
    Category: Feelings
    Sometimes, Katie loses her temper.Sometimes she uses her feet and her fists instead of words. When Katie is this mad, she’s just not herself. Sometimes, she’s BOMBALOO.
    Being BOMBALOO is scary. But a little time-out and a lot of love calm BOMBALOO down and help Katie feel like Katie again!

  • The Way I Feel by Janan Cain (Author, Illustrator)

    51ycxiprcelA fun and colorful, rhyming book that introduces children to a variety of emotions and their names. Covers a broad range of emotions from pride to thankfulness. This is one of my favorites.

    Till next month’s Rock Post, enjoy life every minute, have fun, laugh a lot and express yourself, looking at the bright side of things!

But words are things, and a small drop of ink, Falling like dew, upon a thought, produces That which makes thousands, perhaps millions, think. (George Gordon Byron.)

Words, words, words! My students keeping commenting how chatty, talkative, voluble I am. ”You are Too Wordy!How on earth can we be like you?” My reply ”Well, you have to read books, kids, let’s make it a habit, listen to the power of the words,”  makes them wonder, being ready to leave class, in seconds! Greek kids and teens consider books unimportant and that’s because School doesn’t promote reading at all. The truth is there are the school libraries, very limited in numbers and books available, there is a number of events dedicated to books even writing contests but the majority of students show indifference. Having a Reading Club is something I secretly was wishing to find time having, but now openly declaring of working towards it!

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My everyday life seems to be a journey with pieces of baggage, full of manuscripts and endless hours of reading, studying, correcting papers, teaching, cooking and daydreaming when unexpected breaks happen.My students and my friends who either write or enjoy listening to my writing péripéties are a constant source of inspiration and encouragement. I missed writing on my blog for more than a month but when reality surpasses fiction or other times fiction anticipates reality, then there is too little time to deal with everything. Nevertheless, I have chosen to present some books which I stumbled on while searching for Mentor Texts, for my stories. 

  • Number One wish for my Students would be the following fantastic book:

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Did you know you can stretch and grow your own brain? Or that making mistakes is one of the best ways your brain learns? Just like how lifting weights helps your muscles get stronger, trying new things without giving up―like finding the courage to put your face in the water the first time you’re at a pool―strengthens your brain. Next time, your brain will remind you that you overcame that fear, and you will be braver!

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  • Number Two enjoyment is being in class, having my hands full of books, like ”Miss Malarkey”, that’s another great book:

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Principal Wiggins has promised to dye his hair purple and sleep on the school roof if the students read 1,000 books this year, and Miss Malarkey is determined to find the right book for every student, including this story’s reluctant-reader narrator. Winning her students over book by book, Miss Malarkey will have students loving to read in no time. As the best-selling series continues in paperback, no teacher, librarian, or parent should leave this book behind!

  • Number Three I worry,  I have too many Students who bring chaos, in a nutshell, the following book seems to be written for them:

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Third-grader Braden loves to be the center of attention. His comic genius, as he sees it, causes his friends to look at him in awe. But some poor decision-making, like ill-timed jokes in class and an impulsive reaction during gym that left a classmate teary-eyed and crumpled on the floor, forces the adults in Braden’s life to teach him about impulse control. But will the lessons shared by his teachers and his mom really help Braden manage his impulses?

  • Number Four, I care for too high Decibelllas, both  Primary and Junior High School, Gals, you are Awesome but TOO  High Pitched!

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Isabella is a spirited girl who enjoys shouting out her thoughts, ideas and feelings. In fact, she loves using her loud voice so much; it’s earned her the nickname, Decibella! Young readers will be entertained as they see how Isabella learns the five volumes of voice and discovers that different situations require a different tone.

  • Number Five concern, I still wonder how to help my Students overcome their Fear and  Apprehension on reading books on a regular basis, this book seems really cool!

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Everyone feels fear, worry, and apprehension from time to time, but when these feelings prevent a person from doing what he/she wants and/or needs to do, anxiety becomes a disability. This fun and humorous book addresses the problem of anxiety in a way that relates to children of all ages. It offers creative strategies for parents and teachers to use that can lessen the severity of anxiety. The goal of the book is to give children the tools needed to feel more in control of their anxiety.

  • Number Six Dream, have Unstoppable Students! Unique ideas to pass on, thru this enjoyable book!

unstoppable-me-app1In Unstoppable Me! Dr. Dyer teaches children how to hold on to the no-limit thinking he believes they were born with, rather than just trying to “fit in.” In doing so, they can learn to truly enjoy life and become unstoppable as they strive to attain their dreams.The 10 important lessons in this book include the value of taking risks, dealing with stress and anxiety, and learning to enjoy each moment. Each point includes an example showing how a child might apply the concept in his or her everyday life!

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Students of any age need constant, stimulating info to start the good blah-blah-blah, I hope my school premises are echoing this blah-blah-blah, in the near future! Till next Rock Post, have fun reading a new book, outdoors, surrounded by nature’s whisper!

My poem for the#50 precious words writing challenge!

March 2nd was the birthday of the incredible Theodore Geisel, better known as Dr. Seuss. The incredible Vivian Kirkfield, a great contributor to the writing community, has the #50PreciousWords Writing Challenge running for the 2nd year. The challenge has to do with writing a complete story using just 50 words.

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#50PreciousWords was inspired by Dr. Seuss’s Green Eggs and Ham, which only contains 50 unique words!  To find out more about this fun contest, check out Vivian Kirkfield’s website,  https://viviankirkfield.com/  and follow along on Twitter using the hashtag #50PreciousWords. There are Super WOW prizes for the participants 21 winners…21 prizes…1st place takes whichever prize she/he wants, then 2nd place gets to pick, and so on.Don’t miss the chance to participate and share the news with other writers in doing so! Thank you, Vivian, you are such a motivator, inspiring writers to challenge themselves! Yiassou!

 My entry was inspired by springtime and the colorful hats my students wear!

A striped fuschia hat!

Once it flew on a sycamore leaf,

The cool breeze sent it to a field,

A bunch of hens was after it.

A swallow grabbed it,

Now, on the almond tree,

The hat speaks of its travels,

”Come with me! There’re so many places to see!”

Leah Henderson on her debut middle-grade novel ”One Shadow on the Wall.”

I had the pleasure to meet Leah Henderson at the WOW Retreat in Atlanta, July 2016. Once I heard the good news of her debut middle-grade novel coming out, I could do nothing more than spreading the word.  Leah has always loved stories—short ones, long ones, sad ones, funny ones, and all those in between. When she is not frantically scribbling down the adventures of the characters jabbering in her head, she is off on her own adventures. Traipsing around the globe, venturing down meandering paths, soaking up the vibrancy of tantalizing souks and making lasting friendships. Many of the hopes, struggles, and traditions she witnesses on her travels find a home in her stories and color her and her characters’ lives.Enjoy the interview with Leah and get inspired for writing more exciting stories that speak to the heart!

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  • When did you first know that you wanted to be a writer?

I have always loved stories, but actually writing them and wanting to create them FOREVER didn’t happen until I got older. I truly didn’t understand this bug until right after college. Up until then, I’d enjoyed creating adventures across the page, but I also loved so many other things (soccer, crew, photography, travel, design) that it was just another fun thing I loved filling my time with.

  • What inspired you to write? 

Besides the stories that banged around in my head demanding to be let out? Probably my amazingly supportive dad. He encouraged me to explore stories about preconscious black boys like him because he didn’t see enough of them to share with sons of friends and family.

  • Tell us about your journey in becoming a writer?  

 So, as I said before, I have always loved writing and telling stories, but I didn’t truly start to take it seriously until an idea for a novel filled my head. Before that, it was basically short stories and just snippets of scenes. And with that longer idea, I dove in head first to write this light-hearted story set in an Italian nightclub.

I surprised myself by waking early to write and by turning down outings with friends to spend time with my characters instead, who were by that point friends too. Once I finished, although my friends cheered me on, I realized I craved feedback from people who understood the craft of writing. I had always loved school and thought long and hard about going back for an MFA. So I did, and from that moment, I have never looked back. Every part of me is happy when I write, and hopefully, I will be blessed to continue doing it for a long, long time.

  • What was the greatest obstacle you had to overcome in writing ‘One Shadow on the Wall’?

Believing in myself, and that I would be able to tell this story with care.

 

  • Why is it important for school children to familiarize with books on Diversity?

 We live in a diverse world, and for children not to see that represented in books, movies, tv, and in so many other things gives a false sense of the communities we live in or that are around us. Learning about other cultures and people not only fosters empathy, it also expands a child’s worldview helping to make them more compassionate and fully rounded people.

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”St. Louis, Senegal, here is a photo of the boy who would inspire Mor’s story.”

  • What challenges do PB & MG writers face (that those writing for adults might not experience)?

 Writing for children is EXTREMELY hard and comes with a great level of responsibility to get stories right. Making sure they are accurate in every way possible because many times, these books might be the first encounter some of its readers have with a particular experience. Adult writers rarely have to worry about the impact of possibly helping to inform and shape a young mind.

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”I went back and asked if I could take his photo. He wanted to stand—tall.”

  • What’s one thing that you hope young readers take away from your book?

 First of all, I want them to find a friend in my characters, but I also want them to come away understanding that although people maybe different in various ways whether it be geographically, socially, or ethnically, we all laugh and we all cry. We each know what it is like to try and make a new friend, or to lose one, wanting to fit in, or fearing being excluded. These are the things that bring us together, and I hope young readers realize this and are comforted by it when reading my books.

Thanks so much for having me, Agatha, I really enjoyed this!

 

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One Shadow on the Wall will be published June 6th with Atheneum/Simon & Schuster and is currently available to pre-order. In the meantime, you can find Leah on Twitter @LeahsMark or on her website: leahhendersonbooks.com.

Let’s Celebrate!Read Aloud Day!

That’s the first year I participate in the Read Aloud Day with students of Junior A&B classes here at my school where I teach English and French. We are going to have drawings, pantomime and make our own little scrapbooks using a sentence my students like so as to build their own story.

World Read Aloud Day motivates children, teens, and adults worldwide to celebrate the power of words and creates a community of readers taking action to show the world that the right to literacy belongs to all people. World Read Aloud Day is celebrated by millions of people in more than 100 countries thanks to people like you who participate and spread the word across the globe!

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Don’t miss the chance to Read Aloud. Change the World.Every year World Read Aloud Day calls global attention to the importance of reading aloud and sharing stories.

World Read Aloud Day is a time to celebrate the extraordinary power of reading and sharing stories aloud to create community between readers.

A read aloud over video chat with an author or illustrator can add magic and delight to World Read Aloud Day. We have created more easy ways for educators and community leaders to schedule video chat read alouds with one another and with published authors.

Check the link here for more info: http://www.litworld.org/wrad/

Enjoy the day and have fun while sharing hope and your Love for Books!

Enjoy the day and this beautiful Picture Book for free, by LitWorld, under the title”New Day, New Friends.”

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Have fun while sharing hope and your Love for Books!