Books Children Lists

Books for Young Readers: Back to School Shopping List @SamiJoLien

It’s back to school time! By now most of the kiddos should be starting school and beginning to adjust to the daily grind.  They are also probably ready for more books, right? After all, summer reading projects are over and now they need something new to read. I’ve made a collage to offer some suggestions.
BTSJKS Collage
 Hey how did I get in there? (snicker) Never you mind! Check out the information below to grab your copy of each book:
I can’t WAIT to find out what you think about the cicada book.  Now get SHOPPING!
Books [email protected]

Garden Parties are the Perfect time to discuss #diarrhea #Blogust

I recently had the chance to share my love of books and tea parties with a lovely group of littles in an outdoor garden party!

gardenteaparty Collage


Aren’t these little partygoers adorable??? Many thanks to my friend Darla at HeartWork Organizing for opening her home and sharing her littles and their friends with me. We raised money for [email protected] which I’m proud to say will help protect children by providing necessary vaccines so they can have a shot at life.

Wouldn’t it be FABULOUS if I could travel the world and have tea parties for kids all over the globe?

Give a kid a [email protected] Parties by donating.

Thanks, from the bottom of my teacup!


Books [email protected]

Looking Back at my Kids’ Vax Schedule #Blogust

All this month of Blogust, the [email protected] Champions have been talking about vaccines, which is a great way to get your littles (or not so littles) ready for school.  Many of my little friends have already started school which made me think back to the days when my littles were little.  As you know, I collect information and I’ve kept all of my babies’ shot records! I dug them up out o f the file and leafed through them with a cup of coffee. How fun it was to see my Pumpkin’s weight when she was 3 weeks old and how wonderful it is to know that even my firstborn, my #1 son, got all of his shots on time. As a new mother, I wanted to do everything perfectly and right so I adhered to the vaccination schedule like a BOSS.

My littles are now 22 and 17 and my Pumpkin is entering her last year of high school.  How did that happen? Let’s take a minute to remember that many children all around the globe don’t make it to high school. And that hurts my feelings.

As a brief reminder of the importance of vaccines and Blogust, here’s a collage to remind you of some of the highlights of my month.


What’s inside: A visit to Dr. Offit’s office, the inventor of the Rotateq vaccine, against the yucky rotavirus. A pic of my kids’ shot records from when we lived in Texas, and a pic of my littles on the first day of school, circa 2003.

Are you a hoarder, er collector like me? Do you still have all of your kids’ vaccine records? If so, why?


Back to School guest post Dianne Miller

Like it or not, it’s time to start thinking about going back to school.  Here are some thoughts from my friend Dianne Miller on sending your little one to preschool.

Preschool is a big step for every child, whether or not they have had the experience of day care outside the home. School is different from home care or even day care.

Although your child has already learned social skills at day care or with mommy-and-me play dates, school requires greater skills of cooperation and participation. School requires more structured transitions. The day is often very regulated with emphasis on lining up, taking turns and completing tasks. And for the first time, academics are the main emphasis and have consequences. Previously in a preschooler’s life if they weren’t ready for an introduction to the alphabet, it didn’t matter. Now it is a goal of the program.

Heading off to preschool for a three or four year old can be as stressful as heading off to college for a young adult.

first day preschoolBut there is plenty you can do to prepare your child. If possible, try to take your child to the school they will be attending. Some schools have an open house where your child can meet their teacher and see the classroom. Definitely attend if you can. But if you can’t, or in addition to an open house, stop by the school on a weekend morning to play on the playground and walk around the building. The more familiar your child is with the location the more comfortable they will be.

Try to find opportunities for your child to interact and play with many different children. Visit a playground where your child doesn’t usually play. Go to a children’s program at a museum or a parks and recreation event for kids, most often they are free. Your child’s preschool class will be full of new people on the first day. And even if your child has a playmate they already know in the class, it will be a big adjustment to learn to deal with so many new people. Having experienced new children on a regular basis before school starts will help your child feel less anxious and more comfortable making new friends.

And one of the best things you can do with your child to prepare for preschool is attend story hour at your local library or bookstore. It has all the elements of school: new playmates, structure and learning, but in a tiny dose. Just enough for a first introduction. As you and your child go back week after week, you will notice your child becoming stronger at sitting still, paying attention and following directions as well as learning from the books and enjoying the other children.

Each child acts differently on the first days of preschool, some may cry, others act out and still others may become quiet and withdrawn. Hopefully with the help of a good teacher, the anxiety of the first few days will pass quickly. A little introduction to what is to come in the form of school tours, recreation programs and story hours will go a long way to prepare your child and make their adjustment to school quick and easy.

Here are a few books perfect for preparing your child for preschool:

The Night Before Preschool, by Natasha Wing

Kevin Goes to School, by Liesbet Slegers

The Kissing Hand, by Audrey Penn

Kangaroo Goes to School, by Sonia Levitin

Llama Llama Misses Mama, by Anna Dewdney

Wemberly Worried, by Kevin Hendes

I Like Myself, by Karen Beaumont

Splat the Cat, by Rob Scotton

Little Rabbit Goes to School, by Harry Horse


Dianne and I have similar ideas about the best way to prepare for new beginnings. I ALWAYS turn to a book when confront with a new situation; how about you?

Another thing Dianne have in common is the belief that sending your little one off to preschool or college is equally stressful. I’ve already sent one toddler off to college and very very soon will send another one off. I wanted to share with you a few pics of my little one just as Dianne has shared her little with us.

My Pumpkin went from dolls:



to Diplomas (this is her high school senior photo)



When did she grow up?

So tell me, what books do you turn to to prepare for back to school (any school)?


Dianne Miller is a landscape painter who lives in Virginia with her husband and two daughters. Her work includes the Little Bunny series written for her children when they were preschoolers. The simply written and illustrated books gently guide Little Bunny through the challenges of life. You can find tons of original, free printables and the Little Bunny series.



Back to School Means Writing Papers. I’ve Got Two Solutions. #Grammarly

I use Grammarly for proofreading because I’m the standard bearer when it comes to finding errors.

Hi friends! How’d you like my rhyme up there?  I’m repurposing this post because now that the kiddies are  back in school, mine are preparing to write term papers.  I want to share with you some helps.

Remember those days in school when you were forced to diagram sentences? Remember how painfully confusing the process was? Remember thinking, why on earth do I have to learn this junk?

Me neither.  Why? Cuz I am a grammarian (I know someone’s cringing at my poor usage).  I actually prefer to call myself a Linguist, but  a grammarian I am.  I love words.  And since I love to read books, learning grammar came easy to me.  I’ve always believed that my good grasp of grammar (like that alliteration there?) is in part the result of long hours reading great literature. When I came across a word I didn’t know, I looked it up. That’s how I became such a good speller too!

If you’re not sure of your grammar usage, you can check through a site called Grammarly.  They are fanatics like me.  Like I. am.  Anyway, they are rabid grammarians who will help you mend your errorist ways. Grammarly is like a second set of eyes.  To be sure, you could call me or your mother to help you, but what if we’re busy? Who ya gonna call? Grammarly, that’s who!

My pal Marcia, I’m sure, would agree that reading also helps grammar.  Marcia has written a book called Word Up! How to Write Powerful Sentences and Paragraphs (And Everything You Build from Them).  I know the title is long, but don’t be afraid.  Or rather, fear not  (inside joke you’ll get if you read the chapter on Be Verbs).  Marcia’s book is the grammar book your high school English teacher should have used when teaching.  Marcia’s chapters make very clear the hows, whys, and whuts? of writing.  The questions you’ve most often wanted answered are contained within the book.  And the great news? The answers are in English (hahaha!) meaning the answers are easy to understand; Marcia writes for the flustered everyday person who doesn’t care about diagramming.

Have you ever wondered about when to use a certain pronoun? Marcia covers this topic brilliantly in her chapter: Her and I: How to Banish Painful Personal-Pronoun Pairings.  As an aside, these mistakes make my blood boil.  Let me give you an example of Marcia’s brilliance (my comments are in parentheses):

My father is living with my wife and I.

A businessman sent this statement out to thousands of readers.  Does the I hurt your ears?  If it doesn’t–if the I sounds right to you, or if it sounds funny but you aren’t sure why, or if you never know whether to say I or me but you favor I because you’ve heard lots of otherwise well informed people talk that way–you’re not alone.  Pronoun misuse saturates American parlance. (that’s a fancy word for the way we speak)

The trouble arises in sentences that involve two parties.  No one would say, “My father is living with I.”  What trips people up is the and.  So get rid of it, if only for a moment.  Cover the and with your mind’s hand before you speak or write (and split the sentence into two sentences).


Him/He and me/I went fishing this morning.

Cover up the and. Look at each pronoun by itself:

Him/He went fishing this morning.

Me/I went fishing this morning.

No problem.  No one would say Him went fishing or Me went fishing…If it’s He went fishing and I went fishing, then it’s He and I went fishing.  (ta da!)


I’m pretty sure Marcia is my soulmate. See how easy she made the above answer sound??

As a grammarian, linguist, reader, and editor, I often cringe at poor grammar.  To be sure, we all make mistakes, but I long for the days when people wrote letters full of poetic prose and correct grammar.  If you’re like me, you’ll understand.  I silently correct other’s grammar as they speak.  I mentally correct signs, pamphlets, and websites constantly.   As a freelance editor, I weep because sometimes poor grammar or sentence structure can take a good story idea and turn it to mush.  If you feel the same way, look at this statement here that I copied from a church sign:

To whom are you neighbor?

Is that statement correct or not?  Check out the chapter Whom Ya Gonna Call? to discover the answer…

You can find more information about Marcia at her website: How To Write Everything.  She’s also on Twitter @MarciaRJohnston

What are you waiting for? For what are you waiting? Why wait? Read the book to find out which sentence is correct.  Need answers like yesterday? check out Grammarly.  They’re like ninjas.  Grammar ninjas.


 Grammarly, the power hammer of grammar.


Want more Flattenme Products? LIMITED TIME ONLY!!

flattenme Unconventional Librarian

Did you miss out on the Flattenme Contest?

Have no fear!

I am thrilled to offer Unconventional Librarian readers a LIMITED TIME ONLY super secret shopping code.

Go to, choose your product (ABC book, water bottle or t-shirt), and use the code:


Which will give you 15% off your order.



Don’t just sit there



A Personalized Back to School Book from and a GIVEAWAY!!

If you’re like me, you’re always looking for ways to remember when your little ones were little.  Sometimes first day of school photos aren’t enough but I’ve found the perfect keepsake, it’s from the people of flattenme!  Flattenme makes personalized books, t-shirts, cups and just about anything you can think of!  All you have to do is choose your item, send a photo of your child and and you can get a one of a kind keepsake that you will enjoy forever.

Here’s the one I had made.  It’s a book (of course!):

flattenme Unconventional Librarian

You’ll notice my cute little Ryan’s face on the cover. What child won’t love that?? Let’s look at more pics…

Unconventional Librarian flattenme book 130813-124313

See how the Ryan’s lil face helps tell the alphabet story? I love it! There’s also a section that teaches kids how to count, with your little one’s face the main character!

I’m SO EXCITED because I coerced convinced the nice people of to give one away to one of my lucky readers. USA and CANADA! YAY!

So here’s what will happen. You’ll enter the giveaway.  You’ll win.  All you hafta pay is a flat rate shipping of $3.99 (higher in Canada.  Sorry, eh).

And there’s more: Runners up will get a discount code, WOOT!!

Here’s the Rafflecopter entry form.  Contest runs from August 26th to Midnight September 9th.


a Rafflecopter giveaway