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 abc books

I have always loved alphabet books. My grandparents had a Sesame Street book where Grover forms his body into each letter of the alphabet. I remember trying to shape myself into the letters by watching how Grover did it. ABC books span from beginner to advanced. The library has alphabet books about every subject you can imagine. When you read you begin with ABC, when you write it seems as though you do too.  When I think of ABC books, though, I generally think of picture books that I read to children to help them develop their early literacy skills. Reading is fun, of course, but reading to a child also helps  them gain the skills necessary to be ready to read. 

We currently have an alphabet book section in our Hot Topics area of the Children’s Department. Early literacy is important at the library and ABC books are an important element of early literacy. They are also just plain fun to read. The reader feels a sense of completion when the author’s subject utilizes every letter of the alphabet (even if I secretly come to “x” in every book wondering, what creative word the author was able to stretch to fit their subject). Here are some of my favorites:  

1.14 Dr. Seusss ABCsDR. SEUSS'S ABCs
By Dr. Seuss

This is my favorite ABC book of all time. The rhyming is classic Dr. Seuss. It makes reading fun and enjoyable for the caregiver and the child. I ended up memorizing some parts because we read it so many times. It includes a lot of alliteration helping children hear the beginning sounds of the letters over and over again. 


1.14 On Market StreetON MARKET STREET
Written by Arnold Lobe
lIllustrated by Anita Lobel

This Caldecott Honor book is another classic I remember being read while I was in elementary school. The character in the book goes to the market and the pages are items from the market designed as a person for each letter of the alphabet. The illustrations are incredibly detailed and imaginative. 


1.14 Eating the AlphabetEATING THE ALPHABET
By Lois Ehlert

Children need to be exposed to different foods sometimes before they are willing to try them. This is a perfect book with different fruits and vegetables for every letter of the alphabet! 


1.14 Bad KittyBAD KITTY
By Nick Bruel

Silly books make for the best books to read aloud to children. Bad Kitty is pretty particular about the food she eats. When the food runs out and there is no time to go to the grocery store, bad kitty gets pretty upset and does a mean thing for every letter of the alphabet. When a trip to the grocery store happens, there is a list including a type of food for each letter of the alphabet, crazy concoctions you will have never heard of that Bad Kitty absolutely loves. She is so happy she does one thing for every letter of the alphabet to make up for the bad behavior. 


1.14 I StinkI STINK
By Kate and Jim McMullan

Children have a fascination with garbage trucks. They are pretty interesting if you think about it. When my kids were really little we would run like the wind when we heard the garbage truck coming. They loved watching it pick up the big dumpster and empty the trash into the incredible truck. Of course, this has been a favorite of ours to read together. It mentions a type of trash for each letter of the alphabet.


 Life Changing Reads of 2018

This past year I have been reading a lot of self-improvement books. I don’t know if it is because I’ve finally been converted to reading nonfiction books or because I’m in my 40’s and totally frustrated with my life, but I’m ready for a change. I also realized that my life will not change unless I figure out new ways of doing things and what better way to do that than to read books by experts. I have read some amazing books this year. The little nuggets of information I’ve learned and started to use in my life are beginning to make a difference. If you are ready to make some changes in your life, here are some of my favorite self-help books that you can find at the Provo City Library: 

Jon Acuff

This book is a game-changer for my life. The author talks specifically about setting goals and why most of us never finish them. One of the things that really resonated with me was when the he said that the most important day of any goal is "the day after perfect". It's what we choose to do the day after we don't get our exercise in, or eat the doughnut, or lose the receipt we needed for our budget. Will we do what the majority of people do and quit because we weren’t perfect or will we find a way to readjust and keep going. I listened to this on Libby and highly recommend it. The author narrates this book in a personable and engaging way. He also added some "bonus" material not found in the printed book.


1.11 The Happiness AdvantageTHE HAPPINESS ADVANTAGE
Shawn Achor

We tend to think that we will be happy once we find success in life. Shawn Achor is a positive psychology researcher at Harvard and he believes it is the other way around. Happiness actually fuels success. When we are positive our brains are better able to cope with life and can become more productive. Don’t worry if you are not a naturally positive person. He shows, through research and example, ways that we can begin to train our brains to look for the positive first. It can be as simple as writing down three good things that happened to you every day for 21 days. This book is targeted for business readers, but his seven principles can apply to everyone seeking more happiness in life. His suggestions are simple but profound.


Rachel Hollis

Rachel Hollis has built a social media business on the premise of uplifting and inspiring women. In this book she talks about the lies that we tell ourselves and let ourselves believe. Things like: I'm not good enough, I'll start tomorrow, I'm not a good mom, or I will never get past this. These and other lies are all things that Rachel believed in her own life. She examines each one and talks about the things she did to overcome the lie. Each chapter addresses a different lie and at the end of the chapter she summarizes three specific things that helped her. The main point of her book is that each of us is ultimately responsible for who we become and how happy we are. It is empowering to have Rachel say, and to finally start to realize, that I have control of my life. We don't need to wait for the right house, the right job, or the right amount of money to be happy. We need to take control of what happens next and we are capable of becoming so much more than we are right now.


Mindy Starns Clark

I probably shouldn’t have enjoyed reading this book as much as I did. The author admits that she is not naturally organized or clean. For me, this was a breath of fresh air. Most house cleaning/organizing books are written by people who have a natural talent for being clean. They can’t understand why some of us hold on to things for so long, or live with clutter. The author has written this book for the housekeeping-impaired. I connected to her observations and suggestions and she has a really humorous and engaging way of writing. One of my favorite suggestions was to change my house to fit my behaviors instead of trying to change the behaviors I have had for years. Sometimes we don’t realize our problem areas could be changed with a couple simple adjustments to the house to accommodate our natural tendancies.  


Read to Travel

Perhaps you've read all five blog posts (number 6, number 5, number 4, number 3, number 2) we've already shared that talk about my love of reading to travel or traveling to read—basically literary vacations! I have talked about Hannibal, Rome, London, Concord, and Bath & Chawton. Today you get my ultimate vacation spot based on books I have read: Prince Edward Island (yeah, not just one city, the whole Canadian province)! 

1. Prince Edward Island, Canada

So, this is my all-time, most bookish trip that I took. I probably would never have gone to Prince Edward Island if it wasn’t for reading ANNE OF GREEN GABLES as a teenager. True story. However, PEI is not only the location of the beloved Anne books, but also many other L.M. Montgomery novels and short stories (and honestly the location is like a character in the story—you can’t totally understand Anne without understanding the place that she loves and lives in). 

EMILY OF NEW MOON writes in PEI, PAT OF SILVER BUSH grows up in PEI, AND so many of the short stories that Maud wrote were based on the island.  In fact, one tour guide at one of the many places we visited said that out of Montgomery’s 20 books, 19 of them take place in her home province—even though she only lived there until she got married. (The only book that Maud wrote that doesn’t take place in PEI is THE BLUE CASTLE, though that is a brilliant book as well.)

On the advice of someone who had been to PEI, when we first went to Cavendish (renamed Avonlea in the books), we went to the Cavendish Homestead and saw the land where L.M. Montgomery lived. Then we took a detour to the Cavendish Post Office; Maud was the assistant postmistress in Cavendish and secretly sent off her books there to be published.

We then walked through the “Haunted Wood” and came out just under Maud’s uncle’s home, which Green Gables was based on. That was truly the perfect way to see Green Gables for the first time (especially since the other entrance leads you to the visitor’s gates and barns…). Walking through the wood and then suddenly seeing Green Gables on the hill just felt like I was in the books with Anne. There is no other way to describe it! If you want to feel like you are in Montgomery’s work, you must travel to PEI. 

green gables picture

Also, there is the Anne of Green Gables Museum at Silver Bush (which also has the Lake of Shining Waters). This house was the inspiration for Pat of Silver Bush and is where Montgomery got married. Plus there are buggy rides that you can take—almost as if you were in the movie and Matthew was taking you out for the afternoon. Really, when Maud wrote her books, PEI was a main character and I couldn’t do justice to these books that I loved without going to the land where they were set. 

And there you have it. My ultimate top choice for a vacation based on books. Besides the FANTASTIC seafood, pretty much everything that we did on PEI was because of books—so basically it was a sweet vacation.

Granted, there are more travel plans ahead and more books with places as characters. So perhaps this list will continue to grow and change with each new passport stamp. I read to travel, I travel to read.

Where would you go based on books? Or what good books have you read because of somewhere that you have traveled?

Cozy Fireplace Remote

Post-Christmas blues? After the 25th, it can be hard to let go of the holidays. Here are a few not quite Christmas movies that still keep that December spirit alive.  

Directed by Andrew Adamson

A great take on the C.S. Lewis book, the wintery setting (and the fact that Santa Claus actually shows up in this film) make it a great pick for Christmas. Though for most of the movie it’s “always winter, but never Christmas” there are plenty of festive characters to enjoy. So sit down with some turkish delight and enjoy this reimagining of an old classic. 


1.7 While You Were SleepingWHILE YOU WERE SLEEPING
Directed by Jon Turteltaub

A romantic comedy, this film takes place actually takes place over several holidays. Sandra Bullock pretends to be the fiancee of the comatose man she saved, all while slowing falling for his brother. The fun family dynamics make this a great film to watch any time of the year. 


Directed by Chris Columbus

This movie takes place, of course, throughout an entire school year. But some of its most memorable scenes take place over the holiday break: from the delicious Christmas feasts, to Harry discovering his invisibility cloak and the Mirror of Erised. It also helps that television networks have made the movie a Christmas staple over the past few years. 


1.7 Little WomenLITTLE WOMEN
Directed by Gillian Armstrong

Though this takes place over several years, its most enduring moments happen during Christmas. Enjoy this heartwarming, and sometimes heartbreaking, story of an American family as they experience life during and after the Civil War.


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