Leather Chair Reading! International Children’s Book Day!

Leather Chair Reading!  International Children’s Book Day!

It’s been quite a while since I’ve done a Leather Chair Reading journal entry, so I thought International Children’s Book Day seemed the perfect time to do one.

Leather Chair Reading! International Children's Book Day! www.mytributejournal.com

International Children’s Book Day is a yearly event held on April 2, to celebrate the birthday of Hans Christian Andersen, the renown author of many timeless children’s books and fairy tales like, The Ugly Duckling, Peter Rabbit and The Princess and the Pea, just to name a few.

Thumbelina, a fairy tale classic. www.mytributejournal.com

A personal favorite fairy tale classic of mine from Hans Christian Andersen was Thumbelina.  I even had a Thumbelina doll!  


Statue of Hans Christian Andersen in New York’s Central Park

It is ironic that oftentimes many children’s authors have such sad upbringings themselves.  Hans Christian Andersen grew up in abject poverty, his mother was an alcoholic and his father was a poor shoemaker who died when he was a young boy; he never married or had children of his own.   Maybe these childhoods were the inspiration for their stories!

Celebrating International Children's Book Day! www.mytributejournal.com

The International Children’s Book Day is sponsored by the International Board on Books for Young People.  This committee was founded in 1967 and was developed to help inspire children all over the world to read!  There are several special events held each year, including storytelling, writing competitions, and talks from prominent authors and well-known illustrators.

One of the things my own children seemed to love the very most when they were growing up was going to the library or browsing a book store.  Now my two sweet granddaughters are proud holders of their very own library cards!

International Children's Book Day! www.mytributejournal.com

Here’s a short list of a few of my favorite children’s books and one I recently purchased to celebrate the Easter season.

“Friends” by Helme Heine

International Childrens Book Day! www.mytributejournal.com

This darling book is about Charlie Rooster, Johnny Mouse and Percy the Pig, who are the best of friends, who do everything together and stick by each other during good times and bad–but when night falls and they try to sleep together, they soon realize that even best friends have to be apart sometimes.

Illustrations from the children's book "Friends" by Helme Heine. www.mytributejournal.com

My copy of this book is well loved, it was a favorite of my children and now my two granddaughters adore it too.  The story is clever and the illustrations of these three friends on their ventures are extraordinary!  (I love this book and have even given it as a gift, on occasion, to some of my adult friends!)

“Madeline” by Ludwig Bemelmans

The original Madeline book www.mytributejournal.com

The original “Madeline” book was first published in 1939 and won the Caldecott Award for most distinguished children’s picture book the following year.  The beloved Madeline books come in a five book series about twelve girls who attend boarding school in Paris and are under the watchful eye of Miss Clavel.  Madeline is the smallest girl, but also the most fierce!  My grandma first read the Madeline books to me, and I just gave my oldest granddaughter two of them for Christmas.  As it states on the jacket cover, “…there is a certain magic about Madeline that cannot be explained!”      

“Mufaro’s Beautiful Daughters” by John Steptoe


My granddaughters and I happened upon this delightful book on a recent jaunt to get frozen yogurt, but since there was a bookstore right next door to the yogurt shop, we couldn’t possibly resist taking a few minutes to look around!  “Mufaro’s Beautiful Daughters” is sort of an African variation of Cinderella.  Mufaro’s two daughters, much like Cinderella, are presented to the king as possible choices for marriage.  The king secretly observes Manyara and Nyasha and soon discovers that the beauty of one is only skin deep!  It was fun to discover this enchanting tale that inspires a fascination with Africa and the people and traditions there!

“Ollie’s Easter Eggs”  by Olivier Dunrea

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Since it is the Easter season, I picked up this funny book from the best-selling creator of the Gossie and friends books.  I love the whimsical pictures and the funny strategies carried on between the characters in this book, and it’s an easy read, so my oldest granddaughter can read it out loud to me!

I hope on this International Children’s Book Day you’ll be able to find time to snuggle up with a few of your favorite little people to read some good books together, because after all…

“Every man’s life is a fairy tale written by God’s finger!” 

Hans Christian Andersen 

Who doesn’t just love a great children’s book, what are a couple of your favorite ones?


Leather Chair Reading! Children’s Halloween Books!

Leather Chair Reading!  Children’s Halloween Books!

Who doesn’t love a good children’s book…even if they just have amazing pictures, who isn’t intrigued–and I’m not just talking kids here!

Children's Halloween Books! www.mytributejournal.com

On this special edition of Leather Chair Reading, I thought I’d share some of my very favorite children’s Halloween books!

Since having grandkids, a new family tradition I started is my annual Grandma’s Halloween Festival!  The games and crafts may change from year to year, but I always like ending the night by reading a new Halloween book.  Snuggling up together with the lights turned low while Grandpa reads has quickly become the highlight of these festivals!

Halloween stories! www.mytributejournal.com

A Few Fun Children’s Halloween Books!

“Humbug Witch”  by Lorna Balian

Children's Halloween Books! www.mytributejournal.com

Any children’s Halloween book collection has got to include a good witch story, and Humbug Witch is my favorite one!  It tells the woeful, but delightful story of what a witch does when she can’t do “witchy things”!  There’s a surprise ending that kids–and grown-ups love!   

“The Halloween Kid”  by Rhode Montijo

Children's Halloween Books! www.mytributejournal.com

This cleverly written book tells the story of a Halloween super hero who wrangles any “hoodlums” who threaten to keep Halloween night from being safe for those who are out trick-or-treating!  (I certainly could have used his help when I was young and experienced a Halloween sabotage!  You’ll find that story here!)  

“Nobody knew who the Halloween Kid was, or where he came from.  All they knew was that he wasn’t afraid of nothing’!”

Like any good hero, Halloween Kid never takes all the credit for his heroic feats either!

Children's Halloween Books! www.mytributejournal.com

I love the unique artwork and color blocking in this book! 

Halloween games! www.mytributejournal.com

Since my husband is really a cowboy at heart, if not a bit “city-fied” by now–and usually dresses up as one for Halloween, I just couldn’t resist adding this book to our collection!

“Scaredy-Cat, Splat”  by Rob Scotton

Children's Halloween Books1 www.mytributejournal.com

The whole Splat the Cat series is simply adorable as Splat tries to be the very best cat he can be, but Scaredy-Cat Splat is especially endearing! 

Children's Halloween Books! www.mytributejournal.com

Despite his best efforts, there are times when Splat just doesn’t feel like he measures up to what is expected of him as a big, black cat at Halloween!  (Can’t we all relate to that sometimes!)

Children's Halloween costumes www.mytributejournal.comSince my granddaughter, Marli, is dressing up as a cat for Halloween, (…and oh, how she loves the tail…) this is one of her favorite books this year!

Our new book for this year is…

“I Need My Monster”  by Amanda Noll

Children's Halloween Books! www.mytributejournal.com

One night when Ethan checks under his bed for his monster, Gabe, who usually sleeps there, he finds a note that says, “Gone fishing.  Back in a week.”  Ethan is restless and just can’t seem to sleep without Gabe.  Substitute monsters come and try to fill in while Gabe is gone, but Ethan sadly finds out that they are just that–substitutes!

Children's Halloween Books! www.mytributejournal.com

Monsters never seemed so appealing as in this beautifully illustrated book.  It’s the perfect balance of giggles and shivers!

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My granddaughters especially loved reading I Want My Monster in our “Scary Story Pillow Pit” at our Halloween Festival a few nights ago!

For older kids, I love the Eagle Eye Ernie book series by Susan Pearson.  The adventurous capers of Ernestine Jones as she tries to solve some of the mysteries around her neighborhood are both funny and ingenious, if not a little spooky at times!  Since they are told from a child’s point of view, these books are sure to capture everyone’s attention and curiosity as the stories unravel!  (My kids loved these book!  I just gave some to my oldest granddaughter, Makena, who has just started reading and loves chapter books!) 

Eagle Eye Ernie Book Series www.mytributejournal.com

What are some of your favorite Halloween books?

I hope everyone has a happy and safe Halloween! 

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Relax and enjoy a spooky story together after you have finished trick-or-treating!  (I think we’ll still be chuckling over the fact that grandpa wasn’t a cowboy again this year!)


Leather Chair Reading! Seedfolks!

Leather Chair Reading!  Seedfolks!

This special summer edition of Leather Chair Reading might more appropriately be referred to as Wicker Chair Reading, since I usually go out on my patio to read in the evenings after work when it’s cooled off a bit.

Leather Chair Reading! Seedfolks!

I know that most everyone is off celebrating their last “hoorah” so to speak, on this long Labor Day weekend, marking the official end of summer–and my guess is that reading a book isn’t on the list of activities you have planned…but if you do find yourself needing a little breather to just kick back and relax and maybe pick up a good, quick read, I would highly recommend this little gem of a book!


“A young girl clears a small space and digs into the hard soil to plant her precious bean seeds.  Suddenly, the soil and the people around her hold promise.”

Seedfolks book sleeve overview

At the very least, Seedfolks timely message just might help restore your faith in the hope that as human beings we can learn to celebrate our differences and work together to help make this crazy, eclectic world we live in a better place!  Surely, that’s not asking too much, is it…?!!

If you recall, I mentioned in this previous journal entry, that I’d recently joined a neighborhood book club.  This month it was my turn to choose what we read, and Seedfolks is one of my very favorite books.  I felt that the story and theme of this insightful book was a perfect pick for the end of summer.

It’s always fascinating for me to learn about the author of a good book and how the storylines come about.

Good quotes www.mytributejournal.com

This intriguing quote is highlighted on Seedfolks author, Paul Fleischman’s website as he describes his years growing up with a Newberry Award winning father, Sid Fleischman, who often read his books aloud to his family, chapter by chapter, as they were written.  Mr. Fleischman shares that while he may have learned to write from his father, he was no less a product of his mother, who took her gardening skills into the community where she volunteered at a therapeutic garden in an old veteran’s hospital, showing men who’d returned from war how to raise vegetables and flowers, helping them to heal damaged psyches in the process.  His mother arranged book giveaways in cash-poor school districts, as well.  Such a unique background obviously helped provide the foundation for this incredible book.

Thirteen voices of varying ages and from all walks of life tell this amazing story about a garden that eventually transforms the neighborhood…from Kim, the little Korean girl, who first enters the vacant, garbage-filled lot to plant her beans as a way to feel closer to a father she never knew, to Sam, a retired social worker who still felt it was his job to bring people together.

“I start conversations in long lines, on buses and with grocery cashiers.  People see that I am friendly…if I’m lucky, I get them talking to each other.   Sewing up the rips in the neighborhood.”  

Sam in Seedfolks  

Discussing all the characters at our book club, and what happened in their lives that eventually led to them each crossing paths and working together, left you wondering about them after that initial first year in the neighborhood garden.  That’s the powerful impact of a well written book!

Secret gardens of New York City! www.mytributejournal.com

It’s always fun to see evidence of community gardens when I visit my daughter and son-in-law in New York City.  You can see the plots to the right of this picture–this was taken in the fall when I went to see Mandi run in the NYC Marathon, so the gardens had already been harvested.  My friends tell me there are a few around here where I live too.

Fresh garden salad www.mytributejournal.com

It seemed an obvious choice to serve a fresh salad with some produce from my garden at our book club.

Book Club www.mytributejournal.com

Being able to hear another’s viewpoint on various books is always the neat advantage of having a book club–that, and enjoying time well spent with good friends and neighbors.

Succulent gifts! www.mytributejournal.com

It’s always fun to have a small reminder of the neat books we read and the great times we enjoy together at our book club.  

Some more ideas for gifts from the garden coming up soon in my next Garden Therapy journal entry.

Any good books you’ve loved reading this summer?

I’m hoping these Leather Chair Reading journal entries inspire you to pick up a good book, share it with friends and family, then get together and have a lively discussion about it afterward–it sure beats debating politics!

Happy Reading!