Blogging at Christian Children’s Authors – Summer Reading Programs


The first Friday of the month finds me blogging at Christian Children’s Authors. Today’s topic is summer reading programs. You can find my post at

2017 Picture Book Reading Challenge

I’m participating in the following challenge. I’ll be going with the Picture Book Bingo Card.


Original artwork by Charles Haigh-Wood (1856-1927)

Host: Becky’s Book Reviews (sign up)
Duration: January – December 2017
Goal: To have adults read more picture books. To celebrate the fact that picture books are for everyone! Families are, of course, welcome to join in!
# of books: minimum of 6


Option 1: BINGO CARD!
Option 2: CHECKLIST (read as few as six, or as many as you like)
Feel free to copy/paste this. You can replace the _ with an X or a ✔ (copy/paste it) when you finish reading a book. If you list the books you read, that may help other people decide what to read._ 1. An alphabet book
_ 2. A counting book
_ 3. Concept book: shapes or numbers or opposites or colors
_ 4. a book set on a farm or in the country
_ 5. a book set in the city or in an urban area
_ 6. a book set at the beach, in the ocean, or by a lake
_ 7. a book with human characters
_ 8. a book with animal characters
_ 9. a bedtime book
_ 10. a rhyming book
_ 11. a book celebrating art
_ 12. a book celebrating dance
_ 13. a book celebrating music
_ 14. a book celebrating family (parents, grandparents, brothers, sisters, aunts, uncles, etc.)
_ 15. a book about feelings, expressing feelings
_ 16. a book with a twist (unexpected) ending
_ 17. a book about pets (cats, dogs, fish)
_ 18. a book celebrating libraries or reading
_ 19. a book translated into English (originally published in another language/country)
_ 30. a book about trains or planes
_ 31. a book about cars or trucks
_ 32. a book about starting school
_ 33. a book about friendship (sharing, caring, forgiving)
_ 34. a book about being ME, about being unique, special, loved, etc.
_ 35. a fairy tale
_ 36. a twisted (adapted) fairy tale
_ 37. a book about a holiday
_ 38. a new-to-you author
_ 39. a new-to-you illustrator
_ 40. a book about new experiences (dentist, doctor, sleepovers, movies, playing sports, learning to swim, etc.)
_ 41. a series book
_ 42. a book celebrating food (cooking, eating, trying new foods, eating healthy)
_ 43. a book published before 1950
_ 44. a book published in the 1950s
_ 45. a book published in the 1960s
_ 46. a book published in the 1970s
_ 47. a book published in the 1980s
_ 48. a book published in the 1990s
_ 49. a book published in the 2000s
_ 50. a book published 2010-2016
_ 51. a book published in 2017
_ 52. a book by Dr. Seuss
_ 53. a book by Mo Willems
_ 54. a book by Jan Thomas
_ 55. a book by Eric Carle
_ 56. a book by Laura Numeroff
_ 57. a book by Patricia Polacco
_ 58. a book by Jon Klassen
_ 59. a book by Beatrix Potter
_ 60. a book by Kevin Henkes
_ 61. a book written or illustrated by LeUyen Pham
_ 62. a Caldecott winner
_ 63.  a Caldecott honor
_ 64. a picture book biography
_ 65. a nonfiction picture book
_ 66. a book from your childhood
_ 67. a book you discovered as an adult
_ 68. a book celebrating writing, being an author or illustrator
_ 69. a library book
_ 70. an audio book
_ 71.  a book about dinosaurs OR dragons
_ 72. nonfiction book about animals (or animal)
_ 73. a challenged book OR a controversial book
_ 74. a book that makes you laugh
_ 75. a book that makes you cry
_ 76. hate the text, love the art
_ 77. love the text, hate the art
_ 78. a book with a great cover
_ 79. a book with an ugly cover
_ 80. a book about toys
_ 81. a book about weather
_ 82. a picture book for older readers
_ 83. a book of jokes, riddles, tongue-twisters
_ 84. a book about seasons
_ 85. a song
_ 86. a poetry book
_ 87. a book by a celebrity
_ 88.  a book published in Australia
_ 89. a book published in the UK
_ 90. a book about science or math
_ 91. a book about history or historical event
_ 92. a book about sports
_ 93. a book about celebrating birthdays
_ 94. a book about a President or world leader
_ 95. a book about another country
_ 96. a book celebrating faith
_ 97. a pop-up book, or, a book with cut-outs or flaps or fold-outs
_ 98. a bilingual book
_ 99.  a television series that has been adapted to a book
_ 100. a book that has been adapted to a television series
_ 101. an adaptation of a myth or legend
_ 102. a book about babies

OPTION 3: ABCs. Read 26 picture books, one for each letter by title and/or author.

Sign up by leaving a comment here. Do indicate which option you’re leaning towards. And if you have a blog, please leave your blog address so Becky can visit you.

Reviews are not a requirement. But if you do review, you can share links to your reviews. She’s thinking of having check-in posts on the 15th of every month.

The Christmas Spirit Reading Challenge Complete!

My first reading challenge was a success. I committed to reading 4 seasonal titles and ended up reading 7. Of course, 6 of them were short, so I almost felt like I was cheating a bit.

Here’s the list of books I read for the challenge:

Tumbleweed Christmas by Beverly Stowe McClure

Kevin’s Christmas by Liesbet Slegers

Jingle Bells and Deck the Halls illustrated by Veronica Vasylenko

Humbug A Christmas Carol by Lee Baker

Ricky’s Christmas Tree by Guido van Genechten

Main Street: ‘Tis the Season by Ann M. Martin

The Christmas Spirit Reading Challenge was sponsored by The Christmas Spirit blog.

Main Street: ‘Tis the Season by Ann M. Martin

A tender, yet heartrending tale of the season can be found in Main Street: ‘Tis the Season by Ann M. Martin.

Christmas is coming to Camden Falls, but Ruby and Flora aren’t quite sure how to feel about it. Camden Falls looks like it came right out of a picture postcard during the Christmas season, but this is their first Christmas without their parents. Thankfully they’ve made lots of nice friends. But when Olivia and Nikki are dealing with troubles of their own, it might be up to Ruby, Flora and some other residents of town to make their Christmas bright.

I love reading seasonal stories, mainly because I am a Christmas fanatic. The author does a fine job of portraying small town America during the holiday season. Martin’s writing is so descriptive that you truly feel you’re right there walking along Main Street, down Aiken Avenue, and in the Row Houses where many of this small Massachusetts town live.

I have to admit to being on the fence about this story, though. There’s so much conflict that it’s a bit overwhelming at times. Olivia might have to leave Camden Falls because her parents both lost their jobs. Then there’s Nikki, whose happy that her abusive father has gone away, but she doesn’t know when or if he’ll return, and he hasn’t sent the family any money, so Christmas will be tight. On top of that, Ruby and Flora are coping with their first Christmas without their parents, and other residents of town have troubles of their own. There’s also the unusual visit of Aunt Allie from New York. Ruby and Flora’s aunt can be a bit prickly, to say the least.

While the book ends on a happy note, I had a difficult time plodding through all the misery to get there. In addition, I feel it’s important for parents to read this book first, because certain Christmas secrets are revealed that might ruin the magic for the young reader in their home.

I would like to read the previous two books in this series to see if I feel differently about Martin’s Main Street books. This one just didn’t do it for me.

Rating:  🙂 🙂 🙂

  • Publisher:Scholastic Paperbacks
  • ISBN-10:0439868815
  • ISBN-13: 978-0439868815
  • SRP:  $6.99 (paperback)

I purchased a copy of this book from a Scholastic Book Fair two years ago. I received no monetary compensation of any kind to provide my review.


This is a book I read for The Christmas Spirit Reading Challenge. To see my original list visit here. I have read 7 books for this challenge, and this completes my list.

Ricky’s Christmas Tree by Guido Van Genechten

The art and prose of Guido van Genechten returns in this classic Christmas story of one bunny’s pursuit for a Christmas tree.

It’s almost Christmas, but Ricky’s family doesn’t have a tree yet because his parents have been so busy. Dad begrudingly takes Ricky on his tree quest, as long as they make it quick. While Ricky takes in all the winter beauty and fun around him, his father pushes him to fine the tree and get back home. When the Christmas tree falls off the sled, Ricky’s enthusiasm for winter play becomes infectious, and soon Dad and Mom are caught up in the joys of the season.

This is a beautiful story made even lovelier by van Genechten’s adorable artwork. I love his books because they capture the heart of a child so well. As I was reading , I wondered if this is how my kids see me–constantly working, not appreciating the little things that make life worth living.

Ricky’s Christmas Tree is probably going to end up being my favorite van Genechten book. He’s truly done a wonderful job with this one. It would make the perfect gift any time of the year.

Rating:  🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂

  • Publisher:Clavis Publishing
  • ISBN-10:1605371068
  • ISBN-13: 978-1605371061
  • SRP:  $16.95

I received a free copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for my honest opinion. I received no monetary compensation of any kind for this review.



This is a book I read for The Christmas Spirit Reading Challenge. To see my original list visit here. I have now read 6 books for this challenge.