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Newsletter – Time for Summer – June 7, 2024

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Hello Book Bums families!

Each week in our Literary Calendar segment we share bookish birthdays and holidays. While it's not very literary, you may also want to know that June 7th is Chocolate Ice Cream Day! Here are a couple other fun facts: June is the month of the summer solstice as well as the strawberry full moon (both later in the month); June has it's own beetle named after it - the June bug; and the two birth flowers this month are honeysuckle and roses. is an Amazon Associate; We earn from qualifying purchases. This means that if you click on a link to and make a purchase, We may earn a small commission at no extra cost to you. We do recommend the products. Feel free to find them by other means.

Word of the Week

contemporary (con-temp-or-airy) adjective/describing word - modern, current, referring to the present time

Contemporary art can be more abstract than representational art from periods in the past.

Literary Calendar

• June 7 is the birthday of contemporary American author Louise Erdrich.
• She is the writer of poetry and novels for adults and children all featuring Native American characters and settings.
• Her most famous series for children begins with The Birchbark House, a wonderful next-read for older readers who loved the Little House series. Know that illness and death are themes of the novel.
• Erdrich is an enrolled member of the Turtle Mountain Band of Chippewa Indians and a bookstore owner. You can visit her bookstore and read their blog here


From our Bookshelves

prayers and lies

If you’re looking for a great book to get lost in this summer, check out Prayers and Lies by Sherri Wood Emmons. It’s got some downright heartbreaking, tough stuff, but I so adored Bethany and her relationship with Reana Mae. You should know that the genre classifications include fiction, drama, coming of age, contemporary, family abuse, and realistic fiction. If you are in a place where you can tolerate disfunction, pure joy, and devastating heartbreak—all in one story, you just might just love this one.

I learned about Prayers and Lies when some Book Bums friends shared that their friend, Sherri Wood Emmons (from Indiana), had just published her first book (2011). They gave me a copy to read and said that Sherri would love to come to Book Bums for an event if I was interested in hosting one. I was. A few weeks later, we enjoyed an unforgettable evening learning a bit about the author as well as the writing of the book and the publication process. When Sherri read an excerpt from the book, the evening had grown dark, and the candles were glowing throughout the space. It was magical.

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Yes, this book will be pressed upon my heart each time I pick it up.

Tips for Readers and Writers

If you want your kids to read this summer, try hosting some “everybody reads” times throughout the week. Spread a blanket under a big tree and gather to read outside. Pull some lounge chairs together and everyone can read on the deck. Or how about listening to a book on an app while in the car? Make a date to read together at Starbucks. After you’ve been reading for a while (the length of time depends on your kids’ ages), talk about what you’ve read together.

One summer I purchased some hardback lined books and invited my boys to write in them after we’d read for a while. Sometimes I gave them prompts to get them going. This is what Taylor wrote when he was sixteen:

When I was little, I only watched Disney movies. Now I watch all kinds of movies.

When I was little, I read the kids’ Bible. Now I read the grown-up Bible.

When I was little, I took baths all the time. Now I take showers instead.

When I was little, I ran to mom when I got hurt. Now I just suck it up.

When I was little, girls were afraid if skin was showing. Now I can’t seem to find one with skin covered up.

When I was little, cops were my heroes. Now they scare me to death. (new driver)

When I was little, high school seemed so far away . . . Now I go every day.

When I was little, I was the cutest kid in school. Now, I . . . well . . . I am the cutest kid in school.

When I was little, reading and writing was fun. Now I want to kill myself when it’s mentioned.

When I was little, I had dreams to go to the NFL . . . Now I still dream of it every day.

This book of his writing is one of my treasures. It so perfectly encapsulates that time in our lives. Did he want to read and write a few times a week for an hour? No. Was it good in oh so many ways. Yes. Yes, it was. I wish we’d done more of it.

Tips for Families

I’m going to do it. I’m going to share how educators accomplish so much—creating truly meaningful moments in classrooms with 28 or so bright, energetic kids—so you can do the same with your summer vacation months.

Here’s the key: Structure.

If you don’t want your summer to get away from you—if you don’t want to wake up the week before school starts and find yourself filled with regret, you must be deliberate. Though we think we want to relax and to enjoy not having a schedule, having a plan just might be your saving grace this summer.

Decide when everyone will be up and at ‘em.

Decide that rainy days or those really hot days are the days when you’ll say yes to screen time.

Decide that you will go to the pool at least once a week.

Plan when you’ll go to your local theme park.

Plan your trips to the library and keep to the schedule.

Decide which day/s of the week your kids will help prepare the family’s dinner and or help with clean up. TIP: If you have a new graduate, s/he should make a meal for the family at least every other week. They’ll love cooking when they get lots of compliments, and everyone should be equipped to make a few great meals.

Make a list of everything you absolutely MUST do to count this one as a great summer and put each item on the calendar.

The thing that’s great about summer is that your schedule can be flexible.

Even if you have a plan to do something, if the group decides something else sounds better, you can change your plan and feel good about it. If you don’t have a plan, the days feel long and the kids get grumpy.

Be sure to insert things you’d like to accomplish too. A family garage clean-up day with celebratory ice cream sundaes or an everybody’s bedroom’s sparkling clean event followed by a family game night might do the trick. I always played upbeat music on the boom box and did my best to make those kinds of tasks fun. Now my kids tease me mercilessly saying, “We’ll play some music. It’ll be great!”

Ideas to include on your summer calendar may include:

wear water shoes and go creeking at the park, set up the sprinkler in the yard, camp out, catch fireflies, play wiffle ball, go to the drive-in, play putt-putt, go to a baseball game, visit a water park, go on a picnic, make homemade ice cream, play with sidewalk chalk, play Frisbee, go canoeing, visit the aquarium, ride bikes on the bike trail, play badminton, enjoy a family game night, visit the farmers market, eat snow cones, have a lemonade stand or yard sale, fly kites, go to the movies for a matinee showing, go bowling, play laser tag or paint ball, feed the ducks, play hide-and-seek, go to UDF for milkshakes, play card games, spend 24 hours unplugged, donate old clothes and toys, enjoy an outdoor concert, paint rocks, have a water balloon or wet sponge fight, visit a museum, enjoy a bonfire with s’mores, play in the rain, pick flowers and take them to a neighbor, host a scavenger hunt, go fishing, visit the zoo, make a bird feeder, pick berries, play charades, make forts with blankets and pillows, eat at the counter of a diner (or Waffle House), go to a concert/show, visit a flea market, attend your county fair, put together a family puzzle, host a kids’ book club, build an obstacle course, play HORSE/basketball, teach the kids to skip rocks, visit an ice cream truck or Kona Ice, jump rope, pop popcorn the old fashioned way, build a campfire . . .

Wordology Workshop

• The Latin root tempor means time.
• You can find it in our Word of the Week, contemporary, referring to the present time.
• Tempor also shows up in common English words like temporary, temporal, and tempo.

Practical Grammar

Oxford comma

This one made me chuckle.

Which is most offensive to you? Does anyone you know overuse quotation marks? Do spelling errors get your goat? How about that Oxford comma? When listing items do you say yea or nay to the extra comma?

Is it . . . I’d like a cheeseburger, fries and a soda.

Or is it . . . I’d like a cheeseburger, fries, and a soda. --- I’m an Oxford comma girl.

One more thing regarding the yea or nay. Yea is the correct spelling here. The words yea and yay are homophones. That means they sound identical. (homo=same/phone=sound) You should know that yay is a word that shows excitement whereas yea indicates an affirmative response.

News from Book Bums

You know that the Book Bums Foundations for Literacy and Little Letter Learners curriculum is being used to help kids beyond West Chester, Ohio, right? We had the opportunity to share some of our materials with students from Taft Elementary, for their literacy night, through some amazing volunteers who support students through an Adopt-a-Class program. We’re so proud to have Book Bums friends who invest their time and resources in under-served families!

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LLL table game

Just for Fun

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