Making the Most of Story Time

As this school year started (I was hired just a few days, I think three before school started) I quickly realized that one thing that could quickly get put on the back burner was story time at bedtime.  Not because we are terrible heathens, but because, well honestly – reality, exhaustion, time, you name it, life just happens and sometimes those little moments that we so preciously guarded when our petites were younger become harder to carve out as life gets busier.  When things calmed down at school for me, we made a much more concerted effort to get story time in, not the five or more book extravaganza of days past, but intentional story time.

Okay, so the books we’ve been really really, I mean my kids throw some serious shade my way when we don’t read these books at night, are all about empowerment, informing, understanding and raising petites who understand the world in which we live.  We want our girls, who are 5 and almost 9, to understand that overcoming adversity is what so many get minds, have had to do to accomplish amazing feats.  That often times ordinary people take huge risks in order to achieve their goals sometimes failing along the way.  But mainly that kindness and love are always the answer.  Always.

Here are some of the books that currently reside on my nightstand we read one page a night which covers one amazing woman:

Little LeadersLittle Leaders Bold Women in Black History by Vashti Harrison 2017 Little Brown and Company has become quite the obsession at our house.  In fact there were a few days where we didn’t read it at night and my daughter checked it out from her school library to secretly read it on the bus that is how much she loves this book.  So let me tell you what is to love.  Basically everything.  Vashti Harrison does a fabulous job of telling you the story of the 40 women, in a way that explains who they are, delves into their lives, history and what they overcame and accomplished.  What I particularly love is that it is a good mix of well know and lesser known women in black history.  Another aspect that I love as a parent is that these biographies are inspiring my daughters to want to know more these amazing women – whether it is pulling up a YouTube video of Josephine Baker dancing or listening to Maya Angelou discuss being a rainbow in someone else’s cloud it doesn’t matter to me as long as they are learning and discovering and engaging with the text and the girls are doing just that with this book.  They love it.  We are so excited to heard that Vashti Harrison is coming out with a new book in November Visionary Women Around the World.  Basically she is my new author illustrator crush, so I am smitten, seriously her art is A-mazing!  Check it out.

Perfect for: 8-11 years old (can be read aloud to younger readers with some paraphrasing)| Lexile 1050

Women in Science

Women in Science: 50 Fearless Pioneers Who Changed the World by Rachel Ignotofsky  2016 Ten Speed Press. This book has been waiting on our shelves for the petites to get a little bit older to fully retain all that this amazing book has to offer.  It offers us as readers a glimpse into the lives of scientists from around the world, names I’ve never heard of whose contributions clearly made and continue to make a difference.  These women are remarkable.  When we love about reading this book is that my husband and I both have wow moments where we learn something too.  This book is a little bit of a stretch for our 5-year-old, but I just read it in a more fanciful engaging tone and ask lots of questions when she gets a little squirrely.  To read a complete review, or basically, my swooning love for this book, check out this post from 2016.  Rachel Ignotofsky’s art is remarkable, so detailed, she has another book about Women in Sports as well, we’ve yet to check that one out yet, but it is in our library cue.

Perfect for: Ages 10 and up | Lexile 990

rad-women-worldwideRad Women Worldwide by Katy Schatz with art by Miriam Klein Stahl 2016 Ten Speed Press.  Are you noticing a theme here?  Short biographies, strong women, doing remarkable things, changing the world for the better, what more could you ask for in a bedtime story?  Right.  Let’s jump into Rad Women Worldwide.  This book discusses 40 women from every continent.  What I love about this book is that is highlights women who made huge contributions that have largely gone unnoticed or unknown outside of their specific countries or areas.  This book helps to change that.  As the cover states, this book discusses Grace O’Malley swashbuckler from Ireland, Venus and Serena Williams, Marta from Brazil known as the female Pele.  Maria Montessori from Italy and so many more amazing women who I feel my kids are smarter for having read this incredible book.

Perfect for: Grade 6 and up |Lexile 1040

I want to be very real about these books too.  Tough questions often come up when reading these stories, for example: Why would people enslave other people?  Why would someone abuse another person, how could someone separate families and think that is okay?Although not traditional topics in bedtime stories, these are important conversations to be having with our children.  The lives of these women give us a place to safely talk with our children about the harsh realities of the world.  What I have discovered as a parent and as a teacher, is that most of the time I am more nervous about the conversations to be had than my girls.  They are usually not traumatized by it – usually quite the opposite, they are empowered to stand up, speak out and make a difference.  I also very rarely eff it up and if I do, kids are resilient and they will see me fail and try again and that is life.  It’s messy but that doesn’t mean I am not going to try and have these conversations with my petites, after all nothing good ever comes from avoiding something uncomfortable.

So these are the books we are reading right now.  My husband and I are loving the conversations we are having with our daughters.  We are relishing in these moments where they still want to lay in our bed at night for a story and a snuggle.  Do any of you have long/sweet/ridiculous nighttime routines?  We do…I would love to hear about yours.

Happy reading,


Rad Women! Nasty Women! Brilliant Women!

Rad Women.png

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about women.  Specifically, how so many incredibly brave, brilliant, talented, strong-willed women trail blazed, made incredible sacrifices, stood up for what was right.  These are the women I want to be teaching my daughters about – these are the women I want to be reading about.

So with that said here are two phenomenal books that you will want to add to your shelves immediately.


Rad American Women A-Z by Kate Schatz and art by Miriam Klein Stahl (City Lights, 2015) and was instantly all over social media for the amazing content as well as the incredibly  rad art that go along with the pictures.  We picked this beauty up at Powell’s in Portland and fell hard for these miniature biographies.  This book focuses on 26 women who made a big impact on the United States.  These women come from all over the US, from all different backgrounds; but they have one astounding thing in common, they all stood up and made a contribution a difference.

  • Carol Burnett
  • Florence Griffith-Joyner
  • The Grime Sisters
  • Nellie Bly
  • Patti Smith
  • Sonia Sotomayor
  • Ursula K. LeGuin
  • Virginia Apgar

I love the selection of women that they have chosen for this book.  These are 26 fun snapshots into the lives of these amazing women.  Teachers, this would be a  book to add to your shelves for biography units, although they aren’t what I would call traditional biographies there are facts that would be perfect for a report or paper.

Not to mention, the art for this book is so vibrant.  It looks gorgeous on a shelf and is eye-catching for sure.  This book is perfect for grade 5 and up.


Rad Women Worldwide: Artists and Athletes, Pirates and Punks, and Other Revolutionaries Who Shaped History (Ten Speed Press, 2016) is the next installment of rad women we’ve been waiting for.  This book covers women from every continent, starting with ancient Mesopotamia moving to present day.  The biographies in this book are fantastic and again are little one page (sometimes more) biographies of incredible women who have changed the world in wonderful amazing ways.  Here are just a few of the incredible women features in this book.  Again you have stunning art to go along with the mini biographies.

  • Malala Yousafzai (Pakistan)
  • Hatshepsut (Egypt)
  • Frida Kahlo (Mexico)
  • Guerrilla Girls (USA)
  • Grace “Granuaile” O’Malley (Ireland)
  • Marie Curie and Irene Joliot-Curie (France)
  • Maria Montessori (Italy)

This book covers 40 heroic women and their lives.  It is a mixed group of remarkable women, some you may be familiar with others, who perhaps will be new and inspiring to you.  This book is geared for older kids, upper elementary and up.

Bloggers Note: I received Rad Women Wordlwide from Blogging for Books for this review.  However, the thoughts and opinions expressed are my own.

Where does your passion lie?

This past weekend I had the opportunity to meet a local publisher, Philip Lee of Readers to Eaters, at a local garden sale where he had a pop up bookshop.  I have been a huge fan of the books that he publishes, one in particular I have gushed about here at The Petite Stag: Alice Waters and the Trip to Delicious

My response was real and genuine, I have been a stay at home mom for almost two years now, after teaching full time for many years, I got bored, I felt unfulfilled, I wanted more.  I loved that when I was teaching I would be able to put books in the hands of children and watch what could happen.  That incredible excitement when you share a story and then see where that journey takes the reader.  Well, that is something truly special.

Here is the part where I cringe a little.  If you know me well, which some of you do, you will know why I cringe.  Basically, I love being a mom, it is one of the most rewarding and inspiring parts of my life.  I feel honored to be able to have two wonderful little girls, whom I adore.  With that said, there are moments, when you crave a little more and honestly I think that is okay.  I think it’s okay to pursue your passions.  To have something that you can focus on, something that helps you feel inspired.  For me, being inspired and really passionate about something makes me a better mom.  I have found that being inspired is also contagious and causes others to start to get excited and feel inspired to do things that they are passionate about.   That is what The Petite Stag is to me, a place where I can get excited about books.

You see when I was teaching, there would be these moments, when I would be working with a student or teaching a class and there would be this spark and this priceless moment would take place.  Even when I had difficult classes or frustrating moments it would be that “spark” that I would seek; that spark is what inspired me.  What I came to realize is that often times that magical moment of watching a connection be made or an interest be peaked… happened around books and a petites interaction with books.  It was my passion for educating and it was that moment that inspired me to write The Petite Stag.

I wanted to be able to share my passion for reading and literacy with, well anyone who would listen, or read in this case.  So what Philip Lee asked me on Saturday seemed like a basic question, but it was more than that because I have been struggling lately.  Lately, reality has been a little too real and I have been struggling with inspiration.  So that simple question of how did you get into blogging? really got me thinking about all of this and what an important thing it is to be inspired.

So, for today, I choose to be inspired.