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December Give-Away #3: A Promised Land

It is Sunday again, so it’s time for my third give-away for this holiday season. Today I am giving away two copies of Barack Obama’s bestselling memoir A Promised Land! [Unpaid ad]

It is not a children’s book as some of you may rightly point out. True. But it is also true that it does serve as an inspiration to you and your kids to see where curiosity and an early instilled love of reading can lead. The memoir beautifully shows that you need to dream big and never give up hope, and that democracy is a work in progress that needs everyone’s dedication and involvement, day by day.

But I did find refuge in books. The reading habit was my mother’s doing, instilled early in my childhood–her go-to move anytime I complained of boredom […] or when I had to accompany her to the office because she didn’t have a babysitter. Go read a book, she would say. Then come back and tell me something you learned.

Barack Obama, A Promised Land

Part of the argument I made to Michelle before running for president was that if I pulled it off, kids all over the world would see themselves and their possibilities differently. And that alone would be worth it.

Barack Obama, A Promised Land

The memoir is such a treasure. Not only is it uplifting and superbly written, but also an endless source of inspiration on many levels. To put it simply, it will provide you with one of the most enjoyable reading experiences of the year. So don’t miss out on your chance to win one of the two copies here! I’ll add a lovely owl-shaped bookmark for each winner, because even though A Promised Land is hard to put down, it also has 751 pages. So you will probably need to take breaks every now and then.

Here is how to enter this international Give-Away:

1. LIKE this post here or on instagram (@mis_libros_abiertos)

2. Make sure that you FOLLOW me here or on instagram 

3. Leave the TITLE of the book that sparked your love for reading in the COMMENT section 📚 (here or with the instagram post). For me it was Zora Neale Hurston’s Their Eyes Were Watching God.

🍀Good luck!🍀

Terms & Conditions:

The contest’s duration is December 13 – December 17, 2020. Entries close at midnight (CET) on December 17, for all comments here or on instagram. Prizes (1 memoir and 1 book mark per winner) will be sent by mail. Participants from any country are eligible. Void where prohibited. The lucky winners will be selected at random using a random number generator and will be informed by direct message on December 18, 2020.

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For parents: Notes on a Nervous Planet

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That’s how I like my books:
gorgeous on the outside,
smart and relevant on the inside!

Matt Haig’s Notes on a Nervous Planet is today’s recommendation and is suitable for parents, educators and teenagers alike. Are you looking to cut down on your own overuse of social media? Would you like to help someone with their social media addiction or who struggles with mental health in a world that has excess of everything? Have you ever wondered how it is still possible to live in the present moment? Do you want to have educated discussions on the topics of social media, mental health and stress?

Well, look no further, since Haig’s book is the one that will help you with all of the above and so much more. It’s a thoroughly enjoyable, honest and informative read that will certainly have you contemplating your own behaviour and instantly provide you with coping mechanism and shaping tools for your best life possible. Unquestionably, it’s a brilliant read for any citizen of this planet, really, since we could all use more kindness, more empathy and more positivity in our lives.

„When anger trawls the internet,
Looking for a hook;
It’s time to disconnect,
And go and read a book.“

Matt Haig

I guess it is safe to say that this is the best non-fiction book you can get your hands on this summer! Notes on a Nervous Planet was published a little over a week ago by Canongate Books Ltd. and can be ordered everywhere with ISBN 978-1-78689-267-6.

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Giving girls wings to fly: an extraordinary gift

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For all girls in your life, regardless of age.

For all dads who want to read inspiring stories to their daughters.

For all boys you know to let them see the world from a woman’s perspective.

For every family and every library around the world.

It can’t be denied that this magnificent book, which my daughter was given at this year’s Frankfurt Book Fair, is possibly the best book of 2017.  We have been reading in it ever since and ordered the Spanish edition as well, so she can read it with the Spanish speaking part of the family.

Well, what can I say about Good Night Stories for Rebel Girls? I honestly can’t help but join the myriad of voices that have already praised this book. It is really worth every minute of your time. Finally there is a beautiful book to consult when looking for female role models from all walks of life. KUDOS to the authors Elena Favilli and Francesca Cavallo for creating this gem filled with the stories of 100 ambitious women of all centuries from all around the world,  who had and have accomplished so much in their lifetimes that they serve as perfect role models to girls: Be it powerful politicians such as Evita Perón and Aung San Suu Kyi; scientists, for example Marie Curie; artists and writers such as Frida Kahlo, Nina Simone, Maya Angelou or Isabel Allende; activists such as Balkissa Chaibou, Rosa Parks and Helen Keller; athletes such as Amna Al Haddad and Simone Biles, and many other mathematicians, architects, poets, queens, war heros, formula one racers, lawyers and so many more. They all inspire young kids to find their voices and show them that it always pays off to follow their dreams.

Every story of the featured women is accompanied with an alluring illustration. We really enjoy that they vary in style, because they add an individual touch and a certain liveliness to the stories. The reason for the different styles can be found in their origins: Sixty different female artists from around the world contributed their art to this project. Our favorite illustration is by Sarah Wilkens of New Zealand and comes with Millo Castro Zaldarriaga’s entry. It just so perfectly portrays the colors and spirit of Cuba.

We love all the women featured in this 1st volume (yes, a second one is just about to be published!), but we especially enjoy reading about the two inspiring Cuban women who are part of the book: Alicia Alonso and Millo Castro Zaldarriaga. Half-blind Cuban ballerina Alicia Alonso set her mind to be a successful dancer even when she was not able to move for a certain time. Nonetheless, she created a unique style, became very popular and ended up travelling the world with her ballet company. Later in life, she founded what is now known as the Ballet Nacional De Cuba. Little Millo Castro Zaldarriaga, who was consistently told that she could not play the drums because it supposedly wasn’t for girls, proved everyone wrong by taking lessons despite people telling her she couldn’t do it, and became a world-famous drummer because she believed that „las chicas también pueden tocar los bongós.“ Yes, girls can also play drums!

Page 202 and 203 of the book provide some space for your own little rebel girl to add her own story and draw her own portrait in the book. A genius as well as inspiring move by the authors, since the girls get to feel like they’ll continue this powerful legacy they just heard about. So automatically they become extraordinary women and are equipped with the right mindset they need to tackle any problem that they may face.  Rebel Girls empowers young girls to understand that they should always shoot for the stars, regardless of the doubts that other people may have. It helps them to develop into confident and strong women, the likes of which we so desperately need more of.

We thoroughly enjoy both the Spanish and the English version of Rebel Girls and want to send a heartfelt ‚thank you‘ to the authors for not only publishing this first volume that brings us so much joy, but for also having us looking forward to a second one. Awesome! We can not wait to see who (besides J. K. Rowling) is part of it!

The English version of this New York Times Bestseller was published by Timbuktu Labs. If, for whatever reason, you do not yet own a copy of this precious publication, I would recommend getting the hardcover edition (ISBN 978-0-9978958-1-0, US $35). It will probably be one of the best Christmas gifts you will ever give.

The text for the Spanish edition Cuentos de Buenas Noches para Niñas Rebeldes was translated by Ariadna Molinari Tato and it is published by Planeta Publishing (ISBN 978-607-07-3979-8, paperback).

To the rebel girls of the world:

Dream bigger

Aim higher

Fight harder

And, when in doubt, remember

You are right.

 

From: Good Night Stories for Rebel Girls 

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Wundervolles Wimmelbuch zum Waldleben

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Der Wald: herrliche Naturbeobachtungen, frische Luft, das Gefühl von Freiheit und allem voran natürlich das geschäftige Treiben vielerlei grosser und kleiner Waldbewohner. Hier lassen sich auf stundenlangen Entdeckertouren so einige Wunder der Natur beobachten.

Wer keine Lust hat, bei diesen Exkursionen an Regentagen nass zu werden, oder generell an einer Ameisen- oder Feuerwanzenphobie leidet, dem wird das Waldleben in dem besonders hübsch illustrierten Wimmelbuch von Emilie Dziubaks näher gebracht: Ein Jahr im Wald.

Von Januar bis Dezember wird das Leben verschiedener Waldbewohner detailliert dargestellt. Jedem Monat wird eine herrliche Doppelseite gewidmet, auf der es jeweils viel zu sehen und zu erzählen gibt. Kinder lernen viel über das Zusammenspiel der Natur und sind teilweise stundenlang gefesselt von den minutiös gearbeiteten Illustrationen.

Zu Beginn präsentiert die Illustratorin eine wunderbar informative Übersicht über die Waldtiere (von der Ameise zum Biber und Luchs, über die Motte zum Rebhuhn und Wildschwein alles dabei!). Ein mit viel Liebe zum Detail gestaltetes, doppelseitiges Labyrinth mit hohem Spassfaktor schliesst das Buch ab.

Das Buch ist im Ars Edition Verlag erschienen und begeistert restlos. Es ist sehr lehrreich und extrem empfehlenswert!

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To deny or not to deny — that shouldn’t be the question

20170923_152823There is no use denying climate change. It is high time we, as a global community, stop having discussions about whether there is such a phenomenon or not, and start figuring out how to cope with its disastrous consequences and keep the perils for future generations at bay. All the reports are in: it’s real and it calls for clear-headed and quick action on a global scale. Why is there such a thing as global warming and what can you do better in your daily life to limit the impact of human made climate change?

The first step here, as in many other cases, is: educate yourself. Read up on the topic, ideally using a variety of different sources.

For those of you who never really worried too much about it and feel like they couldn’t really explain to their kids how it is all connected, here is my recommendation for you: Climate Change by HRH The Prince of Wales, Tony Juniper and Emily Shuckburgh which was published a couple of months ago by Penguin in its Ladybird Expert Series. It has an array of interesting illustrations by Ruth Palmer and  helps you get up to speed on the topic so you can answer many questions your children may ask you and have meaningful and informed conversations about the topic, because sooner or later they will come to you for answers.

This 52-page publication offers a lot of insight and background information from threats to people where they live, to freak weather disruptions, to past and present changes in carbon dioxide to solutions in areas such as forresting, food, farming, energy and my favorite point: new opportunities and improved quality of life.

As some of you may know, HRH Prince Charles of Wales has been fighting to raise awareness of climate change for years and decided to team up with experts in the field to publish an appealingly condensed, yet insightful, book on the topic, which serves as a „simple plain English guide to the subject“, as HRH himself puts it.

Now, Ladybird books were originally published by Penguin to educate children on certain topical issues, but lately the publisher has been marketing a couple of Ladybird Expert publications targetted at a grown up audience as well.

I got the book in January this year and I have been meaning to write about it ever since, because it serves as a really useful insight into the bigger picture of it all, the challenges we are facing in tackeling this huge problem that is right in our face, as well as into understanding the long-term consequences. I am glad I got around to introducing this book now and hope that it helps some of you to better explain to your kids what climate change is all about.

Whether you purchase it for yourself or for your teenagers — your money is well spent as the royalties from the sale will go to The Prince of Wales’s Charitable Foundation.

FYI: Yes, it is a coffee stain in the top left corner! The practically sized book traveled with me quite a bit and unfortuntely one of my travel mugs leaked a little drop of cappuccino one day…

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Yoga for kids

Yes, I know, I was offline for too long, but hey — I am back. I have been crazy busy for a while now, but you will be happy to learn that I also got a little bit of reading done!  Thus,  I can start recommending some of the books from the past weeks now. I will start off with a yoga book for kids which is very cute, indeed.

Now I have taken some yoga classes myself, but to be honest, I never really made it a lifestyle. I am going to admit that this might change now. Here is my review:

cover93338-mediumWatkins Publishing kindly provided me with a copy of the refreshing book Norris the Seahorse Takes on the Bullies – A Cosmic Kids Yoga Adventure, which will be published on September 13.

I have to admit that this book is really marvelous.  Jaime Amor does a wonderful job of combining lovely underwater world illustrations with the colorful photos of her yoga poses. The photos and the corresponding explanations make it really easy to copy the moves and get into a bit of a routine after a short while. Amor motivates kids to try out yoga and somehow gets them to stick to it. They keep on playing around with the poses by pretending to be Tommy the Turtle, or Mimi the Mermaid, or other characters that are introduced in the story. The book serves as an entertaining starting point for little ones to discover the world of yoga, delivers lots of ideas for expanding the story and thus taps further into children’s creativity. This somehow makes the publication stand out from the myriad of others on the market.

The combination of yoga moves with the important message about standing up for yourself and not giving in to bullies is powerful and kids remember it. The cute story about Norris “the best baby sea horse you ever did see” helps kids to get into a flow and finishes with relaxation and affirmations so kids get to understand the power of thoughts. They learn how to be confident and at the end also how important it is to tell grown-ups about bullying that they themselves or their friends are exposed to or even witness.

Norris the Seahorse Takes on the Bullies is a truly enjoyable learning experience for both children and parents. Besides the beautiful illustrations and the idea of the I Love Me Club I also appreciated the fact that a guideline for parents was added at the end of the book. So no grown up has to shy away from experiencing this yoga adventure together with their kids just because they might feel overwhelmed by poses they don’t know. Highly recommendable!

 

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¡Aprende con Caillou!

caillouLearning languages is easiest when you are young and unafraid of making mistakes. Many couples are now raising their children bilingually, even if they are both native speakers of one and the same language, because it has been scientifically proven that bilingual people are not only more creative but also more successful in life.

I received a copy of this great First Spanish Word Book by Chouette Publishing, and I must say: what a coinkidink! Spanish – English. That fits our family like a glove.

A colorful and fun way for very young ones to learn their first Spanish expressions. If your kids are raised bilingually, then this adorable dictionary is a must-have. Basic words for situations the kids are already familiar with are beautifully illustrated, so that the kids want to use the newly-acquired chunks of vocabulary when exploring the pages. In case no Spanish native speaker should be around, a pronunciation guide offered for download by the publisher can be consulted. Caillou’s word book is highly recommendable!

¡Que te diviertas!

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Nightmarish experiences: Memoir pieces of Jewish children who could escape from Nazi Germany on the Kindertransport.

KindertransportLast night I was kindly provided with a digital edition of the engaging book Escaping the Nazis on the Kindertransport by Capstone Press. I had to put all other books down and start reading immediately.

What does it feel like to live under a Nazi regime, where your family is officially treated as a second-class citizens because of your religion? If suddenly, you and your parents are unwanted in a country you had called home for all of your life? What, if you have nobody to help you and death lingers in the air? What does it feel like to be a refugee through children’s eyes? Imagine you are a five-year-old and have to get on a train to an unknown destination in the UK, without your parents, at a time when the world is teetering on the edge of war.

The remarkable narrative nonfiction story by Emma Carlson Berne conveys this feeling of despair and terror by combining eyewitness accounts, photographs, poems and other sources into an amazing survival story of seven Jewish kids. The way the book is set up makes the fear of the children tangible. It describes how the world the children knew fell apart after the Nazis took power. It sheds some light into their journeys by drawing on their memories, and also looking at what became of them after the war was over.

Embedding the children’s personal memories of the Kindertransport into explanations of the almost unfathomable horror of events in this dark chapter of German history, the book excels at giving an idea of the cruelty that Jewish people had to endure at that time. Making a connection into our day and age is inevitable, because the issue of refugees is again very topical.

The timeline and glossary provided at the end of the book are helpful for middle graders, and so are the discussion questions provided by the author. The discussion offers a good starting point for students to ask questions and to find out more about the history of WW II. Based on this they can figure out the lessons the accounts can teach us for our own life in order to hopefully avoid similar situations in generations to come.

It will be available in stores in January 2017 and every student at the age of 9-12 should have it on their reading lists.