“I Love You Through and Through” By Bernadette Rossetti-Shustak

through and through

With Valentine’s Day coming up, I thought that I would share a popular book around our house about love.  It is entitled “I Love You Through and Through” by Bernadette Rossetti-Shustak.  It is not exactly a board book, but close.  The pages are thicker than usual and the cover is puffy.  The background of all of the pages remind me of tissue paper with specks of color.  All of these details add to the charm of this book.  We bought this book originally for my daughter and it was her absolute favorite book, and after my son was born it quickly became his favorite as well.

A young boy and his teddy bear are the characters of this book and the reader/narrator is telling the child what they love about them.  The illustrations, by Caroline Jayne Church, are adorable.  The little boy really reminds me of my son.  For example, on the cover, the boy is holding his bear high in the air and his belly is hanging out of his shirt (I love big baby bellies!).

The narrator loves the child inside and out.  They love the child no matter what they are feeling or what they are doing.

A favorite part for my kids is when I read about the different body parts that I love.  The book reads “I love your fingers, and toes, your ears and nose.”  I always tickle each body part as I read it and my kids crack up!

The final line of this book is the best and just pretty much sums it up “I love you through and through..yesterday, today, and tomorrow too.”  Ahhh..how perfect?!?!

If you are looking for an adorable book to tell your children (probably about 5 and under) just how much you love them, I highly recommend picking up “I Love You Through and Through” By Bernadette Rossetti-Shustak.  Enjoy!

A Few Notes:

  • There is a simialar book, in format and illustrated by Caroline Jayne Church, entitled “How Do I Love You?” that features a little girl
  • The price listed on the book is $8.95, but at the time of writing this post, I found it online for about $5-well worth it.
  • The book would make a great gift for Valentine’s Day, birthdays, and for new parents.
  • There is an app based on this book by Scholastic.  Here is an overview (looks cute!):

Book Recommendation: “I Like Myself!” Written By: Karen Beaumont and Illustrated By David Catrow

i like myself

“I like myself! I’m glad I’m me.  There’s no one else I’d rather be.”  This is the opening to “I Like Myself!” a wonderful self-esteem boosting book for young children.  The little girl in the book shares just what it is that she likes about herself-which is everything!

The witty, rhyming text may seem simple, but it really hits on so many complex life issues.

“Beauty is only skin deep”

  • On one page, the little girl wakes up with hair that just about hits the ceiling.  The text on this page reads “even when I look a mess, I still don’t like me any less, ‘cause nothing in this world, you know can change what’s deep inside, and so…”

Dealing with people trying to bring you down

  • “And I don’t care in any way what someone else may think or say”

Loving yourself, both the positives and negatives

  • “I’d still like me with fleas or warts, or with a silly snout that snorts, or knobby knees or hippo hips or purple polka-dotted lips.”

The illustrations in this book are very engaging and fun.  David Catrow also illustrated another great self-esteem book, Stand Tall, Molly Lou Melon (see my review here).

I highly recommend reading self-esteem boosting books to your kids!  They send such a great message and will hopefully have a positive impact on them in the future.  If you decide to search for books with this theme, I recommend picking up “I Like Myself!” By Karen Beaumont.

“Harold and the Purple Crayon” By Crockett Johnson


I have to admit that I read this book for the first time only a few weeks ago! I see it everywhere and finally grabbed it from the library.  After reading it, I can understand why it is still so popular (it was written in 1955!).  Harold and the Purple Crayon’s author Crockett Johnson is the illustrator of another classic, “The Carrot Seed,” which is written by his wife, Ruth Krauss.  If you are familiar with “The Carrot Seed”, than you know the style and feeling of “Harold and The Purple Crayon.”

If you are like me, and haven’t read the book before, it is about a boy named Harold and his purple crayon-as you can tell from the title.  Harold decides to go for a walk in the moonlight.

The scenery throughout the entire book is created by Harold’s purple crayon.  He wants a moon, he draws a moon, he wants a path, he draws a path, and so on.  Although the text and setting is very simple, the book is very powerful.  It shows kids the power of their imagination.  It encourages kids to draw and write their own worlds.

So, if you are looking for a fun, creative read, I recommend picking up “Harold and the Purple Crayon!”

Other Books by Crockett Johnson

  • Harold’s Fairy Tale (1956)
  • Harold’s Trip to the Sky (1957)
  • Harold at the North Pole (1958)
  • Harold’s Circus (1959)
  • We Wonder What Will Walter Be? When He Grow Up (1964)
  • Harold’s ABC (1963)

If you are interested, here is a reading of the book:

“Dancing in the Wings” By Debbie Allen

self esteem dancing pics

This is another one of my favorite books (I, know, I say that a lot)! I read “Dancing in the Wings” to my fourth and fifth graders AT LEAST twice a year for different purposes.  The text is a bit long, and there is some name-calling and teasing in the book, so elementary-age children may be able to enjoy this book more than younger children.

Sassy, the main character, is a tall, big-footed, young woman who loves to dance.  Due to her height, she is unable to participate in recitals because she is too tall for the boys to pick up and would stand out too much if she danced in a group.  She is forced to “dance in the wings.”  To make matters worse, she is teased by her brother and her fellow dancers.  She sticks up for herself, however she feels discouraged.  An opportunity arises and Sassy is able to try out for an important ballet.  After some encouraging words from her uncle, Sassy gains the confidence to put her best big foot forward.

Debbie Allen wrote this book based on some of her own experiences which gives this book its authentic feel. I am assuming that she had a brother because the back and fourths between Sassy and her “big forehead lookin’ like a street lamp” brother are right on. I love how they tease each other, yet when Sassy needs it, he is there to cheer her on.

The illustrations by Kadir Nelson are beautiful.  The details in the way that the ballerinas stand add to the charm of the book.  There fingers and toes always seem to be standing perfectly, just like a ballerina.  Also, I like the Degas-type paintings in the background of the dance studio.  Nice touch!  Enjoy!

“I Like Me” by Nancy Carlson

self esteem i like me pic

I remember using this book with my Kindergarteners when I was student teaching.  The book helps to teach kids to feel good about themselves in a very simple way.  “I Like Me” features a cheerful, confident pig.   She likes herself so much that every morning she looks into the mirror and says “Hi, good-looking!”  The text is easy with few words, however, in these select words, readers learn the following:

  • Self-confidence
  • Enjoy yourself
  • Take good care of yourself
  • Cheer yourself up when you are feeling down
  • Pick yourself up after falling down

Like many other children’s books, the ending is very powerful.  It reads “I’ll always be me, and I like that!!”  It would give me great joy if my children and students could feel this way about themselves, now and in the future.  Enjoy!

Here is a reading of the book, if you would like to hear and see it:

“Giraffes Can’t Dance” By Giles Andreae

self esteem giraffe pic

“Giraffes Can’t Dance” by Giles Andreae and illustrated by Guy Parker-Rees is a book that I used to read every year with my fourth and fifth graders.  It is another book that can be enjoyed with a very wide age range.  I read it to my daughter all of the time.

The plot of the book is rather simple, but the message has a huge impact.  A giraffe wants to dance at the jungle dance but due to his long figure, it is hard for him to move around.  To make matters worse, the other animals make fun of him and tell him that giraffes can’t dance.

Usually, I do not tell the ending of books, because I want you to be able to experience it on your own, but I have to share the last page of this book.

“Then he raised his head and looked up

at the moon and stars above.

“We all can dance,” he said,

“when we find music that we love.””

SO BEAUTIFUL!! I love, love, love that last page!  It is so inspiring.  Even though the other animals discouraged the giraffe, after a little encouragement from a small friend, he was able to believe in himself.

Due to the fact that this is such a simple story, it can be used with children of all ages to help them understand complex subjects such as believing in yourself and bullying.

Here is a reading of the book, if you would like:

“Stand Tall, Molly Lou Melon” By Patty Lovell

I can tell my daughter all day long how beautiful I think that she is and hope that it sticks with her and helps her self-image now and in the future.  Unfortunately, later in life, I know that she will face times where her self-esteem is going to be challenged.  I want to prepare her as best as I can, early, to help reinforce in her the feeling of positive self-worth.  Therefore, I want to read her books that have a message of confidence and self-worth.  I want her to see characters, just like her, that believe in themselves no matter what.  I think that sometimes kids can relate and connect to characters in books better than “real” people.  It is like a friend that is always safe and available to them whenever they want to visit.  In books with the theme of self-esteem, children can see situations play out with characters that they grow to love and trust.  They watch as they stand up for themselves, appreciate their own uniqueness, and persevere.  I strongly suggest incorporating books with the theme of self-esteem into your home library. One of my favorite confidence-boosting books is entitled “Stand Tall, Molly Lou Melon” By Patty Lovell.

self esteem melon

At the beginning of “Stand Tall, Molly Lou Melon,” we meet Molly Lou Melon that is “the shortest girl in the first grade.”  She also has buckteeth, an interesting voice, and can be very clumsy.  All along, her grandmother tells her to stand up for herself and to let her unique style shine.  Molly Lou ends up having to move away from her grandmother and to a new school.  There she is met with a bully, Ronald Durkin, who makes fun of her and calls her names.  She doesn’t let the teasing get to her and she continues to follow her grandmother’s advice.

I have to mention the illustrations by David Catrow.  They add to the charm of this book.  The characters all have crazy hair and funny faces.  Molly Lou Melon is adorable.

“Stand Tall, Molly Lou Melon,” like sooo many other picture books, can be used with a large age range.  I read it to my three-year old, but I have also read it with my fifth graders.  With my daughter, I talk about how Molly Lou has special qualities that make her special.  With my fifth-graders, I talk about self-esteem and bullying.

Holiday Book Ideas, Part One

My family started a new tradition last year for the holidays.  Every year, we will buy a brand-new, hardcover holiday book and give it to the kids on Christmas Eve to read that night.  This is great for many reasons. Cheap-o Mom and Dad actually shelled out enough dough for an ACTUAL hardcover, we read together as a family, and the book then can be added to our holiday book bin for next year.  I thought that I would share with you a couple of ideas for different holiday books that you could read with your family or buy as gifts.  There are so many to choose from, so I have broken this post into different parts-Enjoy!

Here are some of the criteria that I look for in Holiday Books.

  • I love the Holiday season!  It is such a special time of the year. Therefore, I think that holiday picture books, in particular, need to be extra special.  I love beautiful and creative books that can be marveled, while in snuggling position in front of a crackling fire (Just so you know, I am well aware of how cheesy this sounds, but don’t care!)
  • I also like feel-good books! It is the holiday season after all!  I love underdogs and heroes and sharing and caring and all that jazz.  I love books about the importance of family, giving to others, and other important life lessons.
  • I like holiday books to hold some sense of tradition.  Now, don’t get me wrong, some aspects can be changed, but it can’t get too crazy
  • I am not a huge fan of “character” Christmas books.  Let me clarify….I may love, love, love, a character, such as Alf (don’t laugh), but that doesn’t necessarily mean I am going to love his book.  It still needs to impress me the same as any other book.


The first book is entitled “Oh What a Christmas!” by Michael Garland and it is pretty much everything I look for in a good holiday read.   The cover, book, and end pages feature large, vivid, cartoon-y illustrations of elves, animals, and Santa.  I know obviously end pages aren’t the most important part of the book, but so many books skip this step, so I wanted to show my appreciation.  The story starts with Santa on his way to hand out presents on his sleigh with his reindeer.  After a mishap, Santa ends up landing his sleigh in a barn without his reindeer.  Who will help Santa deliver his gifts now???  This book is really cute and has a lot of sound words that will be really fun to read with the kids.  It also features some animal heroes that save the day!  This book is recommended for a fun, beautiful, holiday read.


The next book is the book that we bought last year.  It is entitled “The Night Before Christmas” by Clement C. Moore and paintings (yes, paintings) by Eric Puybaret.  This book fits most of my criteria and more.  It tells the traditional story that I am used to of the night before Christmas, however, the paintings are completely modernized in a very interesting way.  At first, I thought that it may be too dark for my liking, but upon further investigation, I fell in love.  I mean the reindeer are so fashionable with their little top hats and green and yellow cloaks!  I think that you could read this book several times and discover something else new and beautiful that you never noticed before.  This book is also special in another way in that it comes with a CD performed by Peter, Paul, and Mary reading the story and other songs.  This book is recommended for a modern twist on a very traditional story, plus the musical narrative is fun.


I already mentioned this book here, however, I think that it is worth repeating.  This is a beautiful book and would make a great gift.  It shares the story of The Nutcracker that I am familiar with.  There are a few different versions.  I think that the soft-illustrations capture the magic of the story through its attention to detail and changing the point of view of the audience.  I love the side cut out views of the mansion where you can look into all of the different rooms of the house, not just the ones involved in the story.   I highly recommend this book to teach the beauty-and-the-beast-type story of The Nutcracker.

I wanted to mention that part of our new holiday tradition is to buy the next years’ book just after Christmas.  This is nice for a couple of reasons.  First of all, it is WAY cheaper.  We bought the “Oh what a Christmas” book for over half-off at Barnes and Noble.  Second, it seems that no matter what, we are so crazy busy during this time.  It is nice already having this done.  We don’t have to rush the decision.  Happy Holidays!