Summer Reading Challenge

In Partnership with Disney Book Group.
Summer is on our heels and I felt like last summer I finally got things into a good system to enjoy the season, have spontaneity but also structure!
We did this summer check list each day and I loved all the reading I was seeing! My older boys are really enjoying reading for fun more this year so I wanted to step it up a bit and turn it into a challenge!Percy Jackson Summer Reading Challenge
We’ll have cool toys, gadgets and games they can earn for books they finish. As well as experiences, like an afternoon rock climbing, or tickets to a play, and then privileges as well, like extra screen time, picking dessert that night, or getting to take a break from chores for a day! What better way to inspire a summer of reading than an awesome series?! I have heard for YEARS that Percy Jackson and the Olympians is a boy mom’s dream and we’ve already started the first book and can totally see why!Percy Jackson Summer Reading Challenge
The Percy Jackson series is the perfect mix of action, friendship, humor, fantasy, and storyline. It’s an exciting way to learn about Greek mythology and gods and monsters, but at the root, it is about being true to yourself and your limitless potential. Rick Riordan really has created something special and we love that we’re finally a part of the club!Percy Jackson Summer Reading Challenge
Disney has this whole amazing Percy Jackson set, perfect for a summer reading challenge!! We are going to be checking in all summer long on this challenge and would love to make it a Small Fry party!! Join us and let’s do it together!! We are giving away this set on Instagram today, so go enter or let us know you’ll be reading along!Percy Jackson Summer Reading Challenge

Awesome, Friendly Kid

Are your kids on the Jeff Kinney train? I have loved watching both my boys with very different interests, personalities, and attention spans LOVE the Diary of a Wimpy Kid books! Jeff Kinney just released a new angle on the Wimpy Kid series — from Rowley’s perspective and we’re thrilled to share it with you in partnership with them and ABRAMS Books!

Diary of an Awesome Friendly Kid

Both my kids agree that Rowley is their favorite character in this series, so they were so happy to see a whole journal devoted to Rowley– from Rowley’s perspective. You still get all the antics of Greg since they are best friends, but with that lovable Rowley spin. Diary of an Awesome Friendly KidCal is my tough sell on books! It’s been harder to get him to pick up stories on his own, but he has chosen to read this story each night with his dad, brought it to Hayes’ endless baseball games, and read it during quiet times each weekend! As someone who loves books, and the way they’ve shaped my own personality, ethics, and sense of empathy, it makes my heart soar! I’ve been so proud watching Cal, who is a little bit more of an introvert make so many friends this year at a new school. I remember the first day of school, I met him at his cafeteria and brought him his favorite lunch. He didn’t know a soul, and I ate lunch choking back tears worried about him and hoping he wouldn’t ever have to feel alone. I gave him the goal of being kind to every kid at school and finding someone new to talk to each day. Each day after school, we’d talk about who he had met that day, and I loved getting to know his classmates through his interactions as well! His teachers commended him on his friendliness and even said he was too chatty sometimes (hey I’ll take it!). I’m so grateful he was willing to be brave and friendly this year! And grateful for awesome, friendly kids at his school who welcomed him, too! Diary of an Awesome friendly KidIf you’re new to the series, Kinney weaves cartoon line drawings through short journal entries, filled with humor and personality — these characters come to life for my kids! Diary of an Awesome Friendly KidDepending on your kids’ reading interest and levels, we’ve been at this since Hayes was in Kindergarten, Cal is in 1st grade and just started to get into them! I see 6th graders pouring over them, too! I love that it’s for everyone! You can grab a hardcover copy for $6! Also keep your eyes out for the 14th book in the Diary of a Wimpy Kid series out later this year! 

Wee Society!

Giving away the entire Wee Society line of books today on my Instagram! Their flawless graphics and quirky content make my heart soar and I can’t wait to gift someone all of these beautiful books!

Linking them all here in case you want to check them out!WEE SOCIETY

WEE HEE HEE (not pictured but its a joke book that is so freaking cute you’ll squeal. Big and beautiful and looks amazing out on the shelf. // ME: A COMPENDIUM FILL IN THE BLANK this journal is something Im gifting both my boys and can’t wait to see what they do with it! // INCOMPLETE BOOK OF AWESOME THINGS a book of words and pictures that toddlers will love! // MATCHING GAME a fun game that you won’t be mad if they leave out! // ADVENTURE JOURNAL (comes in other colors, too!) if you’re going anywhere at all this year this journal will help you keep every memory and even some you didn’t know you wanted to remember– all from your child’s perspective. So clever and darling! // POSTCARDS you could hang these like a banner in a nursery or break them off and send sweet little notes to friends. Either way you use it, its so cute!

books for tween girls!

I asked on Instagram for your Tween girl’s favorite books to read and promised I’d share the results! SO many good ones I’ve never heard of and ALL have amazing reviews online! Check it out!

One I missed after this post was made were the “I Survived” books (boys LOVE them but there are a few about girls specifically too, not that it matters necessarily.) Also the mystery books by Blue Balliet! All steeped in art history and exciting stories to boot! I love that kids get to learn more about art while reading. Two of my favorite things! The Calder Game, The Wright 3 and Chasing Vermeer were all suggested!

Books for Tween Girls

Fish in a Tree: If you like Wonder by RJ Palacio check this one out! // Rules: I reviewed this one earlier this year and since then it’s won several awards! The story of a 12 year old girl navigating life with her Autistic brother. // “Sisters” or “Smile” Graphic Novels by Raina Telgmeier. This author has several titles with great reviews but these two specifically were suggested! // Paint By Stickers: These books are so so much fun. So great for a quiet time bag, road trips, or budding artists who want something cool to hang on their wall. // Penderwicks Series: This series comes as a box set, or individually! “No more engaging sisters since Little Women!” high praise!! // Goodnight Stories for Rebel Girls: Another book I’ve reviewed with 100+ stories about awesome women in history! So well done! // Wolf Hollow: Lost count of how many awards this book has won!! We read it in my adult book club but this story about injustice and bullying will sweep you (I mean her!) away. 😉 // Walk Two Moons: I read this as a kid and love that its still so well-loved! Two stories woven together and a good challenge for a budding reader! //  Rollergirl Graphic Novel – another graphic novel that came highly recommended! // Roald Dahl Collection: This one is a selfish add, because Roald Dahl was one of my childhood favorites that sparked a love of reading in me that propelled the direction of my life forever! There’s no one like Roald Dahl! // Chronicles of Narnia Series: another series that stands the test of time! Deals heavily in symbolism which makes for good conversations! // In college I took a class on Adolescent Lit and these were two of the titles that I felt were actually age appropriate but also challenge and improve reading ability!: Watsons go to Birmingham! // Missing May //

By far the most recommended was basically anything by Kate DiCamillo butThe Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane specifically had 3000 4+ reviews! Flora and Ulysses was another multiple suggestion by the same author! She wrote Because of Winn-Dixie as well and I didn’t realize she had made such a dent! So many titles and all very highly reviewed!

kate dicamillo

ALL SMALL FRY BOOK REVIEWS here!

mine + ours: books #13

SEPTEMBER BOOK PICKS!

small fry book reviews

MINE:

LISTEN: I loved Trevor Noah’s narration of his autobiography Born A Crime. I learned so much about Apartheid in South Africa and am absolutely shocked it continued virtually the same until 1994. Just boggles my mind!! The book was so funny, so sweet and touching, so eye opening, so well written, and so heartbreaking. Definitely worth a listen. 5 Stars

READ: A Visit From the Good Squad has been on my list for years because as a English Lit major I heard it’s a must. For people who study literature and get excited by something they’ve never seen done before. Tricky to follow, challenging for sure, a lot of messed up characters, but something cool to take on if you feel like you fall into that category of readers. Three stars.

OURS:

STICK CAT series by Tom Watson + MY WEIRDEST SCHOOL series by Dan Gutman (Book 12 releases next month!) We reviewed these for a sponsored post and My Weirdest School is a joke a minute! I love that it would help an early reader be exposed to a more casual voice when storytelling or learning how to use their own voice in their writing! Stick Cat is more subtle jokes but still awesome! Both series are boasted as getting even the most reluctant reader on board, so if you have one of those, check these out!

4 Weeks to Read

I’ve been testing this reading system out for a few weeks and am finally ready to share. It’s pretty freaking good, I must say!

4 Weeks To Read has a 98% rate, is $99 (they also do $25/month for 5 months!) — use SMALLFRY10 for 10% off –AND it’s guaranteed so after 30 days, if it didn’t work for you, you can get your money back! Here’s the run down:

4 Weeks to ReadLearning Dynamics is a school in Utah that is easily the top 3 schools for early education. They pride themselves in having preschoolers 100% ready for Kindergarten. Reading and ready to go! Since their schools aren’t in every state or worldwide they wanted to create a reading program for people who couldn’t attend their school, or like me, who chose a less expensive option for schooling. My friends who have taken their kids there swear by it and said it was worth every penny! I don’t doubt it after seeing their 4 year olds reading up a storm! I went a different path and have really had to work extra hard with my first grader. But, NOW I can have that same gold standard education for Raleigh with 4 Weeks to Read!4 Weeks to ReadThe owner told me about how this program came to be and I loved the story! They had a team of teachers, educators, experts look through every literacy program they could get their hands on. 13 years of research later they were unimpressed. So they wrote their own! He was telling me 3rd grade reading ability is a predictor of people who end up in jail! While they have a kindergarten through 2nd grade to catch up, by 3rd grade it’s not just playing catch up, but it’s typically falling further behind. Which is why, at least in Utah, their prevention programs are in 1st grade!4 Weeks to ReadI know for my 1st grader, it’s his confidence that sets the tone for us practicing reading. Struggling through a book really derails that. What I really like about the system is that it helps them master a grouping of letters at a time so they can master an entire book and have that confidence boost! Also their lessons are 15 minutes which is about all I can get out of him! So even though this system is for a much younger age demographic we’ve been reading them to his baby brother and of course he’s flying through them and feeling so confident! I love that I can help him strengthen his skills in such a quick way. Use my code for 10% off SMALLFRY10 and you can win one on my Instagram as well!!

4 WEEKS TO READ 

white coffee table books

I pitched this question the other day on Instagram because I was on the hunt for coffee table books with white spines for my entry.

Runner // Light custom order from Echo Neon (Ten-Twenty is our anniversary! 10/20/2005) // Credenza – Besta via Ikea! (high gloss Selsviken fronts) // Custom Door via CBW Doors // String of Bananas plant (locally for $30 at Cook’s!)

You’d think it wouldn’t be that hard, but since you can’t usually see the spine in any online images, and so many of the books I have or saw in stores had white covers, but a different color spine I didn’t want to risk mis-ordering. Of course going to a book store is the easiest route, but I can almost always find books cheaper, or in very good used condition online! I started asking around to make things faster and h ere are the results!white coffee table books

On my shelf:

Modern White Entry Way

Coveteur – a peek into celebrities and other interesting people’s homes and lives!

Andy Warhol Polaroids – this one is the biggest I have, tall and thick, and I got one used on Amazon! There is nudity in the book, so if that is of concern, skip this one!

Simplicity by Nancy Braithwaite — Super pretty interior book with an organic, minimal, moody feel that varies in style space to space. Love it!

Louis Vuitton / Marc Jacobs – there is some gold on this spine, but I like it!

The World of Art – got this secondhand and it must be old because there isn’t even a product photo online, ha!

Reader Submissions:

#1 – Turn books around to show the pages. (A little too boho for the space I was styling this for, but genius nonetheless!)

Kinfolk Books –  Table, Entrepreneur // Secret Lives of Color (has polka dots on the spine) // El Arroyo’s Big Book of Signs (hilarious!!) // Chanel 3 Set // A Field Guide to American Houses // Banksy Wall and Piece // Eames (skinnier!) // Bauhaus (lots of the books in this series seem to work, but this one for sure.) // Big Book of Chic // Photography by Tom Ang // Art House // Patrick Ahearn (white when you take the jacket off!) Mix in regular books instead of all coffee table for more options! Tipping Point or A Righteous Mind for example. //

We Don’t Eat Our Classmates

I mentioned We Don’t Eat Our Classmates last week and am excited to share it again today in partnership with Disney Book Group! Honestly I think this book is going to be a children’s classic. We Don’t Eat Our Classmates by Ryan T. Higgins is the story of Penelope Rex who is starting her first day of school, she is filled with questions and unsure how the day will go, but as soon as she realizes that her fellow students are children – her favorite treat – things get interesting! I laughed out loud several times, it’s so clever and darling and the message of empathy is just hidden enough that you can discuss and sort of mine it with your kids and you’ll get that payoff feeling of “getting it”, but not too obscure that they miss it. We Don't Eat Our ClassmatesWe made Carnivore and Herbivore Skewers and read this book as a family and some of these carnivorous outtakes are cracking me up!

When you don’t have your two front teeth for chomping:We Don't Eat Our ClassmatesGet it, Raleigh!We Don't Eat Our ClassmatesI can’t count how many times I’ve put food on a stick for my kids to eat it. Something about it makes it more doable for them, ha! It’s so easy for a quick dinner, too! We Don't Eat Our ClassmatesJust chop up, season, skewer and put on the grill! We Don't Eat Our ClassmatesYou can buy the book here, I totally recommend it!!We Don't Eat Our ClassmatesYou can win a copy on my Instagram today! 

mine + ours: books #12

Here are my picks for August! I’m ready for more book reccs, too if you have any! Catch the whole series here!

 

MINE:

Read: Tattoos on the Heart: The Power of Boundless Compassion  is the memoir of Gregory Boyle, a Catholic Priest who devoted his ministry to gangs of Los Angeles. He is behind Homeboy Industries which is a whole slew of companies that employ and rehabilitate inmates, gang members, and given them jobs and a way out of their former gang lives. I loved every second of this book. It’s funny, tragic, and I marked the heck out of it. Boyle has this sweet way of tying his experiences to his thoughts of the true nature of God. A God who loves us just the way we are. 4 Stars! (Language is what you’d expect from LA gang members. Ha!)

https://amzn.to/2LDCowQ

Listen: Song of Achilles – I was so obsessed with Circe and the the beautiful writing by the author Madeline Miller I had to have more! Song of Achilles tells the tale of Achilles and the true love of his life, his companion and boyhood friend, Patrocles. This one is so beautiful as well, definitely a more masculine energy to it with the male characters and everything centered around the Trojan War. A few short love scenes between Achilles and Patrocles and a couple of more graphic war scenes.

Song of Achilles

OURS:

We Don’t Eat Our Classmates – this was sent to me for a post next week and it is laugh out loud hilarious. I LOVE it and the message of compassion and empathy is so clever. Obsessed. It’s a new title but I think it will become a classic for sure. So good!We Don't Eat Our Classmates

Wee Hee Hee: A Collection of Pretty Funny Jokes and Pictures – Weelicious churns out the most darling books around and their new joke book is no exception. Pretty modern (and funny!) graphics on every page and darling jokes you haven’t heard a million times. Such a fun one I’ll leave out on my table!

DIY Reading Fort

This post is sponsored by Kellogg’s. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

Currently my boys share a room and both of them have been known to yell to the other “I just need some space!” so I knew it was time to create another option for them if they need to get some alone time in! A good ol’ sheet fort on my bed (since I’m never in there until way past their bedtime anyway) is just what they doctor ordered.

We’ve had an ongoing incentive at our house that they can earn different rewards for every book that they read. Happily for all of us, they are plowing through all our books! Dollar General has this amazing deal right now that has made it even easier to get our hands on more books.$1 off coupon | Dollar General Deals

RiRight now with every participating box of Kellogg’s products you buy, you can cash it in for a book! You can view the book options here, but we picked up Rules, Diaper Baby and a couple Clifford the Big Red Dog options! On top of that, Kellogg’s products are 3 for $6 AND I have a $1 off coupon for you right here. Christmas in July!!Dollar General Coupon for Free Book!For your at-home fort there are lots of ways to make it happen. I did ours over our bed so the reading nook is extra cozy!$1 off coupon | Dollar General DealsAll you need is a sheet, rope and push-pins. I like push-pins because you can hardly notice the holes in the ceiling! If you want a no hole option just put some stools parallel to each other and put the sheet over top!DIY reading fort

My big boys love to read the Clifford the Big Red Dog books to Raleigh, so we made a DIY Trail Mix or “Puppy Chow” for them to snack on! (I totally realize it’s going to be crumb central on my bed, so they also get armed with my handheld vacuum to take care of that afterward!)

Here’s how we do the DIY Puppy Chow Bar! Just set out bowls with several options that taste good together. Then give them a small cup, and they can layer on their favorites!
$1 off coupon | Dollar General DealsThe worst part of trial mix is that you have to pick out your favorites, leaving the raisins to go to waste (just me?). So by them making their own, they can get their favorites, and I don’t have as much clean up. Dollar General Free Book DealWe did Kellogg’s® Froot Loops® Cereal and Kellogg’s® Frosted Flakes® with gummy fruit snacks and cashews! If you head to Dollar General for the deals I mentioned, these cereals were front and center! Super easy to grab and go!Dollar General Free Book DealHead here to grab the $1 off coupon, and you can find your nearest Dollar General location here.