Why Read? -Dr. Loren Marks

Why Read? -Dr. Loren Marks

This is the first of our sub series of episodes that will focus on the question, “Why should you read?” Shorter than our regular interviews, these episodes are intended to be easy to digest, easy to share, and most of all, inspiring.

Dr. Loren Marks of the American Families of Faith project and professor at Brigham Young University tells us how much impact reading with your child – particularly in ages 0-6 – can have.

This is an excerpt from a full-length episode, 15: “Holy Script!” Sacred Text in the Home with Dr. David Dollahite and Dr. Loren Marks.

Episode 15: “Holy Script!” Sacred Text in the Home with Dr David Dollahite and Dr Loren Marks

Episode 15: “Holy Script!” Sacred Text in the Home with Dr David Dollahite and Dr Loren Marks

To talk about sacred text in our home, this week we are joined by Drs. David Dollahite and Loren Marks, two professors at the School of Family Life at Brigham Young University. They have worked for years on a research project called American Families of Faith, which has given them a great deal of insight into the lives of families who are active in all different kinds of faiths and how these families have used reading sacred texts in their family life, which is what chatted with them about.

In “Holy Script!” Sacred text in the home we talk about:

1. What the American Families of Faith Project does and some of what their research has shown them.

2. What exactly are sacred texts? Each religion considers differently, but in general, for Muslims it is the Koran and the deeds and writings of the prophet Muhammad, for Jewish people it is the Torah and Talmud, Christians have the Old and New Testament, etc.

3. Developmental psychologists pretty much agree that ages 0-6 are the most developmentally for children. Keeping that in mind, may times we underestimate our young children and with some guidance, enthusiasm explanation and perhaps most importantly, some stories and narrative, these kids are capable of gaining surprising depth in their understanding of faith. Reading these religious texts with our kids, whether it is the actual texts or more kid-friendly versions, adds another level to the bonding and development that already occurs when we read other stories with our children. 

4. What about our kids who are older than six? Even if those early years are the building of children’s developmental foundations, the doctors have found in their research that there is “explosive building” on that foundation in the ensuing years, even into early adulthood. This is the time that children will start to ask questions and our dialogue with them becomes rich and interactive. We also need to remember that our traditions and ways of going about things like reading sacred text in the home with our children will change and evolve as our children grow. We may continue to do it through the years, but exactly how it is done will look different year to year. 

5. Based on their own experience as well as their research, they have found that these studies work best when there is an open dialogue between children and their parents. Both parents and youth enjoyed conversations about religious things more when they were initiated by the youth, when parents found ways to relate the conversation to the youth rather than abstract theology, when the parents kept their parts brief and more. They give us plenty of great ideas for this type of reading with our older kids!

6. Reading religious texts is something that can benefit from taking the time to personally prepare for those times we do it as a family, but, recognizing that the phase of actively raising children is a time- and energy-consuming one, do not discount the study and preparation you have done in this area leading up to this time of your life.

7. Families with interfaith relationships may need to go about things differently, but to successfully include religious texts in your family’s habits, the different members must learn to respect the views and beliefs that each other hold. This also is a huge part of what goes into adult children’s decisions to stay with their family’s faith or not- the relationships and respect of the family they grew up in.

Drs. Dollahite and Marks left us with a couple of great ideas of how to get started on putting their insights into practice this week with sacred text in the home. Dr. Dollahite invited us to prayerfully consider the way that we are engaging in sacred texts personally and in our marriage and parenting, and ask if what they are doing is enough and be open to the possibility that perhaps there might be an adjustment might be worth trying. Dr. Marks invited us to be gracious and patient with ourselves and our efforts in this area and to remember that even when we fail, which will be more often than we want, the successes will be worth it.

In this episode we mention:

We are so grateful to Dr. Dollahite and Dr. Marks for taking the time to talk with us! More information about them and the American Families of Faith Project can be found in the following places:


American Families of Faith Project

BYU School of Family Life


Religion and Families: An Introduction by Loren D Marks and David C Dollahite

The Quran (Pictured here is a book of selections)

The Torah

The Talmud

The Holy Bible

The Book of Mormon

Additional Articles and Research:

Strengths in Diverse Families of Faith – Provides an overview of many topics discussed in our conversation

How Religion Promotes Positive Parent-Youth Relationships and Youth Spiritual Development:

Dollahite, D. C., & Marks, L. D. (2019). Positive youth religious and spiritual development: What we have learned from religious families. Religions10, 548. doi:10.3390/rel10100548

Dollahite, D. C., Marks, L. D., Babcock, K. P., Barrow, B. H., & Rose, A. H. (2019). Beyond religious rigidities: Religious firmness and religious flexibility as complementary loyalties in faith transmissionReligions, 10, 111; doi:10.3390/rel10020111

Dollahite, D. C., Marks, L. D., Kear, T. M., Lewis, B. M., & Stokes, M. L. (2018). Beyond the bucket list: Identity-centered religious calling, being, and action among parentsPsychology of Religion and Spirituality10, 44-54. http://dx.doi.org/10.1037/rel0000130

Dollahite, D. C., & Thatcher, J. Y. (2008). Talking about religion: How religious youth and parents discuss their faithJournal of Adolescent Research23, 611-641. doi:10.1177/0743558408322141

Layton, E., Hardy, S. A., & Dollahite, D. C. (2012). Religious exploration among highly religious American adolescentsIdentity: An International Journal of Theory and Research, 12, 157–184. doi:10.1080/15283488.2012.668728

Conflict Resolution and Reconciliation:

Dollahite, D. C., Marks, L. D., & Barrow, B. H. (2019). Exploring relational reconciliation processes in Christian, Jewish, and Muslim familiesFamily Relations, 68, 517-533. doi:10.111/fare.12371

Lambert N. M., & Dollahite, D. C. (2006). How religiosity helps couples prevent, resolve, and overcome marital conflictFamily Relations, 55, 439-449. doi:10.1111/j.1741-3729.2006.00413.x

Don’t miss our previous episode, Interactive Journaling in the New Year with author Paula Spencer Scott

Episode 14: Interactive Journaling in the New Year with Paula Spencer Scott

Episode 14: Interactive Journaling in the New Year with Paula Spencer Scott

Are you an interactive journal fan? Unfamiliar with them? We talk with author Paula Spencer Scott about how a love of writing can help foster a love of reading and how to use interactive journals to strengthen our bonds with our children in interactive journaling in the new year with Paula Spencer Scott.

This week we are joined by Paula Spencer Scott, author and co-author of more than a dozen books. Her work includes Surviving Alzheimer’s and The Happiest Toddler on the Block and four different interactive journals. One of her journals, Like Mother, Like Daughter: A Discovery Journal for the Two of Us was a joint project with her own daughter, Page Spencer. She put all this knowledge and experience to work raising her and her husband’s six children and we are so glad she joined us to chat about all of this!

In this episode we talk about:

1. “Writing is a skill deeply fused with reading.” The two skills go hand-in-hand, but we often overlook the writing part of the equation at home with our families.

2. Interactive journals are a great way to start incorporating writing time into your family time. These journals provide you with prompts to get you started and some, like two of the ones Paula has written, are designed for two people to write together. We talk about the bonding experience of reading together, but these journals can create a bonding experience through writing!

3. Paula has seen many benefits come from keeping a journal in her and her kids’ lives.

  1. Anything you do longhand is great for fine motor skills practice.
  2.  Journaling helps kids become closer observers of what is going on around them
  3. It creates a time capsule where you can go back and remember what happens in their lives and how they change.
  4. Emotional benefits- it is a safe place to vent, use their imaginations, set goals, work through how life works and social systems.

4. Another great idea Paula gave us is to do vacation journals. She would give her kids blank books for trips they took for them to write their stories and create a momento. This adds a whole new level of using books when you travel!

5. Paula reminds us that journals should be fun! Have special colored markers or a book they pick out themselves. Don’t correct their grammar or spelling- the important thing is that they are just doing it!

6. Along with keeping journals, Paula had some other great ideas to write more at home with our kids. She suggested letting our kids see us use our skills and write things down, even when we could do the task using a device. Have a dedicated writing space with fun pencils, colored paper, dry erase boards or chalkboards. Using sidewalk chalk to write. Have your kids write thank you notes or birthday cards. Her kids loved creating and writing scavenger hunts for each other. 

Paula left us with a great idea of how to get started on putting these great ideas into practice this week. She invited us to pick a fun book together with your child, whether it’s an interactive journal or just a blank notebook, get a couple of fun pens and start with a question to them. Once they write their answer, have them write a question for you to answer. For younger kids, ask them the questions and write their answers and responding questions for them.

Interactive Journaling in the New Year

We are so grateful to Paula for taking the time to talk with us! More information about her, her books and her journals can be found in the following places:


Paula Spencer Scott’s website

You can find Paula’s interactive journals along with others at her publisher’s website, Peter Pauper Press.

Books we mentioned:

The Scientist in the Crib: What Early Learning Tells Us About The Mind by Alison Gopnik

The Philosophical Baby: What Children’s Minds Tell Us About Truth, Love and the Meaning of Life by Alison Gopnik

Prairie Fires: The American Dreams of Laura Ingalls Wilder by Caroline Fraser

If you have a goal to journal more this year or help your child love reading or to bond with him/her, we hope you give interactive journals a try!

Episode 13: From Reluctant Reader to Librarian with Harold Hayes

Episode 13: From Reluctant Reader to Librarian with Harold Hayes

Do you have a reluctant reader at home? Perhaps even yourself? Have you become distanced from your local, public library? Hear an inspiring story about a mom’s persistence paying off big-time and how this now-bookworm loves his job as a public library director – and of course, get lots of ideas about resources that may be available to you at your library, in this episode: From reluctant reader to librarian.

This week we are joined by a wonderful man and strong librarian- Harold Hayes, director of the Samuels Public Library in Front Royal Virginia. His career in public libraries has fostered his interest in things such as access to information and the role literacy and information have on societies and the democratic process. Harold is a proponent for books and reading both in his personal and professional life and is passionate about reading aloud to children, a passion that came about at least in part because of his own experiences struggling to read as a child. From those struggles years ago to his role today as a public library director, his is an inspiring story!

From a reluctant reader to librarian:

1. Harold’s rough start with reading- he struggled for years and did not start reading proficiently until he was in 6th grade.

2. Despite his struggles reading himself, he stayed interested in books and he credits his “saintly mother,”(Harold’s words!) who he said read to them a lot and, “always put… those stories out in front of us that captured our interest and therefore challenged our ability to read at a higher and better level…”

3. The summer after Harold’s fourth grade year his family took a road trip from Wisconsin down along the Mississippi River and she read the book Tom Sawyer out loud to him and his four siblings as they drove, following a similar path Tom Sawyer travels in the book. It made the story alive and memorable for Harold, who, at the time, could not have read and understood that book himself.

4. To go from such a reluctant reader to the career he has now, Harold had to turn some corners. In the sixth grade, Harold found a book at a library used book sale and used it for a book report he was required to do for school. It was about a boy and his dog and something about it really clicked with Harold and he devoured every dog story he could find, “harassing [his] poor school librarian” for more. 

5. Looking back on his reading journey, Harold’s advice to anyone going through similar experiences with their children is to look in to Jim’s Trelease and the benefits of reading aloud as well as to let yourself give kids what they want to read, as opposed to what you think they should read.

5. Harold has worked in public libraries for years and he told us that one of his favorite things about it is the fact that public libraries are service-oriented places and he loves helping people. He especially loves solving the little mysteries that people come in with- finding answers for them. It is a good reminder that librarians are there to help us and we aren’t inconveniencing them with our kids and our questions!

6. While the exact programs differ, almost every public library will have programs for kids and teenagers. Things like story times or Books and Barks (kids can read to a trained service dog), so check out your local library for what they offer!

7. Although we may think of library programs as being for younger kids, most have them for all ages, including teens. Those older kids can also be volunteers at the library and help with those programs that they love!

Harold left us with a great idea of how to get started on putting these great ideas into practice this week. He invited us to read out loud to our children and, of course, go visit your public library!

In this episode we mention:


Samuels Public Library Facebook page


Click here for a complete list of our episodes.

Episode 12: How to tell the truth about Santa

Episode 12: How to tell the truth about Santa

with Martha Brockenbrough

How do you tell your child the beautiful truth about Santa? Martha Brockenbrough told her daughter, Lucy, via a heartfelt letter that she then turned into a book. We hear the story behind this beautiful way to help your child through this major life transition from a Santa-believer to a member of Santa’s team.

This week we are joined by Martha Brockenbrough, writer, teacher, musician and creator of Grammar Day (May 4th- mark your calendars!). She was an editor for MSN, written for NY Times, taught high school and, of course, written books in all genres and for all reading levels. She currently teaches at Vermont College of Fine Arts and continues to write books that look for hard truths and help her readers see that, in her words, “uncomfortable doesn’t mean unfair.” She joined us to talk about one of her picture books, Love, Santa: the beautiful truth about Santa and gives us some amazing thoughts on Santa and helping our kids navigate their feelings about the big man.

Tell your child the beautiful truth about Santa:

1. Love, Santa is just one of the many picture books that Martha has written, but it’s the one we wanted to chat about (‘tis the season, after all!). She shared with us the background and development of the book, from the letter she wrote to her own daughter in that “questioning Santa” moment, to a blog post that spread like wildfire, to finally the beautifully designed picture book it is today.

2. While the book is often used as a tool to help parents have what can be a hard conversation with their children, it is so full of love that it makes what could be a cold, hard truth become a warm, magical time that welcomes the child onto Santa’s “team,” where they get to help spread the magic for others. 

3. Once our kids are out in the world we cannot always control what they hear and what they learn, so being prepared for these kinds of conversations and thinking of them as “the greatest privilege of parenthood…loving our kids, even when they find out the world isn’t necessarily what they thought.”

4. Just like you always have granola bars in the glove box, to be ready for whatever parenthood throws at us, we can think ahead, have a plan and be ready for these moments. For instance, Martha knows that she won’t lie to her kids, so when asked point-blank about certain things (like Santa!), she knows what direction she would want to take the discussion.

5. She had some great thoughts on how to make the conversation about Santa a positive experience, including expanding her earlier, wonderful thoughts on welcoming the child to Santa’s team: “You’re on Santa’s team now. What do you want to give to the world? Is there someone who needs something? Is there something you have to offer? What is it? Let me help you do that. Give the kid the power! There is nothing that feels better than being generous and helping others.”

6. Martha’s daughter Lucy, whose question about Santa sparked the idea for the book in the first place, wrote a song called “Santa is Love” for her mother’s birthday one year. The song is Lucy’s interpretation of the experience she shared with her mother learning “the beautiful truth about Santa.” It is a wonderful companion to the book and a wonderful gift to her mother. If curious, the song can be found on iTunes and YouTube!

Martha left us with a great idea of how to get started on putting these great ideas into practice this week. She challenged us to get ourselves a book, maybe one that we wouldn’t otherwise have read, and ask why this person wrote it and why did it get loved enough to be published and see if we can expand the corners of our world just a bit.

We are so grateful to Martha for taking the time to talk with us!

Mentioned in this episode:

Martha’s website

Lucy Berliant’s song she surprised her mother with: Santa is Love

Books we mentioned:

Love, Santa

Cheerful Chick

Alexander Hamilton, Revolutionary


The Dinosaur Tooth Fairy

Finding Bigfoot

Missed our last episode? Listen to some great ideas for seasonal books and more from Cathy Balfanz here.

Episode 11: How We Read with Cathy Balfanz

Episode 11: How We Read with Cathy Balfanz

This week we are excited to launch our How We Read series, where we talk with Cathy Balfanz. Cathy is a mother of four, has moved all around with her husband’s military career and with those moves has had the opportunity to try out all sorts of learning experiences and opportunities with her kids. Her children are in the pre-teen/teenage years now, and Cathy shares her knowledge and insight into what reading and a love of books looks like in older children in her home.

Listen to our interview with Cyndi Giorgis, of the Read Aloud Handbook

In How We Read with Cathy Balfanz we talk about:

1.The Balfanz family moves around – a lot. This means Cathy has had the opportunity to experience many different school systems, including a 2-year stint homeschooling her children.

1. With all of their moving and experience living in many different places, Cathy and her kids have encountered all different kinds of school systems and even did a 2-year stint of homeschooling. During those years, Cathy chose a literature-based curriculum and developed a new perspective an even deeper appreciation for the many ways to use literature in their lives. Even though her kids are in public schools now, they still use the skills and habits of using literature in all aspects of learning at home with them now..

2. Like many of us, Cathy loves The Read Aloud Handbook, and we were very interested to hear what reading aloud can look like as kids reach preteen and teenage years. She admits that it is not as straight-forward as it is when kids are younger, but even though it looks different, those bonding, reading aloud together experiences can still happen! Sometimes she just reads the first few chapters of a book together with her older daughters and then they take it from there. Sometimes they listen to an audiobook together. And sometimes she still even reads picture books with them! There is no limit to those amazing picture books out there, so grab one and read it with your teenager!

3. Another way Cathy incorporates books into all aspects of her family life is to keep books out in the house. She keeps “book baskets” in the main living areas that Cathy keeps stocked with books. She rotatest them, choosing a range of reading levels and subjects- ones that go along with the time of year, or holidays or about things her kids are particularly interested in. This keeps books in the forefront and it also keeps her teenagers exposed to those precious picture books even as they get older.

5. We chat about our feelings about audiobooks and, although a bit apprehensive at first, Cathy has learned the great value of audiobooks. They are a wonderful way to enjoy a book as a family, turning a simple car ride to the grocery store into a bonding experience! While it shouldn’t replace reading together with your kids, it is a great way to get more literature into your lives!

6. One thing Cathy has noticed as her children have gotten older is how reading, and the quality of books her kids are reading, has affected their writing and even speaking vocabulary levels.

7. One last thing that Cathy has learned in her journey of navigating the world of books with teenagers so far is that not all Young Adult books are created equal. She listened to an episode of Sarah Mackenzie’s Read Aloud Revival podcast where she heard the advice that Young Adult is a genre, not a reading level, which really struck a chord with her. She has definitely learned that for herself as she helps her teenagers find new books to read and she recommends spending some time and effort researching good books that will interest our kids. There are a lot of great resources and book lists out there to give you a start, many of which we will link to below.

Cathy left us with a great idea of how to get started on putting these great ideas into practice this week. She invited us to try to read out loud to our kids every day this week. Then, see if you can make it a 14-day streak and keep building on that habit.

We are so grateful to Cathy for taking the time to talk with us!

Cathy left us with a great idea of how to get started on putting these great ideas into practice this week. She invited us to try to read out loud to our kids every day this week. Then, see if you can make it a 14-day streak and keep building on that habit.

In this episode we mention:


Read Aloud Revival

The Good and the Beautiful

Book Shark

Five in a Row

Build your library

Beautiful feet


The Read Aloud Handbook by Jim Trelease (latest edition co-authored by Cyndi Giorgis)

The Boys in the Boat by Daniel James Brown

Call it Courage by Armstrong Sperry

Frindle by Andrew Clements

Boxcar Children series by Gertrude Chandler

George Washington’s Breakfast by Jean Fritz

Phoebe the Spy by Judith Berry Griffin

George Washington’s Teeth by Deborah Chandra

Episode 10: Reading for the Holidays

Episode 10: Reading for the Holidays

Jill and Amanda, hosts of One Page at a Time, take a break from our usual interview and instead bring you a few tips to keep your family reading over the many holidays being celebrated all over the world this time of year.

In this episode we talk about:

Tip one: When you read for yourself, let your kids know what and that you are reading, and then tell them about what you read!

Tip two: Choose a designated adult/older child to read aloud for the entertainment while everyone is working in the kitchen.

Tip three: If you struggle remembering to have your kids read when they are off of school, set aside family reading time and do it all together.

Tip four: Turn reading from a solitary activity to a group activity with book clubs, competitions, talent shows of who does the best voices when reading picture books, or other incentives.

Bonus: We know there are plenty of you who will be spending the holidays catching up on the show The Crown. If you, like us, love that show, then we have put together a list of books you just might enjoy as well! Check it out our website (LINK) and happy reading!

Bonus Episode 09.5: Bring out your professional book nerd with Adam Sockel

Bonus Episode 09.5: Bring out your professional book nerd with Adam Sockel

From author interviews to book recommendations galore, we interview Adam Sockel about his podcast, Professional Book Nerds. This bonus episode is actually the tail end of Episode 09: Getting to know OverDrive and Libby. Adam works for OverDrive, the company that brings ebooks and audiobooks to thousands of libraries around the world, and gets an inside scoop with publishers and authors along the way.

In this episode we talk about:

  1. How Professional Book Nerds came to be – Adam’s co-host suggested they take all their office book buzz to all of us via their podcast. Because of OverDrive’s access to publishers, Adam is able to fill more than 400 episodes with amazing author interviews and great book recommendations.
  2. We talk about how Adam and Jill talk a lot about seasonal books, or books that evoke the feelings of a particular season, like murder mysteries in “spooky season.” They bring details and book groupings that are unique to their podcast because of their passion for books and the authors that write them.
  3. Adam has a bit of a unicorn job in the book world, in that he knows about books in advance from the publishers. Their listenership has grown enough that publishers approach them for the podcast, and if Adam finds out a book is coming, he will go directly to the publisher and ask for an early copy so he can promote all of these books to the librarians who stock their Libby collections.

A big thank you to Adam, and his co-host, Jill, for their dedication to this great podcast. Professional Book Nerds is wherever you listen to your podcasts. Give it a listen, head to their website, and tell us which book you’re reading on Libby right now!

Episode 09: Getting to know Overdrive and Libby

Episode 09: Getting to know Overdrive and Libby

This week we are joined by Adam Sockel, social media specialist for OverDrive and co-host of OverDrive’s delightful podcast, Professional Book Nerds. This all basically means he runs OverDrive’s social media, gets to field questions about OverDrive and their accompanying app, Libby, all day and gets to read as many books in as many different formats as he possibly can. Adam joined us to answer some burning questions about OverDrive the company, OverDrive the app and, of course, our beloved Libby app. 

In this episode we talk about:

  1. We start off by mentioning Overdrive’s own podcast, Professional Book Nerds. Adam and his co-host, Jill (different Jill from One Page at a Time’s Jill), talk with authors and leave fantastic book recommendations in their great podcast. We talk more about this later on.
  2. Next up, Adam tells us what Overdrive and Libby are. Overdrive, the name of both the company and the original app, works with about 43,000 libraries and schools all around the world to provide audiobooks and ebooks to people of all ages. This includes about 95% of all libraries in the United States. Libby is the new-and-improved app by Overdrive.
  3. Adam aced our speed round of questions Amanda pulled off Google regarding Overdrive and Libby; these are getting to the root of many searches. Here they are:
How many books can you check out on OverDrive at a time?

Depends on your library; most are between 8-10, though some go as high as 50!

Can I use OverDrive on my Mac?


Is OverDrive being replaced by Libby?

No – OverDrive covers some areas, such as vision disabilities, better and will remain in use, though Libby is the easier and more user-friendly of the two.

Can I use OverDrive without a library card?

No, you need access to someone’s library card.

Is Libby by OverDrive free?

Yes, 100%

Does Libby sync with OverDrive?

Yes, both audio and e-books

Does Libby automatically return books?


How do I add more libraries to OverDrive?

Go to the “add a library” button in either OverDrive or Libby, search for your library, and input your library card.

Does Libby search all libraries?

It is going to very soon.

Can you renew books on Libby?

Yes – 3 days before your books are due, it will ask if you’d like to renew. Renewal length is dependant on your library’s policy. If someone has a hold on that book, you will be added to the hold queue instead of renewing.

Does Libby sync across all devices?

Yes, as long as you are logged in on all those devices.

Where does Libby download books?

To any device you have the app downloaded on. The files are tiny, thankfully!

Can you borrow picture books or comic books on OverDrive?

Yes, indeed you can.

  1. How to get set up with Libby: download the Libby app on your device(s) of choice. Put in your zip code, select your library, put in your library card (or get one – and you can get one automatically if you’re in a service area for an Instant Digital Card using your phone number). You may also be able to pay an annual fee for a card to select libraries. And Jill reminds us to check the libraries around you to see if any offer cards to neighboring counties/zip codes. Having access to multiple libraries gives you access to those libraries’ collections
  2. For those living outside the US, check your library to see if they use OverDrive. And, don’t forget your permanent address if you are an expat like Amanda. If your library doesn’t offer OverDrive services through Libby, you can ask your library to get Libby.
  3. If you have exhausted all your personal options, you can share a card with a family member – an added thought is to consider adding your children’s library cards to your account so you can use content filters and you can toggle to their account and see what they are searching for and reading.
  4. Libraries receive more funding based on their usage and circulation, so using Libby is good for a library!
  5. Adam tells us a few reasons why we should all be reading with Libby. Beyond its convenience, there are specialized fonts such as the dyslexia and enlarged fonts, adjust the lighting of the screen, instantly expand your children’s library with a quick search, and the ability to listen to audiobooks means you can read in different situations than you would otherwise. Jill is also excited to try out the Read Along feature.

Adam left us with a great idea of how to get started on putting these great ideas into practice this week. He invited us to take the time to read this week- even just five minutes.

We are so grateful to Adam  for taking the time to talk with us! More information about him, OverDrive, and Professional Book Nerds can be found in the following places:





Professional Book Nerds website

Books we mentioned:

The Starless Sea by Erin Morgenstern

Episode 08: How books can help you travel better

Episode 08: How books can help you travel better

Get some ideas for how you can improve your traveling by using books. This week we are joined by One Page at a Time co-host, Amanda Fristrom! Amanda is probably among one of the more well-traveled people out there, having visited 6 continents, 63 countries and 49 of the 50 United States. She has many talents, such as possessing a vast knowledge of spices and the ability to design a whole line of handmade toys centered around camels. She chatted with us about the role books have played in her travels all over the world, both for herself as well as her kiddos.

In this episode we talk about:

1. We dive on in with Amanda’s tips for using books in the prep and lead-up to travels. They have a book of all the world flags that they use to show their kids the flags of the countries they are visiting. They can then use this knowledge to help kids connect with the place they are visiting, as they find flags while they are out and about. Bonus: finding flags can also be used as a distraction for antsy kids!

2. Books can also be used to introduce kids to a new language or landmarks they will be exposed to when they are in the new location. There are plenty of books with these things geared towards kids; Amanda shared the ones her family uses. 

3. One more tip for the lead-up to trips, Amanda has her kids go on a “screen freeze” for up to two weeks before leaving for a trip, to get everyone ready and excited for screen time while travelling.

4. During the actual traveling to the new destination, Amanda has Kindle Fire’s for her kids that she loads with books that can be read off-line and a couple reading apps (details below). Kindle has versions of books that are interactive; the books are read to them, the kids can turn the pages and interact with elements on the pages. Amanda has learned through experience that e-books work best for the actual travel time, although she does pack some “emergency” books in a carry-on to use if needed (low battery on devices, long delays, etc).

5. For herself, Amanda likes to have a physical book, so she has found a genre that works well for her for travelling (autobiographies). Everyone’s travel books will be different depending on your tastes and needs, but when travelling with kids you will most likely need a type of book that you enjoy, but isn’t too engrossing, so won’t mind getting interrupted while reading it (kids needing things, pausing to enjoy scenery, etc.).

6. Book Crossing is a fun website that lets you leave a book in a location with a code printed from the website and then you can track if someone finds and takes your book to a new place!

7. Eventually you will make it to your destination and books can still play a part! Amanda has found that keeping her kids’ bedtime routine as close to what they do at home makes a huge difference in their travels. Books play a big part in their bedtime routine, so she keeps that up while travelling. She either uses the books she brought in her “emergency” supply, borrows from people if visiting family or friends, or sometimes finds new books in stores while travelling. 

8. Travelling can be scary and stressful to kids, with an overload of new places and experience. Reading to them is one way to calm them and bring them back to a comfortable and familiar thing. The same can apply to you, as well- taking some time to read your own book can help you fight jet lag, decompress and settle down. 

9. If travelling to visit family, reading together- even older kids reading to the younger ones- will give family members that your children may not get to see as often that bonding time and is a wonderful way to bring the family together. 

Amanda left us with a great idea of how to get started on putting these great ideas into practice this week. She invited us to write down a quick plan of how we are going to use books in whatever travel is coming up in our lives. Books can play a powerful role in our travels and they shouldn’t be overlooked in our travel prep!

We are so grateful to Amanda for taking the time to talk with us and giving us so many great ideas and books to go look up (details below)!

Resources we talk about in this episode:


Book Crossing – track your books as they travel (like geocaching for books)


Amazon Kindle Fire


The Flag Book by Lonely Planet

Hello World: A Celebration of Languages and Curiosities by Jonathan Litton

Elephants on Tour: A Search and Find Journey Around the World (Where’s waldo-esque elephant book)

The Complete Tales of Winnie-The-Pooh by A. A. Milne

Michelle Obama’s Becoming

The Little Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry

Kindle interactive books

(look by author on your Kindle Fire)

Little Critter books by Mercer Meyer

Sandra Boynton (author)