Episode 26: Dealing with Covid-19

Episode 26: Dealing with Covid-19

Dealing with Covid-19 using books may sound overwhelming or like a perfect fit – or likely somewhere between these two on the sliding scale. We wanted to give you a look at what’s happening in One Page at a Time and also a couple resources you can look into if you wish.

In this episode we talk about:

1 Jill and Amanda are both dealing with Covid-19 in different ways, since we have different personalities and different situations. The one commonality with everyone is that this is an unexpected and life-altering period in our lives. We all handle it in different ways, and that’s totally okay.

2 We very quickly list some of the resources we are aware of that are currently available to help us all during this time. Check the end of this post for links and more info.

3 Finally, we both feel as though some of the unpublished interviews we have done may be helpful for many of us now. Therefore, we’ve changed our schedule around and you can expect to hear from authors

Dealing with Covid-19 resources:

We are Teachers

This may be the most concise and inclusive list of “virtual author activities” that we have seen. This lists a lot of authors and illustrators doing drawings (think Mo Willems) and many read alouds (think Oprah Winfrey). It’s sectioned off into 3 age categories, so don’t get too overwhelmed by the length of the list. If you’re going to start somewhere, we recommend you start here.

A Kid’s Book About Covid-19

Big fan of A Kid’s Book series like us? Download their great ebook on Covid-19 for free at the link above. In general, these are great books about subjects that can be difficult one way or another, so it may be worth perusing their shop, as well. (not affiliated in any way, just like their books)

What is a Pandemic? Free e-story

Teachers Pay Teachers is a treasure trove of great resources, and this free story is definitely one to read. It’s graded K-3rd grade, though my 5-year-old had a harder time with the text.

Wide Open School

This is one of the resources we have that covers kids Pre-K to Grade 12. I will quote the website, “As parents, you may be adjusting to the idea of having your kids at home all the time. To make learning with them more accessible, we have been busy compiling the best free online resources.” If you are feeling a bit lost and on your own, this is a great start for schooling.

Kate Messner

Author and former teacher, Kate Messner has shared a page full of resources that are even divided by age. As a parent, I think this is a useful page, even though it is intended for librarians and teachers. She includes a link to publisher guidelines for online read a louds, if you have been wondering about that. She also has links to several of her own children’s books on YouTube.

Author Penpal: Kimberlee Gard

We have a great interview we will be publishing soon with Kimberlee about her books. The Day Punctuation Came to Town is my personal favorite, and she is an absolute delight. She just announced on her instagram account that she will respond to anyone who wants to write to her, pen-pal style.

Storyline Online

Celebrities reading books can never get old, right? These are picture books, heads up.

Story Seeds Podcast story about Corona Virus

Story Seeds is a fabulous podcast that shows up regularly in our bedtime routine at Amanda’s house. Jason Reynolds, author of the newly released Stamped, gives 8 tips for keeping the new “villain” in town at bay. It’s not so much a story, but definitely worth a listen (it’s 4 minutes) to see if you feel it would be helpful for your family.

Brain Pop video and curriculum on Covid-19

The video by Brain Pop is great for any age, and if you have school-age kids, be sure to look into the accompanying reading, vocabulary, quiz, etc. This is a great way to be sure you and your child are on the same page with understanding such a difficult subject.

Libro.fm

We talked with Stephanie Ballien from Libro.fm in Episode 25: Libro.fm; Loving Bookstores from Afar all about this amazing option to get audiobooks AND support a local/indy bookstore of your choice. This can have a tremendous effect on small businesses during this time, and get you access to any books you may not have available through your local library or other free resources.

Mrs Plemon’s Kindergarten

Mrs. Plemon offers an amazing collection of lessons directly tied to books. She has arranged them by season and by age going from toddler up through elementary. There are lots of options that are suitable for year-round, as well. Reasonably priced, and she uses great books and builds on them.

There are other options like Mrs. Plemon’s Kindergarten out there, so if you are looking for something specific, try a quick Google search.

Free children’s audiobooks on Audible

Audible has released a massive collection of children’s audiobooks for free. I wasn’t able to find many YA books, but there are plenty of classics and other options to keep you listening through quiet time, bedtime, and beyond.

Association of American Publishers

This gives a list of some academic resources like textbooks and other options released by publishers. I’d look into this for college age and rising college kids or for you yourself.

National Emergency Library

A friend shared this with me, and I’ll quote him, “don’t let the moniker fool you, this National Library is a global resource and was principally created via the fear/hype/restriction to indoors that COVID-19 created” (thanks, Mark!). They have focused on scanning copies of books published between the 1920’s and 1990’s that do not have ebooks and are therefore otherwise unavailable on Libby or from your usual public library.

Helen Farmer from themothershipdxb on Instagram

Amanda mentions this mommy blogger in Dubai in the episode. Look around your social media for any of your favorite influencers reading books or doing something else you are interested in.

Episode 24: Healthy Bodies, Healthy Books with Coleen Graham

Episode 24: Healthy Bodies, Healthy Books with Coleen Graham

What do we mean by healthy bodies, healthy books? We share how can you use books to help your family stay healthy, and what are some great options to read together.

This week we are joined by Coleen Graham, a RN who has worked in a major pediatric hospital for the past eleven years. She also has three kids of her own, so she has had plenty of experience teaching kids about being sick and staying healthy in all sorts of settings. Along with nursing she also teaches preschool and the occasional yoga class, so we are very grateful that she was able to take the time to chat with us about this topic that has been on many parents’ minds lately!

In this episode we talk about:

1. Coleen’s job at the hospital and what she does there. She explains her unit as a “step-down NICU.” She mostly works with infants and toddlers, although they have recently started getting children of many different ages.

2. What she prioritizes as a nurse and a mom when she teaches her kids about their bodies and staying healthy. 

3. How she has used books to teach those things to her kids and why picture books do such a great job at putting these complicated topics on their level.

4. How she has seen books used at her hospital unit. For instance, she has seen a feeding tube kit that comes with a story book and coloring book that talk about what it is, how it is used, how they can talk about it, etc. Since her unit is mostly younger kids, they do not use them to explain what is going on as much, but they have books that are for the kids and parents to use while they are there, which helps to bring something familiar and comforting to a scary situation.

“The parents are happy to see a book that they are familiar with and they are happy to read to their child and it kind of makes a scary hospital experience something a little less scary.”

5. Coloring books and what a great tool they can be. Coleen has used them when teaching her kids about their bodies and she made a great point about how kids are often times better able to listen to things we are trying to teach them when their hands are busy doing something else… like coloring or drawing!

7. How she has decided what to teach her different children at different ages.

8. A few of their family’s favorite books for talking about bodies and health.

9. How our emotions and mental health can affect our physical health and how we can help our kids with their emotions and especially to identify and communicate them.

10. All three of us chime in with some books that might be good for older children, teenagers or even adults who want to

We are so grateful to Coleen for taking the time to talk with us! More information about her, the books we chat about, and other resources to help us teach our kids about being healthy can be found in the following places:

In Healthy Bodies, Healthy Books we mention:

Websites:

Kids Health.org

Google Scholar

Books:

The Berenstain Bears Visit the Dentist by Stan and Jan Berenstain

What are Germs? – By Katie Daynes (Usborne)

My Body – Usborne

The Usborne Science Encyclopedia by several authors

The Pigeon Needs a Bath by Mo Willems

Standin’ Tall Cleanliness by Janeen Brady

Little Monkey Calms Down by Michael Dahl

Lurlene McDaniel (author)

The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants by Ann Brashares

Stiff: The Curious Lives of Human Cadavers by Mary Roach

Gulp: Adventures on the Alimentary Canal by Mary Roach

The Rent Collector by Camron Wright

The Harry Potter Series by JK Rowling

Do Not Lick This Book by Idan Ben-Barak and Julian Frost

Magic School Bus: The Giant Germ by Scholastic

The Big Book of the Body – Usborne

Daniel Visits the Doctor – Daniel Tiger book

Looking for more on “healthy” books for your family? Look at this blog post

Want to read about the Covid-19 financial crisis of 2020? Here’s a great booklist to get you started

From Civil War Books to Books that are Really Me: How my Bookshelves are Changing

From Civil War Books to Books that are Really Me: How my Bookshelves are Changing

Written by Amanda Fristrom

This story is about how my bookshelves are changing from what I thought was a good statement about me to an accurate reflection of who I am, and therefore the right statement about me. This is related to and refers to Episode 21: Organize Yourshelf: Storing Books with Jamie Shaner

When I was a teenager,

I started to get interested in the US Civil War (which is funny to me because Jamie Shaner specifically mentions Civil War books and here I go). So I started to collect Civil War books from sales and whatever. I even subscribed to a Civil War magazine and had each issue lined up on my shelf. I did read some of the books, but I got them too fast and they were too dense and I apparently didn’t love the Civil War as much as I thought I did, because suddenly I had a huge pile of books I had never read and the idea of reading them didn’t excite me.

So I went to college, and ended up taking a Civil War history class. I loved the class, and LOVED the books I read for that class. I came home for a holiday, and was expecting I would be excited to read these books now that I was newly reinvigorated on the subject matter. But I didn’t open any of them. Not a crack. 

In an attempt to go through my things

A couple years later and help clear out my parents’ house (since I live abroad and don’t have any way to bring books with me), I started to look at these books in a new way. I love the four questions that Jamie Shaner asks in her episode, and I wish I had them then. Do I need these Civil War books? No. Do I use them. Never. Do I love them? Not really. I love the idea of them. Do I have the space? Well, at that point, it was a no.

It was easy for me to justify in my mind to keep my Harry Potter series, but not these Civil War books. I gave them away, and it was hard – probably because I didn’t have the nicely formatted process; I felt like I was giving up this idea that I like Civil War history and people wouldn’t think as highly of me if I didn’t have a bookcase full of dense and diverse books.

So when Jamie was talking about her dictionary

and thesaurus sitting on her desk as a statement that words are important to her, but that she could still give those away to make space for more books, I started to reshape my thinking about my gifted Civil War books and the books I have on my shelves right now. A lot of them are there because I want people to know that I’m interested in that topic, or that I used to be interested in it during some point of my past. And I don’t know if these books are worth keeping or not. I’d rather, I think, have books that I absolutely love. They would be a better reflection of myself and also show that books themselves are important to me. 

So much of Jamie’s organization guidelines falls back on the underlying assumption that you want to access the books that you have, because you shouldn’t have them if you don’t want them. And in that case, I have a lot of adjustments to be done. My current shelf at my parents’ house is full of the books that I LOVE, from Ella Enchanted to my favorite non-fiction I read in college. The shelves here where I actually live have a lot of books I haven’t even read, or that I am mildly attached to. Some have even been gifted to us and I don’t really have any interest in them at all! I have to look through all our books with a newly critical eye.

Jamie mentions her belief that anything can have energy,

and the way we collect, organize, and present items can be good or bad energy – I agree. There’s a different feel to the bookshelf in my old room in my parent’s house that is full of books I love than there is to this bookshelf here. When I look at them, I feel different things. So now I will be looking to create shelves that truly represent me and make me happy when I see them. I want to whittle down my collection to those volumes I can talk at length about when a guest pulls it down – and not sheepishly admit I haven’t read a single one of those dozen Civil War books and know not a whit about any of it. That’s defeating the entire purpose of having shelves of books!

Will you join with us this while you are Spring cleaning and critically look at your book collection? What systems do you have in place to make sure you’re keeping room on the shelves for the books you really want there?

Episode 21: Organize yourshelf; Storing books with Jamie Shaner

Episode 21: Organize yourshelf; Storing books with Jamie Shaner

This week we are joined by Jamie Shaner, a professional organizer who founded Home Solutions of WNY, Inc. in 2005. She is also an avid perennial gardener who loves playing in the dirt,  and enjoys reading and listening to all kinds of music. This was an interview we looked forward to for a long time, both for her expertise as well as because of her approach toward books, which to quote her is: “As a professional organizer, I’m authorized to say there’s such a thing as too many suitcases, too much jello in the pantry, or too many dolls with eyes that move, but rarely ever too many books.” 

In this episode we talk about:

1. Note that Jamie’s book philosophy is that one can rarely have too many books (not never), so she does share with us some circumstances that may show that we have books that might be better served finding a new home for.

2. For all of our remaining books, we talk about finding ways to store books appropriately using the space we have available. One missed book storage opportunity that both Amanda and I are guilty of is picking short bookcases- why limit yourself to that when we could find one that goes all the way up the wall that can use that rarely-utilized vertical space.

3. We were very interested to ask Jamie her thoughts on Marie Kondo, the rather famous organizational expert who has gotten some flak through the years for her sometimes sparse attitude towards owning and storing books. Jamie gave us her personal method of helping her clients organize: “Do you need it, do you use it, do you love it (if it is something loveable), and do you have the space to store it?” She shares with us how she would apply it specifically to books and it is incredibly helpful!

4. If we do every find ourselves needing to downsize our book collection, Jamie also had thoughts on what to do with the ones that we, as she put it, “release out into the universe for someone who does not have these books of their own.” 

5. We also got into the organization of books once you have the spaces set to store them. The librarian half of our duo loved this part of the discussion and, while we recognize that everyone is going to have their own “cataloging” system for their home collections, she gave us some great thoughts and tips if you are struggling managing it.

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

In Organize yourshelf: storing books, we mention:

Websites:

Home Solutions WNY Inc

University of Buffalo Annual book sale

How Amanda’s bookshelves are changing as a result of Jamie’s interview

Facebook:

Books we mentioned:

The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up by Marie Kondo

Ann Patchett (Author)

Barbara Kingsolver (Author)

Anne Tyler (Author)

Frog and Toad are Friends by Arnold Lobel

The Giving Tree by Shel Silverstein

Episode 19: How We Read with Lucia and JR Ratliff

Episode 19: How We Read with Lucia and JR Ratliff

Have you ever read with your spouse? Maybe listened to a book in the car together? We get lots of great ideas from Lucia and JR Ratliff on how they read together, and then Jill and Amanda talk about how it went with their husbands when they brought up the possibility of reading together.

This week we are joined by married couple Lucia and JR Ratliff. Natives of the US, they are currently experiencing life in host Amanda’s neck of the woods- the United Arab Emirates. She is a songwriter and teacher while he is a professor and they have four kids. They have been reading together since the early days of their relationship and now have years’ worth of experience and advice to share with us!

In this episode we talk about:

1. How did they get started? “Just a matter of, we only have one book, but we both want to read it, so we’ll just read it out loud!” As it went on, their voices couldn’t keep up with them, so they switched to audiobooks. They listen or read while doing other things- such as working out or playing tetris as well as in the car. Quite often it also happens when they are in bed at the end of the day, when they utilize the handy timer function on many audiobook players so as not to lose their place when they fall asleep!

2. How has reading together affected their relationship? It gives them something beyond their kids and everyday lives to joke about, relate about and talk about. “It definitely added another dimension to our relationship, because we were doing that together…”

3. How do they decide what books to read? Goodreads, recommendations from friends, Audible suggestions similar to books they have enjoyed, reading their way through the collections of authors they like. They take turns picking the books so that both of their tastes and interests are covered.

4. How and when do they talk about the books that they read together? It is usually mixed in with their everyday conversations. Their morning routines are a great time to chat about what they listen to the night before, while they are in the car or even as they are messaging each other throughout the day, when a thought occurs to them or something else they read connects to it.

5. Where are their kids during all this book listening? Sometimes the kids are around! Usually it is when they are all in the car and Lucia picks one that is appropriate for all of them (“Lucia is the audiobook CEO around here!”). They usually stick to children’s literature when they are all together, however, at times parts of the books they read as a couple stick out to them that they want to share with their kids and listen to it together.

6. Where could a couple start who have never read together? Start with what you already enjoy doing together. “I think couples already kind of know what they enjoy doing together and most things come in book form!” Taking turns is important as well, because it helps you get to know your partner in a new and different way, or gives you clues as to what is on their mind when you read what the other is into at the moment.

7. Audiobooks vs. reading out loud to each other will come down to each couple’s preference. The Ratliffs have their reasons for preferring audiobooks, but each couple will have to figure out what works best for them!

We are so grateful to Lucia and JR for taking the time to talk with us and can’t wait to dive into this list of recommendations they gave! 

In How We Read with Lucia and JR Ratliff, we mention a lot of books:


The Twilight Saga (series) by Stephanie Meyer

Stephenie Meyer (author)

Brandon Sanderson (author)

Brandon Mull (author)

Brené Brown (author)

Anne Lamott (author)

Roald Dahl autobiography (There are two books)

Harry Potter (series) by J. K. Rowling

Beyonders (series) by Brandon Mull

The Lunar Chronicles (series) by Marissa Meyers

Outliers: The Story of Success by Malcolm Gladwell

Michael Kramer (narrator)

Shannon Hale (author)

Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear by Elizabeth Gilbert

Eat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert

Fred Rogers Biography by Jennifer Warner

The Body Keeps the Score: Brain, Mind and Body in the Healing of Trauma by Bissel van der Kolk

The Paper Magician (series) Charlie N. Holmberg