Better Together

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The holidays are on their way! We have all worked so hard. The struggle is real! Shopping, working, schooling, lots of people do both, or even commuting can be hard work. We all deserve a lovely little break to just unwind and BE TOGETHER. We have all been pulled in so many different directions all the time; it is comforting to know that a pause is on the horizon. Time made specifically for spending quality time together. It’s better when we’re together. We can relax and be ourselves. We can nurture and snuggle. We can make loads of yummy food and feast with our favorite people!

Here are a few books on the topic of being together.

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Gator Gumbo by Candace Fleming - This book is perfect for this topic because Monsieur Gator has a hankering for his Maman’s gumbo.  He has the recipe, but Monsieur Gator isn’t as young as he used to be, he is growing gray and moving slower than he used to. On top of it all, he keeps being picked on by the other critters in the bayou! He would love for them to join him in making and eating the gumbo. Well, after a while he is fed up with their teasing and pestering. He decides he is going to make Maman’s Gumbo with or without those critters' help. All through the story, Monsieur Gator asks for their help, and they say they “ain’t” helping! Well, when the gumbo was ready for gobbling, can you guess what else was gobbled up? If you want some of what’s cooking, you’ve gotta be willing to lend a hand somewhere. That’s also how memories are made. It’s better when we’re all together.

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We Eat Dinner in the Bathtub by Angela Shelf Medearis – This is a great book for this subject because it starts with a young boy inviting his friend Josh over for a dinner. Every family is completely different. All families do things differently. We don’t all eat dinner the same way, the same food, or even in the same place! You guessed it; this family eats their dinner in their bathtub. That’s not all though, they use all the rooms in their home in unconventional ways. To me, not only does that teach us that every family dances to their own tune, but also how that doesn’t make them any less of a family. That all that matters is that we’re all together.

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The Berenstain Bears-Gifts of the Spirit Love by Mike Berenstain – This Berenstain book works impeccably for this theme because it is about a neighborhood potluck supper in Bear Country. Right away Sister, Brother, and Honey see some bears they’ve never seen before. They notice they talked and dressed differently too. Even the food they brought to share was different. Soon, everyone is tasting everything and all of the cubs are playing and laughing together on the village green. This book is just a perfect example of a thanksgiving potluck because you never know whom you might get to meet and you get a chance to try out some new foods and HAVE A GOOD TIME. And of course, it’s better when we’re all together.

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Come Home Already! by Jory John – This is a fine choice for this matter because it really highlights how it’s not all bad. We have loads of fun with our day-to-day activities, duties, and even our jobs. Like Duck, he is just not sure what he is going to do with his time while his best pal, Bear is gone on a fishing trip. He finds things to entertain himself of course, but that only lasts so long until he is very ready and excited for his friend to come home already! Same with our tiny thanksgiving vacation. We cannot wait for it to get here already! So we can all be together.

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Cookies-Bite Size Life Lessons & Christmas Cookies-Bite Size Life Lessons by Amy Krouse Rosenthal – These books are wonderful for the holidays and spending quality time together because they give everyone a chance to broaden their vocabulary in such a sweet, beautifully illustrated way. Just like during making cookies, and while making thanksgiving dinner, this book shows us so many opportunities to teach what words like “patience” and “cooperate” really mean and gives a CLEAR example. Another thing I love about this book is no one is ever alone. Because even with words like “proud” we can include everyone! It’s better when we’re all together. Also in the back of both books is a lovely cookie recipe that you could make with your loved ones!

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Monday Is One Day by Arthur A. Levine – Every day when I tell my kiddos bye and send them off to school, I remind myself that Sunday HAS to come eventually, nobody can stop Sunday from coming to me no matter how hard they try! That is such a comfort to me because I know I can count the days until I get to keep my kiddos home with me and we have some fun of our own! This book is just that!!! This book is a reminder to the working families of the world to count the ways we love each other every day to get closer to those days we can all be together! Also, this book is overflowing with diversity in every single family illustrated, on every page, which I really appreciate and LOVE!

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The Relatives Came by Cynthia Rylant – This has the theme baked right into the title! Many families have relatives come and stay for the holidays. This book is a great example of how that can be. The good and the not-so-good and the in-between! My favorite line from the book is, “We were so busy hugging and eating and breathing together.”

Written by: Tandra Filbin

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