Black History Month: A Booklist for Kids

Last week I was raving to a friend about a couple of books by African-American authors that won the 2015 Newbery Medal and a Newbery Honor awards. We thought one of them might be a good fit for her son Justus who is in the 5th grade. Justus was not interested and balked about having to check it out. However, once home and he started reading it, he didn't want to stop. Justus finished the book in one day. Not only did he finish reading it, he recommended it to his friends.
Justus' mom sent this picture of him reading The Crossover.

This was so encouraging to hear. statistically it is more challenging to get boys to read, so when they find something that excites them it is to be celebrated. Another friend then suggested I post a booklist here. So in celebration of Black History Month I compiled a short list of books by incredible African American children's authors and illustrators.
For younger kids:
  • Moses: when Harriet Tubman led her people to freedom by Carole Boston Weatherford
  • Nelson Mandela by Kadir Nelson (award winning author and illustrator)
  • Tar Beach by Faith Ringgold
  • I Love My Hair by Natasha Tarpley (perfect our textured hair girls)
  • Little Melba and Her Big Trombone by Katheryn Russell-Brown
  • Knock Knock: My Dad's Dream for Me by Daniel Beaty (beautifully written and illustrated story of a boy and his father, love and loss. great for boys.)
For older kids:
  • Roll of Thunder Hear My Cry by Mildred D. Taylor (one of my all time favorites)
  • The Crossover by Kwame Alexander (2015 Newbery Award winner)
  • Brown Girl Dreaming by Jacqueline Woodson (one of my favorite authors & this title is a 2015 Newbery Honor, 2015 Coretta Scott King award winner, & a 2014 National Book Award winner)
  • Monster by Walter Dean Myers (this book is so good. for high school kids)
  • Forged by Fire by Sharon Draper
  • The Skin I'm In by Sharon Flake (great book. especially good for middle/high school girls)
This is by no means an exhaustive list. There are many more beautiful and wonderfully written children's books by and about African-Americans. Do you have any favorites you care to share?
xo, jen

Podcast Playlist

Time to cycle through another round of new to me podcasts. The other day a co-worker suggested a couple of comical ones that I'm looking forward to checking out soon. This time around though I wanted food and money related podcasts. My search was kind of random, but turned up some pretty good morning commute listenings. Here's what's playing now:
images via google

What are you listening to?
xo, jen

How to (hopefully) Find a Lost Phone

Just over a week ago I lost my new phone at LAX airport. horrible. The fact that I wouldn't be connected the whole trip, couldn't take pictures, and would have to buy another phone was depressing. So glad my friend had her phone. I borrowed my friend's phone and called my husband so he would look in his car and when he didn't find it, accused him of not looking well. Oh-vey, my poor husband. Having never been in this situation, I really did not know what to do. My friend and husband offered a few suggestions that were helpful and I thought it would be good to share here:

1. To the best of your ability, retrace your steps. Where were you when you last saw/ used your phone? Do you remember putting it away?
2. Borrow a phone and call your number. Maybe someone found your phone and will answer. Also, try Find My Phone. Great app to locate your phone if you've misplaced or lost it. Available on iTunes and Google Play.
3. Call anyone you might know to look for it at the last place you remember having it.
4. Check to see if anyone may have turned it in at the lost and found department in the location you last had it.
5. If you still can't find the phone, breathe and lock it remotely if possible.
6. If you have insurance, it may cover a good portion of the replacement cost. If you don't have insurance, call your carrier and find out what your options are for a replacement.

Unfortunately, my Find My Phone setting was not turned on so I couldn't use it to try to locate the phone. This just added to my stress. I didn't have insurance so the bottom line for me meant buying another phone. I had already figured out how many extra hours I would have to work to not feel the chunk of change a new phone would cost. So sad.
I did end up calling two of the lost and found departments at the airport. who knew there were multiple lost and found departments. The representative on the phone was friendly and said that they had 4 iPhones turned in the day I lost mine. my spirits lifted. She then told me that the phones are kept in a safe and that I would have to wait until her supervisor got back with the key. She put me on hold to find out what time the supervisor would be back. While on hold, the supervisor returned, she got the phones, and asked me to describe my phone and for the passcode. She tried it and it worked! They had my phone. Hooray!
When we arrived back to LAX I went to the airlines baggage claim office to be reunited with my phone. They told me that a passenger found it on the ground outside the departure terminal. Crazy. Anyway, I'm super grateful to the person that turned in the phone. I hope that something beautiful comes their way.
Have you ever lost your phone? Did you find it? If so, how?
xo, jen

note: something I never did until now is back up my phone. all my contacts and photos would have been lost had I not found it. backing up is always a good idea.

The Drinkable Book - Water is Life

This is amazing...for many reasons! My boss shared this with me and I thought I would share it with all of you. Hope you're as moved and blown away as I was.


Finally, brunch at Huckleberry! This is a cute spot in Santa Monica that I've heard about and have wanted to try for a long time. In this post, I shared about the almond milk from the Huckleberry cookbook.
The wait was long, but aren't most brunch hot spots? The decor is cute. the yellow polka dots were my fave. The staff was really nice and when it came time to be seated, the process was very organized. loved that. My husband ordered some sort of brisket hash and I had the green eggs and ham. His meal was okay and mine was pretty good. The greens were really fresh and the from scratch english muffin was yummy. However, hands down my favorite items were the coffee and the maple bacon biscuit that I took to go. yum yum. So glad we finally got to try this spot and I would definitely come here again and try more of their baked goods.

xo, jen