Back to School Book for Your Child

Hi Parents, Grandparents, Aunts & Uncles . . . Anyone that has a special child in your life,

My kiddos are now entering 7th, 5th and 1st grade next week!!! Exclamation points needed as if you are like me, you don’t know how your child could possibly be in “that grade” and how you could still be so young (wink, wink).

So, I only have one kiddo that is reading picture books with me regularly, BUT all three of my kids ran over to the bed when I started reading our annual back-to-school book. I highly recommend marking your children’s school year with a special kids’ book. Write a quick note in it to them for a keepsake and enjoy your selections each fall as they go into the next grade. Those memories will be etched into their minds and it’s a quick and easy gift.

Back-to-School Gift:

Here’s the post from the past for you:

Have a wonderful first day of school!

Your Friend,

Angela Henderson

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Lesson Plans Ready for You

Hello Fellow Teachers & Parents,

Happy Back to School Time! Feeling the “bitter-sweet” of returning to school? Today is my first day back as a teacher, and my mind is in lesson-planning-gear. As an English teacher, I love reading, but not all of my kids do. We know that making literature relevant and interactive is key for children to find their “friends” in books, but it’s not always easy to come up with ways to do this for each book we read with our kids. So, over the past several years, I’ve taken over 80 of my favorite children’s books and created quick interactive lessons for you to use in school or at home. I hope that you find them helpful this school year and will share them with your friends!

Your Friend,

Angela Henderson
#back to school #children’s book titles #lesson plans

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Introducing My Illustrator

Dear Kidsbook Friends Family,

Many of you have been with me since my first days of blogging, so you know that publishing my first book, Isaac’s Ice Cream Tree, is a dream come true. Today, I’m sitting here with my binders of materials for blog ideas, author connections, writing conferences, manuscript scribbles and more from over the past five years. Now, I’m thrilled to embark on a journey with WhiteFire Press to publish my manuscript.

The first step after signing the contract was to select an artist from their illustrators. Although Christian, six at the time of the photo, will always be my first and beloved illustrator, I’m thrilled to introduce you to Rachel Koppendrayer. An artist, among many other talents, Rachel lives in Minnesota and actively displays and sells her art in and around her community. You will enjoy her website:

I’m looking forward to having her as guest blogger in the weeks ahead! She’s already been a delight to work with and see her depiction of what Isaac will look like in our book. She represents a young boy with freckles across his nose wearing a winter coat and old fashion cotton hat looking up at the magical tree covered in snow . . . and balls of ice cream. Can’t wait to see the entire story unfold through her artwork. Our publisher hopes to have the book available for purchase in a year (which is tremendous as normally it takes 18 months – 2 years from contract to publication)!

Thank you for joining us on this journey!

Warm Regards,

Angela Henderson


 Artist Rachel Koppendrayer “Fantasy”


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Isaac’s Ice Cream Tree Becomes a Reality!

My theme this year for my 7th & 8th grade ELA classes is “RISK verses REWARD”. I’ve been pushing them to “go for the gold”, a fitting saying for this Olympic year. Is the risk worth the potential reward? So often, the answer is yes.  A resounding YES! Setting challenging, yet attainable goals keeps us dreaming, striving, and reaching new potentials.

While pushing them, I have been practicing what I teach. My six-year-goal has been to publish a children’s book. My son Christian unintentionally inspired us with an idea one afternoon when he was six years old by simply drawing ice cream cones with yummy, colorful scoops on top. I jokingly said, “Wouldn’t it be so cool if instead of money growing on trees, ice cream could.” Our minds started dreaming…and didn’t stop. It  was a week before our church’s talent show, and we took that idea and dove in full force to produce a story to perform. After  hours of writing, drawing and painting, we were ready to present “Isaac’s Ice Cream Tree” for the first time.


The kids enjoyed it, so we branched out and shared it during story hour at our local library too. That got me hooked on writing and was actually the beginning inspiration for this blog.

In August, I sent one of my first manuscripts to a publisher and have been waiting for a rejection letter to hang in my classroom as an example of a risk worth taking because failure is a step in the journey.  BUT, Rather than receiving a rejection letter, I opened my e-mail to a congrats!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! And now I’m excited to share that soon we’ll have our very own book to share with YOU as a publisher has accepted “Isaac’s Ice Cream Tree” for publication. I had to read the response several times to make sure…and didn’t rejoice too much until after talking with my publisher. NOW, we are excited as it is a reality! The publisher’s goal is to have it in e-book and print form within a year’s time!

Sharing this moment with Christian, now a 6th grader, and my students whom I have pushed too, means a great deal to me…The REWARDS have been worth the RISK.

“Somewhere over the rainbow skies are blue…

… And the dreams that you dare to dream really do come true.”



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Back to School: Books that are Cool!

As a middle school English Language Arts & Reading teacher, I’m reading books for this new school year to see what I want to add to our curriculum. Currently, my book-in-hand is “A Wrinkle in Time” by Madeleine L’ Engle…trying to plan a field trip to see the movie when it comes out in March!

But, I’m always thinking of my kiddos too: Kindergartener, 4th & 6th Graders! They were and continue to be my inspiration for creating this blog in the first place. Reading and creating our own stories are among are sweetest times together.

So, mommies, daddies, teachers, librarians, and anyone young at heart, check out these “friends” and activities to introduce to the children in your lives this school year!

Cultivate Character this School Year with these Titles:

Who are your “favorite friends”? Add your recommended children’s book title and author to the comments section to share with our group!

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