In my opinion, reading is the absolutely most important thing for any child’s development.  Ask the experts, observe a child, think about your own childhood.  I read with my kids literally from the day they are born, and I believe it has helped them with language development, interpersonal skills, emotional awareness, and general love of learning and discovering.  Reading is crucial, plus being super fun, so I am blogging about it.  This blog has 2 agendas: a frugal living agenda, and a children’s literature review agenda.

First things first- frugal living.  I have 3 daughters and a baby son, and my husband is working on his Master’s Degree at a tiny but amazing school in Monterey, California.  We live on a pretty tight budget.  All 6 of us cozily cohabit in a 2 bedroom apartment, and our food budget for the month is $400.  I boil my own beans, I grind my own flour, and my kids all wear hand-me-downs.  We don’t have extra money for the gazillions of books I am always itching to buy for my kids.  This blog is Children’s Books on a Dime, because a dime is about all I have in my book buying budget.  Even more than that, when this many bodies are in such a small space, the last thing you want to do is fill up that space with more stuff.  Our focus is to GET THE STUFF OUT, even when that stuff is awesome stuff, like books.  My mission is to find and share books that are under a dollar, and especially ones that will not stick around to clutter up my apartment.  Mostly, this will include books from the Monterey Public Library, online sites, and iBooks.  The choice to do iBooks is partly due to the very recent availability of the iBooks software for Mac desktop computers and laptops.  Before, it was only available for iPad and other mobile devices.  There are lots of kid’s books on iBooks that you can get for free or very cheap, but a new iPad is definitely not in my budget.  Now that I can read them with my kids on our desktop (my husband is a die hard Mac man so getting a Mac in the house is not an extra expense for us), I’m super excited to find out what’s in there.  You do not have to have lots of money to enrich your kids’ lives through reading.

Now for the children’s literature review aspect of this blog.  A little while back, I decided to start writing children’s stories.  I have always liked writing, I was a French lit major in college, and now I have three little girls who love to read.  So I thought, what better way to touch their hearts, teach them something, and give them a bit of myself to always have with them, than to write some stories and hopefully get a few published someday?  So I started writing.  Soon I realized that writing a really good story is hard.  Of course, right?  Everyone knows that if you want to be a good writer, you have to be a good reader.  I know a lot of classic children’s stories and I read lots of picture books with my kids, but I have come to realize that I am startlingly unfamiliar with most of the newer books out there, and there are lots and lots of really good ones.  So I am reviewing children’s books to broaden my horizons and generously share my findings.

So that’s the story of this blog.  I hope you like it, I hope you like reading some of the books I tell you about with your kids, and I hope someday I’ll be able to afford to pay for my books.  Here’s hoping, and happy reading!

Sincerely, Kathryn Cunningham

P.S.  If you have sites or sources for good quality, affordable children’s stories, I would love to hear about them, so leave a comment below and I’ll check it out.

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