Cherish the Moments: Summer 2017 

As I sit outside on a breezy, calm sunny afternoon, I feel happy and grateful to begin the summer. A summer that will be spent outdoors having backyard picnics, sinking our toes into dewy grass, reading books & pointing out patterns in the clouds. A summer that will be full of  visits to parks, playgrounds, & pools – running, jumping, swimming & playing hide & seek with friends. A summer that will be both wonderful and exhausting, long and hot — but by its end will seem as if we blinked and it was gone.

Of course, like any parent with a smartphone – there are always pictures – but not every moment in the sun (or the pool) can be photographed. Some moments are meant, I think, only to be experienced and enjoyed at the very moment they happen – and it’s up to us to catalog them in our brains and hold them fast in our hearts, remembering the feelings they gave us. Remembering the joy that a summer spent soaking in the sun with our children, families & friends brought us. Cherishing it. And being grateful that we had it.

1st Day of Summer

This morning, my children dragged a blanket out into the grass, along with a pile of books, shells, snacks and their brand new fidget spinners. We spent a delightful couple of hours taking turns reading to each other, pouring over their shell collection, teaching each other tricks with the spinners, and lying on the blanket finding cloud-shapes. My daughter surprised me by launching into narrative – making up her own story aloud in-the-moment, something I had never heard her do before. As she spun a tale of animals on a quest to touch a life-giving gem in a magical forest and her brother and I sat and listened, I felt it was one of those moments – the kind you want to wrap into your memory and hold forever, but also the kind you know you will never experience the same way again.

Soon after she finished her story, she & her brother ran to swing, jump & play – their next summer adventure already begun. Still sitting on the blanket in the warm sunlight, I picked up my book and turned the pages, my gaze moving slowing from the words to the cloud shapes moving above, listening to their voices & laughter mixed with the summer breeze.

Summer 2017 Book List from this Video: 

The Chilbury Ladies’ Choir by Jennifer Ryan

The Bookshop on the Corner by Jenny Colgan

Captain Underpants (#12) by Dav Pilkey

Dogman Unleashed by Dav Pilkey

Lego City – Fire Team Adventures 

Dork Diaries by Rachel Renee Russell

Stella and the Night Sprites by Sam Hay

Princess and the Page by Christina Farley

Summer Reading 2017

After our beautiful first morning in the sun, the kids & visited our local library and they picked out their first summer book haul & got officially signed up for the summer reading program. In addition to reading logs, they both received their first reading patch, a bookmark & a calendar of free activities they can attend. Beginning June 19th, kids can turn in their completed reading log to earn this years big reward – a creative tool belt! We usually complete and turn in our logs in late July, as I think stretching out the program and then getting a reward late in the summer helps boost them through the remaining days before school begins again.

Thank you for reading, watching – and for visiting Space to Dream. I hope your summer has had as sweet a beginning as ours, and that you and the kids in your life are making time to read! Happy Summer! -Stacie

Happy Summer Reading 2017!

Last Summer, I enjoyed sharing posts & videos of the books my children and I were reading. I can’t believe a year has passed and it’s time to sign up for the Summer Reading program again! This year’s theme is “Build a Better World,” and local libraries will have literacy activities that challenge kids to create, build & have fun together. Here’s the short infomercial that my local library made for the program.

The program kicked off this weekend with Maker Faire, where kids were involved in DIY crafts & creative projects that combined reading with science & art. Throughout the summer there will be many chances for kids of all ages to attend fun events; check with your local library or their website to get a summer calendar. All events are free, are for specific age groups, and require you to register children before attending. Here is a link to the online event calendar & registration for St. Tammany Parish:

St. Tammany Parish Library Events Calendar

Kids in St. Tammany Parish can register for Summer Reading 2017 at any of our local library branches beginning May 23, which is our last official half-day of school.

Another reading program option that my children and I like to participate in is Barnes & Noble Summer Reading. This year they have programs for adults, teens and kids where you can earn a free book after completing and turning in a reading journal at your local Barnes & Noble bookstore. You can get the reading journal when visiting, or download it online. Each store also has special events throughout the summer that include storytime, book themed crafts & author visits. Here are links to check out for their summer program & events:

Barnes and Noble Summer Reading

Barnes and Noble Events

I’m excited to begin the summer with my kids & read together! It’s probably no secret that I love the stories we read just as much (and sometimes more) than they do, but the best part of sharing summer books is seeing their love for reading grow. While I also love themed activities that encourage them to go “beyond the book” and use their imaginations & creative skills to create something new, my main goal is simple. I want my children to be excited about reading.

When my kids are motivated to pick their own books, when they choose to spend their free time reading, when they ask for more reading time before bedtime – that is the best feeling! That’s when I feel a tremendous sense of accomplishment as a parent who wants to instill a lifelong love of reading in my children. And I know many parents, teachers, & caretakers who feel the same. Reading is not just a skill but also a door to our imaginations, our abilities and our dreams.

I hope you are starting your summer as we are, with plenty of books and a visit to your local library! Happy Summer Reading 2017!

Thanks for stopping by Space to Dream. My next post will feature our first Summer Reading video and show you the books my kids & I have chosen to begin our summer reading adventure. 🙂

-Stacie

1st Preview: Bear Kingdom & The Golden Sword

As the cherry blossoms open & the chilly air warms, the season changing from winter to spring, I have been fervently writing of a frozen kingdom. It is a kingdom filled with dangers, secrets and magical creatures that live in ice and snow. Ruled by polar bears, it is also the kingdom that fifth-grade twins Suzie & Jack must journey through in Book 2 of The Dream Chronicles: Bear Kingdom & The Golden Sword.  They are looking for The Book of Destiny, a powerful, magical book which belongs to the tigers but has been stolen by the bears. Suzie & Jack have the help of the friends they met in Tiger Kingdom – Liam, Elena, jolly dragon Thistlefire & beautiful phoenix Phaedra.

Today I’m sharing the 1st of 3 Chapter previews before the book is published this Fall. Here is Chapter 1, in which Suzie, Jack, Liam & Elena enter the frozen, magical land of Bear Kingdom. Come join their adventures!


Bear Kingdom & The Golden Sword

by Stacie Eirich 

Chapter 1. A Dangerous Journey

With Jack’s hand still clenched in my own, we began moving towards the castle in the distance. I was glad for the boots and cloak that Elena had given me. Wrapping the thick blue cloak tightly, I stepped forward into the snow. With Jack beside me, we followed closely behind Elena & Liam. We could hear the crunch of hardened snow and ice beneath our boots with every step. I struggled to keep up.

“How far do you think it is?” I asked. The chill in the air bit at my skin. I pulled my hood down over my eyes.

“We won’t make it to the castle tonight.” Liam said. “Lets try to go a few more paces before making camp. If we set out again at dawn, we may make it to the castle before dark tomorrow.” He stopped, gazing out in the distance for a moment. “There, beyond the North mountain, on the south side of the castle, lays a forest. Do you see the trees?” He pointed. “They may offer us shelter. We won’t want to try entering the castle at night; it would be too dangerous.”

“But what if whatever is in that forest is even more dangerous than what’s in the castle?” Jack piped up, his face a mixture of fear and excitement. He dropped his hand from mine and walked past Liam, shielding his eyes to look ahead.

“It’s a risk we’ll have to take.” Liam seemed very sure of himself. Suddenly, I understood.

“You’ve been here before.” I said. I looked at Elena for confirmation. She met my eyes slowly, and nodded.

“Yes.” Her bell-like voice rang out over the snow. “We came to Bear Kingdom first, before Tiger Kingdom. We didn’t know about the magic then, about the Book of Destiny or the Wishing Stone. We were only looking for a way home, a way back to our parents. It was Sampson who came to save us from the bears.”

Liam’s face looked tense, as though he wasn’t ready to talk about this, or hadn’t planned to.

“We can’t use daylight to stand and talk, we must keep moving.” He didn’t offer any more, and gave Elena a look that seemed to hold her quiet. “We can tell them our story tonight, after we make camp.”

Silently we walked forward, stopping only to help each other through deep, rough patches of ice and snow. Thoughts and questions whirled inside my head. What had Liam and Elena seen in Bear Kingdom? If they didn’t have a magic key, how did they get here? There must be another way to enter – and another entrance! And if there is another entrance, who or what else has been through it?

My thoughts were interrupted by a sudden noise from above, a shrill bird cry that I recognized. It was hard to make out what was in the sky for the bright light reflecting off the snow. But I recognized the red-gold wings gliding above, soaring down towards us. It was Phaedra, the beautiful phoenix we had met in Tiger Kingdom.

Against the dazzling white snow Phaedra was breathtaking. I reached out my hand to her wing as she gracefully glided to a landing beside me. I hadn’t realized how large she was before! She wrapped her golden-red wings around me, and I felt warmth tingling through my legs and arms, all the way to the tips of my fingers.

“Hello Suzie,” she breathed in a glorious, smooth voice like silk. “I have come with a message from King Sampson.” She poked her beak down into her feathers, popping it back up to present a small envelope to me. It was marked in delicate script with a single letter – S.

Phaedra didn’t say anything more, only stood staring into my blue eyes with her golden ones. It seemed to me that for a moment time was suspended, and I hesitated to take the envelope because I knew she wouldn’t, – or couldn’t – stay. Could a Phoenix survive in the Arctic? I wondered. She looked like a powerful, magical bird. I opened my mouth to ask her to stay, but at that moment she shook her feathers.

“I must return to my Kingdom.” she said. I stretched my hand out of my cloak to accept the envelope. No sooner had I done so than she opened her wings, releasing me from her embrace and flying up into the sky. I saw a great shimmering blaze of golden-red light, and then she was gone.

Bear Kingdom & The Golden Sword, Book 2 in The Dream Chronicles, an illustrated fantasy-adventure series for middle-grade readers, will be Available on Amazon this Fall 2017. Stay tuned for more chapter previews – as well as a cover reveal with a peek at illustrations – here at Space to Dream.


I hope you enjoyed this glimpse into Bear Kingdom and that you will continue on Suzie & Jack’s adventures with them. Have a magical day!         -Stacie