YMB #118 Finding Good Picture Books with Sarah Mackenzie

It is getting tougher and tougher to find good picture books that align with your values these days. How do you find ones that tell a quality story and have the kind of language and art that your family enjoys? How can you make your librarian your ally and know just which books to choose in the bookstore to add to your home library. I am joined today by Sarah Mackenzie from Read Aloud Revival to answer all of those questions and more. This was such a fun conversation. I hope you’ll join us.

Picture Books Aren't Just for Preschoolers Reading


So oftentimes when we go from reading a picture book to a novel, we’re actually taking a step down in the complexity of language. So if I had known that back then, I would have felt better about sticking with picture books longer. But now I’m a, I’m a big believer in sticking with picture books for as long as possible. And then adding novels in like, instead of thinking of it like a ladder where you graduate from picture books and go to novels, we can think of it more like concentric circles. So you’re always reading picture books. And then you can add on novels when they’re ready to listen to them. But there’s nothing that a novel can give your kids that a picture book can’t.

This is Your Morning Basket where we help you bring truth, goodness, and beauty to your homeschool day. Hi everyone. And welcome to episode 118 of the Your Morning Basket podcast. I’m Pam Barnhill, your host, and I’m so happy that you’re joining me here today.

Well end today’s episode of the podcast. We have a special treat. My good friend, Sarah Mackenzie is here, and we’re going to be talking all about picture books. Just a great conversation about how to find the best picture books, how to trust yourself as a homeschooling mom and knowing what you and your kids are going to like how to use picture books with older kids and so much more. So I think you’re really going to enjoy this episode of the podcast. Now, speaking of good picture books, good picture books are the perfect tool to use in your Morning Time. In our free month of Morning Time plans are filled with great picture books, suggestions. So if you would like to try out doing a Morning Time with your kids, we have a whole month of free plans for you that include not only the books, but music, art, poetry, and so much more. So come download that pambarnhill.com/month. And now on with the interview.

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Sarah Mackenzie is an author, speaker, podcaster, and homeschooling mom of six with a passion for encouraging fellow homeschool moms like herself. She's the author of Teaching from Rest: The Homeschoolers Guide to Unshakeable Peace and The Read Aloud Family: Making Meaningful and Lasting Connections with your Kids. She also hosts the wildly popular Read Aloud Revival podcast, which has been downloaded over 9 million times in 160 countries. You can connect with her readaloudrevival.com and I am so excited to have her joining me on the podcast today. She's one of my very favorite people. Sarah, welcome to the podcast.
Oh, Pam. Thanks for having me. I always loved spending an hour with you, so this is going to be fun.
So much fun. Okay. So we are going to be talking all about books today, and I want you to tell me, where did your passion for books, picture books and reading aloud come from?
Well, I was a voracious reader as a kid, so I really did have always loved books, but my passion for picture books specifically, really didn't become apparent to me until I was reading them with my kids. And I would notice that some books I would read with my kids, I just it's like, I'd want to hide them or accidentally lose them behind the couch or something, you know, after I'd read them, like, please do not make me read that book again. And other books were just a delight to read aloud.
And so I kind of started paying when I first became a parent 20 years ago, you know what, just paying attention to which books were capturing my attention to why that was, you know, why, what makes some books more appealing to read than others? But I started reading aloud a lot after I heard Andrew Pudewa’s nurturing, competent communicators talk that you sent me my dear.
Okay. So I wrote an email this week saying you sent it to me cause that's how I remember it.
Oh, that's really funny. I'm pretty sure you sent it to me. Okay. And you went to the Great Homeschool Convention and then you bought the audio and sent it to me. I'm almost sure that's what happened.
Okay. So somehow in the, like what, 11, 12, 13, 14 years since this happened, we completely flip the story around. All right. So I really think most of the best ideas I've ever had are actually from you.
So I think this is probably it's a continuation of that running theme in our friendship. Okay. Okay. That talk was absolutely life-changing and like completely shaped my homeschool. So what, what was it about that talk for you?
Well, in this talk, he tells you that the two most important things you can do to help your kids be good communicators, whether that's written communication or spoken communication is to read aloud a ton and to memorize poetry. And both of those things are actually very easy and natural to do. They're very enjoyable, they're free. They don't require some like complicated curriculum or anything. And so it's deceptive how effective they are because they don't cost anything. And they're pretty and they can be pretty enjoyable. They're not always enjoyable. And so that's kind of what stuck out to me. So I started reading aloud more than I'd ever read before, because in that talk, he says, however much you're reading aloud, read more. Yeah. And so I did, and all the things he said would happen. They happened like better vocabulary and better written comprehension and reading comprehension, all these academic gains. But one of the things that I loved is that he, these what he didn't actually say, at least I don't remember him saying in that talk was how much we were going to connect how, like this shared experience of rooting for the same hero and cowering about the same villian and holding your breath in the same moments really puts you all on the same page, our minds, you all that you're on the same team and rooting for each other. And so it had this incredible impact on our relationships. And that's when I got super zealous about “wait a second, this so simple and so effective on all the most important levels in our homeschools.”
Yeah. And so that was when you, I mean, you really did start the revival at that point.
Yeah. And I think the reason that it gets, I mean, people get excited about it is for the same reason I got excited about it. This is simple. This is free. This is incredibly effective and I'm having a good time. And there's a lot of things that are effective in parenting that are not having a good time. So this is one of those ways that you can have a good time and, and make a huge difference in your, in your kid's life.
So big difference. And it's fun. Love it. It's fun. And it's fun. Okay. So, I mean, did you immediately dive off into reading like novels and things like that? Because I think I see this a lot with homeschool moms. It's like, oh, I can't wait till I can read the real book. So I want to dive into Little House on the Prairie or Charlotte's Web or something like that.
So did you start with that or did you already know the magic of picture books at that point?
No. I did try to read Little House, in fact, that very series with my oldest girls when they were maybe five and three and two. Number one, it was not successful because they wanted pictures. And number two, I was like, I love the Little House books by the way though, the audio book narrations narrated by Cherry Jones are spectacular. But when I'm reading those books aloud, I feel like we're going through Noah's arc all over again. It's like the log was this wide and this long. And it went on top of a log that was this wide and this look, and it's so much description and it did not capture their attention. So I got frustrated because again, I had that same thought of these are the real books, because when we think back about the books that turned us into readers, a lot of us think back to Ramona or the Little House on the Prairie or Anne of Green Gables or something like the novels that we remember reading as kids. But one thing that has been really interesting to me to discover is that the syntax and sophistication of the language of picture books is actually often not always, but very, very often superior to the language and syntax in a novel. And the reason for this is very simple. It's because publishers expect that when they wait, you have a picture book, an adult is going to be reading this aloud to your child. Either that'd be a teacher or a parent or whatever adult is going to read this to a child.
But when they were talking about Charlotte's Web or Ramona the Pest or a novel, they're expecting that probably the child's going to be most often reading it to themselves. So now they have to take into consideration reading level, Lexile scores and complexity of language and simplifying vocabulary. So oftentimes when we go from reading a picture book to a novel, we're actually taking a step down in the complexity of language.
So if I had known that back then, I would have felt better about sticking with picture books longer. But now I'm a, I'm a big believer in sticking with picture books for as long as possible. And then adding novels in like, instead of thinking of it like a ladder where you graduate from picture books and go to novels, we can think of it more like concentric circles.
So you're always reading picture books. And then you can add on novels when they're ready to listen to them. But there's nothing that a novel can give your kids that a picture book can't. So there's a lot of freedom in that because we don't necessarily feel rushed to get to the quote unquote real books.
Yeah. I love that. And I downloaded your grade leveled using using books instead of a literature curriculum. I was like, I totally messed up the name of that.
Teaching literature without a curriculum. And I noticed that there are actually picture books for all the little grade groupings in there all the way up to high school.
Yeah. And you know what, there are some picture books that are not only best for high school. I mean, I would never read them with, you know, let's say a six or seven year old. Some of those are on our list for the high schoolers, but they might be set during a really difficult time in history. They're beautifully done. If we think of a picture book, we can think of it being like where the author only has a certain number of words to use.
So every word is going to matter so that the texts can often read a lot more like poetry, where the weight of the words matters, but then there's also these beautiful illustrations. And so for a lot of us will think, well, as soon as the book has pictures, it's for little kids. So then instead we give our kids novels and then we take them to art museums to look at beautiful art. When a picture book is like an art museum and beautiful poetry, or really well-written prose in your child's lap. And so we, I absolutely read picture books all the way up through my high schoolers and my college graduates. I mean, my high school graduates who are now in college, they still feel very fondly. They don't feel like it's childish to read a picture book, which makes me very proud.
Oh, that's, that's awesome. Okay. So I'm just asking for your permission right now. I'm planning out my history curriculum for next year. And I was like, you know, I, there are some really great picture books out here about this period in history. And I think I want to read them with my high schoolers.
Oh, okay. So that's so fun because that's what I did this last year with my high schoolers, I guess it was the year before it was previous, but we were doing American history. And so we were reading through The Story of Us by Joy Hakim, like as a spine.
And then yes. And then every time we would run into a person during, as we were reading that spine that has a picture book biography, and they almost all do. I mean, there are a lot of spectacular picture book biographies. I would read the picture book biography to them about that person. And, and the kids actually thought it was funny because I would be like, I have a picture book for that became a funny saying in our family, no matter who we were reading about, I'd go, oh, hold on, wait, I have a picture book for that. And we'd read it. And my high schoolers learned just as much from those picture book biographies as they did from the spine text. We actually have a list of our favorite picture book biographies at Read Aloud Revival. So if you go to readaloudrevival.com/recommendations. We have picture book. Biographies are one of my very favorite genres. And so we have a huge list and it's separated into like American history or 17th century history, or even different kinds of people like artists or athletes or whatever. So this is really fun.
Okay, I'm going to check that out and I'm just taking this as permission. That's what we're going to do for next year is look at those. It's like, it seems so much more fun to do the picture books then other things.
Permission and granted.
Thank you. I love that this is completely validated by these conversations. All right. So we're, we're talking about our fondness for picture books and how we love picture books, but I'm going to have to tell you I've been a little discouraged. Sometimes these days going online, looking at some of the online bookstores or even going to bookstores in person and not being able to find good picture books. So how do I do that?
Yeah. I remember walking into the children's book section of our, my library when my oldest, who's now 21, she's on my hip. And I walk in and I see this sea of picture books and some of them are face out. Some of them were, most of them are not right. And I know that some of these are better than others, because like I said, at the beginning, some of them make you just want to poke at your eyeballs, but I couldn't figure out what it was, why that is. And it can be a little frustrating if you've read book after book, after book, and they're just not good. It feels very demoralizing. And it doesn't make you want to read more with your kids.
A couple of things are helpful. I always, I like to use book lists as a general guideline, because if you like with the booklets and we make a Read Aloud Revival, for example, are not comprehensive. We're not trying to get every single, amazing book on them, but we try to give you a curated list of like, here are some really good books. So start with these and, or start with a couple from here. What looks good to you as a way to familiarize yourself with authors and illustrators who are reliably making really good books.
And once you get practiced and like, you can pretty much know that anytime you pick up a Jan Brett book, or anytime you pick up a book by Tomie dePaola, you're going to find, oh, it's going to be better than a lot of the other books on the shelves. So realizing the book lists are your friend that getting to know authors and illustrators names, just a few of them. But one other thing that I think is really key here is it doesn't take that many books. And usually kids want us to read the same book over and over. And there's a really good brain science reason for that. They're making all these connections and reading on a better level. Every time we reread the same book, there's some interesting research that shows in fact that with younger kids, they retain the vocabulary from rereads better than they do. So if I was to read five different picture books to my kids in one week, or if I was to read one book five times to my kids that week, they would retain the vocabulary from the one book read multiple times better than if I had read to them this wide array. So I think sometimes we think we need to constantly be refilling our coffers of picture books with new selections. When if you just find a handful that you love, you can read and reread and reread those. And that's just as valuable if not more valuable.
Oh, that makes me think of Five in a Row. I did Five in a Row with my kids when they were little. Oh man. If I could just go back to those days of homeschooling, like if I could have it back.
Yeah. Yeah. I don't know. I was really tired back then. I really liked them being able to feed themselves. My youngest is 12. Your youngest is younger than 12. So I think there's, there's a nostalgia that will eventually kick in for you there.
So yeah, I'm waiting for it. It hasn't hit yet.
Okay. One of the things that I love that you said was the book lists are, don't just look at it as these are the books I need to go out and get. That's kind of like level one of the book list. These are books that I can go out and get and use in my homeschool.
But this is also level two. This is my training ground. Yeah. By getting these books, then that teaches me how to find other books. And so it's the difference between giving people fish and teaching them to fish. I love that because one of the things that we hear so often, like with our Morning Time plans is, I can't find all the books that are in there.
And we tell people, make substitutions. We really don't expect you to go out and buy all those books. We get lots of books because different libraries have different books. But I love this idea of, of giving moms permission to say, let this show you what good books are. And then you can start making that decision for yourself.
That's why I love this. It's like training wheels. Right? The other thing to keep in mind here is that everybody's taste is different. And just because a book is good, doesn't like is actually objectively well-written and well illustrated doesn't necessarily mean you're going to love it. And sometimes I think, especially as homeschooling moms or like, I need to know what the good ones are, cause I can't trust my own taste and understanding that here are, you know, here are some samples of books that are really well-written with good illustrations. And then you kind of develop your own taste and your ability to see books, to find other books that are just as well done. But aren't on the book list. And just because the book is on the book list, doesn't make it more worthwhile than another one that you found. In fact, I think some of the very, very best books I have found recently have come from recommendations from people at Read Aloud Revival who are listeners to the podcast are part of our premium community who recommend a book to me and I've never heard or seen it before. And so it doesn't mean that just because it wasn't on our list, it's not good. I just hadn't themey yet. You know? So it's this idea of being able to sort of under like, look at it, be able to look at a book and go, oh yeah. This one is worth reading or worth owning and realizing whether it's on a list or not. It's just as good as another one that's on the list.
Yeah. I think it's so important to sometimes just go with what you like, whether other people think it or not.
Yes, absolutely. Absolutely.
I mean, there's no shame in liking something that nobody else likes and there's no shame in not liking something that everybody else loves.
It reminds me, Pam actually for a while there years and years and years ago, you and I had a Pinterest board that we called a books Pam loves that Sarah hates or, or the other way around and the other way around and vice versa. Yeah. Because we didn't, I don't know. There was like a couple of books we found, we just didn't have similar tastes in books. And then now you, you tell me that we don't have this problem anymore because you only recommend things that you think I'll like.
I mean, I think I've gotten better at noticing the books that you're like, oh, I liked that one. Give me another one, like it. And I'll be like, oh yeah, I kind of store that away in my mental file.
Yeah. Yeah. Okay. So I know whenever I'm looking for a book to read a loud with my kids or we're going on a road trip and I'm wanting a great recommendation or, you know, like the other day I was thinking about this history time period. And I was like, I wonder if Read Aloud Revival has a book list for this time period. I go to you like you are my go-to person for book lists for my kids and my homeschool and reading aloud to Sarah Mackenzie used book lists?
I do, I do. There's a few reliable places. I go look, when I am, I'm either looking for a book like you just said for a certain time period or on a certain theme, or if I'm making a book list myself, but I go for recommendation. So redeemedreader.com, they have a wonderful system of reviewing books that are mostly they're reviewing books that are new.
So it's Christian moms, a handful of them there who are writing reviews on a lot of books that are coming out now because it's easy for us to kind of find recommendations or reviews on classics or older books. But the new stuff is oftentimes what our kids want to read and is oftentimes also what has most problematic content in it for us as far as like what we want our kids to read.
And so having someone else look through it and go, okay, the redeemed reader ladies, aren't going to tell you, yes, read this one or don't read that one, but there are going to go. Here are some things you might want to know about this book that might, that might come up for you and then they give it a rating.
So they're a resource that I lean on heavily, especially for new books. And they can read those newer ones faster than I can because there's multiple of them working on it there. So they're a great resource. And then a lot of times I will just, and this kind of goes back to the idea of training wheels and like where you're starting to learn authors and illustrator names that are, you know, consistently putting out really, really wonderful stories for kids. I will just Google like a homeschool books about, and then I'll, you know, Whales, let's say, and I will look through some lists. Now what I have found is that most people who are making book lists are just looking up all the books they can find, let's say picture books about whales. They're just looking up all the picture books they can find about whales and putting them on a list. And that's not that helpful because some of those books are really not engaging at all. And some of them are fabulous. So I will start there, put a lot of them on hold with the library and then curate. So where all of our lists are kind of shorter at the Read Aloud Revival cause we're trying to pick ones that we think are universally winners. Like very good chance that you're going to love this book. But again, when I'm looking through like a long list like that, I can kind of notice author and illustrator names that I've recognized. Or if I see the same book listed on a couple of different lists, then I'll, you know, think it's a more reliable, more reliable source. But again, you don't need that many. So even if you're looking at a list of, let's say you're doing American Revolutionary history and you find three good picture books or, or three good, like one good novel and two good picture books to read with your kids. If those stories are read in a way that's like leisurely and memorable and enjoyable, they're going to have a better impact than if you'd read twelve. So you don't need that many, which I think can be really freeing too.
Yeah. I love that.
That idea of just choosing a few good books as opposed to trying to read all the books. Less is oftentimes more, especially if you can reread that book again or just have a more relaxed, demeanor when you're reading it. Cause you're not feeling like you're trying to plow through some long list. So I think then the books that you choose to read, even though there are only a few of them will end up having a better impact.
Yeah. Okay. So let's say I'm just wondering into the bookstore, to the library and I want to walk out, I don't have a list. You know, I just don't have one today. I want to walk out with a couple of really good winners for my kid. Like how do I even start? That's tricky. I think it's getting trickier because I think sometimes the books that are on display in our libraries, some, it just depends library the library. If you can form a relationship with your librarian, that's a good place to start. It there'll be some trial and error. So I hear from a lot of people who try to get books recommended by their librarian and think she just doesn't understand the books we like, but they're not mind readers. So you have to like say, oh yeah, we did not like that one. And just be kind about it. Thank you so much for those recommendations. This one wasn't a fit and this one wasn't good, but this one totally was, and this is what we liked about it. That will help her or him give you a better, you know, have a better chance of giving you books that you really like, and that are regularly good fits a couple of things that you can do usually.
Or often I should say, libraries have lists or collections of like Caldicot award-winning books in the picture book session section. And they're not all fabulous. I get irritated every once in a while at a book that's chosen for Caldicot. But I think your chances of reading a book that's very engaging and has illustrations looking at and looking at again and looking at again, they are higher with a Caldicot, if you're looking at a collection of Caldicot books or Newbury books, if you're talking about middle grade novels or kids novels, then that's another good place. Again, they're not, you know, I wouldn't give like a universal recommendation of everything that's won an award, but I think you're just better, you're probably going to find you have a better pool to start with. The other thing I would do is look for picture books that are picture book authors that have done a large amount of work. So you'll notice if you go, for example, to the Brett section, I'd already mentioned Jan Brett. So if you go to the beast section, you're going to find Jan Brett has a whole bunch of picture books.
And once you find an author like that, you'll probably notice you haven't read all of her books because there are a ton of them or Eric Carle or Tomie dePaola or Philip and Erin Stead. There's just a lot of authors and illustrators who are making a pretty significant body of work that you can reliably like find something else that they would like based on facts that you've enjoyed before
Like Karma Wilson is another one of mine. So many of her books I'm really excited.
I'm glad you mentioned her because I just got an email from her yesterday. We're going to have her at Read Aloud Revival this November in a very fun.
Okay. You tell her that Pam Barnhill thinks that Frog and a Bog is one of the best books ever written. Okay. Yes, absolutely. That's an absolute favorite. You know, somebody like an Ezra Jack Keats, he has all the Peter books. So many of those and yeah. So just, those are some favorites I can think of from when my kids were little, I think.
And also like you can just think back to books that you loved as a kid. Now, this doesn't always work. I, my favorite picture book as a child was King Bidgoods in the Bathtub. I remember going to the library story time. I was probably seven or something and hearing this book and just thinking it was amazing. And my kids do not like this book at all. I mean, Audrey will tell you, like it gave her nightmares. I don't know if he knows story there's these lush medieval paintings of a king that will not get out of the bathtub and all of the leader of the military and the queen and the, all the different people all throughout the castle are trying to get him out of the bathtub. And it's finally the page, the little boy page who figures out that he needs to pull the plug. Anyway, it's really funny, but there is an audio drama of it that has like some music and stuff that apparently really haunted my poor oldest child. So my kids don't love that book, but there are books that you remember as a kid, Sandra Boynton had the Chloe and Mod series when we were kids. I think those might be out of print, but again, like I can go to Sandra Boynton books and go, okay, I loved these as a kid. So even if it's not the highest quality picture book, it's your having a good time reading it, even if it's just sentimental value, you're going to be transferring so much of that enthusiasm for reading to your kids that you can't. Oh,
I love that. And, okay. So my favorite Sandra Boynton book is the Going to Bed book. I remember me reading Olivia that one, when she was like three or four weeks old. Yeah. And I think before it wasn't all over, I memorized it and they put on their pajamas and go exercise. And that one does not.
Yeah. I think they got in the bath burst. They got put on their pajamas and then they would exercise.
No, it works. I don't know. It does read that book to my grandchildren one day though.
Okay. All right. So, oh wait, where was I at? Okay. What do I, what do I do? And I just want to touch on this quickly because I have to ask you a big question about a big, a big surprise project. What do I do if my teenagers don't want to read those picture books anymore? Okay. Yes. And they're not probably going to want to at first, so you have to kind of normalize it and that is going to take some time. There's a couple of things that I do when I read picture books with my high schoolers. Number one is that I don't sit them around. Like we think of reading a picture book, like maybe sitting with a little kid on our lap and reading it or sitting on a couch. And they're all like right next to you. My 16 year old is not interested in sitting snuggled up next to me. There's no part of this where he's like, yes, that's what I want to do. So, so I will oftentimes just read the book and then we'll, we might talk about it afterwards and he'll be flipping through looking at the pictures so it could look different than you think of. It doesn't need to look like a five-year-old reading a picture book. They don't need to look at every single picture.
They don't need to, you don't need to be worried about them, like getting every single thing out of it. So even if you're like treat it like a short story and you're gonna read it to them, usually with a picture book, there is some element in the illustrations that they maybe should see or might need to see in order to get the full story.
Because it's not a picture book is not just a short story. It's usually a short story that is told half in pictures and half in texts. And so looking at the illustrations is important, but come up with, you know, some low barrier ways at them, see the illustration, you might just every third picture of something. Or when you notice something in illustration and go, oh wow, look at the picture of that ship. Can you imagine being in that hold for so long or whatever it is that you're you're reading. So I love that.
And one other idea is if you have older and younger kids and making it part of their school day to read a picture book to the younger kids can be a great way for them both to get it. So your younger child's getting read to you and your older child is getting all the good stuff in the picture books. So if you give them any kind of, especially non-fiction or picture book, biography to read to the younger kids, they're, they're going to be learning all kinds of stuff. I learned something every time I read a new non-fiction picture book or a picture book biography.
So there's always something there. And then the other thing that comes to mind is that I guess I work pretty hard not to be, make it weird. Like now I'm going to read you a picture book and I know you're going to feel this is like for little kids, but so I will just say, I'm going to read you this story about Henry's freedom box, which is an incredibly well done picture book biography illustrated by Kadir Nelson. And I think, I mean, I'm trying to, most of the time I'm not giving like a big introduction or like, it's time for story time, or now I'm gonna read a picture book and I'm going to show you each of the pictures, like a circle time librarian at, you know, the library story time or something. It's just a lot more casual than that. But also if you can manage it, letting your kids catch you, reading picture books on your own can help in our house. It's just very normal for everybody to be reading a picture book every once in a while, if my teenagers walked in and I was sitting on the couch, reading a couple of picture books, nobody would go, what are you doing? You know. I’ts like mom’s reading, you know? It’s like the newspaper.
Well, you are Sarah Mackenzie, you know, I think people would expect you to be reading a picture book.
Okay, well, that's true.
But there no reason why we couldn't be doing it too though. Yeah, yeah, yeah. Very much so. I think you just like, put out a plate of brownies and say, if you want one, you’ve got to sit here and listen to me read.
That's brilliant. Absolutely. And your 16 year old son might even be willing to snuggle up a little closer to you if you put the brownies close to you.
Yeah. I don't know about that. I'm not about that. No. Okay. Well picture books. I think that you probably have liked me seen not as many good picture books out there recently, so I know that you are doing something about that. So tell us about this new project that you've got going on.
Yeah. I mean, for all these years that I've been reading and recommending books that read a letter revival and just with my own kids, like I said, right at the beginning, I think I developed this habit of looking at a book after I'd finished it and trying to figure out like, what was it about this book that made it so much better than the last 10 books I read aloud to my kids. So I think over all this time, kind of seeing what makes a really timeless picture book, the kind that I like reading aloud that engages my kids. That's fun to read, has fun words to say, or the language is fun to read, but also the illustrations are so well done. They make me want to look and look again and look again and all of those pairing together and make something like a classic or like a timeless book. And when I'm thinking about this, I'm thinking of Miss Rumphius by Barbara Cooney or Strega Nona by Tomie dePaola, or a lot of the books illustrated by Jerry Pinkney. They're timeless. You could read them 30 years ago. You can read them 30 years from now and they're going to be just as engaging. And I do think we're seeing less and less of those kinds of books coming out of publishers books that aren't necessarily fixed at our certain point in time in history and current events, but books that are able to really tell a good story in that classic good storytelling kind of way. So we decided at Read Aloud Revival to launch our own publishing imprint called Waxwing books. And we are making picture books to fit that bill.
Basically, our number one priority is making picture books that are a joy to read aloud. So you can read them aloud all 20 times when you're child. Like, again, again, I want that one again for the next night in a row, but that are also so engaging to your kids and beautiful works of art. And so it's been a labor of love. We've been spending a long time getting these first projects ready, but we are about ready to launch a Kickstarter for our very first one. I wrote the text for this one, it's called A Little More Beautiful, the Story of a Garden. And it's illustrated by Breezy Brookshire, which is really fun, cause Breezy herself was homeschooled. And so it's just really fun to see her gorgeous illustrations, their watercolor illustrations bring to life this story. When I first saw it all kind of laid out together, I thought, oh my goodness, this is a story that like this lady in this book lived in my head. And then I put some words on paper and Breezy made her come to life. And there she is like, I can't imagine her in any other way. You know, it's really fun. So we are really excited. What we're trying to do is basically make a book that you wouldn't be able to tell didn't come out of the New York market as far as like the quality of the paper and the hardcover and the dust jacket and the design of the book is we're just really putting this high emphasis on quality because we know that when parents read aloud with their kids, they kids want the same book. If it's really well done, they want the same book over and over and over. And the last thing you want to do as a parent is think, I wonder if I can hide this Dora the Explorer picture book. They never asked me to read it ever again. So, so yeah, we're, that's what we're doing. I'm very excited.
Yeah. Okay. So this has been like, this has been years in the it's been years.
Yes. I mean, I think I wrote the text for this book. I mean, I'd have to look back and actually see, but I wouldn't be surprised if it was five years ago and it's been on a journey through editing that text and honing it and then deciding what we're going to do with it.
And then deciding to launch Waxwing books, which we did at the end of 2019, I think, or 2020, I can't remember which year I'd have to go back and look, but where we really decided, you know what, I think we're going to make it ourselves. And it's really been a joy because since we're publishing the book ourselves at Read Aloud Revival, we're able to really take everything we know about what makes book design a book of absolute joy to holding your hand and a work of art and piece together, all the different parts of that, whether it's book design or illustration or text or typography and put it all together into this gift that we're very excited to launch into the world.
Oh, that's awesome. And then there were more books coming, right?
There are more books coming. We've got several more in the pipeline in the process of being illustrated. As we speak. One is actually finishing illustrations as we speak. So we expect newer books to be rolling out behind this first one, maybe every six to nine months or so for awhile.
So I love it, I love it. Okay. So tell me a little bit about the Kickstarter. What details do you have about that? As far as if I'm really interested in getting my hands on this book and supporting what would that be?
Okay. Yes. Thank you for asking. So basically the reason we're launching a Kickstarter is so that we know how many books to print, because otherwise we do not know how many books to print and we want to make sure if you want one of the first books in the first print run, then the best way to make sure you get one of the first books in the print run is to order it through the Kickstarter. We're going to have some Kickstarter exclusive like a Kickstarter exclusive book bag, and some prints and other really fun things in there that you get as a part of being part of this group that orders from the first print run. So the Kickstarter itself starts August 10th and we'll run through September 1st. And so if you want to get in on that first print run and have some of those fun rewards, then you want to head over to Waxwingbooks.com and pop your email in there so that we can let you know when the Kickstarter launches it'll be open. Like I said, August 10th, and you'll get to pick from, you know, a few different packages of how you want your book, or you can just get the book itself. And even if you're international, there will be an ebook. And this is fun. Oh, I haven't told anybody this yet. So let me tell you this first book is actually going to come with an audio book. So do you remember when we were kids and there was those audio books where you could listen to it while you were looking at a picture book and it would say like, turn the page. So we're doing that because I don't know why they stopped making those. Because those are so fabulous
Yes. Those are so good.
Yes. So what we're doing is every book will have a QR code on the back. And so if you're buying the book, you're actually also getting a free audiobook. So you'll scan that QR code on the back. And then there will be two different versions of the audio book, one with the little page, turn prompts and one without. So very excited about that so that your kids can be read aloud by you, can look at the book themselves and be read to, or can look at the book themselves and just, you know, look at the pictures. So lots of different ways to enjoy it.
I love that. I love that. And you're including it with the book, which is absolutely. It's so generous and awesome and amazing. And now I really do wish I had little kids again, because I needed that with them.
I know it's true. Right?
You know, those kids who are learning to read and all of that stuff, they really it's such an important thing. So I love that. And I have to tell you, I am so excited that you are having book bags with this kickstarter.
Every person asked me, how do I get a Read Aloud Revival and book bag? And I realized this may be a different book bag, but at least there's a book bag.
Actually, it's the same. It isn’t going to be the same book bag, but the same style, a new design that coordinates with the book. So that's why it's a Kickstarter exclusive is because the only place you can get this particular book bag is through the Kickstarter. So if you have been waiting for a Read Aloud Revival book bag, first of all, I'm sorry that we haven't had them available for so long. And number two, definitely check out the Kickstarter because I think you're going to love the design on this one.
Well, Sarah, thank you so much for joining me here today. And I love, love, love this project. I've been so excited about it for a couple of years now, and I'm glad to finally see it coming out and come into fruition. And thank you so much for sharing all your wisdom about picture books and how to choose the really good ones and just have it have more confidence as a mom like looking to read to your kids. Cause it is one of the best things you can do. And thanks for giving us the skills to do it. We appreciate it.
Oh, thanks so much for having me. I love being here.
And there you have it. Now, if you would like links to any of the books and resources that Sarah and I chatted about today, and there were quite a few book links, you can find them on the show notes for this episode of the podcast. That's at Pam barnhill.com/ymb118, and we will also link to Waxwing Books for you over there.
So you can get on the waitlist for that exciting Kickstarter. That's going to be coming up really soon and maybe even get your own book bag. So all of that is on the show notes, Pambarnhill.com/ymb118. And Hey, thank you so much for joining me here today. We really appreciate you as a listener of this podcast.
It means so much to us that you are here and you take the time to listen. Now we'll be back again in a couple of weeks with another great Morning Time interview. We're going to be talking to Colleen Rein. Now, Colleen is a homeschool mom and she has been doing Morning Time in her home for a number of years. She has some really great insights and I think you'll enjoy the interview until then keep seeking truth, goodness and beauty in your homeschool day.

Key Ideas about Finding Good Picture Books

You have permission to use the picture books. Don’t be afraid to use picture books, even with older kids, to teach them what you want them to learn.

Use book lists to help develop your eye for good ones and to learn who is reliably writing and illustrating great books. Once you find those authors and illustrators, look for more of their work

Don’t feel like you have to read ALL the books. A few good picture books read in a leisurely and enjoyable way is much better than trying to read a lot of books. And, it’s okay to reread your favorite picture books over and over again.

Find what you want to hear:

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Thanks for your reviews

  • Always a favorite!
    by Lizzie O' from United States

    Pam continues to do an amazing job with this podcast. She is a wonderful host, never hurried, asks great questions and really lets her guest share his/her experience fully. The variety of experience & wisdom here is fruit for the homeschooling community at large. I’ve been listening from day one and this podcast continues to be a top favorite. Thank you Pam!

  • Morning time will change your life
    by RachBoz from United States

    I’ve listened to YMB and Pam off and on for years, and she literally changed my life 7 years ago when I was just starting to homeschool. I’m so thankful for her ministry and encouragement to homeschool moms of all ages! I highly recommend doing morning time!

  • Life Affirming
    by Logandinco66 from United States

    This podcast is amazing and has helped me so much as recovering perfectionist homeschooling mama! Pam gives so much great insight into so many aspects of life and focusing on homeschooling.

  • Life giving!
    by lapatita5 from United States

    This podcast has been so great. It’s so practical and encouraging without being overly preachy or narrow. It gives ideas in a take-what-fits kind of way. I have used many of the recommended resources and ideas mentioned and been inspired by many others. Even the episodes that I found less relevant to me specifically, often had tidbits that I could use. Pam’s podcasts, books, and resources have been a godsend to me in my beginning years of homeschooling, helping me discover my own way to teach my kids in a way that prioritizes what is most important to us.

  • You've made my school year!
    by Lizzie O' from United States

    Pam, My children are almost 11 and 13 and I never sent this review in! I found it sitting here. This is testimony that I am still so blessed by this podcast years later. So here it is: I wrote you an email when I first felt it placed on my heart to homeschool my now 6

  • Love the show!
    by Startup Travis from United States

    Love your content and the guests you have visiting the show! I am a huge believer in using the morning hours well. Thank you for your direction and products!

  • Enjoy the podcast & some thoughts…
    by rufocused from United States

    I enjoy listening to tips on starting and using morning time as I am just starting it this year. We have kind of done it in the past, but when you only have one child you tend to just call it bible, story time, etc… but now that my second one is old enough to join we’re going to have more of a true morning time. I did notice Pam mentioned CNN ten in one episode. CNN can be pretty liberal biased in the main news, I’m not sure if they curb that in the “CNN ten”, but thought I would mention the Daily Wire, which is from a conservative viewpoint (and often covers indoctrination in public schools) and could be fun to compare and contrast with CNN. Our family also recently discovered Daily Citizen from Focus on the Family which has a very Christian perspective, which has been refreshing as news can be so depressing sometimes! Just thought I’d throw that out there… but really do appreciate the perspectives and insights of these women who have been doing this for awhile!

  • Very helpful and pleasant to listen to.
    by Heather homeschooler from United States

    I have listened to many episodes of this podcast and have highly recommended it to others. It has been a wonderful source of inspiration and encouragement. Pam has a great voice and presence and I love that she does not interrupt or talk over her guests. Thank you for your hard work!

  • Always insightful!!
    by method_money from Canada

    Pam always has great great guests who bring great insights and encouragement! I so appreciate her down to earth style and ability to ask great questions! Keep up the great work!!

  • A wildly encouraging and equipping podcast for homeschool families.
    by Eryn Lynum from United States

    As a homeshool mama of four (Ages 2-9), Pam's podcast has been an increidble encouragement to me. Not only that, but I have discovered so many helpful resources for focusing on what is lovely and true during our homeschool days. I love that it is not overwhelming in nature, but instead a gentle help for moving forward one day at a time in our homeschooling adventure.

  • Best podcast for homeschooling/variety of topics
    by Bethetal from United States

    I love this podcast for so many reasons. (1) Pam is friendly, funny, humble and kind (2) She covers a multitude of topics (one at a time)- I have learned about nature notebooks, classical music study, narration, living books, Shakespeare and so much more. Whenever I have a question about a new (to me)HS term or practice, I come here to listen to Pam interview someone about it. Her interviewees have all been all-in on their respective areas of interest/expertise and I love the way she interviews/asks questions to really let the guests shine as they speak. I have changed the structure of my homeschool, found books for my kids and me, purchased materials, and found inspiration due to this podcast and I can’t recommend it enough! This podcast has shaped my homeschool in so many positive ways, most of which I probably can’t even articulate yet, as the changes have been done inside of me. Thanks, Pam!

  • Great!!!
    by Eloblah from United States

    I love the variety of things that are talked about on this show for homeschooling - things that I would never even think about including or doing - with easy ways to do them. Very much recommend this podcast

  • New home schooling mom
    by A prit from United States

    I am listening to the past episodes and loving it. This podcast has helped me develop my own homeschool. So many ideas!! I love morning time so much, we do a nightly family time so my husband and public school attending son. We do all the things instead of watching tv, playing ps4, and YouTube. My kids hang around me every evening asking if we are doing family time. I can tell they love it but don’t want to admit it.

  • Morning Time Magic!
    by DrewSteadman from United States

    I am so excited Pam is back to her morning time focus for 2020. Our homeschool has been shaped by the rich ideas and practical wisdom shared here.

  • Yay! Morning time is back!
    by Homeschooler in Germany from United States

    I was so happy and excited to learn that Pam is shifting her focus back to Morning Time for 2020! I’ve missed the morning time exclusive podcast and can’t wait to hear her back in my earbuds.

  • So excited for 2020!
    by JCrutchf from United States

    I absolutely LOVE this podcast and was so disappointed when I realized you were not actively producing it! I’m NOW relieved to know there is a whole year of episodes ahead! I’m beginning my homeschool journey with 4 little ones very close in age and my style falls somewhere in the Classical and Charlotte Mason. I found your podcast by chance via Instagram recommendation as I was doing research on “morning menus.” Your content is beautifully philosophical but at a level most parents will be able to grasp and appreciate. Filled with truth, beauty, and goodness! Your episodes fill me up and leave me feeling inspired personally and in regards to my children’s education. Everything is so good! Please don’t stop producing ever again! I’ll be grateful forever!

  • So glad Your Morning is back!!!
    by alissajohn2020 from United States

    So glad to have the morning basket podcast back! Thank you for bringing it back!!

  • So good I ran out of gas.
    by JoanieHummel from United States

    This podcast is awesome! It was recommended to me a few years ago by a very wise and experienced homeschool mom but I didn’t start listening until I saw it come up a few more times on Facebook, recommended in various groups (in particular, episode number 41). I wish I had picked it up years ago! So much great information, I’m learning so much! Be careful though, I was so interested listening to this podcast that I didn’t notice how low my gas tank was getting! I ran out of gas and as I write this review I’m stranded on the side of the road waiting for a friend to come rescue me! Happy listening!

  • Knowledge Goldmine
    by A.J. Edwards from United States

    I’ve just been eating up every episode of this brilliant podcast over the past few months. The guests are stellar and Pam’s interview style is wonderful. She gets each guest to the meat and potatoes of their topic but it’s anything but a plain meal. This is a feast for the homeschool mom’s mind. I know I’ll be revisiting many of my favorite episodes again and again. Feeling so inspired by each guest!

  • Myths and fairytale truths for homeschoolers
    by Allierhn from United States

    Mind blown! I’m listening to the myth podcast and it’s absolutely perfect. It is answering so many questions I’ve struggled with my whole life. It helps me to view our curriculum and informs my teaching so much more.

  • Super Helpful!
    by Jennlee C from United States

    I can’t speak highly enough about this podcast. It has been a huge inspiration and a practical help to my homeschool! Thank you so much Pam Barnhill and everyone else who contributes to this. It has been an amazing blessing to me and my children… And possibly generations to come!

  • Practical Inspiration
    by Mamato3activeboys from Australia

    Not only am I inspired by each episode of this podcast but I have actually put so many of the ideas into practice in our own morning time. Such a huge help as I seek to inspire my non-stop boys to truth, goodness and beauty. We are now memorising poetry as they jump on the trampoline and they love Shakespeare. That's a parenting win in my book!

  • So many great ideas!
    by Parent 98765 from Malaysia

    Thank you, Pam! I’m now bursting with inspiration and can’t wait to start our 2019 school year with a strong morning time routine.

  • Joy
    by Ancon76 from United States

    My heart is enriched and I can’t wait to learn more.

  • Just what I was looking for!
    by Joey5176 from United States

    I was looking for morning basket ideas—simple ones. These podcasts are giving me a picture of a good morning basket.

  • Wow!! What amazing nuggets of knowledge
    by HeRo84 from United States

    This is truly life changing information for me as a homeschool mother. Thank you Pam for this amazing series.

  • Love it!
    by s chenvmv from United States

    I love all of Pam’s podcast but this one is prob my favorite. I love to listen to all her guest and see the different ways a morning time can be done

  • Excellent
    by W.A., R.A. Hall from United States

    Love this!

  • Love, love, love this show
    by SarahPMiller from United States

    And I'm not even a homeschooling mother! But I've created a Morning Time for my children nonetheless, and I wouldn't have been inspired to do it -- nor could I have done it -- without this podcast. It's my favorite, and I get something out of every single episode.

  • Wonderful resource!
    by honebubble from United States

    This podcast has changed what I thought I could offer my children, my family and myself... I never would have believed that it would be possible to live a life as so many people actually do. Thank you for these tools and for what you do to help women, teachers, moms and all those on this path. You are amazing and I just can’t get enough, each episode teaches me so much!! Thank you again!

  • A wonderful podcast!
    by NoName2018 from Canada

    Great ideas and interesting guests - thanks Pam!!

  • Insightful, Inspiring, Life-Giving Podcast
    by Mackenziechester from United States

    I love this podcast. It has turned cleaning my kitchen into a really valuable part of my day. There are great tips here for gathering your family together and finding ways to share the things you are passionate about but can never quite find the time to fit in to a typical school day. So many ideas, so many varied topics. Great, inspiring guests. Life-changing podcast. Thanks so much for sharing these ideas!

  • Such great choices of guests
    by andinic from United Kingdom

    This podcast is inspirational for your homeschool plans. Pam Barnhill has a delightful interviewing style and her guests share their insights and enthusiasm for their topics. Among my favourites are the episodes with Cindy Rollins, and Angelina Stanford. Don’t miss this encouraging podcast!

  • Great
    by WifeyKayla from United States

    Some great interviews and very helpful for figuring out the flow of our mornings.

  • Interesting ideas
    by Lisa1932 from Canada

    Just started this podcast. There are some very interesting ideas here on how to create quality time with your children, learning together and focusing on the things that are most important in life. Great hearing other moms' stories too.

  • WARNING: This podcast will revolutionize your homeschool!
    by JoysTeacher from United States

    Honestly, I started listening to this podcast because I had run out of other homeschool podcasts to listen. I really didn't think we needed a morning time! I homeschool one teen daughter and I thought the concept was too "baby" for us. WOW! I was completely wrong!! We needed a morning time, and it has changed the climate and the productivity of our homeschool. The habit was so important to us, we still do morning time when we are one break. (And neither of us is a "morning" person). Pam is an talented interviewer and will not waste your time (her time is precious, too)!

  • Excellent!
    by Jodylleigh from United States

    I'm really enjoying the ideas and tips Pam bring up in this podcast!

  • Truly an inspiration!
    by Soaring2him from United States

    I have started a morning basket just because of listening to this podcast. Pam sold me on the beauty of having a morning basket. I love all of the ideas I've gleaned from listening and I've implemented many of the ideas I have heard about through this podcast. It's really helped simplify some things in our homeschool day!

  • Easy to listen too, incredibly practical
    by HarrisFamily0323 from United States

    I really enjoy Your Morning Basket. Pam is a great host and I have taken away many practical ideas and had many unrealistic expectations corrected. I don't listen to all the episodes, but the ones I've thought were pertinent to my needs and have been able to apply something helpful to our homeschool. Thanks Pam!

  • So helpful for this new homeschooling mom
    by klund08 from United States

    I'm planning our first homeschool year and have really enjoyed this podcast! The interviews are great and I enjoy hearing from different homeschooling moms and how things work in their family. I'm excited to start Morning Time with my kids!

  • You've made my school year!
    by Lizzie O' from United States

    Pam, I wrote you an email when I first felt it placed on my heart to homeschool my now 6 & 8 year old children and you responded with a warm response. I then began to listen to every podcast you have (all 3!) and I have been so very inspired and encouraged in so many ways that it would take up too much time here to explain it all. This Morning Basket podcast is really a light for me and my children as not only are they the recipients of our mornings of gathering but so am I. I have learned so much from your guests (and you!) and have been able to take tips/ideas to add to what my own mornings look like. We truly have experienced Truth, Goodness and Beauty. God certainly has chosen you for this type of work and serving to others. Thank you for what you do!

  • Thanks Pam!
    by BraveMomma from United States

    So many great ideas every single week! Thanks!

  • Truth, goodness, and beauty
    by I'm Sonny from United States

    Need I say more? I am deeply grateful for this profound and practical resource as we seek to surround our children in the truth, in goodness, and in things beautiful. I leave feeling encouraged, refreshed, determined and equipped.

  • Very encouraging
    by .....hk..... from United States

    So helpful with recommendations for new things to do in morning time.

  • A wonderful podcast full of useful tips!
    by Klarnold79 from United States

    I have listened to almost every episode over the last few months on my morning runs and they have made me look forward to running! I have learned so much and have been inspired to add truth, goodness and beauty to our homeschool days. Thank you so much!!

  • Wow! Talk about a solid series!
    by KastenbauerFamily from United States

    Each episode is fabulous alone, and when you've been listening for a while, they all continue to be full of new information!

  • Hope for the weary
    by MomToTheMasses from United States

    I enjoy the variety of topics covered as well as Pam's cheerful personality. Thank you for being a cup of cold water for so many homeschool mamas.

  • Great guests and host
    by My Life as a Rinnagade from United States

    I love the people Pam has on and all the great morning time tips! Thanks for a wonderful show :).

  • Mamma of Five
    by Mamma of Five from United States

    The ideas, information and encouragment that Pam shares through the different guests and talking about the purpose and practice of Your Morning Basket has been a huge blessing to our family. Helped me to practically see how to bring truth, beauty, and goodness to our day.

  • Great Homeschool Resource
    by KS Becky R from United States

    I have just started listening and am gaining so much knowledge and practical advice. I can't wait to keep listening to more.

  • Really great!
    by BeeGerW from United States

    I love hearing all these ideas!

  • californiafamily
    by californiafamily from United States

    I absolutely love Your Morning Basket podcasts. Pam interviews excellent people & so far, I've incorporated information from each podcast & have purchased many items that the interviewee's suggest. I think all families could benefit from this even if they don't homeschool! Thank you so much!

  • Love Pam's podcasts
    by Flourishing Mama from United States

    There are many homeschool related podcasts that I enjoy, both for their content and the host. But I must say that Pam Barnhill's podcasts are top-notch for the following reasons: 1) the content is both relevant AND in-depth, 2) she NEVER interrupts the guest speakers with incessant (annoying) "uh huhs," "ummms," and such, 3) she provides multiple lists and links to supplemental materials that are really useful and interesting, and 4) she shares forms she's created even though she could make you pay for them. She has a gift for tapping in to the issues homeschool moms are REALLY dealing with. Thanks Pam. Keep up the good work!

  • First Things First
    by Lukenoah from United States

    Every episode inspires me to start my day bringing my children the true the good and the beautiful through our family time.

  • So helpful!
    by jofcrich from Australia

    Every time I see that I have a new podcast from Pam Barnhill I know it's going to be good. Every one I have listened to (which is all of them!) have helped, inspired and encouraged me in some way or another. Pam is so good at summarising what her interviewee has just spoken about; a great knack which helps me distill the main ideas from all that good conversation. I really like that she always has links to whatever is discussed so that I can go back to it in the future and find what I need.

  • Great resource
    by Ejs0928 from United States

    Such a help for a new homeschooler. Highly recommend that you check it out if you'd like to learn more about starting your day with morning time.

  • Amazing!
    by CDefnall from United States

    This podcast is filled with great information to help you take full advantage of morning time or all together time in your homeschool. It also has great tips for extending your child education whether they are in public or private school as well. We all want to aid our kids in thier success and no matter if you are a homeschool parent or a public/private school teacher this podcast will enlighten you and provide valuable information you to to better help your students.

  • Inspiring and enlightening
    by spycej from United States

    One of my favorite podcasts and I love and subscribe to all of Pam's podcasts. Thank you for the fabulous interviews.

  • Must-Listen for Homeschooling Moms
    by DaffodilSocks from United States

    This podcast has revolutionized how I homeschool my young children. A must-listen.

  • One of my favorites
    by FaithAZ from United States

    Love Pam and all of her podcasts - can't wait for new episodes!

  • Great Ideas
    by Hiphooray from United States

    Just found this podcast and have been listening to them over the summer break. Pam is a great host and has fun guests and together they bring a lot of inspiration to the concept of morning time in homeschool. Thanks for the great resource!!

  • TaraVos
    by TaraVos from United States

    I would not be exaggerating if I said that I have learned so much from this practical, encouraging podcast that has changed our homeschool. Thank you Pam!

  • Lots of useful information
    by Kristizy from United States

    This podcast does a great job finding guests who give a ton of practical help to make morning time enjoyable and educational for everyone. I always feel reenergized after listening to any of Pam Barnhill's podcasts.

  • by Momo35556 from United States

    I love this podcast! So helpful and encouraging.

  • Lovely & Inspiring
    by kashley75 from United States

    Thank you so much for this podcast!

  • Such a wealth of information!
    by Jeaine6 from United States

    There is so much wonderful information to be found in these podcasts. I can go about my daily chores and fill my homeschool mom cup simultaneously! They allow me to look at areas of our hs that need improvement or just need new life and feel encouraged while I'm listening. Thank you!!

  • Encouraging & inspiring
    by God's Ranch Hand from United States

    So thankful for this podcast! I look forward to listening to each episode when it comes out.

  • Homeschool Professional Development!
    by Jo.W.17 from Canada

    As a new-ish homeschooling mama, I've found this podcast super encouraging and helpful. I would highly recommend it!

  • So Helpful!
    by KGMom2Four from United States

    I love the practical application that comes from this podcast! Thanks!

  • A Lovely Show!
    by Webseitler from United States

    This podcast has become my most favorite podcast on the subject of homeschooling. The topics discussed often go right to the heart of why I'm doing what I'm doing in our home--and God has really used the great advice shared in this show to help me be a more confident (and calmer!) teacher. Thank you, Pam, for creating such a great program! Already looking forward to next season.

  • Awesome homeschooling resource!
    by Liddleladie81 from United States

    This podcast has absolutely changed my perspective on homeschooling, in a great way! All of the guests have been wonderful and I leave each episode feeling both sad that it is already over, and encouraged and excited to figure out how I can use what I’ve learned! It has a great flow to it, very light but meaningful, informative, encouraging….I could go on and on! Absolutely LOVE this podcast! Thanks to all involved!

  • Great hosts!
    by Homeschool_chat from United States

    I always look forward to this podcast!

  • Practical, helpful & concise tips
    by sproutnchic from United States

    This podcast continues to help. I appreciate the Pam Barnhill's professional, organized, yet warm interviewing style of some well-picked guests.

  • So refreshing and helpful
    by a. borealis from United States

    I've really appreciated the depth and breadth of Pam's look into Morning Time and also the practical ideas and tools to make it work. It is so inspiring! It helps me think through my own Circle Time, realizing what an opporunity I have. There are so many great ideas for additions and tweaking my approach. I am loving it.

  • Awesome!
    by Apples20091 from United States

    This podcast has been so helpful and packed full of practical ideas to use with my children!! Some of the episodes I have listened to more than once!!

  • Encouraging and Motivating!
    by Cat11223 from United States

    Pam makes this morning time concept so attainable! She gives great ideas but simple ways to begin. These tips and recommendations reach far beyond just morning time and are benefiting our entire homeschool and family life!

  • So many ideas!
    by Speterson781 from United States

    This podcast is full of amazing ideas to grab my kids attention first thing in the morning. I love listening to Pam and her guests. Pam asks such great questions of her guests!

  • A Favorite for Homeschool Encouragement!
    by JamesDWitmer from United States

    I have been so encouraged by Pam's podcasts on Morning Time. She walks you through many of the wonderful activities that you can choose to include in your homeschooling, and also the details about how to do it! It has truly been a blessing. Thanks Pam!

  • Perfect for the Homeschool Mom
    by JoshJamie from United States

    I just stumbled upon the "Your Morning Basket" podcast this weekend. I have already listened to 2 episodes, and they are wonderful - perfect for the homeschool mom. I am going to share this on my Periscope channel tomorrow. So great!! Jamie @OurLittleSchoolhouse.

  • SongsofJubilee
    by SongsofJubilee from United States

    I love the idea of a morning basket, and this podcast has helped me learn a lot about the different ways it can look! I love all the different subjects she discusses within it!

  • Love it!
    by Ekrasovec7 from United States

    This podcast has been such a blessing to me! Informational and insightful, it opens a window into how other families incorporate morning time into their day, as well as what they fill it with. This has completely changed the rhythm and content of our days for the better. Our whole family has fallen in love with morning time! Thank you!!

  • So encouraging!
    by A Merry Heart from United States

    I absolutely love this podcast! It has been so encouraging as I begin to implement Morning Time with my 5 girls. I have listened to them all & can't wait for more!

  • This podcast has changed our homeschool
    by Momof4athome from United States

    Pam has relieved some of the pressure to "get it all in". We now begin our day with the good true and beautiful in an almost effortless way and are all enjoying our time together before the "serious" subjects! Yay for the morning basket! Her guests are all lovely people you would want to have over for tea. I love this podcast.

  • Refreshing
    by Bless-Us-3 from Canada

    I am loving this podcast. I just stumbled across it after hearing the recommendation over at Read Aloud Revival. I have been wanting to start 'Morning Time' for a year now so this is giving me direction and so many wonderful and helpful tips and suggestions. I love Pam's enthusiasm and personality.

  • So helpful and inspiring!
    by KSR1 from United States

    I was lucky enough to find YMB and Pam’s other podcast, Homeschool Snapshots, when I started my first year of homeschool this year. These 2 podcasts have been SO helpful to me with getting ideas for morning time and the rest of our homeschool day. I am very grateful for the excellent work Pam has done on both of these podcasts, and I hope they continue for many more years!

  • Inspiring
    by Jaranda98 from United States

    This podcast was inspiring and encouraging. It was a good blend of practical and theoretical and exactly what this tired homeschool mom needed to hear today to rejuvenate.

  • An inspiring and encouraging podcast
    by Kellibird1111 from United States

    Very well done! I really enjoyed listening! Very practical and informative.

  • Honey for the Homeschooling Heart
    by SuperNOVAmom from United States

    Pam lays out a feast of homeschooling topics that are relevant, helpful, and validating. The show is well organized and her interviews are clearly well thought out. In addition, Ms. Barnhill's relaxed and warm personality puts one at ease. It's like going to your favorite homeschool conference without leaving home!

  • I love this podcast, great content!
    by Sara V from United States

    These podcasts helped transform our homeschooling!

  • Great parenting resource
    by sullivanjessicak from United States

    I absolutely love this podcast. The show is well organized with great guests and helpful information.

  • Thank you!
    by Nasiatel from United States

    I'm so happy that I found your podcast, it has truly blessed our homeschool life!

  • Wonderful help in my homeschool
    by BT and Jessica from United States

    This is a great resource for all homeschoolers (and I would say any educator). I am challenged to make sure I am giving my children truth, beauty and virtue through the morning ritual of our morning time. I’ve learned of new books to share with my children, how to incorporate fine arts, good habits for our day… I could go on and on. Pam asks great questions and has wonderful guests.

  • Top Notch
    by Wvshaddox from United States

    Excellent inspiration and tips for homeschoolers! I have learned so much from this podcast.

  • Great Morning Time tips!
    by redhedcatie from United States

    I have gotten SO many practical tips from this podcast! A must listen for homeschoolers!

  • So Inspiring!
    by Frau Linds from United States

    Another home-run podcast! Pam has a knack for inspiring great things in your homeschool! And the wonderful thing is she doesn't leave you with the "lofty ideal," but offers practical tips, aids, etc. all while encouraging you the whole way. Each interview is professionally done and such a joy to listen to! Thanks, Pam, for putting your heart into this! 🙂

  • Wonderful!
    by Kellybireta from United States

    Like having a cup of coffee with a friend. So helpful and informative.

  • Excellent practical advise!
    by Foxycook from United States

    Really enjoying this so far!

  • Very encouraging!
    by WMGardener from United States

    This was been a great podcast about Morning Time! How encouraging and informative to hear from other homeschool moms who are in the midst of it all!

  • A great resource!
    by gejake from United States

    Very inspiring and informative as I begin my homeschooling journey

  • Love This Podcast
    by Earthmuffins from United States

    I have finally had opportunity to listen to this podcast and regret not doing it sooner!!! Very informative and encouraging.

  • Full of Goodness, Truth and Beauty
    by CJMance from United States

    This is such an inspiration to get the beautiful ritual of morning time established. Thank you Pam!

  • Great Podcast!
    by Greggtrisha from United States

    I'm so excited about this podcast! My kids range from ages 4 - 11, and I've been needing to reduce my workload a bit. I'm using the fantastic things I'm learning here to combine all my kids together for read-alouds, Bible time, memorization, and some other fun things. Thanks so much, Pam! I love your other podcast as well!

  • Treasure
    by TasmanianBec from Australia

    I am so glad I found this podcast. Morning Basket / Circle Time / Morning Time - lots of interviews with families who make this part of their day a treasure for years to come. Just getting started homeschooling, and this is going to help shape our days. Thanks Pam.

  • Jeannie in Ohio
    by Jeannie in Ohio from United States

    Loving learning about how so many families are using Morning Time in their homes!

  • Wonderful ideas for creating your best morning time.
    by Flowerpetal2 from Australia

    The ideas presented here are wonderful, it's great to hear how different families put together their morning time and how we can all make this a rich but simple time of beauty in our schooling days.

  • Excellent Host
    by meghanlou from United States

    Pam Barnhill is a truly excellent host and producer of podcasts. They are a pleasure to listen to, full of applicable and inspirational content. Unlike other podcasts in this genre, which are produced at home, Pam's podcasts never make me cringe because of awkward pauses or bad sound quality. Another of Pam's strengths is her ability to reflectively listen and summarize what she's heard from her guests in a way that wraps up the different segments of her interviews. Well done, Pam!

  • Helpful and fun!
    by HornGal88 from United States

    We’re just starting out with morning time and this podcast has been an invaluable source of inspiration and ideas. Keep up the good work!

  • LOVE IT!
    by sassercj from United States

    I’m always counting down the days until the next podcast…one of the best homeschooling podcasts out there!

  • Among the Best I’ve Heard
    by More Like Mary from United States

    I’m a bit of a podcast junkie so when I say that this is among the best, that’s really a compliment! Pam is an excellent interviewer. She re-states main ideas and summarizes information in a way that is helpful and not condescending. She asked poignant questions and stays on topic. Her guests are phenomenal and I’ve learned so much from each episode. So far, this podcast is “big picture” homeschooling talk with lots of tips for implementing lofty ideals into daily life. The perfect combination. I will be looking forward to many more of these!

  • Gave me the tools I needed!
    by Momofmany:) from United States

    This podcast is amazing. (I am spoiled now; the quality alone is superb!) I have listened to the four current episodes several times and now understand "morning time" in a way I never have before-- in particular, the schole part. I've longed for restful learning for ten years, and now I have tools to actually do it. Our whole family has benefitted so much. Thank you, Pam!!

  • What’s important
    by sncstraub from United States

    Pam Barnhill’s new podcast on Morning Time is a great help to those of us who are homeschooling. I’ve only listened to the first episode so far, but it’s wonderfully encouraging to hear Cindy Rollins’ talking through her own experiences with Morning Time. I’m looking forward to listening to more episodes with others who are focusing their schools on the important things - the true, good, and beautiful.

  • New listener and hooked!
    by Bytesofmemory from United States

    I just started listening to the first podcast this morning and I am completely hooked on this podcast. I took the advice in the first podcast and just started with morning time. Instead of trying to “give birth to an adult” morning time I just started doing something and will add things in as this becomes a habit. Thanks for the wonderful tool!! I am now off to listen to episode 2!!

  • Great!
    by Wvshaddox from United States

    Encouragement for homeschool.

  • A Gift to the Homeschool Community
    by HGPII from United States

    This podcast is so well done, informative, and just what the homeschooling moms needs. It includes achievable, sound suggestions as well as an abundant dose of inspiration. I can’t wait to revamp my Morning Time and watch the results!

  • Encouraging and informative!
    by sarahdempsen from United States

    I have enjoyed Your Morning Basket from its first episode! I am a second generation homeschooler and just started our own family's homeschooling journey. Thanks to YMB, I implemented our "circle time" starting our second week of school and it has been such a blessing to me already even its very simple form of prayer, Psalm, Mother Goose, and then read-aloud time with my kindergartner. My 2 and 4 year olds also love it and it encourages me to include things in our day that might get left out, like nursery rhymes and simple children's songs! Thanks to Pam and YMB I feel like I am starting out with a great centering tool and routine that can be expanded and adapted as we grow!

  • A great resource!
    by Bookgirl630 from United States

    Your Morning Basket Podcast is a great resource for to help implement morning time into your homeschool day. I have enjoyed every episode so far.

  • Thank you for wonderful bonus at the end!
    by Caj312 from United States

    I just discovered this show and listened to the first 4 episodes. All were inspiring and I loved the useful links at the end of the show that help me improve my homeschool days! Well done and I look forward to the next episode.

  • One of my VERY favorites
    by Dianna @ The Kennedy Adventure from United States

    I’m a bit of a podcast junkie, but YMB ranks among my very, very favorites. If you’re a homeschooling mother, or a mom who wants to connect with your children and show them truth, goodness and beauty, this is a must listen. Kudos, Pam, on a another amazing podcast series.

  • Timely
    by AggieRudy3 from United States

    I’ve been trying to figure out morning time on my own, but Pam with this podcast has figuratively sat down with me and explained how to get things going. I’m so glad to have this resource at the beginning of my family's homeschool journey! The Basket Bonuses have also been so helpful.

  • Thanks!
    by heyh2 from United States

    Thanks for the new podcast. Loving it!

  • Wonderful podcast with practical advice
    by Victorzvaliant from United States

    Thank you Pam for a great podcast, I am really enjoying it. I always come away inspired and with ideas I can use!

  • Changed our Homeschool Morning routine
    by HeatherinSC from United States

    I have been listening to the Your Morning Basket podcasts recently and Pam's blog writings about creating morning time traditions with your children and I feel like it has made a huge positive difference in our homeschool. I love Pam's ideas for creating a restful learning environment and focusing on truth, goodness, and beauty as we begin our day together. I listen to these podcasts over and over and take notes!

  • Excellent for homeschooling veterans and newbies
    by ASnow512 from United States

    I'm very new to homeschooling and I'm still deciding if our family will pursue that path. This podcast has been such a wealth of information and a wonderful encouragement!

  • Inspiring and Uplifting
    by vabjohnson from United States

    I was immediately inspired to create a more cohesive structure to our homeschool mornings. This podcast is full of helpful suggestions to make morning time meaninful for every type of homeschooling family. I've already implemented many of the wonderful suggestions and I can already see the benefits! An absoulte must for the homeschooling family!

  • Bringing Joy
    by Louisiana Mommy T from United States

    What an amazing podcast! This podcast has wonderful suggestions for bringing joy to (or back to) your homeschool. Everything is doable and enjoyable for the children and parents alike. Keep up the wonderful work!

  • Great podcast!
    by corew50 from United States

    This is our first year of homeschooling and I am really enjoying the concept of morning time. It is a sweet way to start our day together and this podcast has been amazing! Enjoyable, super practical, and filled with lots of creative ideas. Thanks for creating it.

  • Inspiring, yet practical
    by mamato3cs from United States

    Pam's Your Morning Basket podcast is one not to be missed! She and her guests inspire and spur me on to do great things in our homeschool, but it's not just adding more to my to-do list. There are practical suggestions for how to make morning time a refreshing and vital part of our day.

  • Super Helpful & Encouraging
    by Sanibel4ever from United States

    I have been homeschooling for a many years. I like that I can count on Pam to make to make it worth my while (and my short amount of time!) for a listen. As always, practical info I can start using right away.

  • Great Poscast
    by Sarah B R from United States

    Love Pam's interviews. I learn much from each poscast!

  • A Joy to Listen to!
    by Cude 🙂 from United States

    I am thoroughly enjoying this new podcast! I love to listen to people who encourage me on my homeschooling journey and I have added Your Morning Basket to my list.

  • JUST what I needed!!!
    by Foodie in Training from United States

    This is our first year homeschooling (Kinder) and this podcast has been INCREDIBLY helpful and a GREAT source of information!!! I cannot wait for more to come!

  • Practical - worth a listen!
    by Bloggerific! from United States

    As a homeschooling mom of 6, my free time is limited. But I always come away with some practical, useful tips from Pam Barnhill. I love to listen if I’m alone in the car (rare these days!).

  • Well done [FIRST NAME]
    by MattMcWilliams from United States

    WOW… Your Morning Basket Podcast is flat out awesome. Good production quality. Easy to listen. Very impressed Pam. Keep bringing it.

  • Inspiring and refreshing!
    by BugTurner from United States

    What a great podcast. At first I was dubious whether you could have an entire podcast series about homeschooling using morning time, but now that I have listened to two of them, I see where Pam is going with this. It is affirming for me in what I am trying to do in our homeschool, and at the same time inspires me in ways to improve and refine our time together as a homeschooling family. I would recommend this to anyone who is looking to simplify their homeschool efforts while simultaneously enriching their family's experience!

  • Brilliant
    by SHTirm from United Kingdom

    I absolutely love it. Ever since I read about morning time, I wanted to know more. This podcast clearly explains what to do and how to do it. Episode with Cindy Rollins was brilliant. It gives you the overall idea of morning time practice, as she is doing it for 27 years. Andrew Pudewa in second episodes shared some insights about memorisation, which really makes so much sense. Pam asks clear questions and then repeats the main points in answer, which is very helpful, especially for new homeschooling mums. Overall this programme has everything one can ask for to get inspired and motivated. Thanks very much for putting so much effort. Well done.

  • Excellent!
    by RC5476 from United States

    I have really appreciated everything Pam Barnhill puts out. I have been introduced to so many great homeschoolers and their resources through The Homeschool Snapshots podcast, and I love that she is digging deeper into a great homeschooling practice on her new show, Morning Basket. It is definitely on my Must Listen list each week!

  • Bring the best you to your homeschool
    by mystiewinckler from United States

    Our Morning Time is the best part of our homeschool, and Pam’s podcast helps us learn how to make it even better and encourages us to pursue the true, good, and beautiful still more. So helpful!

  • Inspiring!
    by Mamato8 from United States

    I've only recently found out about Morning Baskets, after 14 years of homeschooling. What a find! And now to have these podcasts to help guide me along on my new journey! I've been sharing this like crazy, and my morning routine is fabulous now! Thank You!

  • Education to Educate
    by Isaac in St Louis from United States

    I have gained so much from these first two early podcasts. I am grateful to you, Pam. Thank you for offering this as we strive to fulfill our sacred duty and privilege to give our children an education. Please continue. I see such great things coming from this. I rank this up their with Circe’s offerings.

  • Wonderful
    by BGTwinsMom from United States

    When you're on the homeschool "circuit" it's easy to become one of Andrew Pudewa's groupies. So the excitement level for Pam's newest podcast doubled when I opened it on my iPhone and saw Andrew's name. I was remiss in not reviewing her first segment. Pam is a wonderful interviewer and has the ability to make conversation with her guests based on their answers and move seamlessly to her following questions. That is not easy to do. Highly recommend this to parents who Homeschool. Encouraging, motivating, and validating.

  • So Inspiring!
    by bethenyn from United States

    So inspiring! This podcast is what I needed to get our homeschool off to a great start this year. I will not miss an episode.

  • Inspiring and thought provoking!
    by Pascualamb from United States

    I've always thought memory work was so important in my 8 years as a teacher in a high school setting. I often required memorization and was criticized for this requirement. I recently decided to homeschool my children and this podcast was so affirming to me. I am glad to be able to follow my instincts as a teacher and give my kids what they deserve! Thank you for this wonderful podcast that inspired me to make memory work an important part of my homeschool.

  • Affirming & helpful
    by BOLDturquoise from United States

    I knew I would enjoy this podcast but I didn't know that I would LOVE it! As our family has moved more and more towards a simplified homeschool method, this podcast is just the thing to reaffirm our choices and continuously inspire us with new ideas. I can't wait for each new episode!

  • Inspiring
    by Amongst Lovely Things from United States

    This is just the kind of podcast I need to breathe life into my homeschool year. I’m so grateful for this new show, and Pam is a talented host. I won’t miss an episode!

  • Delightful...a Must Listen
    by 1coltsfamily from United States

    While I have heard Cindy Rollins speak about morning time before, I was pleasantly surprised to glean many new nuggets of wisdom that I can incorporate right away into our morning time. I always enjoy listening to Pam and find her questions spot on! The podcast is a wonderful balance of inspiration and practical tips. Can't wait for the next one!

  • Your Morning Basket
    by inakamama from Australia

    So lovely and inspiring! Looking forward to more...

  • Helpful & inspiring!
    by starlingsfive from United States

    A great resource for homeschool moms and so well put-together. Full of useful information, not fluff. Pam has a wonderful conversation style that keeps the show moving at a steady pace. I wish I didn't have to wait so long for the next one!