My Review On “Busy Toddler’s Guide To Actual Parenting”

I recently bought the book Busy Toddler’s Guide To Actual Parenting and want to share my honest review with you. If you’re thinking about purchasing her Playing Preschool guide, you can see my review here.

Please keep in mind that this review is not sponsored or endorsed in any way, these are all my own thoughts and opinions. 

Overall: This is a great parenting book! I feel like Suzy and I are old friends in another life, we are so similar! So that did sway my opinion in ways. However, I loved that she began the book with a preface that she didn’t really like parenting books, so she wrote one of her own! And did it beautifully by the way. The overall feel of her book is that parenting is hard and comes with a lot of challenges, but these challenges are manageable and she has tips to share to get us all through them. 

Things that particularly stood out to me:

*The pictures she includes of her family and kids, which make the whole book feel more relatable. It’s not as much a “preachy” book full of “I-know-more-than-you” type of wording, it’s full of her real-life experiences and how she managed as a mom. 

*She advertises it as an “activity” book as well because she includes 50+ activities to do with kids. I was worried this wouldn’t be applicable or helpful for me because I could just follow her Instagram account. Or I didn’t want to read one big list of activities and be overwhelmed by different things to do with my kids, making it not actually helpful. 

However, this wasn’t the case! They are strategically placed throughout the book where they made sense and lined out exactly what you need, how to do it, and even a picture to show the setup! For example, after a whole chapter on taby’s (not quite a baby anymore, not quite a toddler yet), she finished the chapter with a section of taby activities. 

They aren’t activities you will be doing right at that moment, obviously. But it does make it easier to flip through quickly and pull up an activity to do with your kids, and they are especially easy to find since there are pictures of where the activities are! 

*There is a whole chapter on tantrums that completely changed the dynamic of our home. It was so good! 

*A lot of her ideas were just little steps to get you through parenting. There wasn’t anything huge you needed to understand or accomplish, she just teaches simple ideas like, “teach your child to use a code word when they are struggling to avoid tantrums.” 

As far as cons go, I honestly could not find any. It is organized well, the activities are doable as a parent, and the whole book feels very relatable. The only minuscule thing I might be able to think of is that it’s very directed at parenting young kids, and won’t help as in-depth with parenting pre-teens/teenagers. However, it does really niche down the book to make it very applicable instead of having a broader perspective. 

Susie Allison wrote a great book, one I would recommend to any parent in the early stages of parenting. I have gifted this book to many friends that all agree, it is a great parenting book! 

If you’ve read it, what do you think about it? 

Picture Books For Kwanzaa

This is part of a series on writing booklists about holidays beyond Christmas. To read more about it, you can see it here.

Kwanzaa has officially started! Kwanzaa is from December 26th- January 1st. Here are some of the picture books I was drawn to that you can read during the holiday and can teach you and your students more about it! 

The Seven Days Of Kwanzaa is a spin-off of the popular 12 Day of Christmas but adapted for Kwanzaa. The rhyming keeps listeners engaged!

Kevin’s Kwanzaa I was instantly drawn to this book because of the bright pictures! A cute book following the Kwanzaa celebration of Kevin’s family. 

Li’l Rabbit’s Kwanzaa A book about a cute little rabbit family celebrating Kwanzaa. 

Seven Spools of Thread: A Kwanzaa Story is a fun story about a family using the seven principles of Kwanzaa to come together. 

What other books do you like to read to your students regarding Kwanzaa!? 

Picture Books For Winter Solstice

This is part of a series on writing booklists about holidays beyond Christmas. To read more about it, you can see it here.

Winter Solstice! The day is known by many as the shortest day of the year but celebrated by the Pagan religion. Here are my favorite picture books to celebrate the day. 

Wintercake: A cute story about a bear teaching why holiday traditions are important. 

This cute YouTube story about the winter solstice and the tradition this small family has 

A Solstice Tree for Jenny: A book about Jenny, who’s family doesn’t celebrate Christmas, so they adopt the celebration of Winter Solstice instead. It’s great for including many different winter celebrations beyond Christmas! 

The First Day of Winter: This book doesn’t explicitly teach Winter Solstice, but it’s a fun, catchy book that can be the lead for great conversations about what the first day of winter is. 

Snow Party: Such a fun book to visualize snowmen coming together to party on a snowy night! 

Winter solstice is such a fun holiday that deserves representation in picture books too! What are some of your favorite picture books to read for Winter Solstice? 

Picture Books For Chinese New Year

This is part of a series on writing booklists about holidays beyond Christmas. To read more about it, you can see it here.

Chinese New Year (Lunar New Year) is still a few months away, but that doesn’t mean it shouldn’t be added to our list of holiday picture books! These books were fun to look up and discover new titles. The Chinese culture has so much to offer and learn about, so let’s dive into my top favorites!

The Runaway Wok

Ruby’s Chinese New Year

A New Year’s Reunion

Look! What Do You See?

Goldy Luck and the Three Pandas

What books are you reading for Chinese New Year? 

Picture Books For Los Posadas

This is part of a series on writing booklists about holidays beyond Christmas. To read more about it, you can see it here.

Happy first day of Los Posadas! This holiday celebrates the journey Mary and Joseph made to give birth to the baby Jesus, celebrated in Mexico and parts of the United States. Here are some fun picture books to read during this holiday! 

Uno, Dos, Tres, Posada! This book is fun because it incorporates Spanish and English and teaches someone who is not familiar with Los Posadas what the holiday entails. 

A Pinata in a Pine Tree: A Latino Twelve Days of Christmas A cute spin on the Twelve Days of Christmas from a Latino perspective celebrating Los Posadas. 

The Legend of the Poinsettia This book is longer, but a great one for learning about poinsettias and why they are significant to Los Posadas. 

Nine Days to Christmas: I really love the simplicity of the illustrations in this book. It’s another great one to learn more about Los Posadas! 

What are some of your favorite Los Posadas picture books to read?

Cover photo from tuscon.com

Hanukkah Picture Books

This is part of a series on writing booklists about holidays beyond Christmas. To read more about it, you can see it here.

Happy Hanukkah! Hanukkah started yesterday, December 10th, so let’s celebrate with a list of picture books to read during this festive time! 

Hanukkah Bear- A book about Hanukkah, delicious food, and a fun bear! Such a cute read. 

Latke, The Lucky Dog– A mischievous dog that goes through the day of Hanukkah with his new family. 

The Story of Hanukkah- This one gives a good background on where Hanukkah came from and why we celebrate it. A fun history book with beautiful illustrations! 

How Do Dinosaurs Say Happy Chanukah?- A fun, familiar series of books with a Hanukkah version. This book gives the non-examples of how to act on Hanukkah for kids but then finishes by showing a great example of what to do, by taking turns and being respectful. 

Meet the Latkes- I love that this book starts with some history behind the holiday before it begins. Such a fun book! This read aloud was one of my favorites I’ve watched so far, so check out this video by Mrs. Lemansky. 

What are some of your favorite Hanukkah read alouds? 

A Picture Book List For Diwali

This is part of a series on writing booklists about holidays beyond Christmas. To read more about it, you can see it here.

Welcome to our list of favorite Diwali books! This holiday was a favorite of mine to research because of the colors involved with Diwali, making the illustrations in every book so fun! Here are my top four:

Festival of Colors by Kabir and Surishtha Sehgal

I love how this book is simple and on a child’s level, while still incorporating the Diwali jargon and vocabulary. It is also very inclusive of multiple races, showing that Diwali can be enjoyed by many! 

Lots of LIghts: A Story About Diwali by Kavita Sahai

This one is fun because elephants are the main characters that walk kids through what Diwali is, again, on their level. 

Rani Saves Diwali by Anita Badhwar

A princess saving Diwali! Such a fun book with cute illustrations. 

Binny’s Diwali by Thrity Umrigar

Binny is trying to tell her class about her favorite holiday, Diwali. And her peers love it!


What other Diwali books do you love reading to your class? How do you observe Diwali in your classroom or school?