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Reading with my children is one of motherhood's greatest joys. Whether we're snuggled up getting lost in a bedtime story or just reading road signs on the way to school, watching my children acquire and exercise the gift of literacy is a thrill. With all of life's distractions, I'm happy they can find that quiet place in their hearts and minds to contemplate a narrative other than their own.

My nightstand is always ambitiously stacked with my next reads and I'm proud to say both my boys have their own libraries of must-reads. We were recently introduced to the delightful animal tales of children’s author, artist and animal enthusiast Karen B. Winnick. Her latest release, Good Night, Baby Animals, You’ve Had a Busy Day, debuts this week.

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Good Night, Baby Animals, You’ve Had a Busy Day has six original stories that follow the true-to-life antics and adventures of young animals in the wild as they, eat, play, tumble, romp, and explore their natural habitats and meet other animals who share their surroundings:

Whether they're dashing, splashing, munching, or crunching, baby animals are ever-exploring! At home in their natural habitats, baby animals learn about the world that surround them. When the fun is done, it's time for baby animals to go to sleep. After all, every baby animal has to rest.

Full of action, sound effects, and patterned text, each story features the adorable antics and accurate behavior of six wild animal babies: tiger, elephant, giraffe, rhinoceros, panda, and gorilla. This 64-page, beautifully designed story book is perfect for bedtime.

My guys love animal stories and relating themselves to the characters. The illustrations are beautiful and showing my children that even baby animals go to sleep can be a helpful tool! I'm not sure what reading level it is considered but my second-grader can proudly read it to us with ease.

Winnick is also author of Gemina The Crooked-Neck Giraffe and How Lucky Got His Shoe, packed with life lessons from animals with disabilities. They're great books to start a dialogue with your child(ren) about the uniqueness and beauty of being different and overcoming adversity.

Gemina The Crooked-Neck Giraffe stood out from the other giraffes at the Santa Barbara Zoo. She was the famous crooked-neck giraffe. Everyone who saw her wondered if she was all right? Did her neck hurt? As months passed, Gemina's neck leaned more and more to the side but it never seemed to bother her. Gemina didn't let her difference stop her from doing anything the other giraffes did. Told with affection and illustrated with oil paintings, this is Gemina's story, a celebration of the life of a very special giraffe. ALL proceeds from the sales of this book were generously donated by the author and go directly to support the animals at the Santa Barbara Zoo. 

How Lucky Got His ShoeWhen a Humboldt penguin was born at the Santa Barbara Zoo, zookeepers saw that the baby was having difficulty walking. They worried his foot was not growing properly. Teva, a local shoe company, was asked to make him a shoe. If a big elephant with a foot problem could wear one, so could a small penguin. This is the true story, told with affection and illustrated with oil paintings, of how Lucky got his shoe, his name and his ability to walk and swim like all the other penguins.  

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