Spring is in the air along with loads of birds. The kids and I love watching these creatures and listening to them sing. Two recent children’s picture books celebrate birds, and my kids loved both of them.
Let’s Go Hugo
by Angela Dominguez
Hugo is an affable little bird guy who lives in Paris and loves to play in the park. One day he meets a cute yellow feathered friend named Lulu. She happily hangs out with him all day and then wants to go to the Eiffel Tower. The only problem–which Hugo tries to hide at first–is that he’s afraid to fly. If you have a child who’s apprehensive about anything right now, this little picture book just might make him feel better. My kids rooted for Hugo and especially loved his little French mustache.
The Eagles are Back
by Jean Craighead George
This book covers a lot of ground. It opens with a pair of eagles who lost their baby eaglet eggs before they hatched. A little boy watches them in the field every day, and he’s very worried about the endangered American bald eagles. The story kept my kids interested even though it delivers a heady message about our nation’s great bird and protecting its environment. What reeled my readers in was the sweet story about the boy, the park ranger and the dad. The paintings–rich, emotional and timeless–expertly wrap children into this story written by the talented Jean Craighead George, a Newberry Award and Honor winner, who sadly passed away recently.
Love reading? (You must if you’re checking out my blog!) Love your baby? Combine these two joys quickly and easily tonight. In today’s Part One of two stories, I asked the authors of Reading with Babies, Toddlers and Twos three questions about how to get started with your little one.
KK: At what age is it important to start reading?
It’s never too soon to start and never too late to begin. You can show a tiny baby illustrations and contrasting images and read a cheerful rhyme, or prop books by the changing table, or tie them to the stroller. Share a book every chance you get.
KK: By they time they’re toddlers, how many minutes should we be reading to them?
Don’t stress about “how many minutes” you’re reading daily. If the books are around, and you’re seizing opportunities, you’re sharing good book time. There’s no magic number. What’s important is making reading something you both enjoy.
KK: How does starting a healthy reading habit when they’re young help them as they hit elementary and middle schools?
A child who starts reading early is a child who has never known life without books. This child develops a trust in the stories and information and adventures within a book. Expecting pleasure from reading makes so much of school easier. A fluent vocabulary—the kind that comes from sharing a wide variety of books—comes naturally to a reader. Continue reading with your child once she can read to herself. Bring out chapter books and old favorites and keep going as long as she’s listening. You’ll both be glad you did.
About the authors:
KJ Dell’Antonia is the lead writer and editor of the New York Times Motherlode parenting blog. Also as a children’s book reviewer and a mother of four children, she knows which books work best and why. She lives in New Hampshire with her husband and two young children.
Susan Straub founded the READ TO ME program more than 20 years ago, a national workshop encouraging young families to read to their babies that is still thriving. Ms. Straub’s work with READ TO ME has been celebrated on NY1 television and in Oprah’s O magazine. She lives in New York City.
Rachel Payne is the coordinator of early childhood services at the Brooklyn Public Library. She knows why some books are carried around, colored on, taken to meals, and slept with, while others are pushed away after a single
Yesterday was an emotional day watching the graphic footage of The Boston Marathon explosion. Our hearts go out to the victims. So many of us cried while watching our TV sets last night.
If you need something to lighten your mood today, there’s a new comic book out for cat lovers and lovers of cat lovers. The adorable feline cartoon character Simon now has a kitten. Check out the book Simon’s Cat in Kitten Chaos by Simon Tofield and get a look at the funny video below.
Dr. Seuss‘ birthday was Saturday, and last week, my kids celebrated at school for Read Across America. Wacky Wednesday was my personal diggity. My son tried to wear socks on his head, but the logistics baffled him in the end. I won’t even try to describe Crazy Hat Day.
I’ve been meaning to post about it for days–DAYS–but I’m a little behind. My husband just returned from a work trip in London; I endured the drama of an ongoing emergency root canal; and my three kids are taking turns barfing. I’m posting this now because I’m probably next.
I’ll forget about all of this in a week–or five.
But I’ll never forgive myself if I don’t post about the amazing Dr. Seuss. Reader’s Digest just passed along these quippy tweets. What would Dr. Seuss would Tweet if he were still alive (see suggestions below)? Honestly, I don’t think he’d have a Twitter account. He’d be way too busy on Instagram.
My kids–even my little boy–love Victoria Kann‘s Pinkalicious picture books. We were psyched to see the newest release in the series, Emeraldalicious, is out in bookstores now.
In Emeraldalicious, Pinkalicious and her brother Peter discover a garbage dump and a magic wand. The themes are about the environment, transformation and, of course, love. The author–also a mom–knows how to capture my children’s attention with her opinionated and spriteful characters, and her graphic collage of artwork delights them. Every page is filled with beautiful details that reach beyond the text and enhance her words. The predominance of green in her latest book is perfect for spring. And it’s definitely the best color to convey her message about taking care of the earth.
I had the chance to talk to Victoria so she could tell me about her work herself. Always clever and fun, Victoria invites kids to interact with her on Facebook and email. Read all about it below.
KK: Tell me about Emeraldalicious.
VK: Pinkalicious says in Emeraldalicious, “With a little love, we can make the entire world Emeraldalicious.” When you read the book with kids, ask them what they would like to create if they could transform a garbage dump into a garden and could make anything happen. Look at the illustrations and pick out objects that are now obsolete. Ask them what are some greenerrific things that they can do to make the world Emeraldalicious. Post your answers on my Pinkalicious Facebook page or email them to me, and I will share them. We can inspire each other to transform the world into an Emeraldalicious garden! THANKS!
KK: What inspired the sparkly new name? VK: Emeralds are beautiful and sparkly and have great value, just like our earth. If we take care of our planet and protect nature, our earth will sparkle like an Emerald. It’s the same as going ‘green’ but a lot more fun! In the book, Emeraldalicious, Pinkalicious makes a wand using an unusual flower that she finds. The wand is magical and when Pinkalicious makes up a rhyme using the word ‘love’ she is able to turn the garbage dump into a beautiful, Emeraldalicious garden.
KK: What inspired you to write Emeraldalicious? VK: KIDS! When I went on book signings many kids asked me to do a book about the environment and going green. Growing up as a kid in NYC there was a city garbage dump under the Brooklyn Bridge. It had old street signs, school desks and other various treasures. I always thought, wouldn’t it be great if it was a playground instead of a garbage dump? What if there was a merry-go-round here instead of all this trash? Someone else had the same thought because many years later the area is now called Dumbo (Down Under The Brooklyn Bridge), and there is a carousel! It really happened!!! In Emeraldalicious, I wanted to show how with a little imagination and a lot of love, something as smelly as a garbage dump could be transformed. Emeraldalicious is a story about using your imagination to create something new. If we can imagine it, we can create it. Perhaps not as quickly as Pinkalicious and Peter did in the book, but it can happen. All great things, from our national parks to the light bulb began as unique ideas.
KK: How is it the same and different as the Pinkalicious adventures in the other books? VK: Each picture book I do is different from the others. Pinkalicious and Peter are always the main characters, but each book has a different adventure and highlights a different color, either conceptually or literally. They all have messages that children can relate to. After eating too many pink cupcakes and turning pink, Pinkalicious says, “I was me, and I was beautiful”. That is an important lesson for kids. Purplicious is about having courage and standing up for what you believe in. Goldilicious is about using your imagination. In Silverlicious, Pinkalicious loses her sweet tooth and learns that sweetness comes from the inside. And Emeraldalicious is about the power of transformation and taking care of the environment. And all my Early Readers are the continuing adventures of Pinkalicious based on the concepts from the picture books. Fun things happen to Pinkalicious in the Early Readers from building a fairy house to bringing Goldie to school.
Thanks, Victoria! You have earned your spot as a New York Times #1 bestselling author and artist. Emeraldalicious is sure to be a big hit.