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Monday, June 17, 2013

Storybooks Can Teach School Readiness Skills!

I'm a firm believer that kids learn best by experiencing the world, which is why Little One and I treat every outing (from museums to gardens to shopping at Sam's Club) like an adventure worth great excitement and discussion.   And while I certainly don't read to my LO every day because I hope that she will read by age 3 and graduate from medical school when she's 15 (trust me, there's some genius out there who has done that!)..... I do value the future academic skills that a love for reading will hopefully foster in LO!

Here are a couple of particularly well-done books that LO adores for their humor and fun readability, and that I adore for the clever way that they teach important early-learning skills.

Big, Bigger, Biggest! by

Up, Tall and High by

Up, Tall and High

This book is really three silly stories in one.  The book is fun to read, with silly birds in silly scenarios, and several lift-the-flap surprises along the way.  It also does a good job of illustrating the differences between concepts that young children often get confused.  The birds go through a variety of scenarios in which they show that they may be up, but they aren't tall....they may not be tall but that doesn't mean they are small.... and what does it mean to be up or down?  Since we started reading this book, I have noticed that LO asks about whether we are up or down, and if things are tall or small.  The framework of the story has clearly taught her to ponder these concepts....all in a silly story!

Saturday, June 15, 2013

Mother Love

The worst part about our impending move is that my family is not together.  My husband is in one place, my precious Little One is somewhere else, and I am holding down the fort here at home base, tying up loose ends.  In keeping with the theme of my previous post, I am very thankful to all our friends and family who are making this transitional time possible for us.  But I miss my family!  I have never been away from her for this long, and I look forward to her sweet hugs and her silly kisses soon.

Some of my favorite books to read to my sweet LO are about that pure love between a parent and their baby.  LO must pick up on the love that oozes from these stories, because she loves to read them with me.  Here are some of my favorites, for the kinds of love that they demonstrate so well:


All of Baby, Nose to Toes by

Pouch! by

Supportive love:  The mother love in this story is not front and center, but more behind the scenes.  I include it in this post because it is a reminder to me that one of the things that loving parents must do is to encourage independence and growth.  Joey the baby Kangaroo has a hard time leaving his mother's safe, warm pouch.  He hops further and further away with each attempt (giving the reader an opportunity to practice counting with their audience), but it takes him awhile to feel safe enough that he doesn't have to return.   This book is very fun to read with a child, and LO always giggles when we scream "POOOOOUUUUUUCH!" A great lesson that mother will always be there for support as you become more confident and learn to explore the world.

Little Mist  by , Sarah Fox-DaviesLittle Mist

Inspiring love:  Little Mist is a beautiful baby snow leopard who has never left his mothers lair.  The story is of the mother leopard showing Little Mist his beautiful mountain kingdom, and telling him all the amazing things that he will do, see and become as he grows up.  The book is absolutely gorgeous, and perfect for kids that like animals (especially mommy and baby animals).  LO picked this book up off the floor in the library and wouldn't put it down, so I checked it out without knowing anything about it.  I am so glad that Little Mist found its way to our home!  It is a beautiful and very touching story about a mother's hopes and dreams for her baby.

Meet Me at the Moon by

Meet Me at the Moon

Persistent love: This story is the origin of my Little One's pet name, for Little One and Mama the elephant have a special place in our reading adventures together.  Like "Little Mist" above, this book is perfect for the animal lover, with gorgeous illustrations of beautiful creatures.  Unlike "Little Mist," Mama must leave LO in this tale, making it especially poignant for me right now while I am separated from my own LO.  I love this book because it teaches that parents come back, and that they love their babies from afar.  Mama tells LO, "You are in my most secret heart."  I say to my baby:  Mommy's always come back!  I will see you soon, and I love you so much!!

Friday, June 14, 2013

Being Thankful

My break from writing here has certainly not been due to a lack of great reading adventures, but more due to the addition of new adventures in the real world.  While my sweet Little One and I have continued to read great books for the last three months, we have also been consumed with preparations to leave our home and to explore another.  Our real life "moving adventure" will be a mix of the excitement of a new place and a return to the familiar, since we will be closer to family and our hometown.

Every move is challenging, and this one is particularly bittersweet.  This place was my first great adventure with my husband - we lived, learned and loved here for eight years.  We have wonderful friends here..... we bought and cared for our first home together here.  Most bittersweet of all, our LO first explored the world here, and it is hard to drive down a street without remembering something cute that she said or did in that place.

But for all the sadness surrounding this move, there are still many things to be thankful for.  I am thankful for the opportunities that my family had here, and I am thankful for the opportunities that have and will present themselves in our new home.  I am thankful for the great friends that we have made, and thankful for the opportunity to keep in touch with many of them through this blog.  And I am thankful for a curious and adventurous LO, who I know will grow and flourish anywhere that we go.

Here are some books that I have shared with LO about being thankful.  What a great life lesson and habit to teach every adventurous mind!

Gracias/Thanks by

The perfect book about thankfulness for my Texan baby!  The bilingual storyteller shares his thoughtful sentiments in both English and Spanish.  He expresses thankfulness for the mundane and the profound, with humor and insight.  His expressions of gratitude are a great reminder for adults to see the world through a child's eyes....and they are great examples for children, to show them what thankfulness means.  If you are not comfortable reading in Spanish, you can certainly enjoy the book by reading English only.  As someone who studied Spanish for a long time, I enjoy reading both languages - it stretches my mind to enunciate and pronounce correctly, as well as refreshing my memory of vocabulary and grammar (in fact, this excellent book has made me seek other bilingual story books to read aloud so that I can continue to practice!)

The Thankful Book by

The Thankful Book

This book became a part of our permanent collection last year for Thanksgiving, and it is has become a year-round favorite.  Reading this book before bed has become a great point for which LO and I talk about the things in her life that she is thankful for.  While it still takes a lot of prompting from me at this point, I think that she is slowly putting together the concept of how she should feel thankful for the things that she loves, the people who love her, and the wonderful life that she has.  I am thankful for this book, because it has provided a colorful and poetic way to teach thankfulness to my young child!