Kid Lit Author and Advocate

Category Archives: dads

Wow! That’s all I can say about the wonderful authors who donated books to MARCHing Books to Kids of incarcerated parents book drive. I dropped off another huge collection today, and I was able to spend time in the VNS library. It was great to see all of the books on the shelves, but the best part was seeing all of your books. I was able to “Drop Everything And Read” a few days late, and I read many of your awesome books for the first time! You authors are as talented as you are generous. It was a pleasure to read the books you’ve created. The VNS staff members are very appreciative of the outpouring of donations from authors in 12 US states, and 3 additional countries. I’ll have the final book count very soon, but I can tell you the sentiment outweighs that total by loads and loads. Tabby, the program coordinator, mentioned how touched the inmates have been by the kind gesture from so many people who do not even reside in our community. Thanks to you, it will be a very special Mother’s Day for these ladies. Many of the MARCHing Books to Kids donations are being distributed in May. I am so happy to have been a small part in the work the VNS is doing to serve these families. Thank you so much for your generosity!

UPDATE-We received over 312 books and 450 Sesame Street Books/DVD Kits (Little Children, Big Challenges: Incarceration)

Here’s a shot of VNS staff members proudly displaying some of the donations.

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Here’s a shot of the VNS library. Every month 60-80 books are sent to children of incarcerated parents (along with an audio recording of the parent reading the book to his/her child). They serve children birth-17 years of age.

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Here’s what I imagine the VNS staff and volunteers do every morning. They are awesome!

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It’s never too late to donate. Learn more about the VNS Storybook Project and how they connect children of incarcerated parents with their children through the magic of books. https://www.facebook.com/PBPiO

You can donate books anytime. Your book donations may be mailed to:

VNS of Iowa, Storybook Project
c/o Tabby Kuehl (MARCHing Books to KIds)
1111 9th Street Suite 320
Des Moines, Iowa 50314

mom jail

If you participated in MARCHing Books to Kids (in any way) or PBPiO, please feel free to post a comment below and include a link to your books or author page or blog.


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UPDATE-Children’s authors are giving BIG!

MARCHing Books to Kids launched just over a week ago, and children’s authors are already making a big impact.  Thanks to all of you who have blogged or re-blogged about the initiative.  And thank you to every person who has donated a book to help a child and an incarcerated parent connect through the power of reading. If you’d like to learn how you can help get books to kids in need visit Picture Book Pass it On (https://www.facebook.com/PBPiO)

The number of kids with incarcerated parents has increased nearly 80% in the last 20 years, according to data from the Bureau of Justice Statistics. More than 2.7 million children have a parent who is incarcerated, and parents of another 10 million children have been incarcerated at some point.  The experience can be profoundly difficult for children, increasing their risk of living in poverty and housing instability, as well as causing emotional trauma, pain, and social stigma. http://www.americanlibrariesmagazine.org/article/reading-inside

But, through programs like the Visiting Nurse Services of Iowa Storybook Project, some of that stress melt away when kids are able to visit their parent and read a special book together. Through an audio-tape reading program wherein imprisoned parents/grandparents read books to their children/grandchildren on tape, family bonds are strengthened and literacy skills improve as they encourage their children to read with them and in their absence.

The Storybook Project recruits, screens and trains volunteers to work with incarcerated parents and/or grandparents at the Iowa Correctional Institute for Women (ICIW) in Mitchellville, Iowa and the Newton Correctional Release Center (CNRC) in Newton, Iowa. Once per month, volunteers work with the mother, grandmother or father. The parent/grandparent and volunteer choose a book from the Storybook library that is appropriate for the child. The parent or grandparent reads the book while the volunteer records the reading onto a digital voice recorder. The book and CD are mailed to the child.

How can you help?  Donate a book.  Visit https://www.facebook.com/PBPiO

The Storybook Project serves children Birth-17 years. They welcome donations of board books, picture books, early readers, graphic novels, chapter books, novels, non-fiction, etc. The sky is the limit!

Throughout the month of March, Picture Book Pass it On is launching a special initiative called “MARCHing Books to Kids”.

We encourage book lovers to donate a favorite children’s book, and we invite children’s authors to donate signed copies of their books to the Visiting Nurse Services of Iowa, Storybook Project.

To participate in MARCHing Books to Kids, please follow the 3 calls to action:

#1 Pledge to donate a new picture book/s to Visiting Nurse Services of Iowa, Storybook Project. Authors are invited to sign their books. Please include a note stating that your book is part of the Picture Book Pass it On/MARCHing Books to Kids initiative. Books may be mailed to:

VNS of Iowa, Storybook Project

c/o Tabby Kuehl

1111 9th Street

Suite 320

Des Moines, Iowa 50314

#2 Post your pledge on our Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/PBPiO. Share it on your blog and on social media. Please include our badge and ‪#‎PBPiO‬, and ‪#‎MARCHingBookstoKids‬

#3 Pass it on. When you post about your pledge, challenge one or more friends to join your #PBPiO giving chain. Encourage them to take the pledge and keep passing it on…

If distance prohibits your ability to mail books to the Storybook Project, please consider donating books to children in need in your own community. Oh, and be sure to share your giving story on our Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/PBPiO We love to see how books are reaching kids all over the globe. So far, we have people “Passing it On” in the US, the UK, Australia, and Greece!

Please feel free to contact me at www.michelleeastmanbooks.com

Thank you for making the difference in the lives of children and families!

Knowing that the future of our country is inextricably linked to our skills in literacy, and you can make a difference immediately.  We have known for as long as we have had written language that literacy is the vehicle for other learning. When children have access to books, we empower them to develop a lifelong love for learning, which strengthens us all. http://www.americanliteracynews.com/reading-fundamentals/americas-literacy-crisis-an-overlooked-epidemic

burn books

PBPiO badge


prison

The number of kids with incarcerated parents has increased nearly 80% in the last 20 years, according to data from the Bureau of Justice Statistics. More than 2.7 million children have a parent who is incarcerated, and parents of another 10 million children have been incarcerated at some point.  The experience can be profoundly difficult for children, increasing their risk of living in poverty and housing instability, as well as causing emotional trauma, pain, and social stigma. http://www.americanlibrariesmagazine.org/article/reading-inside

But, through programs like the Visiting Nurse Services of Iowa Storybook Project, some of that stress melt away when kids are able to visit their parent and read a special book together. Through an audio-tape reading program wherein imprisoned parents/grandparents read books to their children/grandchildren on tape, family bonds are strengthened and literacy skills improve as they encourage their children to read with them and in their absence.

The Storybook Project recruits, screens and trains volunteers to work with incarcerated parents and/or grandparents at the Iowa Correctional Institute for Women (ICIW) in Mitchellville, Iowa and the Newton Correctional Release Center (CNRC) in Newton, Iowa. Once per month, volunteers work with the mother, grandmother or father. The parent/grandparent and volunteer choose a book from the Storybook library that is appropriate for the child. The parent or grandparent reads the book while the volunteer records the reading onto a digital voice recorder. The book and CD are mailed to the child.

How can you help?  Donate a book.  Visit https://www.facebook.com/PBPiO

The Storybook Project serves children Birth-17. They welcome donations of board books, picture books, early readers, graphic novels, chapter books, novels, non-fiction, etc. The sky is the limit!

Throughout the month of March, Picture Book Pass it On is launching a special initiative called “MARCHing Books to Kids”.

We encourage book lovers to donate a favorite children’s book, and we invite children’s authors to donate signed copies of their books to the Visiting Nurse Services of Iowa, Storybook Project.

To participate in MARCHing Books to Kids, please follow the 3 calls to action:

#1 Pledge to donate a new picture book/s to Visiting Nurse Services of Iowa, Storybook Project. Authors are invited to sign their books. Please include a note stating that your book is part of the Picture Book Pass it On/MARCHing Books to Kids initiative. Books may be mailed to:

VNS of Iowa, Storybook Project

c/o Tabby Kuehl

1111 9th Street

Suite 320

Des Moines, Iowa 50314

#2 Post your pledge on our Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/PBPiO. Share it on your blog and on social media. Please include our badge and ‪#‎PBPiO‬, and ‪#‎MARCHingBookstoKids‬

#3 Pass it on. When you post about your pledge, challenge one or more friends to join your #PBPiO giving chain. Encourage them to take the pledge and keep passing it on…

If distance prohibits your ability to mail books to the Storybook Project, please consider donating books to children in need in your own community. Oh, and be sure to share your giving story on our Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/PBPiO We love to see how books are reaching kids all over the globe. So far, we have people “Passing it On” in the US, the UK, Australia, and Greece!

Please feel free to contact me at www.michelleeastmanbooks.com

Thank you for making the difference in the lives of children and families!

Knowing that the future of our country is inextricably linked to our skills in literacy, and you can make a difference immediately.  We have known for as long as we have had written language that literacy is the vehicle for other learning. When children have access to books, we empower them to develop a lifelong love for learning, which strengthens us all. http://www.americanliteracynews.com/reading-fundamentals/americas-literacy-crisis-an-overlooked-epidemic

burn books

PBPiO badge


It’s a little early, but I wanted to reach out to all of the book lovers and authors who’d like to join me to get quality books into the hands of deserving kids.

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Last year, I started the initiative, “MARCHing Books to Kids” to raise awareness and collect books for children of incarcerated parents. I was delighted to have authors and lit lovers from all over the world support this cause. In fact, we collected 348 books from generous people in 11 different states and 4 countries! I hope this year will be just as great! The feedback from the participating families was incredible. They were especially touched that authors signed books for their children. That was a new experience for most of the families.

According to Reading is Fundamental (RIF), Nearly two-thirds of low-income families in the U.S. DO NOT own books.  That is just plain wrong.  But, we can help fix it.

girl wagon

I believe that every child’s Bill of Rights should be indelibly inked with the right to have picture books read to him/her and to own their very own books.  Many of us take for granted the sacred ritual of cracking open a picture book, and cuddling together while the words and pictures collectively take us away.  You can probably recall having been read to by your parents or caregivers.  You likely hold a special picture book, from your childhood, close to your heart.  And, until now, you’ve probably not given much thought to how profound that experience can be.

Imagine, never having that.

I CAN imagine a child, growing up, never knowing the power of a picture book.  I WAS that child.  I DO want to lead the charge to ink “Picture Book” on every child’s Bill of Rights.  I’m a mom, teacher, and children’s author who believes, passionately, that we should never, ever, underestimate the power of a picture book.

fist book

I celebrate the power of the picture book through my Picture Book Pass it On (#PBPiO) project where I share literacy information and resources and encourage people to donate books to kids in need.

Throughout the month of March I invite you to participate in a special initiative called “MARCHing Books to Kids”.  PBPiO encourages book lovers to donate a favorite children’s book, and we invite children’s authors to donate signed copies of their books to the Visiting Nurse Services of Iowa, Storybook Project.

The Storybook Project recruits, screens and trains volunteers to work with incarcerated parents and/or grandparents at the Iowa Correctional Institute for Women (ICIW) in Mitchellville, Iowa and the Newton Correctional Release Center (CNRC) in Newton, Iowa. Once per month, volunteers work with the mother, grandmother or father. The parent/grandparent and volunteer choose a book from the Storybook library that is appropriate for the child. The parent or grandparent reads the book while the volunteer records the reading onto a digital voice recorder. The book and CD are mailed to the child.

To participate in MARCHing Books to Kids, please follow the 3 calls to action:

#1 Pledge to donate a new picture book/s to Visiting Nurse Services of Iowa, Storybook Project.  Authors are invited to sign their books.  Please include a note stating that your book is part of the Picture Book Pass it On/MARCHing Books to Kids initiative.  Books may be mailed to:

VNS of Iowa, Storybook Project

c/o Tabby Kuehl

1111 9th Street

Suite 320

Des Moines, Iowa 50314

#2 Post your pledge on our Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/PBPiO .  Share it on your blog and on social media.  Please include our badge and #PBPiO, and #MARCHingBookstoKids

#3 Pass it on.  When you post about your pledge, challenge one or more friends to join your #PBPiO  giving chain.  Encourage them to take the pledge and keep passing it on…

If distance prohibits your ability to mail books to the Storybook Project.  Please consider donating books to children in need in your own community.  Oh, and be sure to share your giving story on our Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/PBPiO We love to see how books are reaching kids all over the globe.

Please feel free to contact me at www.michelleeastmanbooks.com

I appreciate your help spreading the word! Thank you for making the difference in the lives of children and families!

PBPiO badge


Okay, so I am waaay behind this week.  But, I really want to participate in this week’s WRAD Blogging Challenge-so I’m improvising a bit.  If you’d like to play along, just leave your answers in the comments section.

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World Read Aloud Day motivates children, teens, and adults worldwide to celebrate the power of words and creates a community of readers taking action to show the world that the right to literacy belongs to all people. By raising our voices together on this day we show the world’s children that we support their futures: that they have the right to read, to write, and to share their stories.  Learn more at http://www.litworld.org/wrad/

The World Read Aloud Day “Speak Your Story” Blogging Challenge, created by Matthew Winner, begins February 9 and runs through March 8. If you choose to take the challenge, each week you will be asked to write a post in response to a prompt or question, for a total of 4 posts counting down to World Read Aloud Day.

If you choose to take up the WRAD Speak Your Story blogging challenge, make sure to tweet your weekly posts to @litworldsays and use the hashtag #WRAD15 so that we can retweet your wonderful read aloud stories! Happy blogging!

Week 2: February 16 – 22
You & Someone New

Answer the following questions with someone you haven’t spoken to about reading before. The person might be a student or a family member, a colleague or a sales clerk. The focus here is on starting a conversation and sharing the joy of reading aloud. Make sure to exchange and enjoy answers with one another before sharing them with us.

Okay, this is where you come in.  I got busy this week and did not find time to partner with anyone to be my “Someone New”.  If you’d like to be that special someone, just post your responses in my comments section.  Come on, it will be fun!  If you don’t want to be my huckleberry, please share the challenge on your own blog with your “Someone New”. 

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1. I think everyone in the world should read…

Me: Yikes!  Everyone in the world? No pressure there…I’d have to say The Lorax.  I think the overriding message of taking responsibility for our actions and our planet is universal.  And, the Lorax is just too darn cute!

Someone New: Please share your answer in the comment section.

lorax

2. If I could listen to anyone in the world read aloud to me it would be…

Me: Am I allowed to say Brad Pitt?  Okay, just kidding (sort of).  I love reading with my son.  So, he’d be my first choice.

Someone New: Please share your answer in the comment section.

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3. When I read aloud, my favorite character to impersonate is…

Me: Sadly, I don’t do much of this anymore.  I used to have a lot of fun exaggerating the narration in the No, David! books by David Shannon. Improvising and adding our own list of No’s was always great fun (insert 6 year-old boy gross-out humor).

Someone New: Please share your answer in the comment section.

daviddave2

4. The genre or author that takes up the most room on my bookshelf (or e-reader) is…

Kids’ books-Shel Silverstein My books-biographies and old-school science fiction (circa 50’s-60’s). Please note-those are not my feet and I wish that was me in the other photo, meow!

Someone New: Please share your answer in the comment section.

tatoosci fi

5. My favorite part about reading aloud or being read to is…

Me: I was not read to as a child, so I probably live vicariously through my son when we read together.  You can read more about what I love about picture books here: Top Ten Reasons Picture Books Rock (sneak peek-#2 Picture books are funny.  Where else can you laugh, out loud, about a pigeon begging to drive a bus or a “crack-up” over a dog, who despite his farting habit, becomes a hero?)

pidgeonfarting

Someone New: Please share your answer in the comment section.

Thanks for playing along.  Remember, If you choose to take up the WRAD Speak Your Story blogging challenge, make sure to tweet your weekly posts to @litworldsays and use the hashtag #WRAD15 so that we can retweet your wonderful read aloud stories.

burn books


I love picture books, and I often write about them.  In my post, Top 10 Reasons Picture Books Rock, I touch upon the importance of continuing to read aloud to your child even AFTER he/she is able to read independently.  If you are making this transition, you may find the following articles helpful. I hope you’ll discover something to enhance your family’s shared reading experiences. Please note that although children may be ready for early readers and chapter books, I implore parents to continue reading picture books with/to your children. There is no better way to connect at the end of a hectic day than to get lost in a picture book together. This ritual is one you can continue well into their teen years (yes, really, I promise). A child should not be denied this sacred time with you, just because he has “grown up”. Reading and/or revisiting picture books is a comforting ritual for children, and picture books have a magical way of opening dialogue and accessing feelings that older children may not otherwise share with you. So, crack open a picture book and enjoy!

yes kid

7 reasons why reading aloud to older kids is still very important

If you need further convincing that you should be reading to your older child. In this article, educator Jim Trelease explains why reading aloud to your child, no matter what her age, is the magic bullet for creating a lifelong reader.

The hidden benefits of reading aloud – even for older kids

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Here is another great resource for reading to your older child.  This article includes an extensive list of recommended books.

Reading Aloud With Children Twelve & Older

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Do you read aloud with your older child?  I’d love to hear about your experience-Mine is heading into the double digits next year!  Yikes!

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