Kid Lit Author and Advocate

Category Archives: Literacy


I would like to reach out to kid lit authors and book bloggers to get quality books into the hands of deserving kids.

Featured Image -- 1290

Throughout the month of March, I am collecting new children’s books to benefit children of incarcerated parents. Authors, I hope you will consider donating signed copies of your books. Book bloggers, please help us by sharing this information with your readers.

I am a children’s author, teacher, and mom who is passionate about children’s literacy and the power of children’s books. When I learned nearly 2/3 of children, living in poverty, DO NOT own books, I was moved to act. I founded the literacy initiative, Picture Book Pass it On, to raise awareness for literacy issues and get books to kids in need.

Three years ago, the Picture Book Pass it On initiative grew to include a month-long book drive called MARCHing Books to Kids.

Throughout the month of March, MARCHing Books to Kids collects books (ages birth-17 years) for the VNS of Iowa Storybook Project. https://www.vnsia.org/mothers-children-families/volunteer-to-help-children/

VNS of Iowa volunteers travel to The Iowa Correctional Institution, in Mitchellville, once a month. With the aid of volunteers, mothers select one book per child to read via a digital voice recorder.  The audio CD and book are mailed to the child to keep. The mission is to strengthen the bond between parent and child, during incarceration, while promoting reading and literacy.

Since 2015, MARCHing Books to Kids has collected more than 1,500 books.                               Over the years, the drive has received signed donations from notable children’s authors such as    Robert Munsch (Love You Forever) and Nick Bruel (Bad Kitty series). Last year, more than 30 children’s authors donated signed copies of their books. Owning a book, let alone a book signed by the author, is a joy most of these children have never experienced.

girl wagon

I believe that every child’s Bill of Rights should be indelibly inked with the right to have 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 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 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.

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

#1 Pledge to donate a new book/s to Visiting Nurse Services of Iowa, Storybook Project.  Authors are invited to sign their books.

When packing your book/s, please include a note stating that your book is part of the 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 tags #PBPiO and #MARCHingBookstoKids

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

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

pbpio-and-marching-2017


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 melts away when kids and parents are able to share 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 parents encourage their children to read with them and in their absence. Read this touching NY Times article to learn about the impact of these programs, from an incarcerated mom’s viewpoint. http://parenting.blogs.nytimes.com/2015/07/07/behind-bars-finding-meaning-in-a-book-read-aloud/?emc=eta1/

How can you help?  Donate a book. It’s as easy as 1, 2, 3…

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

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

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!

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

#1 Pledge to donate a new or very gently used children’s 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 MARCHing Books to Kids initiative. Books 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

#2 Post your pledge on our Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/PBPiO. Share it on your blog and on social media. I share your posts on my social media, so feel free to include photos, book links, etc. Please include our badge and these hashtags ‪#‎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, Soloman Islands, Israel, and Greece!

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

burn books


Happy summer, everyone. I have been taking a break from writing to spend time with my son; however, I wanted to take a moment to spread the word about a new kid lit site, Storytime Pup. You can also find Storytime Pup on Facebook, Twitter and You Tube.

In addition to their kid-friendly web site, Storytime Pup hosts a You Tube channel featuring children’s books.

I was delighted to have my book, The Legend of Dust Bunnies, a Fairy’s Tale, featured last week https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rB_XIeuFdFg/

Storytime Pup was created by Bill McManus. Bill lives in upstate NY with his wife Diane and his 3 kids: Ryan, Colin and Shannon. He is the creator of Storytime Pup.  He is also an author, entrepreneur, inventor and actor. He enjoys entertaining and writing books for children because their joy makes him happy.

If you are a published children’s author (traditional or indie), I encourage you to contact Storytime Pup for submission information. There is no charge for having your book/s featured on the site.

I wish you all a wonderful summer!

scooter

 

 

 


nerd

I posted this a while back, but with the summer slide upon us, it seems fitting to revisit.

Are you, or someone you love, a book nerd? If so, how did it happen? Was it nature or nurture?

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My son has always been surrounded by books. Even before he was born, his bookshelves bore the weight of the legions of titles I had collected for him. With few exceptions, he has been read to/with every day of his 10 years on this earth. Each week, we visit the library and heap our bag to the top with books. He receives books at Christmas and on his birthday, and for no reason at all. He delights in choosing titles from the Scholastic book order forms sent home from school, and we are regulars at Half-Price Books. Books are ever-present in his day to day operations. In theory, he has all the makings of a book nerd. But, he’s anything but that. He will, on occasion, crack open his copy of Ripley’s Believe it or Not, or his Guinness Book of World Records to entertain himself. But, rarely does he deliberately choose to read for pleasure. Where did I go wrong? Why isn’t my boy a book nerd?

DSC_4364

I, on the other hand, grew up with no books in our house. I, honestly, don’t know if I laid my eyes on a book until I was in elementary school. We were poor, and my parents were teenagers. I was raised on reruns of Batman and Gilligan’s Island. I was also a PBS junkie (we had only 4 channels back then). In my parents’ defense, books were not as readily available as they are today. They were not crammed onto the shelves of Target and Walmart (we didn’t even have Walmart back then). For whatever the reason, no one read to or with me. Nevertheless, I sought out books. I couldn’t wait until the Book Mobile pulled up, in my neighborhood, and I could climb aboard and select my 2 book limit. I read whatever I could get my hands on. I read books beyond my years, and books I probably shouldn’t have read. I was not “nurtured” to love books-but I did, and I do.

shelf

So, I ponder the question: Are book nerds born or made? Clearly, despite my efforts, I’ve not nurtured a book nerd. And, despite my parents’ lack of effort, I am a book nerd.

lion

I welcome your thoughts on this topic.  Please leave a comment, nerdy or not…


I posted this piece a while back…

With my son’s 4th grade year coming to an end, I find this information more timely than ever.

DSC_9435

 

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. 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!

Mother-son-reading-resized-750x325

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.

Suggested articles:

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

1. Children listen on a different level than they read. 

2. Life Lessons.

3. Enjoyment.

4. Reading aloud with older children helps builds vocabulary.

5. Physical closeness.

6. Sense of security.

7. Sense of belonging.

The hidden benefits of reading aloud – even for older kids

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

Do you read aloud with your older child?  I’d love to hear about your experience.

 

yes kid

 


When I learned that nearly 2/3 of children living in poverty do not own books, I started my literacy initiative, Picture Book Pass it On. My intention was to celebrate picture books and encourage people to donate books to kids in need. Fast-forward, a year later, and the grass-roots effort I began has grown into something truly remarkable.

PBPiO badge

Last March, I created a special initiative to collect books for children of incarcerated parents in Iowa. I reached out to friends, online and in person, to help with the month-long book drive called MARCHing Books to Kids. The books benefit the VNS of Iowa Storybook Project. Each month, the Storybook Project volunteers record incarcerated parents reading aloud to their children. The audio CD’s and books are then mailed to their children to keep.

In just one month, we collected over 350 books, 450 incarceration-themed Sesame Street book/CD sets, and loads of books signed and donated by children’s authors from across the US and several countries outside of the US.

books

This year, MARCHing Books to Kids is going strong. I reached out to authors I know, and they came through in a big way! So, I thought I’d reach out to some authors I don’t know and see what happens. Well, this is what happened yesterday…

kitty covers

I was delighted to learn that Nick Bruel, author and illustrator of the Bad Kitty series, donated a bundle of his books. Not only did Nick donate his books, he signed and added a doodle inside each one.

signed kitty

Owning a book signed by an author may not seem like a huge deal. But, the children and families served by the Storybook Project would likely never know that joy.

I truly believe books have the power to change lives. I am grateful to all of the authors who have already donated books to the 2016 MARCHing Books to Kids drive. Thank you for making a positive impact in the lives of kids in need.

The VNS of Iowa Storybook Project serves children birth-17 years of age. You can post your own pledge and learn more about the project at https://www.facebook.com/PBPiO/ If you’d like to donate a new or like-new book, please mail it to the address below.

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

 


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 melts away when kids and parents are able to share 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 parents encourage their children to read with them and in their absence. Read this touching NY Times article to learn about the impact of these programs, from an incarcerated mom’s viewpoint. http://parenting.blogs.nytimes.com/2015/07/07/behind-bars-finding-meaning-in-a-book-read-aloud/?emc=eta1/

How can you help?  Donate a book. It’s as easy as 1, 2, 3…

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

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

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!

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

#1 Pledge to donate a new or very gently used children’s 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 MARCHing Books to Kids initiative. Books 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

#2 Post your pledge on our Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/PBPiO. Share it on your blog and on social media. I share your posts on my social media, so feel free to include photos, book links, etc. Please include our badge and these hashtags ‪#‎PBPiO‬, and #‎MARCHingBookstoKids

PBPiO badge

#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, Soloman Islands, Israel, and Greece!

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

 

burn books


MARCHing Books to Kids is underway! Throughout the month of March, I am reaching out to all of the book lovers, reviewers, bloggers, and authors who’d like to help get quality books into the hands of deserving kids. Happily ever after starts with one book and one child…

Featured Image -- 1290

Last year, I started the literacy 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 received 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”.  Book lovers can 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. We accept books for kids birth-17 years of age, so the sky is the limit!

Books may be mailed or sent via Amazon to:

VNS of Iowa, Storybook Project

c/o Tabby Kuehl (MARCHing Books to Kids)

1111 9th Street

Suite 320

Des Moines, Iowa 50314

#2 Post your pledge on our Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/PBPiO .  I share posts on my social media, so please include photos, book links, etc.

Share it on your blog and on social media.  Please include our badge (see below) 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! Please share on your blogs and social media. Thank you for making the difference in the lives of children and families!

PBPiO badge


Embed from Getty Images

I am thrilled to count myself among the ranks of children’s picture book writers. I believe, whole-heartedly, in the power of picture books. Of course, there are thousands of reasons to love picture books, but I’ve compiled my top ten.

My Top Ten Reasons Picture Books ROCK:

  1. Picture books provide an ideal setting to connect with your child.  Reading picture books provides a time for  parent and child to just be, together. 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 that you can continue well into their teen years (yes, really, I promise). Trust me, these shared moments are what kids look back on.  That child becomes a parent who reads to his/her child, and so on, and so on…
  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?
  3. Picture books are serious.  Some of the heaviest social and personal issues seem more approachable when told through a picture book.  This can be a fantastic opportunity to explore situations, fears, and events that children might otherwise be reluctant to explore.
  4. Picture books are art. You don’t have to be an art expert to enjoy the limitless artistic styles waiting to be explored within a picture book.
  5. Picture books are ideal for reluctant readers. The illustrations in picture books help children understand the story better by providing visual clues of what is happening in the story and what might happen next. While a chapter book, filled with lines of text, might be intimidating-a picture book welcomes us to step inside-no special skills required. And wordless picture books provide an excellent opportunity to explore a story, without reading a single word. Wordless picture books can also be a great tool when working with English language learners.
  6. Picture books teach. I challenge you to find a non-fiction topic NOT explored in picture books. From world cultures and traditions, to life-cycles, or politics, picture books have it all. Teachers often use non-fiction picture books to supplement a specific topic or concept.
  7. Picture books are accessible. There is a reason librarians place picture books in bins on the floor and on low shelves. Picture books can take it, they are meant to be handled.
  8. Picture books make kids better readers. When we read picture books with our children, we are laying a strong foundation for their emergent literacy skills. The simple text helps them become skilled at sounding out words. They learn about the context and structure of stories, and recognize the relationship between cause and effect. All of these skills are crucial to becoming fluent readers.
  9. Picture books are NOT just for young children. As children get older, reading becomes a solitary adventure. We often push them (too fast, too soon) into chapter books and novels. But your child should not be denied this sacred time with you just because he/she is “growing up”. No one, nope, no one is EVER too old for picture books.
  10. Picture books are empowering. Children depend on adults for so much. We tell them what to eat, how to dress, what to say, and when to play. There aren’t a lot of opportunities for children to feel empowered. Going to the library, and allowing your child to choose his/her own picture books, is a great opportunity for him/her to feel independent. Very young children are able to memorize their favorite picture book stories. I don’t believe there is any better feeling of accomplishment than when a child can “read” a picture book to his/her parent. Can he/she truly read the words? No, but “reading” what he/she has memorized means he/she is internalizing the structure of a story. He/she knows it has a beginning, a middle and an end. He/she knows how to hold the book, and to turn the pages at the appropriate time.  And this tiny person is reading, to you, all by him/herself!  How cool is that?!

I hope my top ten list encourages you to crack open a picture book, with your child or loved one, and enjoy! Please feel free to leave a comment and share what you love most about picture books. I am interested to know how picture books impact you and your family.

kid read


UPDATE-Children’s authors and lit lovers are giving BIG to help kids of incarcerated parents!

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 donated books and told others about the initiative. 

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 melts away when kids are able to visit their parents and read a special book together.

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!

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.

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

 

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 and parents are able to share 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 parents encourage their children to read with them and in their absence. Read this touching NY Times article to learn about the impact these programs have, from an incarcerated mom’s viewpoint. http://parenting.blogs.nytimes.com/2015/07/07/behind-bars-finding-meaning-in-a-book-read-aloud/?emc=eta1/

How can you help?  Donate a book. It’s as easy as 1, 2, 3…

Now, through 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 authors and children’s authors to donate signed copies of their books to the Visiting Nurse Services of Iowa, Storybook Project.

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!

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

#1 Pledge to donate a new or very gently used children’s 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 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

PBPiO badge

#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!

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

 

burn books

 


I would like to reach out to kid lit authors and book bloggers to get quality books into the hands of deserving kids.

Featured Image -- 1290

Throughout the month of March, I am collecting new children’s books to benefit children of incarcerated parents. Authors, I hope you will consider donating signed copies of your books. Book bloggers, please help us by sharing this information with your readers.

I am a children’s author, teacher, and mom who is passionate about children’s literacy and the power of children’s books. When I learned nearly 2/3 of children, living in poverty, DO NOT own books, I was moved to act. I founded the literacy initiative, Picture Book Pass it On, to raise awareness for literacy issues and get books to kids in need.

Three years ago, the Picture Book Pass it On initiative grew to include a month-long book drive called MARCHing Books to Kids.

Throughout the month of March, MARCHing Books to Kids collects books (ages birth-17 years) for the VNS of Iowa Storybook Project.

VNS of Iowa volunteers travel to The Iowa Correctional Institution, in Mitchellville, once a month. With the aid of volunteers, mothers select one book per child to read via a digital voice recorder.  The audio CD and book are mailed to the child to keep. The mission is to strengthen the bond between parent and child, during incarceration, while promoting reading and literacy.

Since 2015, MARCHing Books to Kids has collected more than 1,500 books.                               Over the years, the drive has received donations from notable children’s authors such as    Robert Munsch (Love You Forever) and Nick Bruel (Bad Kitty series). Last year, more than 30 children’s authors donated signed copies of their books. Owning a book, let alone a book signed by the author, is a joy most of these children have never experienced.

girl wagon

I believe that every child’s Bill of Rights should be indelibly inked with the right to have 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 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 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.

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

#1 Pledge to donate a new book/s to Visiting Nurse Services of Iowa, Storybook Project.  Authors are invited to sign their books.

When packing your book/s, please include a note stating that your book is part of the 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 tags #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…

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

pbpio-and-marching-2017


Do you know that 2 out of 3 kids living in poverty have no books to call their own? Let’s fix that!

poor

November is Picture Book Month. Celebrate by taking the Picture Book Pass it On #PBPiO challenge. It’s as easy as 1,2,3…

count

#1 Pledge to donate a new or gently used picture book/s to a children’s charity in your area.

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

#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…

PBPiO badge

Please share your giving stories on this page https://www.facebook.com/PBPiO/. We love to see how books are reaching kids all over the globe.

world


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.


Why would anyone want to put a picture book in prison? I’ll give you 2.7 Million reasons why…

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

prison

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.

mom jail

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!

Please consider sharing this message on social media to help spread the word about #PBPiO and #MARCHingBookstoKids.


I am celebrating the power of picture books through an initiative called #MARCHingBookstoKids https://www.facebook.com/PBPiO Please join us by donating a book to a child of an incarcerated parent.

prison

The Visiting Nurse Services of Iowa, Storybook Project is collecting books for children birth-17 years of age. Each month, VNS volunteers record an incarcerated parent reading a book to his/her child. The book and the recording are mailed to the child to keep. Please include a note stating that your book is part of the Picture Book Pass it On/MARCHing Books to Kids initiative.

VNS of Iowa, Storybook Project

c/o Tabby Kuehl (MARCHing Books to KIds)

1111 9th Street

Suite 320

Des Moines, Iowa 50314

Thank you for making a difference to a family in need.

burn books


mouse

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”. 

images

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.

brad184273_472853442781776_1836895647_n[1]

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


3d6f3-litworldwrad15logo-web

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.

Each of the prompts addresses the WRAD theme “Speak Your Story.” Speak Your Story encapsulates that simple yet effective way that we connect with others by sharing our stories aloud. Your voice is powerful and when a story is shared a bond is made.

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 1: February 9 – 15

http://www.busylibrarian.com/2013/02/wrad-blogging-challenge-week-1.html/

What is your favorite book to read aloud or to hear read aloud and why?

Your first mission is to answer this question. We are using this prompt to bring awareness to the act of reading aloud. Consider it an opportunity to connect with others through the shared experience of hearing stories read aloud.After answering the prompt, share a short description of how you plan to celebrate WRAD on March 4. With whom will you celebrate? Where will you be? If you have celebrated WRAD in the past, what activities brought you and those with whom you celebrated the most joy? If you haven’t finalized plans, of if this will be your first WRAD celebration, use this space to share your brainstorming process, and direct your readers to litworld.org/worldreadaloudday for activities and recommendations.

My answers:
My favorite book to read aloud to my son is Love you Forever, by Robert Munsch It is a tough one for me to get through without crying, but the message is beautiful and powerful.
My favorite short story to read aloud to older children is Flowers for Algernon It is another story that is difficult for me to finish without a Kleenex handy.  I used to read it to my sixth grade students, and it sparked a lot of deep conversations.
Reading aloud is a gift we often deny older children.  I blogged about the importance of continuing to read to older children in two earlier posts: Don’t Stop B-Readin’ and Top 10 Reasons Picture Books Rock.
I plan to celebrate WRAD by reading to children at my son’s school.  I will be visiting as a children’s author, instead of my usual role as homeroom mom and/or volunteer.  The plans are not finalized, but I may be reading to a group of children via Skype as well.  I have never celebrated WRAD.  I am excited to take part in the blogging challenge and, hopefully, encourage others to participate.
If you are participating, feel free to share a link to your blog in my comments section.  I’d love to see your answers, and I am sure other bloggers would too!
burn books

The World Read Aloud Day “Speak Your Story” Blogging Challenge 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 (outlined below), for a total of 4 posts counting down to World Read Aloud Day.

Each of the prompts addresses the WRAD theme “Speak Your Story.” Speak Your Story encapsulates that simple yet effective way that we connect with others by sharing our stories aloud. Your voice is powerful and when a story is shared a bond is made.

WRAD Speak Your Story Blogging Challenge: Weekly Outline

Week 1: February 9 – 15

http://www.busylibrarian.com/2013/02/wrad-blogging-challenge-week-1.html/
What is your favorite book to read aloud or to hear read aloud and why?

Your first mission is to answer this question. We are using this prompt to bring awareness to the act of reading aloud. Consider it an opportunity to connect with others through the shared experience of hearing stories read aloud.After answering the prompt, share a short description of how you plan to celebrate WRAD on March 4. With whom will you celebrate? Where will you be? If you have celebrated WRAD in the past, what activities brought you and those with whom you celebrated the most joy? If you haven’t finalized plans, of if this will be your first WRAD celebration, use this space to share your brainstorming process, and direct your readers to litworld.org/worldreadaloudday for activities and recommendations.
Week 2: February 16 – 22

You & Someone New

Answering 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.1. I think everyone in the world should read…Me:Someone New:(repeat this format for the remaining questions)2. If I could listen to anyone in the world read aloud to me it would be…3. When I read aloud, my favorite character to impersonate is…4. The genre or author that takes up the most room on my bookshelf (or e-reader) is…

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

Week 3: February 23 – March 1

Profile Partner

Find a puppet, stuffed animal, or image of your favorite kid lit character. Next, take a selfie with the character. You now have a picture with your WRAD companion. He or she can travel with you wherever you go and whenever you speak up about World Read Aloud Day. Post the image as your profile picture on all of your most-used social media venues (Skype, Facebook, Google+, and Twitter).

For extra credit, try to get three of your friends (in school or on social media) to do the same. In no time we’ll be in some terrific company. Nothing like an awesome profile partner when it comes to spreading the good word about reading aloud!

When you’ve finished, post the photo to your week 3 blogging challenge post. Below the photo share a short narrative explaining why this book character is meaningful to you.

Week 4: March 2 – 8

Speak Your Story

It’s time to read aloud and to let your story be heard! Select a favorite text, or a personal story that you love to share out loud, and make a video. If you don’t have a webcam, are having technical difficulties, or prefer not to be on camera, you can also translate this challenge into a written post. Share what you will be reading on World Read Aloud Day, and why you chose this particular piece to read aloud.

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!

If you plan to participate, please post a comment below.  Thank you!


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

dig

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

burn books

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!

date

 


nerd

Are you, or someone you love, a book nerd? If so, how did it happen? Was it nature or nurture?

My son has always been surrounded by books. Even before he was born, his bookshelves bore the weight of the legions of titles I had collected for him. With few exceptions, he has been read to/with every day of his 9 years on this earth. Each week, we visit the library and heap our bag to the top with books. He receives books at Christmas and on his birthday, and for no reason at all. He delights in choosing titles from the Scholastic book order forms sent home from school. We are regulars at Half-Price Books. Books are ever-present in his day to day operations. In theory, he has all the makings of a book nerd. But, he’s anything but that. He will, on occasion, crack open his copy of Ripley’s Believe it or Not, or his Guinness Book of World Records to entertain himself. But, rarely does he deliberately choose to read for pleasure. Where did I go wrong? Why isn’t my boy a book nerd?

I, on the other hand, grew up with no books in our house. I, honestly, don’t know if I laid my eyes on a book until I was in school. We were poor, and my parents were teenagers. I was raised on reruns of Batman and Gilligan’s Island. I was also a PBS junkie (we had only 4 channels back then). In my parents’ defense, books were not as readily available as they are today. They were not crammed onto the shelves of Target and Walmart (we didn’t even have Walmart back then). For whatever the reason, no one read to or with me. Nevertheless, I sought out books. I couldn’t wait until the Book Mobile pulled up, in my neighborhood, and I could climb aboard and select my 2 book limit. I read whatever I could get my hands on. I read books beyond my years, and books I probably shouldn’t have read. I was not “nurtured” to love books-but I did, and I do.

So, I ponder the question: Are book nerds born or made? Clearly, despite my efforts, I’ve not nurtured a book nerd. And, despite my parents’ lack of effort, I am a book nerd.

I welcome your thoughts on this topic.  Leave a comment, nerdy or not…


no books

According to Reading is Fundamental (RIF), Nearly two-thirds of low-income families in the U.S. own no books.  That is just plain wrong.  But, we can help fix it.

I recently started a literacy initiative encouraging people to donate new or gently used books to needy kids, locally-wherever you are.  It has caught on in the US, and we also have people passing it on in the UK and Australia.  Many children’s book authors are participating by giving local kids in need copies of the books they’ve written.

We now have a shiny new badge.  Please feel free to copy and paste the badge.  Add it to your blog, post it in your tweets, or use it however you see fit to promote Picture Book Pass it On.  Remember to share your giving story on our new Facebook page Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/PBPiO

PBPiO badge

A Child’s Picture Book Bill of Rights…

Never, ever, underestimate the power of a picture book.

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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, they deserve to have books of their own.  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.

When I look back on my early childhood memories, I recall a lot-good and bad.  But, there is not a single memory of anyone reading to or with me.  I cannot name a favorite picture book from my childhood; I don’t have one.   We were poor, and picture books were not a top priority for my teenaged parents.  Later, picture books were not on my single-mom’s priority list either.

I guess that’s why picture books hold such a special place in my heart now. Perhaps that’s why, like a starved hyena, I gobble them up. Maybe it’s why I chose to write my own. I know it is why I jump up on my soapbox, touting the power of picture books.

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.

I am celebrating the power of the picture book by starting an initiative called, Picture Book Pass it On (#PBPiO) to give kids in need their very own books.

I hope you will join me by accepting 3 calls to action:

#1 Pledge to donate a new or gently used picture book/s to a children’s charity in your area.

#2 Post about your pledge.  Share it on your blog and on social media.  Please include our badge and #PBPiO

#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…

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.

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PBPiO badge


I recently wrote and self-published my fist children’s picture book. As a self-published author, I also act as my own booking agent. I was able to weasel my way, I mean I was invited, to read my book, The Legend of Dust Bunnies, a Fairy’s Tale during pajama story time at our local library. I was pretty pumped that I was able to find adult-sized bunny pajamas and slippers (don’t judge).

I know a few children’s authors who are a bit nervous when faced with reading aloud to a live audience. I used to teach sixth graders, so nothing scares me! I was definitely pumped to share my book with kids and their parents.

Although authoring a children’s book has always been a dream of mine, I have to say that the whole experience has been surreal. I can’t quite wrap my head around the idea that my book could be sitting in someone’s lap at this very moment, and that my words might touch them in some way.

Anyway, back to the library. I was sitting in my rocker, awaiting the arrival of my captive, I mean enthusiastic audience. A few pajama-clad kids began to amble in and make their way to the carpet squares arranged before me. From the corner of my eye, I caught a glimpse of the whirling dervish as he bounded into the room. My book was propped up on the table next to me, and he zipped right to it. Clutching it to his chest, he stammered, and struggled to find the words fast enough, “I want to take this book, I want to, I mean, can I, please borrow this book from the li-bary today?” “I really like those pictures”, he said.

So, I leafed through the book with him, showing him the best parts. I explained that I wrote the words and that Kevin drew all of the pictures. “I want to be an illustrator when I grow up.” I told him how wonderful that was, and I told him he could do that for his job one day. “I am working, I am trying, I have been doing really better at coloring inside the lines at school.” At that, my heart dropped. All I could think to blurt out was, “You know, coloring in the lines is really overrated. The best part about being an illustrator is you get to make your own lines, and you color them however you choose.” Although he was only 4, my words seemed to find him, he got it.

My mind immediately began playing a Harry Chapin song, Flowers are Red. If you’ve never heard the song, you really should give it a listen. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6viDG7Qp_-U/

The little boy went first day of school
He got some crayons and started to draw
He put colors all over the paper
For colors was what he saw
And the teacher said.. What you doin’ young man
I’m paintin’ flowers he said
She said… It’s not the time for art young man
And anyway flowers are green and red
There’s a time for everything young man
And a way it should be done
You’ve got to show concern for everyone else
For you’re not the only one

And she said…
Flowers are red young man
Green leaves are green
There’s no need to see flowers any other way
Than they way they always have been seen

But the little boy said…
There are so many colors in the rainbow
So many colors in the morning sun
So many colors in the flower and I see every one

I have to say, the whole encounter with the little boy was pretty awesome. I am not an artist, but writing and publishing my own book/s certainly gives me the luxury of coloring my words in or outside the lines, and most of the time, coloring inside the lines IS overrated.


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I’m a mom, teacher, and children’s author who believes, passionately, that we should never, ever, underestimate the power of a picture book.  According to Reading is Fundamental (RIF), Nearly two-thirds of low-income families in the U.S. own no books.  That’s just plain wrong.  But, we can help fix it.

I recently launched the literacy initiative, Picture Book Pass it On (#PBPiO).  I encourage people to donate new or gently used books to needy kids, locally-wherever you are.  It has caught on in the US, and we also have people “Passing it On” in the UK and Australia.  Many children’s book authors are participating by giving local kids in need, copies of the books they’ve written.

With a few exceptions, the PBPiO charge is being led by an all-female squad of super-heroes (a.k.a. The Sisterhood of the Traveling Picture Book).  Frankly, I am thrilled to have anyone join me in getting picture books onto the laps of deserving kids.  But, I’d like to welcome super-dads and picture book-loving dudes to join in the fun.  Will you help celebrate the power of picture books and accept the PBPiO call to action?  It’s as easy as 1, 2, 3…

I hope you will join me by accepting 3 calls to action:

#1 Pledge to donate a new or gently used picture book/s to a children’s charity in your area.

#2 Post about your pledge.  Share it on your blog and on social media.  Please include our badge and #PBPiO

#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…

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.

Learn more about Picture Book Pass it On:

https://michelleeastmanbooks.wordpress.com/2014/11/12/a-childs-picture-book-bill-of-rights/

Share your giving story on our new Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/PBPiO

We now have a shiny new badge.  Please feel free to copy and paste the badge.  Add it to your blog, post it in your tweets, or use it however you see fit to promote Picture Book Pass it On.

PBPiO badge


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November is Picture Book Month, and I am celebrating the power of the picture book by starting an initiative called, Picture Book Pass it On (#PBPiO)

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.

I am celebrating the power of the picture book by starting an initiative called, Picture Book Pass it On (#PBPiO)

I hope you will join me by accepting 3 calls to action:

#1 Pledge to donate a new or gently used picture book/s to a children’s charity in your area.

#2 Post about your pledge.  Share it on your blog and on social media.  Please include our badge and #PBPiO

#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…

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.

UPDATE:  We now have children’s authors in the US, the UK, and Australia passing on autographed copies of their own books to kids in need.  How cool is that?!

PBPiO

We are donating a copy of one of our favorite picture books to Joshua Christian Academy.

I am Passing it On to @MulberryAndy


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A Child’s Picture Book Bill of Rights…

Never, ever, underestimate the power of a picture book.

I believe that every child’s Bill of Rights should be indelibly inked with the right to have picture books read to him/her.  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.

When I look back on my early childhood memories, I recall a lot-good and bad.  But, there is not a single memory of anyone reading to or with me.  I cannot name a favorite picture book from my childhood; I don’t have one.   Picture books were not a top priority for my teenaged parents.  Later, picture books were not on my single-mom’s priority list either.

I guess that’s why picture books hold such a special place in my heart now. Perhaps that’s why, like a starved hyena, I gobble them up. Maybe it’s why I chose to write my own. I know it is why I jump up on my soapbox, touting the power of picture books.

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, who believes, passionately, that we should never, ever, underestimate the power of a picture book.

November is Picture Book Month, and I am celebrating the power of the picture book by starting an initiative called, Picture Book Pass it On (#PBPiO)

I hope you will join me by accepting 3 calls to action:

#1 Pledge to donate a new or gently used picture book/s to a children’s charity in your area.

#2 Post about your pledge.  Share it on your blog and on social media.  Please include our badge and #PBPiO

#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…

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.

UPDATE:  We now have children’s authors in the US, the UK, and Australia passing on autographed copies of their own books to kids in need.  How cool is that?!

 

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Or, anytime, really. But, it wasn’t until I became a mom that I really began to savor that smell.

To be honest, I never knew it as a child. When I look back at my earliest memories, I recall a lot-good and bad.  But, there is not a single memory of anyone reading to or with me.  I cannot name a favorite picture book from my childhood; I don’t have one.  Picture books were not a top-priority for my teenaged parents.  Later, picture books were not on my single-mom’s priority list either. The weird thing is that I never knew what I didn’t have; I wasn’t conscious of the fact that my childhood was devoid of picture books. It wasn’t until my son came along…that it hit me-hard. I’ll never forget that night. We were curled up together, lights dimmed, reading our way through Goodnight Moon for the 100th time. He looked up, and asked me a very simple question, “Mom, what was your favorite bedtime story when you were little?” As I struggled to grasp hold of the memory, I could hear the sound of my tears, dropping onto the pages of the board book. I couldn’t answer; I didn’t have an answer.

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.

When I look back on my early childhood memories, I recall a lot-good and bad.  But, there is not a single memory of anyone reading to or with me.  I cannot name a favorite picture book from my childhood; I don’t have one.   Picture books were not a top priority for my teenaged parents.  Later, picture books were not on my single-mom’s priority list either.

I guess that’s why picture books hold such a special place in my heart now. Perhaps that’s why, like a starved hyena, I gobble them up. Maybe it’s why I chose to write my own. I know it is why I jump up on my soapbox, touting the power of picture books.

It’s Picture Book Month, people! So, crack open a picture book. Cuddle with your child or loved one. Take a whiff, and enjoy.

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I started a new literacy initiative called Picture Book Pass it On #PBPiO, giving free books to kids in need.  Learn how you can help kids in your area https://michelleeastmanbooks.wordpress.com/about/picture-book-pass-it-on-pbpio/

Share your giving story on our new Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/PBPiO


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I am thrilled to count myself among the ranks of children’s picture book writers. I believe, whole-heartedly, in the power of picture books. Of course, there are thousands of reasons to love picture books, but I’ve compiled my top ten.

My Top Ten Reasons Picture Books ROCK:

  1. Picture books provide an ideal setting to connect with your child.  Reading picture books provides a time for parent and child to just be, together. 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 that you can continue well into their teen years (yes, really, I promise). Trust me, these shared moments are what kids look back on.  That child becomes a parent who reads to his/her child, and so on, and so on…
  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?
  3. Picture books are serious.  Some of the heaviest social and personal issues seem more approachable when told through a picture book.  This can be a fantastic opportunity to explore situations, fears, and events that children might otherwise be reluctant to explore.
  4. Picture books are art. You don’t have to be an art expert to enjoy the limitless artistic styles waiting to be explored within a picture book.
  5. Picture books are ideal for reluctant readers. The illustrations in picture books help children understand the story better by providing visual clues of what is happening in the story and what might happen next. While a chapter book, filled with lines of text, might be intimidating-a picture book welcomes us to step inside-no special skills required. And wordless picture books provide an excellent opportunity to explore a story, without reading a single word. Wordless picture books can also be a great tool when working with English language learners.
  6. Picture books teach. I challenge you to find a non-fiction topic NOT explored in picture books. From world cultures and traditions, to life-cycles, or politics, picture books have it all. Teachers often use non-fiction picture books to supplement a specific topic or concept.
  7. Picture books are accessible. There is a reason librarians place picture books in bins on the floor and on low shelves. Picture books can take it, they are meant to be handled.
  8. Picture books make kids better readers. When we read picture books with our children, we are laying a strong foundation for their emergent literacy skills. The simple text helps them become skilled at sounding out words. They learn about the context and structure of stories, and recognize the relationship between cause and effect. All of these skills are crucial to becoming fluent readers.
  9. Picture books are NOT just for young children. As children get older, reading becomes a solitary adventure. We often push them (too fast, too soon) into chapter books and novels. But your child should not be denied this sacred time with you just because he/she is “growing up”. No one, nope, no one is EVER too old for picture books.
  10. Picture books are empowering. Children depend on adults for so much. We tell them what to eat, how to dress, what to say, and when to play. There aren’t a lot of opportunities for children to feel empowered. Going to the library, and allowing your child to choose his/her own picture books, is a great opportunity for him/her to feel independent. Very young children are able to memorize their favorite picture book stories. I don’t believe there is any better feeling of accomplishment than when a child can “read” a picture book to his/her parent. Can he/she truly read the words? No, but “reading” what he/she has memorized means he/she is internalizing the structure of a story. He/she knows it has a beginning, a middle and an end. He/she knows how to hold the book, and to turn the pages at the appropriate time.  And this tiny person is reading, to you, all by him/herself!  How cool is that?!

I hope my top ten list encourages you to crack open a picture book, with your child or loved one, and enjoy! Please feel free to leave a comment and share what you love most about picture books. I am interested to know how picture books impact you and your family.


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Too many picture books? That’s like saying there are too many flowers.

I am thrilled to count myself among the ranks of children’s picture book writers. I believe, whole-heartedly, in the power of picture books. It’s Picture Book Month.  And I am celebrating my favorite genre all month.  I am offering a Goodreads Giveaway of my new children’s picture book, The Legend of Dust Bunnies, a Fairy’s Tale. Throughout the month of November, I’ll post tips, links, and articles pertaining to my favorite genre. The following recommendations were adapted from Reading Tips for Parents, developed by the National Center for Family Literacy .

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!

Happy Picture Book Month!

An Age-Appropriate Guide to Books:
Your bedtime reading routine will evolve as your child develops physically and intellectually.

Birth to Toddlers

  • Developmental Stage: As babies, children learn by using their five basic senses to explore the world. By age 2 years, a child can use his oral language skills to identify objects and communicate ideas.
  • Bedtime reading suggestions:
    • Sing lullabies and songs.
    • Choose picture books with 1 or 2 pictures per page that are clear, simple, and filled with vivid colors. Repetition with these books helps foster language development by creating familiarity and associations.
    • Use board or plastic books and allow the child to explore the pages.
    • Help the child discover her senses through textured (e.g. Pat the Cat), scented (“scratch-n-sniff”), or squeaky books.
    • Play with rhythmic activities like clapping rhymes and knee bouncing.
    • Relate story time to nighttime/bedtime through simple “good night” books.
  • Recommended books:
    • Time for Bed, by Mem Fox (fosters early language development)
    • In the Small, Small Pond, by Denise Fleming (uses language that rhymes and repetition)
    • When Mama Comes Home Tonight, by Eileen Spinelli (introduces rituals)
    • Hush Little Baby, by Sylvia Long (details and reinforces the parent/child bond)

3 to 5 Years Old

  • Developmental Stage: Children in this age group learn that words represent objects and things. They are able to understand shapes, numbers, colors, and seasons. This is a time when children see themselves as the “center of the universe.”
  • Bedtime reading suggestions:
    • Read stories that repeat catchy phrases, inspire creativity and make reading enjoyable (rhyming, nonsense words).
    • Look for sturdy, pop-up and pull-tag books to help coordination.
    • Choose short stories that relate to everyday events.
    • Introduce books focusing on the ABCs, counting, colors, and shapes.
    • Kids this age love non-fiction. Read books about dinosaurs, trucks, and farm animals.
    • Select simple folk tales to expand a child’s world.
    • Begin to introduce longer stories and more detailed pictures.
    • Look for stories that can be acted out, such as The Three Little Pigs.
  • Recommended books:
    • On the Day You Were Born, by Debra Frazier (story includes nature)
    • The Relatives Came, by Cynthia Relant (creates an association with family)
    • Cowboy Dreams, by Kathi Appelt (includes repetition, rhythm, and word play)
    • Guess How Much I Love You, by Sam McBratney (encourages different and new ways to express an idea)
    • There’s Something There!, by Mercer Mayer (ideas that center on the child)

6 to 8 Years Old (Beginning Readers)

  • Developmental Stage: This age group is “grown up” and has many capabilities. They have a good command of language, have well developed imaginations, and are able to describe feelings and events. They like to read about things and events that are real. This is when children start to be able to see things from another person’s viewpoint. Parents and teachers of this age group should encourage children to read on their own as well as with a parent.
  • Bedtime reading suggestions:
    • Choose short stories with more words per page, pictures that match text, simple chapter books, and big print in chapter books.
    • Let the child choose books with subjects that interest her.
    • Begin to read real-life stories, simple biographies, and mysteries.
    • Have fun with joke and riddle books.
    • Introduce simple magazines.
  • Recommended books:
    • The Patchwork Quilt, by Valerie Flourney (story involves multi-culturism)
    • The Tale of Peter Rabbit, by Beatrix Potter (one of the longer editions; introduces fantasies that seem real)
    • May We Sleep Here Tonight?, by Tan Koide (plot that focuses on fear and resolution).
    • The Sneetches, by Dr. Seuss (story that involves stereotypes and encourages conversation)

Adapted from Reading Tips for Parents, developed by the National Center for Family Literacy


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November is Picture Book Month, an international literacy initiative that celebrates print picture books during the month November.  I am a picture book fanatic.  I love picture books so much that I recently wrote my own called The Legend of Dust Bunnies, a Fairy’s Tale.   To celebrate Picture Book Month, and the launch of my very first book, I am giving away 15 FREE copies on Goodreads

Throughout the month of November, I’ll post tips, links, and articles pertaining to my favorite genre.  I hope you’ll discover something to enhance your family’s shared reading experiences.

I think sharing picture books is one of the most loving gifts a parent can bestow upon a child.  The good news is that it doesn’t take any special training to read aloud with your child.  If you are reading with your child, you are doing it right!  The great thing about picture books is that everyone, no matter how busy, can set aside 5-10 minutes a night to share a picture book.  There is no better way to unplug from a hectic day than getting lost in a good story. Creating a daily or nightly ritual of reading with your child is powerful way to connect with each other. I’ll get into this in greater depth in a forthcoming post, but parents should NOT stop reading picture books to their children when they become independent readers. Children should be allowed to continue to enjoy this sacred time with you. My son is almost nine, and we still come home with a heaping bag of library books each week, and they are all picture books. He reads chapter books at school and at home, but picture book time, is OUR time. Sometimes I read with him, and other times my husband takes the lead. But we never go to bed without at least one picture book story. Okay, now I’ll come down from my soap box and share some practical advice for getting the most out of your read-together time.

Here are a few articles I found interesting:

http://rochester.kidsoutandabout.com/content/picture-books-why-not-rush-your-kids-out-them/

http://www.thechildrensbookreview.com/weblog/2010/11/how-picture-books-play-a-role-in-a-child%E2%80%99s-development.html

http://www.rif.org/us/literacy-resources/articles/getting-the-most-out-of-picture-books.htm

The following suggestions and additional resources can be found at http://www.readingrockets.org/article/read-aloud-daily-practical-ideas-parents/

Read Aloud Daily: Practical Ideas for Parents

By: Texas Education Agency

When children hear books read aloud, they come to understand why learning to read is important. They learn that people read for different reasons – books that tell a story can be read for pleasure; books full of facts and information can be read in order to learn new things. Children learn a great deal when they listen to books read aloud – they hear new words, learn new ways of saying things, and are introduced to new ideas, different people, and faraway places

When reading a book with your children, you can:

  • Let them hold the book and turn the pages.
  • Talk about different parts of the book such as the front, back, title page, first page, and last page.
  • Take your time reading. Do not rush.
  • Point to the words as you read. Help them to see that there are spaces between words, that you read from the top of the page to the bottom, and that you read from left to right.
  • Ask them to think about the story as you read it.
  • Point to the pictures and talk about them.
  • Read expressively: talk the way the story’s characters would talk; make sound effects and funny faces; and vary the pitch of your voice throughout the story to make it more interesting.
  • Encourage them to ask questions about the story’s characters and events.
  • Talk about the story and relate it to their personal experiences.
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It’s Raining Books, Hallelujah It’s Raining Books!  At long last, the first shipment of The Legend of Dust Bunnies, a Fairy’s Tale books has arrived!  Is it wrong to dance around, in the garage…in my pajamas?  The doors are closed, so what the heck?  I am dancing with joy, and a whole lot of relief, since I scheduled my book launch party before I actually had books in hand.  The hardcover books are still in route, so I am not entirely out of the woods.  But, the paperback books are beautiful!  Please check out my free book giveaway on Goodreads or get your copy at Amazon

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If you’d like to learn more about my self-publishing journey, check out this short book preview video:


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So, I’m driving in my car, listening to an old Harry Chapin song (thank you Pandora Radio-yes there is actually a Harry Chapin Station).  If you’ve never listened to Harry Chapin, he’s “The Cat’s in the Cradle” dude.  So, I’m driving along and Chapin’s Story of a Life comes on. His words strike a chord…

“And the wind will whip your tousled hair,
The sun, the rain, the sweet despair,
Great tales of love and strife.
And somewhere on your path to glory
You will write your story of a life.”

“So you settle down and the children come
And you find a place that you come from.
Your wandering is done.
And all your dreams of open spaces
You find in your children’s faces
One by one. And all the trips you know you missed
And all the lips you never kissed
Cut through you like a knife.
And now you see stretched out before thee
Just another story of a life.”

It hits me, we do, all of us, write a story of a life.  Some of us literally, but all of us write one.

“Now sometimes words can serve me well
Sometimes words can go to hell
For all that they do.
And for every dream that took me high
There’s been a dream that’s passed me by.
I know it’s so true
And I can see it clear out to the end
And I’ll whisper to her now again
Because she shared my life.
For more than all the ghosts of glory
She makes up the story,
She’s the only story
Of my life.”

I think about my story…

“And all the towns that you walk through
And all the people that you talk to
Sing you their songs.
And there are times you change your stride,
There are times you can’t decide                                                                                                                                            Still you go on.”

Right now, it’s unfolding one sticky-note at a time.  Sometimes a sticky-note on top of a sticky-note, just for good measure.  What I see “stretched out before me” are reminders and to-do’s, don’t forget’s and be sure to’s.  But, each note tells the story… of a wife, a mom, a want-to-be-writer, chasing her dreams while making grocery lists and Dr. appointments; squeezing in an occasional date night and dye-job.  Which reminds me…I need to buy more sticky notes!


bookblogaward_nombadge

My blog has been nominated for the The Best of the Book Blogosphere Awards 2014 in the category: Best Children’s/Kids.

Please vote for me and/or your favorite blog.

VOTING STARTS on November 15th here: http://docs.google.com/forms/d/1jAz1fJ-30YuNZvijMm0JN6rxj_yhjSU7rVqSIZFlOtI/viewform


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As I make my way through the self-publishing world, I continue to be amazed at the kindness of strangers.  I have been touched by individuals I call “Cyber-Samaritans”.  From gestures as small as a website “like”, to those as grand as spending their hard-earned free time tutoring me…I am blessed.  As I stay the course, I hope to pay my blessings forward and back.  My first shout-out goes to fellow self-published children’s author, Aaron Peters. http://www.heavenisblue.com

“I don’t know nothin’ ’bout birthin’ books!”

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Prissy, from Gone with the Wind, didn’t know nothin’ ‘bout birthin’ babies, and a year ago, I certainly didn’t know nothin’ about self-publishing a book. I also didn’t know nothin’ about twitter, blogging, tags, categories, hashtags, trolls, or the true value of caffeine.
I thought once I had my manuscript polished, I was on my way to realizing a lifelong dream of being a children’s author. I quickly discovered that notion is like finally getting pregnant and expecting to hold your baby a few weeks after. Well, a baby typically takes two people to create, and the woman’s body takes care of the rest. A book, not so much. I created this new being, but I needed a heck of a lot of help to get from conception to delivery of my book.
First, I had to figure out how most picture books are put together. It turns out there is a pretty standard format as far as length and layout. But, there’s a slight problem…I can’t draw. Kind of hard to put out a picture book with no pictures. Mission Impossible…find an illustrator. Mission made Impossible-er…find one who will work with a first time, self-publishing, stay-home-mom, from Iowa, with a budget barely breaking 4 digits.
Time to throw in the towel.

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Not an option. I’ve already told my 8 year old son that his mom is going to be an author. Time to consult YouTube, the all-knowing Yoda/Oprah of everything. Search for self-published children’s authors who have actually survived the process and are willing to tell their tales.

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Enter Aaron Peters. I found and watched his You Tube video about how he self-published a kids’ book for his niece, Proof that I’m a Princess, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hflNjz-HZfI After watching his video, I’m thinking: What a cute book. I sure wish I knew this guy, so I could ask him some questions. Hey, look at that, below his video it says,If you have any questions send me a comment or check out my website for other cool stuff.” http://www.heavenisblue.com I’ll type him a note, but I probably won’t get a reply.

Well, I was wrong about that. Aaron did reply. Not only did he answer my questions, he provided the framework for what would become the path to getting my book published. Oh, and remember my Mission Impossible-er? Aaron helped me solve that problem as well. Thanks to him, I connected with illustrator, Kevin Richter, via a service called Elance. How does a mom, from Iowa, team-up with a South-African guy, living in Great Britain, to create an awesome children’s picture book?

To be continued…



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