Friday, August 12, 2011

We Love Reading Barefoot!

Since becoming a Barefoot Books Ambassador, Millie and I have been surrounding ourselves with Barefoot Books products. It's so much fun being involved in something you really love! The fact that "doing research for my job" involves Millie and I cuddling on the couch together reading books or dancing and singing along to CDs is wonderful. I am so lucky!

We're still wading through our stock of products, but I wanted to share some of our favorites with you!

"Ruby's School Walk" by Kathryn White - Join Ruby on her way to school and see the world her mom cannot see. In an old house, she spies bats with red eyes peering out and scary witches that flit about. And these aren’t the only dangers on her path: tigers, crocodiles and mighty beasts abound! "I must be brave, I must be strong," chants Ruby as she musters the nerve to scare them off; but will it work? (Ages 4 to 7 years)

Millie asked her daddy to read this the moment we brought it home, and 20 minutes later they were still reading it! ("again! Please daddy? again!" pleads Millie) I love Ruby's imagination in this story, and her mom's support at the end is wonderful. What a great book for any child a bit unsure about going to school!

"If You're Happy and You Know it" /
"Over in the Meadow" Illustrated By: Jill McDonald Sung By: Susan Reed
Two familiar children's songs are given a nice twist in these books with CDs. In "If You're Happy and You Know it," kids take a journey around the world. Because the words are familiar, readers are able to focus on the illustrations and compare/contrast the kids on every page ("everyone eats ice cream!" says Millie). Our favorite part of "Over in the Meadow" is the animated adaptation that's included on the CD. Millie will sit on the floor with the book in front of her and follow (and sing!) along with the video playing on our computer screen. I always love when books are more than just books! It's so much fun to show Millie how a story can be adapted into a song or movie, etc.

"Octopus Opposites" by Stella Blackstone and Stephanie Bauer

"We're Roaming in the Rainforest" by Laurie Krebs and Anne Wilson

Both of the above books are great at introducing some possibly unknown or little-known animals (and their characteristics) to readers in a natural way. Both are perfect for younger readers, while "Roaming the Rainforest" is great for older kids as well, with it's nine end pages focusing on information regarding the Amazon Rainforest, Conservation, and the people and animals found in this area.


A little about Barefoot Books:

Explore. Imagine. Create. Connect. Give Back. That’s what Barefoot Books is all about. It’s exploring other cultures, our planet, ourselves. It’s making time for make-believe and letting imaginations run wild and free. Most of all, it’s about using the power of stories to nourish the creative spark in everyone and strengthen connections with family, the global community, and the earth.

Barefoot Books began with two mothers who wanted their children to have books that would feed the imagination, while instilling a respect for diversity and a love of the planet. Today, we are a world-wide community of writers, artists, storytellers, musicians, and others who are committed to providing timeless stories and captivating art that can help children become happy, engaged members of a global society.


Have questions about Barefoot Books? Email me: and "like" my Facebook page: Kids Read Barefoot.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Millie's Library Bag - July 7

Bunny My Honey by Anita Jeram
A Picture for Harold's Room by Crockett Johnson We just LOVE Harold! We've been reading more and more "I Can Read" books lately (it was so nice to introduce Millie to the "Frog and Toad" series!). Don't forget about the Early Readers section when you're browsing the library shelves. According to Reading With Infants, Toddlers and Preschoolers: 'Research shows that it is not until 8th grade that a student's reading level catches up to his or her listening level.' (Trelease) So the fact that your child can't read yet doesn't mean he or she isn't able to listen to and understand longer stories. We've even begun purchasing a few early readers that include pictures within the text so Millie can actually help us "read" the story.
Little Rabbit Couldn't Sleep by Beth Shoshan
Airplane Flight! by Susanna Leonard Hill
Polly's Pink Pajamas by Vivian French This book is perfect for Millie, who asks to wear a "pretty dress" every day!

I also wanted to mention two books that I checked out this week.

Preschooler Playtime: Creative Activities for Fun at Home by Melissa Bogdany is a small book with simple ideas of how to keep your preschooler occupied and allow them to help around the house. Many of the suggestions are quick and easy, but make for hours of entertainment for your little one!

Start Fresh by Tyler Florence My friend Megan recommended this book. Although Millie is too old for the pureed section of the cookbook, I always enjoy finding simple, good-for-you recipes that Millie may enjoy as well. She's a good eater, but definitely picky about what she tries, so introducing new foods in this way will (I hope) be helpful in expanding her palate!

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Millie's Library Bag - May & June

I am obviously WAY behind on the Library Bag posts (or any posts, for that matter). The summer is keeping us busy, but it's not keeping us from the library. Here's a quick list of all the books we've checked out over the past few weeks. I've *ed the ones we enjoyed the most!

*Meeow and the Little Chairs by Sebastien Braun
*Billy & Milly, Short & Silly! by by eve feldman and Tuesday Mourning
*When I Grow Up by Leonid Gore

*Tip Tip, Dig Dig by Emma Garcia
I'm a Truck Driver by Jonathan London and David Parkins
Have you Seen My Cat? by Eric Carle
*Gossie by Olivier Dunrea (btw, I purchased a pile of these books for $1.95 each at our local resale shop and plan to use them as rewards if Millie ever decides to use the potty ...)
*Periwinkle Smith and the Faraway Star by John & Wendy
A Garden of Opposites by Nancy Davis

Peek-a-Zoo! by Marie Torres Cimarusti and Stephanie Petersen
*Back to Bed Ed by Sebastien Braun
*Too Pickley! by Jean Reidy
Dora Goes to the Doctor by Phoebe Beinstein
*Daddy Calls Me Doodlebug by J.D. Lester and Hiroe Nakata
*Tickle Tickle Itch Twitch by Julie Olson
Good Morning Digger by Anne Rockwell and Melanie Hope Greenberg

Ladybug Girl Loves ... by Soman, David
What is an amphibian? by Lola M. Schaefer
*Happy hippo, angry duck by Sandra Boynton
*Moon dreams by Ruth Martin
My farm friends by Wendell Minor
*Leap back home to me by Lauren Thompson

Thursday, May 12, 2011

Millie's Library Bag - May 5

"Meeow and the Little Chairs" by Sebastien Braun I mentioned in a previous post that Meeow is one of Millie's favorite literary friends. It's too bad there are only three Meeow books, because we'd love to add more to our monthly rotation! In this book, Meeow and his friends - Woof, Quack, and Baa - each have a different colored chair (Moo has a yellow whistle and a green flag). What could they be doing?

"Billy & Milly, Short & Silly!" by eve feldman A cute, well-illustrated, little book filled with 13 very short stories made up of only three or four rhyming words each. It was neat to read the stories to Millie and then go back through and talk more about what's happening in the pictures and in the stories, and to hear Millie's take on the stories as well!

"When I Grow Up" by Leonid Gore A great book to give dads on Father's Day! The little boy in the book wonders what he will be when he grows up. He looks out his window for inspiration from the natural world (the raindrop that will become the fastest river, the small green sprout that will be the tallest tree). Each page has a small cut-out window that leads to the next page (and be sure to look at what the cut-out window becomes on the left-hand page as well!). At the end, we see the boy has drawn a picture of his daddy - because, when he grows up, he wants to be just like him.

"Fire Trucks" by Carol K. Lindeen Yet another Pebbles Plus book! We had just visited a fire station a few days earlier, so I wanted to find a book about firetrucks for Millie. Most were geared toward older kids (or focused mainly on fire safety - which I love! But I don't think my 2 year old needs to read about what to do when her house is on fire!). Just like the other Pebbles Plus books we checked out previously, "Firetrucks" told information Millie found interesting in a simple way she could understand.

"Tap Tap Bang Bang" by Emma Garcia We love this book! Millie heard it at the library's story time a few months ago, and this is the first time I found it on the shelf. This is the perfect book for my little tool lover! I love that the book not only teaches kids the names of tools, but also the sound they make (and gives the kids an idea of what the tool actually does). It encourages reader participation, especially at the end when we're asked “What did we make with all these tools?” We plan to check out Garcia's other books ("Tip Tip Dig Dig" and "Toot Toot Beep Beep") over the next few weeks.

Babybug July/Aug 09

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Happy Mother's Day!

Since it's Mother's Day, I thought I'd share with you one of my favorite mother/daughter picture books: Someday by Alison McGhee.

I have read this book countless times, and yet I still tear up every single time I read it. I'm actually tearing up a bit right now just thinking about it! I just love this book. The pictures are so subtle and beautiful. The words are just perfect - exactly what I want to say to Millie as she grows up, and exactly how I think my mom feels as she watches me (her baby) with my little girl.

"One day I counted your fingers and kissed each one" ... "Someday you will swing high—so high, higher than you ever dared to swing" ... "Someday I will stand on this porch and watch your arms waving to me until I no longer see you" ... "Someday I will watch you brushing your child's hair"

Someday is the perfect Mother's Day gift! If a child is giving the present - trace his or her hand in the front cover to remind the receiver just how small their "baby" was when they received the book.

I hope all you moms out there are having a fabulous day! You are all doing such an amazing, important job! We are rock stars!

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Best {literary} Friends

I love finding a well-written book that's part of a series! It's so nice to know that once you finish one book you really enjoy, there's another waiting for you filled with the same characters you've come to know and love.

Millie already has a core group of little friends her age that she's always excited to see. And she also has a few literary friends who are always welcome on our bookshelves or in our library bag! The instant I see these characters on a book cover, I know we're all going to enjoy whatever is inside:

This is Meeow. Meeow is a black cat. Hello, Meeow! Meeow uses everyday items and his imagination to go on adventures with his friends Baa, Moo, Quack and Woof.

Meeow and the Little Chairs, Meeow and the Pots and Pans, and Meeow and the Big Box - all by Sebastien Braun.

Duck & Goose by Tad Hills. I love when a children's series does story books as well as simpler educational books (e.g. What's Up, Duck?: A Book of Opposites and Duck & Goose, How Are You Feeling?).

Gossie & Friends by Olivier Dunrea. More feathered friends! There are numerous books in this series, which is great for a toddler who visits the library often (and whose mama would rather not read the exact same book over and over and over again!).

Curious George by H.A. Rey We recently purchased Curious George Flies a Kite from a resale shop (before realizing that two of the board books we already own are from this larger book). Milena will actually sit and listen to me read this entire 80 page book! Toddlers are instinctively curious, and I think that's what draws them to love George so much.

Monday, May 2, 2011

Millie's Library Bag - April 22

This post is a bit belated because we visited the library just before heading up to visit Millie's grandparents for a week. But now that we've had the books for a little while, I can give a slightly better review of them!

Ants by Margaret Hall and Bumble Bees by Fran Howard Both of these books are from the same series as the Ladybugs book we checked out last week. They seem geared toward early readers, but their simple words and large pictures are also perfect for toddlers. The books offer just enough information to keep Millie interested, and the facts are simple enough for both of us to remember and bring up later when we're out in nature and actually see the insects doing what the book mentioned.

Diggers by Derek Zobel Another easy reader perfect for toddlers as well! As most of you probably know, spring in Wisconsin is road construction season. There are diggers and dump trucks and many other machines everywhere you look - and I admit to only knowing a tiny bit about construction equipment. I love embracing Millie's interest in these machines, so I knew we'd have to get some books so I could properly explain what they're called and what they're doing. I feel a slight sense of pride every time we see a digger now as I can point out the arm and leg and boom and dipper!

Clay Quest Minis Search for Shapes by Helena Bogosian One of the books Millie picked on her own, it's one of her favorites from this week's library bag. Similar to the "I Spy" books we already own, the left-hand page has a simple rhyme including pictures of the items (shapes, in this case) that you need to find on the facing page. I love that each page is a different theme (kings & queens, dinosaurs, shells, drawing pictures), so the book is perfect for a kid with almost any interest!

Run Little Chicken Run! by Elena Pasquali A simplified version of a "The sky is falling!!" tale: "Little Chicken has heard a scary sound. In a panic, he gets all the animals to run from danger. Then Lion takes everyone back to find out what made the noise." What makes this board book different from the others is its "finger trail" - each page has little indentations to represent some sort of moment: Little Chicken's running feet, monkey swinging from tree to tree. A great way to encourage children to interact with their books in a new way. (We've previously checked out Go Hare and Tortoise Go! which is also a finger-trail story.)

Girl of Mine by Jabari Asim There is just something about this book that Millie LOVES! I'm not sure if it's the illustrations of the smiling little girl (or the fact that she wears a crown on one page) or the text or a combination of the two, but we have read this book more times than I can count - and each time, Millie gets a HUGE grin on her face (especially when I read the lines "Little Princess Honeydew"). I always love stories written by parents to their children. This is such a simple and sweet book about a lovely little girl. Asim also wrote: Boy of Mine, Whose Knees are These?, and Whose Toes are Those?

Do Bears Buzz? A Book About Animal Sounds by Michael Dahl This lift-the-flap book is a bit simple for Millie, but its simplicity allows her to "read" the story with me, which I always love! On each page, the readers is asked if bears make a noise (e.g.: "Do bears buzz?") and when you lift the flap on the facing page, the reader is told which animal actually DOES make that noise (e.g.: "No, bees buzz!"). Millie is able to see the humor in the questions, and can "read" the responses by herself!

Hugless Douglas by David Melling Poor Douglas wakes up one morning in desperate need of a hug - but everyone and everything he encounters is resistant. Happily, in the end he finds the perfect bear hug. An adorable book with humorous illustrations and a particularly lovable main character.

Babybug (Feb. 2009) Millie has always had a surprisingly long attention span, so I've always shied away from the BabyBug magazines I've seen at the library, since they're small and filled with even shorter rhymes and stories. But then Reading with Toddlers and Infants, and Preschoolers posted this on their Facebook page:

"Weekend Literacy Challenge: Share at least one reading source with your child (other than a book). This weekend when you browse a recipe, brochure, handbook, or an article (about a wedding perhaps), read the content aloud. Adding multiple forms of reading materials to a child’s library has been proven to increase performance on literacy tests, and exposes young children to new information and vocabulary." [emphasis mine]

So now Babybug will become part of our weekly library bag!