Book of the Week: Baby’s First Book

Hi there! Katje here.

Today I’m going to talk about Baby’s First Book by Clare Beaton. (Currently discounted as part of our Winter Sale!)

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A bit about the book: Baby’s First Book is a large book full of pages that go over basic concepts, grouping them appropriately. For example, there’s a page called “My Toybox” and it has pictures of the various toys one might find in a child’s toy chest. There are also lots of traditional nursery rhymes with illustrations and, down at the bottom of the page, instructions on the physical actions that go with the rhymes. The book covers concepts like different types of animals, weather, clothing, and much more.

What I think kids will get out of it, and why it’s special: The illustrations are bright and colorful, which is pleasing to young eyes. Very young children are attracted to bright, bold colors, and this book delivers in that aspect. I also really like that the traditional rhymes have instructions for the actions that go with them — I sort of vaguely remember rhymes that my parents did with me when I was a kid, but not well enough to effectively do them with my own future children. Having instructions nearby will help immensely.

This is a book to be read from parent or caregiver to child. It is not a book that’s intended for a child to read on their own. So a big thing kids will get out of this book is together reading time with adults in their lives. Being illustration-heavy, there are lots of opportunities for picture walks to happen on different pages, even if there’s no overarching story. You can spend a lot of time pointing out the pictures, associating words with them, and just having fun with the book.

This is the most important thing. The words in this book are very simple. The concepts are simple: weather, animals, clothing, vegetables. The point is, they’re bundled up into one package so it’s easy to spend a good chunk of time with this book going over these concepts with a child. The happy memories you’ll make reading this book to your child will help encourage early reading readiness and literacy. Reading this book with a child and talking about the content of the book are great ways to encourage literacy.

On that note, it’s Family Literacy Week right now, and it’s wrapping up tomorrow. To read more about Family Literacy Week and the different ways you can help build literacy in your own home, check out the website here.

See you next month with another Barefoot Book!

-Katje

Book of the Week: We All Went on Safari

Hello there!

It’s time for another Book of the Week post, and this week I’ll be covering We All Went on Safari: A Counting Journey through Tanzania by Laurie Krebs and Julia Cairns. (Currently one of the books discounted for the Winter Sale!)

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A bit about the book: We All Went on Safari is a story about a group of children and adults hiking around Tanzania. Every time they see animals, they count them in English and in Swahili. (Or, if you get 1, 2, 3, nous partons en safari! in French and Swahili. Or Spanish and Swahili, if you get Nos fuimos todos de Safari.) Animals they spot include leopards, giraffes, hippos, warthogs, and more. The text is rhyming, and the numbers go up to ten. The back of the book is full of information on the animals spotted, the Maasai people, and Tanzania. There’s even an illustrated guide to counting in Swahili.

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Book of the Week: Alligator Alphabet

Hi there! Katje here.

Today I’m going to talk a little about the book Alligator Alphabet by Stella Blackstone and illustrated by Stephanie Bauer as part of my Book of the Week series.

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A bit about the book: Alligator Alphabet is a book full of rhyming sentences that teach the letters of the alphabet using animals. Animals covered include alligators, emus, llamas, owls, wolves, rabbits, and more. The illustrations are bright and colorful. Many of the pages include tidbits about the animals — owls hunt and hoot; yaks have long shaggy hair, etc.

What kids will get out of this book and why it’s special: We’re all familiar with the ABCs song, but it’s not the only way to learn the alphabet and sometimes might not even be the best way! For kids who are more visually oriented learners or who struggle with auditory learning, a book like this will work better for familiarizing them with the letters of the alphabet, as well as teaching them about different animals. The colorful illustrations are attention grabbing, and the rhymes and association of animals with letters help with memory retention.

This is one of the few Barefoot Books that doesn’t really have a story attached, except the lines that give the animals quite a bit of depth. There’s no beginning, middle, and end, but there are memorable characters — like the camels who dare you to chase them, or the zebra who gallop here and there!

Alligator Alphabet is a board book, too, so it’s appropriate for very young children. (As are the two related books, Counting Cockatoos and Octopus Opposites.)

See you next week with another Book of the Week!

-Katje

Books for Pagan Parents: Top Books About Nature

Different kinds of parents are going to want different sorts of books for their kids. While I would never say that all pagans are alike — we are a very diverse group! — I have noticed that the pagan parents I know generally want to instill similar sorts of values in their children: compassion and respect for other beings (human, animal, and plant!), knowledge of the natural world and its cycles (my use of “nature” here includes our solar system and the universe), knowledge of mythology, folk lore, and fairy tales, a desire to learn, and a healthy imagination. I know that as a future parent of the pagan persuasion these are things that are important to me — I want my kids to feel the same wonder for natural cycles, and to have the same compassion for other beings that I try to cultivate in my own life.

While, of course, books are not the only route towards cultivating these values — nor should they be! — they are an important one, in my opinion.

There are so many Barefoot Books that can help with these areas, so I’ve decided to start a series here on the blog. I’m calling it Books for Pagan Parents and each post will feature the top books in one specific category.

The category for the inaugural post is — you guessed it — Books about Nature.

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Book of the Week: The Real Princess (A Mathemagical Tale)

Hello everyone, Katje here. Welcome to 2015! I hope the new year is treating you well so far.

As it’s the first month of the year, for my Book of the Week posts I’ll be focusing on books that cover the basics: literacy, numeracy; words and numbers. Our first book is The Real Princess (A Mathemagical Tale) by Brenda Williams and illustrated by Sophie Fatus.

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A bit about the book: The Real Princess is a re-telling of The Princess and the Pea — in it, the prince is looking for a princess, but she must be a real princess, according to his mother. This means she must be sensitive enough to feel a pea under several mattresses — because a princess must be sensitive and empathetic to what her people need.

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