willow…

Willow, star of Denise Brennan-Nelson and Rosemarie Brennan’s book of the same name, attends an art class in which every student is expected to conform to the demands of the strict and unimaginative art teacher. Determined to embrace her true self, Willow continues on, expressing herself through beautiful and unique artwork, to the disdain of her teacher. While keeping a positive outlook on life, Willow performs a simple act of kindness, gifting her beloved art book to her teacher, and changes the lives of everyone in her class for the better. Cyd Moore’s colorful illustrations add to this story of creativity, kindness, and individuality.

Willow (Picture Books)

you’re loveable to me…

It had been a big day. It had been a hard night.

Many parents can identify with the opening pages of Kat Yeh’s book, You’re Lovable to Me. Long nights and sometimes longer days can often leave parents tired and cranky. However, it’s important that we continue to show our children that no matter what, we love them unconditionally. As the mother rabbit in Yeh’s book explains to her little ones, no matter what a child’s feelings may be, the child is always “loveable to me.”

The simple prose, combined with  Sue Anderson’s sweet illustrations, makes a wonderful book about unconditional love for toddlers or preschoolers and their parents. This would make a wonderful story to use for reconnection after a big day or a long night.

it’s so amazing…

After reading It’s Not the Stork with my children, I had high hopes for It’s So Amazing, the next book in the series by Robie Harris, geared for ages 7 and up. I decided to read the book before sharing it with my children, as I wasn’t quite certain what the difference between the two books would be. For the most part, the book builds on information presented in It’s Not the Stork, with the added topics of puberty and HIV/AIDS.

Harris addresses HIV in her previous matter of fact manner. She also takes a similar view point for bringing up the terms of hetero- and homosexuality. After going over the basics of puberty and briefly discussing sexual intercourse, birth control is mentioned, which may be uncomfortable for some families. However, it is not a definitive guide, only mentioning condoms and birth control pills, and is more an opening to discuss the concept with your children, ending with the fact that abstinence is the only way to completely avoid pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases.

I had the same complaint with this book as its predecessor in regards to its reference to intact penises as uncircumcised. In this book, she goes further to say that both are normal. While our society’s vernacular isn’t quite what it used to be, accepted would be a better term for circumcised penises than normal. Society accepts individuals with both intact and circumcised penises, but there is nothing normal about cutting off a part of someone’s body. She also once again mentions in her discussion of okay versus not okay touches that it is acceptable for a doctor or nurse to touch a child’s private parts. It is never acceptable for one person to touch another person without their permission.

She also lost a little respect in this book by presenting to the mainstream crowd when it comes to childbirth. Not everyone chooses to have an attendant, which isn’t left as an unsaid option in this book. Women, in almost all cases except for when there are rare problems, are perfectly capable of birthing a child and do better when not inhibited and without interventions. Mainstream choices such as immediate cord cutting and delayed skin contact with the mother are also stated as fact rather than choice. While she mentions c-sections as an alternative birthing method, the word normal is once again inappropriately used. Surgery, while accepted, is never normal.

I ended up choosing not to share this book with my children. The greatest reason is that they haven’t shown any interest in discussing puberty more than we already have. They are still young, although we will probably be discussing the topic in greater detail in the next couple of years. However, I think there must be a better book out there for when they decide they do want to explore the topic in more depth.

sometimes I like to curl up in a ball…

Today is my youngest niece’s first birthday. As part of her birthday gift, I was looking for the board book version of Vicki Churchill and Charles Fuge’s book, Sometimes I Like to Curl Up in a Ball. This has been a favorite book at our house through the years. I think we are on our second or third copy. I love giving this as part of a first birthday gift. It’s perfect for toddlers. We have given many, many of these as gifts, to friends and family who practice attachment parenting and those who are very mainstream. Everyone has loved it.

Sometimes I Like to Curl Up in a Ball

The rhythmic prose of the book flows well. Children love to imitate what the little wombat does throughout the book, so it works for those toddlers who are active all the time and don’t want to sit down to read a book. I like the fact that the little wombat does things to explore and has big feelings. It appeals to every child. At the end of the book, the little wombat does what he loves best – he curls up in a ball and snuggles close to his mom to sleep. What a better way to end a day then with your little one snuggled up close?

throw your tooth on the roof…

My 7 year old has a loose tooth. It isn’t terribly loose, so I don’t think it will be coming out for quite some time, but it is loose none-the-less. The first loose tooth is a sign of coming change. My child is growing up. It’s new and exciting and bittersweet.

We weren’t certain what we would do for this monumentous occasion. Surely such a significant event must be celebrated in some way. Then we saw Selby Beeler’s book, Throw Your Tooth on the Rood: Tooth Traditions from Around the World.

In the book, Beeler describes traditions concerning loose teeth from all over the world. The short desrciptions, along with illustrations, make the book suitable for children of all ages. It was interesting to learn about different traditions and to see how similar cultures have similar traditions. It seems that throwing the tooth is a recurrent theme throughout Europe and that Spanish speaking cultures have traditions centering around a rat or mouse. Throughout many parts of the world, the various traditions center around having a new tooth that grows in strong and straight.

At dinner one evening, I asked my son what he wanted to do when he looses his first tooth. He is undecided at this time, contemplating how he wants to celebrate. The question did lead to a most interesting, and later hilarious, discussion about possible traditions. It culminated in a family story time where the kids and I decided it would be a lot of fun for my husband to dress up in a tooth fairy costume, complete with glitter “fairy dust.” I’m not certain of my husband’s thoughts on that matter, as by that time we were all laughing to hard to have any further discussion on the topic.