Recently I had the opportunity to connect with author Susan B. Katz about her latest board book, ABC, Baby Me! (Random House/Robin Corey Books). Susan is a national board certified teacher, specializing in bilingual teaching and educational consulting in literacy, classroom management and strategies for English language learners. She launched her new book earlier this month.
Given Susan’s educational background, it’s no wonder that this book has a unique teaching element, as it follows the English alphabet through a day in the life of a baby. And not just one baby – many babies from different cultural backgrounds, with their parents, siblings, grandparents, and even family pets (which as a dog and cat “mommy”, I absolutely love).
From “A” – “Adore me” – through “Z” – “Zzzzz, I’m fast asleep” – each page is beautifully illustrated in soft, gentle watercolors by artist Alicia Padron. And the rhythm and rhyme adds a sing-song quality as you read aloud. The book is like a good hug, really. Perfect for naptime or bedtime reading.
I also appreciate the form of this board book – it’s sturdy, and at 7.4 x 6.4 inches, great to take on the go with baby or toddler.
Once she makes her arrival (hint, hint, Baby), I’ll be reading ABC, Baby Me! to my little girl, over and over. Thank you Susan and Alicia, for creating such a lovely board book.
Tuesday, October 26, 2010
Posted by Rachel at 12:13 PM
Thursday, October 7, 2010
In my last post I promised to share a great parent-to-be resource book. After this, I'll be back to picture books (already building a stack of 'em).
From the day of discovering I was pregnant, I've turned to the world of books to help me on the journey. Between my own purchases and hand-me-downs of well-loved books from other mamas, I've amassed quite a library of mom-to-be titles.
Many are the typical monthly play-by-play of what's happening with mother and baby. Others are pure comic relief. The one book that I've highlighted and sticky-tabbed the most however, may be a bit of surprise.
The Peaceful Nursery (Bantam Dell, 2006) was written by home and lifestyle experts (and sisters) Laura Forbes Carlin and Alison Forbes. And its title doesn't do it justice for just how much it covers in the way of preparing for a baby.
The Peaceful Nursery starts with a "Life Design" exercise which turned out to be a great way to get me thinking and journal writing about what kind of life experience I want for me and my new family.
The book then flows into preparing your home using Feng Shui and space-clearing principles - like 12 steps to clearing clutter. It then shifts into preparing the child's room, paying close attention to comfort and safety, color, lighting and materials (the same tips can be applied to any room in the house). Important for all new parents, the book also covers how to create positive sleep environments - in both the nursery and the adult bedroom.
The last chapter in particular is one of my favorites. Here Carlin and Forbes offer suggestions on self-care, what to expect the first 40 days after delivery, and building a relationship with your new baby. As with every chapter, it closes with a section of helpful "Quick Tips."
Nice extras like what to pack for the hospital, positive affirmations to physically, mentally and spiritually prepare for parenthood, an introduction to the principles of Feng Shui, and a robust "Resources" section, have all kept this book near and dear to my heart.
And of course, I have to mention the photography featured in the book. All of the images are soothing and inspiring, and provide good visual reference for creating indeed a peaceful home and nursery.
I'm off to re-read the last chapter again with a nice cup of tea.
Thursday, September 23, 2010
Preparing for motherhood over the last nine months has allowed me to indulge in two new genres of books - books for moms, and books for babies. Instead of instantly veering over to the new fiction section of the bookstore, I find myself looking up and back towards the typical location of children's books.
Recently my husband (and co-author) Tom were at East West Bookstore in Mountain View, CA. East West is perhaps best known as a new age bookstore, but they also have a wonderful children's books and toys section at the back of the store.
One of the picture books I couldn't leave behind is Peaceful Piggy Meditation, a colorful soft-cover about "peaceful piggies" that know how to use their breath, in and out, to be calm. Even when they have to eat something they don't like, someone takes their toy or they're having a hard time with their homework.
I love that the book also includes fun instructions on a meditation that kids and parents can do together (the book was written and illustrated by Kerry Lee MacLean, a Certified Children's Meditation Instructor).
Even though the book was published a few years ago, it seems especially timely given the amount of media coverage about how kids and meditation make a very positive and healthy combination.
In my next post, I'll share one of the parenting books that has made the biggest difference in helping me prepare for motherhood.
Until then, this peaceful piggy says "Om."
Posted by Rachel at 2:13 PM
Friday, September 10, 2010
Posted by Kim Baise at 12:32 PM
Saturday, August 28, 2010
We're Back to School! The girls are loving their classes and teachers and Kim and I are excited to invite friend, writer and soon to be mom, Rachel Formaro to post at Bees Knees Reads!
I met Rachel and her husband Tom at the bookstore last year when they were releasing, their children's book, Alfonso the Christmas Pumpkin. And now they are expecting their own sweet, little girl "pumpkin" right around the end of October. So I'm sure we will have many wonderful picture book reviews and joyful insights from Rachel.
We have to catch you up with what we've been doing... Kim is making art for Etsy and getting back into the studio and printmaking. Her baby turned 1 last month! Little C is 3 and D is now 6. My baby turned 5 last month and started Kindergarten and my 6 year old has found a new love, HORSES, and her 1st-grade friends of course. I have a Horse book review post planned for all who share that passion. And I've been enjoying running Coastside Books. The shop is ever evolving and it's a challenge to keep up with the new releases!
One of the reasons we love to blog is that there is no obligation to do so and we can connect with so many literature- loving creative people on the blogosphere. We are grateful to Margo at The Fourth Muskateer for passing along the Versatile Blogger Award. And we're gathering our lists so we'll be passing on the award to 15 Versatile Bloggers in the next few posts.
My picture book pick of the month is Lane Smith's It's a Book, that clever, clever man. I get that people love their e-readers yet the art of the book and the tactile experience of books can not be replicated electronically. And I do like electronic media, I'm a blogger after all, but reading, for me, especially children's books is a pleasure best reserved for paper pages. I've included the trailer for fun but the book has a punchline that will make any adult smile wryly. Smith's publisher, Macmillan says, "... IT’S A BOOK is a delightful manifesto on behalf of print in the digital age...." You'll just have to find it and read it to get to that smart-ass last line : )
Lastly, I would be remiss if I didn't mention that today is Tasha's Tudor's Birthday and here is a lovely post by Clarice over at Storybook Woods celebrating Tasha Tudor Day 2010. Reading Tasha Tudor's books with my mom and sister is a favorite childhood memory. I dreamed of the pastoral life and intimate country traditions Tudor illustrated and I especially loved her Christmastime and holiday illustrations.
Well, I've packed a lot of news into this post and I'm looking forward to Kim and Rachel's favorite picture books and versatile blogger award lists. The rules say we can pass it along to 15 bloggers so I'll link 5, Kim will link 5 and Rachel will link 5. Happy back to school!
Posted by Nancy Arruda at 10:42 AM
Monday, June 14, 2010
Congratulations to my 6-year-old nephew whose band The Legos just won a professional studio session with their original song at an LA battle of the bands competition!!!!
In honor of your new hipster status D, I'm sending you a copy of Alternative ABC'S (Chunky Edition) to read to your little bro.
This is the ABCs book for future skaters and rock guitarists but also for earth lovers and environmentalists!
Look for it in the mail soon Kim xoxoxox
Posted by Nancy Arruda at 7:01 PM
Wednesday, May 12, 2010
Posted by Kim Baise at 9:27 AM
Monday, May 10, 2010
I hope everyone had a joyful Mother's Day! Today kicks off Children's Book Week and this year you can send away for this poster by Jon Muth. How nice it would be to have Stillwater around the house to read to the children... Hmmm in my make believe world, like the Land of Make Believe as Fred Rogers would have it. (But maybe not as scary as some of those puppets.)
There is a book out titled 75 years if Children's Book Week Posters: Celebrating Great Illustrators of American Children's Books by Leonard Marcus if you're inclined to start collecting. This should be a good week around the kidslit blogs and here is a page with CBC activities and events. Enjoy the week!
Posted by Nancy Arruda at 5:59 AM
Tuesday, April 20, 2010
Nancy's cat Jake passed away. He was 20 years old. I think the girls took it kind of hard. They had a nice funeral in the backyard but I heard that her littlest daughter wanted to dig him back up because she missed him dearly.
Posted by Kim Baise at 7:19 PM
Monday, April 12, 2010
A pregnant inuit mother and her child paddle in a small boat through the ocean at dusk and observe the "children of the ocean" being snuggled to sleep by their mothers.
(and also because I wanted to share this book with you).
Posted by Kim Baise at 6:25 AM
Sunday, April 4, 2010
Author/ Illustrator, Marjolein Varekamp sent this darling photo of her daughter and her Easter Rabbit, Jip. Marjolein who wrote and illustrated A Wonderful Week with Bees Knees Books is currently working on a new book about a little mouse named Harold for a Dutch publisher due out fall next year. Congratulations Marjolein!!!
My family is enjoying a very wet and windy Easter indoors this year and the girls are looking forward to a week off for spring break. It looks like we'll be planning some crafty things to do inside the house. And some gardening when the weather clears and the earth is nice and soft.
Posted by Nancy Arruda at 4:23 PM
Tuesday, March 30, 2010
Lately, I've been on an an origami bend. I stay up late at night folding butterflies to make these cheerful color garlands. I also like reading the blogs of other artists and recently connected with Australian feltist, Trudi from Me and Ewe. She's stayed in a teepee too.
Posted by Kim Baise at 7:23 PM
Tuesday, March 23, 2010
Posted by Kim Baise at 6:35 AM
Monday, March 15, 2010
My sister Nancy and I are big-time Chris Raschka book fans, so much, that we talk about his books over phone conversations.
Yesterday, I was telling her how my little C, who just turned 3 (rhymes) wants me to read Wormy Worm over and over again as she squeals in delight!
It's part of his series of Thingy Things published by Hyperion from 200-2002.
Some in this series include: Moosey Moose, Whaley Whale, Sluggy Slug, Doggy Dog, Snaily Snail, Whaley Whale, Goosey Goose and Wormy Worm.
I know we've already had a few Chris Raschka posts at Bees Knees: there's one on the Hello, Goodbye Window which you can revisit here and A Kick in the Head here.
Meanwhile, Nancy is raving about Chris' new book: Hip Hop Dog published by Harper Collins which I haven't seen or read but can't wait to check out. The illustrations are not by Chris but Snoop Dogg fan, Vladimir Radunsky. It's a great combo!
Here's a super neato trailer I found of it:
Posted by Kim Baise at 7:04 AM
Wednesday, March 10, 2010
Posted by Kim Baise at 6:34 PM
Friday, March 5, 2010
My sister, Nancy passed Gringa ( A Contradictory Girlhood) by Melissa Hart on to me when she came down for a visit a few weeks ago.
Hart tells her coming of age story which starts early on with forced separation from her lesbian mom by the court system in California in the 1970's. " You can't grow up parented by two women. It's unnatural." This was the rationale of the court system back then.
She finds comfort in Latino culture as she tries to find her identity and tells of her desires, aspirations and vulnerabilities with total honesty (which made me laugh out loud a few times).
Melissa Hart grew up in So Cal with her father and stepmother and in Oxnard with her two mothers in the 70's and 80's and attended college in UC Santa Cruz and UC Santa Barbara , same as Nancy and I, so it was extra fun to read.
After my Tuesday Babygarten class with C, I noticed that our Studio City branch Library just got in a brand new picture book which happens to run along the same vein:
In Our Mothers' House by Patricia Polacco is a beautifully illustrated and wonderful story celebrating an untraditional family with two mothers raising their three adopted children in "a big old brown shingle house on Woolsey Street in Berkeley, California." Marmee and Meema's house is full of love and they teach their children that different is not wrong. But one family in the neighborhood doesn't accept them because they are different: "How can a family have two moms and no dad?"
Polacco shows an amazing, unique family that lives by its own rules and one that is held together by a very special love. The story lets us watch the three children grow up into perfectly normal adults with children of their own. Marmee and Meema enjoy their grandchildren and when they grow old and pass away, they are laid to rest in a green hillside overlooking the bay "near the place where they pledged their love to each other so many years ago."
The house remains as a gatheing place for the three children and their families. "All of our hearts find peace whenever we are there, together, in our mothers' house."
Now I'll leave you with a fun clip of Melissa Hart's recipe for the California 70's Frito Boat (I forgot to add that each chapter in Gringa ends in a recipe) Good Stuff!
Posted by Kim Baise at 8:41 PM
Tuesday, March 2, 2010
Friday, February 26, 2010
Last week-end, my sister Nancy came down for a visit. We managed to sneak away sans the kids and do a little shopping. One of the vintage stores we shopped at had this amazing animal print fabric (above) and I know Nancy is still debating where she could incorporate it in her home. Well Nancy, it's still at the shop waiting for you and I snapped this image and also immediately thought of another great artist whose blog I follow: Elizabeth Graeber
Posted by Kim Baise at 1:37 PM
Monday, February 22, 2010
Posted by Kim Baise at 9:33 AM
Tuesday, February 16, 2010
On Sunday, we packed up the kids and stroller and met my parents at the metro station in North Hollywood. From there, we all took the red line subway to Union Station. I took this photo of the gorgeous mural. (above)
and Juanita's pink lacey Easter dress hangs above her bed to wear in the morning.
Posted by Kim Baise at 5:52 AM
Tuesday, February 9, 2010
While fishing, their ice floe breaks loose and they adventure through the oceans of the world, only to return back home again, never catching a single fish (actually, they do catch a ton but the pelicans steal them away). The last page shows them asleep in their cozy beds with a jar of peanut butter (butter knife left inside)on the nightstand.
The watercolor illustrations by Larry Day (click on his name to see an amazing pompadour image!)are wonderful with many full page spreads, including a killer whale and giant pink squid. Lovely stuff!
Posted by Kim Baise at 3:14 PM
Monday, February 8, 2010
Recently, I received a copy of Champions of the Garden Games in the mail which arrived just in time for the upcoming Winter Olympics in Vancouver.
With the Olympics beginning this week-end, everyone will be watching their favorite athletes in the world compete. " What better way to talk about sports and to show children the variety of options they have to enjoy winter and be active year round?" asks author Marvin van Lemon. Through his narration, Marvin introduces children ages 4-8 to several sports that will take place in the Winter Olympics and with this book he has begun a campaign to get children interested in sports and healthy eating.
Studies have shown that it is essential to establish healthy active behaviors early in life. Children who are overweight at an early age have a high risk of developing chronic diseases such as diabetes, cardiovascular diseases and high blood pressure and are also more likely to become overweight as adults.
Posted by Kim Baise at 12:32 PM
Wednesday, January 27, 2010
Thanks to the comment left by Playing by the Book on Kim's previous "Dolly" post, I've been listening to lots of banjo in the car with the kids. (OK this recording has been out for a while but I'm a little slow catching up with it.)
Anyway, thought I'd share a you-tube clip of Steve Martin, Bela Fleck and Tony Trischka playing a track from The Crow below.
And, because I'm having fun with this ad I'm working on for the store I'll post what I have so far. I think all you book lovers will appreciate it.
I still have a couple of days to finish it and
I might change the Mark Twain quote to something more practical like: Open 7 days a week. Free gift-wrapping. ????
Tuesday, January 19, 2010
Posted by Kim Baise at 3:43 PM