Tuesday, October 26, 2010

A day in the life of baby with ABC, Baby Me!

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.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

From peaceful piggies to peaceful nurseries

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.