Book! and Literacy
Awards | Honors | Reviews
Purchase using the links above and referral fees are donated to Kickstarter & Donors Choose. Thank you for helping to support these terrific causes.
Invite older students to create a skit or choral reading of Book! to share with preschoolers or Kindergartners.
Learn more about Maggie Smith, the illustrator for both BOOK! and ONE MITTEN.
Peek into her studio as she works on the illustrations for ONE MITTEN and visit her website: maggiebooks.com
About Writing Book!
Book! was inspired by the grin on a little girl's face when she was handed a new book. Ten-month old Sarah was probably the youngest attendee at the Northern California Booksellers Convention - so young, she was having trouble turning the pages of her new book. So, I sat down on the floor of the convention center and we read her new book together. Again and again.
If you've ever been to a booksellers' convention you know how hectic it can be: noisy crowds and what seems like endless acres of books. Sarah didn't notice the chaos - she just grinned and kicked her feet as we read her book. Sitting there, I thought: This is how a lifelong love affair with books begins. One small girl with a gift of one small book. Perhaps it's that simple.
The poem that became Book! begins: "My gift is flat and square..." My nieces and nephews will smile knowingly at this line because Aunt Kris' gifts are almost always flat and square. I know they'll outgrow clothes; toys get broken. However, books endure and it's my secret wish that perhaps one of the books I've chosen will be cherished and someday passed down to their children.
Tucked beneath the one-hundred and nine words in Book! are a lifetime of memories and associations with books. I still have my battered copy of Horton Hears a Who; I still remember the first book I read by myself - a magnificent story about a yellow duck. Writing Book! also brought back memories of my daughter as a toddler: Spoon-feeding a picture of Mary's little lamb in one of her books. Carrying on passionate conversations with book characters. Or, sound asleep in a pile of books.
Maggie Smith's illustrations for Book! are elegantly simple, bright, colorful, and full of delicious humor. I love the cat's antics, the subtle expressions on the elephant's face, and the way Maggie captured a preschooler's joyous encounter with his new book.
I'm delighted that Clarion Books, published Book! in both English as well as an English/Spanish bilingual version. Not to mention that it's also available in Italian, Japanese, and Portuguese!
Maggie Smith and I hope you and our young readers will enjoy Book!
Book! and LiteracyI celebrated the publication of Book! by donating copies to local literacy organizations as well as donating proceeds from book sales on this site to First Book and Reading is Fundamental and I continue to do so. In these small ways, I hope to honor the work that is being done to foster a love of reading and to bring books into the lives of children across the country.
Last year, during a school visit, I met a child during a school visit who doesn't own a single book. Her family owns a television and a few videos, but no books. Sarah, the toddler who inspired Book!, is lucky. She has parents who will read to her and enrich her life with books. I'm certain the little book that enchanted her that afternoon will be just one of many books Sarah will own and love.
Other children are not as fortunate. I've been reading about literacy in this country and the statistics are certainly discouraging. Yet, the good news is that there are organizations and individuals who are tackling this issue in innovative ways.
Young fan from DaddyLibrary.com
Literacy Honor Roll
Books to Inspire a Love of Reading
Great Books for Babies and Toddlers: More Than 500 Recommended Books for Your Child's First Three Years by Kathleen Odean
Great Books for Boys: More than 600 Books for Boys 2 to 14 by Kathleen Odean
Great Books for Girls: More than 600 Books to Inspire Today's Girls and Tomorrow's Women by Kathleen Odean
Great Books About Things Kids Love: More than 750 Recommended Books for Children 3 to 14 by Kathleen Odean
How to Get Your Child to Love Reading: For Ravenous and Reluctant Readers Alike by Esmé Raji Codell
Raising a Reader: A Mother's Tale of Desperation and Delight by Jennie Nash (See article about Jennie's book in USA Today!)
The Read Aloud Handbook 5th Edition by Jim Trelease
Reading Magic: Why Reading Aloud to Our Children Will Change Their Lives Forever by Mem Fox
The Barbara Bush Foundation for Family Literacy seeks to establish literacy as a value in every family in America.
Beginning with Books supports over 200 organizations in literacy efforts.
The Center for the Book in the Library of Congress was established to stimulate public interest in books, reading, and libraries.
First Book is a national nonprofit organization with a single mission: to give children from low-income families the opportunity to read and own their first new books.
The National Center for Family Literacy is a nonprofit organization supporting family literacy projects across the United States.
Reading is Fundamental is a national nonprofit organization that develops and delivers children's and family literacy programs that help prepare young children for reading. Learn about their programs and make a donation online.
Read Aloud West Virginia is under the umbrella of the Education Alliance and puts trained volunteer readers in schools across the state. (Click on "Read Aloud")
Reading Checkup Guide by the American Academy of Pediatrics has a "reading checkup" for parents and caregivers addressing the different developmental stages of children.
Guys Read was masterminded by author Jon Scieszka, the creator of The Stinky Cheese Man and The True Story of the 3 Little Pigs. Jon is rolling up his sleeves to encourage boys to read and he's making reading cool.
Oppenheim Toy Portfolio Gold Award 2002
New York Public Library "100 Titles for Reading and Sharing"
Parent's Guide to Children's Media Award
CCBC Choices 2002
Beginning with Books' Best Books for Babies
Portuguese and Japanese translations
Los Angeles 100 Best Books: A balanced library acquisition program
"A vibrant celebration to welcome toddlers to the world of reading." Booklist
"Parents and teachers will want to hug this book and share it with the first preschooler they meet. Enthusiasm for books is the best way to nurture literacy. This book should be in every preschool classroom." Children's Literature
"An endearing homage to the pleasures of books." Publishers Weekly
"In this celebratory title, a child receives his first book. From the magical moment he unwraps the gift until he nods off in bed, the cheerful toddler explores all the joys and the practical applications that his new treasure has to offer." School Library Journal
"...The exuberance of the last few pages will have young listeners shouting along with this little guy. "We'll read you warm and snug, / Book! I'll give you a hug, Book! / Open wide / Look inside. / Book!" Vibrantly colored illustrations are ideal for young readers with great washes of color and bold lines that bleed off the edge of the heavy, card-stock pages. A treat that will have everyone who hears it enjoying his or her own books just a little bit more, as well as inspiring the newbie." Kirkus Reviews
"All parents who love books will want to read this to their child...Don't miss it!" Great Books for Babies and Toddlers by Kathleen Odean
"...a joyful way to give a toddler his or her first read...sure to be a favorite for littlest readers..." Karen Carden Christian Science Monitor
"...a bright, bold celebration of a book. This book captures what a new book can mean to a child - a glorious present to be savored again and again." Boston Herald
"Bright acrylic paintings help tell this fast-paced toddlerlike tale about books as magical objects." Leonard Marcus, Parenting Magazine