Book and Gift Pairings for the Holidays

Books make great gifts any time of year. But what's even better? Books paired with a items meant to extend the enjoyment of the story! This Read, Discuss, Do! Gift Guide pairs some of our favorite books with other gifts meant to help extend the fun of the story beyond the last page and maybe even encourage some new experiences. We hope you find some good ideas for readers and doers in your life on this list. For Babies and Toddlers Hey, Bruce! by Ryan T. Higgins. Pair this super fun (and funny) interactive picture book with a black bear plush, such as this First and Main 10-inch Bear .  Stomp, Wiggle, Clap, and Tap: My First Book of Dance  by Rachel Burk and illustrated by Alyssa De Asis, a book that encourages imaginative play. Pair this book with a musical gift such as a music box or instrument. Or maybe a dance costume! More books for active babies and toddlers For Little Makers The Thingity-Jig by Kathleen Doherty and illustrated by Kristyna Litten will be a sure hit with lit

AND I THINK ABOUT YOU: An Interview PLUS Six Book-Themed Activities

AND I THINK ABOUT YOU: An Interview PLUS Six Book-Themed Activities

by Laura Sassi 

There’s a new picture book out just it time for fall and back-to-school. Written by Rosanne L. Kurstedt and illustrated by Ya-Ling Huang, AND I THINK ABOUT YOU poignantly captures the love and connection shared by a working mama bear and her cub who attends school at a day care. During the day, they are apart, but they are always thinking of each other. Told with the feel of a letter (or love song) from mama to child, it is just the kind of story I would have loved to snuggle up with with my own kids when they were little. Rosanne’s warm text pairs nicely with Ya-Ling’s dreamy watercolor illustrations.

Today I’m pleased to feature Rosanne in an interview followed by SIX book-themed activities.

First, the interview:

Laura: Thank you for joining me here today, Rosanne. What inspired the story?

Rosanne: The story was inspired by a bedtime ritual my older son and I developed.

Laura: I love how a simple bedtime ritual turning into a special bonding tradition. It makes me remember fondly some of the seemingly little things I did with my kids, that became rituals or traditions of their own kind – but none exactly like this. 

Laura: What are you most excited about with the release of this new book?

Rosanne: There are so many things I’m excited about – but what I’m most excited about is connecting with families—hearing them talk about the book and also learning about some of the rituals they’ve developed. 

Laura: Thanks again for joining me here today, Rosanne and congratulations on the book’s release. I am certain it will spark rich conversation, not only at your visits, but also afterwards, as parents and children use your delightful story as a spark to build their own special together-time traditions.

And now for SIX fun BOOK-THEMED activities inspired by AND I THINK ABOUT YOU:

1. Go on a Leaf Hunt. As you read the story together, make note of all the leaves illustrator Ya-Ling Huang has infused into her effervescent illustrations. Then go on a leaf walk, collecting as many different types as you can. After your walk, create lovely leaf rubbings like these using crayons and paper.

2. Do a Picture Read Through. After reading AND THINK ABOUT YOU aloud to your child, flip things around by having your child re-read it to you using the pictures as clues. Reading the pictures is a great pre-reading skill because it encourages interacting with the page. It’s also a wonderful way to foster storytelling and take to heart the message of the story that — together or apart — you and your little one share a love that’s strong and true. So, snuggle up and enjoy being “read” to.

3. Create a Parent/Child Picture Frame.  After reading the story, take out an album or open up the photos on your phone. Look for pictures of you and your child together - remembering special times you have enjoyed as parent and child.  Then pick one to frame or to draw and then frame.  Make the frame any way you would like. This one is created with four large craft sticks glued at the corners to make a rectangle, then embellished with stickers and crayon.  Add magnets to the back and you will have refrigerator art!

4. Play a Silly Sound Game. Author Rosanne L. Kurstedt had a lot of fun incorporating sound words into the story. As you read together, enjoy making the sounds in different funny ways.  Then make up your own sounds for common things you and your child are familiar with. Write these down on little cards. Then use them to play a variation of charades using sounds.

5. Enjoy a Book-themed Read. Discuss. Do!  See the wonderful directions below.

6. Make Pinwheels! In the story, the bear cub brings a pin wheel to school and it is shown in many of the illustrations.  As you read, see if you can find - and count - them all. Afterwards, enjoy making your own. Instructions can be found here:



Mindy Baker said…
Awesome interview and activities! Thanks!