Category Archives: Board Books

Nutrition is the Mission

Everyone has heard the spiel about eating more fruits and vegetables, and it seems like there are more reasons discovered everyday to do so. Fruits and vegetables have so many vitamins and minerals that are essential to our health; they can even reduce the risk of heart disease and certain types of cancer!

Eating the Rainbow (Haitian Creole/Spanish edition)

 

More specifically, fruits and vegetables contain phytonutrients, or compounds produced by plants. These are better known as antioxidants. There are thousands of phytonutrients in plant-based foods, each with different benefits, so it is important to eat a wide variety. The easiest way to identify phytonutrients is by the color of fruits and vegetables. One common phytonutrient is beta carotene, present in dark, leafy greens like kale or orange fruits and vegetables such as carrots, and is known to benefit vision and skin health.

 

Fruits and vegetables are especially beneficial for little tots who need a lot of nutrition to grow, but sometimes it can be a struggle to get them to eat healthy foods. While parents and caretakers should not force children to eat more fruits and vegetables, there are ways to gently encourage this habit that has lifelong benefits.

 

One way to get children excited is by involving them in food prep and planning. This can range from allowing children to choose the fruit or vegetable they want to eat to counting out berries in a bowl (with an added early math learning opportunity!). Even more fun is engaging children with an educational gardening activity!

 

Garden-based learning helps children develop many important skills beyond the traditional classroom setting. This includes the opportunity to engage little learners in plant life cycles, environmental awareness, and food sources.

What’s In My Garden? (English edition)

 

Although gardening may seem like a difficult activity, it is one that can be started right in the kitchen. Many fruits and vegetables can be grown from food scraps that are normally discarded. This includes seeds from citrus fruits and avocados, carrot heads, old cloves of garlic, sweet potatoes, and leftover chunks of ginger.

 

Sprouting a fruit or vegetable, like an avocado seed, takes patience, but is fun to set up and observe. You can start your own avocado plant at home in these  easy steps.

 

While waiting for your fruit or vegetable to grow, continue introducing children to bright and nutritious fruits and vegetables. Youngsters can learn the names of various fruits and vegetables with Eating the Rainbow. Fruits and vegetables are grouped by colors, and large, bright photographs of toddlers enjoying these delicious snacks are sure to entice readers!

 

Name the colors of the fruits and vegetables as they come straight from the source in What’s In My Garden? Children will also learn the names of vegetables as they lift the flaps to gather them into their basket. These fun reads are sure to get children started on recognizing various fruits and vegetables and on the path to nutrition awareness!

Reading Faces Like a Book

It is never too early to start learning about emotions. A child’s social and emotional development begins in infancy and continues all the way into adulthood. When children are very young, they learn to recognize their own emotions by the physical markers that come with feelings. Examples of this include having butterflies in your stomach when you are nervous or smiling when you are happy.

My Face Book (Hindi/English edition)

Related to this is empathy. Empathy is the ability to put yourself in another person’s shoes. This is important because understanding other people’s feelings allows us to appropriately respond to a situation. Studies have shown that empathetic skills can lead to children having more positive relationships with their peers and becoming more engaged in school. These skills continue to have an impact later in life in the form of more meaningful relationships and greater professional success.

 

One of the first steps in developing empathy is learning to recognize other people’s emotions, and the easiest way to do this is by recognizing physical cues, such as facial expressions. Exposing young children to different facial expressions and talking to them about what the emotions behind them mean can help develop their social and emotional skills early on.

My Face Book (Bosnian/English edition)

My Face Book, for little readers ages 0-2, depicts diverse baby faces displaying a range of emotions. Not only will babies enjoy looking at pictures of fellow babies, but this is also a great book to help them associate an emotion with a respective facial expression. My Face Book is a tool for parents and caregivers to help their babies recognize common cues for these emotions, as well as teach babies to understand and appreciate people of different ethnicities and cultures.

 

Tagalog/English Edition

My Face Book has consistently been one of Star Bright Books’s bestselling titles since it was published in 2011. It has been named a Top 100 Board Book on a School Library Journal blog poll, a Best Books for Babies, and a Read to Me! 50 Best Books for Babies.

 

At Star Bright Books, we believe that all children deserve the opportunity to read and learn in their native tongue. To foster this language development, we strive to make our books available in as many English bilingual editions as possible. With the recent additions of the Bosnian/English, Hindi/English, and Tagalog/English editions, My Face Book is now available in 22 languages.

Indigenous People’s Day

Traditionally, the second Monday of October has been celebrated in the United States as Columbus Day, commemorating the day Christopher Columbus stepped foot on North America. There has been much criticism of this holiday due to Columbus and other Europeans’ treatment of the Native American population, but it was not until the 1990s that this criticism really started to gain momentum.

 

Indigenous People’s Day is a counter-celebration to Columbus Day that celebrates Native Americans and their culture. Many US cities have chosen to celebrate Indigenous People’s Day in lieu of Columbus Day (including Cambridge, MA, where we are headquartered!). Indigenous People’s Day shows a wider scope of our history without glorifying a man who inflicted great cruelty on the native population while colonizing their lands. Instead, we acknowledge all the wrongs that Native Americans have suffered and honor their culture and traditions.

 

 

There is still quite a ways to go before we fully acknowledge and accept our country’s deep roots in colonization, but there are steps we can take to ensure that we are heading in the right direction. One of the most important things we can do is teach our children about diversity, inclusivity, and cultural awareness.

 

Loving Me and Cradle Me are great books to introduce babies to various Native American cultures. Loving Me depicts a native family caring for a child. The family is not just limited to parents; it is a multigenerational one, from great grandmother to big sister. Each family member actively participates in the loving and rearing of the children, an important aspect of Native American families.

 

 

Cradle Me showcases different cradleboards used to carry babies. These cradleboards have long been a part of many tribes’ tradition, and many still use them today. Cradleboards vary from tribe to tribe, but one common thread is that they are often decorated by the baby’s family as a way to show love for the newest member of the family.

 

Another way culture is expressed is through language. Many Native American languages are no longer spoken, but tribes across the country are fighting to save their native languages through technology or education of the next generation.

 

At Star Bright Books, we recognize the importance of preserving Native American languages and cultures. We carry Cradle Me and Loving Me in Navajo/English and Ojibwe/English so children can see themselves represented in books and read stories in their native tongues. For more information on these languages or the preservation efforts, please visit the First Nations Development Institute or Native Languages.

 

Celebrate Indigenous People’s Day this year on October 8!

A Sweet Story for Sweet Dreams

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Good Night, Little Sea Otter

Written by Janet Halfmann | Illustrated by Wish Williams

Ages 3 – 6

With their sweet faces and mischievous, playful personalities, sea otters may be one of the most “kid-like” animals on the planet. And, like children, they sure know how to have fun! Underwater, they glide, twist, twirl, and tumble with the same enthusiasm as kids on a playground, popping up to float on their backs like little ones lying on the ground to watch the clouds float by.

 

Sea otters also seem to know all about friendship—holding hands, playing in groups, and even sharing snacks (ingeniously prepared and served on their tummies!) When it’s naptime or bedtime, little sea otters are as snuggly as kids—or are kids as snuggly as little sea otters? Either way, both love to cuddle in a warm hug and a cozy blanket as they drift off to sleep.

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Good Night Little Sea Otter text copyright Janet Halfmann, Illustration copyright Wish Williams.

Janet Halfmann’s and Wish Williams’ adorable Good Night, Little Sea Otter delights in the lively antics of these loveable sea animals as the baby sea otter can’t go to sleep without saying “good-night” to all of her friends. As Little Sea Otter calls out to the seals, seagulls, snails and sea slugs, the fish, crabs, sea stars and sea urchins, they in turn are excited to say “good-night” to her as well. But as the gently rocking waves, twinkling stars, and Mama’s whispers quiet the baby, Little Sea Otter still feels she’s left someone out. Who can it be?

 

Young readers will be enchanted by this charming and joyful bedtime story that reassures them that even as they are going to sleep, they have a world of friends waiting and happy to greet them in the morning.

 

Sweet dreams!

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Good Night Little Sea Otter text copyright Janet Halfmann, Illustration copyright Wish Williams.

Good Night, Little Sea Otter is also published in these bilingual editions:

 

Arabic/English | Burmese Karen/English | Burmese/English | Chinese English/English | French/English | Hmong/English | Navajo/English | Portuguese/English | Spanish/English | Spanish/English (Board Book) 

 

Good Night, Little Sea Otter is available on the Star Bright Books Website:

Hardcover | Paperback | Board Book

 

And with these booksellers:

Amazon | IndieBound

 

You can connect with author Janet Halfmann on:

Her Website | Facebook | Twitter

 

Download These Fun Good Night, Little Sea Otter Activities!

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Here are the Solutions: Word Search Solution | Maze Solution

Fantastic Gifts for Fantastic Dads

 

Dads are great!

 

Whether they’re pretending to be an astronaut chasing little aliens, teaching proper ball-throwing techniques, helping with homework, or doing the cooking and laundry with their own flair, today’s fathers are playful, involved, and engaged. One of the best ways for dads to spend time with their kids is snuggling up and reading together! These special times build strong, lasting bonds and benefit kids in so many ways!

 

Books make wonderful Father’s Day gifts that kids and their dads can share long after the holiday. Here you’ll find books that are just right for wrapping up a perfect day with dad! There are board books for little ones from ages 2 to 5, chapter books for kids ages 5 to 9, and a novel for young readers ages 9 to 12.

Daddy’s Busy Day

Written by Miriam Cohen | Illustrated by Ying-Hwa Hu
Ages 2 – 4

In this sweet story, a child spends days with Dad while Mom goes off to work. As the little one says “Good bye, Mommy,” Daddy dishes up a breakfast favorite. The day flies by as they make chores fun, visit the park, have lunch, and dance. When Mom gets home, it’s time to cook dinner, take a bath, hear a story, and finally drift off to sleep with kisses from Mommy and Daddy. Gender neutral, this book is perfect for all children.

 

 

A Fish to Feed

Written by Ellen Mayer | Illustrated by Ying Hwa-Hu
Ages 1 – 3

 

            

Come along with a dad and his little one as they add a new pet to the family! On their walk downtown, they happily talk together about all the fish they see on their way to the pet store—a fish to wear on a T-shirt, a toy fish to play with, and finally a real fish to love…and feed! Kids will love peering and pointing through the die-cut holes that encourage interactive reading and learning. Gender neutral, this book is perfect for all children. Also available in a Spanish/English edition

 

The Jake Series

Written by Ken Spillman | Illustrated by Chris Nixon
Ages 5 – 9

Jake’s Concert Horror | Jake’s Cooking Craze | Jake’s Gigantic List | Jake’s Balloon Blast | Jake’s Great Game | Jake’s Monster Mess

Jake and his dad are on their own in these funny, madcap adventures that younger kids will love to hear and independent readers will want to devour one after the other. Loveable Jake has huge ideas and a colossal desire to make them all come true! When things turn out…well…a little surprising, Jake can count on his dad for a sympathetic ear and encouragement.

Here’s a chapter-book series that all kids—voracious readers and reluctant readers alike—will get excited about. Come on! Join Jake’s world!

Jake’s Concert Horror

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When Jake is cast as the prince in the class play The Little Mermaid and learns he’ll have to kiss Stephanie (even if it is pretend), he thinks he’d rather be tied to an ants’ nest and force-fed tripe during every school vacation. He gamely learns his lines and gives his character princely manners, but that looming kiss is nerve-wracking! What will Jake do when the curtain rises and every eye is on him?

 

 

Jake’s Cooking Craze

star-bright-books-jake's-cooking-crazeJake’s caught the cooking bug. When his first creation—a boiled sweet potato mashed with baked beans and covered in an everything-in-the-refrigerator-door sauce—isn’t a culinary success, he takes lessons from Nana. Their chocolate mousse, pizza, and mango ice cream are delish, and Jake’s sure he’s got the hang of cooking. So what if his own chocolate mousse is more of a chocolate mess; it still tastes good! Jake’s convinced he can win the school’s cooking competition, and he wants to make something no one—especially Stephanie—will dare. But with only one ingredient from home allowed, what will Jake choose from his garden?

 

 

Jake’s Great Game

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Jake knows he’s going to be awesome at soccer. He’ll be super-fast and much too tricky for the opposing teams. But once he’s out on the field, soccer’s not as easy as it looks. Jake’s dribbling looks like bad passing and his passing looks like bad dribbling. The ball just won’t cooperate. Is it possible there’s a position that’s just the right fit for Jake?

 

 

Jake’s Gigantic List

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Jake’s birthday is right around the corner and Dad doesn’t know what to get him, so Jake starts a list. Pretty soon the list has 352 things on it, including #65: snow that doesn’t melt, complete with sled; #66: my own beach; #69: friendly pirate; #324: real dinosaurs—no fossils; and #325: fish tank with piranhas. There’s no way he’s getting any of these! But does Auntie Lyn find a way?

 

 

Jake’s Monster Mess

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Jake’s dad is throwing a dinner party, and he wants Jake to clean his room before the guests arrive. At first Jake’s room is only slightly messy, but putting away his underwear starts an avalanche of toys, furniture, and dust that keeps Jake hopping all day. He’s determined to put everything in its proper place—and help others in the process—but his dad and their guests are in for a surprise!

 

 

Jake’s Balloon Blast

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Jake has always wanted to fly! Not in an airplane—that’s basically riding a bus in the sky—but for real. He knows he can do it—he just needs to figure out how. The pair of wings he builds won’t hold him, and his other plans don’t work out so well either. Then he remembers the helium tank his dad has! He enlists the help of his best friend Jonah and soon Jake is pumped and ready to go. Finally, he achieves his dream—with topsy-turvy results!

 

 

The Amazing Spencer Gray

Written by Deb Fitzpatrick
Ages 9 – 12

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Spencer Gray is twelve—finally old enough to join his father in his glider, the Drifter. Going up and soaring is amazing! Then disaster strikes the glider in mid-air, leaving his father badly injured. Spencer will have to be nothing short of amazing to help his dad in this compelling story of survival, family, and resilience.