Thanksgiving: An Origin Story

Thanksgiving is just around the corner, and many people are already planning what to cook for their dinner spread. While feasting and giving thanks this season, consider the true origin of this long-standing tradition. The idea of Thanksgiving has changed quite a bit in the few hundred years it has been around, but how did it become the ingrained celebration it is today?

 

Modern-day Thanksgiving celebrations still heavily rely on the myth of the joyous first Thanksgiving feast between the Pilgrims and the Wampanoag tribe. However, it is important to know the true context from which this holiday was born to help prevent further erasure of the injustices inflicted upon Native Americans. While this does not make up for the past, it is certainly a step toward recognizing the oppression indigenous tribes have faced, and still face today.

 

“The First Thanksgiving” by Jean Leon Gerome Ferris, which depicts the romanticized version of the holiday. 

The common knowledge of the holiday depicts the first Thanksgiving as a harmonious meal between the Pilgrims and the Wampanoag tribe in 1621. The Wampanoag extended aid to the Pilgrims, who were near starvation, by bringing them much-needed supplies and teaching them how to grow their own crops. To commemorate their alliance and an abundant harvest, the Pilgrims invited the Wampanoag to a three-day celebration.

 

This, however, is a misrepresentation of the true history behind Thanksgiving. Although the feast did take place, the situation was quite tense. The two groups were distrustful allies who partnered up out of necessity. The Wampanoag needed more people to defend against other tribes; the Pilgrims viewed the Wampanoag as uncivilized, but were at great risk of dying out without aid. An influx of colonizers and a change in leadership on both sides ended the temporary peace. After the relationship dissolved, the possibility of fostering similar peace treaties squickly soured.

 

Increasingly, historians are pointing to a much darker event as a precursor to Thanksgiving: the Mystic Massacre. The Mystic Massacre was the culmination of the Pequot War, a three-year struggle with colonists over the tribe’s land. In 1637, Puritan forces and their Native allies launched a surprise attack on the Pequot tribe as they celebrated their own Thanksgiving in present-day Mystic, Connecticut. Colonial forces surrounded the Pequot tribe’s enclosed settlement and set fire to it, effectively trapping and murdering the people inside, from warriors to children.

 

The Mystic Massacre and two similar bloodbaths decimated the Pequot tribe. Surviving members were either sold into slavery or assimilated into neighboring tribes. Massachusetts Bay Governor John Winthrop expressed gratitude for the successful destruction of the tribe, and thus every massacre thereafter was subsequently followed by feasting and giving thanks.

 

In 1789, under the new US constitution, George Washington issued the Thanksgiving Proclamation, but the holiday was only recognized in the New England states for many years. Sarah Josepha Hale, an author and editor most famous for writing “Mary Had a Little Lamb,” started a campaign to have Thanksgiving recognized as a national holiday in 1827 by sending letters to the president, starting with Zachary Taylor. Her efforts paid off with Abraham Lincoln. Seeing an opportunity to unify the country in the middle of the Civil War, Lincoln declared Thanksgiving a national holiday in 1863. Although the Civil War would not end for another two years, Thanksgiving entered the public consciousness as a moment when two opposing factions could peacefully come together.

 

Similar to many aspects of modern-day Thanksgiving celebrations, turkeys did not rise to prominence until fairly recently. This particular tradition also came about thanks to Sarah Josepha Hale. In 1854, Hale heard the journal of William Bradford, former governor of Plymouth Colony, had been rediscovered. She became fixated on one innocuous sentence about the Pilgrims hunting wild turkey in the fall. Eating turkey for Thanksgiving was never stated in Bradford’s account, but Hale began publishing recipes for roasted turkey in conjunction with the holiday and the pairing gained in popularity.

 

Turkeys are now synonymous with Thanksgiving, but what if the turkey you want to eat is your friend? In Sometimes It’s Turkey, Sometimes It’s Feathers, written by Lorna Balian and illustrated by Lecia Balian, Mrs. Gumm raises a turkey to eat on Thanksgiving, but her plans go awry. This twist on tradition will help children understand one part of modern-day Thanksgiving customs. Next time you and your family are at a Thanksgiving dinner with a roasted turkey on the table, take a moment to remember the long history of this holiday.

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!

A Brief History of Trick or Treating

Trick or treat, smell my feet, give me something good to eat!

 

It’s almost Halloween, and that means the time for little gremlins to descend upon houses and ask for candy is near. As people flock to stores to stock up on fun-size chocolates, consider this: Halloween is the most commercially successful holiday in the United States after Christmas. Studies estimate that Americans spend $2.7 billion on candy for Halloween. And this number doesn’t account for costumes or decorations! How on earth did this very expensive, but much loved, tradition come to be?

 

The Celts, who lived in modern-day England, Ireland, and France as early as 1400 B.C., celebrated the festival of Samhain from October 31 to November 1 to mark the separation of the lighter half (summer) and darker half (winter) of the year. They believed that during this time, the boundaries between the human world and the spirit world weakened, allowing spirits to cross over into the human world. People often dressed up as spirits in order to blend in, and therefore avoid unpleasant encounters, with the actual spirits.

Humbug Witch

 

Then came Christianity. As Christianity spread, the church took these pagan traditions and layered in their own religious meaning in 1000 A.D. The new hybrid celebration not only replaced Samhain traditions, but was also a way for the church to encourage all classes to demonstrate Christian actions. Children and poor people would go around “guising,” or disguising themselves as representatives of the dead or the dead themselves, to houses of the rich and beg for food in exchange for prayers. A specific cake was given out called “soul cakes,” and thus this practice became known as “souling.”

 

In the nineteenth century, this practice shifted. Children still dressed up, but instead offered performances—such as singing, telling jokes, or other “tricks”—for food or money. This tradition made its way to America with the waves of immigrants, where it underwent another transformation into the more universally practiced “trick or treating.”

 

It is unknown from where exactly the term “trick or treat” came, but the first recorded mention was in a Canadian newspaper in 1927, and the name and the practice gained traction throughout Canada and the US. Instead of performing for treats, children pulled pranks or, in extreme cases, vandalized if they did not receive candy. As expected, this literal form of trick or treating was not popular with many adults and there was a lot of pushback against it.

 

Witches

There was a brief period during World War II when this tradition was put on hold because of sugar rations, but the celebration returned to full force after the war with less tricking and more treating. With the new economic stability of the country, it became more common and convenient to give out prepackaged candy, in contrast to the treats of money or nuts that were previously favored. And that is how candy companies came to capitalize upon on this particular holiday, much to the joy of all the munchkins getting free candy.

 

Trick or treat, feed my need, give me something good to read! Get your little goblin goobers in the Halloween mood with adventurous friends in Witches or teach them to cast spooky spells (kind of) with Humbug Witch. These magical tales will bewitch your little monsters with the power of storytelling, no sugar needed!

 

Happy trick or treating everyone!

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

Sharing Time with Grandparents Has Many Benefits

 

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Images are from these Star Bright Books titles – Top Row: Read to Me; Loving Me; Grandma is a Slowpoke. Bottom Row: Loving Me; Read to Me; Cake Day

 

The relationship between a child and grandparents is a special bond that grows in the heart and provides comfort, laughter, and memories that last a lifetime. Spending time with grandparents benefits children in many ways. As family, grandparents offer unconditional love and support. When they tell stories about their lives, they connect children to other relatives and give them a sense of belonging, now and as a part of the family’s history. And, of course, kids are thrilled to learn those humorous nuggets from their parents’ past.

 

Common history isn’t the only thing grandparents can pass down to their grandchildren. Afternoons or weekends spent together are perfect times for grandma or grandpa to share and teach favorite hobbies or special talents. Even the slower pace of an older person’s life can have a positive effect on kids. With today’s busy schedules, kids need downtime to think, to assimilate what they see, learn, and do, and to relax. Taking walks, baking, or reading together can give grandparents and children time to talk and observe the world around them in a close-up, unhurried way.

 

Grandparents also gain from listening to and interacting with their younger family members. The world is changing in so many ways, with technology often taking the lead. Children make wonderful teachers themselves, proud to show off what they know and what they can do. Keeping up with current culture by listening to a grandchild’s favorite music, going to the movies or watching funny Internet videos together, and discussing news events is a great way to stay young and informed.

 

The loving relationship between grandparents and their grandchildren is reflected in three of Star Bright Books titles that are wonderful for sharing and reading together. They can also inspire the kinds of interactions that allow for talking with one another and getting to know each other better.

 

Grandma is a Slowpoke

Written by Janet Halfmann | Illustrated by Michele Coxon

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In Grandma Is a Slowpoke, a little girl is happy to walk through the woods with her grandma. But Grandma stops so often—she’s such a slowpoke! Each time they take a rest, though, they see wondrous wildlife. After watching cardinals, ants, bunnies, squirrels, ducks, geese, and muskrats, the little girl wants to see more. They sit together as the sun sets and the fireflies begin twinkling in the grasses. “‘Time to go, slowpoke,’” Grandma says. At home the little girl tells her family how much fun it was being a slowpoke with Grandma. Beautiful, detailed illustrations take children along on the adventure.

Rosa’s Very Big Job

Written by Ellen Mayer | Illustrated by Sarah Vonthron-Laver

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When Rosa’s Mama goes to the grocery store in Rosa’s Very Big Job, the little girl is proud to help out at home by folding and putting away the laundry. She and her grandpa make it an adventure as they use their imaginations to turn the laundry basket and a sheet into a sailboat. When a storm blows up, Grandpa steers their little craft around rocks and over the wind-whipped waves. As the seas subside, Rosa casts her clothes-hanger fishing pole over the edge of the boat and catches a sockfish for dinner. When Mama gets home, she’s happy to see the neatly stacked laundry and is excited to hear all about Rosa and Grandpa’s escapade. The light, playful, and engaging illustrations will inspire children and grandparents to talk – and play -together.

Cake Day

Written by Ellen Mayer | Illustrated by Estelle Corke

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Cake Day invites little ones into a sunny kitchen to bake a very special treat. As Grandma and her grandchild gather ingredients, measure, pour, and mix it all together, they talk about each step. Once the cake is in the oven, waiting is so hard! Finally, the timer dings, and it’s time to frost the cake and add a shower of rainbow sprinkles to the top! The little one is proud to have helped make a delicious cake for a very exciting day. The sweet relationship between the child and grandma is shown on every page as they have fun working in the kitchen together.

 

Cake Day also models ways that grandparents, parents, and other caregivers can turn everyday activities into joyful teachable moments.

 

You can find Grandma is a Slow Poke here:

Star Bright Books | Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Books-a-MillionIndieBound

 

Look for Rosa’s Very Big Job here:

Star Bright Books | Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Books-a-Million | IndieBound

 

Cake Day is available here:

Star Bright Books | Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Books-a-MillionIndieBound

Talking about the Math around Us

 

Story Telling Math Logo

 

From babyhood on, children interact with a world full of math. In the first months, they begin to reach for toys, find out how much they can hold in one hand, and learn to take turns waving bye-bye. As they grow older they participate in games, crafts, and chores. All of these activities are full of opportunities for parents and caregivers to talk with children about the math of spatial relationships, sizes, shapes, quantities, measurements, and patterns.

 

Talking about the math all around you helps children connect familiar activities and objects to math concepts—it’s the best way to build a strong foundation for later school success.  For example:

 

  • When you’re pushing your baby on a swing at the playground, help build spatial sense by talking about positions:  “Swing up! Wheee, you swung down!”
  • When you and little ones are putting toys away, draw attention to shapes: “Let’s put the short, wide crayons in this box and the trucks with big, round wheels in this basket.”
  • If children are helping set the table, say: “You can find the water pitcher on the middle shelf above the plates and below the cups.”
  • Sorting clean clothes on laundry day is a perfect time to engage your children in comparing sizes and patterns: “Try to find a sock that matches your little yellow one with the ducks on it.  Look for one the same size and with the same pattern: white duck, brown duck, white duck, brown duck…”

Reading picture books together is also a wonderful way to engage young children in building math knowledge.  Just as everyday life is full of opportunities for including math, so are many picture books and stories. Star Bright Books has many picture books that can spark rich mathematical conversations and explorations. Just a few are:

Cake Day

Written by Ellen Mayer | Illustrated by Estelle Corke

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Cake Day is a charming story about a grandma and her grandson on a special baking day. As they bake a cake, Grandma and her grandson talk about measurements and the sequence of pouring batter into a pan, putting the pan into the oven, and waiting. Reading Cake Day together lets you talk about these ideas too! Why not bake a special treat together and talk about the recipe?

Harriet Can Carry It

Written by Kirk Mueller | Illustrated by Sarah Vonthron-Laver

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Harriet Can Carry It is a fun and funny story that can get kids thinking about how much something or someone can hold. This idea of capacity is important for filling cups, backpacks, pails, even a pet’s food and water dishes. You can talk with kids about how much Harriet can carry in her pouch. Could they carry that much? Would all of those things fit in your car? Would those items be heavy or light? Then see how much your child can carry!

Big Box for Ben

Written by Deborah Bruss | Illustrated by Tomek Bogacki

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Big Box for Ben is an imagination-filled adventure that kids will love to copy. As you read the story and watch Ben’s box become a race car, an airplane, a mountain, and an elephant, talk about the size and shape of Ben’s box, the idea of height, and how Ben fits inside. Little ones can point out—and act out—the math concepts of in, out, under, over, on top, and next to.

Cat Up, Cat Down

By Catherine Hnatov

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Two adorable cats demonstrate spatial relationships as they play hide-and-seek behind a plant, peek through a window at each other from inside and outside, sit close together then walk far apart, and spend the day doing things together. Little ones will love pretending to be kittens and playing along as they learn spatial opposites!

 

You can find many more Star Bright Books that are full of the Math Around Us on our website!

 

Star Bright Books is grateful to the Heising-Simons Foundation for their support in helping us work with TERC to highlight the math in our books as part of the Storytelling Math project.

You Can Do It!

Here are three activity sheets that you can use to talk with children about math ideas while playing or doing everyday things. They give you easy ways to use words and actions that promote math learning. Just click on the image of the sheet to download or print.

Laundry Love

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Folding and putting away clean laundry is a great way to talk about matching and sorting. Have kids find pairs of socks, make separate piles of tops, pants, and underwear, or talk about small and large sizes.  This activity shows you how! Just click on the image of the sheet to download or print.

Build a Tower as Tall as You

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With some recycled boxes and other containers, little ones will love pretending and building towers, cities, or whatever they can imagine. As children play, talk with them about the sizes and shapes of the containers, the height of their towers, and why one tower stands while another one falls. Just click on the image of the sheet to download or print.

Handy Homemade Play Dough

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Use the easy recipe to make one or more batches of play dough. Talk about the recipe and how you put it together while making the play dough. Then have a play dough party to explore size, shape, amounts, and capacity! Just click on the cover images for more information.

Get the Books!

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    star-bright-books-eating-the-rainbow-spanish-english-cover    star-bright-books-harriet-can-carry-it-cover   

    star-bright-books-red-socks-spanish-english-cover            

You can order all of our Math Around Us books on the Star Bright Books Website. You can also find them on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, or other online booksellers.

 

 

Make Meals Colorful, Delicious, and Fun!

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Eating the Rainbow

Part of the Babies Everywhere™ Series

 

Farmers markets and grocery stores are bursting with the vibrant colors of summer! Radiant red tomatoes and peppers, brilliant yellow bananas and squash, fiery orange peppers and carrots, and deep green broccoli, herbs, and zucchini all look so delicious and enticing! With so much to choose from, summer is a wonderful time to invite children to try new foods!

 

Eating the Rainbow is an award-winning board book that little ones will love! Babies and toddlers will delight in the photographs of other children enjoying a variety of foods as they learn the names of fruit, vegetables, and nuts. The book also gives young children a unique way to learn colors.

 

Its small size makes Eating the Rainbow a great take-along book for the grocery store and farmers market as well as for picnics and playground outings!

Eating the Rainbow is also available in these languages:

 

Arabic/English | Chinese/English | French/English | Portuguese/English | Spanish/English | Spanish | Vietnamese/English

Awards:

Oppenheim Toy Portfolio Gold Award

Oppenheim Toy Portfolio SNAP (Special Need Adaptable Products)

 

In the Bag Scavenger Hunt!

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Make grocery shopping fun with this printable In the Bag Scavenger Hunt! As children find items, they practice early language skills and develop an understanding of early math, including shape and number recognition as well as sorting.

 

Other books in the Babies Everywhere™ Series include:

               

 

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.