Tag 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!

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

star-bright-books-harriet-can-carry-it-cover

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

star-bright-books-laundry-love-activity-sheet

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

star-bright-books-tower-building-activity-sheet

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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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.