Until relatively recently, Henry hated literacy.Or at least, that’s what we would joke about, as he would contort his body and cry if we tried to sit still and read a book. He has recently changed his tune a bit, but mostly because he likes to chew on the binding and pages, which means that we are strictly in the board book camp for the present moment.Confession: most board books are unspeakably dull.
There are some notable exceptions, like the Nancy Tillman books that make me cry with their perfection at expressing the love parents have for their children. Or this book that, while not exactly super original, manages to have a father in the I-love-you-so-much role usually reserved for mothers, which I appreciate, or even this book, which has sing-song lyrics that are fun to read. We have some board books that people gave us that I enjoy paging through as Henry drools on the pictures.But on the whole, most books for babies are tedious for parents to read and offer little beyond a teething surface for babies. Which is unfortunate, as I want Henry to learn to love reading. I want him to have an ear for poetry and an eye for beauty, and that should start with his first books. I also want to enjoy reading it, so it better rhyme, and I want the images to be the first art he learns to love.Which is why I was thrilled when my sister-in-law Laura started talking about the children’s book she was illustrating and women’s publishing house she was starting with another talented mom. Laura and Betsy have really thought about the books they are producing, really focused on poetic words that are a pleasure to read, and beautiful images that come from someone’s hand- not a computer. Laura was telling me about how it took forever to find a printer who could succeed in reproducing the delicate water colors, but that was absolutely necessary. They want children to engage with the images as something where the creative process left its mark.I ordered a couple books when they did their Kickstarter last fall, and they came this week, leaving me speechless at how beautiful they are. Laura and Betsy managed to transcribe in words and images the hilarity and sweetness of the endless bundle necessary to go outside. I think of the words when I try to get squirmy Henry into his winter wear and out the door, loving how they made poetry and beauty of the mundane.And because it’s Christmas, and I am positive you will love this book as much as we do, I’m giving a couple away!
To enter, just leave a comment below with your favorite children’s book anytime between now and Sunday night at 8pm. I will send this gem of a book your way (sorry- no international shipping). I’m giving a second book away over on Instagram, so hop on over there if you want to enter twice! You can also order a copy here… and get excited for the spring, summer, and fall books that are coming out over the next year!(And thanks to Suze who snapped these pictures when she and her daughters came into the city to hang out with us this week! Yes, Henry is wearing two outfits in these pictures…and an entirely different one over on Instagram. Doing things with babies sometimes takes several days and as many outfits.)