(Artwork by Marianne Richmond)
A guide to picking out the perfect personalized book for a baby shower, a newborn baby's arrival, and more!
Shower season is upon us—April showers and baby showers, that is. Every mother and father is going to need that stroller, cradle, and all the other essentials they registered for…but, what about baby's first book? Baby's first library? This is something that must be stocked before his or her arrival—or at least started with the first few on the shelf!
If new parents start collecting early, by the time their child turns three or four, their library will already be blooming with children's classics, special hardcover keepsakes, and books their children will want to one day pass down to their own kids.
Plus, a newborn baby longs to hear their parent or parents' voice, and reading is the perfect way to enhance the bond between parent and child.
Light Bulb: If you're already planning on giving the new parents a particular baby bib, crib, or special bottle gift set, that's great! Why not compliment your (incredibly useful) gift with a personalized baby book that will outlive even the most practical gift you can think of and warm the heart of the new parents?! The parents will be thrilled to share such a special gift with their baby as he or she grows and grows. This is just as much a gift for the parents as it is for the baby.
Personalized Baby Gifts to Shower the New Family with Big Blessings:
• Get the parents shouting from the rooftops: "It's a boy!" or "It's a girl!" Shake your rattle for the new baby girl or new baby boy the world is being blessed with! In Marianne Richmond's personalized books It's a Boy! and It's a Girl!, you'll help the parents celebrate the pink or the blue and delight in the girly-ness or the boy-ness of it all. You'll personally wish the new parents all the beautiful things about introducing a little baby boy or girl into their hearts and out to the world. You can personalize these books to include the parent or parents' names to appear throughout the book along with the baby's name and his or her photo.
• A special place to record every remarkable baby moment! (Don't worry…there's lots of space in this one!) My First Year: A Baby Journal by iconic children's photographer Anne Geddes is the most adorable journal to document all of baby's most precious moments. The perfect place to record all of baby's first special milestones, My First Year provides plenty of space and pages to add photos and little notes about family and friends. It's pretty cute.
Light Bulb: If you don't know the baby's gender or name yet, try including the name of the parent or parents in the personalization field instead.
• The sweetest baby debut ever: bask in the wonder and celebration of her arrival. The personalized version of Nancy Tillman's On the Night You Were Born is extraordinary. Help new parents celebrate their little miracle with a gift that illustrates just how magical and wondrous the arrival of their baby really is.
The most treasured baby gifts come from the heart—parents will surely shower you with their gratitude over the course of their baby's first year and beyond when they receive a personalized book made special with your love and care.
(Artwork from Marianne Richmond's Hooray for You!)
Maybe your child already has plans to be the next J. K. Rowling, keenly writing away at their desk every day, or perhaps your child is a reluctant writer, not wanting to complete their social studies journal assignment. Either way, it's Encourage a Young Writer Day and we have something to celebrate! We have some tips and ideas to help your child bloom into an eager writer or expand and grow their love for writing and reading they already have.
Tips to Share with Your Young Writers
• Read, and read often.
• Read with a pen and notebook nearby.
• Write, and write often.
• Write about passions, experiences, real life (or imaginary life works too!).
• Write from the heart.
• Follow your curious mind.
• Learn form and structure first.
• Use family and friends to find character inspiration.
• Be observant. Bring a notebook wherever you go, writing down notes or interesting things that could later make it into a story, poem, or essay.
• Be daring with your words. Keep an interesting word log and record new words you come across—words you don't know or words you don't use very often. Other books you're reading or listening to others' conversations are great ways to collect interesting words or tidbits.
Ways to Encourage Your Young Writers
• Make writing/journaling dates together. Go to a special local spot to grab a hot chocolate or smoothie, and bring your pens or pencils, journals or laptops. Write about what you observe, or how the smoothie tastes, or what you're most looking forward to over the summer. Writing by hand is always helpful for younger writers and readers, but if typing on a computer is more inspiring for him or her—let them go for it.
• Encourage your child to share their work with you. Make sure you find three or four things to praise, and one suggestion to improve their work. It can be a school piece or something fun your child did at home.
• Read together daily, as part of your routine. Or, if your child is older, check in and make sure your child is open to reading for leisure. Of course you can, and should, still read together too!
• When you're reading together, ask your child to point out his or her favorite words, or words her or she doesn't know. Write them down in a journal, and look them up together. Later your child will have an entire well of word possibilities when feeling stumped.
• Celebrate your child's imagination, always encouraging them to unleash their wildest thoughts and stories. Who knows—it could be the next Alice's Adventures in Wonderland or James and the Giant Peach!
• Be as encouraging as possible, offering your child affirmation and positive reinforcement in their creative work.
Easy Writing Activities for Writers of All Ages
• Make lists. Start with simple topics, like "10 things that remind you of spring" or "Five of your favorite animals." Then, see how your child can incorporate these ideas into a story, essay, or poem. Remember, they can be as imaginative as they'd like!
• Use artwork, pictures, or photos for inspiration. You can even see if your child would rather draw a picture first before writing. Then they can use that drawing to create a story. Hint: These make great character or setting sketches!
• Write a how-to piece. Let your child choose write about what their favorite thing to make, do, or practice is. For example, if she loves to ride bikes with friends, let her see if she can put together interesting directions on how to ride a bike. (It's harder than you probably think!) This allows the writer to really strip down their writing technique and get to the core of their writing. It's just a great way to practice simplifying your writing.
• Make an "I Remember" collage. This exercise is inspired by author Joe Brainard, who wrote a collection of memories using "I Remember" at the start of each recollection. You should definitely do one too! Then, come together and read them out loud. You'll even sense a poem unfolding as you read/write these.
A Few Resources
Check out Second Story Window for some fun, prompted writing activities for kids, including workbooks, worksheets, etc. For example, find writing activities and crafts for each month of the year here.
Reading & Writing Readiness Pinterest board has some great resources for kids' writing and storytelling activities as well.
Inspiring Personalized Book for Young Writers
Hooray for You! Personalized Book
Hooray for You! is the perfect gift to show someone how special they really are. What better way to celebrate a child's unique traits than by giving them a personalized book made just for them?
More Bears! Personalized Book
Warning: More Bears! is not a bedtime story—it was written to be read (and yelled!) out loud. This delightfully silly personalized book is sure to have your child calling out "More Bears!" within the first few pages!