Parenting for Revolution: Guess Who?

Parenting for Revolution

I recently came across the most beautiful crowd funded game. It’s a version of Guess Who? featuring 28 women called Who’s She?. You can see that campaign here, although it will be over by the time this post publishes. Oddly, I had come across something else about Guess Who? recently. Or maybe I played it recently and noticed a distinct lack of diversity? I don’t remember exactly. The game has improved in terms of gender and race since I owned a copy in the early 90s, but it still leaves something wanting.

Unfortunately the donation amount required to get a copy of the Who’s She? game is prohibitively high for us at $75.oo and I suspect would be out of reach for many families. With one day to go the campaign has raised over half a million dollars so I don’t feel too bad not being able to contribute. But it got me thinking. First, the use of all women is an interesting one and would really allow parents to talk about a variety of women who don’t normally get center stage in history classes. The women included aren’t all that surprising, nor are they unknown, but I don’t remember any except one or two coming up in any history class I took. This is great exposure for kids playing the game.

I also realized that when playing Guess Who? as a kid I never mentioned race when trying to determine which card my opponent had pulled. I know now that as a white person I was taught not to speak about race as a way to uphold and perpetuate white supremacy. We know that “ignoring” color does not, in fact, breed anti-racism, nor does it acknowledge that we all do see color and race as well as erasing the very real ways race impacts people’s lives. Guess Who? also focuses exclusively on appearance, something that can get toxic pretty quick, particularly with girls, whereas Who’s She? turns the focus onto the women’s accomplishments. And they’re all smart, remarkable, strong women. 

I think if you have the game Guess Who? it would make a great jumping off point for getting comfortable saying “black” and “white” (and possibly “Latinx” but a number of the folks pictured in the game are kind of racially ambiguous) out loud. I know this can be a real hurdle for white people to jump, especially with children. I know I used to worry about offending people using the terms or worry about using the wrong term (black vs. African American; Hispanic vs. Latinx). I would also worry that if I used the terms, my kid might repeat it in front of someone and create a cringe-worthy faux pas. I had to get past that and it took some time, but having a place like a board game between my child and I would have helped get the ball rolling.

Wanting our own copy of the game, Cam and I came up with our own list of women to include in our version. Many of them are the same as in Who’s She? but quite a few are not. I bought a copy of Guess Who (which weirdly is not any of the versions I see on Amazon) at the thrift shop and created a board to insert into the game. I color coded the women according to general characteristics (activists, artists, scientist/mathematicians, and athletes). Many of the women fit into more than one category (did you know Mae Jemison did dance too?), but for simplicity sake I assigned them a color/category. We chose a range of women both living and dead, young and old. I also made a point to include women who have a children’s book written about them. 

Which leads to the next piece of this project. For Advent we’re reading one book a day about these women. Guess Who? happens to have 24 slots and there are 24 days in December leading up to Christmas. We aren’t actually celebrating Christmas this year, but I can’t quite get rid of Advent calendars and Advent. I dunno. This gives us an opportunity to talk about these impressive women and about any of the issues that were/are a part of their lives. 

I’m going to share the game cards that I made so others can print them out and use them. I suggest printing either on cardstock or laminating them so they hold up for longer. Also, the version of the game we got looks similar to this although I cannot find the exact version on Amazon. That being said, you can still use the cards I made if you have the normal version. Print them out, laminate them, and cut them out to slip into the traditional version of the boards. I am in the process of making cards for each woman that features her name, her picture, and a few sentences about her life and what she is known for. I will post those as soon as I have them, but in the meantime you can print a second copy of the first page and cut those up to make a deck of cards. 

Click here to download the game boards for printing: Guess Who Women

Color scheme:

purple = athlete

green = mathematician/scientist

pink = artist

orange/yellow = activist

Our Goodwills are full to the brim with board games, please go buy a used version if you don’t already have one. There is no reason to spend $10-$15 and create more waste with a new one when I suspect there will be at least two copies at your local thrift store for $5 or under. Remember, you only need the boards, not the cards so if the game isn’t complete it doesn’t much matter.  

A few words about the license on this work

You are free to: 

  • Adapt — remix, transform, and build upon the material

Under the following terms:

  • Attribution — You must give appropriate credit, provide a link to the license, and indicate if changes were made. You may do so in any reasonable manner, but not in any way that suggests the licensor endorses you or your use.
  • NonCommercial — You may not use the material for commercial purposes.
  • ShareAlike — If you remix, transform, or build upon the material, you must distribute your contributions under the same license as the original.

Montessori Infant: Eight Months

Eight MonthsThis month saw a continuation of Malin’s development. Her crawling improved, she began pulling to standing and now she cruises along the furniture.She babbles constantly. She started to become much more adept at feeding herself so we’ve been putting out more finger foods. 

I did want to talk a little bit about feeding babies. There are a lot of methods out there and Montessori stresses giving the infant real flatware, cups, and plates or bowls. The methodology also stresses allowing the baby to feed themselves. If you follow exactly there should be a small table and chair for the infant to sit and eat at. This is, however, not the most practical solution for all families. If you have enough space in your home, a weaning table (as they are called) might be a good choice. It also presumes you are starting feeding solids once your baby can sit up unassisted well enough to sit in a chair, at a table. All great things if this works for you, but don’t feel you have to be so dogmatic in following any parenting method. 

Here’s why a weaning table doesn’t work for our family. Our house does not have a good spot for one. We’re not super heavy on furniture in our house, but we still don’t have space to squeeze one in. Our dining room is attached to the kitchen and is small, plus it already has a dinning table and chairs in it. Our kitchen is long and narrow and does not have extra space. It’s been a challenge having a step stool large enough for our kids let alone an extra table and chair. Another reason we haven’t gone for the weaning table is that I have really struggled with nursing- repeatedly blocked ducts, repeat cases of mastitis, poor latch despite so much effort to correct this. I am happy to breastfeed, but we need to be supplementing with solids sooner rather than later and for my own health we need to wean around a year. Finally, I feel very strongly that we don’t eat alone at a table off in the corner. If we are home we almost always sit at our dining room table and eat our meals. When we’re not home we’re sitting at restaurant table together talking (no screens at the table in our family). We eat nearly every dinner together at the table and since I’m home with the girls during the day, we sit to eat lunch together too (and often breakfast, but that one we’re more loosey-goosey about). I don’t want to relegate the baby to a different meal time or space to eat while the rest of us sit at the table together. And because of space constraints I’m not going to have a special table for her snacks. 

In other news the past month, my husband and dad have been building the baby a Pikler triangle. This baby is so physical. She lifted herself up early, she rolled over early, she crawled early and I suspect she will walk (the run!) early too. She wants to move much more than her sister did. A Pikler triangle should give her something to climb on and interact with in the house this winter (although we live in a mild winter climate and do get out) and will hopefully satisfy her need to move. 

I’ve also rotated out some of her treasure baskets. This is one of the most fun parts of baby toys. You don’t have to have fancy toys or even things that are designated as toys at this age. I grab things out of my kitchen cabinets and toss three or four in a basket and set it out on the floor. Obviously they should be safe things for babies, no chokable parts that might come off, safe to be chewed or sucked on. I’ve grabbed out a handful of lids from various jars and containers. I made another that had a spoon, a spatula, and an egg timer. For more ideas see my Instagram feed to the right- click over to my account so you can flip through them. 

We did get out the puzzle balls I made her and I’ve set out the stacking rings in her room. She’s not quite ready to actually put them on the post, but she can pull them off and hold them. We talk about colors and sizes while she does that. I have also set out some books for her in her room and she likes to pull them off the rack and chew on them and flip through them. 

Decolonize Your Bookshelf: We Are Grateful by Traci Sorell

Decolonize Your BookshelfWe Are Grateful

 

 

 

 

 

We Are Grateful: Otsaliheliga written by Traci Sorell, illustrated by Frane Lessac

From Goodreads: The word otsaliheliga (oh-jah-LEE-hay-lee-gah) is used by members of the Cherokee Nation to express gratitude. Beginning in the fall with the new year and ending in summer, follow a full Cherokee year of celebrations and experiences. 

This year we decided to go camping instead of celebrate Thanksgiving. I have mixed feelings about the holiday and my husband is not a holiday person so it worked out. While I like the idea of being grateful, I want a day to do it that doesn’t celebrate a flat out historical lie and that celebrates genocide. If you are like me (and us, because my husband agrees with the idea of not celebrating genocide), but do want to share books about gratitude with your children here is a phenomenal book to do that with. 

For starters, this book celebrates contemporary Cherokee. So many. SO. MANY. kid’s books show Native Americans as something from the past. The stories are set in the past. Their clothing is historical. Their way of life is historical. And this translates into children believing that Native Americans are all gone. Which both erases their current struggles and oppression and continued colonial violence against them, as well as erasing their past struggle and resistance. These stories are never more prevalent than in November with the confluence of the Thanksgiving myth/lie and Native American Heritage Month. We Are Grateful shows Cherokee people today in clothes they would wear today. Sure, some of them are traditional looking and maybe they aren’t the street clothes a suburban, white mom or dad would wear, but they are clearly recognizable as people who are alive right now, celebrating. The settings are modern looking too, if rural or pastoral. It’s beautiful and modern and one of many stories we need showing Native Americans alive and unapologetically embracing their culture. 

Second, this book is #ownvoices. It’s written by a member of the Cherokee Nation. This is an essential criteria for books that feature Native Americans. Yes, other people can write about Native Americans, but the books in which someone other than an Indigenous person writes a story about them without it being a total and utter travesty are few and very far between. I think in this case it is much better to ere on the side of caution and ensure your books about Native peoples are #ownvoices. Which isn’t to say those can’t be flawed (communities aren’t a monolith and there can be disagreement about representation), but you’re getting closer to having books that do the people justice. 

Finally, the book is about gratitude in a lovely and organic way. It’s not about trips to Disneyland or scads of money. It’s not about one big meal once a year. It’s about the little things in life that make up a life well lived and appreciated. I am sucker for books that travel through the seasons and children’s books are often framed with this cycle. We Are Grateful shows us that there are things to be grateful for all year round. 

Be sure to add this one to your bookshelves this season and read it throughout the year. 

Storytime: Shapes

Theme Storytime Banner

Storytime is a series that you can use to get your homeschool day going. If you don’t open with a circle time (we don’t), keep it in your back pocket for one of those days when you need something to fill 20-30 minutes or when you want an enriching activity but don’t want to plan anything yourself. See this post for more detailed information about the series. 

Be sure to scroll all the way to the bottom, as a printable/downloadable pdf version of the storytime is available there. In the pdf are some extra books in case you don’t have access to the ones listed here or need more, as well as extra songs and rhymes.

Shapes

Opening Song

“If You’re Ready for a Story”

Sung to the tune “If You’re Happy and You Know It”

If you’re ready for a story, clap your hands.

If you’re ready for a story, clap your hands.

If you’re ready for a story, if you’re ready for a story,

If you’re ready for a story clap your hands.

(nod your head, sit so still)

Book

City Shapes written by Diana Murray, illustrated by Bryan Collier

Draw attention to the collage style art. At the end ask how they think the art style lends itself to the theme of the book and the setting.

Flannel Board

“Five Little Hot Dogs”

Five little hot dogs frying in a pan,

One got hot and it went, “BAM!!”…

Four little hot dogs frying in a pan,

One got hot and it went, “BAM!!”…

Three little hot dogs frying in a pan,

One got hot and it went, “BAM!!”…

Two little hot dogs frying in a pan,

One got hot and it went, “BAM!!”…

One little hot dogs frying in a pan,

It got hot and it went, “BAM!!”…

No more hot dogs in a frying pan!

Book

Wild About Shapes by Jeremie Fischer

Wiggle Break

“Shake Our Sillies Out”

We’re gonna shake, shake, shake our sillies out,

Shake, shake, shake our sillies out,

Shake, shake, shake our sillies out,

And wiggle our waggles away.

We’re Gonna jump, jump, jump our jiggles out,

Jump, jump, jump our jiggles out,

Jump, jump, jump our jiggles out,

And wiggle our waggles away.

Shape Search

Now that we are standing let’s take a few minutes to look around and see if we can see any shapes. Do you see any circles? Does anyone know what a 3 dimensional shape is? Put out printed & laminated shapes on the flannel board. Name them so the kids know what to look for.

Goodbye Song

Remind them of the signs for “good bye” and “friends”. Sing through twice. Sung to the tune “Goodnight, Ladies”

“Good Bye Friends”

Good bye, friends.

Good bye, friends.

Good bye, friends.

It’s time to say goodbye.

 

Click here to download the Shapes Storytime

Friday Five: Transgender Awareness Week

Friday Five Banner

The second week in November is always Transgender Awareness Week. Below is a list of five books you can read with your child during that week. However, you should have these on your shelf throughout the year so as to dispel the idea that transgender people only pop up one week a year or need to be relegated to one week in November. It is doubly important this year with the current administration threatening to erase trans people and their rights. 

I Am Jazz1. I Am Jazz written by Jessica Herthel and Jazz Jennings, illustrated by Shelagh McNicholas

This is a must-have for anyone creating or cultivating a decolonized bookshelf. With author Jessica Herthel Jazz Jennings explains how she grew up knowing she was trans. It’s incredibly simple yet complex and will likely open up conversations between you and your child. Don’t be afraid to have those conversations with your child (although read the parent resources at the back first) and don’t be afraid to tell your child you don’t know an answer and will have to get back to them once you’ve done some research for yourself. The illustrations in the book a so sweet and gentle with a bright palate that make it very inviting.  

They She He Me2. They She He Me: Free to Be! by Maya Gonzalez  

They She He Me is a very, very simple reader that has two-page spreads of a variety of children and people with pronouns repeated underneath. It’s a visual of how people who identify as one gender or pronoun can present so differently physically. Gonzalez is always good at being inclusive so there are disabled people as well as a variety of skin tones. This book is fine on its own and, as with I Am Jazz, can be a great jumping off point for talking about how gender is not binary and up to the individual to determine.  

The Gender Wheel3. The Gender Wheel: A Story About Bodies and Gender by Maya Gonzalez

If you want a lot more in-depth coverage of gender, read Gonzalez’ The Gender Wheel which is PHENOMENAL. Be aware that it is much longer and more text heavy than They She He Me which may make it less accessible to younger kids. But don’t let that be the reason you pass it up. You can break it up over a few days or nights or just dip in from time to time. If you are not familiar with talking about gender outside a binary or you are not comfortable with it, buy this book and read it again and again. And if you are familiar or comfortable with it, buy this book and read it again and again. While I personally talk all about bodies and body parts with my kids in an effort to avoid teaching shame around nakedness, your mileage may vary. There are two versions of the book- one with naked bodies and one without. I recommend you go for the naked bodies, but you’ll need to be the judge of that for your family. 

One of a Kind Like Me4. One of a Kind Like Me written by Laurin Mayeno, illustrated by Robert Liu-Trujillo

While this isn’t necessarily about a transgender child, it does show that clothing can be fluid and does not have to be limited to the narrow idea that girls wear dresses and boys wear pants. In One of a Kind Like Me, Danny wants to dress in a purple princess dress for school but he’s having a hard time finding the costume he imagined at the local thrift shop. After a little worrying Danny and his mom realize that they’ll have to get creative to make Danny’s idea a reality. Again, refer to The Gender Wheel to help you frame your conversations. Clothes may or may not be tied to gender for children, but it’s important to get away from the idea of a binary.

Sparkle Boy5. Sparkle Boy written Leslea Newman, illustrated by Maria Mola

This is in a similar vein as One of a Kind. Here Casey likes to wear things that are considered girly- bracelets and a sparkly skirt. What I like about this book is it shows Casey’s sister grappling with the idea of her brother not conforming to what she thinks boys should be wearing. Casey doesn’t seem to notice that he’s not conforming to gender norms which is great and while we don’t really need to center cisgender voices when talking about these things, it’s good to see how his sister struggles because some kids and people will and do struggle to wrap their minds around a new way of thinking about gender. By the end of the story Casey’s sister 

Books to warn against:

Jacob’s New Dress. The dad is kind of a dick in this one and I think the books above do a much better job addressing the issues. 

Julian is a Mermaid. This one just came out and it looked promising, but it’s written by a cisgender white lady and has a lot of problems. Read this critique by Laura Jimenez for more information. 

Storytime: Apples and Pumpkins

Theme Storytime Banner

Storytime is a series that you can use to get your homeschool day going. If you don’t open with a circle time (we don’t), keep it in your back pocket for one of those days when you need something to fill 20-30 minutes or when you want an enriching activity but don’t want to plan anything yourself. See this post for more detailed information about the series. 

Be sure to scroll all the way to the bottom, as a printable/downloadable pdf version of the storytime is available there. In the pdf there are extra books in case you don’t have access to the ones listed or need more, as well as extra songs and rhymes. 

Apples and Pumpkins

Opening Song

“If You’re Ready for a Story”

Sung to the tune “If You’re Happy and You Know It”

If you’re ready for a story, clap your hands.

If you’re ready for a story, clap your hands.

If you’re ready for a story, if you’re ready for a story,

If you’re ready for a story clap your hands.

(nod your head, sit so still)

Book

The Mystery Vine written and illustrated by Cathryn Falwell

 

Flannel Board

“Five Little Owls”

Five little owls on a moonlit night

Five little owls are quite a sight.

Five little owls Are you keeping score? One flew away! And then there were Four. Four little owls happy as can be,

One flew away then there were Three. Three little owls calling Who, Who

One flew away and that left two.

Two little owls having lots of fun.

One flew away and that left One.

One little owl we are almost done

He flew away and that leaves none.

 

Book

Apple Days: A Rosh Hashanah Story written and illustrated by Allison Soffer, illustrated by Bob McMahon

 

Wiggle Break

“Bananas Unite!”

Bananas unite! (Bring arms and hands together over your head)

Peel bananas, peel, peel bananas.

Peel bananas, peel, peel bananas. (Spiral hands and arms downward as if peeling)

Eat bananas, eat, eat bananas.

Eat bananas, eat, eat bananas. (Pretend to eat a banana)

Go bananas, go, go, bananas.

Go bananas, go, go, bananas. (Wave arms over head and dance around)

 

Book

Wonderfall written and illustrated by Michael Hall

 

Goodbye Song

Teach the signs for “good bye” (waving right hand goodbye by folding fingers up and down) and “friends” (touch tips of pointer fingers together). Sing through twice.

“Good Bye Friends”

Sung to the tune “Goodnight, Ladies” 

Good bye, friends.

Good bye, friends.

Good bye, friends.

It’s time to say goodbye.

Click here to download the Apples and Pumpkins Storytime

Montessori Infant: Seven Months

img_5316.jpg

I missed six months. It’s been busy, in large part because Malin is now crawling and has been for nearly four weeks. She also pulls herself up to standing. We’re doomed. So while I’ve been following along with the Montessori materials, she’s jumped through a few of them because she sat up, started crawling and began pulling herself up so quickly.

We’re now at the fun part where I can assemble little treasure baskets for her with three or four items. She’s very quickly gaining control over her hands, passing objects between hands, manipulating them, turning them over, and banging them together. I remember really enjoying this stage with Cam and it was relatively easy to entertain her with a few new items rummaged from our kitchen or bathroom drawers.

Malin is really into blocks. Cam got into them, but not until much later. Malin likes to pull them out of the basket one by one, flip them around in her hands and look at every side, then set it down next to her and grab the next one. It’s interesting to watch and can entertain her for upwards of 15 minutes.

Ball Basket

I am always so amazed at what a different kid Malin is from Camille. While I knew she would be I had no idea we would be able to tell so early. Here’s to our last few months before she’s up and running.

Zero Waste: Backpack Kit

Zero Waste BannerAs I’ve been transitioning to a zero waste/low impact lifestyle I decided to kit out my backpack/baby bag with some zero waste essentials. Here’s a run down of what I keep in there.

  • dish towel- for drying hands, wrapping up food, I don’t alway have this on me
  • canvas tote bag- I have a ton of these at home that I’ve collected over the years, I take them with me separately to the grocery store, but sometimes I stop and don’t have the bags with me, this saves me from balancing items or from taking a bag
  • cloth diapers- we have some all-in-one diapers that I’m not wild about for using around the house, they function like disposable diapers in that they’re single use, so they’re perfect for out and about, wrap the wipes up inside them and tuck them into a wet bag, no need to worry about soaker pads or wet outers
  • food container- for leftovers or take out, ours flattens out which makes it easier to carry around when not in use
  • bamboo utensils- my husband and I each bought a set of these years ago to use for lunches at work, I have packed them in the backpack to use when we go places that only offer plastic ware or if we happen to need some flatware
  • reusable straws- again, for places that only offer plastic
  • coffee mug- I don’t always keep this in the backpack because with the diaper essentials and the weight of the cup it can get tight and heavy, but if we’re ever out and we need a cup for water or for coffee I like to have it, something lighter weight like those reusable Starbucks cups that cost $2-$3 would probably be totally fine

These are just some ideas for what you might want to carry with you to help reduce your waste while out and about. There are plenty of other zero wasters/low impact folks out there with additional or similar ideas. You might want to look for those to get some inspiration for other things you may want/need to carry with you. This is just a starting point. You may also want things that are more minimal or collapse down if you aren’t carrying around a large purse of backpack all the time.

Decolonize Your Bookshelf: Let’s Talk About Body Boundaries, Consent and Respect by Jayneen Sanders

Decolonize Your Bookshelf

I have a few thoughts I need to get out before I get into a review of this book. First is that colonization goes hand-in-hand with patriarchy, so despite the fact that this book isn’t really about incorporating more diversity into your shelves, it does relate very closely. The second is, what the fuck, with the confirmation of our newest Chief Justice bodily autonomy is apparently still up for debate (to be honest, I knew it was, but it still feels weird).

Lets Talk AboutLet’s Talk About Body Boundaries, Consent and Respect: Teach children about body ownership, respect, feelings, choices and recognizing bullying behaviors
written by Jayneen Sanders, illustrated by Sarah Jennings

It’s never really too early to talk to your children about body boundaries. You should also be teaching your children the correct anatomical terms for body parts. So yes, that means teaching your two year old the words penis, vagina, and vulva. There is nothing inherently bad or embarrassing about these words. This will be easier or harder depending on how you were brought up thinking about these words and the actual parts. There is no shame in bringing your own baggage to these conversations. But for the safety of our children we need to move through that discomfort and teach them to not be ashamed of their bodies (body positivity) or their feelings (sex positivity). Children who are taught correct body parts and boundaries (appropriate touches vs. inappropriate touches) and taught to set boundaries without shame will be able to share when someone has crossed those boundaries and exactly how. They will also learn to develop healthy, happy relationships. 

Not only does this book open those conversations for parents who may feel uncomfortable with talking about these topics, but it gives parents who are confused about where to start a good jumping off point. Despite my rant above, body parts are not mentioned. It’s primarily hugging and kissing of a very innocuous kind. And there aren’t any scenes with creepy adults crossing lines. But the concepts covered here are vitally important for a lifetime of needing to define and hold boundaries.

We found the illustrations to be engaging and fun and the text, while it got a little long overall, was also engaging. Do be prepared to stop and talk about the concepts covered here. There are a lot of notes at the end that can help you ask good questions and give you plenty of food for thought for each page of the book. This is immensely helpful, even for parents who know what they want to talk about. High five to the illustrator for including a child in a wheelchair and showing that that child’s body boundary includes the chair.  

Remember patriarchy is about power and by teaching girls to please above all else, as well as neglecting to teach them about body boundaries, we set them up in that power structure that takes advantage of them. Teaching boys that they have a right to women and girls gives them permission to use the power patriarchy mistakenly gives them. That’s not to say when girls don’t speak up assault or harassment is their fault or for boys that by going along with all the implicit messages we send them removes their culpability. It’s not and it doesn’t. Smash that patriarchy by reading this book with your daughters and your sons. Teach them that consent is sexy and that consent should always be enthusiastic.  Teach them: their body, their choice. And then be sure to back that up when relatives want a hug or kiss and they don’t want to give it.

A big shout out to Aisha Ray of Raising Luminaries/Books for Littles for bringing this book to my attention with her amazing review that I came across on Facebook. If you don’t already follow her, go do that now and then give to her Patreon. She works hard and is such an incredible resource for parents fighting to bring about change in this world. 

Friday Five: Interactive Books

Friday Five Banner

Friday Five is a series that suggests five books around a theme. You can use them to jump off into a themed homeschool unit, guide your reading around an interest, or just as a ready-made set of books to read. 

Interactive Books

Interactive books are books that invite the reader(s) to touch them, shake them and become part of the story. 

Tap the Magic Tree1. Tap the Magic Tree written and illustrated by Christie Matheson

Tap the Magic Tree follows a tree through the four seasons. Children are invited to rub, touch, tap and blow to help the tree change through the seasons. This is a really great way to introduce the change of seasons to young children as they help bring them about. I particularly like all of Matheson’s books with their clean, bright illustrations. This would also be a great addition to a nature or tree study unit. The real message here being that the tree isn’t actually magical, but that it can certainly seem that way. 

Mix It Up2. Mix It Up! written and illustrated by Herve Tullet

Press Here, Tullet’s first title, is sometimes heralded as being the start of this genre, but I prefer the author’s second book Mix It Up! This one focuses on helping children understand color theory through tapping, rubbing, and smashing the book closed. 

Don't Push the Button3. Don’t Push the Button written and illustrated by Bill Cotter

A little purple monster has been charged with not pushing a tempting little red button. But what will happen if it does?! Hilarity ensues as he gives in to the temptation and then tries to fix the results by pushing the button again and again and again. This one makes for a great read aloud, even in a large group. Kids will get a kick out of pointing out what has happened with each push of the button.

 

Don't Wake Up the Tiger4. Don’t Wake Up the Tiger written and illustrated by Britta Teckentrup

Teckentrup is like catnip in our family. We love her stories and her illustrations. This one is no exception. Here a group of animals needs to get from one side of a sleeping tiger to the other. Readers help the animals across the page by blowing them across or helping settle the tiger back into a deep sleep. But with the final animal, a balloon pops. Uh-oh. What is tiger going to do?

This Book Just Ate My Dog5. This Book Just Ate My Dog! written by Richard Byrne

Bella is out for a walk with her dog when something unexpected happens. Bella makes it across the gutter of the book, but her dog does not. After her friend, an ambulance, and fire truck head into the gutter to find out what’s going on and don’t return, Bella has to take matters into her own hands. Except she slips into the gutter too! A page turn reveals a note thrown out by Bella that requests that the reader turn the book sideways and shake everyone and everything out. I have used this book in the library to draw attention to the physical aspects of books and use it to kick off a conversation about all the names of the parts of a book. But it’s also a good interactive book for storytime if you don’t want to be swarmed by children all wanting to tap here, swipe there, and push the button.