Monday, June 30, 2008

What is Babywearing?

The 2nd annual Baby Wearing Conference was this past weekend in Chicago. I had the great pleasure of being a vendor at this 4 day conference. Below your will find a great bit of the article I found on Chicago Public Radio. * we just made our family pledge to the Chicago Public Radio :) In the next few days I will post more about baby wearing and some of the great carriers/products I found at the event.

Posted 6.30.08 by Eight Forty-Eight
This past weekend, thousands of people headed to the Crosstown Classic, the Pride Parade and Taste of Chicago. But those weren’t the only events. Hundreds of women—and some men—attended the 2nd annual International Babywearing Conference at DePaul University. Eight Forty-Eight’s Ashley Gross investigates.

Friday, June 27, 2008

Barefoot Books Leaps Forward

By Sally Lodge, Children's Bookshelf -- Publishers Weekly, 6/26/2008

Next month, picture book publisher Barefoot Books launches its Young Fiction Program with the publication of Little Leap Forward: A Boy in Beijing, an illustrated novel. The book is based on Guo Yue’s experiences growing up in the 1960s during the Cultural Revolution, as Mao Zedong’s Great Leap Forward policy dramatically altered life in China.

In keeping with Barefoot’s picture book list, the new fiction line will focus on stories that draw from various cultures and traditions, but which, as Barefoot’s co-founder and editor-in-chief Tessa Strickland puts it, “speak to our times.” Illustration will also play a prominent role in the fiction list. “We place a high value on art as well as story, and on the importance of the visual education of older children,” she says. “So the novels will be illustrated throughout in full color.”

Little Leap Forward, which features art by Helen Cann, is a collaboration by flautist Guo Yue and Clare Farrow, a freelance writer and journalist, who live in London with their two children. They also teamed up to write an adult book, Music, Food and Love, a memoir of Guo Yue’s life that was published in 2006 and is due out in paperback from Piatkus Books in December. Told through the eyes of an eight-year-old boy, Little Leap Forward describes how the descent of the Red Guards on Beijing during the summer of 1966 brought drastic changes to the life of this child, who had previously spent his days flying kites with his friends and playing his flute to his beloved bird.

Guo Yue.

“The book is based on characters and events from my childhood, especially on the relationships I had with my mother and sisters and my best friend and on everyday details,” says Guo Yue, “but it is fiction as well as fact. I guess you could say it’s a kind of poetic interpretation of actual experiences.”

Those memories are clearly indelible, and continue to affect his life 42 years after that summer. Guo Yue says that it is impossible to exaggerate the effect of the Cultural Revolution on his life and the lives of those close to him—especially his mother, who was branded a “counter-revolutionary” and sent to the countryside to perform hard labor for more than two years. “The Revolution’s darkness has stayed inside me, especially in my music,” Guo Yue says, “and it gave me the most profound belief in freedom. But the realization of what it meant came slowly to me as a child. For children of my age, the Revolution meant that we didn’t learn about the world, we only learned about Mao and communism. Poetry, literature, the music of Mozart, anything that was not revolutionary was banned from our lives.”

Clare Farrow.

Farrow, who praises Cann’s illustrations for their “colors, patterns and attention to authentic detail,” hopes that young readers of the novel will “first and foremost love the story and the characters,” but will also gain insight into the history of modern China. “Children are used to reading about Chinese emperors, but here are ordinary children trying to make sense of an extraordinary period of history,” she says.

Two additional novels in the Young Fiction Program are scheduled for 2009. According to Strickland, the line will be characterized by fiction that is “not just about escape but which broadens older children’s horizons, preparing them to engage with other cultures in an informed and open-minded way.” And she sees Little Leap Forward as a fitting debut title. “We couldn’t have wished for a better first project to convey the cultural and political importance of the arts in children’s lives.”

This mission is closely aligned to Guo Yue’s own thinking about the importance of bringing diverse experiences to children through literature. “As a child I saw piles of books being burned, including the old Chinese poetry books and Russian novels that my mother loved so much,” he recalls. “During the Revolution, when I was sent to work in the fields, I remember a handwritten and hand-stitched copy of Anna Karenina—a book that was then banned—passed around among my friends, to be read and discussed in secret. I think one of the greatest gifts you can give to children is the love of books and the ability to read freely, about the lives and thoughts of people all over the world.”

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Come Here, Cleo!

Come Here, Cleo! Was our first Barefoot book almost 6 years ago. My son then 18m and I found this adorable book in a small toy shop. It quickly became his favorite book, and after reading it to him over and over again I had it memorized. Now that he is 7 and becoming a great reader himself he has taken to reading his beloved book to his sister.

Theo actually looks like the cute little boy in the book!

We also happen to have an orange cat named Simon!

The final page of the book has the sweetest little kitty kiss that still makes me smile! I can't say enough about this book and the memories it holds.

Monday, June 16, 2008

As Reviewed on Wise Mommy

Barefoot Books
are a very creative and intelligent line of children’s books, created by two mothers in 1993 who wanted to publish a line of books which introduced children to languages, other cultures and traditions, and high-quality art. They succeeded in creating a very imaginative and thought-provoking line of books and CDs that not only are fun, but also are educational to both children and their parents. Barefoot Books works with authors and storytellers from around the world, each one bringing their own cultural flavor to the stories. The artwork and illustrations are cute and colorful, also bringing a unique flair to the stories for which they are drawn.

Summer Sale NORTH AMERICA Small Square ButtonI am especially a fan of the book My Daddy is a Pretzel. Being a yoga enthusiast myself, it is wonderful to read a book describing the art of yoga to my son as well as teaching him about yoga postures and how they can be integrated into our everyday lives. It is surprising to find how easily my son has picked up on the art of yoga by reading this book with me. He has so much fun trying all of the postures in the book, which makes this story all the more amazing in that it engages him actively.

The Barefoot Books Website is a fantastic place to explore their unique line of books, CDs and gifts, as well as an interactive website for you and your children to visit. They have printable activity sheets, workbook pages, coloring pages, masks, and puzzles which are based on their line of books.

Friday, June 13, 2008

Day in Toulouse Part 2

A bit of window shopping since the exchange rate is so horrible, that is really all the shopping I could do ...well, maybe I bought a couple of things :)

What an amazing city! It was so much fun just walking around. My French is worse than bad, luckily I had a wonderful fellow Stallholder Hillary who translated for me. Hillary, Karen, and I had a wonderful time getting lost together, during our search of the city for handmade paper to make a gift for the amazing Tessa's Birthday. Hillary thank you for being such a big sport when I asked if you wanted to go on a mission with me!

It was a beautiful day with gorgeous blue skies. That I will remember for the rest of my life. Walking around a city where you do not speak the language gives you a completely different perspective on how isolated we are in the states. It is easy to forget that their is a whole world out their and I can't wait to experience more of it!

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Xeko Cards

I am not a big trading card game fan...why would we want our kids spend time, money, & energy learning about made up characters? In hopes of convincing my son that Pokemon Cards were not worth his time or his allowance I went on a search to find an alternative. To my surprise I found exactly what I was looking for and MORE!


Based on the Legend of Xeko and conservation hotspots, Xeko ignites imaginations and sends the next generation of heroes on an adventure to save the world.

The Xeko game features remarkable plant and animal species from Earth's biodiversity hotspots first identified by Norman Myers and recognized by Conservation International. Currently numbered at 34, the hotspots contain 75 percent of the planet's most threatened mammals, birds and amphibians while covering just 2.3 percent of the Earth's surface. An estimated 50 percent of all vascular plants and 42 percent of land vertebrates exist only in these hotspots.

Preserving our planet's biodiversity is Xeko Mission: Critical.

Every Xeko player is an eco-hero. Every game purchase helps fund conservation efforts in the field.

The Xeko motto: Have fun, do good!

The 3 Rs — Reduce, Reuse and Recycle

recycle icon

All of our actions combined make a big difference. That's why all Xeko game materials and packaging are made with recycled and recyclable materials. We use soy-based inks that are kinder to the environment. Xeko game packaging is kept to a minimum, and when we print promotional items like posters and postcards, we always do our very best to use only recycled materials for those, too.

If every person and every company were to choose recycled and recyclable products — and if we all reduced the amount of stuff we consume in the first place — just think how much better off our planet would be!

To learn how you can do more to help the Earth by recycling, click here.

To watch a demo click here.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Lunch in Toulouse

Our first stop on our adventure in Toulouse was lunch!
Take a look at the amazing food.

Ok, so, is French Onion Soup in France
just Onion Soup?
Let me say Yummy.

Nancy was kind enough to allow me to take a picture of her delicious salad above and Steak Tartare to the right.
Thank you Nancy!
My amazing lunch consisted of the Yummy Onion Soup* to the left and the fantastic salmon and potatoes below.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Highlights from the Barefoot Books Summit in France

Here are some of the highlights of my amazing trip to Southern France for the 4th Annual Barefoot Books International Summit.
We stayed at the lovely home of Nancy Traversy, Le Tupe!

We had meetings by the pool and on the back porch surrounded by trees. Who can beat that? Really!

Our meals were made by Marty (Nancy's gracious husband) which were all wonderful!
Thank you Marty!!!