Book Series Guest Post: Billywise

Thursday, February 28, 2013

Our first guest post in the Up to Parr Books series is my dear sister Mitzi. I wasn't going to start this series until it was officially March, but I'm so excited about it, I'm sharing it a day early! Mitzi has spent years teaching little ones to read as an elementary school teacher and is now teaching in a slightly different way, as a mommy. Read on to learn about a beautiful moment she had with her daughter that started with a book...

By Mitzi
". . .knowledge is like the bee that made that sweet honey, you have to chase it through the pages of a book." 
- from Thank You Mr. Falker by Patricia Polacco.  

In school, children first learn to read, then read to learn.  However, there's no need for your child to wait that long to learn something from a book.  Reading to your child is one of the best gifts you can give them - the gift of learning!  If your child can sit in your lap and has an attention span of a few minutes, he or she is ready to be enlightened.  With a picture book in hand and a voice in your throat, you're ready to teach!  

From the time that my daughter was a few months old, she has sat in my lap in our rocking chair while I read to her at least once a day.  At the rate at which we devour books, we quickly exhausted our sizable personal collection and have become avid patrons of our local library.  While my daughter (now 2 years old) frequents the usual favorites within her age level, such as Curious George, Fancy Nancy and Olivia, I also encourage her to explore titles that she finds interesting across various genres and more advanced age levels.  We often underestimate what a child can absorb even when the material may not be marketed primarily to them.  

Our latest treasure was Billywise by Judith Nichols.  This is a story about an owlet discovering self-confidence and his encouraging mother's kind words as he leaves the nest.  When others dampen his spirits and he doubts his self worth, his mother wins us and Billywise over as she continually boosts and strengthens him.
Engaged by the realistic paintings inspired by nature, my daughter desired to know more about these creatures that seemed to be within her grasp.  Afterwards she would inquire:  "How do owls sleep?" "Where do owls sleep?" "Where's he going?" (pointing to the owl flying) and exclaim, "I want to see the owls!".  A teachable moment had arrived and I was grateful to oblige.  Our discussions then led to the fact that owls are nocturnal; that they sleep during the day and are awake during the night.  Owls hunt for food at night and sleep in trees.  

So every time we ventured outside that week, she would gaze up into the trees and insist that we wake up the owls!  It's quite amazing and wonderful how innocent children are and that it seems very logical to them that waking the owls is the only answer.  At that very moment, it dawned on me that she had not only learned a new concept but she had applied it into a part of her life.  It was a proud moment!  

Share your experiences and book recommendations in the comments below!

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  1. We will have to try that one. Sounds like one mine would like too. Now you need to take her to see some owls!

  2. I can just hear Eden saying all of these things! She is so cute.

  3. What a sweet post about Billy Wise! Love it and can't wait to add it to my collection of children's books. It also makes me want to read "Owl Moon." It was one of Kacey's favorites.


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