Hi Readers!

I hope you have a bunch of Easter candy to munch on, or your chocolate cupcake with mocha because I’ve got a surprise for you.

Do you remember how I’ve been introducing you to friends I’ve met on the internet? Well here is Vivian Kirkfield, the author of “Show Me How.”  I met her here on my blog a while ago and she said yes when I asked her to do a guest post. Since I’m interested in picture books I wanted to get to know her better and was so glad she accepted my invitation. What better way to wait for my book to get finished than by reading what Vivian has to say about picture books. Take it away, Vivian.


Can you remember the first picture book that was read to you?

I can!

My love affair with picture books began over sixty years ago as I helped my mother turn the pages of The

Cover of "The Little House"

Cover of The Little House

Little House by Virginia Lee Burton.   From that day to this one, my life has been filled with reading, researching and writing picture book stories. ..I’ve read over 20,000 picture books as a kindergarten teacher, daycare provider and mom of three.

Read me one more story, please!”

Just about every parent and teacher of young children has heard this plaintive cry.  Kids love to listen to picture book stories…and they enjoy cuddling close to daddy in a comfy chair or leaning back on mommy’s lap as they help to turn the dog-eared pages of a beloved book.

So…reason number one for reading picture books to young children is for entertainment and enjoyment and to strengthen the parent-child connection.

Some of the other reasons:

  • Picture books help develop story sense…they have a beginning, a middle and an end.
  • Picture books allow children to practice the sounds of language…repetition, rhyme and rhythm.
  • Picture book illustrations help children understand the story and develop an appreciation for art.
  • Picture books contain messages that can help young children deal with many of the challenges they face in their formative years.

I’d like to say a little more about the messages in picture books because I am passionate about using them to build self-esteem.  Reading with young children engages them in the world between the pages and encourages them to relate the events that are happening in the book to their own experiences.  While reading the story and during the discussion that follows, parents or teachers have a wonderful opportunity to address current problems and on-going issues.  Also, children are more likely to respond openly and honestly if they have just heard the character in the story is in a similar situation.

Here’s an example: There is a new baby in the house and your 3 or 4 year-old is showing signs of jealousy.  Whenever you go to feed the baby, your preschooler demands your attention.  You’ve also been told by her preschool teacher that she is not sharing the way she used to.   This is a common situation…after all, why should she be happy about having to share your time and attention with this noisy smelly little person?

There are quite a few picture books that address the issue of a new baby in the house and sibling rivalry.   A couple of weeks ago, I reviewed Julius: The Baby of the World by Kevin Henkes, a story about a little mouse who loved her baby brother BEFORE he was born…but not after!  Reading this picture book with jealous older brothers and sisters will encourage them to open up and admit to their feelings.  Learning how to express our feelings, whether positive or negative, is one of the most important components of self-esteem.   When we truly feel good about ourselves, we are able to reach out lovingly to others.

So, if the messages in picture books can help young children acknowledge and cope with their feelings, fears and concerns, how do parents and teachers know which books to choose from among the many thousands that are in bookstores and libraries?

Please come back tomorrow for some outstanding parent and teacher resources and a simple picture book and activity program that builds self-esteem, develops better literacy skills and creates a life-long parent-child bond.

This is the first of two posts by Vivian. In the next one she will talk more specifically about her book “ Show me How” and tell in detail what it is about and how it helps develop self-esteem. She is a pro at telling parents and teachers how to do this with three specific activities; reading a book, doing a craft and cooking together. Each activity will take about fifteen minutes and pay priceless rewards towards a child’s self esteem in their future.

Let me know in the comments what you think. Do you think these activities help develop self-esteem? If you are a teacher or parent of young kids do you think you could do these activities? Weigh in at the comments. I love hearing from you.

Another invitation is here about Library Nominations and they are now open. Yes, library nominations are now open!

Win a free copy of Show Me How for your local library!

Vivian Kirkfield is donating twenty-five copies of Show Me How to libraries across the country…just leave a comment on Vivian’s posthttp://bit.ly/H6Il0j and tell her why you want your library to receive a free copy of SMH!

At the end of April, Random.org will pick 25 winners. OK, now, you have two comments to make. OnePositive Parental Participation logo on mine to weigh in on this post and one on Vivian’s blog about whether your library would like to win a free book called Show Me How. See you there!

Vivian Kirkfield is a mother of three and an educator and author who lives in the Colorado Rockies. She’s passionate about picture books, enjoys hiking and fly-fishing with her husband, loves reading, crafting and cooking with kids during school and library programs and shares tips and tactics for building self-esteem and literacy in her parenting workshops. To learn more about her mission to help every child become a reader and a lover of books, please visit her Positive Parental Participation blog or contact her at vivian@positiveparentalparticipation.com.


About ClaraBowmanJahn

Journal writer. Author of "Annie's Special Day" And coauthor of Edmund Pickle Chin, A Donkey Rescue Story." Proud mother and grandmother of wonderful kids. Wife of brilliant husband. Servant of two cats. Member of Pennwriters and SCBWI.
This entry was posted in Clara Bowman-Jahn, Course or Book Review, guest post, social networking and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.


  1. JannatWrites says:

    Picture books are a good way to get kids interested in books. It’s so fun when you’ve read a picture book to a child so many times, they can tell you when you skip a word!


    • clarbojahn says:

      Yes, it is fun. And when they ‘read’ it to themselves by pretending they know the words because they’ve heard it so many times. lol. so fun. 🙂


  2. Catherine Johnson says:

    I’ve been thinking a lot about messages in picture books recently. If you have to change something and it takes out the message sometimes the whole story can flop (I think I’m experienceing that with one now). I agree that those things help self-esteem. It’s not always easy to cajole kids into doing them, but you have to try.


  3. My parents read to us all the time. I still like to be read to 🙂 My parents also will use books to teach me and my sister lessons or give examples so I think they are good for that! My mom will start saying lines to “The little red hen” out loud when my sister and I won’t help. Picture books can just be fun sometimes too! 🙂


  4. Jarm Del Boccio says:

    Such a good summary of the reasons to read AND write picture books! We home educate our two teens, and I still read to them every day! And my daughter and I cook together as well. Great post


  5. suzicate says:

    My kids memorized the words to the page according to the picture…was funny watching a two year old hold the book upside down and “read” it word for word by memory!


  6. I loved reading as a child and love reading to my son. It’s great to see him playing by studying the pictures in his books. Also love Vivian and have enjoyed her book. I’m not brave enough yet to do some of the crafts with my almost two-year-old. I think both mom and son will grow into the crafts.


    • clarbojahn says:

      Ha ha, Stacy. I agree. You’ll know when he’s ready. You can practice on the sand box. We had a play stove and old pots and pans in ours.
      Oh! those are precious memories. 🙂
      Thanks for stopping by and commenting. 🙂


  7. Excellent post, and I’ll be looking forward to tomorrow’s, as well.

    Self esteem is so important. I’ve just realized that many of the books I write are indirectly or directly about self-esteem issues.

    Now I’m off to share the link to this post with the Children’s Book Hub Facebook Group!


  8. Margot Finke says:

    Loved the information and enthusiasm of Vivian Kirkfield’s post, and her book looks delightful. And I agree: A Picture Book IS Worth a Thousand Words. Wonderful illustrations are the stepping stones to reading and learning.

    Your Blog always entertains, illuminates and is a lot of fun to read. YEA!!

    Books for Kids – Manuscript Critiques


  9. Very informative and fun post. I so admire Vivian’s many gifts. Thanks ladies for a great read!


  10. This post hits home. Six year ago I decided to make reading to children my career. I created a literacy and music program called: MyLMNOP. About three years ago, I decided to add a cooking element Cookin’ wit’ MyLMNOP. The expansion of vocabulary and descriptive language skills has been amazing to witness. Children love learning new words. They love being read to. I’m always greeted with loads of hugs and I love you Ms. Pam. No better world for me. Thank you for this post. Great interview!


    • clarbojahn says:

      Thanks, Pamela and welcome to my blog. I love the idea of “Cookin’ wit’ MyLMNOP” such a cute name. And you know first hand what the rewards are.

      Thanks for weighing in with your thoughts and experiences. I loved hearing from you. 🙂


  11. Clar…thank you so very much! What an amazing job you did with this post…I was honored to guest here…and you are a pleasure to work with!!!! I appreciate that you included the Library Project info.
    I’m excited about tomorrow’s post. 🙂


    • clarbojahn says:

      Thanks so much, Vivian for your kind words. In fact I could say the same about you! 🙂 I am honored to have you as guest here.

      The next post about you, that follows this one will be published next Tuesday. I usually only publish twice a week and Friday is Perfect Picture Book Friday so I hope there isn’t a misunderstanding. 🙂


      • Of course that is fine, Clar! I wondered about the two days in a row…we don’t want people to get sick of me. 🙂 It’s a good thing you are giving them a few days to take a breather. 🙂 🙂


  12. Joanna says:

    Vivian’s a gifted and articulate writer! So heartily agree with this post. Self esteem seems to crop up in almost one out of two picture books I read, and with good reason! I think I would have appreciated so much doing and reading more with my parents, but ti wasn’t their thing… it is so bonding and important!


  13. Cathy Ballou Mealey says:

    My mother loved reading me “The Bundle Book” by Ruth Krauss. I did not like the book then, and I do not like it now! However she did save me the original book, which I have somewhere on a shelf. I ALWAYS wanted her to read “Dandelion” by Don Freeman, which I adored then and still do!!


    • clarbojahn says:

      Well. I”ll have to look both up and see if I can figure out why one worked for you and why the other didn’t. Some mothers pushed their favorite ones on their kids and then for a treat read the one the kids liked more. I don’t remember doing this but I remember my boys reading some over and over. At bed time when we were tired it was a good thing the books were short. 🙂


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  15. Julie says:

    Fantastic post! I’m glad to see the emphasis on the importance of picture books in children’s lives.


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