Building Self-Esteem and Literacy…One Picture Book at a Time

Hi Readers!

As promised here is post two of my friend Vivian Kirkfield’s picture book article. If you missed post one go here.  Now as you read on I don’t want you to think you have to do each of the three activities to raise self-esteem. If you just do one it will help. As a young mother you have your hands full and this book is meant to help not overwhelm. When I was looking at it I wished I had a copy when my boys were little. Then I realized many of the books hadn’t been written yet. I think this book is special. I think it will make a super present for any young parent these days. Go ahead. Read on, read about it.

Building Self-Esteem and Literacy…One Picture Book at a Time

Jeremy Fishing with Grammy

Vivian fishing with Grandson, Jeremy.

Throughout my life, as a kindergarten teacher, daycare provider and mom of three, my overriding mission has always been the same: uplift young children and empower them with true self-esteem.  From the very beginning, I realized that picture books were magical and their messages were powerful tools.  My simple “program” utilizes the messages in picture books and combines the story reading with various activities…and adds a “secret” ingredient…positive parental participation.  This program forms the basis of my book, Show Me How! Build Your Child’s Self-Esteem Through Reading, Crafting and Cooking, which was published in September of 2010.

Show Me How! Pinpoints 100 of the best read-aloud books that every young child should hear.  It also gives a story summary, gentle parenting tip, eco-friendly craft project and child-friendly healthful cooking activity for each recommended title.

There are a couple of cool things about the book.  Walking into a library or bookstore can be

Vivian reading with Jake

Vivian reading with Jake

overwhelming for many parents.   Which book should they pick from the thousands available?  “My child is afraid of the dark…is there a book I can read that will help him overcome that fear?”  “We just bought a new house and our four-year old is angry about moving and leaving his friends…I need a book that addresses that problem!”  Show Me How! answers these questions in six chapters, each with fifteen or more books focusing on a different component of building true self-esteem.

  • Chapter One: I Can Do It Myself…books like Little Toot and The Carrot Seed help children understand the importance of mastering tasks and skills.
  • Front cover

    Front cover (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

    Chapter Two: I’m Special…books like Bravo Maurice and The Little Red Caboose help children value their own strengths and qualities.

  • Chapter Three: I Love You and You Love Me…books like The Ugly Duckling and Oliver Button is a Sissy help children feel loved, appreciated and accepted.
  • Chapter Four: I Am Really Mad Right Now…books like Where the Wild Things Are and Goodbye Mousie help children learn to express their feelings.
  • Chapter Five: I’m Afraid…books like Blueberries for Sal and Don’t Worry, I’ll Find You help children acknowledge and overcome fears.
  • Chapter Six…I Like Myself…books like A Lion for Lewis and I’m Terrific help children feel good about themselves and their bodies.

Studies show that the foundations of our self-esteem are laid down in the first five years of life!  These are the years when a parent has the greatest influence…before media and peer pressure begin to hold sway.  The book makes it easy for parents to spend a little quality time with their children…just 15 minutes a day is all it takes to read the picture book story or do the quick and easy craft project or participate together making the simple healthful recipe.   A preschool teacher I know told me that ever since she received the

Cover of "Oliver Button Is a Sissy"

Cover of Oliver Button Is a Sissy

book, she rarely has to make lesson plans because it’s all there…theme, book choice and activities.

Another amazing resource for parents and teachers is Susanna Leonard Hill’s Perfect Picture Book Friday where they can find hundreds of book titles divided into dozens of categories.  Sibling rivalry, getting along with others, bedtime, diversity, bullying and adoption are only a few of the dozens of topics.  Each title links up with a review of the book and some activities and resources that might help extend and enrich the learning experience.  I’m so happy to be a part of this wonderful community of picture book writers and illustrators and others who love picture books and understand their importance for young children.

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

Show Me HowWin 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 post and tell her why you want your library to receive a free copy of SMH!

At the end of April, will pick 25 winners.

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  Positive Parental Participation every child become a reader and a lover of books, please visit her Positive Parental Participation blog or contact her at

So tell me. What do you think about Vivian’s book? Will you read it? Will you give it for a gift for a new parent? Or if you are a young parent will you buy it? What do you think of PPBF? Do you think it’s a good reference?

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.
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16 Responses to Building Self-Esteem and Literacy…One Picture Book at a Time

  1. I have gotten to know Vivian a little through Perfect Picture Books, but what a wonderful chance you’ve given us, Clar, to get to know her a little better. Show Me How sounds like a really terrific book that every parent and teacher should have. I love the way the sections are divided and how it lists great books in each section. It’s mission is exactly what I hope Perfect Picture Books will accomplish as well. Thanks so much for a great interview, Clar and Vivian! (And what a lovely fishing picture! :))


    • clarbojahn says:

      Thanks so much, Susanna. I agree with you about Vivian. I have greatly enjoyed her posts and getting to know her better, too. She is a lovely person with a great book.

      Yes, there are similarities with “Show Me How” and Perfect Picture Books. I hadn’t seen it before but it’s true. The books are divided into themes and easy for parents and teachers to pull out the needed one. “Show me How” is more for the early ages however. More for ages two to six, I think. Your blog posts on PPB goes beyond that in age groups.

      Thanks as always for your insight into my blog posts with my guests. I appreciate you stopping by and commenting. 🙂


    • Thank you for your kind words.Susanna! I can tell you for sure that you are accomplishing an amazing goal and providing a wonderful resource for parents and teachers with PPBF…and I love that your list of books encompasses all age ranges…and so many different subjects. When I begin the project for the next book in the SMH series, your list will be quite helpful, especially since so many of the books are newer ones, whereas mine are mostly the older classics.


  2. What a great interview, and yes…I would read it and give it as a gift! Thanks for this look into a wonderful book that uplifts children and strengthens relationships!


  3. I think it is very rue that parents can help kids learn to feel good about themselves and books can really help! I liked reading Ms. Kirkfield’s posts on your blog 🙂


  4. I love visiting Vivian’s website because of wealth of information. She is a wonderful educator and just bursting with creative ideas. I think it is a book that every parent and teacher and library should have. I like how it flows. Great post with Vivian!


    • Pat…how kind of you to say such nice things. 🙂
      I know all of us have so much to share with parents and teachers…and I would love it if every library had a copy of SMH…so many would benefit from the one copy!


  5. Great blog, another great author and I posted your link as usual on my FB fan page!


  6. Clar…again I thank you so very much for this wonderful opportunity to guest post on your blog and share my book and my passion for picture books with your readers!
    I’m in New Hampshire now…watching my 3 year old grandson.:) I may not be able to respond to comments on my blog in as timely a manner as usual…no staying up till 2am…when Jeremy goes to bed at night, Grammy had better turn in soon after if she knows what’s good for her…because he will be up bright and early, for sure. 🙂


    • clarbojahn says:

      Vivian, it was an honor to feature you here. I hope you have a blast with your grandson. I just had my grandson here for five days and that is exactly what I have to do. Maybe that is why this blog has been a little neglected over the last few days. I had scheduled it to go live but then couldn’t comment promptly. I am so glad you were able to step up and do it. I just love all the comments and replies from my reader friends.

      Thanks everyone for stopping by and commenting. I really appreciate it. And see you when you come back, Vivian. 🙂


      • I am going to pass on doing this week’s PPBF post…maybe it will enable me to read everyone else’s…which I have not been able to do in the past two weeks. 😦
        Jeremy and I are making a book for his mom and dad…each page shows what we did on a particular day…made meatballs (he loved rolling the little balls), dug for worms (we plan to go fishing at a nearby pond tomorrow), crafted a felt frog prince, walked in the rain and sang “Pitter Pat”. I’m taking advantage of every minute with him…I may not be back until October.


        • clarbojahn says:

          Lol. Vivian. Sounds like you’re having a grand ole time. So glad for you. They’re only little once as you know. He’s lucky to have you.

          Will you be my grandmother? 🙂


  7. Pingback: PPBF: Sloppy Kisses…Self-Esteem and Peer Pressure…What’s the Connection? « Positive Parental Participation

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