Learn the Alphabet with Northwest Coast Native Art

LearntheAlphabetNativeNorthwest

Image Credit: Native Explore (Native Northwest/Garfinkel Productions)

Something a little different & original for an ABC board book, yeah?

Native Northwest works to create quality learning tools for children. Native Explore (their division for children) works with Native artists and proceeds from their products go back to educators and indigenous learning programs. All the artists whose work is featured are listed on the back of the book by their name & nation. Because Native art is often appropriated, it’s encouraging to see a collection of authentic native art for children in such an approachable medium.

Native Alphabet2

Image Credit: Native Explore (Native Northwest/Garfinkel Productions)

I was drawn to this book because the images really pop! Little ones will enjoy the vibrant colors as they chew on the pages. The format is very simple; each page teaches a letter, a word and features an illustration. E is for a bright magenta Eagle and R is for a dynamic red, black and white Raven.

Another board book by this company that I really enjoy is Good Night World; in it we see all types of animals slow down and prepare for sleep. I hope you’ll take some time to check out their board books; here’s a link to their Educational Resources page. I really hope they’ll do a touch and feel board book next!

 

Recommended for: Babies and Toddlers
Great for: ABC, Early Learning, Early Childhood Development, Colors, Animals, Native Americans, Native Artists, Word Association
Book Info: Learn the Alphabet with Northwest Coast Native Art, 2010 Native Explore (Native Northwest/Garfinkel Productions), ISBN: 9781554761647

Alphablock

Alphablock

Image Credit: Abrams Appleseed (Abrams), Christopher Franceschelli/Peskimo

Quality design is important. Eye-catching graphics and clever construction can set a book apart from the rest.

Alphablock is a dynamic board book. Along with Take Away the A, this is one of my favorite ABC books. With its chunky build and interactive pages, it’s perfect for learning and discovering! The first page gets right down to it, flip the letter A and you’ll learn that A is for…Apple. The A blends into the page before it and we’re presented with a scene (a picnic).

Alphablock2

Image Credit: Abrams Appleseed (Abrams), Christopher Franceschelli/Peskimo

Alphablock is great for storytelling. What’s going on? Why do you think they’re having a picnic? What other fruits are on the page and so on. Parents and teachers can use this book in many ways to work on reading, vocabulary and word-picture association. Peskimo’s digital illustrations are bold and fabulous. Hope you’ll pick up this one and explore the alphabet.

 

Recommended for: Babies, Toddlers, Early Readers
Great for: ABC, Early Childhood Development, Word Picture Association, Interactive, Animals, Foods, Vocabulary, Early Learning, Discussion
Book Info: Alphablock by Christopher Franceschelli/Illustrated by Peskimo, 2013 Abrams Appleseed (Abrams), ISBN: 9781419709364

Awake Beautiful Child

AwakeBeautifulChild

Image Credit: McSweeney’s, Amy Krouse Rosenthal/Gracia Lam

 

Amy Krouse Rosenthal’s new book is sweet and clever. All of her books are very clever so I’m not surprised at how awesome this one is. Awake Beautiful Child follows the day in the life of several children and is an “ABC” book in that she writes the story only using words that begin with the letters A, B and C; “All Begins Cheerily” and leads to “Amusing Breakfast Chatter” with “Apples, Bananas and Cantaloupe.” And so the story continues with several more children as we learn how they spend their day. Rosenthal even begins the book (check the copyright page) with “Alert: Boring Copyright” Haha. Children are also encouraged to look closely at the illustrations to find more words that start with A, B, and C; this book is excellent for multiple readings and exploration.

Lam’s illustrations are very quaint and retro-inspired. For every child’s story, she sticks with a color palate and her illustrations seem to be a combination of screen print, digital and hand drawings. For the human figures, she focuses mostly on profiles, with their large beautiful eyes as the focus. One thing I would’ve LOVED to see in this book is more children and families of color. The story follows multiple children, so it would’ve been very easy to show not only diversity in daily activities but diversity in children’s ethnicities as well. I hope that Lam’s next children’s book is more diverse.

I just might add this book to my favorite “ABC” book list along with Take Away the A. You will enjoy the calm illustrations, the excellent vocabulary (so many great words!) and the thrill of looking for “ABC” words in the illustrations. Be sure to check out Awake Beautiful Child with your child.

Recommended for: Toddlers to 1st/2nd Grade
Great for: ABC Learning, Colors, Family, Vocabulary
Book Info: Awake Beautiful Child by Amy Krouse Rosenthal/Illustrated by Gracia Lam, 2015 McSweeney’s, ISBN: 9781938073922

Take Away the A

Image Credit: Enchanted Lion Books, Michaël Escoffier

Image Credit: Enchanted Lion Books, Michaël Escoffier/Kris Di Giacomo

I love a great endpaper (it’s all about the details!!). I open this book and there’s a neon green background with white ABC letters. Okay, I’m already hooked!  *__*

Take Away the A is by far my favorite ABC book. This book is CLEVER! It gets kids thinking about not only their ABCs but also the meaning of words. Escoffier takes away one letter from a simple word, that word magically transforms into another word and then he writes a silly sentence using both words. Then the illustrator, Di Giacomo, pairs the sentence with a charming illustration. The child reader is reading and simultaneously making connections between the sentence and image. If they have some trouble understanding the words, they can glance up at the illustration for help, especially since the format of this book is very formulaic. Some children are more visual learners and books like this are great for strengthening their reading comprehension!

As a bookseller, this was my go-to recommendation for children who are starting to feel more confident with their reading because it’s so fun and silly. The illustrations use muted colors and have a classic feeling to them. Teachers and parents can also use this book as a tool to get their kids thinking creatively! How about a Take Away the A inspired lesson where the students come up with their own silly sentences and illustrations? The possibilities are endless!

Recommended for: Beginning readers and up
Great for: ABC Learning, Inspiring creative thinking, Storytelling, Animals, Humor
Book Info: Take Away the A by Michaël Escoffier/Illustrated by Kris Di Giacomo , 2014 Enchanted Lion Books, ISBN: 9781592701568