Look! Babies Head to Toe: An Author Interview and Board Book Giveaway!

Look! Babies Head to Toe: An Author Interview and Board Book Giveaway!

By Robie H. Harris
Illustrated by Anoosha Syed
On Sale August 27, 2019 | Abrams Appleseed | ISBN 9781419732034
Board book | $7.99 | 20 pages | Ages 3 and up

Look! Babies Head to Toe is an exuberant introduction to the parts of the body and the senses. Filled with fun, repetitive sounds and a melodic voice, this book will captivate babies and toddlers.

About the Author
Robie H. Harris has written award-winning and internationally acclaimed children’s books and is known for writing about serious issues with honesty, understanding, and humor. Harris has written over 20 books for everyone from toddlers to older kids, including the definitive Family Library about sexuality: IT'S PERFECTLY NORMAL, IT'S SO AMAZING!, and IT'S NOT THE STORK! Harris travels around the country speaking about how picture books address the genuine feelings and concerns of young children.

An Exclusive Interview with Robie H. Harris!

1. At what age should children be introduced to books? As early as possible. What does early mean?
— Could mean four or five months or six months. Just holding a young infant in the crook of one’s arm and reading the words out loud as the infant hears the words and gazes at the art in the book is a comforting time and a sharing time for both the infant and parent or caregiver. Often, you will hear the baby gurgle and coo while listening to your voice and at times even reach toward or touch one of the babies who are illustrated in a book—books such as LOOK! and WHO? How do I know this? From my own experiences of sharing a board book with an infant. One parent sent me a video of her six-month-old baby gurgling and cooing while my first board book, WHO? A Celebration of Babies, was being read to the baby just as I have described above. The infant also reached its hand out to touch a few of the babies that artist Anoosha Syed created for LOOK! I also know this happens because parents and caregivers have told me about having the same kinds of experiences when sharing WHO? and LOOK! with infants. Others have sent me photos. These kinds of interactions that I have just described are also backed up by exciting new research that talks about the benefits of introducing board books to younger infants, older infants and toddlers. Older babies and toddlers also love board books and can be totally engaged in them. Sharing a board book with an infant or toddler is early literacy in the making and helps to create a love of language, art, and books for years to come.

2. How do you come up with the ideas for your books?
— Lots of ways. Of course memories of my own children as babies and also my grandchildren as babies fuel my thoughts for all of my books, including my two board books. Another way that an idea for a book pops into my head happens when I am out and about and see an infant or toddler or young child doing something that fascinates me or catches my eye, along with the sounds and the language that child is using. I always grab a pencil or pen and pad or a scrap of paper ASAP and write down those words and the actions that I have just witnessed. While young infants do not begin to say actual words until they are older infants, the sounds that they make is their language, one of their ways their ways of talking and interacting with us and telling us how they feel or sometimes even what they want or need. So words matter the most to me. And soon, a story begins to pop into my head. And after a while, I begin to write. As I am writing, somehow, even though I can’t draw for beans, images pop into my head that could be the images that an artist such as Anoosha Syed might just put into the book I am beginning to write. But I always want to see what images the artist comes up with first before my thoughts are passed on to them. That’s because they often see things I do not see and come up with wonderful ideas that have never entered my mind. After that, I often comment and make suggestions on early sketches and later art that is sent to me. That’s just what happened as Anoosha created her joyful, endearing and engaging art for LOOK!

3. How did you develop your interest in early childhood education?
— My mother loved babies and toddlers and young children. And I as a child and as an adult found them fascinating from the day they were born, through their infancy and toddlerhood and all the way through their years as young children to their young adult years. I also had the good luck to spend two days a week for a year on the world-famous pediatrician Dr. T. Berry Brazelton’s Child Development Unit at Boston Children’s Hospital. Along with those in training to become pediatricians, I would observe infants and toddlers and young children and together with Dr. Brazelton discuss the normal development of infants, toddlers, and young children. This was another experience that helped me understand just how amazing and fascinating our very youngest children are and continue to be. So as a children’s book author, how could I not weave into my books what I saw and observed at my time on Dr. Brazelton’s unit?

4. What advice do you have for parents to help them encourage their children to love reading?
— Make sure you read to your child once a day, every single day. And find a quiet time to do so, if possible, and don’t be interrupted by a call on your phone or anything else. Just enjoy your special time together. Start early and keep on reading books to them. Have a basket of board books on the floor with just board books in it—nothing else. And it’s okay if your infant or toddler sits on a book, chews on it, puts it on top of their head, drools on it, or opens it and is looking at the book upside down. These are simply some of the main ways books become part of their lives and will continue to be part of their lives as they grow up and older.

5. How do you respond to people who say it's easier to write children's books than books for adults?
— Most often my response is, “Children’s books from board books to YA literature are all difficult to write. The children’s book authors I know and respect all work as hard as anyone writing for adults. Writing is hard for most every author I know, no matter who their audience may be.”

6. What in your background prepared you to write children's books?
— It may have been my elementary school, where the first thing we did every morning no matter how young or old we were was create stories, whether written or told out loud. In kindergarten, we dictated our stories to our teachers who would write then down for us and then we would illustrate them. One might say that I began to create children’s books in kindergarten!And I would venture to say that by eighth grade most of my classmates were wonderful writers of both fiction and nonfiction. The experience that also influenced me and helped to prepare me to write board books me was the year I mentioned above spent at T. Berry Brazelton, MD Child Development Unit at Boston Children’s Hospital. Dr. Brazelton and his colleague Josh Sparrow MD who is now the director of the Brazelton Touchpoints Project, read drafts of each of my board books and commented on what I had created. Their comments helped me to think in new ways about how to write a board book.


One lucky winner will receive a copy of the board book, Look! Babies Head to Toe by Robie H. Harris! Enter through the Rafflecopter form below. This giveaway is open to U.S. residents only and ends at 11:59 PM ET on Tuesday, September 10, 2019.

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