There have been lots of babies in my life lately. My children have a new cousin, with another on the way, and three of their teachers have had babies. For shower gifts, many people love to buy cute baby clothes. Others prefer "fun" gifts like toys, while still others are more inclined to help the family out by purchasing essentials such as diapers or strollers. Most of the time, I go for items that I consider both fun and necessary: books and music.
As a writer and teacher, books are near and dear to me. They can transport us to another world, inspire us, challenge us, teach us, and entertain us. In the case of this book, they can also celebrate us and the earth we inhabit. If I am going to give a newborn only one book, it will be On the Day You Were Born by Debra Frasier.
"On the eve of your birth
word of your coming passed
from animal to animal.
The reindeer told the Arctic terns,
who told the humpback whales,
who told the Pacific salmon..."
This lovely tale continues with news of the child's birth traveling all around the globe while the sun continues to shine, the wind blows, and the moon pulls the ocean's tides. It ends with people welcoming the newborn saying, "We are so glad you've come!" Orignally published in 1991, this book will never go out of style.
Music is another favorite shower gift. When I was pregnant with our first child, I began looking for world music, particularly lullabies, to play for him. African Lullaby is one of the first CDs I found and it quickly became our favorite. My son listened to it often while falling asleep. When our daughter was born, he passed it along to her. Four and a half years later, she still listens to it, almost every night. Produced by Ellipsis Arts, this compilation CD is part of a lullaby series that focuses on lullabies from different parts of the world. This CD includes music from around the African continent and notes about the artists and style of music played. I'll certainly blog about music again, and include more scholarly reasons for exposing your children and students to music from around the world, but for today, I hope you'll check out this CD for no other reason than the music is wonderful.
What are your favorite examples of world music for children or books that celebrate nature? Do you have a book or CD that you give to the newborns in your life?
Tree frogs anyone? (Volume up!) There was such a racket at my parents’ house last night. #nature
Seen on my morning walk. #nature #getoutside
My walk on Friday took me through several ecosystems, from a climax stage forest populated with beeches and maples, out to a lake, then back through climax forest and through a new section of forest populated by white pines, until I came out to a field that is gradually becoming forest again (See those white pines along the edges in the second video? Each year they move further into the field). I always notice the changes in plants and animals I see, but on Friday, the changes in sound were striking. Turn your volume up! Near the lake, where a slow moving brook empties in, frogs and songbirds dominated. In the field, it was insects and songbirds. #nature #getoutside
Anyone who knows me “in real life” knows that I’m not a big junk food eater. I’m the girl who can literally eat one chip and be done. But I am ridiculously excited to have some of these Irish crisps tonight. I haven’t had them since we moved home from #Dublin. #homesick
Hey KidLit friends: Karen Boss and I are looking forward to facilitating this workshop later today. I just learned that there are spots available and you CAN register late. Join us! #kidlit #nonfiction
I started my day with a walk in the woods that lead me to the lake. I sat in the sand for a while and was serenaded by a chorus of bullfrogs and songbirds while a woodpecker banged out a rhythm. It was a good way to start a day. #nature #calm #nofilter
In addition to planting the veggie garden I posted about yesterday, I’ve also been tending to the flower gardens in our front yard. Some plants are long established, but I’ve also added about 30 new perennials. I mix a variety of herbs such as sage, fennel, lavender, rosemary, and Bee Balm right in with the other flowers.
The gardens have along way to go before they’ll be filled out the way I want, but we have some gorgeous flowers right now. Some special ones in these images: the deep purple irises are splits from my uncle Gene’s garden. My mom grew the lupine from seed. The small bright pink flowers came from my great-aunt Lucille’s garden (my maternal grandmother’s sister). The white and purple irises came from my maternal great-grandmother, Albertine’s garden (They came to me by way of my Mom’s garden). #gardening #nature #getoutside
Its been a busy few weeks in the yard. One big project was to rebuild and plant our raised beds. My husband @rcusol and daughter built the new beds. Then my husband, son, and dad filled them with soil/compost. My job was to plant them. We have (lots of) sweet basil, Thai basil, purple basil, 3 kinds of tomatoes, summer squash, zucchini (courgette), jalapeño pepper, cayenne pepper, eggplant (aubergine) marjoram, parsley, Chinese long beans (red noodle beans), and bell peppers already growing. I also seeded in rainbow beets, watermelon radishes, arugula, Brussels sprouts, Chard, several kinds of lettuce/greens. We still need to lay out the soaker hoses and mulch. #getoutside #veggiegarden
Waiting for the show to start. #PPAC Thanks @tsarina222!
My parents took a road trip yesterday so my kids and I cared for this little one. The mother died shortly after childbirth, so my mom has been bottle feeding it. Look at that tail wag! A sure sign of a happy lamb. #farmlife