Perfect Picture Book Friday: Take a Kiss to School


Today is Perfect Picture Book Friday where I link up with Susanna Leonard Hill’s fantastic group of picture book writers, illustrators, librarians and others who contribute a picture book review and related resources for parents, teachers and children.

A couple of quick notes:

1.      The Show-Me-How School Initiative is still looking for A FEW GOOD SCHOOLS.  Please leave a comment on this post, telling which school or other child-care facility you would like to nominate to receive a free copy of Show Me How!

2.      Heather Newman, fellow 12x12er and PPBF participant, did a lovely review of my book on her blog.  If you haven’t read it yet, just click on this link.  My sincere thanks to her for the wonderful things she said…and also for posting the review on Amazon.  I’m really grateful to her for adding the review to the Show Me How Amazon site because I’ve recently read that getting reviews on Amazon is very good for a book that is being sold there.  I believe I read that 25 or more reviews really help book sales.  Over the last two years, several dozen people have reviewed the book…but I never thought to ask them to post the review on Amazon…if anyone did review the book and would like to add that review to Amazon, I would be most appreciative.  If anyone would like to review the book, let me know and I will be happy to send you a copy.

3.      Fall is definitely in the air and I’m so very excited because I’ve joined, not one, but TWO critique groups…one with local SCBWI members (we will meet once a month in person to exchange picture book manuscripts and chat about our progress on the road to publication)…and one with four other members of Julie Hedlund’s 12×12 group (the first manuscript exchange will be September 17…but NOT in person…as we are spread out all over the world…which is, in itself, a miracle).  I’m looking forward to living my dream:

Picture books to read and write

Morning, noon and through the night.


And now, since you’ve been incredibly patient…and since it IS Perfect Picture Book Friday…I present:



Written by Angela McAllister

Illustrated by Sue Hellard

Publisher: Bloomsbury Children’s Books (2006)

Ages: 4 and up


Separation anxiety, overcoming fears, helping others


Although Digby, a little otter, has fun during his first day of school, he is reluctant to go again.  He tells his mother that there are so many things to remember (where to hang his coat, how to line up, etc.) and he is afraid he will forget some of them and be embarrassed.  Digby’s mother solves the problem by filling her hands with kisses and putting the kisses in her son’s jacket pocket.  During the day, whenever Digby feels uncomfortable or scared, he takes out one of the kisses and presses it to his cheek.  Helping another student who is even more hesitant than he is enables Digby to forget his own fears…and Digby finds he is looking forward to the next school day.

Why do I like this book

Many of us are anxious about having new experiences, going to new places and meeting new people.  This is a lovely story that will comfort many young children who are anxious about school.  Coping with and overcoming separation anxiety is a big step in a child’s emotional development and parents need to be sensitive and non-judgmental about a child’s fears.  The illustrations convey little Digby’s feelings and will help young listeners relate their real life experiences to his…creating a perfect opportunity for the young listener to voice his own fears.

Related Activities:

For many children, the first weeks of school may be difficult because they don’t like eating “different” foods.  Here is a fun craft activity that might help.


Illustration from Enchanted Learning

You will need: Construction paper, markers or crayons, old magazines with pictures of food, scissors, glue, string or yarn and a wire hanger.

1.      Talk about the different food groups and why we need to eat some from each group every day.

2.      Look through the magazine and cut out pictures of foods.

3.      Paste each picture onto construction paper and cut out.

4.      Punch a hole at the top of each picture and tie a piece of string through the hole.

5.      Attach the end of the string to the wire hanger.

6.      Repeat for several pictures.

7.      Hang up and watch the foods wave in the breeze.


In the story, Digby’s mom puts kisses in his jacket pocket.  You and your child can make a lovely picnic lunch using Pita Pockets.  Fill with your choice of chicken or tuna salad…or perhaps the always popular peanut butter and jelly.  Inviting your child to help prepare meals in the kitchen is a wonderful way to encourage a fussy eater to try new items.

Great lesson plans, games and activities from Kinderplans:

Crafts with and about food from eHow:

Lots of different mobiles from Enchanted Learning:


This post is part of a series for parents and teachers called Perfect Picture Book Fridays hosted by Susanna Leonard Hill.  Click on her link and find lots of other picture book suggestions with summaries and activities.   This is an unbelievable resource for any parent, teacher or children’s librarian.

Sunday Post: Close-Up: Simple Tips for First Day of School Anxiety

Jake at Time after Time has a Sunday Post Challenge and every week he provides a theme…this week’s theme is CLOSE-UP.

I know I’ve used this photo before…but it personifies “CLOSE-UP” perfectly.

Do you practice attached parenting?  Are you a helicopter mom?  Have you encouraged your child’s independence?

No matter what type of parent you are, you may be experiencing some anxiety as you send your child off for the first day of school.

Many children also have concerns about school.  Will they like the teacher?  Will the other kids be nice?  Will they find their way around the maze of hallways and classrooms? (I get lost when I do school visits)  Will they ever see you again?

Here are five simple steps that will make the transition from home to school smoother.

1.    Have an upbeat, matter-of-fact, positive attitude about school.

2.    If your child has not been there yet, arrange for a visit before school starts.

3.    Connect with parents of other children in the class and have play dates with your child’s classmates…children feel more at ease when they see friendly faces in the classroom.

4.    If you don’t have a routine in place for bedtime and getting-ready-for-the-day-in-the-morning time, put them in place now.  Make it a habit to discuss plans for the next day in the evening and lay out clothes and anything else needed the night before.  When school starts, your child will be used to getting things ready and you won’t have that last minute rush in the morning to find the missing shoe or backpack.  Regarding bedtime, please make sure you are allowing plenty of time for your child to get ready (brush teeth, wash, lay out clothes and necessary items, story-time, etc.) and still be getting to bed at a reasonable hour.

5.    Make sure your child is eating a good breakfast in the morning…when school starts, this will be even more important.  My younger son loved pizza.  Some children might prefer eggs and toast, cereal with fruit and milk, French toast and bacon or pancakes with fruit toppings.  How about peanut butter and banana on whole wheat bread?


Many times, children who are fussy eaters become better eaters when you let them help out in the kitchen.  If you are looking for some simple child-friendly recipes, Show Me How! has one hundred of them and teams each cooking activity with a picture book suggestion and a quick and easy eco-friendly arts and crafts project.  You can order a copy on my website at less than 50% of the cover price.  The book is available for shipment to Canadian residents also!

Studies show that the quality time you spend with your young children now has a positive impact on their school performance.  This is a great opportunity to get a wonderful resource you can use on a daily basis, year after year.  Show Me How is an award-winning book endorsed by parents, teachers and national organizations such as the JDRF.  To be in your children’s memories tomorrow, you need to be in their lives today.  This is a book that makes it easy and fun to be in your children’s lives today!  Don’t put it off until tomorrow!

Another thing not to put off until tomorrow: if you’d like to nominate your child’s school or other childcare facility in the Show Me How School Initiative, please don’t forget to leave a comment with the school’s name.  If you don’t have young children, but know people who do, tell them about the free book their child’s school can receive!

Want more information about Jake’s Sunday Post? 

And here are some other bloggers who are doing Jake’s Sunday Post…click on a link and travel around the world:

Related Posts:

Are You Ready To Say Goodbye?

 In some districts, the school bells are already ringing.  Stores are crowded with parents and children, shopping for the perfect backpack and outfit for the first day of class.  Teachers are busy setting up classrooms and studying the curriculum for the new school year.

In my next few posts, I’ll been sharing thoughts about how to transition a child from home to school and how to have the healthiest school year ever.

But children are not the only ones who may be anxious about the first day of school.  Many parents have concerns about their children attending school and the concerns can mushroom as the children get older.  Perhaps that is why homeschooling has become a popular option in recent years.  According to an article in USA Today (1/2009) based on a government survey, homeschooling increased 74% from 1999 to 2007.

What are some of the top fears and concerns parents may have about sending their children off to their first day of school?

  1. The child may be bullied or hurt by other children.
  2. The child may be made fun of because of his name, appearance, or style of speech or clothing.
  3. The teacher may not be structured enough or may be too structured or may not understand the child or may not be attentive enough to the child.
  4. There may be unsafe conditions at the school.
  5. The child may be in an accident traveling to or from school whether he walks, takes the bus or is driven by the parent or another adult.
  6. The child may hear things or be taught things that are not acceptable in the home.
  7. The child may be afraid or too shy to speak up for herself (to ask to use the bathroom or if she needs something).
  8. The child may not “fit” in.
  9. The child may reveal family secrets or personal information.
  10.  The parent may miss the child.

In my next post, I’ll give some simple steps parents can take to address many of these concerns which may alleviate some of the parental anxiety associated with sending kids off to school.


 If you know of a school or classroom that would benefit from having an award-winning resource of picture book recommendations and correlated activities that build self-esteem and develop stronger literacy skills, please leave a comment on any post in August or September. 


At the end of September, we will be donating a dozen copies of Show Me How! Build Your Child’s Self-Esteem Through Reading, Crafting and Cooking to schools and classrooms across the country.

If you don’t want your favorite teacher to have to wait or you’d like to have a copy of your own (great for homeschooling families or parents who want quick and easy fun-filled educational activities), you can order a copy at a saving of over 50% off the cover price, right here: Amazon or My Website

It’s not too early to be thinking of great Christmas gifts for teachers, moms, expectant parents, daycare providers, babysitters, grandparents, nannies…virtually anyone who is involved in the care and education of young children.  Where can you get an eco-friendly gift that keeps on entertaining…no batteries required, powered by a child’s imagination?  Only $19.95…personally inscribed (just let us know what you would like it to say) and signed by the author.  Order now and avoid the last-minute Christmas rush!