Perfect Picture Book Friday: The Kissing Hand


The 2012 Positive Parental Participation Challenge is underway!

Picture books and kids go together like peanut butter and jelly.

Reading with your child only takes a little time each day, but the impact it will have on your child is big and will last a life-time.

I’ve just linked up with a fantastic resource for parents and teachers and anyone who wants to find great picture books to read with young children.  What’s really cool is that for many of the stories, there are also suggestions for other activities that extend the learning experience.  Perfect Picture  Book Friday is part of the blog of Susannah Leonard Hill, a talented author of many children’s books.  I’m honored to contribute, and hope that her site will also encourage every parent and anyone involved in the care and education of young children to take part in the 2012 Positive Parental Participation Challenge. 

Here’s a wonderful picture book that I have shared with hundreds of children.

The Kissing Hand

Written by Audrey Penn and Illustrated by Ruth Harper and Nancy Leak

Published by Child & Family Press, 1993

Intended audience age: 2 – 7


As the author says, “This is a story for any child who confronts a difficult situation, and for the child within each of us who sometimes needs reassurance.”  The Kissing Hand will help any child who is anxious about starting a new school or trying a new experience.

Story Opening:

“Chester Raccoon stood at the edge of the forest and cried.” 

Brief Synopsis:

 The little raccoon would rather stay home with his mother and play with his friends and swing on his swings because he is afraid of the new experience of going to school.  Chester’s mother is able to help her son overcome his fears by giving him a special secret that her mother shared with her when she was little.

Why I like this book:

Young children love this story and appreciate Chester’s fear because many of them have experienced it also.  As adults, we might envy the carefree life of a child…with no responsibilities and all the time in the world to play.  However, a child’s life is not really carefree…and children are learning at an amazing rate while they are playing…and especially while they are sharing a story with a parent!  Young children can identify with Chester and will be encouraged when they see how he was able to overcome his fear of going to school and his reluctance to leave all that is familiar.  The book provides a wonderful opportunity for parents to engage with their children about this very common problem.

Resources and Activities:

If you are looking to extend the learning experience with your child, here is a super simple craft project you can do.



Materials needed for each child: 1 piece of light colored construction or copy paper, fine-line markers and/or crayons.

  1. Have the children place their hands on the paper.  Draw the outline of their handprints.
  2. Talk to your children about the people (or pets) they love and those who love them.
  3. Let the children decide which people will be represented by each finger…mother, father, siblings, grandparents, pets, favorite stuffed animal, teacher, etc.
  4. Use markers or crayons to add the features to each finger.
  5. Make sure the children reserve one of the finger of the handprint for themselves…we need to love ourselves before we can reach out and truly love others.
  6. Help the children label each figure with a name to identify who it is.


When we brought the Show-Me-How-Story-Time-With-Miss-Vivian program to Chicago last summer, we had a ball with the children who came to hear The Kissing Hand and do the KISSING HAND CRAFT with us.  Reading and crafting with kids is so much fun for everyone involved! 

Join the 2012 Positive Parental Participation Challenge and read a story a day with your child.  Leave a comment and share with us what books you are enjoying with your child.  Someone is going to win a picture book at the end of each month…maybe it will be YOU!

Please remember that if you participate in this Challenge, you are entitled to a $5 discount on Show Me How, a great resource that gives you 100 picture book summaries and an easy craft and simple cooking activity for each.  Right now you can save two ways, because we are offering FREE SHIPPING for the month of January.

Show-Me-How Story-time with Miss Vivian Travels to Chicago

Downtown from the lakefront, Chicago, IL, USA

Frank Sinatra sang songs about many of the cities that he loved…New York – San Francisco – Chicago.

After a fantastic long weekend in Chicago, I’ll have to echo some of his words (written by Sammy Kahn and Jimmy Van Heusen):

Chicago is one town

That won’t let you down

It’s my kind of town.

I arrived on Friday morning and spent the day relaxing with my son and daughter-in-law at their home.  Visiting with them is like going to a spa…they LOVE to cook “healthy” and every morning they start the day with a bowl of fresh fruit…mangoes, papayas, bananas, apples, peaches…drizzled with a little honey.  For lunch each day, my son made a huge vegetable salad bowl for each of us…cherry tomatoes, cucumbers, celery, mushrooms…all topped with some capers and a splash of aged blueberry balsamic   vinegar.

My book event, Starting School Jitters Be Gone, on Saturday at Lollie, a children’s boutique in Evanston, just 20 minutes north of downtown Chicago, was so much fun!  This shop is an amazing place…filled with many handmade and locally designed clothes and accessories, as well as other unique items for infants, toddlers and children.  The owner is knowledgeable, helpful and a really lovely lady…I know if I lived in the Chicago area, I’d stop in there for any new baby gifts I needed, as well as for birthday and Christmas presents for any little ones on my list.

Of course, Mother Nature had her own plans for 11am, the time the first presentation was to start.  The skies over the entire Chicago area darkened, and the heavens poured forth a torrential rainstorm, accompanied by huge claps of thunder and crackling flashes of lightening. 

Inside Lollie, however, everything was bright and cheery.  A group of young children listened attentively as I read The Kissing Hand by Audrey Penn.  As the story about Chester unfolded, the children heard how the little raccoon, anxious about his first day of kindergarten, learned a secret from his mother that helped him overcome his fear and go to school with eager anticipation. 

After the story reached its happy conclusion, I showed the children a sample of the craft project and explained how we would all be making “Kissing Handprints”…deciding who we loved and who loved us and then drawing in the features for each person (or pet or stuffed animal) on each finger.

Parents and children clustered around the craft table and we proceeded to draw an outline of each child’s hands.  The hum of happy children, busily engaged in a constructive activity with their parents, is definitely music to my ears.  “This finger is going to be my mommy” said one little girl.  “And those are my dogs” she added.

The storm had ended by the time the second presentation was over.  My son and daughter-in-law, who had brought me and had assisted during the program, helped me pack everything up.  I’m looking forward to my next trip to Chicago…Lollie’s owner has invited me to come back to do another program, whenever I’m in town.  Show Me How! Build Your Child’s Self-Esteem Through Reading, Crafting and Cooking is available at the shop for those of you who are in the Chicago area.

The next few days were filled with family visits, an afternoon at the beach – unbelievable to have a REAL sandy beach with what looks and smells like the ocean (it’s really Lake Michigan) right across the street from the downtown area of a major city – and an architectural river boat cruise.  It was difficult to leave…I’m already looking at my calendar to see when my next jaunt to Chicago will be.

My next post will be a review of a children’s book, A Reel Cool Summer, written by Martha Rodriguez.  We connected online and she loved my book and did a great review of it.  I brought her book on my trip and was able to share it with my great-niece and great-nephew…they absolutely loved it and were totally engaged in the story…so  in my next post, it will be my turn to tell everyone why they need to run out and get a copy of Ms. Rodriguez’ fun-filled book for children ages 6-9.

Photo credit: Thanks to JCrocker for the Chicago skyline pic.