In June of this year,Β  Susanna Hill hosted a series of guest posts on her blog, all on the topic of self-publishing. I found the post by Vivian Kirkfield particularly interesting and edifying. Vivian has written and published a resource book for parents (and others) — Show Me How! — that, as the subtitle explains, gives ways to build your child’s self-esteem through reading, crafting and cooking.

There was a giveaway in conjunction with the post on Susanna’s blog, and to my delight, I was the randomly-selected winner. I’ve been delving into the book since it arrived in my mailbox, and I can tell you, it’s a good, thorough resource for families and others who work with the target age group of age 2-5 (and, in my opinion, it could be used with early elementary school kids, as well). Click on the magic words to learn more.

Title: Show Me How! build your child’s self-esteem through reading, crafting and cooking

Author: Vivian Kirkfield

Series: First in the new Positive Parental Participation Series

Publisher: Colorado Springs, CO: MoneyPenny Press, 2010

In our Perfect Picture Book Friday blog series (in which Vivian participates regularly) we regularly pair a picture book with activity suggestions. Vivian was doing this long before we started PPBF, beginning with her teaching career, her experience with her own children, and now in this excellent compilation of one hundred (yes, 100!) suggested picture books with not just a craft suggestion but also a simple recipe. The recipes are an inspired addition.

The books plus activities (both craft and cooking) are divided into several sections dealing with common self-esteem issues parents often deal with as their children develop. The sections include “I Can Do It Myself!” Mastering Tasks and Skills; “I’m Afraid!” Acknowledging and Coping with Fears; “I Like Myself!” Developing a Positive Self-Image — just this small sampling illustrates the commonality and importance of the subjects dealt with in the book.

Each double-page spread in this 230 page book (8 1/2 x 11 softcover) features a suggested picture book with brief synopsis, followed by a “positive parental participation note” indicating the reason behind using this book and accompanying activities, space for notes, then the craft suggestion, with easy-to-follow directions, and a simple recipe.

While we are accustomed to the idea of a craft enhancing the experience of a story, including a recipe perhaps comes as a surprise. In the introduction to her book, Vivian explains “the cooking experience is also crucial because with each recipe the child helps to prepare, he gains confidence and competence and his sense of self-worth grows.”

Vivian includes a wide variety of books, from classics such as The Carrot Seed, by Ruth Kraus/Crockett Johnson and published by 1945 (with a recipe for carrot soup that I want to try soon) to Hoot and Holler, by Alan Brown/Rimantis Rolia, published in 2001 (and again, I need to try the recipe — could you resist soft-baked owl-eyes pretzels?), and many, many other books, crafts and recipes which will not only help enhance a child’s sense of self, but will become much loved, much requested favorites, I am sure.

In underlining the reason behind the writing of this book, as well as the reason it appeals so to me, I want to quote the full final paragraph of Vivian’s introduction. She says:

I believe that the ‘secret’ ingredient for success with this program is Positive Parental Participation. When a parent takes the time to read a story to his young child, that child feels valued and loved and will be able to value and love others. When a parent listens without judgment to what his young child has to say, that child knows that she is important and will be able to respect what others have to say. When a parent participates joyfully in activities with her young child, whether collecting leaves on a nature walk, baking oatmeal-raisin cookies, singing a song or painting a picture, that child gains a sense of competence and self-confidence that will help him for the rest of his life. And that is what this book is all about!”

Show Me How! is available directly from Vivian (and there’s a special on right now for US residents, til the end of September 2012). It’s also available for Kindle.

Thank you, Vivian, for writing this book and sharing your extensive experience with children through these picture book choices, craft ideas and recipes. May you encourage much positive parental participation through this book and others!

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