Tuesday, July 12, 2011

My Little Bookcase: Print GIVEAWAY and interview

I was approached by the very lovely Jackie, who is the founder of the My Little Bookcase website, a few weeks ago. 

She asked if I'd be interested in designing a print/s to celebrate My Little Bookcase and the milestone of reaching 1000 facebook likers.

When I saw the fantastic resource that My Little Bookcase provides (and Jackie is just so sweet) I couldn't say no.

So I've designed these three prints especially for My Little Bookcase readers and there are 5 to be won! 

  • Prints can be personalised with your child’s name
  • The colour choice for each print includes pink, blue or green
  • The print includes the beautiful quote by Emilie Buchwald, “Children are made readers on the laps of their parents”
  • The print measures 8×10 inches and is valued at $25.00

I asked Jackie if I could interview her to find out about her love of books and her passion for instilling a love of reading into all children.


1. Can you give us a bit of background about MLB?
I began My Little Bookcase less than a year ago.
I’ve always enjoyed books but becoming a mother has allowed me to delight in books on a whole new level. There is nothing like snuggling close to your child and listening to one another’s heartbeat as you read a story together.

Before reaching many typical milestones, my daughter was turning pages and licking the various textures of books. She was gaining so much joy from books and I loved watching her discovery and exploration of them. (I particularly enjoy watching her process for choosing a book, and working out why she gravitates to particular books.)

As I watched her, I thought back to my teaching experience. Generally, the children who loved reading also loved learning. On the flip side, the children who were unsure of books and anxious about reading were also anxious about learning. Prior to having my daughter I had taken my love of reading for granted but I began to understand that a love for books and a love of reading is really a gateway into a world of positive opportunities. I wanted to spread that message.

My Little Bookcase allows me to combine some of the things I’m most passionate about: parenting, children’s literature, teaching, the internet and a strong belief that every child has the right to be literate and enjoy reading. It is a project that allows me to be at home with my daughter and also share my knowledge, passion, ideas and inspiration with other families.

My Little Bookcase is more than just a place to shelve your children’s books. My Little Bookcase celebrates the value of a traditional book, the joys of reading and quality time shared between parent and child.

The idea behind My Little Bookcase is to help parents and caregivers find a wealth of information, from book recommendations to reading activities, that assist in encouraging a love of reading in their homes.

It’s not always practical for parents of young children to spend copious minutes in a bookstore looking for the right book for their child, nor do we have the time to trawl the internet for ideas. I like to think that My Little Bookcase is an inspiring but practical resource for parents.

I still have a long way to go but my ultimate aim for My Little Bookcase is to create a community of parents who contribute to the content of the site based on the wonderful experiences they share with their own children.

2. Where did your passion for books and reading come from?
I’m not sure I can pinpoint an exact moment that sparked my passion for books and reading. I would say it’s been through a series of circumstances in my life. I do know that my passion has grown stronger with age.

I was lucky to grow up in a house of books. Both of my parents read to me regularly as a child and seeing Mum curled up on the couch with a book was a regular occurrence. I have fond memories of the school library. It was a place I felt comfortable and enjoyed being.  I always looked forward to bringing home the Scholastic Book Club and I remember trying to re-create the illustrations from books onto my chalkboard.

My love of picture books is even stronger now as an adult. I particularly love their unspoken words, but mostly I love sharing them with my daughter.

I’m thankful that I have a passion for books. Put simply, I love reading because I find comfort in books. I love forgetting about my life and engrossing myself in other people’s dramas. I love the way books inspire thinking and reflection. I love that authors have a way of finding the right words to describe how you feel.

3. What are your top 5 tips for encouraging little ones to read?

  1. Enjoy yourself: Get close and cuddly with your child. Read books that make you feel good. Play games with the words and pictures on the page. Be creative and read/tell a story in different ways: use props, add sound effects, act it out, dress up.
  2. Read regularly: Make time to read daily just as you make time for bathing, eating or brushing your teeth.
  3. Take your child’s lead: Read books that interest your child (e.g. topic, illustrations, stories, characters). Focus on the pages, words or illustrations that your grab your child’s attention. Let your child help to choose the books you read together.
  4. Connect with the books: Talk about the books before, during and after you read them. Re-create experiences for your child that take place in the story. Use some of the language from the books in your conversations.
  5. Make books accessible:
4. What are your top 5 fav kid’s books?
I can’t believe how many days it took me to compile this list.
This took me days to complete. There were so many possibilities. It was incredibly difficult to leave many wonderful books off the list. I decided to leave the classics (e.g. The Very Hungry Caterpillar, Dear Zoo, The Gruffalo, Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See?, Where is the Green Sheep? Etc.) off the list because we all know they are tops!

Baby Gets Dressed by Katrina Germein and Sascha Hutchinson (Working Title Press)
A perfect little board book for babies. Using beautifully rhyme, it accurately captures two big events in a baby’s day: getting dressed and playing.  The simple, colourful and uncluttered artwork is a winner too.

Monkey and Me by Emily Gravatt (Macmillan)
Just like Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See? This book is brilliant in its simplicity. Its rhyme, repetition and rhythm make it superb for toddlers. They’ll be reading along with you in no time.

Who’s driving? By Leo Timmers (Gecko Press)
This book comes in a pop-up version. Again, it’s simple and fun and invites interaction, thinking and prediction.

A Bit Lost  by Chris Haughton (Walker Books)
This is a simple story about an owl looking for his mum. It’s cute and funny and toddlers won’t be able to resist helping to solve the problem.

Twinkle by Nick Bland (Scholastic)
If you’re looking for the most delightful illustrations, this is your book. I should also mention it’s a unique bedtime story; it isn’t a story about convincing a child that it’s time to sleep. It’s a story that will leave you happy and reassured as you drift off to sleep.

And Red Galoshes by Glenda Millard and Jonathan Bentley (Little Hare Books)
This book is wonderful for exposing your child to beautiful language. It is a word lover’s delight filled to the brim with exciting language: rhyme, rhythm, alliteration, onomatopoeia, verbs and adjectives. This is a book of adventure, imagination and making the most of a rainy day. Each page features a pair of bright red galoshes and an adorable little puppy.

5. When you're not reading/busy on MLB what do you love doing?
I’m guilty for not making much time for my hobbies lately. I’m at home with my daughter every day, so at the moment any spare minute I have (while she is sleeping) is spent on MLB. Nevertheless, these are the things that make my heart sing:
  • Watching Offspring
  • Baking sweet treats
  • Fossicking through antique shops or bazaars (I just recently took my daughter to her first one)
  • Exploring Melbourne or eating out with family and friends (I get a kick out of visiting new places)
  • Bollywood dancing
    Thank you Jackie for taking the time to share a bit about yourself. And as a parent, I think you're just so fantastic to be putting so much energy into helping create a love of reading in our little ones - it's so important.

    SO.... don't forget to enter the GIVEAWAY and add My Little Bookcase to your favourites page. You can read Jackie's interview with me here.

    What do YOU think? Do you love reading? Do you enjoy reading to/with your kids?

    Have a great day,


    1. Great post Janette & I love your new designs. All 4 of my children love to read & my 4 yr old refuses to go to sleep without a story, its very cute!!

    2. What a great resource this is - I too am passionate about children's literature (I think it's the teacher plus the bookworm in me!!) Can't wait to explore Jackie's site more. P.S Love your print!!

    3. These are gorgeous prints Janette. I only hope I'm lucky enough to win one!


    Thanks! I love reading your comments! Jxx