Raising Readers Presents…Hugo & Miles

May 21, 2012

The elephant artist in the picture book Hugo & Miles in I’ve Painted Everything (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt) simply ran out of things to paint.

“I’ve painted this, and that, and those…and him, her, here, there, and everywhere,” says Hugo.

Hugo’s friend Miles tells Hugo he needs a change of scenery, a new perspective to discover new ideas.  Hugo and Miles leave Cornville, Maine for Paris, France.  There other painters, the green of the grass, the light on the water, and the bird’s eye view from the Eiffel Tower show Hugo that when you see things differently, there is no way one can run out of ideas.

Having illustrated thirteen picture books about everything from cupcake-making monsters to insecure spoons, author/illustrator Scott Magoon seems to never run out of ideas as an artist. Scott Magoon appeared at Raising Readers Presents at the Children’s Museum and Theatre of Maine to read to families from his book Hugo & Miles in I’ve Painted Everything.  Magoon’s picture book appears in the anthology, Maine Stories for Maine Children: A Raising Readers Collection, which will given to Maine five-year-old’s in 2012 and 2013 at well child visits.

Scott Magoon asked the gathered children if they ever run out of ideas and how they thought of something new to do.  Pediatrician Dr. Lynne Tetreault of Maine Medical Partners Saco Pediatrics, who also joined us at Raising Readers Presents, might answer that reading to your children will help them generate idea after idea by building up their imaginations.

“We talk a lot about healthy foods and exercise to keep our bodies and our children’s bodies healthy, but we should also be talking about how to grow healthy brains,” Dr. Lynne Tetreault said, “Reading to your children helps them grow their experiences and imagination and develop a healthy, learning brain.”

Like Miles exposing Hugo to new experiences, parents can take their children on a brain-building adventures every day when they read aloud to their children.

“I’ll never run out ideas, said Hugo.

And he never did.

To never run out of ideas for read alouds, make sure you visit Raising Readers Recommends list or check out past books distributed by Raising Readers!

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Raising Readers Presents…COUSIN RUTH’S TOOTH

April 16, 2012

“Imagination is what happens to your brain…to make your mind believe…stuff,” said a seven-year-old at the latest Raising Readers Presents event at the Children’s Museum and Theatre of Maine.  The girl’s answer was to guest pediatrician, Dr. Christopher Pezzullo’s question, “what is Imagination?”

‘Dr. Chris’ then asked gathered families how an imagination is built.  “Imaginations are built by reading books together at bedtime,” the Maine pediatrician explained and the children clamored to tell him who read to them at bedtime.

Many of the books read at bedtime in Maine are books distributed at well-child visits by healthcare providers across the state.  The books are supplied by the Raising Readers program and the ongoing Raising Readers Presents event series honors the books and the authors that make up that annual collection of board books, picture books, and an anthology.

An anthology is given as the final book in the program to Maine five-year-old’s and contains five books created by Maine authors and illustrators.  The anthology that will be distributed throughout 2012 and into 2013 is Maine Stories for Maine Children: A Raising Readers Collection which contains the uproarious story, Cousin Ruth’s Tooth by Falmouth author, Amy MacDonald.

Amy MacDonald appeared at Raising Readers Presents to give an exuberant reading of Cousin Ruth’s Tooth and to tell families about the famous Fister family that appears in the book.  Families may recognize the Fister family from a prior book, Rachel Fister’s Blister which was part 0f another Raising Readers anthology.

The children in the audience marveled at how silly the adults were in the book as they looked for Cousin Ruth’s lost tooth.  Many in the audience had lost teeth of their own and knew (unlike the Fisters) that a new tooth will grow in to replace the one lost.  One child even proudly showed Amy MacDonald her missing tooth.

Families followed Amy MacDonald’s reading with an animal  tooth hunt in the Children’s Museum and Theatre of Maine‘s Ranger Station and a lesson on how teeth are constructed and used by various Maine animals.

Here’s to the imagination of author Amy MacDonald who creates stories for us all at bedtime and to Maine doctors who encourages us to in turn inspire the imaginations of our children by reading aloud books like Amy MacDonald’s.  May our children’s brains all grow healthy and strong and ready to make our minds “believe…stuff.”

Enjoy this slide show of images from the evening and we hope to see you at the next Raising Readers Presents event!

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What To Do With All These Books?

December 7, 2009

We hope all of our books enable parents to spend time with their children through reading, but raising readers books can also be used in many different ways to help a child grow and develop, and even build their brains!

The Raising Readers website, as well as each book your child receives at a well child visit contains activities you can do with your child using the book and the story inside.

From learning rhythm and rhyme to bringing a character to life through fun craft projects, to developing important literacy skills your child will use his or her whole life, a book is also a great tool for helping you build your child’s brain and creating a whole new set of fun things for you to do together!

We believe books go far beyond quiet reading time in a comfy chair, (although that sure sounds like a great place to start) and extend to helping you take an active role in your child’s life. Make use of the activities in the back of each raising readers book, and go to your local library to find even more fun things to do, and story hours to enjoy. Books are meant to be read, and so much more!

Thank you from Raising Readers!


Raising Readers Book Celebration

October 23, 2009

Raising Readers Book Celebration
Friday, November 6th, 2009
5:00 – 7:00 PM

Children’s Museum & Theatre of Maine
142 Free Street, Portland, Maine
Free Admission, Open to All Families

Join Raising Readers for an evening celebrating all the great books given to Maine kids at doctor’s offices, hospitals, and healthcare facilities across the state.

Families are invited to meet some of the authors and illustrators whose books have been a part of the Raising Reader program.

Join picture book creator’s David Elliott, Kevin Hawkes, Holly Meade, Scott Nash, and Melissa Sweet for read-alouds, book signings, and fun, book-related activities.

Bring your Raising Reader or other books by these authors and illustrators from home to be autographed. Each one of the guests has a story in Raising Readers: Five Stories for Maine Children, so bring it with you if you have it! Additional books by these creators will be for sale.

Families can also read together in the multicultural Raising Readers Book Nook in the museum, which is sponsored by The Barbara Bush Children’s Hospital at Maine Medical Center.


Dr. Belisle Prescribes Books for Feeling Better

October 1, 2009

Bear is not feeling well and decides to stay home.

“Alone in his cave
as the autumn wind blows,
Bear feels achy
with a stuffed up nose.”

His furry friends try to help…but end up with problems of their own. October’s Raising Readers Recommends book is Bear Feels Sick by Karma Wilson and illustrated by Jane Chapman (ISBN 978-0689859854).

A companion book to our four-year-old Raising Readers book Bear Snores On, Bear Feels Sick offers a humorous lesson in hygiene.

Germs Are Not for Sharing by Elizabeth Verdick (ISBN 978-1575421964) is another humorous, yet practical, hygiene-related board book. It engages children with questions such as “When do you wash your hands?” Germs Are Not for Sharing is included in our Readers Recommends Great Books: Great Topics brochure, available through Raising Readers.

Here’s to a happy, healthy October!

Lisa Belisle, MD, MPH
Medical Advisor, Raising Readers


From Germs Are Not for Sharing.



Dr. Belisle Prescribes a Library Book

August 3, 2009

We’ve had a soggy Maine summer. June set a rainy day record, in fact. Obviously this has hampered our ability to engage in beach-outings, but all is not lost. Relaxation is still possible no matter the weather: all it takes is a book.

As a bonus, book-related relaxation can be absolutely free–we need look no further than our local library. Most local libraries even offer summer-specific reading programs. Though some require that children need to be able to read independently, many have special activities designed for their littlest patrons.

Want to get your child excited about a library visit? Raising Readers Recommends Wild About Books by Judy Sierra and Illustrated by Marc Brown. In Wild About Books, librarian Molly McGrew accidentally drives the bookmobile to the zoo and–

“By reading aloud from the good Dr. Suess,
She quickly attracted a mink and a moose,
A wombat, an orynx, a lemur, a lynx,
Eight elephant calves and a family of skinks.”

The animals get so excited about reading that…well, I’m not going to tell. You’ll have to read Wild About Books to find out for yourself.

Wild About Books
also helps children with an important early literacy skill: phonological awareness. When children listen to rhymes, they become aware of sounds. This is called phonological awareness.


For more information on phonological awareness and other literacy skills, visit the Raising Readers website. Need more book ideas? Check out the Raising Readers Recommends Great Books: Great Topics brochure, also available on the Raising Readers website .

Here’s to hoping for the sun, coping with the rain and becoming “wild about books,” regardless of the weather!

Lisa M. Belisle, M.D.,M.P.H.
Medical Advisor, Raising Readers


Dr. Belisle Prescribes Hand Washing

June 10, 2009

Hand washing: not a glamorous topic. Most of us hate nagging our kids to do it. Yet hand washing has become even more important now with the recent news about the H1N1 virus (formerly called “Swine Flu”). This virus can live in droplets (like those from sneezing or coughing), for quite a while. Scary, eh?

Encourage family hand washing at home by:
-Having soap and clean towels in all bathrooms
-Having footstools available for smaller kids
-Reminding kids to wash hands after toileting, before preparing or eating food, playing outside and in any other questionable situations
-Taking the time to do an adequate clean-up job–singing a verse of “Happy Birthday” while washing ought to do the trick
-Role modeling hand-washing skills.
-Carrying “wet wipes” and hand sanitizer when traveling in case soap and water become scarce. (Caution: don’t allow kids to put their hands in their mouths after using hand sanitizer. )


Another way to make hand washing fun is by reading to them about staying clean and germ free. Raising Readers Recommends Wash Your Hands by Tony Ross. In Wash Your Hands, the Little Princess refuses to wash her hands until the maid explains about “Germs and Nasties.” She quickly becomes convinced.

See more Raising Readers Recommends on the Raising Reader website.

Happy Handwashing!

Lisa M. Belisle, MD, MPH
Medical Advisor, Raising Readers