Raising Readers Presents…The Bugliest Bug

June 3, 2012

“Shake it up high. Shake it down low,” said picture book illustrator, Scott Nash as the families in the audience shook out their hands, “How does that feel? Loose? Tingly?” Nash was showing those that gathered at the Raising Readers Presents event at the Children’s Museum of Maine how he loosens up his hands to get ready to draw. And draw he did.

First Nash drew Damselfly Dilly from his picture book The Bugliest Bug, a book that has appeared in two different Raising Readers anthologies for Maine’s five-year-olds. Then Nash drew a grinning T-Rex from another anthology story, Saturday Night at the Dinosaur Stomp. Nash’s attentive audience reminded Nash to draw in the dinosaur teeth and one child announced that the teeth looked just like ‘w’s. Many at the event knew these picture books illustrated by Scott Nash and also his intrepid crocodile characters from Snow Day and Rainy Day (which have also appeared in past five-year-old anthologies).

Beside Scott Nash on the Raising Readers stage was pediatrician Dr. Brian Youth from Maine Medical Partners in Westbrook, who like the kids, is a fan of Scott Nash’s books. Not only has Dr. Youth handed out Raising Readers books to his young patients for over a decade, but he has also served on the Raising Readers book selection committee for more than 8 of those years. Currently, Dr. Youth also serves as a clinical advisor to the program.

Dr. Youth welcomed families to the event and talked about what a pleasure it was to hand a child a book in his office and to talk with parents about the importance of reading aloud.

“Reading to our children,” Dr. Youth said, “builds healthy brains by introducing new words, images, and experiences. Children who are read to often pick up reading more quickly when they enter school and do better in school overall.”

A two-year-old from the audience declared again and again to Dr. Youth that, “I like books!” Other children demonstrated their love of books by excitedly turning the pages of Raising Readers books as they waited for the program to start. Dr. Youth also shared his personal favorite picture books, The Little Engine That Could and Seven Silly Eaters.

When Dr. Youth introduced Scott Nash, one girl could not clap with the others (as she had recently fallen out of a tree she had climbed). Nash declared it the best possible way to break an arm (if one had to break an arm) and encouraged her to climb her next tree as soon as her arm healed. The girl did shake her other hand to get her hand ready for drawing, though, and after just one wing was drawn on the paper, she shouted out, “Damselfly Dilly!” Nash asked her how she possibly guessed that Dilly was the subject of the drawing. Her father responded that The Bugliest Bug was her favorite book at bedtime.

Here’s to books at bedtime for us all (and a little drawing and tree climbing when we can fit it in)!

Don’t miss the final event in our Raising Readers Presents series!

August 17th, 6:00 & 7:00 pm
Children’s Discovery Museum – 171 Capitol Street, Augusta
Featuring: picture book author and illustrator, Melissa Sweet and her book, Baby Bear’s Big Dreams.



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…TOO MANY FROGS!

March 6, 2012

The new event series, Raising Readers Presents, launched on Read Across America Day with an evening of readings and activities associated with John and Ann Hassett’s picture book, Too Many Frogs!

The Children’s Museum and Theatre of Maine opened its theatre to Raising Readers and first on the stage was pediatrician Stephen Osborne of South Portland Pediatrics.  Dr. Osborne, who has been giving Raising Readers books to his young patients for almost 12 years, talked about the pleasure of putting a book in a child’s hands and starting them on a “lifetime of reading.”

Dr. Osborne encouraged families at the event to read books to their children at bedtime–advice he gives to families as often as he can at well-child visits.  With Maine’s biggest winter storm of the year having hit the previous day, he took the opportunity to recommend his favorite children’s book, Katy and the Big Snow.

The talk of books moved to springtime when Maine children’s book creators, Ann and John Hassett  followed Dr. Osborne to the stage.  Their picture book, Too Many Frogs! is included in the new Raising Readers anthology, Maine Stories for Maine Children: A Raising Readers Collection.  In the book, poor Nana Quimby finds she has a cellar full of frogs.  The gathered families had a grand time yelling, “Too many frogs!”  in unison with author and Nobleboro, Maine school principal, Ann Hassett.

The Hassetts’ picture book, Cat Up a Tree, also featuring Nana Quimby, was included in a previous Raising Readers anthology. While some families chose to go play in the museum, others elected to hear one more story and got to hear author and illustrator John Hassett read this Nana story.  The parents had a good laugh when John had to explain the scene in the book where Nana throws her phone.  The phone, a land line with a cord, allows some tree-stranded cats to cross to her apartment.  Several kids volunteered that their grandmother might have one of “those old phones.”

The Children’s Museum and Theatre of Maines wonderful education staff followed the Hassett’s read aloud with a frog painting activity that taught children about how amphibian skin both absorbs and repels water.  So clever!

Raising Readers would like to thank the Children’s Museum and Theatre of Maine, the Hassetts, and Dr. Osborne for a wonderful night celebrating Too Many Frogs!   We look forward to distributing Maine Stories for Maine Children: A Raising Readers Collection in 2012 and to the thought of so many Maine families reading about Nana Quimby (and her frogs) together at bedtime.

Enjoy this slideshow of images from the evening:

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More Great Books for Maine Kids – August 2011 Newsletter

August 31, 2011

Read about the very special program that gives books to Maine kindergartners each year and learn when and how to read with the toddlers in your life.

Summer Reading Fun

July 28, 2011

One of the really neat things about books is that they can go anywhere with us. When a lazy, hazy summer day has us heading to the beach we can put some in the bag with the towels and the sunblock. Or, we can beat the heat by lugging them out to the shade under the maple tree in the backyard. And, on rainy days we can take them out on the porch to read while we listen to the rain drops fall.

Books We Love

Wondering what to read with your young children this summer? Check out some of these titles from our online searchable book database.


Raising Readers’ Recommends: Summer Books 

Raising Readers Searchable Book Database:  search by age, keyword, category

More summer-themed book lists

Reading Rockets

Bangor Daily News: Maine Stories to Keep Children Reading All Summer

A Treasury of Tales from Maine

June 22, 2011

Children’s books by Maine authors and illustrators for Maine kids. Doesn’t get any better that that! Raising Readers has been fortunate indeed to work with some terrific authors/illustrators and their publishers to create six special anthologies to give to five year olds at their well child visits.

While the collections are only available through the program, a special arrangement allows for a copy of each collection to be sent to all public libraries in Maine. The latest anthology, A Treasury of Tales from Maine, hit libraries in May.

This year’s collection features five incredible stories:

Dance with Me by Charles R. Smith, Jr. Illustrated by Noah Z. Jones.
One Frog Sang by Shirley Parenteau. Illustrated by Cynthia Jabar
The Bugliest Bug by Carol Diggory Shields. Illustrated by Scott Nash
In the Wild by David Elliottt. Illustrated by Holly Meade
The Circus Ship by Chris Van Dusen. Illustrations by Chris Van Dusen, too.

While you’re at the library, look for the other Raising Readers collections:

Raising Readers: A Collection of Stories from Maine
Raising Readers: 5 Stories from Maine
Raising Readers: Stories for Maine Children
Raising Readers: Five Stories for Maine Children
Books from Maine: A Raising Readers Collection

We’re hard at work on the seventh anthology. Watch this blog for an opportunity to help us name #7. Titles for the fifth and sixth came from blog and Facebook suggestions.

Special thanks to the authors and illustrators and publishers that help make these unique  collections possible.

Family Literacy: Parents and Children Learning Together

February 28, 2011

At Raising Readers we work with many other organizations that help Maine families get the most out of reading. This month’s newsletter features one of them — the Maine Family Literacy Initiative (MEFLI).

Did you know that your own reading level has a big impact on your child’s success in school? Have you ever wondered if you could do more to help your child be prepared for school? The Maine Family Literacy Initiative  is a program funded by the Barbara Bush Foundation for Family Literacy. Mrs. Bush and the Foundation believe that “the home is the child’s first school, that the parent is the child’s first teacher and reading is the child’s first subject,” so they support programs where parents and children learn together.

Family literacy programs can be found around the state, in communities of all shapes and size. They offer adult education classes so parents can improve their reading, writing and math skills and prepare for college and jobs. There are classes to help children learn the skills they need to enter kindergarten and succeed in school. And family literacy programs provide times for parents and their child to explore reading together in fun and engaging ways and around topics that are of interest to them. Find out if a family literacy program is available in your community by calling your local adult education program or visiting www.maineadulted.org.

Image from Maine Family Literacy Initiative website.