Early Reader Book Review: I LIKE THE FARM, by Shelley Rotner

Favorite quote
I like the piglet.

I was reminded yesterday to spend more time in nature, to be outdoor more often, and to treasure the benefits of interacting with animals. It is said to: improve your vitality, make you less depressed, boost your immunity and happiness, and inspire creativity (source: Daring to Live Fully). Nothing can replace actually being outdoors. Yet, I LIKE THE FARM, written and photographed by Shelley Rotner, certainly wets the reader’s appetite and gives a incentive to do so on a Farm.

The book is a series of photographs of animals you’d expect to live on a farm, as well as their baby version: a cat, a kitten; a dog, a puppy; a cow, a calf… All photographed in a manner that will make you want to hug them! Children are bound to love it, while sharpening their reading skills. Another favorite element of this book is the effortless diversity that is celebrated through each photographed child. It sends the message that a farm is a space and way of living that is suitable and enjoyable for everyone. I will take this a step further and say that books like this one, because of the way it is made and the diversity it shows, help early on fight prejudice against professions such as farming, help children not look down on anyone working in that field.

What this book also made me wish for:
I LIKE THE FARM made me so happy to share with kids and so excited, that I’m now hunting for books around the same age level or slightly above, that dive into farming itself. Let me know if you have any suggestions. Thank you!

Additional info:
Author’s website: http://www.shelleyrotner.com/
Publisher: Holiday House
Release date: August 15, 2017
Age appropriate: 2-6
Where I got the book from: purchased. Read it as a judge for the Cybils Awards.

To purchase this book in your friendly neighborhood bookstore, click on the picture!

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Picture Book Anniversary & Review: i see peace, by Maya Gonzalez

what-is-peace-2Favorite quote: “there can still be peace between us.”

There are a few books out there that will never get old, that are timeless. i see peace is one of them, especially when we consider the year that we’ve just had: all the shootings, the (suicide) bombings, the racial and political and economical tensions all over the world and closer to us.  I’ve lost track of the number of times I read this book since I’ve owned it. Every time I paused and pondered on a different page, on a different quote. I looked within and I looked around. Through its words I chased hope when it had become shy. I crossed the bridge of generations and of mutual understanding, one page at a time. The book speaks every language, and to every generation. It will make you smile when all is alright, and remind you of what matters. It is likely to make you feel peaceful when there is turmoil.

i see peace suits any occasion. It makes for a great holiday gift and beyond that, its reading can be appreciated all year long. It also strikes me as the type of message our world needs right now. I hope you will give it a chance.

Additional information:

i see peace book cover, courtesy of Maya Gonzalez.
i see peace book cover, courtesy of Maya Gonzalez.

More can be written about the concise writing style and the font use. There is matter to reflect regarding the deliberate lack of capital letters in the beginning of every sentence. The illustrations are minimal and leave room to breathe without being overwhelming, while adding to the depth of the reading experience. I enjoyed how, looking at them, they add to the multidimensionality of the theme of peace: peace with one self, peace with each other, peace with the earth and our surroundings. Yet for the purpose of this review, I chose to focus solely on the message of the book. I leave the additional literary analysis to the discretion of the reader.

i see peace was released on December 16, 2013, and is one of the excellently self-published books that I would recommend. It was free for upload on Amazon for short period of time late in 2014, which is how it first got to my attention and how I obtained it. I mentioned in my Amazon’s review that I “Loved the historical reference at the end, which deepens the roots of the peace planted within during the reading of this song to our soul.” (sp)

A curriculum and activity guide for the book, titled Creating a Culture of Peace in the Classroom and Beyond, are available on the author’s website.

i see peace is also available in Spanish under the title yo veo la paz.

Maya-Christina GonzalezAbout the author:
Maya Gonzalez is an award winning artist and innovative author, an activist and an educator based in the Bay Area, in Northern California. Year long she teaches, among other topics, workshops on writing and illustrating children’s books through her school, the School of the Free Mind. She is the founder of Reflection Press. She has been both traditionally published and self-published.

For more information about Maya and to get in touch with her, please visit:
o her website
o School of the Free Mind
o Reflection Press
o her Facebook Page
o Twitter

For the classroom:
o Educational Resources and Programs

This is my last post for 2015. I wish you all a warm and safe holiday season.