Book Look: I Am . . . series by Susan Verde

I Am Love: A Book of Compassion by Susan Verde + Art by Peter Reynolds

Susan Verde has written an inspiring series of children’s books and paired with the engaging art of Peter Reynolds to provide families with the opportunity to read wholehearted stories that bring light and empowerment even in the most challenging times.

The book that hooked me first was I Am Love: A Book of Compassion. This short picture book uses powerful wording to help us all understand how to be the light and love in the room wherever we go and in whatever we do. It is also a wonderful reminder of all the ways love is present everyday if we are mindful and engage with self-compassion too.


I Am One: A Book of Action by Susan Verde + Art by Peter Reynolds

The second book that caught my eye was I Am One: A Book of Action. This is an invitation to ask ourselves “How do I make a difference?” even when we feel like we only have one small voice. The messaging emphasizes that so many things start with just one – a seed in a garden, a musical note for a song, a brushstroke for a masterpiece, and the first step on a long journey. This gift of a book is empowering and a wonderful reminder for the whole family that each individual can make a difference.


I Am Peace: A Book of Mindfulness by Susan Verde + Art by Peter Reynolds

This book, I Am Peace: A Book of Mindfulness, is a balm and guide for those folks who worry what might happen next in our ever changing world. It provides a wonderful introduction to being present with what is and the basic gentle steps on how to be at peace with yourself, others, and the world around you. Bonus material includes encouraging folks to wonder and connect to nature!


I Am Human: A Book of Empathy by Susan Verde + Art by Peter Reynolds

This keepsake, I Am Human: A Book of Empathy, is a wonderful expression of all that we each are and can be. This book is filled with simple possibilities and opportunities to guide each of us to be a better human and to simply be human. I appreciate the messaging throughout this story and the offering of a loving-kindness meditation at the end to pass forward.


I Am Yoga by Susan Verde + Art by Peter Reynolds

Through a focus of quieting the mind, body, and breath I Am Yoga brings calm and peace into any moment and with it a touch of magic as you witness the power to just be still and centered. This is an excellent introduction guide on how to embrace the basics of yoga and to see how the effects of the poses can bring strength and clarity to your day. A must read for the whole family!


P.L.A.Y. is here to support you and your family on your life learning path.


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P.L.A.Y. + Thornton Burgess


P.L.A.Y. and Thornton Burgess:

Nature Storytellers Past + Present


Thornton W. Burgess (1874-1965), author and longtime resident of Massachusetts, is best known for his 50 years of writing about nature conservation through children’s literature. He wrote over 150 books and thousands of daily newspaper columns bringing the forest and fauna to life for families across the United States and around the world over 100 years ago.

In so many of his books about the Green Forest, often featuring Peter Rabbit as the reader’s guide, Burgess was able to share with great detail all the wonderful magical moments Mother Nature provided in his local New England landscape. Through his nature story telling he was able to weave in factual information and his own personal observations from time spent outdoors. This was beneficial by informing his audience, both parents and children, as to what they could find just by stepping out their own door and encouraging them to immerse in their own spot of nature. This has allowed his books to be timeless and of great value even to this day.

However over the past ten years I’ve been revisiting his story books, especially looking at how the characters interact and treat one another, and knowing in my heart as a mother and as a human walking this earth a change was needed.

So for the past few years P.L.A.Y. has taken on the task to reinvent Thornton Burgess’ works for the 21st century family. Many of his stories are readily available in the public domain to be used by creatives and artists and for general public use. P.L.A.Y. has maintained the intention to keep all of the wonder and value of his nature stories intact AND to replace some of his language with new phrasing to reflect the way we’d like to see people being and connecting in this world with a primary focus on loving-kindness and compassionate communication.

For the most part Thornton Burgess’ descriptions of plants, landscape features, and basic animal behaviors has not changed in the past 100+ years since he first wrote these works. What has, and continues to change, is what is considered acceptable language and behaviors for human interactions. And since Burgess used anthropomorphizing, attributing human characteristics or behaviors to animals, as a mechanism to get messages across to the reader it is important to take a closer look at how this was written in the past and see how it could be adjusted to still be relevant now and for future generations.

In the past Thornton Burgess often had his animal characters shame and blame one another as they went about their day in the Green Forest and Green Meadow. There were put downs, name calling, bullying, and derogatory remarks cast at one another. And sometimes a characters name or description would negatively label them, for example as a thief or robber, when they were simply acting on natural instinct. For me, this does not model the change we’d like to see in this world and certainly doesn’t represent the behaviors we’d like to experience with each other. And since the intended audience of these stories is primarily children and families I felt strongly that there needed to be a change.

One example of how P.L.A.Y. has adapted these stories for present day audiences is by applying compassionate communication principles in the dialog between characters so that you will no longer hear Peter Rabbit making fun of Old Man Toad or tossing put downs at Jumper the Hare and instead Peter Rabbit gets curious and asks questions whenever he becomes troubled or frustrated or afraid.

Another example of how P.L.A.Y. has modified these stories is by apply loving-kindness concepts such as “treat others how you’d like to be treated”. These values are all woven into the story in such a way to encourage the audience to put these into practice in their own lives with family, friends, and neighbors and to experience the positive ripple effects daily.

The P.L.A.Y. annotated versions of these Burgess stories also have added bonus content for curious minds including prompts and questions to explore ideas further, lists of topic resources, and photos from locations in New England reflecting the story landscape and animal habitats.

P.L.A.Y.‘s annotated series of Burgess’ stories include free versions found here online: Paddy the Beaver, Old Man Toad, Lightfoot the Deer, Burgess Bird Book, Burgess Animal Book, or they may be purchased in book format HERE.

P.L.A.Y. intends to add future nature titles to this collection annually so be sure to check back often for more magical moments!

I have much gratitude for these century old writings created by Thornton Burgess and the focus on connecting families to nature through story telling. I also have much gratitude for the opportunity to bring this work forward with adaptations suitable for the next generation of families engaging both their curiosity for nature and connection to wholehearted living through encouraging compassionate communication and loving-kindness.


If you find the work and vision of P.L.A.Y. supports you and your family on the life learning path, please pass it forward to friends and neighbors as a Simple Gift that keeps on giving.


THANK YOU!!!

BOOK LOOK – The Snowy Day by Ezra Jack Keats


 ~ ~ ~ BOOK LOOK ~ ~ ~


The Snowy Day

by Ezra Jack Keats


Karen’s short + long of it with P.L.A.Y.ful story preview & P.L.A.Y.-filled activity adventure suggestions.


P.L.A.Y.ful story preview (short):

Super Snow Step Story

Winter Walk in Wonder

Absolutely Artistic Adventure

P.L.A.Y.-filled activity adventure suggestions (long):

  • Challenge: What does a snow scene look like where you live? How does the snow behave differently on man-made structures vs. nature made?
  • Super Challenge: What does a winter wonderland look like to you? Set the scene and share it in your Nature Adventure journal.
  • Super-Duper Challenge: Recreate this book cover with paper collage, or paints, or finger paints, or 3D Paint on the computer!

This was my Super-Duper-Challenge best P.L.A.Y.-filled effort to recreate the scene!

Do you see anything missing? 🙂


Capkins LOVE to be read to – especially playful nature themed story books!

❤ ❤ ❤

  Be sure to visit and support your local library!


 

BOOK LOOK – Sophie’s Squash by Pat Zietlow Miller & Anne Wilsdorf


 ~ ~ ~ BOOK LOOK ~ ~ ~


Sophie’s Squash

by Pat Zietlow Miller & Anne Wilsdorf


Karen’s short + long of it with P.L.A.Y.ful story preview & P.L.A.Y.-filled activity adventure suggestions.


P.L.A.Y.ful story preview (short):

Farmer’s Market Friend

Sophie’s Right Size Squash

Friends For Life – Growing a Friendship Garden

U-Be-U

P.L.A.Y.-filled activity adventure suggestions (long):

  • Challenge: If you were to make friends with a fruit/vegetable/flower/plant in the garden or at a farmer’s market what would it be? What would you name it?
  • Super Challenge: Set up a picnic or serve tea near to your new garden friend and talk about all the amazing adventures you will have once the fruit/vegetable/flower/plant is full grown.
  • Super-Duper Challenge: Sometimes P.L.A.Y. requires patience like saving seeds from this year’s garden friend to plant more next year. If you’d like to try Sophie’s choice and have a butternut squash to plant in the spring to watch new “friends” grow try this: Wash the seeds to remove the sticky parts and lay them out in a single layer to let air dry for up to a week (do not dry in direct sunlight). Place in labeled envelopes for spring/summer gardening adventures.

*Special Shout going out to Emma S. who is a Super butternut Squash grower and lover of Squash the whole year through! Hugs & Smiles~KLW


Capkins LOVE to be read to – especially playful nature themed story books!

  Be sure to visit and support your local library = All Good! ❤ ❤ ❤