This blog came to life as an antidote to a post-PCS (Permanent Change of Station aka “our move”) funk that had left me feeling… well, funky. After we unpacked, Mike went back to work, and I sat here staring at my young kids, wondering what magic I could perform to make them self-sufficient (just for a day!), and lamenting my sense of imbalance and placelessness. I needed a niche. I was feeling not a little bit sorry for myself, and I hate feeling that way. I had to get rid of that feeling; I had to get up, get moving, step outside The Comfort Zone, and begin making a place for myself here in Virginia.
And – what was that strange bubbling in my blood? What was that fire in my gut? Was that….. motivation? Oh, Motivation! I’ve missed you. I’m sorry we broke up. Please, come in and stay awhile. Stay forever. I knew what I needed to do – get rid of my guilt for not writing and start writing again (hence the blog) and do something that requires me to use my skills to connect with other people.
That’s when Barefoot Books popped up in my inbox, seemingly out of nowhere.
My background is in education and literacy, so when I learned about Barefoot Books, an independent children’s book publisher, and their call for new Ambassadors at the very time Motivation and I had reconciled, I took it as a sign. In fact, it was more than a sign – it was a giant, neon light that illuminated my undergraduate and graduate degrees in English and flashed the message, “What are you waiting for? Cooome to me.”
As you can see on my newly launched Barefoot Books page on this site, Barefoot Books are all about celebrating children’s excitement to explore. I can honestly say, these books have a magical way of transfixing children’s attention and prompting questions that illuminate their sense of wonder and curiosity. The best part about these books is that they do not dumb down language used to narrate the stories. They respect children’s ability to understand words and contexts, which promotes both vocabulary and cognitive development.
When I first read my 4-year-old son The Tear Thief, his mouth hung open, and his eyes were glued to the page. Every now and then, he’d enthusiastically leap out of his reverie to point out a small detail in the picture. When I first read the sing-along book Animal Boogie, my 8 month-old daughter bounced gleefully to the music on the floor while my son gathered all his stuffed animals and made each animal “boogie” to its corresponding page in the book.
With Barefoot Books, my kids and I have opened up maps and learned of world events; traveled with a tortoise on a quest to learn humility; counted to 10 in Swahili; giggled and squealed with farm animal board books (my 8-month-old approves of their taste); enjoyed classic nursery rhymes; joined pirates on a voyage over the deep blue sea while inadvertently learning nautical terminology.
Probably my favorite experience came after reading I Took the Moon for a Walk, which tells a beautiful, calm tale of a boy showing the peaceful moon his neighborhood; the end of the book teaches the phases of the moon. My son and I were outside the next evening, when the moon was just rising, and he exclaimed, “MOM! It’s a gibbous moon!” And it was.
I could go on and on, but here’s where this project fits into the grand scheme of things: the only road block I had getting through my PCS funk was myself. I’d rather blame it on something else, but that wouldn’t be honest. This is the first time I’m doing something bigger than joining a play group or getting into a better exercise routine (which are also important). I decided it was time to build something tangible, something that affects others. “Desiderata” encourages us to “keep interested in your career however humble; it is a real possession in the changing fortunes of time.” The Dalai Lama’s “A Precious Human Life” reminds us “to use all my energies to develop myself, to expand my heart out to others…”
I love being a stay at home mom, and I feel fortunate that I have the choice. I also find joy in exercising the skills and talents that make myself “me.” So I set out to find the best of both worlds.
And that’s why I’m excited to add a new page to this web site: the Barefoot Books page, which will highlight my at-home business bringing quality children’s literature into homes, schools, libraries, and into the greater community. I invite you to check it out, or go straight to my web site by clicking here.
And if there are any other stay at home moms out there, or teachers, librarians, grandparents, people passionate about children’s literacy, looking to build something like this, I welcome your questions about how to get started. The feeling of launching this is exhilarating. I’m nervous about it, for sure, but I’m not going to stand in my own way… here I go!
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