The Listening Me by Lydia Criss Mays
Illustrated by Fran Battendieri
Published by Our Rainbow Press
Price $10.00 US
I’m late, I’m late, I’m very, very late! I meant to have this review out ages ago given the gift giving season is upon us. However, since anytime is a good time to read and to learn to listen, I’m saying better late than never.
I love reading. One of the things I looked forward to when I was pregnant with my children was reading to them once they were born. In fact, I read to them before they were born. I love books of all sorts, but I’ve always had a special place in my heart for children’s books. My children are now very capable readers in their own right, no longer have any desire for me to read to them and are certainly well past reading children’s books. However, I still find myself paging through them at the library or book store. So when I found out that Lydia Criss Mays from See Beautiful™ had a children’s book in print I couldn’t wait to read it and tore open the package when it arrived in the mail.
The book is called The Listening Me and is designed to help children become good listeners (and maybe parents too), and not just when it comes to listening to parents directions, but really listening to the world around them. As adults we know how important listening skills are, but teaching a child to listen let alone be a good listener, as any parent or teacher knows, isn’t always easy. If it was, we’d have many more good listeners in this world than we seem to. Like most skills, the ground work for developing them is laid right from the beginning.
When I pulled the book from it’s plain brown wrapper, the beautiful Fran Battendieri’s artwork got my attention immediately. Good start, I couldn’t wait to open it. I wasn’t disappointed. All the illustrations are large, colourful, fun and engaging.
This book is the 4th in a series that has been written specifically to address children’s development in many areas including emotional, social, cognitive, language and physical aspects. Listening skills are so important in our lives and this book can help parents and children alike become good listeners while exploring the world around them in an enjoyable way. It enables children to learn and practise while they think they’re just having fun. That’s the way it should be.
Let’s face the facts though. While many studies have shown the benefits of learning to read and finding enjoyment in it, we aren’t all avid readers fascinated by pictures and words on paper. Many parents feel uncomfortable using funny voices and actions that often seem to go with reading to children. People in this category would rather face a root canal than a child with a book in hand.
The Listening Me is written in a lilting, conversational style making it very easy to read with children. On first read I found some of the wording interesting and realized that without using “baby talk” Lydia has used language in the way a child might describe something. To make reading to children in an engaging manner easier the book has two reference pages at the back with suggestions to help the reader captivate their young audience.
“While you’re eating breakfast, can you listen for the birds?” from The Listening Me
The first is “Considerations for Connecting With And Learning About Your Child” by Stephen de Groot, MSW, RSW and CEO of Getting to Better. This section gives very simple guidance about how children learn and listen at this age. There are also excellent suggestions on how to make the reading experience enjoyable and educational for both the reader and the listener.
The second resource is an “Activity Guide for The Listening Me” by Orly Wahba, M.S., CEO of Life Vest Inside™ which provides a fun list of activities you can do to practise those listening skills that you’ve begun to develop as you go about your daily life.
The print is large so it’s easy on everyone’s eyes, even grandma and grandpa’s. It’s especially simple to begin early identification of letters and words.
The story happily meanders through a day in the life of a child starting early in the morning as the sun goes up (what young child hasn’t ensured at least one parent has enjoyed a sunrise or two with them) giving opportunities to stop and pay attention to the everyday sounds around us, including the little ones that we have to really use our listening ears to hear.
I believe any young child, parent, grandparent, teacher or librarian would be very happy to add it to their collection of books. If you’re thinking, “Oh it’s too late for a Christmas present, or I’m already done my shopping, where was this review a month ago!” don’t worry. I have always believed that any day is a good day to give the gift of reading, so you can pick it up now and surprise a listener in learning anytime!
Click here to find out more about The Listening Me or to purchase your very own copy of the book. You’ll be creating listeners and seeing beautiful in no time.
Sales from The Listening Me directly support See Beautiful™, Getting To Better and Life Vest Inside™.
©2013 J.Fries/Rise Like Air
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