What would you name your puppy if he happened to be green? This was Emma's dilemma. She was in a pickle! She thought about "Jelly Bean." Green jellybeans were Emma's favorites. She considered just "Bean." Beans are a nice shade of green. She made a long list of all the names that she could think of but none of them seemed right. Then one day she was eating a pickle. Her daddy said, "You know what, Emma? That pickle looks just like your puppy." And it did!
Emma knew at that moment that they had found the perfect name for her pup--"Pickle!"
Pickle kept Emma company when she moved to a new house in See-and-Learn City and hadn't yet made any new friends (Emma's Friendwich). After a while, Emma made lots of friends. Pickle did, too. Pickle was even invited to a picnic (Freda Plans a Picnic)! There was a special treat at the picnic--just for Pickle.
Children love to read about pets. And they love to make up stories about pets. Our two granddaughters, Maddie (9) and Camille (5), have been staying with us for a number of weeks this summer. They would very much like to have a dog. They have already named her. She's going to be called Clementine!
One day, Maddie and Camille saw me unpack a large dehumidifier. Maddie immediately asked, "Can I have the box, Grandpa? It would make a nice house for Clementine." A few days later, the house had windows with a window box for flowers, a door, and a sign over the door that read "Clementine." The walls were painted beautiful colors and there was a mailbox on the side.
Over the next few weeks, Clementine received mail almost every day. She had letters from neighborhood dogs telling her how they couldn't wait to meet her. She even received a postcard from a dog on vacation. There was also an invitation to a doggy birthday party! I hope that Clementine arrives in time to be there.
Perhaps the story of Clementine will turn into a children's book some day. I get most of my story ideas from children. I was watching one of my grandson Jack's (11) baseball games when I saw some younger children nearby trying to learn how to throw a ball. That gave me the idea to write a story about someone who is trying to build up the confidence to throw a ball well (Good Job, Ajay!). I know that children like to read about sports. (Click here to read a review of Good Job, Ajay!)
Children also like to read about playing at the beach, at school, and at the park. It is really important that they learn how to play safely. Otherwise, they might get hurt. They could even hurt someone else. That's what caused me to write a book about playground safety (Percy Plays It Safe).
The books that I have mentioned are the first four titles in my new series, I SEE I LEARN™. The characters all live in See-and-Learn City. In addition to Freda, Percy, Ajay, and Emma, there are Carlos and Camille.
You may remember that Camille is the name of one of my granddaughters. Yes, this Camille is named after her! When I began working on I SEE I LEARN™, my other two grandchildren already had books named after them in my other series, MathStart (Jack the Builder and Mighty Maddie). Then along came Camille. At first, she didn't have a book. Now she not only has one book, she is part of a whole series. Lucky Camille!
The main characters in the series attend Ready Set Pre-K, they love to visit Readalot Library, and they have fun at Stay and Play Park. They take field trips to Duck Duck Goose Pond, and they build sandcastles at Friendly Waves Beach.
A few months ago, I had the chance to spend a day at the Snyder-Girotti Elementary School in Bristol Borough, Pennsylvania. The new books had just been published and I couldn't wait to read them to the Pre-K students. They loved hearing about the adventures of Freda, Percy, and Pickle and all their friends. I was pleased to see that, after I read the stories, the students were able to answer the questions that appear at the end of every book.
The books are organized around four domains: Social Skills, such as making friends and cooperation; Emotional Skills, like building confidence and dealing with frustration; Health and Safety Skills, such as playground safety and getting help when lost; and Cognitive Skills like sequencing and writing your name.
I SEE I LEARN™ stories employ a variety of visual learning strategies to get their messages across. The young children for whom the books are intended may not yet be readers, but they are all visual learners.
I have spent my entire career working in the field of visual learning--how information is conveyed and received through visual stimuli, such as charts, graphs, models, and pictures. The visual learning strategies used in I SEE I LEARN™ include symbolic icons, picture diagrams, visual sequences, and graphic models. These are all designed to help children learn. It is my hope that my books will succeed in doing what it says on the covers--that they will help to build "happier, healthier, more confident children!"
Now--back to Pickle! I was thinking that maybe Pickle should send a note to Clementine. What do you think he should write?
Stuart J. Murphy, author of the award-winning MathStart books, has developed I SEE I LEARN™, a new series for Charlesbridge. The I SEE I LEARN™ books feature simple stories and visual learning strategies to help young children learn important social, emotional, health and safety, and cognitive skills.
Stuart, a visual learning specialist, has also served on the authorship teams of a number of major educational programs. A graduate of the Rhode Island School of Design, Stuart and his wife, Nancy, live in Boston, Massachusetts, near their children and three grandchildren, Jack, Madeleine, and Camille.