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Author Archive for Karen Gordon

Hug Machine!

by Karen Gordon on February 27th, 2015

51Xr6DU634L._SX258_BO1,204,203,200_I got some big hugging energy this week at my outreach visits. I was greeted with hugs–lots of hugs! Those cute little hug machines! This is a picture book with some big hugging energy. I’d say it’s perfect for any time of the year, and double the fun around Valentine’s Day.
Hug Machine by Scott Campbell is about a little boy who is very good at hugging: “No one can resist my unbelievable hugging. I’m the Hug Machine!” He hugs people to calm them down and cheer them up. His hugs make the biggest feel small and smallest feel big. He even takes on extra special challenges like hugging a spiky porcupine and the too-big whale who says, “Surely I am too big for you to hug,” to which Hug Machine says, “Of course not! Not for the Hug Machine!” After a brief fueling of pizza, the hug machine is at it again and ready for more hugging action.9781442459366_02_interior.480x480-75
By the end of the day the boy is exhausted from all of the hugging, and can hug no more. But, he does have hugs for a special person in his life…Mom. It turns out Hug Machine is always open for business.  2PHugsMachine_int-17
I love the illustrations in this book. They are gentle and sweet. I’ll bet after you read this book before bedtime your little ones will walk around with arms stretched out saying, “I’m the Hug Machine!”

A Book Babies Special!

by Karen Gordon on January 23rd, 2015



On Friday, February 6th at 10:30 am and 1:30 pm.

Come sample West Music’s own early childhood music and movement program with your baby, Sing & Play & Grow!

This is a fun, engaging program offered here at Book Babies. You and your baby will explore activities with guest Becky Foerstner. This early childhood music and movement program includes singing, chanting, cuddling, rocking, dancing and instrument exploration.

This program is free.


Dogs, Dogs, and More Dogs!

by Karen Gordon on January 6th, 2015

I’m a dog person, so naturally if I see a new dog picture book on the shelf I grab it. All of us in the Children’s Room will agree that a dog storytime is always a hit!

In 2014, there were lots of picture books about dogs published and so many of them are funny, clever and of course, cute!

Maggi and Milo by Juli Brenning

Maggi and MiloMaggi is an adventurer and a pretty good songwriter. Her border collie, Milo, is her best friend. Maggi gets a package from her grandma with all the necessities for a frog hunt, boots, and a book about frogs. Why frogs? A quick look at her bedroom reveals a fascination with frogs, including frog drawings, slippers, etc.
“I’m a frog hunter and he is Milo!” she announces, and together they wander off to the pond. After waiting a “million minutes” for something to happen, she’s bored! Milo wanders off. A panicked search for Milo in the muck reveals Milo has found a frog! Milo finds even more frogs and at the end of the day,”Side by side, they sat on the edge of the world, just listening to the frogs say good night.”

Here are a few more doggie books to enjoy:

This book just ate my dog!This Book Just Ate My Dog! By Richard Byrne
“When her dog disappears into the gutter of the book, Bella calls for help. But when the helpers disappear too, Bella realizes it will take more than a tug on the leash to put things right.”

If You Were a Dog by Jamie A. Swenson.If you were a dog
Easy-to-read text invites the reader to imagine life as a dog, a cat, a fish, a bird, and even a dinosaur.


Gaston words by Kelly DiPucchio; pictures by Christian RobinGastonson
A proper bulldog raised in a poodle family and a tough poodle raised in a bulldog family meet one day in the park.

Time for bed fred





Time for Bed, Fred by Yassmeen Ismail.
A child has a very difficult time getting Fred, the dog, to bed.


Eddie and the Dog by Alison Brown  Eddie and Dog
Eddie longs for a friend who likes adventure and finds the perfect match in Dog.

Karen Says Thanks!

by Karen Gordon on November 14th, 2014

This time of year, a time when so much of our culture is fast paced and commercially focused, I’m reminded about how thankful I am of all the outreach I get to do each week. Visiting schools and daycares grounds my soul. At each visit, the kids teach me so much about living in the moment.

Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday, so naturally my visits in November are about being thankful. I ask the kids what they are thankful for. Some kids don’t understand this concept, so I start with a few examples: “I’m thankful for the time I get to spend visiting them at school” or “I’m thankful for the sun shining.” The kids catch on quickly. They are thankful for their birthday, snow, toys, trains, and more toys! By now they’re totally enthusiastic, so this is when I get the kids to settle down with one of my favorite books to read this time of year.  bear says thanks

Bear Says Thanks by Karma Wilson is a sweet story about sharing, friendship, and giving thanks. Bear is bored and wants to throw a party for his forest friends. Each of his friends arrives with delectable gifts, and a repeated line encourages audience participation (“…and Bear says, ‘Thanks!’”). Sadly, Bear finds his own cupboards are bare! But his friends remind him not to fret–there’s no need for more food, because Bear’s got his own gift of stories to share, “…and they all say, ‘Thanks!’”

Bob Books are back!

by Karen Gordon on October 1st, 2014


By popular demand, Bob Books by Bobby Lynn Maslen and John R. Maslen are back on our shelves. I’m so thrilled these wonderful readers are available. They fit perfectly in a child’s hands, have brightly colored jackets, and have colored illustrations throughout which makes reading so much more fun for our youngest patrons!   images

I’m frequently asked by families and homeschoolers for early reader recommendations. We have a variety of readers marked with all reading levels, but levels on these books can be confusing. One publisher labels a book level 1; another publisher marks a similar book as level 2. Many early readers contain words that are too difficult for a child who has just learned the sounds of the alphabet. So many parents are looking for readers to help make this process simple, positive, and fun, which is why I recommend the Bob Books.

Parents, do you want to capture your child’s interest in reading? Do you want your child to feel confident reading? It’s so good to hear your child say, “I read the whole book all by myself!” The Bob Books series makes learning to read so simple. I think these are the “best learning to read on your own,” books.

30349The next time you visit the Children’s Room, look for fun Bob Books apps on our children’s ipads and AWE Early Literacy Station. This app makes Bob Books characters come alive!

Just for Book Babies

by Karen Gordon on August 4th, 2014

Summer Reading Program is over, but we still have fun programs at the library in Baby ReadingAugust. Take advantage of these special Book Babies programs on Aug. 8 and Aug. 22.

Sing, Play, Grow! 10:30 a.m. and 1:30 p.m. Aug. 8

Come sample West Music’s own early childhood music and movement program, Sing & Play & Learn Today!

This is a fun, engaging program that explores instrument playing, singing, moving and so much more!

To learn more about West Music’s Education program, visit their website.

Chinese Storytime 10:30 a.m. and 1:30 p.m. Aug. 22

Book Babies will host Emily Jia. Emily will introduce families to Chinese language.

Come have fun learning Chinese songs, nursery rhymes, fingerplays, Chinese Classics, and instrument play. (Older siblings are welcome, too!)


by Karen Gordon on June 20th, 2014

Reading! Talking! Singing! Playing! Writing!

These 5 simple and fun skills are important in getting your child ready for school.


How do you go about this you ask? Asking your baby questions is good practice in talking. Keep questions short and simple. It’s important after you make a comment or ask a question that you wait 5 seconds for your baby to say or do something in response. This teaches your child that conversation works two ways and teaches your baby to listen to others and then respond.


Get your children talking! When children become storytellers, it boosts their reading comprehension and writing skills.
All of baby nose to toes 

All of Baby Nose to Toes by Victoria Adler.

Rhyming text celebrates everything about a beloved baby,  from eyes to toes.

Good Night, Gorilla by Peggy Rathman.

An unobservant zookeeper is  followed home by all the animals he thinks he has left behind in the zoo.

the very hungry caterpillar

The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle.

Follows the progress of a hungry little caterpillar as he eats  his way through a varied and very large quantity of food.

Ten Little Fingers and Ten Little Toes by Mem Fox.Ten little fingers and ten

Rhyming text compares babies born in different places and in different circumstances, but they all share ten little fingers and ten little toes.

Spot says goodnight Spot Says Goodnight by Eric Hill.

Spot has a busy day, and now he has to go to bed.


Here is a clever game to encourage questions:

Me Too

How to play: Have a conversation with your baby. Ask him/her a question and pause for an answer. Then provide a response.

Example: “Would you like to go outside?” Pause. “You would? Me, too! Let’s go outside.”

Early literacy begins with you

by Karen Gordon on May 6th, 2014

Baby Reading

Parents are kids’ first teachers.
From the time a child is born, home is where learning begins.

5 simple and fun things parents can do
to get their kids ready for school.
Reading! Talking! Singing! Playing! Writing!

Reading: Before your baby can read, she/he needs to be familiar with the written word. Your baby needs to look at words, play with books and watch you read. Research shows that kids who see their parents read will be readers too.

Read a variety of books to your children and talk about new words. As children increase their vocabularies, they also increase their reading comprehension.

Where is Baby’s Belly Button? by Karen Katz. “Where are baby’s hands? Under the   bubbles…where are baby’s eyes? under her hat!”


First 100 Animals. Published by Tiger Tales. With 100 animal photographs to look at and talk about, and 100 animal names to read and learn about, too.

This Little Chick by John Lawrence.
A litle chick shows that he can make the sounds of the animals in his neighborhood.


Peekaboo Morning by Rachel Isadora.
A toddler plays peek-a-boo throughout the day.

Whose Baby am I? by John Butler.
The reader is asked to guess who the parent is for nine baby animals.


Activity: Point it out – Point out the pictures as you read. Describe them. Explain what they are.

Who’s over the Rainbow?

by Karen Gordon on April 16th, 2014
Who’s over the Rainbow? Cover Image


April is a great time to talk to your kids about rain and all the wonders of spring. Green grass, flowers, warm sun, and worms.

Yes, kids like to talk about worms.

Recently, it rained on my way home from work. Halfway home dark clouds parted and a bit of sun peeked through. I thought, “Maybe I’ll get to see a rainbow” and, as if on command, a beautiful rainbow appeared.

I couldn’t ask for better story to share with the kids at outreach, or a better story to read aloud than “Wow! Said the Owl” by Tim Hopgood.

This sweet story is about an owl who stays up all day and discovers a world of colors, beginning with the yellow sun, to the blue sky, the red butterflies and the green leaves to the rainbow filling the sky. It’s a perfect book to introduce little ones to the world of color.

Click here for a fun rainbow activity you can do with your child(ren) at home!

Activity: Magical Rainbow Stew

by Karen Gordon on April 16th, 2014

Don’t you just love spring? Every day it seems there’s more color, a welcome sight after the bleakness of winter.

Spotting rainbows after a spring rain is a fun family activity, but unfortunately rainbows don’t appear as often as we wish. The following Magical Rainbow Stew activity brings rainbows to you and your children whenever you want them – without the mud!

Magical Rainbow Stew

Items needed:

  • Flannel or magnetic board
  • Cauldron or a high sided-pot of some sort
  • Spoon (for stirring)
  • Colorful fruits (You can use felt, fun foam, or artificial fruit, or real fruit, too!)
  • Rainbow pieces (Made from felt or fun foam)
  • Dramatic flair

Before you start, place the rainbow pieces inside the pot.

2Colors in pot

Start the activity by asking your child(ren) to help name the different fruit. Ask them to name the color of each fruit.


Make sure your child(ren) only see an “empty pot” with a spoon sticking out.

1Empty pot (2) (2)

Magical Rainbow Stew

(Sung to the tune: “Jimmy Crack Corn”)

Take an apple,4Apple in pot

Put it in the pot.

Stir it, stir it, and stir it a lot.

Take it out now. What will it be?

The prettiest red you ever did see!

(Place the rainbow piece on the board It’s magical, so be dramatic!)

5Red rainbow (2)

Repeat with:

Orange – Orange or carrot

Yellow – corn or banana

Green – peas or pear

Blue – blueberry

Violet – grapes


I just love it when the kids ask me how I did this. My response? “It’s magical rainbow stew!”