Teachers report using these books for studying poetry, examining simile, getting students to write about their own relationships with their parents and families, and for holiday exercises for Valentine’s Day, Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, and Christmas. In the “You Are My” books, games include finding the teddy bear’s animal friends hiding and peeking on each of the pages (where is the duck?). For Sleep, Baby, Sleep, games include finding the animals from the earlier pages on the later page spreads. Sleep, Baby, Sleep is used to celebrate Mother Goose Day May 1st. Children are asked to make their own adaptations from traditional Mother Goose verses.
Pre-schools in Georgetown had children draw pictures of activities they enjoy doing with their parent. Brother Gary’s first and second graders at St. Ignatius Loyola school in Denver, CO, wrote and illustrated their own “I am your…, you are my…” verses modeled after the books. For his inner city school with many children in single-parent homes, the books are ideal because they are gender neutral and do not make a child feel slighted for not living with both father and mother. Classes did extraordinary exercises with the “dandelion wish” and “prayer” verses from You Are My I Love You, asking students to articulate what they would wish or pray for. English as a Second Language classes at Midway Manor School in Allentown, PA, appreciated the book for its simple portrayal of daily family activities. For students and parents learning English, the book’s subject matter and pictures offered helpful hooks for learning English. Fifth grade teacher Jennifer Kenealy at Braddock Elementary in Annandale, VA, used the book to illustrate the definition and use of simile, and had students write their own similes similar to the books’ couplets.
Teacher trainer Lynn Birus uses the books in professional development sessions nationally. She asks the teachers to consider their own relationship with their students– are they a stable, guiding force allowing students the confidence to explore? She has them describe the student/ teacher dynamics after considering the adult/ child dynamics described in the books. Teachers use the book at Valentine’s Day to help children express their own love for their families. For Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, and Christmas, the books are helpful for discussing and writing about holiday traditions in children’s families.
Colleges use the book for Parent’s Weekend, and to illustrate the globalization of children’s books. Library Science programs have used the books to show how to engage families in library story hours, and to illustrate the globalization of children’s books with the many foreign language editions and the American author with a Japanese artist who lives in France.
The books are used to celebrate National Poetry month in April and Children’s Book week in May, and children are encouraged to write or illustrate their own poems, using the poems in the books as models. Discussions include activities and traditions you enjoy with your family, what you would wish for if you could make any wish, how to say “I Love You” in several languages. Activities include teddy bear picnics and pajama story times. “Sleep, Baby, Sleep” can be paired with other variations of traditional Mother Goose rhymes to celebrate Mother Goose Day May 1st and National Poetry month in April. Children are asked to make their own adaptations from traditional Mother Goose verses, and can color alternate endings or alternate characters to Mother Goose rhymes. Arts and crafts include making Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, Valentine’s Day, and Christmas cards, coloring teddy bears, and writing “dandelion wishes.” Decorating paper cookies and Christmas trees and sheep can be used as ornaments during the Christmas season. During the rest of the year decorating these shapes from the book can be used as crafts and as window light catchers. Print some bookmarks to give as handouts. Schedule an author visit.
Check out more Maryann Love Children’s Book activities here