READ, DISCUSS, DO! Snack and a Story with LOVE IS KIND

I’m so excited to be a part of a fabulous reading initiative geared to families, librarians, teachers and anyone, really, who enjoys reading picture books with their kids.

Created by founder and picture book author Rebecca J. Gomez, Read, Discuss, Do! exists to help you extend the magic of story time beyond the last page by following three simple steps:

Read a book. 

Talk about the book. 

Do a simple activity inspired by the book.

And this summer we are launching our second annual summer reading challenge. Each week features a fun reading theme with suggested books and ideas for engaging with books in creative and kid-friendly ways. Jump in whenever! Download the printable calendar (plus bookmarks) here.

In the super fun category, this week’s theme is Tasty Treats and, as part of the fun, Rebecca has put together a delightful Snack and a Story post featuring LOVE IS KIND. Thank you, Rebecca!  Here’s the link so you can check it out.

LOVE IS KIND: MOTHER’S DAY is for GRANDMOTHERS too!

I’ve been thinking a lot this week about my mother and my grandmothers, all of whom I remember fondly, especially in May when we celebrate Mother’s Day. My mom and her mom also shared the same birthdate in May (isn’t that neat?) and so that makes the month extra nostalgic for me as I remember the wonderful bonds we shared.

As the author of LOVE IS KIND (Zonderkidz, 2018) I think I can say, with fair certainty, that Little Owl from the book also loves taking time in May and on Mother’s Day to celebrate the special bond he shares with his Grammy.

In the story, for those of you who haven’t read it, Little Owl is on a quest to show Grammy how much he loves her by buying her a box of heart-shaped chocolates. Along the way, however, he encounters obstacle after obstacle, and ends up arriving with nothing. Nothing, that is, until his wonderful Grammy points out that the gift he has to offer is LOVE and that HE is the gift when he shows love along the way, a gift much better than chocolate!

Here’s a sweet glimpse of that special moment when they both celebrate that HE is the gift captured in a special clip illustrator Lison Chaperon made to celebrate the release of LOVE IS KIND:

I love reading LOVE IS KIND any time of year, but I feel a little extra sentimental as we leap into May. And that sentimentality is actually commemorated in the book. If you have a copy near you, open it up to the dedication page. Do you see who I dedicated it to? My grandmothers!

Sadly, both they and mom, passed away before I ever wrote the first word of the story. Still, I always think of them – and the great bonds we shared – every time I read the book. It is my hope that the book might also become a special bonding story for your families, as you read and enjoy it together with your children and grand children.

HAPPY MOTHER’S DAY!

Note: If you enjoyed this post, please consider following my blog. I post once or twice weekly. Posts are devoted to celebrating reading, writing and life!

YOU’RE INVITED! Join Me and Host Valerie Ellis for an Our Everyday Parables LIVE Interview

Tune in this Thursday, March 10, 2022 at 12:12 eastern on Instagram for my first Instagram LIVE interview. I’ll be joining Valerie Ellis, host and founder of Our Everyday Parables, a blog dedicated to “inspiring families to faith and compassion through everyday moments and excellent books”.  

The interview will include questions from listeners, so if you have a question you’ve always wanted to ask about any of my books or about using books to foster faith in our little ones and want it answered on Instagram LIVE (squee!) please let me know in a comment here and I will share it with Valerie.  You can also DM her with questions on the Our Everyday Parables instagram page.  You can also type your question in during the interview. 

If you want to come, I highly recommend popping over to her Insta page and signing up for the reminder. It’s easy and then Instagram will remind you to come!  Neat, huh?  I signed up so I won’t forget to come either. LOL.

Oh, and there will be a multi-book giveaway too. This image gives a clue as to which four books will be included in that. I hope you can make it.

Blessings all! And remember to leave your question. Any that aren’t answered at the interview, I will put in queue to incorporate into future blog posts!

SPRING 2022 Book Store Events with Laura Sassi

MARK YOUR CALENDARS. In celebration of the release of BUNNY FINDS EASTER (and my other titles as well), I have several book store events planned for Spring 2022. I hope you’ll be able to join me at one or more of them. More are in the works, as well, so stay tuned for those. (And if you are a school, church, mom’s group, library, or daycare, I’m booking for those now as well. Learn more in the “Author Visits and Speaking Engagements” tab. And now… the line up!

FIVE TIPS TO INSPIRE KINDNESS IN OUR KIDS (Inspired by LOVE IS KIND!)

One of the reasons I wrote LOVE IS KIND was to show in fun story form what love and kindness in action could look like. Now, with Valentine’s Day just around the corner, I thought it would be fun to share a few book-inspired tips to foster kindness in our kids. My hope is that they will inspire you and your little ones to follow in Little Owl’s footsteps and spread love and kindness near and far.

Tip #1  Be kind yourself.  As Grammy from LOVE IS KIND would most certainly remind us, our little owls, I mean kids, are watching our every move. They are learning from us, seeing if our words match our actions. If we want them extend love and kindness to others, we must first be intentional about being kind ourselves in ways big and small.

Tip #2  Brainstorm ways to be kind.  Little Owl was kind and loving every step of the way on his quest to get Grammy those chocolates, but he didn’t realize it until Grammy pointed it out. Sometimes reminders are helpful, so after reading the story, spend a few minutes brainstorming with your children some ways we can be kind to others. Consider having an older child write down your family’s ideas, then put them on the fridge as a visible daily reminder.

Tip #3  Make “good manners” a habit.  Did you notice how polite Little Owl was throughout the story?  And how good manners came so naturally to him?  He said things like, “Have a good day!”, “Congratulations!” and “That’s nice.” I suspect Little Owl’s mama and papa were hard at work on a daily basis instilling those simple niceties. As parents and caregivers, we can do the same with our kids so that when they are out and about those kind and friendly interactions are second nature.  

Tip #4  Wear “kindness glasses.” I like to wrap up author visits by challenging the kids to be kind to those around them just like Little Owl. To to help them remember this, I have them first hold their hands together so that thumbs and fingers touch to form a heart shape. I explain that these are their kindness glasses and I ask them to look through them every morning when they wake up and we all try it, which generates giggles all around. Then, while looking at them through my heart-shaped glasses, I challenge them to find at least one opportunity before the sun sets to extend kindness to another in an unexpected way. The silliness is part of the magic and it sets the tone for a good day.  (Note: This tip pairs nicely with tip #2)

Tip #5  Catch each other being kind! Grammy caught Little Owl completely by surprise when she pointed out that he’d shown love and kindness along the way to Grammy’s. And what was Little Owl’s reaction? He was thrilled! He realized HE was the gift and that his kindnesses towards others were better than any store-bought gift. Likewise, your children will be delighted when you notice their kind deeds. And this, I am certain, will spur them on to more and more and more! And that should make every parent’s heart sing. It sure makes mine!

Blessings to you and your kids as you lovingly instill in them a heart for spreading love and kindness.

Note: A version of this post previously appeared on Jean Matthew Hall’s delightful blog

Enjoy a LOVE IS KIND STORYTIME and INTERVIEW on this Episode of the STORYJUMPERS Podcast!

Recently, it was my pleasure to be interviewed by podcast host Andrew Jackson for his children’s story time program, StoryJumpers, a bi-weekly Christian podcast that features a children’s book read by the author and an interview with the author. The podcast airs today, January 14th, 2022 over at The Bridge Podcast Network, part of The Bridge, a community supported, non-commercial Christian radio station serving Delaware, South Jersey, parts of Maryland and beyond. 

Today’s episode features my picture book LOVE IS KIND (Zonderkidz, 2018) about Little Owl who wants to show his grammy how much he loves her by buying her a heart-shaped box of chocolates, but his efforts are thwarted at every step. In the end, he learns that love and kindness can be shown in many ways and that HE is the gift when he is kind and loving towards others — a gift much better than chocolate.

Thank you, Andrew, for being such a great host!  I had a wonderful time. Here’s the link:

https://wearethebridge.org/storyjumpers/storyjumpers-ep013/

Just listen and enjoy, or for an ever richer experience, grab a copy of the book so your little ones can enjoy the pictures as I read.

Happy Reading!

Back-to-School Offer: Celebrate KINDNESS with a Free Author Visit with LAURA SASSI

Back-to-School Time! In celebration of the POWER OF KINDNESS, I’m offering FIVE free 20-minute virtual* visits to classrooms, libraries, church groups, day-cares or homeschool co-ops. (*Note: Can be in-person if you are local.)

 If you are interested, reach out to me via the contact tab in the About section.

IMPORTANT DETAILS

For each FREE 20-minute virtual visit I will:

  • Briefly introduce myself and describe what it means to be an author. I will also share the inspiration behind the book I will be sharing.
  • Read LOVE IS KIND, LITTLE EWE or DIVA DELORES AND THE OPERA HOUSE MOUSE with a kindness take-away challenge for each.
  • Use puppets to aid in the storytelling.
  • Have a brief Q&A.

OPTIONAL: If you are interested in a longer virtual visit that includes a presentation of the journey a picture book takes from spark to publication, using early sketches, drafts and more, I also offer longer virtual visits that are fee-based. If a fuller visit interests you, please let me know that. My fees are reasonable and we will make the visit work to fit your budget.

Either way, I respectfully request that you or your school purchase a copy the book you select for your class library. I also request that book orders be made available to families so they can order books from the vendor of their/your choice.  I do not sell my books, but they are readily available through your favorite bookseller. I will provide a signed personally inscribed book plate for each book purchased. 

I look forward to spreading kindness in this special way this fall!  

Visits must be booked by December 1, 2021. Spots will fill quickly, so reach out to me soon via my contact tab in the About section. 

Happy Fall!

BLESSINGS upon BLESSINGS: LOVE IS KIND Brings Comfort to a Kindergartner… and the Mother’s Note Brings Joy to the Author (me!)

Last week in the comments section to a post I had shared on Facebook about Feeling Blessed by a Bouquet, a kind young mom left a thoughtful comment, which blessed my day in a extra-special way.

Here are her words, shared with her permission:

Laura, not related to this, but I just wanted to tell you how much joy your book “Love is kind” brought into my daughter’s life. Last year you came into her Kindergarten classroom for the reading and we purchased an autographed copy that day. It has become her favorite book! I cannot tell you how many times she re-read it during the lockdown and then during the months of remote learning. She really connected with it and it gave her comfort during these difficult months. Thank you!”

It’s almost like this mom was reading my mind because her message to me about the impact one of my books has had on her daughter was just what this heart needed.  In fact, I was so moved, that I responded to her Facebook comment with this:

Thank you for telling me this. You made my month! This past year has been so difficult – and especially for the kids. I’m glad to know the book provided comfort. That, I know, would make Little Owl very happy!

And then after some more thought, the next day I added this: 

I’m still so moved by your sharing this. May I have your permission to quote your kind words in post about one never knows the impact ones words/book can have and an encouragement to keep writing and speaking from the heart…I was feeling a bit in a writing slump and your comment really, as I said, made my month!

Her answer: “Of course!” 

And I so share these words today as both a reminder and an encouragement for me and for you to keep writing – or developing whatever special talents you’ve been gifted – with the knowledge that, just as surely as Little Owl helped one little girl face a difficult time in her life, your story or gift will surely also impact others in ways that, most often, we will never know. 

Happy writing and creating… and connecting!

Free Printable LOVE IS KIND and EL AMOR ES BONDADOSO Matching Game!

Are you a parent, teacher, or librarian, looking for a fun way to extend bilingual story time using LOVE IS KIND and its adorable Spanish version EL AMOR ES BONDADOSO?  Then this easy craft/game is just for you!  It’s primary purpose is to be a matching game, but you can also use the cards as stand-ins for puppets so your little ones can retell the story in Spanish or English, or both, in their own sweet words.  

LOVE IS KIND and EL AMOR ES BONDADOSO Matching Game

MAKE:

  1. Print out the English and Spanish versions of the cards.
  2. Color in the picture squares.  Then cut out.
  3. Glue the picture squares onto construction paper squares.

PLAY: 

  1. Place the cards face down. Take turns turning over two at a time.
  2. Name the pictures in Spanish and English. If they are a match keep them. If not, place back face down.
  3. Take turns until all the cards have been matched. Player with most cards wins.

FREE PRINTABLE GAME CARDS:

GIFT IDEA: SIGNED Copies of LOVE IS KIND and LITTLE EWE! (Plus Free Shipping!)

Last month, I had the pleasure of doing a book signing at the charming gift store https://www.sugarmapletradingcompany.com in Lexington, VA. I wrote a whole post about it which you can read here if you’d like to.

At the end of the event, I signed their remaining copies and they are now available for purchase on their website. I checked and they have three copies of LITTLE EWE and six of LOVE IS KIND. After these sell, they will continue to carry the books, but they won’t be signed until I pop in again (which won’t be until November.) In other words, this is your chance to support a lovely gift store and get signed copies of some Laura Sassi books. (If you want to confirm that it’s one of the signed copies, please call the store or use the chat feature on their website.

Oh, and this is the best part: Shipping is FREE with a purchase of $35 and up! So perhaps pair the book with one of their adorable baby shower gifts. My favorite is a cute sign that you hang in the nursery that invites little ones to nightly story time. Or you could get something for yourself, of course. They have really cute bags and totes, too. Just saying. =)

Here’s the link to their online store for you to explore. The books are found under the category “books”. =)