Sometimes basic is best.  

I’ve been getting lots of children’s book suggestions from publishers and other book venues in light of Saturday’s events in Charlottesville, and they are good ones too — based on concepts of empathy, goodness and character.  Complicated events are tough to explain to little ones, but there are two pop-up books* having to do with our country’s founding principles that wow me every time, and at times like these it seems right to remind our kids of the basics.  When you gather your wee ones close and open Robert Sabuda’s "America The Beautiful" to the stunning page where the Statue of Liberty literally stands up tall, you have a wow-full moment to tell your kids what you think about liberty.  And when the White House folds out of his book by that name, Sabuda with ingenuity and talent helps you lay some tracks in little hearts for what America means. 

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*I know, I know, many of you are thinking, "Oh noooo, uh uh. Why would I give my kids something I have to say 'don't touch that' about??" Well, because the wonder of taking down a wonder-full book only for "special" makes the book’s message even more impactful even if it does take a little strategic planning. I remember when Hannah, Emma and Tom were wee, I'd keep some books for special — they'd only be taken down with some build-up, tantalization, anticipation and even pageantry: "Boy, I wonder if we will be in our pajamas by 8 so we can look at the snowflake pop-up book ... if you're very very good maybe we'll get the magic Oreo blanket out to read on!" I promise that “for-special” books will spark a flame in their hearts not easily forgotten.

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