Raising children is one of the biggest challenges that anyone will face in their lives. This critic is learning that every day being the parent of a toddler. Other more experienced parents will agree with this statement, too. It is a challenge because parents themselves have to find inventive ways to keep children’s attention and to reach them on their levels without really talking down to them at the same time. Thankfully, there are any number of tools and methods for parents in their efforts to do just that. Some of those tools and methods work relatively well. While others not so well, obviously. Last month, a company known as Ruby’s Studio released a pair of books for parents, children and educators that every parent and educator will find quite useful and effective and that will relate to every child. Simply put, the books—Miles is the Boss of His Body and When Miles Got Mad—are two very effective tools in raising children both at home and in an educational setting. The central reason that both books are such impressive tools is the fact that they are books. In an age when even children are being groomed to be part of a digital world, it’s nice to know that some out there still believe in the physical object. Also worth nothing is that the books have been written in such fashion as to easily reach young readers. Audiences will also appreciate the look of the books. Their look is very similar to a series of books written by another very well-known author of children’s books. All three factors noted here work together to make both of these books works that prove to be just as valuable in the home as in an educational setting.
Parents and teachers today have so many tools and resources at their disposal for teaching children. From CDs and video games to play computers for kids, there are so many options. Parents and educators will note that each of those tools prepares children to be part of an increasingly digital world. Yes, there are still books out there for children. But increasingly those books are becoming rarer or they are moving more towards the realm of e-readers and tablets. Some schools out there don’t even use textbooks anymore. They have been replaced by either students or teachers with tablets and online learning. Even parents are increasingly being encouraged by the big tech companies to teach their children using the latest, hottest tech tool. It’s really disheartening. So both books (and Ruby’s Studio) win major marks for this factor alone. Children need to know what true, physical books are versus just having a cold, battery operated object in their hands, staring at a monitor all the time. Hopefully within the context of this aspect, Ruby’s Studio won’t fall victim to that trend and will remain a company that releases books in physical form only.
The fact that Ruby’s Studio has made both books available in physical form is the key aspect to why parents and educators alike will appreciate them. That is parents and educators that are not afraid of using a physical book over the digital object. Examining both books on a closer level, they have been crafted in a way that makes their topics easily accessible to young audiences. The topics in question are themselves extremely important. The first of the books discusses people putting their hands on children. It lets children know that it is okay for them to set limits on how people touch them. It goes on to let kids know that it’s okay to tell people that they don’t like to be touched one way or another. The other book focuses on children’s feelings. More specifically, it touches on their feelings of frustration and anger. It emphasizes to young audiences that they should use their words instead of using their actions. The manner in which these topics are covered makes them easily accessible for those younger audiences. Miles and Max look and do things that any kids do. And they aren’t in some magical land. They are placed in real world settings. There aren’t lots of words involved, either. What words are used are simple enough for younger readers to grasp. So Kurtzman-Counter has actually established a way to keep the attention of her readers and make the concepts being discussed easy to understand. It’s a double whammy in the best way. It means an increased chance of these topics really sinking in with kids. Any parent or educator will admit that it takes a lot to really get certain topics to sink in with children. Kurtzman-Counter has found one of the best ways to do so in a long time with these presentations. It’s one more aspect of the books that makes them an important tool whether at home or a given educational setting.
The accessibility that Kurtzman-Counter’s books offers her young readers is something that so many children’s authors overlook. Believe it or not, there are some authors of children’s books that make valiant attempts to reach this audience or that. In some cases they do succeed. But in just as many cases, the end result is a product that is far too broad in its attempt to reach as many audiences as possible. In turn, said book(s) present topics that only children of certain ages will grasp and enjoy. These two books are the polar opposite. They are a couple that succeed in entertaining and reaching children anywhere from ages three to five and maybe even six. The fact that these topics have been broached in physical books makes them even more enjoyable. While both aspects of Kurtzman-Counter’s books are equally important in their overall success and enjoyment, one factor remains to be noted. That final factor is their look. Anyone that is familiar with the work of fellow author Mo Willems will recognize the look of his Knufflebunny books in these books. It presents young Miles as a hand drawn figure set against real life pictures as backgrounds. This is exactly the same format used by Willems and his publishing company in the Knufflebunny books. Whether or not the appearance of that influence was intentional, it is visible. And it serves as even more reason for audiences of all ages to check out these books.
Samantha Kurtzman-Counter’s children’s books based around her fictional character Miles and his brother Max are wonderful resources for parents and teachers alike. Both books by themselves offer plenty of reason for them and younger readers alike to appreciate and enjoy them. Collectively, their positives—noted above—make both books all the more valuable whether they are used at home or in an educational setting. Both books are available now and can be ordered online http://www.rubysstudio.com/. More information on these books and others from Ruby’s Studio is available online at:
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