Saturday, November 13, 2010

Happy Birthday Nancy Tafuri - November 14

Happy Birthday Nancy Tafuri - November 14

I confidently said before our third child arrived, "Ah, if you can raise two children. You can raise three." I stand behind the statement, but life now moves at a much quicker pace and it's volume has been raised a couple of notches.  I reminisce about the days it was just my daughter and I at home all day together. We would play, go for a walk, read some books, play some more, and then read some more books.

My infant son is now five months old.  Books are abound in our house.  The family reads books all the time. Yet, his one-on-one reading time is less than what his older brother had and very much less than his older sister.  It is just the reality of life.  But, this week I was able sit with him on numerous occasions and read books that he enjoyed very much.  The books were written and illustrated by Nancy Tafuri, Caldecott Honor Receipient in 1985 for Have You Seen My Duckling?. Her books have large colorful pictures and are a joy to experience with a little one.  Her books Blue Goose and Spots, Feathers, and Curly Tails were recognized by Oprah as excellent books for children 0-2 years.

I emailed Nancy Tafuri to let her know that we would be celebrating her birthday. I asked her if she would share a birthday tradition and memory. This was her response:

Birthdays in our family are a big deal...ever since Cristina was little we always decorated for that special day and took requests to have their favorite meal and dessert with lots of candles.  Cristina had a candle that burned down an age every time we celebrated her day ending at 21 which was just this past year! Birthdays are a celebration of life and love.

Also, I remember when Cristina was 4 years old it landed on a Saturday, in May and we had a Barn Party! With all kinds of animals and lots of kids, it was so much fun that I wrote and illustrated "The Barn Party" so children all over could experience the same fun we had on that day with one adorable goat!

I loved Nancy's response because she focused on her daughter and the importance of family.  We read over a dozen of her books this week, but it was the book You Are Special, Little One that stood out.  In this book, young animals ask the simple question, "How am I special?".  The Mamas and the Papas respond by pointing out positive qualities and finishing with a loving affirmation. (Click Here to Read More about the book at Tafuri's website.)

Today I had my children make a decorative note for their mom that mirrored the Mama and Papa response to the Little One in You Are Special.  We started by using special scissors to cut decorative edges on a colored piece of paper.  This piece was then pasted on another paper to make a frame.  We also added a few stickers around the edge. Lastly, we wrote the following verse and filled in the blanks with things they loved about their mom.

"Dear Mommy,
you are so special,
and I will love you
forever and ever and always."

I reciprocated by making a note for my son and daughter.  It was a perfect activity on a quiet morning free of the hustle and bustle as my daughter was off school for parent-teacher conferences. Thank you Nancy for sharing your birthday memories and traditions. My children loved reading your books.  I appreciate that the books allowed me to spend time reading one-on-one with my youngest son and to tell my older children how much I love them. We hope you have a wonderful birthday!


1. Nancy Tafuri's Website
2. Nancy Tafuri on Facebook
3. Interviews with Nancy Tafuri - Highland Park School
4. Flannel Board Lesson for Blue Goose - YouTube
5. Make Wooden Ducklings for Have You Seen My Duckling? - Wee Folk Art
6. Blue Goose on Oprah's Kids' Reading List : Infant - 2 years
7. Spots Feathers and Curly Tails on Oprah's Kids' Reading List: Classics for infants - 2 years

1 comment:

  1. Happy Birthday Nancy!

    Her birthday memory makes me even more interested in her books than before, just because of her focus. It's so neat how she incorporates that message of love and family into her books, and it's so important!

    What a fantastic idea to do with your kiddos! I'm sure your wife really appreciated it. And your son is such a cutie pie!

    Fantastic post, as usual!


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