Papa, Please Get the Moon for Me

September will be a month of sporadic posts. There’s sorting, packing, and moving to be done. I can’t believe it’s the 9th already… Life at our 13th Avenue apartment is coming to a close. This place will forever be special. It was the place of our wedding party (and crowded sleep over), of our Winter longing, of our Spring cuddles with Georgia, and many first(s) of her life thus far. First bath, first smile, first pacifier, first thumb finding, first tears, and first nights sleeping on her own (due to a new arrangement of beds on the floor, Georgia in her own crib mattress, right beside ours- very independent).

Oak St. and 13th Avenue isn’t a place of much excitement but over the months we found a gem that is hard to beat: Connie’s Cookin’ (on Heather St. and 16th Avenue).

Connie is always cooking. She chops veggies in a unique fashion that somehow makes everything taste and feel a million times better. Her specialties include ‘banana bread french-toast’ on Saturdays, Korean bi-bim-bap on Thursdays, and yummy muffins made of all kinds of healthy grains and fruits. The corner-store/eatery is also run by Jammie. While Connie cooks Jamie makes green juice (a popular deliciousness of kale, cucumber, apple, lemon, lime, and parsley) and talks. He talks you into eating the food that Connie is cooking. And he talks you into the beauty (and hardship) of eating local produce. And… he sings Bob Dylan songs while you yum your way into a meal that nourishes body and mind. These two made my Winter warm, my Spring spicy, and my Summer salty. When you walk in with a worry or feeling down… magic happens and you walk out without.

Now… here’s a great book by the author, artist, and graphic designer, Eric Carle (click here to visit his blog). Our version of Papa Please get the Moon for Me is a board book published by Little Simon. It is a story about Monica, her papa, and her wish to play with the moon. Monica’s papa will go round and around the impossible heights to make it come true. But… the full moon is too big for him to take. So he waits. And travels all the way, from far and back, so Monica can dance with the Moon. But the Moon will continue to shrink, and shrink, and shrink… until it’s gone. Only to reappear up in the sky, so bright. Moonlight is a powerful and romantic thing. The moon affects moods and tides. It amazes me. It dazzles me. In the city buzz it’s view reminds us to be in tune with nature. Yellow, blue, full, or new. It is always there. Seen. Or unseen. I leave you to stare out the window and dream.

Here’s a couple of interesting educational links:

Papa Please get the Moon for me in the classroom

& Teaching Children Philosophy

Night Sky Wheel Ride

This week’s post is a deserved mention and a “fun-tastic” picture book. So back in January, there was I, five months pregnant, enjoying life between rainy days, snow-muddy sidewalks, movie torrents, pre-natal yoga, and home-cooked feasts. God knows why, I was still insisting on finding a job and being honest about the fact that I was due in May was clearly not helping. Long story short, I started out 2012 canvassing for the Wilderness Committee. And another long story short, it all ended one evening (seven days later) when I had knocked on more than 25 houses in three hours and all I managed was to hand out flyers on Salmon Farms and the Enbridge Pipeline. To be specific it ended when I desperately had to pee behind a bush at a North Vancouver yard (people weren’t even answering the door, let alone letting me use their bathroom). That was it. No more canvassing for my pregnant self. Defeated. Until one happy morning when I had the idea to contact Michael, co-owner and publisher of Tradewind Books. Mike took me in despite showing a very thin layer of experience and knowledge in the field of children’s book publishing.

The following Monday I started an internship at Tradewind Books and a teaching assistant position for the Children’s Book Workshop Mike teaches at UBC. Days went by and I felt happy and productive. Mind mapping and quick notes were my way of keeping track of all the information, knowledge, and experience on children’s books Mike has to share. During my internship I learned about web design, copyrights, editing, book design, and the woven network of publishers and editors across the continents. Mike’s wife, Carol, is the art director at Tradewind Books. She is always in tune with what is out there and has an incredible talent to visualize and bring books to life with a fresh breath of art. Along with Carol’s touch is the brilliant work of the graphic designer, Elisa Gutiérrez. An example of their extravagant results is the book Night Sky Wheel Ride.

Night Sky Wheel Ride brings together Sheree Fitch‘s playful poetry and Yayo‘s breath-taking illustrations, in what literally feels like a wheel ride daring adventure into the night! Nothing is impossible, everything is imaginable, and movement is the only permanent thing. All is grand and turning, from apple trees, to laundry machines, all the way into the sky. Anyone who reads this book through will be moved along and thrilled by a contagious joy. Elisa designed this book wonderfully, giving the text movement and life in Yayo’s art work. This book was one of Mike and Carol’s gifts to Georgia and they will always have a special place in our bookshelf. At this stage, Georgia only half pays attention when I read her books, but the musical read and vivid colours sure grasped her attention. She waved her arms around and licked her fingers in delight.

Check out an interview with Yayo on Taleen Hacikyan’s Art Blog.

If I Were a Lion

Who doesn’t love receiving gifts on the good old mail? A couple of days ago, I got startled by an exaggerated door bell noise “Canada Post, I have a package for Georgia Brown.” So I grab Georgia on one arm and run down the stairs. It was a package of treasures: two beautiful pictures books and a green peppa snuggly rabbit (the ones with wool inside especially designed to gather smells, memories, and miles). Precious! Georgia laid beside me wit her peppa near as I flipped through the books. So this post is dedicated to “the other” Brown family in Cawston who sent us these gifts, Corey, Colleen, Simon, and Mia.

Through the Coastal Mountains they travelled. In a beautiful Valley they settled. Healthy and happy chickens they raise. While Simon and Mia thrive in energy, health, and charisma. From the first time I met Simon I’ve been charmed by his adventurous spirit and smiles. And Mia, she is one of a kind. Or, one of my kind. Tough, but so incredibly sweet. She likes the color Pink and doesn’t put up with mean roosters. We don’t see each other as often as I wish but I notice them grow, move on to the next grade, learn riding all kinds of wheels, and hear stories that happen in their own world- acres of backyard where everything is possible. These guys chose the quiet life. Not so quiet when you have rooster and kids running around in the morning. But their home is a place of nurture. I look up to their gentle and respectful ways of parenting. And look out for the blue Toyota whenever I’m in town, just to wave hello.

On to our book… This one, I must say, is one of my favorites of all times. If I Were a Lion written by Sarah Weeks and illustrated by Heather M. Solomon.


The book begins with this young red-haired girl sitting on a corner (time-out chair) and her mother saying “You try my patience, child! I do not like it when you’re wild.” The following spreads take us on a journey of this girl’s imagination. Taking on examples from the wildest animals she goes to portray what wild really is and what wild will do. And why is it that she isn’t wild. The illustrations are fantastic! As if straight from a child’s mind they picture animals going wild inside the girl’s home. Wild coyotes howl to the moon and rummage through the trash, an orca whale splashes in the kitchen sink, seals and walruses scatter around the tiles… Like every child this girl is creative and knows right from wrong. She brings incredible creatures to her home, which turns out in chaos, just to show that if she was wild…. Things would be a lot worse!

I love the playful text and the textured illustrations, which incorporate the girl into images of her fantasy. We make mistakes, we drive our parents crazy, we make a mess, we hide, we can be mean…. One thing is that we have to learn from it, know how to fix it up when we can, and apologize when we can’t. Until one day, we are on the other end, as parents of our own wild child.