Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Jamie Lee Curtis (copy)


Celebrities who write children’s books often create one quality book for the public. It is a rare occasion when they produce two or more. Bill Cosby was successful in the 90s with his Little Bill series. Then there was Madonna who wrote The English Roses. Publishers were gung-ho and translated it into 30 different languages with distribution in over a hundred countries all before the public read it. This venture was a huge waste of trees.

In the world of children’s books, one celebrity stands out. Jamie Lee Curtis has produced eight quality books to help toddlers become curious, smart and strong children. Each book takes an underlying theme such as empowerment, self control, self awareness, imagination and loss, self esteem, and family and belonging. Don’t let these “new age” words scare you away.

The books were written over a 15 year period when her children were young. Beginning in 1993 with When I was Little: A Four-Year-Old's Memoir Of Her Youth, she said her four-year-old was bragging about her accomplishments. Curtis knew this little human experience would make a great book.

She followed it in 1996 with Tell Me Again: About the Night I was Born. The story put a different slant on the favorite “day I was born” tale because both Curtis children were adopted. Some of the words go, “Tell me again about the first night you were my mommy and you sang the lullaby your mommy sang to you.” The adoption community loves the book and her work began to become noticed through them.

Her audience grew with each successful book and in 2008 she released Books to Grow By Treasury. It is a compilation of four books, When I was Little, I’m Gonna Like Me, Is There Really a Human Race? and Where Do Balloons Go? with a CD read by Curtis.

The Eight Books to Grow By series is excellent if you have preschoolers. The illustrator, Laura Cornell, puts a little funk in the mixture with her curly-cues and vibrant water colors. Kids will take their time pointing out the little funnies that appear throughout her work. In When I was Little the children are laying side-by-side during naptime as one boy looks angry at his neighbor whose foot dangles on his cot. The Cornell/Curtis matchup is a hoot in all these books.

Would my life be any different if I had grown up with these books? I don’t know, but I bet I would smile more.

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