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Life Lessons from Amy

by Miss Heather | Mar 14, 2017
index.aspxI first learned of Amy Krouse Rosenthal from my mother who, at the time, directed an after school program for PreK-5th grade with a staff of about 20 teachers and assistants. Always in search of good material for her staff meetings, she used Amy's book Cookies: Bite-Size Life Lessons as a read-aloud and discussion tool. Each spread uses cookies to illustrate important concepts like respect, loyalty, patience, and trustworthiness. Here are two examples: "Cooperate means, How about you add the chips while I stir?" and "Trustworthy means, If you ask me to hold your cookie until you come back, when you come back, I will still be holding your cookie." What great visuals for children and grown-ups alike! (And a great excuse to serve and eat cookies!) Amy went on to add One Smart Cookie: Bite-Size Lessons for the School Years and Beyond; Sugar Cookies: Sweet Little Lessons on Love; and Christmas Cookies; Bite-Size Holiday Lessons to her set of cookie-themed picture books. That was the beginning of my love for Amy Krouse Rosenthal.

“ADMIRE means, I really look up to you and the way you are with your cookies. You remind me of what is good and possible in this world.”

She subsequently created a wonderful optical illusion book, Duck! Rabbit! that is so much fun to use with groups; two picture books perfect for the classroom, Exclamation Mark and Wumbers; and a pile of picture books that share simple messages including being proud of your uniqueness (Spoon), being satisfied with being just OK (The OK Book), fairness (It's Not Fair) and being happy on one's own (Chopsticks). I've used all these books with visiting classes over the years. Amy endeared her work to me even more when she partnered with my very favorite illustrator, Peter Reynolds, on a few recent books including Plant a Kiss.

9781452126999.pt02Perhaps the loveliest of Amy's books is I Wish You More, a  visually pleasing set of wishes illustrated by Tom Lichtenheld. Chronicle Books, Amy's publisher, recently issued a blog post encouraging readers to send out their own wishes marked #loveforamykrouserosenthal in honor of her last days.

I didn't realize Amy had written books for adults including several memoirs: Encyclopedia of an Ordinary Life, Mother's Guide To The Meaning Of Life: What I've Learned On My Never Ending Quest To Become A Dalai Mama, and Textbook Amy Krouse Rosenthal. I have Encyclopedia on hold currently and hope it is as delightful as her picture books. I wish I had know about these before! Amy's YouTube channel gathers her video projects (of which there are many) with her Ted Talk, 7 Notes on Life likely her most well known.

Here is a link to the Publisher's Weekly obituary for Amy. And another in the New York Times. And in her own words:
"Amy Krouse Rosenthal is a person who likes to make things.
Some things she likes to make:
Children's books.
Grown-up books.
Short films.
Connections with the universe.
Something out of nothing.

**Another tidbit to swell my heart with love for Amy's work? The video in which she demonstrates her great affection for libraries thru her home decor style, "Book Lover Modern." Siiiiiiiiiiigh.

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  • Miss Heather is the Children's Librarian at Shawnee Branch. She likes to bead while listening to audiobooks. She also watches a bit too many tv shows when she should be reading. Her dog, Pookah, is her only "son" and is her shadow wherever she goes.
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