The Parent Quest had the privilege of interviewing Ms. Erin Staggs from The Petite Stag blog. We are excited to have a new community partner who is interested in our children’s education. I highly recommend you follow her blog . Her books reviews are so interesting and from the point of view of a mother and teacher!
Q: How did you get into writing a blog about children’s books?
A: As a teacher, I was surrounded by children and access to tons of great books. One of my favorite parts about teaching was introducing kids to new books, watching them make connections and become readers. I love seeing how a book in the hands of a child can transport and inspire them to do anything they put their minds to. I have a serious passion for literacy and helping families choose books that are high quality, with positive messages, that will make a difference and foster a passion for reading in their children. As a mother, one of the most exciting things I have been able to do is instill a love of books and reading in my petites. It was this love of books and reading the pushed me to start writing The Petite Stag blog.
Q: What were your favorite books as a child?
A: When I was little one my favorite books was Ferdinand by Munro Leaf, I loved this book so much and requested it be read quite often. Another favorite were the Peter Rabbit books, I adored this little fellow and the troubles he would get into. As I got older I remember being so thrilled to read the Little House on the Prairie series on my own and dreaming about what that life would have been like.
Q: Who are your favorite children’s book illustrators?
A: There is something about picture books that I just adore and it is usually the marriage of words and perfectly matched illustrations. When it is done well, it is just perfection. I have a list of artists that I am rather smitten about. Birgitta Siff’s illustrations, I love the complexity in all of her art and how there is always something else to seek and see. Aaron Becker who created Journey as well as Quest the illustrations are simply magical and transcending. Another illustrator who I adore is Emily Winfield Martin who created Dream Animals and Day Dreamers. I also feel compelled to mention Oliver Jeffers and Molly Idle. I really am forcing myself to stop here, there are just so many incredibly talented artists.
Q: Which book has had the greatest impact on your life?
A: There have been many books that have played huge roles in my life. The first was The Old Man and the Sea by Ernest Hemingway; I read it shortly after my grandfather passed away and it made a huge impression on me. Another book that I hold dear is To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee, the life lessons taught in this book are ones we can all learn from. I majored in English in college and spent vast amounts of time reading and find that it is incredibly hard for me to narrow it down to just one book.
Q: What are some of your favorite books to share with children?
A: All of the BabyLit board books, I am rather obsessed with them; they are perfect primers with amazing illustrations showcasing the classics, what is not to love? For older children, I love to give Rosie Revere Engineer, it is a great story all about a young girl who likes to create things and although she makes mistakes, she learns a really important lesson that great things comes from making mistakes and perseverance is the key.
Q: If I could invite some book characters over for a picnic with the petites who would be invited?
A: Well, I think the perfect picnic companions would be Frances Dean (Frances Dean Who Loves to Dance and Dance, Birgitta Siff), Little Red Hot (Little Red Hot, Erik A. Kimmel), Rosie Revere (Rosie Revere Engineer, Andrea Beaty), Lady Bug Girl (Lady Bug Girl, David Soman & Jackie Davis), Sadie (This is Sadie, Sara O’Leary), Julia (Julie’s House for Lost Creatures, Ben Hatke) and I couldn’t forget to add Madeline (Madeline, Ludwig Bemelmans) and Pippi Longstocking (Astrid Lindgren). This would be one amazing picnic full of exciting conversation and adventures.
Q: What is your favorite place to get new books?
A: The public library. We are so fortunate here in Seattle, there are 13 public libraries within a five mile radius of our house – this is amazing. When we find that special book we just cannot part from we get it from one of our amazing local independent bookshops.
Q: What advice would you give to parents about literacy?
A: That reading to your children when they are babies really does help to build a lifelong love of literacy. That the more books you can surround your child with the better; however you don’t have to spend a fortune on books, we get the majority of our books from the local public library for free – with the occasional fine. Also, having your children see you reading makes a huge impression on petites as well. So my best advice, get a library card and spend some quality time reading with your family.