Ya Gotta Love Fab Books AND Giveaways!!!

Yes, I said “giveaway”! Keep reading, my friends….

Recently I was alerted to a pretty hip new (or at least new to me) publishing company called Little Pickle Press.  I know, cute name, right?  Their mission is (and I quote), “Little Pickle Press is dedicated to helping parents and educators cultivate conscious, responsible little people by stimulating explorations of the meaningful topics of their generation through a variety of media, technologies, and techniques.”

Wouldn’t it be dreamy to have a room full of conscious, responsible little friends who are conscious and responsible each and every day they show up to school?


A woman can dream.

Oh, and one of the best parts is that 10% of every book purchase goes straight to the Starlight Children’s Foundation.

And if that wasn’t good ENOUGH, the Little Pickle Press Store has created a promotional code JUST FOR US!!  See, I TOLD you reading this blog would pay off someday.  Simply enter the promo code FLOWERS in when prompted during checkout and receive any TWO of their books along with a complimentary poster all for $29.95!!  CHA-CHING, people, cha-ching.

Let’s catch our breath, shall we?

Anyhow, the peeps over at Little Pickle (say that five times fast) have a new book out called What Does It Mean To Be Present?  by Rana DiOrio.  Very zen, very live in the moment.  Love it.  Here’s a peek at the cover:

I got the privilege of previewing (and reviewing) this fabulous little book and I LOVED IT!  And you know I have a hard time sugar coating things, so I really mean it.  I think this would make a perfect read aloud for the beginning of the school year.  I kind of want to buy a copy for each of my Super Colleagues and mail it off as a Back To School present.  (By the way, sending your teacher friends a back to school gift = amazing idea.  Do it.)

Basically this whole book sets out to answer the question “What does it mean to be present?” I know, huge concept, but they break it down beautifully.  By beginning with and dispelling popular definitions of “present” (e.g. in attendance or a gift) which are also those that will come to mind first for our friends, this book is off to a clear start.

From there, each page has a new notion of what it means to be present, starting with the idea of being present at school.  With gorgeous illustrations, we see children being present by listening, helping and noticing one another, appreciating what they have (Instead of fighting over back packs and Game Boys…do kids even play with Game Boys anymore? I’m so old.) and focusing on the now rather than what comes next (like recess).

Perhaps my favorite part is where the author writes that being present means making mistakes and learning from them.

I mean, can we get a slow clap going up in here or what?  I don’t know how much time I spend talking with my friends about how important mistakes are and how we all learn so much from them and that I can’t do my job without noticing and learning from their mistakes too and blah blah blah…IT’S NOT ALL ABOUT THE RIGHT ANSWER!

Ahem.  Sorry about that…but My Making Mistakes speech is pretty popular.

Back to the book. Then we see children being present at home and in their lives by appreciating their families, homes, food and the world around them.

As a teacher, I totally dug the use of adjectives….I mean, “wiggly puppies”,  “rolling waves” and “cawing seagulls”?  COME ON!  You could totes snag a couple of these pages and use them as a mentor text to elevate the quality of your friends’ writing by adding better describing words.  * sigh *  To read a story with words other than “big” and “happy”….

And can you say “amazing springboard for a book talk”?  ‘Cuz this one would be great!  I would SO use this book to start off my year, not only because it would be great to use to establish routines for talking about and enjoying books together, but because the larger message is one you could build your entire classroom culture around.


If I haven’t sold you on this book already, the whole thing is printed in an environmentally friendly fashion. There are even details in the back about the energy that was saved by making such conscious choices.  And, if you’re interested, Little Pickle Press offers two other titles (for now): What Does It Mean To Be Green? and What Does It Mean To Be Global?  Check them out over at their store

Let’s get to the giveaway part, shall we?  The author has graciously donated 3 signed copies of her book and 3 posters to be given away on this blog.  There are three ways to win…try one, try ’em all and good luck!

Three Ways To Enter:

* Leave a comment on this post…maybe something about how you would use a book like this in your classroom.  I’ll pick a winner using a random number generator.
* Leave a comment over at  Little Pickle Press on Facebook.  The comment that gets the most “likes” will win the signed book and poster so BE CREATIVE and FABULOUS.  (You know, be yourselves.)
* Sign up to follow Little Pickle Media on Twitter.  One random follower will be chosen by Little Pickle to win.

Annnnnnnddddd  GO!

The contest starts today and ends on Saturday, August 14th.  I’ll announce the winner on Sunday the 15th on the old bloggy blog, so keep your eyes peeled.

One last thing for today. If you’re totally into all this, click on over to see Little Pickle Press’ Big Contest to name their next book!  What Does It Mean To Be _______?  You fill in the blank!

I’d vote for What Does It Mean To Be Fabulous, but that seems to be more in line with my mission…

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  • I would use the book "What does it mean to be Green?" to talk about recycling or during Earth day discussions. These books look great!

    August 5, 2010 at 1:01 pm
  • I always talk to my students about being active listeners and active learners (as opposed to passive), so this would be a great way to do that. Such an important concept too…make the most of what you have now rather than spending the time thinking about what you're going to do.

    Love it!!

    August 5, 2010 at 3:02 pm
  • Oh my! I would use this book with my staff at the beginning of the year, THEN with my classroom. And I would love to have my 5th graders read it to the younger ones and explain to THEM what this concept means. SO COOL!!! 🙂

    August 5, 2010 at 3:02 pm
  • Great review! I love this little book — it's on my Christmas AND teachers' shopping lists!


    August 5, 2010 at 3:02 pm
  • I'm a special ed teacher, and I would use the book to teach my darling ADHD friends about the concept of "being present." Then I could incorporate it in into our classroom vocabulary so that I could use that as a reminder instead of waving my arms around and yelling "HELLO?!?!?" 😉

    August 5, 2010 at 3:02 pm
  • Mrs. Mimi – you are the best! Why did I not have a cool teacher like you growing up? LOL. What a great review. 🙂

    August 5, 2010 at 3:02 pm
  • Great post on an amazing company. I would really use the what does it mean to be present book like you stated for a first day or so read aloud. We are focusing on mindset this year and this book would really help students to get into the growth mindset, plus enviro friendly is right up my alley. Also thanks for the great posts on childrens books, I look forward to reading those whenever they get posted.

    August 5, 2010 at 3:02 pm
  • "What Does it Mean to be Present?" would be such a great book to use in my classroom management! I like using little phrases from books or situations to remind my friends of what is expected of them. I can imagine reading this book and using the question "Are you in the present?" (or something like it) when they are arguing (which seems to happen ALL the time!). Thanks, Mrs. Mimi!

    August 5, 2010 at 3:02 pm
  • I teach high school friends. You know, the ones who are soooo tough but are just craving a little love. I *would* read them this book, and then, after we talked about it and how it relates to Buddhism and Hinduism (that we studied last year)…. THEY would each write their own "What does it mean…" book. And then we'd get them all bound and pretty like (ala 4th grade, which I'm not sure they did much of since they've been getting suspended since then) and then we'd go on a field trip to the elementary school and find us some reading buddies.

    I think I just banged out a unit plan, right here on your blog… sweet!

    August 5, 2010 at 3:02 pm
  • Oh, "What Does It Mean To Be Present" sound like the perfect book to read to my little friends in a little over a week (yikes) when they return to school! They sometime struggle with why it is, they have to spend 7 hours a day with me…and as fun and exciting as I am, sometimes that just isn't enough to get them out of bed and on the school bus each day! Thanks for sharing and even if I don't win…I am going to buy this book. The others sounds aweosme too!

    August 5, 2010 at 3:02 pm
  • I would love to use What Does It Mean To Be Present? to help build classroom community.

    August 5, 2010 at 3:51 pm
  • The Green book is a no brainer. I don't carry around a rockin', totally fab "Green Girl" water bottle for nothing. It would be a natural extension of what I already do that can be shared. We have a new global initiative at school. This year we are creating the model global citizen. I think I know the perfect book to share… Insert jeopardy tune here…

    Thanks for sharing!

    August 5, 2010 at 3:51 pm
  • A great read together and discuss book for colleagues and students as we begin the new school year together

    August 5, 2010 at 4:31 pm
  • I'd love to see "What Does It Mean to be Smart?" that focuses on multiple intelligences!

    The Present one would be great for when we teach multiple-meaning words, too!

    August 5, 2010 at 4:31 pm
  • heart. this. series. must. have. it. "What does it mean to be present?" how bout not freaking out if you didn't get a 210 on the math state test!!?? This would be great at the start of the school year in an assembly with all our k-5 students. OH YAA! totally just came up with the best teacher skit in my head ever!

    August 5, 2010 at 4:31 pm
  • You've inspired an idea! I'm not a teacher but I am a mother and now a grandmother. So why not donate a little time to go to the local elementary school and read these books to one or more classes and then donate a copy to the teacher.
    N. R. Williams, fantasy author

    August 5, 2010 at 4:31 pm
  • This sounds like a great book to use with my class this year! I have 18 boys who are all there but are they really there? I also always try to establish a family atmosphere, I think I'm in love! What does it mean to be green also sounds like a fabulous book because third graders never seem to understand it when I explain what it means!

    August 5, 2010 at 4:55 pm
  • These sound like great books! I always tell my kids that I always try to be green and I don't think they truly understand what that means even after I explain it. I'm excited to see the new book but it sounds like a book I could use with my class of 18 boys that all seem to have just a tad of ADHD, but who doesn't?

    August 5, 2010 at 4:55 pm
  • Looks great! I would use this with my counseling kiddos…

    August 5, 2010 at 7:52 pm
  • This sounds awesome! I would use it with my counseling kiddos…

    August 5, 2010 at 7:52 pm
  • This is so great. I am using the Responsive Classroom approach next year, and this book fits right in! I love picture books and so this is right up my ally. This goes with everything I will be trying to teach my friends this year- how to care about everything from their school work to friends. Thanks!

    August 5, 2010 at 7:52 pm
  • Those books sound amazing! I'm always looking to expand my classroom library!

    August 5, 2010 at 7:52 pm
  • This is an excellent review — I love your enthusiasm and conversational style. Nice job.

    August 5, 2010 at 7:52 pm
  • Pick mePick mePick mePick mePick mePick mePick me.

    What? That's a comment! 😉

    Seriously, loving the idea of this book. I fantasized about doing a read a loud in my social skills group with the little poppits.

    Pick mePick mePick mePick mePick mePick mePick me

    August 5, 2010 at 7:52 pm
  • These books look fantastic! I would definitely use these with my firsties! =)

    August 6, 2010 at 12:16 am
  • What does it meant to be present sounds wonderful. I would want to read it to my oldest child, who starts Kindergarten this year. I would read it in class if I still was working directly with the munchkins. But I'm not, so I'm thinking about reading it in one of the teacher workshops I'm teaching. What a great way to get the minds of tired teachers focusing again on why they are in class after teaching a long day!

    August 6, 2010 at 12:16 am
  • What does it mean to be present sounds sooo adorable. I'd love to start my kids year with that book and use it throughout the year. I teach kindergarten but it sounds like it breaks it down enough. I have sort of a running joke in my life about being zen (which obviously I'm not) so I think it would be fun to teach the kiddos about it!

    August 6, 2010 at 2:02 am
  • This book sounds like a fabulous gift idea! I was just thinking about what to do for my super colleagues to start their year off in the right direction. Thanks for the idea!

    August 6, 2010 at 10:44 am
  • I'd love to use this book with my first grade friends at the beginning of the year. What Does It Mean to Be Present? sounds like it would go along wonderfully with all of our discussions about taking responsibility for your own learning, increasing independence, and the importance of making mistakes. This year I was planning on having my little friends create a class book for each of my school's core values (responsibility, respect, honesty, etc.) during the first few weeks of school. I think we could tie this book in well, and create class books called What Does It Mean to Be Responsible?, etc.

    August 6, 2010 at 5:56 pm
  • Coming together at the beginning of the school year is like forming a family. Every member has Its place and value…And itt's a journey. This book would be an awesome read aloud and it would especially compliment the start of the school year for my first grade community.

    August 6, 2010 at 5:56 pm
  • I would love to win this book. It would be a great read aloud during the first few weeks of school!

    I work in a school where sometimes the kidos have more worries, than an elementary child should. This would be a great way to help them rememeber how to be "present" at school! Plus, it could also be a reminder that the teachers are always "present" for them!

    August 6, 2010 at 5:56 pm
  • Okay, so I am taking your fab idea and I'd use this book as a mentor text for adjectives. I think I'd read it at the beginning of the year, and then bring it back as an old fave to do the adjective lesson. And I'd try to help them realize the power of adjectives by omitting them then reading it again with adjectives and discussing the difference. Okay, whose pumped up now?!

    August 6, 2010 at 5:56 pm
  • The past two years our principal has picked a new picture book to read to each and every class in our elementary school. Then each teacher used the book to teach a lesson about community and/or about being a global citizen. I bet we could use "What does it Mean to Be Present" in a similar way to create a common language to talk to our students.
    -Pigtailed Teacher

    August 7, 2010 at 7:23 am
  • Wow! My teammate and I were just talking about what book we wanted to use to start the year…The Present sounds perfect, even for my fifth graders. We want to do some kind of bucket list, passing it forward type environment this year, and it sounds like it fits right in!

    August 7, 2010 at 7:23 am
  • Ms. Mimi thank you for sharing this book. I have added it to my want list for the new school year(which starts on the 16th!).
    This book seems like the perfect addition to my classroom library.
    It seems like my friends would just love to have a book telling them why it's important to be a part of the day every day.
    So neat!

    August 7, 2010 at 7:23 am
  • "What Does It Mean To Be Present?" sounds like it would be a fab read-aloud to go along with a Reader's Workshop mini-lesson! I am already back to school with my little friends and we have already written our class promise that includes always trying our best-so this book would fit right in!!

    August 7, 2010 at 7:23 am
  • I wouldn't limit this to elementary…I think it would be perfect for starting a discussion and collaborating on classroom norms with my middle schoolers.

    August 7, 2010 at 7:23 am
  • Just ordered the book and poster "What Does it Mean to be Green" to share with my 7th grade science classes. I can't wait! I watched the video on LPP website – awesome with the kids narrating! Looking forward to inspiring my kids to make tech presentations about how they are green, too!

    August 7, 2010 at 6:31 pm
  • I would use the book as an introduction on the first day of school with my 6th graders. Even 6th graders need reinforcement about being present in class.

    August 7, 2010 at 11:35 pm
  • I am going to teach Kindergarten this year and I think this books (as well as the other two they have done) sounds like such a great way to help Kinder Kiddos learn about school and how to appreciate being there and how great it is!

    I really hope I win but either way I am definitely getting this book!!!


    August 9, 2010 at 2:03 am
  • Mrs Mimi – I'm a second grade teacher in Colorado, a fan of your blog and your book, and it looks like I will become a fan of this book as well! Thanks for sharing it.

    August 9, 2010 at 12:07 pm
  • Such fabulous books! I'd love to share What Does it Mean to Be Green with my kiddos when I do my month-long unit on the Earth and recycling!

    August 13, 2010 at 6:05 pm
  • Congratulations to the winner! Guaranteed to be one of your favorites in your library! I plan to give this book to friends…young, middle age and rushed! Great message, great illustrations, beautiful colors and a peaceful butterfly!

    August 15, 2010 at 9:33 pm

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