What Is Literate Littles?

W e are a site dedicated to providing book reviews, educational resources, and literacy articles to the discerning, conscientious, and proactive parent, caretaker, and educator of infants and young children.  From lesser-knowns to better-knowns, and from Katz to Carle, our reviews aim to be fair, judicious but kind, pragmatic, personable, and professional. We endeavor to be more analytical and comprehensive than the customer reviews found on other websites. Our articles provide essential tips, facts, and helpful anecdotes to assist you in guiding your little learner(s) on a successful literary path.  Our friendly and down-to-earth approach efficiently guides parents in using the best practices for introducing literature. As educators, parents, and critical consumers, we are confident that you will find our resources to be reliable, user-friendly, and helpful.  Overwhelmed with book choices?  Don’t know where to start? Looking to discover literature gems beyond the obvious and predictable choices out there? Find other reviews questionable?  Need a little guidance with how to read to your child?  Looking for fun, hands-on activities to support young children’s literature? Simplify your search and let us be your first stopping place to find the information and support you need.  We are passionate about encouraging parents to foster a love of literature in their littles from early infancy into the early childhood years.  We are here to help!

How We Started: Our Story

L iterate Littles’ conception began before we ever planned its existence.  When Raquel’s son was just an infant, she would send the rest of the family videos and pictures of him reading.  Despite being a rambunctious little guy who wanted to be outside ALL the time, he had an amazing attention span and extraordinary patience to sit through several books. I was so impressed with his ability to focus and comprehend content, as well as his obvious love for books at such a young age.  Though we come from a family of avid readers, I was convinced that the explanation for Kai’s affinity for literature that only grew with age was that my sister had introduced books to him from infancy. When my son, Elias,  was born ten months after Kai, I wanted to ensure that he  had the same love of  literature as his cousin.  Yet, young children’s literature was not as accessible where I live in Quito, Ecuador , especially English books.  So, I knew I would have to order a large quantity of books at one time and wait for my family to bring them down when they visited from the States.  The problem was, where to start?  The more I searched online, the more lost I became! There were just SO many options out there, and I had a limited amount of suitcase space, not to mention the money to buy them. Children’s books can be pricey, especially when you are buying many at one time!  I soon began to realize it mattered a great deal which books I would buy. Which ones were age-appropriate?  Which ones would be appealing to an infant?  Effective for building vocabulary? Stimulating on a variety of levels?  Of course I called my sister for guidance. I knew she had a critical and discriminating eye for children’s books, and I could rely on her personal  experience with Kai.  And of course Elias and I were not disappointed with her suggestions.

It wasn’t long before I began suggesting books and sharing reading tips with my other mom friends  who had infants.  I also became increasingly concerned and alarmed when I realized how many parents did not read to their infants or toddlers.  Perhaps this is more common in Latin America where literacy is not as encouraged as much as in the States, but either way, it became more apparent to me that the literacy challenges I had had with my former students were due to the parents’ lack of education on how to implement early child literacy. Where there is a need, a passion is born, and that’s when the seeds that had been planted for Literate Littles began to grow.  

As our boys have grown, so has their love of literature (and yes, I still call Raquel for book suggestions!).  It has been so exciting and fulfilling to see the fruits of exposing them to literature at such young ages.  It is something that we long to see in every child, but we know that it begins with educating and guiding parents, caretakers, and educators first.

Our Vision

W e are passionate about  providing you with valuable literary resources to enrich your story time with your little(s).  Why do we care so much?  Simply, we love literature and know that the younger our children are exposed to it, the better! As educators, we have seen the difference between students who regularly read at home, and those who do not.  We know the doors of opportunity that will open to children who have a strong literary foundation.  We know how much more children struggle in all of their subjects when reading does not come second nature to them.  We also know how much more work it is for a teacher when he/she has to fill in the literary gaps in the classroom.  We’ve witnessed countless times how a love of reading builds children’s language skills and lexicons, encourages them to make various text connections, teaches them valuable lessons and morals, fosters a love of nature, and strengthens family bonding time as caretakers read with their children. Finally, as parents, we know that besides the many ways books dramatically help a child succeed and excel, there are few things more fulfilling than to see your child simply enjoy a book just for the pure pleasure of it. This is a joy and a love we want to pass on!  

Our dream and vision for the future is to provide tools for educators in English and Spanish for professional development purposes and to help build literacy and promote multilingualism in the U.S and Latin America (well, everywhere really!). I truly believe that education begins with reading, and education is one key to allowing a nation to progress from third world to first world.  We hope and pray that one book at a time, and one child at a time, we can make a difference!

Disclaimer

Please be aware that we attempt to provide fair and kind reviews.  We know that authors and illustrators have worked diligently on their books and are proud of their work, so it is not our aim to destroy their efforts.  We perceive our reviews to be more recommendations, if you will, and within those recommendations we rate books by a five-star system.  Our ratings are determined by factors such as quality of text, illustrations, and physical features, and children’s receptiveness and reactions to the books.  We realize that other’s opinions might differ from ours, however, which is why we encourage our readers to include their kind and fair responses as well in the “comments” section at the end of each review.
Please also be aware that our age recommendations for each book are subjective and flexible.  The age recommendations are just that–recommendations and  guidelines to help our readers choose the most age-appropriate books for their children.   We  recognize that our age recommendations most likely will not apply to children with special needs or children who are learning English as a second language.  We realize that all children develop at different paces, so we encourage you to choose books based on your child’s needs that you know best.