Because I Had a Teacher


It seems like the last few months have just flown by and we are now on a race to the end of the school year.  As a former teacher those last few weeks edging toward summer are an incredibly special time of year, in fact I believe they are magic, there is so much energy in your classroom, the days are getting hotter and longer and the excitement for summer builds with each passing day.  As a parent, this time of year is incredibly important as well, because it is a time for our family to recognize the hard work and dedication of the teachers that serve our daughter.  Today, we are sharing a really special book with you all.

Teacher_Jacket and Case_test

I have to say I am a huge fan of Kobi Yamada and his writing, my family loves his two books What Do You Do With An Idea? and What Do You Do With a Problem?  They are absolutely wonderful books that belong in every single classroom and school library.  Mr. Yamada has an incredible talent, in that he is able to connect with kids through his words and stories.  So when I heard that a new book as coming out, that was entitled Because I Had a Teacher, well I just knew it had to be swoon worthy and guess what?  It is!

Because I Had a Teacher 3

Because I Had a Teacher by Kobi Yamada and Illustrated by Natalie Russell (Compendium Inc, 2017) is am homage to great teachers everywhere.  To teachers who inspire, care, support, create spaces for learning and overall make a difference in the lives of our children on a daily basis.

Because I Had a Teacher 2

This darling little book filled with heartwarming illustrations that evoke a sense of whimsy and wonder.  This book could be told from the point of view of a child or an adult reminiscing about their favorite teacher.  Either way, it is a perfect read for little ones as well as a touching gift for a favorite teacher or mentor.

Because I Had A Teacher

Our favorite part of the entire book is the final line:

Because I had you, I learned to believe in me

If you are not familiar with Kobi Yamada and his other works you will need to get to your local library or bookseller, his books always cause you to think, to wonder, to appreciate and best of all to believe in yourself and your own abilities.  This book does just that, we hope you enjoy it as much as we do!

Bloggers Note: We want to thank Compendium for the use of images in this post.


Maggi and Milo…Going on a Frog Hunt

When I was a little girl, my Papa built me a critter box, it was one of my most prized possessions.  I would search all over for frogs and salamanders.  I would explore the irrigation ditches and small creeks and ponds looking for frogs or crawdads.  It was so much fun.  Now I am fortunate enough that my petites loves to look for frogs as well.

Petite and Frog

When I saw Maggi and Milo by Juli Brenning and illustrations by Priscilla Burris I immediately had to get my hands on it and read it to my girls.  It was a huge hit!

Maggi and Milo

This story is fantastic in so many ways, let’s first take a closer look at our protagonist Maggi is quite perfect – I adore that she wears glasses.  What I love more is that she is described as “an excellent adventurer, a pretty good songwriter, a bit of a scientist”.

Her very best friend is Milo is a boarder collie.  Maggi’s grandma sends her a package with all the necessities for a frog hunt – boots and knowledge (knowledge is a book).  I absolutely love the idea that her Grandma send her a package with knowledge and boots, this is beyond the cutest idea.  The petite is so excited, honestly who wouldn’t be?

She is a petite with a plan, but like most grand plans, sometimes they don’t turn out as you expect.  These two darlings have an eventful day and are even able to catch some frogs – this book is fabulous.  If you have a little one who loves to explore and have an adventure then this book is for them.  If you want to pair this book with the gift that Maggi’s grandma gave her here are some options.


Happy Hunting!


Petite Knights and Princesses

The girls received some really fabulous books for Christmas one in particular from their Aunt and Uncle – is a counting book, but not what you might expect.

Over at the Castle

Over at the Castle by Boni Ashburn with illustrations by Kelly Murphy is a story all about patience and counting.  This is a story that is so much fun to read, it has a very lyrical property based on the folk song ‘Over the Meadow’ and the counting that takes place is almost like a scavenger hunt for the petites.  It all starts out as an a mother dragon and her little one are sitting in the sun.  The counting continues and is a fun look at castle life.  It continues through their day and ends with a very unexpected ending.  I love the smooth illustrations, how the little dragon is clearly excited for something to happen all day and has to patiently wait while watching all that is happening at the castle below.  My petite commented on how it would be hard to wait all day for something fun to happen.

The next book I wanted to share with you is also a counting book about a more an urban dragon.

Have You Seen My Dragon
In Have You Seen My Dragon? by Steve Light you will find a charming protagonist as he searches the city for his missing and quite mischievous dragon.  The illustrations in this book, especially of the dragon have a Celtic feel to them.  The city scape that Steve Light has created is so detailed and intricate, you cannot possibly see all that there is to see in one reading.

Another aspect that my girls enjoyed is the items that you are counting, the dragon and protagonist are the only items that are in color in the book.  Making finding the busses or hot dogs all the more easy for tinnier petites.  I love this story, I think it’s brilliantly illustrated.

Perfectly Paired

These books would be perfectly paired with any of these amazing building block sets.

Fairy Tale Block set

Fairy Tale Blocks: 35 pieces, two horses, carriage that rolls, prince & princes

Plan Toys Fairy Tale Blocks A few years ago the petite received this really fun building block set from her Auntie, this building set is from Plan Toys, if you haven’t heard about these toys here is why they are fabulous:

PlanToys® is not only well-known for the first company in the world to manufacture wooden toys from preservative-free rubberwood, it is one of the leading company to create new material and process to minimize waste up to zero.

I love a toy company that has a mission like this, that is making really great toys, that last, kids love and are good for the environment.  The girls love these blocks and have had hours of time building and playing with them.  There are tons of really special block sets to suit your petites building needs. Plan Toys Fantasy Blocks or Plan Toys Castle Blocks

Fantasy Blocks

Fantasy Blocks: 60 pieces, functional catapult, king & queen, knight, two horses and dragon

Castle Blocks

Castle Blocks: 35 pieces, knights, horse

The girls do a lot of building and we have looked into adding to their current collection of blocks.  One of the sets that we found that we wanted to get on the floor and play with are from TreeHaus. Treehaus Wood Castle Blocks

TreeHause Castle Blocks

Castle Blocks: 74 pieces

I love it when a new book is introduced to the petites and they immediately want to go and embark on an activity, whether it is drawing or building with blocks.  These two books are inspiring and will surely inspire your petites to create something grand.

Out of the Mouths of Babes

Kids say the darndest things.  When I was teaching I would love all of the silly things kids would tell me about their families.  I would quietly giggle at how honest and truthful they were if sometimes a bit disparaging.  When my oldest starting talking I was sure I would remember all of the really funny things she said, but as time when by I realized I needed to write these wonderful little statements down.  This way when she is older I can share with her just how incredibly cute, charming and funny the things she said as a petite were.

My quotable kid

Source: Chronicle Books

I came across this book a few years ago at a local store and fell in love with it.  It is small and beautifully bound.  There is a page in the front where you can add a photo of your petite, this is the perfect keepsake and place to jot down all the silly things the little ones say.

If you order if from Chronicle Books you can have it personalized with your petites name, making it all the more unique and special.

Source: Chronicle Books

Source: Chronicle Books

I love that there is just enough space to write quotes, in some of the books that I have seen there is a really large amount of space to write down quotes which seems wasteful – this book is perfect.

I feel compelled to share some of the things my petite has said that have made it into the pages of the book:

When she was 3

Petite: Mom, what’s a wombie?

Mom: A what?

Petite: a wom-bee

Mom: oh…a zombie

Petite: Yeah, a wombie.

When I was very pregnant with her little sister and she saw my bare belly:

Petite: Oh no Mommy you’ve broken your belly.

Mom: What do you mean?

Petite: Well, look at all those cracks in your tummy

When she was 4

Mom: You can do anything you put your mind to, you have to believe in yourself.

Petite: Yeah, like if I see a brown bear I can kill it with a big sword and it will have blood down its back.

Just the other day

Petite: Hey Mommy, how did you put your germs all over daddy and make him sick?

Mom: I don’t know, I guess I just breathed on him

Petite: But, why did you put your germs on him? 

Perfect Presents for Petites

I have loved learning about Jane Goodall my entire life.  She is a remarkable woman who is an incredible role model to  little girls everywhere.  She had a dream and she stuck with it and made it her reality.  There are a number of books out there about her and her life’s work.


Source Amazon

“There are so many people who have dreamed seemingly unattainable dreams and, because they never gave up, achieved their goals against all the odds, or blazed a path along which others could follow…They inspire me.  They inspire those around them.” – Jane Goodall

Me…Jane by Patrick McDonnell is a Caldecott Honor Book for a reason.  This book has lovely illustrations of Jane as a child and how her dream of growing up to help animals became her reality.  This book highlights Jane’s curiosity, desire for adventure and her imagination.  All things that are so important to foster in young children.  At the end of this book there is a message from Jane where she encourages everyone to make the world a different place. I love this book.  I believe that this book should be in the hands of all small girls.


Source: Amazon


Jane 2

Source: Amazon




Jellycat Monkey

The story highlights Jane with her stuffed monkey Jubilee here is a fantastic little monkey that would pair nicely with this book.  Jellycat stuffed animals are a favorite of my girls, they are so soft and well made.  Another important fact about them is that they are made with quality materials that aren’t toxic to petites.

I love this gift idea, I can imagine any petite would love to have a fantastic story read to them while snuggling their own Jubilee.