Here Are 5 Unplugged Activities for Spring!

Spring is upon us! With warmer weather comes more opportunities to play outside! Here are 5 unplugged activities for you and your family this spring!

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Learn the ABC’s With June Smalls And Her Odd Animals!

June Smalls loves letters and odd animals, and she’s written the perfect picture book that combines the two!

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3 Books to Make Bedtime Easier!

Bedtime is a common struggle for parents! Here are 3 bedtime stories sure to put you and your little one at ease!

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Read the Rainbow | Sarah Jones And Her Colorful Board Book Series!

Sarah Jones teaches us important concepts through her beautifully illustrated ROYGBaby series!

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Dialogic Reading and How it Helps Your Baby's Brain!

Dialogic reading gets the grown-up and the child to actively analyze books as you read them! Learn more about dialogic reading and see what books we have to help practice this skill!

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Get To Know Author & Illustrator Doug Cenko! 

Get to know one of blue manatee press’s authors and illustrators, Doug Cenko!

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Here are 4 Ways to Say "I Love You" This Valentine's Day!

Tell your baby “I love you” in a special way this Valentine’s Day! Here are 4 special ways to say “I love you”!

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Use This Guide to Help You Build Your Baby's Brain!

Reading to your newborn baby for the first full year is so important for brain development! Let us make it easier for you with these easy-to-follow steps!

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Happy Birthday Fiona! Celebrate Fiona The Hippo's Second Birthday at the Cincinnati Zoo!

It’s Fiona the Hippo’s 2nd birthday! Here’s how she’s celebrating the milestone!

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Here Are 5 New Year’s Resolutions You Can Do With Your Baby!

A new year is upon us! With a few days under 2019’s belt, it’s time to put to practice some of those new year’s resolutions! Here are 5 easy-to-follow resolutions for you and your baby to lead a healthy, mindful 2019!

1. Read more books!

Babies are constantly learning by sound! Read to your baby for 15 minutes a day from birth! They may not understand what you’re saying yet, but they sure do love the sound of your voice!

 
I Want To Be a Reader!   written by Mark Powers and illustrated by Maria Montag

I Want To Be a Reader! written by Mark Powers and illustrated by Maria Montag

 

2. Learn a new language!

Learning more than one language is good for baby’s brain, and yours too! Being multilingual improves cognitive and social-emotional development, learning, and the chances for long-term success!

 
In Spring…En Primavera…  written by Susana Madinabeitia Manso and photo-illustration by Emily Hanako Momohara

In Spring…En Primavera…written by Susana Madinabeitia Manso and photo-illustration by Emily Hanako Momohara

 

3. Get involved with nature!

Did you know that 1/3 of the food people and animals eat will only grow if pollinated by bees? There’s so much to learn and to teach yourself and your baby! Get outdoors to learn and play together!

 
Sleepy Bee  , written by John Hutton and art by Sandra Gross

Sleepy Bee, written by John Hutton and art by Sandra Gross

 

4. Eat healthier!

Between 4-6 months of age, your baby is ready to have 1 to 2 tablespoons of plain, strained fruits and vegetables up to twice a day!

 
Allie’s Garden  , written by Sabra Chebby and illustrated by Marla Osborn

Allie’s Garden, written by Sabra Chebby and illustrated by Marla Osborn

 

5. Slow down and embrace mindfulness!

Babies respond to your emotional cues, which makes it so important to self-soothe! Try mindful breathing or simply smiling, and you and your baby will feel more peaceful!

 
When We Are Quiet   written by Stacy Sims and illustrated by Sharareh Khosravani

When We Are Quiet written by Stacy Sims and illustrated by Sharareh Khosravani

 

What are your new year’s resolutions? Let us know in the comments! Don’t forget to follow blue manatee press on instagram @bluemanateepress for your daily dose of books, art and inspiration!

Here Are Our 8 Favorite Reading Spots For Winter!

The days are shorter and the nights are colder—yes, winter is officially here, the perfect time to jump into a new book! Here are our eight favorite spots to read in the wintertime!

1. With a view!

Too cold to go outside? Stay inside with a good book and read by the window!

 
Tito’s Inferno  , written by Dr. John Hutton,   is a play on Dante’s Inferno!

Tito’s Inferno, written by Dr. John Hutton, is a play on Dante’s Inferno!

 

2. By the fire!

Baby, it’s cold outside! Warm up by the fireplace while you flip through the pages!

 
Papa can be a lot of things, find out what in   My Papa is a Princess  , written and illustrated by Doug Cenko!

Papa can be a lot of things, find out what in My Papa is a Princess, written and illustrated by Doug Cenko!

 

3. At a bookstore!

A bookstore is the best place to finish a book, because you can pick up another one right away!


 
The blue manatee press books are sold all across America! Check your  local bookstore !

The blue manatee press books are sold all across America! Check your local bookstore!

 

4. In a café!

Grab a handful of your favorite books and get comfortable at your favorite local café or restaurant!

 
Sleepy Solar System   walks us through the all-important bedtime routine! Written by Dr. John Hutton and illustrated by Doug Cenko!

Sleepy Solar System walks us through the all-important bedtime routine! Written by Dr. John Hutton and illustrated by Doug Cenko!

 

5. In a pillow fort!

Nothing screams “cozy” quite like a pillow and blanket fort!

 
Something must’ve looked familiar to this reader in the board book   Dogs!   written by Dr. John Hutton and illustrated by Doug Cenko!

Something must’ve looked familiar to this reader in the board book Dogs! written by Dr. John Hutton and illustrated by Doug Cenko!

 

6. At school!

Catch up on your homework early and spend down time in your favorite fictional world!

 
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7. At the library!

Get happily lost in the stacks and stacks of books!

 
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8. Cozy on the couch with your family!

A book is always better with a loved one!

 
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Where do you and your family like to read together in the winter? Comment below to give us some ideas, and don’t forget to follow blue manatee press on instagram @bluemanateepress for your daily dose of books, art and inspiration!

Get To Know Illustrator Erin Barker!

Have you ever tried something and the first time around it didn’t go how you wanted? It can be disheartening for something to not work out how you envisioned it!

Well we’re here to tell you that it’s okay to make mistakes, and the important thing to do is to try again! But don’t just take our word for it—Cincinnati-based illustrator Erin Barker says that trial and error is all part of the process.

Erin Barker in her home studio

Erin Barker in her home studio

Who is Erin Barker?

Erin graduated from Asbury University with a fine arts and painting degree in 2011. After graduation, she went on to work in graphic design before dabbling in the world of illustration.

“I didn’t take it seriously as an option until I took a desk job that was a bad fit for me. I was really creatively starved during that time in my life, so I took on a lot of illustration projects on the side and worked on those in the evenings,” she says.

In April 2018, Erin illustrated What Is Soft?, written by Susan Kantor, through blue manatee press.

What Is Soft?   written by Susan Kantor and illustrated by Erin Barker

What Is Soft? written by Susan Kantor and illustrated by Erin Barker

Try and Try Again!

Erin’s experience illustrating What Is Soft? put to practice the age-old advice we’ve all heard: If at first you don’t succeed, try and try again!

 “A book is a totally different medium than anything else I’ve done,” she says. “It was a challenge for me at the beginning. I had some confidence issues. A couple of the first pieces I worked on, for whatever reason, they weren’t turning out the way I wanted them to. I think I set myself very high expectations that I have to get something right the first time. So it was slightly discouraging that I had to do something over again.”

You cannot always get things right the first time, and that’s okay.
— Erin Barker on first attempts

That process of trying and trying again became an important life lesson for her. “You cannot always get things right the first time, and that’s okay,” she says. “In fact, the more you do it, the second or third one is always going to be better than the first one because you’re solving problems along the way. There are instances in the first one where something is captured that you cannot duplicate. But sometimes you don’t know the first trial is the best one until you do a second or third.”


Erin Barker at the 2018 Books by the Banks in Cincinnati, Ohio

Erin Barker at the 2018 Books by the Banks in Cincinnati, Ohio

Sketches from Erin’s children’s first illustrated book  What Is Soft?  written by Susan Kantor

Sketches from Erin’s children’s first illustrated book What Is Soft? written by Susan Kantor

What’s Next?

We’re so excited about Erin’s future book projects with blue manatee press! “I definitely want to keep making books,” she says.

“I love storytelling! I’m working on two book projects, one I’m illustrating, and one I’m writing and illustrating. I’m really excited, but also a little nervous. They’re both really fun projects!”


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When is a time where your tried something new and learned from the mistakes? Comment below to help inspire us!

To see more of Erin’s work and to get to know her better, be sure to follow her on instagram @hooraylorraine, and don’t forget to follow blue manatee press @bluemanateepress for your daily dose of art and inspiration!