Children’s Book Giveaway: sign language board books.
October 26, 2010

I have mentioned this before, but Donald and I sign with Charlotte.  We aren’t very GOOD signers, but we do our best.  People ask us all the time why we chose to use sign language with our daughter – and the truth is really boring.  I have hearing loss.  We sign with Charlotte in the hopes that we can establish a foundation.  It’s a foundation that we may never need, but if I ever lose so much of my hearing that everyday interactions become more difficult, then it’s a foundation that may come in handy.

See?  Boring.

At any rate, the books that I am featuring today – a series of sign language board books written and illustrated by Annie Kubler and Anthony Lewis – are a reflection of our use of sign language in our home.  Any parent who has ever introduced their child to sign language can tell you that it is HARD, but in our experience, these books help out immensely.

The six books that we most love in our home have the same basic layout.  Each board book has a theme – meals, animals, playtime, etc. – and on each page a number of signs are illustrated and described.  In the book of animal signs, for example, a baby is shown making the sign for a lion.  Beside the child is a small lion and above the illustration is the word LION with a written description of how to form the sign.  On the back of each board book is a key of signs that demonstrates what the descriptions refer to when they indicate a cupped hand or an open palm.

Of course, there are ten books in the series, and the other four books are fun as well.  Those four all pick a nursery song – such as Baa, Baa, Black Sheep – and illustrate babies performing a few signs to go along with the song.  For us, these books are a fun way to incorporate music into our signing.  Charlotte always gets a big kick out of them and I love knowing the signs that go along with a few nursery rhymes.  Sometimes I catch her flipping the pages and signing the song to herself and I just about die from the cuteness.

Overall, these books are BRILLIANT.  I can point to any illustration, explain what the illustration is all about, and make an accurate sign to accompany the illustration.  And at one year old, Charlotte loves them.  She loves looking at the babies, of course, but she also gets a big kick out of signing with me.  We spend large chunks of each day signing back and forth over the books.  The illustrations are immensely helpful; my daughter recognizes animals and activities in other books and tries to sign them as well.  And although the books do not cover every term that any family could ever need, they are a great starting point.

Last, but not least, one of the primary reasons that I adore these books is because the illustrator included children of all sorts within the pages.  The babies signing are all different.  There are babies with hearing aids or in wheelchairs…and babies standing and walking.  There are babies of all skin colors and ethnic backgrounds.  There are boys and girls.  This has been, I admit, one of my favorite things about these books.  I wish there were more books that showed a variety of children of all colors and abilities.

Pros: The illustrations are cute and tots love them.  The descriptions are easy to follow and the sign language is fun!  Even if you don’t sign with your child, using sign language in books like these can be a fun way to involve them in reading sight words that apply to their daily life.

Cons: None.

Borrow or Buy: BUY!  Even if you don’t use sign language, these books are a great way to have fun with a small child.  In our household, the hands-down favorite is the animal signs board book.  My child will happily sign wolf! wolf! wolf! until the cow! cow! cows! come home.  I personally think that every library system should have these books available as a means of involving hearing impaired children in the love of reading as well.

What to do: You can enter this giveaway by leaving a comment below or sending me an e-mail answering this: did you, do you, or would you sign with your kiddos?  All you need is an e-mail address.  The giveaway ends Sunday evening at 9 P.M. Pacific Time and the winners will be announced next Tuesday morning.  You can leave one entry every day, for a total of up to six entries.  Parents who are hearing impaired or who have a child who is hearing impaired have first dibs.

If you are hearing impaired or have a child who is hearing impaired: please e-mail me.  This is, of course, on the honor system.  So please don’t lie.

To purchase this book: You can buy any of the Sign About board books through Amazon.com or locate a local retailer through Indie Bound.org.  The books are listed below:
    1.    My First Signs
    2.    My First Animal Signs
    3.    Play Time
    4.    Meal Time
    5.    Going Out
    6.    Getting Ready
    7.    Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star
    8.    Baa, Baa, Black Sheep
    9.    Itsy Bitsy Spider
    10.    Teddy Bear, Teddy Bear

An announcement: The winner of last week’s book giveaway was Kate.  Congratulations, Kate!


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  1. By Bethany on October 26, 2010

    We have been signing with Olivia since she was around 6 months old and it has really been a blessing for our household. Olivia has a speech delay as a result of Epilepsy. Using sign language helped us communicate with her. Plus, I find it so darn adorable watching her sign. :)

  2. By Mallory on October 26, 2010

    I do sign with Des and find that it has been so helpful in us communicating.

  3. By on October 26, 2010

    I don’t sign with my son but have really wanted to give it a try.

  4. By Kimberly o'Rosky on October 26, 2010

    I would definitely sign with my Charlotte! I know ‘all done’ and ‘more’ but would really love to learn more words. I’m so excited that you featured these books. The illustrations are great. Going straight onto my amazon wish list!

  5. By on October 26, 2010

    I never thought I would want to sign with my kids, but I have a friend who uses signs with her child, and it sure helps her! I would love to be able to communicate with my daughter before she can speak.

  6. By Sara on October 26, 2010

    I desperately try to sign with my daughter, but when I sign, she was “talks” ba baba, back (I just love her sweet little babytalk). But, we sometimes do “more”, if i’m not doling out th slices of pears fast enough.) But, these books look like so much fun to keep learning!

  7. By on October 26, 2010

    I have started sign language with my daugter, bought myself a book to learn, but having a book for her would be fantastic!

  8. By christy on October 26, 2010

    My son is now 3 months and I cant wait to teach him to sign life’s essentials:  hungry, tired, potty, cold, etc.

  9. By Mailis on October 26, 2010

    We are signing a little…and only signs to do with eating. Jude is a terrible eater, and it is good to know what is going on in his head in this regard.

  10. By Crystal on October 26, 2010

    So far we’ve only done a little signing with him but we hope to more.

  11. By Mary @ Parenthood on October 26, 2010

    We sign!  Elizabeth is an early and prolific talker but although our extended family thought we’d stop using the signs that hasn’t been the case at all.

    Signs are so helpful for distinguishing between words.  If it weren’t for the help sign, we NEVER would have figured out Elizabeth’s word for “help”.  It sounds a lot like “Ba”.  Actually it also sounds a lot like her word for ball, and her word for doll.  I’ll never ever forget the time that Elizabeth was at the church nursery and trying to put a toy together with the encouragement of a well meaning helper.  “Ba, Ba, BA!“, Elizabeth said, and clapped (her version of the help sign).  “Oh, do you see the sheep?“ said the volunteer.  “Isn’t it exciting?“  I intervened in the nick of time to prevent a major meltdown - Elizabeth was SO frustrated.  Without sign language we would have had no idea as to why.

    Occasionally she’ll wake up in the middle of the night signing about how much her teeth hurt.  Sign language helps us to be better parents because we don’t have to jump to (wrong) conclusions about the causes of things.

    I enthusiastically recommend that EVERYONE learn at least a few basic signs with their kids.  Really - it’s not that hard!

    Hungry, More, Done, Hurt, Help, Toilet and Change are the ones I simply couldn’t live without.

  12. By Lauren @ In the Pudding Club on October 26, 2010

    Eloise LOVES these books.  We have the my first signs and the Dingle Dangle Scarecrow. 

    I think the babies in the book are so approachable - Eloise seemed to connect to these books before others.

    I’m not as diligent as I should be, but the handful of signs she knows is so exciting to see.  I imagine it is really frustrating for babies to not be able to express what they see and feel and before they have an extensive vocabulary, I think signing really helps give them more power.  Does that make sense?  Ugh, I’m tired.

  13. By on October 26, 2010

    Our first is due next month and my husband and I have already started learning a few signs so we are able to sign with our little man within the first year!

  14. By on October 26, 2010

    I always meant to sign and somehow my little guy is almost 9 months and we haven’t done a thing. This was just the encouragement I needed that it will be fun, so thanks!

  15. By Heidi on October 26, 2010

    We do sign with Molly and she finally started signing “more’ this weekend, when she wanted MORE of her daddy’s pancakes and syrup.  I was so excited, I think I told everyone in the diner.  :)

  16. By Sabrina on October 26, 2010

    We have been signing with our 7 month old since birth.  We have mainly focused on “please”, “more”, and “all done”.  I have recently started adding “milk” and “thank you”, as well as “dog”.  I am trying not to overwhelm her with signs, but I do want them to be apart of her vocabulary from a young age!  These books look great!!

  17. By on October 26, 2010

    Fantastic giveaway & selection of books! We signed with our first child and are starting the process again with our infant. It’s great fun and super beneficial!

  18. By on October 26, 2010

    We started signing with out twins, but have honestly fallen behind and rarely do it.  Wish we had been more consistent because I think it could really make a difference.

  19. By on October 26, 2010

    Excellent book! I’m not entering into the contest to win it because others need it more than me, but I love that you share these books because I have a word document just filled with titles and authors for my future classroom.

    Also, that picture jumped out and me and I thought to myself “When did Charlotte grow up!?“ She looks so much like a kid rather than a toddler!

  20. By on October 26, 2010

    i have just started to sign with my son. I need to remember to be consistent though!

  21. By on October 26, 2010

    We sighn like it’s 2nd nature in our house! AND LOVE IT! We start right away and now our 4 year old signs to our baby! It’s great! Oh and by the way love her shoes/slippers in the first picture!

  22. By on October 26, 2010

    I plan to start signing with my 4-month-old in about two months. While I know a few basic signs, these books sound fantastic for me and baby!

  23. By Cynthia A on October 26, 2010

    We sign a little bit, well what we know with Bailey, so far the only sign she will use is the sign for “milk”, convenient, right?!  I wish I knew a little more and these books look like an excellent way :)

  24. By Christy on October 26, 2010

    We do sign with our daughter and I love it.  I think it’s one of the best thing that I’ve done.  She is 22 months old and just really started talking last month but she is already making 2, 3 and 4 word sentences.  I have heard that when a child signs they some times talk later but when they do talk it’s a huge explosion because they understand communication already.  We found this to totally be true.  I would recommend signing to anyone.

  25. By beyond on October 26, 2010

    signing is something i would do… looking forward to it already.

  26. By Katherine on October 27, 2010

    Look like awesome books. I sign with Jackson, but unfortunately I’m not terribly conistent. He seems to pick up signs and then ‘lose’ them, but we’ll keep trying!

  27. By on October 27, 2010

    We don’t sign with my four-month-old, but I would like to start. Seeing how my 16-month-old nephew has taken to signing, I think that it’ll be very helpful when my boy reaches the age of knowing what he wants to say, but being unable to verbalize it.

  28. By erin on October 27, 2010

    Yes!  We sign with Hannah.  Or rather, I sign with her (but Brian knows what they all mean… he just doesn’t do it.  I think he’s lazy.).  I love that since she was a year old basically (when she FINALLY picked up “more”) we have been able to communicate directly, not just me guessing what she wants when she fusses.Of course, the downside is: manners?  Right.  She thinks rubbing her hand frantically over her chest means “GIVE ME WHAT I WANT NOW,“ not “please.“And thank you, Internet, for existing, because without you I would not know nearly as many signs as I do, and have been able to teach my kiddo.

  29. By on October 27, 2010

    Oh my goodness, where did you buy those slipper socks?????

  30. By Hollie on October 27, 2010

    I haven’t heard of these books—thanks for the intro to them.  We signed with our first son primarily because he didn’t communicate—and we later learned he had a significant speech delay that he is now getting assistance with.  Baby #2 seems to be following the same pattern—at 18 mos we don’t have a first word yet, so have been picking our signing up again—and having to relearn it ourselves!

  31. By ashley on October 27, 2010

    ohh!! we’ve been signing with edie since day 1. i always thought that milk would be her first and most important sign… but that turned out to be a big fat NOPE!  her first sign was “food” (seriously?!? she barely even ate anything at 8 months when she started signing for food… still at least 85-90% boob-fed!) then “water” then the all-important dog.  at 14 months her current favorites are “airplane” “helicopter” “ambulance” “motorcycle” and “car” (do you sense a theme? we have a transportation-obsessed daughter) anyway, we LOVE signing and recently she’s actually been asking for us to show her signs for things that she doesn’t know.  tonight we put her in her ladybug pjs and she asked for the sign for ladybug and niether hubby nor i knew it.  thank goodness for the internet :-) this is a long-winded way to say that we LOVE signing but we don’t have any signing baby books yet, and would totally love one! 
    thanks so much,
    ashley

  32. By roxanne on October 27, 2010

    Hi! I missed the deadline (blame “African time”) but wante dto add a comment anyway :) Thanx for your comment- (how did you find my blog?) I popped over to check out your site- love your pictures! We loved these books too when we were stateside! Many blessings to your family!

  33. By on October 28, 2010

    I don’t think your reason for having Charlotte sign is boring at all, it is practial, my husband has the same issue and we want to start using this with our daughter who is 8 months old. A book would be so useful for us to start…I had not yet heard of these, so thanks for the introduction…love your blog!!

  34. By Lyndsey on October 28, 2010

    I’ve tried signing with Ella. But it doesn’t seem to work. My neighbor though tried for months and finally her little one has started signing back. Patience is a virtue

  35. By Kate on October 28, 2010

    I took a few signing classes with my daughter. I enjoyed it and would love if she picked some up, but I don’t think I do it consistently enough.

  36. By on October 28, 2010

    I have a 4 month old and have thought about signing with him, but haven’t really done much yet.  I’d love to try!

  37. By Cynthia A on October 28, 2010

    I love that the little school that Bailey goes to is very into sign language, we sing Brown Bear, Brown Bear and sign, and many other signs :)

  38. By ashley on October 28, 2010

    new sign of the day for edie (one that daddy, who is our stay at home parent, had to interpret for me because i had never even seen it) was caterpillar.  of course, she used it not to describe a caterpillar, but to describe some of the feet in dr. Seuss’  “the foot book” and i had NO idea what she was talking about until daddy came to translate and help me see that the extra long-big hairy feet did indeed kind of look like caterpillars :-)

  39. By Katherine on October 29, 2010

    Back! So excited about these books. . I love all of your book reviews- an avid book reader myself I’m thrilled to pass this passion along to Jackson.

  40. By Clare on October 29, 2010

    My kid will be confused anyways… Spanish, English, Russian—crazy house. If I can sign too (which I do a bit) then there can be a constant even when switching spoken languages.

  41. By Erin Baum on October 29, 2010

    No children YET, but working on it. Hope to sign w/ my kids. My best friend has 2 deaf children (all school age now). All I know is the alphabet…would love to learn more and what better way to start then children’s books! :-)

  42. By on October 29, 2010

    Yes! I would love to teach my kiddos how to sign! Thanks for the chance to win!

  43. By on October 29, 2010

    I have a student who has 2 hearing impaired parents.  I am learning some signs to use with him in class.  I am a big advocate of teaching sign language and foreign languages to very young children!

  44. By Erin Baum on October 30, 2010

    Here’s my 2nd entry :) would love to teach my future children sign language.


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