Collaboration of the Heart
I have found being grateful softens the heart, produces wondrous opportunities, and brings into focus important relationships and moments between people; moments that get taken for granted, overlooked in the hurried day-to-day of living. When I reflect upon my relationships with my daughter and my mother I am grateful for the moments that bind us together, and as a result of them have given birth to a wonderful children’s storybook character name Lae Lae. I am referring to a handcrafted and wholesome children’s book series, The Lae Lae Collection, illustrated and written by my mother based upon my daughter, Zoe, and her childhood experiences.
This three generational collaboration of the heart was sparked by my daughter’s natural curiosity and creativeness. The collection began when my mother, Laurenn Prater Barker, was already in “Act Three” of her life. As a grandmother, Laurenn was enjoying her time with her grandchildren when inspiration hit. I remember the day...
My daughter was six years old and wanted to celebrate Mother Earth by making a mud cake in her honor. She went into the backyard and collected acorns, leaves, sticks and other materials found outside. With the help of her grandmother, and alongside her older brother, he and she made their versions of earth cakes. The cakes symbolized the attention all people need to take in caring for the earth and its living creatures. It was a profound moment to witness a beautiful childhood moment and an imperative life lesson in the making. So quintessential was this playful moment that my mother set upon becoming a children’s book author, in her sixties, to capture moments of childhood and the values taught within them.
I would soon add my skills to the mix by building the Lae Lae website and the blog my daughter uses to write about her experiences. Zoe has been writing since she was six years old, winning small scholarships and contests since that time. She started blogging when she was 11 years old. She writes for children, expressing her opinions about conservation and recycling, pet care, school, family, creative projects, and her day-to-day life.
Recently, my son, Gage, has gotten involved by producing an interactive Lae Lae game for children ages three to six. Nearing completion, it will be available on the website for children to play with their parents at home.
As I reflect upon how this creative project of five years connects three generations, and four people together, I realize as a family we have come together to craft stories that embrace the innocence and importance of childhood. In the process, we are shaping our moments as a family, and for that I am grateful.
About the books:
Lae Lae learns to cook with her mother, her brother Brent, her little puppy Patches and her friend Poco whom only she can see. She learns cooking safety and cleanliness and makes cupcakes to share with her friends Amanda from Colombia and Raj from India. The book also includes simple recipes from the U. S. and Colombia and India. There are learning notes, activities and fun facts in the book encouraging interaction between adult and child.
My New Puppy
Lae Lae adopts a puppy and learns how to care for it and love it. The book has a story, activity pages, teaching notes and fun facts. It also helps a child get ready to meet the common core state standards for kindergarten and the first grade.
Lae Lae Adventures
The book is one in a series of Lae Lae "together time books" built around a central character named Lae Lae, her friends and her family from several cultures. She, her puppy, her imaginary companion and her friends enjoy life and learn gentle life lessons. The collection is being developed for children 2 to 6 years old and is designed to be shared in a cuddle time moment with an adult. Each book contains parents and teacher's notes, activities and teachable moments.
My New Friend
In this book, Lae Lae meets a little girl from Colombia, South America who has moved to Lae Lae's home town in the United States. They enjoy playing together, become best friends and learn about other cultures. The book is 44 pages long and includes a read along story, story telling pages and activities. It is for ages two to six and is appropriate for cuddle time reading for very young children to preparation to meet the common core standards for school for older children.
My Friend Timmy
Lae Lae makes a new friend, a child named Timmy who has special needs. She has a party to introduce Timmy to her friends and they all learn how to play together happily. The book has teachable moments, notes for adult caretakers, activities to complete and fun facts as well as a read along story and story telling pages. It is common core standard suitable for preschool and first grade as well as suitable as a first reader. It is for 2 - 6 year olds.