When I was pregnant with Winter Rose I received a message from the gorgeous Bianca Ebeling telling me about the book she had created. It was called "Let's celebrate" by @mylittlebookywooky and it was designed to stimulate a newborns vision by using black and white images.
My eldest little boy Cruz is such a little book worm, we hang out at the library a few times a week and borrow new books out. He just loves them, especially the images. I usually change the story around too haha. So hearing about this book I was instantly interested in hearing more.
I received the book and flash cards and was so excited to use once my little one arrived. I placed the flash cards on the wall next to the change table and placed the book in the cot awaiting my babes arrival. Cruz was so in love with the flash cards. He chats to the animals and I tell him what they are. He thinks it's great. Plus it's a great distraction while trying to change my wriggling toddlers bottom. Haha!
Since Winter Rose's arrival we have been placing the book next to her. It's amazing to see how over the past 4 weeks she is really starting to focus on the images. In just a week she was able to lock her eyes on the book. Now week 4 and she is reaching out to the book. It blows my mind how interested in the book she is. During witching hour I often lay her on the bed on her side and she will just settle when I place the book next to her. She goes from crying to such a calm nature. Just wow!
The book will defiantly be something I will be buying for other mummas in the future for baby shower gifts or birth arrival gifts. I would also recommend this to other expecting and new mummas too.
I have asked Bianca a few questions below so that we can all find out a little more about her and her book. Thank you again Bianca.
Could you tell us a little bit about yourself Bianca?
I am a mum of 2 little cheeky monkeys aged 3 and 1. My husband and I moved from Melbourne to Geelong 4 years ago for a more relaxed and affordable lifestyle and we haven't looked back. My background is in finance but my biggest sense of achievement comes from being creative. Developing my books has been extremely fulfilling.
What drove you to create a book specifically for newborns?
As part of my mother's group I attended a session with the local librarian who was explaining to us new mummies that we should be reading to our babies from the moment they are born and that the best books for 0-6 months are black and white books. I actually didn't read much to my son so I took her advice on board and found a black and white book and my son started reacting to it instantly. He was completely captivated by the images. It blew our minds. He had previously really struggled with tummy time and would cry so much and really didn't want to do it. I thought he would never achieve lift his head however with the black and white book in front of my him, he started really trying to lift his head to see the images and within less than a week he was holding up his head for short periods. There were many other benefits that we witnessed over the few weeks we had the book from the library and I just knew I had to get one for myself to have permanently. Unfortunately no bookshops or baby shops stocked such books. Hence I had this idea…
What is the idea behind the black and white illustrations?
When babies are born their eyesight is still developing and they find it hard to focus on the world around them. High contrast images are much easier for babies to see in their first few months and provide them with something simple and engaging to focus on, and in this focus or intense concentration they can allow their minds to rest. A baby cannot see pastel colours properly for several months after birth. It is recommended to surround a baby with as much black and white as possible in the early months for visual stimulation and development.
Now the book only has illustrations, no words. What is the reason behind this?
This is one of the best bits about the books. Anyone can pick up the book at tell a story about what they see on the page. In my first book there is a page with a hot air balloon and clouds. There are so many ways to approach this. You can simply tell your newborn baby what you see on the page. Or you can make up a story about a hot air balloon that flew away and went travelling around the world. Or perhaps you got engaged in a hot air balloon. Another story opportunity. Talk to your baby, read, make up stories. Let your baby hear your voice, a range of vocabulary. Also, every parent/caregiver will have a different story to tell based on what they see. The fact there are no words in the book means you aren't bound by the words and you can let your story telling imagination run wild
How important is it to read to your child?
Reading aloud with your child is so important. It stimulates their imagination and curiosity, it teaches them new vocabulary, it opens their eyes to new ideas. It helps develop their language and listening skills. Children who are read to at a young age do better in their schooling years. One of my favourite quotes that I believe hits the nail on the head is "reading to children, even before they can understand, teaches them to associate books with love and affection". I see this in my children. I remember when I had my daughter last year, I would have her snuggled into my arms and I would read her books throughout the day and it was my favourite activity with her. We promote the love of books with our children and set up a little reading nook in our house. Both my daughter and son spend a lot of time there each day looking at and playing with their books. They love bringing favourite books to my husband and I and sit with us and we read to them. My son is nearly 3 and I can see that a lot of his vocabulary that he is using is from the books we read and it excites me and makes me incredibly proud.
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