Amy Vandament is the President of The Book Vine for Children.
1. Why are you an educator?
The value of high-quality children’s picture books for early childhood programs needs to be shouted from the mountaintops. There is no better place to find out about the world or yourself than in a picture book. I am passionate about spreading the word to educators on the best books for ages birth to five years. My job is to educate educators on the best new books.
2. What are you working on now?
I am reading a huge pile of books that are due out this spring. The beauty of this job is that I have the opportunity to read books aloud to our team. We have great discussions about each book and how a classroom will benefit from the content.
3. What were your favorite children’s books to read when you were a child?
Richard Scarry left an impression on me as a very young child. I loved nothing more than talking about the multitude of details with my mother. We invented stories about the characters and their lives. It was a fantastic way to grow my imagination.
4. What contemporary children’s books do you recommend?
This is so difficult to answer! Three new favorites: Every Body: A Celebration of Diversity (S Rotner); It’s Diwali! (K Sehgal & S Sehgal; A Sreenivasan); The Cat at Night (A D. Ipcar, Golden Jubilee Edition, first published in 1969).
5. Why is diverse representation in children’s literature important?
Children need to see themselves and their own experiences in books but also an expanse of diverse cultures and other ways of living. A picture book voyage out into the world will create curiosity and in turn, a better foundation for appreciating diversity.
6. How can educators use children’s literature to teach empathy, kindness, and tolerance?
Select high-quality books that contain rich language and beautiful art. Read these books aloud and invite children to talk about what they see and how they feel about the characters. The ability to have a discussion in a safe environment about a book can do wonders to help children understand their feelings and the feelings of others.
7. Where may we find you online?