Part II: Meet Gabi! Volunteering at the Rooftop Garden in San Juan, PR

When we first created our new bilingual ¡Números, Baby!, we knew that beyond sharing the book through public fora, free author events, and donations, we also wanted to find additional meaningful ways to give back to the communities that inspired each page.

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Through collaboration with World Central Kitchen (WCK), a trail-blazing nonprofit food assistance organization founded by DC-based chef and humanitarian José Andrés, we’ve been able to just that: Baby Ventures™ proudly donates a portion of all sales of ¡Números, Baby! to WCK’s disaster response in Latin America and beyond.

Thanks to WCK, we were also able to participate in a rewarding volunteer opportunity during our visit to San Juan, Puerto Rico this past May: Through WCK’s innovative Plow to Plate Program, we spent the day gardening at the Rooftop Garden, an urban farm and micro-greenery recovering from the devastation of Hurricane Maria.

Gabi, the welcoming owner of the Rooftop Garden, greeted us early in the morning as we set out to assist him in his daily work on the farm. Located in the heart of San Juan, Gabi’s beautiful patch of land is home to organic micro-greens, a dazzling array of edible flowers, and an impressive compost operation that enriches his produce while reducing his waste.

 

 

Gabi’s micro-greens and edible flowers are a hit at the local farmer’s markets. His singular passion for the soil (and soul) of his island is infused in every stunning package of greens and edible flowers he creates. Despite substantial damage to his farm and operations from Hurricane Maria, Gabi and his colleagues have diligently set out to rebuild – literally one seed at a time – and they’re making incredible progress.

 

 

For Lisa and I, the experience of mixing the soil, planting seeds for Gabi’s next harvest, and hearing about the farm’s steady return to its former glory was both incredibly moving and humbling. We’re not sure how much help we were to Gabi, but without question, he was a tremendous source of inspiration for us. Not to mention, we’ll forever savor the farm-to-fork salad Gabi prepared for us! We can’t thank you enough for hosting us, Gabi, and we can’t wait to visit the Rooftop Garden again soon!

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In the wake of Hurricane Maria, many have sought to assist Puerto Rico’s communities in a meaningful way. As the locals told us, visiting Puerto Rico is a great place to start. We couldn’t agree more. And when you do, please consider volunteering at farms like Gabi’s through WCK’s Plow to Plate Program. Can’t make the trip in person? No problem – please support this innovative program through your generous donation instead.

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We are forever grateful to both WCK and Gabi for hosting us at the Rooftop Garden. ¡Muchas gracias por esta increíble oportunidad!

Sinceramente,

Golzar y Lisa

 

Part I: Leemos Juntos! Celebrating books + reading with students in Puerto Rico

Last week, we had the honor of traveling to San Juan, Puerto Rico to host story time for pre-K through first grade students at Escuela Inés María Mendoza! We were thrilled to meet the dedicated team of teachers and staff, and get to know their incredible students!  Together, we read from our new bilingual book ¡Números, Baby! as we practiced counting from 1 – 10 in both Spanish and English. With each page, we also explored our book’s illustrations depicting the unique cultures and geography of diverse Spanish-speaking locales. We especially loved sharing page 5 (featuring Puerto Rico’s native coquí frogs) with the students, who then serenaded us with the distinct and beautiful song of the coquí! Continue reading Part I: Leemos Juntos! Celebrating books + reading with students in Puerto Rico

Celebrating multicultural books today…and every day!

Happy Multicultural Children’s Book Day (MCBD)! This national event aims to raise awareness of children’s books that celebrate diversity, promote inclusivity, and share global voices and perspectives. Importantly, MCBD highlights the need for greater access to multicultural books as well, and actively helps disseminate more of them to classrooms and libraries nationwide. Continue reading Celebrating multicultural books today…and every day!

Announcing our new book/ Anunciando nuestro nuevo libro: ¡NÚMEROS, BABY!

At Baby Ventures, our philosophy is simple: creating one-of-a-kind board books that inspire young children to explore our diverse world, one adventure at a time!

This was the driving impetus behind the upcoming release of our new title, ¡Números, Baby! – a vibrant bilingual board book teaching little ones numbers in Spanish! But uno a diez is just the beginning: with illustrations inspired by our own travels, youngsters learn to count while also exploring the beauty and diversity of Spanish speaking locales throughout the world. 1, 2, 3…¡vamos a contar! Continue reading Announcing our new book/ Anunciando nuestro nuevo libro: ¡NÚMEROS, BABY!

Donate $5 to Children’s National & Get a Free Book!

We recently had the pleasure of meeting the wonderful staff of the Family Library at Children’s National Medical Center. Located in Washington, DC, Children’s National provides medical care to all children, regardless of a family’s ability to pay. The Family Library offers patients and families a quiet place for reading and respite, a book cart delivery to patients’ bedsides, Storybook Magic events and much more. And we were thrilled to be invited to host an upcoming Storybook Magic event on Tuesday, April 24th at 11 AM, where we’ll be reading from our ABCs of Washington, DC book!   Continue reading Donate $5 to Children’s National & Get a Free Book!

Get a Behind-the-Scenes Look into Baby Ventures

Baby Ventures co-founders Golzar Kheiltash and Lisa Hall were recently interviewed by local DC photographer and blogger Allison Fitzsimmons. We thoroughly enjoyed meeting Allison, sharing our Baby Ventures story, discussing the importance of early learning and much more.

Check out the interview (and her beautiful photos of our books) here and get a behind-the-scenes look into Baby Ventures and our next book, scheduled to release this fall!

Happy reading adventures!

*Photo by Allison Fitzsimmons

December Giving Campaign: You Share, We Donate!

The holiday season is upon us and we’re continuing our Giving Campaign with a special initiative to bring the gift of reading to all DC area kids.

Now until December 20th: You share, we donate! Simply share this blog post on Facebook or Twitter and for every share, we’ll donate one copy of Baby Ventures ABCs of Washington, DC board book to a local non-profit organization helping kids in need.

Together, we can work to ensure all DC area kids will enjoy the gift of reading!

*While supplies last.

November’s Giving Campaign: You Shop, We Donate!

Happy November, families!

We’re continuing our Fall Giving Campaign with a special initiative this month: You shop, we donate proceeds to assist the poor and homeless in our nation’s capital.

For several years now, the Washington, DC nonprofit SOME (So Others Might Eat) has been close to our hearts. SOME works diligently to feed, clothe, and permanently improve the lives of poor and homeless DC residents, including families and children. SOME’s commitment to treating our city’s most vulnerable residents with compassion, generosity, and dignity truly inspires us. Continue reading November’s Giving Campaign: You Shop, We Donate!

October Kicks Off Baby Ventures’ Giveaways for Giving!

At Baby Ventures, we’re big fans of giving back to those in need in our community (be it our local neighborhood or our global village), and fostering empathy in our little ones to do the same. So with fall officially kicking off the holiday season, we’re launching our Giveaways for Giving: Each month until December, we’re asking you to join us in giving to those in need in the greater DC area, and in turn you’ll receive a giveaway from us!

For October: We’ve teamed up with one of our favorite Washington, DC indie bookstores, Walls of Books, to support their spook-tacular neighborhood initiative: They’re collecting gently used children’s Halloween costumes for DC area kids through this Friday, October 13th. Continue reading October Kicks Off Baby Ventures’ Giveaways for Giving!

Guest Interview: Lily Yeh, Founder of Little Loving Hands

At Baby Ventures, we believe in fostering compassion in children early on through board books depicting our diverse world.  So we were delighted to discover Little Loving Hands, a fellow mom-inspired company whose mission is to foster empathy and kindness in little ones with another timeless childhood pastime: crafting.

Founder Lily Yeh came up with a winning formula: Crafting for a cause. Through its subscription program, Little Loving Hands sends children engaging, fun crafts to make, and they in turn gift their completed crafts to those in need. Past projects have included handmade birthday presents for children living in shelters, superhero capes for orphans around the world, and decorated notebooks and chalkboards for students who cannot afford school supplies.

We recently had the pleasure of speaking with Lily and discussing the role of empathy in raising children, the many benefits of giving back, and different ways in which parents can foster empathy in their children. Continue reading Guest Interview: Lily Yeh, Founder of Little Loving Hands