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 Hannah Oliver Depp on International Women’s Day

Happy International Women’s Day! At Baby Ventures™, we celebrate the remarkable women in our indie literary orbit – women who are trailblazing their own path and lifting up other women along the way.  

Today we’re thrilled to highlight avid book lover, early literacy supporter, and community builder Hannah Oliver Depp! Hannah is the owner and creative force behind Loyalty Bookstore – the beautifully revamped face of Upshur Street Books in DC’s Petworth neighborhood. Continue reading Celebrating Hannah Oliver Depp on International Women’s Day

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!

We Love our Customers: Meet Anne Weinheimer of @TwistedFleece!

Today is #gettoknowyourcustomersday! And we couldn’t be happier to spotlight one of our dearest and earliest customers, Mrs. Anne Weinheimer, who’s behind the beautiful handmade knits from @twistedfleece on Instagram! Anne kindly agreed to share a bit about herself as a knitter and spinner extraordinaire, her special bond to Washington, DC, and her lifelong love of reading. We couldn’t agree with you more, Anne – there can be no better gift than a good book, and we’re honored you feel that way about ours!  Continue reading We Love our Customers: Meet Anne Weinheimer of @TwistedFleece!

Exploring the Inspiration Behind ¡Numeros, Baby! – Part II

¡Números, Baby! – our upcoming release introducing little ones to numbers in Spanish is vividly inspired by the authors’ own travels to Latin America and Spain. In the second part of this two-part blog post, co-author Golzar Kheiltash shares her travel adventure that brought a distinct flavor to Baby Ventures’™ newest board book!

PART II: Co-author Golzar Kheiltash gets a taste of Spain

Before my family immigrated to California from Iran in the 80’s, I had already lived on two continents, across 6 cities. I was bilingual – in Persian and English – and felt the singular childhood excitement that comes from hearing different languages, seeing smiling new faces, and exploring vibrant new locales across the globe.

Continue reading Exploring the Inspiration Behind ¡Numeros, Baby! – Part II

July 24th: Join us for story time at the Green Chateau!

Calling all Los Angeles area little ones! We’re heading to the west coast for a very special story time with local author Jackelyn Shultz at the wonderful Green Chateau Indoor Playground.

Join us next Tuesday, July 24th at 4 PM for an adventure-filled afternoon featuring a read aloud of both “Abbey & Axel’s Guide to Adventure” by Jackelyn as well as the “ABCs of Washington, DC” by Baby Ventures co-author Golzar Kheiltash. Both authors will also be on hand to sign copies of their books!

Visit the Green Chateau’s website to register for this fun-filled event – we can’t wait to see your little SoCal bookworms there!

At Children’s National Hospital in DC, Medicine comes with Magic

By Golzar Kheiltash, Co-Author

My friend, a hardworking and always smiling young woman, has had a pacemaker since she was a baby. Now in her twenties, she’s a dedicated nursing student with an ambitious goal upon graduation: to work in Pediatric Cardiology, at the same hospital that has been caring for her own heart condition since infancy: Children’s National Hospital in Washington, DC. Continue reading At Children’s National Hospital in DC, Medicine comes with Magic

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

Now Available: The ABCs of Annapolis Board Book

Hot off the presses! Baby Ventures’ second board book, The ABCs of Annapolis: Maryland’s Capital City, is now available! Little ones will love practicing their ABCs while learning about Maryland’s charming capital city by the Chesapeake Bay.

This 26-page board book provides a distinctly native take on Annapolis life and locales. From the annual Tug of War to Main Street and more, Annapolis is brought to life from the distinct perspective of a long-time resident and local enthusiast, Baby Ventures co-founder Lisa Hall. To learn more about the impetus behind the book, check out this blog post featuring a Q&A with Baby Ventures co-founders. 

Whether it’s ice skating at Quiet Waters park or kayaking on the creeks, we hope our ABCs of Annapolis spark some memorable family adventures of your own.

Happy ABC adventures, little ones!