Blog Book Tour – What Does It Mean To Be Present?

As a mom, I’m always on the hunt for good books to read with my kids – particularly books that have a message. As an author, I’m always happy to help promote fellow authors. As someone trying to live green, I’m always excited to connect with like minded greenies.

So, you can probably guess I was excited to be asked to review and promote the latest offering from Rana DiOrio of Little Pickle PressWhat Does It Mean To Be Pesent. Rana is a mom, a former attorney, a “greenie”, and an author. When I was asked to interview her to kick off her blog book tour byDani Greer of Blog Book Tours , I was thrilled.

Of course, given our similarities, from kids to law to green, our interview went more like two old friends chatting and laughing together than a formal interview. We talked about the difficulties of being female in law. We talked about some of our favorite “green” companies, including CleanWell. We talked about trying to write and raise kids.

Rana is a mom making it happen. Her warmth and passion shone through the phone. Rana is the founder and chief Pickle of Little Pickle Press. Little Pickle Press publishes high quality, high impact media for children. Little Pickle Press’ mission is to inspire children to protect the environment, celebrate diversity and live richly and fully.   

What Does It Mean To Be Present is the third in a series. The first book, What Does It Mean To Be Green, explores how children can help protect the earth’s natural resources. The second book, What Does It Mean To Be Global, helps educate children about the diversity of our world.

What Does It Mean To Be Present is a vibrant picture book authored by Rana and illustrated by Eliza Wheeler. With its lush illustrations and rich language, the book demonstrates how a child can seize the moment. Rana believes that the message is important for kids (and parents!) today. Think about it. Our kids have busy, hectic days plugged into all sorts of media. Rana emphasizes that we teach our kids our bad habits of always looking towards the future and not enjoying the present. She commented that most parents are constantly saying “hurry up, we’ve got to go” or “we’re running late” or some iteration. And out kids learn always to look to the future.

In her comments, I saw myself reflected. As much as have wanted to live more in the moment, I can tell you most days I’m urging my kids to get going or hurry up because we are always running late to school, to karate practice, to soccer, and for dinner. We run from one activity or appointment to the next, without really stopping to enjoy any activity or appointment. 

Reviewing the book, I was struck not only how much I want my kids to live in the present and enjoy the richness of life but that I want that too. That I need to remember to be present. That life is lived in the moments. I asked Rana how busy parents can try to teach their kid be present when they are just trying to get on with life, and her advice was simple. She said, “Just take 15 minutes a day. Start by reading a book each evening.” She had other ideas – from unplugging completely one night a week to simply having a meal together.

So, we are definitely trying to be more present. Last night, at dinner, we ate together and spent the entire time talking about the food – where it came from, how it was grown, how it was cooked, what it tasted like, etc. It was a little odd, but we focused on dinner – not what was  happening the next day or at the end of the week.

I highly recommend What Does It Mean To Be Present as well as the other books in the series. The book is available from Amazon and other retailers. But, just for The Smart Mama readers, Little Pickle Press is offering 2 books plus one TerraSkin environmentally-friendly poster for the discounted price of $29.95. Just enter the code “SMARTMAMA” at check out.

Don’t forget to enter to win the Grand Prize Giveaway from Little Pickle Press- all three books in the series, all four of Little Pickle Press’  TerraSkin posters and a Dabba Walla backpack. Just go an enter here at the Little Pickle Press Blog.

And head over to the next blog in this book tour on Tuesday, July 27, 2010 at The Blood-Red Pencil. Wednesday is Be Well Together and, Thursday is The Hippy Mom and Friday is Country Fried Mama.

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  1. You are so right, Jennifer. Sometimes the toughest thing is to stop juggling all the balls in the air, to breathe, to unclutter our minds, and relax with our families. Because not to do so, is probably as toxic as a lot of the stuff in our environments. Where I really connected with this book is that it’s not some woo-woo thing to do – kids can easily “be present”, and definitely, the message is there for adults, too. Great interview!

  2. Sounds like a great book. Even if you don’t have kids, you (meaning me) need to be present. We’re so rushed with so many things to do. My day goes by and I look up and it’s evening and I wonder where the time went. I haven’t been present.

    Straight From Hel

  3. My youngest daughter and I still have fond memories of times we spent stuck at auto repair places, where breakdowns or tire replacements took longer than anticipated. We would go outside and find a patch of dirt and weeds and play something, using rocks and wildflowers and nuts and bits of trash. Happy times. 🙂

  4. What Does It Mean looks like a most worthwhile series of children’s books, the kind I would have liked as a youngster. Best of luck with them!

  5. Alex J Cavanaugh says:

    Sounds like a good book for the whole family.

  6. Its amazing how much my childhood differed from the ones influenced by electronics today. Children can learn faster today with the use of some electronics, but they can also be greatly distracted and confused. My childhood was more about leaving the house after breakfast and playing until it was almost too dark to find my way home. It is important to teach our children about motivation as well as being content, if not appreciative of what they have – in the moment. It is a balance. Being Present is a skill children need to be taught and most parents will need to re-learn.

  7. Excellent post and brilliant idea for a book. My kids are grown, but I have two grandchildren by my two daughters, both are three. I will definitely consider buying all these books for them.

    N. R. Williams, fantasy author

  8. This is a book I’ll recommend to my elementary school librarian. “Be in the present.” What a message. It’s one we all need to heed.

    Good luck with your book and series, Rana.


  9. Thanks for this review, Jennifer! It’s so nice of you to host Rana as this is a MUCH needed book in this day and age. I know it will be a big success! There’s so many studies out about the effect of parents checking their BlackBerries and iPhones constantly in front of their children. I can’t wait to pick up my copy – thanks again!


  10. Great review, Jennifer, and thanks for hosting Rana on her blog book tour. I can’t wait to get my hands on this book – there’s so many studies out there about the effect of parents constantly checking their BlackBerries and iPhones in front of their kids. Thanks for this much-needed post!


  11. Katy Kenney says:

    As a mother of two, adult children, a “do-over” for me would be; not to rush and not to use the phrase “hurry up”. Fortunately, my kids ignored MY sense of urgency. I’m looking forward to giving What Does It Mean To Be Present? as gifts to our many friends that are starting the Grandparent stage of life. Do-overs are possible!

  12. I’m delighted to see a book dealing with this subject–we are teaching our children that life is a destination, rather than a process. Kudos to the Little Pickle Press team on this series of books.

  13. Reading to kids (and babies) is critical to getting kids interested in books. Since the only gifts I give my niece and nephews (and now a granddaughter) are books, I love finding new treasures. Thanks for the review of “What Does It Mean to be Present? “Living in the present” is definitely great advice for grownups too.

  14. Little Pickle Press is such a great name for a publisher for kids’ books.

    I like the concept of What Does It Mean to be Present. We should all enjoy what we have and treasure each day.

    That said, at first I thought it might be a political statement about voting “present,” but then I figured out what that’s wasn’t what the book is about. That idea would not be part of a children’s book.

    Morgan Mandel

  15. This is a great interview. I admire Little Pickle Press for publishing books for children that will help them to be better kids and then better grown ups. I also like their dedication to being green in all of their publishing choices from paper and ink, to cutting back on needless stuff to advertise for their company. It’s not easy to be unique in one’s business practices but it sure does help them stand out as a green company, one worthy of respect!

  16. This couln’t have come at a better time for me. I think I need that book. I’ve been noticing a lot lately that I’m taking too much time from my daughter to spend on the computer. Got a good reminder yesterday of how fun she is and what a good time we have playing together. I just need to make more time for her.

  17. A fantastically in-depth & thoughtful review for Rani’s latest book 🙂 Almost makes me wish I had kids so they could read it!

  18. This book couldn’t have come at a better time. With smart phones in our back pockets, we have become a society that is constantly “on”, constantly working, and constantly worrying about the future and how we are going to get it all done. I love the idea of teaching our children to slow down and take a moment to enjoy the here and now. What’s so great about What Does it Mean to be Present is that it IS a moment to enjoy in itself. Sitting down reading this book with your child is a perfect example of living and enjoying the present.

  19. Thanks for giving me a break from work.i like ti read such kind of comment.

  20. In love with this book…!!

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