Pay It Forward: Jon Muth


Gonna try a new series here, called "Pay It Forward". We all know that (does it make me sound old if I use the phrase "in this day and age"?), word-of-mouth is THE way to get popular. But no longer are people talking about their favorite things, places, people, and experiences one-on-one with a neighbor over the backyard fence; today they spread the word digitally, globally, far and wide.

We know that most people who try Kindermusik love Kindermusik. And I mean REALLY LOVE Kindermusik.

So as a little "Pay It Forward" gesture to get people talking about the things they love (shouldn't we all be doing this more, after all?), I thought I'd have a little fun and also rack up a little karma by talking here about some of my favorite things, brands, places, people, etc. – and of course open it up to y'all to chime in with your own. Now let's be clear: these aren't official, Kindermusik-approved brands or partnerships or recommendations. They're just me and my own little life – but isn't that how today's marketing is? Word-of-mouth recommendations from one "little ole me" after another. 

So here goes – Pay It Forward, Installment 1: Jon Muth 

I love Jon Muth. Writer and illustrator of children's books, his top 4 (and the 4 I have) are Zen Shorts, Zen Ties, The Three Questions, and Stone Soup. I have a 3-year-old – and when I bought the first of these four books, I did it knowing full well that, let's face it, I was really buying the book for myself. Having been in the business of children's publishing for 10 years, I'm a sucker for a well written, beautifully illustrated children's book. Especially when it's a new title. We all have those beautiful, classic, hardcover books that we give new parents as gifts or hold onto for our own children's children – but a *new* book that gives me that want-to-hold-the-book-to-my-chest-and-hug-it feeling…well, that's pretty great. Optimistic. Right? 

So I bring the book home, leave it in the stack. (You can't suggest much to my daughter; you have to just leave things around strategically for her to discover so they seem to be her idea…sound familiar to anyone?) She plucks it out, we begin, and by page 3 I've already decided (shame on me) that it's over her head. I ask, "Would you rather read another book?" No, keep going. And at the end of the book, she asks me to go back to the beginning and read it again. She absorbs, laughs in the right places, asks these remarkable questions, and says "That's a pretty nice book, huh." And it ("the Stillwater book", a panda named Stillwater being a primary character) shot to the top of the rotation for weeks. And so on, until we have 4 Jon Muth books, each of which continues to stun me, after dozens of readings, with its ability to capture a young mind with such sprawling, universal, kindness-related topics that they'd be hard to even summarize here. These books aren't for everyone – see above re: little ole me and my little life – but they sure bowl me over. Our most recent favorite in this household is The Three Questions, a creative reworking of a Tolstoy short story. Man, is it great.


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