Featured Expert | Jump Into a Book’s Valarie Budayr

KidLit TV is so excited to announce our first Featured Expert of 2016! Valarie Budayr is a children’s book author and publisher, the Co-Founder of Multicultural Children’s Book Day and founder of Jump Into a Book, a site about the love of children’s books and how we can incorporate them into our everyday lives through play, crafting, cooking, movies, games, traveling and author visits.
“At Jump Into A Book, we strive to pull books off shelves and stories off pages to create reading experiences for families.” -Valarie Budayr
In the interview below, learn about some of the kid friendly activities Valarie does over at Jump Into A Book, book recommendations parents and teachers will love and what inspired her to start this journey.

The Interview

We are huge supporters of Jump Into A Book! Could you tell our readers a little more about it and how parents and teachers can get involved?
Jump Into a Book is a website where we bring children’s books to life through engaging and unique extension activities. Jump into a Book is a site about the love of children’s books and how we can incorporate them into our everyday lives through play, crafting, cooking, movies, games, traveling plus visiting a few authors now and again. At Jump Into a Book, we strive to pull books off shelves and stories off pages to create reading experiences for families. 
What inspired you to start Jump Into A Book?
My children, I have 3 of them, 2 girls and a boy. Jump Into a Book actually started as a mother/daughter book club with my girls, and my friends who had daughters the same ages as I did. We’d choose a book we wanted to bring to life, read it in our homes out loud, and then come to a Jump Into a Book adventure and bring the story to life via a plethora of activities. We always liked connecting to the characters and seeing the stories through their eyes. In doing so, we not only planted the seeds of life long reading habits into our children, but we created childhood/family memories which were centered around a particular book. Even now the girls, who are grown women, will remember things we did during Heidi, Treasure Island, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and other book adventures and howl laughing. They have “book memories”. After the book club finished, my husband encouraged me to do something with this idea and since I was already a blogger I decided to share our book adventures on a blog/website platform. From there it’s grown immensely and has taken on its own path. 
Our readers might be wondering what Jump Into A Book offers kids. What would you say is the best part about Jump Into A Book for children?
Inspires children to keep on reading to find the next adventure. By bringing a book to life, you learn life skills by taking the story and applying it to real life situations all through the act of creating and play.
What are some of your favorite children’s books?
As a small child my two favorite books were Green Eggs and Ham by Dr. Seuss and Little Bear by Else Holmelund Minarick and Maurice Sendak. The BFG and The Witches by Roald Dahl are two of my favorite books of his.  I love anything by Rick Riordan. I really think he is one of the storytellers of our times. Of course I have a whole list of classics such as the Secret Garden, Heidi, Treasure Island, Jungle Book etc. One of this year’s favorite books is Jacqueline Woodson’s Brown Girl Dreaming. Two extremely good writers and story-tellers are Brian Selznick and Katie Di Camillo. This is just my short list. It’s really hard to pick a favorite when you love books. I appreciate the efforts made to produce great books for kids and end up considering many of them favorites. 
What are some activities you recommend parents, teachers and kids do during the holiday season?
Book-jumping, yeah that’s right Book Jumping. After all of the hustle and bustle of the holidays is over, it’s the perfect time to visit Jump Into a Book and embrace a story you love, or one you want to read, and do that as a family or with friends. There is so much to explore on the site, and each book comes with many ideas to discover and activities to do. It creates unique and fun family moments that are specially designed for this purpose. In many ways it lets the story become part of you and you part of it. It’s a great way to spend time with the kids.
What are some of your favorite activities on Jump Into A Book?
The book list are always a favorite of our readers. Two of our more popular ones are these:
If You Like Percy Jackson Read This !!! Booklist  and the Code Cracking Booklist: it’s all about computer coding for kids with fun books and activities.
Great Classic Book Activities are Treasure Island, and The Secret Garden
Ghost Sleuthing in Haunted Histories and a great read and adventure with activities by Grace Lin Starry River Sky.
What do you think parents and teachers will find most helpful on KidLit TV?
KidLit TV is a window into the world of children’s literature. I LOVE the Read Out Loud series as there is nothing better than being read out loud to by the author themselves. You can feel what was behind the story and the connection they have to it. I also love the thrill of the field trips. It lets us look into “book world” and find out what’s happening book wise in other places. KidLit TV is a great resource for parents and teachers providing support and inspirations for them to raise life long readers.
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