The First 12 Days of Preschool Children's Book Review & Author Interview

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The First 12 Days of Preschool Book Review 

Jeanette Crystal Bradley's The First 12 Days of Preschool is a fun spin on the classic Christmas song: The 12 Days of Christmas. The book can be read or sung and Jeanette even has a music video on her YouTube channel that you and your child can sing along to.

My daughter is currently in preschool, but she still enjoyed the book as she loves to sing and dance. She loved the animals in the book and the bright colors and illustrations are perfect for little ones. 

I also love that Jeanette includes some questions on the back of the book to get your child thinking more as we flip the pages, such as "Do animals like to take naps at school?" and "Can cats become superheroes?" 

Though the book is geared for little ones in preschool, I think this book would also work for kindergartners as they learn a lot of the same things and preschool is not a requirement in the United States. It's a great book to get little ones excited for school!

Where Can I Find The First 12 Days of Preschool?

The First 12 Days of Preschool is available on Amazon.

An Interview With Author Jeanette Crystal Bradley

Why did you choose to write in song format?

Each year our preschool students participate in two performances for their parents to watch. Three years ago, while rehearsing for our Christmas performance, I tried to find new material for our program (as I do every year, so that it is not always the same). I continued to have the song The 12 Days of Christmas in my mind, but I knew that ladies dancing and lords-a-leaping were not the best fit for preschoolers. While the kids were practicing the other songs, I began to pen the words to The First 12 Days of Preschool.  We performed the song for our Christmas show that year, and I was very happy to see that the kids and parents loved it. That's when I knew I was onto something. Naturally, the flow was then to write the book to go along with the song. As a visual learner I knew that it was necessary to have the book in print to go along with the music to be able to connect with many more people. The music video was a result of my desire to share the pictures that I had in my mind which brought the book to life.

Why did you choose to include animals along with the children?

As a 25-year preschool owner and teacher (I still teach after all of these years because I just can't stop), I have learned ways to make learning fun. We use music, toys, books, and animals too. I wanted the book to be a reflection of our fun environment where we have live animals as well as stuffed animals as part of our learning experience. Inside and outside of the preschool world, animals are very important. Not only do they make our lives better, but the book shows love and kindness towards animals. The animals bring a stress-free and fun-filled dynamic to the classroom that only they can bring.

What do you hope your readers take away from The First 12 Days of Preschool?

My hope is that my readers will experience adventure, joy, and excitement when thinking about their preschool journey. The preschool years are the most formative and set a foundation for a lifetime of learning and experiences. This book shows some of the many things that the children will be learning, in unforgettable ways, that are sure to make children look forward to their preschool experience. When children can be excited about preschool, it will help to remove any anxiety they may have about beginning school. This helps not only the children, but the parents as well. When children can see that preschool is a safe, fun, and exciting place, it will build anticipation and excitement about starting preschool rather than developing fear towards it. A great preschool experience will help children establish a solid foundation for learning and future relationships. The book, song, and music video make preschool a fun and exciting place that children look forward to being a part of.

When and how did you know you wanted to be a writer?

When I was in high school, I enjoyed writing and also participated on the committee of our school's published works. However, I did not believe that I would ever be an award-winning author. It was my passion for teaching children that led me to publish this book. I did not initially set out to be an author, but this became the way that I could share my passion with the world. Now I can see that this is just the first of many books that I will be writing. I have a couple of books that I am currently working on and have also received requests to write books for elementary school children

What, to you, are the most important elements of good writing?

To me, one of the most important elements of writing is that it must be fueled by your passion and experiences. Being passionate about something brings fire to a project that another topic would not. This has proven true for me. I would not be able to write about something that I do not believe in or feel strongly about. When you are passionate about something you want to scream it out for the whole world to hear and that voice comes out in your writing.  It's important to believe in what you are writing about, and just as important to believe in yourself.

What is the most difficult part of the writing process?

I have often heard people say, "just start writing." That seems to be the hardest part for most people. As a teacher and forever student, I always feel like I want to be an expert on the subject that I am writing about or teaching. This causes me to research, and research, and research. I have learned that there will always be more to learn and that I do need to just start writing. For me it is less about whether or not I can do it, rather than wanting to make sure I have all of my facts together before I start. Either way, it's time to start.

The most difficult part of the writing process, other than finding the time to do it, goes back to wanting to have all of my facts before I start writing. I always feel like I need to have all of my boxes checked off and a complete picture in my head before I can begin anything. I am learning to work with what I have and trust that the holes will be filled in throughout the process. I try to write down thoughts as they come and fit them into the puzzle as I go. Once I start then I have to just keep writing. This can be difficult for me because I do not like to sit for long periods of time. To help me with this, I try to make sure that my writing spaces are fun and inviting. I have three writing spaces that are bright, comfortable and inviting. They include comfortable chairs, good equipment, and uncluttered space. Each space offers something that the others don't. This helps me to not dread the writing process. I just bought a new laptop and today I am working in my bedroom. I am writing but I am able to still relax and be comfortable.

What are your favorite snacks and/or drinks to have while writing?

Snacks are an important part of writing. They serve as a treat and give me just enough of a break so that I can keep writing. Having snacks handy keeps me from getting up from the chair. Anything that keeps me from getting up and being distracted is helpful. Once I get out of the chair, it's difficult for me sit back down. Snacks also make me feel like I'm being rewarded for good writing. I like bbq chips, but I do eat the ones with fewer calories. I also like warm drinks like coffee (decaf of course) or lemon water.

What do you like to do when you're not writing?

This is my 25th year of owning and operating a preschool. This year I bought a much larger campus, which is keeping me very busy. I want to be very involved with the children and our program, so I have not stopped teaching our pre-k class. This leaves a lot of administrative work to be done after hours, but I am enjoying the entire process. I am grateful to have this new school and have the opportunity to be able to teach many more children.  As a forever student, I am also pursuing another doctorate.

What were some of your favorite childhood books?

As child I remember reading "Where the Wild Things are," "Charlotte's Web," and "Green Eggs and Ham." I read often as a child and to this day I am an avid reader. Today there are many wonderful children's books, but I must say that my most favorite is "The First 12 Days of Preschool." Not only is it a fun book with animals and music, but several of the characters and animals are family members. My grandson is in the music video (the one knocking the blocks off of the table in the beginning), and after the song ends my students always say, "Again! Again!"

Find Jeanette Bradley On Social Media