HERE WE ARE {A Review & A How-To: Using A Picture Book To Learn Together}

HERE WE ARE {A Review & A How-To: Using A Picture Book To Learn Together}

HERE WE ARE: A Review & A How-To

Using A Picture Book To Learn Together

Who Is This Book Good For?

This is a fantastically-sweet story for young children. The story by itself could be read to babies easily. The author’s gentle love for his own baby shines through like a beacon in the text.

If you have preschool-aged children or even kids as old as 7 or 8, this is a wonderful teaching book to give young hearts an appreciation for the beauty and complexity of the world we live in.


“This is a wonderful sweet story and I am keeping this book forever!” – my (now) teenage boy

What Is The Story?

The book is divided into sections as the author takes you and your child on a voyage starting with the sky, passing through the water, and ending on land and ultimately with all of us who live here. Along the way your child will meet constellations, learn about weather, the animals that live in the deep ocean, on the land, and all the many many different humans that we share our planet with.

This is not a touchy-feely book. It is a quiet, gentle, loving introduction to your child’s new home. Earth.

What You Can Do At Home WITH Your Child To Learn About The Sky

Step 1 – Read the book together.

Sit in a comfortable chair, on on the floor on pillows. Share the story with your young one. Pay attention to how he responds as you read. Does he look particularly happy in one spot of the story? Does he look like he has a question? Does he lean over the sky picture to get a better look at all the details?

Step 2 – Investigate all the wonderful details on the sky page of the book.

Go back to the Sky page and show your child the rainbow. You can talk about how a rainbow is the water vapor after a rain separating light from the sun into all the many colors in sunlight. You can talk about colors with her. Ask what color the sky page is. When she answers, praise her and ask her to look for more colors. Find some yourself. Share the adventure together.

Step 3 – Do a puzzle to learn the planets.

Get a floor puzzle showing all the planets, like the one at the end of this post. Something your child can help you put together. Then show him all the planets in the puzzle and the planets on the sky page of the book. You can even get an orange and a marble and rotate the marble around the orange to show him how earth rotates around the sun.

Step 4 – Dance on the puzzle and memorize a song about the Sun (this was always my twins’ favorite part)

Put on music, specifically the song “The Sun is a Mass of Incandescent Gas” by They Might Be Giants (CD listed below). Make sure that you didn’t put away that puzzle. Now ask your child to stand on the moon! Once she figures out you mean that she should jump on the picture of the moon on the puzzle, she will be delighted. This is a game you can play again and again and your child will learn the basic science facts about the sun and learn the planets at the same time.

Step 5 – Now put the stars in your child’s bedroom, talk about constellations, and maybe do a craft together.

For these you need glow in the dark star stickers or a constellation projector like the ones at the end of this post. When my twins were young we did this with the glow-in-the-dark stickers. It is time consuming to get them up on your ceiling, especially if you are short like me, but it is oh so worth it! Pick a few of the constellations from the sky pages of the HERE WE ARE book like the Big Dipper, and Orion’s belt, and even maybe the North Star. Then grab your child and show him the constellations in the book. Tell him why the Big Dipper is called that (hint: it looks like a water dipper). Tell him the stories. Maybe if he is really excited you can do some constellation crafts like the ones at

When you are finished, your child will know things about the sky that surrounds us that she will remember for her whole life. She will also understand that learning is fun and exciting and her curiosity will set in motion a life-long love of learning. And, most importantly, she will look forward to the next page of the book. . .

What will you study together next? The oceans and seas? Or maybe Land? It does not matter because your child will be learning with you and spending that oh so precious time that mothers and fathers need to spend with their children.

But first, you need to [amazon_textlink asin=’0399167897′ text=’get the book’ template=’ProductLink’ store=’dowt-20′ marketplace=’US’ link_id=’96c351f6-ce83-11e7-8ba0-d110a3180714′]!

Want to get a signed copy? Oliver Jeffers is on a tour in November and December promoting “Here We Are”! He might be coming to a city near you – check at Oliver Jeffers US Book Tour.

From The Publisher

In this moving and thought-provoking book, Oliver takes the reader on a journey, introducing planet Earth with all of his signature wit, gentle humor, and stunning illustrations. With a complex view of our planet’s terrain (bumpy, sharp, wet) to a deep look at our place in space (you are here) to a guide to all of the animals (they can’t speak, though that’s no reason not to be nice to them), Oliver Jeffers creates an insightfully sweet guide to life on Earth.

OLIVER JEFFERS | HERE WE ARE – Official trailer for Oliver’s exquisite new picture book

The exquisite and thought-provoking new book from the multi award-winning, internationally best-selling picture book creator of Lost and Found, Oliver Jeffers.

About The Author

Oliver Jeffers makes art and tells stories. His books include How to Catch a Star; Lost and Found; and the New York Times bestsellers StuckThis Moose Belongs to Me; and Once Upon an Alphabet. He is also the illustrator of the #1 bestsellers The Day the Crayons Quit and The Day the Crayons Came Home, both written by Drew Daywalt. Oliver has been the recipient of some of children’s books highest accolades, including the Nestle Gold Medal for Lost and Found and the Irish Picture Book of the Year for The Incredible Book Eating Boy. An animated film of Lost and Found won a BAFTA for Best Animation in 2009.

His fine art is world-renowned and his dip-art exhibitions are a much sought-after event. Originally from Belfast, Northern Ireland, Oliver now lives and works in Brooklyn, New York, with his wife and young son.


HERE WE ARE: Notes for Living on Planet Earth

Written and illustrated by Oliver Jeffers

Philomel Books; on sale November 14, 2017; 9780399167898; $19.99


[amazon_link asins=’0399167897,B071LFBWJH,B01DGSR7NA,B0711T1VHS,B000AQJPQE,B01LX2HVKE,B06XVRG7V1,B00009ZKRO,B000005ITU’ template=’ProductGrid’ store=’dowt-20′ marketplace=’US’ link_id=’c1978e69-ce75-11e7-9302-0bdf26282fd1′]

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  • Kristen H

    This looks like a beautiful book! Thank you for sharing.

    • DoodleMom

      You are welcome! It is a quiet, gentle story – the kind of book you want to keep forever.

    • Kirsten West

      You are very welcome! I really love this one! It is a keeper!