(Thousand Oaks, Calif.) - While teaching ABCs to his 2-year-old daughter, Ventura County, Calif., resident Vick Wadhwa sensed that she was getting bored with her alphabet books, just as he was. However, he was amazed by her ability to open up photo albums on his wife's iPhone.
“Many preschool-age children are smart enough to play with advanced electronic gadgets. However, most of their books seem too basic, focusing typically on animals and simple objects,” said Vick, who added that although 'A for Apple' is a great starting point, children outgrow such books quickly. "If toddlers can figure out smart phones, then why not a few more words? Why not start teaching them some richer, deeper words, and character-building concepts earlier?"
At the time, Vick worked as a scientist for the biotechnology company Amgen, and had never before thought of writing a children's book. However, one day, after one of his daily meditation sessions, this rhyme popped into his head: “A is for Artwork, drawing and painting. Singing and dancing too, art makes life interesting!”
Vick felt intrigued. “I thought, hmm, let's try something for B." He came up with, “B is for Butterflies, flying in a flutter. Did you know, that their wings are soft like butter?” And then the next rhyme arrived in the shower: “C is for Colors, speaking words of light. Red and blue, green and yellow, pink and black and white!”
He tried out the initial rhymes on his wife and daughter. “They loved the rhymes, and so I continued with the rest of the alphabet all the way to Z,” said Vick. Then he tweaked the rhymes for singing to the tune of the ABC song. It is the same tune as in “Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star,” and is originally from an 18th century French folk melody called “Ah! Vous dirai-je, Maman,” made famous by the German maestro Mozart in his composition, "12 Variations.”
Singing is not just for enjoyment, it helps in developing focus, memorization, listening and learning, observed Vick. “I found that singing out the rhymes had an attention‐grabbing and calming effect on my daughter,” he said. “She would really enjoy the rhymes, and soon she started singing them herself. Sometimes she would ask questions related to the rhymes, and that was extremely encouraging.”
Vick was getting so much enjoyment out of singing the rhymes with his daughter that he thought it would be nice to share them with others as well. Now all of the rhymes that he so lovingly wrote are featured in the new book, A New Take on ABCs – S is for Smiling Sunrise: An Alphabet Book of Goodness, Beauty, and Wonder, published by WordsBright, (www.wordsbright.com), a new small press focused on bringing out enjoyable and meaningful books to stimulate learning.
The book is being officially released on Feb. 3, 2014, in honor of “I Love to Read Month.” Mama Marlaine, founder of Parenting 2.0 and creator of The Life Skills Report Card, reviewed the book and said, “Smiling Sunrise’s colorful illustrations, creative rhymes, and life‐affirming messages are soul‐nourishing, wholesome food for growing minds!”
Vick hopes that preschool and elementary school teachers, as well as parents and librarians, will take an interest in the book. "I believe that the rhymes gave my daughter a jumpstart in learning new concepts, in addition to giving me a rich bonding experience," he said. "Part of the motivation for publishing this book is to give a meaningful and enduring gift to my daughter, as well as to other children." Vick says that the rhymes have deeper nuances for kids to discover as they grow, and some of the rhymes, such as "W for Words and X for eXcellence," were written to engage parents and teachers along with kids, since "what we teach our children needs to resonate with adults too."
Not only is the book filled with memorable rhymes and eye‐catching illustrations, there is a free mp3 song version of the rhymes available for download from the Wordsbright website. "My daughter loves to hear the song, and I wanted to give it out free over the Internet, so that it is available to interested parents and their kids practically anywhere in the world," said Vick. Downloadable teaching tips are also available on the same website to help parents, teachers and caregivers use the book and the free song with their little ones. For more information, log on to www.wordsbright.com.
About the Author
Vick Wadhwa grew up in a small town in eastern India in a home with no TV, but with access to good books from the local school run by Jesuit missionaries. He came to the United States to pursue a Ph.D. in pharmaceutical sciences, and eventually became a naturalized citizen. After earning a doctorate from Ohio State University, he worked as a scientist for
17 years with major pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies. In mid‐2012, he decided to change course and go in a different direction to pursue new dreams.
“For a long time, I researched and worked on prescription drug products meant for seriously ill patients. Although it was very meaningful and rewarding work, over time I realized that in contrast to the tremendous resources spent on expensive therapies, much less is being done for preventive health products that are more cost‐effective. So now I'm working on products that help to maintain health and wellbeing," said Vick, who is in the process of starting up a small business to bring to market a new liquid mineral supplement called 'EMdrops,’ that he invented.
Health and wellness isn’t his only passion. Thanks to his daughter, he has developed a deeply personal interest in early learning and education. A New Take on ABCs – S is for Smiling Sunrise : An Alphabet Book of Goodness, Beauty, and Wonder is intended to be the first of several books for early readers.