This post was sponsored by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt as part of an Influencer Activation for Influence Central.

Books. From the very beginning of my life, they’ve been incredibly important to me. Books allowed me to see the world without ever leaving my bedroom, and they encouraged me to be a better member of the world. When my children were born, I couldn’t wait to share my love of books with them. They too experienced new worlds of fantasy, and they learned about the world around them. Watching books spark their imaginations was one of the most rewarding bits of parenting. Now that they’re adults, they still love to escape to imaginary worlds through reading. They also learn practical applications of caring for their houses and preparing for new challenges of adulthood including parenting.

My youngest son is about to have his first child and books have been a great part of their experience. Books about pregnancy, childbirth, raising children, and early childhood education have started showing up on their bookshelves next to the storybooks they’ve already begun to amass to share with their new little girl. Many of those books were ones I picked out and purchased because they were favorites of mine as a child or ones her father love to hear when he was small. I can’t wait to share with her all of the magic those pages hold. Stories of silliness, adventure, and more. Stories that when read out loud become a lifelong memory of happiness for us both.

Houghton Mifflin Harcourt #SparkAMind

These moments can make a lasting impression on children, and Houghton Mifflin Harcourt agrees! They believe like I do that these everyday moments can add up to a lifetime of curiosity which translates into a world of learning. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt’s goal is to give parents a place to capture these moments and share them online, so they’ve created #SparkAMind. It’s a mini-site that will also help close the gap for kids in need by donating children’s books to early learning organizations to help them prepare kids for long-term success.

Houghton Mifflin Harcourt #SparkAMind Encourages a Lifetime of Learning @HMHCo #IC #ad


It’s an important initiative because according to the Handbook of Early Literacy Research, Volume 2, 2006, written by Susan B. Neuman and David K Dickinson, middle-income neighborhoods have a ratio of books per child is 13 to 1, in low-income neighborhoods, the ratio is one age-appropriate book for every 300 children.

61 percent of low-income families have no books at all in their homes for their children. (Reading Literacy in the United States, 1996.)

Houghton Mifflin Harcourt is working to make reading accessible to everyone. Through their learning resourceThe Curious World app,  kids ages 3-7 have access to over 500 educational games, videos, and books!  Use this special link to get your first month free and then 20% off the monthly fee of the app: The offer ends April 20, 2016, so sign up soon!

The Curious World App Discount Code - Houghton Mifflin Harcourt #SparkAMind Encourages a Lifetime of Learning @HMHCo #IC #ad

There are so many pieces of childhood that are precious and worth repeating, and I’m looking forward to every one of them. I’ can’t wait for the never-ending “why” questions my new granddaughter will have. The hours we’ll spend playing dress up, eating pretend food, and building towers with blocks she’ll topple with joy will not only be fun but an early childhood education that will prepare her for the future.

I can’t wait to help spark her imagination and encourage her curiosity. Her library at our house is already overflowing with stories about animals, space, and the environment. I can’t wait to learn what her favorites will be and wonder if she’ll love the stories I did as a child. No matter what she’s drawn to, I know that just by reading and learning she’ll have more personal success, and it will give her the confidence to do well in school and life.

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