Watching his companions enjoying fun activities, this lovable character becomes increasingly unhappy with his predicament–Little Pencil realizes that he really wants to be helpful but can’t seem to find anything to do!
Finally rescued by this new Forever Friends, Little Pencil discovers how useful and important he really is.
Creative and colorful artwork enhance this unique, one-of-a-kind rhyming picture book, drawing the reader into a lively classroom. Best of all, the book offers an age-appropriate reference guide for teaching pencil grip (pencil grasp), making writing more fluid and easier for children.
Designed to entertain little ones while learning how to hold a pencil, Little Pencil Finds His Forever Friends is essential for every teacher, parent and child, including toddlers, preschoolers, kindergarteners and first graders.
Also recommended for homeschoolers, occupational therapists, early childhood classroom teachers (infant grades in UK/AU/NZ), children’s libraries and bookstores, and toy stores. *Free parent/teacher activity guide included (PDF).
About the Author
Christine is an award-winning educator with a passionate desire to help children navigate the wonderful world of learning. She lives with her forever friend and loving husband, John, who is also her editor. When not writing, she loves automobile outings, nature walks, horseback riding, dogs, cooking, tutoring, teacher training, exercise, singing, country & rock music, prayer, and laughter with good friends.
I was raised in the beautiful countryside of Argentina, where she cultivated a love of nature, children and family.
I love animals especially dogs and horses. In elementary school, I enjoyed more freedom than most as I sometimes snuck out of class to sit with my mother, the school principal!
In Argentina, I studied Graphic Design at the Gracia Loca Institute and in Guam I practiced graphic design at American Printing. I love all kinds of artwork and I love children. The illustrations in this book were a pleasure to create.
I live in Bushwick, Brooklyn NY and am studying elementary education while working as a paraprofessional. I live with my active son, Dorian and my little Pomeranian dog, Asher.
I am a homeschooling mom with a background of pediatric occupational therapy (OT).
I studied Occupational Therapy at the University of Cape Town, graduated with my BSc in OT in 1997, and completed my postgrad studies in Sensory Integration in 2001. I spent 6 years working in pediatric private practice in Cape Town, South Africa, focusing on Learning Disabilities and Sensory Processing Disorders.
I have been married to André le Roux since 1998 and we have 3 beautiful children - 2 boys and a girl.
Since relocating to Hermanus in 2002, I have focused more on being a mom and a pastor's wife, and homeschooling my three kids. However, from 2006 to 2015, I worked part time at Enlighten Education Trust, an NGO that supports local schools. Using my Occupational Therapy skills, I designed and implemented an enrichment program for impoverished Grade 1 learners who are entering the school system without the basic skills they need for learning. The program covers fine motor and gross motor skills, visual and spatial perception and laying the foundation for the Three R's.
My passion is for children to be excited about and equipped for learning, and this means having the skills they need to learn. I try to empower parents to help their children, and have also run training workshops for teachers to give them activities to use in their classrooms. Most of these parents, teachers and kids have limited funds, so I have concentrated on activities that use everyday, inexpensive materials. The program I started is now being implemented by other members of the team, and I am available as a consultant when needed.
My work for Enlighten Education Trust inspired me to begin a website that would empower parents and teachers to help the kids in their lives get ready for school - and so OT Mom Learning Activities was born in 2009. My website is full of practical ideas that parents can implement at home, and it has been a privilege to connect with parents and teachers all over the world in this way.
Homeschooling my own growing children fills my days, and I often use my OT skills to help them overcome their own unique challenges, including various sensory processing issues, visual and auditory processing delays and some fine motor and coordination issues. It has been such a privilege to customize their learning journey through homeschooling and hands-on OT Mom activities!
As a Christian, it has been a blessing to serve the Lord Jesus in my life, and to learn to depend daily upon Him. He helped me overcome a serious hearing impairment and enabled me to study and serve in the areas He placed in my life. In 2015 and 2016, the Lord blessed me with the miracle of cochlear implants, which have radically changed my experience of the world, and I am so grateful!
John 10:10 "I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full [abundantly]"
May Jesus get the glory for everything He has done in my life!
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
Although I have been writing for quite some time now, I still enjoyed Christine Calabrese’s children’s book Little Pencil Finds His Forever Friends. By working with concepts children are already familiar with, Christine helps introduce children to the proper way of holding a writing utensil, in this case, a very sad and lonely pencil! The Little Pencil is sad because his friends all have something to do, but he isn’t doing anything! What can the Little Pencil do? Kids will be excited to find out as they read on! Christine is incredibly very creative in coupling rhyming with imagination as children read about all of the things the other toys, markers, baseball bats, and more are able to do. Children will love this book as they go “Boo hoo hoo!” along with the Little Pencil and can create their own sound affects with the other characters. The Little Pencil will quickly find new friends who want to work diligently learning this new skill. I was pleasantly surprised to find that left-handed persons aren’t left out from this book! I, myself, am left-handed and oftentimes we are excluded from books such as these. I’m pleased that Christine took the time and energy to think of us lefties out there and include us in her book. This unique presentation should make writing an exciting adventure to a beginning student. I also had the chance of reading the free PDF of the Teacher's Guide for The Little Pencil. Christine Calabrese’s Teacher’s Guide for The Little Pencil Finds His Forever Friends is a wonderful addition to the children’s book. It’s clear that Christine put a generous amount of effort into this guide that is sure to help teachers engage their students and ensure they are enjoying themselves as they learn. I find that this guide could be very helpful for a teacher as the book can help introduce other units they may teach during the year. The guide includes YouTube links to songs, ways to engage your classroom as you read, age-appropriate thought provoking questions, vocabulary words (like 'Alliteration' and 'Onomatopoeia'!) and their definitions, helpful hints for the teacher, and much more. Children will love participating as the teacher reads and will find it tons of fun learning how to write. I would recommend getting this book for anyone who interacts with children of young ages! Emma T
As a Pediatric Occupational Therapist, here are my thoughts after reading the book: -This is a great way to learn about pencil grasp without directly “harping” on the child. So many of the children I see are so OVER people talking about their pencil grasp because they feel like they are doing something wrong. By using a book to introduce concepts, we might be able to buffer this feeling. -By connecting with the pencil as a character in the book, children have something fun to associate with their own pencil when they sit down to write. I’m all about motivation in any form for challenging tasks. -Images of a functional pencil grasp on different utensils throughout the book act as a good reinforcer for parents and children. -The cute rhyming reminder of how to hold the pencil can be a way to prompt children while possibly minimizing frustration. -I’m so happy to see that this book emphasizes separation of the hand, (one side for stability and one side for movement/control) which is a key component in functional and mature pencil grasps. -She includes left-handed writers as well, so they can also have a clear visual image of how to hold their pencil. -I feel as if a resource like this can actually promote a higher rate of follow through by having clear ideas for parents to reinforce at home. Plus, children always love reading books with their parents, so what a fantastic 2-birds-1-stone situation! -Plus, Christine has created a HUGE free resource to go along with the book, full of lesson plans, ideas, and links to more information. It's a great added value to the book itself! Overall, this book is a fun, happy resource to practice an incredibly important foundation concept for children. I’ve never seen such a resource before, and I’m excited to introduce it to the families I work with in occupational therapy!
Scissors, Ruler, Glue, Crayons, Markers, and childhood toys are busy and having fun. Poor little pencil is sad and has nothing to do. When some helpful friends come along (Spoiler Alert: Mr. Thumb, Miss Index, and Ms. Middle), they show little pencil how he can have fun, too. Written by Christine Calabrese, Little Pencil Finds His Forever Friends is a clever book designed to get kids excited about writing. The illustrations are darling and have great kid-appeal. Rhyme and repetition make this book a page-turner—kids will want to know if little pencil will ever be happy. Little Pencil Finds His Forever Friends not only develops a foundation for good hand writing and proper pencil-grip, it also comes with an activity book. With the activity guide, parents, homeschooling teachers, and classroom teachers can help children recognize feelings and emotions and teach them rhyming, vocabulary and grammar. The activity book includes a wealth of resources and has a discussion guide for each page of the book. In addition, there is an easy art project kids will love to make. Hats off to Christine Calabrese. She’s created a book that educates and entertains young children.
Little Pencil Finds His Forever Friends – A Rhyming Pencil Grip Picture Book, written by Christine Calabrese and illustrated by Maria Victoria Flores, is an adorable and educational book perfect for preschoolers who are learning how to properly hold a pencil. The story is about Little Pencil who enviously watches all the other toys and tools in the classroom/playroom having fun and wishes that he had something to do, too! Finally, he meets some fingers who become his Forever Friends, and now he gets to write all day! I love the underlying lesson of being productive and working hard and the joy that doing both bring! Little ones will adore this book which is full of colorful and fun illustrations on every page. The rhyming is smooth and easy to read and follow. They will be cheering for Little Pencil when he finally finds his Forever Friends and has something to do! And, I’ll bet they will want to try to use their own pencils after reading this story! As an added bonus, this book (which is wonderful on its own) includes an amazing FREE Teaching/Activity Guide with 5 days of aligned lessons and links to important resources! It includes not only pencil grip lessons, but also discusses vocabulary, grammar, and rhyming, among other important lessons – and it includes crafts, activities, songs and so many other things – you just have to see for yourselves: http://christinecalabrese.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/10/A-Resource-Guide-for-Little-Pencil.A.pdf. I highly recommend this book for all preschoolers just learning, or are about to learn, how to properly grip a pencil!