by Judy Newman with Alexie Basil
This year, daylight saving time ends at 2 a.m. on Sunday, November 3. I both love and hate this day each year.
On the plus side: that Sunday morning, I have an extra hour to sleep in, catch up on work email, and, of course, read. For a day or two at least, I am on time for everything and feel as if the days are extra-long.
But on the minus side: once we all adapt to the time change, the days are technically shorter, and it’s harder to leave a warm bed and get out of cozy pajamas to dress for work in the darker, chillier mornings.
Growing up, my children had favorite pajamas that reflected their interests. My daughter, Rebecca, wore supercute pajamas, including some that matched her American Girl Felicity doll’s; my son, John, wore Little League–inspired baseball pj’s with cute little feet.
Bedtime—and getting dressed in pajamas after a warm bath—was a nightly ritual in our house, followed by one or two—or ten—bedtime stories. The number of picture books we read—from Sylvester and the Magic Pebble by William Steig and Pookins Gets Her Way by Helen Lester to Lyle, Lyle, Crocodile by Bernard Waber and Make Way for Ducklings by Robert McCloskey—depended on when I or my husband, Jeff, fell asleep reading. Rebecca and John always clamored for more.
Rebecca also had two baby blankets, which matured themselves into comfort objects that she kept with her every single night when she went to sleep. Rebecca named the larger blanket “Sleeping” and the smaller blanket “Regular” (or “Reg”—with a hard g—for short).
We’re not exactly sure where Sleeping is these days, but Reg is still alive and kicking, so to speak. Rebecca still has Reg, age 32, and according to her, “he” still smells and feels the same.
Experts, like Carol Ripple, PhD, National Program Director of Pajama Program, tell us that sleep is extremely important for all children’s health and learning and overall happiness, which is why it matters so much that we establish a good bedtime routine for children (and adults too!).
But many kids who live in inadequate or unsafe housing, are in foster care placements, have recently lost a loved one, are experiencing homelessness, have violence in the home, or whose families struggle to make basic ends meet often do not have the security of a safe and comfortable bedtime ritual. And in many cases, children do not have a cozy pair of pajamas to put on or a good book to read before bed.
My colleague and good friend Genevieve Piturro learned this when she was volunteering at a homeless shelter and a young girl asked her: “What are pajamas?” At that moment, Genevieve took matters into her own hands.
Genevieve quit her corporate job and started Pajama Program, a nonprofit organization that gives kids the magical gift of their own pajamas. Pajama Program joined forces with us at Scholastic Book Clubs and we provide a brand-new book to go along with each new pair of donated pajamas.
After more than 15 years building and running Pajama Program, Genevieve put this incredible organization into the capable hands of Executive Director Jamie Dyce, who continues to fulfill—and expand upon—Genevieve’s vision of every child having a brand-new pair of warm pajamas and a great book for a cozy good night and a good day.
Each year for the past ten years, Scholastic Book Clubs has worked closely with Pajama Program to sponsor a pajama drive for teachers and their students around the country to provide brand-new cozy pajamas for kids who need them. And every year, we’re thrilled to collect more pajamas—and match each pair with a brand-new book.
This year, we’re setting a new goal of 150,000 pairs of pajamas to bring our decade-long total to one million pairs of brand-new pajamas for children who need them!
For more information on how your class can join the 11th Annual Great Bedtime Story Pajama Drive, visit scholastic.com/pjdrive.
In addition to the books I read to my pajama-clad children when they were young, there are so many wonderful new books that make great bedtime reading. One favorite is Llama Llama Red Pajama by Anna Dewdney, this week’s Scholastic Book Clubs Book of the Week.
“Dewdney’s authorial debut is an uproariously funny tale detailing the true events that occur between lights out and when a wee one actually falls asleep.” —Kirkus Reviews
Anna Dewdney’s Llama Llama series is a household favorite with so many families and is an animated show on Netflix. We want to give as many children as possible the opportunity to share the joyous love of these books.
In the spirit of continuing our own childhood traditions, inspiring fun bedtime reading, and celebrating Llama Llama and the power of a great pair of pajamas, my colleague David Vozar and I dressed up as…llamas!
And since we all seem to be dressing up in pajamas this week, David also convinced his bulldog, Yoshi, to pose wearing his own tartan nightwear.
To support Llama Llama Red Pajama as the Scholastic Book Clubs Book of the Week, we put together the following resources to help you share this nearly perfect picture book with your students of all ages.
• Sing along with the Book Boys to “Llama Llama”
• Learn about the importance of a good-night routine from Pajama Program National Director Dr. Carol Ripple
• Get your classroom’s pajama drive started with a fun classroom activity
• Learn how early childhood education teacher Adrienne Cromartie Wolf uses Llama Llama Red Pajama with her preschoolers to teach empathy and patience
I am always looking for new suggestions for bedtime books for friends and neighbors and all the children in my life—and to offer in Scholastic Book Clubs. I’d love to hear any suggestions you have. Please feel free to email me at: JNBlog@scholastic.com
And don’t forget to turn your clocks back on November 3. Happy reading!
This Book Is Available from Scholastic Book Clubs