Thursday, September 17, 2009

A Wonderful Picture Book About Rhymes, Songs And Activities To Stay Connected With Our Young Children. Also A Book Give-Away.

I had the pleasure of reviewing and interviewing Mommy, Draw Stars on My Tummy by Martine Groeneveld. The author is also doing a book give-away for the readers of my blog. To enter you can e-mail the author. Her e-mail is given at the end of the interview—so keep reading till the end. I hope everyone enjoys.

Mommy, Draw Stars on My Tummy, is a wonderful book filled with delightful pictures and memorable words. The rhyme mixed into the stories and then incorporating massage along with them, is relaxing and fun for children. This book shows positive and healthy ways to massage and touch our children. Nurturing touch creates family bonding and are key components for encouraging healthy physical, mental and emotional development in children. Massage helps communicate love and helps any child relax. Think of how we feel after a good massage from a spa. We feel relaxed and calm, right? So do children.

My children are affectionate. They love to hug, snuggle, and of course, be massaged. I am the massage queen at my house, massaging shoulders, feet and backs on a daily basis. So when I sat down with my children and read the book, massaging their legs and backs and arms as the rhymes, songs and stories suggested, they loved it. However, my children are also ticklish so some of the time was spent on taking moments for a tickle fest, which of course led to laughter and spending memorable moments with my children.

Martine created an amazing book that I feel will bring parents some good quality time with their children, which is sometimes forgotten in a busy world. Sometimes we as parents forget that no matter what the age, our children need to feel loved. My boys are affectionate boys, and it is amazing to me that my oldest, after playing with his friends, will sometimes give them hugs thanking them for playing with him. Some will hug back and some will look at him strangely, but I am proud of him for feeling comfortable and secure enough with himself that he can hug someone else and show them how he feels, instead of saying words that he may or may not mean. Adults are no different. Many times I have talked with someone who was so excited or thankful at something I did, that they hugged me showing me their appreciation. How did that feel? Wonderful! Everyone needs to have that connection in their lives.

The research Martine did on this book was extensive. In the back of the book is a section which is about the benefits of nurturing touch. It was very informative. Overall, I must say that I really enjoyed the book and thought Martine did a wonderful job creating something that is very important to have in everyone’s lives. How did I know my children enjoyed the book? When I was in the grocery store and my youngest son was hugging me, he was singing one of the rhymes. Great job, Martine!

Joining us today is Martine Groeneveld, author of Mommy, Draw Stars on My Tummy. We’re going to talk to Martine about her new picture book.

Welcome, Martine. It’s great to have you with us.

Thank you very much for having me.

Please tell our readers a bit about yourself.

I’m a native of Holland and have been living in Los Angeles for almost five years. My background is in nursing, psychology and massage therapy and I have found my passion in advocating nurturing touch during early childhood. My daughters, Wies and Sara, are six and four years old and a great inspiration in my life.
Living in the US has been a wonderful experience so far. It has given me the opportunity to write my first book and will therefore always hold a special place.

How did your writing career begin?

I was looking for a book that combined nurturing touch with rhymes and illustrations. When I couldn’t find it, I decided to write it myself. I figured I wasn’t the only mom who was looking for fun and loving ways to connect with my children.

Tell us about Mommy, Draw Stars on My Tummy.

Mommy, Draw Stars on My Tummy combines nurturing touch, storytelling and beautiful illustrations in a way that allows parents and children to slow down, focus on each other and enjoy a close, personal relationship.
It contains a series of bedtime, naptime or playtime stories ranging from the familiar Itsy Bitsy Spider and This Little Piggy Went To Market to original stores and games like Magic Body Painting and Guess the Letter. Each story contains massage instructions for the parent, which guide hand and fingers to draw shapes on the child’s body. The child is asked to guess the shape as the story unfolds. The fun and enjoyment that derives from touch play stimulates the child and encourages creativity and cognitive abilities in a playful and nurturing way.

What age group is this series for?

For 0-6 years old. The rhymes and games in the book can be adjusted to the child’s developmental stage.

This is a beautiful picture book. What inspired you to write it?

When I trained to become an infant massage instructor a few years ago, we played around with the lyrics of a song so it could be incorporated into the massage routine. When I later introduced it to my daughter, who was almost two at the time, it was an instant hit. She loved it. From than on I created different rhymes, songs and games to go along with hand routines for massage. When I started thinking about putting it into a book form, I knew it had to be combined with beautiful pictures to enhance the whole experience. The book needed to be playful, loving and warm in appearance, just like the content.

In what forms is your book available? Is it available in e-book, hard cover or traditional paperback, or all?

It’s available in hardcover only. I believe in the magic of holding a beautiful book in your hands. It gets me excited to open and read it and I think this is all part of ‘experiencing’ the book. The theme of Mommy, Draw Stars on My Tummy, connection and closeness between parent and child, is all about experiencing and a beautiful looking book enhances that whole experience.

Have you written other books? If so, tell us about them.

Mommy, Draw Stars on My Tummy is my first book and I really enjoyed the writing process. It has sparked some ideas for new books and I’m excited to start working these out.

For homeschool parents, such as myself, we are always looking for the best curriculums, workbooks, supplements and subjects to best teach our children. How can this book help children in school and help parents?

The rhymes and games in this book have fill-in-the blanks that can be adjusted to the child’s developmental stage. The alphabet and numbers are practiced in a playful way and facts about the body are learned, encouraging the development of a healthy body image.
Nurturing touch and touching is all about respect and this is the underlying teaching in the activities. The child is the owner of his/her body, and the parent follows the child’s lead. This not only makes the child feel respected, it also teaches respect for their own and other people’s bodies. This book is also helpful in a dialog with your child about ‘good’ and ‘bad’ touch.

I have read that you teach massage classes. Tell us more about that and how massage can help children.

In my classes I teach a combination of massage and massage-touch-play activities. Parents learn how to give their baby or child a full-body massage, but what is more important to me is teaching them to be creative and to follow their intuition with the simplicity, and fun, of nurturing touch. You can nurture your child with loving touch anywhere and at anytime, that’s the message I want to pass along.

Massage and nurturing touch is a wonderful way to enhance physical, emotional and cognitive development in a child. It stimulates relaxation, circulation, the immune system, brain growth, self-respect and confidence, a healthy body image and a parent-child relationship based on love and respect. It has also proven to reduce aggression in children, which in turn can lead to a more peaceful environment once these children grow into adults.

What kind of research did you have to do for this story?

I had to study rhyme and meter (rhythm) for children’s rhymes. What sounded good to me sometimes turned out to be completely “off” in regards to the rhythm. I found this really interesting. To make a rhyme go easy and smoothly requires a lot of complicated crafting with words.

Mommy, Draw Stars on My Tummy is not released yet in stores. When is the release date and can readers pre-order your book?

The book will be released November 1st 2009, but is already available for pre-order on Amazon and on the website Shipping is free within the USA till November 1st.

Do you have a website and/or blog where readers can find out more?

Yes, I have a website and a blog. My book website is and has sample pages of the book, reader and exert reviews and a research page on the benefits of touch for children.
In my blog http://www.mommydrawstarsonmytummy/blog/ I focus on nurturing touch during early childhood, massage and ways to encourage closeness in the relationship with your child.
I also have a Twitter account and a facebook group page The latter is for everyone with the hope for all children to grow up in a nurturing touch environment. Please join!

Where can readers purchase your books and how much do they cost?

The book is available for pre-order on Amazon and on the website It is $19.95 and shipping is free within the USA till November 1st.
After the release date, November 1st, it’ll be available in book and retail stores as well.

What's next for you? Is there anything else that you are involved in or working on?

I’m in the process of researching body image development in early childhood and it’s relation to the development of eating disorders in adolescence. This might be food for another book.
I’m also conducting research on the link between nurturing touch and temper tantrums. I’m collecting the last data and will publish results once they’re processed.

Has writing always been a passion for you?

I’ve always loved books, but never thought I would write one myself. I wished I could, but thought it was only for professional writers. It took me a few months into the writing of this book, before I felt comfortable telling others about it without the need to apologize for that ridiculous idea.

Is there anything else that you would like to add or share?

I have reserved two books for readers of this blog. If you’d like to enter for this giveaway, please email me at

Thank you so much for taking the time to talk to our readers today. Good luck in all of your future endeavors. Please check out this picture book by Martine Groeneveld.

Thank you so much for having me and giving me the opportunity to introduce my book.

1 comment:

  1. What a great idea for a book. A very nice review. I enjoyed learning about your classes, Martine.