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  • Rebecca P. Cohen

Have a reluctant early reader?

I did. At the time, I didn't know what to do. We resorted to a Summer reading program every Saturday in the Washington, DC area. My husband went to the all-day sessions with my soon-to-be first grader, missing outdoor play. You can guess what that was like. Afterward, 15 minutes of nightly reading was still the opposite of fun even during the school year.

Why weren't there books that excited my child? Why weren't there books that bridged the Bob Books (e.g. The Fat Cat Sat on the Mat) and Magic Treehouse (which at ages 4, 5, and 6 years my son loved listening to but couldn't read). Why couldn't my child learn through play the way he did outside? And I wasn't alone, in speaking with other parents, they shared my fustration. Stacks of early reader books sat unloved.

One day, at the age of 5, my son brought home a book about Fun Festivals Around the World and he read the book to me. He read the book to me! The content about real places and outdoor play ignited his interest. We talked about each place, found each location on the globe, and what it would be like to visit there, and the activities inspired our outdoor play at home.

Seeing that spark of excitement in my child's eyes, engaged in creative play about the natural world around the world, I vowed I would create an early reader *adventure book* in which all children ages 2-8 can learn through play. And it wouldn't be just one book, it would be a series named PJ's Backyard Adventures. Through creative play just beyond his doorstep, PJ will take children around the world for years to come.

Children can experience PJ’s Backyard Adventures in many ways:

  • Color the illustrations

  • Find a sight word hidden in each illustration

  • Decorate their own pj’s, hat, and boots

  • Draw their favorite place to play

  • Draw and write about where their pj’s and imagination could take them

  • Trace, then cut out flash cards for each sight word

  • Sort the sight word flash cards in alphabetical order

  • Cut out PJ from the back cover and take him on outdoor adventures

Grown ups can share their PJ adventures on Facebook!

We tested the book with kids via families and classrooms, including reading teachers, and kids love PJ! I even personally introduced the book to over 200 students across three international schools in China with children from around the world. PJ ignited their imagination.


"Fun learning tool; kids love interacting with PJ!" - Jessica Starzyk, 3rd grade teacher and mom of four "I think it's a great message for all children - get outside and play." - Dawn Gluskin, Author, Type-A Zen and mom of two girls ages 2 and 6 "Read it again!" - Jonah, age 5 "This is a great book and I love how it encourages kids to use their imagination!" - Kristi Casey, reading teacher "I'd definitely recommend this to other homeschool families." - Amy Willis, mom of two kids ages 4 (boy) and 6 (girl)

But don't just take our word for it, put PJ's Backyard Adventures in the hands of a child to witness the magic that takes place with your child's creativity and wonder. See the kids' reactions in the book trailer and cut out this free PJ craft and give it to your child. PJ is the essence of every child, and children immediately want to take him outside and play.

My wish is that PJ's Backyard Adventures becomes a trusted tool for learning through play in your family and classroom.

Wishing your children and PJ memorable moments outside every day,


About Rebecca P. Cohen Rebecca P. Cohen believes time outside transforms our lives for the better. Rebecca is author of the new children's book series PJ's Backyard Adventures, as well as author 15 Minutes Outside: 365 Ways to Get Out of the House and Connect with Your Kids, and creator of Rebecca Plants Curiosity Cards. She is also host of the video series, Get Out of the House, which shows fun ideas for time outside in every season. For Rebecca's inspiring blog and free downloads, visit Book Trailers Fifteen Minutes Outside, PJ’s Backyard Adventures Invite Rebecca for a School Visit!

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