PCHP Early Learning Specialist Becomes A Published Author

PCHP is very proud that of one of our Cambridge, MA PCHP Early Learning Specialists is now a published children’s author! Being a PCHP Early Learning Specialist has enriched Ellen Mayer’s writing. Her books, published by Star Bright Books, are PCHP recommended and great children’s books for 0 – 3 year olds. Please read below for a guest blog post from Ellen.  


Ellen Mayer

Ellen Mayer, PCHP Early Learning Specialist from Cambridge, MA and published author.

I’m a PCHP Early Learning Specialist in Cambridge, Massachusetts with the Home-Based Early Childhood Education Program (the local PCHP site), part of the Cambridge Public Schools. I’m also a children’s book writer.


The first two books in my Small Talk Books ™ collection were just released by Star Bright Books. Red Socks is a board book for 0-2 years and A Fish to Feed is a board book with die-cut peepholes for 1-3 years. They are short, playful stories that are full of quality conversation between parent and child. The parent characters in the stories model some ways to talk with young children that we all know can help build early language. For example in A Fish to Feed, the Dad follows the child’s lead, expands the child’s language, uses lots of positive talk, and asks open-ended questions. Dr. Betty Bardige, the author of several books on early childhood development and a member of PCHP’s Massachusetts Advisory Committee, has written a brief parent note that is included in each book. The note offers inspiration and helps parents understand the importance of speaking with young children.


I began to write these particular stories many years ago, and then sought work as a PCHP Early Learning Specialist , because I felt strongly about the injustice of the achievement gap. I had read some research about the role that differences in early language development were playing in contributing to this gap, and this influenced me a lot.


Working as a Early Learning Specialist has enriched these stories in lots of ways. Being close to my many families over the last six years, getting to read and play with families every week, has helped make these stories feel “real”.  My wonderful Early Learning Specialist colleagues have been helpful in brainstorming ideas for possible new stories (a visit to the supermarket?) and activities to use with the newly published ones (fishing games!). My colleagues tell me these books will be great in home visits, and I certainly hope so. Like the PCHP approach, the stories model and don’t instruct. The storylines feature diverse families, are about everyday life, and are simple and easy to follow. And the vibrant art by illustrator Ying-Hwa Hu shows lots of expressive gestures and offers a lot to talk about.


Recently, I received my best endorsement to-date – from a family I used to visit with. The mother told me that she read A Fish to Feed to her just-three year old son (who I remember as only liking books about trains). He loved it! And then he turned around and “read” the book to his playdough people. What could be better than that?


Please click on the books below to purchase your copies. To visit Ellen Mayer’s official website, please click here.