Countdown children’s books are great for helping kids learn count from 10 to 1 and easing them into bedtime, and two recently published by Arcadia Children’s Books are perfect for the Christmas season and the local area. Dreaming of Christmas and Dreaming of Tampa are board books illustrated by Oldsmar resident Nathan Heinze, and his creative, colorful art will inspire wonder in children while teaching them about Tampa and all the fun and magical parts that make up Christmas.
With Dreaming of Christmas, kids will be counting down to Santa’s visit. From 10 caroling carolers to one twinkling star atop the Christmas tree, they’ll learn about what makes Christmas and the leadup to it special — as well as take part, such as finding out the names of Santa’s nine reindeer and baking seven cookies with their parents. This book is the perfect introduction and gift for a child’s first Christmas, and it’s great for little ones looking forward to the holiday.
Dreaming of Tampa is great for anyone wanting to explore and discover the area with their children. Have fun counting down around the town from the 10 rising arches of the Tampa Union Station to one sleepy pirate ship — representing the bay’s Gasparilla celebration. The 10 subjects also make for great spots to visit with your kids as they learn about where they live, and there’s a fun map at the end showing approximately where each subject is.
Heinze, along with being an illustrator, is also a writer, designer, fine artist, occasional music producer and more who’s passionate about all forms of creativity and is glad to do what he loves. While illustrating the books, Heinze received much help from his daughter, who is very artistic, and his son gave his opinions as well, both telling him what they liked most and acting as his editors. His children are even featured in the swimming sea creatures page of the Tampa book.
“They were my very small test market, my two kids,” Heinze joked. “My daughter got very specific: ‘Yeah, the pink’s a little too hot here, you should calm it down,’ or, ‘I think the sun needs to be bigger here,’ … she’s very particular.”