We were delighted to have Emmy-award winning actress, Debra Messing, at our  Book Expo booth at the packed Javits Center in New York City yesterday.  Debra has narrated two of the books on our Autumn 2013 programme: The Little Red Hen, and The Barefoot Book of Jewish Tales. She spent a busy hour signing posters and meeting fans. Afterwards, we had a few minutes to speak to her about storytelling, motherhood, and Barefoot Books:

How did you first hear about us?

I am a long-time lover of Barefoot Books and have read many of them to my son, Roman. The Bear titles were the first Barefoot Books we read together.

What comes to mind when you think of Barefoot Books?

Simply, spectacular illustrations and cultural generosity.

Why did you want to narrate The Little Red Hen and The Barefoot Book of Jewish Tales?

I had recently narrated some adult books, so when Barefoot approached me about doing the narrations it just made heart sense to me.

A few words to describe The Little Red Hen

It’s a wonderful tale about generosity, collaboration and doing what’s right.

A few words to describe The Barefoot Book of Jewish Tales
What I love about this book is that it does not matter what your belief system is, because it is a collection of beautiful stories about compassion and working together.

Why is reading important in your family?

I can’t think of any greater gift to give a child than a love of reading. It’s a gateway to other worlds and cultures, and it is a way to experience everything from the supernatural to a moment in history. As an actor, I am a storyteller, and storytelling is very powerful for me. A book is another form of storytelling, and it can be truly transformative for a child.

What advice do you have for parents to help them raise a child who loves books?
Know your child. For example, Roman has a great sense of humor. So we try to find books together that make him hungry to read.

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