Top 10 Titles for Toddlers (Chosen By My Toddler)

Have you ever been shopping for a baby shower or a first birthday and thought to yourself, I want to buy the little one a book, but which one? Fortunately there are thousands of baby books out there, but my son will tell you, not all children’s books are created equal. Children are fickle, but no with their literature. My son is loyal to his favorite titles. He carries them around with him, and flips through their pages repetitiously. He implores me to read these books over and over again.

A toddler will also let you know quickly if the book is not his cup of milk. Mine will turn on his diapered bum and ignore me if I read him a story that is not from his “favorite” list.

Here are ten children’s books that have been proven tried and true by my toddler.

  1. “A Baby Is Born” by Melanie Zanoza bartelme (Author), Steve Whitlow (Illustrator)
  2. “Little Owl’s 1 2 3” by Divya Srinivasan (Author, Illustrator)
  3. “Red Truck” by Kersten Hamilton (Author) Valeria Petrone (Illustrator)
  4. Moby Dick: A BabyLit® Ocean Primer (BabyLit Books) by Jennifer Adams (Author) Alison Oliver (Illustrator)
  5. “On The Night You Were Born” by Nancy Tillman (Author, Illustrator)
  6. “Barnyard Dance” by Sandra Boynton (Author, Illustrator)
  7. “How Do I Love You?” by  P. K. Hallinan (Author, Illustrator)
  8. “Little Blue Truck” Alice Schertle (Author) Jill McElmurry (Illustrator)
  9. “In My Jungle” Sara Gillingham (Author) Lorena Siminovich (Illustrator)
  10.  “I Love You Through and Through” by Bernadette Rossetti Shustak (Author) and Caroline Jayne Church (Illustrator)

The best part about this list, is that you can find all of these books on Amazon. I hope this makes baby shopping a little easier for you.

Love & Cheers,

Rachel McKee


200 Followers: Q&A

Here is the Q&A video celebrating 200 followers on Illuminated Literation. I hope you enjoy hearing the answers to your questions. I had fun writing my response. 

I reorganized the questions depending on topic, so some of your questions may be split up in different sections.

I want to thank the following readers for participating and asking me thoughtful questions:

Fab Writings


The Lily Note Pad

Mystery Date With A Book

The Inked Autist


The Invisible Moth

Casey Fae Hewson

Cool Beans 4

Wind Blown Words

I Am Miradh

A Note To Huguette



While there are many edits I would love to make, life is too busy to nit-pick. There is one that I can’t let slip by. Ben asked, “Is there any work that guides you? Or a particular author?” I said the novel “Infamous” but the novel name is “Infandous” by Elana Arnold.

Here is the link to the blog The Daily Post. Look for their post called Community Pool. It’s a great way to make new blog buddies.

Thank you for your continuous encouragement and support.

Love and Cheers,

Rachel McKee

Picture Pick FriYAY: Lowell

Good morning Bloggers and happy Friday! These photos are from around this time two years ago. I was feeling the urge to be creative, so I took a photo walk around an area in Everett called Lowell. I think it’s really cool to see what kind of compositions we can find when we take it slow and look around. Now, having a camera with us all the time (phone) helps us look for photo opportunities all around, but a lot of the time I think we are in too much of a rush to stop and spend a few minutes with a subject that interests us. I am going to slow down and see what my eyes are drawn to this weekend and perhaps you will do the same.









Dreaming Of Whales

All of my good dreams involve whales. If whales are not in my dream then I’m chased by a murderer, my husband cheats on me, or I’ve misplaced my kid. I have a lot of bad anxiety dreams, but some nights my subconscious throws me a bone, and I dream peacefully of whales.

I’m normally in a house, or standing on a pier and I can see whales in the distance. Sometimes I’m on a boat and I see them close by. When I finally see the whales, my heart fills with joy and child-like wonder. After a few moments of whale watching, peace settles over me.


I spoke of the recurring image of whales to a friend of mine when we were in college. He coincidentally was studying psychology. He was interested in my nocturnal whale watching and asked a few basic questions:

Q: Have you ever seen whales?

A: Yes I have seen whales.

Q: Where did you see whales?


  • On my dad’s boat.
  • From the shore of a cabin we visited regularly when I was a child.
  • In captivity, we saw Shamu at Sea World.
  • Once again, in captivity, we visited Keiko when he was in a tank in Oregon.

Q: Who was with you when you saw the whales?

A: Always family.

Q: When was the last time you saw whales?

A: Keiko in Oregon.

Q: What were you doing there?

A: Vacationing with my family. It was the last vacation we ever took as a family before my parent’s divorce. (Oh!)

I went through a lot of change in a short period of time. My parents divorced, and then remarried new spouses, I acquired step-siblings, and then my brother left and joined the Coast Guard which really split my world in half. For years I felt like I was fighting a losing battle of trying to hold my family together. I wept and I mourned for my former family life. I love my step-relatives now, but it took awhile for all of us to adjust. I think the whales represent the very first family dynamic I had until I was thirteen years old. Just my father, mother, brother, and me.

Do you have recurring themes/images/people in your dreams? Do you believe they appear for a reason?

Sweet dreams, tonight and always,

Rachel McKee

ADDITIONAL NOTE: I must add that I don’t believe in the captivity of whales. There is too much evidence that shows these beautiful, majestic souls suffer when they are confined.


???Ask Me Your Questions???

This week Illuminated Literation reached 200 followers. 200 creative souls decided to invest precious time by reading my posts. I’m honored. To celebrate, I’m making another video like my 100 Followers Post.

I will answer any and all questions you guys throw at me. They can be about my novel, Illuminated Literation, books that I’m reading/have read, photography, etc. I will tag your blog with the question you ask. I got this idea from (Over)Analysing Literature when I participated in her Q&A. It was a lot of fun, and I’ve been waiting for an opportunity to try it out here.

Thank you for your support and for making my experience in the blogging community so wonderful. I look forward to your questions. I hope I at least get one, otherwise it will just be me staring at you in the video (and that’s just awkward for everyone).

Please ask your questions in the comment section by Friday 8/9. I will post the video next Monday.

Love & Cheers,

Rachel McKee


Writing Romantic Scenes

This is an impromptu post fueled by  white wine and a desperate need for empathy. In other words, I’m wine writing and I “Blame it on the ah ah ah ah ah alcohol.” – Thank you Jamie Foxx.

I’m struggling to write sex romantic scenes between my protagonists. Every time I approach a steamy passage I get so embarrassed I just skip it. I’ve written around, over, and under, three romantic scenes because I get so bashful. I am not a prude, why is this happening?!

I have been a romance reader since I was twelve. I was sneaking Harlequin romances from my Mom’s collection before I was wearing a training bra. I haven’t been this awkward about sex since a boy in middle school asked me to “come sit on his lap and talk about the first thing that pops up.” (And since I can still feel the horror of that invitation, let me tell you I sent a very swift declination his way.)

The wine is helping immensely, and I was able to write one of the risqué passages in my novel. What do you do when you are writing romance? Is this a problem for anyone else? Do I become a temporary alcoholic until my novel is finished?

Cheers, (literally)

Rachel McKee

Picture Pick FriYAY: Tuolumne Meadows, Ca

This is Miles popping in to say “hello”.

I visited Toulumme Meadows California in May, 2009 while road-tripping with my best friend. I hope you enjoy these photos from the trip.

Have a great weekend.

tuolumne meadows

tuolumne meadows

tuolumne meadows

tuolumne meadows

tuolumne meadows

tuolumne meadows

tuolumne meadows

tuolumne meadows

tuolumne meadows

tuolumne meadows

tuolumne meadows

If you have any questions about the photography featured today, please comment below.

Miles McKee