Author of book about signing with young children to appear at Bethany Beach Books

An expert on promoting early literacy for all children though sign language, Baltimore author Kathy MacMillan will sign her new book, “Little Hands and Big Hands: Children and Adults Signing Together,” on Tuesday, July 15, at 7 p.m. at Bethany Beach Books. She will also offer a hands-on storytime for parents and kids of all ages at the store on Wednesday, July 16, at 9 a.m.

MacMillan brings her background as a nationally certified American Sign Language interpreter, a children’s librarian and a mother to the book, which features everyday signing activities she said parents can use to ease transitions, develop language and literacy skills, and promote bonding.

In “Little Hands and Big Hands,” parents, grandparents, educators and caregivers can learn about the benefits of signing with young children of all hearing abilities, including reduced frustration, expansion of spoken vocabulary and stimulation of multiple senses.

The book features songs, rhymes, crafts and other signing activities that can be used throughout the day, whether at mealtimes, during diaper changes or in a waiting room. Each activity is accompanied by clear photographs and descriptions of relevant signs. The activities were born out of MacMillan’s “Little Hands Signing” classes, which she has been teaching since 2005.

“There are many great books out there about the basics of signing with babies,” said MacMillan. ”In ‘Little Hands and Big Hands,’ I wanted to go beyond just the signs and give parents specific, age-appropriate activities they could use to make everyday life with their kids more harmonious while also enhancing early literacy.

“Many people assume that signing is something you do only until your child is speaking, but in fact there are tremendous benefits to signing with preschoolers, as well — signing gives them more tools in their language and communication toolbox! That’s why the book includes activities for kids ages birth to 6.”

MacMillan has more than 17 years of experience as a children’s librarian and storyteller, and has been a nationally certified American Sign Language interpreter since 2006. She co-authors the “Storytime Magic” series of librarian/educator resource books ( and has been presenting American Sign Language programs and workshops for families, educators and businesses since 2004 ( “Little Hands and Big Hands” is her first book for a general audience.

For more information on MacMillan’s author event, check out the author’s website at