Diana Huss Green, mother, children’s book author and educator was teaching a graduate seminar in children’s literature at Radcliffe College (now Harvard ). A number of her students were women who had curtailed their academic studies to have children. They were smart and they were hungry to find quality learning materials for their kids.
Understanding that children learn through play - and learn most easily when they’re engaged (the emphasis wasn’t on entertainment in those days) - Mrs. Green set out to answer the recurring question:
that encourage a love of learning?"
Relying on recommendations from friends and family wasn’t enough. The children’s media marketplace was becoming difficult to navigate. Pediatricians, teachers, and librarians weren’t equipped to make specific lists for each child. Parents needed guidance – from experts who were also parents.
Which toys encourage creative thinking? Which ones dramatic play? Which games are best for kids who love solving problems? Which books soothe a spirit or launch gales of laughter? Which toys or books inspired the world’s great innovators, thinkers and leaders? What will inspire generations to come?
We had more questions than answers. We wanted to connect the dots. We wanted to find quality children’s toys and media that bridged the classroom to the playroom.
Children’s book authors, illustrators and critics signed on. As did musicians and storytellers, pediatricians and psychiatrists, educators, librarians, scientists and engineers. All wanted to be a part of the grassroots movement that championed quality children’s books and toys. Mrs. Green was very smart and skillfully persuasive. She knew her subject matter, was passionate about the discipline required to learn, and genuinely wanted to showcase quality work. I should know; she’s my mother.
So, in 1978, the first issue of Parents’ Choice debuted. The groundswell began quietly at first; over the next few years it grew to a not-so-dull roar. The Parents’ Choice Awards shaped librarians' purchases and toy store offerings. Parents’ Choice Foundation soon earned the respect of parents, publishers, newsmakers and industry shapers.
In celebration of our 25th Anniversary, we produced lists of the Best 25 Toys and the Best 25 Books of 25 years. In commemoration of our 30th Anniversary, we launched Sandbox Summit. And plans for our 35th Anniversary are already in the works.
After more than 34 years we continue the mission and the core beliefs set forth in 1978. We use our history as our guide to innovate; our legacy as thought leaders help us listen and learn.
So please stay tuned. The next chapter of Parents’ Choice will be a page turner.
Claire S. Green