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1. What history can tell us about food allergy

What can the history of medicine tell us about food allergy and other medical conditions? An awful lot. History is essentially about why things change over time. None of our ideas about health or medicine simply spring out of the ground. They evolve over time, adapting to various social, political, economic, technological, and cultural factors. If we want to know anything about the health issues that face us today and will face us in future, the very first thing we should do is turn to the history of such issues.

The post What history can tell us about food allergy appeared first on OUPblog.

0 Comments on What history can tell us about food allergy as of 11/20/2015 11:15:00 AM
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2. The Fox and the Snowman Book Blast through November 4th – $100 GC or Paypal cash giveaway

Mother Daughter Book Reviews is pleased to be coordinating a Book Blast for our new picture book,”The Fox and the Snowman” (November 2 to 4, 2015).

The Fox and the Snowman

About the Book

Title: The Fox and the Snowman | Author: Angela Muse | Illustrator: Helen Wu | Publication Date: October 5, 2015 | Publisher: 4EYESBOOKS | Pages: 28 | Recommended Ages: 0 to 8

Summary: This is a story of a lone fox and his journey through a year of changing seasons. He discovers friendship and family in this colorful winter tale.

Also check out Lil Glimmer, The Nutt Family: An Acorny Adventure, The Pig Princess, The Bee Bully, Eager Eaglets: Birds of Play, Cactus Charlie, Suzy Snowflake, Monsters Have Mommies, The Christmas Owl, The Cat Who Lost His Meow, Caterpillar Shoes & Ten Thankful Turkeys by this author.

Grab a copy of the ebook, available for a limited time at the introductory price of 99 cents! (REG $2.99)

Amazon * Barnes & Noble * Kobo

iBooks * Createspace * Goodreads

About the Author: Angela Muse

Angela MuseAngela Muse was born in California to a military family. This meant that she got used to being the “new kid” in school every couple of years. It was hard trying to make new friends, but Angela discovered she had a knack for writing. In high school Angela began writing poetry and song lyrics. Expressing herself through writing seemed very natural. After becoming a Mom in 2003, Angela continued her storytelling to her own children. In 2009 she wrote and published her first rhyming children’s book aimed at toddlers. Since then she has released several more children’s picture books and released her first young adult romance series, The Alpha Girls.

Angela’s husband, Ben Muse writes suspense/thriller books that can also be found on Amazon.

Check out what else she’s working on by visiting www.4eyesbooks.com

Website | Facebook | Goodreads | Twitter

** Book Blast Giveaway **

Prize: One winner will receive a $100 Amazon gift card or $100 PayPal cash prize, winner’s choice

Giveaway ends: November 15, 11:59 pm, 2015

Open to: Internationally

How to enter: Please enter using the Rafflecopter widget below.

Terms and Conditions: NO PURCHASE NECESSARY TO ENTER OR WIN. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED BY LAW. A winner will be randomly drawn through the Rafflecopter widget and will be contacted by email within 48 hours after the giveaway ends. The winner will then have 72 hours to respond. If the winner does not respond within 72 hours, a new draw will take place for a new winner. Odds of winning will vary depending on the number of eligible entries received. This contest is in no way sponsored, endorsed or administered by, or associated with Facebook. This giveaway is sponsored by the author, Angela Muse and is hosted and managed by Renee from Mother Daughter Book Reviews. If you have any additional questions – feel free to send and email to Renee(at)MotherDaughterBookReviews(dot)com.

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MDBR Book Promotion Services

Copyright © 2015 Mother Daughter Book Reviews, All rights reserved.
You are receiving this email because you signed up to receive the HTML from all of the Book Blasts hosted by MDBR in the Fall, 2015.

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3. Ten Thankful Turkeys – $0.99 through November 4th

Turkery Cover

Our favorite season is here…autumn!  We are celebrating by reducing the price on our adorable Thanksgiving book, Ten Thankful Turkeys. This colorful autumn tale follows ten turkeys as they get ready for an important celebration. This story teaches about gratitude using numbers. There are also fun turkey facts in the back of the book.

We hope you’ll gobble up this deal before it’s gone!

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4. Making Time for Rhyme -- guest post by Susan B. Katz

I wrote to author Susan B. Katz, author of ABC School's For Me and several other books, asking her to talk with parents about the power of rhyming stories.

I notice that so many parents love reading these aloud to their kids. Why is that? Why do these stories play such an important part in children's language development? Can listening to stories actually help kids learn to read, even if they aren't reading the words at all? And what do you think makes the difference between a good rhyming book and a bad one -- what do you look for when you read aloud to kids?

Thank you, Susan, for your delightfully fun and thoughtful response.

Make Time For Rhyme
By Susan B. Katz

I grew up on a diet of books by the master rhymer, Dr. Seuss. I devoured Green Eggs and Ham, the Sneetches and that crazy Cat on the Loose. As a teacher for 20 years, I did lots of “rug” read alouds. Rhyme sure does please the little listener crowds. Parents will find that rhyme gives students a feeling of success. Children are able to predict the last word, they love to shout out a guess. That is what’s called a Cloze, and yes, it’s spelled with a Z. In my books, predictable rhyming patterns make clozing easy. Take for example, in MY MAMA EARTH, my second title. Students guess the ending words; that brain engagement is vital. I say, “My Mama makes the hippos snore and mighty lions proudly ________.” Clozing keeps them involved and on their toes so reading isn’t a bore. My most recent book, ABC SCHOOL’S FOR ME, features bears, at school, making all sorts of creations. Students also predict the rhyming words using the colorful illustrations.

Authors are discouraged from writing in rhyme by most publishers, of course. Editors receive a lot of rhyme that is, what we call, “forced.” But, there are those of us who continue to publish in rhyme, confident that children’s love of verse will stand the test of time. Rhyme helps students learn language patterns like: might, tight, bright, sight. This impacts their spelling, long term, so they get more words right. You can teach them that rhyming words live in a family. The “cat, sat, mat” words fill up the leaves on the “AT” family tree. Research shows that children who detect rhyme orally in their early years are much more successful as the time for reading print nears. Even “pre-readers” enjoy rhyme although they’re not decoding books yet. And, as for that Common Core rhyming Kinder standard—consider it met! Rhyming is fun and can even be silly sometimes. Dr. Seuss still offers the best example of funny, whimsical rhymes. Novels in verse are becoming more popular for sure. The most recent Newbery was awarded to THE CROSSOVER by Kwame Alexander.

The English language has so many exceptions to the rules. English Language Learners benefit from having rhyme as one of their literacy “unlocking” tools. I have written all four of my books in verse. Thinking in rhyme is both a blessing and a curse. I rhymed all of my middle and high school speeches when I was young. Rhyme and word play just roll off my tongue. Children like songs and poems, both of which are different forms of rhyme. Prose has a purpose and place too—you can’t rhyme all the time. But, rhyming helps children tune their ears and change out sounds. Rhyming is a natural part of jump roping on playgrounds. “Ms. Mary Mack Mack Mack, all dressed in black, black, black.” I probably haven’t jumped to that since I was very small. But, the rhyme makes it easy for me to recall. For songs that are on your phone, the radio, TV or in a Disney movie, rhyme makes words tickle the tongue, melts meaning into your memory. There is so much power in the rhyming word. For a child’s language development, it is like the wings of a bird.

Can you imagine a world without songs and chants? Rhyming invites imagination, it welcomes, it enchants. You’d be hard pressed to find a child who doesn’t like to play, with words, that is, like: say, day, way, today! I will continue to be a champion for writing and reading rhyming stories. The love lasts forever: college kids listen to rap (a.k.a rhyme) in their dormitories. So, find a good rhyming book that sings and allows kids to cloze. (Once in a while, you can still read them prose.) Rhyme is the foundation of word patterns and song. It makes students feels successful—how could that ever be wrong? Most importantly, rhyme gives children a love of language and reading. You feed your child three meals a day-- consider rhyme a literary feeding. It fuels your child’s brain; helps expand their vocabulary. Rhyme makes reading sound much less scary. Build a banquet of books for those picky readers at bedtime. I promise you, they will be delighted if you just feed them, I mean, read them, rhyme!

Many thanks to Susan B. Katz for sharing her thoughts on rhyme. If you make a purchase using the Amazon links on this site, a small portion goes to Great Kid Books. Thank you for your support.

©2015 Susan B. Katz, via Mary Ann Scheuer, Great Kid Books

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5. Help Kids Deal with Fear and Have Fun

When my picture book Brave Little Monster came out, in addition to being a book that makes young and old laugh, many parents and teachers liked how it could be used to help young children deal with both real and imaginary fears. To help with that effort I created a fun puppet-making activity that can be used in the home and classroom to further help teachers and parents talk to kids about their fears and help them learn how to deal with them. Check it out and make your own "Be Brave" puppet.


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6. Flight of the Birdy

And now we come to our smallest wildebeest.

I remember those tiny, newborn fists curling out of a green blanket.
I made it five summers ago out of fabric so soft it felt like clouds, 
with the hope it could keep out the world's roughness as long as possible.

Ergo, in the nature of a true youngest child,
Birdy scrambles up trees and leaps from the highest branches,
tumbles headfirst into high winds,
and rakes up her knees better than all the others.
She is so ready for this.

Always looking to make art,
I decided to make flashcards - heaps of them. 

I think I'll do a weekly series of the collection on my art blog.
They're for learning sight words, one of the ways to catch on to reading.

I guess this is my gift to her, like the green cloud blanket.
A way to say:
"When you want me, if you want help, I'm here. I love you."
Maybe it's proof. 
And maybe every parent offering,
every bowl of oatmeal we cook up,
every lunch we pack, every book read aloud,
every tuck-in at night
is us, saying:
  "You precious small people, you are loved."

   "Even though we got grouchy about the muddy footprints,
     or the scrabbly big mess in your rooms,
     you are loved." 

And maybe, it is proof for us as well.
Maybe these offerings to our small ones are gifts we keep close
as our birds wing the nest,
as our hair grays and our skin weathers,
knowing that in all our human roughness,
we have loved.

Friends, may you find love all around you,
and gifts in the giving.



I Will Never Get a Star on Mrs. Benson's Blackboard - Jennifer Mann
Orange Pear Apple Bear - Emily Gravett
Owl Babies - Martin Waddell, Patrick Benson

18490544A Year Down Yonder (A Long Way from Chicago, #2)

Bo at Iditarod Creek - Kirkpatrick Hill
The Mighty Miss Malone - Christopher Paul Curtis
The War That Saved My Life - Kimberly Brubaker Bradley
A Year Down Yonder - Richard Peck

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7. Autumn is coming so we are going nutts!


We are doing a special promotion through 9/15/15 to coincide with our favorite season.  We’ve teamed up with a bunch of really cool kidlit authors to offer some great free and discounted eBooks.  4EYESBOOKS has discounted The Nutt Family:  An Acorny Adventure on AmazonBarnes & NobleiBooksKobo.  Chess Nutt and his sister Praline are always pretending to have crazy adventures. What happens when these two acorn siblings have an unexpected real life adventure on their own? Things get a little nutty!

Other books in this great promotion will be discounted from 9/11 – 9/15.  Check them out HERE.


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8. The Opposite of Colorblind: Why it’s essential to talk to children about race

diversity102-logoIn this post, Tu Books Publisher Stacy Whitman discusses why avoiding discussions of race with young people can do more harm than good.

Many African American parents already know what “the talk” is. It’s not the talk that many white parents might expect—we’re not talking about the birds and the bees. No, this “talk” is the one where black parents have to sit with their children and discuss how they might be perceived by the world around them: particularly police, but also teachers, neighbors, and friends who are not from their racial background.

Though the burden often falls on parents of color alone to discuss these issues with their children, in reality all parents should address race with their kids in a conscious and meaningful way. Communities are also seeking ways to address interpersonal racial issues, Why It's Essential to Talk to Children About Raceparticularly in schools. Having the tools to know how to discuss racial matters is essential for children from all backgrounds. 

Research has shown that the “colorblind” approach—teaching children that it is racist to acknowledge racial and ethnic differences—is doing no one any favors, and in fact can reinforce racist attitudes and assumptions, and especially reify systemic racism. “Black children know irrefutably that they’re black by the time they’re about 6 years old and probably earlier,” one article noted in our research. Do white children know they’re white? If not, how do they think of themselves?

At Lee & Low, we’ve always believed that even the youngest readers have the capacity to understand and appreciate difference—that’s why many of our children’s books address issues like racism and discrimination. But you don’t have to take our word for it: many experts, educators, and academics have done work on this topic as well and their recommendations can help point parents and teachers in the right direction.

“Young children are hard-wired in their brains to notice difference and to categorize it. So it is vital during early childhood to put some context around making sense of differences,” said Shannon Nagy, preschool director in 2011 at Lincoln Park Cooperative Nursery School in Chicago.

Studies have also shown that not addressing difference does not make children colorblind—it only encourages them to absorb the implicit racial messages of American society. Children learn that race is a category even when parents try to teach them not to recognize race. Much like children learn to perform regional accents even when their parents are from another location, children learn Young children are hard-wired to notice difference.how the larger society around them views race, via inference and transductive reasoning. “In other words, children pick upon the ways in which whiteness is normalized and privileged in U.S. society.”

Teaching children to be “colorblind” has led children (and adults) to believe that it’s rude or racist to even point out racial differences—even kids of color. This makes it exponentially harder to have frank discussions about racial issues when they need to be had.

“Nonwhite parents are about three times more likely to discuss race than white parents,” said a 2007 study. “It’s the children whose parents do directly address race — and directly means far more than vaguely declaring everyone to be equal — who are less likely to make assumptions about people based on the color of our skin.”

One study even had white parents dropping out of the project when the researchers asked them to discuss racial attitudes with their children, even when they went into the study knowing that it was intended to measure children’s racial attitudes.

Many argue that “the talk” should happen far more often than once, and that parents shouldn’t bear the sole burden to teach their kids about race—that it is a community-wide issue.

Erin Winkler provides several ways for parents and teachers to address the biases that children might pick up, including discussing The Talk should happen far more often than oncethe issue in an age-appropriate way, with accurate information that doesn’t shame or silence children for having questions. They also suggest encouraging complex thinking and taking children’s questions and biased statements seriously—“When children are taught to pay attention to multiple attributes of a person at once (e.g., not just race), reduced levels of bias are shown,” the author notes, and suggests that the most important thing parents and teachers can do is to give children information that empowers them to be anti-racist.

One New York City-area school asked, “Can racism be stopped in the third grade?” They began a “racial affinity program,” in which elementary-age kids were sorted by racial groups for discussions of questions that “might seem impolite otherwise,” and to then come together as a school community to discuss these questions and experiences in a way that fosters greater communication. Parents and students are mixed on whether this program succeeded, with Asian students noting that the discussions of race still focused on the dichotomy of black and white, and some parents uncomfortable with the idea of discussing race at all. The administration notes, however, that many of their students of color needed this program—mandatory for all students—to combat microaggressions between students.

Allie Jane Bruce, the librarian at Bank Street School in New York City, has been discussing race, biases, and stereotypes with the students in her school for three years, using children’s book covers as a launching point. “I’m constantly delighted by the new discoveries kids make, and by the wisdom and insight already present in 11- and 12-year-olds,” Bruce noted in her most recent series of blog posts about the curriculum, which she has named “Loudness in the Library.” She notes especially that kids at this age tend to feel very uncomfortable with discussing race at first. “The fact that race-related conversations are so very fraught is a huge part of the problem. We must be able to communicate in order to solve problems that exist at interpersonal, institutional, and societal levels. If kids in 6th grade already have the inclination to stay silent in conversations on race, how much stronger will that inclination be in adults? And if we can’t talk about race and racism, how will things ever get better?”

Parents, what does “the talk” look like in your home? Teachers and librarians, how do you approach discussions about race with your students and patrons?

Stacy WhitmanStacy Whitman is Editorial Director and Publisher of Tu Books, an imprint of LEE & LOW BOOKS that publishes diverse science fiction and fantasy for middle grade and young adult readers.

1 Comments on The Opposite of Colorblind: Why it’s essential to talk to children about race, last added: 8/28/2015
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9. The Gift of Failure: How the Best Parents Learn to Let Go So Their Children Can Succeed | Book Giveaway

Enter to win a copy of The Gift of Failure: How the Best Parents Learn to Let Go So Their Children Can Succeed (HarperCollins, August 2015), written by Jessica Lahey. Giveaway begins August 21, 2015, at 12:01 A.M. PST and ends September 20, 2015, at 11:59 P.M. PST.

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10. Mermaid sightings

The twins are fast approaching ten!
"Tween twins!" Winnie reminds me.
"Double digits, doubled!"

And just like that, a decade ebbs with moon and tide.

Having soaked up the Emily Windsnap books lately, 
they want to be mermaids. 
So, I've been making art.
Mermaidy tattoos!
Painted shells. 
Waves of seaweed.
Glowy lights.  
Cupcakes + art = yummy.   

Mermaids, this way. Your party awaits.


The Tail of Emily Windsnap (Emily Windsnap, #1)

132391 18048914
The Mermaid and the Shoe by K. G. Campbell
The Tail of Emily Windsnap by Liz Kessler
The Little Mermaid - Hans Christian Anderson, ill. by Lisbeth Zwerger 
Breathe - Scott Magoon

Down, Down, Down: A Journey to the Bottom of the Sea - Steve Jenkins
Shh! We Have a Plan - Chris Haughton
The Storm Whale - Benji DaviesPlastic Ahoy! Investigating the great Pacific Garbage Patch - Patricia Newman
Shackleton's Journey - William Grill

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11. An Update

Hello! It has been sooo very long since I have blogged on this blog. I am still reading and writing, but things have taken a bit of a different turn for me. It's so interesting to look back on this blog and see this progression of growing up...

Here's what's changed! :)

1. I have two little girls. I LOVE them. They are hilarious, cheeky, stubborn and the very sweetest.

2. I have 4 cats, and no other pets at the moment.

3. We've just sold our very first house and now are moving to the country! We're off to Wagga Wagga NSW and we are very excited.

4. I am going to write, again. I am hoping that this lifestyle change will enable me to have more time to write. Which is hard to manage as -

5. I am now a photographer. I specialise in babies and families. I enjoy it so very much. I've spent the past 3 years throwing myself into learning to be my best behind the camera, and also spending lots of time focusing on my family.

6. I am STILL obsessed with Autumn and everything fall related. In fact, I reference it in my business name. You can find my work HERE.

7. I am happy. Life is good. It's been an up and down few years with post-natal depression and anxiety battles, but things are good. Friendships are good. The kids are great. We're doing well :)

8. We still travel back to America about once a year, and it's delightful to introduce our kids to new places and views.

So that's a bit of an update of what I've been up to! I would love to get reading and reviewing a bit more so I'll have some things to blog about! I did start blogging about education activities and kid-related stuff, which changed when the photography business got so busy.

Hopefully see you soon!


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12. Passport2Purity

I have heard for some time now how great Family Life's Passport2Purity program is for families.  When I was given the chance to review the program - I jumped at it.  I love the whole concept - time away with your preteen to talk through tough topics like sexuality and purity.  We need that and often don't make the time to do it with our kids.

The kit comes with  a CD Set, a travel journal, and a tour guide.  It is so well laid-out that a parent can really spend very little prep time to make the weekend a success - prep is important, but I wanted to encourage parents that it won't be a huge effort that will bog you down.  You walk through the tour guide page by page and pre-view the videos they feel the parent should view ahead of time to be ready for the weekend.  The weekend is laid out so carefully - I love the time set aside for fun activities and yet, they do give you a great timeline of how to effectively get everything accomplished within the time frame.  All of the parts of the kit are updated and not only look modern, but even the DVD's are well-done and will appeal to our teens.  Having a tool like this is such a blessing.

Our daughter is a bit young for this and we have not used it yet, but I can not wait to spend this time together learning and growing.  I highly recommend this easy-to-follow way for parents to guide their children into sexual purity.


I was sent a copy of the kit for review by the publisher for an honest review on my blog.

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13. New Winter Book

We have just completed the final edits on our new winter story told in verse.  We are now beginning the illustration process.  We are so excited about this next story and can’t wait to hear your feedback.  Here’s a few hints about what our next story will be about.  Aren’t they just beautiful?  What other animal reminds you of winter?

Red Fox 3



Red Fox (Vulpes vulpes) on snow at sunset, Kamchatka, Russia

Red Fox (Vulpes vulpes) on snow at sunset, Kamchatka, Russia

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14. Whose Fault Is It? Yours, Most Likely. Own It.


It’s amazing how things have changed over the years, especially in the realm of education.

Once upon a time, there was this magical concept called personal responsibility and students were expected to do their homework, study, work hard, and get good grades.

When a student doesn’t do their job or work hard to get good grades it’s the teacher’s fault, not the kid’s incredibly flabby work ethic.

This lack of personal responsibility is why we have a future generation of self-entitled knuckleheads making a career out of being on welfare.

This applies to adults, too.

Filed under: Parenting, Politics

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15. Building Your Home Library When You Have Kids

The Early Childhood Years

“A classic is a book that has never finished saying what it has to say.” —Italo Calvino, The Uses of Literature

My daughter is moving to a new school opening up in our area that focuses on a classical, liberal arts curriculum. Classics books are at the core of this education, and the school emphasizes on the tradition for students to build a personal library of books that they mark in, keep, and return to over the years to treasure. They call this collection “Classics To Keep.”

This is good practice for obvious reasons, but research proves just how good it is. According to the Oxford Journals, test scores from 42 nations provide evidence of the benefits of having a home library. But did the study mention which books were included in the homes? Are they all stocked with just classics?

In browsing my own collection, my personal library is an eclectic mix of classics, professional women memoirs, YA novels, anthologies, science and history textbooks, as well as books on pedagogy. Naturally, my choices for building Zoe’s early childhood books have followed the wide-ranging style of “Let’s get whatever we’re in the mood for…”

Today, Zoe and I hand-picked what we call “Our Classics.” Our classics list had very little to do with the classical liberal arts philosophy but more to do with Italo Calvino’s The Uses of Literature definition.

When it comes to stocking your child’s bookshelf, there is method in the madness. Not all pieces need to be classics - nor should they be. Our bookshelves represent something meaningful for us that help us bring back some wonderful memories. That’s what all great books should do. High test scores as a result of this ongoing project would simply be icing on the cake.

Here’s our list of Favorite Books in Early Childhood For ALL AGES:

Chicka Chicka Boom Boom by Bill Martin Jr and John Archambault. Illustrated by Lois Ehlert - This rhyming alphabet book will burn into your memory. The colorful paper-cut pictures are easy to emulate. So if you’re an early childhood teacher, Chicka Chicka Boom Boom would be one of the most fun DIY decor for your classroom bulletin boards. If you’re a kindergartener, the tempo will keep you dancing, and before you know it, you’ll be the cool kid saying, “Look who’s coming! It’s black-eyed P...Q, R, S, and loose-tooth T!"
I’m Zoe! I Can Do It Myself (Little Blessings) by Melody Carlson. Illustrated by Elena Kucharik. The Little Blessings series is known for addressing Christian concepts, but the four character books (I’m Kaitlyn! I’m Jack! I’m Zoe! I’m Parker!) focus on skills and social development. In I’m Zoe, young readers meet a little girl taking small steps towards gaining independence: making her bed, getting dressed, brushing her teeth, and playing with her friends. My daughter still adores this one because she gets a kick out of seeing her name in print (like mother, like daughter). An added bonus is the girl in the book is Asian and looks like her. Super cute.
Blue Dragonfly by Pia Villanueva-Pulido. Illustrated by Rene Espinosa. Speaking of getting a kick out of seeing my name in print, this book holds many special meanings for us. Michael and I planned a series of children’s books for emerging readers called River of Imagination years before she was born, and Blue Dragonfly was the first one. Before she learned how to read (age 3 or 4), Zoe could already tell the story with sound effects! In his search for new adventures, curious little Blue Dragonfly embarks on a journey of self-discovery, but his temptations soon lead to trouble. The soothing voice-over narration and accompanying music make the story engaging, along with the colorful detailed pictures illustrated by a comic book artist turned tattoo artist/rock band lead guitarist in L.A.
Guess How Much I Love You by Sam McBratney. Illustrated by Anita Jeram. The ever-romanticized quote “I love you to the moon and back” isn’t so cheesy or eye-roll inducing in this sweet book at all. The tenderness between Little Nutbrown Hare and his father Big Nutbrown Hare show just the right amount of reassurance for the young ones (ages 0-2) who need to feel safe and loved. The illustrations complement the text well for the emerging readers (ages 4-7) who need clues to read aloud the short phrases and simple vocabulary.
Your Own Keepsake Journal Baby Book - I can’t stress enough just how much I have treasured my keepsake baby book I made for Zoe’s first year. There are so many selections available in Amazon alone that you’re bound to find one that suits you whether you’re a first time mom or a busy working mother with multiple children. Zoe and I love to flip through the pages of her book together - a scrapbook with journal entries. Her sonogram pictures, first day at home, and monthly updates recorded in my own handwriting. I love writing, so I wrote letters to her before she was born. When she was old enough to read and understand, she asked me to continue writing to her. Even if you’re not a writer, I would highly encourage getting a journal with your child together and interact with each other through the written word. There are no rules. Just fun.
Next time you get a chance to browse your bookshelf, do yourself a favor and pick up of those books that bring back memories. Think about the specific time in your life that compelled you to buy that book and find meaning behind them. And do the same for your kids.

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16. Is It Important to Teach American History?

by Sally Matheny

Is It Important to Teach American History?
I love history, especially American history. I love reading about some interesting part of history I’ve never read about before, then researching primary documents to see if it’s true. So many fascinating facts never make the cut to be included in school textbooks. Perhaps if more of them were incorporated, a greater interest in American history would result. Is it important to teach the history of our country?

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17. Ruby Needs to Know: Do You Remember Training Bras?

Welcome guest blogger, Ruby Gold. Ruby lives in a small town in Indiana. Lately, she's taken to blogging to try to understand her niece, the universe, and how she can get a good pastrami sandwich in rural Indiana.
When my ten-year-old niece wanted a training bra (she begged for a hot pink strappy thing to cover her breast buds), I shrieked. “A training bra! For Pete's sake, why do your boobies need to be trained? I mean, c'mon! What are they going to do compete in the Olympics to see which ones stay up the highest and the longest?I hope you're not planning to show them someday to Hugh Hefner, heaven forbid!”
She told me I was nuts, which she does at least twice a day, and which I may very well be. Que sera sera!
But, seriously,who ever invented training bras to begin with? And really, please, please, can anyone tell me what is their mission?
Like many other weary aunties, I turned to the modern day Guide for the Perplexed: Google. And I found the aboutparenting website. Here's what it had to say: “A training bra helps protect the nipple from chafing against clothes. A training bra also helps give the girls a flattering shape.” Protect the nipples from chafing? Tell me, women of the world, who out there has ever suffered from chafed prepubescent nipples?
If you have, I'm very sorry and hope that they've healed.
But, excuse me for pointing out the obvious, men have nipples and most of them aren't wearing bras!
Then, the article goes on to say: “A training bra is necessary when a girl begins to develop, as girls may be teased about their changing bodies.” Ha! That's the clincher, I thought. Women of the world, who has ever been teased about their changing body? I see millions of hands going up around the globe waving, madly.
Okay, that's sad. But the article gets sadder: “A training bra does not train the breasts, rather it helps girls adjust to wearing a bra and it provides a small amount of shaping and protection.” Well, so that's it, huh, we're training girls to be adjusted to the life-long discomfort of bra wearing. Think wires sticking under your boobs. Please don't tell me the wires are more comfortable when they're padded. Or that brassieres are a joy to wear when they have straps digging into your shoulders. Think of all the ways these boob contraptions can drive a woman berserk. Scratchy lace ones. Silly snappy spandex ones. Madonna's cone bra. Thin ones, padded ones, ones to shape, mold, and lift like your breasts are aching to take off and orbit to outer space.
Remember the girdle? Yeah, glad we got rid of those!
Bra burners of the world where have ye gone? So I wrote to Gloria Steinemto see if women were still burning bras. She didn't answer.
But I took my niece's bright pink training bra to the backyard and threw it into a roasting bonfire. It smoked up nicely.
The next day, my niece was despondent when she came home from school. “Auntie, now my nipples are chafing against my T-shirt and the school bully said he could see them. Like he could actually see my nipples!!!! How could you have burned my bra, you Cruella De Vil!”
So, should I back down? Should I buy her another training bra? Years later she'll probably accuse me of starting her on a path of bodily confinement, fleshly tortures, and heaven only knows what else. What's an auntie to do? I want to say don't wrap and strap in the girls until you really need to.
I'd love to hear your two cents on training bras. Does anybody remember wearing them? Please feel free to share your experiences and advice. Ruby Needs to Know!

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18. #FamiliesRead: Encouraging the Love of Reading

Parents and children know that it’s important for children to develop strong reading skills--the question I hear so many parents asking is, “How can I get my child to enjoy reading more?” They’re absolutely right. Enjoying reading is key.

We do what we enjoy doing--that’s basic human nature, isn’t it? Reading develops only with practice -- the more you read, the better you get; the better you get, the more you read. So how do we help children enjoy reading and choose to read more often? I love the National PTA's Family Reading Challenge -- check out the resources & ideas at ptareadingchallenge.org.

I love this video with Kwame Alexander and his family talking about about what they love about reading together as a family. Fills me with smiles hearing how much love and happiness reading together brings.

Across all age groups, children agree that their favorite books are the ones they pick for themselves. Not only that, they are also much more likely to finish books that they choose themselves.

from Scholastic Kids & Family Reading Report 2015
Encourage a love of reading by taking your kids to the library or bookstore and telling them: “Read whatever you want to! As long as you choose it, that’s what is important to me.” Kids love being in control.

Kids want books that make them laugh when they’re choosing books--and this is the dominant factor for kids in elementary and middle school. Kids also report that they look for books that let them use their imagination, inspire them or teach them something new.

Parents sometimes wonder: should I encourage my child to read on his or her own, instead of reading aloud? Shouldn’t they practice themselves? Reading practice matters, but kids have to practice all day long in school. Reading together builds bonds and helps children remember the pleasure that books can bring.

Children enjoy listening to more complex, interesting stories than they can read independently. Typically, it isn’t until eighth grade that reading comprehension catches up to listening comprehension. Nearly half of kids said they liked listening to their parents read aloud because they could listen to books that might have been too hard to read on their own.

Reading aloud at home is like an advertisement for the pleasures of reading. Why take away these advertisements just because kids can read on their own? Shared reading time provides special time for families, especially as the chaos of life multiplies as kids juggle activities and homework. It can lead to fun family jokes that stem from funny moments in a story, and it can provide safe opportunities kids bring up difficult, confusing big issues they’re thinking about.

I hope you can carve out time to read together this summer. It will make a difference in your children's lives.

©2015 Mary Ann Scheuer, Great Kid Books

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19. Trains of thought: Sarah

Four people with radically different outlooks on the world meet on a train and start talking about what they believe. Their conversation varies from cool logical reasoning to heated personal confrontation. Each starts off convinced that he or she is right, but then doubts creep in. During February, we will be posting a series of extracts that cover the viewpoints of all four characters in Tetralogue. What follows is an extract exploring Sarah's perspective.

The post Trains of thought: Sarah appeared first on OUPblog.

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20. Kindle Direct Publishing

Here is a nice write up KDP did on my in their latest newsletter.  So cool!

Your Voice

KDP Author Angela Muse

Muse, Angela 2014

Angela Muse, author of The Bee Bully, shares her experience with Kindle Direct Publishing.
“I wrote my very first children’s book in 2009 as a gift to my two young children. If not for my son and KDP, my experience as an author would have ended right there. One day in 2011, he asked me why I wasn’t publishing any more children’s books, and I didn’t have a good answer. The stories were there. In fact, I’d written several that were just gathering dust in my closet. The platform for indie publishing was there. Amazon had launched KDP, and many authors were finding success. Of course, those voices that keep us from following our dreams began to mount in my head. What if people can’t find my stories? What if people do find my stories and they hate them? What if I can’t find a good illustrator that I can afford? After quashing all those voices, I decided to go nuts…literally.

“While collecting acorns with my children in the fall of 2011, I created a story entitled The Nutt Family: An Acorny Adventure and decided that this would be my next release. I found a brilliant illustrator in Poland, held my breath, and hit the publish button. In 2012, my journey as an independent author began by publishing more titles including The Bee BullyThe Pig Princess, and Suzy Snowflake.

“When I first started, I didn’t have a clue about where to find good illustrators, how to get book reviews, and most importantly, how to effectively market my books. In the beginning, I researched and networked with other authors to gather as much data as I could to help me in all these areas. The biggest hurdle was the marketing. I tried many different techniques, but one of the most effective was utilizing the free promotion days in KDP Select. Once my books were free, there were lots of websites and social media outlets that were willing to promote them. I also tried to focus on my audience as much as possible. For the most part, I write children’s picture books, but the children are not the ones who will purchase them. I focused on the parents and finding blogs and sites specific to that audience who would want to promote or feature my books.

“I wasn’t one of those people who sought out an agent for my work and tried to go the traditional route. With KDP, I have a golden opportunity to go at this myself and do things my own way. I can set my own goals and deadlines. I can market my books in the manner I choose. I can decide my price structure. I have full control.

“Did I make mistakes along the way? You bet, but I also learned a lot in making those mistakes. I found support from many great authors who were also forging ahead in the indie publishing world, and we were all doing this together. It felt like we were all out in this big ocean trying to catch oysters, each of us looking for our own pearls.

“It’s been almost three years since I began this journey, and I’m so grateful to KDP and the KDP Select program for giving indie authors a chance, that not long ago, we never would have had. I wouldn’t have received fan mail from preschool aged children who enjoyed my stories if not for KDP. One of my goals as a children’s author is to get kids to read. KDP allows me to publish quality children’s picture books to help me accomplish that goal. The smiles and giggles from the kids who read my books are just the icing on my indie publishing cake.”


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21. Caterpillar Shoes


Happy World Poetry Day!  We’ve been busy working on our latest children’s picture book, Caterpillar Shoes.  This story is about a colorful caterpillar named Patches.  She’s an energetic caterpillar trying to decide what activities to do.  In the end, she doesn’t put any limits on herself and lives her life to the full.  This is our twelfth children’s book and we are so excited for it’s release.  Stay tuned here to learn about upcoming promotions for this book and others.

Th only limit to a paintbrush and a blank canvas is your imagination.


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22. Parenting Failure

I’m welcoming my first guest blogger on the topic of failure today, writer and teaching artist Donna Trump. Is it easier to let yourself fail than your children? 

Donna's children
Who could ever imagine letting these beauties fail?

Twenty-plus years ago, my children had an excellent elementary school teacher who was a proponent of parents allowing their children to fail. I dismissed her, of course: What child doesn’t have ample opportunity to fail?

A closer look at my own parenting at the time revealed I was doing exactly what this teacher preached against: I was trying, very hard, to prevent my kids’ failure. From the arguably innocuous retrieval of lunches and assignments when they were left behind; to the poorly disguised control-freak aspect of perennially volunteering in my kids’ classrooms; to the absolutely cringe-worthy hyper-maternal defense mode I went into when one was called out on perfectionism (ya think?) and the other on punching a kid in the face; to the ethically bankrupt decision (after a particularly trying mix of personalities the year before) to hand-pick their Odyssey of the Mind team, which I was coaching—I had to admit, I was guilty as charged.

I did these things to shield my kids from various types and degrees of failure: bad grades, bad learning environments, bad reputations, bad relationships with friends and peers. I did not want them to fail. No one wants their kids to fail. We want to be our children’s champions. We need to be our children’s champions, their advocates, their biggest fans. It hurts, terribly, to watch them suffer—as they will, certainly, when we stop rescuing them from themselves. But having things turn out less than perfectly teaches them something, too.

Studies show that kids who have a chance to fail (and, notably, to recover) tend to develop personality characteristics like tenacity and grit. Occasional crappy outcomes teach them they’ll survive, even when the world’s not a perfect place.

As my kids got older, mouthier, more confident it occurred to me: What if I didn’t  replace that mysteriously crushed iPod? What if I declined decorating the gym for a dance when the child whose dance it was somehow managed to weasel out of the assignment? And what if I even called said child out, publicly, on errors in judgment about both me and that touchy issue of work ethic?

I wasn’t always strong enough to follow through. To understand that I wasn’t competing for popularity. I should have more often doled out a few key phrases: “You’ll live.” “Life isn’t a bowl of cherries.” “Try again.”

I’m sorry about that. I failed my children and myself. Nonetheless I stuck with it. This parenting thing (repeated failure and all) has brought out the tenacious in me. Opportunities for growth have abounded. Failure does that. And now I am more likely than ever to let failure happen.

Unless you want to rescue your children for the rest of time, from a failed job interview, or a failed relationship, or a failed dream, however heartbreaking, I suggest you practice these phrases: You’ll live. Life isn’t a bowl of cherries. Try again. Because if not now, then surely at some point you will no longer be able to rescue your kids in any meaningful way, and they will have only their own resources to draw on.

Disappointing and even devastating things will befall our children, at times as a result of their own doing. I wish this weren’t true, but experience tells me otherwise. One of our most important jobs as parents is to prepare our kids for these practically inevitable failures. Prepare them. Let them practice (while we’re still close by) with bad grades, bad behavior, bad decisions of all kinds. Teach them how to redeem themselves and then let them fail again, while the stakes are still relatively low and while they still come home, in victory and defeat, to us.

And if you happen to be a writer as well as a parent, be heartened: practice with failure—who knew?—appears to cross genres. Take it from me: opportunities for growth, as they say, abound.

Donna Trump writes about failure, success, doubt, faith, Vincent Van Gogh and heart transplants in her fiction and in her blog (www.donnatrump.org). Follow her on Twitter @trumpdonna1.

Filed under: How to Fail Tagged: how to fail, parenting

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23. We’re Bugging Out!


Super excited to announce that our Bee Bully is being featured in Bookbub today and is only $.99 for a limited time.  To celebrate we have some free gifts to tell you about.  From April 1st – April 5th you can download our latest release, Caterpillar Shoes, absolutely free from Amazon.  Check out what’s troubling Patches the caterpillar and the silly decision she makes to live her life to the full.  There are some interesting caterpillar facts in the back of this book.



I’ve also got more surprises to share.  My friend, Laura Yirak, is also giving away a copy of her delightful bee book, Bumble Babees during this same period.




Scott Gordon has another treat for you. His book, The Most Beautiful Flower will be FREE April 2-April 6.  This book is only $.99 on April 1st.  Don’t you just love spring!  Enjoy these goodies while they last.


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24. The Kidtastic Giveaway

More April surprises have arrived.  We have joined forces with some other great children’s book authors for a big giveaway.  During April 5th – April 9th you can download the kindle version of our book, The Pig Princess from Amazon for FREE.

Pig cover

And since we think pigs rule we want to let you know about Scott Gordon’s children’s book, Pigtastic which is also FREE on Amazon during this period.


We saved the best for last.  You can enter to win a 3DS XL and a game of your choice.

ENTER HERE.: a Rafflecopter giveaway

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25. Caterpillar Shoes Book Blast $50 GC Giveaway


We’ve teamed up with Mother Daughter Book Reviews again for our latest release Caterpillar Shoes.  You can enter through May 6th for a chance at winning a $50 gift card by clicking the Rafflecopter link:

a Rafflecopter giveaway

You can download our latest children’s picture book for only $.99 for a limited time or it is available FREE if you have Kindle Unlimited.  Start your free trial of Kindle Unlimited HERE.

Patches is an energetic caterpillar who is trying to decide what activities to do. In the end, she doesn’t put any limits on herself and lives her life to the full.

Also check out our other kidlit stories:

Lil Glimmer

The Nutt Family: An Acorny Adventure

The Pig Princess


Eager Eaglets: Birds of Play

Cactus Charlie

Suzy Snowflake

Monsters Have Mommies **AMAZON BEST SELLER**

The Cat Who Lost His Meow

The Christmas Owl **AMAZON BEST SELLER**

Ten Thankful Turkeys **AMAZON BEST SELLER**.

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