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Shark baby is snug in his egg case, tied to a strand of kelp, wondering what’s outside. But when a storm hits, the rough ocean waves break the case loose, tearing it slightly. Shark baby can now see where he is and who he is encountering as he drifts about. But now he has a new question – what kind of shark is he?
Shark Baby introduces children to the life cycle of a shark and shows them a variety of shark species. A discussion guide with questions is also provided for classroom use. This book would be a great resource for science lessons.
We really enjoyed this tale about various construction vehicles and the job they do. Each vehicle describes their function and then happily sings a song set to the tune of “London Bridge” about their work. At the end they all sing together about how they work as a team to get the job done. Great message for young children about having a positive attitude and teamwork. You can purchase this ebook for $2.99 at Amazon or get it for FREE using Kindle Unlimited which is a new subscription service by Amazon to read up to ten books at a time for a monthly fee of $9.99. They are currently offering free 30-day trials if you want to check it out. As always all of our children’s books are available in the Kindle Unlimited program as well.
**We received a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.**
Halloween is coming, and it’s time to have some fun! The Spooky Sticker Activity Book will keep kids busy until October 31st. There are puzzles to solve, pictures to color and draw, and lots of reusable stickers to attach to the illustrations inside. Nothing too scary for young children – all the ghouls are smiling and friendly.
This enjoyable activity book would be a great addition to any child’s Halloween celebration.
When Joey joins Howard’s class, the peaceful atmosphere is suddenly disrupted. Joey does things differently, not sitting still, sharing, or waiting his turn. And when Joey brings chameleons to school and they get loose, Howard feels bad for Joey and tries to help him.
Joey doesn’t know how to fit in, since he doesn’t have good social skills. Howard is patient with him, as they both decide that it would be good if Joey learned from the chameleons to blend in with others. By the end of the school year, Joey is no longer a social outcast.
Howard B. Wigglebottom Blends in Like Chameleons teaches kids the importance of following social cues, in an effort to fit into groups. However, as the last picture suggests, maintaining one’s unique personality is still encouraged, and kids aren’t told to conform to the point they lose themselves in the group. A discussion guide is also provided for further classroom conversation.
A new study shows that women who have difficulty accepting the fact that they can’t have children following unsuccessful fertility treatment, have worse long-term mental health than women who are able to let go of their desire for children. It is the first to look at a large group of women (over 7,000) to try to disentangle the different factors that may affect women’s mental health over a decade after unsuccessful fertility treatment. These factors include whether or not they have children, whether they still want children, their diagnosis, and their medical treatment.
It was already known that people who have infertility treatment and remain childless have worse mental health than those who do manage to conceive with treatment. However, most previous research assumed that this was due exclusively to having children or not, and did not consider the role of other factors. Alongside my research colleagues from the Netherlands, where the study took place, we found only that there is a link between an unfulfilled wish for children and worse mental health, and not that the unfulfilled wish is causing the mental health problems. This is due to the nature of the study, in which the women’s mental health was measured at only one point in time rather than continuously since the end of fertility treatment.
We analysed answers to questionnaires completed by 7,148 women who started fertility treatment at any of 12 IVF hospitals in the Netherlands between 1995-2000. The questionnaires were sent out to the women between January 2011 and 2012, meaning that for most women their last fertility treatment would have been between 11-17 years ago. The women were asked about their age, marital status, education and menopausal status, whether the infertility was due to them, their partner, both or of unknown cause, and what treatment they had received, including ovarian stimulation, intrauterine insemination, and in vitro fertilisation / intra-cytoplasmic sperm injection (IVF/ICSI). In addition, they completed a mental health questionnaire, which asked them how they felt during the past four weeks. The women were asked whether or not they had children, and, if they did, whether they were their biological children or adopted (or both). They were also asked whether they still wished for children.
The majority of women in the study had come to terms with the failure of their fertility treatment. However, 6% (419) still wanted children at the time of answering the study’s questionnaire and this was connected with worse mental health. We found that women who still wished to have children were up to 2.8 times more likely to develop clinically significant mental health problems than women who did not sustain a child-wish. The strength of this association varied according to whether women had children or not. For women with no children, those with a child-wish were 2.8 times more likely to have worse mental health than women without a child-wish. For women with children, those who sustained a child-wish were 1.5 times more likely to have worse mental health than those without a child-wish. This link between a sustained wish for children and worse mental health was irrespective of the women’s fertility diagnosis and treatment history.
Our research found that women had better mental health if the infertility was due to male factors or had an unknown cause. Women who started fertility treatment at an older age had better mental health than women who started younger, and those who were married or cohabiting with their partner reported better mental health than women who were single, divorced, or widowed. Better educated women also had better mental health than the less well educated.
This study improves our understanding of why childless people have poorer adjustment. It shows that it is more strongly associated with their inability to let go of their desire to have children. It is quite striking to see that women who do have children but still wish for more children report poorer mental health than those who have no children but have come to accept it. The findings underline the importance of psychological care of infertility patients and, in particular, more attention should be paid to their long-term adjustment, whatever the outcome of the fertility treatment.
The possibility of treatment failure should not be avoided during treatment and a consultation at the end of treatment should always happen, whether the treatment is successful or unsuccessful, to discuss future implications. This would enable fertility staff to identify patients more likely to have difficulties adjusting to the long term, by assessing the women’s possibilities to come to terms with their unfulfilled child-wish. These patients could be advised to seek additional support from mental health professionals and patient support networks.
It is not known why some women may find it more difficult to let go of their child-wish than others. Psychological theories would claim that how important the goal is for the person would be a relevant factor. The availability of other meaningful life goals is another relevant factor. It is easier to let go of a child-wish if women find other things in life that are fulfilling, like a career.
We live in societies that embrace determination and persistence. However, there is a moment when letting go of unachievable goals (be it parenthood or other important life goals) is a necessary and adaptive process for well-being. We need to consider if societies nowadays actually allow people to let go of their goals and provide them with the necessary mechanisms to realistically assess when is the right moment to let go.
It’s time for the yearly round-up of costumes, in case you need some ideas. What are you dressing up as? Last year, I was the Prancercise Lady, but it’s going to be hard to top that one. The kids want to be a diva (10 year old) and a bald eagle (7 year old). We’ll probably get started on costumes this week. This always starts with a trip to the thrift store. Our costumes are of the slapdash variety—-altered rather than sewn from scratch, with not too much (okay, almost no) emphasis on perfection.
So glad to get my copy of the Budget Bytes cookbook the other day. If you haven’t yet discovered the Budget Bytes blog, you’re in for a treat. The recipes are on the simple side—weeknight friendly, for the most part, but not boring in the least. As the title suggests, the recipes are wallet-wise, but beyond that, they’re just appealing, and in many cases, less-meatarian, which I love. Also many are gluten-free or easily adaptable to GF. I checked the book out from the library and liked it so much I had to buy my own.
Discovered another new-to-me podcast for children’s and YA lit enthusiasts. It’s called First Draft, and it’s interviews Sarah Enni conducted with authors during a cross-country road trip. Good stuff, food for thought.
Ahoy, mates, and welcome to The Buccanneering Book of Pirates! In this children’s book, six illustrated pirate stories are accompanied by a sturdy, life-size 3-D pirate poster, suitable for hanging in a landlubber’s bedroom. [Warning: Open at your peril.] Important pirate facts are also included on the poster.
Kids who are interested in pirate lore will love this fun and unique package.
Yesterday was a monumental and long awaited day for me: The Official Launch of my debut novel WHEELS OF CHANGE. I held the festivities at the local BARNES & NOBLE on the campus of Rowan University, in Glassboro NJ. It was a thrill to see so many people from all phases of my life turn out to show their support and help me celebrate. Here are some photos of the day:
The “Arrival Survival” Team from B&N set everything up for a successful day.
Friends make everything better…
Having my daughter and husband at the event made it extra special.
Teachers LOVE books…thank goodness! I LOVE teachers!
Many smiles brightened the day, many hugs were given and taken, many books were happily signed, many words of congratulations were heard. It was a wonderful way to send my book out into the world. Thanks to everyone who made the event possible. You are ALL wonderful and I will be eternally grateful for your generosity, enthusiasm and love.
It Was truly a “most Excellent Adventure” and a Five Star Day!
Today I invited debut author Darlene Beck Jacobson to the blog to share the Top 10 Toys and Candies of the early 1900’s, the time when times, well, they were a-changin’. It was also the time during her new middle grade novel, WHEELS OF CHANGE! (Don’t you just LOVE that cover?)
TOP TEN TOYS OF 1900-1920
Teddy Bear (1902)—in honor of President Theodore Roosevelt who, on a hunting trip, had an opportunity to kill a bear and didn’t.
Erector Set—invented by AC Gilbert, a gold medal Olympian in the 1908 Pole Vault.
Lionel Trains (1901)
Lincoln Logs (1916)
Raggedy Ann Doll
Radio Flyer Wagon (1917)
Tinker Toys (1914)
Crayola Crayons 8 pack (1903)
Other popular toys of the time included: Baseball Cards (1900), Ping Pong (1901), Jigsaw Puzzle (1909), Snap Card Game, playing cards, marbles, checkers, chess, yo-yos, wooden tops and (of course) dolls.
Let’s see, what would the top 10 toys of today be? I think Teddy Bears might still have a shot at it. Maybe Crayola crayons, too. But I bet no one back then could envision an app being the most popular toy. (An app? they might say. You mean a tiny apple?)
Now let’s devour the top tasty treats of the era!
POPULAR CANDY FROM 1900-1920
Candy Corn (1880-s)
Juicy Fruit Gum, Wrigley’s Spearmint Gum (1893)
Tootsie Rolls (1896)
Hershey’s Milk Chocolate Bar (1900) with Almonds (1908)
Necco Wafers (1901)
Conversation Hearts (1902)
Brach Wrapped Caramels (1904)
Hershey Milk Chocolate Kisses (1906)
Peppermint Lifesavers (1912)
Hmm, I think Hershey would still rank pretty high today. But my kids love Sour Patch and Fun Dip and AirHeads and all kinds of gross things now. Give me a Hershey’s any day (although make it a Cookies-n-Cream bar).
Last night was back-to-school night at my daughter’s elementary, and I’m astounded every year when the principal says, “Our children will be working in fields that haven’t even been invented yet.” That’s how fast things are moving. I’m sure in another hundred years the top toys will be time machines and molecular transporters that will bring the catchphrase “Beam me up, Scotty” back in style.
Today’s world is moving fast, and that tempo is paralleled in WHEELS OF CHANGE with racial intolerance, social change and sweeping progress. It is a turbulent time growing up in 1908. For twelve year old EMILY SOPER, life in Papa’s carriage barn is magic. Emily is more at homehearing the symphony of the blacksmith’s hammer, than trying to conform to the proper expectations of females. Many prominent people own Papa’s carriages. He receives an order to make one for President Theodore Roosevelt. Papa’s livelihood becomes threatened by racist neighbors, and horsepower of a different sort. Emily is determined to save Papa’s business even if she has to go all the way to the President.
Sounds exciting, right? IT IS!
And guess what, you have yet another chance to win another book! Leave a comment stating what YOU think the #1 toy and #1 candy is right now, in 2014. You have until the last seconds of September 29th to enter. The winner receives WHEELS OF CHANGE.
September is National Preparedness Month. Heroic dog LASSIE is teaming up with Save The Children to spread the word about the importance of having EMERGENCY KITS for children. These kits should include a recent photo, medical information, and more to prepare children for disasters such as storms, earthquakes, etc. To find out what should go in each kit and to see how LASSIE saves the day at Parade Magazine, visit: http://www.parade.com/lassie.
A relaxing morning, cooler temperatures, a good run, and a mystery to be solved. That’s what greeted me on Sunday. What started off as an excellent day devolved into a conspiracy against me! The evidence piled up early until I had no other option but to come to the conclusion that I am not trusted in my home when it comes to selecting fragrances.
No one would tell me this shocking news, of course. I had to figure it out on my own. Since my littlest’s sickness means my wife stays with her most of the time, I must do a good portion of the shopping. I am up to the task. I have now purchased things I didn’t know we used, needed, or even existed. One of those things is fragrance products. Did you know there is a whole store that just sells that? I knew about air fresheners, baking soda, and odor-eaters, but do we really need a store.
The aforementioned little one currently loves bubble bath – which apparently, they only sell at the smell store. So I volunteered the previous day to go and get her more. When I did so, I noticed a few sneers and strange looks around the room. Never did I think they would stoop so low as to plot an underhanded way to keep me from helping. But that’s just what they did.
I believe in honesty! If someone has an issue with me, tell me. I would much rather someone tell me that my pants are too tight and my shirt too puffy than let me walk around all day looking like a foolish pirate. I guess this is a value I have been lax in instilling in my children…
On our way home from church, we passed the smell store. When I suggested to the two daughters present that we stop in, I got fumbling excuses about homework and hunger. I should have known something was amiss right then. I mean, when do they ever want to do homework?
Arriving at home, pizza appeared from nowhere along with cold Dr. Pepper. I was ushered to the TV where the Falcons game was already cued up on the DVR. Hmmmm….
Lulled into a football coma, three hours passed as my team got pushed around by their opponent. Likewise, I got manhandled by five delicate females. Angry about the game, I grabbed my keys to go – only to find that the purchases had already been made.
I was going to get something exotic, tropical… something that would have let her float away to an island retreat… Whatever scent I picked would have soothed her beyond all her troubles. It would have uplifted her mood and spirits just to reflect on its glorious scent. My choices were as endless as a box a crayons:
Warm Vanilla Sugar
Peace, Love & Daisies
Why wouldn’t they let me? Why?
None would make eye contact with me as I probed for an answer, leaving me:
Finally the little one said, “Dad, you like the smell of your farts.”
And there it is! Honesty! That’s all I’m asking for. Wait… Huh?
Clucky, the mother hen, takes her three chicks to school every day. But, while learning to read and write, the chicks hear ugly things about themselves and others. As they bring these words home to repeat to Clucky, she reminds them to get that nonsense out of their heads.
After a while, Clucky uses a bit of her magic to create a bubbling brew full of the mean and nasty things others have said. Then she recycles it, turning it into love, support and gratitude instead.
Kids face harsh criticism and gossip every day at school, and it’s important for them to realize they don’t have to believe everything they hear or participate in those conversations. Clucky and the Magic Kettle shows kids that they can transform the ugly into the beautiful, making life more enjoyable for everyone.
I've had a lot of sleep to catch up on, after my adventures in Brazil, not just from the looooooooonnnng journey home (3 different planes, 2 cabs and a train to get back), but from all the late nights while I was there (one night we didn't stop dancing until 4.30am - yahoo!).
So, it was a bit of a struggle to get up at 6.15 on Monday morning, to get myself to a primary school. Although Woodhouse West is a Sheffield school, I needed to be there early, to set up for a pre-school book-signing session in the library. Before the children arrived, the Y1 teacher told me that they had been working from my website and had all done a portrait of me. Here are a couple of my favourites:
We were rather silly (I do enjoy reverting to being a child during these session with littlies). I did my Bear on the Stair poem and gave out badges to the best burpers and growlers in each group. Then we designed monsters. I had a new idea at the end. I got them to think about what kind of noise their monster might make. Then we formed a circle, facing in and holding up the monster drawings so everyone could see and, on the count of 3, made our noise - hilarious!
Reading opens the doors that take the child beyond all borders.
From castles and great forests,
To ocean storms, island kingdoms,
Talking animals and magic stones.
From fear and darkness,
To light and peace.
For a child who has found the stories,
There are no borders to the imagination
. The illustration, The Defense of the Sampo, from the Finnish Kallevala, is by Akseli Gallen-Kallela ................................
Reimagining Mythology, Tolkien's Heritage and Movies
Peter Jackson has become the primary reinventor of J.R.R. Tolkien's Middle Earth Sagas. He has brought his vision of Tolkien to millions of people, young and old. His medium is film, and on December 17, 2014, the latest of his epicHobbitmovies, The Battle of the Five Armies, will thunder its way to movie theaters around the globe.
Tolkien, in turn, was inspired by and borrowed from mythology including Beowulff, the Norse Fables,and the Finnish Kalevala.
In the National Geographic News, Brian Handwerk, in an article entitled Lord Of The Rings Inspired by an Ancient Epic, wrote: "While the author's imagination was vast, Tolkien's world and its cast of characters do have roots in real-world history and geography, from the world wars that dominated Tolkien's lifetime to the ancient language and legends of Finland."
Tolkien, in his letters, said: "The germ of my attempt to write legends of my own to fit my private languages was the tragic tale of the hapless Kullervo in the Finnish Kalevala."
"After all, I believe that legends and myths are largely made of 'truth', and indeed present aspects of it that can only be received in this mode; and long ago certain truths and modes of this kind were discovered and must always reappear."
Tolkien also wrote that he was, in many ways, a Hobbit.
"Fairy tales since the beginning of recorded time, and perhaps earlier, have been a means to conquer the terrors of mankind through metaphor.”-- Jake Zipes, professor emeritus, University of Minnesota, translator, author of many books, including The Irresisitable Fairy Tale: The Cultural and Social History of a Genre. The illustration of Kullervo is by Akseli Gallen-Kallela
Adults Are Crossing the Borders of Imagination Into Teenland
In September, 2012,Bowker published the results of a survey that revealed that adults were buying YA (young adult) books in startling numbers. The article said that 55% of YA book purchases were by adults and 78% of those adults acknowledged that the books were for their own reading. The turning point was said to be the Hunger Games movie and the popular Hunger Games book trilogy.
Controversy has followed the article: should so many adults be reading books written for 12-17 year olds?
My interest is primarily in younger readers; however, it seems the age lines today are blurred for all. Movies seem to have precipitated the situation, and the children's market today also crosses into Teenland. How many kids today, who went to see films like E.T., Harry Potter, and the Lion King, are now going to the Hunger Games, Divergence and the Lord of the Rings Saga? I don't know the answer, but I do know their is a huge degree of difference in the violence quotient.
In defense of adults reading YA, there is respected YA Author (Cut, Purple Heart, Sold) Patricia McCormick:"Why are so many adults reading young adult books? No need to page Dr. Freud. This isn’t about the guilty pleasures of communing with one’s inner child...It’s because adults are discovering one of publishing’s best-kept secrets: that young adult authors are doing some of the most daring work out there. Authors who write for young adults are taking creative risks -- with narrative structure, voice and social commentary -- that you just don’t see as often in the more rarefied world of adult fiction."
Also defending YA books and encouaging adults to read them is popular YA author( Deviant, Orgins, Sleeping Beauty, Vampire Slayer) Maureen McGowan. She concluded her Kindle post with this thought: "I could list more reasons why I love YA but, bottom line, I’ve found most books in this category to be engaging, entertaining, thoughtful and well written."
On the other side of the controversy, journalist (Atlantic, Wall Street Journal, Boston Globe) Ruth Grahamcreated a firestorm when she wrote an article in Slate with this headline: "Read whatever you want. But you should be embarrassed when what you're reading was written for children."
Here are excerpts from Ms. Graham's article..."I know, I know: Live and let read. Far be it from me to disrupt the “everyone should just read/watch/listen to whatever they like” ethos of our era. There’s room for pleasure, escapism, juicy plots, and satisfying endings on the shelves of the serious reader... But if they are substituting maudlin teen dramas for the complexity of great adult literature, then they are missing something...
But even the myriad defenders of YA fiction admit that the enjoyment of reading this stuff has to do with escapism, instant gratification, and nostalgia. As the writer Jen Doll, who used to have a column called 'YA for Grownups,' put it in an essay last year, 'At its heart, YA aims to be pleasurable.'"
Pioneers In An Untrodden Forest
Seth Lerer points out that the comment, "We are pioneers in an untrodden forest" made in 1884 to his staff by James A.H. Murray, as presiding editor of the Oxford English Dictionary, also describes how the Grimms felt about their work in publishing their "nursery and household tales".
Lerer goes on to quote Wilhelm Grimm, who, in referring to these tales, wrote, "that these were the 'last echoes of pagan myths...A world of magic is opened up before us, one which still exists among us in secret forests, in underground caves, and in the deepest sea, and it is still visible to children...(Fairy tales) have existed among the people for several centuries.' And what we find inside those secret forests, caves and seas...(are) fairy tales full of families, full of parents who bequeath a sense of self to children, full of ancestors and heirs whose lives play out, in little, the life of a nation from its childhood to maturity."
The forest plays a very prominent part in the 1812 edition of the Grimm's tales as it did in the lives and imagination of people. Two thirds of the 210 tales take place in the forest. It is also worth noting that the lives of all people in the land of the Grimm's was in was in constant turmoil and change during the time that the Grimm's collected, wrote, and published their books. The quote, above, is from Seth Lerer's book, Children's Literature, A Reader's History from Aesop to Harry Potter.
The top illustration is by Julius Diez for Sleeping Beauty; the other illustration is by Hermann Vogel for the Three Little Gnomes in the Forest. Both tales are from the brothers Grimm 1812 edition of fairy tales.
“Grown-ups never understand anything by themselves, and it is tiresome for children to be always and forever explaining things to them” - Antoine de Saint-Exuprey
The True Magic of the Imagination
This was the headline on BREEZES FROM WONDERLAND, Maria Tatar's Internet forum for storytelling, folklore , and children's literature.
Ms Tatar wrote about a New York Times report, Harry Potter Casts a Spell for Tolerance. Written by Annie Murphy Paul, the article reports on a study that describes the "Potter Effect", citing it as an example of how reading can positively influence young minds regarding bigotry and intolerence...
"...The study, which will be published in a forthcoming issue of the Journal of Applied Social Psychology, concludes by noting that the Harry Potter novels may be especially effective at increasing the tolerance of their readers precisely because they concern themselves with made-up categories like Muggles and Mudbloods. More overt attempts to change readers’ views about real-life groups, Mr. Vezzali and his co-authors note, could prompt defensive or resistant reactions. By identifying with the fictional character of Harry Potter, and by drawing connections, conscious or not, between his treatment of people different from him and their own attitudes toward stigmatized groups, readers of these novels work their own kind of wizardry: the magic of the literary imagination."
Ms Tatar comments:"Is anyone surprised that children’s books, which often feature outsiders, quirky kids, adventurous orphans, and nomadic heroes turn us into more empathetic people in real life?"...she continues her comment with a related personal anecdote from her own childhood.
A long-time therapy dog owner, advocate, coordinator, and volunteer Nancy George-Michalson, sent us news of the latest Angel On A Leashevent to benefit the Ronald McDonald house in New York where children from around the world with cancer -- and their families -- come to stay when receiving hospital care..."Here a child with cancer plays and grows, surrounded by other children and families sharing similar experiences, supported each day by volunteer therapy dog teams waiting to meet and greet them as they return from a grueling day at the hospital. "
Ronald McDonald House New York - Angel On A Leash
3rd Annual “Family Fun Dog Walk”...a day to support therapy dogs and the courageous children who love them.
This fun-filled event is a 2k walk open to the public, with proceeds from funds raised going to support children battling cancer, and the therapy dog teams that bring smiles to their faces on a daily basis. There will be raffle baskets and prizes for the best dressed big dog and the best dressed little dog. Participants must be registered walkers and in attendance to win. David Frei and Cat Greenleaf will serve as the judges.
Date: Saturday September 20, 2014, Rain or Shine. Time: 10 AM-12PM. Location: Carl Shurz Park, East End Avenue, 84th St promenade entrance
"You can't stay in your corner of the Forest waiting for others to come to you. You have to go to them sometimes.”
"Sometimes,' said Pooh, 'the smallest things take up the most room in your heart.”
“The things that make me different are the things that make me.”
A.A. Milne, Winnie-the-Pooh
Penguin U.K. will issue this month a fiftieth-anniversary edition of Roald Dahl’s “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory” under its Modern Classics imprint. I find the cover design disturbing, inappropriate, and misleading.
In a very insightful New Yorkerarticle entitled, Meant For Kids, Margaret Talbotwrote about this cover, and the cross over book market. Here are excerpts:
"Why did the cover of a novel about five kids and a wonderful—if admittedly bizarre—candy-maker look like a scene from ‘Toddlers & Tiaras’? Commenters on Penguin’s Facebook page called it ‘creepy,’ ‘sexualized’ and ‘inappropriate garbage'... It seems likely that the Modern Classics cover of “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory” is an example of a new trend: enticing older readers to buy books intended for children and young adults by publishing them with covers that look sophisticated. Read it on the subway, read it in a bar—no need to feel sheepish..."
How do you explain loyalty to children? Does loyalty have a place in the world outside? Is it a virtue? Does loyalty bring trouble and problems? Or is it rewarding?
Does loyalty have a beginning and an end? Where can a child find examples of loyalty that they can experience and understand? In stories? In daily life? In computer games?
Dogs offer a wonderful way for a child to understand loyalty. Dogs are the embodiment of loyalty and a story with dogs can illustrate loyalty...
Suppose it is long, long ago...A sister and brother, are on a journey that will take them home. They have stopped for the night and are sleeping at a campsite in the woods. They have been riding on horseback, accompanied by two soldiers who are believed to be loyal to their father, and by their two dogs.
Betrayal...But the men are not loyal. They are traitors and the children find that they have been kidnapped. The children's dogs appear to be dead.
Thus begins a hard journey for the children, through the mountains to the land of the Forest people. There the children are imprisoned in an old castle. Their father cannot rescue them, because he does not know where his children have been taken. The children are dismayed and frightened.
Loyal Dogs...Until one cold foggy night, with the forest and the castle enveloped in mist, the sound of howling dogs is heard by the imprisoned children. Their dogs, their loyal dogs, have found them. Hope returns. And thus unfolds the story of the Castle In The Mist .
The illustrations above , from the book Castle In The Mist, are by Stella Mustanoja-McCarty
The more that you read, the more things you will know. The more that you learn, the more places you'll go.”
"You have brains in your head. You have feet in your shoes. You can steer yourself Any direction you choose."
Borders Of The Imagination
The Boxtrolls are coming...
Alan Snow, author, designer, and illustratorcreated a 501 page illustrated fantasy story book, Here Be Monsters.I haven't seen the book, except on the Internet, but it looks rather amazing. This month , on the 26th of September, Laika Studios, creators of the excellentCoraline movie, will bringBoxtrolls, their reimagined film version of Here Be Monsters, to movie theaters. The trailer (link below) is very enticing. The stop-motion annimation looks to be riding the borders of imagination.
Five Canine Heroes Receive Recognition and Rewards
I belatedly learned about these meaningful Awards. Here is an excerpt from the article by Cheslie Pickett in the Canine Chronicle that tells the story...:
"The AKC® Humane Fund announced today the winners of the 15th annual AKCHumane Fund Awards for Canine Excellence (ACE). These awards honor five inspirational dogs that have made significant contributions to their communities and truly exemplify the power of the human-canine bond. One award is presented in each of the following five categories: Exemplary Companion, Uniformed Service K-9, Search and Rescue, Service and Therapy dog. This year’s winners include a faithful companion that saved her owner from a bear, a heroic K-9 (Bruno) that took a bullet in the line of duty, an international search and rescue traveler, a blind therapy dog bringing comfort to abused children and ACE’s first mixed breed winner, a service dog to a U.S. veteran raising awareness of the profound impact service dogs can have on trauma survivors." I found the summaries of each award winner to be rather awesome; each is shown in a photo, including the blind recued therapy dog.
The photo is of Bruno ("who took a bullet in the line of duty") and officer R.J. Young
Books to Have and to Hold
Author, journalst and Yale Professor, Verlyn Klinkenborg, wrote about the difference in reading an ebook as opposed to a physical book Here are excepts...
"I finish reading a book on my iPad — one by Ed McBain, for instance — and I shelve it in the cloud. It vanishes from my “device” and from my consciousness too. It’s very odd.
When I read a physical book, I remember the text and the book — its shape, jacket, heft and typography. When I read an e-book, I remember the text alone. The bookness of the book simply disappears, or rather it never really existed. Amazon reminds me that I’ve already bought the e-book I’m about to order. In bookstores, I find myself discovering, as if for the first time, books I’ve already read on my iPad.
All of this makes me think differently about the books in my physical library. They used to be simply there, arranged on the shelves, a gathering of books I’d already read. But now, when I look up from my e-reading, I realize that the physical books are serving a new purpose — as constant reminders of what I’ve read. They say, “We’re still here,” or “Remember us?” These are the very things that e-books cannot say, hidden under layers of software, tucked away in the cloud, utterly absent when the iPad goes dark.
This may seem like a trivial difference, but that’s not how it feels"...
Planet Of The Dogs Is In China The publishers, Chongxianguan Books of Beijing, have created new illustrations and covers. The stories remain the same.
Complimentary copies of the English version of the award-winniong Planet Of The DogsSeries are available for therapy reading dogowners and organizations. Write us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Simple Ways to Test Dog Intelligence
Here's an excerpt from Nancy Houser's outstanding blog for dog owners (and dog lovers).
As well as being ‘man’s best friend’, dogs with excellent dog intelligence are capable of performing some pretty amazing feats. We’ve all heard stories about our canine companions alerting their masters to fires. Or, protecting their owner from an attacker or intruder. And then there are those who are visually impaired who rely on ‘seeing eye dogs’ in order to go about their daily lives. A dog’s intelligence is measured by its ability to think and problem solve...Here is a link to read it all: Dog Intelligence The illustration by Stella Mustanoja McCarty is from Snow Valley Heroes, Vol 3 in the Planet Of The Dogs Series
Sponsors of Banned Book Weekinclude the American Library Association, the American Booksellers Foundation for Free Expression, the American Society of Journalists and Authors, the Association of American Publishers, the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund, the National Association of College Stores, the National Coalition Against Censorship, the National Council of Teachers of English, PEN American Center and Project Censored.
Thoughts on the Borders of the Imagination
"We don’t need a list of rights and wrongs, tables of dos and don’ts: we need books, time, and silence. Thou shalt not is soon forgotten, but Once upon a time lasts forever.”
"After nourishment, shelter and companionship, stories are the thing we need most in the world.”
“There are some themes, some subjects, too large for adult fiction; they can only be dealt with adequately in a children’s book.”
Phillip Pullman, Author of His Dark Materials (trilogy), Fairy Tales from the BrothersGrimm and many more.
Empowerment Through Rescue
by CA Wulff
There’s a saying in rescue that saving one dog won’t change the world, but it will surely change the world for that one dog. Except that just isn’t true. The truth is that saving one dog most certainly changes the world. It changes everything.
First, it changes YOU, because once you save an animal it awakens an empowerment in you. You come to realize that you can affect change wherever you apply yourself. Secondly, it changes the world for that animal, who has been given a second chance at life…and there is nothing more joyous and grateful than an animal who has been saved. They become loving and faithful companions. They protect and comfort their families.
They teach the children in the family to love and respect animals. They bring hours of joy and laughter to their people keeping them healthier in body, mind and spirit.
And there is always the possibility that a dog you save will become a service dog, or a therapy dog or a search and rescue dog. There’s no way to measure the impact you can have by advocating for just one animal.
"I wonder if I've been changed in the night. Let me think. Was I the same when I got up this morning? I almost think I can remember feeling a little different. But if I'm not the same, the next question is, "Who in the world am I? Ah, that's the great puzzle."
-Lewis Carrol, Alice In Wonderland
A Rescue Story from the Rescue People at Sunbear Squad
Meet "Muddy Puppy," named because he was found in a muddy ditch in the pouring rain. Hit by a car and with two painfully broken back legs, someone did care enough to try to protect him from the driving rain with an old jacket. But not enough to offer him relief from his painful suffering and overwhelming fear. Instead they just drove off leaving this 4-month-old puppy to slowly and painfully die all alone. All hope gone...Visit Sunbear Squad and read the upbeat ending to this story from Oklahoma Beagle Rescue
What should you do, what can you do, if you see an injured dog or one in distress? You can be prepared...Sunbear Squad offers guidelines, wallet cards, and information.
"A dog teaches a boy fidelity, perseverance, and to turn around three times before sitting down -- Robert Benchley
As your children head back to another school year, we parents might wonder how we can support teachers and which programs are worthy of attention and support. Here are 5 to think about:
1. GIRLS WHO CODE: Men outnumber women in the fields of science, technology, math and engineering. This organization hopes to change that by partnering with Google and other tech companies to launch coding clubs for female teens across the country. Contribute at: http://www.girlswhocode.com
2. School Supplies: For every YOOBI brand pencil set, notebook or other school item purchased at TARGET, or at http://www.yoobi.com another will be donated to a classroom in need.
4. Dine Out: For the entire month of September, eat at one of thousands of restaurants nationwide to get meal discounts and help raise money to wend childhood hunger. Visit: http://www.nokidhungry.org for participating restaurants.
5. Used Books: If you donate or buy used books and textbooks at http://www.betterworldbooks.com a portion of the funds raised will go to literacy programs around the globe.
Make the school year count for those less fortunate and have a great year!
Stewart is on the run from a gang of bullies when he discovers an open manhole. Scrambling inside, he’s safe, for the moment. But when he finally escapes out the other side, he finds himself in a whole new world – a world of children hiding in a walled city to keep themselves safe from the Venators.
One child – the Princeps – holds the key to the city in a book called the Comlat. Inside, she claims, is a prophecy about the city’s Forebears who were defeated after three battles with the Venators. But Stewart doesn’t believe in prophecies, and he thinks the Forebears went home after defeating the Venators. A daring attempt to discover the truth leads to his expulsion from the city, and an unexpected chance to prove his theory correct.
What Stewart discovers is the key to understanding and defeating the powers these bullies have over the children. Once he knows what they need to do, the Venators have no power over the city, and everyone is finally free.
Title: Understanding Bullying and Ways to Make It Stop!
Author: Ari Magnusson
Publisher: Olivander Press
Genre: Teacher guide
This accompanying discussion guide is meant to be used with Bitopia in schools. They are designed to empower children to understand what bullies are doing to them, and how to handle bullying situations by themselves, without relying on adult interference. While the guide suggests kids may want to ask an adult for help, it discourages adults from stepping in without being asked.
Bullying occurs at all ages, not just in childhood, and teaching kids to rely solely on adult intervention makes them powerless to deal with bullying later in life. By providing them with the tools to deal with the problem on their own, they will be able to handle it any time it happens, without waiting to be rescued.
I highly recommend Bitopia and Understanding Bullying and Ways to Make It Stop! for classroom use.
Buster is a service dog who helps guide the author, who is nearly blind. In Adventures with Buster, kids learn about how service dogs are trained and how they help the people they serve.
We meet Buster in Florida, where Pickett and he spend several weeks getting used to each other. Then it’s time for him to come home to North Carolina and an unexpected snowfall. And soon after, they take a trip to Arizona together. Travel by plane doesn’t upset Buster one bit, and he takes good care of Pickett. But along the way, she is surprised by some of Buster’s adventures.
In Adventures with Buster kids will be treated to a glimpse of life with a service dog and join in the fun of his adventures. This is a nice read for all ages.
A child loves living on Herkimer Street and thinks it’s the greatest place in the world. So when his family is taking a trip to Hawaii, he wants to bring the whole street with him. Everyone cooperates to make the trip happen, facing obstacles with ingenuity and determination. Soon they’re all having a wonderful time in Hawaii.
The Hawaiian Hiatus of Herkimer Street is a simple tale for young children, highlighting the importance of community and cooperation. Working as a team, the residents of Herkimer Street are able to realize their dreams of a fun Hawaiian vacation together.
Howard B. Wigglebottom and his friends are competing in the Pup Scouts Good Manners Competition in five days. Their skills need a lot of improvement, so Howard hires Ms. Owlee as the team’s coach. She reminds them that they need to think, “I care,” and good manners will come naturally. After practicing their new skills, the team does well in the competition. But more importantly, they have learned how to be polite to others.
Howard B. Wigglebottom and Manners Matters is suitable for classroom use, with discussion topics presented at the conclusion. Although this is more of a lesson than an actual story, kids will giggle over the animals’ bad manners in the beginning, and learn from their new and better behavior.
I recently attended my niece Gabby’s 11th birthday party where one of the desserts were some gorgeous sugar cookies she made. Though dazzling to the eye, the recipe is simple to make and should be a definite crowd pleaser at your next picnic, barbeque or party.
GABBY’S RAINBOW SUGAR COOKIES: The cookie’s are simple. Just use your favorite sugar cookie recipe – we even used a box mix. Then:
• Divide the dough into 4 even portions and place in four separate bowls. • Choose 4 food coloring colors • Dye the dough to your desired color by adding the food color a few drops at a time to each portion. • Mix the food coloring into the dough (use a spoon to mix unless you wish for stained hands) and add more if you wish for a more vibrant color (remember you can always add more but you can’t take it away so be careful.) • Then take teaspoon-sized portions of the colored dough from each of the four bowls. •Set the four balls tightly next to each other in a 2X2 square configuration. • Then, begin to roll the four balls together pulling gently outward to make a long hotdog shape. • Coil the hot dog shaped dough around itself and bake as directed in the recipe. • Enjoy your creation! It makes great ice cream sandwiches with a scoop of your favorite flavor ice cream sandwiched between two cookies.
That night, up on the roof, one old calico cat spotted three furry heads poking out of the chimney, and three wet noses sniffing the sweet midnight air. As they creep through the neighborhood, intent on mischief and fun, only the calico cat sees their antics.
That Night shares the adventures of three nocturnal animals as they play hide and seek, romp in the playground, and chase grasshoppers. Adorable watercolor illustrations show them in partial silhouette, adding to the enjoyment of the story, as children can try to guess what they are. They are are finally revealed to be raccoons at the end.
Any child who has wondered what goes on at night will smile at the antics of these cute critters. And maybe they will even dream of a nighttime adventure of their own. That Night would be a wonderful addition to any child’s book collection.
Baking is so enjoyable, especially when putting silly faces and sprinkles on cupcakes and cookies. Created to be a hands-on experience, these recipes allow kids to have fun in the kitchen. Parental guidance and assistance is essential, since recipes may contain many ingredients or have hard preparation steps.
Yummy recipes for juices consisting of: all fruits; fruits & vegetables; and fruits, veggies and dairy/non-dairy milk or yogurt to make smoothies. This book is designed to get kids to eat more fruits and veggies in a way that tastes great and is easy to consume.
Snapshots of the drinks and snacks, as well as the kids enjoying them, accompany the recipes in these vibrant and colorful books.
I was just thinking that it’s not the perfect flower I look for in my photography, it’s the perfect feeling, same with my friends, they all have little flaws just like me but when I close my eyes and think of them I only know the sweet essence of their perfection and see how wonderful life is to let me see them … Love you all !
Charley Harper is known for seeing nature in a different way, drawing animals with geometric shapes and lines to create fanciful images. In ABC’s, kids will see these unique and unusual pictures representing each of the letters of the alphabet.
Author & Illustrator: Patrick Hruby
Publisher: AMMO Books
The circus is colorful, and so are these ABC’s. Geometric shapes in vibrant hues contrast with black and white, representing many of the things kids would see at the circus, as they spell out the alphabet.