Thursday, September 29, 2011

Chocolate Me-Beautiful New Children's Book by Taye Diggs

Actor Taye Diggs, best known for his work on Broadway and for starring in ABC's "Private Practice," has written a new children's book called "Chocolate Me!"

(See video at bottom of post.)
taye-diggs-chocolate-me.jpgThe book tells the story of a black child who is teased for looking different. But he eventually learns to embrace what sets him apart from his predominatly white neighbors with the help of his mother.

Diggs collaborated on the book with his best friend, Shane Evans, wrote it with the goal of helping kids accept their skin color.

In the words of the author:

“This book is based on a poem I wrote back in college. I remembered being 5-years-old and moving into this neighborhood where none of the kids looked like me and were very inquisitive. Questioning why I looked the way I looked and why my hair was the way it was. I remember feeling really awkward, like I didn’t fit in.

Taye and Walker Diggs
 My best friend Shane Evans is a very established publisher and had published other children’s books and he thought this concept would make a good one. We just joined forces and put a mock up together and took it to some places and here were are.

It’s great working as best friends on something that means so much to us, like self-esteem and self-awareness, especially at this time of bullying. I wrote the book to my kid.”

This one is a must-read.  It shivers with delicious language.  Every page is another heartfelt confection.  No one can resist chocolate.  And no one will be able to resist the feeling and love in this beautiful treatise to one's child.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

That's Not Your Mommy Anymore--Zombie Book for Kids!

With  the scary season close upon us,The Zombie Research Society has released a book for mature children titled, That’s Not Your Mommy Anymore, A Zombie Tale.

Thats Not Your Mommy Anymore Cover Thats Not Your Mommy Anymore: The Zombie Book for ChildrenZombie Research Society’s Founder Matt Mogk authored the book to teach “children how to recognize a zombie outbreak and take steps to protect themselves”. The book is told through colorful illustrations by Aja Wells.

That’s Not Your Mommy Anymore is a wacky cautionary tale that teaches kids how to recognize a zombie outbreak in its earliest stage. This book, written with quite a twist on mommys,  is done in rhyme.  It is now available for pre-order on Amazon.

That’s Not Your Mommy Anymore is not your usual children’s book, but it is perfect for parents (or aunts, uncles, whatever) who just can’t get enough of zombies. The front cover alone is enough reason to consider getting the book--or not.

When she’s shambling ‘cross the bedroom floor,
that’s not your Mommy anymore.
When her voice sounds just like Daddy’s snore,
that’s not your Mommy anymore.

Thats Not Your Mommy Anymore Normal Mommy Thats Not Your Mommy Anymore: The Zombie Book for ChildrenThat’s Not Your Mommy Anymore is not that new (it was published in May of this year). But just in case you have not heard of it, you might want to check it out.

You have to admit that this children’s book is going to be very very useful when the witches, goblins and ghosts are afoot on All Hallow's Eve.

As a parent, you want to make sure that you equip your older child with the right skills and knowledge that s/he will need.  So have fun with this one if you dare.  I think parents will like it.  Kids will, too...

Thats Not Your Mommy Anymore Zombie Mommy Thats Not Your Mommy Anymore: The Zombie Book for Children

That's Not Your Mommy Anymore - Zombie Mommy

Sunday, September 25, 2011

For International Girl Child Day-Collaborative Children's Book Written and Illustrated by Women

 In two days, five authors, four illustrators, three translators — all women have written what might just be, India's fastest collaborative children's book, ever.
Pratham booksIn celebration of International Girl Child Day (September 24), Pratham Books invited four authors (all of them women) to write a book in just two days.

Pratham Books is a not-for-profit organization that publishes affordable children’s books in multiple Indian languages.

The story was to revolve around a girl protagonist. The authors typed their stories into an online collaborative document which had been shared among the participating authors, illustrators, and translators. This document had, in turn, been embedded into their new website. To showcase it live, they used auto-refresh in Javascript. Therefore, the entire scenario was pretty much “live”.

To be true to Pratham Books' essence, the story had to be multilingual – so they got it translated in Hindi, Kannada and Marathi too.  Since the translators could also see the story online they could start their translations as soon as the story came up.  The illustrations were uploaded live too, as work in progress.

This is how it worked.

On September 22, Roopa Pai started the author marathon.  Subhadra Sengupta and Anita Vachharajani continued the author marathon the next two days. Mala Kumar concludes the author marathon on September 23.

The story created over the two-day period was used in storytelling sessions across the country on September 24 for  International Girl Child Day.

Pratham Books’ Champions (storytelling volunteers) will also conduct sessions at orphanages, government schools, community libraries across the country including Bangalore.

So far they have had about 18 volunteers sign up for this from different parts of the country — Nagaland, Coimbatore, Bangalore, Chennai, Goa, Vadodara, Delhi, Bhopal and others.

 Suzanne Singh, managing trustee, Pratham Books says, “We hope that many girls can be inspired by the work of the wonderful women authors and the story that we create. We believe every child, girl or boy, should have a childhood full of good books that open windows to the world. That is why we publish the books in so many languages and also allow free downloads of many of our books.”

Friday, September 23, 2011

"Marcel the Shell with Shoes On" App from Penguin Young Readers

In this post, you will learn about (if you haven't already!) and see one of the hottest new apps to be available soon.  Here comes, Marcel the Shell.

(You can see Marcel the Shell in the video at bottom of post.)
Marcel the Shell

The Penguin Young Readers Group is expanding its line of enhanced e-books and is releasing a series of apps based on some contemporary bestselling picture books.  Several examples are: Judy Schachner’s SkippyJon Jones and Jacky Davis and David Soman’s Ladybug Girl and on classic works like The Night Before Christmas and Peter Rabbit.

In November the series will also feature a simultaneous print/app release of Marcel the Shell with Shoes On by Jenny Slate and Dean Fleischer-Camp, based on a wildly popular YouTube video.
Penguin Young Readers associate publicity director Elyse Marshall said the house will release about one enhanced e-book a month though November with multiple releases planned after that date.

Initial releases beginning in August will be offered at the introductory price of $4.99 for a limited time. All releases will feature dedicated Web sites, interactive games, read-along functionality, animation and many other in-app activities for the young reader.
Adam Royce, v-p, digital content development at Penguin Young Readers, said the apps offered an “enhanced reading experience and interactive features that are true to the reading experience.”
Much the same for Ladybug Girl by Davis and Soman, which tells of a girl in a ladybug costume and her canine sidekick; and Anna Dewdney’s Llama Llama Red Pajama, a picture book about a baby llama who won’t go to bed.

Llama Llama Red PajamaBoth are print bestsellers and the e-books include interactive costume changes for Ladybug Girl; and digital postcards that can be created in the Llama Llama app, which will also be released in a bilingual Spanish-language version.
Coming in November: Marcel the Shell with Shoes On, an app with painted illustrations based on a YouTube video—more than nine million viewings—produced by Slate, a former Saturday Night Live performer. This title will feature a simultaneous book and e-book release.

Also coming in November are The Night Before Christmas, illustrated by Jan Brett (featuring the Boston Pops Orchestra); and Beatrice Potter’s Peter Rabbit, featuring interactive coloring, reading and matching games for early readers.
Penguin Young Readers associate publicity director Elyse Marshall said the house will release about one enhanced e-book a month though November with multiple releases planned after that date. Initial releases beginning in August will be offered at the introductory price of $4.99 for a limited time. All releases will feature dedicated Web sites, interactive games, read-along functionality, animation and many other in-app activities for the young reader.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Maurice Sendak-"Children's Books Today Are Too Safe"

Children's books today are too safe, according to Maurice Sendak, author of the classic picture book about childhood rebellion, Where the Wild Things Are.

Maurice SendakSpeaking to the New York Times, Sendak said that modern children's books are not always "truthful or faithful to what's going on with children."

"If there's anything missing that I've observed over the decades it's that that drive has declined," said the 83-year-old author, who admitted that he "hadn't kept abreast" of children's books and didn't see that many.

"There's a certain passivity, a going back to childhood innocence that I never quite believed in. We remembered childhood as a very passionate, upsetting, silly, comic business." Max, the wolf-suited star of Where the Wild Things Are, "was a little beast, and we're all little beasts," Sendak said.

Some of Sendak's titles – from his tale of a baby kidnapped by goblins, Outside Over There, to Max's journey to the land of the Wild Things – have provoked controversy. "You mustn't scare parents. And I think with my books, I managed to scare parents," said Sendak. Earlier children's authors "went by the rules that children should be safe and that we adults should be their guardians. I got out of that, and I was considered outlandish. So be it."

The author, who has just published his latest book Bumble-Ardy, the story of a pig who throws his own birthday party which, as ever, "runs against the grain of what's considered a proper childhood", believes there is "no protecting children". After seeing the Holocaust "demolish" his family, he was "very much afraid" when he was a child.

"I had to bear it even though I didn't have any idea what it meant. What language was there to tell a child? None. That has stayed with me all my life," he told the New York Times. "But all my books end safely. I needed the security in my soul of bringing these children back.

Ida comes back safe. Max finds his meal waiting for him. It means his mother loves him. The rough patches between them are solved. Mickey gets safely back in bed. We want them to end up OK, and they do end up OK. Unlike grownup books."

And despite the dangers and the terrors that inhabit his books, Sendak said he had never received a letter from a child which said "Go to hell". Instead, "they are always thanking me for opening the door, even if it was only peeking through to show how difficult life could be," he said. "What I do as best I can is out of a deep respect for children, for how difficult their world is. Yes, there have to be places for safe wonderful stories. It's a big world; it's a big profession. But there should still be crazy people like me."

Monday, September 19, 2011

A Multi-Award Nominated Book from Canada for Kids

A Canadian book, Evolution: How We and All Living Things Came to Be, has been getting awards but is not being offered south of the border.  The award winning kids book about evolution was turned down by several American publishers because it was too controversial, according to the book's author.

Evolution: How We and All Living Things Came to Be"I had more than one publishing professional in the U.S. indicate to me that, because of the potential for controversy, it would be hard to make the numbers work," Loxton told The Huffington Post. "They said it was a tough sell."

The National Science Teachers Association  says the book fills a need. "This book complies with the ideas set forth about evolution by the National Science Education Standards and fills a gap in books about evolution for this age group," the association said in a statement.

Canadian libraries are praising Daniel Loxton's book about evolution. But across the border in the United States, the subject matter may be too much of a hot potato to touch for some publishers.
After Evolution: How We and All Living Things Came to Be was published by Kids Can Press in Canada. It has begun receiving literary nominations.
Kids Can Press logo
Last year British Columbia author Loxton's book was nominated for a Silver Birch Award for the book that is geared to primary school students, aged 8 to 13.

It's currently in the running for the Lane Anderson Award for Canadian science books and Norma Fleck Award for Canadian children’s nonfiction.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Bella and Britt Remind us September 17 is International Coastal Clean-Up Day

All year long, organizations and individuals across the globe take part in Ocean Conservancy's International Coastal Cleanup to remove trash and debris from the world's beaches and waterways, identify the sources of that debris, and change the behaviors that allow it to reach the ocean in the first place.
(See video at bottom of post.)

During the amazing event each September, hundreds of thousands of volunteers from countries all over the world spend a day picking up everything from cigarette butts and food wrappers to lost fishing nets and major appliances. Because trash travels to the ocean by way of storm drains and waterways, they don’t just work along ocean beaches; these dedicated folks slog through mud and sand along lakes, streams, and rivers, too, often working far inland.

It all began with one woman walking along the beach of South Padre Island, Texas. Appalled at the amount of trash she saw, Linda Maraniss immediately felt compelled to do something about it. As a former employee of Ocean Conservancy (then known as the Center for Environmental Education), she knew something about solutions.

 Teaming up with like-minded people, she organized a beach cleanup. In only two hours, 2,800 Texans picked up 124 tons of trash along 122 miles of coastline. Since 1986, that effort has rippled out across the globe, and over a quarter century has grown into a much-loved and much valued experience that nearly half-a-million people look forward to each fall—with more joining each year.
Nancy Stewart
Book Nook by the Bay
St. Petersburg, Florida
In 2009, 60 percent of the debris collected and cataloged consisted of single-use, disposable items. Volunteers picked up 1.1 million plastic bags. And enough cups, plates, knives, forks, and spoons for a picnic for 100,000 people. Each year volunteers collect more than a million beverage bottles from beaches, shorelines, and underwater in just one day.

Whether we live along the shore or hundreds of miles inland, we are all intimately connected to the ocean. It drives and moderates our climate. It is the ultimate source of much of the water we drink and much of the air we breathe. It directly feeds millions of people. It also absorbs a great deal of the air and water pollution generated by a world population approaching seven billion people. But our ocean is sick, and our actions have made it so.

Every year, countless marine mammals, sea turtles, seabirds, and other animals are sickened, injured, or killed because of dangerous items we allow into the sea. They are poisoned, choked, or entangled in the trash we leave behind, from leaky paint cans to empty yogurt cups to cast-off fishing line. Trash also poses health threats to humans, contaminates marine environments, and clogs boat propellers.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Keeping Orthodox Jewish Kids Safe-A New Children's Book May Help

Top rabbis have endorsed a new children’s book teaching Orthodox Jewish kids about kidnapping and molestation - a historical first for this traditionally sheltered community. “Let’s Stay Safe” is backed by Torah Umesorah, a rabbinical authority, and ArtScroll, the maker of religious prayer books.
The glossy pages show a stranger sporting a yarmulke and a boy asking for help finding his mom - eerie reminders of the murder of Leiby Kletzky, 8, killed in July after being kidnapped in Borough Park.

“It is important for parents to understand that the Kletzky tragedy was an exception to the rule, and that the vast majority of predators are people the children know,” said Rabbi Yakov Horowitz, who oversaw the book’s creation.

Torah Umesorah started distributing the book last month to Jewish bookstores and its 700 affiliated schools across the country.

As a result of the Kletzky case, there is a greater need for parents to be aware of safety issues,” said Rabbi Shmuel Klein, director of publications for Torah Umesorah.

Last month, Danese added two pages titled “What Should I Do If I Get Lost?”
Brooklyn Jewish bookstores now sell the new edition.

Haredi kids croppedThe Kletzky family knows of the book, a relative said. “It’s a sad time we live in,” said Malky Bodenstein, a Kletzky cousin, thumbing through  books at Eichlers Bookstore in Borough Park. “I want to cry. It’s sad you have to tell your kids about these things.”

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

An Ode to America by Cornel Nistorescu

Those of you who read this blog regularly know that I never address politics, even remotely. But please allow me an exception in this case. September 11, 2001 was an extraordinary day on many levels. It was a symbol of madness afoot in the world. And it was a symbol of great heroism and triumph as well.

Below is an excerpt from a Romanian Newspaper, Evenimentulzilei . The article was written by Mr. Cornel Nistorescu and published under the title 'C'ntarea Americii, meaning 'Ode To America.'

I am posting it here for two reasons. The first one is obvious. The second, though, is this: This blog attracts so many people from Romania.  I wanted to share it for that reason as well, and say Thank You, Romania, for caring.

~An Ode to America ~

Why are Americans so united? They would not resemble one another even if you painted them all one color! They speak all the languages of the world and form an astonishing mixture of civilizations and religious beliefs.

On 9/ll, the American tragedy turned three hundred million people into a hand put on the heart. Nobody rushed to accuse the White House, the Army, or the Secret Service that they are only a bunch of losers. Nobody rushed to empty their bank accounts. Nobody rushed out onto the streets nearby to gape about.
stock photo : Romanian flag
Romanian Flag
      Instead the Americans volunteered to donate blood and to give a helping hand.  
After the first moments of panic, they raised their flag over the smoking ruins, putting on T-shirts, caps and ties in the colors of the national flag. They placed flags on buildings and cars as if in every place and on every car a government official or the president was passing. On every occasion, they started singing: 'God Bless America !'

    I watched the live broadcast and rerun after rerun for hours listening to the story of the guy who went down one hundred floors with a woman in a wheelchair without knowing who she was, or of the Californian hockey player, who gave his life fighting with the terrorists and prevented the plane from hitting a target that could have killed other hundreds or thousands of people.

How on earth were they able to respond united as one human being? Imperceptibly, with every
word and musical note, the memory of some turned into a modern myth of tragic heroes. And with every phone call, millions and millions of dollars were put into collection aimed at rewarding not a man or a family, but a spirit, which no money can buy.  

What on earth unites the Americans in such a way? Their land? Their history? Their economic Power? Money? I tried for hours to find an answer, humming songs and murmuring phrases with the risk of sounding commonplace, I thought things over, I reached but only one conclusion... Only freedom can work such miracles.

Cornel Nistorescu



Monday, September 12, 2011

"I'm the Boss of Me!" New Children's Book Dealing with Childhood Sexual Abuse

Here is a powerful and fearless new book that deals with the issue of sexual abuse of children.  It was written for adults and children, (particularly kids of four to eight).  The illustrations are beautiful, and the book is done in a tasteful manner.  This is a book about empowering kids as a means of preventing sexual abuse.

Author Laura Fogarty, herself a sexual abuse survivor embarked on this project in order to provide a go-to book for dealing with this difficult issue. The project is supported by such public figures as filmmaker, writer and activist Angela Shelton, licensed therapist Karen Fennell, author Bobbi Conner and Roscoe Orman, known to most as Gordon of Sesame Street.

“Laura Fogarty’s I’m the Boss of Me! … is a wonderfully empowering book which can equip the most vulnerable and precious members of our community with the information and the affirmation they need to protect and defend themselves against one of the most insidious and potentially damaging elements of our society, the predatory adult who targets the very young,” said Mr. Orman.

“The book is written in language that is just right for kids – doing the job of educating without frightening,” added Ms Conner, who also hosts the award-winning Parent’s Journal Podcast.

I’m the Boss of Me! is now available on for $17.99 in hardback.

Friday, September 9, 2011

Interview with Author, Kathy Stemke

I'm very happy to welcome my guest, Kathy Stemke to the blog today.  Kathy is an author with Guardian Angel Publishing.  She is the author of the new children's picture book, Sh, Sh, Sh, Let the Baby Sleep. 

(Please see Kathy's trailer at bottom of post)
Kathy StemkeNS  Tell us a bit about your background, Kathy.
KS   I’m originally from New York, but now hang my hat in the North Georgia Mountains with my husband, Tony and my dog, Lucy. I have two daughters, two grandchildren and one great grandchild. I have an unquenchable passion for writing, the arts and all things creative.
After earning a Bachelor degree from Southern Connecticut State University, I did some graduate work at New York Institute of Technology and Columbia University. A few years ago I earned a bachelor degree at Covenant Life Seminary in Christian Ministry. My background in Early Childhood Education, Communication Arts and Dance Education has given me a unique approach to teaching by incorporating movement in the process. I find that children learn faster, retain more and have fun when learning with their whole body.
As part of the team at DKV Writing 4 U. I’m an editor and ghostwriter. I’ve published over a hundred articles in directories, magazines and on websites. My first children’s picture book, Moving Through All Seven Days, was published on Lulu. Gryphon House Publishing has published several of my activities in their Learn Every Day Series.

Sh, Sh, Sh Let the Baby Sleep, was released in May 2011 and Trouble on Earth Day was released in September 2011. Visit my book blog at
My education blog offers great teaching tips and children’s book reviews as well as a free monthly newsletter titled, MOVEMENT AND RHYTHM.
NS  Would you tell the readers how you were drawn to writing for children?
KS  After retiring from teaching, I started an education tips blog. I got a great response from the parents and teachers. They wanted more. That led me to writing articles, a newsletter and picture books.

NS  Tell us about your new book, Sh, Sh, Sh, Let the Baby Sleep and how it came to be written.

Actually, I wrote the rhyming sections of the book first as a consonant blend activity for teachers. It was so well received that I decided to write a story incorporating the rhymes. Before I knew it, I had a superhero brother learning to love his new baby sister by protecting her from wind, trains, birds, and grizzly bears. Jack Foster’s fantastic illustrations demonstrate the humorous side of the story so well. Teachers love the songs, rhymes, worksheets and activities in the back of the book that reinforce consonant blends.
NS  How do you get the inspiration for new topics--something all authors want to know!
KS   I belong to several teacher groups that share activities and concerns with each other. I contribute ideas to them and listen carefully to their needs. I also have certain interests that beg me to write about them. For instance, I have a couple of dance books and a photography/poetry book in the wings.
NS  What are your plans for new books?
KS   I’m in the process of writing a YA historical fiction based on my mother’s life in England during WWII. It’s a great way to write my first novel and leave a family history for my relatives.
I have several pictures that I’m working on as well. The one closest to being ready is about a boy who collects toy soldiers and takes one that doesn’t belong to him. When he hides the soldier and lies to his mother, it gets bigger and bigger in his mind. The soldier is Mary Walker, who won the Medal of Honor in the Civil War! There are tons of learning opportunities in this book. Everything from don’t steal or you’ll have a big problem to interesting Civil War facts will inspire children to learn about history and life. Like all my books, I’ll have comprehension questions and activities in the back of the book.
NS  We are both fortunate to be part of the Guardian Angel Publishing Authors. How did you come to GAP?
KS   I met several authors who are published through GAP. They all had wonderful things to say about the company and its owner, Lynda Burch. Lynda seems to be ahead of the curve on e-books. I love the illustrators, authors and the quality of GAP’s books as well.
NS  I understand you just had another picture book released in September. Can you tell us about it?

KS  Trouble on Earth Day is an adorable picture book about a squirrel, who helps a homeless bluebird by recycling things around her house. And it has 24 additional pages of songs, poems, activities, crafts and worksheets. Teachers will have everything they need to do a unit on conservation and Earth Day in this book.
NS  Kathy, I am so happy you visited today!  You are such a talented person, and the bredth of your writing skills is amazing.  Thanks so much for the interview.
KS  Thank you for the opportunity to visit your blog, Nancy. I enjoyed it very much.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Jig Jab Apps--Multimedia Books for Kids

We all know things are changing at hurricane speed in the children's book world.  The brothers who brought us Jib-Jab are making it happen faster.  Their first ebook, The Biggest Pizza Ever, is free.

(Take a look at the video at bottom of post.)

Gregg and Evan Spiridellis do not read paper books to their kids, ages 1 to 6. Instead, they read to them from the iPad's many multimedia book apps filled with colorful graphics, video and audio.

The brothers, who run the JibJab e-card website, got so  excited about the apps, they decided to enter the market themselves. Their line of JibJab Jr. children's books launched last week in the Apple iTunes App Store. "We see a huge opportunity to disrupt children's publishing and reinvent storytelling with new devices," Gregg says.

Gregg believes the app market for kids' books has the potential to become even larger than e-cards. The website, which launched in 1995, has 20 million registered users.
A one-book-a-month subscription to the JibJab Jr. line will cost $3.99 a month and can be canceled at any time. Additional books cost $3.99 apiece. Buying books without a subscription costs $7.99 each.  

The Spiridellis brothers say that using their own children as their test market was great for research. Evan says reading to his kids helped him be a better creator in the studio. The biggest lesson he wanted to bring to the project: "Having the parent control the pacing. I hate turning the page and waiting for the fancy animation to start. If I turn the page, it's because I want to tell the story."

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

John Grisham Wins Harper Lee Prize for Legal Fiction (And Writes a Children's Book Series)

No, this is not a post about conservation.  It is a post about a new prize for one of the best books ever written.  And that book is, of course, To Kill a Mockingbird, by Harper Lee.

John Grisham, the best-selling author, is the inaugural winner for the Harper Lee Prize for Legal Fiction for his work in The Confession. The new literary award will be given annually to published fiction that "best exemplifies the positive role of lawyers in society and their power to effect change."

Grisham's 2010 novel, the story of the wrong man awaiting execution in the rape and murder of a high school cheerleader, is newly out in paperback and is No. 9 on USA TODAY's Best-Selling Books list.

The award, named after the author of To Kill a Mockingbird, who approved the award, marks the 50th anniversary of the classic book's publication and is co-sponsored by The University of Alabama School of Law (where Lee attended) and the ABA Journal, the American Bar Association's flagship magazine.

The Confession, selected by a committee including authors David Baldacci and Linda Fairstein, documents an attorney's efforts to save his innocent client from execution.

Grisham will be honored on Sept. 22 at a ceremony in Washington, D.C. His new novel, The Litigators (Doubleday), will be published on Oct. 25.

As a side note, but an important one for this blob, Grisham is now writing a new series for children, centered on a precocious amateur lawyer. The first in the series, which will be published in May 2012 by Penguin Young Readers Group, is called “Theodore Boone: Kid Lawyer” and features a 13-year-old character, the son of two attorneys in a small Southern town.


Saturday, September 3, 2011

Anniversary of Blog--10,000 Views

This blog has reached a milestone.  I began posting in November, 2010 and have now reached over ten thousand views!

Earth Photo Gallery / earth_full_hires copyWhen I began this journey, I must admit to knowing nothing about blogging, except the word.  And even that was new to my semi-techie vocabulary! 

Today, though, is a different matter.  Not only do I love having and working on my blog, the unanticipated bonus is making connections with people from all over this planet.

In honor of this event of sorts, I've decided to include a list of countries from which the majority of my visitors so far have come.  There are not, though, many countries that haven't had at least several guests pop in!  I hope you find it interesting and return again and again.

Most Visits by Country
United States       8080
Russia                     276
Germany                189
Ukraine                  185
United Kingdom   139
Iran                        100
Australia                 83
India                        82
France                     75
                 Romania                  57                 

A very big Thank You to everyone who is a part of this blog.  My promise is that I'll try to make it interesting, relevant and informative!


Thursday, September 1, 2011

September is Children's Book Month! Are Kids Reading More?

Many young children are getting a head start on acquiring the skills needed to read, as family members take time out of their day on a regular basis to read aloud with them, the U.S. Census Bureau has reported (August 11, 2011).  In 2009, half of children age 1 to 5 were read to seven or more times a week by a family member.

(Please take a look at the video at bottom of post.)

While reading interactions are more frequent among families above poverty, reading interactions among low-income families have increased over the last 10 years. In 2009, 56 percent of 1- and 2-year-olds above poverty were read to seven or more times a week, compared with 45 percent below the poverty level. However, while parental reading involvement for children above poverty was not different from rates in 1998, it rose from 37 percent for those below poverty.

In fear of being redundant, many studies have shown the more kids read, the better they read and the more pleasure they get out of reading. Unfortunately, the reverse also holds true: children who read very little usually have poor reading skills. Reading is a struggle for them, and they avoid it whenever possible.

Let's all try to make September more than a pleasant autumn (spring, of course, for our friends in the southern hemisphere), month.  Here's to reading involvement with our kids and grandkids!

The Reading is Fundamental Organization, (RIF), suggests tips for encouraging a child to read:

1. Scout for things your children might like to read. Use their interests and hobbies as starting points.

2. Leave all sorts of reading materials including books, magazines, and colorful catalogs in conspicuous places around your home.

3. Notice what attracts your children's attention, even if they only look at the pictures. Then build on that interest; read a short selection aloud, or simply bring home more information on the same subject.

4. Let your children see you reading for pleasure in your spare time.

5. Take your children to the library regularly. Explore the children's section together. Ask a librarian to suggest books and magazines your children might enjoy.

6. Present reading as an activity with a purposea way to gather useful information for, say, making paper airplanes, identifying a doll or stamp in your child's collection, or planning a family trip.

7. Encourage older children to read to their younger brothers and sisters. Older children enjoy showing their skills to an admiring audience.

8. Play games that are reading-related. Check your closet for spelling games played with letter tiles or dice, or board games that require players to read spaces, cards, and directions.

9. Perhaps over dinner, while you're running errands, or in another informal setting, share your reactions to things you read, and encourage your children to do likewise.

video platformvideo managementvideo solutionsvideo player