Show Me How!

Show Me How!.

Summer is only a few weeks away.  Kids will be home ALL DAY!  Are you ready?

Nancy at Spirit Lights The Way has done a stellar review of Show Me How! Build Your Child’s Self-Esteem Through Reading, Crafting and Cooking!

I hope you will go over and read it…and check out her fantastic blog…her daily posts NEVER disappoint!

Help Kids Who Are Anxious About Moving and Keep Learning Alive During the Summer

 Today is Perfect Picture Book Friday where I link up with Susannah Leonard Hill’s fantastic group of picture book writers, illustrators, librarians and others who contribute a picture book review and related resources for parents, teachers and children. 

As usual, I have two or three items I need to mention first:

1.      The copies of Show Me How! Build Your Child’s Self-Esteem Through Reading, Crafting and Cooking that are being donated to libraries across the country were mailed out earlier this week.  Four went to Florida, three to California, two to Maine and Illinois and one each to New York, New Jersey, South Carolina, Iowa, Colorado, Pennsylvania and Virginia.  At least ten of the people who nominated their libraries were sent an additional review copy of Show Me How! .   Many thanks to all of you…I really appreciate your willingness to read through the book and review it!!!I’ll let you know when the reviews will be up on their blogs.

2.      The teacher-training program I did last Friday for the staff of our local Boys and Girls Club at their annual Youth Development Conference (Building Self-Esteem…One Picture Book at a Time), went really well.  One of the staffers shared his experience of falling away from reading at about age eight or nine and not returning to it for pleasure until his twenties.  He asked what advice I would give to teachers and parents who are trying to address this issue with kids, especially boys.  I suggested a couple of things:

  • Be seen reading by your kids
  • Encourage and help kids to find books that address their interests or passions
  • Try the “Passport Project”.  This is a great summer activity.  Make a “passport” from construction paper and talk about local “hotspots” you can all visit.  Each page of the passport book will be devoted to one of those places…zoo, museum, art gallery, national park, landmark or forest, factory (take a tour), etc.  After the visit, kids can write a short story and draw an illustration (or paste in a photo).  Parent or teacher can stamp each page (like a visa stamp) and when the book is completed, a special treat or prize is awarded (bowling, dinner at a fancy restaurant, new clothes).

If you have some good suggestions, please do share.  The summer is almost upon us and I know it is difficult to keep kids in a learning mode…but it is important to continue some of the educational activities and routines…otherwise they take two steps back during the summer.

And now to our Perfect Picture Book Friday selection!

Friendships are very important to kids.  Studies done recently indicate that kindergarten children (especially boys) benefit from close positive relationships with other children their own age.   Parents can help by arranging supervised playdates and by attending library story-times and other community programs where young children have the opportunity to socially interact.

Moving disrupts those important friendships and most children are not enthusiastic about moving to a new neighborhood and attending a new school.  However, moving is a necessary part of many children’s lives. 

Here is a book that might help.


 Alexander, Who’s Not (Do you hear me? I mean it!) Going to Move

Written by Judith Viorst and Ray Cruz

Illustrated by Robin Preiss Glasser

Publisher: Atheneum Books for Young Readers (1998)

Ages: 4 – 8


Books for boys, common childhood experiences (moving), expressing emotions (anger, fear, anxiety), moving, pets.


“They can’t make me pack my baseball mitt or my I LOVE DINOSAURS sweatshirt or my cowboy boots.  They can’t make me pack my ice skates, my jeans with eight zippers, my compass, my radio or my stuffed pig.  My dad is packing.  My mom is packing.  My brothers, Nick and Andrew, are packing.  I’m not packing. I’m not going to move!


From Amazon:

Alexander is not going to leave his best friend Paul. Or Rachel, the best babysitter in the world. Or the Baldwins, who have a terrific dog named Swoozie. Or Mr. and Mrs. Oberdorfer, who always give great treats on Halloween. Who cares if his father has a new job a thousand miles away? Alexander is not — Do you hear him? He Means it! — going to move.

Why do I like this book

We are all creatures of habit…and most of us don’t like changes or the unknown.  Alexander is no different and he expresses what many children will relate to.  I love that Alexander feels confident enough to let his family know what is bothering him.  I love that Alexander’s vivid imagination finds so many inventive alternatives to his moving.  I love that Alexander’s father comes up with a wonderful solution…buy a puppy who will accompany Alexander and his family on the move so that Alexander will have a ready-made friend to start his life in a new place.

Related Activities:

Any child will enjoy making this neighborhood map, but it can be especially helpful for kids who have just moved.  Making this map will enable your child to feel more comfortable in this new and strange place…invite one or two of his or her new classmates to help (with special snacks after a job well-done) and you will be helping your child to develop new friendships.



Children’s pretend play often reflects the real world. While they make a map of your neighborhood or their route to school, encourage language, math, and memory skills by asking thinking questions.

1. Use at least one piece of posterboard. If you use two or more, lay the pieces side-by-side, making sure the sides touch each other. Tape the pieces together with short strips of wide masking tape. Then cover the seam with a long strip of tape from top to bottom. You may want to tape the seam on both sides for a more durable map.

2. Cover a large work surface, such as the floor, with newspaper. Put the poster board onto the newspaper.

3. Now think about, plan ahead, and draw your neighborhood. Ask an adult for permission to take walks in the area to help remember details. Use Crayola® Crayons to add bright colors and cover large coloring areas. Crayola Erasable Colored Pencils work well to outline roads and buildings, label signs, and do detail work.

Find more map-making crafts here at eHow

And lots more map-making crafts here at artistshelpingkids.

This post is part of a series for parents and teachers called Perfect Picture Book Fridays hosted by Susannah Leonard Hill.  Click on her link and find lots of other picture book suggestions with summaries and activities.

Picture Book Contest: No Birthday for My Brother

I don’t usually post on Saturday…except when there is something special…which there is today!!

Susanna Leonard Hill is holding one of her FAMOUS picture book contests…the topic this time is a unique or unusual birthday celebration.  Please click on her link and visit…I know there will be lots of great entries!


Birthdays mean CAKE!


Birthdays mean opening presents!


Birthdays mean fun and games and balloons and friends!

In No Brother for My Birthday, a young girl doesn’t want her little brother to be at her birthday party because he is noisy and always in the way.  She finds a very ingenious way to dispose of him…but, almost as soon as he is gone, she begins to miss him.  Read on to find out what happens.  I hope you enjoy it!


No Brother for My Birthday

I’ve a brother, he’s a bother…told my mother and my father.

To my birthday he’s not coming.  He’s too noisy, keeps on drumming.

He can travel to Aunt Lizzy and to Uncle Elmo Frizzy.

So on Monday I got busy…worked so hard my head got dizzy.

Packed my brother in a big box…gave him cookies and his pet rocks.

Closed the edges, taped them tightly…glued the label, not so lightly.

Tuesday came and I felt sickly…to the mailbox I walked quickly.

Slid the package down the drop slot…goodbye noisy drumming marplot.

All day Wednesday, peace and quiet…no more noisy drumming riot.

Thursday dawns and I’ve decided…solitaire is too one-sided.

Friday night I’m sad and gloomy.  This big house is just too roomy.

One more day until my birthday…Saturday is NOT a mirth day.

Sunday noontime, guests arriving.  House is hopping, party’s thriving.

Friends are happy, eating, drinking.  I am sad, I can’t stop thinking.

Then I hear the doorbell ringing…mailman stands there, what’s he bringing?

There’s a big box, taped up tightly…with a label, glued not lightly.

Stamped in red I find a clue…return to sender, postage due!

Hear a rhythm, sounds like thrumming.  Could it be my brother drumming?

Rip the tape off, lift the corner…up pops brother like Jack Horner!

He’s the best gift of the lot, my noisy brother – drumming marplot.



 I had a lot of fun writing this story…although my husband is now questioning my morals because I’ve created a little girl who packs her brother in a box and mails him away.  Seriously though, I think kids will get a kick out of it…and will identify with the frustrations of the older sister who has to “put up with” her noisy drumming marplot of a brother, but then misses him so much she cannot enjoy her birthday party.  Oh yes, and I had to get out the dictionary to prove that “marplot” was a real word!

 I can’t wait to see all of the entries in this contest!

Perfect Picture Book Friday: Goodbye Mousie


Today is Perfect Picture Book Friday where I link up with Susanna Leonard Hill’s fantastic group of picture book writers, illustrators, librarians and others who contribute a picture book review and related resources for parents, teachers and children. 

I just wanted to mention three important items:

1.      Do you let your kids watch TV?  Do you wonder how it affects them?  Check out a recent article: The Mom and Dad TV Debate at…I contributed to the article:

2.      Are you concerned about the lack of physical activity in our kindergartens today?  Has the “block corner” all but disappeared in your child’s kindergarten…replaced by the “computer corner”?  Check out BLOCK PLAY on…I contributed to that article as well:

3.      Congratulations again to the 20 libraries that will receive a copy of Show Me How!  With my son visiting for Mother’s Day weekend (yes, we had an AWESOME time…I’ll try to post some pics next week) and with preparing for a teacher-training program I am doing today for the staff of our local Boys and Girls Club at their annual Youth Development Conference (Building Self-Esteem…One Picture Book at a Time), I have not been able to pack the books and send them out yet.  My apologies…and I will endeavor to do so this weekend,

And now to our Perfect Picture Book Friday selection!

It is not easy to deal with death and loss.  Often, the first death a child experiences is the loss of a beloved pet.  Parents may be are unsure how to handle this type of situation and feel uncomfortable even talking about the subject. 

Here is a book that might help.


 Goodbye Mousie

Written by Robie Harris

Illustrated by Jan Ormerod

Publisher: Margaret K. McElderry (2001)

Ages: 3 and up


Grief/loss, family togetherness, pets


“When I woke up this morning, I tickled Mousie’s tummy.  But Mousie didn’t wake up.”


Mousie is the little boy’s beloved pet.  When Mousie gets sick and dies, the little boy goes through the various stages of grief.  First he denies it…”Mousie is NOT dead!  He’s just very, very sleepy this morning.”  Eventually, with the help of his parents, the little boy accepts the death of his pet and comes to understand that it is ok to feel angry and sad.

Why do I like this book

I love this book because it takes a difficult subject and deals with it in a sensitive loving manner.  Young children need to understand that death is a normal part of life.  They also need to be allowed to grieve and be angry or sad when someone they love dies.  Often, parents try to shield children from the truth about such matters…or, when a pet dies, they brush it off as if it was unimportant…but this book gives parents a gentle and loving example of how it can be done with respect and sensitivity.

Related Activities:

Here are a few internet resources that might be of help to parents and teachers:

Death and Dying: Valdolsta State University

Talking to Children About Death: Hospice

Helping Your Child Deal with Death: KidsHealth

Children’s Books About Death

In the story, the little boy paints a shoebox that he will use to bury his beloved pet.

Children do love to paint…and fingerpainting so much fun.  The sensation of the cool thick paint sliding under their fingers can be very calming for many children.  And painting is a wonderful vehicle for expressing emotions.


You will need: Fingerpaint (can be bought at hobby shops and toy and department stores OR you can make an EDIBLE fingerpaint by stirring up some vanilla pudding – white/yellow – chocolate pudding – brown – strawberry pudding – pink.  The edible fingerpaint is fun for kids of all ages), fingerpaint paper (you can use a roll of inexpensive shelf paper instead), COVERUPS for children and work surfaces.

This post is part of a series for parents and teachers called Perfect Picture Book Fridays hosted by Susanna Leonard Hill.  Click on her link and find lots of other picture book suggestions with summaries and activities.

PPBF: Mother’s Day Edition and Tribute to Maurice Sendak: David Gets in Trouble

Today is Perfect Picture Book Friday where I link up with Susannah Leonard Hill’s fantastic group of picture book writers, illustrators, librarians and others who contribute a picture book review and related resources for parents, teachers and children.

Picture books have a special place in the hearts of many people…and there are a few authors whose names are instantly recognizable around the world.  Maurice Sendak was one of those…an author/illustrator extraodinaire…anyone reading his books (Where the Wild Things Are, In the Night Kitchen, Outside Over There and many others) would be instantly aware that this man remembered what it feels like to be a child.  For more information about this gifted groundbreaking artist and writer:

My book choice today has a flavor reminiscent of the work of Mr. Sendak…it celebrates mothers (yes, Mother’s Day is only a few days away)…and shows what they have to deal with on a daily basis…the good, the bad and the ugly.

David Gets in Trouble
Written and illustrated by David Shannon
Publisher: Little Brown and Company (2000)
Ages: 4-8
Themes: Family, unconditional love, misbehavior/consequences, boys
Opening lines: ”When David gets in trouble, he always says, “No! It’s not my fault!”

From an Amazon reviewer: “No and David were the first words David Shannon learned how to spell. Shannon’s Caldecott Honor Book No, David! is based on a book he made as a child showing a kid doing all the things he isn’t supposed to do. In the sequel David Goes to School, it turns out that teachers say no, too.
In this third picture book, it’s David’s turn to talk back. What does he say when he gets in trouble? “I didn’t mean to.” (Skateboarding into a lamp table.) “It was an accident!” (Hitting a baseball into a window.) “I forgot!” (Happily walking down the street… in his underpants.) “But Dad says it!” (Boy in corner with mouth full of soap.) Of course, the cat-tail-pulling, burping, grape-juice-dropping, runny-egg-hating, out-of-control David wins us over in the end. A defiant “No, it wasn’t me!” evolves into a guilt-ridden, late-at-night shout, “Yes! It was me! I’m sorry. I love you, Mom.”

Why I like this book:
Caldecott honor award winner David Shannon knows how kids feel…and children love hearing about the adventures…or misadventures…of little David. This is a wonderful book for moms as well…it is heartening to know that our own kids aren’t the only ones who test a parent’s patience! The message at the end of the book is a perfect Mother’s Day gift for every mom…”I’m sorry. I love you, Mom.”
Related Activities:
David’s mother used soap to wash out his mouth when he used inappropriate language, but you can utilize a bar of soap with your children in a much more enjoyable way.

Soap Boat
Make this super boat and customize with your child’s name. They will be begging you to take a bath!
3 and up
What you need
• Foam Paper
• Soap
• White craft glue
• Popsicle stick
• Letter Stickers

What you do
1. Un-wrap a single bar of soap.
2. Cut two triangle shapes out of the foam paper (one slightly bigger than the other)
3. Glue the triangle pieces to craft stick ( one in front the other in back)
4. Decorate the sail; we used a small star out of the foam paper in coordinating color.
5. Insert Popsicle stick into soap.
6. Name your boat with letter stickers.
7. Set sail.
The above instructions and picture came from the website of The Crafty Noodle.
For more soap bar projects, visit Artists Helping Children:
Video interview with David Shannon:


This post is part of a series for parents and teachers called Perfect Picture Book Fridays hosted by Susannah Leonard Hill.

Sunday Post: Vehicle

Jake at Time after Time has a Sunday Post Challenge and every week he provides a theme…this week’s theme is VEHICLE.

I always try to tie in the theme with something related to parenting.

The dictionary first defines ‘vehicle’ as a means of transportation.

 But the dictionary has another definition for the word…a vehicle can also be a medium for communicating, expressing or accomplishing something.

  Art is certainly a vehicle through which we communicate and express our thoughts and emotions.


Books are another vehicle through which we learn information and discover things about ourselves and the world around us.

If you have young children, are you reading with them every day?  Studies reveal that children who are introduced to books at an early age are more successful in school.  Please join us in the Positive Parental Participation Reading Challenge and let us know what books you are reading with your children.

In my Friday post, I listed the 20 libraries that will be receiving a copy of Show Me How!  If you didn’t see that article, please click on this link.  I’ve asked the people who nominated their library to email me at so I can mail them a copy to present to their library.

Please don’t forget about Jackson’s Birthday-Earth Day Water Wishes page…your children are invited to draw a picture for the project…and your donation of $6 will move them closer to their goal of providing clean water for an entire community.  This is a wonderful opportunity to help children become involved in the world around them.  We are never too young (or too old) to learn the importance of sharing with others and reaching out to the community.


Want more information about Jake’s Sunday Post? 

And here are some other bloggers who are doing Jake’s Sunday Post:

Winners and a contest and Bravo Maurice…oh my!

The week has just FLOWN by!  Today is Perfect Picture Book Friday where I link up with Susannah Leonard Hill’s fantastic group of picture book writers, illustrators, librarians and others who contribute a picture book review and related resources for parents, teachers and children. 

Before we get to the picture book review, I need to let you know about:



Last month I offered to donate 25 copies of Show Me How! Build Your Child’s Self-Esteem Through Reading, Crafting and Cooking to libraries across the country and around the worldI am disappointed that there weren’t more entries, but I’m thrilled to be sending books to the twenty libraries listed below.  Please email me at and let me know if you would like to present the book to your library or if you’d like me to mail it to the library directly.  Also, several of those who nominated libraries said they’d like to do a review of Show Me How on their blog/website/newsletter.  Let me know if you still would like to do that…I’ll need your address in that case so I can send you a copy for yourself.  And, for those who do a review, if you don’t have a need for the book after you have reviewed it, I would really appreciate it if you would donate that copy to a family shelter or other deserving organization.  I’ll try to email everyone individually…and please forgive me if I spelled the library name incorrectly or didn’t have the city…and some of you did not give the actual library name.


  1. San Carlos Branch of the San Diego City Library, California (Michelle R.)
  2. Upper Perkiomen Valley Library, Pennsylvania (Erik N.)
  3. Bonney Memorial Library, Cornish, Maine (Heather N.)
  4. Lancaster Public Library, Los Angeles, California (Kirsten L.)
  5. Verona, New Jersey (Tracy B.)
  6. Maria Island Library, Deal Island, Florida (Nancy H.)
  7. Literacy Volunteers at the LeRoy Collins Leon County Public Library, Florida (Martha R.)
  8. Troy Public Library, Troy, New York (Gail T.)
  9. Gulf Gate Library, Sarasota, Florida Diana D.)
  10. Kalona Public Library, Kalona, IA (Hawkdad73)
  11. Rust Library (Clarike)
  12. Chester Library, Chesterfield Country, Virginia (Marcy K.)
  13. Old Colorado City Library, Colorado Springs, CO (Marylin W.)
  14. Wheaton Public Library, IL (Barb V.)
  15. Lee County Library, Cape Coral, Florida (Krista R.)
  16. ABBE Library, Aiken, South Carolina (Heidi A.)
  17. Scarborough Public Library, Maine (Kimberley)
  18. Maple Library, Canada (From the Pews)
  19. Barrington Area Library, IL (Sheila G.)
  20. Santee Library of the San Diego County Library System, California (Milka)

It’s also time to announce the winner of the April Positive Parental Participation Reading Challenge:

Congratulations, Milka at Perfecting MotherhoodA brand-new picture book will be on its way to you in the next few days!


I don’t know if any of you remember the Valentine Poetry Contest over at Marylin’s Things I Want To Tell My Mother.  Well, Marylin is having another contest for Mother’s Day.  Write an original Mother’s Day card to any mother you know.  I’ve entered with a verse I wrote for my daughter who is the mother of three-year old Jeremy…you can check out the post and enter the contest here.  Maybe some of you will be inspired to add an entry.

Are you ready for your picture book?


Bravo, Maurice!

Written and illustrated by Rebecca Bond

Publisher: Little Brown and Company (2000)

Ages: 4-8

Themes: Family, valuing one’s own unique qualities and strengths, careers, self-esteem


When Maurice is born, his family members are convinced that he will grow up to be like each of them.  His father, who is a baker, is sure that Maurice has the big hands needed to knead bread.  His grandmother believes that Maurice has a nose just like hers and is sure he will become a wonderful gardener.  As Maurice grows up, the members of his family make sure he has opportunities to try doing the things they love to do.  Will Maurice follow in the footsteps of someone in his family, or will Maurice discover a voice of his own?

Why I like this book:

What a beautiful story of a loving extended family!  Even though Maurice’s family members wanted him to love what they loved doing, they were thrilled and excited when they discovered Maurice’s special gift.  Young children should be encouraged to have all types of experiences.  The story shows kids that we each have special talents and strengths and that everyone is unique and wonderful!  This is a message parents MUST teach their children!

Related Activities:

It’s springtime!  Take a walk outside with your little ones and observe the budding trees and bushes and the tulips and daffodils blooming everywhere!  Maurice’s grandmother was an exceptional gardener and she encouraged Maurice to learn about planting. 

Gardening is a multi-generational activity and kids LOVE it.  Why not make a planter and help your children plant some herbs that can be grown indoors or outside and then harvested during the summer and used in your meals.



1.      Cut a clean milk container.

2.      Use self-stick shelf paper to cover the outside.

3.      Poke several holes in the bottom of the container.

4.      Fill ¾ high with gardening soil.

5.      Buy herb seedlings at the store or use seeds (parsley, basil, oregano, etc.) and plant in the soil.

6.      Set planter on a waterproof tray or plate.

7.      Water, set in a sunny spot and watch it grow!

Nice crafts using milk cartons here at DTLK.

Other crafts with milk cartons can be found here at eHow

And even more at Artists Helping Kids here. (The picture above comes from that website)

Kids LOVE to help in the kitchen and cooking and baking are two of the best activities you can do with them…builds self-esteem, develops better literacy skills and strengthens the parent-child connection!

Maurice helped his father bake bread.  Here’s a wonderful herb bread recipe from my book that you and your kids will enjoy.



You will need: 3 cups flour, 1 tsp salt, 4 ½ tsp baking powder, 3 TB sugar, 1 Tb herb blend (oregano, basil, parsley, rosemary…your choice), 12 oz milk, a large bowl, and a 9×5 inch loaf pan greased.

  1. In a large bowl, mix the flour, salt, baking powder, sugar and herb blend.
  2. Stir in the milk.
  3. Turn the batter into the loaf pan and bake for 60 minutes at 325 degrees.
  4. Turn out and cool on rack…delicious toasted or plain.

This post is part of a series for parents and teachers called Perfect Picture Book Fridays hosted by Susannah Leonard Hill.  Click on her link and find lots of other picture book suggestions with summaries and activities.

I also wanted to add a link to an article of interest to every parent and teacher:

The public schools in our country have been slowly shrinking the block corner in the kindergarten…in some classrooms, it is non-existent.  Block play and play centers have given way to ditto sheets and computer centers…in the false belief that the earlier we try to teach children to read and write, the more successful they will be in school.  But of course, this was never true.  The article relates that the Journal of Pediatrics has just revealed a study that shows we need to CUT DOWN on ditto sheets and screen time (TV, computers, leapster, etc.) and BULK UP on block play and the old-fashioned puzzles, pretend play, etc.  I wish I could be happy to have my long-time argument in favor of PLAYTIME  as a social and academic learning tool validated…but I”m not!  I’m only sad, because I’m afraid the situation in the schools is not changing anytime soon.  It will be up to each parent to insure that their young children are getting enough playtime…if you need to get a gift for your child…buy a good set of quality wooden blocks!!!!!!