Halloweensie Contest: The Witches of Fairy Top Hill

Hurray!  It’s time for Susanna Leonard Hill’s Halloweensie Contest.

If you love to write, there is still time to enter…click on the link above…a children’s story, poetry or prose, 100 words or less, including the following three words: bat, trick-or-treat and witch.  Blog about your story and then link it to Susanna’s Wednesday post.

I love creative writing prompts…give me a title or a subject, explain the rules and away I go!  One never knows what little rhyme or story will turn into a great picture book.

Children love to dress up…pretend play and role-playing is a great way for children to express their feelings.  One day they want to be astronauts, another time doctors or princes and princesses.  They don’t need a holiday like Halloween to want to play pretend…but on Halloween, we often see lots children dressed as witches.

I began to think about what costumes witches would put on if they went trick-or-treating to get candy when their spells to produce candy failed.

And did you know that in England, Scotland and Ireland, trick-or-treating is known as ‘guising’?

The Witches of Fairy Top Hill

On Halloween eve up on Fairy Top Hill,

A trio of witches, Pam, Tamsin and Lil,

Were practicing magic and chanting out loud,

“Bat-candy, bat-candy…rain down from that cloud!”

“Kaput! and Kabob!” Pam invoked with a shout

The sky quickly filled with a hover of trout.

“Kibosh! and Pish-posh!” Tamsin yelled with finesse.

A chorus of frogs joined the fish-slippy mess.

Then bold Lil spoke up, “This is Trick-or-Treat night,

And children get candy and Turkish delight.”

Costumed as young children…with treat bags to fill,

The trio went guising, Pam, Tamsin and Lil.

Hope you all enjoyed my little Halloween story…and don’t miss reading all of the other wonderful submissions.  Just go to www.SusannaLeonardHill.blogspot.com

Pi Bo Id Mo: Throw me a deadline & I will write a story

Pi Bo Id Mo: Throw me a deadline & I will write a story.

Hurray!  Children’s author Emily Lim, the awesome lady who invited me to speak at the 2013 Asian Festival of Children’s Content in Singapore, is joining PiBoIdMo!

PiBoIdMo is the perfect launching pad for picture book writers…not only will you create a notebook of 30 ideas that might someday become award-winners…you will also be exposed to over 500 (YES, 500) energized writers and illustrators who will be sharing tips and helpful information in posts (on Tara Lazar’s blog and in their own) and in the comments (I know, scrolling through hundreds of comments on each post takes time…but it is time well-spent…there are always excellent nuggets of knowledge lurking there). 

The Bible says something about if two or three are gathered  There IS power in community…and here we have over 500 gathering…don’t you feel the energy?

Haven’t signed up yet?  What are you waiting for? 

http://taralazar.com/2012/10/23/piboidmo-2012-registration-begins-now-sign-up-here/

Holiday Parenting Tip: “It’s OK NOT to Share”

parenting, sharing, preschoolers

I have been blogging about two years now.  I started because I wanted to share my passion for using picture books to help young children build self-esteem.   I also wanted to spread the word about my book, Show Me How! Build Your Child’s Self-Esteem Through Reading, Crafting and Cooking”, and make it available to parents, grandparents, teachers, librarians and others who work with kids.

It’s been an exciting journey…and a satisfying one.  I’ve connected with the most fantastic people all over the world.  I’ll even be meeting one of them in person next May in Singapore when I participate at the 2013 Asian Festival of Children’s Content.  I’ve also exchanged books with many authors and have enjoyed reading and reviewing their works.

Today I am thrilled to be spotlighting “It’s OK NOT to Share…and Other Renegade Rules for Raising Competent and Compassionate Kids”, written by Heather Shumaker.

Heather is a journalist…so she knows how to write.  Heather researched dozens of child psychologists, educators and other experts and she is a mom herself…so she knows what she is talking about. 

This book provides a no-nonsense commonsense approach to parents…a definite breath of fresh air.  As you read this book, you will begin to feel the stress of parenting melt away…and the joy returning!

In Section I, she talks about “Reviving Free Play”…do you know that many preschools and kindergartens are curtailing play time so there is more opportunity for sitting the kids down with dittos and computers to learn to read and write?  But taking away free play has the opposite effect and the long-term results show that young children would benefit more from playing with blocks.

The other day, I did a post on the top ten toys for young kids.  Heather encourages parents and teachers to ‘Welcome Free Play’ with this list:

1.     Make literacy joyful: read with them, sing with them, do finger-plays, let kids fall in love with words now…and reading will follow after.

2.     Go outside: walk in the woods or the neighborhood, play with balls, sand and water.

3.     Choose open-ended toys that promote imagination: blocks, play-dough, non-branded stuffed animals and dolls, cardboard boxes, dress-up clothes, bells. (Our lists for this are almost identical!)

4.     Offer space: kids need room to play…move or remove furniture if necessary.

5.     Cut structured activities: kick a ball around with your child, make up your own games…when I visited my grandson, we took a big ball and walked over to the tennis court (which has a high fence all around it and a gate that locks…no worries about balls rolling into traffic) and played kick the ball and run after it for an hour.  When we needed to take a break from running, we walked around the inner perimeter of the court and observed bugs, leaves and puddles…taking time to jump in some of those, just for fun!

6.     Look for a play-based preschool: look for schools where at least ¾ of the time is devoted to free play and play-time in at least one to two hour blocks of time.

7.     Slow down: both you and your child will be happier and less stressed.

free play, outdoor activities for kids

In Section II, Heather explains that “It’s OK Not to Share.”  If you have younger siblings, I’m sure you will remember having to give up a toy to a brother or sister because they clamored for it and your mom told you, “Give it to your sister…she’s just a baby.”  Does that encourage love between siblings?  NO!  Does it help the younger one learn to respect others? NO!  Does it teach patience? NO!

In Section V, the author spotlights “Creativity, Persistence and Empty Praise”.  At workshops and school programs, one of the things I share with parents is that they can encourage their children by allowing them to create art as they see it, not as the parent thinks it should look.  As Heather says, “Art doesn’t have to be pretty.”   According to Heather, “Showering kids with praise is NOT the same as building healthy self-confidence.”  Acknowledging what the child has done, instead of saying things like “Good job or very pretty or that’s nice”, is much better for their inner self-worth.  With so much focus on bullying and how we need to stop it in schools and playgrounds, we must pay attention to this advice…helping children develop a positive self-image and true self-esteem is crucial!

Each of the eight sections of the book is CHOCKFUL of real-life scenarios involving kids and adults.  Perhaps you’ll see yourself in some of the examples…I know I did.  However, the author does not make us feel badly…she provides simple tips, techniques and examples that will help us engage in meaningful interaction with our children, creating balance and harmony for the entire family.

You can find copies of this book for sale on Amazon (what an amazing holiday gift for any parent or teacher), or go to the author’s website where you can find many other purchasing options and learn how to connect with her.  The book was a joy to read and I will be passing my copy along to my daughter who has a four-year old son…I know she will love it.

Don’t forget that Wednesday is the Halloweensie Contest on Susanna Leonard Hill’s blog…I’ll be posting my Halloween Picture Book story…in 100 words or less…I’ll include the link to the page where you will be able to read all of the other entries.  There are so many amazingly talented writers and illustrators out there…it will be great fun!

PPBF: Cat Tale….A Lesson in Group Dynamics and Word Power

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.

I do have four (!!!!) things to share with you before we reveal the Perfect Picture Book Friday pick.

  1. Show Me How! has been endorsed by the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation (JDRF).  Studies show that kids with special needs often struggle with self-esteem issues and JDRF feels the book is especially helpful to families who are dealing with juvenile diabetes or children with other special needs.  The book will appear on their newly launched book review page from now until April: http://www.jdrf.org/index.cfm?page_id=101074   I’m donating 20% to JDRF for any books people buy when they click through to my website from the JDRF page.
  2. If you haven’t already signed up for Tara Lazar’s PiBoIdMo 2012, hurry over and DO IT!  I’m planning on using the wonderful journal Susanna sent me for participating in Summer Short and Sweets…it will be PERFECT for those 30 picture book ideas that are already swirling around in my head!
  3. Monday, October 29, at 7pm EST, the wife of Governor O’Malley of Maryland will be talking about bullying on a Google+ HOA (Hangout on Air).  I may be joining the discussion.  I will definitely know by Sunday…so if it works out, I will include that information in my Sunday post.
  4. Susanna Leonard Hill has a wonderful Halloweensie writing contest going on right now…you still have plenty of time to participate…entries are due by Wednesday, October 31.

And now…because you have been so patient…perhaps I should offer goodies like Susanna does…here is the last PPBF for October.

Our Perfect Picture Book Friday choice is Cat Tale…in honor of  National Bullying Prevention Month.

Written and illustrated by Michael Hall

Publisher: Greenwillow Books (2012)

Ages: 4 and up

Themes:

Communication (using words), friendship, group dynamics

First lines:

“From word to word, they find their way, Lillian, Tilly and William J.

They pack some books and kitty chews, they choose a spot, they spot some ewes.”

Synopsis:

Using words, the three intrepid cats go from adventure to adventure…always sticking together.

Why do I like this book:

BOLD ILLUSTRATIONS WITH THE COLORS BURSTING FROM THE PAGES.

THE SMOOTH SING-SONG RHYME…THE PLAY ON WORDS AND PLAY WITH WORDS.

Experts recommend that kids use group dynamics and words to combat bullies (in addition to telling an adult right away).  Michael Hall’s three cats show us how using words and sticking together can get one past many obstacles.

RELATED ACTIVITIES:

Kids love to do arts and crafts!  Michael Hall used cut paper for his illustrations.  Using cut paper, kids can do amazing projects.

Here’s a cut paper “quilt” that would make a wonderful wall or door decoration for Halloween.  All you need is a large piece of poster board and several sheets of appropriately colored construction paper.  Trace various ‘Halloween” themed characters, cut them out and paste onto the poster board.  You can make the project more simple by using a single piece of construction paper and doing just one character.

Here’s a project that will be easy for the youngest child.  You will need several sheets of contruction paper in “Halloween” colors, paste and scissors.  Trace the child’s handprint several times on each sheet and cut out.  Paste them together to form a wreath shape and hang up on door or wall.  To make the wreath more sturdy, use a piece of poster board or cardboard as backing.

Both of these crafts are from: http://www.dltk-holidays.com/halloween/halloween_crafts_other.htm

More wonderful paper crafts here: http://www.marthastewart.com/274940/kids-paper-crafts/@center/276975/marthas-crafts-kids

And more amazing paper crafts here: http://www.origami-resource-center.com/kirigami-for-kids.html

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.   This is an unbelievable resource for any parent, teacher or children’s librarian.

Sunday Post: Cities…A Good Place to Raise Children?

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

 

Do you live in a big city like Chicago?

Or are you raising your family in a smaller town?

Wherever children grow up, they enjoy doing things with their parents.

If you want to be in your children’s memories tomorrow, you need to be in their lives today.”

How can we do this?


Read with them.  This is Carter with the interactive Cheerios Halloween book that was part of the Halloween Prize Package I sent to his family.

Introduce them to nature and let them get dirty!  This is my grandson, Jeremy, having a ball with mud!

Share your interests with them!  This is my granddaughter, learning to fish.

Be joyous with them!  Laugh with them!  Love them!

 

Want more information about Jake’s Sunday Post?

http://jakesprinters.wordpress.com/

PPBF: Fancy Nancy and the Mean Girl…Dealing with Bullies

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.

Before we get to our picture book review and craft activity, I want to share some things with you.

  • I offered to send a Halloween Prize Package to one of the people who visited and ‘liked’ the new FB page for Show Me How!  Fifty names were entered in the Random.org drawing…and today I mailed out the Halloween cupcake set and a Halloween board book to Annie in Thornton, CO.  She has two little boys so I know she will enjoy the prize with them.  Thanks to everyone who participated!
  • It’s always a joy to get book orders from libraries because it means that hundreds of people will be able to use the book…I just received an order for two copies from the United Library Service in CALGARY, ALBERTA…yes, that’s right…CANADA!
  • We’ve decided to extend the FREE SHIPPING for anyone who orders my book throughout the holiday season!
  • Thursday morning I had two school presentations at Steele Elementary in Colorado Springs.  We read “Yes We Can” by Sam McBratney…a great picture book that addresses teasing and bullying.  The kids loved the story…even more, they loved talking about what they like to do with their friends (play, share, be kind, say I’m sorry if you hurt their feelings)…and what friends shouldn’t do to each other (don’t hit, don’t kick, don’t tease, don’t laugh at, don’t be mean).

After the story, each child made their own book of friendship.

Our challenge, as educators and as parents, is to find a way to keep alive the enthusiasm for learning that young children embrace naturally.

Our Perfect Picture Book Friday choice is a story that addresses bullying and teasing…in honor of National Bullying Prevention Month.

Written by Jane O’Connor

Illustrated by Robin Preiss Glasser

Publisher: Harper Collins (2011)

Ages: 4 and up

Themes:

Believing in yourself, courage, determination, bullying, teasing, communication, friendship

Synopsis:

Fancy Nancy has a relay race coming up…she remembers that last year her team lost because she was so slow and she was made to feel badly by one of her teammates.  Nancy pretends to have injured her foot so that she won’t have to run in the race, but her father notices that she limps on her left foot sometimes, and her right foot at other times.  When her father speaks with her, Nancy confesses the problem and has a long talk with him.  On the day of the race, Nancy confronts the ‘mean’ girl and tells her that although she is a great runner, she is not a good sport.  Does this show of courage help Nancy win the race?  You’ll have to read the book to find out!

Why do I like this book:

I opened this book prepared to NOT like it.  Although it is considered a picture book, it is also a ‘first reader’ type of book.  I had been turned off by the ‘hype’ of ‘Fancy Nancy’ and all of the assorted merchandising products out there.

As I read the book, the frequent definitions of ‘big’ words bothered me at first.  There is also a page at the back of the book with the same definitions.  But then I put myself in the place of a child…and I loved the book…and the definitions seemed to fit.

The messages of the story are fantastic…believe in yourself, communicate with your family when you have a problem, confront bullies with words and let them know how they are making you feel.  Children deal with real-life situations like this one every day…this would be a great story to read to your child…or for a teacher to read to a class.

The illustrations also convey the message of the story and help move it forward to a satisfactory conclusion.  The expressions on the girls’ faces are perfect!

RELATED ACTIVITIES:

A Storybook of Friends

Kids love to make their own books.

You will need: 1 piece of colored construction paper for the cover, 2 sheets of copy paper for the inside pages, crayons or markers and a stapler.

  1. Fold the pages in half with the construction paper sheet on the outside as the cover.
  2. Staple them so they will not fall out but can still turn.
  3. Let the child draw on the front cover and write the title of the book. (During my presentation, some of the kids decorated the back cover as well, telling me that the back of books had pictures and words also.)
  4. Encourage the child to draw a picture on each page, showing the child with his or her friends, playing, sharing, helping, listening.

Talk about teamwork and how each person on the team contributes their best.

Plan a playdate or sleepover for a couple of your child’s classmates.  This is especially important if your child is in a new school or community and is feeling out of place.

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.   This is an unbelievable resource for any parent, teacher or children’s librarian.

Would You Take a Bullet For A Math Test?

Would You Take a Bullet For A Math Test?.

I shared a similar post last week from Elizabeth, a blogging friend over at Mirth and Motivation.

Then I read this post by Dawn, over at Tales from the Motherhood. 

I think back to when my kids were younger and often wished they didn’t HAVE to go to school.  And then I think back even further, and remember all the times I told my mom that I had a ‘stomach-ache’ because I didn’t want to go back to school in the afternoon after lunch.

And here is this young girl…who stands up to the Taliban and insists that she has the right to an education…and that so does every other female.   She knew that her life was in danger…but she spoke up anyway and continued to attend school.   We can pray that she recovers from the gunshot wounds to her head and neck…and we can pray that education for women will one day be a given in every part of the world.

Perhaps next time your child asks, “Do I HAVE to go to school?”…you might show him this article.