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 vivian@positiveparentalparticipation.com 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?

 http://jakesprinters.wordpress.com/ 

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

http://cobbies69.wordpress.com/2012/05/05/sunday-post-vehicle/

http://cassiemeetsworld.com/photography/before-sunday-post-vehicle/

http://jullianeford.wordpress.com/2012/05/05/sunday-post-vehicle/

http://myphotoyear2012.wordpress.com/2012/05/05/sunday-post-vehicle/

http://reflectionsinapuddle.wordpress.com/2012/05/05/sunday-post-vehicle/

http://francineinretirement.wordpress.com/2012/05/06/sunday-post-vehicle/

http://davidrwetzelphotography.wordpress.com/2012/05/06/sunday-poast-vehicle/

http://motherwifestudentworker.wordpress.com/2012/05/06/weekly-sunday-post-vehicle/

http://catbirdphotography.wordpress.com/2012/05/06/sunday-post-vehicle/

PPBF: The Country Bunny and the Little Gold Shoes

 

 

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. 

Some picture book points to remember:

  •        Having picture books available for young children to look at and listen to is almost as important as having air to breathe and food to eat. 
  •         Set up a bookshelf for your child’s collection. 
  •         Books can be expensive…check out used book stores and consignment shops for discounted picture books. 
  •         The library is an amazing resource for children’s books.  You can speak to the librarian about recommendations and story programs.
  •         Read to your child every day.

This last reminder reminds me that we need to announce the WINNER of the March Positive Parental Participation Reading Challenge.  Marcy, over at Orples, is a hands-on grandmother.  We’ve connected through Jake’s Sunday Posts and she often writes about the activities she and her grandchildren do together.  I know she will enjoy sharing a new picture book with them.  Congratulations, Marcy!

 

National Library Week is April 8-14.  To help celebrate, visit the library with your children at least one day next week if you can…and make it a habit to go often.  Does your child have a library card yet?  Find out how old your child has to be…if he doesn’t have one yet and is old enough, help celebrate National Library Week by signing him up. 

A child’s library card is a passport for learning about the world.

Do you want your library to win one of the 25 copies of Show Me How! Build Your Child’s Self-Esteem Through Reading, Crafting and Cooking (MoneyPenny Press, Ltd. 2010)?

 

Many libraries are very limited in what new materials they can buy for their collections because of reduced revenues.  Another way to celebrate National Library Week is to nominate your library to win a copy of this great parent/child activity book?  It’s easy!  If you haven’t done it already, just leave a comment on this post, naming the library and telling why the people in your community would benefit from having the book available to them.  At the end of the month, twenty-five libraries will be chosen through Random.org and the people who did the nominating will get to present the book to their local library. 

Do you tweet on Twitter?  Are you a fan of Facebook?  Have you pinned anything on Pinterest yet?  Please help me spread the word by tweeting, posting and/or pinning about the Show-Me-How Library Project.

Thank you, thank you, thank you…and now…are you still there…here is a really special picture book, just in time for Easter.

 

The Country Bunny and the Little Gold Shoes

Written by Dubose Heyward

Illustrated by Marjorie Flack

Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Books for Children (1939)

Ages: 4 and up

Themes: Mastering tasks and skills, goal-setting, holidays (Easter), overcoming gender discrimination, family, working together.

Opening Line:

“We hear of the Easter Bunny who comes each Easter Day before sunrise to bring eggs for boys and girls, so we think there is only one.  But this is not so.”

Synopsis:

A young country bunny sets a goal for herself of becoming one of the five Easter bunnies who deliver Easter eggs all over the world.  It seems her dreams will not be realized as the little bunny grows up and becomes the mother of twenty-one baby bunnies.  Using ingenuity, common sense and lots of determination, she trains each of her children to master certain skills. 

Will Little Cottontail Mother prove that she is the kindest, wisest and fastest bunny in the whole world?  Can she complete all of her tasks?  Does she win the golden shoes that will enable her to fly?  Read this charming story to find out!

Why I like this book:

This book was written over seventy years ago…yes, you know how I love these old classic picture books…and is still relevant today!  This is a very modern feminist tale…twenty-nine children and she still has a dream that she realizes…overcoming gender discrimination and economic hardships.

Little Cottontail Mother is a loving and caring mom…but that doesn’t stop her from expecting her children to be responsible and helpful and courteous.  She teaches them the life skills they will need as adults. 

The illustrations are from the ‘illustrious’ Marjorie Flack…need I say more! 

Related Activities

HANDPRINT EASTER BASKETS

I’ve made this craft with kindergarten classes…they really love it!  This is a lovely keepsake because it is made from your child’s handprints.  Hang on the refrigerator or use as an Easter door decoration.  The picture here is from Artists Helping Children.org  They have lots of great ideas and instructions on their website.

You will need: Construction paper, tape, glue stick, crayons or markers, scissors

1.      Trace at least 8 hands for each basket (these are the handle).

2.      Cut out a basket shape and cut a slit in the top (the eggs will slip in here).

3.      Lay out the handprints, overlapping slightly, to form a handle shape.  Tape them while you are arranging them and then glue in place.

4.      Cut out a bunch of Easter egg shapes.  Your child can decorate them before sliding them into the slit.  Glue in place when they are in the right place.

Gail Terp has an awesome blog post with craft ideas and more here.

Anita Silvey’s Children’s Book-A-Day Almanac did a lovely in-depth review here

Book Reviews for Kids did one here.

Talk with your children about the tasks that Little Cottontail Mother taught her bunnies.  What tasks can your child help with at home?

Make a goal chart…Little Cottontail Mother had things she wanted to accomplish…help your child make a chart of tasks and skills he or she wants to master.

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. 

And please, don’t forget to leave a comment, nominating your local library to be the recipient of a copy of Show Me How!

Sunday Post: Light…Do You See It?

 

The dictionary has many definitions of the word “light”…usually we think of a lamp that illuminates a room…or the moon and sun that shine outdoors.

 But when we say someone sees the light, we imply a mental understanding or spiritual insight. 

As a student, I had many instances where I “saw the light” after a particularly helpful professor explained a difficult concept to me. 

As a teacher, I observed many pupils “see the light” when something I had been teaching them finally made sense. 

And, as a parent and now as a grandparent, I’ve been privileged to watch hundreds of “see the light” moments.

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

 

Last summer we went fly-fishing with our twin grandchildren.  Are you looking for a great intergenerational activity?  Try fishing!  Children love it…our grandchildren listened attentively while we showed them what to do…their faces were alight with joy as they cast their flies into the water.

And, have you ever watched the faces of children as they listen to a picture book story?  Intent…attentive…joyful…alight with curiosity!

 

Or, put some arts and crafts supplies into the hands of young children and watch their faces light up with joy as the spark of creativity ignites!

 

 

There are so many things we can do with young children that will help them to “see the light”…reading, crafting, fishing, doing puzzles, taking a nature hike, going for a walk…just engaging them in a conversation.  What are some things you enjoy doing with your children?

We only have one more week for the March Positive Parental Participation Reading Challenge!  Please leave your comments and share with us the books you are reading with your children.  Also, please spread the word about the Reading Challenge…a promise to read every day to a child…someone will be winning a new picture book at the end of every month!

Just a reminder…are you looking for picture book recommendations and other activities that will build self-esteem and reading readiness skills?  Please check out my book, Show Me How! Build Your Child’s Self-Esteem Through Reading, Crafting and Cooking…endorsed by parents, teachers and national organizations like the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation.  There is also only one more week for the March special: free shipping on my website Continental US only (an additional $5 off the price of the book for participants in the PPP Reading Challenge) or you can purchase the book on Amazon.

 

 If you’d like more information about Jake’s Sunday Post:

 http://jakesprinters.wordpress.com/ 

1.     Christine: http://imagesoftheheart.wordpress.com/2012/03/24/sunday-post-light/

2.     Judy: http://northernnarratives.wordpress.com/2012/03/24/sunday-post-light/

3.     Isadora: http://insidethemindofisadora.wordpress.com/2012/03/24/sunday-photo-challenge-by-jake-light/

4.     Marcy: http://orples.wordpress.com/2012/03/24/sunday-photo-challenge-light/

5.     Rois: http://jullianeford.wordpress.com/2012/03/24/sunday-post-light/

6.  Marilou: http://imexcited.wordpress.com/2012/03/25/sunday-post-light/

7.  Natalie:  http://reflectionsinapuddle.wordpress.com/2012/03/24/sunday-post-light/

8. http://truthaboveallreligions.wordpress.com/2012/03/24/sunday-post-light/ 

9. http://blueberriejournal.wordpress.com/2012/03/25/light/

10. http://diggingher.wordpress.com/2012/03/25/sunday-post-weekly-challenge/

11. http://africatoalgarve.blogspot.pt/2012/03/light.html.

12. http://athoughtfor2012.wordpress.com/2012/03/25/sunday-post-light/

13. Kate: http://believeanyway.wordpress.com/2012/03/25/light/

14. Jo: http://jobryantnz.wordpress.com/2012/03/26/sunday-post-light/ 

I’ll add more links when more are posted.

Perfect Picture Book Fridays: Julius…The Baby of the World

Today is Perfect Picture Book Friday where I link up with Susannah Leonard Hill’s fantastic group of writers who contribute a picture book review and related resources.  Before I do the review, I have a few things I need to share with you.

My little poem, Fears of the Inner Child, took second place in Marylin Warner’s February Poetry Contest.  You can see all of the awesome entries on her blog: Things I Want to Tell My Mother.  

 It’s also the beginning of a new month…so we will be choosing the February winner of the Positive Parental Participation Reading Challenge and sending a picture book out in the next few days.  I know parents are so very busy…but I hope you are reading with your children every day, even if you are not able to post a comment.

 

Since February has come to an end, it’s also time to check-in with the 12 x 12 group…yes…my February picture book draft is completed.

Last, but not least, today is Dr. Seuss’ birthday!!!  For more information, resources and events, you can go to the official Dr. Seuss website

Oh…sorry…one more thing!  Don’t forget that March 7th is World Read Aloud Day…go to the LitWorld website to find out about planned events…or celebrate by reading aloud to kids.  I just got back from reading Spaghetti Eddie to 15 Pre-K children…they LOVED it!  Fifteen hands shot up when I asked “Who likes to eat spaghetti?”   Next week, to join in celebrating World Read Aloud Day, I’ll be reading Julius – The Baby of the World, to 20 Pre-K kids at Keller School. 

You can also visit Ella Johnson’s wonderful website to get more information about the NEA’s Read Across America program and to enter to win several books and hop from there to over 100 other blog sites that are hosting book giveaways.

And now…(drumroll please)…Perfect Picture Book Friday.

My picture book selection today is one of the hundred picture books I recommend in my book for parents and teachers, Show Me HowJulius: The Baby of the World is a veritable “baby” compared to some of the others I have picked…only twenty-two years old…but again, as relevant today as when it was published in 1990.

 

Julius: The Baby of the World

Written and illustrated by Kevin Henkes

Publishers: Greenwillow Press

Ages: 3 – 8

Themes:

Sibling rivalry, bullying, celebrating an individual’s unique strengths and talents

Opening:

“Before Julius was born, Lilly was the best big sister in the world.  She gave him things.  She told him secrets.  And she sang lullabies to him every night.”

Synopsis:    

Lilly eagerly awaits the birth of her baby brother, but when Julius finally arrives, Lilly wishes that he would go away.  Her jealousy causes her to resent the attention her mother and father shower on Julius, even though they continue to treat her with love and affection as well.  She sings mean songs to him, tweaks his tail and draws a family portrait leaving Julius out of the picture.  Her parents call Julius, the baby of the world, but Lilly wishes he would go away so that things would go back to the way they were before he was born.  At a family party for the baby, her cousin begins insulting Julius.  What will Lilly do…join her cousin in making fun of Julius…or defend her baby brother? 

Why I like this book

Sibling rivalry is a common occurrence.  Many children resent the arrival of a new baby…and why shouldn’t they?  Now they have to share the time and attention of their parents…and sharing is a difficult skill to learn.  Reading this book to a young child who is in that situation would provide parents with a great opportunity to engage with their child and discuss how their child is feeling about the situation..allowing the child to express his or her feelings.  The author/illustrator, Kevin Henkes, uses his amazing talent for knowing just what little ones are thinking and feeling.  Lilly leans over and whispers to her baby brother, “If you were a number, you would be zero.”  The book is funny and heartwarming.  If I could change anything about the book, I would wish that Lilly was not such a bully as she insists that her cousin praise Julius.  Perhaps this is Lilly’s persona…but I would rather end with her learning a “kinder, gentler” way to encourage others to see things her way.

Related Activities:

When I read picture books to kindergarten and Pre-K classes, I always follow-up the story with a simple arts and crafts project.  Not only does this extend the learning experience, it also gives the kids a chance to talk about the story and how it relates to their own situation.

For this story, I love to make Popsicle stick puppets.  The kids love this activity…and then can do role-playing with the puppets they have made…another opportunity for them to express their feelings.  Parents can encourage  their children to put on a puppet show with the family of puppets they have made and then join in, perhaps taking the role of the child while the child becomes the mother or father. 

Popsicle Stick Puppets

You will need: Several Popsicle sticks, construction paper, markers or crayons, scissors and glue.

1.      Let your child decide how many puppets to make and who they will be.

2.      Draw the people (you can also use people cut out from magazines).

3.      Cut out the people and paste them onto the top half of each Popsicle stick.

4.      Put on a play!

The above image is from the blog of Muffin Tin Mom.

Read/Write/Think has a lesson plan for Julius the Baby of the World.

You can find lots of quick and easy instructions for Popsicle stick puppets at ehow.com here

Education.com also has great puppet-making instructions here.

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.

Perfect Picture Book Friday: Leo the Late Bloomer…and the winner is…

Today is Perfect Picture Book Friday where I link up with Susannah Leonard Hill’s fantastic group of writers who contribute a picture book review and related resources. 

But first,I want to announce the January PPP Reading Challenge picture book winner.  It was lovely to see everyone’s reading list…thank you all for sharing and taking the time (which I know is precious and in short supply) to add your comments.  And the winner is…two winners, actually…Jennifer at Toy Box Years and Milka at Perfecting Motherhood.  I’ll email you both so you can let me know where to send the books.  I’m looking forward to reading the comments this month…another picture book prize for at least one lucky commenter.

And now, on to my PPBF selection: Leo the Late Bloomer

 

  

Leo the Late Bloomer

Written by Robert Kraus

Illustrated by Jose Aruego

Publishers: HarperCollins

Ages: 3 – 7

Themes: Mastering tasks and skills, maturation

Opening: “Leo couldn’t do anything right.”

Synopsis:

Leo, a little tiger cub, seems slow to mature.  He cannot read, write, eat neatly, draw…or even talk.  His father wonders if Leo will ever learn to do these things, but Leo’s mother tells her husband to have patience.   Will Leo’s father stop watching to see if Leo is blooming?  Does Leo ever catch up to his more accomplished animal friends?

Why do I like this book:

Children mature at different rates…and they all have unique strengths.  This is a story that encourages and gives hope to young children who may be slower at learning to tie shoelaces or zip jackets or write their name.  And perhaps it may also help those parents who worry when a child does not perform at the same level or accomplish the same things as an older brother or sister. 

The text is ultra-simple!  The glorious illustrations capture Leo’s father’s frustration and Leo’s joy with life itself.  Check out the “snowmen” that each animal builds…young children love seeing the snow-elephant, the snow-snake, the snow-bird, the snow-owl and the snow-crocodile.  Leo, of course, cannot make one and goes chasing after a rabbit.  This is a story every child and parent can relate to.

Related Activities:

Daisy Chain Necklace: great for developing fine motor coordination (this project is also suitable for any holiday…just use the traditional colors, such as red and green for Christmas, pastels for Easter, etc.)

 

You will need: Strips of colored construction paper (1” x 6”), markers or crayons and a glue stick.

1.      Decorate each strip as desired…flower patterns, numbers, letters, zigzags, dots, etc.

2.      Put glue on the edge of one strip.  Form a loop and press together.  Help the child count to 30.

3.      Put glue on the edge of another strip.  Thread it through the loop and press.  Count to 30 again. Now you have the beginning of the chain.

4.      Continue until there are enough links in the chain so it will fit over the child’s head and around the neck comforably.

I’ve done this project with kindergarten children and they love making each strip unique.  They also have a lot of fun counting to 30 as they press the edges together!  Of course, there are always a couple of “clever” kids who count by 5’s or 10’s to get to 30 faster…the different rates of maturation of children (like tiger cubs) in action…but their edges often don’t stay stuck!

 

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.

2012 Positive Parental Participation Reading Challenge Comment Page for February

English: Children working on the phonogram mov...

Image via Wikipedia

It’s hard to believe that January is already behind us.

Thanks to everyone who participated last month and left comments and told us about the books they were reading with their children.

I’ve got to get ready for two school programs…in the morning, I’ll be at Freedom Elementary, reading Oliver Button is a Sissy.  What a great story that encourages kids to be true to themselves!

In the afternoon, I’ll be at Buena Vista Montessori, reading one of my very own picture book stories, The Balloon Man.  Life sometimes puts obstacles in our way and we need to be prepared with creative solutions…this is a story that helps children think outside the box.

I’ll be using Random.org to pick the winner of the picture book…to be announced in the Perfect Picture Book Friday post.

Anyone who wants to join in the Reading Challenge for February, please use this post leave your commnets and books read.

12 x 12 in 2012 Picture Book Writing Challenge: 1 down…11 to go!

 

The blogosphere is full of challenges this year. 

One of the ones that struck a chord in me was Julie Hedlund’s 12 x 12 in 2012.  Julie is a talented writer, inspired blogger and generous spirit.  I’ve never met her, but if you visit her blog, you’ll see what I mean.

 

Badge by Linda Silvestri

 

When my children were little, I always had a pad of paper and pencil and pack of crayons wherever we went.  Bored children?  Write a story!  Cranky children? Write a story!  Happy children?  Write a story!

You get the picture!

 

The original mock-up for The Balloon Man

 

Sad to say, many of those stories were tossed during different moves we made over the years.  Others languished in taped-up boxes, forgotten in the shadowy corners of a closet.

My children are grown now, with families of their own…but my passion for picture books remains fresh!

Of course, I am fortunate in that I get to read picture books with a new generation of children when I present the Show Me How Story-time with Miss Vivian programs to library groups, kindergartens and Pre-K’s.  And I do have the opportunity to read to my grandchildren when I visit them.

 

But one of my dreams is to write a picture book story that children love and want to hear over and over and over again.

And that’s why, when I saw Julie’s 12 x 12 Challenge, I knew I had to participate.  Write twelve picture book drafts in a year…one each month.

January has come to a close…and I’m proud to say that I’ve completed my January assignment!

I know it needs a LOT of work…it’s just a rough first draft.

The tentative title:

 Caroline’s Hat…or Caroline’s Flower-Sprigged Hat.

The story:

Little Caroline is out in the garden.  She forgets her hat when her mother calls her in for lunch.  While she is gone, several garden animals help themselves to parts of her hat so that when she returns, it is not where she left it.  As Caroline searches the garden, she discovers her hat is being used by the animals for their own purposes.

The opening lines:

“The soft summer breeze tousled Caroline’s’ curls,

As she lay in the tall green grass.

On a blueberry bush, the red ribbons waved,

From the brim of her flower-sprigged hat.”

I think we all have secret dreams…would you like to share yours?

Today is the last day of the month, so our 2012 PPP “Read to your Child Everyday” Challenge ends for January.  In the next few days, I’ll be posting the name of the January winner of a picture book.