Category Archives: Christmas
It’s getting to look a lot like Christmas…and Hanukkah…and Kwanzaa. And since today is Friday, I knew I had to find an appropriate picture book to spotlight and review. But first I have a little gift for you.
A few weeks ago I connected with Kay Duguay from Consumer Safety. She provided me with an infographic that gives great tips on how to save money during this holiday shopping season while making sure you buy items that are safe for your family.
It’s really interesting that all three major winter holidays are about celebrating family and community, but everywhere you turn, vendors are selling their wares…electronic gadgets, kitchen implements, and of course, TOYS.
Here are six tips to keep in mind as you help your children unwrap their presents. Many of these tips come from the American Academy of Ophthalmology www.eyenet.org
- Select only toys and gifts that are appropriate for the child’s age and maturity level. Check the packaging for age recommendations.
- Avoid toys with sharp, protruding or projectile parts.
- Check labels for the American Society for Testing and Materials(ASTM) approval to be sure toys meet national safety standards.
- BB, paint or pellet guns and airpower rifles are classified as firearms and make dangerous gifts in homes where there are children. Similarly, darts and bows and arrows are also dangerous when they fall into the hands of kids.
- Younger children are now participating in sports such as baseball, football, hockey and soccer. If you are giving sports equipment, make sure to include the appropriate protective headgear such as helmets and facemasks or goggles with polycarbonate lenses.
- A picture book, whether an older classic or one of the newer additions to bookstore shelves, is always a safe and welcome gift. Reading the story to the child will add so much value to the gift…it costs you nothing, but means the world to the listener.
A picture book you say? Now, aren’t you impressed? Isn’t this a great lead-in to our Perfect Picture Book Friday selection?
SEVEN CANDLES FOR KWANZAA
Written by Andrea Davis Pinkney
Illustrated by Brian Pinkney
Publisher: Dial Books for Young Readers (1993)
Ages: 5 and up
Family life, community, Kwanzaa
From Amazon reviewer Gail Hudson:
Although Kwanzaa commemorates an ancient African harvest ritual, it is a relatively new holiday in North America. Seven Candles for Kwanzaa explains the origins, language, and daily themes of this warm and festive seven-day holiday. Ideas for daily Kwanzaa rituals abound. For example, on the fourth day, in honor of ujamaa (cooperative family economics), families can use the coins that they’ve saved over the year to buy a gift for the family “like a clock that chimes or a hallway mirror.” Illustrator Brian Pinkney takes on the role of storyteller with his scratchboard drawings of a family in the midst of daily Kwanzaa activities and celebrations. Each domestic scene is framed in an earth-toned border of traditional African patterns–bridging the two continents page by page. The thoughtful details and human interactions in each drawing speak to the core meaning of the holiday, that of honoring one’s family, community, and heritage.
“Kwanzaa is like a family day in the park and Thanksgiving and a birthday, all rolled into one.”
Why I like this book:
- It’s important for young children to see themselves in the books they read…and equally important for young children to see people and cultures different from their own.
- The author presents a clear and simple explanation of what each day of Kwanzaa represents.
- Wonderful activities that every family can adapt to their own situation.
- Powerful illustrations show how this holiday is all about family and community.
The book is chock full of hands on activities for parents and children.
For more Kwanzaa activities: http://www.preschoolexpress.com/holiday-station08/kwanzaa-dec08.shtml
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’m sending you all my very best wishes for the happiest of holidays.
And next week I’ll reveal some BIG plans I have for my blog in 2017…I can hardly wait to tell you!
Guess what? It’s December! Do you know how I know?
It’s time for Susanna Leonard Hill’s Annual Holiday Writing Contest! YAY!
And this is the fifth year I have participated! Sorry for all the exclamation marks…but it’s one of my favorite writing challenges.
Here are some of the basic rules from Susanna website: the contest is open to everyone and there is still time to enter—deadline is Friday, December 11. Write a children’s story (children here defined as approximately age 12 and under) beginning with any version of “Rocking around the Christmas tree at the Christmas party hop.” You may use that actual opening, or you may change it to any similar version “[Verb of your choice]ing [any preposition you choose] the [any item you choose] [any preposition you choose] the [venue of your choice].” For example, “Surfing along the wind-whipped waves at the Yuletide barbeque,” or “Wandering through the pine-sweet woods at the cut-your-own tree farm,” or “Quarreling in the checkout line at the local Toys R Us,” or “Waltzing among the candy canes at the Holiday Bazaar”…. You get the idea, I’m sure 🙂 And the maximum word count is 350. There are PRIZES galore! For more information: http://susannahill.blogspot.com/2015/11/monday-munchdayan-exciting-announcement.html
Those of you who know me know I love to write in rhyme. Here’s my entry—I hope you like it!
The Christmas Seed (341 words)
Circling round the planet Mars on their space craft RV-3,
the children begged and pleaded for a real live Christmas tree.
“There is no way,” cried Maw and Paw, “for that to come about.”
So Sue and Lou and Baby Boo would have to do without.
No Christmas tree? That cannot be…they vowed to find a way.
Sue climbed up high and searched the sky, but only saw a sleigh.
And Lou got tangled in the lights while looking in a drawer.
And Baby Boo picked up a seed as he crawled on the floor.
“Take that away,” cried Maw and Paw, “that’s not for Boo to eat”
But Boo skedaddled like a flash to the ejection seat.
Maw screamed! Lou tripped! Sue scrambled down! Paw reached to
save his kid.
They heard a BOOM! It shook the room! The spaceship blew its lid!
They watched as Boo flew through the air; it was a fearful sight.
This wasn’t quite the way they’d planned to spend this Christmas
And Maw, she moaned, and Paw, he groaned, and Sue and Lou,
But then they heard a HO! HO! HO! and Santa slid inside.
He opened up his big red sack – plucked out a doll for Sue,
a watch for Paw, a book for Maw, a bat and ball for Lou.
But Maw and Paw, their faces drooped, and Sue and Lou, they
until they heard, deep in the sack, a most familiar sound.
Then Santa reached way down inside and pulled out Baby Boo.
“I saved the best for last,” he said. “This one’s for all of you!”
And scrambling up onto his sleigh, he pointed straight at Mars
The seed Boo found had grown into a Christmas tree with stars.
And Santa’s booming voice rang out as he rode out of sight,
“May peace and love and joy be yours on this and every night.”
So if you get a telescope, please aim the lens towards Mars,
and you might see Boo’s Christmas tree, adorned with twinkling
I hope you get a chance to visit the other contest submissions…they are sure to be fantastic!
And before I forget, a couple of weeks ago, I was part of a book blog tour for Margret Peot’s new picture book, Crow Made a Friend. I promised there would be a GIVEAWAY of a copy of this precious story. And the winner is….
I will get in touch with you for your address so they can ship the book to you.
Have a wonderful week—pass along a smile, give someone a hug, and be kind to yourself.