New Year’s Resolution 1: Acknowledge and Face Your Fears

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 hope your holidays were a beautiful time with family and friends. Now it’s almost the New Year…a time looking back to see what we have accomplished and looking ahead to make changes if necessary and set new goals. Our fears often hold us back…when you acknowledge and face your fears, you can move ahead. Children enjoy what is familiar and often fear changes in their lives.

My Perfect Picture Book Friday pick examines this theme.

Gila Monsters Meet You at the Airport

Written Marjorie Weinman Sharmat

Illustrated by Byron Barton

Publisher: MacMillan Publishing Company (1980)

Ages: 5 and up


Overcoming fears, moving, new places, travel, trying new things


From Amazon:

“I live at 165 East 95th Street, and I’m going to stay here forever.” says the young hero firmly. After all, out West nobody plays baseball because they’re too busy chasing buffaloes, and you have to ride a horse to school even if you don’t know how, and you can’t sit down because of the cactus. But his parents are moving West, and they say he has to go, too.

Once there, however, the boy doesn’t meet the Gila monsters he expected. And on the ride to his new home (by taxi, not horse) he discovers the West is neither as different nor as bad as he’d imagined.”

Why do I like this book:

Many people want to stay just where they are! And most children don’t look forward to moving to a new place that will be very different from what they were used to. This book will help any child who is facing this type of upheaval. I love the preconceived notions (mostly due to his best friend’s dire predictions) that slowly but surely are blown away as the main character travels to his new home out west with his family…and discovers that things (and people) are not all that different.

Related Activities:

In the story, the little boy worries that he will have to eat chili and beans for breakfast, lunch and dinner.

Why not have your child help you make this delicious vegetarian chili…just perfect for a cold winter’s supper! Children who help with meal preparation are more likely to try new foods.


You will need: 2 Tbs olive oil, 1 cup chopped onion, 2 Tb minced garlic, 2 cups diced tomatoes (canned or fresh), 1 cup canned red kidney beans and 1 cup pinto beans (rinse and drain the beans), ½ cup diced carrot, 2 tsp chili powder (optional), 1 Tb honey, ½ cup grated cheddar cheese, ½ cup yogurt and a large pan with a lid.

  1. Heat oil in pan over medium heat.
  2. Add onions…cook a few minutes while stirring.
  3. Add garlic.
  4. Add tomatoes, beans, carrots, chili powder and honey.
  5. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, cover and simmer for 45 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  6. Garnish each serving with grated cheese and a dollop of yogurt.
  7. Serves 6-8.
  8. Important tip: You may want to do some of the prep beforehand…such as chopping the onions and mincing the garlic…we want our young cooks to be smiling, not crying. In addition, your child can help measure and mix into a bowl…and then you can add the ingredients to the pan…we don’t want young ones near hot pans or stoves.

More resources here:


Did your children get lots of new toys this Christmas? Or did you go for a more simple approach?

Young children don’t need fancy electronic gadgets…they only need a good picture book, a few simple inexpensive art supplies (like paper, crayons or markers, safety scissors and glue stick) and your positive participation.

If you are looking for a great resource that will give you 100 picture book summaries and easy matching craft and simple cooking activities like the vegetarian chili recipe above, you can purchase a copy on Amazon of Show Me How! Build Your Child’s Self-Esteem Through Reading, Crafting and Cooking.

show me how build your child's self-esteem, positive parental participation

At $24.95, this book makes a PERFECT gift for any parent or teacher of children ages 2-8…as well as for daycare providers and grandparents.  No batteries required…powered by a child’s imagination!   Buy your copy today!

create a peaceful home,,free bookmarks,show me how build your child's self-esteem

My website is still offering free shipping AND a beautiful hand-crafted fabric bookmark…limited time only!  Offer ends December 30th!

About two years ago, a New York Times article questioned the importance of picture books and predicted that parents would be opting for chapter books for their children instead. Now a recent New York Times article seems to be debating that premise:

What are your thoughts?

Sunday Post: Peaceful…How to Create a Peaceful Home

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

how to create a peaceful home,,show me how build your child's self-esteem through reading, crafting and cooking­

Surroundings can be peaceful…many people find that being near quiet water helps relieve stress.

peaceful children listening to a picture book story,

Children listening to a picture book story can be peaceful.

Create a peaceful when children are crafting,

Children engaged in a craft activity can be peaceful.

Many years ago, when my own kids were young, I operated a home daycare.  People couldn’t believe that there were six children in the house because the house seemed so peaceful.

The children were always engaged in one activity or another…listening at a picture book; building with blocks; telling a story with the flannel board; working on a puzzle; drawing or painting a picture.

The house wasn’t silent…but the sounds of busy children, happily engaged in activities are PEACEFUL sounds.

Do you have young children?

Is your home a peaceful one?

It’s important for parents to provide those types of activities for their kids.

But it is difficult.  Parents are busy with other responsibilities.  Some parents aren’t sure what activities are best to do with their children.  Others don’t know how to plan a balanced and harmonious day.

That’s why Show Me How! Build Your Child’s Self-Esteem Through Reading, Crafting and Cookingis such a super cool book.

  1. It gives parents those types of activities.
  2. It gives parents a simple hour-by-hour plan that can be modified for each individual family’s situation.
  3. It gives parents 100 picture book suggestions that will develop better literacy skills.
  4. It gives parents 100 quick and easy craft projects that will build self-esteem.
  5. It gives parents 100 child-friendly healthful cooking activities that will encourage fussy eaters to try new foods.
  6. No expensive materials…just paper, scissors, markers and a glue stick.
  7. No planning…the activities are quick and easy…no muss…no fuss.
  8. Buy the book today and help several children’s organizations because we donate a portion of the book sales.
  9. The list price is $44.95…you can purchase it on my website for $24.95 and get THREE BONUS GIFTS: FREE SHIPPING, A HAND-CRAFTED FABRIC BOOKMARK FOR YOU AND A BRAND-NEW PENCIL FOR YOUR CHILD.

how to create a peaceful home,,show me how build your child's self-esteem,free bookmarks

A local woman who makes beautiful quilts created these awesome bookmarks for me…she donates her profits to a family shelter, so this is a win-win-win for everyone…she used three different pieces of fabric for each…here’s a close-up so you can see the lovely detail.

create a peaceful home,,free bookmarks,show me how build your child's self-esteem

Don’t wait…buy your copy today to make sure you get it in time for the holidays!

Start the New Year with a plan for a more peaceful home.

Want more information about Jake’s Sunday Post?

time after time, positive parental participation

Picture Perfect Book Friday: Frizzy the Fearful


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 usually pick books that I have recommended in Show Me How! Build Your Child’s Self-Esteem Through Reading, Crafting and Cooking.  If you click on the link, you will visit the wonderful blog of Kimberley Moran’s First in Maine.  This former preschool teacher did a lovely review of my book yesterday. 

I know it’s hard to think about the gift-giving holidays of winter when we are just entering these scarlet and gold days of autumn…but Christmas and Hanukkah and Kwanza will be here before we know it.  If you are needing a great gift for a teacher, parent or grandparent of young kids, a daycare provider or anyone who loves reading, crafting and cooking with children…or anyone who might be a little hesitant about doing activities with kids, please direct them to my website.  They can grab a copy of this award-winning resource that makes planning fun-filled educational self-esteem building activities a snap…and we are offering FREE SHIPPING and a small BONUS gift for the next 30 days!  THIS IS A GIFT THAT REQUIRES NO BATTERIES…IT’S POWERED BY A CHILD’S IMAGINATION AND A PARENT’S POSITIVE PARTICIPATION!

Young children are often beset with many different fears: fear of the dark and going to sleep, fear of monsters, fear of separation and getting lost, fear of new experiences and new places and fear of illness and death. 

Do you have a young child who is afraid of something? 

Is that fear keeping him or her from joining activities or socializing? 

Sitting down and talking to your child is a good step to take to try to help your child overcome that fear.  But sometimes it’s hard to start a conversation about difficult topics.  That’s why picture books are so valuable because they set the stage for a relaxed discussion about almost anything. 

For this situation,a wonderful choice would be Frizzy The Fearful by Marjorie Weinman Sharmat.  This little tiger is afraid of EVERYTHING, but with the help of his friends and mother, he learns that he can cope with those fears.


Frizzy the Fearful

Written by Marjorie Weinman Sharmat

Illustrated by John Wollner

Publisher: Holiday House (1983)

Ages: 4 and up


Acknowledging and overcoming fears, helping others, self-esteem, friendship


Poor little Frizzy Tiger!  He is afraid of almost everything…high places and low places, the dark, loud noises and pits in fruit.  He avoids going places with his friends and misses out on many fun-filled activities because he doesn’t want anyone to know how frightened he is.  When he climbs a tree to help a friend, even though he is terrified, Frizzy realizes that everyone has fears, and he begins to feel a little better about his own situation.

Why do I like this book

Children love to hear about others who have experiences and feelings similar to their own.  This is a wonderful book to share with any child, but especially one who has some fears…Frizzy Tiger has so many.  Young kids will be able to relate to the little tiger and will cheer him on, hopefully acknowledging and perhaps overcoming their own fears as they do so.  The illustrations keep pace with the text and will help a young listener identify with the many situations that frighten Frizzy.  During the story or afterwards, the adult reader will have a great opportunity to listen with respect to what the child has to say.  Perhaps sharing an experience from your own childhood will also help the child understand that everyone has fears.

Related Activities:


Here’s a quick and easy craft project that any young child would love to make.  Perhaps your child has been to the dentist and was very brave in the chair…or maybe she finished her first week of nursery school and even though she was hesitant at first, she has made the adjustment and is enjoying her day there.  Pin this badge on to affirm his willingness to overcome his fears and his acceptance of life’s challenges. has instructions for a bravery badge:

You will need: Construction paper, aluminum foil, glue stick, ribbon, scissors, crayons or markers and one safety pin.

1.      Cut out 3 circles of different sizes.

2.      Glue the circles, one on top of the other.

3.      Glue the ribbon on the back.

4.      Write the child’s name on the smallest circle. 

5.      Cut out small stars from aluminum foil or draw stars or use gummed star


Cooking with kids is another great way to extend the learning experience that starts with reading the book.

Here’s a simple fruit salad that is a nutritious snack or lunch.  We all know how important it is to encourage young children to eat healthy foods.  We need to make every meal count…especially snacks!



You will need: 1 banana, a small bunch of seedless grapes, 1 pear, 1 navel orange and a few leaes of lettuce to use as the base.  You can substitute any fruits your child enjoys…just try to add one or two new ones that he can try.

1.      Wash all the fruit and lettuce and put the lettuce leaves in the bowls.

2.      Slice the apple and pear and arrange on the lettuce.

3.      Peel the orange, separate into sections and arrange on the plate.

4.      Peel the banana, slice and add to the arrangement.

5.      Cut each grape in half and add to the salad.

6.      Serves 2-3 as a main dish (add some grilled chicken strips or cheese cubes for protein).   Serves 4-6 as a side salad or snack (add a couple of whole grain crackers).


The Show-Me-How School Initiative is still looking for A FEW GOOD SCHOOLS.  Please leave a comment on this post, telling which school or other child-care facility you would like to nominate to receive a free copy of Show Me How!


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.

And please don’t forget to visit my website for a chance to get a copy of Show Me How!…FREE SHIPPING AND A FREE BONUS GIFT FOR THE NEXT 30 DAYS!!!

Related articles

Summer Fun Shortcut: SHOW ME HOW!

Summer Fun Shortcut: SHOW ME HOW!.

Author, educator and mom Kirsten Larson, over at Creating Curious Kids, just posted a review of Show Me How!  What’s really great is that several of the activities recommended in the book were kid-tested by her two sons…way to go, Finley and Cooper!

My sincere thanks to Kirsten…what an amazing review!  Please stop over and read it…you’ll love her blog!

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!

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!!!!!!

Sunday Post: Recipe for Self-Esteem


A recipe, according to the dictionary, is a list of ingredients and instructions for making something, especially a food dish.

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

I love soup!  Do you?  Soup can be hearty or light, warming or cooling…soups are so easy to make and, when you make them yourself, you can use healthy nutritious ingredients and leave out the preservatives, high sodium levels and artificial colors that are rampant in most canned or packaged soups you buy at the store.

Here is a recipe for Cock-a-Leekie Soup…absolutely delicious…and very easy to make, even your kids can help!


You will need: 1 large pot, 1 lb boneless chicken breasts cubed, 2 slices bacon, 1 large leek sliced (about 2 cups), 1 cup sliced fresh carrots, 2 cups cubed potatoes, 1 container low sodium vegetable broth (32 oz), 1 cup basmati rice, 2 Tbs single malt scotch (optional), ½ cup diced prunes, 1 Tb dried basil, 8 cups water.

1.      Saute bacon in pot…add chicken pieces and sauté a few minutes.

2.      Add sliced leeks, carrots and potatoes and stir well.

3.      Add vegetable broth, prunes, water and basil and stir well.

4.      Bring to a boil, add rice and scotch…lower heat, cover and simmer for 1½ hours.

5.      Serve with crusty bread and a simple tossed salad.

6.      Store in covered container in fridge.

7.      Makes about 12 cups of soup…you can easily make less by cutting the ingredients in half.


So what is the recipe for helping a child develop a high self-esteem?

1.      Help your child master tasks and skills.

2.      Encourage your child to value his own strengths and qualities.

3.      Help your child to feel appreciated and loved.

4.      Encourage your child to express his feelings.

5.      Help your child to acknowledge and cope with his fears.

6.      Encourage your child to accept himself and his body.

Kids love to help in the kitchen…not only does that time with you build self-esteem, but it also helps children develop reading readiness skills (or better literacy skills if they are older).  They also learn about good nutrition, and many picky eaters will try new foods that they have helped make.

If you would like more information about helping children develop a positive self-image or need some quick and easy ideas and self-esteem building activities, please pick up a copy of my book.  During the month of March, we are offering free shipping on my website (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: 







I’ll add more folks who are participating in Jake’s Sunday Post as soon as their posts are up.

Soup image thanks to