Whistle for Willie…Building Self-Esteem

Perfect Picture Book Friday…I missed a couple of weeks while I was out of town…I’m happy to be back joining Susanna Leonard Hill’s fantastic group of picture book writers, illustrators, librarians and others who contribute a picture book review.

whistle for willie.www.viviankirkfield.wordpress.com

Whistle for Willie

Written and illustrated by Ezra Jack Keats

Publisher: The Viking Press (1964) Puffin Press has a newer 1977 edition

Ages: 4 and up


Self-esteem, parental support, growing up, coping with failure


Little Peter wants to learn how to whistle so he can call his dog, Willie. He keeps trying until, one day, he can do it. His parents support him and encourage him throughout it all.

Why do I like this book:

Classic Ezra Jack Keats…need I say more?

The bold illustrations captivate…the simple text brings home the message of ‘if at first you don’t succeed, try, try again’. Every child needs to hear this story at least once…and I guarantee every child will want to hear it again and again.


Related Activities:

Kids love making music, whether they are whistling, beating on a drum or shaking maracas. There are many instruments that you can help your child craft…and try these water glass chimes…the tones created by the different glasses will amaze everyone.

Water Chimes


Illustration and instructions courtesy http://www.creativekidsathome.com/activities/activity_6.html

You will need:

8 glasses


  • Line up eight glasses of about the same size and shape.
  • Fill the first glass about 1/8th full of water for the high note, the second glass should be 1/4 full, the third glass should be 3/8ths full for the next note, and so on.
  • Each glass should sound like a note on the music scale (do, re, mi, fa, sol, la, ti, do). You may need to tune your music scale (add or remove water with teaspoon) until each note rings true.
  • Have the children use a metal teaspoon to gently tap out the scale and any other melodies they know (Mary had a Little lamb, Twinkle Twinkle).

Hints for Water Chimes

  • Don’t use expensive crystal glasses to make water chimes.
  • Add a bit a food coloring to help children identify which glass is which sound.
  • Changing the amount of water will change the musical note. The amount of water in the glass changes the pitch of the sound wave.

Here are a few more sites that provide music craft-making instructions.







Lesson plans for Whistle for Willie and other sites with additional activities:




Show Me How Build Your Child's Self-Esteem, Positive Parental Participation

If you are looking for a great resource that will give you 100’s of picture book summaries, easy matching crafts (even a couple of musical instrument projects) and healthful child-friendly cooking activities, purchase a copy on Amazon of Show Me How! Build Your Child’s Self-Esteem Through Reading, Crafting and Cooking.  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 and start the year with educational self-esteem building activities that are quick and easy and lots of fun.

Three Holiday Gifts From Show Me How!

The Holiday Season is here and we have three holiday gifts for you from Show Me How!

Buy a copy of Show Me How! Build Your Child’s Self-Esteem Through Reading, Crafting and Cooking on my website.

You will receive:

  • Gift #1: FREE SHIPPING!
  • Gift #2: Beautiful HAND-CRAFTED fabric bookmark for you!
  • Gift #3: Shiny new pencil for your child!

Who should buy a copy of Show Me How?

  • Parents and grandparents of children ages 2-8
  • Teachers of children ages 2-8
  • Daycare Providers
  • Children’s Librarians
  • Childcare facilitators, social workers and adoption agencies

How will Show Me How! Build Your Child’s Self-Esteem help your family?

  • Builds your child’s self-esteem…kids with a positive self-image are more willing to accept new challenges and keep trying if they fail at first.
  • Quick and easy activities…cut out the planning time of trying to think up new things to do with your kids.
  • Helps strengthen the parent-child connection and creates a life-long parent-child bond.
  • Encourages kids to become lovers of books and reading…they will have greater success in school and in life.


Who recommends that you buy this book?

DON’T DELAY!!!  When you buy the book, you will receive THREE HOLIDAY GIFTS FROM SHOW ME HOW!  And, did you know that a portion of your purchase is always donated to several children’s organizations…so you are helping others as well.  This coming week, we will be donating to the STAR PROGRAM (Sit Together and Read) sponsored by the Community Partnership for Childhood Development.  Many families cannot afford to buy picture books for their children…Show Me How is going to make sure that some of those children WILL have books this holiday season!

Sunday Post: Wonderful…Show Me How Picture Books and Crafts for Kids on YouTube

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

Sharing a WONDERFUL picture book with a WONDERFUL group of children is a WONDERFULLY magical experience.

Cuddling with a WONDERFUL child and reading a WONDERFUL picture book provides a never-to-be-forgotten WONDERFUL experience for both reader and listener.

November is children’s author Dianne de Las Casas Picture Book Month…a time to celebrate the importance and WONDER of picture books in the lives of young children.

So this past Sunday was a WONDERFUL time to kick off my new Google+/YouTube series: Show Me How: Picture Books and Crafts for Kids.


I’d love to know what you think of it…and welcome suggestions that will help it be better!

I plan to present a different story and craft each week.  I had a lot of fun and I am hoping to provide a quick and easy fun-filled educational self-esteem building activity for parents to do with their kids.  Most of the stories and crafts I will use come from my award-winning book, Show Me How! Build Your Child’s Self-Esteem Through Reading, Crafting and Cooking

I just checked the Amazon site for the book and there are three sellers who are offering the book USED for $60+…we are selling the brand-new copy, signed (and inscribed for the holidays if you wish) for just $19.95 on Amazon.  I think that is pretty WONDERFUL!

Parenting is a difficult job…and many parents these days are overwhelmed and tired.

But just 15 minutes a day is enough time to read a picture book story.

And just 15 minutes a day is enough time to do a quick and easy craft project.

In fact, the entire video with both story AND craft is just 12 minutes.

Do you have 12 minutes to give to your child?  Do you read to your child every day?

Now THAT would be WONDERFUL!

Want more information about Jake’s Sunday Post?


By the way, I had to reinstall the flag counter on my right sidebar and start from zero…something strange happened a couple of weeks ago and the flag counter (with over 110 flags and over 14,000 page views) disappeared, along with my blogroll and a bunch of ‘buttons’ I had from blogs I follow.  You’ve gotta love computers, right?

Halloween Hangouts on Google+

#Halloween fun for #preschoolers


Need a few fresh ideas for Halloween?


Join these moms, teachers and other parenting experts in a Google+ Hangout!


I’m joining author and educator Susan Case on Thursday at 3:30pm CST…I hope you’ll hop over and say hello!


A full line up of HOAs celebrating
#parenting , #kids , and all things #Halloween
+ Join +Angelique Felix at 2:15 PM CST for a Witches story and cupcakes
+ Join +Angelique Felix at 2:15 PM CST for a Monster song and craft
+ Join +Susan Case and guest +Rachelle Doorley at 5:30 PM CST for Spooky Simple Science Recipes
+ Join +Holly Homer at 9:30 AM CST and guests as they discusses Candy Control
+ Join Kimberley Blaine and guests at 1:00 PM CST as they discuss children’s age differences and participation in Halloween
+ Join +Green Kid Crafts at 2:00 PM CST for Greening Your Halloween
+ Join +Angelique Felix at 2:15 PM CST for a Ghosts! story, song, and craft
+ Join +Angelique Felix at 2:15 PM CST for a Black Cat! story and song
+ Join +Holly Homer at 9:00 PM CST for a discussion on Homemade Costumes
+ Join +Susan Case and +Vivian Kirkfield at 3:30 CST for Halloween book reading, craft and discussion on how picture books help children deal with their problems
+ Join +Angelique Felix at 2:15 PM CST for a Pumpkins! rhyme and song
Please come and connect with me and Susan Case on Thursday at 3:30CST…Halloween story reading by Susan…and a great Halloween craft with me…and how picture books can help your kids with their challenges!

Our show will be streamed to YouTube where you’ll be able to view it later on.

Parenting Tips on Reading Revealed in Radio Interview


A couple of weeks ago, I had the opportunity to speak about reading with children and the impact it has on young children. The hosts of Bookmark Radio, Michael Scott and Wendy Duncan, are avid readers and lovers of books.

We talked about how important it is to read with young children on a daily basis.  I hope you will click on this link to hear the radio interview:

November 21, 2011 http://castlerockradio.com/media_player.asp?messageID=107557

Here are some of the highlights of our conversation: 

  • Reading with young children develops their literacy skills.
  • Children aren’t born knowing how to hold a book or turn the pages.
  • Parents need to be good role models and be seen reading by their children.
  • Reading with children is fun for everyone.
  • Children who are read to are more successful in school.
  • Adding cooking and crafting activities related to the story is a plus.
  • The messages in picture books can help children deal with many problems.
  • Cooking and crafting encourage children to master tasks and skills.
  • Self-esteem grows when parents engage positively with their children.
  • Parents are the first and most influential teachers for their children.


For more information about using picture books to help your child develop a positive self-image and better literacy skills, please visit my website.  With your own copy of Show Me How, you will have 100 summaries of some of the best picture books ever written with an easy craft activity AND a simple recipe for each recommended title…right at your fingertips to use with your child.  Each activity takes only about 15 minutes.

Why not start the New Year with a great resolution for 2012?

Get back to basics!

Read 15 minutes every day with your child!

Literacy Program for Parents and Children: Parents’ Night at Trailblazer School

Cover of "Yes We Can!"

Cover of Yes We Can!

Last night I had the pleasure of presenting a program for the parents and children of Trailblazer Elementary School in Colorado Springs’ District 11.

The president of the El Paso PTA, the head of the PTA at Trailblazer, the principal of Trailblazer and the director of one of the local preschools were also on hand to hear about how a picture book is worth a thousand words.

How is a picture book worth a thousand words?  Why should we read picture books to our young children?

  • Children love them and children who learn to love books grow up to be good readers.
  • Listening to and looking at picture books helps young children develop the skills they will need to be ready to read.
  • The messages in picture books can help young children deal with many of the challenges they encounter in their early years.
  • Studies show that children who are read to at an early age are more successful in school.
  • Reading with your child strengthens the parent-child connection.

After talking a minute or two about the importance of picture books and reading to young children, I read, Yes We Can! by Sam McBratney.  The parents and children enjoyed the story about the three animal friends who play together and make a big pile of leaves.  However, when they stop to rest, they begin to make fun of each other and they all become sad and grumpy.  At the suggestion of one of their moms, they each show what they can do best…and all the friends agree that Little Roo is the best jumper, Country Mouse is the best tail-catcher and Quacker Duck is the best puddle-floater.  The little animals end the day happy with themselves and each other. 

As I turned the pages for the second time, the children were eager to answer the questions I asked about the story they had just listened to.  They agreed that no one likes to be made fun of and that it can make us sad or mad when others laugh at us.

Showing the children the sample craft I had made, I explained that we were going to make double-sided faces on the piece of white cardstock I had cut in the shape of a leaf.  On one side, each child drew a happy/glad/excited face and on the other side, a sad/mad/angry one.  We punched a hole in the top of each and looped a piece of yarn through the hole, so it could be hung on the doorknob of their room.  When they are feeling happy, they will put the smiling side showing.  When they are feeling sad, they will turn the frowning side over.  What a wonderful opportunity for parents to initiate a discussion about why the child is feeling sad or mad!  One of the components of building self-esteem is being able to express one’s feelings, whether positive or negative.


The children were excited to take home their art project and the parents were able to pick up a flyer on helpful hints and simple steps to making reading to children fun for everyone.  I also provided a flyer of sample activities from my Show Me How! book.  One of the parents recognized the book as one she had taken from the library and she bought two copies…one to use with her own children and one to give to a family member who also has young children.

Developing strong literacy skills is critically important and this program makes it quick and easy!

Reading a picture book only takes about 15 minutes! 

Doing a simple craft project only takes about 15 minutes!

Preparing an easy recipe only takes about 15 minutes!

Parents don’t have to do all three in one day.



With Show Me How! Build Your Child’s Self-Esteem Through Reading, Crafting and Cooking, you have 100 picture books already summarized, 100 simple crafts already planned and 100 easy recipes that will be fun to make and eat!  That is an entire year of fun-filled, educational, self-esteem-building activities right at your fingertips.  The holidays are coming and the price is right…only $19.95…more than 50% off the cover price.  Click here and go to my website where you can purchase a copy of the book safely with PayPal or by check or money order. 


I also want to remind anyone local to Colorado Springs…the Festival of Trees event, sponsored by the Ecumenical Social Ministries, is coming up this weekend.  FESTIVE FAMILY FUN DAYS will take place on Saturday, November 19 from 9am to 5pm and on Sunday, November 20 from 10am to 3pm at the DoubleTree Hotel near the World Arena at 1775 E Cheyenne Mountain Blvd in Colorado Springs.  There will be entertainment, crafting and other activities for children, Santa will be there and dozens of vendors selling wonderful items (many of them handmade and unique) perfect for holiday gift-giving.  Admission is $5 per person…children under 12 get in for FREE!

Show Me How will have a table in the main ballroom, amidst beautifully decorated trees…and there will be a gift for EVERY child who stops by the table as well as free handouts for the adults.  I’m also sponsoring a raffle to help raise money for the Ecumenical Social Ministries.  Stop by my table, fill out an entry form, put $1 or more in the jar, and you will have a chance to win one of two huge stuffed bears.  All raffle proceeds will be donated to the Ecumenical Social Ministries.  If you have questions about the event, please call 719-228-6781 (Ecumenical Social Ministries) or contact the DoubleTree Hotel.

I hope you will stop by and say hello if you come to the event!

Holiday Stress and How to Renew, Relax and Rejuvenate

'Windows Into the World', United States, New Y...

Image by WanderingtheWorld (www.LostManProject.com) via Flickr

Life can be very stressful, especially for parents.

Juggling work, home and family responsibilities can rob us of our peace of mind.

Add to that the upcoming gift-giving holidays and you increase the stress level exponentially.  Our expectations of what the holidays should be often conflict with our finances and our available time and energy and we are doomed to disappointment.  Letting go of the past can definitely help.  For more information and great tips from Deepak Chopra, read a recent post from a great blogger, Nancy at Spirit Lights the Way.

Stress is a factor in many health-related conditions…and parents who are under a lot of stress can over-react when their children misbehave…for some of these parents, a crying baby or a toddler who wets his training pants can elicit rage and inappropriate punishment resulting in physical or emotional harm to the child.

How can we relieve stress in our lives?

  • Recognize that you are feeling stressed.
  • Make a list of the stress factors in your life.
  • Find solutions to each of these problems…when my children were younger and didn’t have much money to buy gifts for me, I told them to write a love letter or draw a picture…those letters and pictures are still dear to me and I treasured them more than the sweater or scarf they couldn’t buy.  Want to have a family get-together but can’t afford to buy all the food and trimmings?  Have a family pot-luck, with every member of the family bringing a casserole, side-dish or dessert!  No time to make those “from scratch” holiday cookies or don’t like to bake?  It’s true I encourage parents to spend time in the kitchen with their children, making nutritious meals and snacks…and my book, Show Me How!, provides 100 healthful, child-friendly recipes…but you can buy the refrigerated cookie dough rolls and just slice them, bake them and decorate with edible gel.  Maybe you have a friend who LOVES to bake holiday cookies…how about offering to watch her children while she bakes.  Perhaps you love to shop and she doesn’t…be her personal shopper in exchange for several dozen cookies.  There are always options for every situation.
  • Ask for help…if you have a friend or two who are in the same situation, plan to watch their children while they have a free morning, afternoon or evening to relax or shop or cook or bake or clean together without kids tagging along…and then rotate so that each parent gets a chance to have this special time.
  • Carve out some time for yourself every day…while your children are in school or napping, take a bubble bath, read a chapter in a good book, dance to your favorite music, exercise to a great DVD, walk in a park and listen to the birds.  I love watching a classic movie in the evening and munching on a bowl of air-popped popcorn…each person has to find what works for them to relieve the stress that is part of life.
  • Check out online shopping deals…this can save you time and money…and you won’t have to drag the kids along.  Many bloggers have holiday gift guides this year…a really nice one is from Jenny at MyLittleMe.
  • Start some simple family traditions…your children will remember them even when they are grown and on their own.  For a wonderful list of fun and frugal holiday possibilities, please go to  this post by Prerna, The Mom Writes.

Wondering what to get the young children on your list?  How about picture books and arts and crafts supplies?  Reading with young children and participating positively with them in arts and crafts activities builds self-esteem, develops pre-literacy skills and strengthens the parent-child connection.  Visit your local library…you can borrow the books for FREE and many libraries have an area where they sell discarded library books or donated books VERY CHEAPLY…sometimes for only 10 cents a book!

If you are looking for some guidance as to which books to choose, Show Me How! Build Your Child’s Self-Esteem Through Reading, Crafting and Cooking is the answer.  Please visit my website for an online special that can’t be beat…only $19.95 per copy!  This ultimate resource of picture book suggestions, EASY eco-friendly craft projects and QUICK child-friendly healthful recipes is also the perfect gift for any parents, grandparents, preschool and kindergarten teachers, daycare providers, babysitters or nannies on your gift list!



Photo of Christmas on Fifth Avenue: WanderingtheWorld