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
“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.
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.
- Heat oil in pan over medium heat.
- Add onions…cook a few minutes while stirring.
- Add garlic.
- Add tomatoes, beans, carrots, chili powder and honey.
- Bring to a boil, reduce heat, cover and simmer for 45 minutes, stirring occasionally.
- Garnish each serving with grated cheese and a dollop of yogurt.
- Serves 6-8.
- 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.
GIVE YOUR CHILD A HEAD START THIS NEW YEAR
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.
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!
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: http://www.nytimes.com/roomfordebate/2012/12/26/what-books-are-just-right-for-the-young-reader/the-early-push-toward-chapter-books-is-a-mistake
What are your thoughts?
- How to Help Kids Deal With Anxiety: The Worry Glasses (viviankirkfield.wordpress.com)
- Vegetarian Chili: 3 Ways (abeautifulmess.com)
- Don’t Be Afraid…Go Ahead…Write Picture Books! (viviankirkfield.wordpress.com)
We may be in the 21st century, but many parents will still be making gender discriminating toy purchases this holiday season.
Girls get dolls and baking sets and jewelry-making kits. Boys get trucks and Lego sets and model kits.
But, according to Dr. Susan Levine, chairwoman of the psychology department at the University of Chicago, “Playing with blocks, puzzles and construction toys helps children with spatial development and children with better spatial thinking are more likely to go into mathematics, engineering, science and technology.”
And playing with dolls encourages boys to develop a nurturing personality that will be crucial in building strong relationships later in life.
Toy companies are always ready to jump on board if they feel it will result in more sales.
Photo courtesy of timetoplaymag.com
Mattel, the maker of Barbie…and Lego…have teamed up to produce the “Barbie Build ‘n Style” construction set…in pink, of course!
A recent New York Times article discussed this new Barbie construction set that may encourage dads to interact more with their daughters. And in my book, anything that promotes positive parental participation is a good thing!
Jump into the New Year with an activity plan for your young children. Use Show Me How! Build Your Child’s Self-Esteem Through Reading, Crafting and Cooking for fifteen minutes every day…read a picture book story or do a quick and easy craft or invite your child to help prepare a simple healthful recipe. You’ll find story suggestions and craft and cooking directions on every page of this award-winning resource for parents and teachers. If the book doesn’t make planning activities easier, please contact me to return it for a full refund of your purchase price.
- How to get Dad to play with dolls (kansascity.com)
- More Dads Buy the Toys, So Barbie, and Stores, Get Makeovers (nytimes.com)
- “For the first time in history, Mattel is introducing a Barbie construction set” (scmc3001.wordpress.com)
- Barbie now a builder as parent values shift (seattletimes.com)
- How Children’s Toys Are Getting a Gender Neutral Makeover For Christmas (newsfeed.time.com)
- What Happens When Dads Buy Sexist Toys? (theatlanticwire.com)
- Barbie Caters to Dads This Christmas (mediabistro.com)
- Barbie the builder: can she fix it? Yes she can, in high heels and in pink (thetimes.co.uk)
In only a few weeks it will be Valentine’s Day.
I’ve been asked to write a special letter to my children about how I met their father. It will appear in Bob Brody’s Letters to My Kids. I’ll post it here after Bob publishes it.
Bob has appeared on the CBS Early Morning Show and his mission to encourage parents to write letters to their children to pass along the family history has been written up in the New York Times and other respected newspapers and magazines.
He has put together a fun survey that includes questions like: have you told your kids how you met your spouse? Bob has asked me to spread the word to parents. The survey takes just a couple of minutes. He is looking to get at least 100 responses…why not give it a try. I did!
You can click on the links above or follow this link below.
I know Bob will appreciate your response to the survey.
- 10 awesome Valentine’s day ideas (amomwithalessonplan.com)
- 4 Sweet Ways to Celebrate Valentine’s Day with Your Kids (celebritybabies.people.com)
- Simple Expressions Of Love (thismansjourney.net)
- Printable Valentine Cards From Hello!Lucky (craftzine.com)
- Julianne Moore Debuts Valentine’s Day Cards for Charity (celebritybabies.people.com)