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HALLOWEENSIE CONTEST: The Trick-or-Treat Bag

The wait is finally over! It’s time for Susanna Hill’s fabulous Halloweensie Contest.

friendly-jackolantern

According to the guidelines, you need to write a story for children that is 100 words or less and uses the words GHOST, SPIDER, and  MOON.

I’ve always participated in this challenge…it’s a great writing prompt that helps you come right to the point while trying to entertain kids.

Here is my entry…I hope you enjoy it. Please visit the link up on Susanna’s website so you can read the other stories. Some may be posted in the comment section of her blog for those people who don’t have their own blog. Voting will take place on November 7 and winners will be announced a couple of days after that.

 

THE TRICK-OR-TREAT BAG (100 words)

Tucked in a box, Trick-or-Treat Bag slept. He dreamed of friendly ghosts, scary spiders, and a tummy full of treats.

One day, Bag’s world shook. Earthquake!

Bag felt a tug. Whoosh! Bag dangled in the air.

“It’s wrinkled,” said Sally.

“Shake it out,” said Sam.

Bag twitched.

“Don’t you want a new bag?” said Sam. “Your costume is new.”

Bag trembled.

Sally held Bag close. “My old costume was too small,” she said. “But this bag will always be just right for me.”

Bouncing to the beat of  Sally’s heart, Bag twinkled as they trick-or-treated in the Halloween moonlight.

THE END

I hope you enjoyed the story…I’ve never written one from a bag’s POV…now I can’t wait to read all of the other contest entries!

Have a wonderful weekend, dear friends! And HAPPY HALLOWEEN!!!!

 

 

 

 

 

Helping Kids with Loss: After Charlotte’s Mom Died Review

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.

A couple of quick notes first:

1.      Remember that tomorrow is June 16th – Save The Bookstores Day.  Did you read Tara Lazar’s great post about this: http://taralazar.wordpress.com/2012/06/04/support-save-the-bookstores-day-on-june-16th/Unfortunately, I have to work on Saturday, but on Sunday, I’ll be at one of the Indie bookstores here in Colorado Springs, Poor Richards.  They are one of the local bookstores that has copies of Show Me How for sale…if you haven’t seen the amazing review Kirsten did, please click over to her blog, Creating Curious Kids.  Keeping children occupied with fun-filled educational self-esteem building activities is a wonderful way to spend the summer!  Do you know some parents who would appreciate a book that provides hundreds of quick and easy activities that use stuff they probably have around the house?  Please keep Show Me How in mind.

2.      Sunday is a very special day as well…June 17th is Father’s Day!  There are so many wonderful fathers and father figures out there…this day is for all of you!  I have to make a special shout-out to my son-in-law who is an amazing hands-on dad…not only does he play ball and take walks with his son, he also never misses being part of the daily bedtime routine, reading stories and overseeing the brushing of teeth.  When my daughter has to travel for business, Erik never falters and is mom and dad at those times.  I’m also very proud of my son who has twins who are almost seven.  From the time they were born, he has shared in EVERY moment…feeding, changing diapers, singing them to sleep…now they all ice-skate and play chess together.

My pick for Perfect Picture Book Friday is in honor of those dads who really step up to the plate.

 

 After Charlotte’s Mom Died

Written by Cornelia Spelman

Illustrated by Judith Friedman

Publisher: Albert Whitman Co (1996)

Ages: 5 and up

Themes:

Grief/loss, family, emotions

Synopsis:  

When five-year old Charlotte’s mother dies in a car accident, the little girl has many feelings she is not comfortable expressing to her dad, even though she loves him very much.  She worries about going to sleep because an aunt told her that dying was like going to sleep.  She is angry and sad and scared, although on the outside, she still looks the same.  After an incident at school alerts her father to the fact that Charlotte is not dealing well with the death of her mother, he decides to go with Charlotte to see a therapist.  The therapist helps them to talk about how they feel and they realize that although they will continue to feel sad about the death of Charlotte’s mother, they can find happiness in life.

Why do I like this book

The death of a close loved one is always difficult…to lose one’s mother at a very young age is earthshattering!  This book tenderly addresses this issue…the illustrations are soft, the message of the text is comforting and empowering.  I especially love the caring and practical advice the author gives to parents and other child caregivers in the book’s foreward:

  • listen carefully to the child
  • acknowledge his fears and feelings without judging
  • offer assurances that there will always be people to love him and care for him
  • offer hope for future happiness

Related Activities:

Memories of special people, places and experiences are extremely important for all of us.  Help your child start a box of treasured mementos now!  The boxes in the pictures below were actually made as Valentine’s Day mailboxes by the people I work with, so each of these boxes has a slit for Valentine’s Day cards to be inserted into…your child’s treasure box won’t have the slit.  I was so impressed with the effort and creativity of these adults, I wanted to share some of the boxes with all of you.

 

Treasure Box Shoe Box

You will need: One shoe box with lid, paper to cover the box (construction paper, gift wrap, shelf paper), scissors, and glue or tape.

1.      Cut the paper your child has selected to cover the box.  You will need two pieces, one for the box and one for the lid.  Important tip: if you use painting paper, your child can decorate it with vegetable prints, sponge painting or pictures cut from magazines or greeting cards.

2.      Carefully fit the paper around the outside of the shoebox and glue or tape in place.  Do the same with the lid.

3.      Make a label to put on the box, for example: EMILY’S TREASURED MEMENTOS or JOSH’S BOX OF MEMORIES.

My box had pictures of my family, all around the sides.  That might be a nice idea for a child using pictures of family and friends.

A great  pirate treasure chest here at FreeKidsCrafts.com

Some more treasure chest ideas here.

Great website to help kids dealing with death at kidshealth.org.

Some helpful tips for talking with children about the death of a parent at FamilyHealth.com.

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.

Save The Bookstores Day…Indian Two Feet and His Horse Book Review

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. 

Did you know that June 16th is Save The Bookstores Day?  Mega-stores like Walmart are putting bookstores out of business and bookstores in small towns and big cities continue to close.  Tara Lazar has a great post about this: http://taralazar.wordpress.com/2012/06/04/support-save-the-bookstores-day-on-june-16th/ and I hope everyone will spread the word about this event.  I’ll be stopping and shopping in at one of our local Indie bookstores here in Colorado Springs, Poor Richards.  What will you be doing?

As a child, I was fascinated with books and I would have been happy to live in a bookstore.  One day that almost happened!  My mom needed to buy a junior high school graduation dress for my older sister.  We went to Abraham and Straus, a big New York City department store and my mother left me in the book department which covered the entire eighth floor.  Floor to ceiling bookshelves lined the rooms and tables filled with books crowded the space so there was little room to walk.  Finding a little kneehole desk amidst the book strewn tables, I took a copy of Little Women by Louisa May Alcott (one of my favorites), crawled into the space under the desk and proceeded to read the entire book from cover to cover. 

Like many of you, when I am reading, I become one with the book and get lost in the story between the pages.  So engrossed was I that I never heard my mom and sister calling for me a couple of hours later.  It wasn’t until I turned the last page and stood up that I saw the store security guards, police and my mom and sister, frantically searching for me.  They had been looking for an hour.  You can read more about that day in a blog post I did last year.  You’ll get a bonus if you go there because I was doing picture book reviews back them and you will find a review of Don’t Worry, I’ll Find You by Anna Grossnickel Hines as well as some great tips for Shopping with Kids.  With summer just around the corner and kids tagging along when parents are shopping, those tips might come in handy!

Today’s classic picture book pick is about as far away in time and place from the above book as you can get…but with a similar theme…listening to our parents and following their instructions.

 

 Indian Two Feet and His Horse

Written by Margaret Friskey

Illustrated by Ezra Jack Keats

Publisher: Children’s Press (1959)

Ages: 3 – 8

Themes:

Books for boys, goal setting, problem solving, responsibility, self-reliance, family, diversity, maturation

Opening:

“There was a little Indian.  He wished he had a horse.  But he did not have a horse.  He had to walk, walk, walk.”

Synopsis:  

Little Two Feet wishes he had a horse.  He can sing and dance and draw and swing across the river from a tree.  But he can’t ride a horse because he doesn’t own one.  His father suggests he go and look for one and little Two Feet decides to look in places he would go if he were a horse.  In the end, a horse finds the boy and they develop a friendship based on mutual trust and caring.

Why do I like this book

The story text and message is simple enough for very young children to understand and enjoy, while older kids will identify with the boy who could master many tasks and skills, but dreamed of riding a horse of his own.

Ezra Jack Keats (Peter’s Chair, The Snowy Day, Whistle for Willy, etc.) is one of my favorites author/illustrators.  This book is one of his lesser known illustrating gems.

Related Activities:

Indian Headband Craft (from Cool Kids Crafts)

You will need: Construction paper, crayons or markers, scissors, glue or tape…real feathers, beads and string are optional.


How to Make an Indian Headband Craft

Step 1 Cut a strip of brown paper about 2 to 3 inches wide. Make it long enough so that when you bring both ends together it will sit on the child’s head comfortably.We used some craft scissors with a wavy design to cut ours just to give it a bit more flare.Tip: If you need it to be longer, just cut two strips and tape it together.

 

Step 2 Using your crayons or markers, decorate the outside of the strip (the side you will see once you tape both ends together).

 

Step 3 Bring both ends together to form the headband and tape or glue together.

 

Step 4 Cut out several feathers using colored construction paper. Cut small slits on both sides of your feathers leaving about 1/2″ in the middle uncut.

 

Step 5 Glue the feathers to the back of the headband.

 

Step 6 Optional:Cut out one more feather. Then glue some real feathers to the bottom of the feather (so that when you hang the feather upside down, the bottom becomes the top and the top becomes the bottom – see picture). Add a string of beads and glue this onto the feather.

 

Step 7 Glue this feather to the side of the headband and hang it upside down so that it will hang down when you wear the headband.


This Native American Indian headband craft is a fun kids Thanksgiving activity and has been a traditional craft for many during the holidays.   However, kids will enjoy making it at any time of the year.  In addition to this indian headband craft be sure to check out these Native American Indian coloring pages.

Talk about different animals people can take care of…which ones would make good pets?  Which ones would be difficult to keep in the city?  What are some of the responsibilities a pet-owner has?  What did little Two Feet do to be a good horse owner?

Official website of Ezra Jack Keats with tons of info and activities.

Lovely site that gives interesting background on Ezra Jack Keats and a number of activities 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.

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