Earth Day Perfect Picture Book Review: The Little House

Falling_Apple_Blossoms

Falling_Apple_Blossoms (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Monday, April 22, is International Mother Earth Day! Events will be taking place all around the globe to raise awareness of the need to protect the environment and educate people to preserve our natural resources and help children learn to be good stewards of this planet.  I agree with Roni Baras, author of 55 Ways to Save the Environment and Make a Difference, when she says: “As parents, we have a responsibility to teach our kids to care for the world.” Continue reading

Follow-Me-Fridays: Where’s Miss Vivian?

Illustration from A Picture Book for Little Ch...

Image via Wikipedia

One of the stories I read to the kindergarten children is ANGUS LOST by Marjorie Flack.

Well, I could have written a story yesterday called MISS VIVIAN IS LOST!!!!

I usually print out the school’s directions from MapQuest and then several days before my scheduled visit, I take a ride over to make sure I know how to get there.  So far, I have been to 5 different elementary schools in District 11.  For some reason, my printer refused to print out the directions, so I wrote them down by hand.  And, because life just got in the way, I wasn’t able to take the dry run to Bates Elementary.

BIG MISTAKE!!!!

Misreading my directions, I took a right on Austin Bluffs instead of a left.  After going several miles, looking for the next street to turn on, I realized that something was wrong.  I called the school and was given the bad news…I had gone in completely the opposite direction.  I turned around and headed back and was able to find the general vicinity of the school…but this particular building is set back in a maze of winding streets, some of which are one way.  After calling the school office again and receiving additional instructions, I finally made it there…half an hour late. 😦

I felt really badly as I hate to be late for things…especially when others are waiting on me.  However, we were able to arrange it so that I could read the story…KATY AND THE BIG SNOW by Virginia Lee Burton.  I then took a break in the teachers’ lounge for 45 minutes while the children went to their next scheduled activity.  And, as my daughter says, “Everything happens for a reason.”  In the lounge, I met the school librarian and we began to talk about the SHOW ME HOW Story-time Program.  She wondered whether an evening presentation might be of value to the parents of the Pre-K students and told me she would speak to the Pre-K teachers about it.

At 10:20am, I made my way back to the kindergarten classroom and was able to help the children do the craft project…a snow-covered road way picture.  Again I was impressed with the creativity of the children…each made the picture from their own perspective.

 

Leaving the children finishing up their pictures, I headed over to the other kindergarten class to again read the story and work with them on the craft project.  I know both classes had a wonderful time…as I put on my coat to leave, one little girl came up and hugged me…and another said, “I love your hair, and your eyes, and your glasses.  🙂

This program is so very valuable, especially because these days, kindergarteners are the “new 1st graders”…they have set curriculums and are expected to reach various goals in reading and writing…so there is less time for listening to picture book stories and doing arts and crafts.

To me this is quite sad…so much learning takes place when young children listen to and discuss a picture book story….so many skills are acquired when they participate in arts and crafts activities.  I hope parents and teachers will head over to my website to check out my book that makes reading, crafting and cooking with young children a snap!

And please don’t forget…TWO VERY IMPORTANT UP-COMING EVENTS!!!

  • Sunday, April 10th…I will be at the Covered Treasures Bookstore in Monument, CO from 2-3:30pm…talking about reading, crafting and cooking with young children and signing copies of my book.  For more details go to www.coveredtreasures.com.  The Book Fair benefits the Tri-Lakes Community Preschool Tuition Assistance Program.  If you are local to Monument, Colorado Springs or Denver, please head on over to say hello and do your part to support early childhood education!
  • Tuesday, April 12th…I will be hosting Max the Dog as he continues his 36 day book blog tour.  For more details about the on-going contest and to see where he has been and where he is going, please visit: http://readwithmax.com/blogbooktour.html

Follow-Me-Fridays: Where’s Miss Vivian?

Work with schools : a librarian's assistant te...

Image by New York Public Library via Flickr

Yesterday was a GREAT day!

Taylor School in Colorado Springs is a tucked away in a lovely residential neighborhood. 

As you enter the school, you hear the low hum of children, busy at their appointed tasks.

Smiling faces greet you in the office…these days security is an issue for every school, so visitors need to sign in and get a badge to wear.

I made my way to the first kindergarten class…actually 1½ classes…the teachers split up one of the classes so that every student in the three kindergarten classes can take part in the 2 back-to-back presentations.

  

The children were excited to hear about KATY AND THE BIG SNOW by Virginia Lee Burton.  Several of the children had already heard the story…some of them had the book at home.  But these classic picture books were written to be enjoyed over and over again.

It always amazes me how perceptive young children are.  I’ll share what one little girl said.  “Katy must have a really big gas tank because she plowed all day and still kept going.”  And one of the boys observed that the burning house was right in the path of a bunch of skiers and he hoped Katy would clear the road for the fire department really quickly.  How many adults would have seen that amidst the busy illustrations on that page?

The craft project consisted of drawing a picture of a street scene and then adding features like houses, trees, clouds, sun, people, and, of course, cotton-ball snow.  Watching young children work on a picture is a revelation in creativity.  Each child used the cotton balls in a different way…spread out, cut in little pieces, piled up on the sidewalk…some even put some on the house roofs.

I’m looking forward to next Thursday, when I visit with the kindergarteners at Taylor School again.

If you or anyone you know is looking for great picture book recommendations, please stop by my website: www.positiveparentalparticipation.com and take advantage of the wonderful half-price sale going on right now.  You can also qualify for a BONUS PRIZE of a Crafty Easter Basket filled with craft supplies for your preschoolers.  Purchasers of the book are automatically entered to win, but you can get a free entry by filling out the contact form on the website.

Follow-Me-Fridays: Where’s Miss Vivian?

it's not for zombies

Image by psiaki via Flickr

I’ve noticed that a lot of bloggers set aside a day to encourage others to “follow” their blog…sign up to receive notifications of their posts, “like” them on facebook, “follow” them on Twitter.

I’m thrilled that there are people reading my posts…actually over 3000 page views since I started this blog at the end of this past summer!

It’s not so much a vanity issue…but more that the posts that I write may be helping others…or at least putting a smile on their faces. 🙂

I had lunch yesterday with a dear friend, who is also an author.  She is also a former journalist and reporter and is always giving me wonderful ideas for promoting my book.

Since the first of this year, I’ve been visiting our local District 11 schools here in Colorado Springs, implementing the SHOW ME HOW Story-time Program in the Pre-K’s and kindergartens.  Every Thursday morning, I read a picture book story and then do rhythms and a craft project (from my book) with a classroom full of eager smiling children.  What a blast!

I’m happy to say that the program has been really well-received…in fact, the head of the volunteer program for District 11 warned me that teachers are already putting in their reservations to have me do presentations for the new school year in August and September!

So, I thought that perhaps on Fridays, I could share my experiences in the schools.  And also let everyone know where I will be the next week.  My author friend suggested, “Where’s Miss Vivian?”

I had to cancel yesterday’s scheduled presentation because of a dentist appointment…but it turns out that it was a good thing I did because I wouldn’t have wanted to expose the children to my cold.

Last week, on February 24th, I was at Columbia school.  The children loved hearing about KATY AND THE BIG SNOW by Virginia Lee Burton.  After giving the children a chance to discuss the story, we formed a circle and went through the motions of Katy, the crawler-tractor, as she plowed the streets of the town of Geoppolis.  The craft project of creating a snow-cleared road way picture captured the enthusiasm of the children to such an extent that they wanted to stay and work on their project after the allotted time and were sad to put down their art materials because it was time for recess!  Having to encourage young children to stop drawing and pasting in order to go outside to play…wow…that’s a new one!

As the children lined up, one of the little boys looked up at me and said, “Miss Vivian, I really like you!”  Another child piped up, “This was the BEST time EVER!”

What was it that the children were so enthusiastic about?

When we spend time with our children, joyfully interacting with them, we build their self-esteem.  They understand that we value them if we give them some of our time.

How can parents shape their children’s future?

Just 15 minutes a day…read a picture book story with your child.

Just 15 minutes a day…do a simple craft project with your child.

Just 15 minutes a day…prepare an easy recipe with your child.

Where can you find all of these activities, laid out in a simple, easy-to-use format?

Hop over to my website and grab a copy of SHOW ME HOW!  BUILD YOUR CHILD’S SELF-ESTEEM THROUGH READING, CRAFTING AND COOKING…now on sale for half-price with FREE shipping until March 9th.  I guarantee it will be the best $22.50 you have ever spent…and I’m offering a 365-day money-back refund if you don’t agree!

Next week, I’ll be at Taylor school, doing two back-to-back story/craft presentations.

Image of Katy, the crawler-tractor by psiaki via flicker.

What’s In Your Child’s Bookcase Wordy Wednesdays

Kids bookshelf with German and American childr...

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Have you seen the Capitol One commercial on television?

The narrator asks, “What’s in your wallet?”

In this blogging journey, I’ve visited several blogs that review books and also give a list of the contents of their own bookshelves or bookcases.  I thought it was a wonderful idea!  I think many of us appreciate a heads up about what books to read…we have so little time…why waste it on books that are not worth those precious hours.

If you’ve followed my blog at all, you already know that I am passionate about children’s picture books and using them to uplift and help preschoolers.

Reading is one of the most valuable ways you can spend time with preschoolers.  It engages them in the world between the pages and helps them relate their own experiences to those of the story characters.  Discussions during the reading and afterward can often provide parents with an opportunity to help a child who has concerns or problems.

So here’s my idea for my Wednesday posts: I will choose a picture book, either from those recommended in my new parenting book or from other classic favorites of mine or from the wide array of new books that come out during the year.

As a parent, are you ever overwhelmed by the vast number of children’s books available at libraries or book stores.  I know I was when my children were small. 

The program I developed. during my years as a Head Start and kindergarten teacher, utilized picture books, not only for entertainment and enjoyment, but also to help young children deal with the many challenges they face in those early years.  This unique program included a craft project and a cooking activity for each story read and is the basis for the book I wrote.

So, in addition to the book recommendation, I will also give a story summary and a parenting tip that will help you use the book with your young child. 

Of course, if you don’t want to get these story recommendations one-by-one, and you’d like to extend the learning experience with an easy craft project and a simple child-friendly cooking activity, you can get your own copy of the book

Does your child have a bookshelf for his or her own books?

If not, maybe now is the time to get one, because here is the first picture book recommendation, a classic from 1943!  Most of the country has had snow in the last few weeks, so I think this is the perfect choice.

KATY AND THE BIG SNOW

Written and illustrated by Virginia Lee Burton

        No matter what the season, Katy, the crawler-tractor, helped the highway department of the city of Geopolis.  In the spring, summer and fall, she worked on fixing the roads, but in the winter, they changed the bulldozer for a snowplow.  Most of the time, there was not much snow, so Katy spent most of her time during the winter in the garage.  One day, a huge snowstorm caused all of the roads to be blocked, and when the other snowplows broke down, Katy was sent out.  Katy plowed the entire city.  She enabled the police, fire department, and other emergency services to continue helping people.

When it comes to mastering tasks and skills, Katy certainly takes first prize.  By the end of the story, you and your child will be cheering for the hardworking tractor! 

WE ALL NEED A CHEERING COMMITTEE AND PARENTS ARE A CHILD’S MOST IMPORTANT FANS!

As your child takes on new challenges and learns new skills, celebrate his successes with him and encourage him when he falls short of his goal.

If you are interested in getting a copy of the book, please stop by my website for the SHARE THE LOVE BOOK BOGO EVENT WITH FREE PRIORITY SHIPPING.