Thursday, July 21, 2016

Good Parenting!!

The importance of reading to children daily from (and even before) birth cannot be stressed enough.  It is the greatest influence on a child's future academic success.

I ran across these videos today. Click here  and here.  This two-year-old's reaction to the story his mom, Shara Newell, is reading is one of sheer delight.  It's obvious Mommy has given him a priceless give -- a love of reading.  Good job Shara!!

Such familiarity with the story did not take place after hearing it once or twice.  It took multiple readings with great enthusiasm every time to result in this little one's participation to this extent. 

So don't be discouraged, parents, when your little one asks for the same story the 29th time in a row.  Besides reinforcing a precious parent-child bond over the book, you are painlessly developing wonderful skills, such as increased attention span, listening skills, written/spoken word association, understanding story structure, vocabulary, listening and visual comprehension, etc., etc. 

Thursday, July 14, 2016

Happy Birthday to Me

Somehow I have managed to miss out on this book since it was published in 2013.  My sister remedied that by giving it to me for my birthday today.  I am delighted!!!

The vintage illustrations in this book immediately took me back to my childhood and the little collection of Golden Books my brother, sister, and I shared.  The author has selected about 75 illustrations from Little Golden Books published in the 40s-60s.  Each illustration highlights one of the life principles the author features.                                 

With a visit to my childhood through this book, I began to wonder what children’s books were published the year I was born, 1950.  Take a stroll through the bookshelves with me as I mention a few.
 Let me know if you have read some of the following oldies.

Henry Huggins - Beverly Cleary
The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe - C. S. Lewis

These were published in 1950, but won their awards in 1951:
The Egg Tree - Katherine Milhous - 1951 Caldecott Winner 
If I Ran the Zoo - Dr. Seuss - 1951 Caldecott Honor
Dick Whittington and his Cat - Marcia Brown - Caldecott Honor

These won their awards in 1950, but were published in 1949:

Bartholomew and the Oobleck - Dr. Seuss - 1950 Caldecott Honor
Song of the Swallows - Leo Palitti - 1950 Caldecott Winner
Door in the Wall - Marguerite de Angeli - 1950 Newbery Winner

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Happy Birthday, Marcia Brown

On July 13, 1918, a little girl was born in Rochester, New York. She loved to read and early on decided to be an artist when she grew up.  In 1940 when she graduated with a B.A. in English and drama, she began teaching high school in Cornwall, New York.  Then in 1943 she took a position in the Central Children's Room of the New York Public Library.   

She published her first book, The Little Carousel, in 1946. Brown’s 1947 classic, Stone Soup, and her 1951 Dick Whittington and His Cat both garnered Caldecott Honor Medals.  Her childhood love of fairy tales lead to the writing of her Caldecott-winning book, Cinderella or the Little Glass Slipper, in 1954.   She won the award twice more with Once a Mouse (1961) and Shadow (1982). 

Marcia Brown wrote and/or illustrated more than 30 books over the course of her career and won a number of awards, including the Laura Ingalls Wilder Medal in 1992 for her contributions to children’s literature.
Working on Woodcuts
Marcia Painting

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Helen Keller

Sorry I'm day late celebrating your birthday, Helen.  

This remarkable woman, one of my heroes, was born on June 27 1880, in Tuscumbia, Alabama.  At 19 months the healthy toddler contracted scarlet fever, which left her deaf and blind.  At a time in history when disabled persons were more or less hidden away, Helen mastered sign language and Braille and learned to speak and type.  She went on to live an extraordinary life as an author, lecturer, activist and humanitarian.

Helen at age 7, about 5 months after her teacher Anne Sullivan came to unlock her silent world.
Anne Sullivan presented this doll when she came as Helen's Teacher

 Helen earned a BA cum laude from Radcliffe College in 1904.  She was the first blind-deaf person to do so.  She traveled and spoken not only across the United States, but to 35 countries on 5 continents.  She met numerous celebrities and world leaders throughout her lifetime including Winston Churchill, Jawaharlal Nehru, Golda Meir and all the Presidents from Grover Cleveland through John F. Kennedy.  She received many awards and honorary doctoral degrees in the U.S. and around the world.

Anne Sullivan is spelling into Helen's hand.  She read Helen's textbooks and translated lectures for her throughout her college years.  She traveled the world with Helen and served her for 50 years.  Anne died in 1936.

In 1915, she founded Helen Keller International, which is one of the world’s premier international not-for-profit organizations dedicated to preventing blindness and reducing malnutrition.  It is still in operation.

Helen Keller suffered a stroke in 1960 and died in her sleep at her home in Arcan Ridge, her home in Westport, Connecticut, in 1968 at age 87 just 26 days shy of her 88th birthday.  Click here to see several clips about this amazing woman.

Helen was young when her parents contacted Alexander Graham Bell, who was developing hearing aids at that time.  He put them in touch with the Perkins Institute, and they sent Anne Sullivan to be her teacher.


Friend Mark Twain helped her acquire her college tuition.
Patty Duke portrayed Helen in The Miracle Worker.  You should definitely watch this movie if you haven't!