Monday, November 23, 2020

I Miss You Most

            This crazy Covid world has turned our lives upside down.  Play dates, family get-togethers, school, parties, even shopping looks quite different than it used to.  It’s hard for us to conceive how much things have changed over the last nine months.  Imagine what this change looks like in a child’s eyes. 

            Author Cassie Hoyt was reflecting on this very thing as she watched her preschooler try to understand why he couldn’t see his grandparents.  This sad situation sparked the idea for I Miss You Most.

            In this charming story the little boy uses his imagination to overcome his loneliness.  Instead of missing his grandparents and friends, he imagines all kinds of fun adventures he would be doing with them. He narrates this story in rhyme.

            The colorful, full-page illustrations are by Stefanie St.Denis.  I love how she drew characters of different races, so all children can see themselves in the story.

            If you are looking for a book to help a 4- to 8-year-old through a separation, like a deployment, a move, Covid restrictions, or a loved one’s hospitalization, this is the one.  Early childhood teachers, you’ll will want to have this in your classroom library to share in-person or with your distance students.  Check out the activity pages on Hoyt's website.

Friday, November 13, 2020

A Little Spark


         Prepare to be enchanted by this new story, a tale of dragons, mean monsters, animals about to be frozen out of their village, magic, and a brave little mouse, named Spark.  A Little Spark tells the story of a community of animals that lived around Lake Zuron safe from the icy nearby mountains.  Their hero and dragon, Daniel, kept their village warm by blowing his fire at the frigid winds that blew down from the mountains.

            The animals became worried when Daniel’s fire started going out and he could no longer keep them warm.  The ice was quickly advancing on the village, so they met to figure out what to do. After listening to some well-intentioned bad ideas, tiny Spark stepped forward with an idea of how to light the fire in Daniel’s belly.  Although he successfully lit Daniel’s fire, he soon needed to do it again. 

            Daniel began to weaken, and the situation was dire for the village.  None of the other animals knew what to do, so Spark boldly announced he was going across the icy mountain to find help.  So Spark and Veem the weasel set out on a dangerous quest that included facing the dangerous Scabes.


            Author Chris Parsons created this delightful tale of courage, hope, and friendship.  Mike Motz's beautiful illustrations really add to the story’s charm.  A unique feature of this book is the inclusion of QR codes throughout the book, linking to songs especially written for this story.  You can download them here.


        The book ends with some pages of lessons learned from the book.  These provide good discussion points between you and  your children, linking the actions in the story with kind ways to treat others.  The website has posters to use with your discussions.

        If you are looking for a book that shows how one person can make a difference and how everyone has that "spark" within themselves, this is the book. You'll want to include A LIttle Spark in your personal library!


Monday, October 19, 2020

You're Pulling My Leg! Junior


          Allen Wolf, a bit of a game nut, created a board game for a couple of his friends. The game, You’re Pulling My Leg!, was popular enough that a Junior was spawned.  Now these two entertaining games have morphed into book formats that are perfect to use in our Covid age.

            Wolf is an award-winning game creator.  The kids’ version, You’re Pulling My Leg! Junior has won several awards as well.  It has benefits beyond mere entertainment, including developing interpersonal and storytelling skills, developing positive relationships, promoting positive self-esteem, and encouraging higher-level thinking.

    The goal of the game is to be the first player to score 21 points by correctly voting on whether players are telling truthful stories or not and by tricking players with the stories you tell.  The book has 74 pages of “cards” to use for playing the game.  Each card has three topics for the storyteller to choose from to tell a story.  A flip of a coin lets the storyteller know whether to tell a truthful tale or a  whopper.  Players vote of whether they think the story told was fact or fabrication.  Wild cards are          occasionally tucked in to add interest as players can gain or lose points.

   You can enjoy this game with two or more people, with your family at home, on road trips, or camping.  Grab your phone or laptop and play it with a friend online.  You can also play it, socially distanced of course, with larger groups of friends.  Be prepared for lots of laughs!

    Check out the author, Allen Wolf here.  He not only has created five board games, but he writes novels and is an award-winning film maker. Get a copy here and start playing.

Monday, September 14, 2020

Lola Koala's Travel Adventures

            Get ready for adventures!  Lola Koala’s Travel Adventures, that is!!  Lola packs her bag and flies away to a land of pyramids, a strange statue, and amazing carvings.  Can you guess where she traveled?  Check out her passport and see where she went.


            Dr. Tinita Ortega Kearney is the author of this delightful lift-a-flap board book.  She is a speech-language pathologist, who wrote this book to help children, aged 2-6 years, develop communication and language skills.  Written in rhyme, the story uses who, what, where, and yes/no questions to help accomplish this.  Lift the flaps to reveal the answer to each of these questions.

          Jasmine T. Mills created the colorful illustrations in this book.  She is a multi-media artist and has illustrated more than 200 children's books. 

          Kearney's website offers language tips for parents or teachers to use with the book.  You can preorder this book here as well.  Watch this teaser of Dr. Kearney reading it to her daughter.


Tuesday, June 30, 2020

Digital Legacies

Have you ever thought about how large your digital footprint is?  Have you considered what happens to your digital life after you or your loved one dies? These and many more concerns are explored in depth in Elaine Kasket’s book, All the Ghosts in the Machine: The Digital Afterlife of our Personal Data.  

Dr. Kasket is a psychologist and speaker who for many years studied the subject of death and the digital.  She is American-born, currently living in London where she has a psychotherapy practice.  Through her own experiences and those of many she interviewed, she shows us a picture of how these issues impacted them. 


How large is your digital footprint?  When you are gone, what will become of your accounts, like Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, email, eBay and whatever else is in your online life?  Kasket reports on various ways people use social media to grieve and how that impacts the people the deceased leave behind. 


Have you engaged in “sharenting?”  That is, creating a digital footprint for your child by sharing online pictures (in many cases starting with a sonogram) and anecdotes.  They will have a sizeable collection of online data by the time they can manage their own digital presence.  Once they become active on their own and should they pass away, will you have any access to or interest in managing or shutting down their accounts.  Kasket presents the challenges such circumstances bring about.


The author  gives the reader a thorough look at the digital/death situation. We all have experienced the birthday notifications and the memory posts Facebook puts on your page from time to time.  When those posts belong to a deceased friend or loved one, they can stir up some strong emotions.  The book is written in a rather scholarly manner, but it is heavily laced with examples of real people, living and deceased, to illustrate her points and make the topic understandable and interesting.  It’s worth your time to read this book and consider how the topic applies to you and your family members.