Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Using your imagination!

Love this book!  This is a book about imagination and it gives approval to children to use their imagination.  It also can help us parents to remember that children need their imagination in order to "practice" being a grownup.  The pig in this story has a stick that he imagines is a horse, a paintbrush, a sword among other good ideas. There is another book in this series called "Not a box".  Check them both out!

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Ish-a happy art story

Ish is a story about a boy loving his artwork until he is criticized for not creating art that looks like what it is supposed to look like.  This is a phenomena that happens gradually to most children as they get older.  When young, children love to create art.  But as they grow up they often get frustrated that their art doesn't look like what they see through their eyes.  Many children begin to hate art as they go through elementary school because they become so self critical.

In this story the boy finds out that his sister has been secretly saving his art work because she enjoys how it looks something like what he is trying to portray but not exactly-It doesn't look like a vase-it is vase-ish.  This concept frees the child to continue to create art without criticism. A good book for children of any age-including us grown ups who have often stopped creating art because we think we aren't good enough.

Monday, March 8, 2010

You Can't Say, You Can't Play

I was required to read this for one of my education classes, but wished I had given it to everyone of my children's elementary teachers.  The concept of "You can't say, you can't play" is one I used in my own house with my children.  I remember a neighbor boy who used to like to climb the tree in front of our house.   One day my son went out to join this boy in the tree and the boy said that my son wasn't invited.  When my own child came in downhearted with the news, I could have gone out there and told him that it was our tree and my son could climb his tree if he wanted.  Instead, I told him that the tree was for everyone.  This neighbor boy didn't like hearing this news from another mom and didn't return to play in our tree.  But my point had been made.  Everyone gets to play in the tree.  It doesn't belong to anyone-not even to us!

Take a look at this book and see if you could help your own children learn how to play with children different from themselves.  This may encourage our world to be a better one.  If everyone had to play with everyone, imagine what Washington DC might be like. 

This book does not say that children have to like every child.  The teacher recognizes that children will still have their favorite friends, it just means that when someone asks you if they can join your group play, the other children have to say "yes".  Paley, the author and venerated Kindergarten teacher, writer and public speaker, found that her classroom became a more inclusive place for all of her students.  It helped quiet children to open up and overbearing kids to be more inclusive.  Give it a read!

Saturday, January 30, 2010

"Season of Life: a football star, a boy, a journey to manhood"

Season of Life: a football star, a boy, a journey to manhood"
This book was recommended to my husband by a close friend. Our friend said every guy should read the book. Of course, being an avid reader, I picked up a copy. I could not put down this wonderful true story.
About 25 years after Jeffrey Marks was a ball boy for the Baltimore Colts, and idolized Joe Ehrmann one of the great players, their paths cross again, as Jeffrey, a writer, follows a season of Joe coaching a group of high school boys. Jeffrey quickly realizes that he will learn a lot more about life on this personal and professional journey. At first as I read, I thought this should be a mandatory read for every father, coach and man. I continued to read and realized this is a must read for any woman who knows any man also. The book describes the myths of masculinity and how many men are raised with the wrong definition. Masculinity should be defined in how we relate to others. One of the most powerful moments from the book is an exchange with a mom after a big game. She comes up to the coaches and is very excited. She asks the coaches how successful they thought the boys were going to be. "I have no idea" Won't know for twenty years". "Huh?" "I won't really know how successful there gonna be till they come back to visit in twenty years. Then I'll be able to see what kind of husbands they are. I'll be able to see what kind of fathers they are. I'll see what they're doing in the community". This is a must own and read. I guarantee you will thank me for the recommendation.
"Season of Life: a football star, a boy, a journey to manhood" is a great gift for every coach, teacher and man in your life. (Women will love it too!)

The Last Lecture

The Last Lecture was given to my husband by a man working for him with fourth stage cancer. When I heard what it was about, I thought how depressing. This book is everything, but depressing. The Last Lecture is about living life fully, appreciating all of our daily gifts. The author Randy Pausch is the most optimistic person I have ever had the privilege to read about. The true last lecture that Randy Pausch, a Carnegie Melon professor, delivers is called "Achieving Your Childhood Dreams." This lecture has been all over the internet, but this beautifully written book is the story behind the writing of the actual last lecture. I literally bought 20 copies after I finished it and have handed them out to so many different people. It touches you in ways you cannot imagine. This is a book everyone should own and reread a hundred times.

We're Going on a Bear Hunt

We're Going on a Bear Hunt is a fun, interactive book. As a kid, I remember at camp the counselors leading us in a big circle on a Bear Hunt. This book takes us on the same journey and you can still make this an active book for your own children or group. Fun illustrations and an exciting adventure make this a great book to own. The kids clap their knees as you read, "I'm Going on a Bear Hunt". They repeat each line with different movements. You can also add to the pages if you want to get creative. This is a fun book for home or a class.

Eggbert the Slightly Cracked Egg

I simply love Eggbert and guarantee you will fall in love also. This book is a must read and must own for your home library. Eggbert has EVERY message I want my children to understand in life. Eggbert is a slightly cracked egg. He is told by all the other food in the refrigerator that he must leave because he does not fit in. Through magnificent illustrations and beautiful words Eggbert begins a journey to paint himself and change in order to "fit in" somewhere. This book is so special to me because in a simple format he realizes it is OK not to fit in and just be himself. There are so many popular children's books where the main character, gives part of themselves away to be accepted. This book is a journey of self discovery. This is my must read when I do guest talks in classrooms. The message is subtle, but extraordinary.