Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Children's Podcast Night Time Story, Personalized Kid's Book, & a Must Read For Black History Month

I've previously written about the fact that children obviously can fall in love with story books in several different ways. Author Mark Linder has created a free audio podcast of the first chapter of his debut book which centers around a character by the name of A Man in the Can at http://bedtimestoriesmykidslove.podshow.com/. Improving literacy has to start by introducing books as a natural entertainment and listening to audio versions as well as reading the print versions is one way to achieve this. I liked the bed time story and think kids will enjoy it as well.

A Wonderful Personalized Children's Story Book

I found the most adorable web-site for kids at http://www.custommadeforkids.com/. This site personalizes a storybook for your child called The First Adventures of Incredible You. I've seen books similiar to this before, however what stands out about this one is that it's not just personalized with your child's name. The story also includes the names of their friends, family, hobbies, pets, and more. It's for age groups 0 - 8 and makes for a great gift for any child. It gives you a free 3 page preview and tour to show you how the book will look.

One Million Men & Me by Kelly Starling Lyons - A Must Read for Black History Month
Black History month is coming to an end this week, but it's never too late to celebrate. So in honor of black history month, I'd like to highlight a wonderful children's book called One Million Men & Me by author Kelly Starling Lyons (http://kellystarlinglyons.com/). I bought this book for my 1st grader for Christmas last year and she thought this book was a real delight. It tells a true story about the One Million Man March from a little girl's perspective and it has vibrant, rich illustrations which go along with the story. A true must read!

Update: Sunny's Adventures, a Children's Mystery Book by Leketha Marie Johnson is coming soon - stay tuned!

The story of Sunny's Adventures will allow your child to help the main character, junior detective Sunny to solve lot's of fun mysteries. Who took the missing pie? What happened to the class turtle? Your little one's will have a great time as they help crack five fun filled cases wide open!

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Thursday, February 21, 2008

Children's Web-site, Barack Obama Writing a Children's Book, Coretta Scott King Book Awards

Visit http://www.icdlbooks.org/ (International Children's Library) if you would like to check out one of the largest online sources for children's literature. Per http://boston.com/, this free nonprofit site was created in order to fight illiteracy and also to help promote tolerance of other cultures. I can't say enough about this cute sight that easily let's your children choose the language they want to read in (there's 16 language picks in total). Kids can choose the stories based on their age groups and it's super easy to navigate through.

Barack Obama Writing a Children's Book
Barack Obama really is a man of many talents. Per http://usatoday.com/, the presidential candidate has a contract with Random House for two more books and one of them is for children. He wrote a book in 2006 titled The Audacity of Hope which is currently #11 on USA Today's Bestselling list. I can imagine that the children's book would be inspiring on all levels since this is the type of man he portrays himself to be. Can't wait to read it!

Black History Month Celebration - Corretta Scott King Book Awards
The winners of the Corretta Scott King book awards were released early this year for 2008 - view them at: www.ala.org/ala/emiert/corettascottkingbookaward/corettascott.cfm. This award system was created in 1970 in honor of Coretta Scott King and it highlights the best books written and illustrated by African American talents. It's Black History month so what a great time to share some of these wonderful books with all children.

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Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Children's Books by Dr. Seuss, New Kid's Web-site, and Jigsaw Puzzle Fun

If you love old fashioned children's books that have been around forever, then you'll love the Dr. Seuss web-site at http://www.seussville.com/ for your kids. Even though the Green Eggs and Ham book along with many others have been around from one generation to the next, this is still one of the most popular visited sites today. Kids can play games related to the famous books and there's cool music to listen to as well. If you're looking for a fun way to get little readers excited about books, this is one way to go.

Healthy Kids
Also, are you looking for ways to help encourage your children to eat healthy and be happy about it? The Prime Minister of New Zealand just released a new web-site that does just that. Kids do not need a computer for all of the games which range from growing their own vegatable garden to learning cool dance moves and more. The idea is to increase kid's awareness about being healthy to help combat childhood obesity which is an important concern for all kids. The web-site is http://www.mission-on.co.nz/.
Jigsaw Puzzle Fun
I know on a lazy or rainy weekend day, I love putting puzzles together with my daughter. It doesn't matter what type of puzzle it is as long as it has bright colors and creates a nice picture once pieced together. If you share this same puzzle passion, check out http://www.jigsawjungle.com/. This site literally has hundreds and hundreds of different puzzles and crafts available at your fingertips. Have fun!

Also, http://sunnysadventures.com/ will be coming soon - stay tuned for more information!

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Sunday, February 17, 2008

Happy For No Reason - A Must Read & Barefoot Children's Books Highlighted

I haven't blogged in the last 10 days because I just returned from a business trip in Florida. I'm not much of a flyer although it's required that I do so at least twice a year. In order to keep my focus on calming thoughts, I often pick up the newest nonfiction book located in the bookstore at the airport. For this trip, I decided to buy Happy For No Reason by Marci Shimoff & Carol Kline (http://www.happyfornoreason.com/home.asp). I found the title of the book to be totally intriguing and was more than curious to find out what the 7 steps were that were going to be highlighted for truly being happy from the inside out. I finished the book during two connecting flights to Florida and two connecting flights back home. I recommend this read for anyone who has ever wondered what it takes to be truly happy and satisfied with life. It has marvelous stories of what the author calls "The Happy 100" people that she located and interviewed for this book. It covers amazing stories of people who have been successful at aligning their internal and spiritual selves with true happiness no matter what life's circumstances brings their way.

My first thought after reading the book was how we could as parents implement the 7 principals in not only our own lives but in our children's lives as well. If children are to learn that true happiness does not rely on such things as how many toys they have, or how popular they are, or what they look like, then it seems they should learn this as early as possible in life. This book is for adults but in order to teach our kids about high esteem, true internal happiness, and acceptance of self and others, then we have to start with ourselves in order to instill those values in children. Pick up this book if you get a chance as it's a true must read in a society in which we get so bombarded with busy lives that we forget to nurture our inner selves for true peace and wisdom. Another recommended book which covers the topic specific to parenting is Smart Parenting: How to Raise Happy, Can-Do Kids by Dr. Brad Smart & Kate Smart Mursau.

Barefoot Books - Celebrating Art and Story

Barefoot Books (http://www.barefoot-books.com/site/pages/choice.php) is a great web-site that provides all sorts of various children's books based on diversity in many important areas. Take a moment to check it out as their dedication to providing books based on independence, culture, and spirit is really amazing. According to http://celebrity-babies.com/, many celebrity parents such as Debra Messing and Paul McCartney have already jumped on board with them in an effort to support what they stand for. Some of the categories that you can shop by are listed below:

Gift Ideas
Age Range
Award-Winning Products
Beautiful Anthologies
Best of Barefoot
Books About the Planet
Early Learning
Literacy 2008
Picture/Story Books
Spanish Language

Quick Exciting Update:
Sunny's Adventures, a Children's Mystery Book by Leketha Marie Johnson will be released in early March 2008 (in just a few weeks) so stay tuned for more details and information!
Also, http://sunnysadventures.com/ will be launched shortly as well and kids will soon be able to download free coloring pages, enter a contest with great prizes, and much, much more!

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Thursday, February 7, 2008

Free Children's Classic Books & Presidential Book Pick

I'm always on the search for anything free with added value and http://www.bygosh.com/ would have to definitely fall into this category. ByGosh.com is dedicated to famous books written at the end of the 2oth century. It has classics that I haven't read in a long time like the Wonderful Wizard of Oz and The Tale of Peter Rabbit. There's lots of short novels, poems, non-fiction, and other features. The short stories and poems can be easily printed out if you don't want to read it on the computer which may be more practical. I can't quite explain it but looking through these books which have been around forever brings back such warm memories of being a kid myself. I'm reading the Cinderella story to my little one tonight even though she's seen it on TV a hundred times. She likes the animated TV version but loves the movie version with Brandy and Whitney Houston. Click here and let your child check out Brandy and Whitney Houston singing Impossible from the Cinderella movie: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wdxRPcYgOoA

Book Suggestion Which Introduces the Presidential Election Process to Kids:

With the presidential campaign going on right now, it may be a good time to explain to kids exactly what's going on and why it's so important. Below is a book pick about being president:

Max for President by Jarrett J. Krosoczka

Price $11.96 new or starting at $1.98 used at http://amazon.com/
Description: Max thinks that he would like to be class president. So does Kelly. But there can only be one president! Who will the class elect? Full of laughs and suspense, Max for President is a lively story of good sportsmanship—and a great way for kids to learn a little about elections, too!

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Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Five Good Book Picks for Black History Month

The Times-Picayune (http://timespicayune.com/) listed five books today that would be great picks for kids in honor of Black History month. The books specifically focus on the Black experience historically and are recommended as permanent books to add to everyone's shelves. I'll list them briefly below but you can check out the Times-Picayune newspaper online to get even further detail by journalist Susan Larson. It's a good time to introduce all children to historical books such as these. The stories are compelling and I'm always looking for books like this which I can introduce to my own child but in a gentle manner that she would understand.

When my daughter read the story of Mary McLeod Bethune, she was fully engaged in the book but the illustrations really captivated her as well and helped her to fully understand the relevance of what she was reading. The story was explained to her on her 1st grade level and it's the one she always wants to pick for her monthly book reports. Unfortunately, I had to explain to her that she can't pick the same book all of the time.


1.The People Could Fly by Virginia Hamilton - This story comes in book and audio which is narrated by the author and James Earl Jones.

2.Following The Drinking Gourd by Jeannette Winter - noted as a good introductory book for kids covering historical events.

3.The Patchwork Path: A Quilt Map to Freedom by Bettye Stroud - quick fact: the freedom quilt was one of many creative tools used by people determined to live free.

4.Night Running: How James Escaped with the Help of His Faithful Dog by Elisa Carbone - Beautiful illustrations by E.B. Lewis who has won a Coretta Scott King award for his work.

5.D is for Drinking Gourd: An African American Alphabet by Nancy l. Sanders - African American history alphabetized in historical order from past to present events.

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Monday, February 4, 2008

Free Books and Multicultural Children's Book Site

Getting anything for free is always a treat so I wanted to highlight some freebies on the internet for little readers and adults as well. Log onto http://allbooksfree.com/ and you can download children's books and adult picks too. All of the books are provided courtesy of various authors and the only thing that they ask you to do is spread the word. This is a way for them to let everyone know about their books which sounds like a really good deal to me. You can download the books now and have kids read them at their own leisure time.

Multicultural Children's Books
Thankfully we live in such a diverse society with a lot of rich culture around us everywhere we go. Because of this, it's important to make sure our children have access to all sorts of books which encourage acceptance of all people. A great site which does just this is http://www.multiculturalkids.com/ by carrying all sorts of books about all kinds of people of various races. The subject matters are pretty diverse too as they cover the topic of adoption, character building, bullying, and there's games, DVD's, and puzzles too. With all of the world's distractions (TV, video's, etc), it's important that books offer several different fun elements and real kid issues in order to create excitement over reading.

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Sunday, February 3, 2008

Children's Audio Books and Online Library Fun

Right now, I spend a lot of time reading many books about the publishing industry as I prepare to release my debut children's book Sunny's Adventures in March of this year. I notice that the information I'm learning about comes in any format you need. I can read an actual book, listen to an audio CD, dial in to a teleseminar, study online or take classroom courses. These array of options must be available because it's a known fact that we all learn and digest information differently. I'm more of a reader myself because I like to mark up books I'm studying with bright colored highlighters. Well, you have to figure that children are no different from adults in that they can be mentally stimulated in all sorts of ways as well. Of course nothing should take the place of academic learning in the classroom, reading actual books, or going to the library. However, there are some supplemental learning tools out there that shouldn't be passed up either for them because they can be put in the "fun" category. Here are just a few ideas:

1. AUDIO BOOKS are a great way to help children to enjoy reading. Just imagine being on a car trip with restless kids in the back seat. You can pop in an audio book on CD and create a much better traveling experience for them as they listen to a book being narrated with sounds to enhance the story. You can even play the CD at home when their settling down for the night, or while they look at the book, beginning readers can listen along with the audio version. You're also helping them to develop their listening and comprehension skills as well. Try http://www.squidoo.com/childrens_audio-books and view some of the various audio picks there. Another pick is http://www.spoken-books.com/help.html. You can download them instantly or copy them to a CD. Click under the "juvenille" section for kids and there's hundreds of adult picks as well.

2. ONLINE LIBRARY access is a great learning choice for kids too. There are hundreds and hundreds of these sorts of sites on the web. I found http://www.mikids.com/Library.htm and what I like about this site is you can just click on the grade level of your child (K - 5th grade). Kids can listen to audio books or read for themselves and there's fun learning games as well. Another good site is http://www.awesomelibrary.org/student.html as it has much more detail and actually provides many links for all kinds of kids sites. Kids can even ask experts questions about any topic and receive the answer to their question. It can be about health, science, arts - just a wealth of subjects to choose from.

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Saturday, February 2, 2008

African American Heritage Bookstore Has Closed and Fun Free Children's Magazine Highlighted

Unfortunately another black bookstore has closed down by the name of African American Heritgage Bookstore located in West Palm Beach (http://palmbeachpost.com/). It's owner James Drayton, former city commissioner is unable to sustain the losses that the store has been experiencing in this challenging economy. As I previously mentioned, another black book store named Karibu is also shutting it's doors to all of their locations as well. Heritage bookstore has been in business since 1991 so many people are sad to see the end for this store. I think it's too bad too since it was noted in the article that African American books are at an all time high in popularity (Tavis Smiley just got his own publishing company Smiley Books up and running). Sorry to see you go Heritage....

Also, if you're looking for some fun and free entertainment for your kids on the web, check out http://storiesforchildren.tripod.com/index.html which is an online ezine magazine for kids between 3 - 12 years of age. It's a cool site that has fun stories, puzzles, crafts, book reviews, and more - your child will have a lot of fun on this site. The online magazine was voted one of the top ten ezines in fiction, poetry, and art and it's really easy to navigate through.

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Friday, February 1, 2008

Black History Month - Exciting Kids Activities

It's February 1st and this marks the first day of Black History month. Quick history fact: The idea behind Black History month began with a Dr. Carter G. Woodson, a historian who created the Association for African American Life and History. In 1926, Dr. Woodson and the association created Negro week which eventually grew into Black History month in the 1970's.

There are so many fun ways to help children learn about all of the things Black people have done historically and now to contribute to our society. There's so much to grasp and understand for them, that you want to keep it exciting while you help them to connect with this part of our history. I was never a history buff in school (English was my favorite subject), but when I reached college and started actually learning about Black ancestors and their contributions in our world beyond slavery, I couldn't get enough of this information. Here are some great ways to get all kids involved and excited about Black History month and it's meaning:

1. Find out what's being offered in your community this month. You can do this simply by logging online and googling your city and state. I googled "events for Black History month" for my local city and state and all sorts of information came up from the city parade to various book fairs being held.

2. Log onto http://www.kn.pacbell.com/wired/BHM/index.html and pull up some amazing information from various sites about Black history. This is good information for both parents and teachers alike to use with kids.

3. Check out http://www.dltk-kids.com/crafts/black_history_month.htm as your kids can create some fun crafts at home with very easy to use materials. One craft requires a brown toilet paper roll which everyone can find at home. They'll think it's really cool!

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