Don't miss it! It is today! Wonderful for the kids. Enjoy!
Sunday, September 12, 2010
Saturday, September 11, 2010
Thursday, September 9, 2010
When I look back, I am so impressed again with the life-giving power of literature. If I were a young person today, trying to gain a sense of myself in the world, I would do that again by reading, just as I did when I was young. - Maya Angelou
Tuesday, September 7, 2010
Sunday, September 5, 2010
Why not? Get out some sleeping bags, dig around for some flashlights, create a campground at home! Gather up stacks of books. Let kids read and talk all night!
Saturday, September 4, 2010
Readership around the globe, welcome!
UAE: Abu Dhabi
Friday, September 3, 2010
Wednesday, September 1, 2010
On my 'west coast tour' I stopped and visited the Rocky Mountain Mama and her two boys in Colorado. We spent the weekend designing aircraft. RMM's eldest boy, Super Sweet S, is a master at putting together intricate Lego machines and buildings- especially, Lego Star Wars! We brought home a large airplane for the boys to assemble. SSS took out the instructions and started on the amazing puzzle solo! It was a beautiful reading experience. He had the directions/instructions next to him and all the pieceslaid out on the table ready to use. The concentration and stamina that he had was impressive. I think he worked on that plane, certainly close to 2 hours!
Monday, August 30, 2010
This summer I've ended up having a couple of big trips for work that took me towards the west coast. I had to get to New Mexico by the middle of August, so I took a detour to Colorado first to visit the Rocky Mountain Mama and her family! I brought the boys some gifts. Super Sweet S is going into first grade and is apparently literally reading everything! "Titi," he says, "Do you want me to read the catalog about Halloween Costumes?"
The nephew- Sending Back to Canada
Saturday, August 28, 2010
I have been building up my nephew's library at home. He now has officially taken over the complete last two shelves (three if you count the stacking of books under the shelves) of my sister's floor to ceiling bookshelf that takes up the entire living room wall. While I feel quite proud, about a third of his library is now in French. My nephew is bilingual. To support his linguistic development in his second language, I have been diligent to find books in French that hold his interest, introduce him to new and challenging vocabulary, and that span both story, poetry, and non fiction texts. I buy him books that his mother (who is fluent in French) and his babysitters can read to him with no problem. I also have bought him books that I can read to him (ones that are a bit simpler for the novice French speaker).
I found many series that he has absolutely fallen in love with that I can read too. Our two favorites are: Crocolou and the Petit Garcon series. Crocolou's books are simple stories all about a little crocodile named, Crocolou. Each book centers around another thing that he loves: Crocolou aime sa mama, Crocolou aime l'ecole etc. With a few re-readings of these books my nephew has been able to "learn" them and fill in the blanks, quickly and easily when i make dramatic pauses for him to chime in. Even as simple as these books are, they still introduce new vocabulary to us!
The Petit Garcon series are fun. Each one is about another little boy enjoying some sort of transportation: Le Train de Bastien, La Moto de Marco, L'Avion de Gaston etc. They also rhyme. This makes it fun for my nephew to listen to but also easier for me to read with the rhythm!
If your kids are bilingual, make sure you have the books in both languages in your house! Read them together! Bilingualism is a gift to be treasured! Spend time in the "not so dominate" language together.
If you are not bilingual, but enjoy languages and want the kids in your lives to enjoy languages too, buy books in foreign languages. Read them with your child. Study the pictures hard! Reading is a great way to learn a language and to develop appreciation for different languages. Be brave! Dive right in! Pick up a children's book in a language you studied in high school or college- practice reading it and then share it with a child! Have fun.
Thursday, August 26, 2010
This year, after visiting my nephew for three weeks, I left with him a 'memory book'. This book I have left blank spaces under each of our amazing things that we have done, for him to fill in the pictures. His drawing has improved so much over the year. He now makes representational shapes that really match the object he is drawing. He made an incredible Beluga Whale this summer that will now hang in my office. Hopefully over the days, until I see him next, he will make pictures that match the things that we did. Fortunately, I also snapped a few photos that I can bring and paste into the memory book as well. But why not make it interactive!
Hope you are enjoying your summer with the kids in your lives!
Tuesday, August 24, 2010
When you ask my nephew what his favorite videos are, he now replies, "Planet Earth, Life, Galapagos (en francais) and T'choupi (en francais aussi). Life, is another version of Planet Earth, narrated by Oprah Winfrey. It is a beautiful display of wildlife across the globe.
My nephew, in true 3 year old form, enjoys acting the different scenes. He gets his animal critters out of the toy box and begins to explore, who hunts who? Hunting and Hunted is his favorite episode. Unfortunately we don't have an ostrich for the cheetah to eat nor do we have a "cheetah deer" for the tiger. Luckily he can improvise. Sometimes he enjoys acting out the videos without props and just take on the animal personalities himself. He ropes in other 'actors', like myself to play different roles.
From Galapagos, one of his favorite scenes is watching the giant predatory birds hunt for iguanas, swimming in the sea.
The videos have been amazing to develop quite a large and specific vocabulary and to introduce the concept of "interdependence". Acting out before, during or after, is a great way to have a 'conversation' with kids about what they are understanding and thinking about while watching videos!
Enjoy the stage with your kids! Enjoy Life!
Sunday, August 22, 2010
Friday, August 20, 2010
My nephew, sister and I recently went to the science museum/aquarium in Burlington. There were wonderful fish, frogs and reptiles to observe. There was a wonderful hands on project: dissecting owl pellets. My nephew discovered lots of skulls and bones! In the resource center there were other tanks and animals, along with books and puppets and the like to really get another up close vision of wildlife.
At the tank there was a snake inside. Interesting enough, there was a journal right next to it. It was filled with comments and observations and questions from many different visitors of different ages. We looked and observed not only in the tank but we reread all the comments made across time about this snake. It was fascinating!
What a wonderful idea. You could have a notebook/sketch book set up in your home, next to a plant, a terrarium or aquarium in your home. You and your child could observe and note take. When you have guests come to your house you can urge them to "leave a note" in your observation journal. What a fun thing to keep- just like a real scientist. What a neat thing to look back over and read!
Thursday, August 19, 2010
Sunday, August 15, 2010
Check it out- a show for kids!
Saturday, August 14, 2010
Families can make a difference. Read about the Kugler Family working in South Africa for their summer vacation. Inspiring!
Thursday, August 12, 2010
Needless to say, on our journey north, we had many hours to 'kill' in the car! No worries, because Auntie brought lots of music to pass the time away. Of course we brought our favorite, They Might Be Giants (1,2,3 and Here Comes Science).
We also brought a new favorite- Pete Seeger's CD- Stories and Songs For Little Children. My nephew "studied" PS in his school. He is one of their 'heroes'. He made a little Banjo and loves to 'strum i' and sing Skip to My Lou. So we definitely took that with us.
We also took a new cd in french, Un Tresor Dans Mon Jardin. A series of beautiful songs and poems all in French. Big Girl Jas and my nephew enjoyed this cd immensely. Even though BGJ doesn't speak French, she appreciates the sounds and languages from everywhere. She too is bilingual, English and Spanish. Since the two kids are both bilingual they had a lot of discussion about languages and translating. BGJ picked out her favorite song on the album- Comptine pour endormir un enfants.
We can't leave home with Father Goose and Dan Zane. So we brought - Catch the Train and It's a Bam Bam Diddly. There is Haitian Creole, Zulu and Spanish! BGJ enjoyed singing and translating that one - Mariposa Ole!- for everyone.
Don't forget your music in the car!
Tuesday, August 10, 2010
Mommy R came on vacation and I learned all these great literary events you can have at home with your child. Big Girl Jas is turning 8 this year. She is trying to decide how she would like to celebrate her birthday. Last year, when she turned 7, she decided she wanted to put on a play for her birthday.
I know. When I heard the idea at first it seemed complicated and difficult. But when you get to know BGJ, you see that theater and dance are her passions. Mommy R also shares these passions with her daughter.
So, they decided to give it a try. They first picked a story that they could share with their friends, give everyone lines, and have costumes for everyone. They chose an "Anansi" story to tell. I cannot remember which folktale about the famous spider they chose.
They sent out a quick invitation- asking for an immediate RSVP to see who could make it and wanted to perform with BGJ in the play. They asked kids, Do you want a speaking role or a non speaking role? Then they sent all the kids their lines so that they could practice and 'rehearse' at home.
When the kids arrived to the party, Mommy R and BGJ and all the kids began to do a 'run through' of the play at home. They then practiced with costumes (supplied as best as possible from BGJ's collection of dress up clothes). Kids were in charge, so there were no 'wrong' costumes. Kids could be as creative as possible. Then they did a run through with the costumes on!
Next they ate cake and ice cream! Finally they went to the local ample theater in their local park. (Seriously- they have one. How perfect, right?) They did one more run through on the stage. Then they got to put on their make up!
The parents came to pick up their kids from the birthday. Right before they all left- the kids put on the play for all the parents and care-givers and kids! Quite a celebration, no? For everyone.
What an experience! I love it! Who knows, maybe this year, BGJ will write her own play to perform next!
Sunday, August 8, 2010
In between lake and pool, tennis and shuffle board, we had some time on our hands to share stories. Mommy R loves to tell stories too! But she doesn't just tell any story. Many of her stories she tells, ends of teaching us all something. They all sound vaguely familiar, but are not 'real stories' but certainly ones we can relate to.
Mommy R asks everyone who is going to listen to the story if they want to be in the story or not. My nephew decided yes. Big Girl Jas decided no. All that meant was that Mommy R would tell a story with your name in it. But it was sure to be 'fictional'. One of the stories that Mommy R told was a story about my nephew, and his friend, "Hakim" (aka my nephew's doll's name). It was a story about how "Hakim" didn't like to play tennis. He found it very frustrating. He got very angry. "My nephew's character" had to think of a way to included him and to help him not be frustrated.
Can you imagine a real episode like this? I truly can. It was interesting to see how the two kids listened to this story and how they re- thought about the time we played tennis. Telling stories help you to hold on to memories and to also work out the problems and issues in our lives- no matter how small or big!
Friday, August 6, 2010
The nephew, sister and I drove up to Mont Tremblant and we invited our friends, Mommy R and Big Girl Jas with us! Up in our chalet- over looking the mountains and lake we were granted several dancing and singing performances from the kids. An almost 8 year old is heaven to a 3 year old! They had such a blast. BGJ would take the nephew in another room, and "teach him" his steps and the song that they were performing. In about 2 minutes the little nephew had to learn a lot, or just follow her lead. We were serenaded by, "These are a few of my favorite things..." and "I'm am sixteen going seventeen..." and "I close my eyes, pull back the curtain..."
I have to say my favorites were the ones that they made up. BGJ had a few that she sang. One I think was titled, "Swan Lake". My nephew did one in English and one in French, both I believe titled, "Fire Truck"/ "Camion Pompier". Can you imagine what happens in that song/rap? Yes, lots of crashing!
Everyday was a series of songs that we got to watch and appreciate. What a nice time to pass together (and bond!). Writing is a great way to hold on to your memories. You can write your stories down in a memory notebook- or why not your new songs! Who knows, you may have an album in the works!
Monday, July 26, 2010
Tuesday, July 13, 2010
Monday, July 12, 2010
We did. We watched soccer all afternoon. We went over to our friends' giant loft, J and C, to see the match. It was perfect for us. My nephew lasted the whole game, reenacting much of the 'drama' in the game. After seeing player after player 'dive' for the ball, he too then (with me) would act out the scene of how it happened. We are glad we stayed to watched the entire game- to even see Spain finally make the winning gooooooal!
Wednesday, June 30, 2010
My friend, Papa M and his son, B flew to South Africa to watch the World Cup. I gave you the link on facebook and hopefully you have already been following them. They started a blog together to both comment on the games they watch live and on TV as well as their travels around the country! It is a wonderful thing to read together with your kids!
Sunday, June 27, 2010
Wednesday, June 9, 2010
Can the World Cup in Soccer be considered a literary event? I think, yes! Absolutely!
My family, especially my sister and I, have become big World Cup watching fans since the 1994 games. We have evening viewing with different friends, filled with food and fun, shouting and cheering at televisions.
This year will be my nephew's first World Cup games. He and his babysitter, Super A, are big soccer players themselves. In the summer, they 'train' together. My nephew loves to read about soccer as well. Let's Play Soccer, last summer, became a favorite to read just before nap time!
For most of the games we all will be at my parent's house and I am sure soccer will be on most of the time! What a great time to learn, not just about soccer but about different places in the world!
For one, the games are being played in South Africa! There will also be 32 different countries participating. Bring your computers out as you are watching the matches! Surf the Internet for photos and short articles of the different places. Research together the places where they are playing the matches and where the teams are from.
Search the Internet for data and statistics about the teams and the players. get to know them - not only by watch the games but by reading information together about the games and the players and the places!
Who will you cheer for? In my family we are big fans of the Brazilian team, but often we root for the underdogs! My nephew will have just gotten back from a vacation in Italy, so my guess is he will have the reigning champs in his heart!
Soccer too can be a literary bonding event! Enjoy the games! Enjoy the reads!
Saturday, June 5, 2010
It's summertime, a perfect time to begin to make your summer reading lists. A great way to think about what to read, is a really good book recommendation.
My friend, Auntie J and I were talking about starting up a book club for ourselves and good friends. But the truth is, many times, we don't all want to read the same book at the same time in time to discuss it at a formal meeting.
What we ended up forming is what we call, The Accidental Book Club. It is a group of us who love to read books and then we pass on to each other the books we especially love. Then we all, after a couple of months end up reading some of the same books! We decided that we should have 'monthly meetings' with the ABC, to be able to have a 'book swap'. Instead of everyone talking about one book, we will talk about and exchange many books!
Accidental Book Club #2
Why not have a literary party with kids. Have them all bring their favorite books that they have recently read, whether it be a board book or picture book they have read a zillion times or a novel they just finished. They can tell each other why they loved it and then swap it for a new book that one of their friends read. Have some snacks on hand. Maybe even the adults can swap books too! Make it a family event! A party of books!
Friday, June 4, 2010
After spending a nice weekend or little vacation with my nephew always sparks a need to remain in communication with him, even long distance. My nephew, as you know, loves to 'skype' his long distance family!
Growing up in Michigan, my dad and I always enjoyed checking the mail for great letters sent from far away. my great-aunt Odie and I for years used to send each other letters. Letters these days, through the US Mailing system is called, snail mail. I was thinking about how nice it would be for my nephew to experience receiving mail, and reading a handwritten letter.
So I've decided, post-trip/visitation, I would send a series of letters for him- via snail mail. My mom made him his own, 'mail box' inside to keep the letters by 'his desk'. Now my nephew has his stacks of letters I've sent him so that he can remember our 'times' together and think of me whenever he sees them and reads them.
Send your loved ones letters! They can hold on to your words, thoughts, and memories even when you live long distance!
Wednesday, June 2, 2010
Little Boy J and I were relaxing in the hammock out back near the pool. We snuggled close and LBJ said, "Wrap me up in a towel!" After he got all wrapped up he said, "I am like a burrito wrapped up in a towel."
I told him, "That sounds like poetry! Let's make a poem!" LBJ smiled and said, "Yeh, let's write a poem in the air."
So we started to 'write one in the air'.
I am wrapped up in towels
like a burrito
sitting in the hammock
looking up at the pine-coned tree
waiting for an airplane to fly by.
Curl up under a tree. Dip your feet in a pool. Walk gingerly around a garden. Write your poems together 'in the air' and let the sound of words fill up the beautiful space between you.
Enjoy! Summer is here!
Tuesday, June 1, 2010
Kids love Jazz music. This CD, Jazz for Kids, is one of my nephew's favorites (and my sister's as well). There are a whole series of biographies of famous jazz artists for young children.
My nephew has a few! Sean Qualls has illustrated many. One about Ella and one about John Coltrane.
Before John Was A Jazz Giant and Skit Skat Raggedy Cat.
Introduce your kids to the sounds and people of Jazz!
Monday, May 31, 2010
Sunday, May 30, 2010
Mentor Mommy S, the kids, and I headed off to Grandma L's house this weekend. We parked ourselves in the back yard, underneath the giant trees, in the hammocks and lounge chairs with water by our sides. We all took out our books. Cousin M came running out of his house to the back where we were with his book in hand. He is reading, Theodroe Boone: Kid Lawyer By John Grisham.
Cousin M, who is a 4th grader and a big fan of Harry Potter, loves it! Says that, "It's the best book he has read in awhile!"
Looking for a great book because the kids you know have read everything? This sounds like a fun one! Don't miss it!
Saturday, May 29, 2010
My friend Writer A, has come out with a new series for kids to read! It is about a little girl who loves office supplies and is ready for her first career! If you are looking for a new series book for your 7-10 years old, this will be a great one!
Enjoy the read!
Monday, May 3, 2010
Little Mai-Mai will soon have a new baby this spring ( we don’t know if it is a boy or girl). We are all preparing her with, 'Big Sister' helpful tips and thinking about ways that she can help out. Often when I give a baby gift I give a gift to both kids. Little Mai-Mai is 2, on her way to 3!. So to see her new sibling, showered with attention and gifts seems really hard to understand, unless she too is celebrated in this new family event.
As the number 2 baby, I am also quite sensitive that number 2 receives some things that feel special and unique for them. 'Hand me downs', from one family to the next, can be given in such a way that can be beautiful and feel new. It is true that they are babies and they don’t know the difference. But just the thought of special present for the baby, that wasn't once the older siblings, will feel special.
Having some new books- a fresh connection to people – something that will bond you and the baby together is also a nice and important statement to make- and to continue making.
When Little Sister L was born- Little Boy J got a couple of new books from me and I gave to LSL, Won't You Be My Kissaroo and Won't You Be My Hugaroo.
LBJ read many of the books alongside Mentor Mommy S and LSL. Bonding over a LSL’s new books. Not so bad having a new girl or boy in the family.
Sunday, May 2, 2010
Well, last summer, Baby C watched his first musical on DVD with his cousins, the Sound of Music. It was an immediate favorite and has become a cornerstone in many conversations in their household. This past December, my nephew watch Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, starring Donnie Osmond, with his friend 8 year old J from North Carolina. They watched it over and over again. Singing and dancing together. They would even perform little shows for the moms to watch. Go, Go, Go Joseph! Was the talk and 'shout' of the town. Everything was about Joseph. My nephew ate it up!
Musical theater! Toddlers love it! Great visual literacy at work! Enjoy the watch! Enjoy the read!
Friday, April 30, 2010
Tuesday, April 27, 2010
As you know, Auntie CC and I took all the girls to see, The Last Song, starring Miley Cyrus. We all loved it. Most of us cried. After the movie we had to discuss the events of the movie.
Sunday, April 25, 2010
As I made the list of books for 2 years olds- I realized I have a bunch of friends this spring who have babies are turning one! Let me just suggest a few winners that my dear little man, my nephew loved on his first birthday.
Busy Doggies. It is actually a whole series of books, A Busy Book Series, that talks about busy animals. Busy Chickens, Busy Horsies, Busy Barnyard Animals.
Off We Go by Jane Yolen, is a beautiful, sing-song book of animals going to grandma's house. Very sweet, very fun.
Choo Choo Cickety Clack By Margaret Mayo, is a fun rhythmic text about trains. Big winner with the train obsessed nephew!