Happy Veteran’s Day everyone!

Hi everyone,

Monday, November 11th is Veteran’s Day in the US.

I’m super excited to be celebrating this year because my step-son is just returning from serving the past 6 months in Afghanistan!!

He left just before Easter.

His Dad went into the hospital right around the same time. We didn’t know at the time that his Dad would not come home from the hospital.

6 weeks later, his Dad passed away but he wasn’t allowed to come home for the funeral.

Thankfully, he spoke to his Dad on the phone a week before he passed.

His baby girl turned 2 while he was away.

His wife kept comforted their daughter who stood at the front window and patted the glass window repeating, “Daddy, Daddy…” wanting her Daddy to come home.

His wife worked and kept house and all the usual things you have to do plus all the chores that would normally be his.

She evacuated during a hurricane–packing up all their belongings and their child and leaving their home, hoping and praying their home would be safe when she returned.

The sacrifice is real.

I’m so proud of you, my step-son and my step-daughter-in-law!!

And I’m so very thankful for your service and for everyone’s service–home or abroad.

I love you!

And your sacrifice and that of your closest family does not go unnoticed.

Welcome home! Welcome home! Welcome home!

And to my dear, sweet husband who served in the navy, may you rest in peace knowing your son is keeping us safe.

I’ll be flying our flag high and proud today!

Little Duke; A Coloring Book for Kids

Hi everyone,

Today, I’m bringing you a different kind of a children’s book–it’s a coloring book.

Here to tell you more about it, is the author, Mike Roof…

Hi, I am Mike Roof, for six years I have been working an office job, day in and day out. At first, it was ok, everything was stable and I didn`t mind spending some extra time at work to get things done.

It all turned around in 2017 when I and my girlfriend for eight years decided to get married. Don`t get me wrong it was one of the best decisions in my life and I am very happy about it. Right on our honeymoon, we found out a wonderful thing – we are going to have a baby. The first thing that circled my mind as – we are ready for this, I have a stable job and the payroll is ok, nothing to worry about.

Next nine months flew by and soon after we welcomed into our family a son. At first, everything went the same route, I went to work and my wife spent time with our son and in the evenings and on the weekends we did something together.

After a while, I got a promotion, which I was very happy for, but I didn`t realize that I will have to work, even more, thus taking time away from my family.

At one of those times while working long hours I thought to myself – what are those values that I want to give to my son, I could think of a lot of them, but one thing I was certain was I have to give my son time with me, because this is one thing I will never get back.

So I decided I have to move away from this office job and spend time with my son.

While thinking of ways to support my family and yet spend time with my son I thought that I could write a book for him including some values of life I think would benefit him.

So I did, but this book wasn`t very successful, but I knew I will have an interactive way to teach my son valuable life lessons.

After my first book I didn`t do much for a while and then I came up with an idea – I should make a coloring book for my son, this will excel his creativeness. I started my work on this book and had a thought – okay, he will color it but how will this improve my time with him, thus I made my mind he can color it, but we can think of a story by ourselves.

This is where my inspiration for this book came.

Facebook page – https://www.facebook.com/Little-Duke-Childrens-book-121585269245486/

Amazon – https://www.amazon.com/Little-Duke-Coloring-Mike-Roof/dp/1696933811/

Thank you so much, Mike, for sharing with us a little about yourself and what inspired you to create this ingenious coloring book that not only you and your son can enjoy together, but for sharing it with everyone else so they can do the same with their own children!

And thank you, everyone, for spending time reading my blog today.

Be sure and check out Mike’s book and grabbed one for that special child in your life. It would make a great holiday present!

Hayley the Halloween Cat and the Search for Bitty the Bat

Hello, everyone,

I wanted to take this Monday and share (i.e. shamelessly plug! LOL) my own book with you that is now available in paperback, Hayley the Halloween Cat & the Search for Bitty the Bat.

In my children’s picture books, I like to address (in a subtle way) a positive social/emotional issue. I utilize my 30+ years of counseling experience to infuse my stories with more than just a cute character that children love.

In this book, I show friends joining Hayley in her search for her friend, Bitty, which displays teamwork.

It also shows how fun it is to surprise your friends, like Bitty does.

And the special bond of friendship.

Wouldn’t we all like a friend that would come looking for us, if we were missing?

Your children (or favorite child in your life) will love Hayley and Bitty and all the fun, non-spooky characters of Halloween such as a ghost, a monster, a witch, and twin spiders named Spit and Spat as one Amazon reviewer says, “ I like that Hayley and the Bat are best friends. I also like the ghost and the rhyming “ Karolina, age 5

You can get your copy on Amazon today!

And please share on your social media channels so others can find this fun Halloween book!

And thank you for following my blog! You are what make blogging fun!

Wanda’s Whimsical Wall of Book Characters

Have you ever had a dream that finally came true?

That’s what happened to me this weekend.

When my daughter was little, wall murals were the rage in nurseries. I didn’t have the talent to paint one myself or income to pay someone to paint one, so I did without and unfortunately, so did she.

But, when I became a children’s author, I had this growing dream inside of me to one day have a mural in my writing office of all of my book characters.

I love whimsy and believe that every house needs a bit of whimsy. That’s why I re-did my daughter’s bathroom, after she left for college, in a mermaid theme.

But, my office, well, there’s no holds barred for whimsy! This is my room to sit and be inspired, so the more whimsy the better.

I reached out to an artist/author friend of mine about painting a mural in my office about a month ago and she was unfortunately too busy to do it, but she gave me the name of someone she knew who did great work.

Her and I met a few weeks ago and I showed her the wall I wanted painted, my books with pictures of the characters, and kind of an idea of the scene. We set a date and I waited.

Here’s the blank wall

I was like a kid waiting for Christmas. I was so excited!

Finally, the day came and that was this past Saturday. She showed up and we went over again, what I was thinking and she set out to work. I had a few chores to do so I set about completing those. She came to get me and this is what I saw…the sketch she drew with chalk.

The sketch

I was blown away how each character looked exactly like they do in my books and how they all looked somehow liked they ‘worked’ together in a scene! It was even better than I imagined!!

I had to run an errand so I hopped in the shower and took one more peek before I left.

the partial paint

It was so exciting to see the colors go on and the green grass and bushes coming to life!

I went out on my errand and came home to this, she was nearly done!

nearly there

I was so excited to see the Princess and her castle done, along with the unicorn! It was like a little fantasy picture in my own house. My Dad said, “It looks like something at Disney.”

Here that Disney, look over here and find some inspiration!

I’m going to upload the video for you to see her in progress…

https://www.facebook.com/plugins/video.php?href=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.facebook.com%2Fwluthman%2Fvideos%2F1121846651334582%2F&show_text=0&width=267&#8243; width=”267″ height=”476″ style=”border:none;overflow:hidden” scrolling=”no” frameborder=”0″ allowTransparency=”true” allowFullScreen=”true”></iframe>

And here’s the final product….

Ta Da!
I think she’s incredibly talented!

Even though she came ahead and we talked about things and I showed her pictures, she didn’t come with a drawing all ready made up or anything.

She just went to work drawing free hand the day she came and then she stood and painted all day, only taking one break!

She clearly loves what she does!!

Now, I’m not meaning to slight her by not giving you her name. She asked me not to. Crazy, right?!

But, I cannot thank her enough for making my long time dream come true and bringing each of my whimsical characters to life on my office wall in a beautiful, magical scene that will inspire me for years to come.

Thank you, my new friend, and thank you all of you for being part of my author blogging life! I appreciate each and every one of you.

Halloween: Tricks & Treats for Learning

Welcome to our favorite School Psychologist, Dr. Valerie Allen! She’s here today to give some tips on how to turn this Halloween into an opportunity for learning…

Dr. Valerie Allen

Licensed School Psychologist.

Halloween: Tricks & Treats for Learning

Those “teachable moments” can happen any time, any place, on any occasion. As we move into the holiday season, one such event is Halloween. Aside from your personal, school, or neighborhood activities, Halloween can be a prime learning opportunity. Here are six ways to turn Halloween into an enjoyable learning experience to share with your child.

  1. Vocabulary:  There are many words related to Halloween which can be categorized as nouns or verbs. Words can be alphabetized. They can be used to create word pictures or to find rhyming words. They can be sorted by number of syllables. Some words to consider: black cat, boo, broom, candy, costume, Fall, Jack-o-lantern, October, pumpkin, scary, treat, trick, and witch.
  2. Big Word into Little Words:  Using only the letters in the word Halloween, make as many small words as you can in five minutes. You can offer points for the total number of words, with a bonus for words of five letters or more. Some of these words include: he, hen, hall, all, an, law, lean, low, eon, no, own, we, and when.
  3. Real vs. Make Believe:  Encourage critical thinking about fact and fiction. Discuss fairy tales and characters in children’s books. Decide which parts of a story are about real things and which parts are pretend. This can also be an opportunity to discuss social issues about truth, misinformation, lies, and deception.
  4. Creative Imagination:  Talk about costumes and who they represent. Discuss how people dress in different countries and those who wear uniforms. Talk about the difference between styles of dress and costumes. Use a story character and make up an adventure story. Discuss the purpose of clothing to offer protection from the elements, safety, and identification with others in a group or organization.
  5. Cultural beliefs.  Research the history of the celebration of Halloween. There are significant religious, cultural, and agricultural roots in the celebration of Halloween. This can open discussions about differing beliefs, understanding, and tolerance. Encourage artwork to illustrate different cultures.
  6. Food Celebrations.  There are certain foods we enjoy during specific holidays. You can find simple, no-cook recipes for children to make and enjoy together. Discussions can include favorite holiday foods, their taste and fragrance. You can talk about the ingredients used in pumpkin pie, apple pie, and mincemeat pie; which items are the same and which are different. Candies can be counted, sorted by texture or color, or by flavor. Other foods might include maple syrup, apples, cinnamon, and cider. This can also lead to a discussing of sharing food and candy with others in the community.

Halloween can be used to open doors to leaning, not just for those cute little Trick or Treaters!

# # #

Dr. Valerie Allen is a child psychologist and author in Melbourne, FL.  She has published two children’s books, “Summer for Smarties and Bad Hair, Good Hat, New Friends

Wild Woolly by Phillip Reed

Hello everyone,

Today, I bring you a fun book about a black cat and if you know anything about me, you know I love black cats!

Here’s the author, Phillip Reed, to tell us about his book…

The story of Wild Woolly was born of three words. For me the fun part of writing a book is bringing all the pieces together and making them fit, and I wanted a challenge so I asked a friend to give me three random words, or things and I would make them into a story.
SPOILERS AHEAD!! – They gave me “Bully”, “Lion” and (because they REALLY wanted to challenge me) “Hospital water jug”.
The result is this book which I am very proud of because I wrote it in a single night (the illustrations of course took a lot longer). It tells the story of Woolly, a cat who treats everyone badly, thinking that because he is so big he can do what he likes. Of course, in the end he learns a lesson the hard way and changes his ways.
As I have grown to appreciate that people aren’t just born bad, that their surroundings and upbringing can have a great bearing on how they turn out as adults, I am now writing a sympathetic prequel book which explains how he became so naughty in the first place I also have plans to explore the character more in the future. Although, at present I have another 57 children’s picture book ideas demanding my attention.
I enjoyed “The Three Word Challenge” and as I like to encourage others to be creative, my intention is to offer a competition for children to provide me with three words of their own and if they get chosen, I will turn them into a story with the contributor receiving a special acknowledgement in the book.

A little bit about Phillip:
After failing miserably to impress girls at high school with drawings of cute cartoon animals, Phillip put aside his dreams of being an artist and took on what his mother described as “a proper job”.

He then spent the next 30 years working in various administrative, and management positions but never being able to repress the creative impulse, he gained qualifications in art and creative writing.

Phillip has since been published in magazines and has written and illustrated children’s books.

He lives in the small Essex village of Mistley, overlooking the River Stour and spends his spare time with his two greatest loves, his children, and his irrepressible imagination. To contact Phillip, email info@phillipreed.net. Or visit his website phillipreed.net.

Author Facebook page – https://www.facebook.com/phillipreedbooks
Instagram page – https://www.instagram.com/philliplreed/
You can purchase Wild Woolly from Amazon in kindle or paperback formats:
https://www.amazon.co.uk/Wild-Woolly-Three-Word-Challenge-ebook/dp/B07X29QZ8P
https://www.amazon.com/Wild-Woolly-Three-Word-Challenge-ebook/dp/B07X29QZ8P

Thank you, Phillip, for sharing about Wild Woolly! I love a book with a positive message for children.

Thank you, everyone, for reading my blog today and please pick up a copy of Phillip’s book for your favorite child and share with others so more people have the wonderful opportunity of discovering this adorable book!

Have Fun With Children’s Poetry by Leslie Halpern

Have Fun with Children’s Poetry

By Leslie C. Halpern

When I tell people that I’m president of the Orlando Area Poets, write children’s poetry books, perform with a poetry ensemble, and once worked with a Shakespearean acting troupe, they usually roll their eyes and tell me they don’t like poetry. That’s usually because as children they never learned to understand the language of poems.

Adults can make poetry fun and educational for children by introducing age-appropriate poems to youngsters in entertaining ways. Infants respond to hearing rhymed poems and looking at illustrations. As soon as a child can speak, he or she can explain what pictures mean and guess what happens next. By being active listeners, children learn to decode language at an early age and develop a life-long love of words. Adding sounds effects as you read to children (such as making funny sounds, reading with an accent, including finger snaps or claps, or adding a musical instrument for emphasis) also can increase their enjoyment.

Blending Concrete and Abstract

When children become accustomed to the language, they can appreciate one of poetry’s most beautiful elements: blending concrete (what’s experienced through our senses) and abstract (emotional truth without physical proof). 

Available on Amazon

The poem “Chew Chew Train” from my book, Shakes, Cakes, Frosted Flakes: Funny Children’s Poems About Table Manners combines concrete images (strained spinach, ice cream) with abstract ideas (playing tricks, comparing a mouth to a tunnel). This humorous look at parent-child interactions at the dinner table offers a child’s point of view about adult manipulation.

Chew Chew Train

“Open wide for the choo choo train,”
my parents sometimes say.
There is no train, just spinach strained,
but I open anyway.

A spoon with spinach doesn’t look
like any kind of choo choo.
It’s the oldest trick in the book,
like kissing someone’s boo boo.

The train still comes and blow its steam,
but now the tunnel shuts.
I wait for spoons of soft ice cream,
caramel, and nuts.

Poetic Devices for Young Children

Most children enjoy thinking about symbols and metaphors (used as figurative language in poetry), and finding patterns in the rhyme scheme. They also find comfort and gain confidence from anticipating rhyme and repeating rhythm of traditional children’s poems. Rhyme and rhythm make memorization easier, as do various forms of humor, including hyperbole, puns, and sarcasm.

For example, in the poem “Race Car Bed” from my book Silly Sleepytime Poems, humor and figurative language combine two opposite ideas: racing and sleeping. Inspired by a real-life race car bed, the poem includes a predictable end-rhyme scheme, detailed descriptions, a sound effect, and a surprise ending to keep young readers engaged.

Race Car Bed

My parents bought me
a race car bed
with bold black stripes,
and a frame of red.

It’s built to look
like a sports car. Zoom!

It fits perfectly
in my bedroom.

Now here’s the problem
that I’m facing.
As I lie in bed,
my mind is racing.

Writing Their Own Poetry

Reading and reciting poetry encourages children to write their own. Ask children to write simpler forms, such as haiku (17 syllables, with three lines divided into 5, 7, 5 syllables each line), rhymed couplets (two lines with rhyming final words), and free verse (no required rhyme or rhythm).

To enhance their poetry, children can draw pictures or use artwork and photographs from magazines to illustrate poems. Compile their best poems or their favorite poems by other poets into a hand-written book, a booklet printed from the computer, or a blank book purchased from the store. Let the child “perform” this poetry in front of family and friends, using silly props and percussion instruments, including tambourines, bells, and drums, to increase the fun. The important part of this process – and what will be appreciated most – is for parents and children to explore poetry together.

Available on Amazon


Award-winning poet Leslie C. Halpern is the author of Poodles & Doodles: Poems about Dogs, Silly Sleepytime Poems, and the Funny Children’s Poems three-book series: Frogs, Hogs, Puppy Dogs; Shakes, Cakes, Frosted Flakes; and Rub, Scrub, Clean the Tub. Leslie also writes nonfiction books for adults about the entertainment industry. All her books are available on www.Amazon.com and through her website at www.LeslieHalpern.com. Find her on Facebook at www.facebook.com/funnychildrenspoems

Five Things All Children Need

Hi everyone,

This week, I’m having our favorite school psychologist share with you some basic “building blocks” to provide a strong foundation for your children in Five Things All Children Need.

Dr. Valerie Allen

Licensed School Psychologist ~ Certified Case Manager

Five Things All Children Need

As children develop, they learn about emotions, attitudes, values, and interpersonal skills. They acquire these attributes when their needs are met by significant people in their lives. Children follow good examples and they learn from bad examples. They begin to understand the part their behavior plays in the things that happen to them – actions and outcomes. To create a good emotional balance, youngsters need to develop these skills:

  1. Survival: These are physiological needs, basic to sustaining life: food, clothing, and shelter. Related needs include: warmth, exercise, rest, and good  health. Typically, these needs are met in day-to-day routines of child rearing. As an infant, you bath and feed your child. You take him or her for medical check ups. As children mature, you help them become independent, teaching them to do things on their own, such as, getting dressed, preparing food, dental hygiene, and so on. You help the infant survive and you teach the growing child self-help skills for his own survival. As a teenage and young adult, he or she will earn money and learn how to use it for basic survival needs.
  2. Safety: Children need to feel safe and secure; they need protection within their environment. Children need to be safe from hazardous conditions and dangerous situations. They need to know those in charge will not harm them and won’t allow them to be harmed by others. They need to know what is expected of them and how to live confidently in society to avoid conflict and encourage harmony. They need to be able to depend on those in charge to have order, routines, and predictability.
  3. Emotional: Children have a need to feel loved and accepted. They need “unconditional regard,” that is, love with no strings attached. They need to have a unique place within the family unit. They also need to “belong” within social groups, such as a class or a team. They need to share membership with a larger group and be able to fit in. This encourages sharing and mutual support and the concept of team spirit, surrendering our own needs to meet the needs of the group or team. This need is met when children participate in sports, music, scouts, church, or hobby groups. They learn how to initiate and maintain friendships on different levels with different people. They need to feel comfortable and accepted when joining and participating in group activities.
  4. Self Esteem: Children need to feel good about themselves. They need to believe they are liked and accepted by others. They need to develop a positive world view with the expectation they will do well and be successful. Children meet this need by their accomplishments and the encouragement of others. They earn respect, gain appreciation, and receive positive attention, when they engage in  appropriate social behaviors. They need to feel confident, with a realistic understanding of their strengths and talents.
  5. Efficacy: Children need to do the best they can, to meet their full potential. They need to be capable and productive, always striving to learn and do new things. This involves curiosity, self-expression, taking risks, and facing failure. Children need to understand that making an effort to do something is worthy, regardless of the outcome. They need to see change as an opportunity for growth.

All children need to acquire, use, and understand these basic skills to develop a feeling of control in their lives and maximize their potential.

 # # #

Dr. Valerie Allen is a child psychologist in private practice. She presents seminars for parents and professionals in the field of child development and has published two children’s books,  “Summer School for Smarties”  and  “Bad Hair, Good Hat, New Friends.”  Oh yes, she has also raised six children!

Shadow and Friends Children’s Book is An Ocean of Fun!

Multi-Award Winning Author, Mary Schmidt

Hello, everyone, today I want to introduce you to someone very special. I “met” this author online and then we both wound up at the same awards ceremony in Miami a couple of years ago and actually met in person. I read her heart-wrenching personal story about the loss of her son and she is one amazing person. But, today, I bring you one of her children’s books that I know you’re going to love–Shadow and Friends.

Mary, please tell us about your book…

“Join Shadow and Friends on a wonderful snorkeling, submarine, and pirate adventure just off the coast of Florida, visiting two Florida Keys in the Atlantic Ocean. Pilot Squirrel flies them all to Miami aboard the Rodent Road Adventures Jet, then they take a taxi, driven by a Florida coastal squirrel named Two Cut, to the Florida Keys.

The squirrels and both dogs learn how to snorkel and about lots of sea life including sea creatures such as sea turtles, angelfish, parrotfish, barracuda, and rays! The starfish, beautiful coral, sea grasses, shells and palm trees are amazing.

Uncle Stubby takes a small submarine to find treasure at an old shipwreck site. They dress up in pirate clothing and play as if they were pirates, near a play shipwreck, and discover a treasure chest of walnuts and dog treats!

Add in a sandcastle, mermaids, palm trees, and a lighthouse and a true ocean adventure awaits your child.

Children learn how to snorkel, and about marine life and their imaginations will take over during the pirate play. Your child’s imagination will bloom as they read this book or as they listen while it is read to them, and it’s perfect for story time.

See your child’s eyes light up at the photography, digital artworks and squirrel antics.”

Available on Amazon

Reader’s Favorite Review:

“Shadow and Friends Ocean Adventure: Shadow and Friends, Book 8 is an animal adventure storybook for children written by Mary L Schmidt, S. Jackson, and A. Raymond. Uncle Stubby had exciting news for his wife and son about their friend Zippy’s adventures in Florida. Zippy and his girlfriend, Patches, had gone snorkeling and had a grand time. Soon, every squirrel around knew about Zippy’s adventure, and so did Shadow and Max, their two dog friends. The rodent friends and their canine companions decided to go on their own snorkeling adventure, and they took Pilot Squirrel’s Rodent Road Adventures Jet to Miami, Florida. From there, it was a short trip to the Florida Keys where they lounged on the beach, snorkeled, and Uncle Stubby even traveled on a small submarine. They visited Key West and Key Largo and were amazed at the colorful and unique underwater creatures they saw. The friends also played pirate and they found a treasure chest filled with delectable treats for squirrels and dogs. This had to be one of their best adventures yet.

Shadow and Friends Ocean Adventure brings readers right onto the beach and into the tropical waters off the Florida Keys as Shadow and friends have a grand new adventure. The authors’ story is fun, and kids learn about ecology and snorkeling along the way. As I read this, I wished that I too had access to Pilot Squirrel’s Rodent Road Adventures Jet and was even now winging my way towards the tropical waters of Florida Keys. The illustrations are wonderful, especially those showcasing the marine life to be found when snorkeling, and the characters are convincing and fun. Shadow and Friends Ocean Adventure is most highly recommended.”

More about Mary…

M. Schmidt is a retired registered nurse who won many awards in her career; a member of the Catholic Church and has taught kindergarten Catechism. She has worked in various capacities for The American Cancer Society, March of Dimes, Cub and Boy Scouts, (son, Gene, is an Eagle Scout), and sponsored trips for high school children’s music. She loves all forms of art but mostly focuses on the visual arts; amateur photography, traditional, and graphic art as her disabilities allow. More recently, she loves to devote precious time with her grandchildren, and husband Michael.

You can follow her on these social media sites…

Twitter


 Her Blog

Facebook

Art Gallery

Thank you for stopping in today! Please leave a comment and share on your social media sites for others to discover this fun and educational children’s book.