Literary Book Gifts & Discount Code by Melissa

Emma, an Asian female smiling with her hair pulled back and wearing a black sweatjacket. Owner of Literary Book Gifts.

Hi everyone,

I want to introduce you to someone whose products I think you’re going to love!

No, they aren’t children’s books (like my usual posts) but they are a book lovers dream!

And guess what? If you use the Discount Code (that you’ll find later in the blog post), you will get 20% off!!!! Who doesn’t love a discount?!

Now, with no further ado, meet Melissa, the owner and developer of these fine book-related products.

I was inspired to create these products by none other than literature, stories, and characters!

Our favorite children’s books contain some very animated characters, sometimes in words and sometimes in illustrations.

But when the story is over so is the artwork.

By putting these books onto shirts and bags, it brings them out of the covers and into real life.

Here are a few of the designs and products:

Website Link:

The Velveteen Rabbit T-Shirt

blue short sleeved t-shirt with the words The Velveteen Rabbit written on it and a bunny standing on his hind legs pictured

This cute bunny graphic is none other than the famous Velveteen Rabbit by Margery Williams. The tale of a stuffed toy who wishes to become real. This shirt comes in a white print so it looks great on a huge variety of colors.

J. M. Barrie Peter Pan Tote Bag

A tote bag with long handles and the words Peter Pan by J.M. Barrie written on it and a boy holding onto a rope dangling from the side of a cliff and birds flying around all in yellow on a black background

Peter Pan by J. M. Barrie is a story for children and adults alike. This tote bag aims to capture the magical notion of flight and the adventerous nature of children. This tote comes in a green and yellow print in three sizes.

The Wind in the Willows T-Shirt

blue short sleeved t-shirt with the words The Wind in the Willos Kenneth Grahame written on it and a tree with a squirrel sitting underneath pictured on it all letters and pictures in white

The Wind in the Willows by Kenneth Grahame is a lovely read aloud story with some very interesting animals as characters. This t-shirt comes in a cream print with plenty of colors to choose from.

Literary Book Gifts

Thank you, Melissa, for sharing your whimsical wonderful literary-inspired gifts with us today!

And here’s the Discount Code you’ve been waiting for….

WANDALUTHMAN20 is good for 20% off anything in the store, no minimum, and can be used unlimited times!!!

Let’s get shopping people! I know some of you are already thinking about Christmas. Wouldn’t these make great gifts for the book lovers in your life? And while you’re shopping why not pick up something for yourself as well. I know I will!

See you at



Fun Fact Friday with Franky’s Fun Flamingo Facts

Franky the flamingo pictures on a bright purple background
“Flamingos are social birds, they live in colonies of sometimes thousands, this helps in avoiding predators, maximizing food intake, and is better for nesting.”

Happy Day 12 of Fun Fact Friday with Franky the Flamingo!

Franky is the lovable character in Franky the Finicky Flamingo, a children’s picture book about a flamingo who appears to be a picky eater until he discovers the food that is right for him.

We’re almost done with all of our fun facts about flamingos. 😦

I know, I’m sad too, but I’ll look for some more. Or if you know of a resource, please share with me so I can put those together for you and others.

In the meantime, I’ve been developing some more Fun Facts for Fun Fact Friday related to characters from my other books such as Little Birdie’s Birdy Bits by Little Birdie from Little Birdie Grows Up and Tad’s Turtle Tidbits by Tad from A Turtle’s Magical Adventure!

Today’s Fun Fact talks about being a social animal. Humans are social animals too!

Share this Fun Fact with your children and talk about how humans are social, such as the facts that we live in families, we spend holidays with extended family, we go to school in age groups, we play sports in age groups, we do a lot of social activities.

Have your children list more things that are social and then discuss the benefits of these activities and how it would be different if we did them alone.

Please share your results in the comments. I’d love to hear all about them!

And share this post everywhere on social media so everyone can get in on the social fun!!


12 Steps to the Big “K” as in Kindergarten




Hi everyone,

It’s August and that means “Back to School” or for those who have children starting school for the first time, it means “Off to Kindergarten!” This is both an exciting and maybe a bit sad as we let go of our children a bit more.

To help you and your child with this transition is our favorite school psychologist,

Dr. Valerie Allen

Licensed School Psychologist ~ Certified Case Manager


12 Steps to the Big “K”

It’s the last long, hot summer days before your youngster sets out into the world beyond home: Kindergarten. For the next thirteen years, your child will spend as much, if not more, time in school than at home. School will be the springboard to learning, friendships, and ultimately, a career. Help your child prepare for this journey; get him ready for success; encourage him to enjoy discovery, and assist him to meet the challenges which are ahead.


Each youngster arrives at the Kindergarten door with a different level of preparedness. You want your son or daughter to be ready to learn. Some of the basic “readiness” skills are: number concepts, naming colors, identifying shapes, comparing things that are the same and different, speaking and listening vocabulary, and general information about self and the world in which he or she lives.


Here are twelve quick and easy at-home activities you can do with your youngster to enhance these skills:


  1. Cut and paste pictures from magazines; name the items in each picture, make up a funny sentence about each. This will help develop find motor skills and build vocabulary.
  2. Trace around hands, feet, cookie cutters, jar covers, pop sticks and other objects. This is another fine motor activity, enhances creativity, and improves attention to details.
  3. Line up items such as blocks, spoons, cups, and clothespins to create left to right progression and visual patterns. This improves visual perception, sequencing, and organization. It helps children find similarities and differences in objects. It also simulates the left to right eye movement used when actually reading books.
  4. Start with a one-step direction, then a two part, to help children learn to listen, follow directions, and understand sequence. You can help your child follow directions and complete tasks by using auditory and visual clues. For example, use the words, first, next, and then when breaking tasks into various steps. You can also hold up a finger and as you state each step in the direction, stating #1 do …, #2 do …, and #3 do ….. Another helpful tip is to have the child repeat the task(s) back to you. You can ask, “What are you going to do first? And then . :?”
  5. Share your junk mail; open envelopes, sort by size, discuss the picture on the stamps, find letters or numbers and circle them. Children can sort envelopes by size, color, and those with and without windows. They can sort the actual mail by size. You can use a highlighter to find a certain letter, perhaps start with the first letter of your child’s first name. They can cut the stamp out and paste them on pretend mail they can give to family members. You can have your child sort the stamps by their design, for example, flags, animals, flowers, people, and so on. You can extend this by allowing your child to put stamps on your outgoing mail, and let them purchase stamps at the post office.
  6. After a trip to the store, post office, or library, have your child tell something about what he saw on the ride. To practice sequencing, ask: what happened first, next, etc.; write it down and let him draw a picture. This increases vocabulary and organization of time sequences. You can prompt your child by asking, which event happened first, for example, “Did we get dressed first or did we drive in the car first?” Also, ask about people you saw or buildings you passed along the way.
  7. Write or draw in sand, flour, sugar, etc.; Hint: keep it in a zip-lock bag for reuse. Shaving cream is also fun for art expression. This activity begins to stimulate an interest in both art and science. It develops recognition of tactile sensation and differences between solids and liquids. It encourages creativity and free expression. It can also be used to reinforce shapes, letters, and numbers. Additionally, this is another activity for fine motor control.
  8. Cut out pictures from magazines and classify them into groups of food, animals, clothing, toys, sports, and transportation. Using scissors is an important learning tool, and requires fine motor skills. This activity extends and enriches vocabulary. Organization, comparisons, and seeing similarities and differences are reinforced with this activity. You can also name colors and shapes and make up stories to go with the pictures. Two or three pictures can be placed next to each other to create the concept of sentence formation by putting words together.
  9. Find upper and lower case letters in magazines or newspapers match them with each other, spell out simple words, put them in alphabetical order, or cut and paste onto cards. Have your child group tall letters, such as b, d, l, and t and letters with hanging tails, such as g, j, p, q, and y.
  10. Draw a picture on a post card and mail it to a friend, relative, or neighbor. Drawing with pens, pencils, crayons and markers use slightly different motor skills. It develops appropriate grip technique and steadies those small muscles in the hands and fingers. Cutting out a picture and using glue are two more skills for control of fine motor skills.
  11. Draw a line or design with a thick marker along the edge of a piece of paper and use a hole punch to go over the design. Use light weight cardboard from file folders or packing materials. Use a dark marker to make a different shaped line along the four sides and have your child punch holes along the line. You can also draw with a pencil and have your child trace over it with a brightly colored marker. This is a fine motor skill combined with eye-hand coordination. You can also discuss colors and ask where your child has seen this type of line. For example, a shoe string could be a straight line, a cookie is a circle, the kitten’s ears look like triangles, and so on.


  1. Encourage your child to speak in complete sentences. Have him talk about the family pet, a television show, the clothes he has on, a visit to grandma’s, or plan an outing. Use three to five words to complete a sentence instead of a one word response. Ask your child for more details to describe what he or she saw, or what something tasted like or felt like when it was touched.

What is most important? Visit the library every week and read to your child every day. Dedicate these last weeks of summer to enjoy time with your child; make him or her your priority. Invest time in your child now and you will both reap rewards for a lifetime.


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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 for independent readers, “Summer School for Smarties”and “Bad Hair, Good Hat, New Friends.” Oh yes, she has also raised six children!

Fun Fact Friday with Franky’s Fun Flamingo Facts

Franky the flamingo pictured on a bright purple background
“The pink to reddish color of a flamingo’s feathers comes from carotenoids (the pigment that also makes carrots orange) in their diet of plankton, brine shrimp and blue-green algae.”

Day 11 of Fun Fact Friday with Franky the Flamingo!!

Franky is a bright pink flamingo in the children’s picture book, Franky the Finicky Flamingo. He appears to be a picky eater until he discovers the food that is right for him.

Did you know the fun fact above about flamingos and how their food is connected to their beautiful pink color?

Franky didn’t know that either!!

When you look at plankton, brine shrimp, or blue-green algae none of these things appear to be pink or orange or red, do they?


But, when you cook shrimp, the pink/orange/red color appears. Isn’t that cool? The color was there all along, it just needed a little heat for it to appear.

Try this experiment with your child and take some uncooked shrimp, and draw your child’s attention to its color and then either boil the shrimp or cook it in a pan with some butter and watch the color change. Then, enjoy the delicious treat you just made with your child(ren)!!

Cooking with kids couldn’t be better!

Please share this fun fact and activity on social media, so everyone can enjoy it!



Children’s Books About the Lives of Military Children by Florenza Lee

Florenza Denise Lee, author and motivational speaker, wearing a white a blue top off her shoulders, large earrings, and smiling looking up at the camera


Hi, everyone!

Today, I’d like to introduce you to a special lady who writes children’s books that show what it’s like to be a child of a military parent.

Florenza Denise Lee, whose work has been compared to that of Wayne Dyer and Byron Katie, is a Radio Talk Show Host, Published Author, Transformation Speaker, Certified Life Coach, and Children’s Mindfulness Coach.

Florenza facilitates a purpose discovery workshop entitled, Material Matters which guides participants through a session that allows them to identify their purpose/passion and develop their own personal statement of affirmation. She also hosts a women’s weekly book club.

Although Florenza dabbled in poetry while in grade and middle school, she never considered herself a writer, until January 31, 2014, when she woke to write 12 books in just about an hour and a half.

Welcome Home Daddy Love Lexi part of the "Hi, I am..." Book Series written by Florenza Lee and illustrated by Maria Guevara and published by Words to Ponder Publishing Company, LLC

These twelve books are her “Hi, I Am…”

Series of books that highlight the joys,

pains, and pride of our

military families.

The first to be published is Welcome

Home Daddy Love, Lexi.




Words to Ponder Publishing Company, LLC logo with the words written around the edge of the circle and inside is a large spoon that looks like an infinity circle with books inside the spoon and the words "Feeding Your Mind, One Book At A Time," written on the handle of the spoon


It was on January 31, 2014, that she also started her

publishing company, Words to Ponder Publishing

Company, LLC and built her website:



Other books published by her are:

The Tail of Max the Mindless Dog, A Children’s Book on Mindfulness,

The Tail of Max the Mindless Dog book cover with a spotted dog that has a leaf on his nose and head and behind him is a fence, a large bush and some trees written by Florenza Lee and Illustrated by MIchelle Wynn


Barry Bear’s Very Best, Learning to Say No to Negative Influences 

Barry Bear's Very Best, Learning to Say No to Negative Influences by Florenza Denise Lee and Illustrated by MIchelle Wynn

(Spanish and English).



Currently being illustrated are: Two-Thirds is a Whole; Oh My, Goodness, Look at this Big Mess! A Book on Obedience Based on Matthew 21:28 – 32; Acornsville, Land of the Secret Seed Keepers, A Book Based on The Parable of the Talents – Matthew 25: 14 – 30; Micah and Malik’s Super, Awesome, Excellent, Adventure; When Life Gives Us Wind; and O’Kapi. Florenza plans to publish one book every six months. 


Florenza and her husband, US Army Command Sergent Major (Retired) Trefus have been married nearly 37 years and reside in Hampton Roads, Virginia; their two daughters reside in Honolulu, Hawaii. As a military family, they have moved nearly 25 times and now call Hampton, Virginia home.


To purchase her books visit her website:


eBooks are available on


Her Facebook pages are:



Fun Fact Friday with Franky’s Fun Flamingo Facts

Franky the flamingo pictures on a bright purple background
“The flamingo is a filter-feeder, holding its curved beak upside down in the water it sucks in the muddy water and pushes the mud and silt out the side while tiny hair-like filters along the beak called lamellae sieve food from the water.”

Hi everyone and welcome to Day 10 of Fun Fact Friday with Franky the Flamingo!

Franky is the main character in a children’s picture book called Franky the Finicky Flamingo. He appears to be a picky eater until he discovers the food that is right for him.

What if you had to eat with water running out of your mouth like a flamingo? That would be kind of messy!!

But, here’s something else you can try with the help of an adult…using a strainer in the sink, try straining different foods such as pasta; fruit; and/or veggies.

Of course, enjoy eating the foods once they’ve been strained!

Now, if you want to have more fun, take a strainer (with your parents’ permission) into the tub and try straining water-proof toys; or take it out to your sandbox and scoop up your toys out of the sand and strain away the sand!

Think of other things that would be fun to strain and give them a try too!

I’d love to hear what you’ve done and even better, if you’d share pictures!! I’m not sure if you can upload a picture to the comment box, but you can send them to me and if you give permission for me to share them, I’ll upload them here on my blog. Just email here

Enjoy your “straining” time!



Reading with Franky the Finicky Flamingo

There is nothing like spending time with children to put a big smile on your face!!

I had that opportunity this past Friday when I was invited to a local Mom’s Group to read Franky the Finicky Flamingo.


I should have counted the children but I lost track after 8. They were all about 3 years old and under. They played with the toys available and interacted with each other. It was little girl with gray t-shirt on with a pink flamingo on the front and a saying that says, "Party Like a Flock Star"super cute! The host’s daughter was very outgoing and engaged everyone.

There was a little girl who was shy (I, too, was shy as a child so I knew how she felt) and she didn’t want me talking to her but she did eventually get over the fact that I was in the vicinity and started playing with the host’s child. She had an adorable flamingo shirt on for the event. See picture to the right.

One girl had gorgeous curls and so did one boy.  I love curls!

There was laughter and tears (when someone’s finger got caught on something or a head bumped) but those were short-lived.  Each Mom knew their child’s cry and they were quickly attended to and comforted and then went back to playing while at the same time, Moms were catching up with each other. Ah, the joy’s of being a parent! It was beautiful!

But, this is what parenting is all about right?! There’s stress but there’s laughter and hugs and quiet moments and loud moments. There’s times when you think you can’t take it one more moment and then your child looks at you and says in their sweet angelic voice, “I love you, Mommy.” That’s when you realize you wouldn’t want it any other way.

I can say that because I’m the Mom of a grown child. I remember the days of having a young child in the house. Toys are never quite all the way put up because they are in the midst of being played with. There’s bottles on the sink, there’s projects left undone. You feel like you’re not going to live through this time. But, you do. And when you look back, it’s the best time of your life!

I loved the energy of the host’s home. It was bright with hand-painted pictures hung up on the wall with tape. There were bright colors and kid-friendly chairs. It was perfect!

After about 30 minutes of playtime and Mom’s visiting, we made our way to the living room. The 3 year old children sat right in front of me and kept their eyes on me the whole time. The younger ones played nearby. A couple of children sat in their Mom’s lap.

Wanda Luthman, children's author, reading picture book Franky the Finicky Flamingo to children
Faces are pixalated to protect identity

I read my book and interacted with the children by asking questions and clarifying a few big words. I think they enjoyed it! They clapped afterwards.

I took the opportunity to share my upcoming Halloween book (Hayley the Halloween Cat) with the children and they are definitely interested in seeing it once it gets all done and made into an actual book!

I’m so grateful that I was able to spend some time with these wonderful women who value reading to their children and understand the need for community with other Moms. It was heart-warming to see the next generation parenting so well. I have great faith in the children coming up, even in this crazy world.

These children are loved. Their parents are supportive. And play is paramount.

I can’t think of a better place to spend my time. I’m thankful that my books will be part of the fabric of their lives to encourage them to be the best little people they can be! I have no doubt they will be wonderful!

Franky the Finicky Flamingo picture book cover by Wanda Luthman and illustrated by Mara Reitsma showing Top Shelf Nomination Award and Mom's Choice Award emblems
Available on Amazon

Fun Fact Friday with Franky’s Fun Flamingo Facts

Franky the flamingo pictured on a bright purple background
“Quite often flamingos will stand on one leg, with the other tucked under the body. Its not fully understood why they do this but it is believed to conserve body heat.”

Welcome to Day 9 of Fun Fact Friday with Franky the Flamingo!!

Franky is a brightly colored flamingo who appears to be a picky eater until he discovers the food that is right for him.

Do you have a picky eater in your family? Or know someone who does?

Share this fun book with them and see their eating habits change!

Last week, we tried standing on one foot. How did that go? I’d love to hear what you tried and how it worked out. Please share in the comments below.

If a flamingo tucks his foot up to conserve body heat, what about us–do we feel warmer when our limbs are tucked up close to our body?

Share today’s fun fact and experiment with your children by tucking your legs up close to your body and see if that changes how warm or cool you feel.

Then, try it with your arms tucked up close to your body.

Does one set of limbs tucked up feel warmer or cooler to you than another?

Try tucking ALL of your limbs up close to your body–how do you feel now?

Can you think of other ways to keep yourself warm or cool yourself off?

If you enjoy today’s fun fact and activity, please share with others on your social media channels so everyone can have fun too!!


Shy vs. Social Children


Dr. Valerie Allen

Licensed School Psychologist. Rehabilitation Counselor


Shy vs Social

New situations can be intimidating for all of us, children and adults alike. There is an element of emotional risk involved when we deal with the unfamiliar. There is the possibility of rejection, judgment or criticism. Children especially feel awkward and perhaps shy when encountering new situations. They have not yet experienced many of the successes and positive outcomes that adults have learned from social interaction.

Encourage your child to participate in new experiences which will help them:

  • Learn new skills
  • Gather information
  • Make new friends
  • Build confidence
  • Discover their talents and strengths
  • Work with different authority figures
  • Follow rules
  • Meet people with common interests
  • Meet deadlines
  • Improve organization skills
  • Overcome challenges
  • Help others
  • Develop a sense of community
  • Take pride in their accomplishments

Hobbies and volunteer experiences provide excellent opportunities. Some suggestions are after school clubs, scouts, sports, church youth groups, or community service organizations. Volunteers are welcome at libraries, animal shelters, and walking for a cause. Groups often come together for the benefit of others, making hygiene packets for the homeless, collecting picture books for young children, donating canned goods to food banks, helping senior citizens with lawn care and home repairs and caring for animals.


Help your youngster be more confident, outgoing and socially aware as he or she grows into becoming a successful adult.


# # #


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!