Blog Archives

Simple Activities For Toddlers

It can be difficult to find activities to please a moody toddler and even more challenging to find something to do with only what you have on hand at home. In addition, if activities are too involved, require oddball materials, or take too long to complete, things can go downhill for a frantic parent very quickly. Fortunately, Lisa Forsythe offers parents, caregivers, and teachers of children ages 2-5 a fantastic how-to guide on quick and easy activities that hold interest and provide important lessons at the same time.

Simple Activities for Toddlers: A Practical Play-at-Home Handbook for Parents, by Lisa Forsythe, is a real lifesaver for families as well as teachers and caregivers. Cover to cover, the author has filled this handy book with step-by-step instructions for engaging projects and quick activities to keep toddlers’ little hands busy in a constructive and not-so-scary-for-parents manner!

This book is a gold mine for things to do on weekends and rainy days. I was especially taken with the format of the activities. Forsythe leaves no parent guessing–she lays out every activity in very simple terms, includes easy-to-access materials, and shows it all in lovely photographs that further excite kids as well as adults. I think my favorite activity is the Sea Creature Craft–so easy and just classically cute.

As a teacher, I can’t say enough about Forsythe’s attention to detail with reading, math, and writing skills. The more parents and caregivers can do at home with toddlers, the better off their children will be once they start kindergarten. These activities are rich with opportunities for little ones to practice those skills side by side with their parents–and none of it will feel like work to the toddlers.

Simple Activities for Toddlers: A Practical Play-at-Home Handbook for Parents, by Lisa Forsythe was written with 2-5 year olds in mind. I can see many of these activities fitting smoothly into elementary classrooms as part of thematic units. From cardboard boxes to noodles and muffin tins, the author keeps it simple and stress-free. Forsythe has given parents and teachers a true treasure!

Pages: 158 | ASIN: B08YS62P5Q

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The Rainbow Blots : A Children’s Storytime Book About Rainbow Colours and Learning Through Play

The Rainbow Blots follows a family of color blots that have a colorful day of play, educating readers along the way, until they get tired and head off to bed. Author Carlie Wright has provided readers with a wonderfully creative children’s picture book that teaches young readers about different colors and shows them how those colors exist around them.

The art in this imaginative children’s book is very cute, with vibrant illustrations filling each page. This gives kids plenty to look at as parents and teachers read the story to them. Each color of the rainbow is represented and each is given its own charming personality. Each color states what they love, and it just so happens to be related to their color, and this provides an opportunity for children to think of other things that are the same color. This makes The Rainbow Blots a fantastically engaging educational tool. My child kept giggling at all the cute things on the pages. My favorite was the orange pumpkin, so cute!

This is a perfect picture book for children in kindergarten and first grade as it teaches different colors, color identification, and helps build kids imagination. I can easily see these delightful Rainbow Blots going on many more color-oriented adventures. The Rainbow Blots is an adorable children’s book that educates as well as it entertains.

Pages: 19 | ASIN: B08TMVNP21

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My Buddy Knows

Keith Wheeler
Keith Wheeler Author Interview

My Buddy Knows… Letters is an educational picture book that teaches children about the alphabet in a fun and playful way. What inspired you to write this book?

I was helping my high school aged daughter study for a chemistry test and we were using flash cards. Afterwards, I was marveling at how often we use flash cards to test our memory.

That got me thinking, “Why don’t we use flash cards for teaching early concepts?” My Buddy Knows series was born.

Fun fact: each of the “Buddies” in the books are named after my children.

I loved the art in this book. What was the art process like in putting this book together?

Surprisingly, all of the art in the books were acquired from a site that offers royalty-free images, approved for commercial use, free of charge.

It was a case study, of sorts, for my YouTube channel for authors, Keith Wheeler Books. I wanted to prove that you didn’t have to spend a lot of money to produce a book, if you focused on quality content and provided your reader with an amazing experience.

How does this book help young children with their alphabet comprehension?

The simple answer is that it makes learning fun. It’s like a game. Plus, as you turn the page, Josh(the “buddy” in the book) pops up in different places.

I can’t tell you how many parents tell me that their child loves to see where he’s going to pop up next.

This is volume one in the My Buddy Knows series. What are the other books in the series and what is the goal for the series overall?

There are currently 4 volumes in the My Buddy Knows series. They are:
My Buddy Knows Letters
My Buddy Knows Numbers
My Buddy Knows Colors & Shapes
My Buddy Knows Baby Animals

I’m also in the process of creating a spin-off series: My Buddy Knows Languages. I’m in the process of creating the first 5 books in the series:

My Buddy Knows Spanish
My Buddy Knows French
My Buddy Knows German
My Buddy Knows Italian
My Buddy Knows Japanese

Author Links: GoodReads | Twitter | Facebook | Website

Say GOODBYE to boring old “A is for Apple” alphabet books and say HELLO to the exciting, playful world of My Buddy Knows Letters!


Learning the alphabet? My Buddy can help. Big, bright illustrations catch the eyes of youngsters, delighting them and grabbing their attention. The unique flash card approach helps them to learn their alphabet while building their confidence, turning learning into a fun game.

Your preschooler will look forward to learning their letters with this fun and unique book.

My Buddy Knows the answers… Do you?

Tilly and Torg – New Kids At School

Tilly and Torg - New Kids At School by [Crawley, Connie Goyette]

Tilly and Torg New Kids at School is a wonderful children story about two monsters that are intrigued by a yellow school bus out their window and decide to find out where it’s taking all the children. They soon find out that the bus is going to a place called school. Tilly and Torg meet many nice people at school learn all about the things that go on there.

This is a wonderful children’s story to read to any child that is starting school and worried, or interested in, what happens there. As Tilly and Torg go through a full day of school they, like many kindergarteners, find themselves surprised and confused at some of the things that go on, but all the while they are open minded and ask questions. The art in this book is cute and filled with hidden gems, like the book Tilly and Torg carry around “Monster Rule Book For Living With Humans”, that beg for a second read through. The books is suitable for new readers or for parents to read to children as the art will keep the kids plenty busy as parents read them the story.

Although the art was cute and fitting, I thought the text could have been bigger or bold, which would have helped it stand out more when the text was on top of the images. This story offers so many opportunities for parents to discuss the different aspects of school with their kids. I didn’t realize that going to school comes with its own lingo; like ‘lost and found’ or ‘time for the bell’, and this book helps explain what these terms mean. At the end of the book is a little quiz that helps with reading comprehension and there is also a vocabulary list that is helpful for kids to review.

With beautiful art, cute monsters, and an easy to understand story, I think this book is a must read for any child that is about to start school.

Pages: 24 | ASIN: B07H52WP2V

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Frolicking Friends

Frolicking Friends by [Welsh, Karen Leis]

Frolicking Friends by Karen Leis Welsh is the story of a little boy who goes on a search for all of his animal friends. All of the animals have disappeared and he can’t find them anywhere. He searches high and low for mostly creepy, crawly creatures. The book is simple and whimsical and best suited for early readers. This book reminded me of Dr. Seuss books with sentences that are short and sweet with a repetitive rhyming style accompanied by cartoonish illustrations.

This would be a great book for parents or teachers to read with children, pointing out things in the pictures as you read. This is a helpful teaching aid in matching words with pictures. All too often my students struggle with words and feel overwhelmed or discouraged. This book would be a relief from that, and would be a useful building block for harder stories. It would be a good base level to work from.

Kids will enjoy the somewhat exaggerated, adventurous style of the illustrations. I didn’t notice until I flipped back through the book a second time that there were some subtle hints in the pictures. The sky is gradually clouding up in the backgrounds of the pages. With minimal words, the illustrations play a big part. I like that the lines of the illustrations are a little rough around the edges. Crooked, imperfect lines add to the whimsical nature of the book.

I work in an elementary school, and can totally see it being a hit in our Pre-K and Kindergarten classes. Repetition and rhyming are good for building confidence in very young beginning readers. It’s sing-song style will have little readers reciting the entire book in no time.Buy Now From Amazon.com

Pages: 44 | ASIN: B0792XDRYJ

 

Imaginative Solutions

Yossi Lapid Author Interview

Yossi Lapid Author Interview

Christmas with Snowman Paul is a heartwarming story showing empathy and helping others. What were some important themes you wanted to capture in this book?

I wanted my story to resonate with themes that address the true meaning of the holiday season such as friendship, inclusion, and family. The appeal of these values is in many ways near universal. My hope was that the story will raise questions such as: What does it mean to be a best friend? How does it feel to be excluded on a major holiday? Should we try harder to come up with imaginative solutions to problems of exclusion which seem, at first sight, insoluble? At the same time, I tried to address these themes with a fresh perspective and in a gentle, engaging and humorous way.

Ultimately, this is a simple story that encourages children of all ages to be sensitive to the needs of those who feel lonely and have no one to celebrate with.

The illustrations in this book are fantastic and serve to compliment the story. What was the art collaboration like with Joanna Pasek?

Collaborating with Joanna Pasek has been sheer joy from the very beginning. What I admire most in Joanna’s work is her unmatched ability to capture the emotional core of our key characters. The dog, for instance, is a key character that did not appear in my original text and was entirely Joanna’s creation. As an author, I always know that Joanna will find the best ways to match the narrative with compelling images which do not only illustrate the stories but also compliment them in new exciting ways. This holds true even in cases where text requires her to perform very difficult, and sometimes seemingly impossible, illustrations. Click this link http://bit.ly/2ARLuE7 to see Joanna’s magic in action.

The story is told in rhyme. Do you find kids learn language easier with rhymes?

Most definitely! Rhyme is one of the most effective ways to install the love of reading at an early age. It helps keep attention, enhance retention and enrich vocabularies. Children love rhymes because they are musical and amusing and because they help them anticipate what is coming next. The timeless appeal of nursery rhymes, for instance, can be explained by these attributes. The instinct to rhyme was with me from a very early age but, I think, it comes naturally to most children.

What is the next Snowman Paul story you have in the works?

First, I would like to encourage Snowman Paul friends to check out the other nine volumes already published in the Snowman Paul series (https://author.amazon.com/books). But there are many other new adventures in store for Snowman Paul some of which are already written and eagerly awaiting their turn to be published. In addition, Joanna and I are just about to come out with a new picture books series titled “Yara, the Jungle Girl”. If you like Snowman Paul, you are likely to fall in love with Yara!

Author Links: Facebook | Twitter | GoodReads | Website

Christmas with Snowman Paul by [Lapid, Yossi]

Join Snowman Paul on this heart-warming and humorous Christmas Eve adventure! 

What would you do if your beloved snowman told you that he feels sad about being left out in the cold while you and your entire family are celebrating a joyous Christmas Eve inside? Can Dan figure out a way to make Snowman Paul’s Christmas just as unique as his? Read this heartwarming and humorous Christmas story to find out 

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Something Spectacular

B.C.R. Fegan Author Interview

B.C.R. Fegan Author Interview

The Day that A Ran Away is an adorably witty story about the letters of the alphabet deciding not to show up. Do you write your stories with children in mind first, or parents and teachers?

I always write my stories to be enjoyed by children first. Even though the book has a primary purpose of teaching the alphabet to children, I wanted it to be fun – something they would enjoy reading.

This is a very cute idea, how did this idea develop and change as you were developing the story?

I really began the story with the idea of making a simple concept picture book into something more of an adventure. Thankfully the first few lines of the book came together quite quickly which made the presentation of the alphabet a bit more straightforward. Essentially, Jet is caught by his teacher without his homework – something that students are prone to do at some point of their school life. However Jet’s excuse is quite imaginative as he talks about each letter’s frustrating escape.

It may sound strange, but with the trajectory of the story in place, the story actually flowed quite well. In the end there weren’t any major changes required. I know – bit of a boring story!

The art, as always, is very good. What was the art direction you wanted in this book?

I think my biggest priority was having all the scenes linked together as Jet walks to school. So each page connects with the last and foreshadows the one to come. In addition, I wanted each character to be made up of a color that begins with its respective letter (ever heard of Xanadu Gray), and for there to be a number of objects in the illustration that begins with the same letter for children to find.

Overall, I described each scene to Lenny and she turned them into something spectacular. She even added a few of her own Easter eggs which was fantastic! I’m very lucky to have an illustrator that not only understands my thinking, but knows my entire approach.

I loved how each letter has its own look and feel. Was this something that you brainstormed with Lenny Wen or did you already have ideas for each letter?

I agree, the letters came out looking great! No, all credit belongs to Lenny for the look and personalities of each letter. The only direction I had in this respect was the color of each letter and the basic anthropomorphic requirement. Lenny came back with the idea of giving each letter a connection to something children could identify (i.e. ‘A’ being an astronaut), as well as an emotion (‘arrogant’).

Author Links: GoodReads | Twitter | Website

The Day That A Ran Away by [Fegan, B.C.R.]Master Jet has forgotten to complete his homework… or has he? Jet’s teacher is surprised to find that instead of the alphabet, his page is completely blank. Jet tries to explain that it really isn’t his fault. After all, how can he help it, if none of his letters want to stay on the page!

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The Greatest Gift

Diane Hull Author Interview

Diane Hull Author Interview

Be Happy to Be You is a cute children’s story about being happy with who you are. What was the inspiration that made you want to write this book?

Children are the inspiration for my stories; the children I have taught and my three grandchildren. Joe (6 years), Harry (4 years) and George (10 months). Children are individuals and they are all different with their own characteristics and strengths. I strongly believe that they should be happy to be themselves.

The art in this book is well done and very cute. What was the art direction and collaboration like between you and Jan Dolby?

Having submitted my book to MacLaren-Cochrane Publishing, I was introduced to Jan Dolby as a possible illustrator for my work. I was delighted with her drawings; her pictures were a perfect match for my story and her designs for my Baby bird were exactly as I imagined them. I hope that she and I will continue to work together on future Baby bird books.

This story did an exceptional job of driving home the idea of being happy with yourself. Why was this an important book for you to write?

As an Early Years teacher, I understand how important it is that young children are instilled with a sense of their own worth. A positive sense of self is, in my opinion, the greatest gift we can give any child. They need to be proud of their own unique achievements and embrace their strengths. This message is at the heart of my book. Using picture books, we can provide children with strategies to cope with possible problems they may face and offer them opportunities to discuss their feelings with a trusted adult.

What is the next book that you are working on and when will it be available?

My second book, “On Our Way to School,” is due to be published later this year by MacLaren-Cochrane. This is the story of Joe’s journey to school with his mother. Unfortunately for Joe, he forgets things that he will need for the day; his bag, his book, his coat etc. Each time he realises that he has forgotten something, he has to return to his house and set off for school again.

I have recently completed a second book featuring Baby bird, “The Lonely Bird”. In this story, Baby bird is lonely and he sets out to find a friend. Baby bird is unsuccessful it seems…. or is he? I have written quite a few stories but these have not yet been submitted for publication.

Author Links: GoodReads | Twitter | Facebook | Website

Baby bird wasn’t happy.
He longed to be like other animals.
He wanted to swim and run and jump.
But he had to learn to be happy as he was…
He had to learn just to be himself!

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