Feeling protected provides us with warmth, confidence and security. Feeling wanted leads to feeling safe. Being safe is the absence of beating yourself up or feeling that all that is good in your life is a moment away from vanishing forever. When you are protected, you know deeply that you deserve to live in a safe space and have the happiness that it brings.
To help us be safe, a part of the brain, the amygdala, monitors the environment. Anything unexpected or unfamiliar causes the amygdala to release stresshormones. Though the amygdala may be reacting to something that is harmless, the hormones cause feelings of alarm and the urge to escape. What happens next depends on whether a person is secure or insecure.
Feeling secure is a basic human need in several ways. Firstly, there is the physical security – we need to be protected from the elements and other dangers. But mental security is just as important – we need to feel that we belong and that we have control of our lives, that we are safe.
Being safe is the state of being protected from harm or other non-desirable outcomes. Feeling safe, which is also called psychological safety, means being self-assured that we are not in danger. Having a sense of well-being can’t fully happen if we don’t feel safe first. A lack of psychological safety is a major trigger for many of our unwanted emotions as fear and anxiety, which can really block the pursuit of a healthy and calm mind.
Try to notice how your body responds when you start to feel unsafe. You may feel like your heart is racing, you might feel like you are losing control, or even going into a full panic attack. The reality is that most of the time we are not in real threatening danger, and those reactions are only a sensation created by how our minds perceive the environment to be.
Don’t deny your feelings. Awareness is key. If you feel unsafe, afraid, or anxious, don’t try to fight these feelings. Don’t try to convince yourself you are not scared or anxious, instead, accept and calmly plan how you can shift away from those feelings. Avoid those who do not share your values.
When you feel unsafe, speak with someone, seek support, don’t keep your thoughts to yourself. A human voice can help you calm down, organize your thoughts, and think more clearly on an action plan.
Seek out these who lift you up, share your values, and have an overarching spirit of positivity.
More important than me loving you, is you loving yourself. I’ve been thinking a lot about self-love and how it is not selfish to love and care for yourself. Sadness, loneliness and despair can keep you trapped in a downward spiral. Self-pity can wrap around you like a poisonous vine. I love a quote from Susan David’s book, Emotional Agility: ” Don’t believe everything you think.” Begin each day by saying three things you are grateful for. I can start you off with number one, you woke up to see another day. Be patient with yourself. Get outside even for a few minutes. Take deep breaths and let them out slowly while thinking of who you could help this day, even if it is yourself, and even if you share a smile with someone. Take care, my friend.
A school culture that promotes diversity in the classroom teaches students something that’s important: how to live and work in a society where every individual is unique. Diversity in the classroom teaches students to appreciate different perspectives and draw stronger conclusions. Challenging students to consider different perspectives can also teach them how to interact with their peers on a social level, and equip them with skills they’ll use for the rest of their life.
*********If it’s difficult to change your existing curriculum, use the opportunity to ask students why different perspectives aren’t included and challenge them to apply critical thinking skills.
Shut down discrimination whenever you hear it. Speak out against slurs and derogatory comments.
Use language that promotes positivity and doesn’t reinforce existing stereotypes (for example, the phrase “boys will be boys” shouldn’t be used to justify sexism or aggression) .
Respond effectively to inappropriate comments or actions. Take infractions seriously and inform parents when necessary.
Encourage students to include all of their peers if you see division forming along racial or economic lines.
Remove existing markers of inequality in your school. (For example, make sure students who are eligible for free or reduced lunch programs aren’t singled out and made to feel different.)
I had the pleasure of having my grandson spend the night at my house for the first time. I think my son sensed that I could benefit from a break in my routine. It’s obvious that time with my grandson always makes me smile, so when he asked if I would care for Maverick overnight I eagerly said yes. I don’t have many toys that would capture the interest of an almost two year old. At least I didn’t think so.
As I started dinner, I made sure he wasn’t out of my sight. I also wanted to keep him occupied. Drawing on my memory from when his daddy was his age, I began pulling unbreakable items from cupboards. To my delight he found the random objects fascinating. He may be a musician someday because he kept banging things and shaking a maraca while humming. My small kitchen was filled with joy! When he said, “Sing grandma,” I couldn’t resist, but after one chorus of my version of “Three Little Birds” by Bob Marley, Maverick said, “Don’t sing, Grandma.” So I will leave the musical talent to my grandson who made me laugh all day. He showed me how great it is to find joy in simple things.
I have put together a list of books for your child’s first day back at school. These books are best for ages 3-8. It’s a good idea to read aloud and discuss with your child their hopes and fears about a new school year. Be proactive and do this before school begins. The books I have on this post are useful, and I have used many myself in various classrooms. They are always a big hit with students. Parents, this is a good opportunity for you to prepare your child for school in the fall.
Another delightful Pigeon adventure from the wonderful author Mo Willems.
. Great for ages 3-5.
Little Critter is a bit nervous about starting school today. There’s a lot to be done before he can even get on the bus—he has to pick out his clothes, find his backpack, pack the perfect lunch, and say good-bye to Mom. Join Little Critter as he gets ready for this exciting day. Lift the flaps and find out what surprises are in store for Little Critter on his first day of school! Ages 3-6
With its heartfelt message and colorfully whimsical illustrations, “Our Class is a Family” is a book that will help build and strengthen the class community. Kids learn that their classroom is a place where it’s safe to be themselves, it’s okay to make mistakes, and it’s important to be a friend to others. When hearing this story being read aloud by their teacher or parent, students are sure to feel like they are part of a special family away from home. Great for Ages 4-7
Jacqueline Woodson’s lyrical text and Rafael López’s dazzling art reminds us that we all feel like outsiders sometimes-and how brave it is that we go forth anyway. And that sometimes, when we reach out and begin to share our stories, others will be happy to meet us halfway.
(This book is also available in Spanish, as El Día En Que Descubres Quién Eres!) Ages 5-8
Lena doesn’t want to miss out on her first day of school, but she can’t go without her favorite shoes! How can she convince them to be brave? Ages 4-8
The first day of school is right around the corner! And everything is bigger for Bigfoot — especially back to school problems like getting a haircut, trying on new clothes, and finding new shoes that fit! Told from a giant (and very hairy) point of view, Back to School with Bigfoot deftly tackles the worries kids face as that first day of school draws closer, and ends on a colossal high note!
This is a humorous book that will calm the jitters of the first day. On the first day of school, new classmates are asked to share what they would most like to happen in the upcoming year. Some kids’ hopes are familiar while others are off-the-wall. Whether it’s looking good on picture day or skateboarding at school, everyone’s wishes are shown in humorously exaggerated illustrations. Ages 6-8
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The palm tree out my window reminds me of my trip to Hawaii almost fourteen years ago. Two weeks before our planned adventure my husband bought me my first surfboard and wetsuit. Being an avid surfer himself, he wanted me to know how thrilling it can be to ride the waves. He made it look easy.
When we got to Oahu, we couldn’t wait to get into the warm water. Here on the Central Coast the water can be numbing. There were already more surfers out than I could count. I did exactly as he said and carried my board like a pro. My husband told me he would be watching me and to remember what he taught me. I didn’t tell him that I forgot it all.
“Go have fun. I’m going to be watching you.” Off he went to join the line up of surfers while I remained close to the shore. I spotted an old man giving lessons to kids and started paddling to get within earshot. I later learned the old man was “Rabbit Kakai” who is a famous surfer. As I paddled, a beautiful Hawaiian girl paddled toward me and shouted, “Howlie, stay in the channel.” I didn’t know what the channel was so I nodded and paddled on. I listen as the old man told the kids what to do. I followed each command from a distance. The people on the sand seemed miles away. When the old man shouted, “Stand up,” I did exactly as he said and I was riding a wave. It took me a few seconds to realize that I was actually upright and surfing. I will never forget the feeling.
The waves would seem to end, yet reform and I was still surfing. It was gloriously exhilarating and I was so proud of myself. I kept thinking, “I hope my husband is seeing this.” I did not remember how to disembark and I saw the shore drawing close, so I jumped off. Later he told me that he saw me surf and our next lesson will be on how to turn around and go back out. He tends to lose all track of time when he is surfing. Now I know why.
This has been a very tough 15 months. The future is looking up. This summer my husband will teach one of our granddaughters to surf. The beat goes on.
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The sun broke through the clouds turning a dreary morning into a prelude to the perfect spring day. I knew I had to get out into nature. My husband and I have had both vaccinations, so we decided to take a drive up Hwy 1. We were 10 miles from home when we realized that neither of us had a mask. We turned around, went home and made sure we had our masks and water for our Saturday drive. What struck me the most is how much I love the beauty of the California coast. The hills seemed greener, the yellow flowers greeted us around each bend. The lighthouse seemed to signal our return. When we reached Ragged Point, we walked the path to the overlook. We were the only ones there so we removed our masks to breathe the crisp salty air. I offered a silent prayer in gratitude for simplicity and freedom.
I thought about how much our world is changing. I wondered what it would be like for my grandchildren. Would we leave a mess and trust that they would figure it out? Would they speak of us as those who made a difference? Certainly something to think about.
In My Friend is Sad, elephant Gerald is down in the dumps. Piggie is determined to cheer him up by dressing as a cowboy, a clown, and even a robot! But what does it take to make a sad elephant happy? The answer will make even pessimistic elephants smile.
Edward has loads of toys but doesn’t share any of them with his little sister, Claire.
“They’re mine!”he says. That is, until one day when Edward finds himself in a predicament. With a little help from an unlikely ally, he learns that if he can share with others, they’ll share right back with him
Mike Reiss’s wickedly funny verse and David Catrow’s remarkable gift for comic illustration make this one book you’ll want to share—again and again!
Ruthie loves little things-the smaller the better. So when she finds a teeny tiny camera on the school playground one afternoon, she can hardly believe her luck. She wants to keep the camera in the worst way, but there’s one little problem: It isn’t hers.
Listening with my heart reminds us of the importance of being friends to ourselves. It also touches on the universal themes of friendship, empathy and kindness. Includes mindfulness and self-compassion activities.
Help kids develop coping strategies to manage frustration and anger.
8 stories help kids see why telling the truth is so important in developing their integrity, and earning respect.
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My granddaughter’s name, Kaia, means “Sea.” She loves all things ocean. Of all the books I have, and two toy boxes of toys, she prefers to sort my seashells. We spent more than an hour deciding how to sort them (color, size, uniqueness). When it was bath time, she insisted on taking some shells into the tub. Why not? She extended her curiosity to include how seashells are home to some tiny creatures and how they travel from one place to another. Bonus: I even got to shampoo her hair.
My son and daughter-in-law know the importance of outdoor exploration. Kaia is encouraged to seek answers to questions, and check out the beautiful areas around her.
Play hard, sleep hard. That’s how she rolls!!
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If you are like many people today you use your cell phone, Ipad or laptop to get updates on news and happenings. I encourage you to make time for reading a book instead. The benefits are worthy of your time and attention. You have heard the phrase, “Use it or lose it.” Well, it applies to your brain. Reading stimulates your brain and allows new information to get lodged in longterm storage. The physical act of turning pages makes reading tactile, activating an area of your brain. Reading also allows you a break from stressful situations and provides an opportunity to experience places and have adventures in your mind. You gain new information that can be come in handy at some point.
Moreover, reading expands your vocabulary and helps improve critical thinking skills. There is a strong connection between reading and writing. Exposure to published, well-written work has a noted effect on one’s own writing, as observing the cadence, fluidity, and writing styles of other authors will invariably influence your own work. So next time you are inclined to grab your phone or ipad, pick up a good book and enjoy the benefits of turning the pages.
Here are some suggestions:
Set Boundaries, Find Peace presents simple-yet-powerful ways to establish healthy boundaries in all aspects of life. Rooted in the latest research and best practices used in cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), these techniques help us identify and express our needs clearly and without apology–and unravel a root problem behind codependency, power struggles, anxiety, depression, burnout, and more.
While there is no such thing as an “Authenticity Expert,” you now have a viable alternative. Morhaf Al Achkar obtained his Ph.D in education and is currently a practicing family physician at the University of Washington. He was diagnosed with stage IV lung cancer. Since then, his research has focused on the experiences of patients living with cancer. His first book is based on interviews he did with 39 patients who live, like him, with advanced illness. He explored how these patients find meaning, cope, and build resilience. Using his own experiences and deep knowledge of philosophical concepts, Morhaf shares his understanding of authenticity from the perspective of someone aware of his own finitude.
◆ By following along with his fascinating life story, Morhaf invites you on a journey of dialogue and reflection to live a more authentic and purposeful life with integrity.
A Life Without Water can be read as a standalone, but is part of an overarching three book A Life Without Water Series. It is women’s fiction that pulls at your heartstrings from your new favorite author Marci Bolden. If you are seeking awell written, heartbreaking book about forgiveness, and finding peace amidst a tragedy . . . this book is for you!
The book looks at the most serious issues and helps the reader process them. From the instructions: ”Write about what keeps you awake at night. The emotional upheaval bothering you the most and keeping you awake at night is a good place to start writing.”
A charming, clever, and quietly moving novel of of endless possibilities and joyful discoveries that explores the promises we make and break, losing and finding ourselves, the objects that hold magic and meaning for our lives, and the surprising connections that bind us.
A revelatory look at the complexity of Gandhi’s thinking and motives, the book is a luminous portrait of not only the man himself, but also those closest to him—family, friends, and political and social leaders.
Five shots on Saturday morning change their fate forever…
Shurka is a happy young woman who lives a fairy tale life with her beloved husband and their two young children, in a pretty house in a village in Poland.
She believes that nothing can hurt them. Or so she thinks…
Then, World War II breaks out and the happy family quickly understands that their happiness has come to a brutal end. The family is forced to flee their house and find shelter in a neighboring ghetto, where they come to realized that the Gestapo is taking Jews away on trucks every night, never to be seen again.
A child’s imagination is fueled by experiences. Play fosters all kinds of opportunities to engage in cooperative interaction. My granddaughter loves to make tea for me. She started when she was almost two. She would ask me if I wanted some tea, and I would reply that I would love it if she would add a lemon slice and a dash of cinnamon. When she would bring me my tea, she would ask me if I would like something to eat. The teacher in me thought I could slip in a culture lesson, so I told her about how people in England like to add a bit of milk to their tea, and they enjoy having a biscuit with delicious jam. She set about making all kinds of treats for me to enjoy with my tea. From that day forward she has had a keen interest in what her mother is cooking and wants to help out in the kitchen whenever there is baking involved. Such a simple thing, a cup of tea, but the lasting memories and the spark of imagination will live on.
Visualization is Powerful ●Tell students to form a movie in their head as they read.
●You can lead them into this by having them draw as you read aloud.
●Use think alouds.
However, NONE of these comprehension strategies is taught in a single mini-lesson. It’s impossible to teach visualization in 15 minutes. Rather, plan and deliver numerous mini-lessons across the year that target the array of sub-skills that will prepare students to visualize independently.
LEARN TO MAKE CONNECTIONS
•text to self – This reminds me of my own life…
When picking text to self books, it is important to look for books that have a theme that kids can relate to. Family, sibling rivalry, pets, school, or feelings are a great place to start. The characters also need to be realistic, especially for older kids.
•text to text– This reminds me of another book I’ve read/movie I’ve watched…
•text to world– This reminds me this time in history/what’s going on in the world right now…
●Harvey, S. & Goudvis, A. (2000). Strategies that work: Teaching comprehension to enhance understanding. Portland, ME: Stenhouse. ●Keene, E. & Zimmerman, S. (1997). Mosaic of Thought. Portsmouth, NH: Heinemann.
●Tovani, C. (2000). I read it, but I don’t get it: Comprehension strategies for adolescent readers. Portland, ME: Steinhouse.
To me there are indescribable moments in a mother’s life that are forever in her memory. My daughter, Katie, is my youngest. Unlike me, she waited to have children. She was focused on college and a career. She established herself as a lecturer in anthropology and my son-in-law completed his studies as a doctor. After being in secure positions, they were blessed with Winnie. I have watched Katie sing to Winnie from the time she was born. Books and creative play have been a part of family time. My son-in-law, Steven, makes sure the house is filled with laughter. It is a joy to be in their home.
Winnie is 10 years old now, a bright, lovely, avid reader, mathematician with a caring heart and inquisitive mind. I am pleased to say that Winnie has a sister too. Josie is going to be five in August. She is a creative, lovely, inquisitive, adventurous spirit with a love of singing- just like her mum.
It is the greatest joy of my life to watch my children with their children.
This animal encyclopedia includes 500 amazing animal facts that offer hours of engaging learning. Alongside full-color pictures on every page, you’ll find weird and wonderful details about Magnificent Mammals, Creepy Crawlies, Amazing Amphibians, Feathered Friends, and more. This standout among animal books for kids is ideal for any boy or girl who is wild about animals!
Enter the ring to witness an epic battle of brawn between an ant and an elephant! A chimp vs. a crow in a showdown of wits! An emporer penguin vs. a pygmy mamoset in a contest for cutest creature! Some of the victors might surprise you and all of these animals will amaze you! Stats, fun facts, photos, and in-depth profiles about each contender will help you pick winners for more than a dozen mighty matchups. A March Madness-style bracket at the end of the book allows readers to choose the ultimate champion! Perfect for sports fans and animal crazy kids ready to go to the mat for their favorite species. Animal Smackdown is the next best thing to actually seeing these animals go head-to-head!
This beautiful picture book follows the journey of a young gray wolf who garnered nationwide attention when he became the first wild wolf in California in almost a century.
Children are given a well-rounded understanding of these beautiful creatures: their anatomy, feeding habits, and behavior. The following sea turtles are featured: * The herbivorous Green Sea Turtle * The beautiful Hawksbill Sea Turtle * The petite Kemp’s Ridley Sea Turtle * The king-sized Leatherback Sea Turtle * The unusual Olive Ridley Sea Turtle Get this book at this special price. *** Your child will love it –
If you love kittens and cats, you won’t want to miss this fun cat facts book! It tells you all about some of the strange, odd and weird things wild cats and pet kittens and cats can do. If you’re longing to get a kitten or a cat, or you already have a cat, and even if you’re an experienced pet owner, you’ll get some surprises when you read this book.
The latest exciting title in DK’s popular Where on Earth? series maps out the habitats of the world’s mammals, fish, birds, reptiles, invertebrates, and more. Whether it’s plotting the range of a lion, following the flight paths of birds, tracking great white sharks in the oceans, or exploring the migration of the monarch butterfly, you will see exactly where and how more than 100 extraordinary animal species live.
I have some book recommendations for those who love to learn, explore, escape….
Set in 1920s Mississippi, this debut Southern novel weaves a beautiful and harrowing story of two teenage girls cast in an unlikely partnership through murder—perfect for readers of Where the Crawdads Sing and If the Creek Don’t Rise.
These six strangers are learning that beginnings can be possible at any stage of life. But as they tell their stories, they must navigate what is shared and what is withheld. Which version of the truth will be revealed? Who is prepared to step up when help is needed? This moving, funny and deeply empathic new novel from acclaimed author Frances Itani reminds us that life, with all its twists and turns, never loses its capacity to surprise.
The unforgettable, inspiring story of a teenage girl growing up in a rural Nigerian village who longs to get an education so that she can find her “louding voice” and speak up for herself, The Girl with the Louding Voice is a simultaneously heartbreaking and triumphant tale about the power of fighting for your dreams. Despite the seemingly insurmountable obstacles in her path, Adunni never loses sight of her goal of escaping the life of poverty she was born into so that she can build the future she chooses for herself – and help other girls like her do the same. Her spirited determination to find joy and hope in even the most difficult circumstances imaginable will “break your heart and then put it back together again” (Jenna Bush Hager on The Today Show) even as Adunni shows us how one courageous young girl can inspire us all to reach for our dreams…and maybe even change the world.
Since the days of conquistador Hernán Cortés, rumors have circulated about a lost city of immense wealth hidden somewhere in the Honduran interior, called the White City or the Lost City of the Monkey God. Indigenous tribes speak of ancestors who fled there to escape the Spanish invaders, and they warn that anyone who enters this sacred city will fall ill and die. In 1940, swashbuckling journalist Theodore Morde returned from the rainforest with hundreds of artifacts and an electrifying story of having found the Lost City of the Monkey God-but then committed suicide without revealing its location.
Suspenseful and shocking, filled with colorful history, hair-raising adventure, and dramatic twists of fortune, THE LOST CITY OF THE MONKEY GOD is the absolutely true, eyewitness account of one of the great discoveries of the twenty-first century.
Moving, intimate, and beautifully written, The Beekeeper of Aleppo is a book for our times: a novel that at once reminds us that the most peaceful and ordinary lives can be utterly upended in unimaginable ways and brings a journey in faraway lands close to home, never to be forgotten.
NESHAMA’S TRUE TALES, a memoir of sorts, are filled with love, warmth, and timeless wisdom. They ground us, and they lift us up. They make us laugh, and they make us cry. And most of all, they connect us more deeply with the grace and meaning of our lives.
I learned many things from the pandemic. I learned that buying groceries would be a dangerous prospect if you are in a vulnerable category. Some of the online “shoppers” were not careful to check expiration dates, leaving me with food that wasn’t fit to eat. Prices were inflated. My ability to buy fresh fruits and vegetables was at the discretion of the shopper regardless of how detailed a list I created.
Coincidently, I have been reading Four Winds by Kristin Hannah. It’s a fictional story of the devastation brought about during The Great Depression when people were starving and dying. I decided to create a mini-garden on my small, and I mean small) deck to provide enough vegetables for myself and my husband. I used old unused pots, organic soil I already had, as well as slices from tomatoes, carrot tops, and celery bottoms. I Googled which plants could withstand full sun. The feeling of accomplishment helped alleviate the dread of the pandemic. I was keeping busy in a healthy way.
The end result would be a sustainable source of vegetables right outside my sliding glass door. Hopefully my efforts will yield tomatoes (several varieties), broccoli, kale, brussell sprouts, yellow peppers and snow peas. I learned that many flowers are edible. Fromreading The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah I learned that during World War II the people of Amsterdam used tulips to make flour.
I hope to extend my exploration of edible plants and types of plants will that grow in my area. I am determined not to be deterred by limited space. There are many container plants that do well with care. I hope none of us ever have to experience extreme circumstances that leave us famished or desperate. One sure way to be proactive (ok, maybe reactive) is to grow things you can eat.
Almost every morning I make a breakfast smoothie. I am not on any diet. I just love smoothies, and like to know that I am eating healthy food. One eight ounce glass is enough to give me energy and fill me until afternoon. I use my Vitamix Blender, but I have used a Ninja blender too. Any blender will do. Here’s what I do:
A handful of frozen organic cherries
A handful of blueberries
A handful of frozen strawberries
A generous handful of baby spinach
Two scoops of Orgain protein powder (I like vanilla, but there is chocolate too)
One scoops of chia seeds
Almond milk to cover
Blend until it’s smooth. With my Vitamix Blender I use Pulse first, then blend for 30 seconds.
If you try this, please let me know what you think.
When a child is ready for chapter books it is the beginning of a journey of the imagination.The following are some I have read aloud to students and seen students choose them for independent reading.
16-book collection brings together all the classic children’s novels from the one and only Roald Dahl. Matilda, Going Solo, The Giraffe And The Pelly And Me, George’s Marvellous Medicine, Fantastic Mr Fox, The Magic Finger, Esio Trot, Boy Tales Of Childhood, Charlie And The Great Glass Elevator, The BFG, The Witches, The Twits, Charlie And The Chocolate Factory, James And The Giant Peach, Danny The Champion Of The World, Billy And The Minpins
Boxed set includes books 1-3 in the series:
The Last Kids on Earth The Last Kids on Earth and the Zombie Parade The Last Kids on Earth and the Nightmare King
Bob sets out on a dangerous journey in search of his long-lost sister with the help of his two best friends, Ivan and Ruby. As a hurricane approaches and time is running out, Bob finds courage he never knew he had and learns the true meaning of friendship and family.
From bestselling and award-winning author Sara Pennypacker comes a beautifully wrought, utterly compelling novel about the powerful relationship between a boy and his fox. Pax is destined to become a classic, beloved for generations to come.
In this fun fantasy, a young dragon gets tricked into drinking enchanted hot chocolate that turns her into a human.
Bad Kitty really needs a bath, and she is forced to take one in this hysterical new illustrated how-to for young readers.
Unusual characters attend this school where their wacky science teacher has built an interactive, robotic dinosaur exhibit that accidentally come to life.
Keep up your child’s reading skills by encouraging them to engage in summer reading. I have collected some books that are fun and good for a read aloud or independent reading. Keep a record of the books they’ve read to share with their teacher in the fall.
This is part of a series. The books are about two kids who are an apprentice to a vet who treats imaginary creatures. You can imagine all the crazy adventures that follow as they help unicorns, lake monsters, and sasquatch. So much imagination packed into each book.
In this collection, witness unforgettable kids who, against all odds, survived sinking ships, shark attacks, the most destructive hurricane to hit North America, and the bombing that launched the United States into World War II.
When Kyle Keeley learns that the world’s world’s most famous game maker, Luigi Lemoncello, has designed the town’s new library and is having an invitation-only lock-in on opening night, Kyle is determined to be there! But the tricky part isn’t getting into the library—it’s getting out.
Ranger is the kind of dog you want, especially if you are on The Oregon Trail.
In this heartfelt story about change, Kelly Jordan’s lilting text and Jessica Courtney-Tickle’s lush art captures the essence of cherishing a favorite place. This is a story about change.
For me there is no greater joy than watching my grandkids grow, learn, laugh. I love their discoveries, the belly laughs and spontaneous kisses. They remind me of how important it is to make good memories.
I’ve wanted a free library ever since I saw one a few years ago. It was conveniently placed in a yard near the entrance to the beach parking lot near my home. It inspired me to investigate the cost of making one. Inside that little library there were a variety of paperbacks and several children’s books. I even spotted one that I donated a year ago to the elementary school. I have made a few trips in my golf cart to stock that mini-library with books I have read and exchange them for one that caught my eye. This weekend I will be stocking our own! My husband found a kit online and I ordered it. He is following the directions and waiting for the stain to dry. I hope that children of all ages will stop and take a book with them to enjoy at the beach or the dog park.
I have been reading more in the last 14 months than I ever have. Being the owner of at least fifty books that been collecting dust, I kept promising myself I would use the pandemic as an opportunity to catch up on my reading. I am glad to report that I completed almost every book. Some of the books I read were previously cast aside as not worthy of my time. I hastily concluded that if the first few pages failed to capture my interest, then it would make it to the “to be read” shelf.
Lately I have approached each book on my cast off shelf with a new perspective since I realized how grateful I am to have choices of books to read. There have been a few books that brought me on a journey, several brought me to tears, and most became a blessed escape from current events. I will take that “hug” anytime!
Listed below are powerful books that I read during the height of the pandemic. Some offered hope, others offered escape, they all offered me time with a great book.
A true account of life in unimaginable circumstances as told by a Holocaust survivor. A lesson on what is important.
A guide to finding peace and calm in times of trouble. His book is an easy read and has gems of wisdom throughout.
This book will help you break old habits and build habits that will serve you well.
A beautiful tale of a childless couple in the wilderness of Alaska during the 1920s. The imagery alone makes this a beautiful book. The story is one that will stay with you for awhile.
A tribute to the grit of the women who survived during the Dust Bowl era. As fierce as the winds were during that time, a mother’s love and devotion prevails. A great read from an author who can write an epic with incredible power.
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I see your tiny bodies and I am grateful for every breath you take. Each of you are the greatest joy of my life. Holding you in my arms takes me back to when your parent was my baby. I had no experience or guide, but a heart full of love. I learned that you have your own personality, but love will help shape it. I learned that time with you is more important than anything that takes me away from you. I am grateful for your parents who share you with me. My hope is that I have given you good memories that you can recall at times when you think of me.
This world is in need of people of courage. Don’t be afraid to speak up when you feel you can help make a contribution for the good. Guard yourself from harm by remembering good habits of mind, body and spirit. Dance when you heart feels the urge. You will find music and muses that will make you want to dance. Don’t wait to show sincere appreciation. The time to act from your heart will always be now. Steer clear of anything and anyone who makes you feel less than the great, beautiful, treasure that you are. Instead, wish them happiness, but use your compass to regain true north. Each of us has one life on this earth, so make yours the best it can be. Know that you are loved. So loved.
There have been so many times of uncertainty caused by the global pandemic. Times when it was hard to plan for the future, or even tomorrow. One thing I told myself again and again, ” I will follow guidelines, and I will not put myself or others in danger.” I also worried if I would be able to see love ones, continue my work, plan anything at all. The dread was consuming. I wanted a way to release myself from fear that had a stronghold on me.
l focused on what was important to me. I examined my values. I read books that guided me to align my actions with what would best serve me. Keeping a journal was a valuable tool to chronicle current events as well as my responses to them. I could feel the transformation from hopelessness to resilience. I learned my own strength.
Even five minutes of focusing on a positive affirmation while being mindful of my breathing helped me stay in the moment instead of holding onto beliefs that are in opposition to the kind of life I want. Freedom from fear is not only possible, it is for each of us to choose, work toward and enjoy. I wish you all the very best.
When was the last time you picked a dandelion and blew the seeds while you made a wish? Why is it so easy for children to embrace simple joys, while adults rarely give themselves permission to engage in a nature moment for the soul?
At a friend’s house recently, I noticed a group of red flowers that I’d never seen before. I stopped to admire them and asked her what they were. She said they were poppies, yet my image of a poppy was limited to small, orange, roadside flowers. The flowers I was looking at were tall, red and majestic. I asked if she planted them and she told me the birds carried the seeds. She hadn’t planted any of them. I can’t remember the last time I was so mesmerized by a flower. I was overcome with gratitude for the beauty of the day.
On the way to my car I picked a dandelion, blew the seeds and made a wish.
With vibrant language, artwork and a wild, silly plot, Too Much Glue is sure to appeal to all children who love to get messy.
When you babysit a grandma, if you’re lucky, you’ll have a sleepover at her house! And with the useful tips found in this book, you’re guaranteed to become an expert grandma-sitter in no time.
It’s time for the little red chicken’s bedtime story — and a reminder from Papa to try not to interrupt. But the chicken can’t help herself! Whether the tale is Hansel and Gretel or Little Red Riding Hood or even Chicken Little, she jumps into the story to save its hapless characters.
From the creators of Dragons Love Tacos comes the story of what happens when a grumpy old man and some mischievous squirrels match wits—with hilarious results.
If you think Superman vs. Batman would be an exciting matchup, wait until you see Shark vs. Train. In this hilarious and wacky picture book, Shark and Train egg each other on for one competition after another, including burping, bowling, Ping Pong, piano playing, pie eating, and many more! Who do YOU think will win, Shark or Train?
Really. I mean, how could a book eat people? So if you’re just dying to know the history of this literary monster, all you have to do is turn the page…
All my life I have wanted to visit Lourdes. I grew up hearing of the healing waters and the little girl who saw a vision of The Virgin Mary. I had the opportunity to travel to see my daughter who lived in England, and my son-in-law treated me to a trip by car to Lourdes., France. It truly was a pilgrimage, as we drove for ages. Just being in The Pyrenees was spectacular. When we arrived we were tired but in awe of the magnificent church built on the site near the miraculous waters. Whatever I planned to receive from going into the holy bath was replaced by an overwhelming need to go in as proxy for my mother who suffered greatly. When I witnessed the people who came with their hopes, their faith and trust that they would be healed, it created in me a deep desire to ask for their healing. For me that was the miracle.
Some might say it is foolish superstition. I respectfully disagree. Go there and see for yourself. You will be changed forever. I was.
Today is my birthday and I am happy and grateful to enjoy another year. Getting older would not be my first choice, but I can kick up a fuss or embrace it.
My goal this year is to eat right, show gratitude, give love more often, smile more, learn more, travel. read, sew, have adventures, and look for the good. I plan to spend lots of time with my beautiful grandchildren.
First on my agenda is breakfast at my favorite cafe, then a walk on the pier. I am off to a good start.
I have many reasons to be grateful. It’s been a tough year, but at times I see glimmers of hope that we may all be on the road to living whatever our normal was, only stronger, better, more resilient. A trip to the grocery store, then my favorite cafe took on a new ambiance. I chose to sit outdoors in the sun rather than at my usual booth tucked in the corner. I wanted to see the people walking by, the birds flying past, even the cars on the road. It was affirming to tell the waitress that I appreciate her for serving delicious food. I was happy to shop for my own groceries as I learn to smile with my eyes. Today a lady in the parking lot walked toward me, quickly distanced herself, yet all the while I was happy to be 6 feet from another person. There is no room in my life for taking things for granted. Every day is a gift. I am grateful to wake up, get up, show up, and be ready to give thanks.
This gratitude journal makes it easy and enjoyable to develop a daily practice through insightful prompts that only take a few minutes to complete. You’ll feel inspired to notice things―big and small―that you might otherwise take for granted and pause to feel grateful for them.
These books are great for teaching bravery and courage in adversity. As part of an affiliate program I may receive a small commission. Thank you for looking.
I Will Be Fierce is a powerful picture book about courage, confidence, kindness, and finding the extraordinary in everyday moments.
“Right Now, I Am Brave” is a mindfully written self-help guide to aid children with facing their fears and living bravely during uncertain times.
This is a book to inspire young readers to embrace their inner light–no matter what they’re facing–and to be brave.
You might think of super hero when you hear COURAGE, but all of us can do small and big acts of COURAGE everyday!
The best book for teaching kindness and confronting bullying.
What Makes Me Brave? will teach your child about the need to feel brave, even when they feel frightened and alone.
The perfect tool to teach children how to respond to bullies. I Can Stand Up to Bullies provides parents, grandparents, teachers, and caregivers the opportunity to speak with children about this important topic.
A charismatic clan of chinchillas confronts everyday problems in this humorous story of family life and troubles.
Jerome discovers the magic of the words all around him — short and sweet words, two-syllable treats, and multisyllable words that sound like little songs. Words that connect, transform, and empower.
In this hilarious book, Richard T. Morris and bestselling illustrator Tom Lichtenheld remind us to dream big and, when we do, to aim for the moon.
There’s a stinky stench in the fridge–and our favorite foodie friends must solve a smelly mystery!
We all know nothing rhymes with orange, but how does that make Orange feel? Well, left out, obviously!
The bear’s journey from forest to city and back home again is full of happy accidents, funny encounters, and sensory delights. The story is so engrossing, it’s not until the very end that we begin to suspect this is a TALL tale.
Turkey is in trouble. Bad trouble. The kind of trouble where it’s almost Thanksgiving . . . and you’re the main course. But Turkey has an idea–what if he doesn’t look like a turkey? What if he looks like another animal instead?
When Henry’s beloved stuffed rabbit, Raspberry, goes missing, he enlists his whole family to help him search for the missing toy.
From the very first GRRRRRR and ROAR of the Super Hungry Dinosaur, kids will be rooting for Hal to save his parents and his dog, Billy, from the huge beast.
Buy me a cup of coffee to fuel my creativity
Thanks for taking a look. If you care to contribute to my coffee cravings, or frozen yogurt…., it is much appreciated.
Supporting and celebrating diversity and inclusion in school works because it gives all children the potential to achieve, and creates an environment where those with additional needs are not segregated and seen as ‘other’; they are part of the same community of learners. Inclusion addresses negative cultural attitudes and misconceptions about people with disabilities, or those who are members of minority communities.
Websites, Blogs, and Media About Inclusive Classrooms:
If only we saw each other’s hearts, minds, souls…… We are one race, human. We really need to realize that love is infinitely more powerful than hate. Children are not born being prejudiced. They learn what they live. We can change the way things are by keeping mindful of the kind of life we hope for our children. It can start right now.
If you love Historical Fiction, or books that highlight the grit and determination needed to deal with hard times, this is an excellent choice. This is not a “feel good” book. It captures life during the Dust Bowl era with such detail that you can feel bits of dust on your teeth. Kristen Hannah puts you into the scenes with her gift of descriptive narration. The characters are believable, especially Loreda, the typical beligerent teenage daughter. I found myself reading well into the night. This is a heartbreaking look at a time in history that shows the plight of people trying to survive. The parallels to life during a pandemic are staggering. The plight of migrants echoes to this day. Read with wisdom, and an open mind and heart. It is a work of fiction, but it is visceral and timely.
Without giving away too much, this is another big hit for the author of such superb books as The Nightingale and TheGreat Alone.
Paris is my kind of city. The people, the food, the sights live in my memory. When I saw all the locks on the Ponts de Arts Bridge, I thought of all the lovers whose hopes and dreams were placed there, likely with good intent. In my mind I likened the locks to graffiti. While the locks were unique in their symbolism, years later I learned that the weight of the locks caused portions of the linked fencing to collapse. Perhaps simplicity is best.
Due to the pandemic, teachers and parents are scrambling to provide educational opportunities to children. I compiled a list of great learning apps. It is my hope that they help during this difficult time.
I compiled a list of great learning apps:
Learn With Homer
Grade level: Pre-K, K
Skill: Comprehension, Phonics
A learn-to-read app for kids ages 3 to 6 that incorporates drawing, voice recording, stories, songs, and more, along with more traditional phonics exercises.
This app can be helpful for kids who have speech production issues and organization of language issues.
Grade level: 3rd, 4th, 4th and above
Device: iPad, iPhone, iPod Touch
The Opposites app helps children learn vocabulary and the corresponding antonyms by challenging them to match up pairs of opposing words in increasingly difficult levels. The game also helps children understand the importance of word context, and is an opportunity for them to think about how the words they use oppose other words. The Opposites consists of 10 different levels, each stage with a corresponding level of vocabulary. The app also offers a dictionary option that provides definitions and antonyms in a kid-friendly format.
I saw the ad for a used golf cart in my Nextdoor app. There were two available, a red and a blue. The owner was storing them in a horse corral. I was saving money for a golf cart (even though I don’t golf) because I live in a small beach town with one main street and gorgeous scenery. As a recent retiree, it seemed to be a good idea. I would be one of many golf cart owners in my little town.
I can’t believe I was able to convince my husband to drive out to a horse ranch to take a look. The owner was a gregarious lady who raises thoroughbreds and uses the golf carts to get around her property. I wanted the red one, but it was out of my budget. The blue one looked like it needed a lot of care, but it was affordable. The owner even delivered it. I couldn’t wait to try it out. It gets plenty of use on weekends and on nice summer days. We have a lot of those.
What joy it brings to take in the often overlooked sights on the way into town. Feeling the air on my face and smelling the salt air while going 22 miles per hour helps me appreciate that I am alive during a pandemic. I realize that a walk would very likely achieve the same results. Yet there was something about saving for a goal, visualizing me riding in it, and then actually finding one.
I know how important it is to slow down. My brain needed to disconnect from the bombardment of negative thoughts that don’t serve me. If a golf cart can remind me to get outdoors, it was worth my small savings. I call it The Bluebird of Happiness.
No matter what looms ahead, if you can eat today, enjoy the sunlight today, mix good cheer with friends today, enjoy it and bless God for it. Do not look back on happiness-or dream of it in the future. You are only sure of today; do not let yourself be cheated out of it. ~Henry Ward Beecher
I got to spend time with my daughter, son-in-law and granddaughters from Wales. It’s been years since we were together. My husband took our 10 year old out to the beach to teach her to surf.The little ones played in the sand and got their feet went in the ocean. I couldn’t wait to see […]
I said goodbye to my family from Wales. They came for a short visit as we have not seen them in years. I stood in line at the airport waiting for their turn to put their bags on the scale and show their passports. I looked at how much my granddaughters have grown since I […]