Tag Archives: children’s book

BookS on MondaY: Mary Felciani shares her inspiration for her children’s book on friendship, THE MAPLE LEAF (hint: it was her hometown), the Roseto Effect, Cognitive Maps, and the magic of friendship

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By Leslie Lindsay 

You just have to mention the words “Italy” and “leaf” and you’ve got me. Throw in a story about friendship and I’m there. Having been an Italian aficionado for most of my life (don’t ask why, according to my Ancestry DNA results, I’m only 1% Italian), I was enamored with this children’s story by Mary Felicani, who I can assume is Italian, penned this charming story of a young Italian boy, Carlo and his quest for friendship.

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Set in another time (medieval), and another place (Italy), the message is universal. Yet it’s Mary’s deft use of sensory detail that brings the story to life, thrusting me back to an ancient time when the values of friendship and belonging were just as resonate then as they are now.

I’m pleased to have Mary back this week to chat with us about her book, THE MAGIC LEAF, her love for Italy, and how we can help our children cultivate friendship.

Leslie Lindsay: Mary, it’s a pleasure to have you join us again. Thank you! I’m just in love with THE MAGIC LEAF, mostly because I love Italy, but you’re Canadian…though guessing by your last name, you’re also Italian? Can you talk a bit about your inspiration for setting THE MAGIC LEAF in Italy?

Mary Feliciani: Leslie, thank you for having me back and making me feel at home. Yes, I am Italo-Canadian. I chose my hometown in Italy as a backdrop because the story has a meaning or a moral. It seemed reminiscent of a simpler time and place. I still had fond memories of the hometown that I left as a child.

L.L.: I had to do a little research and learned Roseto is indeed a real, southeastern roseto_valfortore_075_raboemedieval town in Italy. Like the book, Roseto is hill town nestled in an enclave of low mountains, winding roads, and thick-walled homes to keep out the heat. It reminded me a bit of Corniglia in the Cinque Terre, yet different.

Mary Feliciani: Leslie, I can’t believe how thorough you are. I was born in Roseto, Italy. My family immigrated to Canada when I was 6 years old. Subsequently, all my education has been in Canada. I understand Italian quite well, but like most people who leave a country when they’re young, my comprehension is better than my oral language.

When my children were small, our annual vacations were to the beaches along the eastern coast of the United States and provinces in eastern Canada. It wasn’t until 2011 that we took a family vacation to Italy. We returned again in 2013 visiting neighbouring countries as well.

The Roseto in Italy has a connection to the Roseto in Pennsylvania. If you like research, google the Roseto Effect, and you will learn of an intriguing study conducted there in the 1960s. I wasn’t aware of the Roseto Effect when I wrote THE MAGIC LEAF, but the more articles I read about it, the more meaningful my message of friendship becomes. Roseto is all about a sense of community. download-36

L.L.: I have to talk a bit about sensory details, for a moment, because you use them beautifully here—and I think that’s such an important part of children’s literature. Kids don’t often have the experiences adults have acquired, so we have to bring those experiences to them. Can you talk a bit about how you were able to bring that town to life? 

Mary Feliciani: Believe it or not, I still had a cognitive map of the town. I could visualize the town square and from that point of reference, see the location of my aunt’s house, my maternal grandmother’s house, my paternal grandmother’s house and my own home. I also recalled where my nursery school was and the uniforms we had to wear.

I asked my mother and my older brother to fill in same of the blanks. I also employed postcards, old photos, and made use of a magazine that is published by the town and sent to subscribers in other parts of the world. My mother still receives the town’s magazine.

Feasts in a small town were a really big deal back in the day. Everyone participated – even toddlers were part of the parade. Children would experience sights and sounds that wouldn’t be duplicated until the following festival.

L.L.: Those sensory details pair well with the illustrations. A children’s author has a particular challenge that adult authors don’t usually encounter: they need an images-7illustrator. I’m curious what your experience was like working with Tina Durocher? Did you have a vision for the illustrations, or did she bring those to you?

Mary Feliciani: Thank you for asking, Leslie. Not everybody includes the illustrator when discussing a children’s book. The illustrations are half of a picture book, and just as important as the text.

I was extremely fortunate to have found Tina. Her work is not only beautiful, but unique.  As a small publisher, I hire people that free-lance. Tina and I didn’t know each other before we collaborated on the book. We used to meet at a Tim Horton’s halfway between Toronto and Mississauga (where I live). So much happens at a Tim Horton’s, eh!

I would verbally describe the mental image I had for a specific illustration. She then drew a linear of what she thought that I wanted. The linear was just a partial illustration without any colour, and that is how I decided if we were on the right track. If I agreed to the illustration, then she would complete it. Besides Tina and my first printer, all the other people I have worked with have been online.

L.L.: Without giving too much away, can you talk a bit about the title? Is there, indeed a magical element to Carlo’s story?

Mary Feliciani: Some readers see the magic in the friendship. Other children can relate to a time that a friend has helped them feel better about a problem. Or, they have experienced time flying when they are with their friends. All three of these scenario can apply to the story. Some older children can see a placebo effect, even if they don’t know the terminology.

L.L.: I think friendship is kind of magical…when two people, whether young or old, there’s a bit of an unseen magical connection that takes place. Can you talk about that, please? download-37

Mary Feliciani: When I read the story to school children, I tell them that friendship is just as important as you grow older as it is in your childhood. Sometimes they are surprised I say that.  I wrote the manuscript for THE MAGIC LEAF  while I was at the University of Toronto studying psychology. As a young adult, I was very idealistic and was hoping to find the one theory or the one famous psychologist who had all the answers. But what I learned was that there wasn’t a theory which could explain everything, and even among psychologists, there were differences of opinion. I began to believe that having a good support system in combination with whatever theory one might subscribe to, was very important. I realized that friendships were necessary even as we grow older. Walking life’s journey with a friend makes everything easier.

L.L.: Before you wrote full-time, you were an elementary school educator with an emphasis in psychology. Did you see a “problem” with friendship at the elementary level? What might be done to help ease those years?

Mary Feliciani: I spent half of my career teaching various Special Education classes and the other half in the regular classroom setting (grades 1-6). Children are really good souls; they just want to be accepted by their peers and by their teachers. Some children have the social skills to make friends easily, while others may have a more difficult time. Schools are always encouraging students to be more inclusive in their play and attitudes.If there is a problem, a parent and/or teacher might be able to put it in perspective.

L.L.: Do you have plans for another children’s book? Can you talk about that, please?

Mary Feliciani: I think that bullying has been a hot topic for a number of years. When I write, it is the topic or issue that inspires me. I feel compelled to write. My latest eBook,BIG AND SMALL IN THE MIRROR, is about bullying that happens in the school environment. It is the first of a trilogy about bullying. I am currently writing the second book of the trilogy, THE INVISIBLE BOY. As always, there is a twist to the title.

L.L.: What should I have asked but may have forgotten?

Mary Feliciani: Your questions were wonderful! I have never discussed the setting of the story in the way that I  presented Roseto to you.

Leslie, I could talk to you forever. You are so good at making the conversion flow. We could talk about books, we could talk about teaching, we could talk about travel…

L.L.: Mary, it’s been a pleasure to read THE MAGIC LEAF and connect. Back to those sensory details…I could definitely use some warm Italian sun now that we’re smack in the middle of gray and dreary here in the Midwest.

Mary Feliciani: Well, I’m in Canada. Right now it is warm enough, but damp and cloudy. We are experiencing the same thing. Hopefully I can find the time to take a vacation this summer. Thank you so much for the opportunity to met you and your readers. I hope that we can chat again in the future.

For more information, to connect with Mary, or to purchase THE MAGIC LEAF, please see: 

IMG_2870.JPGAUTHOR BIO: 
Mary is a Canadian author, independent publisher and a former elementary school teacher. She attended UTM where she studied psychology and still lives in Mississauga, Ontario.
Mary’s background in psychology, work with children and passionate interest in the human condition, which stems back as far as she can remember, are all evident in her writing.
You can connect with me, Leslie Lindsay here: 
Facebook: LeslieLindsayWriter
Twitter: @LeslieLindsay1

image003-3Email: leslie_lindsay@hotmail.com

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[Cover and author image courtesy of M. Feliciani and used with permission. Author is in white at Piazza Navona in Rome, Italy. Image of Roseto, Italy stone houses retrieved from Wikipedia on 12.8.16. Image of newsarticle on Roseto effect from . Image of maple leaf from and hands linking image retrieved from, all on 12.8.16]

Fiction Friday: Children’s Books about Books!

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By Leslie Lindsay

[this piece originally “aired” on Tuesday, April 1, 2014 over at http://www.speakingofapraxia.com]

I read a lot. Grown-up fiction? You bet. The backs of cereal boxes? Guilty. Just about anything with written text in a language I understand? Totally.

But my absolute favorite part of the day is wrapping my arms around my girls and reading a children’s book. And I got to thinking, there are a lot of books about books. Sounds like a lovely combination, doesn’t it?

Here are a few of my favorites in children’s literature:

Product DetailsThe Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore. By William Joyce. This book, published in 2012 may very well be my favorite. The illustrations are rich, engaging, and offer a slightly vintage nostalgia everyone can appreciate. But the story itself is sweet, touching, and terribly moving. I love it. The book also inspired an academy-award winning short film that will bring the story to life for any reader. [Amazon Prime Members can see the video free, or purchase reasonably here. http://www.amazon.com/Fantastic-Flying-Books-Morris-Lessmore/dp/B00EV6YJ9W/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1396369519&sr=8-2&keywords=Mr.+Morris+Lessmore%5D

Miss Dorothy and her Boookmobile, by Gloria Houston. When Dorothy was a little girl, she loved books and so she went to college to become a librarian. She married, left the Product Detailsbig city and lived in a rural area with little access to books. What did she do? Why she made her own bookmobile and eventually a small library. This sweet book shows the tenacity of one women’s desire to bring books to all and to share her love for the written word.

Rocket Learns to Read (2010) and Rocket Writes a Story Product Details(2012) by Tad Hillis are a complete package. First, Rocket must learn to read, which he does with the help of a sweet little bird. And then in book two, Rocket is so inspired he decides to write a book of his own. An adorable tale of learning, perseverance, and self-actualization. A winning combination!

A Story for Bear by Dennis Heasley. Oh my! This one is so sweet, thoughtful, and beautifully illustrated, one feels as if she’s right smack in the middle of the book. I absolutely adore the sentiment behind the love for books, the attention to nature and the way the author-illustrator have clearly teamed up to create this lovely story. While this is a picture book, it’s long and perhaps is best-suited for older children. My 3rd grader still loves it, and will study the illustrations for hours. Product Details

  • For more information and additional resources, please refer to the READ ALOUD Product DetailsHANDBOOK by Jim Trelease. It’s a gold-standard for parents and teachers alike who desire to share the written word with their children. In fact, research shows that continuing to read aloud to your children even after they can read on their own increases critical thinking skills, attention-span, vocabularly, and more. Select books that are just above your child’s natural reading level and make it a family tradition.
  • Just for grins and giggles, you may be intersted in taking this on-line quiz to determine which children’s book you are. I’m BAMBI. “Sweet and irresisitable and make people cry. A lot.” Not sure how true that is, but fun nonetheless!

http://www.playbuzz.com/naneah10/which-childrens-book-are-you

Apraxia Monday: Helen Keller

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By Leslie Lindsay

Product Details

About a month or so ago, my family  read Who Was Helen Keller by Gare Thompson.  It’s a small book, designed for kiddos in the 1-4th grades.  You may know Helen Keller as the deaf and blind young woman who became quite famous for her writing and later appearance in the movie “Deliverance.”  You may not know much at all.  And  that’s okay, too!   Grab your notepad, it’s time for a history lesson. (image source: Amazon.com 4.22.13)

With my two girls snuggled on my lap after bathtime and a busy day, we dove into Helen’s dark, silent world. 

Born in 1880 in Alabama to a farmer/newspaper editor and a housewife, Helen was a beautiful–and bright baby.  She learned to speak early.  Her first words were “tea, tea, tea” and “wah-wah” for water.  If she didn’t know words for things, she made signals to show her mother what she wanted  (sound familiar?)

But just before Helen turned two years old, she became very sick with a fever.  In fact, her doctor thought she wouldn’t make it.  But, Helen’s fever broke, and all was well.

Or, so we thought.  Her mother realized Helen could no longer hear when the dinner bell was rung; Helen didn’t blink when objects moved close to her eyes. 

I paused reading, and looked to my daughters,Wouldn’t it be hard if you were blind-folded every day, all day and everything looked like night?”  They nodded, their round eyes growing big. 

I asked, “And what if your ears were stuffed with cotton balls?  That’s how Helen felt all the time.”  Kate and Kelly cupped their hands over their ears and closed their eyes. 

And when I read this sentence in the book, “Imagine if you could not see, hear, or speak.  How would you let people understand you?  How would you ‘talk?'”  my voice caught.  I pulled from what I knew: Childhood apraxia of speech (CAS).

[CAS is a neurologically based motor speech disorder, making it hard–or impossible–for children to articulate their expressive language.  It does not have anything to do with being blind or deaf.]

I snuggled my girls closer and read on, “But Helen was smart.  She clung to her mother’s skirt and followed her everywhere…Helen found ways to communicate.”

By the time Helen was five years old, she had devised over 50 signs of her own.  She pulled at her mother and father and that meant, “Come with me.”  For “bread,” Helen acted out cutting a slice and buttering it.  To say “small,” Helen pinched a small bit of her skin in her hand.  She spread her fingers wide and brought then together to show them “wide.” (image sourc: Wikipedia, 4.22.13)

I paused and bit my lower lip.  Little Helen, born 120 years earlier than my own children was employing the same techniques my daughter was CAS was using to communicate with her family.  As a toddler, Kate spoke in grunts and gestures.  She had a few rudimentary sounds which we all learned meant something.  For example, sucking as if from a straw meant “thirsty.”  Tapping her fingers together meant “more.”  “Namja” meant pacifier.  When she pulled my hand, it meant, “come see–I have something to show you.”  Brushing the tops of her hands meant “over, done.”  There are countless others, and I am sure as you read this, you know the ones your child uses to communicate with you. 

That night, we closed the book and promised to read another chapter the next day.  The girls were intrigued.

As promised, Helen’s story continued“The family tried to understand Helen, but it was not easy.  She had a terrible temper.   When Helen did not get her way, she threw a tantrum.”  (Ah yeah, another familiarity).  “Helen knew people talked with their lips, but when she tried moving her lips, no sounds came out.  She did not understand why.  It made Helen so mad.  She kicked and screamed in frustration.” 

At this point, I handed the book to my husband, “Here, you take over now.”  It was as if I slipped into a time warp.  Although my daughter is now 8 years old and doing just fine in regards to her apraxia, reminders of those early, days was a truth I was not ready to handle.  I thought I was reading a biography about a blind and deaf woman, not reliving painful memories of my daughter’s own inability to communicate. 

Kate cocked her head as we read, “Did I do things like that because of my apraxia?” 1028562722_Ri3ve-Ti

I sighed and explained.  “You did.  But it must have been really hard for you to have all of these wonderful thoughts, ideas, and needs inside of your mind with no place for them to go.  We knew you had lots going on in there, it was just hard to pull it all out.”  (image source: personal archives)

Kate nodded, “Yeah.  It was.”

“And that is why we took you to see Miss Jen and Miss Sylvia.  They helped you find your voice and now we don’t have to worry about that anymore.”

There wasn’t much more discussion about apraxia as we continued the story of Helen Keller until I aske Kate if could borrow her book.  She looked up from reading one of her comic books (The Adventures of TinTin has made an appearance in her world).  “Why?” 

I shrugged, “Well, it reminds me a lot of how our life was early on with apraxia.”

“Oh, that,” she said flatly and then  nodded towards Helen Keller sitting in her nightstand, “Go ahead, mom.”  (image source:  www.misspriss.com 4.22.13)

While those early years may have made an impact in my life, I can see that for Kate, it barely phased her. 

Children, like Helen Keller are resilient and can overcome great obstacles.  They can even learn and grow from these things…who knows, maybe some day our children with CAS will grown into speech-language pathologists and help other children find their voices.

Apraxia Monday: He Talks Funny Author Jeanne Buesser & Give-a-Way

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By Leslie Lindsay

 

For mother Jeanne Buesser, apraxia has been near and dear to her heart.  Her son–now a senior in high school–and doing well–suffers from the neurologically-based motor speech disorder.  Jeanne is also the president of the nonprofit grassroots organization, Apraxia Network of Bergen County (New Jersey) and the author of He Talks Funny (Author House, 2010).  For more information, see Jeanne’s YouTube Channel: PSA’s, interviews, and more.   (image source: www.authorsden.com 2.11.13)

“All the children eventually reach the top of their mountain but each has a different way of getting there.”

 

Designed for parents, caregivers, teachers, and children with apraxia, Ms. Buesser indicates He Talks Funny was “an idea that just popped into my head one day.” She’s not a stranger to writing, though.  Her work had appeared in the Exceptional Parent Magazine, Parentguide Magazine, and also www.Parentpaper.com.  She also blogs regularly at http://jeannebuesser.com

He Talks Funny is a story about a young boy named Joey and his struggles with CAS, specifically about other children not being able to understand him, and as a result– not having very many friends.  When asked about this, Buesser indicates that she has never called apraxia, Childhood Apraxia of Speech ( emphasizing the childhood term)  simply because “as he got older, and into middle school the title was not appropriate…he’s now a senior [in HS] and understood about 98% of the time, but he does need to remember to articulate and put his thoughts together first.”  Product Details

So, this all boils down to bullying, in some regards.  Kids can be mean.  They can make nasty comments about how one speaks–or doesn’t.  In He Talks Funny,  you’ll a section called “circle of friends.”  Buesser recommends explaining to the principal or teacher the situation frst so there is not a stigma before the child is put into the classroom.  Also, she recomends “explaining CAS to parents of the other children so that everyone is on the same page.”  (image source: Amazon.com 2.11.13) 

Buesser’s message is clear:  As a parent, you have to be the one to step forward and educate others–but slowly.  “People are scared of things–scared often of the unknown.  They often don’t know how to approach people when it comes to things they aren’t familiar with, like apraxia.”  Buesser is also at work on developing a program with He Talks Funny in which the book would be incorporated into New Jersey Core Curriculum regarding bullying and also getting the book on the school’s recommended lists. 

 

And now for the give-a-way!  Jeanne has graciously provided a copy of He Talks Funny to one lucky reader.  All you have to do is share this page on your Facebook or Twitter account.  But you must let me know you did so (otherwise, I have no idea who to enter into the drawing).  Just shoot me an email leslie_lindsay@hotmail.com and say, “I shared the post.”  That will enter you to win a copy of this book, (valued at $12.49 on Amazon).   Drawing for one (1) winner will be held WEDNESDAY, FEB 13th.  Good Luck!!   WINNER IS….Rachel Williams!!  (Name drawn at random on 2.13.13).  This concludes the contest.  Thanks for all of those who entered. 

Special Guest Post & Give-a-Way: Author Jan Helson of “The Global Game Changers”

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By Leslie Lindsay

Fun, fun week!  What a great way to extend”cyber week,” the continuation of Thanksgiving…and the start of the holidays.  I truly feel humbled to be able to offer some exciting guests and give-a-ways.

Today, I share with you a guest post by Jan Helson, creator of The Global Game Changers children’s entertainment brand and author of the children’s book, The Global Game Changers. Developed by a mother-daughter team, Jan Helson and Rachel Annette Helson

BHP

to inspire children to “Ignite Good!” and use their superpowers to make the world a better place, the goal is to teach kids about the different ways they can give back and develop their philanthropic interests.

***Be sure to sake a look below for contest details!!***

5 Easy Tips for Teaching Children about Philanthropy This Holiday Season (by author Jan Helson)

The holiday season is a wonderful time to start teaching children about philanthropy and the joys of giving. The key to encouraging your child to become a life-long giver is a simple equation: Your Talent + Your Passion = Your Superpower! You don’t have to be bitten by a spider to be a superhero. By encouraging each child to combine their individual talents and passions, you can make giving an integral part of their lives.

Here are a few simple tips to help your child reveal their inner superhero!

1. Discuss how important it is to give as well as to receive. Read them a book with a Christmas theme, and discuss the spirit of the holidays as seen in these books. My family used to attend yearly performances of A Christmas Carol, Charles Dickens’ classic tale of a man who learns the value of giving back. O Henry’s story of The Gift of the Magi also shows how much people who care for each other are willing to give up to make each other happy. Dr. Seuss’ Christmas classic, How the Grinch Stole Christmas is another fun way to introduce the concept of the Christmas spirit and giving.

2. Engage in giving as a family. There are an abundance of opportunities to show children how to give, and to explain to them that while Christmas might be an opportunity to receive presents, it’s also a great time to give back! There are so many wonderful opportunities to give over the Christmas holidays. Participate in a Turkey Trot or other run to benefit a charity. Stop by a local church or mall to find an Angel tree and shop for Christmas presents for a child who might otherwise not get anything. Bring your kids along when you deliver meals through programs like Meals on Wheels. Donate new or gently-used toys to programs like Toys for Tots. Arrange a Christmas carol sing-along at a local retirement home. Send Christmas letters or treats to troops stationed overseas. Drop some change in a Santa bell-ringer’s jar.

3. Cultivate their passion. Now that you’ve participated in giving, figure out what kind of giving interests your child. What’s their passion? Perhaps they would like to do something to help kids like them who are sick or in need. Perhaps they are interested in the natural world and would like to do something to help the environment. Encourage your child to think of a way that she/he can give back to a charitable initiative that they feel a connection to. Engaging your children in giving back to something they care about will make them life-long givers.

4. Unleash their talents. Expose your child to the tools necessary for them to create his/her own charity project by combining their passion for a particular cause with their strengths or interests. Is your child a baker? Then she/he can have a bake sale to raise money for a favorite charity. Perhaps she/he is crafty and can sell trinkets made. Athlete? Organize a sporting event to raise awareness for a charity they care about. My daughter Rachel is an actress. She put on a show to benefit the Susan G Komen Foundation after discovering three of her aunts had been diagnosed with breast cancer. You can show them online tools for raising money, and give examples of what other children have done to make the world a better place.

5. Embrace their individuality and re-enforce that they can make a difference. Help your children learn Ebeneezer Scrooge’s lesson: “”I will honour Christmas in my heart, and try to keep it all the year.” Now that your children know about giving, help them continue to give throughout the year!

Using these tips, you can show your children how the holiday spirit can spark interest and get them moving toward making the world a better place all year round!

The Teacher is Talking:  Saying Bye Bye to Binky

Enter the Global Game Changers contest!

Readers: “Like” the Global Game Changers Facebook page and then post a picture of your child(ren) in action “igniting good!”.  Jan will choose one lucky fan to receive a gift pack complete with The Global Game Changers book, an Ignite Good! superhero cape, a 56-page Ignite Good! Activity Book and $30 Amazon gift card.The Global Game Changers (Hardcover) ~ Jan Helson Cover Art 

 

image source: Amazon.com 11.30.12

 
 

Book Review/Give-a-Way: Marlow & the Monster

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By Leslie Lindsay

(**See end of post for give-a-way information)Giveaway

(This contest is now closed, 8.21.12) 

What kid doesn’t fear the proverbial monster-under-the-bed?  What parent hasn’t had to deal with that child who is just sure the monster slithered underneath the bed or into the closet the moment mom and dad pop in to investigate?  That’s right:  nearly all of us. 

For Sharon Cramer, a certified nurse anestehtist and mom of three grown children in the Pacific northwest, her book, MARLOW & THE MONSTER (Talking Bird Books, August 2012) says it all: monters don’t exist…or do they?! 

(image retrieved from Amazon.com 8.17.12) Product DetailsCramer is the author and illustrator of three previous books: Cougar Cub Tales, a three-book series, but this is her first stand-alone title.  Marlow & the Monster is beautifully illustrated in black & white quill pen and ink, while portraying the monster in vivid color.  Of course–what monster would be in black & white to any child’s imagination?  Cramer states it took about 30-40 hours per illustration! 

In Marlow and the Monster, young Marlow has a monster lurking in his room.  He doesn’t like it–not one bit.  Finally, after some trouble with the monster, Marlow marches him down to his sister, Sarah’s room.  Sarah is actually younger than Marlow, but she knows just what to do with him.  Perhaps our “monsters” aren’t all that scary after all?  Can a monster be goofy? Creative?  Guess you’ll have to read the book to find out.

The book is best suited for kids ages 3-7.  My soon-to-be-kindergartner liked it “okay,” but agreed that kids do think about monsters a lot, “Sometimes I think there is a monster in my closet, but I know there isn’t.  Not really.” 

Cramer says the book is, “my first trip onto the wild side!”  In fact, the book may be likened to “Where the Wild Things Are,” as it reminds me as a modern take on the classic by Maurice Sendak, particularly in terms of  artistic style.   

Here are some tips and ides for parents who may be struggling with the “monster under the bed”:

  • Ask your child to describe the monster. Get really detailed.  Ask about colors, if the monster talks (what does she say), is the monster a boy or a girl?  What is the worst thing that can happen?  What is the best thing that can happen?  Sometimes breaking it down into simple terms helps kids understand that there is really nothing to fear, and that their imagination is actually quite powerful
     
    three eyed happy monster blue photo cutouts
  • Draw a picture of your monster.  Oh, time to get out the art supplies!  Googly eyes, pipe cleaners, construction paper, glue…bring it on!!
  • Be open and honest about fears.  It’s just another feeling, and feelings are okay to discuss.  Make sure your child knows that.  What may be bothering your child may actually suprise you.  Perhaps it’s nothing “typical” like going to school or the dentist, but maybe something that happened on the playground. 
  • Tell your child some of the things you are/were afraid of and what you did to get over it.  My hubby used this example from his childhood, “I thought there was a monster in my closet for months.  I wouldn’t even open it unless a grown-up was in the room.  One day, I just flung the closet door open and said, ‘you get out of there, you mean ol’ monster’ and that monster never came back?” 

Giveaway

Hip-Hip-Hooray!  Today is give-a-way Friday.  Here’s what you need to do:  Tell us why your family needs this book in the comment section of the blog.  Only blog comments will be considered for the give-a-way.  Winner is the person whose date of birth is closet to my 5-year olds…You have till Monday 8/20/12 at 5pm to enter!  Good luck. 

***AND THE WINNER IS:  Amanda B. and Family!!  Amanda’s Birthday (Feb 13th)  is closest to my 5yo daughter’s January 10th Birthday.  Runner-up was Margaret M. with a Feb 28th BD.  I appreciate all of those who entered.  Thanks!!**** (this contest is now officially closed.  8/21/12).

To learn more, see www.talkingbirdbooks.com