Monthly Archives: August 2010

Database of Award-Winning Children’s Literature

By Rana DiOrio, Founder, Little Pickle Press
August 29, 2010

While doing some research on an entirely unrelated topic, I stumbled upon a valuable resource for finding the best children’s books—Database of Award-Winning Children’s Literature:

http://www.dawcl.com/instructions.html

The Purpose. The stated purpose of this database is to create a tailored reading list of quality children’s literature or to find out if a book has won one of the indexed awards. Users include librarians, teachers, parents, grandparents, bookstore personnel, and children and young adults themselves.

The Contents. The database has over 8,300 records representing 91 awards across six English-speaking countries (United States, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, England, and Ireland). Each award is explained thoroughly and calendared. Each book is indexed so users may find it using the form search or the keyword search. Naturally, DAWCL is a work in progress, so results will change with the addition of new awards, award-winners, and the evolution of reading/indexing practices.

The Mastermind. The dedicated scholar who compiled the database is Lisa Bartle, a reference librarian at California State University, San Bernardino. Lisa earned a BA in English from the University of California, Santa Barbara (1990) and an MA in English, with an emphasis on Medieval and Renaissance poetry, prose, and drama, from the University of California, Riverside (1993). After working as a student in one of UCSB’s libraries, then a staff member at the UCR Physical Sciences Library, she decided to earn a Masters in Library and Information Science and become a librarian. She graduated from the University of California, Los Angeles in 1997. While attending UCLA she conceived the idea for the Database of Award-Winning Children’s Literature. If you have a compliment or question about this remarkable database, Lisa invites you to contact her at [email protected]. If you do, please be sure to tell her that Little Pickle Press sent you.

Put-ups: Random Acts of Kindness

By Rana DiOrio, Founder, Little Pickle Press
August 24, 2010

We have another parenting technique that we have found to be very useful. We call it “put-ups.” No, not pull-ups—the transition diapers, but put-ups.

What is a put-up? A put-up is a random act of kindness. It is when you do something nice for someone else without being asked to do so. For example, when our oldest notices that her younger sister is having a hard time tying her shoe and offers to help her, that’s a put-up. When one of our older children sees our youngest about to get into harm’s way and redirects him, that’s a put-up. When one of our children clears away another family member’s plate from the table, that’s a put-up. Our 22 month old has watched his sisters do this so many times, that he now does it himself (while singing the clean-up song—too cute for words).

Reporting a put-up. The way put-ups work is that our children may self-report a put-up (for something they did at school for instance) or someone else can notice their put-up and acknowledge it. Once a put up is reported, our child attains a star (or a pumpkin, a snowflake, a heart, or a dot, we vary the notation seasonally) on the top of our family’s monthly calendar.

Rewarding put-ups. Upon accruing 10 put-up stars, our children get to choose the reward of their choice. Rewards range from a trip to the bookstore or a museum with mom or dad to a picnic with a friend and mom or dad. We reinforce the message that the great feeling you get when you help another person is actually the reward for a put-up. But we realize that young children may need some extra incentive at first.

Wouldn’t the world be a better place if we were all focused on put-ups!?

Fun and Engaging Money Training for Your Young Kids!

By Denise LaBuda, CEO, Money Wizdom™

August 20, 2010



As parents, we all have experienced our kids melting down in a store over a must have item. Often we cave in to the demands in order to get out of the embarrassing moment. How would you like a new way to handle these moments and help your kids learn how to handle money responsibly?

Whether parents like it or not, we are the central players in the development of our kids’ money skills, values, and habits. Why? Because youngsters learn about money by what they see, hear, and experience in the world—and at home.

We, at Money Wizdom™, want your kids to grow up having a balanced approach to handling money. And that balance starts with good budgeting skills—and a habit or two. Our Money Wizdom™ program is designed to help you teach your young kids (5-8) age-appropriate budgeting skills in a simple, fun, and responsible manner. It only takes about 30 minutes to get a family started using rules you set about what your kids can and cannot do.


Kids on the Money Wizdom™ program learn that a “good” budget allows them to pay for what they need, save for what they want, face the consequences of spending choices, and control the urge to have it all now. And they gain insight on the value of giving to others. Yes, five year olds can do this!



Best of all, our program fits easily into busy, day-to-day family life. And, it’s made for all families, regardless of income, money values, or number of kids.


So, if you are ready to empower your kids to learn how to make good money decisions and reduce the “gimme’s,” consider starting your kids on the Money Wizdom™ program today. The Starter Kit is available for purchase at Little Pickle Press.

Fun and Engaging Money Training for Your Young Kids!

By Denise LaBuda, CEO, Money Wizdom™

August 20, 2010



As parents, we all have experienced our kids melting down in a store over a must have item. Often we cave in to the demands in order to get out of the embarrassing moment. How would you like a new way to handle these moments and help your kids learn how to handle money responsibly?

Whether parents like it or not, we are the central players in the development of our kids’ money skills, values, and habits. Why? Because youngsters learn about money by what they see, hear, and experience in the world—and at home.

We, at Money Wizdom™, want your kids to grow up having a balanced approach to handling money. And that balance starts with good budgeting skills—and a habit or two. Our Money Wizdom™ program is designed to help you teach your young kids (5-8) age-appropriate budgeting skills in a simple, fun, and responsible manner. It only takes about 30 minutes to get a family started using rules you set about what your kids can and cannot do.


Kids on the Money Wizdom™ program learn that a “good” budget allows them to pay for what they need, save for what they want, face the consequences of spending choices, and control the urge to have it all now. And they gain insight on the value of giving to others. Yes, five year olds can do this!



Best of all, our program fits easily into busy, day-to-day family life. And, it’s made for all families, regardless of income, money values, or number of kids.


So, if you are ready to empower your kids to learn how to make good money decisions and reduce the “gimme’s,” consider starting your kids on the Money Wizdom™ program today. The Starter Kit is available for purchase at Little Pickle Press.

Little Pickle Fan

By Rana DiOrio, Founder, Little Pickle Press
August 16, 2010

Loyal Little Pickle Press customer and devoted aunt, Jill McIntyre, gave What Does It Mean To Be Present? to her niece, Taylor. Taylor loved the book. She especially delighted in looking for the blue butterfly on each page. To thank her Auntie Jill, Taylor and her mom, Cindy, recorded this Thank You video. Taylor then asked her mom if she could sleep with her new book! Thank you for sharing your story with us.

What Works For Us: House Rules, Chore Chart & (Of Course) Rewards

By Rana DiOrio, Founder, Little Pickle Press
August 15, 2010

The week before last we hosted two houseguests contemporaneously. One was a mommy of two girls. The other was a transpersonal psychologist and presence expert. While eating breakfast at our banquette, they each noticed our House Rules, Chore Chart, and Rewards posted on the wall. They both remarked on them and suggested I share them, so here goes.

The House Rules. Quite simply, our House Rules are as follows:

If one of our children contravenes a House Rule, they get a time out — 6 minutes for the 6 year old and 5 minutes for the 5 year old. If they break the rules twice within the same day, then the consequence is that they spend the afternoon alone in their room.

I have to admit that at first, I thought the scheme was rather draconian. I mean, the time outs are age appropriate, but the lock down for an afternoon seemed rather tough. Our nanny (who is an early childhood educator) and my husband encouraged me to suspend my disbelief, so I did. The results were remarkable. Each of our older children tested the boundaries just once, that is, they broke the rules twice within a day and had to spend an afternoon alone in their room. Then, they haven’t again since.

The Chore Chart. Hand in glove with our House Rules is our Chore Chart, which lists the community tasks we encourage our 6 and 5 year old to help us with on a daily basis. They earn one star for each chore they accomplish.

We find that giving them this kind of responsibility (in addition to the accountability of the House Rules) makes them feel seen and acknowledged.

The Rewards. Once they accrue fifteen (15) stars, they get the reward of their choice. They developed this list of rewards with our help.

Please notice that the rewards are less material and more about spending special moments with my husband or me. By no means do we have all the answers, but when we have a parenting technique that works, I’ll be sure to share it. Please feel free to do the same at [email protected]

What Works For Us: House Rules, Chore Chart & (Of Course) Rewards

By Rana DiOrio, Founder, Little Pickle Press
August 15, 2010

The week before last we hosted two houseguests contemporaneously. One was a mommy of two girls. The other was a transpersonal psychologist and presence expert. While eating breakfast at our banquette, they each noticed our House Rules, Chore Chart, and Rewards posted on the wall. They both remarked on them and suggested I share them, so here goes.

The House Rules. Quite simply, our House Rules are as follows:

If one of our children contravenes a House Rule, they get a time out — 6 minutes for the 6 year old and 5 minutes for the 5 year old. If they break the rules twice within the same day, then the consequence is that they spend the afternoon alone in their room.

I have to admit that at first, I thought the scheme was rather draconian. I mean, the time outs are age appropriate, but the lock down for an afternoon seemed rather tough. Our nanny (who is an early childhood educator) and my husband encouraged me to suspend my disbelief, so I did. The results were remarkable. Each of our older children tested the boundaries just once, that is, they broke the rules twice within a day and had to spend an afternoon alone in their room. Then, they haven’t again since.

The Chore Chart. Hand in glove with our House Rules is our Chore Chart, which lists the community tasks we encourage our 6 and 5 year old to help us with on a daily basis. They earn one star for each chore they accomplish.

We find that giving them this kind of responsibility (in addition to the accountability of the House Rules) makes them feel seen and acknowledged.

The Rewards. Once they accrue fifteen (15) stars, they get the reward of their choice. They developed this list of rewards with our help.

Please notice that the rewards are less material and more about spending special moments with my husband or me. By no means do we have all the answers, but when we have a parenting technique that works, I’ll be sure to share it. Please feel free to do the same at [email protected]

If you had your druthers . . . What Would YOU Like To See In A Children’s iPad App?


By Rana DiOrio, Founder, Little Pickle Press
August 11, 2010

We are in the process of developing our first iPad application for children. As the white board is, well, white at this point, we want to learn your preferences for this application. Specifically, we would like to know the following . . .

1. What type of payment structure would you prefer?
• Pay as you goes (i.e., buy incremental content for a single LPP iPad app as you use it and want to upgrade/access new properties)?
• Subscription (i.e., pay a set monthly or yearly fee for access to ALL LPP iPad app content)?
• An option to buy different versions of the LPP iPad app (i.e., a “free” version, a “lite” version or a “robust” version)?

2. What types of capabilities would you like to see in the LPP iPad app? (i.e., are you looking for an enhanced eReader for a child that has a medium level of interactivity or a more engaging experience that goes beyond eReader capabilities to include games, learning tools, and alternative media components?)

3. Why would you buy an LPP iPad app?

4. Why wouldn’t you buy an LPP iPad app?

5. Beyond just an enhanced eReader, which of the sample concepts outlined below strike you as the most intriguing for your child?

• Embedded Drawing Application

Using colors, brushes, and styles that are contained in the book, children can create their own custom collage. Additionally, when they touch an item within a palette, the name of the item (whether it be a brush, color, etc.) is read out loud to them. Once complete, the parents can help the child submit it to a Little Pickle Press Gallery for others to view and to enter to win a contest or sweepstakes.

• How Are You…? (Global, Green, Present)

Children can work with their parents to share their stories with others. “How Are You Global?” Additionally, an optional photo may be attached as well. Children may submit responses to Little Pickle Press and enter to win a contest or sweepstakes.

• Create Your Own Characters

Children can create and style their own characters prior to reading the book. This would include wardrobe, features, and names. Upon completion, the characters would be placed throughout the book and displayed while they read the story.

6. Would an LPP iPad app make you any more likely to purchase hard copies of our books?

7. Would you want access through the potential LPP iPad app to make purchases beyond app content? (i.e., have immediate one-touch access to purchase a broader variety of products via an embedded catalog of options, such as hard copies of the books, original music, conscientious gifts, and other related materials?)

What other ideas do you have? The inquiring minds at LPP want to know. Please fill out the below form and send us your ideas and suggestions!

If you had your druthers . . . What Would YOU Like To See In A Children’s iPad App?


By Rana DiOrio, Founder, Little Pickle Press
August 11, 2010

We are in the process of developing our first iPad application for children. As the white board is, well, white at this point, we want to learn your preferences for this application. Specifically, we would like to know the following . . .

1. What type of payment structure would you prefer?
• Pay as you goes (i.e., buy incremental content for a single LPP iPad app as you use it and want to upgrade/access new properties)?
• Subscription (i.e., pay a set monthly or yearly fee for access to ALL LPP iPad app content)?
• An option to buy different versions of the LPP iPad app (i.e., a “free” version, a “lite” version or a “robust” version)?

2. What types of capabilities would you like to see in the LPP iPad app? (i.e., are you looking for an enhanced eReader for a child that has a medium level of interactivity or a more engaging experience that goes beyond eReader capabilities to include games, learning tools, and alternative media components?)

3. Why would you buy an LPP iPad app?

4. Why wouldn’t you buy an LPP iPad app?

5. Beyond just an enhanced eReader, which of the sample concepts outlined below strike you as the most intriguing for your child?

• Embedded Drawing Application

Using colors, brushes, and styles that are contained in the book, children can create their own custom collage. Additionally, when they touch an item within a palette, the name of the item (whether it be a brush, color, etc.) is read out loud to them. Once complete, the parents can help the child submit it to a Little Pickle Press Gallery for others to view and to enter to win a contest or sweepstakes.

• How Are You…? (Global, Green, Present)

Children can work with their parents to share their stories with others. “How Are You Global?” Additionally, an optional photo may be attached as well. Children may submit responses to Little Pickle Press and enter to win a contest or sweepstakes.

• Create Your Own Characters

Children can create and style their own characters prior to reading the book. This would include wardrobe, features, and names. Upon completion, the characters would be placed throughout the book and displayed while they read the story.

6. Would an LPP iPad app make you any more likely to purchase hard copies of our books?

7. Would you want access through the potential LPP iPad app to make purchases beyond app content? (i.e., have immediate one-touch access to purchase a broader variety of products via an embedded catalog of options, such as hard copies of the books, original music, conscientious gifts, and other related materials?)

What other ideas do you have? The inquiring minds at LPP want to know. Please fill out the below form and send us your ideas and suggestions!

LPP: Stimulating Explorations of Meaningful Topics

By Rana DiOrio, Founder, Little Pickle Press
August 6, 2010

Our New Mission Statement. Just as it is a good exercise to go through your closet periodically and decide what you ought to keep and what you ought to give away, it is also a good idea for a company to reassess and reevaluate its mission on occasion. During a team exercise recently, Little Pickle Press refined its Mission Statement to read as follows:

Little Pickle Press is dedicated to helping parents and educators cultivate conscious, responsible little people by stimulating explorations of the meaningful topics of their generation through a variety of media, technologies, and techniques.

I thought it might be helpful to explain in practice what this means for LPP and for you, our valued reader and customer.

Explorations of Meaningful Topics. We believe that in the 21st Century, an exploration of a subject matter involves activity in the physical world as well as the digital one. Accordingly, we want to develop material for both. In the physical world, we have books and posters. Soon we will have flash cards or other creative, educational games. In the digital world, we have eBooks, music, and book trailer videos. Soon we will have an iPad application and videos featuring experts who will explain how best to explore a meaningful topic with a child.

Your Input Matters To Us. We need your input in order to deliver the best possible content and supporting products. As parents, teachers, grandparents, or people who care about shaping our children, you have a strong sense of what topics you would like to explore with the children in your life and what tools would be most helpful to you as you do so with them. We’re listening. Please submit your ideas to [email protected]. While you are at it, please consider participating in our Grand Prize Giveaway to name the next book in our What Does It Mean To Be . . .?™ series http://bit.ly/an1mVg.

Impressions of scbwi’s Summer Conference 2010

By Rana DiOrio, Founder

August 1, 2010

I am in Los Angeles, CA attending the Society of Children’s Book Writer’s & Illustrator’s 39th Annual Summer Conference (www.scbwi.org). As this is my first scbwi conference, it took me a couple of days to get my sea legs. Now that I have them, I wanted to share with you some of my impressions of this terrific event.

Demographics. We’re told that there are 1,100 attendees at the conference, 80% of whom are women. The attendees are writers, illustrators, editors and other publishing executives, and literary agents. By looking around the LA Ballroom during the keynote addresses, I see a healthy balance between those in the crowd who are doodling (the illustrators, of course) and those who are writing in journals or on notepads, and a surprising minority of folks taking notes on their laptops or iPads. While I myself am firmly entrenched in the digital revolution (or as Simon & Schuster executive Justin Chanda calls it, The Wild West), I take my journal to sessions and tend to sit next to people with implements in hand, as they are generally quieter neighbors!

Anonymity. The reason why I don’t have a better understanding of the actual demographics is that we all wear nametags that reveal just our names and where we’re from. Period. There are no firms, no titles. We are all just artists learning about our trade and forging friendships with one another. It is a congenial, open-minded sea of anonymity.

Humor. One thing is for sure, artists have a lot of fun. I’ve laughed more at this conference than any other industry conference I’ve ever attended. The speakers are brilliant and cleverly funny. We commence most of the keynote sessions by awarding prizes to those who submit the most original jokes, which are read out loud so we all get to enjoy them. As my room has a balcony overlooking the pool and hot tub of the hotel, I also know for a fact that these people can party! Oh, and the gala last night was a costumes-encouraged event!

Environment. I was very pleased to notice that the Century Plaza Hotel, the chosen venue for the conference, is taking measures to protect the environment. For example, they have 3-section recycling bins in all the elevator lobbies — very cool.

Talent. Talent abounds at this conference, from the engaging industry titans that have speaking roles, to the Team Bloggers who whip off these fabulous blog posts with seemingly no effort (see www.scbwiconference.blogspot.com), to the illustrators who participated in The Annual Juried Illustrators’ Portfolio Showcase. Speaking of which, I must again congratulate our very own Eliza Wheeler, illustrator of What Does It Mean To Be Present?, for receiving a coveted Mentorship Program Award (see pictures to appreciate the glee of Eliza and our Art Director, Leslie Iorillo).

Suggestion. I have one humble suggestion for the powers that be at scbwi to improve future conferences. I think it would be a great idea if the works (books, notecards, etc.) of the illustrators who receive awards at the Portfolio Showcase were also available for sale in the conference bookstore. Wouldn’t it be great if all 1,100 of us could support them directly and immediately? Food for thought.

Gratitude. I am ever so grateful to be a member of this vibrant community and to be here at this conference. I am grateful to scbwi for organizing such a fabulous conference for us. And I am especially grateful to the speakers for being so prepared, witty, helpful, and inspirational. Thank you!

Impressions of scbwi’s Summer Conference 2010

By Rana DiOrio, Founder

August 1, 2010

I am in Los Angeles, CA attending the Society of Children’s Book Writer’s & Illustrator’s 39th Annual Summer Conference (www.scbwi.org). As this is my first scbwi conference, it took me a couple of days to get my sea legs. Now that I have them, I wanted to share with you some of my impressions of this terrific event.

Demographics. We’re told that there are 1,100 attendees at the conference, 80% of whom are women. The attendees are writers, illustrators, editors and other publishing executives, and literary agents. By looking around the LA Ballroom during the keynote addresses, I see a healthy balance between those in the crowd who are doodling (the illustrators, of course) and those who are writing in journals or on notepads, and a surprising minority of folks taking notes on their laptops or iPads. While I myself am firmly entrenched in the digital revolution (or as Simon & Schuster executive Justin Chanda calls it, The Wild West), I take my journal to sessions and tend to sit next to people with implements in hand, as they are generally quieter neighbors!

Anonymity. The reason why I don’t have a better understanding of the actual demographics is that we all wear nametags that reveal just our names and where we’re from. Period. There are no firms, no titles. We are all just artists learning about our trade and forging friendships with one another. It is a congenial, open-minded sea of anonymity.

Humor. One thing is for sure, artists have a lot of fun. I’ve laughed more at this conference than any other industry conference I’ve ever attended. The speakers are brilliant and cleverly funny. We commence most of the keynote sessions by awarding prizes to those who submit the most original jokes, which are read out loud so we all get to enjoy them. As my room has a balcony overlooking the pool and hot tub of the hotel, I also know for a fact that these people can party! Oh, and the gala last night was a costumes-encouraged event!

Environment. I was very pleased to notice that the Century Plaza Hotel, the chosen venue for the conference, is taking measures to protect the environment. For example, they have 3-section recycling bins in all the elevator lobbies — very cool.

Talent. Talent abounds at this conference, from the engaging industry titans that have speaking roles, to the Team Bloggers who whip off these fabulous blog posts with seemingly no effort (see www.scbwiconference.blogspot.com), to the illustrators who participated in The Annual Juried Illustrators’ Portfolio Showcase. Speaking of which, I must again congratulate our very own Eliza Wheeler, illustrator of What Does It Mean To Be Present?, for receiving a coveted Mentorship Program Award (see pictures to appreciate the glee of Eliza and our Art Director, Leslie Iorillo).

Suggestion. I have one humble suggestion for the powers that be at scbwi to improve future conferences. I think it would be a great idea if the works (books, notecards, etc.) of the illustrators who receive awards at the Portfolio Showcase were also available for sale in the conference bookstore. Wouldn’t it be great if all 1,100 of us could support them directly and immediately? Food for thought.

Gratitude. I am ever so grateful to be a member of this vibrant community and to be here at this conference. I am grateful to scbwi for organizing such a fabulous conference for us. And I am especially grateful to the speakers for being so prepared, witty, helpful, and inspirational. Thank you!