Monthly Archives: January 2012

The Brain, According to Kids

By Cameron Crane

This month we have been exploring the brain and all of its potential. We were very fortunate to work and speak with many experts in in the field. We were also very excited to release our new lesson plans for Your Fantastic Elastic Brain: Stretch it, Shape It, with interactive activities that will help children learn about their brain and how it functions. Today, three very wise children tell us about what they already know about it.

What does your brain do?

Tyler (9 years old): Your brain makes you think, and learn. Pretty much everything you know comes from your brain. It’s what makes it so you can think and talk and move and everything like that.

Ethan (8 years old): Your brain is what makes you smart.

Alexa (8 years old): It helps you remember things and makes you think.

What else do you know about the brain?

Tyler: It’s in your head. It’s soft and looks kind of like a football. But it’s not like a football really. It’s different because it’s more soft and more round.

Ethan: Ummm, it makes you smart. And it’s big or smaller for different people. It can do a lot of things.

Alexa: It’s in your head and it’s really important, because without it I don’t know what you would do. Probably you would just be confused.


How does your brain work?

Tyler: It’s like we are a robot. It controls everything you do.

Ethan: I don’t know, it just does!

Alexa: Well, when you learn things your brain learns them too.

In one of our books, Your Fantastic Elastic Brain, we talk about how you can stretch your brain, or make it stronger, by practicing things that are hard for us. What is something that is hard for you, and how do you practice it?

Tyler: Soccer. Well it’s not hard for me. But I have basketball practice sometimes and it’s good because I can practice with my team.

Ethan: I have lots of practices. In school we have recorders so we are learning to play. And our teacher gives us homework to practice.

Alexa: I practice the piano
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Please take advantage of the last two days of our January special. Buy a copy of Your Fantastic Elastic Brain and receive a free TerraSkin poster and FREE SHIPPING on your entire order. Just use LPPBrain2012 at checkout here.

The Brain, According to Kids

By Cameron Crane

This month we have been exploring the brain and all of its potential. We were very fortunate to work and speak with many experts in in the field. We were also very excited to release our new lesson plans for Your Fantastic Elastic Brain: Stretch it, Shape It, with interactive activities that will help children learn about their brain and how it functions. Today, three very wise children tell us about what they already know about it.

What does your brain do?

Tyler (9 years old): Your brain makes you think, and learn. Pretty much everything you know comes from your brain. It’s what makes it so you can think and talk and move and everything like that.

Ethan (8 years old): Your brain is what makes you smart.

Alexa (8 years old): It helps you remember things and makes you think.

What else do you know about the brain?

Tyler: It’s in your head. It’s soft and looks kind of like a football. But it’s not like a football really. It’s different because it’s more soft and more round.

Ethan: Ummm, it makes you smart. And it’s big or smaller for different people. It can do a lot of things.

Alexa: It’s in your head and it’s really important, because without it I don’t know what you would do. Probably you would just be confused.

How does your brain work?

Tyler: It’s like we are a robot. It controls everything you do.

Ethan: I don’t know, it just does!

Alexa: Well, when you learn things your brain learns them too.

In one of our books, Your Fantastic Elastic Brain, we talk about how you can stretch your brain, or make it stronger, by practicing things that are hard for us. What is something that is hard for you, and how do you practice it?

Tyler: Soccer. Well it’s not hard for me. But I have basketball practice sometimes and it’s good because I can practice with my team.

Ethan: I have lots of practices. In school we have recorders so we are learning to play. And our teacher gives us homework to practice.

Alexa: I practice the piano
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Please take advantage of the last two days of our January special. Buy a copy of Your Fantastic Elastic Brain and receive a free TerraSkin poster and FREE SHIPPING on your entire order. Just use LPPBrain2012 at checkout here.

The Effects of Yoga on the Brain

By Cameron Crane


“Yoga is the method by which the restless mind is calmed and the energy directed into constructive channels. As a mighty river which when properly harnessed by dams and canals, creates a vast reservoir of water, prevents famine and provides abundant power for industry; so also the mind, when controlled, provides a reservoir of peace and generates abundant energy for human uplift.” ~ B.K.S. Iyengar

This month as we take a look at the brain, it is also important to look at the little things we can do to increase our mental health. As you may or may not know, many members of the Little Pickle Press team are avid yoga-goers, it seemed appropriate to discuss the benefits that can be obtained from this activity.

In his book Light on Yoga, B.K.S Iyengar defines yoga as “a timeless pragmatic science evolved over thousands of years dealing with the physical, moral, mental and spiritual well-being of man as a whole.” The definition of yoga as a “science” is only fitting, considering research regarding the impact of yoga on the brain.

Anybody who practices any type of yoga knows that it takes an immense of amount of discipline and concentration. Yoga-goers also know that the completion of a yoga class is almost always accompanied by a feeling of rejuvenation and refreshment. It is no surprise, then, that medical research is beginning to show that practicing yoga and meditation can have real, scientific, positive short and long-term effects on your brain.

Many people believe that the positive feeling you receive after a yoga class can be attributed to an increase in dopamine levels. While this is true, recent studies, like that conducted by J. Eric Jensen Ph.D., an assistant professor of psychiatry at Harvard Medical School, have begun to uncover the connection between yoga and the brain gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) levels in your brain. In the Dr. Jensen’s study, research showed a 27% increase in GABA levels in a group of subjects after only one hour of yoga.

These studies also have significant implications when it comes to the treatment of depression, anxiety and stress. According to one study “yoga can improve your cognitive functions and memory by reducing the stress levels in your body. When you are stressed, your body releases cortisol into the blood stream, which uses up a lot of glucose in the body. This leads to a fuel deficit for your brain. Practicing yoga can help retrain your brain and body connection to release old automatic thought patterns and negative habits.” This means that after practicing yoga, your mind is more balanced and clear.

If you are looking for a great way to relieve stress and clear your mind, we recommend signing up for a yoga class.

Sources:

http://www.lexiyoga.com/yoga-for-the-brain

http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/05/070521145516.htm


Image Credit:

monadarling.com

The Effects of Yoga on the Brain

By Cameron Crane



“Yoga is the method by which the restless mind is calmed and the energy directed into constructive channels. As a mighty river which when properly harnessed by dams and canals, creates a vast reservoir of water, prevents famine and provides abundant power for industry; so also the mind, when controlled, provides a reservoir of peace and generates abundant energy for human uplift.” ~ B.K.S. Iyengar

This month as we take a look at the brain, it is also important to look at the little things we can do to increase our mental health. As you may or may not know, many members of the Little Pickle Press team are avid yoga-goers, it seemed appropriate to discuss the benefits that can be obtained from this activity.

In his book Light on Yoga, B.K.S Iyengar defines yoga as “a timeless pragmatic science evolved over thousands of years dealing with the physical, moral, mental and spiritual well-being of man as a whole.” The definition of yoga as a “science” is only fitting, considering research regarding the impact of yoga on the brain.

Anybody who practices any type of yoga knows that it takes an immense of amount of discipline and concentration. Yoga-goers also know that the completion of a yoga class is almost always accompanied by a feeling of rejuvenation and refreshment. It is no surprise, then, that medical research is beginning to show that practicing yoga and meditation can have real, scientific, positive short and long-term effects on your brain.

Many people believe that the positive feeling you receive after a yoga class can be attributed to an increase in dopamine levels. While this is true, recent studies, like that conducted by J. Eric Jensen Ph.D., an assistant professor of psychiatry at Harvard Medical School, have begun to uncover the connection between yoga and the brain gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) levels in your brain. In the Dr. Jensen’s study, research showed a 27% increase in GABA levels in a group of subjects after only one hour of yoga.

These studies also have significant implications when it comes to the treatment of depression, anxiety and stress. According to one study “yoga can improve your cognitive functions and memory by reducing the stress levels in your body. When you are stressed, your body releases cortisol into the blood stream, which uses up a lot of glucose in the body. This leads to a fuel deficit for your brain. Practicing yoga can help retrain your brain and body connection to release old automatic thought patterns and negative habits.” This means that after practicing yoga, your mind is more balanced and clear.

If you are looking for a great way to relieve stress and clear your mind, we recommend signing up for a yoga class.

Sources:

http://www.lexiyoga.com/yoga-for-the-brain

http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/05/070521145516.htm


Image Credit:

monadarling.com

Introducing our Fantastic Elastic Brain Lesson Plans

By Cameron Crane

In the last few months, Little Pickle Press has been working closely with educators and domain experts to develop engaging lesson plans for our collection of award-winning titles. Today, we are excited to announce the release of our Your Fantastic Elastic Brain Lesson Plans, available now as a complimentary download.
All of our lesson plans have been developed to compliment and highlight the core concepts of their corresponding titles, in alignment with the Common Core State Standards Initiative for Speaking and Listening for all grade levels. It has been an exciting process for us, and has included the hard work of many, including Meredith Moran, a Ph.D. candidate in the Stanford University School of Education. In its development, it has passed through the hands of almost every member of our team.
Your Fantastic Elastic Brain: Stretch It, Shape It, written by neuroplasticity expert Dr. JoAnn Deak, is one of our most popular titles. It has gained attention and praise by parents and teachers alike. The development of a lesson plan, which pulls on the key concepts of this award-winning book, seemed only natural in accomplishing our overall mission as a children’s publisher: to help parents and educators cultivate conscious, responsible little people.
The Your Fantastic Elastic Brain Lesson Plan is comprised of a series of activities, guiding questions, resources and character building connections, all designed to reach a specific set of key objectives. These objectives are as follows:

  • Students will develop a basic understanding of the neuroanatomy of the brain and an awareness of the brain’s primary functions.

  • Students will develop an understanding of the concept of neuroplasticity and will identify areas of personal strength, and connect these skills to corresponding regions of the brain.
  • Students will develop an understanding of how mistakes function as a learning tool that helps the brain grow.
  • Students will learn that individual effort and practice can contribute to positive personal development in numerous realms, including social/emotional, cognitive, and physical/ kinesthetic growth.
  • Students will be able to identify specific actions and practices they can undertake to facilitate their brain growth.

To download our complimentary Your Fantastic Elastic Brain Lesson Plan, please click here . For a description of and access to our collection of educator resources to date, including our Being Global and Being Safe Lesson Plans, please click here. As always, we welcome your feedback on these resources!

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Meredith Moran is a Ph.D. candidate in the Stanford University School of Education, where she studies early literacy acquisition and curriculum development. Her dissertation research will explore how emergent readers build oral vocabulary and conceptual knowledge through discussions of text read aloud. Prior to her graduate work, Meredith was an elementary school teacher for nine years, eight of which were spent teaching kindergarten. Upon completion of graduate school, she hopes to translate her passion for early literacy into a dream career combining instruction and research with young readers. Meredith resides in San Anselmo, California, with her golden retriever, Beckham.

Introducing our Fantastic Elastic Brain Lesson Plans

By Cameron Crane

In the last few months, Little Pickle Press has been working closely with educators and domain experts to develop engaging lesson plans for our collection of award-winning titles. Today, we are excited to announce the release of our Your Fantastic Elastic Brain Lesson Plans, available now as a complimentary download.

All of our lesson plans have been developed to compliment and highlight the core concepts of their corresponding titles, in alignment with the Common Core State Standards Initiative for Speaking and Listening for all grade levels. It has been an exciting process for us, and has included the hard work of many, including Meredith Moran, a Ph.D. candidate in the Stanford University School of Education. In its development, it has passed through the hands of almost every member of our team.

Your Fantastic Elastic Brain: Stretch It, Shape It, written by neuroplasticity expert Dr. JoAnn Deak, is one of our most popular titles. It has gained attention and praise by parents and teachers alike. The development of a lesson plan, which pulls on the key concepts of this award-winning book, seemed only natural in accomplishing our overall mission as a children’s publisher: to help parents and educators cultivate conscious, responsible little people.

The Your Fantastic Elastic Brain Lesson Plan is comprised of a series of activities, guiding questions, resources and character building connections, all designed to reach a specific set of key objectives. These objectives are as follows:

  • Students will develop a basic understanding of the neuroanatomy of the brain and an awareness of the brain’s primary functions.

  • Students will develop an understanding of the concept of neuroplasticity and will identify areas of personal strength, and connect these skills to corresponding regions of the brain.
  • Students will develop an understanding of how mistakes function as a learning tool that helps the brain grow.
  • Students will learn that individual effort and practice can contribute to positive personal development in numerous realms, including social/emotional, cognitive, and physical/ kinesthetic growth.
  • Students will be able to identify specific actions and practices they can undertake to facilitate their brain growth.

To download our complimentary Your Fantastic Elastic Brain Lesson Plan, please click here . For a description of and access to our collection of educator resources to date, including our Being Global and Being Safe Lesson Plans, please click here. As always, we welcome your feedback on these resources!

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Meredith Moran is a Ph.D. candidate in the Stanford University School of Education, where she studies early literacy acquisition and curriculum development. Her dissertation research will explore how emergent readers build oral vocabulary and conceptual knowledge through discussions of text read aloud. Prior to her graduate work, Meredith was an elementary school teacher for nine years, eight of which were spent teaching kindergarten. Upon completion of graduate school, she hopes to translate her passion for early literacy into a dream career combining instruction and research with young readers. Meredith resides in San Anselmo, California, with her golden retriever, Beckham.

Goals for the 13th Annual SCBWI International Winter Conference

By Cameron Crane

January has been an exciting and busy month for Little Pickle Press, and for the past few weeks, our focus has been on the upcoming conferences that we are thrilled to be attending. Rana DiOrio, Founder of Little Pickle Press, is currently in New York City diving into the digital side of the publishing industry at Digital Book World Conference 2012. Come this Thursday, I will happily be on a plane and on my way to the 13th Annual SCBWI International Winter Conference.

The SCBWI Winter Conference is an event that we look forward to every year. I am honored and grateful for the opportunity to attend.

Here is what we hope to accomplish at the conference this year:

To learn as much as we can about the industry we love. Luckily, this year’s event lineup offers us an impeccable opportunity to do just that. The event is jam-packed with exciting presentations and diverse workshop offerings, from Chris Crutcher’s keynote on “Turning Real Life into Fiction”, to expert opinions on the future of children’s books, and much more. You can view a full schedule of the weekend here.

To connect with talented members of the SCBWI community. There is nothing more exciting for us than connecting with illustrators, authors, and industry professionals with an eagerness to learn, connect, and share in the love for the children’s book publishing industry. This year, we are especially excited to connect with Sandra Salsbury, the talented illustrator of What Does It Mean To Be Safe?, the newest addition to our award-winning series. If you are attending the conference this year, please reach out to us! We look forward to networking and making new contacts.

To reconnect with Team Blog. Last year, Rana DiOrio was blown away by the amazing team of SCBWI bloggers, whose diligent coverage of the event offers those who are unable to attend the ability to stay plugged into the action from home. If you are interested in following the event, please connect with the talented SCBWI Team Blog, led by Lee Wind (@leewind)–– Alice Pope (@alicepope on Twitter), Martha Brockenbrough (@mbrockenbrough), Jolie Stekly (@cuppajolie), Jaime Temalrik (@jaimetem), and Suzanne Young (@suzanne_young).

To share our experiences. As always, we will be personally highlighting the conference and sharing our experiences with you via our social media accounts. To stay connected with Little Pickle Press as we dive into the conference, please connect with us on Facebook and Twitter (@LPP_Media @cameron_crane @ranadiorio @blogbooktours). We will be using the Twitter hashtag #NY12SCBWI.

Goals for the 13th Annual SCBWI International Winter Conference

By Cameron Crane

January has been an exciting and busy month for Little Pickle Press, and for the past few weeks, our focus has been on the upcoming conferences that we are thrilled to be attending. Rana DiOrio, Founder of Little Pickle Press, is currently in New York City diving into the digital side of the publishing industry at Digital Book World Conference 2012. Come this Thursday, I will happily be on a plane and on my way to the 13th Annual SCBWI International Winter Conference.

The SCBWI Winter Conference is an event that we look forward to every year. I am honored and grateful for the opportunity to attend.

Here is what we hope to accomplish at the conference this year:

To learn as much as we can about the industry we love. Luckily, this year’s event lineup offers us an impeccable opportunity to do just that. The event is jam-packed with exciting presentations and diverse workshop offerings, from Chris Crutcher’s keynote on “Turning Real Life into Fiction”, to expert opinions on the future of children’s books, and much more. You can view a full schedule of the weekend here.

To connect with talented members of the SCBWI community. There is nothing more exciting for us than connecting with illustrators, authors, and industry professionals with an eagerness to learn, connect, and share in the love for the children’s book publishing industry. This year, we are especially excited to connect with Sandra Salsbury, the talented illustrator of What Does It Mean To Be Safe?, the newest addition to our award-winning series. If you are attending the conference this year, please reach out to us! We look forward to networking and making new contacts.

To reconnect with Team Blog. Last year, Rana DiOrio was blown away by the amazing team of SCBWI bloggers, whose diligent coverage of the event offers those who are unable to attend the ability to stay plugged into the action from home. If you are interested in following the event, please connect with the talented SCBWI Team Blog, led by Lee Wind (@leewind)–– Alice Pope (@alicepope on Twitter), Martha Brockenbrough (@mbrockenbrough), Jolie Stekly (@cuppajolie), Jaime Temalrik (@jaimetem), and Suzanne Young (@suzanne_young).

To share our experiences. As always, we will be personally highlighting the conference and sharing our experiences with you via our social media accounts. To stay connected with Little Pickle Press as we dive into the conference, please connect with us on Facebook and Twitter (@LPP_Media @cameron_crane @ranadiorio @blogbooktours). We will be using the Twitter hashtag #NY12SCBWI.

Strategies for using Scrivener to get started on and Finish a Rough Write

Strategies for using Scrivener to get started on and Finish a Rough Write

6 Snappy Ideas For Getting in touch with Academic institutions

We recognize you’re energized to demonstrate your enthusiasm in the academic institutions on top of your subscriber list. Just before you dash out an e-postal mail to a admissions home office from your wish school, carefully consider how we are offering yourself to your possibilities alma mater.

Admissions officials more often than not give their details through the admissions website page mainly because they need to be available and designed for respond to questions from applicantsperhaps with regards to the higher education application program or concerning high school. Continue reading

Featured Customer of the Month: Give Wink

By Cameron Crane

Give Wink
2570 NE Miami Gardens Drive
North Miami Beach, FL 33180
As an organization rooted in philanthropy, Little Pickle Press loves connecting with companies who support a good cause. It is even more exciting when like-minded companies make the decision to carry our books. Today, we feature Give Wink as our customer of the month.

Originally an online boutique, Give Wink was founded by mompreneur Francine Delarosa in November of 2009. Give Wink provides an abundance of educational toys, unique children’s furniture and accessories, baby gear and gifts hand selected by Francine for busy mothers like herself. Following in the footsteps of the three previous generations of her family to provide optical care in Barranquilla, Columbia, Delarosa founded Give A Wink, a charity which helps to provide full eye exams and eyeglasses donations to children in need. Please welcome Francine to the blog.

What makes Give Wink special?

Based in Miami, Florida, Give Wink is so much more than your run of the mill children’s shop. Specializing in educational toys and children’s furnishings, Give Wink offers a full line of custom bedding, endless options of personalized gifts, and design oriented kids furniture, all brought to you by a staff of space planning specialists to ensure each customer finds the right pieces for their space and lifestyle.

Give Wink donates an eye exam and pair of glasses to a child for every $100 spent. How did this come to be? Why this particular cause?

I always knew I wanted Give Wink to be more than just a retail store. I feel very fortunate for all that I have, and that I am able to surround myself and my family with beautiful things. Eyes are the windows to the world, and are very necessary if we are to appreciate all the beautiful things that surround us. In addition, proper eyesight is necessary for progress in school.

What is the most challenging part about owning and running Give Wink?

Balancing and managing my time. With 3 small children (3 boys ages 8, 6 and 4) getting everything done in my personal and professional lives is not easy. I always have a guilty conscience. When I work late and am not with my boys I feel guilty about not being with them, and when I take time off I feel I am not being a responsible business owner. I am at a loss no matter what but at the end of the day I know that I’m doing my best and that’s all that I can do.

What is your favorite part about owning and running Give Wink?

Making people happy. It’s a fact that babies and kids bring out the best in us (well, most of the time). I enjoy providing my clients with the most unique and practical products (those that I would use myself).

What has your experience selling Little Pickle Press books been like? Why did you decide to carry our books? Which book is your favorite?

When it comes to books, I like books that promote conversation within the family and leave an impact on the reader. Each book by Little Pickle Press is so important in its own way. The collection should be part of every family’s library. What Does It Mean To Be Green? and What Does It Mean To Be Global? touch upon two aspects that affect us on a daily basis. Also, they are concepts that need to be discussed as a family, and these books set the scene for conversation. What Does It Mean To Be Present? is my personal favorite and my mantra. I think every parent living in this fast paced world needs to read it.

Is there anything else you would like to share with us about Give Wink?

We do not look to compete with the Barnes and Nobles of the world, at least not for now, but customers have come to know and trust our selection of products and Little Pickle Press is a favorite amongst most.

Thank you, Francine and Give Wink!

Featured Customer of the Month: Give Wink

By Cameron Crane

Give Wink
2570 NE Miami Gardens Drive
North Miami Beach, FL 33180
As an organization rooted in philanthropy, Little Pickle Press loves connecting with companies who support a good cause. It is even more exciting when like-minded companies make the decision to carry our books. Today, we feature Give Wink as our customer of the month.

Originally an online boutique, Give Wink was founded by mompreneur Francine Delarosa in November of 2009. Give Wink provides an abundance of educational toys, unique children’s furniture and accessories, baby gear and gifts hand selected by Francine for busy mothers like herself. Following in the footsteps of the three previous generations of her family to provide optical care in Barranquilla, Columbia, Delarosa founded Give A Wink, a charity which helps to provide full eye exams and eyeglasses donations to children in need. Please welcome Francine to the blog.

What makes Give Wink special?

Based in Miami, Florida, Give Wink is so much more than your run of the mill children’s shop. Specializing in educational toys and children’s furnishings, Give Wink offers a full line of custom bedding, endless options of personalized gifts, and design oriented kids furniture, all brought to you by a staff of space planning specialists to ensure each customer finds the right pieces for their space and lifestyle.

Give Wink donates an eye exam and pair of glasses to a child for every $100 spent. How did this come to be? Why this particular cause?

I always knew I wanted Give Wink to be more than just a retail store. I feel very fortunate for all that I have, and that I am able to surround myself and my family with beautiful things. Eyes are the windows to the world, and are very necessary if we are to appreciate all the beautiful things that surround us. In addition, proper eyesight is necessary for progress in school.

What is the most challenging part about owning and running Give Wink?

Balancing and managing my time. With 3 small children (3 boys ages 8, 6 and 4) getting everything done in my personal and professional lives is not easy. I always have a guilty conscience. When I work late and am not with my boys I feel guilty about not being with them, and when I take time off I feel I am not being a responsible business owner. I am at a loss no matter what but at the end of the day I know that I’m doing my best and that’s all that I can do.

What is your favorite part about owning and running Give Wink?

Making people happy. It’s a fact that babies and kids bring out the best in us (well, most of the time). I enjoy providing my clients with the most unique and practical products (those that I would use myself).

What has your experience selling Little Pickle Press books been like? Why did you decide to carry our books? Which book is your favorite?

When it comes to books, I like books that promote conversation within the family and leave an impact on the reader. Each book by Little Pickle Press is so important in its own way. The collection should be part of every family’s library. What Does It Mean To Be Green? and What Does It Mean To Be Global? touch upon two aspects that affect us on a daily basis. Also, they are concepts that need to be discussed as a family, and these books set the scene for conversation. What Does It Mean To Be Present? is my personal favorite and my mantra. I think every parent living in this fast paced world needs to read it.

Is there anything else you would like to share with us about Give Wink?

We do not look to compete with the Barnes and Nobles of the world, at least not for now, but customers have come to know and trust our selection of products and Little Pickle Press is a favorite amongst most.

Thank you, Francine and Give Wink!

Getting Ready for Kids Food Festival!

By Cameron Crane

Kids Food Festival

January 21-22, 2012
10:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.
CitiPond℠ at Bryant Park
New York City, NY

In the next few weeks, Little Pickle Press will be spending some quality time in New York City, as we gear up for winter conferences like Digital Book World 2012 and the SCBWI 13th Annual Winter Conference. This weekend, Chief Executive Pickle Rana DiOrio is very excited to be heading to the Kids Food Festival.

Kids Food Festival gets cooking this weekend, January 21st and 22nd, from 10am to 6pm at CitiPond℠ at Bryant Park. Kids Food Festival was co-founded by Cricket Azima and Abbie Gellman of The Creative Kitchen, and Nira Paliwoda of Two Shes Productions. You can watch a wonderful video of the ladies of Kids Food Festival ringing the NYSE Opening bell by clicking here.

The mission of Kids Food Festival is five-fold:

  1. To aid in the transformation to balanced eating habits through education and promotion of sensible food choices.
  2. To help reduce childhood obesity by nipping it in the bud.
  3. To generate increased demand for wholesome and balanced options of food-related products through education, sampling, and exposure.
  4. To facilitate collaborations between families, communities, businesses, schools and public and non-profit organizations.
  5. To donate a percentage of proceeds to a charity which battles childhood obesity.

A percentage of proceeds from the event will benefit Share Our Strength, a national nonprofit that is ending childhood hunger in America by connecting children with the nutritious food they need to lead healthy, active lives.

As if the cause wasn’t reason enough to catch the interest and attention of Little Pickle Press, the event activities lined up look fun, and delicious! This weekend’s festivities include a Balanced Plate Scavenger Hunt, hands-on cooking demos, live entertainment, samplings, tastings, ice skating, and more!

We are grateful to Thomas Farley, a.k.a Mister Manners, who we featured on our blog last month, and who introduced us to Cricket Azima. Thomas will be at the festival hosting “Table Time with Mister Manners” Saturday at noon. For a comprehensive schedule of the event performances, please click here.

If you are in the area this weekend, and are interested in supporting a great cause, please join us! You can also stay updated by connecting with Little Pickle Press and Kids Food Festival on Twitter.

General admission to the Festival is FREE, but tickets (available online now) are required for all events in the James Beard Foundation Future Foodies Pavilion and on the KFF Performance Stage. To register for tickets or for more information and a menu of the weekend festivities, please go to www.KidsFoodFestival.com.

Getting Ready for Kids Food Festival!

By Cameron Crane

Kids Food Festival

January 21-22, 2012
10:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.
CitiPond℠ at Bryant Park
New York City, NY

In the next few weeks, Little Pickle Press will be spending some quality time in New York City, as we gear up for winter conferences like Digital Book World 2012 and the SCBWI 13th Annual Winter Conference. This weekend, Chief Executive Pickle Rana DiOrio is very excited to be heading to the Kids Food Festival.

Kids Food Festival gets cooking this weekend, January 21st and 22nd, from 10am to 6pm at CitiPond℠ at Bryant Park. Kids Food Festival was co-founded by Cricket Azima and Abbie Gellman of The Creative Kitchen, and Nira Paliwoda of Two Shes Productions. You can watch a wonderful video of the ladies of Kids Food Festival ringing the NYSE Opening bell by clicking here.

The mission of Kids Food Festival is five-fold:

  1. To aid in the transformation to balanced eating habits through education and promotion of sensible food choices.
  2. To help reduce childhood obesity by nipping it in the bud.
  3. To generate increased demand for wholesome and balanced options of food-related products through education, sampling, and exposure.
  4. To facilitate collaborations between families, communities, businesses, schools and public and non-profit organizations.
  5. To donate a percentage of proceeds to a charity which battles childhood obesity.

A percentage of proceeds from the event will benefit Share Our Strength, a national nonprofit that is ending childhood hunger in America by connecting children with the nutritious food they need to lead healthy, active lives.

As if the cause wasn’t reason enough to catch the interest and attention of Little Pickle Press, the event activities lined up look fun, and delicious! This weekend’s festivities include a Balanced Plate Scavenger Hunt, hands-on cooking demos, live entertainment, samplings, tastings, ice skating, and more!

We are grateful to Thomas Farley, a.k.a Mister Manners, who we featured on our blog last month, and who introduced us to Cricket Azima. Thomas will be at the festival hosting “Table Time with Mister Manners” Saturday at noon. For a comprehensive schedule of the event performances, please click here.

If you are in the area this weekend, and are interested in supporting a great cause, please join us! You can also stay updated by connecting with Little Pickle Press and Kids Food Festival on Twitter.

General admission to the Festival is FREE, but tickets (available online now) are required for all events in the James Beard Foundation Future Foodies Pavilion and on the KFF Performance Stage. To register for tickets or for more information and a menu of the weekend festivities, please go to www.KidsFoodFestival.com.

Mindset: Fixed or Growth?

This post by Little Pickle Press founder, Rana DiOrio, originally published here on 5/17/10 and we share it again to coincide with our theme this month about Your Fantastic Elastic Brain: Stretch It, Grow It.
 

One of the best books I have read is Mindset: The New Psychology of Success by Carol S. Dweck, Ph.D. It is a game-changing book for parents, teachers, coaches, and managers of any kind.

What is a mindset? Dr. Dweck explains that entering a mindset is akin to entering a new world. In one world, success is about proving you’re smart, IQ matters and is immutable, failure is a setback and means you are not recognizing your potential, effort is a bad thing because it means that you’re not naturally talented. This is the world of someone who has a fixed mindset. In the other world, it’s all about developing yourself, challenging yourself to learn new things, IQ doesn’t really matter and can be improved, failure is a valuable way to learn, and effort is what makes you talented. This is the world of someone who has a growth mindset. Radically different approaches, wouldn’t you say?

The pitfalls of praise and positive labels.
In one of the more powerful chapters of the book, Dr. Dweck explores how praise can reinforce the fixed mindset. She and her team conducted studies involving hundreds of students, mostly early adolescents. They first gave each student a set of 10 relatively difficult problems from a nonverbal IQ test. The students largely did well on these, and when they finished, Dr. Dweck’s team praised them. They praised some of the students for their ability (i.e., “Wow, you got [say] eight right. That’s a really good score. You must be smart at this.”). They praised other students for their effort (i.e., “Wow, you got [say] eight right. That’s a really good score. You must have worked really hard.”). The latter group of students was not made to feel as though they possessed special gifts; rather, they were praised for doing what is necessary to succeed. Both groups were identical at the outset, but right after the praise, they began to differ. “As we feared, the ability praise pushed students right into the fixed mindset, and they showed all the signs of it too: When we gave them a choice, they rejected a challenging new task that they could learn from. They didn’t want to do anything that could expose their flaws and call into question their talent.”

Dr. Dweck underscored another finding in her team’s study, “that was striking and depressing at the same time.” They told each student that they were going to go to other schools and that they imagined that the students in those schools would like to know about the problems. Then, they gave the students a page to write their thoughts and left a space for them to disclose the scores they had received on the problems. Stunningly, 40 percent of the ability-praised students lied about (that is, improved) their scores! Dr. Dweck observed, “In the fixed mindset, imperfections are shameful – especially if you’re talented – so they lied them away. What’s so alarming is that we took ordinary children and made them into liars, simply by telling them they were smart.”

Reorienting your messages.
Consider adopting strategies that reinforce a growth mindset in your children and yourself. Dr. Dweck suggests that at the dinner table, ask each child (and one another):

  • What did you learn today?
  • What mistake did you make that taught you something?
  • What did you try hard at today?

Try going around the table with each question, and “discuss your own and one another’s effort, strategies, setback, and learning.” Underscore the value of constructive criticism and of having people in our lives who challenge us to grow. Furthermore, encourage your children to talk about things they have always wanted to do but were afraid to, and help them to make a plan to do it. You’ll discover that the growth mindset world is more exciting and fulfilling! 

Readers, please leave us a comment about the type of mindset most common in your lives! 

Mindset: Fixed or Growth?

This post by Little Pickle Press founder, Rana DiOrio, originally published here on 5/17/10 and we share it again to coincide with our theme this month about Your Fantastic Elastic Brain: Stretch It, Grow It.
 

One of the best books I have read is Mindset: The New Psychology of Success by Carol S. Dweck, Ph.D. It is a game-changing book for parents, teachers, coaches, and managers of any kind.

What is a mindset? Dr. Dweck explains that entering a mindset is akin to entering a new world. In one world, success is about proving you’re smart, IQ matters and is immutable, failure is a setback and means you are not recognizing your potential, effort is a bad thing because it means that you’re not naturally talented. This is the world of someone who has a fixed mindset. In the other world, it’s all about developing yourself, challenging yourself to learn new things, IQ doesn’t really matter and can be improved, failure is a valuable way to learn, and effort is what makes you talented. This is the world of someone who has a growth mindset. Radically different approaches, wouldn’t you say?

The pitfalls of praise and positive labels.
In one of the more powerful chapters of the book, Dr. Dweck explores how praise can reinforce the fixed mindset. She and her team conducted studies involving hundreds of students, mostly early adolescents. They first gave each student a set of 10 relatively difficult problems from a nonverbal IQ test. The students largely did well on these, and when they finished, Dr. Dweck’s team praised them. They praised some of the students for their ability (i.e., “Wow, you got [say] eight right. That’s a really good score. You must be smart at this.”). They praised other students for their effort (i.e., “Wow, you got [say] eight right. That’s a really good score. You must have worked really hard.”). The latter group of students was not made to feel as though they possessed special gifts; rather, they were praised for doing what is necessary to succeed. Both groups were identical at the outset, but right after the praise, they began to differ. “As we feared, the ability praise pushed students right into the fixed mindset, and they showed all the signs of it too: When we gave them a choice, they rejected a challenging new task that they could learn from. They didn’t want to do anything that could expose their flaws and call into question their talent.”

Dr. Dweck underscored another finding in her team’s study, “that was striking and depressing at the same time.” They told each student that they were going to go to other schools and that they imagined that the students in those schools would like to know about the problems. Then, they gave the students a page to write their thoughts and left a space for them to disclose the scores they had received on the problems. Stunningly, 40 percent of the ability-praised students lied about (that is, improved) their scores! Dr. Dweck observed, “In the fixed mindset, imperfections are shameful – especially if you’re talented – so they lied them away. What’s so alarming is that we took ordinary children and made them into liars, simply by telling them they were smart.”

Reorienting your messages.
Consider adopting strategies that reinforce a growth mindset in your children and yourself. Dr. Dweck suggests that at the dinner table, ask each child (and one another):

  • What did you learn today?
  • What mistake did you make that taught you something?
  • What did you try hard at today?

Try going around the table with each question, and “discuss your own and one another’s effort, strategies, setback, and learning.” Underscore the value of constructive criticism and of having people in our lives who challenge us to grow. Furthermore, encourage your children to talk about things they have always wanted to do but were afraid to, and help them to make a plan to do it. You’ll discover that the growth mindset world is more exciting and fulfilling! 

Readers, please leave us a comment about the type of mindset most common in your lives! 

10 Interactive E-books We Love for Children

By Cameron Crane

Over the last few months, Little Pickle Press has been diving deep into the captivating world of digital media. We have spent a lot of time developing interactive apps and e-books for our award-winning titles, and are very excited about what we have produced so far!

Sofia’s Dream, by Land Wilson and illustrated by Sue Cornelison, is currently editorially featured by Apple. We were recently in the studio with Tom Corwin, who did the voice over for Snutt the Ift: A Small but Significant Chapter in the Life of the Universe. As we continue learning all that it takes to develop exciting new content, we are gaining a deep appreciation for apps and e-books that stand out.

Today, we introduce our list of 10 Interactive E-books We Absolutely Love for Children:

Snutt the Ift: A Small but Significant Chapter in the Life of the Universe by Helen Ward
Developer: Franklin Jr. Apps
Ages: 4+

Sofia’s Dream by Land Wilson, Illustrated by Sue Cornelison
Developer: Franklin Jr. Apps
Ages: 4+

The Heart and the Bottle by Oliver Jeffers
Developer: HarperCollins Publishers
Ages: 7+

The Earth Book by Todd Parr
Developer: Scrollmotion, Inc.
Ages: 3+

The Freight Train by Donald Crews
Developer: HarperCollins Publishers
Ages: 2+

Moo, Baa, La La La! by Sandra Boynton
Developer: Loud Crow Interactive Inc.
Ages: 2+

Elmer and the Lost Teddy by David McKee
Developer: Oceanhouse Media, Inc.
Ages: 4+

Don’t Let the Pigeon Run this App by Mo Williams (and You)
Developer: Disney Publishing Worldwide Applications
Ages: 5+

Roxie’s Doors by Roxie Munro
Developer: OCG Studios
Ages: 5+

Yo, Millard Fillmore! (and all those other presidents you don’t know) by Will Cleveland & Mark Alvarez
Developer: Armory New Media
Ages: 9+

If you are interested in learning more about Little Pickle Press’ new digital assets, please connect with us this month at Digital Book World Conference 2012 in New York City, or Macworld|iWorld 2012 in San Francisco, where our partner Franklin Jr. Apps will be featuring our Be Global app and more!

Image credit: southernauthors.blogspot.com

10 Interactive E-books We Love for Children

By Cameron Crane

Over the last few months, Little Pickle Press has been diving deep into the captivating world of digital media. We have spent a lot of time developing interactive apps and e-books for our award-winning titles, and are very excited about what we have produced so far!

Sofia’s Dream, by Land Wilson and illustrated by Sue Cornelison, is currently editorially featured by Apple. We were recently in the studio with Tom Corwin, who did the voice over for Snutt the Ift: A Small but Significant Chapter in the Life of the Universe. As we continue learning all that it takes to develop exciting new content, we are gaining a deep appreciation for apps and e-books that stand out.

Today, we introduce our list of 10 Interactive E-books We Absolutely Love for Children:

Snutt the Ift: A Small but Significant Chapter in the Life of the Universe by Helen Ward
Developer: Franklin Jr. Apps
Ages: 4+

Sofia’s Dream by Land Wilson, Illustrated by Sue Cornelison
Developer: Franklin Jr. Apps
Ages: 4+

The Heart and the Bottle by Oliver Jeffers
Developer: HarperCollins Publishers
Ages: 7+

The Earth Book by Todd Parr
Developer: Scrollmotion, Inc.
Ages: 3+

The Freight Train by Donald Crews
Developer: HarperCollins Publishers
Ages: 2+

Moo, Baa, La La La! by Sandra Boynton
Developer: Loud Crow Interactive Inc.
Ages: 2+

Elmer and the Lost Teddy by David McKee
Developer: Oceanhouse Media, Inc.
Ages: 4+

Don’t Let the Pigeon Run this App by Mo Williams (and You)
Developer: Disney Publishing Worldwide Applications
Ages: 5+

Roxie’s Doors by Roxie Munro
Developer: OCG Studios
Ages: 5+

Yo, Millard Fillmore! (and all those other presidents you don’t know) by Will Cleveland & Mark Alvarez
Developer: Armory New Media
Ages: 9+

If you are interested in learning more about Little Pickle Press’ new digital assets, please connect with us this month at Digital Book World Conference 2012 in New York City, or Macworld|iWorld 2012 in San Francisco, where our partner Franklin Jr. Apps will be featuring our Be Global app and more!

Image credit: southernauthors.blogspot.com

Movies of Your Mind

By Arlene R. Taylor, Ph.D.

I opened the letter to find three hand-written pages of words so tiny I had to get out my magnifying glass. In part, the writer said, “After being out of work for some time, I enrolled in career-training classes. Our next assignment is to visualize a new product label and transfer it to paper. I’m afraid this retraining won’t work for me. I’m way too old to figure out this ‘new age’ gobbledygook psychobabble.”

I must confess that, by the time I had deciphered my way to the end of page three, I was laughing aloud. How unfortunate that people so often speak from misinformation rather than fact.

So I began to craft my response:

First of all, visualization is “old age.” This natural brain phenomenon has likely been around since humans took up residence on this planet. The only “new age” aspect of visualization is the fact that brain-imaging studies have now associated the ability to visualize—a form of creativity—with the right frontal lobe. All normally-functioning brains are believed to possess the ability to visualize: to create internal mental pictures.

In terms of brain function, the verb to image simply means to call up a mental picture. Therefore, mental imaging (visualizing) describes the process of creating a picture in your mind’s eye of something that is not currently and concretely present in your field of vision. It may be a representation of something you have actually seen—e.g., an elephant, or something that you have never seen—e.g., an elephant with flashing psychedelic purple spots.

Many people take the ability to visualize for granted and aren’t even consciously aware that it’s happening. For example:

  1. The telephone rings. One of your best friends is calling. A mental image of the person may spring to life on the movie screen of your mind.
  2. You are on a school field trip. One of the teenagers says, “I want an ice cream cone.” You can be sure that he/she sees an internal mental picture of an ice cream cone. If you ask, “Would you like plain or sugar cone?” the teenager will likely visualize what each cone looks like before stating a choice.
  3. While setting the table for company, you picture the face of each person and decide where each will sit.
  4. You take a vacation to a destination that you have spent time thinking about. (People usually end up in places they have spent time thinking about.)

Many people have honed this mental skill to improve their personal health and wellbeing. Some are even teaching others how to use it. To some degree, the body does act out what the mind sees internally:

  • Cancer patients are learning to visualize their white blood cells as fighters that attack and destroy tumors. They are picturing wellness.
  • Children with severe asthma are being taught to visualize their bronchial tubes expanding and allowing air to flow freely into their lungs. In many cases, this effectively aborts their asthmatic breathing attacks.
  • Musicians, athletes, and sports figures have learned to rehearse mentally when actual rehearsal is impossible. They picture what they want to have happen.
  • Meditators ponder a mental picture, focusing their thoughts in contemplation. This gives brain and body a map to follow. Eventually they become the mental picture they have been beholding.

Myths about visualizing sometimes keep people from effectively using their active-mental-picturing ability. Here are examples:

  1. Mental imaging means coming up with something completely new, and that’s dangerous. Actually, there may be nothing new under the sun. Most ideas simply come from rearranging what you already know. Or they involve an extension of something that already exists.
  2. Mental imaging is auto-hypnosis. Hypnosis is usually defined as a state very similar to sleep, but a sleep state that is induced by a hypnotizer whose suggestions are accepted by the subject. Mental imaging is not auto-hypnosis; it is best accomplished while the brain is awake and alert.
  3. Mental imaging is synonymous with uniqueness so can be done only by experts. The word unique means one of a kind, very rare, or very unusual. Every normal human brain contains visualizing abilities, plus a left-brain hemisphere so that the mental images may be rationally and logically analyzed and critiqued.
  4. You can’t teach an old dog new tricks. Wrong. It may take slightly longer for the old dog to master the trick, but learn it can. Be careful not to confuse aging with stagnation. Professor Harvey Lehman did a study of 1000 creative achievements. He found that the median age of the creators was 74 at the time of their achievement. Alexander Graham Bell perfected the telephone when he was 58; he figured out how to stabilize the balance of the airplane when he was in his seventies. Grandma Moses began to paint in her late seventies. And so on.

Prior to the advent of television, especially in radio’s heyday, people saw pictures in their mind’s eye when they read or listened to stories. Interestingly enough, studies have shown that viewing large amounts of television may decrease skills of active mental picturing. Watching television largely involves passive mental picturing as the brain processes what other brains have created. For this reason, many creative individuals limit their television-viewing.

The brain resembles a muscle in that exercise stimulates its growth. You can learn to hone the skill of visualizing and stimulate your own brain function in the process. Every thought you think creates movies in your mind. In effect, you are your own director, photographer, editor, and viewer. How are you using this natural brain phenomenon? Do you allow it to run away with itself and picture fear or failure? Do you take charge and create mental pictures of success—by design? It’s your choice.

Copyright 2011 Realizations Inc. Originally published here.

Image Credit: fireflyfoundation.wordpress.com

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

About Dr. Arlene Taylor

Arlene R. Taylor PhD, is one of the world’s leading speakers on brain function, and is sometimes referred to as the brain guru. Dr. Taylor is founder and president of Realizations Inc., a non-profit corporation that engages in brain-function research and provides related educational resources.

Movies of Your Mind

By Arlene R. Taylor, Ph.D.

I opened the letter to find three hand-written pages of words so tiny I had to get out my magnifying glass. In part, the writer said, “After being out of work for some time, I enrolled in career-training classes. Our next assignment is to visualize a new product label and transfer it to paper. I’m afraid this retraining won’t work for me. I’m way too old to figure out this ‘new age’ gobbledygook psychobabble.”

I must confess that, by the time I had deciphered my way to the end of page three, I was laughing aloud. How unfortunate that people so often speak from misinformation rather than fact.

So I began to craft my response:

First of all, visualization is “old age.” This natural brain phenomenon has likely been around since humans took up residence on this planet. The only “new age” aspect of visualization is the fact that brain-imaging studies have now associated the ability to visualize—a form of creativity—with the right frontal lobe. All normally-functioning brains are believed to possess the ability to visualize: to create internal mental pictures.

In terms of brain function, the verb to image simply means to call up a mental picture. Therefore, mental imaging (visualizing) describes the process of creating a picture in your mind’s eye of something that is not currently and concretely present in your field of vision. It may be a representation of something you have actually seen—e.g., an elephant, or something that you have never seen—e.g., an elephant with flashing psychedelic purple spots.

Many people take the ability to visualize for granted and aren’t even consciously aware that it’s happening. For example:

  1. The telephone rings. One of your best friends is calling. A mental image of the person may spring to life on the movie screen of your mind.
  2. You are on a school field trip. One of the teenagers says, “I want an ice cream cone.” You can be sure that he/she sees an internal mental picture of an ice cream cone. If you ask, “Would you like plain or sugar cone?” the teenager will likely visualize what each cone looks like before stating a choice.
  3. While setting the table for company, you picture the face of each person and decide where each will sit.
  4. You take a vacation to a destination that you have spent time thinking about. (People usually end up in places they have spent time thinking about.)

Many people have honed this mental skill to improve their personal health and wellbeing. Some are even teaching others how to use it. To some degree, the body does act out what the mind sees internally:

  • Cancer patients are learning to visualize their white blood cells as fighters that attack and destroy tumors. They are picturing wellness.
  • Children with severe asthma are being taught to visualize their bronchial tubes expanding and allowing air to flow freely into their lungs. In many cases, this effectively aborts their asthmatic breathing attacks.
  • Musicians, athletes, and sports figures have learned to rehearse mentally when actual rehearsal is impossible. They picture what they want to have happen.
  • Meditators ponder a mental picture, focusing their thoughts in contemplation. This gives brain and body a map to follow. Eventually they become the mental picture they have been beholding.

Myths about visualizing sometimes keep people from effectively using their active-mental-picturing ability. Here are examples:

  1. Mental imaging means coming up with something completely new, and that’s dangerous. Actually, there may be nothing new under the sun. Most ideas simply come from rearranging what you already know. Or they involve an extension of something that already exists.
  2. Mental imaging is auto-hypnosis. Hypnosis is usually defined as a state very similar to sleep, but a sleep state that is induced by a hypnotizer whose suggestions are accepted by the subject. Mental imaging is not auto-hypnosis; it is best accomplished while the brain is awake and alert.
  3. Mental imaging is synonymous with uniqueness so can be done only by experts. The word unique means one of a kind, very rare, or very unusual. Every normal human brain contains visualizing abilities, plus a left-brain hemisphere so that the mental images may be rationally and logically analyzed and critiqued.
  4. You can’t teach an old dog new tricks. Wrong. It may take slightly longer for the old dog to master the trick, but learn it can. Be careful not to confuse aging with stagnation. Professor Harvey Lehman did a study of 1000 creative achievements. He found that the median age of the creators was 74 at the time of their achievement. Alexander Graham Bell perfected the telephone when he was 58; he figured out how to stabilize the balance of the airplane when he was in his seventies. Grandma Moses began to paint in her late seventies. And so on.

Prior to the advent of television, especially in radio’s heyday, people saw pictures in their mind’s eye when they read or listened to stories. Interestingly enough, studies have shown that viewing large amounts of television may decrease skills of active mental picturing. Watching television largely involves passive mental picturing as the brain processes what other brains have created. For this reason, many creative individuals limit their television-viewing.

The brain resembles a muscle in that exercise stimulates its growth. You can learn to hone the skill of visualizing and stimulate your own brain function in the process. Every thought you think creates movies in your mind. In effect, you are your own director, photographer, editor, and viewer. How are you using this natural brain phenomenon? Do you allow it to run away with itself and picture fear or failure? Do you take charge and create mental pictures of success—by design? It’s your choice.

Copyright 2011 Realizations Inc. Originally published here.

Image Credit: fireflyfoundation.wordpress.com

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

About Dr. Arlene Taylor

Arlene R. Taylor PhD, is one of the world’s leading speakers on brain function, and is sometimes referred to as the brain guru. Dr. Taylor is founder and president of Realizations Inc., a non-profit corporation that engages in brain-function research and provides related educational resources.

Sports and Brain Damage

By Simon Diamond Cramer, our Young Writer of the Month and a student of creative writing, psychology, and French at Brandeis University. He interns at Little Pickle Press and David R. Godine, Publisher.

From Wikipedia
Every psychology student knows the story of Phineas Gage. A railroad foreman in the 1840s, Gage was a determined worker, a good leader, and a steadfast friend. That all changed when he was tamping down an explosive charge. The iron rod struck a rock and released a spark. The spark fell into the charge and the charge exploded, launching the rod upward through the front of his skull. It didn’t kill him – in fact, Gage walked away from the incident, and after a month, his doctor reported that he had recovered. However, his recovery wasn’t as complete as it had seemed. Though he survived, the event destroyed most of the left frontal lobe of his brain, and it changed him. Before the accident, Gage had been boisterous, cheerful, and steady to the core. Afterward, he became moody, unfocused, and temperamental, and his friends said that he was no longer the man they knew.
Though few incidences of brain damage are as dramatic as Gage’s, examples abound. Repeated head trauma has been linked with increased risk of Parkinson’s syndrome, and damage to specific areas can cause all kinds of unique functional problems. Even though the idea that brain damage is irreversible is a myth stemming from outdated neurological research (our brains are in fact able to recover from remarkably severe damage, and to minimize damage they can’t repair), it is true that recovery is frequently slow and difficult.
Photo Credit: Kelley Mari
Rarely are the effects of everyday brain injuries as clear as in the world of professional sports. Soccer players begin to struggle with tasks an ordinary person would find simple because they have hit the ball so many times with their heads. Boxers have it even worse: though still agile mentally, Muhammad Ali has significant difficulty coordinating both movements and speech. Sports such as football which allow athletes to use helmets are somewhat better in this respect, but it’s still a notable problem.
Photo credit: Keith Miner
The topic of brain injury becomes particularly difficult when it comes to children, and not just because it’s hard to talk about them getting hurt. Children’s brains change and grow rapidly, making new connections, pruning old ones, and adjusting structures to compensate for damage at a remarkable rate. As a result, they recover faster and more completely from brain damage than adults do. In several cases, children with severe damage to one hemisphere of the brain have had that hemisphere removed. Given time, the remaining hemispheres were able to adjust their functionality to pick up the slack, allowing the children to function at or near normal levels. However, the childhood state of adjustment and integration is delicate, and if a vital neural pathway is damaged, it may result in a chain reaction of other problems. Even though children often recover from brain damage better than adults, damage they can’t recover from often has much more far-reaching effect. (That’s a word of advice: a helmet or a seat belt may mean the difference between a painful crash and a lifetime of impairment!)
Our brains are incredible mechanisms, able to completely change the ways they process information at a moment’s notice, adjust not just their activities but their very capabilities based upon the outside environment, and, given time, recover from incredible amounts of damage. Considering how complex they are, though, I think that the single most remarkable thing about them is that they work in the first place. Each human brain has roughly 100 billion neurons, each of which has an average of 7,000 synaptic connections, junctions which link it to other neurons. Every time one of those neurons sends or receives a signal, that’s a chance for something to go wrong. The true wonder is that, in most cases, nothing does.
Please do take advantage of our January promotion! Receive FREE SHIPPING on your entire order and a FREE TerraSkin Poster when you buy our award-winning title, Your Fantastic Elastic Brain. Just enter LPPBrain2012 at checkout.

Sports and Brain Damage

By Simon Diamond Cramer, our Young Writer of the Month and a student of creative writing, psychology, and French at Brandeis University. He interns at Little Pickle Press and David R. Godine, Publisher.

From Wikipedia
Every psychology student knows the story of Phineas Gage. A railroad foreman in the 1840s, Gage was a determined worker, a good leader, and a steadfast friend. That all changed when he was tamping down an explosive charge. The iron rod struck a rock and released a spark. The spark fell into the charge and the charge exploded, launching the rod upward through the front of his skull. It didn’t kill him – in fact, Gage walked away from the incident, and after a month, his doctor reported that he had recovered. However, his recovery wasn’t as complete as it had seemed. Though he survived, the event destroyed most of the left frontal lobe of his brain, and it changed him. Before the accident, Gage had been boisterous, cheerful, and steady to the core. Afterward, he became moody, unfocused, and temperamental, and his friends said that he was no longer the man they knew.
Though few incidences of brain damage are as dramatic as Gage’s, examples abound. Repeated head trauma has been linked with increased risk of Parkinson’s syndrome, and damage to specific areas can cause all kinds of unique functional problems. Even though the idea that brain damage is irreversible is a myth stemming from outdated neurological research (our brains are in fact able to recover from remarkably severe damage, and to minimize damage they can’t repair), it is true that recovery is frequently slow and difficult.
Photo Credit: Kelley Mari
Rarely are the effects of everyday brain injuries as clear as in the world of professional sports. Soccer players begin to struggle with tasks an ordinary person would find simple because they have hit the ball so many times with their heads. Boxers have it even worse: though still agile mentally, Muhammad Ali has significant difficulty coordinating both movements and speech. Sports such as football which allow athletes to use helmets are somewhat better in this respect, but it’s still a notable problem.
Photo credit: Keith Miner
The topic of brain injury becomes particularly difficult when it comes to children, and not just because it’s hard to talk about them getting hurt. Children’s brains change and grow rapidly, making new connections, pruning old ones, and adjusting structures to compensate for damage at a remarkable rate. As a result, they recover faster and more completely from brain damage than adults do. In several cases, children with severe damage to one hemisphere of the brain have had that hemisphere removed. Given time, the remaining hemispheres were able to adjust their functionality to pick up the slack, allowing the children to function at or near normal levels. However, the childhood state of adjustment and integration is delicate, and if a vital neural pathway is damaged, it may result in a chain reaction of other problems. Even though children often recover from brain damage better than adults, damage they can’t recover from often has much more far-reaching effect. (That’s a word of advice: a helmet or a seat belt may mean the difference between a painful crash and a lifetime of impairment!)
Our brains are incredible mechanisms, able to completely change the ways they process information at a moment’s notice, adjust not just their activities but their very capabilities based upon the outside environment, and, given time, recover from incredible amounts of damage. Considering how complex they are, though, I think that the single most remarkable thing about them is that they work in the first place. Each human brain has roughly 100 billion neurons, each of which has an average of 7,000 synaptic connections, junctions which link it to other neurons. Every time one of those neurons sends or receives a signal, that’s a chance for something to go wrong. The true wonder is that, in most cases, nothing does.
Please do take advantage of our January promotion! Receive FREE SHIPPING on your entire order and a FREE TerraSkin Poster when you buy our award-winning title, Your Fantastic Elastic Brain. Just enter LPPBrain2012 at checkout.