Monthly Archives: May 2012

Common Sense Media’s Learning with Technology Ratings

By Cameron Crane

The children’s app market can be a challenge to navigate. Most of us rely heavily on key influencers, such as app reviewers and award programs, to spotlight the best apps available for our children. There are currently few reviewers as influential as Common Sense Media, an organization we find extremely helpful in the hunt to discover fun and meaningful book apps and e-books for children.

Common Sense Media is a non-profit company that studies the effects that various forms of media and technology have on children. Their advanced rating system allows parents and educators to quickly assess a product, based on a variety of factors ranging from age-appropriateness to the value of the content. Their goal is simple: to deliver trustworthy information in a way that makes it easy for parents and educators to determine what works best for their household or classroom.

Just last month, Common Sense Media introduced the beta version of their Learning with Technology ratings. This four-scale assesses apps, video games, and the like based on learning potential and gives them a score of BEST, GOOD, FAIR or NOT FOR LEARNING. Their rating system also provides a quick summary of what can be learned, with subjects ranging from language & reading, to math, science, and social studies. As a company that works hard to make sure that our apps provide meaningful and educational content for children, this is something we are very excited about.


For more information about Common Sense Media’s rating system, click here.

Have you used Common Sense Media as a guide for apps to download for your classroom or household? What do you think about their new educational rating system? Do you know of any similar sites? Please share!

Common Sense Media’s Learning with Technology Ratings

By Cameron Crane

The children’s app market can be a challenge to navigate. Most of us rely heavily on key influencers, such as app reviewers and award programs, to spotlight the best apps available for our children. There are currently few reviewers as influential as Common Sense Media, an organization we find extremely helpful in the hunt to discover fun and meaningful book apps and e-books for children.

Common Sense Media is a non-profit company that studies the effects that various forms of media and technology have on children. Their advanced rating system allows parents and educators to quickly assess a product, based on a variety of factors ranging from age-appropriateness to the value of the content. Their goal is simple: to deliver trustworthy information in a way that makes it easy for parents and educators to determine what works best for their household or classroom.

Just last month, Common Sense Media introduced the beta version of their Learning with Technology ratings. This four-scale assesses apps, video games, and the like based on learning potential and gives them a score of BEST, GOOD, FAIR or NOT FOR LEARNING. Their rating system also provides a quick summary of what can be learned, with subjects ranging from language & reading, to math, science, and social studies. As a company that works hard to make sure that our apps provide meaningful and educational content for children, this is something we are very excited about.


For more information about Common Sense Media’s rating system, click here.

Have you used Common Sense Media as a guide for apps to download for your classroom or household? What do you think about their new educational rating system? Do you know of any similar sites? Please share!

A Teacher’s Perspective: Being Global Book App

By Ben Spencer

Good Morning, Little Pickle Press! I am a second grade teacher in Piedmont, California. I recently came across Being Global, an interactive book app by Little Pickle Press. This fantastic app is based on What Does It Mean To Be Global?, the important children’s book by Rana DiOrio, written to address concepts like diversity, respect, and acceptance.
Being Global is a wonderful tool and a great resource for all primary grade teachers. It is an incredible application because not only is it easy to navigate, but more importantly, it has creative and engaging lesson plans that I can use with my students. This application can be used with students during one-on-one or whole class instruction. Its also great for small groups or guided reading lessons.

I plan on using this application more in my classroom, as my district and school have recently emphasized more innovated and creative ways to try and teach reading workshop. Lessons are fun and exciting, and students seem to enjoy the interactive format that this application provides. Objectives are clearly stated and it guides you through the lesson step by step.

Being Global connects directly to many different resources, which can be used in the classroom. With increasing globalization in our world today, this application helps children to see their world from a global perspective. If used correctly in the classroom, this application can help students to become more engaged readers and more tolerate of individual cultures. Both teachers and students can benefit greatly from using this application.


~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
About Ben Spencer
Ben Spencer graduated from University of Connecticut with his BA in Human Development and Family Studies, and a minor in Sociology. He went on to receive his Multiple Subject Teaching Credential and Masters of Arts in Teaching from St. Mary’s College of California. Ben is currently a 2nd grade teacher in Piedmont, California, and has also taught in a 3rd and 6th grade classroom. 

A Teacher’s Perspective: Being Global Book App

By Ben Spencer

Good Morning, Little Pickle Press! I am a second grade teacher in Piedmont, California. I recently came across Being Global, an interactive book app by Little Pickle Press. This fantastic app is based on What Does It Mean To Be Global?, the important children’s book by Rana DiOrio, written to address concepts like diversity, respect, and acceptance.
Being Global is a wonderful tool and a great resource for all primary grade teachers. It is an incredible application because not only is it easy to navigate, but more importantly, it has creative and engaging lesson plans that I can use with my students. This application can be used with students during one-on-one or whole class instruction. Its also great for small groups or guided reading lessons.

I plan on using this application more in my classroom, as my district and school have recently emphasized more innovated and creative ways to try and teach reading workshop. Lessons are fun and exciting, and students seem to enjoy the interactive format that this application provides. Objectives are clearly stated and it guides you through the lesson step by step.

Being Global connects directly to many different resources, which can be used in the classroom. With increasing globalization in our world today, this application helps children to see their world from a global perspective. If used correctly in the classroom, this application can help students to become more engaged readers and more tolerate of individual cultures. Both teachers and students can benefit greatly from using this application.


~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
About Ben Spencer
Ben Spencer graduated from University of Connecticut with his BA in Human Development and Family Studies, and a minor in Sociology. He went on to receive his Multiple Subject Teaching Credential and Masters of Arts in Teaching from St. Mary’s College of California. Ben is currently a 2nd grade teacher in Piedmont, California, and has also taught in a 3rd and 6th grade classroom. 

In Flanders Fields

By Cameron Crane

In the spirit of Memorial Day, we share with you this moving poem written by John McCrae in 1915. Ian Booth, President of Blue4Books, the highly-reputable group of book reps we just engaged to cover Middle America for us, sent us this poem to reflect upon the meaning of Memorial Day.

In Flanders Fields

John McCrae, 1915

In Flanders fields the poppies blow

Between the crosses, row on row

That mark our place; and in the sky

The larks, still bravely singing, fly

Scarce heard amid the guns below.

We are the Dead. Short days ago

We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,

Loved and were loved, and now we lie

In Flanders fields.

Take up our quarrel with the foe:

To you from failing hands we throw

The torch; be yours to hold it high.

If ye break faith with us who die

We shall not sleep, though poppies grow

In Flanders fields.

We thank the brave men and women who serve and protect our country. We are deeply grateful to them and to their families for the sacrifices they make to keep us safe. 

In Flanders Fields

By Cameron Crane

In the spirit of Memorial Day, we share with you this moving poem written by John McCrae in 1915. Ian Booth, President of Blue4Books, the highly-reputable group of book reps we just engaged to cover Middle America for us, sent us this poem to reflect upon the meaning of Memorial Day.

In Flanders Fields

John McCrae, 1915

In Flanders fields the poppies blow

Between the crosses, row on row

That mark our place; and in the sky

The larks, still bravely singing, fly

Scarce heard amid the guns below.

We are the Dead. Short days ago

We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,

Loved and were loved, and now we lie

In Flanders fields.

Take up our quarrel with the foe:

To you from failing hands we throw

The torch; be yours to hold it high.

If ye break faith with us who die

We shall not sleep, though poppies grow

In Flanders fields.

We thank the brave men and women who serve and protect our country. We are deeply grateful to them and to their families for the sacrifices they make to keep us safe. 

More of Worldreader

 By Khadijah Lacina

Yesterday we visited with Worldreader, which gives children in the developing world access to digital books. Today we continue the interview with a pertinent question. One of the issues every charity endures is receipts of goods that aren’t… well, very useable by the charity. This is true with books, too. Here is how Worldreader vets their titles.

Khadijah: Working in Yemen to increase literacy amongst the women, I noticed that many donated materials were, in reality, culturally inappropriate. For example, a book on dating, or one that strove to inculcate Christian beliefs in the reader, would not be appropriate in that strongly Muslim society. How do the people at Worldreader decide what books are loaded onto the e-book readers? How concerned are you about giving due respect to the culture and beliefs of the people who will eventually read the books?

Elizabeth: That is a great question – and relates in part to the previous answer about how the old solution was flawed. Folks in one part of the world cannot choose books for folks in another part. It would be like trying to solve the scarcity of inner city books in New York by shipping in books from Yemen.

My daughter went to Senegal, and while visiting a school there, saw the Michelin Red Guide to Paris (Hotels and Restaurants) 2002 on the book shelf next to a smattering of other used books. If we are going to give Senegalese children hotel and restaurant guides, can we at least make them current! 

Worldreader partners with local publishers to digitize and make available local children’s books. I would estimate that 80% of the books we deliver are locally sourced – written by African authors, about African kids, and published by African publishers.


It is super-important for young readers to recognize images, themes, names, places, etc., when learning to read. The brain simply does not make the same connections when faced with unfamiliar settings and images. A book about children building snowmen whilst at sleep-away camp in Maine might be great for young readers in the US – but quite ineffective for kids in Mozambique.

We do accept any and all books (within reason) that international publishers let us use – but we do very carefully choose which books to actually deliver to the children’s e-readers.


Khadijah: Lastly, what are some ways that we can get involved with the Worldreader program and work to make change along with you?

Elizabeth: There are lots of ways to get involved. On our website, www.worldreader.orgyou can donate, or you can fund-raise (run a marathon, for example). If you are an author or publisher, you can partner with us and provide our students and teachers access to one or more of your books or short stories. You can volunteer your time or expertise to help us – we have many volunteers on our teams in Barcelona and San Francisco.  Or you can simply spread the word – like us on Facebook, follow us on Twitter, and tell your friends about us!

Khadijah: Thank you for visiting, Elizabeth, and discussing Worldreader with us. Next we’ll share information about Worldreader’s Million E-books Movement which was just launched. We hope our readers leave comments or questions!

More of Worldreader

 By Khadijah Lacina

Yesterday we visited with Worldreader, which gives children in the developing world access to digital books. Today we continue the interview with a pertinent question. One of the issues every charity endures is receipts of goods that aren’t… well, very useable by the charity. This is true with books, too. Here is how Worldreader vets their titles.

Khadijah: Working in Yemen to increase literacy amongst the women, I noticed that many donated materials were, in reality, culturally inappropriate. For example, a book on dating, or one that strove to inculcate Christian beliefs in the reader, would not be appropriate in that strongly Muslim society. How do the people at Worldreader decide what books are loaded onto the e-book readers? How concerned are you about giving due respect to the culture and beliefs of the people who will eventually read the books?

Elizabeth: That is a great question – and relates in part to the previous answer about how the old solution was flawed. Folks in one part of the world cannot choose books for folks in another part. It would be like trying to solve the scarcity of inner city books in New York by shipping in books from Yemen.

My daughter went to Senegal, and while visiting a school there, saw the Michelin Red Guide to Paris (Hotels and Restaurants) 2002 on the book shelf next to a smattering of other used books. If we are going to give Senegalese children hotel and restaurant guides, can we at least make them current! 

Worldreader partners with local publishers to digitize and make available local children’s books. I would estimate that 80% of the books we deliver are locally sourced – written by African authors, about African kids, and published by African publishers.


It is super-important for young readers to recognize images, themes, names, places, etc., when learning to read. The brain simply does not make the same connections when faced with unfamiliar settings and images. A book about children building snowmen whilst at sleep-away camp in Maine might be great for young readers in the US – but quite ineffective for kids in Mozambique.

We do accept any and all books (within reason) that international publishers let us use – but we do very carefully choose which books to actually deliver to the children’s e-readers.


Khadijah: Lastly, what are some ways that we can get involved with the Worldreader program and work to make change along with you?

Elizabeth: There are lots of ways to get involved. On our website, www.worldreader.orgyou can donate, or you can fund-raise (run a marathon, for example). If you are an author or publisher, you can partner with us and provide our students and teachers access to one or more of your books or short stories. You can volunteer your time or expertise to help us – we have many volunteers on our teams in Barcelona and San Francisco.  Or you can simply spread the word – like us on Facebook, follow us on Twitter, and tell your friends about us!

Khadijah: Thank you for visiting, Elizabeth, and discussing Worldreader with us. Next we’ll share information about Worldreader’s Million E-books Movement which was just launched. We hope our readers leave comments or questions!

WorldReader Magic


By Khadijah Lacina
Books do have the power to change lives; it’s as simple as that. Time and again this was shown to me during the ten years my family lived in Yemen. One of the biggest trials we faced was the lack of reading material; whenever someone sent us books from the United States, they immediately became much loved and treasured. But for all the joy that my children got from them, the looks on the faces of the little Yemeni children who lived around us when they saw the pictures and heard the stories between the pages was simply magical.

Worldreader is an organization that is striving to bring that magical experience to children in the poorest of countries, especially in Sub-Saharan Africa. I had the opportunity to conduct the following interview with Worldreader’s Director of Digital Publishing, Elizabeth Wood, a warm, enthusiastic woman whose excitement about Worldreader is palpable in her words.

Khadijah: First of all, could you give us some background on Worldreader? How did it begin, and how did you personally become involved in the company?

Elizabeth: The idea for Worldreader came when David Risher (ex-Amazon VP) was traveling the world with his family and he was appalled at the dearth of books in the developing world while at the same time amazed that he and his children could download a book onto their Kindles wherever they were! He thought, “hang on a second… there’s a new way we can tackle this problem.”

When I first met David Risher, it was on the playground at the school. He was holding a Kindle – and I said, “Hey, my dad just gave me one of those for Christmas.” He replied “I want to put one of these in the hands of every child in the developing world.” I was hooked and wanted to be a part of it.

Khadijah: The concept of getting books to children in the Third Worldis a great one, but the logistics could be daunting. Worldreader came up with a unique way to do this. How exactly does your program get the books to the children?

Elizabeth: The old solution was to ship containers of used and new books to remote areas – but the problems with that are:
  • It’s expensive
  • The books don’t actually arrive to the very remote places
  • When the books do arrive, they are not the right books (have you ever looked into one of those donate-your-old-books boxes – try to imagine a group of eight-year-old African children getting those books!)
The new way is to leverage a major trend – mobile phone ubiquity and network coverage. Combine that with e-reader/e-book technology and we know wherever we can get a cell call, we can also send books anywhere in the world (almost!).

Khadijah: I understand that Worldreader is initiating a program that would utilize mobile phones in some way. Would you explain that to us?

Elizabeth: This is a particular area of interest for me – I’m convinced that the potential here is huge. Worldreader, in partnership with an amazing Australian company called biNU, does indeed have the first ever book app for feature phones – and those are the phones that billions of the world’s poorest people have. We have just started, but we already had over 300,000 people reading last month – mainly in India and across Africa. We offer hundreds of free books and stories – fiction and non-fiction, classics, and current.

Recently we put about 15 health informationals up – on a variety of subjects from HIV/AIDS to Malaria to Female Genital Mutilation – and we’ve already had over 10,000 people read them. The potential is huge – our next step is getting textbooks on the app – both high school and college level.

Khadijah: How do schools become a part of the Worldreader program? Do you keep track of the progress of the children in the schools after they have joined?

Elizabeth: We now have a turn-key solution that any school can use to replicate our programs, called Worldreader Kits. We are approached every day by schools and libraries all over the world wanting to implement these programs. We will help others launch about ten projects this year, including one in Rwanda next month being launched by Ready For Reading. We monitor all our schools so that we can learn from the successes and the failures. This solution isn’t perfect – the hardware is still designed for individual use in the developed world for instance, so breakages are higher than we’d like and prices are still too high – but prices are rapidly declining and devices are becoming more rugged. So far we’ve had very positive feedback from our partner schools – two of three of them have ordered additional devices and hundreds of more books – because they reported that within weeks, the kids had read all the books and wanted more. That’s success to me!
~~~~
Join us again tomorrow for more about Worldreader and how you can help supply books to avid young readers around the world.

WorldReader Magic


By Khadijah Lacina
Books do have the power to change lives; it’s as simple as that. Time and again this was shown to me during the ten years my family lived in Yemen. One of the biggest trials we faced was the lack of reading material; whenever someone sent us books from the United States, they immediately became much loved and treasured. But for all the joy that my children got from them, the looks on the faces of the little Yemeni children who lived around us when they saw the pictures and heard the stories between the pages was simply magical.

Worldreader is an organization that is striving to bring that magical experience to children in the poorest of countries, especially in Sub-Saharan Africa. I had the opportunity to conduct the following interview with Worldreader’s Director of Digital Publishing, Elizabeth Wood, a warm, enthusiastic woman whose excitement about Worldreader is palpable in her words.

Khadijah: First of all, could you give us some background on Worldreader? How did it begin, and how did you personally become involved in the company?

Elizabeth: The idea for Worldreader came when David Risher (ex-Amazon VP) was traveling the world with his family and he was appalled at the dearth of books in the developing world while at the same time amazed that he and his children could download a book onto their Kindles wherever they were! He thought, “hang on a second… there’s a new way we can tackle this problem.”

When I first met David Risher, it was on the playground at the school. He was holding a Kindle – and I said, “Hey, my dad just gave me one of those for Christmas.” He replied “I want to put one of these in the hands of every child in the developing world.” I was hooked and wanted to be a part of it.

Khadijah: The concept of getting books to children in the Third Worldis a great one, but the logistics could be daunting. Worldreader came up with a unique way to do this. How exactly does your program get the books to the children?

Elizabeth: The old solution was to ship containers of used and new books to remote areas – but the problems with that are:
  • It’s expensive
  • The books don’t actually arrive to the very remote places
  • When the books do arrive, they are not the right books (have you ever looked into one of those donate-your-old-books boxes – try to imagine a group of eight-year-old African children getting those books!)
The new way is to leverage a major trend – mobile phone ubiquity and network coverage. Combine that with e-reader/e-book technology and we know wherever we can get a cell call, we can also send books anywhere in the world (almost!).

Khadijah: I understand that Worldreader is initiating a program that would utilize mobile phones in some way. Would you explain that to us?

Elizabeth: This is a particular area of interest for me – I’m convinced that the potential here is huge. Worldreader, in partnership with an amazing Australian company called biNU, does indeed have the first ever book app for feature phones – and those are the phones that billions of the world’s poorest people have. We have just started, but we already had over 300,000 people reading last month – mainly in India and across Africa. We offer hundreds of free books and stories – fiction and non-fiction, classics, and current.

Recently we put about 15 health informationals up – on a variety of subjects from HIV/AIDS to Malaria to Female Genital Mutilation – and we’ve already had over 10,000 people read them. The potential is huge – our next step is getting textbooks on the app – both high school and college level.

Khadijah: How do schools become a part of the Worldreader program? Do you keep track of the progress of the children in the schools after they have joined?

Elizabeth: We now have a turn-key solution that any school can use to replicate our programs, called Worldreader Kits. We are approached every day by schools and libraries all over the world wanting to implement these programs. We will help others launch about ten projects this year, including one in Rwanda next month being launched by Ready For Reading. We monitor all our schools so that we can learn from the successes and the failures. This solution isn’t perfect – the hardware is still designed for individual use in the developed world for instance, so breakages are higher than we’d like and prices are still too high – but prices are rapidly declining and devices are becoming more rugged. So far we’ve had very positive feedback from our partner schools – two of three of them have ordered additional devices and hundreds of more books – because they reported that within weeks, the kids had read all the books and wanted more. That’s success to me!
~~~~
Join us again tomorrow for more about Worldreader and how you can help supply books to avid young readers around the world.

10 Amazing eBooks We Love for Summer Travel

By Cameron Crane
With summer vacation quickly approaching, it is helpful to have an entertaining selection of eBooks handy on your iPad, NOOK, or Kindle for your child’s summer reading. In anticipation of the end of the school year, and family travel plans of our own, we have been vetting through the available eBooks across these platforms to find the very best.

Today, we introduce the top 10 Amazing eBooks We Love for Summer Travel:



Plant a Kiss by Amy Krouse Rosenthal

Developer: HarperCollins Publishers

Ages: 4-8



Whispered Wonders by Kari Pius Baker

Developer: Kite Readers

Ages: 3 to 6

Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs by Judi Barrett & Ronald Barrett

Developer: Atheneum Books for Young Readers

Ages: 6 to 9



Developer: Hachette Digital, Inc.

Ages: 2 to 6



Almost by Richard Torrey

Developer: HarperCollins

Ages: 4 to 8



Not Norman: A Goldfish Story by Kelly Bennett

Developer: Candlewick Press

Ages: 4 to 8

An Atrocious Fairytale by Daniel Errico

Ages: 4 to 8

Developer: Pajama Publishing

The Gift of Nothing by Patrick McDonnell

Ages: 4 to 8

Developer: Hachette Digital, Inc.

Developer: Kite Readers

Ages: 3 to 8

The Best Place to Read by Debbie Bertram & Susan Bloom

Developer: Random House

Ages: 4 to 8

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

Little Pickle Press has just lowered the prices on all eBook versions of our award-winning titles, available for your NOOK Color, iPad, and Kindle Fire. Be sure to take advantage of this special pricing! 

10 Amazing eBooks We Love for Summer Travel

By Cameron Crane
With summer vacation quickly approaching, it is helpful to have an entertaining selection of eBooks handy on your iPad, NOOK, or Kindle for your child’s summer reading. In anticipation of the end of the school year, and family travel plans of our own, we have been vetting through the available eBooks across these platforms to find the very best.

Today, we introduce the top 10 Amazing eBooks We Love for Summer Travel:



Plant a Kiss by Amy Krouse Rosenthal

Developer: HarperCollins Publishers

Ages: 4-8



Whispered Wonders by Kari Pius Baker

Developer: Kite Readers

Ages: 3 to 6

Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs by Judi Barrett & Ronald Barrett

Developer: Atheneum Books for Young Readers

Ages: 6 to 9



Developer: Hachette Digital, Inc.

Ages: 2 to 6



Almost by Richard Torrey

Developer: HarperCollins

Ages: 4 to 8



Not Norman: A Goldfish Story by Kelly Bennett

Developer: Candlewick Press

Ages: 4 to 8

An Atrocious Fairytale by Daniel Errico

Ages: 4 to 8

Developer: Pajama Publishing

The Gift of Nothing by Patrick McDonnell

Ages: 4 to 8

Developer: Hachette Digital, Inc.

Developer: Kite Readers

Ages: 3 to 8

The Best Place to Read by Debbie Bertram & Susan Bloom

Developer: Random House

Ages: 4 to 8

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

Little Pickle Press has just lowered the prices on all eBook versions of our award-winning titles, available for your NOOK Color, iPad, and Kindle Fire. Be sure to take advantage of this special pricing! 

MeMeTales and Readathon 2012

By Maya Bisineer



I am so excited to be able to guest post on the Little Pickle Press blog! We admire Rana and Little Pickle Press for every detail they put into the books they make. They inspire us everyday! We want to take this opportunity to tell you a little bit about MeMeTales, our story and inspiration and our upcoming Readathon. So, let me jump right it!
Why does MemeTales exist?

As a company, MeMeTales is passionate about kids and reading. We will be happiest when kids obsess about stories and are addicted to reading. We want them to love reading so much that they will choose to curl up with a book rather than turn to Angry Birds. And no matter how media evolves, we want kids to cherish reading as a special experience. 

How does technology fit in?

Technology is a wonderful thing it brings the world together in ways never imagined before. It gives us numerous options for learning and entertainment. It also hands us a greater responsibility a responsibility we have to assume whether we like it or not a responsibility to make the right choices. So as a company, we absolutely love that with MeMeTales, kids can read no matter where they are. With mobile taking over the world, reading is possible anywhere and anytime. Yet, we compete, not with the physical books, but with the Angry Birds of the world. We believe the only way to tackle this challenge and assume our responsibility with grace is not to take the kids away from Angry Birds, but to make reading so much fun that they WANT to be a part of it. 
So what does MemeTales do?
At MeMeTales, we want to make reading fun in 2 main ways :
  1. Our app and website – We bring together some awesome books from dedicated publishers on our MeMeTales app. We make reading fun by letting kids earn points and stickers as they read more and more.
  2. Our Readathon – Every year, we are going to do a Readathon, starting this year. We are incredibly excited about it!

12 publishers, 24 bloggers and several people across the world are joining hands to get thousands of kids reading over 6 weeks this summer. This Readathon, for the youngest and emerging readers, is powered by MeMeTales Reader app and our website

According to the National Summer Learning Association , it is clear that children who don’t read during the summer can lose up to three months of reading progress, and that loss has a cumulative, long-term effect.  In order to prevent the “Summer Slide”, MeMeTales, in partnership with PBSKids, is working together with several motivated publishers such as Harper Collins and ORCA Books to make complete books available for kids to read week after week in the summer. Award-winning publishers such as Shen’s Books and Little Pickle Press are excited to join in, as are international publishers such as Era Publications and Karadi Tales. Several influential bloggers are joining in to support this cause.

What can you do to help?

Join in and spread the word. With Readathon2012, there is really no excuse for not reading. 

If you are blogger, please join in and spread the word. Post on your blogs. Tweet about it. Sign on to be an ambassador. We will be eternally grateful!

If you are a parent, have your child read. It is really the best gift you can give us, and more importantly, the best gift for your child!

MeMeTales and Readathon 2012

By Maya Bisineer



I am so excited to be able to guest post on the Little Pickle Press blog! We admire Rana and Little Pickle Press for every detail they put into the books they make. They inspire us everyday! We want to take this opportunity to tell you a little bit about MeMeTales, our story and inspiration and our upcoming Readathon. So, let me jump right it!
Why does MemeTales exist?

As a company, MeMeTales is passionate about kids and reading. We will be happiest when kids obsess about stories and are addicted to reading. We want them to love reading so much that they will choose to curl up with a book rather than turn to Angry Birds. And no matter how media evolves, we want kids to cherish reading as a special experience. 

How does technology fit in?

Technology is a wonderful thing it brings the world together in ways never imagined before. It gives us numerous options for learning and entertainment. It also hands us a greater responsibility a responsibility we have to assume whether we like it or not a responsibility to make the right choices. So as a company, we absolutely love that with MeMeTales, kids can read no matter where they are. With mobile taking over the world, reading is possible anywhere and anytime. Yet, we compete, not with the physical books, but with the Angry Birds of the world. We believe the only way to tackle this challenge and assume our responsibility with grace is not to take the kids away from Angry Birds, but to make reading so much fun that they WANT to be a part of it. 
So what does MemeTales do?
At MeMeTales, we want to make reading fun in 2 main ways :
  1. Our app and website – We bring together some awesome books from dedicated publishers on our MeMeTales app. We make reading fun by letting kids earn points and stickers as they read more and more.
  2. Our Readathon – Every year, we are going to do a Readathon, starting this year. We are incredibly excited about it!

12 publishers, 24 bloggers and several people across the world are joining hands to get thousands of kids reading over 6 weeks this summer. This Readathon, for the youngest and emerging readers, is powered by MeMeTales Reader app and our website

According to the National Summer Learning Association , it is clear that children who don’t read during the summer can lose up to three months of reading progress, and that loss has a cumulative, long-term effect.  In order to prevent the “Summer Slide”, MeMeTales, in partnership with PBSKids, is working together with several motivated publishers such as Harper Collins and ORCA Books to make complete books available for kids to read week after week in the summer. Award-winning publishers such as Shen’s Books and Little Pickle Press are excited to join in, as are international publishers such as Era Publications and Karadi Tales. Several influential bloggers are joining in to support this cause.

What can you do to help?

Join in and spread the word. With Readathon2012, there is really no excuse for not reading. 

If you are blogger, please join in and spread the word. Post on your blogs. Tweet about it. Sign on to be an ambassador. We will be eternally grateful!

If you are a parent, have your child read. It is really the best gift you can give us, and more importantly, the best gift for your child!

Little Pickle Press is in the iBookstore!

Download our books in the iBookstore today! Enjoy all of your favorite LPP stories in Read to Me format, with soothing narrations that your children will love.


By Land Wilson
Illustrated by Sue Cornelison
eLit Silver Award Winner for Children’s Books (7 & under)



By Helen Ward


By Rana DiOrio
Illustrated by Chris Hill


By Rana DiOrio
Illustrated by Chris Blair
eLit Gold Award Winner for Environment/Ecology/Nature




By Rana DiOrio
Illustrated by Eliza Wheeler
eLit Silver Award Winner for New Age/Mind-Body-Spirit



By Rana DiOrio
Illustrated by Sandra Salsbury

By JoAnn Deak, Ph.D.
Illustrated by Sarah Ackerley 


All of our iBooks were developed in partnership with Kite Readers.

Little Pickle Press is in the iBookstore!

Download our books in the iBookstore today! Enjoy all of your favorite LPP stories in Read to Me format, with soothing narrations that your children will love.


By Land Wilson
Illustrated by Sue Cornelison
eLit Silver Award Winner for Children’s Books (7 & under)



By Helen Ward


By Rana DiOrio
Illustrated by Chris Hill


By Rana DiOrio
Illustrated by Chris Blair
eLit Gold Award Winner for Environment/Ecology/Nature




By Rana DiOrio
Illustrated by Eliza Wheeler
eLit Silver Award Winner for New Age/Mind-Body-Spirit



By Rana DiOrio
Illustrated by Sandra Salsbury

By JoAnn Deak, Ph.D.
Illustrated by Sarah Ackerley 


All of our iBooks were developed in partnership with Kite Readers.

Featured Customer of the Month: The Reading Bug

By Cameron Crane


The Reading Bug

785 Laurel Street

San Carlos, CA 94070

When you come across a truly unique bookstore, one that takes in you in to a magical world similar to those in the stories they house, it is hard to forget. Such is the case with The Reading Bug, our featured customer this May.

Today, we welcome Diane Savage, founder of The Reading Bug, to tell us all about her experience running the bookstore, and exactly what makes it so special.

How did The Reading Bug come to be?

In 2009, my daughter-in-law and I dreamed about starting a bookstore in San Carlos that would become a gathering place for families and a resource for the entire community. We were fortunate to find a generous landlord, Howard Girdlestone, who helped make this possible.

What makes The Reading Bug unique?

Our vision was to create a fanciful store that would appeal to children and grown-ups alike. Lauren worked with a designer to create a warm and inviting store. Our concept was to create a store that looked a bit like a “pop-up” book, with beautiful two dimensional trees, a path that led our visitors from place to place in the store, and a larger than life magical forest mural that was painted by Bronwyn Lewis, a recent graduate of Rhode Island School of Design. We have a large multipurpose space that we use for author events, children’s birthday parties, storytimes, yoga classes, zumba classes, and other community events.

As a family-run business, one of The Reading Bug’s missions is to create strong ties with local families. How do you make this happen?

We have worked on building community. We want our store to be a place where we know as many families by name as possible. We try to offer events that appeal to all ages, from infants to adults. Many of our local families visit the store several times a week for these events, and often just drop by to say hi. 

So The Reading Bug is designed to look like an enchanted forest? This must lead to some magical reading experiences!
The concept of an enchanted forest was Lauren’s idea, and she worked with a decorator to perfect it. We wanted our store to be open and welcoming. If you look carefully, you will find many unique items that contribute to the look—from our “pond” tile that “splashes” as children walk on it, to the birdhouse above our event space and the pictures of Lauren’s and Brandon’s children (my grandchildren), Chloe and Riley (and even their dog Zuzu) in our second “tea party” mural in the event space.

What is your favorite part about owning and running The Reading Bug?

My favorite part of owning and running The Reading Bug is the children.  Creating a place that they love to visit—again and again—makes everything worthwhile!  Getting to know some of our regulars’ like and dislikes, and being able to put the “perfect” book (for them) in their hands is so satisfying!

How did you find out about Little Pickle Press? What has your experience selling Little Pickle Press books been like?

We are always looking for unique books to feature in our stores—books that need to be browsed and discovered.  Little Pickle Press books, like Snutt the Ift, Sofia’s Dream, Your Fantastic Elastic Brain, and the What Does It Mean To Be… ? books are exactly the type of books we like to offer to our customers.

Is there anything else you would like to share with us about The Reading Bug?

Thanks so much for the opportunity to work with you. 

And thank you, for being such a valuable part of your local community!

Featured Customer of the Month: The Reading Bug

By Cameron Crane


The Reading Bug

785 Laurel Street

San Carlos, CA 94070

When you come across a truly unique bookstore, one that takes in you in to a magical world similar to those in the stories they house, it is hard to forget. Such is the case with The Reading Bug, our featured customer this May.

Today, we welcome Diane Savage, founder of The Reading Bug, to tell us all about her experience running the bookstore, and exactly what makes it so special.

How did The Reading Bug come to be?

In 2009, my daughter-in-law and I dreamed about starting a bookstore in San Carlos that would become a gathering place for families and a resource for the entire community. We were fortunate to find a generous landlord, Howard Girdlestone, who helped make this possible.

What makes The Reading Bug unique?

Our vision was to create a fanciful store that would appeal to children and grown-ups alike. Lauren worked with a designer to create a warm and inviting store. Our concept was to create a store that looked a bit like a “pop-up” book, with beautiful two dimensional trees, a path that led our visitors from place to place in the store, and a larger than life magical forest mural that was painted by Bronwyn Lewis, a recent graduate of Rhode Island School of Design. We have a large multipurpose space that we use for author events, children’s birthday parties, storytimes, yoga classes, zumba classes, and other community events.

As a family-run business, one of The Reading Bug’s missions is to create strong ties with local families. How do you make this happen?

We have worked on building community. We want our store to be a place where we know as many families by name as possible. We try to offer events that appeal to all ages, from infants to adults. Many of our local families visit the store several times a week for these events, and often just drop by to say hi. 

So The Reading Bug is designed to look like an enchanted forest? This must lead to some magical reading experiences!
The concept of an enchanted forest was Lauren’s idea, and she worked with a decorator to perfect it. We wanted our store to be open and welcoming. If you look carefully, you will find many unique items that contribute to the look—from our “pond” tile that “splashes” as children walk on it, to the birdhouse above our event space and the pictures of Lauren’s and Brandon’s children (my grandchildren), Chloe and Riley (and even their dog Zuzu) in our second “tea party” mural in the event space.

What is your favorite part about owning and running The Reading Bug?

My favorite part of owning and running The Reading Bug is the children.  Creating a place that they love to visit—again and again—makes everything worthwhile!  Getting to know some of our regulars’ like and dislikes, and being able to put the “perfect” book (for them) in their hands is so satisfying!

How did you find out about Little Pickle Press? What has your experience selling Little Pickle Press books been like?

We are always looking for unique books to feature in our stores—books that need to be browsed and discovered.  Little Pickle Press books, like Snutt the Ift, Sofia’s Dream, Your Fantastic Elastic Brain, and the What Does It Mean To Be… ? books are exactly the type of books we like to offer to our customers.

Is there anything else you would like to share with us about The Reading Bug?

Thanks so much for the opportunity to work with you. 

And thank you, for being such a valuable part of your local community!

Educational iPad App Review: Your Fantastic Elastic Brain

By Marnie Craycroft, Founder of Carrots Are Orange

I was thrilled when Little Pickle Press gave me the opportunity to review an educational iPad App that follows one of my new favorite children’s books, Your Fantastic Elastic Brain. In short, as a parent, educator and avid user of iPad educational apps, I was blown away. Your Fantastic Elastic Brain by JoAnn Deak Ph.D. is a phenomenal concept. I highly recommend viewing this short interview with Dr. Deak. I was sold when I saw her speak at the American Montessori conference a few months ago.

 

Geared towards 6 to 10 year olds, the book and the app introduce ideas and information that gives children the knowledge and therefore the power to control their development, which, as it turns out children become more interested in doing the things that will serve them, their bodies, their families and their communities best.

Your Fantastic Elastic Brain

Dr. Deak tackles and successfully breaks down a complex subject with enjoyable characters and illustrations that draw in both children and adults. The approach is brilliant in breaking down difficult pieces of information in a way that enables people of all ages to learn. I particularly appreciated the content emphasizing that making mistakes is a great thing for your brain! That is a sentiment worth repeating ten times!

Your Fantastic Elastic Brain Pronunciation

 

The content explaining the parts of the brain, their purpose and what we can do to bend and stretch those parts is rich and could stand alone. We’re in luck though because at the end Dr. Deak offers numerous brain workouts ranging from suggestions on volunteering to memory games with sight and sound to reflecting on seeing art or hearing music. These brain workouts will truly give your child an opportunity to bend and stretch his brain. The best part? The workouts are fun and engage children. What I love about the App requires more than one post but here is a brief list to start:

  1. The app, like the book, is wonderfully illustrated by Sarah Ackerley.
  2. The Read Aloud option helps all of us pronounce challenging words and is easy for younger children to follow along
  3. The brain workouts are extraordinary {even for adults}!

What I hope for in next versions of the App:

  1. More interactive to engage younger kids
  2. More sound effects in the workouts
  3. An option for younger kids, ages 3-6

Do yourself a favor and check out the trailer on the book when you have a moment. It is short and I think it will draw you into the concept. Then stop by iTunes and buy this App for your iPad. You will not regret spending the few dollars. Thanks for choosing to read this post. I hope that we inspired you.


Disclosure: Little Pickle Press gave me a free copy of this App to review.


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Marnie is founder and writer of Carrots Are Orange, a blog focused on Montessori inspired ideas and activities, teaching kids about money and musings on parenting. She is a big proponent of positive discipline and nurturing creativity in our children. After nearly a decade in the investment management industry, this MBA turned Mama is currently pursuing her Early Childhood Montessori certification. Marnie graduated with a BA in Economics from Wesleyan University in Connecticut and earned her MBA from the University of Washington Foster School of Business. Hailing from Maine, she now lives in the Pacific Northwest with her husband and their two young sons. You can connect with Marnie on her blogFacebookTwitter and Pinterest. She looks forward to getting to know you.