Monthly Archives: July 2012

Kids Say the Kindest Things

By Jodi Carmichael
You met daughters, Emma and Sarah, in the Young Writer of the Month post and today, my best friend’s daughters, Lauren and Brynne, bounced off the cottage walls when I asked if they wanted to talk about kindness. Our rambunctious girls have been friends from birth and have a relationship closer in nature to cousins than merely friends. We’ve gone so far as to blend our last names into one that better fits our close bond. We now refer to our families as, The Hartmichaels. We’ve done numerous Hartmichael family vacations, beach days, movie nights, and berry-picking excursions.
To get the girls into the “kindness” frame of mind, I asked some pointed questions. Their hands shot high in the air, hardly able to wait their turn to answer, as I asked the first question.
Question: Can you tell me the kindest thing you’ve done for your sister?
Lauren (age 10):  I made Brynne a carnival throughout my whole house to cheer her up. I even taught her how to walk on her hands and eat green sugar out of a tube.
Brynne (age 8): Almost every morning, I get Lauren her peanut allergy bracelet before school – without being asked.
Sarah (age 8): When it’s my birthday I always buy Emma an un-birthday present. This year I ordered her a doll outfit from American Girl. It’s sort of a surprise, except she picked it out.
Emma, (age 11): I brush the knots out of Sarah’s hair in the morning and there are a lot of knots.
Question: What is the kindest thing you’ve done for a friend?
Brynne: There’s a new girl at school, who came from Korea and I showed her where the bins are for our math folders and I taught her how to play hopscotch at recess.
Sarah: When a girl at school called my friend bad names, I told her that wasn’t nice. I hugged my friend to make her feel better.
Emma: When my friend fractured her back, I carried her backpack home and helped her around the school.
Lauren: When Sarah fell and scraped her knee, twice, at the Calgary Zoo, I gave her my bird food so she could feed the geese.
Question: What is the kindest thing anyone has ever done for you? And how did that make you feel?
Sarah: When I fell off a play structure and hurt my arm, my mom took me for ice-cream. It made me feel super.
Emma: When my mom surprised me and took me on a girls’ trip to Minneapolis with one of my best friends. I felt special and excited to be away with just my mom. We’d never done that before.
Lauren: Every time my friend and I play checkers she almost always wins, but she always encourages me. It makes me feel special and that she doesn’t care about winning. She just wants to have fun with me.
Brynne: My friend taught me how to skip backwards. That made me feel very happy, because I really wanted to know how.
Question: What are some ways you are kind to your parents? With this question, the girls shouted out answers and at first they went for grandiose expressions of kindness, but soon thought of small, everyday acts, that are easy for anyone to do.
  • Buy them presents
  • Make them breakfast in bed
  • Make them Mother’s Day and Father’s Day Cards
  • Wash the dishes
  • Clear the plates
  • Clean up their clothes
It was wonderful watching the girls consider how their kind acts have huge impacts on others and over the next few days, we found ourselves thanking each other for their kind words and deeds. Most importantly it made us more considerate of each other’s feelings.
I came away profoundly aware of how small acts of kindness can make our children feel special, noticed, and worthy of recognition, and really isn’t that we’re all looking for – to matter to others?
Readers, there is still time to enter the Kind Karma Giveaway. The winner will be announced this week!

Kids Say the Kindest Things

By Jodi Carmichael
You met daughters, Emma and Sarah, in the Young Writer of the Month post and today, my best friend’s daughters, Lauren and Brynne, bounced off the cottage walls when I asked if they wanted to talk about kindness. Our rambunctious girls have been friends from birth and have a relationship closer in nature to cousins than merely friends. We’ve gone so far as to blend our last names into one that better fits our close bond. We now refer to our families as, The Hartmichaels. We’ve done numerous Hartmichael family vacations, beach days, movie nights, and berry-picking excursions.
To get the girls into the “kindness” frame of mind, I asked some pointed questions. Their hands shot high in the air, hardly able to wait their turn to answer, as I asked the first question.
Question: Can you tell me the kindest thing you’ve done for your sister?
Lauren (age 10):  I made Brynne a carnival throughout my whole house to cheer her up. I even taught her how to walk on her hands and eat green sugar out of a tube.
Brynne (age 8): Almost every morning, I get Lauren her peanut allergy bracelet before school – without being asked.
Sarah (age 8): When it’s my birthday I always buy Emma an un-birthday present. This year I ordered her a doll outfit from American Girl. It’s sort of a surprise, except she picked it out.
Emma, (age 11): I brush the knots out of Sarah’s hair in the morning and there are a lot of knots.
Question: What is the kindest thing you’ve done for a friend?
Brynne: There’s a new girl at school, who came from Korea and I showed her where the bins are for our math folders and I taught her how to play hopscotch at recess.
Sarah: When a girl at school called my friend bad names, I told her that wasn’t nice. I hugged my friend to make her feel better.
Emma: When my friend fractured her back, I carried her backpack home and helped her around the school.
Lauren: When Sarah fell and scraped her knee, twice, at the Calgary Zoo, I gave her my bird food so she could feed the geese.
Question: What is the kindest thing anyone has ever done for you? And how did that make you feel?
Sarah: When I fell off a play structure and hurt my arm, my mom took me for ice-cream. It made me feel super.
Emma: When my mom surprised me and took me on a girls’ trip to Minneapolis with one of my best friends. I felt special and excited to be away with just my mom. We’d never done that before.
Lauren: Every time my friend and I play checkers she almost always wins, but she always encourages me. It makes me feel special and that she doesn’t care about winning. She just wants to have fun with me.
Brynne: My friend taught me how to skip backwards. That made me feel very happy, because I really wanted to know how.
Question: What are some ways you are kind to your parents? With this question, the girls shouted out answers and at first they went for grandiose expressions of kindness, but soon thought of small, everyday acts, that are easy for anyone to do.
  • Buy them presents
  • Make them breakfast in bed
  • Make them Mother’s Day and Father’s Day Cards
  • Wash the dishes
  • Clear the plates
  • Clean up their clothes
It was wonderful watching the girls consider how their kind acts have huge impacts on others and over the next few days, we found ourselves thanking each other for their kind words and deeds. Most importantly it made us more considerate of each other’s feelings.
I came away profoundly aware of how small acts of kindness can make our children feel special, noticed, and worthy of recognition, and really isn’t that we’re all looking for – to matter to others?
Readers, there is still time to enter the Kind Karma Giveaway. The winner will be announced this week!

Kindness to Family: Mommy and Me

by Audrey Sillett Lintner

It is almost taken for granted that we will love our families. But are we kind to them? Does familiarity breed contempt? Let’s look at a few scenarios and consider possible reactions.

Scene #1: Breakfast. Mom is rushing from stove to sink to fridge to table, trying to fill orders for hungry family members. She barely has a chance to grab a bite for herself, but manages to serve up the meal with a smile. Her efforts are greeted with:

A. “I’m so sick of scrambled eggs.”

B. “Not bad. Gotta go!”

C. “Thanks, Mom! Let me fix a plate for you.”

Scene #2: Weekend chores. After his weekly assignments are done, Junior notices that something has spilled in the garage. He takes it upon himself to clean up, wiping up the spill and sweeping the rest of the floor. Dad says:

A. “It’s about time you started earning your keep around here.”

B. “You missed a spot.”

C. “Thanks, Son. I appreciate your hard work.”

Scene #3: Errands. Dad returns from a trip to town, bearing a bag of candy for Mom. Her response is:

A. “Are you kidding me? You knowI’m on a diet!”

B. “Thanks, but next time bring dark chocolate, okay?”

C. “Aw, how thoughtful! Here, share them with me.”

It’s a pretty safe bet that we all know what our answers should be in each case, but how well does shouldtranslate into reality? Do we sometimes snap at family members, knowing that they won’t snap back? Do we keep a tally of our give-and-take, expecting a return on our good-deed investments? Are good manners good enough, or do we need to dig deeper and build relationships on a bedrock of kindness?

It’s easy to say thank you, but maybe not so easy to explain why you’re thankful. Try this today! Write notes to family members, explaining why you think they’re special. Hide the notes where they’ll be found.

Question: Does a dinner deserve a thank you?     

Photos courtesy of stock.xchng

Kindness to Family: Mommy and Me

by Audrey Sillett Lintner

It is almost taken for granted that we will love our families. But are we kind to them? Does familiarity breed contempt? Let’s look at a few scenarios and consider possible reactions.

Scene #1: Breakfast. Mom is rushing from stove to sink to fridge to table, trying to fill orders for hungry family members. She barely has a chance to grab a bite for herself, but manages to serve up the meal with a smile. Her efforts are greeted with:

A. “I’m so sick of scrambled eggs.”

B. “Not bad. Gotta go!”

C. “Thanks, Mom! Let me fix a plate for you.”

Scene #2: Weekend chores. After his weekly assignments are done, Junior notices that something has spilled in the garage. He takes it upon himself to clean up, wiping up the spill and sweeping the rest of the floor. Dad says:

A. “It’s about time you started earning your keep around here.”

B. “You missed a spot.”

C. “Thanks, Son. I appreciate your hard work.”

Scene #3: Errands. Dad returns from a trip to town, bearing a bag of candy for Mom. Her response is:

A. “Are you kidding me? You knowI’m on a diet!”

B. “Thanks, but next time bring dark chocolate, okay?”

C. “Aw, how thoughtful! Here, share them with me.”

It’s a pretty safe bet that we all know what our answers should be in each case, but how well does shouldtranslate into reality? Do we sometimes snap at family members, knowing that they won’t snap back? Do we keep a tally of our give-and-take, expecting a return on our good-deed investments? Are good manners good enough, or do we need to dig deeper and build relationships on a bedrock of kindness?

It’s easy to say thank you, but maybe not so easy to explain why you’re thankful. Try this today! Write notes to family members, explaining why you think they’re special. Hide the notes where they’ll be found.

Question: Does a dinner deserve a thank you?     

Photos courtesy of stock.xchng

Kindness in Public Places: The Customer is King

By Cameron Crane

A Grande Iced-Coffee with two pumps of sugar-free vanilla, one pump of sugar-free hazelnut, light ice and no room for cream. I am embarrassed to say that is my Starbucks order, and I order it apologetically each time I go there, being sure to thank everyone who helps me in the process. Some people may not feel the need to do so. It is after all, the job of the barista to make my order, and one of the things that Starbucks prides itself on is the freedom that each customer feels to order their drink to their liking.
But I feel the need to be extra polite every time I order. Not just because my drink is blatantly obnoxiousan unwanted insight into how tediously detail-oriented I am in every aspect of my lifeand not just because common courtesy calls for it. But because three years ago I was that barista, experimenting with syrups on each shift until I found the drink that I could handle every single day when I arrived to work at 4 o’clock in the morning. And I know from personal experience how much a “thank you” means when you have been standing on your feet all day making extra-hot skinny Cinnamon Dolce Lattes with light foam.

Behind the bar at Starbucks, I used to joke to my coworkers that I wished they installed a hidden camera in our store. I was always shocked at how rude that someone could be at 6:00 AM, under caffeinated and probably too much pressure. Social graces were forgotten as our customers, bitter that they were on their way to work before the sun was up, would bark their orders, and then immediately stare at their watches. They only had at the most 2 minutes, after all. In the six months I worked at Starbucks, I was called incompetent and lazy, I was sworn at, and I had an 180-degree latte spit in my face. And no, that last part was not added for dramatic effect.

Don’t get me wrong, like any job, being a Starbucks barista had its downs, but it also had its ups. There were also the customers we looked forward to. These were the customers who, like me, ordered their drink every day, just the way they liked it. They greeted us with a smile every morning, took the time to learn each of our names, and left each day with a smile and a thank you, holding the door open for the next person walking in. These were the customers that brought us to work every morning, whose drink we would try to have ready before they even ordered, and who made our own daily routines a little more enjoyable.




The truth is, when you are in a customer service position, these little gestures do not go unnoticed. A smile, a thank you, and a brief conversation with the right person can completely change your day.

Which type of customer are you? Do you read name tags when you are in line at Starbucks, or the grocery store? 

Prompt: Try this today!  Call your clerk by name, look them in the eye, and thank them for a job well done.


Image Credit: howtobecomeinfo.com

Kindness in Public Places: The Customer is King

By Cameron Crane

A Grande Iced-Coffee with two pumps of sugar-free vanilla, one pump of sugar-free hazelnut, light ice and no room for cream. I am embarrassed to say that is my Starbucks order, and I order it apologetically each time I go there, being sure to thank everyone who helps me in the process. Some people may not feel the need to do so. It is after all, the job of the barista to make my order, and one of the things that Starbucks prides itself on is the freedom that each customer feels to order their drink to their liking.
But I feel the need to be extra polite every time I order. Not just because my drink is blatantly obnoxiousan unwanted insight into how tediously detail-oriented I am in every aspect of my lifeand not just because common courtesy calls for it. But because three years ago I was that barista, experimenting with syrups on each shift until I found the drink that I could handle every single day when I arrived to work at 4 o’clock in the morning. And I know from personal experience how much a “thank you” means when you have been standing on your feet all day making extra-hot skinny Cinnamon Dolce Lattes with light foam.

Behind the bar at Starbucks, I used to joke to my coworkers that I wished they installed a hidden camera in our store. I was always shocked at how rude that someone could be at 6:00 AM, under caffeinated and probably too much pressure. Social graces were forgotten as our customers, bitter that they were on their way to work before the sun was up, would bark their orders, and then immediately stare at their watches. They only had at the most 2 minutes, after all. In the six months I worked at Starbucks, I was called incompetent and lazy, I was sworn at, and I had an 180-degree latte spit in my face. And no, that last part was not added for dramatic effect.

Don’t get me wrong, like any job, being a Starbucks barista had its downs, but it also had its ups. There were also the customers we looked forward to. These were the customers who, like me, ordered their drink every day, just the way they liked it. They greeted us with a smile every morning, took the time to learn each of our names, and left each day with a smile and a thank you, holding the door open for the next person walking in. These were the customers that brought us to work every morning, whose drink we would try to have ready before they even ordered, and who made our own daily routines a little more enjoyable.




The truth is, when you are in a customer service position, these little gestures do not go unnoticed. A smile, a thank you, and a brief conversation with the right person can completely change your day.

Which type of customer are you? Do you read name tags when you are in line at Starbucks, or the grocery store? 

Prompt: Try this today!  Call your clerk by name, look them in the eye, and thank them for a job well done.


Image Credit: howtobecomeinfo.com

BIG News from Little Pickle Press!

Little Pickle Press is extremely excited to announce that our upcoming title, BIG, is being exclusively featured in the Kindle Store at a special promotional pricing through July 26, 2012.

BIG


Written by Coleen Paratore

Illustrated by Clare Fennell

BIG goes beyond the basics to show that size is more than a matter of height. Touching on ideas such as health, citizenship, and imagination, this book can be the key to heartfelt dialogue between children and caregivers about the importance of values over valuables.

Get a sneak peek of BIG with our enhanced eBook, developed in partnership with Kite Readers, and now available on Kindlewith text pop-up and vivid, full-color images when using Kindle Fire or select Kindle Reading Apps.

Take advantage of our special introductory price of $2.99, available through Thursday. Are you an Amazon Prime member? Download BIG for FREE!

For more information about the Kindle version of BIG, click here

Love the eBook? Preorder a hardcopy now, and receive a 25% discount!

BIG News from Little Pickle Press!

Little Pickle Press is extremely excited to announce that our upcoming title, BIG, is being exclusively featured in the Kindle Store at a special promotional pricing through July 26, 2012.

BIG


Written by Coleen Paratore

Illustrated by Clare Fennell

BIG goes beyond the basics to show that size is more than a matter of height. Touching on ideas such as health, citizenship, and imagination, this book can be the key to heartfelt dialogue between children and caregivers about the importance of values over valuables.

Get a sneak peek of BIG with our enhanced eBook, developed in partnership with Kite Readers, and now available on Kindlewith text pop-up and vivid, full-color images when using Kindle Fire or select Kindle Reading Apps.

Take advantage of our special introductory price of $2.99, available through Thursday. Are you an Amazon Prime member? Download BIG for FREE!

For more information about the Kindle version of BIG, click here

Love the eBook? Preorder a hardcopy now, and receive a 25% discount!

Kindness In Media: When Slapstick Hurts

by Audrey Sillett Lintner
Sometimes I’m amazed at what passes for comedy these days. Don’t get me wrong; I’ve seen some genuinely funny bits come across the airwaves. Unfortunately, it seems like some of the stuff that’s considered funny on television would be chalked up as abuse in a real-life situation.

Okay, maybe that’s a little harsh. But think about it. Isn’t it funny as long as it’s the other guy?

Throughout history, outrageous slapstick comedy has been popular (Punch and Judy anyone?) with audiences. Although technology became more sophisticated, viewers still craved the outlet of a good knockabout and rousing, if rude, dialogue. The goofy antics of The Marx Brothers or The Three Stooges avoided offense by keeping the outlandish premises of vaudeville and puppet shows.

Is this the key? Is it humor as long as it’s unrealistic?

With the advent of television, the comedy stakes were raised again. How many times did Ralph Kramden of the classic sitcom The Honeymooners threaten Alice with a trip to the moon? How many spouses today would stand still for one of Ralph’s eye-popping temper tantrums? How many times was Ralph made to see the error of his ways and words before delivering his heartfelt apology, “Baby, you’re the greatest”?

Maybe that’s it. Knowing when you’re wrong makes it funny.

With our current immersion culture, with the media poking its nose into every aspect of our lives, are we becoming desensitized to unkind behavior? Sitcom children smart off to their parents. Couples make derogatory comments to and about their partners. Celebrity roasts encourage outright cruelty to a central figure who is supposed to smile and say nothing.

I give up. I have no idea why that’s funny.

Can you make it funny? Try this: choose a sitcom scenario. Rewrite the snide comebacks, using a gentler form of humor. Get your family involved to see which member can come up with the best lines.

Question: It’s funny on TV, but would you allow it in your real life?

Kindness In Media: When Slapstick Hurts

by Audrey Sillett Lintner
Sometimes I’m amazed at what passes for comedy these days. Don’t get me wrong; I’ve seen some genuinely funny bits come across the airwaves. Unfortunately, it seems like some of the stuff that’s considered funny on television would be chalked up as abuse in a real-life situation.

Okay, maybe that’s a little harsh. But think about it. Isn’t it funny as long as it’s the other guy?

Throughout history, outrageous slapstick comedy has been popular (Punch and Judy anyone?) with audiences. Although technology became more sophisticated, viewers still craved the outlet of a good knockabout and rousing, if rude, dialogue. The goofy antics of The Marx Brothers or The Three Stooges avoided offense by keeping the outlandish premises of vaudeville and puppet shows.

Is this the key? Is it humor as long as it’s unrealistic?

With the advent of television, the comedy stakes were raised again. How many times did Ralph Kramden of the classic sitcom The Honeymooners threaten Alice with a trip to the moon? How many spouses today would stand still for one of Ralph’s eye-popping temper tantrums? How many times was Ralph made to see the error of his ways and words before delivering his heartfelt apology, “Baby, you’re the greatest”?

Maybe that’s it. Knowing when you’re wrong makes it funny.

With our current immersion culture, with the media poking its nose into every aspect of our lives, are we becoming desensitized to unkind behavior? Sitcom children smart off to their parents. Couples make derogatory comments to and about their partners. Celebrity roasts encourage outright cruelty to a central figure who is supposed to smile and say nothing.

I give up. I have no idea why that’s funny.

Can you make it funny? Try this: choose a sitcom scenario. Rewrite the snide comebacks, using a gentler form of humor. Get your family involved to see which member can come up with the best lines.

Question: It’s funny on TV, but would you allow it in your real life?

Featured Customer of the Month: Hicklebee’s

By Cameron Crane
Hicklebee’s

1378 Lincoln Avenue

San Jose, CA 95125

408.292.8880

What is a Hicklebee?

A very special

bookworm

traveling through

the pages of

children’s books

chewing words

absorbing illustrations

gathering wisdom

pausing momentarily

before springing out

of the final pages as a

HICKLEBEE

a metamorphic

change quite rare

for children of the world

to share.

Hicklebee’s is a place where books come alive. This is the first thing you will learn about this amazing bookstore, located in San Jose, CA. With a thoughtfully selected array of books for the whole family, Hicklebee’s strives to immerse children into the wonderful world of reading.

There is no question that Hicklebee’s is a community gem. Readers and shoppers instantly fall in love with the place, not only for its books, but also for its ambiance and caring staff, who together have over 200 years of experience in the children’s book industry. Members of the community have grown up with Hicklebee’s, and have fallen in love with it.

It’s no wonder, either. With exciting author events, book clubs, educator events, and a special program designed especially for local, independently published authors, Hicklebee’s goes above and beyond to contribute to the community. In fact, when I interviewed Ann Seaton, Manager of Hicklebee’s, she was in the process of welcoming an author into the store. I was fortunate to have the opportunity to speak with her, so that she could tell us a little bit more about the bookstore that is capturing the hearts of its customers.

What makes Hicklebee’s so special?

Ann: Well, we are a group of people who absolutely love books. We love talking about books and we love sharing books. That is what our passion is.

What is the Hicklebee’s mission?

Ann: There are two. The first is to make books come alive for children. The second is to get the right book in the hand of the right child.

What is your favorite part about working for Hicklebee’s?

Ann: Watching how books and the written word can touch and change the people around us.

We are discussing kindness this month at Little Pickle Press. Can you recommend any great children’s books about kindness?

Ann: Actually, our book of the year, Extra Yarn, written by Mac Barnett and illustrated by Jon Klassen, is a great story about kindness!

If you are in San Jose, be sure to stop in and meet the wonderful Hicklebee’s team, look for some of Little Pickle Press’ award-winning titles! If you are not in the area, you can still browse Hicklebee’s amazing selection online!

Thank you, Hicklebee’s, for supporting Little Pickle Press!

Featured Customer of the Month: Hicklebee’s

By Cameron Crane
Hicklebee’s

1378 Lincoln Avenue

San Jose, CA 95125

408.292.8880

What is a Hicklebee?

A very special

bookworm

traveling through

the pages of

children’s books

chewing words

absorbing illustrations

gathering wisdom

pausing momentarily

before springing out

of the final pages as a

HICKLEBEE

a metamorphic

change quite rare

for children of the world

to share.

Hicklebee’s is a place where books come alive. This is the first thing you will learn about this amazing bookstore, located in San Jose, CA. With a thoughtfully selected array of books for the whole family, Hicklebee’s strives to immerse children into the wonderful world of reading.

There is no question that Hicklebee’s is a community gem. Readers and shoppers instantly fall in love with the place, not only for its books, but also for its ambiance and caring staff, who together have over 200 years of experience in the children’s book industry. Members of the community have grown up with Hicklebee’s, and have fallen in love with it.

It’s no wonder, either. With exciting author events, book clubs, educator events, and a special program designed especially for local, independently published authors, Hicklebee’s goes above and beyond to contribute to the community. In fact, when I interviewed Ann Seaton, Manager of Hicklebee’s, she was in the process of welcoming an author into the store. I was fortunate to have the opportunity to speak with her, so that she could tell us a little bit more about the bookstore that is capturing the hearts of its customers.

What makes Hicklebee’s so special?

Ann: Well, we are a group of people who absolutely love books. We love talking about books and we love sharing books. That is what our passion is.

What is the Hicklebee’s mission?

Ann: There are two. The first is to make books come alive for children. The second is to get the right book in the hand of the right child.

What is your favorite part about working for Hicklebee’s?

Ann: Watching how books and the written word can touch and change the people around us.

We are discussing kindness this month at Little Pickle Press. Can you recommend any great children’s books about kindness?

Ann: Actually, our book of the year, Extra Yarn, written by Mac Barnett and illustrated by Jon Klassen, is a great story about kindness!

If you are in San Jose, be sure to stop in and meet the wonderful Hicklebee’s team, look for some of Little Pickle Press’ award-winning titles! If you are not in the area, you can still browse Hicklebee’s amazing selection online!

Thank you, Hicklebee’s, for supporting Little Pickle Press!

Kindness in School: Playground Principles

By Cameron Crane
I remember my first day of fifth grade like it was yesterday. I had just transferred to a new school, and had an overwhelming blend of anxiety and excitement. Everything went perfectly in the morning: I didn’t mess up when I was introducing myself to the class, I got assigned to a table with people I could envision befriending, and I got the answer right the first time I was ever called on. Yes, the day was going perfectly for me, but that wasn’t the case for my little brother, who was entering his first day of first grade. It was around noon when I got pulled out of class to go comfort my brother, who had just been punched in the stomach by a fourth-grader on the playground.

I recall the anger and frustration I felt as I marched to the playground. I gave my brother a comforting hug, and asked him to point out the bully who had the nerve to hit him. I studied the culprit from head to toe, tempted to confront him and let him know that he should pick on somebody his own size – like me for starters.  Luckily, the situation was already being handled by Yard Duty, and I was prevented from reacting … or overreacting.

As I sat there consoling my brother, we were approached by another first grader. Apparently, he was the one who had notified the adults about the situation. He sat down next to my brother, and placed a reassuring hand on his shoulder, “I’m really sorry about that, Jack. I hope you aren’t hurt too much.”

It turned out that the fourth-grader who had punched my brother was notorious for being problematic on the playground. He was promptly sent to the principal’s office, and sent home from school. The first-grader who had approached us to apologize was his younger brother. He and my brother became instant friends.

This story is not an unusual one. It seems that every day we hear about a new instance of bullying. But how often do we actually hear about people like that first-grader? Do we have enough systems in place that recognize acts of kindness on the playground, or is it the bullies that seem to get all the attention?

Luckily, many schools do have programs like “Character Cards”, which can be given out as recognition to children exhibiting acts of kindness, generosity, etc. However, the power to give out these cards typically lies in the hands of teachers, who may not be around to witness these acts. In my opinion, it would be wonderful to give children the opportunity to publically recognize their peers. I know that had I been given the opportunity, I would have loved to thank that first-grader with a Character Card.

Even without a system in place, there are many great ways to recognize acts of kindness. I recommend having a conversation with your children about thanking their peers for their positive actions, the same way we have asked them not to let bullying go unnoticed.
Prompt: Try this today!  Choose two classmates and tell each of them something good that you admire about them. Ask them to pass it on by doing the same for someone else.

Question: Is kindness an inherent trait, or is it a learned behavior?

Image Credit: govandc.com, smileyme.com

Kindness in School: Playground Principles

By Cameron Crane
I remember my first day of fifth grade like it was yesterday. I had just transferred to a new school, and had an overwhelming blend of anxiety and excitement. Everything went perfectly in the morning: I didn’t mess up when I was introducing myself to the class, I got assigned to a table with people I could envision befriending, and I got the answer right the first time I was ever called on. Yes, the day was going perfectly for me, but that wasn’t the case for my little brother, who was entering his first day of first grade. It was around noon when I got pulled out of class to go comfort my brother, who had just been punched in the stomach by a fourth-grader on the playground.

I recall the anger and frustration I felt as I marched to the playground. I gave my brother a comforting hug, and asked him to point out the bully who had the nerve to hit him. I studied the culprit from head to toe, tempted to confront him and let him know that he should pick on somebody his own size – like me for starters.  Luckily, the situation was already being handled by Yard Duty, and I was prevented from reacting … or overreacting.

As I sat there consoling my brother, we were approached by another first grader. Apparently, he was the one who had notified the adults about the situation. He sat down next to my brother, and placed a reassuring hand on his shoulder, “I’m really sorry about that, Jack. I hope you aren’t hurt too much.”

It turned out that the fourth-grader who had punched my brother was notorious for being problematic on the playground. He was promptly sent to the principal’s office, and sent home from school. The first-grader who had approached us to apologize was his younger brother. He and my brother became instant friends.

This story is not an unusual one. It seems that every day we hear about a new instance of bullying. But how often do we actually hear about people like that first-grader? Do we have enough systems in place that recognize acts of kindness on the playground, or is it the bullies that seem to get all the attention?

Luckily, many schools do have programs like “Character Cards”, which can be given out as recognition to children exhibiting acts of kindness, generosity, etc. However, the power to give out these cards typically lies in the hands of teachers, who may not be around to witness these acts. In my opinion, it would be wonderful to give children the opportunity to publically recognize their peers. I know that had I been given the opportunity, I would have loved to thank that first-grader with a Character Card.

Even without a system in place, there are many great ways to recognize acts of kindness. I recommend having a conversation with your children about thanking their peers for their positive actions, the same way we have asked them not to let bullying go unnoticed.
Prompt: Try this today!  Choose two classmates and tell each of them something good that you admire about them. Ask them to pass it on by doing the same for someone else.

Question: Is kindness an inherent trait, or is it a learned behavior?

Image Credit: govandc.com, smileyme.com

Kindness to Self: I Love Me

by Audrey Sillett Lintner

Fat. Ugly. Useless.  

When aimed at another person, this kind of language can seem more profane than the foulest of four-letter words. Why, then, is it so easy to say such words into the mirror?

Much as a caregiver looks after everyone but himself, we are all too often considerate of the feelings of everyone but ourselves.  The physical and mental variations that make us special to others are seen through our own eyes as flaws to be treated with scorn.

Think about the most recent compliment that you’ve received.  A great hair day, perhaps.  Maybe you drew a picture or knitted a scarf.  What was your first reaction when someone said, “Wow, I love it”?  Did you thank them, or did you immediately point out imagined errors and brush aside their comments with self-deprecation?

It can be hard to love ourselves. Why?

Google Images

Often, an overheard comment from childhood can leave a scar that never fades.  The wound grows and festers until it infects our every thought, blighting our chance to enjoy the company of the one person who will never leave us.  Perhaps a comparison of wealth or status affects our mood, leaving us to lash out at ourselves.  Who hasn’t flipped through a magazine in annoyance, positive that the stick-thin paragons of “beauty” within its pages are what society expects us to be? A cruel sort of confidence, indeed.

If we are to be kind to others, we must first be kind to ourselves.  No one knows us better than we know ourselves.  Doesn’t it follow that we should also see ourselves more clearly than others do?  Jealousy, self-doubt, fear – these are the veils that impede our insight.  Kindness is the lens that will give us the best view of the world and ourselves.

Here’s an experiment to try at home.  For the next week, before you go to work or wherever your day takes you, look into the mirror.  Take a good look at that person.  Look yourself in the eye, smile, and say, “You’re going to be great today”.  How do you feel after the first day?  After a week?  How would you feel if you did it every single day?

Question: Why is it so easy to buy into a negative self-image? 

Kindness to Self: I Love Me

by Audrey Sillett Lintner

Fat. Ugly. Useless.  

When aimed at another person, this kind of language can seem more profane than the foulest of four-letter words. Why, then, is it so easy to say such words into the mirror?

Much as a caregiver looks after everyone but himself, we are all too often considerate of the feelings of everyone but ourselves.  The physical and mental variations that make us special to others are seen through our own eyes as flaws to be treated with scorn.

Think about the most recent compliment that you’ve received.  A great hair day, perhaps.  Maybe you drew a picture or knitted a scarf.  What was your first reaction when someone said, “Wow, I love it”?  Did you thank them, or did you immediately point out imagined errors and brush aside their comments with self-deprecation?

It can be hard to love ourselves. Why?

Google Images

Often, an overheard comment from childhood can leave a scar that never fades.  The wound grows and festers until it infects our every thought, blighting our chance to enjoy the company of the one person who will never leave us.  Perhaps a comparison of wealth or status affects our mood, leaving us to lash out at ourselves.  Who hasn’t flipped through a magazine in annoyance, positive that the stick-thin paragons of “beauty” within its pages are what society expects us to be? A cruel sort of confidence, indeed.

If we are to be kind to others, we must first be kind to ourselves.  No one knows us better than we know ourselves.  Doesn’t it follow that we should also see ourselves more clearly than others do?  Jealousy, self-doubt, fear – these are the veils that impede our insight.  Kindness is the lens that will give us the best view of the world and ourselves.

Here’s an experiment to try at home.  For the next week, before you go to work or wherever your day takes you, look into the mirror.  Take a good look at that person.  Look yourself in the eye, smile, and say, “You’re going to be great today”.  How do you feel after the first day?  After a week?  How would you feel if you did it every single day?

Question: Why is it so easy to buy into a negative self-image? 

On Sale Now: What Does It Mean To Be Green?

Take advantage of our Warehouse Sale!

 

What Does It Mean To Be Green?
By Rana DiOrio
Illustrated by Chris Blair

Available now for only $9.95!
You save $7.00!

This colorful, insightful story, demystifies for children what it means to be green by helping them to view everyday tasks through an environmentally-friendly lens. The book empowers children to do whatever they can to protect the earth’s precious resources. Don’t be surprised if they start coming up with suggestions of their own for you!


More information about our Warehouse Sale here

On Sale Now: What Does It Mean To Be Green?

Take advantage of our Warehouse Sale!

 

What Does It Mean To Be Green?
By Rana DiOrio
Illustrated by Chris Blair

Available now for only $9.95!
You save $7.00!

This colorful, insightful story, demystifies for children what it means to be green by helping them to view everyday tasks through an environmentally-friendly lens. The book empowers children to do whatever they can to protect the earth’s precious resources. Don’t be surprised if they start coming up with suggestions of their own for you!


More information about our Warehouse Sale here

Young Writer of the Month: Sarah Grace Carmichael

By Sarah Grace Carmichael
Emma and Sarah
Emma Won’t Go to Bed
Once upon a time there was a baby girl named Emma.
She would never go to bed.
Her mom read her 1,000 books. That didn’t work.
Her mom walked her around the house three times.
That didn’t work.
She scratched Emma’s back for two hours. That didn’t work, either.
She tried everything, but nothing worked.
Then she remembered what always worked.
 She sang a lullaby and it finally worked.
 Then her mom jumped up and down and yelled,
“It worked! It worked!”
She ran around the house three times, then began to fold laundry and watch T.V.
The End
Why did you write this story? 
I want to be an author like my mommy and one night I couldn’t fall asleep and she tried everything to make me sleepy.  I thought it would make a funny story.
Why weren’t you the baby in the story? 
Because I wanted it to be about my big sister, Emma.
Did you do the illustrations for your picture book? 
Yes, I used crayons and markers. For two of the pictures, I forgot to put hair on the mom. The mom in the book has brown hair, but my mom has blonde and white hair.
Can you tell me what kind things the mom in your story does for baby Emma? 
She scratches her back, reads her 1,000 books, carries her around the house and sings to her. She never loses her temper and yells at the baby. That’s what kind mommies do, they talk in sweet voices.
One last question. What does your mommy do after you go to bed? 
She goes downstairs, watches T.V. and folds laundry. Oh! And when I’m asleep, she tiptoes into my room and kisses me on the cheek and whispers “I love you.”
~~~~~~ 
Sarah Grace Carmichael will be eight on Monday and next year, in grade three at Ecole Crane French Immersion School in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada. Her favorite activities include: eating candy, playing soccer, and having sleepovers with friends, as well as writing stories!

Young Writer of the Month: Sarah Grace Carmichael

By Sarah Grace Carmichael
Emma and Sarah
Emma Won’t Go to Bed
Once upon a time there was a baby girl named Emma.
She would never go to bed.
Her mom read her 1,000 books. That didn’t work.
Her mom walked her around the house three times.
That didn’t work.
She scratched Emma’s back for two hours. That didn’t work, either.
She tried everything, but nothing worked.
Then she remembered what always worked.
 She sang a lullaby and it finally worked.
 Then her mom jumped up and down and yelled,
“It worked! It worked!”
She ran around the house three times, then began to fold laundry and watch T.V.
The End
Why did you write this story? 
I want to be an author like my mommy and one night I couldn’t fall asleep and she tried everything to make me sleepy.  I thought it would make a funny story.
Why weren’t you the baby in the story? 
Because I wanted it to be about my big sister, Emma.
Did you do the illustrations for your picture book? 
Yes, I used crayons and markers. For two of the pictures, I forgot to put hair on the mom. The mom in the book has brown hair, but my mom has blonde and white hair.
Can you tell me what kind things the mom in your story does for baby Emma? 
She scratches her back, reads her 1,000 books, carries her around the house and sings to her. She never loses her temper and yells at the baby. That’s what kind mommies do, they talk in sweet voices.
One last question. What does your mommy do after you go to bed? 
She goes downstairs, watches T.V. and folds laundry. Oh! And when I’m asleep, she tiptoes into my room and kisses me on the cheek and whispers “I love you.”
~~~~~~ 
Sarah Grace Carmichael will be eight on Monday and next year, in grade three at Ecole Crane French Immersion School in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada. Her favorite activities include: eating candy, playing soccer, and having sleepovers with friends, as well as writing stories!

Little Pickle Press’ First Warehouse Sale!

By Cameron Crane

It is official! With our newest title, BIG, off to the printer, Little Pickle Press is definitely growing! We are about to have a lot of new and amazing books at our hands, and we are asking for your help to make to room in our warehouse.

Little Pickle Press is having our first Warehouse Sale! Through the month of July, you can purchase the award-winning What Does It Mean To Be Green?, or What Does It Mean To Be Global? in Spanish or French for only $9.95! Take advantage of this offer now.

Be sure to also preorder BIG and get our exclusive 25% discount!


Little Pickle Press’ upcoming titles: 
BIG


By Coleen Paratore
Illustrated by Clare Fennell

BIG goes beyond the basics to show that size is more than a matter of height.  Touching on ideas such as health, citizenship, and imagination, this book can be the key to heartfelt dialogue between children and caregivers about the importance of values over valuables.


Ripple’s Effect

Ripple’s Effect Illustration
By Shawn Achor and Amy Blankson
Illustrated by Cecilia Rebora

It takes big actions to make big changes.  Or does it?  In Ripple’s Effect, residents of an aquarium learn that sometimes a smile is all it takes to make a world of difference.  Awash with charming illustrations, this delightful tale will show children that happiness is a choice they get to make for themselves.

Coming Soon!

Spaghetti is NOT a Finger Food and Other Life Lessons


Connor Character Sketch
By Jodi Carmichael
Illustrated by Sarah Ackerley

Spaghetti is NOT a Finger Food makes for a deliciously entertaining and humorous read as we see the world through Connor’s eyes. We follow a delightfully quirky day in the life of Connor, a brilliant student with an equally high talent for second-guessing the rules. As both entertainment and as an accessible educational tool to help teach students about Asperger’s Syndrome, the book s a welcome addition to schools and libraries fostering diverse ways of thinking. 


Coming Soon!