Monthly Archives: October 2012

Kids Wear the Darnedest Things

By Audrey Lintner

When I think of Hallowe’en, I don’t think about haunted houses or scary monsters or apple bobbing. Nope, the first thing that comes to mind is kids in costumes!

Well, that and candy. But I digress.

As you help your own little (and maybe not so little) ones dress for this year’s festivities, take a moment to review these safety tips, and to gaze in “awww!” at this gallery of costumed cuties. We’ll start with Anastasia, who is busy as a bee and, according to Grandma, sweet as honey.

Here is little Emma, all set for her first Hallowe’en. Dressed as a sunflower, she’s also Mommy’s little ray of sunshine.

Taken a few years ago during his first Hallowe’en, this is my Tommy, the most startled pirate to sail the seven bathtubs. Never mind the booty, he’s after the binky!

Here we have brothers Patrick and Russell as Frankenstein’s monster and a Christmas elf, respectively. I have it on good authority that Patrick’s serious expression is a bit of Academy Award-worthy acting; these two spend most of their time practicing to be gigglebugs.

Missing your candy? This looks like a job for Super Ryan! He can’t fly, but he definitely puts his parents over the moon when he smiles.

It’s not Hallowe’en without a Jack o’ lantern, so here’s Gage to round out our list. When he’s not being The World’s Cutest Pumpkin, Gage likes to make sure that his mom gets her daily dose of smiles.

My thanks to all of the parents who shared their pictures with us. Please feel free to tell us about your favorite Hallowe’en moments in the comment section; we’d love to hear from you!

Kids Wear the Darnedest Things

By Audrey Lintner

When I think of Hallowe’en, I don’t think about haunted houses or scary monsters or apple bobbing. Nope, the first thing that comes to mind is kids in costumes!

Well, that and candy. But I digress.

As you help your own little (and maybe not so little) ones dress for this year’s festivities, take a moment to review these safety tips, and to gaze in “awww!” at this gallery of costumed cuties. We’ll start with Anastasia, who is busy as a bee and, according to Grandma, sweet as honey.

Here is little Emma, all set for her first Hallowe’en. Dressed as a sunflower, she’s also Mommy’s little ray of sunshine.

Taken a few years ago during his first Hallowe’en, this is my Tommy, the most startled pirate to sail the seven bathtubs. Never mind the booty, he’s after the binky!

Here we have brothers Patrick and Russell as Frankenstein’s monster and a Christmas elf, respectively. I have it on good authority that Patrick’s serious expression is a bit of Academy Award-worthy acting; these two spend most of their time practicing to be gigglebugs.

Missing your candy? This looks like a job for Super Ryan! He can’t fly, but he definitely puts his parents over the moon when he smiles.

It’s not Hallowe’en without a Jack o’ lantern, so here’s Gage to round out our list. When he’s not being The World’s Cutest Pumpkin, Gage likes to make sure that his mom gets her daily dose of smiles.

My thanks to all of the parents who shared their pictures with us. Please feel free to tell us about your favorite Hallowe’en moments in the comment section; we’d love to hear from you!

Identifying Fears

By Cameron Crane



Did you know that there are only two fears that we are all born with? I know that is hard to believe, but it’s true. When you were born, you only feared only two things: loud noises and falling. These fears were genetically programmed to help you avoid danger. Every other fear you face you have either learned or created throughout your life.

So what does that mean? It means that as a baby, a fear of heights is naturally programmed in you before you have ever even taken a fall. In one study, psychologists arranged two tables parallel to each other, with a piece of transparent plexiglass connecting them. Independently, they placed several young infants on the table and assessed their reactions. Each baby had the ability to crawl across the plexiglass, but almost every one refused. The fear of falling was too strong. The same was true for baby kittens. Baby ducks, however, were happy to cross once they recognized they had the ability. Ducks do not have an innate fear of heights because the ability to fly is more important to their survival.

Most of the other fears we each have today were learned to help us adapt to our individual environments and better survive. Some of these fears are learned subconsciously, as we pick up on social cues or other indications that something may be a threat to us. Other fears are more consciously learned. For instance, you are not born with a fear of berries, but if you eat a berry that makes you sick, you are likely to be wary of berries in the future.

Then, of course, is the type of fear that we all dread: the fear we have created. These are the fears that can tend to hold us back and the fears that we often desire to overcome. We build them based on our beliefs. For instance, let’s say you have a fear of public speaking. You may believe you are not good at it, and that people will judge you. Your fear, then, is of being isolated from the community, and not of public speaking itself. It’s the fear of something that might happen, if x led to y and y led to z.  We all have them. While created fears may not always be rational, they are very real, and can be extremely difficult to overcome.

The good thing about learned and created fears is that we can also learn how to conquer them. Understanding where the fear is coming from is one of the first steps.


Sources: 


Image Credit: news.hult.edu

Identifying Fears

By Cameron Crane



Did you know that there are only two fears that we are all born with? I know that is hard to believe, but it’s true. When you were born, you only feared only two things: loud noises and falling. These fears were genetically programmed to help you avoid danger. Every other fear you face you have either learned or created throughout your life.

So what does that mean? It means that as a baby, a fear of heights is naturally programmed in you before you have ever even taken a fall. In one study, psychologists arranged two tables parallel to each other, with a piece of transparent plexiglass connecting them. Independently, they placed several young infants on the table and assessed their reactions. Each baby had the ability to crawl across the plexiglass, but almost every one refused. The fear of falling was too strong. The same was true for baby kittens. Baby ducks, however, were happy to cross once they recognized they had the ability. Ducks do not have an innate fear of heights because the ability to fly is more important to their survival.

Most of the other fears we each have today were learned to help us adapt to our individual environments and better survive. Some of these fears are learned subconsciously, as we pick up on social cues or other indications that something may be a threat to us. Other fears are more consciously learned. For instance, you are not born with a fear of berries, but if you eat a berry that makes you sick, you are likely to be wary of berries in the future.

Then, of course, is the type of fear that we all dread: the fear we have created. These are the fears that can tend to hold us back and the fears that we often desire to overcome. We build them based on our beliefs. For instance, let’s say you have a fear of public speaking. You may believe you are not good at it, and that people will judge you. Your fear, then, is of being isolated from the community, and not of public speaking itself. It’s the fear of something that might happen, if x led to y and y led to z.  We all have them. While created fears may not always be rational, they are very real, and can be extremely difficult to overcome.

The good thing about learned and created fears is that we can also learn how to conquer them. Understanding where the fear is coming from is one of the first steps.


Sources: 


Image Credit: news.hult.edu

10 Children’s Book Apps We Admire

By Cameron Crane

Aesop’s Wheel of Fables
Ages: 4 & up
Developer: AppyZoo

Franklin Frog
Ages: 3 & up
Authors: Barry and Emma Tranter
Developer: Nosy Crow

Ages: 4 & up
Author: Jamie Lee Curtis
Developer: Auryn, Inc.

A Fine Musician
Ages: 4 & up
Developer: The Trustee for the Tokeru Trust

The Tooth That’s On the Loose
Ages: 4 & up
Author: Chris Robertson
Developer: Kite Readers

Ages: 4 & up
Author: Eric Drachman
Developer: Oceanhouse Media

Ages: 4 & up
Author: Judy Sierra
Developer: Random House Media

The Tree I See
Ages: 3 & up
Author: Robert J. Mascarelli
Developer: Aridan Books

Ages: 4 & up 
Author: Chantal Bourgonje 
Developer: Tizio BV

The Very Cranky Bear
Ages: 4 & up
Author: Nick Bland
Developer: We Are Wheelbarrow 


10 Children’s Book Apps We Admire

By Cameron Crane

Aesop’s Wheel of Fables
Ages: 4 & up
Developer: AppyZoo

Franklin Frog
Ages: 3 & up
Authors: Barry and Emma Tranter
Developer: Nosy Crow

Ages: 4 & up
Author: Jamie Lee Curtis
Developer: Auryn, Inc.

A Fine Musician
Ages: 4 & up
Developer: The Trustee for the Tokeru Trust

The Tooth That’s On the Loose
Ages: 4 & up
Author: Chris Robertson
Developer: Kite Readers

Ages: 4 & up
Author: Eric Drachman
Developer: Oceanhouse Media

Ages: 4 & up
Author: Judy Sierra
Developer: Random House Media

The Tree I See
Ages: 3 & up
Author: Robert J. Mascarelli
Developer: Aridan Books

Ages: 4 & up 
Author: Chantal Bourgonje 
Developer: Tizio BV

The Very Cranky Bear
Ages: 4 & up
Author: Nick Bland
Developer: We Are Wheelbarrow 


Avoiding Oversharing on Social Media

By Jennifer Stone



Social media websites have become a regular activity for many consumers around the country. The problem is that many individuals share too much personal information and take inadvertent risks that might have costly results. Taking measures to prevent oversharing information on social media is a vital part of maintaining some level of personal anonymity and avoiding potential complications like identity theft.

Methods of Avoiding Oversharing

Mashable.com reports that it is possible to protect personal information and reduce the risk of accidentally sharing too much with other individuals. By taking protective measures to avoid oversharing, protecting individual identity and financial accounts is much easier. Obtaining services that help provide alerts and keep track of information, such as Lifelock.com on Facebook, it is easier to reduce the risks to personal finances and identity. Services are available track financial details and provide tips to avoid oversharing while enjoying social networking. With options like Lifelock actively working and keeping an eye on your sensitive info, it is easier to reduce the risk of fraud and ensure the activities are relatively safe.

Problems with Oversharing

Oversharing on social media is not about telling friends interesting stories or giving opinions about issues on the news. Sharing too much on a social media website is about the security risks and the potential problems that might arise. According to ABCNews.com, the daughter of Dell’s CEO faced a challenge when it came to oversharing. As a result of sharing information that could potentially jeopardize security efforts, she ended up closing down her Twitter account. Personal security, the loss of passwords and the possibility of identity theft are all potential problems that could happen as a direct result of giving away too much individual information on a social network.

Making the Most of Social Media with Limited Sharing

While it is important for personal safety and financial information to avoid oversharing, it does not mean giving up social media. Instead, it is important to limit sharing and enjoy the positives of connecting with friends, relatives and individuals with similar hobbies through an online resource. Social media has several advantages that make it useful for many individuals. ReadingEagle.com suggests that social media websites are useful for professional networking, keeping up with deals available through favorite stores, staying connected with friends and family, talking to individuals with similar hobbies and working around disabilities.

Sharing information on social media is designed to keep families and friends connected. Uploading pictures, looking for jobs, and tweeting about awesome taco trucks should be the kind of use these platforms utilize. Unfortunately, sharing too much information can result in serious consequences to personal identity, financial information and even personal safety. Limiting the information and taking measures to prevent accidentally sharing too much data will make social networking much safer.

Avoiding Oversharing on Social Media

By Jennifer Stone



Social media websites have become a regular activity for many consumers around the country. The problem is that many individuals share too much personal information and take inadvertent risks that might have costly results. Taking measures to prevent oversharing information on social media is a vital part of maintaining some level of personal anonymity and avoiding potential complications like identity theft.

Methods of Avoiding Oversharing

Mashable.com reports that it is possible to protect personal information and reduce the risk of accidentally sharing too much with other individuals. By taking protective measures to avoid oversharing, protecting individual identity and financial accounts is much easier. Obtaining services that help provide alerts and keep track of information, such as Lifelock.com on Facebook, it is easier to reduce the risks to personal finances and identity. Services are available track financial details and provide tips to avoid oversharing while enjoying social networking. With options like Lifelock actively working and keeping an eye on your sensitive info, it is easier to reduce the risk of fraud and ensure the activities are relatively safe.

Problems with Oversharing

Oversharing on social media is not about telling friends interesting stories or giving opinions about issues on the news. Sharing too much on a social media website is about the security risks and the potential problems that might arise. According to ABCNews.com, the daughter of Dell’s CEO faced a challenge when it came to oversharing. As a result of sharing information that could potentially jeopardize security efforts, she ended up closing down her Twitter account. Personal security, the loss of passwords and the possibility of identity theft are all potential problems that could happen as a direct result of giving away too much individual information on a social network.

Making the Most of Social Media with Limited Sharing

While it is important for personal safety and financial information to avoid oversharing, it does not mean giving up social media. Instead, it is important to limit sharing and enjoy the positives of connecting with friends, relatives and individuals with similar hobbies through an online resource. Social media has several advantages that make it useful for many individuals. ReadingEagle.com suggests that social media websites are useful for professional networking, keeping up with deals available through favorite stores, staying connected with friends and family, talking to individuals with similar hobbies and working around disabilities.

Sharing information on social media is designed to keep families and friends connected. Uploading pictures, looking for jobs, and tweeting about awesome taco trucks should be the kind of use these platforms utilize. Unfortunately, sharing too much information can result in serious consequences to personal identity, financial information and even personal safety. Limiting the information and taking measures to prevent accidentally sharing too much data will make social networking much safer.

Test Anxiety and What to Do About It

by Ben Bernstein, Ph.D.

Illustration courtesy of Adam Burleigh

Nothing’s worse for your child than studying hard for a test and scoring poorly. “I got so nervous” is the common refrain. When this turns into a belief system (“I don’t do well on tests” or “I’m a bad test taker”), you have the recipe for a self-fulfilling prophecy.
When your child is deluged with high-stakes testing, the “I hate tests” mind-set is damaging. Your child suffers, his teacher is concerned, and you feel helpless. Telling your child that tests are important–while true–usually makes matters worse. From his point of view, you’re not getting it. He’s telling you he’s afraid, and until his anxiety is dealt with, testing is going to be a nightmare–for everyone.

Students suffer from text anxiety for the following five reasons:
  • Not understanding the material
  • Not studying enough (or the right stuff)
  • Becoming physically tense and agitated
  • Losing confidence
  • Getting distracted

If your child is anxious about tests, make sure you know when a test is coming up (talk with the teacher, check the school website), and review with your child what will be covered. Does she know what to study and does she understand the concepts? Take care: your child may give a right answer, but a little probing might reveal that she has an unusual, and sometimes wrong, way of getting there.

Physical tension and agitation are best dealt with by teaching your child the tools for calming down, particularly breathing and grounding. Often students hold their breath when reading test items, which immediately turns on an alarm signal in the brain. If your child loses confidence when faced with a difficult question, affirm for him that he has handled many difficult situations before, and show him that he can work this one by taking small manageable steps. Finally, if your child is distracted, help her stay focused by setting a timer when she studies (twenty to thirty minutes at a stretch), and then have her take a five minute break (for the bathroom, a drink of water, but no texting!) before going back for another round of studying. This will help train her to stay focused during the test itself.

Encourage your child to practice being calm, confident, and focused when he or she studies. These skills will carry over not only to the tests in school, but to the challenges they will face on a daily basis. Test skills should be life skills.

Dr. Bernstein can be reached via his website: www.testsuccesscoach.com.

His book, “Test Success: How to Be Calm, Confident and Focused on Any

Test”” may be ordered through Amazon and Barnes & Noble in softcover and

e-book versions.

You can learn more about Dr. Bernstein’s book and his guidelines for reducing test anxiety by watching this brief interview.

Test Anxiety and What to Do About It

by Ben Bernstein, Ph.D.

Illustration courtesy of Adam Burleigh

Nothing’s worse for your child than studying hard for a test and scoring poorly. “I got so nervous” is the common refrain. When this turns into a belief system (“I don’t do well on tests” or “I’m a bad test taker”), you have the recipe for a self-fulfilling prophecy.
When your child is deluged with high-stakes testing, the “I hate tests” mind-set is damaging. Your child suffers, his teacher is concerned, and you feel helpless. Telling your child that tests are important–while true–usually makes matters worse. From his point of view, you’re not getting it. He’s telling you he’s afraid, and until his anxiety is dealt with, testing is going to be a nightmare–for everyone.

Students suffer from text anxiety for the following five reasons:
  • Not understanding the material
  • Not studying enough (or the right stuff)
  • Becoming physically tense and agitated
  • Losing confidence
  • Getting distracted

If your child is anxious about tests, make sure you know when a test is coming up (talk with the teacher, check the school website), and review with your child what will be covered. Does she know what to study and does she understand the concepts? Take care: your child may give a right answer, but a little probing might reveal that she has an unusual, and sometimes wrong, way of getting there.

Physical tension and agitation are best dealt with by teaching your child the tools for calming down, particularly breathing and grounding. Often students hold their breath when reading test items, which immediately turns on an alarm signal in the brain. If your child loses confidence when faced with a difficult question, affirm for him that he has handled many difficult situations before, and show him that he can work this one by taking small manageable steps. Finally, if your child is distracted, help her stay focused by setting a timer when she studies (twenty to thirty minutes at a stretch), and then have her take a five minute break (for the bathroom, a drink of water, but no texting!) before going back for another round of studying. This will help train her to stay focused during the test itself.

Encourage your child to practice being calm, confident, and focused when he or she studies. These skills will carry over not only to the tests in school, but to the challenges they will face on a daily basis. Test skills should be life skills.

Dr. Bernstein can be reached via his website: www.testsuccesscoach.com.

His book, “Test Success: How to Be Calm, Confident and Focused on Any

Test”” may be ordered through Amazon and Barnes & Noble in softcover and

e-book versions.

You can learn more about Dr. Bernstein’s book and his guidelines for reducing test anxiety by watching this brief interview.

Featured Customer of the Month: Eight Cousins

By Cameron Crane


When I think of fall, there are four things that come to mind: rain, coffee, deep red and burnt orange leaves, and curling up somewhere cozy with a good book. The last has always been a favorite of mine. Growing up, there was nothing I enjoyed more on a rainy day than getting lost in the children’s section of my favorite bookstore. Because I work for a children’s book publisher, it fills me with gratitude whenever a beloved independent bookstore decides to put our titles on their shelves. This month, we are showing our appreciation to Eight Cousins Children’s Books, for giving us the opportunity to be a part of their wonderful collection.

Eight Cousins Children’s Books is located in the heart of Falmouth, Massachusetts, and was elected as “Best Children’s Bookstore in New England” by Yankee Magazine. Of course, Eight Cousins doesn’t need the title for its customers to know that this bookstore holds itself to a very high standard of quality. Built on the belief that “children, reading and imagination are fundamental elements of a healthy community”, Eight Cousins goes above and beyond to make sure they are making their community as healthy as possible – through a carefully-selected collection of children’s books, and incredible customer service to match.


This past August, we were delighted to have Eight Cousins host Coleen Paratore for a reading a signing of her new title BIG. Here are some photos from the event:




If you are ever in Falmouth, be sure to stop in at Eight Cousins. Keep a lookout for Sam, the lovable mouse that likes to hang around the store, and can win you a prize if you find him!

Thank you, Eight Cousins, for your continuing support of Little Pickle Press.

Featured Customer of the Month: Eight Cousins

By Cameron Crane


When I think of fall, there are four things that come to mind: rain, coffee, deep red and burnt orange leaves, and curling up somewhere cozy with a good book. The last has always been a favorite of mine. Growing up, there was nothing I enjoyed more on a rainy day than getting lost in the children’s section of my favorite bookstore. Because I work for a children’s book publisher, it fills me with gratitude whenever a beloved independent bookstore decides to put our titles on their shelves. This month, we are showing our appreciation to Eight Cousins Children’s Books, for giving us the opportunity to be a part of their wonderful collection.

Eight Cousins Children’s Books is located in the heart of Falmouth, Massachusetts, and was elected as “Best Children’s Bookstore in New England” by Yankee Magazine. Of course, Eight Cousins doesn’t need the title for its customers to know that this bookstore holds itself to a very high standard of quality. Built on the belief that “children, reading and imagination are fundamental elements of a healthy community”, Eight Cousins goes above and beyond to make sure they are making their community as healthy as possible – through a carefully-selected collection of children’s books, and incredible customer service to match.


This past August, we were delighted to have Eight Cousins host Coleen Paratore for a reading a signing of her new title BIG. Here are some photos from the event:




If you are ever in Falmouth, be sure to stop in at Eight Cousins. Keep a lookout for Sam, the lovable mouse that likes to hang around the store, and can win you a prize if you find him!

Thank you, Eight Cousins, for your continuing support of Little Pickle Press.

Torey Hayden: Between Fear and Hope

by Audrey Lintner

 

As an avid reader with no small interest in the workings of the mind, I was naturally drawn to the works of former special education teacher, Torey Hayden. While I can’t remember exactly when I read Ghost Girl, the first of her books that I found, I do remember what it made me feel.
Shock. Horror. Rage.
Reading the volumes containing the stories of Jadie, Sheila, and a host of other children taught by Ms. Hayden pulled me through a series of emotional hoops that were not soon forgotten. I’ll be blunt; these are not “feel-good” stories. Child abuse and mental disturbances are not subjects for a cozy fireside read, and Ms. Hayden herself has stated that not all of her students went on to lead successful, charmed lives.
So why read them?
In a word, hope.
The breakthroughs, small and large, that pepper these books encourage readers to believe that a difference can be made. The flashes of humor and insight prove that a damaged soul is not necessarily beyond reach or repair. Each passage brings a need to knowthat things can and will get better.
  
One child at a time, Torey Hayden relates her quest to help those who might otherwise have no one watching over them. With clear, unpretentious language, she brings home a vital lesson. These are not monsters to be feared and hidden away. They are children to be loved and nurtured.
We love our children; we want the best for them. We fear for their safety; we cheer for their happiness. When they are threatened in some way, we fight like tigers to protect them. Should we not feel this way about all children?

Torey Hayden is a former special education teacher and clinical therapist. The author of thirteen published works, she continues to work as a consultant and an advocate of children’s needs. Her bibliography and other information can be found on her website.

Torey Hayden: Between Fear and Hope

by Audrey Lintner

 

As an avid reader with no small interest in the workings of the mind, I was naturally drawn to the works of former special education teacher, Torey Hayden. While I can’t remember exactly when I read Ghost Girl, the first of her books that I found, I do remember what it made me feel.
Shock. Horror. Rage.
Reading the volumes containing the stories of Jadie, Sheila, and a host of other children taught by Ms. Hayden pulled me through a series of emotional hoops that were not soon forgotten. I’ll be blunt; these are not “feel-good” stories. Child abuse and mental disturbances are not subjects for a cozy fireside read, and Ms. Hayden herself has stated that not all of her students went on to lead successful, charmed lives.
So why read them?
In a word, hope.
The breakthroughs, small and large, that pepper these books encourage readers to believe that a difference can be made. The flashes of humor and insight prove that a damaged soul is not necessarily beyond reach or repair. Each passage brings a need to knowthat things can and will get better.
  
One child at a time, Torey Hayden relates her quest to help those who might otherwise have no one watching over them. With clear, unpretentious language, she brings home a vital lesson. These are not monsters to be feared and hidden away. They are children to be loved and nurtured.
We love our children; we want the best for them. We fear for their safety; we cheer for their happiness. When they are threatened in some way, we fight like tigers to protect them. Should we not feel this way about all children?

Torey Hayden is a former special education teacher and clinical therapist. The author of thirteen published works, she continues to work as a consultant and an advocate of children’s needs. Her bibliography and other information can be found on her website.

Six Halloween Safety Tips

By Cameron Crane


It’s that time of year again. The leaves are changing, the grocery aisles are filling up with candy, and slowly but surely the faux cobwebs and jack-o’-lanterns are showing up on our neighbors’ front yards. It’s official. Halloween is just around the corner.

While many are focused on making sure their children look adorable in their new elephant costume, or just the right level of scary in their zombie costume to be age-appropriate, others are fighting a good case of nerves. Whether it’s your child’s first Halloween, or first Halloween with friends, the idea of trick-or-treating can be both exciting and unnerving. For good reason, too. I mean, isn’t Halloween a night of mischief? And under what other circumstance would you send your child to a neighbors’ door just after sunset dressed as the Grim Reaper?

Luckily, there are many easy rules you can follow to ensure that your Halloween is safe and successful. 

Here are six agreements every child should make before heading out to trick-or-treat:

  1. Choose a buddy to stay with throughout the night. Whether it’s Mom, Dad, a babysitter, or a friend, operating on the “buddy system” is a great way to avoid losing your ghoul in a sea of pirates and princesses.
  2. Don’t eat open candy and check all treats before eating. Although it is rare to find, checking for tampered packaging is a must. Luckily, sorting through candy at the end of the night and admiring the sugary reward for your efforts can be fun, and will prevent overconsumption. Make sure to be wary of hot apple cider and candy apples too, unless they are coming from a parent-approved neighbor you know and trust.
  3. Only approach houses that are well-lit and look welcoming. Believe it or not, not everybody is excited about the idea of trick-or-treating. To avoid a dangerous situation (or most likely just the grumps), make sure you look for an invitation before approaching a house. Houses that are giving out candy usually have lights, pumpkins, or packs of other children leaving.
  4. Don’t go in to a stranger’s house. Most of your neighbors will be more than happy to make the exchange on their front porch or at the front door. There is no need to go inside. Can’t pass up on Mr. Martin’s famous haunted house? Make sure it is parent-approved and supervised.
  5. Stay on the sidewalk and obey traffic laws. Halloween is not an excuse to explore the neighborhood from the middle of the street. Be sure to stay on the sidewalk and cross the street at crosswalks, no matter how tempting the decked-out house across the way is.
  6. Make sure you can be seen. Adding a glow stick or reflective tape to costumes will enhance visibility, so you can be seen by both your buddy and any oncoming traffic.

Six Halloween Safety Tips

By Cameron Crane


It’s that time of year again. The leaves are changing, the grocery aisles are filling up with candy, and slowly but surely the faux cobwebs and jack-o’-lanterns are showing up on our neighbors’ front yards. It’s official. Halloween is just around the corner.

While many are focused on making sure their children look adorable in their new elephant costume, or just the right level of scary in their zombie costume to be age-appropriate, others are fighting a good case of nerves. Whether it’s your child’s first Halloween, or first Halloween with friends, the idea of trick-or-treating can be both exciting and unnerving. For good reason, too. I mean, isn’t Halloween a night of mischief? And under what other circumstance would you send your child to a neighbors’ door just after sunset dressed as the Grim Reaper?

Luckily, there are many easy rules you can follow to ensure that your Halloween is safe and successful. 

Here are six agreements every child should make before heading out to trick-or-treat:

  1. Choose a buddy to stay with throughout the night. Whether it’s Mom, Dad, a babysitter, or a friend, operating on the “buddy system” is a great way to avoid losing your ghoul in a sea of pirates and princesses.
  2. Don’t eat open candy and check all treats before eating. Although it is rare to find, checking for tampered packaging is a must. Luckily, sorting through candy at the end of the night and admiring the sugary reward for your efforts can be fun, and will prevent overconsumption. Make sure to be wary of hot apple cider and candy apples too, unless they are coming from a parent-approved neighbor you know and trust.
  3. Only approach houses that are well-lit and look welcoming. Believe it or not, not everybody is excited about the idea of trick-or-treating. To avoid a dangerous situation (or most likely just the grumps), make sure you look for an invitation before approaching a house. Houses that are giving out candy usually have lights, pumpkins, or packs of other children leaving.
  4. Don’t go in to a stranger’s house. Most of your neighbors will be more than happy to make the exchange on their front porch or at the front door. There is no need to go inside. Can’t pass up on Mr. Martin’s famous haunted house? Make sure it is parent-approved and supervised.
  5. Stay on the sidewalk and obey traffic laws. Halloween is not an excuse to explore the neighborhood from the middle of the street. Be sure to stay on the sidewalk and cross the street at crosswalks, no matter how tempting the decked-out house across the way is.
  6. Make sure you can be seen. Adding a glow stick or reflective tape to costumes will enhance visibility, so you can be seen by both your buddy and any oncoming traffic.

What I Fear

By Ryan Francesca Stretch, 8 years old

Featured Young Writer of the Month


I am afraid of many things, for instance the dark. Sometimes after horror movies or scary stories, I think odd-looking creatures hide in my closet, or under my bed. But I know it’s just my imagination.

I believe in ghosts, do you? Ghosts can’t hurt you. They can just startle you. Sometimes myths can scare me as in “Bloody Mary”, which gave me bad dreams. Sometimes in dreams scary visions appear in my head, then I finally wake up and realize it’s just my imagination again.

It’s okay to tell someone you trust about what you’re afraid of. Fear is nothing to be ashamed of. When I am afraid, sometimes I sing. 

What do you do when you are afraid?

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

Ryan Francesca Stretch is an 8 (going on 18) year old third grader at Adda Clevenger Junior Preparatory School in San Francisco, CA. She has always possessed a flair for the dramatic. She enjoys reading and writing, but most of all controlling her environment. She is the oldest of three children in her family. And, to her mother’s knowledge, she has never watched a “horror movie”.


Image credit: asingaporeanson.blogspot.com

What I Fear

By Ryan Francesca Stretch, 8 years old

Featured Young Writer of the Month


I am afraid of many things, for instance the dark. Sometimes after horror movies or scary stories, I think odd-looking creatures hide in my closet, or under my bed. But I know it’s just my imagination.

I believe in ghosts, do you? Ghosts can’t hurt you. They can just startle you. Sometimes myths can scare me as in “Bloody Mary”, which gave me bad dreams. Sometimes in dreams scary visions appear in my head, then I finally wake up and realize it’s just my imagination again.

It’s okay to tell someone you trust about what you’re afraid of. Fear is nothing to be ashamed of. When I am afraid, sometimes I sing. 

What do you do when you are afraid?

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

Ryan Francesca Stretch is an 8 (going on 18) year old third grader at Adda Clevenger Junior Preparatory School in San Francisco, CA. She has always possessed a flair for the dramatic. She enjoys reading and writing, but most of all controlling her environment. She is the oldest of three children in her family. And, to her mother’s knowledge, she has never watched a “horror movie”.


Image credit: asingaporeanson.blogspot.com

Don’t Be Afraid To Be Yourself

 “Please sit down. I have something to tell you.”
If someone you loved said those words, what would you think? Would your mind leap ahead to your most imaginable worst fear? 
Do they have cancer? Have they been unfaithful? Has someone died?
Have you said those words, or words very close to them, to someone you love? How scared were you to say your secret out loud? Did your heart thunder in your chest? Did your forehead bead with perspiration?
I write for children. I strive to write literature that kids will love. Hopefully my words will make a positive impact in their lives. I even like to think of myself as an advocate for children, especially those who are different. Kids who are struggling to fit in. To be accepted for whom they are, without apology. 
“Different,” I often say, “is not good or bad. It isn’t a qualifier, it just is.”
So, how is it that I am hiding my own truth? Scared into silence; afraid if others find out I’ll be judged; fearful of what others may think or say. 
Will I be teased? Will my secret be used against me? Will it bar me from future jobs?
Not long ago I blogged about this secret of mine. I was brave for three minutes. Blogger’s remorse set in swiftly and overcome with fear, I removed the post from my site.
Since the moment Rana DiOrio asked me to write about fear, I knew exactly what I had to do. If I wanted children to face their own fears, I had to face my own.
So please, sit down. I have something to tell you.
I have ADHD.
No, it’s not cancer. I haven’t been unfaithful and no one is dead.
Typing those words feels freeing and a little scary. 
 
Free to shout to the world, “This is who I really am!”
But still, I am a bit fearful of the consequences of my big reveal. Will those who know me, be surprised? Not likely. My friends and family have seen beyond the disorganized, speed talking, and daydreaming woman that strangers may criticize.
Will those beyond my immediate circle be judgmental and discount me? Or will they take the time to see my creative, fun loving, loyal, and open-minded side? I hope so, but there are no guarantees and I am finally ok with that. ADHD is part of who I am, just like my goofy sense of humor, grey eyes, and snort laugh.
And as I like to say, “Being different isn’t good or bad. It isn’t a qualifier. It just is.”  And there’s nothing scary about that.

Jodi Carmichael was born and raised in Manitoba, Canada. She loves reading, writing, summers at the lake, and knows almost everything about chocolate!

Jodi is a strong advocate for Asperger’s Syndrome which led to Connor and his adventures in the soon-to-be-published Spaghetti is NOT a Finger Food and Other Life Lessons, illustrated by Sarah Ackerley. It is Jodi’s belief that understanding brings tolerance, acceptance, and compassion for others.


You can follow Jodi on her blog at http://www.writingandotherlifelessons.blogspot.ca

Don’t Be Afraid To Be Yourself

 “Please sit down. I have something to tell you.”
If someone you loved said those words, what would you think? Would your mind leap ahead to your most imaginable worst fear? 
Do they have cancer? Have they been unfaithful? Has someone died?
Have you said those words, or words very close to them, to someone you love? How scared were you to say your secret out loud? Did your heart thunder in your chest? Did your forehead bead with perspiration?
I write for children. I strive to write literature that kids will love. Hopefully my words will make a positive impact in their lives. I even like to think of myself as an advocate for children, especially those who are different. Kids who are struggling to fit in. To be accepted for whom they are, without apology. 
“Different,” I often say, “is not good or bad. It isn’t a qualifier, it just is.”
So, how is it that I am hiding my own truth? Scared into silence; afraid if others find out I’ll be judged; fearful of what others may think or say. 
Will I be teased? Will my secret be used against me? Will it bar me from future jobs?
Not long ago I blogged about this secret of mine. I was brave for three minutes. Blogger’s remorse set in swiftly and overcome with fear, I removed the post from my site.
Since the moment Rana DiOrio asked me to write about fear, I knew exactly what I had to do. If I wanted children to face their own fears, I had to face my own.
So please, sit down. I have something to tell you.
I have ADHD.
No, it’s not cancer. I haven’t been unfaithful and no one is dead.
Typing those words feels freeing and a little scary. 
 
Free to shout to the world, “This is who I really am!”
But still, I am a bit fearful of the consequences of my big reveal. Will those who know me, be surprised? Not likely. My friends and family have seen beyond the disorganized, speed talking, and daydreaming woman that strangers may criticize.
Will those beyond my immediate circle be judgmental and discount me? Or will they take the time to see my creative, fun loving, loyal, and open-minded side? I hope so, but there are no guarantees and I am finally ok with that. ADHD is part of who I am, just like my goofy sense of humor, grey eyes, and snort laugh.
And as I like to say, “Being different isn’t good or bad. It isn’t a qualifier. It just is.”  And there’s nothing scary about that.

Jodi Carmichael was born and raised in Manitoba, Canada. She loves reading, writing, summers at the lake, and knows almost everything about chocolate!

Jodi is a strong advocate for Asperger’s Syndrome which led to Connor and his adventures in the soon-to-be-published Spaghetti is NOT a Finger Food and Other Life Lessons, illustrated by Sarah Ackerley. It is Jodi’s belief that understanding brings tolerance, acceptance, and compassion for others.


You can follow Jodi on her blog at http://www.writingandotherlifelessons.blogspot.ca

Book Review: Trockle and More

By Holly Jahangiri, Author of Trockle

“Hey! Stop that. Don’t touch! Don’t put that in your mouth. Don’t go there. That’s not safe.” 
Even we parents get tired of hearing ourselves say it. None of us set out to raise fearful children, but how do we balance our need to keep them out of harm’s way with our desire to help them grow up brave, curious, happy, and eager to explore the world?
What I like about Rana DiOrio’s book, What Does It Mean To Be Safe? is its sensible, positive approach. “Does it mean locking yourself up? No!” Sandra Salsbury’s illustrations underscore each point – being safe does not mean being afraid to go out and have fun with your friends. It means taking sensible precautions like not giving out personal information to strangers; not doing things you’re not skilled enough or strong enough to do; and always paying attention to your conscience and your instincts.
What Does It Mean To Be Safe? also touches on the responsibility each child has to help create a safe environment for other people, such as ensuring that their rights are respected; not tolerating bullying; and lending a helping hand. Of course, kids aren’t on their own – there are trusted adults there to guide them: a policeman, a parent, a park ranger. Being safe also means “telling an adult you trust when you feel uneasy.” But rather than emphasizing “stranger danger,” and making the world seem like a scary place, the message is one of empowerment: With some simple steps, kids can help make the world safer and happier for everybody.

We want our kids to be safe, and sometimes it’s healthy to have a little fear. Fear of getting run over by a car, for example. But what about when that fear involves something “irrational,” like monsters under the bed? To a child, that monster is very real. Simply telling him there’s no monster under the bed is only going to convince him you don’t know everything, after all.
I’m afraid of spiders. If you say to me, “That tiny little thing can’t hurt you – it is more afraid of you than you are of it!” I know, intellectually, that you’re right – but it doesn’t magically cure my fear of spiders. It just says, to me, that you are unsympathetic and think I’m foolish to be afraid. I don’t think most parents want to send their children that message.
Some fears are rooted in a strong self-protective instinct, and they may serve us well so long as they don’t keep us from doing the things we need or want to do. I wrote Trocklebecause this little monster under the bed was keeping my son awake at night, with the light on. Rather than insist he try to sleep – impossible! – or turn off the light and lie awake in the dark, terrified of what was under the bed, I figured he could use the time to practice his reading skills.
I’d already tried the monster repellent – just as Stephen’s mother tried to do. It didn’t work. As I wrote out the things we’d talked about and tried already, a little monster waddled into my study and hopped up onto my desk. 
“Whatcha writing?” he asked.
“What’s your name?” I asked back.
“Trockle.”


Turns out, he couldn’t sleep, either. My big scary boy on top of the bed was scaring the living daylights out of the little monster. He told me what his mother told him about my son, which is pretty close to what I’d told my son about him. I was glad I got that much right. You wouldn’t think a big human boy and a little one-eyed monster would have so many things in common, but they did. And when my son read the story I’d written, including the half that was told to me by Trockle, we turned out the light and went to sleep.

Both books are wonderful additions to home and school library collections!

Buy Trockle here.
Buy What Does It Mean To Be Safe? here

Visit Holly at her blog, too!