Staying Safe While Playing Pokémon GO

 

Pokémon Go logo

It’s the newest craze! But with everyone staring at their phones (rather than where they’re walking) there are some safety things to keep in mind.

Our friends at Kidpower have put together a bunch of important safety tips for caring adults to consider when young people (and we adults as well) play Pokémon GO.

From Recognizing the Possible Safety Problems (Including Crossing Physical Boundaries and Looking Like Trouble) to Cyber Safety and Awareness concerns, the idea of having a Pokémon GO Safety Plan is a smart one.

We highly recommend you check out the article here. Those skills and many more are covered in these three books by Irene van der Zande, the Founder of Kidpower:

cover of "Kidpower Safety Comics: People Safety Skills for Children Ages 3-10

Kidpower® Safety Comics: People Safety Skills for Children Ages 3 to 10
Written by Irene van der Zande and illustrated by Amanda Golert

Even young people have big powers. Mouth Closed Power. Stop Power. Walk Away Power. Kids—and their adults—learn how to be safe. Based on the Kidpower Safety Program that’s helped over 4 million youth and families.

cover of Kidpower Youth Safety Comics

Kidpower® Youth Safety Comics: People Safety Skills for Kids Ages 9 to 14
Written by Irene van der Zande and illustrated by Amanda Golert

How older kids can stay safe while becoming more independent. With practical tools to stay safe from bullying, abuse, and violence. Based on the Kidpower Safety Program that’s helped over 4 million youth and families.

cover of Fullpower Safety Comics

Fullpower® Safety Comics: People Safety Skills for Teens and Adults
Written by Irene van der Zande and illustrated by Amanda Golert

The tools for teens & adults to take charge of their emotional and physical safety and develop positive relationships that enrich their lives. Based on the Kidpower/Fullpower Safety Program that’s helped over 4 million youth and adults.

 

Anna

#RoarLikeAGirl with: Anna Quindlen

Copy girl, reporter, editor, author; Anna Quindlen has seen more sides of the print game than your average wordsmith. She also holds the distinction of being one of the first women to write a regular column for the Op-Ed page of The New York Times.

Born in 1952 in Philadelphia, Anna took a job as copy girl for the Times right out of high school. After her college graduation, she was hired away by The New York Post, working as a reporter for several years before returning to the Times.

She soon rose through the ranks, reaching deputy metropolitan editor in 1983, and writing columns until 1994. The following year, Anna left the newspaper game, choosing to focus on her desire to become a novelist. This dream quickly became a reality; she has since published several best-selling books. Her body of work includes fiction, self-help, and children’s books; three of her novels have been made into films.

Here at Little Pickle Press, we’re big advocates of following dreams, just like Willa Havisham, from our new middle grade book, “Roar Like A Girl.”

Anna

In a stunning turn of events, Willa Havisham has to leave the comfort of her beloved Cape Cod and move to Troy, New York. She’s fourteen years old and everything seems new; her questions, her ‘community rent,’ even a new boy—but through it all, she’s Always Willa.

The much-loved adolescent introduced in Coleen Murtagh Paratore’s “The Wedding Planner’s Daughter” series returns in this girl-empowering novel that takes readers on a journey from the comfort of Cape Cod to the newness of New York.

Outsmart The Summer Slide With Little Pickle!

Road sign that reads: Slide Area

In some countries, kids have school all year round. Here in the United States, the big summer vacations built into the school year that started for agricultural reasons are still around, and that time off has a documented side-effect: Many kids slide backwards in abilities during the summer months, and start the school year behind where they left off.

Many of us at Little Pickle Press are parents ourselves, and we’re all about figuring out ways to keep our kids – and yours – from experiencing the summer slide. Our word-guru Audrey shares,

“Around our house, the summer slide is a descent into discontent. Junior, now eight years old, was diagnosed with Autism at the age of four. He craves the structure and boundaries of a standard school day; at least once each week now, he stomps around grumbling, “I cannot have school until August!”

To provide that structure (and to help Junior retain what he’s already learned), a therapist comes to the house several times each week. Using the tools of Applied Behavior Analysis, they work on geography, English, Algebra, and piano theory, among other things.”

Like Audrey’s child, every young person can benefit from exploring what they’re passionate about, and fully engaging their minds and bodies. In particular, books and apps that encourage creativity and a growth mindset (where achievement and acknowledgement are effort-based) are great ways to help outsmart the summer slide.

For the month of July, we’re offering a special deal (both books for $25) on a bundle of our two award-winning Brain Books, Dr. JoAnn Deak’s picture book, Your Fantastic Elastic Brain, and Dr. Deak’s chapter book, The Owner’s Manual For Driving Your Adolescent Brain.

brainbundle

We’ve also dropped the price on our Brainiest app for Your Fantastic Elastic Brain (with hundreds of fun “brain workout” exercises!) and on our most creative writer’s journal app, Fireflies (with freehand drawing, bottomless pages, prompts, and plenty of helpful tips!)

Your Fantastic Elastic Brain App logo

Chasing Fireflies App logo

 

We hope these books and apps can help you turn the summer slide into a stairway to success!

Oprah

#RoarLikeAGirl with: Oprah

When her given name of Orpah proved too troublesome to pronounce, her family began calling the new baby “Oprah.” We’ll never know for sure, but that initial alteration seems to have inspired a lifetime of world-changing decisions.

From her legendary breakout in the film The Color Purple to the Oprah Winfrey Network to her book club and magazine, Oprah Winfrey is an astonishing media success story. Her name and face are instantly recognizable across the globe, but it is her philanthropic heart that is most often spoken of.

From humble and at times traumatic beginnings, Oprah rose above the assumptions of the day to exceed beyond anyone’s expectations. A woman of color, born in the mid-50s to unmarried parents, she seized her fate with both hands, seeking a degree in Speech Communications and Performing Arts and taking steps to gain and ultimately transform her own talk show.

The rest isn’t yet history, but it is historic. Oprah was inducted into the National Women’s Hall of Fame, and has earned numerous awards, titles, and “firsts.” She has used her influence and wealth to fund charities, schools, and scholarships, and was instrumental in pushing Congress to create a nationwide database of convicted child abusers.

Big hearts make big decisions, and there is no doubt that Oprah Winfrey will continue to do exactly that. Here at Little Pickle Press, we’re excited to share the story of our own big-hearted heroine, Willa Havisham, from our new middle grade book, “Roar Like A Girl.”

ROAR_Cover_Sept 2015

In a stunning turn of events, Willa Havisham has to leave the comfort of her beloved Cape Cod and move to Troy, New York. She’s fourteen years old and everything seems new; her questions, her ‘community rent,’ even a new boy—but through it all, she’s Always Willa.

The much-loved adolescent introduced in Coleen Murtagh Paratore’s “The Wedding Planner’s Daughter” series returns in this girl-empowering novel that takes readers on a journey from the comfort of Cape Cod to the newness of New York.

Louisa

#RoarLikeAGirl with: Louisa

Running races, climbing trees, and writing melodramas for her friends; these were the pursuits preferred by Louisa May Alcott during her early years. Not content to be pigeonholed into society’s view of proper ladylike behavior, Louisa chose instead to follow her heart.

A writer early on, Louisa used her stories to give vent to a vivid imagination, creating exciting tales to entertain her sisters and their friends. By the age of fifteen, she knew that the world would hear of her, and vowed, “I’ll be rich and famous and happy before I die, see if I won’t!”

Determined to help her poverty-stricken family, Louisa sought work. Society in the mid-1800s offered few opportunities for women seeking employment, limiting them to positions such as seamstress, governess, or servant. Louisa took whatever jobs that she could find, and wrote in every spare moment.

At the age of twenty-two, in 1854, Louisa published her first work. Flower Fables was followed by other pieces, and her thirty-fifth year saw the publication of Little Women.

The rest is history.

While her personal wealth is irrelevant, Louisa certainly achieved two of her goals. She was happy, writing enthralling tales and poetry, and she is still famous, having created immortal characters beloved the world over.

Here at Little Pickle Press, we love Louisa’s characters, and are always seeking more who will inspire and entertain. One such character is Willa Havisham, from our new middle grade book, “Roar Like A Girl.”

ROAR_Cover_Sept 2015

In a stunning turn of events, Willa Havisham has to leave the comfort of her beloved Cape Cod and move to Troy, New York. She’s fourteen years old and everything seems new; her questions, her ‘community rent,’ even a new boy—but through it all, she’s Always Willa.

The much-loved adolescent introduced in Coleen Murtagh Paratore’s “The Wedding Planner’s Daughter” series returns in this girl-empowering novel that takes readers on a journey from the comfort of Cape Cod to the newness of New York.

Summer Safety Tips: Safety On Trips

Irene van der Zande, Kidpower Founder, Executive Director, and the author of our trio of Kidpower Safety Comics, shares skills all young people and families should consider for not just the summer, but for lifelong safety and confidence.

Safety on Trips

Travel is a time when we are dealing with many changes, and children need to know what to do if there is a problem. You can:

•Make a Safety Plan for how to get help everywhere your children go. What will each person do if you get separated? What if someone bothers you?

•Agree on the safety rules about different kinds of transportation. The rules on an airplane will be different than on a boat, which will be different at a rest stop on a long car trip. Talk about boundaries like where it is safe to go and where it is not safe to go without checking first.

These skills and many more are covered in Irene’s three books,

cover of "Kidpower Safety Comics: People Safety Skills for Children Ages 3-10

Kidpower® Safety Comics: People Safety Skills for Children Ages 3 to 10
Written by Irene van der Zande and illustrated by Amanda Golert

Even young people have big powers. Mouth Closed Power. Stop Power. Walk Away Power. Kids—and their adults—learn how to be safe. Based on the Kidpower Safety Program that’s helped over 4 million youth and families.

cover of Kidpower Youth Safety Comics

Kidpower® Youth Safety Comics: People Safety Skills for Kids Ages 9 to 14
Written by Irene van der Zande and illustrated by Amanda Golert

How older kids can stay safe while becoming more independent. With practical tools to stay safe from bullying, abuse, and violence. Based on the Kidpower Safety Program that’s helped over 4 million youth and families.

cover of Fullpower Safety Comics

Fullpower® Safety Comics: People Safety Skills for Teens and Adults
Written by Irene van der Zande and illustrated by Amanda Golert

The tools for teens & adults to take charge of their emotional and physical safety and develop positive relationships that enrich their lives. Based on the Kidpower/Fullpower Safety Program that’s helped over 4 million youth and adults.

With thanks to Irene for permission to excerpt her excellent Summer Safety: Kidpower Tips For Families article.

Malala

#RoarLikeAGirl with: Malala

When you’re thirsty, you grab a glass of water and drink. But what if your thirst is for knowledge, and satisfying that thirst is now a crime? Rather than accept an unjust fate, Nobel laureate and activist Malala Yousafzai raised her hands and voice to reclaim what had been stolen, forever changing the way the world looks at what it means to be “just a girl.”

With the Taliban in control of her hometown in Pakistan, Malala and many others faced the loss of numerous basic human rights. They learned to fear. Outspoken since before she could even say the word, Malala took to cyberspace, blogging under an assumed name and speaking out against the Taliban. Her activism spread far and wide, earning her Pakistan’s National Youth Peace Prize and a reputation as a champion of education. She also became a target.

On the morning of October 9, 2012, a Taliban operative confronted Malala and shot her in the head.

The bullet damaged her facial nerves, but not her determination to continue speaking out on behalf of children everywhere. From the Nobel Prize website: “Currently residing in Birmingham, Malala is an active proponent of education as a fundamental social and economic right. Through the Malala Fund and with her own voice, Malala Yousafzai remains a staunch advocate for the power of education and for girls to become agents of change in their communities.”

Malala is a true hero to those of us at Little Pickle Press, and even to some of our characters! Willa Havisham, from our new middle grade book, “Roar Like A Girl,” also hopes to provide inspiration to young people everywhere.

ROAR_Cover_Sept 2015

In a stunning turn of events, Willa Havisham has to leave the comfort of her beloved Cape Cod and move to Troy, New York. She’s fourteen years old and everything seems new; her questions, her ‘community rent,’ even a new boy—but through it all, she’s Always Willa.

The much-loved adolescent introduced in Coleen Murtagh Paratore’s The Wedding Planner’s Daughter series returns in this girl-empowering novel that takes readers on a journey from the comfort of Cape Cod to the newness of New York.

Summer Safety Tips: Safety In The Community

Irene van der Zande, Kidpower Founder, Executive Director, and the author of our trio of Kidpower Safety Comics, shares skills all young people and families should consider for not just the summer, but for lifelong safety and confidence.

Safety in The Community

Less time in school can mean more time in the community — visiting friends, going shopping, going to movies and shows, going to the library, and visiting parks. You can:

•Grant freedoms based on demonstrated skills. Before giving your children more independence, expect them to demonstrate the skills needed to manage it safely. For example, a child wanting to use public transit independently will need to demonstrate a willingness to get space between himself and a person making him feel uncomfortable; the ability to ask for help and persist, politely but firmly, until he gets help; and the willingness to get off the bus, take a different bus, or call for a ride if those are the safest choices.
•Make and practice Safety Plans. We want young people to have a picture in their minds of where safety is so that if they have a problem, they are moving toward safety, not just away from possible danger. It is normal for people to think of a familiar place or person as “safety.” However, in an emergency, we want our children to get help as quickly and as safely as they can. Role-play ways of getting help in emergencies where they cannot check first.
•Give permission to use self-defense skills appropriately. Any strong resistance will stop most assaults. However, young people often won’t protect themselves because they don’t want to get in trouble. Have a frank discussion about when it is okay to hurt somebody to stop that person from hurting you.

These skills and many more are covered in Irene’s three books,

cover of "Kidpower Safety Comics: People Safety Skills for Children Ages 3-10

Kidpower® Safety Comics: People Safety Skills for Children Ages 3 to 10
Written by Irene van der Zande and illustrated by Amanda Golert

Even young people have big powers. Mouth Closed Power. Stop Power. Walk Away Power. Kids—and their adults—learn how to be safe. Based on the Kidpower Safety Program that’s helped over 4 million youth and families.

cover of Kidpower Youth Safety Comics

Kidpower® Youth Safety Comics: People Safety Skills for Kids Ages 9 to 14
Written by Irene van der Zande and illustrated by Amanda Golert

How older kids can stay safe while becoming more independent. With practical tools to stay safe from bullying, abuse, and violence. Based on the Kidpower Safety Program that’s helped over 4 million youth and families.

cover of Fullpower Safety Comics

Fullpower® Safety Comics: People Safety Skills for Teens and Adults
Written by Irene van der Zande and illustrated by Amanda Golert

The tools for teens & adults to take charge of their emotional and physical safety and develop positive relationships that enrich their lives. Based on the Kidpower/Fullpower Safety Program that’s helped over 4 million youth and adults.

With thanks to Irene for permission to excerpt her excellent Summer Safety: Kidpower Tips For Families article.

Summer Safety Tips: Safety In Summer Programs

Irene van der Zande, Kidpower Founder, Executive Director, and the author of our trio of Kidpower Safety Comics, shares skills all young people and families should consider for not just the summer, but for lifelong safety and confidence.

Safety in Summer Programs

For many young people, summer break is a time to participate in fun activities with different people. These often offer new interests, new friends – and new challenges! You can:

Set up clear safety plans for pick-ups, drop-offs, and getting help. Review your clear – and, we recommend, VERY SHORT – list of people the child can go with at pick-up time without checking first. Role-play how they will follow your family’s rules about checking first. Make sure that they have or know where to find all important phone numbers.

Acknowledge differences. Meeting diverse new people can mean meeting people who are louder or quieter; who stand very close in conversation, or farther away than you are accustomed; who initiate play more subtly or in a ways that seem overbearing; or who use words and vocabulary differently than you do.Hearing that these kinds of differences are normal can ease anxiety and open the door to conversation about experiences and challenges. Discussions can lead to ideas for how to deal with those challenges. Mingled with all these new and normal ways of being might be someone whose behavior is truly causing a problem, and your talks might help uncover any potentially dangerous situation that needs adult attention.

Teach kids how to set boundaries and get help to stop unwanted touch. Most of the adults who work with kids in summer programs are wonderful! A very few have bad intentions and can do great harm. Teach kids how to set boundaries to stop unwanted teasing, touch or games and not to keep secrets about any “special” treatment – favors, gifts, time – or ANY kind of touch. Watch our new video: “Kidpower Advice to Prevent Sexual Abuse At Summer Camp & Recreation Activities” for simple steps parents can take and how to teach kids to set boundaries and get help at summer programs.

These skills and many more are covered in Irene’s three books,

cover of "Kidpower Safety Comics: People Safety Skills for Children Ages 3-10

Kidpower® Safety Comics: People Safety Skills for Children Ages 3 to 10
Written by Irene van der Zande and illustrated by Amanda Golert

Even young people have big powers. Mouth Closed Power. Stop Power. Walk Away Power. Kids—and their adults—learn how to be safe. Based on the Kidpower Safety Program that’s helped over 4 million youth and families.

cover of Kidpower Youth Safety Comics

Kidpower® Youth Safety Comics: People Safety Skills for Kids Ages 9 to 14
Written by Irene van der Zande and illustrated by Amanda Golert

How older kids can stay safe while becoming more independent. With practical tools to stay safe from bullying, abuse, and violence. Based on the Kidpower Safety Program that’s helped over 4 million youth and families.

cover of Fullpower Safety Comics

Fullpower® Safety Comics: People Safety Skills for Teens and Adults
Written by Irene van der Zande and illustrated by Amanda Golert

The tools for teens & adults to take charge of their emotional and physical safety and develop positive relationships that enrich their lives. Based on the Kidpower/Fullpower Safety Program that’s helped over 4 million youth and adults.

With thanks to Irene for permission to excerpt her excellent Summer Safety: Kidpower Tips For Families article.

Summer Safety Tips: Safety At Home

Irene van der Zande, Kidpower Founder, Executive Director, and the author of our trio of Kidpower Safety Comics, shares skills all young people and families should consider for not just the summer, but for lifelong safety and confidence.

Safety at Home

For some families, summer means spending more time together at home. This offers an excellent opportunity to build children’s boundary setting skills and review family safety rules about what is and is not okay to do when you are at home. Good awareness and the ability to express a clear boundary can stop most problems before they start. You can:

Model effective boundary setting. If the children in your life are doing something that crosses your boundaries – perhaps by climbing or jumping on you, throwing balls in the house, or using words that you find offensive – tell them clearly and respectfully, as soon as you can. Model maintaining a boundary in the face of resistance!

Use sibling bickering as a learning opportunity. When one child is feeling upset about another’s behavior, try coaching the child who is feeling bothered to express a clear respectful boundary. Coach the other child to listen. Deal with the crossing of appropriate personal boundaries with the same firm clarity you would apply to hitting, kicking, or spitting.

Set clear boundaries about physical aggression. If your children are getting physically aggressive when they are upset with each other, stop the behavior. Direct children toward more appropriate and effective ways of managing their conflicts.

Review safety rules for answering the door or phone. Revise rules based on your children’s development of skills and possible changes in your living situation. We recommend that young children check with the adult in charge first before they answer the phone or open the door, even when a parent is home.

Update safety rules about going. We recommend that young people do not change the plan about where they are going, whom they are going to be with, or when they will be home without checking with their parent or other adult in charge first. It is important for everyone to be clear about what the expectations are.

Review and practice emergency plans. What if there is an earthquake? What if someone gets hurt? What if there is a fire? Practice safety strategies.

 

These skills and many more are covered in Irene’s three books,

cover of "Kidpower Safety Comics: People Safety Skills for Children Ages 3-10

Kidpower® Safety Comics: People Safety Skills for Children Ages 3 to 10
Written by Irene van der Zande and illustrated by Amanda Golert

Even young people have big powers. Mouth Closed Power. Stop Power. Walk Away Power. Kids—and their adults—learn how to be safe. Based on the Kidpower Safety Program that’s helped over 4 million youth and families.

cover of Kidpower Youth Safety Comics

Kidpower® Youth Safety Comics: People Safety Skills for Kids Ages 9 to 14
Written by Irene van der Zande and illustrated by Amanda Golert

How older kids can stay safe while becoming more independent. With practical tools to stay safe from bullying, abuse, and violence. Based on the Kidpower Safety Program that’s helped over 4 million youth and families.

cover of Fullpower Safety Comics

Fullpower® Safety Comics: People Safety Skills for Teens and Adults
Written by Irene van der Zande and illustrated by Amanda Golert

The tools for teens & adults to take charge of their emotional and physical safety and develop positive relationships that enrich their lives. Based on the Kidpower/Fullpower Safety Program that’s helped over 4 million youth and adults.

 

With thanks to Irene for permission to excerpt her excellent Summer Safety: Kidpower Tips For Families article.

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Epic Success in Kids’ E-Book Subscription

“We were one of the first to sign with Epic!,” says Rana DiOrio, founder and CEO of Little Pickle Press, “and one of the biggest reasons is their commitment to excellence in children’s publishing.” She also cites “the pedigree of the principals” as a factor in her decision, offering that Donahue and Markosian were respected digital industry figures with a well-capitalized business plan that was not likely to be a flash-in-the-pan venture. She was also pleased about the number of Little Pickle titles Epic! solicited. “They wanted everything on our list. Some platforms like TumbleBooks or Reading Rainbow pick and choose and tell you which titles they want.”

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To read the entire article, click here.

10 Lessons The Arts Teach

 

The evolution of one of Ken Min's illustrations for What Does It Mean To Be An Entrepreneur?

Some of Ken Min’s process creating an illustration for
What Does It Mean To Be An Entrepreneur?

1.  The arts teach children to make good judgments about qualitative relationships. Unlike much of the curriculum in which correct answers and rules prevail, in the arts, it is judgment rather than rules that prevail.

2.  The arts teach children that problems can have more than one solution and that questions can have more than one answer.

3.  The arts celebrate multiple perspectives. One of their large lessons is that there are many ways to see and interpret the world.

4.  The arts teach children that in complex forms of problem solving purposes are seldom fixed, but change with circumstance and opportunity. Learning in the arts requires the ability and a willingness to surrender to the unanticipated possibilities of the work as it unfolds.

5.  The arts make vivid the fact that neither words in their literal form nor numbers exhaust what we can know. The limits of our language do not define the limits of our cognition.

6.  The arts teach students that small differences can have large effects. The arts traffic in subtleties.

7.  The arts teach students to think through and within a material. All art forms emply some means through which images become real.

8.  The arts help children learn to say what cannot be said. When children are invited to disclose what a work of art helps them feel, they must reach into their poetic capacities to find the words that will do the job.

9.  The arts enable us to have experience we can have from no other source and through such experience to discover the range and variety of what we are capable of feeling.

10.  The arts’ position in the school curriculum symbolizes to the young what adults believe is important.

Illustrator Ken Min's self-portrait from What Does It Mean To Be An Entrepreneur?

Ken created this image of himself for
What Does It Mean To Be An Entrepreneur?
See Ken’s blog post for more!

We love Elliot Eisner’s 10 Lessons that the Arts Teach, from his book The Arts and the Creation of the Mind (Chapter 4!) There’s a nice downloadable PDF of this from the National Art Education Association here.

Relish Media Releases the Breath To Breath Discussion Guide!

Breath To Breath Discussion Guide cover

Child trauma expert Dr. Donna Gaffney helps readers and teen book clubs explore the themes, events, and emotions of Craig Lew’s YA novel-in-verse Breath To Breath in this discussion guide that covers:

Words and Myths
Helping Others
Asking For Help
Angels
Trauma and Shame
Resilience and Forgiveness
Grief
Healing and Self-Care
Finding Sanctuary
Hope
How You Can Help Or Get Help

We hope it will spark conversations, open hearts, and, in the words of the real-life William, help “knock the front teeth out of abuse.”


Get the FREE Breath to Breath Discussion Guide


Celebrate #EarthDay With Great Deals On Our Greenest Titles

For the month of April  2016 only, get the paperback edition of Sofia’s Dream and A Bird On Water Street for only $5 each, and the hardcover edition of Sofia’s Dream and What Does It Mean To Be Green? for only $10 each!

Sofia's Dream pin, 12,31,13, final

Sofia’s Dream 

In this picture book for children ages 3-7, Little Sofia befriends the moon and sets off on a dreamy adventure to visit. The view from up high inspires Sofia to protect our Earth.

 

"A Bird on Water Street" cover, a light-blue bird silhouette against a grass-green sky

A Bird On Water Street

This middle grade novel has won over a dozen awards and honors. It tells the story of Jack, who is 13-years old and loves his town, but not the dangerous mine that keeps nature away. But how can he tell his dad, who wants Jack to be a miner, too?

 

What Does It Mean To Be Green? cover

What Does It Mean To Be Green?

Drawing on two sides of your paper instead of just one. Walking to the park instead of getting a ride. Turning off the water while you brush your teeth. In this picture book, a young boy and girl explore the myriad ways they can be Green over the course of a day. There’s so much we can all do to save our world!

Sap to store

Sap to Store:

The Journey of Maple Syrup

There are three of us in the house, and three different waffle styles. Junior likes his waffle cut into pieces, which he then picks up and dabs carefully (Corners only!) in a tiny puddle of syrup. I drizzle a bit of syrup into each “pocket” and dig in. Larry systematically drowns his waffle in the remaining syrup and wonders if we have any more.

No matter how you serve it, real maple syrup is a treat that takes breakfast to a whole new level. While you probably don’t want to know how most commercial table syrups are made, the sap-to-store timeline of maple syrup production is kind of amazing. Check out these fun facts, courtesy of Deseret News and Mental Floss:

  • It takes four maple trees, at least 40 years old, to yield enough sap over six weeks to produce one gallon of maple syrup. It takes 35 to 40 gallons of maple sap to produce one gallon of syrup.
  • Maple syrup and maple sugar are rich in potassium, calcium and iron, and are fat free.
  • Today, about 80 percent of the world’s supply comes from Canada.
  • In Korea, sap is usually preferred to syrup. The gorosoe, or “tree good for the bones,” is a Korean maple that’s been tapped by southern villagers since at least the ninth century. Locals consume its sap in huge quantities; drinking over 5 gallons in one sitting is a common practice.
  • Imitation maple syrup is mostly corn syrup, containing 2 to 3 percent of real maple syrup.

We hope you’ve enjoyed our sneak peek at what goes into your breakfast, and we hope you have the chance to enjoy a real, home-cooked meal with your loved ones very soon. After everyone is fed, may we suggest a bit of post-prandial reading? Today is the last day to get our APP-etizing iPad adventure, based on The Cow in Patrick O’Shanahan’s Kitchen, for a mere ninety-nine cents.

How do you like YOUR waffles?

Sap to store

The Egg and I

In a teeny little corner of a tiny little unincorporated township, there lived a mismatched flock of the most indulged hens to ever cluck. These chickens had a peach tree in the middle of their enclosed yard, from which they picked pecked their own fruit. They were let out multiple times each day to chase bugs and eat grass. They were named and petted during their lives, and mourned and buried upon their deaths.

They also produced some of the best eggs to grace a breakfast table.

I grew up knowing that no, eggs did not simply appear in the grocery store, scrubbed shiny and lined up in neat cartons. They were laid by living, breathing chickens and frequently streaked with something unmentionable.

If you’ve ever wondered exactly how an egg is made (or you just want to freak out your kids the next time they get picky about what’s for breakfast), the video at the end of this post is for you. After you watch and share, please visit our iTunes store to purchase and download our egg-ceptional app, based on The Cow in Patrick O’Shanahan’s Kitchen, available for only ninety-nine cents through March 17th.

  • Eggshell production drains calcium from the hen’s body. The comb, wattles, legs, and ear lobes will fade as the calcium leaches out. Calcium must be replenished through either feed containing calcium, supplements such as oyster shell, or high amounts of calcium in the soil of birds with outdoor access.
  • Hens don’t usually lay eggs in the dark, so once a hen’s laying cycle reaches dusk time, she will usually not lay till the following morning.
  • The shell color is a breed characteristic. Most chicken breeds lay light-to-medium brown eggs. A few breeds lay white, dark brown, green, blue, or cream colored eggs.
  • Often a hen will sing “the egg song” before or after she lays an egg. Some will sing during the process of laying. It is a cheerful song that seems to be a proud announcement.
  • If you aren’t sure how old an egg is, you can submerge it in water. The freshest eggs will remain at the bottom of the container, while old eggs will float. Floaters should either be discarded or opened far from your nose.

Thanks to The American Cowboy Chronicles for the nifty trivia!

How do you like your eggs?

Sap to store

Cow to Cup:

An Udderly Fascinating Process

In my part of the Midwest, cows outnumber people. I’ve had raw milk on my cereal and fresh cream in my coffee. I’ve churned butter, made cheese, and frozen ice cream. Heck, I can even tell you if the farmer let his herd graze a little too close to the wild garlic.

With my eyes closed.

Not every kid is lucky enough to grow up where the slightly-less-wild things are, however, so we at Team Pickle want to share a few of the many absorbing farm-to-table journeys (such as today’s cow to cup process) with you. From now through the 17th, drop in to read the details and view some footage about three breakfast staples: milk, eggs, and maple syrup. In addition to fun facts, we’re also offering super savings on our iPad adventure that’s based on the award-winning The Cow in Patrick O’Shanahan’s Kitchen. The app is ninety-nine cents for a limited time, but the learning is priceless.

Speaking of learning, here are those facts that I promised you, courtesy of Green Meadow Farms, Inc.

  • The natural yellow color of butter comes mainly from the beta carotene found in the grass cows eat.
  • Contrary to popular belief, cows do not have 4 stomachs; they have 4 digestive compartments in one stomach: The rumen holds up to 50 gallons of partially digested food. This is where cud comes from. Good bacteria in the rumen helps digest the cow’s food and provides protein for the cow. The reticulum is called the hardware stomach because if cows accidentally eat hardware (like a piece of fencing scrap), it will often lodge here causing no further damage. The omasum is sort of like a filter. The abomasum is like our stomach.
  • Cows only have teeth on the bottom.
  • All 50 states in the United States have dairy farms.
  • The average cow produces enough milk each day to fill six one-gallon jugs, about 55 pounds of milk.

What’s your favorite dairy product?

We’re always looking for new ways to share our stories with you!

Lee here, and I’m excited  that I’ll be heading out to New York for the 2016 Digital Book World Conference + Expo, #DBW16, March 7-9, 2016.

#DBW16 banner

It’s all about publishing’s “digital transformation” and how we can be innovative and have our stories make an impact whether they’re on the page, the screen, the audiobook, or something that hasn’t even been invented yet!

Two of the innovative companies Little Pickle Press is already teaming up with will be at the conference, Hummingbird and Enthrill, so I asked Steven Blake Mettee of Hummingbird and Kevin Franco of Enthrill to each do a quick interview for this blog.

Happily, they both said yes!

StephenBMettee

Stephen Blake Mettee of Hummingbird

Stephen Blake Mettee is the president and chief visionary officer of Hummingbird Digital Media an e-book retailing start-up destined to disrupt the e-book retailing oligopoly. He founded independent presses Quill Driver Books and The Write Thought. During his time at the helm of QDB, Mettee shepherded two titles into Book-of-the-Month Club selections and one onto the New York Times bestseller list. One QDB title was cited in a Supreme Court decision.

He served two years as chairperson of The Independent Book Publishers Association.

Lee: You’ll be one of the speakers on a panel, “New Paths for Direct Sales.” Can you encapsulate Hummingbird’s innovative approach?

Stephen: Anyone can have their own branded and curated e-book and audiobook storefront from which they can sell the titles from more than 2,700 publishers—including their own titles if they’re a publisher. No hurdles or costs are involved. The program is turnkey; it’s as easy as setting up a Facebook page and works to produce sales 24/7/365.

Lee: At lot of people see the ongoing digital changes to publishing as intimidating—change is difficult, and this change seems constant. What’s your advice on transforming that focus to look for the opportunities in all the change?

Stephen: Don’t fear change, embrace it. Don’t reinvent the wheel, look at what others are doing and copy their best practices.

Lee: What do you most look forward to about attending the 2016 Digital Book World Conference + Expo?

Stephen: We’re excited about exposing Hummingbird Digital Media’s unique platform to an industry audience of one thousand plus.

Thanks, Stephen!

KevinFranco

Kevin Franco of Enthrill

Kevin Franco is co-founder and CEO of Enthrill, a digital content distribution company proliferating the distribution and sales of ebooks for publishers world-wide. Enthrill is based in Western Canada, in the foothills of the Rocky Mountains. Enthrill’s copyright protection software delivers ebooks into the native app or platform which the consumer has already chosen as their default reader. Enthrill developed the online and in store ebook program for Walmart Canada and is working with many large retail chains in expanding the points of sale for ebooks.

Lee: One of the conference focuses (and the panel you’ll be on) is “New Paths for Direct Sales.” Can you encapsulate Enthrill’s innovative approach?

Kevin: Focused on building alternate paths to market, Enthrill has paved the way, developing new direct sales for publishers. Some of these include bulk/corporate sales, author download cards and physical retail gift cards distributed through Walmart, Safeway, Sears, Toy’s R Us and many other major retailers. The platform Enthrill created utilizes PackaDRM, the key to delivering content into any device, including e-inks. This new copyright protection software opens up the possibilities for publishers so they can sell ebooks in as many different ways as they can sell print books – with no restrictions placed upon them.

Lee: At lot of people see the ongoing digital changes to publishing as intimidating—change is difficult, and this change seems constant. What’s your advice on transforming that focus to look for the opportunities in all the change?

Kevin: The direct to device (D2D) market, which is what ebook sales is largely comprised of has plateaued and growth in this area is likely to remain slow now that the market has established its settling point on ebook penetration. We see a massive opportunity for publishers to expand their sales in many ways that they are currently unable to access fully, such as B2B sales, bulk, corporate, gifting, educational and via online retailers. We estimate this to be a $4 billion white space of uncharted territory, waiting for the right tool for publishers to access, and we believe we’ve created that tool.

Lee: What do you most look forward to about attending the 2016 Digital Book World Conference + Expo?

Kevin: For me personally, this event puts me face to face with book people. The book industry hosts the most passionate people when it comes to what they produce. Helping to proliferate distribution for publishers and expand the network of people that enjoy books drives our entire team. Digital Book World helps attendees learn about advancements in the industry such as alternate sales channels and new production and distribution tools.

Thanks, Kevin!

If you’ll be at the conference, say hello! And if you’d like to register, #DBW16 is offering a discount on registration: Use the code SCBWI5 to get 5 percent off.

If you want to know more about #DBW16, you can check out my post about the Author Earnings website and Launch Kids here, as well as five more pre-conference interviews (with Christopher Kenneally, Peter Hildeck-Smith,  Jane Friedman, Kristen McLean and Lorraine Shanley) here.

And you can follow along on social media with the hashtag #DBW16.

Thanks for letting me share,

Lee

Our Lesson Plans & Discussion Guide Roundup

 

teacher reading from "What Does It Mean To Be Present?"

We love when our books spark great discussions!

Here are easy links to download our always FREE Lesson Plans & Discussion Guides, packed with fun and meaningful activities and discussion prompts for classroom students and homeschoolers:

Download your free What Does It Mean To Be An Entrepreneur? Discussion & Activity Guide for teachers grades K-3.

Download your free What Does It Mean To Be Kind? Discussion Guide for teachers grades pre-K to 3.

Download your free What Does It Mean To Be Present? Lesson Plans for teachers grades K-3.

Download your free What Does It Mean To Be Green? Lesson Plans for teachers grades K-3.

Download your free What Does It Mean To Be Safe? Lesson Plans for teachers grades K-3.

Download your free What Does It Mean to Be Global? Lesson Plans for teachers grades K-3.

Download your free The Cow In Patrick O’Shanahan’s Kitchen Lesson Plans for teachers grades K-3.

(We have two bonus lesson plans featuring The Cow In Patrick O’Shanahan’s Kitchen, one from Illinois Agriculture in the Classroom, A Bowl Full of Agriculture, and the second from Michigan Agriculture in the Classroom, The Cow In Patrick O’Shanahan’s Kitchen Educator Guide/Lesson Plans.)

Download your free Ripple’s Effect Lesson Plans for teachers grades K-3.

Download your free BIG Lesson Plans for teachers grades K-3.

Download your free Sofia’s Dream Lesson Plans for teachers grades K-3

Download your free Spaghetti is NOT a Finger Food Lesson Plans for teachers grades K-6.

Download your free Your Fantastic Elastic Brain Lesson Plans for teachers grades K-3.

Download your free The Owner’s Manual For Driving Your Adolescent Brain Lesson Plans for teachers grades 3-8.

Download your free A Bird On Water Street Discussion Points for teachers grades 4-8

 

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What Does It Mean To Be An Entrepreneur? Blog Tour

Join us on the virtual book tour road! Read reviews, check out interviews with the authors, and enter giveaways for a chance to win your own copy of What Does It Mean To Be An Entrepreneur?. Follow along using the tour schedule below, updated daily.unnamed-1

February 3rd Leo Libris – REVIEW
February 4th The Book Adventures of Emily – REVIEW
February 5th Freda Hansburg – INTERVIEW
February 8th my name is Sage – REVIEW
February 9th Literary Lunes – REVIEW
February 12th Fascinating Quest – REVIEW
February 13th Townsend House – REVIEW
February 16th The Phantom Paragrapher – REVIEW
February 17th Celtic Lady’s Book Reviews – BOOK SPOTLIGHT

 

We want to know what you think!
Add your review to:
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