Thursday, September 30, 2010

Gorilla Fun

Eat Like a Gorilla
Gorillas are mostly vegetarian, and they love fruit! Over half of their diet is fruit—and
yes, bananas are a favorite. Sometimes, though, they eat termites and caterpillars.
Have a gorilla meal one day with a fruit salad. Caterpillars are probably not a good
idea, but maybe you could have gummy worms for dessert.

No gorilla would turn down a peanut butter banana sandwich: a banana, sliced in half
lengthwise, with peanut butter spread between. Be aware of peanut allergies in your
classroom before serving peanut butter in any form.

Gorillas also like leaves and nuts—just like people.

Gorilla facts

How Are We Different? How Are We the Same?

Ask the children, “How are the gorillas like people?”

“How are we different?”

We eat some of the same foods, we both have two arms and two legs.
Gorillas can walk on their legs as we do. They have hands and fingers.
Gorillas have lots more hair than people. They don’t say words.

Are there other ways that people and gorillas are the same or

Check out a few of these gorilla books at the
public library:

Willy the Champ by Anthony Browne

Princess Gorilla and a New Kind of Water
by Verna Aardema

The Gorilla Did It by Barbara Shook Hazen

Gorilla by Anthony Browne

Goodnight, Gorilla by Ruth Bornstein

Koko’s Story by Dr. Francine Patterson J599.88

Gorilla Activities On-line

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Sunday, September 26, 2010


Tune: B-I-N-G-O!

W-I-N-D-Y,  (Clap and spell)

W-I-N-D-Y,  (Clap and spell

W-I-N-D-Y,  (Clap and spell)
Spin with the wind and let’s go!

Let’s spin, with the wind
Let’s spin, with the wind
Let’s spin, with the wind
Spin with the wind and whoa! (stop)

Change spin to float, whirl, leap, slide, glide, roll, skip, dance, waltz (walk down, up, up), rock, bounce, flap, limp, jive, kick, mop, pull, reach, or wave.

The Life of a Leaf    
(Movement Education)

You are a tiny leaf bud on a tree.  In the spring you grow into a small leaf.  When the rain falls down you grow into a big leaf.  You twist and turn all summer to find the sun.  With all your leaf friends you make an umbrella of shade (kids can clump together) to keep people cool.  Now slide away to your own space.
One day it gets cool and you tremble slowly.  You better hold on to your branch tightly.  Because it’s so cold, you turn into a bright orange leaf.  The wind lifts you up and down.  The wind rocks you side to side.  It gets colder every day so you shake.  You shake faster and faster.   You twist and spin and hold on to the branch with all your strength.  
Suddenly you can’t hold on, so you fly around the yard.  You love being free so you dance.  Now bounce up as high as you can.   Slide low under a bush.  Now hop as fast as you can.  Stop and reach to the sky.  A gust of wind pushes you into a whirl.  

You land in the stream, and float slowly down the hill.  You’re getting tired so you hug a giant rock.  The water is pushing against you.  Climb up to the top of the rock.  Balance on one part of you.  You wave to your friends on the tree.  You want to get back so you leap as far as you can.  You fall into the stream and dive deep.  You swim then pop up for some air.  At last you rest on the shore.  You pick up your head when you hear your friend Doug.  You laugh out loud to see all your friends come together again.

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Wednesday, September 15, 2010


Please join me in wishing Tori
September 13, 2010

Happy birthday to you
Happy birthday to you
Happy birthday dear Tori
Happy birthday to you!

We love you Tori.
Hope your sleep over was fun!
We'll see you tonight for our celebration.

My granddaughter, Victoria, is an A+ student, talented artist, wonderful singer, and an incredible writer.  She has always been an insatiable reader.  Her favorite genre is fantasy.  She's currently working on her first novel.  It's full of rich description and fascinating characters.  Here's one of her drawings:

Like so many writers, Tori started writing poetry very early on to express her inner thoughts.   Her poetry has been published in an anthology titled, A Celebration of Poets, and a in school anthology.

Another one of Tori's poems has been accepted for publication by Dallas Woodburn's Write On Publishing.   This book titled, Dancing with the Pen, is slated to come out this fall.

Dallas is a young writer who has paid it forward by setting up a non profit organization, Write On! For Literacy, that teaches and inspires kids to read and write.  She was recently featured in Glamour Magazine.Dallas has a long list of publication credits and awards received. Please take the time to check out her organization and her books.

Here is a sampling of Tori's poems:


Shinning brightly in the day,
Near sunset it fades away.
At nightfall its twin arises,
Shrouded in mystery and surprises.
Less light comes from this twin,
But at dawn they switch again.
What a glorious day to see the rises,
Shrouded in mystery and surprises!


Ringing of the bells
Once announced celebrations
Now they ring for tragedy
Melody that once was sweet
Warped into morbid tunes
Dawn till dusk
Signaling lost souls
While disease sweeps through the town
Taking unfortunate lives
Dusk again rings its last tone
All fall silent
Chirpless crikets
Owls without their hoot
Winds stay still and cold
Brooks refuse to bubble
Even birds sit mute
All in mourning.

Please leave an encouraging word and a birthday wish for Tori.  I hope she continues to follow her dreams and walks in all that God has planned for her life. God bless you, honey! Mamaw

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Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Early Childhood Education – Acquiring Sign Language

One of the keys to surviving in a tilted economic system in which opportunities to achieve a decent standard of living will be limited is versatility – and the ability to communicate articulately in a variety of ways with the widest possible audience. This includes bilingual ability as well as the ability to communicate in non-verbal ways for the benefit of the disabled – primarily the deaf.

At the same time, a growing shortage of qualified interpreters fluent in American Sign Language has led to more career opportunities – and if current trends continue, it's likely that skilled ASL interpreters will have little problem securing lucrative employment in a society where such a commodity is destined to be in short supply.

Signing Before They Can Speak

A great deal of research has clearly demonstrated that the early years – ages 2 to five – are the best time to educate children in different modes of communication and language. This goes beyond the spoken word (though it is an optimal time for children to learn a second language); many young children have an aptitude for signing as well.

This is not as odd as you may think. As you know, many indigenous peoples around the world, including American Indian nations, have used sign language for centuries to facilitate communication with other tribes with whom they do not share a language. Some paleontologists and anthropologists theorize that Neanderthals – who apparently lacked the vocal mechanism to produce many spoken words – depended a great deal upon hand gestures to communicate.

In fact, recent research suggests that sign language is innate. An article published in the Boulder Daily Camera in 2003 presented strong evidence that babies as young as six months old communicate with their hands:

" 6 to 7 months, babies can remember a sign. At eight months, children
can begin to imitate gestures and sign single words. By 24 months, children
can sign compound words and full sentences. They say sign language reduces
frustration in young children by giving them a means to express themselves
before they know how to talk." (Glarion, 2003)

The author also cites study funded by the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development demonstrating that young children who are taught sign language at an early age actually develop better verbal skills, as they get older. The ability to sign has also helped parents in communicating with autistic children; one parent reports that "using sign language allowed her to communicate with her [autistic] son and minimized his frustration...[he now] has an advanced vocabulary and excels in math, spelling and music" (Glarion, 2003).

The Best Time To Start

Not only does early childhood education in signing give pre-verbal youngsters a way to communicate, it can also strengthen the parent-child bond – in addition to giving children a solid foundation for learning a skill that will serve them well in the future. The evidence suggests that the best time to start learning ASL is before a child can even walk – and the implications for facilitating the parent-child relationship are amazing.

Co-written by Emily Patterson and Kathleen Thomas

Emily and Kathleen are Communications Coordinators for the network of Georgia educational day care facilities belonging to the AdvancED® accredited family of Primrose educational day care schools. Primrose Schools are located in 16 states throughout the U.S. and are dedicated to delivering progressive, early childhood, Balanced Learning® curriculum throughout their preschools.

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Tuesday, September 7, 2010


Title: The Slippery Art of Book Reviewing
Authors: Mayra Calvani, Anne K. Edwards
Publisher: Twilight Times Books
Publishers website:
Copyright: 2008
ISBN: 13: 978-1-933353-22-7
10: 1-933353-22-8
Format: Trade Paperback, 190 pages
Genre: Non-fiction/Writing

Reviewed by Kathy Stemke

As you dive into the pages of The Slippery Art of Book Reviewing, you quickly realize there is far more to skillfully reviewing a book then you might have previously thought. As experienced authors and reviewers, Mayra Calvani and Anne K. Edwards guide you through the pitfalls and joys of reviewing. Soon you realize that every book review is full of nuances, and has a different intent and impact.

Part I, The Art of Reviewing, takes you through clarity of thought, grammar skills, objectivity, honesty, and tactful reviewing. The authors reveal the secrets of what separates amateurs from pros. The following is an example of the invaluable list of don’ts that should hang on every reviewer’s wall. “Don’t sugar-coat a review. Using phrases like ‘This is the best book I’ve ever read in my life’ will raise incredulity and suspicion in the intelligent reader. Facile praise is for ad copies, not reviews. Never be afraid to criticize when you feel you have to. Remember your main duty is to the reader.”

As an author, I appreciate the detail Calvani and Edwards put forth on critical reading. They suggest several practical methods of note taking to mark positive or negative points about plot, narrative, pacing, characterization, dialogue, description, symbolism, point of view, theme, tone, spelling, and grammar.

The Slippery Art of Book Reviewing also deconstructs actual reviews, explaining why certain points are needed and work well, or in the case of poorly written reviews, why some points must be eliminated altogether to ensure a professional, objective presentation.

Calvani and Edwards give a step by step guide to setting up your own review website with information on types of review sites, budget, choosing a domain name, selecting an internet provider, designing your site, becoming an affiliate, defining your submission guidelines, recruiting reviewers, making contacts, promoting, and keeping a detailed log. The authors list common problems you may have with authors, publishers or publicists, and practical suggestions on how to handle them. Calvani and Edwards even include sample letters, emails, and phone responses that will explain and soften reactions to negative reviews.

The Slippery Art of Book Reviewing sheds light on ethical questions like: “Who has the ownership and print rights to the review?” “Should a reviewer show a review to the author before its publication?”

Part II, The Influence of Book Reviews, delves into the uses and impact of a book review for librarians, booksellers, authors, publicists, book clubs and readers in general.

How and where to post reviews is the thrust of Part III. These 31 pages are packed with tips and contact information to help every participant in the book industry to zero in on the genre you like the best.

It’s easy to see why The Slippery Art of Book Reviewing is a finalist in Foreward Magazine’s Book of the Year Award, and the 2009 Next Generation Indie Book Awards. This book also has the esteemed honor of being listed as required reading at several universities.

Although a small amount of the material seems repetitive, I recommend The Slippery Art of Book Reviewing to amateur and professional book reviewers, book review editors, publishers, booksellers, librarians, authors, and readers alike. Take advantage of this engaging, well organized, thought provoking, and user-friendly reference tool. You will refer to it for years to come.

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Monday, September 6, 2010



GMarine Corps Tribute Second Chance

Soldiers Cry-Tribute to Fallen Marines

Angel Flight

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Thursday, September 2, 2010

Welcome Author/Publisher VS Grenier

VS Grenier is an Award-winning author & editor with over 30 short stories, articles, and crafts for children along with newsletter articles for writers. She also has multiple titles published in the Best of Stories for Children Magazine Volume 1 anthology. She learned how to hone her writing skills at the Institute of Children’s Literature. She’s also the Editor-in-Chief of Stories for Children Magazine.

Thank you, Virginia, I know my readers will love them. Can you tell us a little about yourself?

First Kathy, I want to thank you for having me on your blog. Well . . . I live in Southern Utah about 2 hours north of Las Vegas. So, if I ever get tired looking at all the red mountains or the laid-back life style, I can hop in my car and head to one of the cities that never sleep for some fun. Let’s see . . . I have been married for almost eight years. I also have three beautiful children ranging in age from fourteen to six months old. J The kids keep me very busy.

What tips can you give parents looking to share the love of reading and writing with their children?

· Visit the library often. Let your child pick out her own books.
· Ask your librarian to suggest favorites.
· Make book time a special time just for you and your little one.
· Let your child see you reading.
· Stop for a while if your child loses interest or gets upset. Reading should always be enjoyable.

Children who enjoy books will want to learn how to read and write!

Children learn new words by doing things with you, like talking with you. Talk about how things work, feelings, and ideas.

Reading informational books on subjects your children like helps increase their vocabulary. Children with bigger vocabularies become better readers and can more quickly understand the meaning of words in context.

The first words children learn to write often have emotional content. Ignore the niceties of spelling and penmanship . . . for now, at least. The mechanics of writing are taught in elementary school and if your little one isn’t learning this in school yet, don’t worry about it. If they are, then get a children’s dictionary and look up a few of the words together. Pointing out mistakes may make a preschooler or young elementary student self-conscious and reluctant to write.

What was the first thing you ever had published?

A short story about my father as a kid called Flying Upside Down. It was published in the Ezine Fandangle Magazine back in 2006.

Can you share with us a little about your most recent book?

My most recent book is Babysitting SugarPaw. This is also my first picture book. It’s a picture book about a little bear named SugarPaw who hopes to get rid of his babysitter, Bonnie Whiskers, by getting her into trouble after making changes to his rules chart. As this loving story unfolds, SugarPaw learns about honesty and friendship.

Babysitting SugarPaw
, with its child-centered plot on getting to know others, is the perfect book for little ones scared of being left alone with a babysitter for the first time and is endorsed by You can read the review at
Your readers can find out more about Babysitting SugarPaw at

Take a Look at the Trailer!

What prompted you to start Stories for Children Magazine?

Stories for Children Magazine
was going to be a hobby of mine as I worked on my own writing. I thought it would be fun to have a free site where parents, children, teachers, and librarians could come and read some stories, crafts, articles, and poems. Of course, like all my hobbies, Stories for Children Magazine took on a life of its own and has become the Ezine everyone knows today. It is also now one of many divisions to the parent company, Stories for Children Publishing, LLC.

To learn more about Stanley Bookman, the SFC mascot in the World of Ink visit us at The magazine is on hiatus until April 2011, but we have book reviews, tips, fun links, and some other free stuff currently on the site.

Do you have any other works in progress?

I have two picture books and two YA novels I’m working on in whatever spare time I get throughout the week. One of the picture books is almost ready for submission. It’s about a little girl who can’t whistle. The story is based off my childhood. The others are still being fine-tuned so I don’t want to say anything about them in case I make some major changes.

What would we be surprised to learn about you?

I went to college to be a fashion buyer and did that for just over 10 years before giving it up to stay home with my children. I’ve worked for some really interesting places like Motherhood Maternity, Frederick’s of Hollywood, Hot Topic, Inc. (I opened the first 5 Torrid stores and helped design them.), L’Occitane, and Brighten Collectibles to name a few.

For those who love to write and want to learn, they can visit our newest site Stories for Children Publishing, LLC at Your readers can also sign up for our FREE newsletter, SFC Newsletter for Writers which is sent out monthly and is full of articles on writing, markets, contest, workshops, conference, and much much more. It was voted one of the 101 Best Websites for Writers in 2009 by Writer’s Digest.

If your readers would like to learn more about my writing services, school visits, and books . . . they can visit me at

And lastly, there is the SFC: Families Matter blog at

Thank you for visiting us today, Virginia. You are a very creative and productive author. We look forward to your future books and magazines.

Kathy, it was a pleasure sharing Babysitting SugarPaw, my writing, and Stories for Children Publishing with you and your readers.

TOMORROW'S TOUR STOP: Nancy Famolari is featuring Robert Medak

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