Although Peace Day was September 21, this gentle book fits well with my theme of war and peace for November.
This is a simple book that shows us how to say peace in different languages. It begins “Today is Peace Day all around the world. Children everywhere will wish for peace, hope for peace, and ask for peace. All around the world today, there will be many different ways to say peace.” From that point on each double-page spread has the name of the child and the country she lives in on the left with a full-page bright illustration. A close-up of the child’s face on the is right with the words on how to say peace in their language with a pronunciation guide. For example, “Meena lives in India.” features an elephant, women on a blanket working or sharing their food I’m not sure which, two women carrying food on the top of their heads, a goat, and palm trees. On the right, “Meena says shanti (SHAHNtee).
The countries featured are India, America, Japan, Australia, Mexico, Iran, Russia, China, France, Ghana, and Bolivia. The book ends with the powerful words, “All around the world, children want to go to school, to walk in their towns and cities, play outside, and to share food with their families. They want to do all these things and feel safe. No matter how we say it we all want peace.”
What an important message that those who suffer the most in our war-ridden world are those who are the most innocent and helpless. It is also an effective reminder to be grateful if we are some of the fortunate people to live in a country that is not being torn apart by war. We need to be grateful if we are able to go to school, play outside, and share food with our families while we feel safe. I wish this for all children everywhere.
Smoot, a shadow, is tired of the boring, depressing existence he is trapped in and breaks away from the boy who never laughs, leaps, or does anything wild. Free at last, Smoot skips in the park, rides the merry-go-round, climbs a tree and engages fully with the world. His actions inspire others shadows to also fulfill their dreams. As Smoot creates his adventure, the boy follows and watches.
Newly inspired shadows find the courage to perform in public, create fearsome and magical alter egos, and reached the clouds. Smoot becomes concerned that the shadows of wild animals may create havoc. Through creative thinking, Smoot persuades the shadows to return to their origins. When he returns to his own boy, the child has changed. He improved now laughs, leaps, and acts wild. Both their lives are changed.
This feels like a book written for adults more than for children. As a rule, it is adults who’ve lost the ability to laugh and leap. I would interpret the boy as representing adults and the shadow representing the forgotten inner child. Quite often there are things in our life that are beyond our control. But just as often our attitude determines our happiness. The boy in the story has disengaged from life. He’s forgotten that the simple joys are the sweetest.
Although children would enjoy this story, I think the parent reading it to them will actually get the most benefit.
Since I’m finding it difficult to complete my own work, I’m going to focus on completing and publishing my novels and picture books in progress. I am going to post only once or twice a week for the next while.
The project I am in the process of uploading to Amazon is a new picture book called Monkey’s 100th Day.
Monkey is excited to learn that today is the 100th day of school. Just as he begins to feel overwhelmed, the teacher surprises him with the best counting activity of all. On his way home, he is proud to be able to use what he has learned in the classroom.
Celebrate with monkey as he explores 100 bricks, marbles, bubbles and more. Each page of 100 items can be clearly counted. There are extra challenges on several pages which require attention to detail. All of monkey’s activities can be copied by students (over several days). The book ends with thirty fun and engaging follow-up extensions for teachers to use with individuals, groups, or the entire class.
The second edition of Rayne Shines is now published. The characters are people instead of frogs and the text has been tightened. Here are the first few pages.
Rayne is bored with life, until a new family moves in next door. Why do they look so happy? Rayne wants to know their secret. Rayne Shines is a humorous and thought-provoking picture book for ages 5-7.
In a subtle and humorous way, the story shows how attitude and perception create either happiness or misery. Rayne learns that gratitude, playfulness, optimism, and simplicity bring joy.
Buy link http://a.co/agCf1sP
You may misinterpret the title of this wonderful picture book. I thought it had to do with intelligence but it actually means stylish or well-dressed. I see others made the same mistake since the title has been changed to “Spiffiest.”
George is a giant who wears the same pair of old brown sandals in the same old patched up gown. We see from the illustrations that the townsfolk are quite blasé about George and other giants. The story begins with George deciding to spruce up. He buys “a smart shirt, a smart belt, a smart pair of trousers, a smart stripy tie, some smart socks with diamonds up the sides, and a pair of smart shiny shoes.” He declares that he is now the smartest giant in town. He leaves his old clothes behind and heads for home.
Here the story unfolds of George’s compassionate heart. He gives a giraffe his necktie to keep his long cold neck warm. As he goes on his way, George sings a happy song about giving away his tie but still being the smartest giant in town. George gives his shirt away to a goat who needs a new sail for his boat. He gives a shoe to a homeless mouse family. He gives a sock to a fox that needs a sleeping bag. He puts his belt across the bog to help the dog travel safely. But then, as George hops, his pants fall down. In the end he returns back to town and puts on his old clothes. All the creatures he helped get together and make a gold paper crown and a thank you card that lists all the generous acts and ends with “the kindest giant in town.”
What a wonderful book to lead into discussion of generosity, compassion, and sharing. This would be a great book to motivate children to participate in charitable events and to give up something so that others might have the necessities of life. It also promotes minimalism and non-attachment.
The illustrations are nicely done. The text is threaded throughout the variety of pictures. Some are double spreads, some full-page, and some two or three small illustrations on the page. They are bright, detailed, and colourful. The paper is glossy and good quality which makes the illustrations pop. Highly recommended.
Other great books by Julia Donaldson. Click on the covers for more information or to purchase the books.
This is an unusual book of thanks. It reminds me of a Buddhist gatha where we thank our body for everything it has given and done for us. In this text, the child thanks his feet, hands, knees and elbows, head, five senses, and other parts of his body. He expresses appreciation and wonder at the gifts given to him through his body. For example:
“I smile and talk and sing with my mouth. My lips kiss Mommy and Daddy. My teeth bite crackers. My tongue licks ice cream. My most tastes all my food before it slides down here, into my tummy.”
There’s one exceptionally beautiful moment where, after expressing thanks for all the things he can hear such as honking, singing, barking, laughing, purring, ticking,and rumbling, he hears between the noises… Silence. This illustration is a double spread of a night sky with a crayon outline of the boys face, eyes closed, calm and serene.
The illustrations are large and bright, done with crayon and cut out pieces of felt and graphics.
This book is a excellent reminder to be thankful for the simple things we receive, to express gratitude for our bodies with which we experience the whole universe.
It ends “And right now I also know that I am part of this whole world – this universe! All this is my home. I am ALIVE. And this whole universe is inside… All of me! What a wonder.
What seems at first to be a simple picture book is actually a profound and wise way of looking at the world and oneself. This would be a beautiful nighttime story for a child, a wonderful book to share on Thanksgiving Day, a Sunday school or Dharma school treasure, or even a reminder to adults not to take their lives for granted.
Buy Link Eating Green (Green Scene)
“Eating green means understanding the impact our food choices have on the environment and trying to lessen that impact. To eat green, we must buy food with little or no packaging. We should eat fresh food and local food that is grown or made nearby. Eating green also need avoiding foods that have been sprayed with harmful pesticides.”
Although this picture book is written for children, it is a reminder for people of all ages of the impact of our choices. It discusses necessary and unnecessary packaging and its impact on landfills. It explains the difference between processed foods and fresh foods and their impact on the earth and our bodies. Organic foods are preferred and the harmfulness of pesticides is explained. The reader learns why buying local is a good habit. The accumulation of toxic plastic drinking bottles is examined. The book encourages little-free lunches. It ends with the beautiful double page spread on the importance of family mealtime. Bonus: a simple but healthy pizza recipe at the end of the book. There is also a glossary and an index.
The illustrations in this book are full-color photographs which highlight and elucidate the message. You cannot look at that pile of garbage, mostly plastic, and not feel we need to change. This is an excellent book for families to share.
Bonnie Ferrante: Books For All Ages
You will need:
- an example book such as Elephants by Rebecca Heller
- 8″ by 14″ sheets of paper
- old magazines, catalogues, tourist pamphlets etc. that contain pictures of people being active
- child scissors
- fine point marker or pen
- needle and thread or sewing machine
- strong tape to reinforce spine
- optional thicker paper for cover
If possible, read the sample book to your child. Explain that the elephant is doing actions. Talk about actions your child likes to do.
Have the blank book and picture selections ready ahead of time. Have 8-10 pages prepared ( you only need 4-5 plus the cover) . (You know your child’s interest sustainability.) Sew the pages down the middle and fold them to make a book.
Get out magazine pictures you have preselected, outlined, and labelled (about double what you need). Make sure each one has a different action. Discuss the actions with your child.
She choses her favourites and cuts them out.
She glues one on each face-up page (not the cover).
Print the two (or three) word sentence below each picture. Keep the sentence structure the same. For example:
- A boy drums.
- A girl rocks.
- Girls drive.
- A cat meows,
- A minion hugs.
- A man waters.
- A girl gardens.
- A boy looks.
- A dog barks.
- A boy reads.
- A Barbie dances.
- A girl pushes.
- Kids build.
- A boy slides.
- A girl jumps.
- A boy crawls.
- A girl shoots.
- Cats climb.
- A girl carries.
- Boys ride.
An older child might like to draw the pictures. This would stretch the project out for many days. You can print the sentences first.
A child might like to search a safe site for graphics using action words and print the pictures instead.
Make a cover by hand or using a computer before or after the book is completed.
AMBITIOUS? Personalize it. Print photographs of your child being active instead. They can cut them out and glue them. For example:
- Kayleigh jumps.
- Kayleigh slides.
- Kayleigh laughs.
Echo read the book with your child until she can read it alone. Send her to read it to every human and stuffed toy available.
DON’T BE SURPRISED IF your child insists on different wording or otherwise derails your plans. Go with it. There will be at least one page they can read easily.
Click here to buy Thank You Bear Board Book
Here’s a lovely little book to read any time but it would suit Thanksgiving Day beautifully. Greg Foley has written and illustrated a charming and meaningful picture book. The layout is simple, text on the left page and an illustration on the right. The pictures are line drawings with little and muted color. This simplicity helps to portray the character of Bear, a sensitive, well-meaning, and unsure little guy.
Bear finds a little box and says, “Why, it’s the greatest thing ever! Mouse will love this.” On the way to find mouse he shows the gift to Monkey, Owl , Fox, Elephant, Squirrel, and Bunny. Each one deflates bears confidence and enthusiasm. By the time Little bear reaches mouse his sense of joy and excitement has been diminished. But, Mouse crawls inside and says, “It’s the greatest thing ever! Thank you, Bear.”
There are so many important messages in this uncomplicated, sweet story. A gift from the heart, given with understanding, is the best gift of all. We shouldn’t let others destroy our enthusiasm but should trust in our own understanding of a relationship. Gratitude is the best gift given in return. And friendship, respect, confidence, and more. This is the kind of book you can read over and over and find something new to discuss each time.
A timeless book that both parents and children will love.
If you are looking for more books on gratitude, check out Rayne Shines. You can listen to the author read the book here. https://youtu.be/z_liqNXy07k
Click here to buy Rayne Shines
Bonnie Ferrante: Books For All Ages
In Canada, this is the time of year when we give thanks. October 9th is Thanksgiving Day. Not having Pilgrims in our history, we tend to focus on harvest and gratitude. I will be reviewing a few children’s books on this theme.
However, I am also reworking one of my own picture books, Rayne Shines, on how gratitude increases happiness. It has averaged four stars on Amazon and 4.21 on Goodreads. Readers love the story but not everyone likes the illustrations. Sales aren’t great.
I chose frogs instead of people because I didn’t want the annoying characters, Rayne’s parents, to resemble any real people. As a retired teacher, I could imagine some child saying. “The mom looks just like yours.” I’ve come to realize that is unlikely and am re-illustrating and tweaking the words as well. I’m not sure if it is working so I’m posting some old and new pages and would welcome feedback.
several pages between
several pages between