Sunday, January 22, 2012

Children's Books Will Never Die

Page Turners In An Android World

It was really not that long ago, young kids would sit in classrooms, wearing uniforms, not talking, sitting straight, hairs cut, eyes wide, and minds on; reading ancient text books fearful of the ever watchful eye of their dark overlord guardian/teacher/mentor. To breathe a word out of line warranted violent abuse and to be late or not properly dressed resulted in hospitalisation. The idea of pageless books was mere science fiction.

To be an author was to drown one's self in whisky and cigarettes over a second hand typewriter looking out through a rain-soaked window contemplating the deepest chasm of human emotions. It was to lose sleep over characters, scrolling encyclopaedia-like adventure series'.

These were the days before kids could flip through online flip-books on their android whilst catching the bus to school, before stringing two clever sentences together on reddit made you a genius wordsmith and before sharing stories could be done with one simple click.

Children still crave adventure, kids still seek fiction, and fun, fantasy and escape from this world, but other means of obtaining such content have emerged from the muck in the same way God created Eve from the ribs of Adam. Media platforms never cease to expand, becoming ever smaller, ever faster and ever easier for us to simply zone out from reality. You can now even read flip-books for babies online.

Nonetheless, a peculiar phenomenon has bubbled to the surface of the shallow mindless future we call the present. Books, in particular children's books, have not only stayed the course. They have been swimming through the digital age as if on a cloud of immortality, taunting technology with the distinguished silence of a twice-bitten cow.

According to various online sources, sales of hard and soft cover fiction novels are holding strong against their electronic counterparts. And whilst e-books are famously known for being easier to access and cheaper, a majority of respondents agree that reading the actual physical copy of a book is far more pleasurable.

But why? Has digital reached its maximum infiltration into our lives? Are people retreating from the intrusion of e-spying? Or do people simply prefer the texture of ink and paper? The smell of new pages? The beauty of these questions is that each person will answer differently.

There will always be a place for digital books, taking on great easy-to-use platforms such as iPads and Kindles. Budding entreprenuers can even make extra pocket money selling other authors books via affiliate networks, allowing customers to bypass actual stores.

However the best place for a nose to be (according to most avid readers) will always be buried between the covers of a fresh smelling page turner of a tale. The product is the same, regardless of if it was purchased online or from a bookstore.

The Proof Is In The Pudding.

The exciting part about all this hoo-ha and ramble is that pieces of literary classic and fiction are not being lost, rather, preserved. Roald Dahl is still the king of telling weird wonderful and wacky adventures, newcomers to the scene such as J.K. Rowling are amassing fans worldwide through physical hardcopies of their stories.

As for the days of concentration camp schools, where education came second to discipline, will the opposite of our generation be paying for the switcheroo of the later and former in the future? That is for the hourglass. All that should be important is the smile on a kids face, lost in adventure.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Summer Reading List - 10 Best Books for Kids

The Adventures of Boochi Malloochi: The Hunt for Treasure

For some students, the academic school year may be over. For some parents, it can provide a battle between summer camp and outdoor sports. But if parents provide exciting materials to read over the summer break, children are more likely to be engaged in learning. As a matter of fact, reading over the summer improves the learned material, prepares children for the upcoming school year and enhances their language skills.

To motivate children to read during the summer, ten books are reviewed according to age group, reading level and moral value. As young as 2 years of age, children can start to develop literacy skills in recognizing vowels and identifying letters. The reading level of all of these books is level 1 or easy-to-read level. The moral message that children learn from the stories is also considered in each review. Many of these books are also available in English and Spanish formats.

1. "Hello Night" by Amy Costales and Mercedes McDonald

Readers learn about a mama and her young boy that crusade the night to be greeted by the moon in different scenarios. From seeing the moon on a lake to meeting the moon through the forest, this mama and her son encounter many adventures before bedtime. This picture book is for ages 2 and up. ISBN: 978-0873589277

2. "Wiggling Pockets" by Pat Mora and Maribel Suarez

When Danny's pet frogs are accidentally released into the house, there were unexpected surprises. The little frogs hop along from Danny's pockets, to under the bed, to his sister's lap and so much more mischief. This picture book is for ages 3 and up. ISBN: 978-0060850470

3. "Skippyjon Jones in the Dog-House" by Judy Schachner

What do Siamese cats like to daydream about? Well, for Skippyjon Jones, he prefers to be a Chihuahua dog, especially when his mother disciplines him. But that does not stop the great Skippito from his adventures with the Chimichangos. Picture book is recommended for ages 4 and up. ISBN: 978-1606864197

4. "My Colors, My World" by Maya Christina Gonzalez

The Mojave Desert can be filled more than just a beige color of the dusty sand. Little Maya finds beautiful colors in this amazing habitat where the air is dry and the heat is intense. This picture book is for ages 4 and up. ISBN: 978-0892392216.

5. "Dear Primo: A Letter to My Cousin" by Duncan Tonatiuh

Writing letters was never easy for this little boy from Mexico. But the task was a little bit easier when he had to communicate by mail with his cousin in America. They learn about each other's culture and language in each letter. Picture book is recommended for ages 4 and up. ISBN: 978-0810938724

6. "Moon Rope" by Lois Ehlert and Amy Prince

Cooperation was never the best skill in Fox and Mole. Each wants to reach the moon in different ways. Could a rope made of woven grass be the common piece for these friends? This folklore tale is recommended for ages 4 and up. ISBN: 978-0152017026

7. "Margarita y Margaret" by Lynn Reiser

How can two girls Margarita that speaks Spanish and Margaret that speaks English play together despite of language barrier? By sharing their culture and language, these two girls find a lasting friendship. This picture book is for ages 3 and up. ISBN: 978-0688122393

8. "The Cazuela That the Farm Maiden Stirred" by Samantha R. Vamos and Rafael Lopez

Cooking rice pudding has never been more appetizing when the whole farm helps the farm maiden get all the ingredients. From the goat to the cow, they all collaborate harmoniously to find the necessary items to make the rice pudding. This award winning picture book is for ages 3 and up. ISBN: 978-1580892421

9. "Dogs! Dogs!" by Ginger Foglesong Guy and Sharon Glick

Readers can learn about opposites in this story about dogs of different shapes and sizes. These dogs have the adventure of a lifetime when they visit the playground, library, school and other exciting places around town. This storybook is recommended for ages 2 and up. ISBN: 978-0060835743

10. "Mouse Paint" by Ellen Stoll Walsh

What does the colors red, blue, yellow, and three white mice have in common? The mice like to mix and discover how primary colors can give secondary colors. This colorful storybook is recommended for ages 2 and up. ISBN: 978-0547333328

Summer reading for children can actually be filled with plenty of good books. These storybooks and picture books can entice those young brain cells to imagine and keep on learning, even during the summer. In fact, summer reading is an activity that children of all ages can enjoy with their parents.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

The Adventures of Boochi Malloochi: The Hunt for Treasure

Heading out to the beach with her family, Boochi is intent on discovering a lost pirate's treasure in the sand. While her dad is supportive and excited, her mom is less than thrilled and believes it's a crazy idea. Little does anyone know that the item she will find will change everything, and open the door to unlimited possibilities. The mystery of the treasure and its history prove to be an adventure that no one could have anticipated.

Mysterious characters and destinations are all part of the road that she will travel, as she learns that each step is planned out and opens new doors at every turn.

Will she be able to keep the treasure, or will pirates attempt to steal it from her?

Boochi possibly couldn't dream of the fortune and luck that is entering her world, all because of one fateful day in the sand.

While she is young, Boochi proves to be a well-mannered child, who is respectful and strong. She is never rude, and is full of witty sarcasm, which she gets from her father. The mom is the serious voice of reason in the house, but rarely has control or a say thanks to Boochi and her dad. Together, they form a wonderful family who will discover how big the world is about to become from the day she finds the treasure.

Just how many roads, and surprises will come next is anyone's guess.

Come take the journey, that will take readers on a wild ride from locations across the world. Each step along the way has been carefully crafted and mapped out, with purpose and direction. The plot thickens and the characters become more involved and intertwined. This new series offers a refreshing perspective on adventure, while combining characters with morals and true family values. It reminds readers that there are still are real people in the world who can rely on family and friends. It also provides an escape into a wonderful world of fantasy, with excitement, mystery and uncertainty. The Adventures of Boochi: The Hunt for Treasure, reminds us to stay young at heart, and to keep dreams alive and pursue them whenever possible. The characters also keeps us in touch with the necessity of solid family values and the power of social interaction. Middle age readers will definitely find inspiration and morals from Boochi and her family, and friends.

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Children's Literature: Books, Fairy Tales, and Fables to Read to Your Children

Children love to be read to! When they are young the more they are involved with literature the better. Before they can read they can listen, watch, and interact with literature through the grownups in their lives. There have been many studies to show that children become better readers when they have been read to before they ever enter school. Being read to at a young age will also help children grow a love of literature that could last throughout their lives. Children will learn that books and reading are important because the grownups in their lives have shared them, and because books and stories have always been a part of their lives. Below is a list of books and stories that I think will be a good place to start sharing with the young people in your life:

· Peter Rabbit by Beatrice Potter

· Little Critter by Mercer Mayer

· Little Bear by Elsa Holmelund Minarik

· Winnie the Pooh by A. A. Milne

· Busy Busy Town by Richard Scarry

· The Princess and the Pea by Hans Christian Anderson

· The Ugly Duckling by Hans Christian Anderson

· The Elves and the Shoemaker by The Brothers Grimm

· The Boy Who Cried Wolf by Aesop

· The Town Mouse and the Country Mouse by Aesop

· The Tortoise and the Hare by Aesop

· The Ant and the Grasshopper by Aesop

· The Lion and the Mouse by Aesop

· The Town Musicians of Bremen by The Brothers Grimm

· The Pied Piper of Hamelin by The Brothers Grimm

· The Most Incredible Thing by Hans Christian Anderson

· Thumbelina by Hans Christian Anderson

· Jack and the Bean Stalk by Joseph Jacobs

· Molly Whuppie by Joseph Jacobs

· The Three Little Pigs by Joseph Jacobs

These are fun stories that children (and grownups) will enjoy sharing with each other. They won't get boring even if you read the some story over and over. When my son was three years old he could recite the story of Peter Rabbit by Beatrice Potter word for word without missing even the smallest word in the story. I had read it to him so many times till he knew it by heart and even though he knew it by heart he still wanted me to read it to him! I did read lots of other stories and books to him but Peter Rabbit was his favorite. I hope you can share lots of books and stories with your young ones and find their favorites... maybe they will one day recite their favorite book or story to you. There are also some really good children's magazines, which I will explore in another article, that have some good stories and fun activities for young children. Have fun reading to your little ones.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Personalized Books - The Best Gifts for Children

Personalized books are a unique sub-category of illustrated literature, whose content is customized to fit the attributes of a real person. Personalized books can be a great tool parents or teachers can utilize to develop the informal or formal reading skills of a a child. It has been a time honored tradition for most parents to go through bedtime stories with their children; which is an apt culmination of each day. These sessions are usually fun-filled, and most children look forward to them. Naturally, this not only establishes a vital bond between the parent and child, but also greatly exposes the child to an exciting learning experience.

By incorporating personalized books into such sessions, parents can go a step further in developing the creativity of children. As these books are customized to suit the child's distinct physical attributes, they can help in building an optimistic self-image. This can boost a child's self-esteem relatively quick, and generally prepares them to face the world with enthusiasm. These books can go a step further in boosting a child's sense of worth as they are constantly regaled by tales of their own heroic escapades. Exposing a child to reading and viewing books based on them invariably grabs their interest, and will definitely motivate them to become avid readers.

These books also enhance the imagination of children, and as the plot of the story develops, they are seemingly 'magically' transported into a fantasy world; of which they occupy the central role, surrounded by their friends and loved ones. This makes reading more appealing to children as it heightens their perception of their immediate world. Most children will definitely enjoy such story sessions, and as all these books carry a positive moral theme, they are an extremely wonderful tool in instilling the right social norms in a child.

For the younger children, the right exposure to such texts can play a significant role in developing the basic reading skills such as spelling their names or expanding their vocabulary. This goes a long way in boosting their confidence and enhancing their learning experience. Personalized books can also be applied in the formal education setting as they can be efficiently applied to hone a child's creative and artistic senses by fueling their often hyperactive imagination in a positive direction.

These books are skillfully written, and contain excellent learning aids such as rhymes that children can easily assimilate, and retain through frequent practice with their peers. This makes the learning experience more interactive and interesting to children. As children grow up they usually retain cherished memories of their childhood, and with time, this can determine their adulthood traits. Thus, these books are a great way of storing and safeguarding such memories.