Holidays

Cheetah Love: More Than Critter Couture

by On February 4, 2014 in Childrens Books, General, Holidays, Reading

She loves cheetah prints for a reason! Credit: Diana Dull Akers

She loves cheetah prints for a reason!
Credit: Diana Dull Akers

If you’re the parent of a young girl, you’ve probably noticed that cheetah, leopard and zebra print designs are everywhere on kids’ clothing, backpack and shoes. I’ve never been a fan of the animal print look, but my 6-year old Hope assures me it is “definitely cool” to be sporting spots and stripes at school. And for her, the cheetah print reigns supreme.

What makes me smile is that my kid’s love for cheetah couture is not fueled by a goal of being cool or fashion forward. Nope, Hope’s inspiration comes from her love of actual cheetahs, a passion inspired by books and educational programming.

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Celebrate Chinese New Year

by On January 29, 2014 in Childrens Books, Holidays, Reading, Recipes

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<a href="http://www.infoplease.com/spot/chinesenewyear1.html" target="_blank">Chinese New Year</a> is celebrated on January 31 this year, and marks the beginning of the Chinese year 4712. The Chinese calendar is based on the lunar calendar, with the new year beginning on the darkest day of the month. New years celebrations often go as long as two weeks, until the next full moon. And a celebratory holiday it is, with red decorations, good-luck gifts of oranges and money, parades with dragon dances and firecrackers, and special foods.

<a href="http://bookboard.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/01/Chinese1.jpg"><img class="size-medium wp-image-5825 " alt="Chinese New Year" src="http://bookboard.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/01/Chinese1-300×197.jpg" width="300" height="197" /></a> Credit: Wikimedia Commons

This year is the Year of the Horse. See a <a href="http://www.chinesenewyears.info/chinese-new-year-calendar.php" target="_blank">Chinese zodiac calendar</a>.? Try one of these fun Chinese New Year crafts or activities:<!–more–>
<ul>
<li><a href="http://artchoo.com/chinese-new-year-activities/" target="_blank">Chinese horse character writing and painting</a> from Artchoo</li>
<li><a href="http://www.craftiments.com/2014/01/chinese-new-year-paper-cutting-for-kids.html" target="_blank">Year of the Horse paper cutting</a> from Craftiments</li>
<li><a href="http://www.teachkidsart.net/gung-hey-fat-choy-happy-chinese-new/" target="_blank">Paper dragon</a> from Kids Teach Art</li>
<li><a href="http://craftsandartforchildren.blogspot.com/2012/01/chinese-new-year-party-crafts-for-kids.html" target="_blank">Paper Plate drums</a> from Crafts and Art for Children</li>
<li><a href="http://www.slowfamilyonline.com/2014/01/gung-hay-fat-choy-happy-chinese-new-year" target="_blank">Paper lanterns</a> from Slow Family Online</li>
<li><a href="http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/gale-gand/fortune-cookies-recipe/index.html" target="_blank">Homemade fortune cookies</a> from Food Network</li>
<li><a href="http://www.recipebyphoto.com/fruit-roll-up-fortune-cookies/" target="_blank">Fruit roll-up fortune cookies</a> from Recipe by Photo</li>
<li><a href="http://www.marthastewart.com/273591/felt-fortune-cookies" target="_blank">Felt fortune cookies</a> from Martha Stewart</li>
</ul>
Of course, there are plenty of books to help you celebrate and learn about Chinese New Year and other cultural holidays from around the world.

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Gung Hay Fat Choy! Happy New Year!

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Kids and MLK Day – 1 Reflection, 4 Resources

by On January 20, 2014 in General, Holidays

Kindergarten art for MLK Day Credit: Diana Dull Akers

Kindergarten art for MLK Day
Credit: Diana Dull Akers

I saved the Martin Luther King Day projects my daughter Hope did in kindergarten last year. For one, they are endearing. There’s the construction paper portrait of King with crazy huge eyes, or her best-penmanship statement at age 5 that she dreamt of a world where people wouldn’t litter.

But I’ll also save these — and future MLK Day projects — ?because they chronicle my daughter’s emerging understanding of challenging topics. What will she understand about King’s legacy at age 8, 10, or 15?

Last month, we explored an outdoor MLK art installation in San Francisco. There were King quotes etched in stone and photos of the 1963 March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom.

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Sweet Holidays: From Divinity to Flaming Snowballs

by On January 2, 2014 in General, Holidays, Recipes

Making divinity Credit: Lance Cpl. Jonathan G. Wright via Wikimedia Commons

Making divinity
Credit: Lance Cpl. Jonathan G. Wright via Wikimedia Commons

As a child, I used to love hanging out in my grandmother’s large, gleaming white kitchen. Helping her bake and cook was always fun, but I was also on a mission to get into the walk-in pantry.

It housed the canned and dried goods you’d expect, but also a special round, red tin. It once held commercial cookies, but was now used for Grandma’s superior efforts: dainty sugar cookies, rich date nut bars, dark chocolate fudge. The item I longed for most only appeared at the holidays: grandma’s divinity.

These imperfectly shaped white mounds of velvety, sugary goodness were like no other candy I’d ever had. I used to call them “sweet clouds.”

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What Stands Out from Your “Year in Review?”

by On December 30, 2013 in General, Holidays

It’s that time of year when the folks at Facebook create for their users a “year in review” montage, presumably highlighting the most important photos we’ve posted all year.

Each year generates milestone photo ops. Credit: Diana Dull Akers

Each year generates milestone photo ops.
Credits: Diana Dull Akers

While their highlight reel doesn’t match mine, it was still a fun walk down memory lane, and as I viewed the images, I noticed something. The photos that mattered most to me depicted simple, every day life moments with my family.

Sure, I loved looking at special event photos. My daughter’s first day of school was so memorable for us both, and we have wonderful photos from holiday?gatherings, birthdays and summer vacation.

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Nursing the Holiday Hangover: Share a Story Together

by On December 26, 2013 in General, Holidays

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It’s a familiar scene in many households. The post-gift giving carnage and communal exhale after the expectations for the winter holiday season have been released, and we find that while we may be rich in family, friends, egg nog, chocolate and leftovers, not much has changed. New socks, new soap, new dongles and doohickeys may occupy ?our physical spaces, but while things are probably messier, they remain almost the same, despite the frantic preparations and stress of the holidays. To what end?<!–more–>

The kids have thoroughly exhausted and probably abandoned the wrapping paper wasteland, the tree is leaning a little too far to the right and we can finally turn the damn Christmas Carols off. We are experiencing the post-gift-giving let down, and hair-of-the-dogging ourselves through the holiday hangover. Some of us get downright depressed, some of us start jonesing for school and work to resume, and some of us just keep the party rocking til New Years.

<a href="http://bookboard.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/12/IMG_2659.jpg"><img src="http://bookboard.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/12/IMG_2659-300×199.jpg" alt="IMG_2659" width="300" height="199" class="alignright size-medium wp-image-5666" /></a>

Whatever your proclivities or inclinations during this time of year, however, one thing remains constant. The most precious time we can spend together as a species, let alone as families and friends, is in the act of sharing stories. Sitting around a table playing cards, digging out a board game, going for a late night walk, learning to knit or cuddling up on the couch to read together are all ways to foster the sharing of stories, fiction or non-fiction, personal or produced, from one person to another. We often don’t really NEED new things at this overly commercial time of year, and while it feels good to get a really thoughtful gift from someone, the novelty invariably wears off and we resume our state of equilibrium as it existed before.

Stories don’t gather dust, don’t go out of style and they feel like a relaxing balm to our hyper-scheduled psyches. Forget about that bit of scotch tape that’s stuck on the carpet, grab a loved one and share a story together. It’s the best gift we can ever give one another.

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12 Days of Bookboard

by On December 24, 2013 in Childrens Books, Holidays, Reading, Releases

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Our 12 Days of Bookboard are drawing to a close. We’ve really enjoyed sharing our special holiday selections with you. Over the 12 Days, we’ve featured books that reveal the wonder of winter (<a href="http://share.bookboard.com/shelves/bb_3ed4a80e146107d725acb/index.html?selectedBookID=245" target="_blank">Cub’s First Winter</a>, <a href="http://share.bookboard.com/shelves/bb_3ed4a80e146107d725acb/index.html?selectedBookID=313" target="_blank">Under the Snow</a>, <a href="http://share.bookboard.com/shelves/bb_3ed4a80e146107d725acb/index.html?selectedBookID=316" target="_blank">About Penguins</a>, <a href="http://share.bookboard.com/shelves/bb_3ed4a80e146107d725acb/index.html?selectedBookID=244" target="_blank">Winter Trees</a>) light-hearted books that take Santa and Tractor Mac on new holiday adventures (<a href="http://share.bookboard.com/shelves/bb_3ed4a80e146107d725acb/index.html?selectedBookID=473" target="_blank">Santa Retires</a>, <a href="http://share.bookboard.com/shelves/bb_3ed4a80e146107d725acb/index.html?selectedBookID=472" target="_blank">Santa’s New Jet</a>, <a href="http://share.bookboard.com/shelves/bb_3ed4a80e146107d725acb/index.html?selectedBookID=288" target="_blank">Tractor Mac Saves Christmas</a>), books that introduce international folk tales (<a href="http://share.bookboard.com/shelves/bb_3ed4a80e146107d725acb/index.html?selectedBookID=460" target="_blank">The Boy and the North Wind</a>, <a href="http://share.bookboard.com/shelves/bb_3ed4a80e146107d725acb/index.html?selectedBookID=243" target="_blank">Little Red Elf</a>), and books about the joy, warmth, traditions and meaning of the season (<a href="http://share.bookboard.com/shelves/bb_3ed4a80e146107d725acb/index.html?selectedBookID=431" target="_blank">May All Children</a>, <a href="http://share.bookboard.com/shelves/bb_3ed4a80e146107d725acb/index.html?selectedBookID=246" target="_blank">When I Dream of Christmas</a>, <a href="http://share.bookboard.com/shelves/bb_3ed4a80e146107d725acb/index.html?selectedBookID=142" target="_blank">We Share One World</a>).

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Thank you for joining us on our journey through the 12 Days of Bookboard. We wish you a very happy holiday season and new year, with plenty of reading, family warmth, and traditions of your own.

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From “Summer Slide” to “Holiday Hiccup”

by On December 23, 2013 in Childrens Books, General, Holidays, Reading

Have winter fun and avoid the holiday hiccup. Credit: Karpati Gabor, morguefile.com. http://mrg.bz/7eeVww.

Have winter fun and avoid the holiday hiccup.
Credit: Karpati Gabor, morguefile.com. http://mrg.bz/7eeVww.

Six months ago, everyone was talking about “the summer slide” and how to combat the effects of kids’ learning loss when school lets out.

Now it’s time to think about summer slide’s lesser known counterpart: the “holiday hiccup.”

Parents of young kids feel it coming. Winter?break is only a few short weeks, but just like in summer, things turn upside down, from sleep schedules and daily routines to kids’ energy levels. And just as they did in summer, kids will insist, “no school work, I’m on a break!”?The problem is, for many kids, even a few weeks’ break can result in learning setbacks mid-school year, often just as progress is being made.

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What are Your Family Holiday Traditions?

by On December 20, 2013 in Holidays, Reading

winter_snowman

Photo: Susan Sachs Lipman

For many families, the winter holidays are a time of special rituals and traditions. When we celebrate the changing seasons and the holidays that mark them, we elevate the sacred from the everyday, the way people have done for thousands of years. At the same time, we strengthen our own family bonds by adding to our unique family memory banks.

Winter holidays are also a time when families tend to spend quality time together during school vacations and longer nights. For my family that often means more time to settle into our favorite books. We love to read by the fire and anywhere else in each other’s company. I asked my compatriots at Bookboard to share some of their beloved family holiday traditions and memories as well.

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What could you buy with $54.99?

by On December 18, 2013 in Childrens Books, General, Holidays, Reading

5499graphic1

You’re on a holiday budget. What could you buy for $54.99?

  • A half pair of running shoes
  • 1 tank of gas plus snacks from the mini mart
  • 2 extra large pizzas plus tips for the delivery dude
  • 3 movie tickets plus refreshments (priced a tub of movie popcorn lately?)
  • 4 novelty t-shirts
  • 5 nothing-special bottles of wine
  • 10 large café mochas plus a bagel or two at your favorite java joint
  • 400 plus wonderful fiction and non-fiction books for kids and parents to enjoy all year long, whenever the mood to read strikes

Ooh, that last one sounds good, doesn’t it?

The gift of reading is priceless (and affordable)

The gift of reading is priceless (and affordable)

And that’s exactly?what you’d be offering the kids and families on your list with a Bookboard gift card. We’ve had Bookboard in our home for a year. Our daughter has read 281 books to date, worth the equivalent of $2464 in book?purchases. From a budgetary perspective, such a bargain! From a parent’s perspective, watching our kid stay motivated in the face of reading challenges? As they say in the ad biz, priceless.

So how did you spend your last $54.99?
 

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