They love books and they have started to read.
As they keep growing, finding them books with balance is based in part on memories...
And in part on new discoveries.
The boundaries shift and change as the children grow, as time passes.
The quest remains the same...
To read books that open doors to both the real world and to the world of fantasy and imagination.
"The children in the photo are beneficiaries of LitWorld, a non-profit literacy organization fostering resilience, hope, and joy through the power of story. Worldwide,at least 793 million remain illiterate. By 2014 LitWorld will help one million children to read. - See more at: LitWorld
Children as Heroes in the Brother's Grimm
Seth Lerer, reading and reviewing Phillip Pullman's book retelling the stories of the Brother's Grimm, finds heroes for young readers that relate to real life.
"Reading through this selection, we come to realize just how many of the Grimms' "Tales" were about the family. These are stories of parents challenged by rural poverty, of husbands and wives fighting over who's in charge, of craftsmen who, for all their skill, cannot reshape their worlds. The "once upon a time" here is a time of fishermen who get no fish, of shoemakers too poor to purchase leather, of unsuccessful millers and subsistence woodsmen. Many of these stories are tales of failed fathers who must make devilish deals to keep their children or, at worst, send them away.
And in those children, we may find true heroes...."
Here is the link to read more: Lerer
Seth Lerer is dean of arts and humanities at UC San Diego. He won the 2009 National Book Critics Circle Award in Criticism for Children's Literature: A Readers' History From Aesop to Harry Potter. I have just begun reading this book.
Lerner's latest book is a memoir: Prospero's Son: Life, Love, Books and Theater.
Quotes from E.B. White
"Don't write about Man; write about a man."
"Never hurry and never worry."
Why Kids Should Read About War
By Claire Kirch
Suzanne Collins, author of the powerful and extremely successful Hunger Games Trilogy (including Catching Fire and Mockingjay) participated in a panel discussion about war at Book Expo A 2013. Her comments about her childhood memories when her father was in Vietnam provide insights into her latest book as well as the Hunger Games Triilogy. Here is an excerpt (and link from the report by Claire Kirch...
"Collins, whose picture book, Year of the Jungle: Memories from the Home Front, is based
her sixth year (1968), when her father went to Vietnam, talked about its impact upon her young self. For instance, her initial perceptions of the jungle being filled with friendly animals changed into fear for her father as time passed. James Proimos, who illustrated Year of the Jungle, used for inspiration objects Collins saved from that year, including postcards and letters, such as a card from her father that ended with the chilling words, "Pray for me." Collins also interviewed her siblings in writing the book, including her older sister, who was 12 at the time. It was a book that she has long wanted to write, but did not know how to conceptualize until she discussed with Proimos collaborating on the project...
'A realistic sense of what war is about is essential on so many levels,' she said. 'If kids don't understand conflict, how can we expect them to know how to resolve conflicts?" She credits her father with "integrating" an understanding of war into her and her siblings' lives after he returned from Viet Nam...' "
Here is the link to read it all: War
Dogs On Call... In the great Northwest, a land where
water,mountains,and forest create a world of awsome natural beauty, people of all ages benefit from the work of therapy dogs. In the great Northwest, Dogs On Call trains, certifies and coordinates the efforts of 16 teams (with 2 volunteers who don't own dogs) sending dogs into a wide variety of situations where they can help to heal, support and motivate.
Deborah Hall, a co-founder (2006) with Sarah Broderick, informed me recently of their expanded services. Once again, I find myself awed and grateful for the wonderful work performed by therapy dog organizations like Dogs On Call. Here is an excerpt from her comments:
with children now includes programs in special needs classrooms at the
elementary, middle, and high school levels concentrating on specific activities
customized for each child's challenges (as directed by therapists and
staff), as well as continuing and expanding our work with individual
therapists and their patients in Skagit Valley Hospital Children’s Therapy
Department, Valley Kids Pediatric Therapy
practice, and SPARC (www.sparckids.org/).
We also have just completed our first year in partnership with Early Learning centers (preschools, day care centers, Head Start programs, etc.) in a program based on 'journaling' designed to help improve literacy/reading by starting at an earlier age than normal. And of course we are still in local libraries, Boys and Girls Clubs, and a summer program for low-income students with Tales for Tails programs...
And, of course, we continue to provide visitation to nursing homes, adult daycare, long-term care, and other elder care facilities." Website: www.DogsOnCall.wix.com/DogsOnCall... the top photo is of Geoffrey and Sophie; the bottom photo is of Lukas visiting Fidalgo Elementary School, Anacortes, WA
Deborah and Donna Vaquer have written and published The Rainbow Series, true stories and photos for kids about the adventures and very special world of therapy dogs. There are 11 books in the series. Here is the link: Rainbow
Breezes From Wonderland
MARIA TATAR'S FORUM FOR STORYTELLING, FOLKLORE, AND CHILDREN'S LITERATURE
Disney Princesses Ranked
Here’s a quick summary of the virtues and flaws of Disney Princesses. It shows real progress in moving from sweet docility to adventurous feistiness. Is it time to make a new version of Snow White, now that we are approaching her 100th anniversary? Well, still a few years to go, but she is already in her 70s.
The Link will take you to MOVIEPHONE where all the Disney princesses are ranked with photos of each one...
Disney Princesses: Ranking Merida, Snow White & More as Role Models
"Every year it seems there's a new controversy about the Disney Princesses -- whether it's Peggy Orenstein's scathing indictment of pink-princess mania in the book "Cinderella Ate My Daughter" or the newest kerfuffle over "Brave's" Princess Merida and her makeover from scrappy, wild-haired archer into a sexified Scottish babe.
Disney unveiled the curvier, older-looking rendition of Merida in time for the Pixar character's official "coronation" as a Disney Princess on May 11 -- angering not only many fans but the movie's writer and co-director, Brenda Chapman.
The Academy Award-winning animator, who based Merida's look on her own daughter, Emma, told the Marin Independent Journal that Disney's "makeover" was "a blatantly sexist marketing move based on money." The Merida makeover sparked such a backlash that Disney has since stated the stylized version was a one-off to celebrate the coronation (as well as a limited-edition set of merchandise), and that the official website and future depictions will continue to show the younger Merida"....Here, again, is the link for the rest of the article and the Princess Rankings
After backlash to the new Miranda, Disney has now removed the curvier, older looking Princess from it's website. Here's the link: Controversy
Man's best friend heals emotional and psychological wounds.
"Paws for Purple Hearts builds on the time-honored tradition of Veterans assisting other Veterans. It helps heal our returning combat Veterans by teaching those with psychological scars, including Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), to train service dogs for their comrades with combat-related injuries."
"Under the guidance of PPH instructors, service members engage with specially-bred Golden and Labrador Retriever puppies. Together they undergo an intensive 18-to-24-month service dog training regimen—learning more than 90 commands–while the veterans reintegrate into civilian life. Once training is complete, the service dogs are given to veterans who have sustained mobility-limiting injuries. These service dogs reside for the rest of their lives with their new owners.
Since PPH’s inception, service dog training and connections have directly impacted hundreds of veterans’ lives."
Here is an excellent video about their wonderful work -- Link: PawsforPurpleHearts; also, an ABC documentary report, Back from the Brink, profiled the story of Steve More...“I was helpless,
emotionally set down and I had no idea where life was taking me,” said Steve Moore. Moore, 32, served two tours in Iraq and spent four and half years in the Army. He was discharged in 2006 and had a wife, two sons, and a decent job, he said. But he was seriously troubled and into trouble. The marriage fell apart and he lost custody of his boys. He ended up in court"...
Here is the link to see Steve and learn about his recovery: Steve All of the photos are from Paws Foe Purple Hearts website.
Far from Disney...Snow White and the Huntsman
Fairy Tales and Mythology change and evolve with time and Disney put his own
versions out... softened and sweetened from the original fairy tales of the Grimm brothers and others.... in order to find the broadest acceptance of his films in the marketplace for kids.
Now we have films released -- especially in this current era of rapid change and
exceptional earnings at the box office -- that put their own caste on traditional Fairy Tales. And the balance tips the other way, to fear and the darkside.
If the young audiences that loved the original Disney film sees this version of Snow White, they will encounter darkness, evil, frightening fantasy, and awesome computer-based effects of magical events.
If you haven't seen this current version of Snow White, here is a link to an exciting and relentless trailer/preview: Snow White and the Huntsman
The film opened a year ago...the box office was huge, and reviews were somewhat mixed...Here is the opening of Betsy Sharkey's excellent review in the Los Angeles Times...
Forget fair, 'Snow White and the Huntsman' is fierce..."Snow White and the Huntsman,"starring a fierce Kristen Stewart and an even fiercer Charlize Theron as warring sides of good and evil, is a baroque enchantment filled with dazzling darkness, desultory dwarfs, demonic trolls and beastly fairies. It is an absolute wonder to watch and creates a warrior princess for the ages. But what this revisionist fairy tale does not give us is a passionate love — its kisses are as chaste as the snow is white.
Here is a link to read the entire review:Betsy Sharkey
And Speaking of Balance!!!
Here are more Breezes from Wonderland...
wherein Maria Tatar visits White Snow, an installation derived from Snow White and totally lacking balance...
" I went to Paul McCarthy’s White Snow installation prepared to like it. Disney’s Snow White is now over 75, and who can blame the art world for wanting to engage in a take-down of what has to be the iconic fairy-tale figure, the girl who represents everything wrong with once upon a time? Cheerful, cute, and infatuated with good housekeeping, Snow White also becomes an exhibitionist, her beauty on display as she awaits the kiss from Prince Charming...
I’m the first to admit that there is a Gothic dark side to fairy tales. White Snow distorts and deforms the confections of mass culture to represent, in graphic terms, the violence and dysfunctionality lurking beneath the surface of the nuclear family and its domestic shrines.
Read it all: White Snow
Maria Tatar teaches Children's Literature at Harvard; among her many books is the excellent Enchanted Heroes, the Power of Stories in Childhood. I am currently reading this book.
The Planet of the Dogs Series for Kids and Dog Lovers
Long, long, ago, there were no dogs on Planet Earth.
There was plenty of space in those days.There were rolling hills and open plains with plants growing everywhere. There were clear lakes and cool streams with lots of fish. There were fields and woods with game to hunt. Many people settled in these places of abundance and prospered.
And then there came a time when the abundance and happiness found on Planet Earth was threatened by people like the warrior tribes. Their numbers began to grow and soon they were taking the homes, land, and farms where peaceful people lived. They had forgotten how to love.
Where once there had been harmony and friendship, there was now fear, anger, and unhappiness. Something had to be done -- but what could anybody do? No one knew it at that time, but help would come from far, far away, from the Planet of the Dogs...
The illustration is from Snow Valley Heroes, A Christmas Tale, Volume 3 in the Planet Of The Dogs Series.
Deanna Leah of HBG Productions will represent Barking Planet Productions at the huge Frankfurt Book Fair in October.
Because she has developed long-standing relationships with international publishers over the years, and because we are very pleased with the work she has done for us, we are delighted that the Planet Of The Dogs series will be among the "life affirming and empowering books" that she will represent.
Deanna believes in her clients, works one on one with publishers, and has a dog named Izzy. She also speaks German. Need I say more?.
The illustration if from the Chinese version of the Planet Of The Dogs, scheduled for publication this summer by Bejing Chongxianguan Book Company.
Preventing Lost and Stolen Dogs Here's another timely article for dog lovers from Nancy at Way Cool Dogs
A growing issue among dog owners is lost and stolen dogs. Each year, the number of these dogs increase, and that does not account for disaster situations. This is possibly due to the fact that many dogs have a financial value that money-minded thieves use to their benefit. Unfortunately, this money value never makes up for the value of lost companionship.
It is every dog owner’s responsibility to ensure their dog’s safety. To do this, it’s important to understand what precautions are necessary and steps to take when your companion is stolen or lost....Read it all at Way Cool Dogs
‘The Fall of Arthur,’ by J. R. R. Tolkien
For those interestewd in Tolkien, Andrew O'hehir has written an excellent and most insightful article about a previously unpublished work of the man who gave us Lord of the Rings. Here are two excerpts...
"Even in its fragmentary and unfinished form — about 40 pages of text, a bit more than
four cantos of what was evidently intended to be a much longer narrative poem — “The Fall of Arthur” is recognizably the work of J. R. R. Tolkien, veteran of the Great War and future author of “The Lord of the Rings.”
Later in the article, after quoting a section of the poem describing the dark forms of grim riders in the sky, O'hehir writes...
"That sounds less like a foe to be found among the Germanic tribes of early medieval Europe than like the fell hosts of Sauron, riding forth from Mordor with the dreaded Nazgûl leading the way on their winged steeds. Arthur wins great victories, but his campaign of eastern conquest, and indeed the whole poem, is shot through with a characteristic Tolkienian sadness, that sense of a golden age of magic and wonder that is sliding into the sunset. This is found throughout his works — “The Lord of the Rings” is specifically such a story — and may be derived, as many have supposed, from Tolkien’s experiences seeing so many of his generation die in the trenches of Belgium..."
Here is the link to read it all: O'Hehir'
...In the Classroom, Reading Together and Alone
Monica Edinger, an informed and caring teacher (4th grade), spoke from the heart when she wrote about kids reading in the classroom. Here is an excerpt from her blog...
...''And so I feel strongly that we teachers should do the occasional novel unit — one where the class becomes a community, helping each other in an exploration of a particular work of literature.
Turn the class into a book club like the ones we participate in as adults. The kids can then experience the book together, responding to it in real time, exclaiming, becoming choked up, being surprised when someone he/she doesn’t know has the same response to a particular moment, gaining insight from another peer, and so forth. Reading the same book for school is, to my mind, a social experience not one done in solitude. I do this with the books I read aloud, but I also do it with books the kids read. This year we started the year reading Charlotte’s Web together and ended in literature circles with The One and Only Ivan. Loving each book by itself, finding wonderful images and pieces of writing, seeing connections between the two — all of this and more made both experiences exhilarating ones. .."
Here is the link to read it all: Reading Together and Alone
"The most beautiful things in the world cannot be seen or touched, they are felt with the heart.”
“Well, I must endure the presence of a few caterpillars if I wish to become acquainted with the butterflies.”
"All grown-ups were once children... but only few of them remember it.”
“The proof that the little prince existed is that he was charming, that he laughed, and that he was looking for a sheep. If anybody wants a sheep, that is a proof that he exists.”
The Planet Of The Dogs Series
The importance of children's books in opening the mind to the door of life and the world of imagination is beyond measure. The importance of a dog in the life of a child is also beyond measure. It was from thoughts like these that the Planet Of The Dogs Series evolved.
Read sample chapters of all the books in the Planet Of The Dogs series by clicking here:Sample Chapters
Our books are available through your favorite independent bookstore or via Barnes & Noble, Amazon, Powell's...
Librarians, teachers, bookstores...Order Planet Of The Dogs, Castle In The Mist, and Snow Valley Heroes, A Christmas Tale, through Ingram with a full professional discount.
Therapy reading dog owners, librarians and teachers with therapy reading dog programs -- you can write us at firstname.lastname@example.org and we will send you free reader copies from the Planet of the Dogs Series.
Read Dog Books to Dogs....Ask any therapy reading dog: "Do you like it when the the kids read dog books to you?"
The map is from Castle In The Mist, Volume 2 in the Planet Of The Dogs series
Barking Planet Productions also publishes wonderful and unique dog books
for adult dog lovers. These books are written by dog advocate C.A. Wulff. Her memoir, Circling the Waggins, is a saga of life in a cabin in the woods where woman's best friend brings light and positive life-change to the author..."Living in a rugged log ccabin in a National Park can be challenging for two women, especially when one has physical limitations and the other's mental illness is a wilderness of it's own...but even asthe two women care for, and say goodbye to, longtime comapnion animals, a pack of misfit dogs enter their lives to keep them grounded. The couple find a new awareness and understanding of the experience of living." This link is to more books by Wulff.
Bedtime With Puritans and Wild Things
Public Library’s ‘ABC of It’ Looks at Children’s Books
After reading Edward Rothstein's reviw, I would very much like to see this new, multifaceted exhibit that apparently takes you into the world of chiltren's literature. Here is an excerpt:
"The show’s nearly 250 books and artifacts are so intelligently woven together by the curator, Leonard S. Marcus, that you make your way through them with a mixture of eager pleasure and focused attentiveness. Even unaccompanied by a child, you can pluck books from the shelves to read in certain galleries. And when you use a mounted iPad to create a fairy tale or to sample Hans Christian Andersen, you realize that you are using a technology that may already be displacing these hallowed artifacts..."
Here is the link to read it all: EXHIBIT
“The ABC of It: Why Children’s Books Matter” runs through March 23 at the New York Public Library, nypl.org.
From the NEW YORKER
KAFKA FOR KIDS
The title of this review certainly got my attention... Kafka fan Kelsey Osgood gives a positive review to this "terrifying" new book and discusses the ability of kids to handle it. I have some questions about her conclusions. Here is an excerpt ....
POSTED BY KELSEY OSGOOD...
From A Review by author and dog lover C.A. Wulff
-- A book that is not in Balance for kids
..."‘Flawed Dogs’ is probably not any more horrifying than many of Grimm’s Fairy Tales, which children throughout the ages have seemed to navigate without developing any long-term neurosis...but…, the story is just horrible. " Link: FlawedDogs
For answers, examples, true stories and more, visit Sunbear Squad...Let the experience of compassionate dog lovers guide you...free Wallet Cards & Pocket Posters, Informative and practical guidance...Visit SunBear Squad
"Dogs laugh, but they laugh with their tails."
-- Max Eastman