Therapy reading dogs are helping millions of kids to loose their fear of reading and opening the door to a world of imagination and learning
We believe that dogs can also teach kids about unconditional love...
Kids can learn about courage and loyalty from dogs.
Dogs have healing qualities that reach people of all ages.
These incredible abilities of dogs are the foundation for the Planet Of The Dogs books.
The master story teller, Hayo Miyzaki writes, draws, and directs wonderful movies. They have all been produced by Ghibli Studios which he co-founded 25 years ago.
Fairy tales, folklore,and myths evolve with time and embrace everything from the cruelty of the Brothers Grimm to the happy endings of Disney. In Miyazaki's work, there are central themes and fantastic images that are woven into his wonderful films.
There is always hope...even when facing the unknown in a changed world.
Central characters may be flawed, but the good side is stronger in the end.
The world of the fantastic is always nearby.
Miyazaki's work transcends cultures. His audiences, young and old, are enthusiastic and often deeply involved in their journey to Miyazaki's world. Here, for example, is an excerpt from a review by A.O. Scott, highly regarded movie critic of the New York Times...
..."Admirers of his work, which is wildly imaginative, emotionally intense and surpassingly gentle, will find much to appreciate in this film because it demonstrates, once again, his visual ingenuity and his sensitivity as a storyteller. For newcomers to his world, "Howl's Moving Castle" is a fitting introduction to one of modern cinema's great enchanters..." Link AO Scott-
Miyazaki writes the stories and scripts for his films. Howl's Moving Castle, however, was inspired by and adapted from the well regarded book by the late British author, Diana Wynne Jones. Ms Jones did not have input or involvement in the creation of the movie. However, after Miyazki visited her in England for a private viewing of the finished film, she made the following comments: "It's fantastic. No, I have no input. I write books, not films...a fantastic film." Diana Wynne Jones was delighted with the film.
At the time that the film was in production, the USA had started the Iraq war. Much of Howl's Moving Castle takes place during a war, and was intended by Miyazake, a pacifist, as a form of protest against war.
Howl's Moving Castle is an exceptional adventure on any level and like Spirited Away, another favorite of mine, must be seen for one to fully understand the extraordinary experiences that his films provide. The two films are very different. Spirited Away is a fantastic adventure of survival for a young girl trapped in an elaborate vacation land for spirits after her parents have been turned into pigs.The girl on the dragon (below) is from this film.
We salute the amazing Hiyao Miyazaki and his extraordinary 25 years of creativity at Studio Ghibli.
Here is a wonderful brief trailer/preview that will transport you to another land, to the land of Howl's Moving Castle,
Interview at UC Berkeley "The Berkeley Japan Prize is a lifetime achievement award from the Center for Japanese Studies to an individual who has made significant contributions in furthering the understanding of Japan on the global stage." In this interview, Miyazake is modest, humorous, and gives thoughtful answers to questions.
Here is the link to see a brief video on the making of Spirited Away
YouTube has a multitude of examples of Miyazake's work.
His newest film, The Wind Is Rising will open in Japan this July.
Miyazaki's Influence...world literature
" In the last decades of the twentieth century, Japanese anime and manga so recast the pictorial imagination of the child that it is almost impossible to think of children's books, fims , cartoons and graphic narratives without seeing images from Pokemon or the work of Hayao Miyazaki. Children's literature, in short, is world literature..."
-- Seth Lerer, Children's Literature, A Reader's History from Aesop to Harry Potter...Lerner's latest book is a memoir: Prospero's Son: Life, Love, Books and Theater.
"You have brains in your head. You have feet in your shoes. You can steer yourself any direction you choose. You're on your own. And you know what you know. And YOU are the one who'll decide where to go...”
Dr. Seuss - Oh, the Places You'll Go
The Warrior Canine Connection...Healing Veterans through the human canine bond...a therapy for the 21st century...
Combat veterans with severe emotional damage -- PTSD -- are healed, where drugs and other treatments fail, through the human canine connection...here is an excerpt from the Warrior Canine Connection website:
"Warrior Canine Connection TM meets the needs of service members with both physical and psychological injuries. Our trainers who work with the dogs are combat veterans suffering from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), and our clients who receive the dogs are veterans who have sustained mobility-limiting injuries and who need assistance to tackle everyday activities.
Our trainers work one-on-one with our specially bred Golden and Labrador Retrievers. They
are guided by certified service dog instructors through an intensive training regimen specifically designed to be an effective rehabilitation therapy for Post Traumatic Stress and other psychological wounds. Working as a trainer gives these vets an opportunity to serve their fellow “Wounded Warriors” and to regain a tangible sense of purpose."
The WCC program also offers a career path for Veterans who wish to become certified service dog trainers."
To visit their website and see their video is a rewarding and enlightening experience:
Dogs Welcoming Soldiers Home (2:33): JOY
A Life Full Of Possibilities....
On 9/11, a 23 year old woman, Brooke Jackman, died in the terrorist attack -- an attack by men who believe in murdering those who disagree with their desire for power. Men who believed that women should be controlled, subservient and illiterate.
In response, Brooke Jackman's family have created a dedicated non-profit organization, the Brooke Jackman Foundation, which brings free books -- over 200,000 thus far -- and reading programs to disadvantaged children in the New York area.
This is from their vision statement: ..."every single child is entitled to a life full of possibilities...We know that children are our future, and unless they are taken care of in their early years, the possibility of their contribution to society is less viable. We hope to lessen the achievement gap, helping each child to reach his or her potential."
This is their mission statement: "Our mission is to create and support programs enhancing the literacy and self-esteem of disadvantaged children and their families in and around the New York area..."
To learn more about their outstanding work, click this link: BJF
This link will take you to a video of their 2012 Read-A-Thon: Brooke Jackman
Go Dog Go....Christopher Lowe wrote a fascinating article about his deep childhood connection to Go Dog Go, P.D. Eastman's book of the world of dogs doing everything. It speaks to the power of books in a child's life. Here is an excerpt...
"...I think there’s probably something else in the mix, though. It’s true that we approach entertainment for some level of escapism, but the way that we dig into certain works veers away from escapism and into a sort of personal engagement, a connection between our inner lives and the words
on the page. I can’t be sure, but I think I may remember Go Dog, Go! because it wasn’t escapism for me. Twenty-some-odd years later I read Cormac McCarthy’s great novel The Road. I read it while my wife was pregnant with our daughter, and it affected me deeply. That book, like Go Dog, Go! allowed me to engage something that was happening with me on an internal level. In the case of these two books, what it engaged was a deep fear – of dogs in the one, of the perils of protecting a child from the hardness of the world in the other...
Sometimes, even when reading feels like escapism, it’s really connection...
My fear of dogs didn’t last. I came around with the help of my aunt, uncle, and their two dogs – Sunshine and Champ – when I was eight or nine. When I visited them, when I quite literally confronted my fears, I broke loose of that early part of my life..." Here is the link to read it all: Friends Of Atticus; Here is the link to Christopher's site: Christopher