Category Archives: technology

Books for Sad and Scary Times…Redux

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The news provides us with a daily dose of what is wrong and going wrong in the world. And the news is no longer confined to a half-hour at 6 P.M. and 10 P.M.—continuous coverage is on all social media. We all want—and need—to know and understand what is happening here and in other parts of the globe, but the words and images can be disturbing and confusing. Within a few minutes’ time, we may hear of drive-by shootings in Chicago, crazed gunmen, an outbreak of the deadly Ebola virus, child abuse, and terrorist organizations bent on destruction.

Very young children need to be shielded from the nightmarish images on the news; the older the children, however, the more difficult it is to completely protect them. The trusted adults in their lives will be called upon to help them cope with their feelings and attempt to answer their questions.

Some of you might find your answers in religion and through prayer, and if you can provide comfort in this way, that’s great. But be aware that children are experiencing most of the same feelings that you are, even though they might express and deal with these feelings in different, age-appropriate ways.

I looked for books that might invite children to consider and discuss their reactions to scary and sad events and this is what I found:

Aliki

 

Feelings by Aliki (ages 4 – 8) is good for children who are struggling with identifying and expressing their emotions. Different stories and engaging illustrations accompany each feeling and will, hopefully, spark discussion.

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How Are You Peeling? by Saxton Freymann and Joost Eiffers (ages 4 – 8) offers a creative and whimsical way to explore feelings. Photographs showcase foods with moods; this team has found various fruits and vegetables that each appear to convey an emotion and then attached two black-eyed peas for eyes, the results being surprisingly effective (I considered saying appealing, for my husband’s amusement). You and your grandchild might want to experiment similarly with produce—all mistakes being edible.

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A Terrible Thing Happened—A story for children who have witnessed violence or trauma by Margaret Holmes and Cary Pillo (ages 4 – 10) wisely never shows what the main character—Sherman Smith— witnessed, so it can be applied to any appropriate scenario.Through the story, children will be reassured that it is normal for a whole host of emotions, such as sadness, anger, fear, confusion, frustration, to arise from witnessing violence and trauma. When Sherman opens up to the school counselor, they will also understand that while we often try to hide from such scary feelings, it is best to talk about it with a trusted adult. Pillo’s poignant illustrations complement the telling. An afterword written for parents and other caregivers offers suggestions and lists resources for helping traumatized children.

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Sometimes Bad Things Happen by Ellen Jackson (ages 4 – 8) features bright photographs of sad and bad things happening and children’s facial reactions; the book offers simple coping strategies such as hugging a friend, singing a brave song and planting a flower. As you read together, encourage your grandchildren to acknowledge their feelings and then brainstorm positive ways to respond.

When Bad Things

As for me, I am thinking of rereading the classic When Bad Things Happen to Good People by Harold Kushner. Rabbi Kushner wrestles with this issue in a very personal, clear and intelligent manner after his young son is diagnosed with a terminal illness. Actually, this would be a valuable suggestion for teenagers, if they are receptive.

I encourage you—and the children in your life— to unplug occasionally, take some deep breaths and spend at least a little time outside.

Entertain Your Brain

Unknown-1 Although I typically write about books and book-related topics, I want to highlight a television series that I recently discovered. After all, mental stimulation is the reason we own a tv, right?

Have you seen the Emmy-nominated television series, Brain GamesNational Geographic’s fun, interactive show invites the viewer to take part in various experiments—brain games—that illustrate an interesting point about the human brain and challenge your current perceptions. The disarming and intellectually curious host, Jason Silva, is joined by various experts in cognitive science, neuroscience and psychology who discuss and explore our brains’ capabilities. The third season started July 14 with ten new episodes. So far, I’ve watched ones focusing on compassion, addiction, language and risk. Next up is Battle of the Sexes, which I definitely want to see. You can also purchase DVDs of past episodes or view videos on-line. Continue reading

Interview with the Author of GG and Mamela

Unknown-1I’m excited to tell you that I have written a picture book released today! A couple weeks ago, Audrey Moon, editor of my local online newspaper (which publishes my blog posts), interviewed me about my book, GG and Mamela. She asked some interesting questions, and I hope I furnished some interesting answers. I decided to share the interview in grandbooking today. Continue reading

Books—and more—about Passover

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I am rerunning a previous post with a few additions.

The Jewish holiday of Passover is celebrated with a ceremonial dinner called a Seder. At the heart of the Seder is the story of the Jewish people’s exodus from Egypt. Jews are commanded to retell the story:

You should tell your children that day, saying, ‘It is because of what the Lord did for me when I came out of Egypt.’  Continue reading

Happy Blogoversary!

Grandbooking Turns 1!

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Sending gratitude and a virtual slice of cake to my followers, supporters, readers, commenters, lurkers, sharers, retweeters and friends. You know who you are. Welcome, if this is the first time you’ve visited. Thanks to the loyal and the curious in 55 countries strewn around the world. You’ve all been part of my blogging journey…You’re all grand in my book! Continue reading

Imagine a World Where Everyone Can Read…

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LitWorld’s World Read Aloud Day, which was established to raise awareness about the importance of literacy, is coming up March 5 and has been on my mind. How serendipitous to come across a video—actually, a commercial—that is essentially about the transformative power of literacy. Continue reading

World Read Aloud Day and the Kid Lit Blog Hop

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World Read Aloud Day, always held on the first Wednesday of March, falls on the 5th this year. Last year more than one million people participated in this movement established by LitWorld, a wonderful non-profit organization that celebrates the power of word and story and promotes global literacy through their many worthwhile campaigns. Continue reading