Thursday, April 17, 2014

The addictive Allure of Multi-Tasking



Do you, as parents, multi-task a lot? If you do, you may be setting a bad example for your children and teens as they grow up.  Parents have to take steps to find times to just BE with each other and their kids and teens as a family. Otherwise, our kids may be tricked into believing that it is praiseworthy to always be going and doing multiple things simultaneously.

     Multi-tasking has become very addictive in our culture. People are in a constant state of motion and activity. No one has any patience any more to slow down and to really enjoy what they are doing. Instead, they are always preoccupied with other things and thoughts as they are doing more than one thing over and over again. This can be a very troubling trend for our teens and kids.

     If we keep rushing and multi-tasking, after a while we will be less able to really see, hear and comprehend what is relevant and permanent. This is why our days as a family and community have so many loose ends. We need to finally stop all of the rushing and multi-tasking and start concentrating more so that we could teach our children and teens through our behaviour to do the same.

     The waning of our powers of concentration is reaching critical forms. We are on the verge of losing our capacity for deep and sustained focus.  This is a time when, through our actions, we are saying that reflection and concentration doesn’t matter as much as multi-tasking. Surely, we don’t want to keep creating an unconscious new world of multi-taskers that even we, as parents, can’t recognize.

     The way out of this conundrum is to start slowing down and concentrating more ourselves so that we could set these habits in our children and teens. It is a time to show our kids and teens that being quick is not as important as intentional and reflective. It is a time to rejuvenate and reconstruct our need for concentration and focus and not reduce it to a whole series of actions that may lead to some unknown result. We need to focus on the present moment and what we are doing to make sure that our kids and teens are reflecting and concentrating a lot more than they are now.

     There are a few ways to make sure that we don’t cultivate lives of distraction. Here are a few ways to do just that.

·         Slow down and don’t rush—teach your kids to leave early for appointments so that they don’t have to run;
·         Discourage multi-tasking by not multi-tasking yourself;
·         Encourage unplugged times from all technologies for your kids when you can sit as a family and chat and play games;
·         Get out in nature—without your technological devices;
·         Take the time to BE—these should be times when you are not watching television, texting, or cruising the internet;
·         Instigate and create reading times in the family—even if it is half an hour after dinner or sometime in the evening;
·         Reward your kids and teens when they focus and concentrate—and try to get into the habit of focusing yourself (kids and teens usually emulate their parents and peers).

By taking these steps, you will be encouraging your children and teens not to multi-task and to be a lot less distracted. Hopefully over time, this will set better habits for them to act on.

     So, let’s take steps not to slip into a time of ignorance. Let’s take the time to concentrate and focus. Let’s slow down, and yes, let’s enjoy the moment. And don’t forget to check out that sunset or sunrise tomorrow, and make sure that your kids and teens can appreciate such marvels of nature too.

Irene S. Roth

Friday, April 11, 2014

Modern-day pirate whose winning ways at first cause chaos and then save the day


Irresistible adventure for ages three on up introduces a modern-day pirate whose winning ways at first cause chaos and then save the day; each book comes with its own wooden Melissa & Doug kazoo!
Levesque Cover FINAL-FINAL
Pirates are fascinating, no matter their age, and the new children’s book by Erika Levesque will captivate those who yearn to sail at sea, not to mention those who will enjoy the added treasure that comes with the book: their very own wooden kazoo.

"The Pirate and the Kazoo" tells the tale of a young pirate who, if truth be told, isn’t very good at his job. Not only has this law-abiding buckaneer never plundered any booty, he hasn’t fought in a single fight! He’s so inept, in fact, that his comrades decide to maroon him on an island with only his parrot, his cat, his compass, and his fishing net.

Levesque Kazoo
A bit woebegone, hoping to catch a fish, this less-than-swashbuckling pirate dips his net deep in the ocean. To his surprise, he catches a pelican wearing a kazoo! The little pirate can’t believe his good luck:
"Shiver me timbers!" he squealed in delight,Inspecting his first piece of loot.He had heard of kazoos in old pirate tales, butWould he be able to make this thing toot?

After a few tries, with the help of his trusty parrot, the young pirate learns how to play his small kazoo. Could it be he’s found his niche? Sure enough, as his lyrical notes waft out to sea, his old comrades are charmed and rethink their decision to leave him behind.

This delightful tale whimsically illustrated by Matthew Batchelder celebrates diversity in gender, race, and ability and encourages interaction and discovery, with something for young readers to explore on each page.

Levesque comments, "As an educator, I understand the importance of nurturing a variety of creative outlets for children. As well as encouraging a love of literature, I thought it important to provide a means for children to be exposed to music, in this case the kazoo. This story provides young readers with the opportunity to express themselves musically while learning how to play the kazoo simultaneously with the pirate."

AUTHOR: Erika Levesque leads a life chock-full of travel and adventure. Originally from Connecticut, Erika currently resides and teaches wily middle schoolers in Shanghai, China. When not out circumnavigating the globe, Erika lives with her husband and their mischievous cats Dot and Easy Squirt. "The Pirate and the Kazoo" is Erika’s first, but most definitely not her last, book for children.

ILLUSTRATOR: Matthew Batchelder is a software engineer and doodler from Plymoth, New Hampshire, who loves games, eating cucumbers, playing racquetball, and drawing things! In addition to "The Pirate and the Kazoo," Matthew’s illustrations can be seen on the covers of The Lux Campfire Chronicles series and The Last Mountains. Matthew has two great kids, Samantha and Madison, a lovely wife, Abigail, and a crazy cat named Cubbie.

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Take to the galaxy with the Friendeshans and the Oily Spoilies!

New illustrated series for kids offers many lessons on spreading friendship and positive energy rather than meanness and negativity.
Magano Cover
In his new Friend Ship Friendesha series, author Joe Scott, co-author Andy Wolfendon, and illustrator R. Boone offer a bright new take on going positive, with palpable benefits for aliens, people, and planets too.

In Book 1 in the series, readers meet the Friendeshans, a lovable race of beings who spread friendship and their own special brand of positive energy known as pozzi-power throughout the galaxy.
Alas, it isn’t long before the Friendeshans encounter the Oily Spoilies, creatures that thrive on meanness and negativity and who delight in spreading their nastiness to every planet they can find. They squirt their invisible oil on people and beings to make them mad, bad, and sad.

What will happen when an Oily Spoily spy gets aboard the Friendeshan’s spaceship, the F. S. Friendesha? Read Book 1 to find out.

In Book 2 of the series, readers meet a young Earthling named Kiley who loves spending time with her Grandpa Gus. For some reason, lately, Grandpa seems more interested in the strange machine he’s built to send messages into outer space. One day, while Grandpa is napping, Kiley beams out her own message. To her surprise, it’s answered by the Friendeshans – the most pozzi-powered beings in the galaxy!

Kiley is delighted to learn the Friendeshans are on their way to Earth, because the nasty Oily Spoilies have already arrived. They’re making everyone grouchy and mean, even one of Kiley’s best friends!
Book 3 of this on-going series will be coming out in May, 2014.

As the series unfolds, the Friendeshans work their pozzi-power on planet Earth, unseen by most humans. Scott explains that the Friendeshans are like loyal, invisible friends children can carry with them in their imaginations. With the Friendeshans around, he notes, every child has a friend.

Scott comments, "I wrote the Friend Ship Friendesha series for my grandchildren, but it’s for any child who has ever been picked on.  I want all kids to be completely aware of what positive and negative energies can do. There’s a gold mine of positive energy hiding inside all of us."

He adds, "This series is all about keeping our planet clean and the environment green,  and keeping kids and parents positive. It has a strong anti-bullying message and offers many lessons on approaching each other by being kind."

For more information on the stories, look them up at www.friendesha.com.  

Author: Joe Scott is a contractor and real estate developer who built a thriving enterprise from a truck and a toolbox. He has negotiated thousands of business deals involving corporate executives, homeowners, bankers, laborers, and union officials. In addition, he has hired, and been hired by, individuals from every walk of life. Through these dealings, Joe has learned that all people fall into three types – givers, takers, and those who both give and take. Knowing how to recognize and cope with all three types is the key to his success. In this children’s series, he hopes to instill in kids a good foundation for a happy and positive life. His first book, "The Joe Dial," released in 2011, is age appropriate for those who are 12 to 95 years old. It is also available at all major retailers and as a download.

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The Friend Ship Friendesha Series by Joe Scott with co-author Andy Wolfendon and illustrator R. Boone
Category: Illustrated Children’s Fiction
Book 1- Hard Cover: 978-0-9894974-0-4 $14.95
Book 2- Hard Cover, 978-0-9894974-1-1 $14.95
eBook: $9.95
Availability:  Amazon, Kindle, Nook, iBook

Monday, April 7, 2014

INTRODUCING: Back to Basics with Aydan & Addy

New children’s book series focused on teaching important fundamental values, including traits like moral character,
faith in God, a strong work ethic, leadership, kindness, self-reliance, patriotism, and forgiveness. Each book includes the teaching of an actual historic figure.

Lisa2010I.JPGLisa S. Roberts, author of a 29-book adventure for children, middle school age.
Back to the Basics with Aydan & Addy – “Leadership with Abraham Lincoln” (Tate Publishing) kicks off this series, which is both historical and magical, with leadership mentor, President Abraham Lincoln. 

The series features best friends, Aydan and Addy, being led by a different Spiritual Mentor in each magical adventure.
Tremendous research has gone into each book, with Roberts studying the actual lives and historical legacy of the “spirit mentors” in each book.
“There are so many challenges we face in America today, and life in general,” the author says. “I thought for a long time about the importance of getting back to basics and teaching some fundamental values to children through a series of fun and adventurous stories.”
The character Aydan is modeled after Roberts’ own young grandson and Addy is named for the granddaughter of a family friend. 

Back to the Basics with Aydan and Addy
Author Lisa S. Roberts has released the first book in a planned 29-book series for children, Back to the Basics with Aydan & Addy (Tate Publishing).

Aydan and Addy, named for real children in Roberts’ life, are characters who learn from historical figures, called Spirit Mentors in this new series.

The books focus on getting “back to the basics” of good moral character, strong work ethics, kindness, self-sufficiency, forgiveness, faith, and dedication to community and country.
 
Roberts has an extensive professional background in children’s education and development.

The books are set in the small town of Brenham, Texas near the author’s own home. 

With the help of the Spirit Mentors, a supernatural moral compass, a Blue Heeler dog called “Leopard Girl”, a blessed garden hoe and a little red robin; Aydan and Addy travel across America by way of an old steam engine train. 

The children travel to fifty-five American cities where they will sponsor town hall meetings that will bring forth great discussions and planning on what each individual can do to bring into fruition the positive changes needed to get back to the basics of America’s founding values.

The first book focuses on leadership under the direction of Abraham Lincoln.

Roberts read five books on Abraham Lincoln before penning the first book in her series.

The author has done extensive research on the real lives and philosophies of each of the historical characters in the books in order to accurately reflect their lessons to the children based on the actual lives of those characters.

Respect, self sufficiency, the value of a dollar, manners, the environment, forgiveness: all are lessons included as the series unfolds.

Forthcoming books in the series feature historic figures including Lewis & Clark, George Washington Carver, Martin Luther King, George Washington, Chief Red Cloud of the Sioux Nation, the Dalai Lama and more!

Back to the Basicis with Aydan & Addy, Leadership with Abraham Lincoln is available now.

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Visit Aydan and Addy at:   http://www.aydanandaddy.com

Write to Aydan and Addy at:
   Aydan and Addy / P.O. Box 485 / Liberty Hill, Texas 78642

Email Aydan and Addy at
:  aydanandaddy@gmail.com

Facebook with Aydan and Addy at
:  www.facebook.com/AydanandAddy

Friday, April 4, 2014

Cover Reveal: Children's Picture Book Shows how Love can Transform the Universe and Connect Everyone in It

Jarvis Cover

Imagine experiencing love – pure, true love – through all your senses. Imagine being able to call upon that love even when you feel angry, lonely, or sad.

Hilda Jarvis’ inspiring new illustrated children’s picture book "What I Dreamed Last Night – A Story for Children of All Ages" conveys how this marvelous experience happens to a little girl named Luna Star who dreams she is part of the universe and finds herself beautifully and irrevocably altered.

In her dream, as Luna realizes she is connected with everyone and everything, she feels like a star. Floating, shining, glowing with joy and peace, she realizes the universe moves in perfect harmony as it turns round and round.

Fully connected to all that is, with pure love dancing in her heart, Luna awakens to the joyful realization that she holds within herself the ability to rekindle this feeling of transformative love at any time by reconnecting with the trees and plants, the flowers and stars, the moon and sun around her.

In so doing, she connects with – and passes on to others – all the love in her heart.

Jarvis comments, "Luna learns that love is all we are and all that we need. She learns that love is all about connection, about getting back in touch with who we truly are." She adds, "I actually had this dream. It was a phenomenal experience, total euphoria, pure love. I had to get out of bed to write it down because I didn't want to forget it."
Relaxing for Health, LLC
Category: Fiction, Body, Mind & Spirit, Family & Relationships
Soft Cover: 978-0989740203   $9.95
eBook $3.99
Availability: Amazon.com, CreateSpace.com, RelaxingforHealth.com


Author: Hilda Jarvis resides in Ashtabula, Ohio, with her dog Tommy and her cat Snowball. She speaks both English and Spanish and enjoys reading books, taking pictures of flowers, and riding her bicycle. She does body and energy work and also enjoys yoga and meditation. She loves to sing and dance every chance she gets.

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Softcover flip book for children contains two award-winning story-songs

"Fisherman Jack" and "’Til My Computer Broke Down," plus a CD of both songs celebrating the great outdoors.
Ellis Cover 1 Ellis Cover 2

Q: What do you get when you pair great music the whole family can enjoy with two stories for young readers celebrating the joys of being outdoors?
A: The unique new book for children titled Outdoor Adventures with Big Kid Band, which offers two illustrated stories for juvenile readers in a softcover flip book with a CD containing each story in song form on the inside flap.

The highly acclaimed story-songs were first released on the full-length CD titled Big Kid Band: Music for Children AND Adults, which won a Children's Web Music Award in 2004. Among the musical guests on that CD is Leigh Nash, lead singer for the band Sixpence None the Richer, who sings tracks five and nine. Now, in Outdoor Adventures with Big Kid Band, the group has paired their music with the carefully crafted and whimsical illustrations of former Disney artist Michael Woodcock to bring to life the joys and adventures to be found in the great outdoors.

"Fisherman Jack," the first story, tells the tale of two young brothers who like to go fishing together but who never have much success. Then one day they meet Fisherman Jack, a good-natured old man who lives in a nearby cabin and fishes the river ever day. Thanks to Jack’s mentorship, the two boys not only become better fishermen but they also learn about friendship, loss, and perseverance. View a slideshow presentation of the story set to the music at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s1QpgtjCWM0.

The second story, "’Til My Computer Broke Down," is a celebration of all things analog but also a glimpse of how, sometimes, a crashed computer can open the door to spontaneous adventures that might otherwise have never occurred. Ellis explains that this song and story encourage kids to think outside the digital box and enjoy the world around them. A slideshow presentation of this story is available as well at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=niZvYvWS3QY.

Ellis comments, "When I was a kid in the ‘70s and ‘80s, I spent most of my after-school time outdoors, reluctantly returning to the house when my mother hollered from the front doorway that dinner was ready. These days, it seems kids spend more and more of their time indoors. We wanted to put out a musical book that celebrated being outside and that will hopefully appeal to a broad range of musical tastes."

"If you've had enough of the kazoos and slidewhistles and you just want some quality rock for your kids, you will find humble, grounded, real-life music on this album. Who ever said music needed to talk sweet or talk down to kids? Who ever said that we needed a circus or carnival to grab their attention? With insightful, relevant lyrics and topics, you'll no longer have to pop the Advil before switching to the kids' discs. Highly, highly recommended for families – especially for those with long road trips ahead of them." ~ Review by CD Baby

Authors: In a culture where adult and child entertainment is for the most part strictly segregated, Big Kid Band, the "house" band for Stepping Stone Press, their new children’s books and music publishing company, strives to make music for the whole family. Guitars, bass, and percussion form the foundation of Big Kid Band's music, but you will also hear cello, horns, mandolin, and some fun sound effects. The band’s Southern roots come through in their sound, but other styles are present as well (think classical, pop, Celtic, and reggae), and the songs are universal in subject matter.

Park Ellis lives in Atlanta, GA, with his wife Angela and their daughter Anna Sophia.  Before moving back to his hometown of Atlanta in 2006, Park made a living in Nashville as a singer-songwriter, percussionist, high school English teacher, and music instructor.

David Henry lives in Nashville, TN, with his wife Molly and their three children, Joe, Kate, and Alex. David has produced, engineered, and played with many artists, including R.E.M., Tim McGraw, Guster, Jars of Clay, and Cowboy Junkies. He plays cello and mandolin and sings with his own band Brother Henry (along with Park on drums).  

Patrick Miller lives in Nashville, TN. In addition to writing and playing music, Patrick is a stock market guru and an avid outdoorsman who has been known to fish from sunup ‘til sundown. His work with kids includes performing for several summers (along with Park) for Kids 4 Peace, an interfaith program for youth from the Middle East and the U.S.

Outdoor Adventures with Big Kid Band by Park Ellis, David Henry and Patrick Miller
Illustrations by Michael Woodcock
Stepping Stone Press
Category: Juvenile Fiction
Soft Cover: 978-0983473404, $9.95
Availability: Amazon.com and SteppingStonePress.com

PLEASE NOTE

*Stories for Children Publishing, LLC. (SFC) and its divisions do not receive any compensation for product reviews beyond a sample and/or limited access to a paid website. SFC donates all books sent for review to a charitable organization. SFC may do a contest or giveaway of samples we receive. SFC does not review any samples sent without a request for review to the Blog Editor, VS Grenier. SFC's staff members will not return unauthorized samples to the senders, but will donate them without review.