Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Empowerment Feature Article: An Unhealthy Lack of Communication

Has the internet caused our teens to be unable to communicate lovingly with one another? Where has all this anger and meanness come from?

    Given the high incidence of bullying and the teen suicide because of bullying, researchers and psychologists are all in agreement that bullying is caused by a fundamental inability to compassionately communicate with each other. This probably occurs because teens are constantly connected and not interacting with one another face-to-face.

    There are things that we can do, as parents, to help our kids and teens to relearn how to interact with one another in loving and non-abusive ways.  Here are a few things you can try to improve communication and compassion when teens and kids interact with one another.

1.    Model proper communication by acting in a loving manner at home. Kids and teens can’t learn proper communication unless we model it in our family and show our teens and kids how to compassionately and respectfully get along with each other. Proper communication can be learned and mastered by watching and mimicking. And teens and kids are mimickers par excellence.

2.    Parents should create a loving and empathic atmosphere at home. One way parents can do this is to instigate a zero tolerance towards verbal abuse among siblings. Some parents don’t believe that there is anything wrong when two siblings go at each other verbally. However, by allowing this kind of negative interaction, parents are permitting abusive behavior in their homes. And this sends kids and teens the message that it is okay to be mean to others.

3.    Model how to lovingly interact within the family. Parents are the leaders in families. Therefore, it is up to parents to model healthy interaction with one other. For instance, the way the parents get along with each other can go a long way towards showing kids and teens how to communicate. Also, the way a parent talks to a child or teen can also send proper or improper messages to the rest of the family. 

4.    Parents should try and engage their family and kids in character development.  Children should be taught how to be kind and compassionate by modelling and reinforcing these traits in the home. Kids should be encouraged to play fair, to love their siblings, and to get along with them.

5.    Set out family guidelines for responsible uses of technology and media in the home. Parents should have family times when no media is allowed to be consumed. This can help parents to teach kids and teens that they can do other things that are more enjoyable than watching television all the time and playing computer games. They can actually spend time doing things together and enjoying each other’s company.

By taking these steps, parents will be working at changing the lax cultural attitudes towards aggression and cruelty one small action and behavioural change at a time. It will take a lot of time and patience to instil these positive habits in our kids. But it is worth it. After all, wouldn’t you like to be able to say that you actually contributed to something positive and made sure that your kids and teens learned some important lessons about character development during their informative years at home? Well, it is possible to make these positive changes and create compassionate and fulfilled adults.

 Irene S. Roth

BIO: Irene Roth is a freelance writer for teens and tweens. She has published over 180 Ezine articles about adolescent self-confidence and self-esteem. When Irene's not writing for adolescents, she loves writing about the psychology of writing and hosting her NEW Blog Talk Radio show, "The Empowerment Show with Irene Roth". Irene is also a graduate of the Institute of Children's Literature.  

Tune-in to her show the 3rd Friday of each month at http://www.blogtalkradio.com/worldofinknetwork

Friday, June 6, 2014

Unforgettable and Heartwarming True Story

Unforgettable and heartwarming true story tells how friendship – human and otherwise – saves a courageous orphaned baby river otter.
Mikowski Cover

For many years, Tracy Mikowski was a zookeeper at the small and beloved Clinch Park Zoo in Traverse City, Michigan. There, she lovingly cared for all the animal residents, including otters, wolves, mountain lions, porcupines, buffalo, bats, and more.

One day, Tracy received a phone call from a farmer who had found an orphaned baby river otter in his hay field. In her newly published juvenile children’s picture book Squirt the Otter, Tracy tells the tender story of how Squirt came to live at the zoo, the adventures and adversity that awaited her, and the friendships that sustained her.
So tiny that Tracy had to bottle feed the orphaned baby and teach her how to swim, dive, and hold her breath, Squirt the Otter chronicles how little Squirt becomes fast friends with Muffin, Tracy’s Welsh corgi, and later with Bumper, the other otter at the zoo.

Squirt’s idyllic world is shattered when Bumper sustains a life-changing injury. Once again, her only companions are Muffin and Tracy. Though she searches in vain, Tracy cannot find another otter to come live at the zoo and keep Squirt company.

In the midst of this challenge, the most harrowing problem of all develops: the zoo must close, and Tracy must find good homes for all the animals, including little Squirt. The unforgettable effort that follows to see little Squirt happily settled in a forever home with a forever friend will touch the hearts of readers of all ages.
For her powerful tale of sacrifice, determination, friendship, and love, Squirt the Otter received the prestigious Silver Medal in the Moonbeam Children’s Book Awards.

Tracy comments, "This story of love, compassion, and friendship beautifully illustrated by P. M. Richard offers a powerful reminder of what is real and important in life. Squirt helps us reconnect to the natural world and shows us how the bond between humans and creatures can flourish, especially when we open our hearts."

She adds, "This is just the first of many stories I hope to tell about the animals I have known and loved. I chose Squirt’s story to be the first as she was particularly dear to me and she was the last animal from the zoo I had to say good-bye to."

"Squirt’s endearing story teaches children about love, trust, and the right time to let go. Tracy, Muffin, and Squirt show us the joy that comes from the companionship of others – both for animals and the people who love and care for them." ~ Carl R. Sams II and Jean Stoick, authors of The New York Times bestselling In the Woods children’s picture book series

AUTHOR: Tracy L. Mikowski was born and raised in northern Michigan. She grew up with a family-owned animal park and delighted in a childhood filled with wild and domestic birds and animals. Her compassion for all living creatures became evident at a very young age. She now lives in Alaska with her husband, Joe, and their five dogs.

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Cover Reveal: TIME For Kids Big Book of When


Time Home Entertainment Inc. and TIME For Kids Announce New Kids Book: Big Book of When

New book is on sale today and is packed with graphics 
and more than 800 facts that kids want to know!

If you were asked to come up with a list of the most important events, inventions, people, or discoveries in the past 100 or 1,000 years, what would you choose? The editors of TIME For Kids did just that for the new Big Book of When, the newest release from Time Home Entertainment Inc.’s hugely successful Big Book Series. 

Big Book of When is a riveting new resource for younger curious readers. The engaging and instructive book presents kids with answers to the kinds of intriguing questions that appeal to their sense of curiosity about when the most important events in history happened. At more than 190 pages, the hardcover book is full of colorful graphs, spectacular photos, and clear, engaging timelines to help kids ages 8 and up answer a myriad of questions.

The book is divided into 11 subjects: time, animals, communications, flight, energy, the solar system, the digital age, food, transportation, civilizations and sports. Sample questions include the following:

1.      When did people begin to use calendars?
2.      When did dinosaurs die out?
3.      When was the first book printed?
4.      When did an airplane first break the sound barrier?
5.      When was electricity discovered?
6.      When do we see shooting stars?
7.      When was the first text message sent?
8.      When was the first sandwich made?
9.      When did people begin riding on trains?
10.  When did the Maya vanish?
11.  When was the first Super Bowl?

“When did people first pop popcorn? When was ice cream first eaten? When were videogames invented? The Big Book of When answers these questions and many more your kids might ask,” said Nellie Cutler. “Big Book of When is a must-have book to satisfy the most curious kids who can explore topics such as walking on the moon and the ruins of ancient civilizations. They can find a topic that most interests them, dive right in and have fun.”

Big Book of When
From Time Home Entertainment Inc. and TIME For Kids

About TIME For Kids
TIME For Kids is a weekly classroom news magazine that motivates kids to read! Issues cover a wide range of real-world, and topics in the news kids want to learn about. A powerful teaching tool, TIME For Kids builds reading and writing skills.

Monday, June 2, 2014

Cover Reveal: So Not Okay by Bestselling Author Nancy Rue

Bestselling Author Nancy Rue Releases Highly Anticipated First Book In Debut Anti-Bullying Series and Starts a National Movement
One out of every four students is bullied – 85% of these situations never receive intervention. Parents, students, and teachers alike have amped up the discussion of how to solve the bullying problem for a networked generation of kids and today, Nancy Rue released the first book in her Mean Girl Makeover trilogy. 
“Bullying is a pretty heavy subject and it causes a lot of pain, but the books in the trilogy aren’t all dark and hard,” Nancy said. “The characters have fun – they laugh and will hopefully make the reader laugh – and most important, they see hope. The books are all about solving the problem of bullying from the inside out, and that’s a happy thing.”

So Not Okay Now In Stores Nationwide 
Each book in the Mean Girl Makeover trilogy focuses on a different character's point of view: the bully, the victim, and the bystander. Each girl has a different personality so that every reader can find a character she relates to. So Not Okay keeps readers laughing while teaching invaluable lessons about self-worth and confidence that doesn’t come from peers. 

Nancy Rue is the bestselling author of more than 100 books for teens, tweens, and adults, two of which have won Christy Awards. Nancy is also a popular speaker and radio guest due to her expertise in tween and teen issues. She and her husband, Jim, have raised a daughter of their own and now share their Tennessee lake home with two yellow labs. 
Follow Nancy on Twitter: @NNRue 


*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.