Friday, October 14, 2016

New Children's Book Inspires Readers to Get Outside

Numerous studies have shown how beneficial nature is to the developing child yet society is becoming more and more removed from the natural world and closer and closer to technology. A Beauty Collected (September 6, Familius), encourages children—and parents— to rediscover the beauty of the earth by giving readers visual access to ordinary and extraordinary items found in nature.

By featuring items that can be found in one’s own neighborhood (dandelion, bark, herbs) along with more exotic items (gold nuggets, meteorites, crystals), the imagery in A Beauty Collected is both accessible and designed to expand a child’s mind beyond the backyard. From the book:

A is for aloe, to soothe and to heal, for apple, and artichoke, leaf-by-leaf peel. A is for arrowhead and antlers that spear. A is for ash—a fire was here.”

Whether the item is a porcupine quill or vanilla pod, A Beauty Collected encourages curiosity and adventure.

Full-color, high-quality photos captured by new author, mom, and professional photographer Rachel Garahan, illustrate each letter of the alphabet enticing children to discover the vibrant world around them. Rachel has traveled the world and has a keen eye for seeing the simple beauty in what is around her. From the wings of an insect to the roots of a plant, A Beauty Collected brings out readers’ natural inquisitiveness for the world around them.

Sixteen final pages of the book contain a glossary of terms with phonetic spellings, historical facts, and scientific information that helps parents engage with their children. By discussing this information with their children, parents can help entice their young readers to learn more about and experience the great outdoors. A Beauty Collected isn’t simply about learning about nature; it’s about experiencing it as a family.

About the Author: Rachel Garahan is an LA-based photographer and creative consultant who has spent her career building brands while photographing people and places around the world. As an intrepid traveler, Garahan is no stranger to the outdoors, most recently spending two months living on the beaches of Nicaragua with her husband and infant son. While she calls Los Angeles home, Garahan was born and raised in Vermont and spent her young adulthood traveling through Australia and the South Pacific before graduating from the University of Arizona with a BA in Journalism. A Beauty Collected is Garahan's first book set to be released in September 2016 by Familius. The book is an ode to nature, inspiring children and readers of all ages to look closer at the world around them. Garahan lives with her husband, two dogs, and one- year-old son, Benjamin River. You can find her on her personal blog One Part Gypsy or on instagram and pinterest: @onepartgypsy.

About the Publisher: Familius is a family and parenting media publisher devoted to creating content that helps build strong values and happy families. As a digitally savvy, multi-media publisher, we share our family-driven content in multiple formats, including print, e-books, videos, apps. Through, we also provide an online community where parents can seek out and share advice and access a wealth of contemporary parenting content, tools, and resources rooted in traditional family values. Let’s Talk Family.
Title: A Beauty Collected 
Author: Rachel Garahan 
Publisher: Familius 
Publication: September 6, 2016 
Price: $24.95
ISBN: 9781942934707 Hardcover
*Available from bookstores, online booksellers and

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

How To Raise Thrifty And Generous Teenagers

From piggy banks to that first savings account, many children are taught the value of saving from an early age.

But as they grow to adolescence, following parental advice sometimes gives way to peer or media influences, and those once-thrifty children are now teenagers in a consumer-driven world where spending, not saving, is king.

“Nearly everyone falls into two categories: spenders and savers,” says John Cortines, co-author with Gregory Baumer of God and Money: How We Discovered True Riches at Harvard Business School ( “Spending is easy, so it’s up to parents to start conversations with their teens on the importance of saving and, just as importantly, giving.”

Cortines and Baumer suggest three ways parents can help teens establish good financial habits before they reach adulthood, and pave the way for those teens to become generous people as well as good savers:
• Help them begin saving for retirement now. Teens who land a part-time job often want to save money to buy a car or they simply want to enjoy a little financial freedom with weekend shopping sprees. Unless they’re careful, that money burning a proverbial hole in their pocket is spent before the next payday. Parents can help them think beyond today by suggesting they invest a portion of that income in a Roth IRA. Mom and Dad can even consider matching their teen dollar-for-dollar on their savings. “Explain the wonder of compounding investment returns – how the money they invest as a teen could be worth 10 to 20 times as much when they retire,” Cortines says.
• Family philanthropy.  Even if the gifts are modest, Cortines and Baumer advocate involving teens in the family giving plan. Encourage them to research charities and apply for “grants” from the family’s budget for giving. “The experience of learning about nonprofits will be invaluable,” Baumer says. This is also where another portion of the teen’s earnings from a part-time job could be placed.
• Let them into your journey.  Parents should model what they want their teens to emulate. Cortines said this begins with “letting them see your character as reflected in financial decisions.” That doesn’t mean letting teens know their parents’ net worth or the details of their income. Baumer and Cortines suggest explaining to teens how living modestly has short- and long-term benefits, whether it has allowed an early payoff of a mortgage, or demonstrates that frugal purchasing decisions leave money available for charitable giving.
“If you frame the conversation well,” Baumer says, “teens will benefit from seeing your character on display as you navigate your finances.”

Once saving and giving goals are fulfilled, teens can then begin to focus on spending.
“But unless spending is kept under control,” Cortines says, “saving and giving simply aren’t possible at any meaningful level.”

About John Cortines and Greg Baumer
John Cortines and Greg Baumer are co-authors of God and Money: How We Discovered True Riches at Harvard Business School ( Baumer is VP of Business Development for naviHealth, a Nashville-based healthcare technology firm. Cortines is Executive VP of Emerging Leaders for Generous Giving, an organization that exists to share the biblical message of generosity.

Monday, October 3, 2016

World of Ink Author Spotlight with Mona Haynes

Join Host Virginia S Grenier on the World of Ink Network Mondays for the Author Spotlight show on October 3, 2016 at 8pm EST - 7pm CST - 6pm MST - 5pm PST.

The Author Spotlight show brings readers debut, best-selling, award-winning authors every Monday. Host Virginia S Grenier will not only talk to our guest author about their recently released books but also what the inspiration is behind the book and much more.

Our Guest This Week Will Be:
Mona Haynes who is a wife, mother and grandmother! She has over 25 years experience in early childhood development. Mona enjoys working in the ministry with her husband who is a pastor. She loves her family and friends three dots.

You can learn more about Mona Haynes at

10/03/2016 06:00 PM

Today's sponsor: Halo Publishing, Int. Learn more at

Be sure to follow us at our blog, Facebook and Twitter. Also, look for all our World of Ink Network hosts on Facebook and Twitter. The World Of Ink Network has endeavored to create radio shows geared toward excellence in the reading/publishing community. As our company has grown to a viral reach of nearly two million, we have decided to step into a new and exciting adventure. If you'd like to be on our network or need commercial advertising, marketing and writing help, please visit our website

As always you can listen to any of our shows live or on demand, at any time you'd like here on Blog Talk Radio, Facebook or iTunes. If you would like to chat with the host or our guests today, you can call in, the phone number is (714) 242-5259 or post your questions and comments in our live chatroom or on Facebook or Twitter using #WorldofInk.

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Book Spotlight: Good Good Father: A Children's Book from Chris Tomlin

Chris Tomlin & Pat Barrett Write First Children’s Book, Good Good Father

Chris Tomlin has written songs that are sung by more people on a weekly basis than any other songwriter in the world. Now, his most recent single and K-LOVE “Song of the Year,” Good Good Father, lends inspiration to the children’s picture book of the same name, available Oct. 4, 2016. This delightful story is Tomlin’s first book for children, co-written with Pat Barrett, and will leave little ones with a greater understanding of who God is and of who they are because they are loved by Him. 

“What an exciting journey to write my first children’s book,” said Tomlin. “Being a dad makes this so special. It’s my prayer that Good Good Father helps children understand the amazing reality that we can call God our Father, that we are His beloved sons and daughters. It’s a simple, yet powerful story—one that has been kid-tested in my own home and a joy to watch my girls experience.”  
Good Good Father is the story of a bear named Tucker whose life and townspeople are forever changed when they learn just how great the King's love is for them. Along the way, Tucker encounters a variety of curious, humorous animals who each know one great thing about the King. However, they each have limited views of what makes him good. This is a precious story that will leave children with a greater assurance that God truly is a good, good Father and they are loved by Him.

With 10 albums, 13 #1 radio singles, a Grammy Award, 21 Dove Awards, and two platinum and four gold albums to his credit, Chris Tomlin is among the most well-known and influential artists in music. His songs include “How Great Is Our God,” “Amazing Grace (My Chains Are Gone),” “Our God,” and most recently “Good Good Father,” to name a few. It is estimated that each week 20–30 million people sing one of Tomlin’s songs in worship. More than anything, Chris loves being a husband to Lauren and a daddy to Ashlyn and Madison. Pat Barrett is a husband, father, songwriter, and worship leader based out of Atlanta, Georgia. He is the worship pastor of Grace-Midtown Church and cowriter of the #1 song “Good Good Father.” Pat also travels with Housefires, a worship expression based out of the Atlanta area.

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

“WILL YOU WON'T YOU WANT ME?” is a Stress Relieving Book for a Romantic Heart

Anxiety is a disorder that many people cope with daily.  It had a major impact on the lives of over 40 million Americans last year, and who knows how many more minor impacts. Reading is said to be a great stress reliever and reducer of anxiety.

WILL YOU WON'T YOU WANT ME”. The romantic undertones combined with Nora Zelevansky’s exquisite writing make for an enthralling read and enthralling stress reliever.


Marjorie Plum never meant to peak in high school. She was queen bee. Now, 10 years later, she's lost her sparkle. At her bleakest moment, she’s surprised by renewed interest from a questionable childhood crush, and the bickering with her cranky boss—at a potentially game-changing new job—grows increasingly like flirtatious banter. Suddenly, she’s faced with a choice between the life she always dreamed of and one she never thought to imagine. With the help of a precocious 11-year-old tutee, who unknowingly becomes the Ghost of Marjorie Past, and a musician roommate, who looks like a pixie and talks like the Dalai Lama, Marjorie struggles with the ultimate question: Who does she want to be? Nora Zelevansky’s Will You Won’t You Want Me? is a funny, often surprising, novel about growing up when you are already supposed to be grown.
Available now:


“Funny, sexy, and packed with perfect poignant insight that will resonate with readers of any age. I LOVED this book and didn’t want it to end. Reading Zelevansky’s prose felt like watching 'Breakfast at Tiffany's'—Marjorie is so utterly captivating and endearing that even when she’s flailing you don’t want to miss a second of it!”—Nicola Kraus, New York Times bestselling co-author of The Nanny Diaries and Nanny Returns

“Will You Won't You Want Me? achieves that rare combination of razor-sharp wit and romance - a love story that's not afraid to be smart, satirical and wise. Nora Zelevansky's mesmerizing writing captivates from page one.” —Cara Lockwood, USA Today bestselling author of I Do (But I Don't)

“Nora Zelevansky deftly explores the ups and downs of a young woman learning that the first step toward real love lies in coming to love one's true self.” —Miranda Beverly-Whittemore, New York Times bestselling author of Bittersweet

Author, Journalist, Satirist, Lifestyle Expert
Nora Zelevansky is a novelist, journalist and editor. As a freelance writer, she covers style, beauty, travel, design, food, wellness, health, fitness, TV and film and burgeoning cultural trends, as well as writing profiles and humor essays. Her work has appeared in publications including ELLE, Vanity Fair, Town & Country, T Magazine (The New York Times), Travel + Leisure, The Wall Street Journal, the Los Angeles Times,, SELF,, The Daily Beast and The Washington Post. She is also the editorial director for upscale wellness website, Live The Process.

Her debut novel SEMI-CHARMED LIFE was released on July 3rd, 2012.  This first in a two-book deal with St. Martin's Press draws heavily on her childhood on Manhattan's Upper West side with art world parents, as well as her years as a lifestyle journalist, chronicling (with humor) the latest—sometimes wonky—cultural trends.

Zelevansky attended New York City’s Calhoun School through high school, then Scripps College of The Claremont Colleges in California. After graduation, she moved to LA to work first in film development & acquisitions and then in politics, before transitioning into freelance writing.

She currently lives in Brooklyn, NYC with her husband and baby daughter amidst copious artisanal nooks.

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

New Illustrated Series for Kids Highlights Magic, Whimsy, and Travel Around the World!

It’s a winning combination – three affectionate siblings, a magical dog, thrilling illustrations, and adventures mixed with mischief in exciting locations around the world!
In his new travel series for children, author Patrick Adams introduces young adventurous readers to a series of characters modeled on his own children.

Holly is a little girl who loves adventure and has a big imagination. Jonathan, the younger brother, always seems to have something up his sleeve. Daniel, who is older, loves to see famous places and is the mastermind behind all their adventures. Lisa, Holly’s magical stuffed dog and the star of the show, keeps Holly entertained while saving the day time and time again.

In “Lisa Goes to England,” the debut book in the series, the foursome discover legendary sites such as Big Ben and Windsor Castle. After meeting a very famous woman, Lisa gets everyone out of trouble at the famous site called Stonehenge.

In book two, “Lisa Goes to France,” the group sees the Eiffel Tower, takes in amazing artwork such as the Mona Lisa, and races against time to save the day once again, thanks to Lisa’s uncanny ability to detect trouble and transform as needed to combat it!

Adams comments, “I loved to travel and see the world at a young age.  I wanted to create a book series for children about travel that captured it from their perspective, mixing fun, education, a little magic, and a great story.”

He adds, “I envision this to be a long running series.  My dream would be to see this turned in to a cartoon series one day.”

“What a fun book to read with the kids! We thoroughly enjoyed it.” ~ Amazon Book Review

Author: Patrick Adams’ debut children's travel adventure is the beginning of a planned series of many books. Each features adventure, exploration, mischief, and magic in the most enchanting places around the world. As the owner of Patrick's World of Travel, LLC, Patrick has so far traveled to 40 countries and counting. Combining his love of travel with the imagination of his own children, he couldn't help but bring these children's adventure stories to life. Look for multiple books each year with adventures from countries all over the world.

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Lisa Goes to England: Hard Cover: 978-1514811313, $9.99; eBook: 978-1514811316, $1.99; Lisa Goes to France: Hard Cover, 978-0996768214, $9.99; Author: Patrick Adams; Illustrator: Gary Undercuffler; Patrick’s World of Travel, LLC; Category: Children’s Fiction;  Availability:

Wednesday, September 7, 2016

Fun with Stitchables! - Perfect for Ages 5 to 10

Includes 36 adorable punch-out templates to get you started!

Fun with Stitchables introduces young crafters to the fun of simple embroidery. Quick and easy cross-stitch sewing cards are included with punched holes for easy stitching, as well as a 16-page project book with instructions for designing your own unique stitching patterns and color combinations. A project gallery shows examples of what the hand-stitched cards can become once they are complete: everything from ornaments to greeting cards! The simple stitching patterns taught in this book promote growth and development, hand-eye coordination, as well as creativity and imagination. Fun with Stitchables will entertain and delight crafters of all ages and inspire a lifelong love of embroidery.

Friday, September 2, 2016

WOI Author Interview Special: Picture Book Author "K" Stone

Welcome to the Featured World of Ink Network here on BlogTalkRadio.

The World of Ink Network brings you shows each week on topics such as books, writing, author interviews, self-help and much more.

Join the discussion Friday, September 2nd when Host Virginia S Grenier chats with picture book author "K" Stone about family Christmas traditions and her latest picture book, "Santa's Secret Wish." The call in number is (714) 242-5259

You can listen to the show on September 2nd at 12 noon Eastern - 11 am Central - 10 am Mountain - 9am Pacific or on demand once the show airs live.

"K" Stone has a background in early elementary and middle school education and is a teacher of young minds. Stone was awarded 1996 Teach of the Year from Chesapeake Public Schools. She strives to strengthen families by sharing fun practices that will increase wonderful childhood memories.

Be sure to follow us at our blog, Facebook and Twitter. Also, look for all our World of Ink Network hosts on Facebook and Twitter. The World Of Ink Network has endeavored to create radio shows geared toward excellence in the reading/publishing community. As our company has grown to a viral reach of nearly two million, we have decided to step into a new and exciting adventure. If you'd like to be on our network or need commercial advertising, marketing and writing help, please visit our website

As always you can listen to any of our shows live or on demand, at any time you'd like here on Blog Talk Radio, Facebook or iTunes. If you would like to chat with the host or our guests today, you can call in, the phone number is (714) 242-5259 or post your questions and comments in our live chatroom or on Facebook or Twitter using #WorldofInk.

Thursday, September 1, 2016

Abuse Is Never Okay -Host Marsha Casper Cook -Special WOI

Please join Marsha Casper Cook on September 1 at 4EST 3 CST 2 MT 1 PST when her special guest will be Marsha Marie.

In 1992, when Marsha Marie boarded a plane with her two small children and her second husband, Zain; they had one-way tickets to Pakistan and a plan. Their destination:  Zain’s birthplace in the remote village of Kalu Kalan. Their reason: to escape the toxic influence of Marsha’s abusive ex-husband, David. Their goal: to join Zain’s relatives and live free from David’s domineering interference.

Listening to her story will not only help other woman face their problem with courage but a sense of undertanding the system and how it works. Her story is unique and interesting so please listen in to the live show or you can listen on demand .

9/01/2016 02:00 PM

This is a story you won't want to miss.
Call in numer is (714) 242-5259

Follow the World of Ink Network at, or on our blog, and you can find us on Facebook, Pinterest, Google+ and Twitter.

As always you can listen to any of our shows live or on demand, at any time you'd like here on Blog Talk Radio, Facebook or iTunes. If you would like to chat with the host or our guests today, you can call in, the phone number is (714) 242-5259 or post your questions and comments in our live chatroom or on Facebook or Twitter using #WorldofInk.

Wednesday, August 31, 2016

How Can You Stick Together When You’re about to Be Separated Forever?

Children’s book offers key lessons on life, love, and change when a family of trees is harvested, taken to a lumber mill, and made into new products...

The acclaimed children’s book “Tree Story” by writer, producer, and director Jere Silber is a labor of love and a reflection of timeless wisdom for children of all ages.
This touching story of change and perspective follows two families of trees, the Sycamores and the Birches, and the forest they live in.

One morning, three men enter the forest and nail signs to some of the trees. To their horror, the trees realize they are going to be harvested. Bedlam and fear prevail until another set of visitors enters the forest, friends who hope to save and protect the trees. Believing that their human friends will save them, life in the forest becomes peaceful once again, even though Grandfather Birch is still a bit grouchy.

 Months later, just as winter is beginning, bulldozers enter the forest. The trees cannot run, nor can they hide. Grandfather Sycamore bids his family farewell, urging them to always be proud of themselves and to stay strong. He finishes with, “Always remember, long live the family tree!”
Convinced they will never see each other again, the devastated trees are harvested and hauled off one by one, but life has more in store for them. Grandfather Sycamore is pleasantly surprised by how fun it is to ride in the logging truck, and better yet, once he arrives at the lumber mill, he is reunited with many family members. After being transformed into a grandfather clock and moved into the Robinson’s home, he discovers that Grandfather Birch has been turned into a coffee table and is living at the same home! Soon, other family members turn up in the kitchen cabinets, in the wood siding on the house, in a copy of a book, and even in a baseball bat!

When birds from the forest visit the family trees and tell them that new generations of trees are taking root and growing, Grandfather Sycamore and his progeny realize their family will continue to thrive and survive, both in and out of the forest. Just as important, they also realize that even in their new form, they are all still together, just as they always have been.

Silber says, “I wrote this children’s book in 1997. I credit my daughter for being the driving force. One weekend while I was writing a screenplay, she asked, ‘How come you don't write anything I can read?’ She suggested I write a children's book about trees in a forest, and the rest is history. Now there’s even a coloring book, an audio book, and a slide show audio book movie available!”
A video adaptation of “Tree Story,” originally titled “The Family Tree,” received the 1999 Monty Award; an audio book version was entered for a 2001 Grammy Award in the Spoken Word Category. Silber also received the 2001 Monty Award for producing Mister Word Wizard starring Richie Havens.

“Need I tell you how impressed I was with your creative writing skills and your sensitivity for the subject matter! I loved the book. I found it touched on so many lessons…I especially liked that when the situation seemed grim, there was always positive energy surrounding it. That is how life should be lived. Nothing really has an end. There is rebirth and a continuation of everything around us. Family roots, neighborly love, adapting to change, a positive attitude, accepting fate, and preserving and taking care of our natural resources… The most valuable lesson woven between the lines is Love.” - Kathy Kontos Pait

Author: Jere Silber is an accomplished writer, producer, and director with over forty years of experience working on radio, television, and theatrical productions. He was an award- winning camera operator for the television show News Counterpoint on cable television. He studied radio/television broadcasting at Montgomery College and screenwriting through the American Film Institute. “Tree Story” is his first published children’s book, but he recently wrote “Up in the Sky,” his second children’s book, to commemorate the birth of his first granddaughter.

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Tree Story by Jere Silber; Morgan’s Magical Media; Category: Juvenile Fiction, Children’s Picture Book; Soft Cover: 978-0578179216, $14.06; Soft Cover: 978-0692692486, $5.40; Audio Book: B019EE7BL8, $3.46; Slide Show Audio Book Movie: $2.25, (download format); Tree Story e-File Coloring Book: $1.25, (download format); Availability:,, ACX,,

Thursday, August 18, 2016

Special World Of Ink Show - What we should know about Dyslexia

Thursday, August 18, 2016

Dyslexia Discussion - you won't want to miss!

Please join Marsha when she welcomes Joy Wood and Ciara Knight on Thursday August 18th at 9PM EST 8 PM CST 7 PM MT 6PM PST.

They will be discussing the Gracepoint school and how children can develop leadership skills while being educated. The school opened in 2012 with great success. Gracepoint is open to students in grade 1 -8.

Wednesday, June 29, 2016

WOI Speical - Global Diplomacy Through Student Exchange

Join Virginia S Grenier and World of Ink Network for a special show on Global Diplomacy on June 30, 2016 at 1pm EST - 12 noon CST - 11am MST - 10am PST.

Listen live or on demand at

Today's Show:
FLAG is a Not-for-Profit Tax Exempt Organization, established in 1989. FLAG is Granted as an Official Sponsor Designated by the United States Department of State since 1990. Accepted for Listing in C.S.I.E.T.'s Advisory List.

FLAG's vision is to promote global understanding and world peace by providing families and youngsters from across the globe with the best intercultural experience friendship can buy.

Our Guests Will Be:
Mazi Cunha, FLAG's founder and a former Brazilian exchange student, he founded FlAG along with his American host mother (since retired). Mazi, along with current Executive Director Marc Moralez, has a dedication and passion for student exchange that is evident in FLAG's ongoing evolution of programs, services and charitable missions.

Molly Wieber, National Director of Outreach & Placement, FLAGship and Sponsored Programs will also be joining the show.

You can learn more about FLAG at their website

Follow the World of Ink Network at, or on our blog, and you can find us on Facebook, Pinterest, Google+ and Twitter.

As always you can listen to any of our shows live or on demand, at any time you'd like here on Blog Talk Radio, Facebook or iTunes. If you would like to chat with the host or our guests today, you can call in, the phone number is (714) 242-5259 or post your questions and comments in our live chatroom or on Facebook or Twitter using #WorldofInk.

Monday, June 27, 2016

Tips for Parents to get Kids into Regular Summer Reading Routine

More than 50 million children in the U.S. have started their summer vacations and their annual break from homework, tests and assignments. Unfortunately, many of them will stop reading while having fun in the sun and experts say parents need to make sharing books a part of summer vacation and establish regular reading routines for their children.

Raising A Reader, a national nonprofit organization that provides resources and guidance for families to implement home-based literacy routines, has several tips for parents to make reading a part of the summer break.

“Summer reading should be all about the parent-child experience,” said Gabrielle Miller, Ed.D., president and CEO of Raising A Reader. “Rather than having it be a chore, or a list of must-read books, summer is a terrific opportunity to build family reading experiences. Whether it’s as simple as reading with children so they can see how much adults love reading, or visiting places and doing activities tied to a book, there are a host of ways reading can help children enjoy the summer and be ready to start school in the fall.”

Here are some of the Raising A Reader tips for parents:
  • Reading often gets lost in the shuffle of summer activities such as camp, sports and vacation travel. Schedule a regular time to share books with your child and establish a regular routine to ensure reading doesn’t become a low priority and has the same importance as other activities.
  • It’s OK to let your child read e-books if he or she is comfortable using a tablet, but remember, whether it’s an e-book or a print book -- especially for young children -- the most important thing is to spend time together sharing the book. It’s about the experience, not the technology.
  • Make it fun. Have your child come up with a different ending to a story, play ‘what if’ with the characters or the setting, or read the book from end to beginning. Come up with fun ways to engage your child beyond the actual reading of the book.
  • Let your child choose. Books are great, but so are comic books, magazines and even educational websites such as National Geographic Kids or The Discovery Channel. Let them chase their interests and they’ll be reading more than they realize.
  • Create an outdoor reading area so the whole family can enjoy the summer weather and not feel stuck inside. Children generally read indoors, so being outdoors will create a new environment for enjoying a book and boost a child’s enthusiasm for reading.
  • Connect with other families to share books and arrange reading playdates. You can even set up a Facebook group to stay in touch and share ideas, swap books and make plans.
  • Write a book with your child about them, your family, their favorite foods or toy, their friends or whatever interests them most. Your child can draw pictures or use actual photos. If you’re worried that your child spends too much time watching TV or playing video games, have him or her tell you or write a story about their favorite TV show or video game. You can also use one of many templates available to create and print the book on your computer.
  • Invite the family pet to join the book sharing experience. Even if your child can’t read yet, have her ‘read’ the story to you and the pet. Children who can read will be able to practice their skills and children who have not yet learned to read will begin to think of themselves as ‘readers’ which is very important to lifelong learning.
  • Find books that are centered on summer activities he or she enjoys. If your child likes to go horseback riding, for example, find books about horses or stories with horses as an integral part of the plot. This will give a child a welcome change from the types of books read during the school year and better complement their summer.
  • If you are taking a trip, read books about your destination with your child before you leave. Do some research with them on the location and find things in the area they want to do while visiting. And don’t forget to play “I Spy” with road signs or license plates along the way.
  • If you are taking your kids somewhere for the day, such as a pool, the beach, a picnic or the zoo, pack a book to share and have a reading break or two during day. After an hour or so in the water, your child may enjoy 30 minutes of reading on a comfortable chair or even floating on a raft.
  • Create a summer reading challenge with family members or connect to your public library’s summer reading challenge activities. When your child meets the challenge make sure there is time to talk about the book, share the story with others and read the next book.
Raising A Reader is a 501c3 charitable organization dedicated to helping families develop, practice and maintain literacy habits for children ages 0-8 that are critical for a child’s success in school and in life. The program is evidence-based, with more than 32 independent evaluations showing that Raising A Reader significantly improves language and literacy skills, cognitive development, communication and comprehension skills, school readiness and social competence. Raising A Reader is implemented through a network of community partners that comprise more than 2,500 locations across the country including public school systems, libraries, afterschool programs, community agencies and other organizations both public and private. Headquartered in Redwood City, California, Raising A Reader was founded in 1999 and has served more than 1.25 million families nationwide. 

More information is available at, @RARnational (Twitter) and RaisingAReaderNational (Facebook).

Friday, April 22, 2016

Award-Winning Nature Photographer Offers Ten Wonderful Ways to Connect Children and Nature

Environmental writer and photographer David FitzSimmons is on a mission to connect children with nature. With his naturalist wife and three children of their own—not to mention a job that gets him into the wild frequently—he’s an expert on immersing kids in the natural world.

1 Child with Grasshopper

“Starting local is the key,” says FitzSimmons. “Learn about what’s in your own backyard.” While many kids get excited about lions and tigers and giraffes and zebras, learning about what is right around your house is the best way to get kids to feel connected with their surroundings.

FitzSimmons offers his “top ten” list, great things to do with kids in nature.

1.   Take a walk. Getting out into nature can be as simple was walking in your own back yard, down the street, or in a local park. Nature is everywhere. Don’t think that you have to travel to a national park to see ‘nature’ all around you. Look around you. Even if you live in the city, focus on nature components: weeds along the side of your garage, ants on the sidewalk, and cloud formations in the sky. If you do head out to a state or national park, ask for a kid-friendly trail, one that is safe, not too long, and interesting. Look for exciting habitats, geology, and wildlife, such as ponds, creeks, caves, herds of deer, or flocks of wild turkeys.

07-09-23 Sarah and Dave Browns Lake Bog Boardwalk 1b

2.   Birdwatching. Birds are everywhere. If you have a pair or two of binoculars, great! Spot some feathered friends and enjoy their behavior. No binoculars, no problem! Put up a birdfeeder right outside your window and watch songbirds come to you. Local nature centers and gardening stores typically carry birdfeeders and birdseed, and they can offer advice on types of feeders, where to put them, and when to fill them. Knowing all the birds by name is not necessary for kids to have fun, but consider getting a bird book, such as The Young Birder's Guide to Birds of North America, to help them (and you) learn names and more natural history.

3 Child with Anole at Environmetal Learning Center

3.   Visit a nature center. There are over well over 1,500 nature centers in the United States. Find one close to you and explore its various trails, wetlands, prairies, beaches, and more. Most nature centers have planned activities for children and families, and many give young ones opportunities to hold local animals. In addition to nature centers, visit zoos, aquariums, aviaries, botanical gardens, and arboretums.

3 Child with Salamander at Night

4.   Explore a wetland. Kids love water, so take them exploring in a variety of wetlands, from ponds and creeks to marshes and swamps. In the springtime, explore vernal pools—temporary wetlands used by amphibians for egg-laying. And, if you live near the ocean, head for the beach. Wear waders in cooler weather or shorts and sandals when it’s warmer. Try catching little critters with dip nets, and study them closely with a magnifying glass.

5.   Plant something. Kids love to watch things grow. Buy a few seeds or seedlings, and you’re your kids get dirty planting. A window box is a great place to watch flowers unfurl up-close. Or find a spot in your backyard for a tree. Observe it throughout the seasons, measuring it yearly. If you have space for a garden, plant some vegetables. Let your kids choose some of the plants and plan where to plant them. Nothing beats a youngster pulling a carrot right out of the ground, washing it off, and chowing down!

Father and Son

6.   Visit a park. Parks are among kids favorite locations. From playground parks to county, state, and national parks, these places are synonymous with fun. Children and Nature guru Richard Louv, who coined the term “nature deficit disorder,” encourages free play, children experiencing nature without the structure of activities such as sports and schoolwork. When you visit a park, give your kids plenty of chances to explore and experience without lots of rules.

6 Girl Covered in Mud 

7.   Go creek stompin’. No kid can resist the chance to stomp in a puddle. Rather than bridle such enthusiasm, find a shallow creek in the summer and go creek stompin’. Wear bathing suits and old tennis shoes or sandals. Then get ‘em wet! Turn over rocks, looking for crayfish and salamanders. And have a contest to see who can skip stones the best.

07-05-11 Sarah Dave Olsen SNP 16x9

8.   Go geocaching. What isn’t to like about geocaching? Finding the cache—often a small container hidden under a rock, around a tree, or in other cool locations—requires a GPS device and a bit of skill, but, when you find the cache, typically there are mini-treasures that kids can swap. If you read about caches ahead of time, you can find many in spectacular locations, such as promontories or hilltops, and near natural treasures, such as giant trees or monoliths.

8 Dad with Girls and Book

9.   Read a book about nature. Eventually the kids have to go to bed. Why not settle them down by reading a few pages about nature. Plenty of picture books tell tales of animals and their adventures in nature. In the past, such works of fiction dominated the shelves of bookstores and libraries. Today, excellent nonfiction books focused on nature are proliferating. Not sure which books are best? Ask a children’s librarian or a naturalist for suggestions.

Praying Mantis Photography

10. Take pictures of nature and share them! While out in nature, take lots of pictures. Use whatever you have, from cell phones to point-and-shoots to D-SLRs. Take pictures of the scenery and wildlife, sunrises and sunsets, habitats and geology, and try to include your children in many of the shots. But don’t stop there: when you get home, share your images. The more you post, the more you will encourage other families to get out and explore nature, too.

So, what are you waiting for? Take your kids outside to explore. And don’t forget to grab a few photos along the way—You’ll treasure how you captured their giant smiles as they got good and dirty and get well-connected with nature.

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About the Author -- DAVID FITZSIMMONS

David FitzSimmons is an award-winning free-lance photographer and writer. David photographs and writes for various magazines, including Outdoor Photographer, Popular Photography, Professional Photographer, and Shutterbug. His 100+ calendar credits include numerous titles by BrownTrout and Barnes & Noble. David’s publications include Animals of Ohio’s Ponds and Vernal Pools, Curious Critters, Curious Critter Volume Two, Curious Critters Marine, Curious Critters Ohio, Curious Critters Michigan, Curious Critters Florida (April 2016), Curious Critters Illinois (April 2016), Curious Critters Indiana (April 2016), Curious Critters Missouri (April 2016), Curious Critters Texas (April 2016), and Salamander Dance (Spring 2016).

Before becoming a freelance author, David taught for over twenty years, first as high school English teacher and then as a university professor, having instructed at Ashland University, Ohio State University, and Cornell University. He holds a Ph.D. in English from Ohio State, with a specialty in narrative theory—investigating the components of storytelling—something that influences his photography and writing.

One of seven Sigma Pro photographers in North America, David presents seminars and workshops to a wide variety of audiences, from public school, college, and university classes to photography groups and civic organizations. His works have been exhibited at the Roger Tory Peterson Institute, the National Center for Nature Photography, and the Telluride Photo Festival.

Learn more about David at  

David FitzSimmons books include:

Salamander Dance
David FitzSimmons
Illustrations by Michael DiGiorgio

List $17.99 Hardcover, Color illustrations throughout, 11 in. x 9.5 in., 32 pp. ISBN 978-1-936607-00-6
Wild Iris Publishing, April 2016, Children’s Nonfiction, Ages 2-8 offers more information about the book, sample pages, additional resources, media coverage, and more.


Curious Critters Marine
David FitzSimmons

List $17.99 Hardcover, Color illustrations throughout, 11 in. x 9.5 in., 32 pp. ISBN 978-1-936607-72-3
Wild Iris Publishing, April 2015, Children’s Nonfiction, Ages 2-8  displays more Curious Critters photos and provides information about how FitzSimmons photographed the animals, as well as insight about how he writes his books.


Curious Critters Volume Two
David FitzSimmons

List $17.99 Hardcover, Color illustrations throughout, 11 in. x 9.5 in., 32 pp. ISBN 978-1-936607-70-9
Wild Iris Publishing, February 2014, Children’s Nonfiction, Ages 2-8


Curious Critters
by David FitzSimmons

List $17.99 Hardcover, Color illustrations throughout, 11 in. x 9.5 in., 32 pp. ISBN 978-1-936607-69-3
Wild Iris Publishing, November 2011, Children’s Nonfiction, Ages 2-8

Curious Critters Volume One has sold over 100,000 copies and won six national book awards, including the coveted Independent Book Publishers Association’s Bill Fisher Award for Best First Book.


*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.