Happy Birthday Lady Liberty! + How to Honor Those Who Serve

This year marks the 130th birthday of the STATUE OF LIBERTY. This gift from France in 1886 symbolizes friendship and a shared love of Liberty between two nations.  Here are 4 interesting facts you may not know about our “Lady”:     331

  1. She holds a tablet inscribed with the date of the Declaration of Independence (July 4, 1776)
  2. 50 mile per hour winds can make the statue sway up to 3 inches & the torch up to 6.
  3. She wears a size 879 shoe.
  4. She has a 35 FOOT waistline.

What better way to honor this symbol of Liberty than to honor those who have fought to ensure it.   Here is a unique way for you and your children to honor those brave men and women who serve our country.  Mail a care package with favorite books, DVD’s, magazines, and games or relief supplies.  You can pack specific items with a letter of thanks and ship them off to any of the five branches of the military.  Go to: www.booksforsoldiers.com   to learn more.  It is one small way to pay back those who have given and continue to give their lives for our country.

To all the Veterans out there: THANK YOU FOR YOUR SERVICE!


Betsy Devany, Picture Book Author of Lucy’s Lovey.

Lucy’s Lovey (Christy Ottaviano Books) grew out of numerous inspirations: My own childhood lovey experience, watching a niece line up and call off the names of all her beloved stuffies and dollies, in-depth dolly discussions with a charming little girl who comes to The Toy Soldier, and all the bedraggled and beloved loveys I’ve met while working at the toy store. lucyslovey-jkt-des5-hires

While Lucy’s lovey is a smelly doll, the book serves a universal purpose in speaking to, and celebrating, all childhood loveys, whether they are dolls, stuffed animals, blankies, etc, that both comfort and offer unique companionship to children. I always feel honored when a child shares their lovey with me. And when I come across a lost lovey, I have to rescue it. In most cases, I’ve been able to reunite it with Their Child.

authorwloveyAs a child, I loved both dolls and stuffed animals, actively playing with both for many, many years. I collected Madame Alexander dolls, and enjoyed hours of creative play with Betsy Wetsy, though I kept telling my mother that I wish they’d given the doll a different name as I did endure teasing at school and on the bus, having been given the nickname (Betsy) at birth.              s-l500

My first lovey, Little Bear, the one beloved toy who went everywhere with me and slept next to me at night, is currently living in the Land of Lost Loveys, though his name lived on when another bear came into my life as I was turning five. The 4-inch, 5-way jointed mohair Steiff bear was immediately dubbed Little Bear, too. Cousin Bear soon joined, and the two tiny bears never complained when I dressed them in homemade felt vests and pants. My mother even taught me how to make teeny tiny newspaper hats for the bears, and the three of us would wear these hats when we would explore the backyard. (As a child, I was largely influenced by (obsessed with) the children’s book series The Lonely Doll. My Steiff bears, Little Bear and Cousin Bear, still live with me today.

Today my writing room is run by stuffies, all of which my grandkids love to play with, the current favorites being Bossy Frog and Baby Boss Frog.

dsc07336Betsy Devany writes realistic fiction for children of all ages. She lives near Mystic, CT with her rescue cat, Terrapin; her rescue dog, Buddy; her faithful friend, Norman the gorilla, the largest of Betsy’s loveys; and a slew of wildlife who inhabit her backyard, including Wombat, the resident groundhog. When not writing, Betsy is either photographing the extraordinary within the ordinary; working at an old-fashioned toy store in Mystic, CT; enjoying creative play with her grandkids (many times involving loveys); reading or hiking with Buddy. A former dancer, singer and actress, Betsy is also an avid birder, who will also go out of her way to witness (and capture) a stunning sunset. Most of all, Betsy loves to laugh. And eat anything made with mangos.

Darlene here:  Here’s my review of this delightful book:

“Betsy Devany’s debut PB LUCY’S LOVEY makes you want to get out your old lovey and take it for a walk.  Share a meal, or make a mess.  This is a charming story of a child and her favorite toy companion.  Every parent and child will feel at home as they snuggle with their favorite lovey to read this story over and over again. The illustrations add a level of sweetness and humor to the story that reminded me of the VELVETEEN RABBIT for the very young.   Delightful!”

Visit Betsy’s blog:  http://www.betsydevany.com                                                    http://www.mackids.com

Betsy and I would LOVE to hear from readers about their favorite childhood lovey. Anyone care to share?


For a Limited Time Only: Daylight Saving Time:by Marilyn Ostermiller.

clock-fleur-de-lisTick Tock. Tick Tock.

Time to Turn Back the Clock

On Sunday, November 6, Daylight Saving Time will end at 2 a.m. We’ll roll back our clocks by an hour. As a result daylight will come an hour earlier than we are used to, and so will nightfall.

A simple way to remember which way to reset your timepieces is to tie images to this meme: spring forward and fall back. For the spring time change, think of a bunny hopping across your yard. For the return to Standard Time in the fall, picture someone doing a backward somersault.

Congress initially passed Daylight Saving Time in 1918 to save electricity during World War I, according to The History Channel. It was repealed the next year, but some states and cities continued to shift their clocks back and forth. The problem was that each participating state and city could fix their own start and end dates. This chaotic situation was finally resolved in 1966 when Congress enacted the Uniform Time Act.


In the United States only two states, Arizona and Hawaii, don’t participate. In about 70 countries around the world, about 25 percent of the world’s population participates.        img_3536

Come to think of it, how did we come to have 24 hours in a day or hours that last 60 minutes? And why do minutes contain 60 seconds? There are a couple of enlightening children’s books on the subject.

“About Time: A First Look at Time and Clocks” is for children in second through fifth grade.  Author Bruce Koscielniak tells the intriguing story of the many years spent tinkering and inventing to perfect the art of telling time. When time itself was undefined, no one knew the difference between a minute, an hour, and a day. Then people started creating tools to measure time. First, they used the sun, the moon, and the water. Soon, people began using their knowledge about the natural world to build clocks and to create calendars made up of months and years. Centuries later, we have clocks and calendars all around us. This book is published by HMH Books for Young Readers.

“A Second, a Minute, a Week with Days in It: A Book about Time,” written by Brian P. Cleary and illustrated by Brian Gable. A collection of zany cats introduce the measurement of time, from seconds, minutes, and hours up to decades. It is suggested for kindergarten through fifth grade.      Marilyn Ostermiller

Marilyn Ostermiller is a long-time business journalist who now writes for children. You can follow her on Twitter @Marilyn_Suzanne.