Teaching Aid: Great Causes For Back to School.

As your children head back to another school year, we parents might wonder how we can support teachers and which programs are worthy of attention and support.  Here are 5 to think about:

1. GIRLS WHO CODE: Men outnumber women in the fields of science, technology, math and engineering. This organization hopes to change that by partnering with Google and other tech companies to launch coding clubs for female teens across the country.  Contribute at: http://www.girlswhocode.com

2. School Supplies: For every YOOBI brand pencil set, notebook or other school item purchased at TARGET, or at http://www.yoobi.com   another will be donated to a classroom in need.

3. Sign a petition to encourage teaching handwriting in schools by going to: http://www.bicfightforyourwrite.com    and BIC will donate a pen or pencil to Adopt A Classroom.

4. Dine Out:  For the entire month of September, eat at one of thousands of restaurants nationwide to get meal discounts and help raise money to wend childhood hunger.  Visit: http://www.nokidhungry.org  for participating restaurants.

5. Used Books: If you donate or buy used books and textbooks at http://www.betterworldbooks.com  a portion of the funds raised will go to literacy programs around the globe.

Make the school year count for those less fortunate and have a great year!

 

Get Your Jam On!

Saturday, August 26, 2017 is Play Music on the Porch Day.  Musicians from 17+ countries will be meeting with friends on porches for a jam session.  You and your family can join the fun.  In the spirit of peace, harmony and fun for all ages, with nothing offensive or demeaning, make some music.  Share your celebration of music – the international language –  by posting your celebration on social media with the hashtag #playmusicontheporchday

VISIT:  http://www.playmusicontheporchday.com

Book Giveaway – Come With Me by Holly McGhee

A message of how we can all make a difference by reaching out to one another. Perfect book for ALL time!

Writing and Illustrating

Talented agent and author Holly McGhee has a new book COME WITH ME coming out on September 5th. You can pre-order now. Holly is giving away a copy to one lucky winner.

Here is my review on Goodreads: This picture book reminds us how terrorist attacks and the hatred projected on TV can cause anxiety and fear in our children. The story shows a little girl asking her parents what she can do to make the world a better place. The papa says, “Come with me.” Her Mama says, “Come with me,” and little by little she begins to understands her part in making the world a better place. She says, “Come with me” to the little boy next door and they start to change the world. Come With Me is a wonderful story and message that will help calm the hidden the fears in our children.

If you would like to win a…

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DIY Fidget Spinners

Everywhere I look these days, people are talking about FIDGET SPINNERS.  These gadgets were designed for use with children with autism as a way to help them with sensory issues.  They come in all shapes, sizes and designs and some are even battery powered.

You can make some simple spinners with materials you probably already have at home.  Here is a link from the Red Ted craft site that give you a step by step video.

http://www.redtedart.com/printable-diy-fidget-spinner-instructions/

Why Poetry by David L. Harrison

This is a great answer to WHY POETRY!

Writing and Illustrating

Evan Robb at his educational site posed the question – “Why poetry?” to David Harrison. If you want to know, asking a great poet is the way to go. Here is what David wrote for his site.

“Why poetry?” the response may be a surprised look, the sort you’d expect if you’d asked, “Why do you breathe?” Perhaps it’s better to ask, “Why poets?” Who are these passionately dedicated people who throw themselves into the slow, tedious business of making poems? Good poetry is hard to write, selling poetry is next to impossible, and poets rarely make much money. So why poetry, why poets, and why should you care?

I can’t speak for other poets (although I bet they’d all answer in much the same way), but I love the challenge of beginning with an idea and facing all those decisions that must be made before I wind up with a finished…

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Kathleen Burkinshaw – The Last Cherry Blossom – Talks Research

Writing and Illustrating

Yesterday was the 72nd anniversary of the dropping of an atomic bomb on Hiroshima during the last days of WWII. After reading Kathleen’s great middle grade book, I asked if she could share how she researched the book, knowing it would help so many writers.

Here is the review I wrote on Goodreads:

Fabulous! From the first page to the last, I kept saying, “Wow, this is such a great book.” It is a story that needed to be told and one that should be read by young and old. Kathleen has woven a beautiful story into a book that submerges the reader in the Japanese culture leading up to the Atomic Bomb that ended WWII. I don’t know how much of her mother’s story Kathleen told, but I know her love for her family and Mother poured out of her and onto the pages of this book – so…

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Let’s Make Some Rain!

Wouldn’t it be wonderful if we had the power to make our own rain, especially with so much of the country  experiencing drought?  We may not be able to make rain in the real sense, but with this activity, you can hear the soothing sound of rainfall anytime you wish.

All that’s needed to make a RAINSTICK is a long cardboard tube from a roll of paper towels or foil, construction paper and stickers for decoration, dried couscous, and duct tape.

1. Cover the tube with paper and seal the seam with stickers or the tape.

2.  Cut out two circles for each end of the tube. Drape one circle over one end and seal shut with tape.

3.  Pour about 1/4 C couscous into the tube.  Drape the second circle over the end and seal shut with tape.

4.  Decorate the tube with stickers. 

5. To make the sound of rain, slowly and gently tilt the tube from one end to the other.  Close your eyes, breathe in the rain scented air, and the illusion is complete!

Kathleen Burkinshaw, MG Author Interview: The Last Cherry Blossom.

As we approach the 72nd anniversary of the dropping of an atomic bomb on Hiroshima during the last days of WWII (August 6), I am honored to share a wonderful middle grade book that features a Japanese family living in Hiroshima during that time.  THE LAST CHERRY BLOSSOM by Kathleen Burkinshaw should be read in every middle school classroom to open the conversation on why we should always try to settle disputes peacefully and never, ever again resort to nuclear weapons.

This story has special significance for me as well.  My father – Raymond Beck – was a POW interred in Japan during the war.  He worked as a slave laborer in the coal mines of Hiroshima.  Had he not been underground when the bomb hit, I would most likely not be telling this story.

Here’s Kathleen with her story.

Darlene,

Thank you so much for interviewing me on your blog today! 😊

How did the book come about?

The writing journey of The Last Cherry Blossom began about 8 years ago with one question.  My daughter was in 7th grade at the time and was upset about something that happened in her history class. She said they would be covering the end of WWII and overheard some kids talking about how they couldn’t wait to see the “cool mushroom cloud picture”. She asked if I would speak to her class about the people under the mushroom cloud that day, people like her grandmother.     

I called and asked my mother if it was okay to talk about her experience in Hiroshima that horrific day.  My mom was a very private person, and never spoke about it in public. When I was a young child, she told me she came from Tokyo.  Once she confided in me that she was born in Hiroshima and lost her home, family and friends on August 6th, she asked that I never speak of it either. It was too painful and she didn’t want to draw attention to herself.

But this day she gave me her blessing to discuss what she experienced on August 6th.  She felt that since the students would be about the same age she was (12-years-old), maybe they would relate to her story. As future voters, she hoped they would remember that nuclear weapons should never be used again.

I spoke to my daughter’s class a week after the phone call. The following year I received requests from other local schools. I had been writing about my mom’s survival of the atomic bomb for my own and my daughter’s benefit.  But soon teachers inquired if I had a book that could complement their curriculum. Then the real work began!

Most amazing moment since writing the book?

It’s hard to choose but I have 3 firsts at different stages after writing the book.  The first most amazing moment was when I showed my mom the publishing contract and to see her face and tell me how proud she was that I would do this for her. Perhaps I do treasure this most of all because she passed away 2 months later.

The second moment was when I held the printed copy in my hands, seeing my name on it, smelling the new pages. I still get that same rush whenever I see it on a book shelf.

The third was when received my first fan mail. One was a letter from a student who didn’t like reading, but after reading my book wanted to read more books!

ENTER TO WIN A SIGNED COPY OF THE LAST CHERRY BLOSSOM by clicking on this link:   http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/cd590dfc4/?

Kathleen Burkinshaw is a Japanese American author residing in Charlotte, NC. She’s a wife, mom to a daughter in college, and owns a dog who is a kitchen ninja. Kathleen enjoyed a 10+ year career in HealthCare Management unfortunately cut short by the onset of Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy (RSD).Writing gives her an outlet for her daily struggle with chronic pain. She has presented her mother’s experience in Hiroshima to schools and at conferences for the past 8 years. The Last Cherry Blossom, is a SCBWI Crystal Kite Award Finalist (southeast region) and 2016 Scholastic WNDB Reading Club selection.

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