Northshire Bookstore Celebrates Kids.

On a recent trip to Manchester Vermont, I stopped into the local Indie bookstore.  Boy am I glad I did!  NORTHSHIRE BOOKSTORE is located in what once was an inn – with three stories of goodies.  In addition to what I expected to find – BOOKS – there is so much more in this wonderful store.  Plenty of gift items, toys, games, clothing, and a cafe that serves local and homemade sandwiches, soups and baked goods. (I highly recommend the cream of asparagus soup). 

The store is over 10,000 square feet with one entire floor devoted to children.  It is a world dedicated to and celebrating all things kids.  So many books thoughtfully displayed to show off as many authors as possible.  They’re in alphabetical order, overlapping, but with enough peeking out to find your favorite title.

It made me curious as to why more bookstores don’t display their picture books like this.  At least an unknown author has a chance of “showing off” a title to the world.



The store also had a separate room for kids looking to interact with books and games.  Rocking chairs, bean bag chairs, and stuffed animals graced the floor.  Books, games and activities were displayed on shelves and tables begging kids to TOUCH and PLAY.

Who wouldn’t want to hang out in a room like this?  It looks like a playroom in your best friend’s house.

I would have happily spent DAYS in NORTHSHIRE BOOKSTORE.  Does anyone know of other amazing bookstores like this?  I’d love to add them to my list of “must-see” places on my next vacation.

Anyone who loves books should plan on a stop to this great store.


INTERNATIONAL PEACE DAY: Celebrate a World of Peace.

International Peace Day was established by a United Nations resolution in 1981 (resolution 36/67). It was first held on the third Tuesday of September, starting in 1982. Beginning in 2002, the UN General Assembly changed the date, setting September 21st as the date for yearly celebration.

Wouldn’t it be wonderful if all conflict, everywhere, stopped for a day?  IMAGINE a world of peace.  As John Lennon said in his iconic song of the same title, if we can imagine it, we can make it happen.  Play the song, hold a peace vigil, light a candle, join hands and spread the message.  A picture book version of this iconic song is available:

For a wonderful picture book that spreads the message of PEACE try: THE PEACE BELL by Margi Preus (Henry Holt 2008) For older kids there’s THE LAST CHERRY BLOSSOM by Kathleen Burkinshaw

Peace to  all nations – One. Day. At. A. Time.

Talk is Cheap:The Importance of Talking to Babies.

While most of us may know that talking to babies is crucial to language and vocabulary development, not all of us realize just how important it is.  It’s not just listing vocabulary; rich, varied language with good grammar trains babies’ brains to learn through context.   Instead of saying “Here’s a banana”, it would be better to say, “Let’s put the banana in the bowl with the oranges and apples.”  Speaking in long sentences is best.

The earlier we talk to babies, the better.  A baby’s brain processes information long before he is able to respond. Researchers have found a “language gap” among children from low income  backgrounds.  Children from affluent, professional families hear millions more words when they are ready to begin school than poor kids. WORDS ARE FREE and should be used liberally from infancy on.  It doesn’t cost anything to talk to a baby, but the payoff can be measured in better school performance and more self confidence.

So how can we “talk more” to babies?

1. Use rich, varied language and longer sentences.

2. Don’t just label items.  Make connections.  Instead of “The dog is wagging his tail”, it is more effective to say, “The dog’s fluffy tail is fatter than the cat’s skinny tail.”

3. Put down your phone and turn off the TV.  Neither help a baby learn language.  Babies require PERSONAL INTERACTION to learn.  Have a conversation about anything and everything.  Ex. “Mommy is going to make some lunch.  Let’s see what we have in the refrigerator.  How about a salad with lettuce, cucumbers, and tomatoes?  I need to slice the cucumbers and tomatoes with this knife.  Then I’m going to butter the bread and put the slices in this pan for grilled cheese sandwiches”.  You get the idea.  It doesn’t matter WHAT you talk about, just that you talk directly to the child.  Overhearing adult conversations doesn’t count.

4. Reading a book for just 10 minutes a day adds up to a lot of language.  If parents aren’t good readers, talk about the pictures.

5. Fit conversation around everyday activities.  Talk about what you’re doing when you bathe the baby, the clothes you are changing her into, the scenery you pass when you go out for a stroll, etc.

In this busy, plugged-in culture we live in, talking often gets pushed aside in favor of texting, social media and the like.  In an effort to communicate, we are cutting off opportunities to talk to one another.  To ensure that our babies and toddlers grow up to be self confident, do better in school and are better able to communicate with others, PUT DOWN THE DEVICES AND TALK!  Your baby will be better off.


Despite what we see on TV and social media, there are more people opposed to hate than those who try to spread it.  All over the country people are fighting HATE and standing up against the forces of division, hatred, and oppression. When hate flares up, GOOD PEOPLE rise up against it, often in larger numbers and with stronger voices.  You can join this movement to fight hate.

Among the ways to fight hate: Act, Join Forces, Pressure Leaders, Support Victims, Educate Yourself, Create an Alternative.

To find out more about this important movement:

The Southern Poverty Law Center has a brochure that you can download: TEN WAYS TO FIGHT HATE. For your free copy visit

Be a force for good and join the fight against hate! 

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


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.

Fit Kids=Smart Kids.

A recent study of 70 kids aged 9-11, led by the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, found that strong muscles in children correlates to better memory.  Other studies found that aerobically fit children have better thinking ability, attention, memory, and academic performance.

Bottom line: Getting kids moving with strength-building and aerobic activities during their school years will lead to an overall better school experience. Kids don’t have to join a gym.  Just make sure your child’s school has a playground with lots of equipment and that recess and gym classes are a regular part of the schedule.  Set an example by doing active things together as a family.  Taking after dinner walks, dancing to favorite songs, jumping rope, using a hula hoop, skipping and swimming.  Try crab walks, wheelbarrow races, pillow case races, and soup can arm curls to build muscles.

Activity can be fun when parents set the tone and participate as well.  The rewards are better health and a smarter brain!