Baseball Opening Day: Celebrate With Baseball Themed Books.

While this virus keeps us indoors, we can still get excited about the upcoming  summer when hopefully, things will be much better.  Today is the official opening day of the 2020 baseball season. I thought I’d recognize that with a couple of my favorite baseball themed books and with a poem from my new book, WISHES, DARES, AND HOW TO STAND UP TO A BULLY  (Creston April 2020).

GOODBYE, MR. SPALDING, by Jennifer Robin Barr is a thoughtful and heart-warming middle grade tale of friendship, family and baseball set in Philadelphia in the early 1930’s.

Twelve-year-old Jimmy Frank and his best friend Lola have lived next door to each other since they were babies. Their houses overlook Shibe Park which happens to be the home of the Philadelphia Athletics baseball team. They and their families enjoy cheering on their favorite team from the rooftop bleachers of their 20th Street homes. The small admission fees charged to the folks that fill up the bleacher seats goes a long way toward making ends meet during difficult times. And, every so often an A’s player – like Jimmie Foxx – hits a right field home run right over the fence and onto their rooftop.

At the end of the 1934 season, the neighborhood gets news of a wall that is planned to be built to block their view and make the rooftop bleachers obsolete. This “spite wall” will take away a source of income for the families and erase a beloved tradition. Jimmy sets out to try and stop the wall. With Lola’s help, they try one scheme after another and only succeed in causing trouble for themselves and the community. Will Jimmy’s obsession with the wall ruin his chances of being bat boy for the A’s? Will it ruin his friendship with Lola? Will the Polinski brothers – AKA the neighborhood bullies succeed in ruining Jimmy?  Reader’s will eagerly turn pages to find out.

This delightful story is solidly grounded in the 1930’s with enough local and historical details to fix the depression-era time period. Hopeful, heart-felt and a celebration of teamwork and sportsmanship, it is sure to become a classroom favorite. It knocked me out of the park. Rule # 1934: Goodbye, Mr. Spalding is a home run!

THE EVERYTHING KIDS’ BASEBALL BOOK by Greg Jacobs has…everything.

“Everything you want in a kid’s book” (Associated Press) this informative and accessible guide to America’s favorite pastime covers everything from baseball’s history to today’s favorite players—with lots of home run fun in between.

WHO GOT GAME: BASEBALL By Derrick D. Barnes

Illustrated by John John Bajet

Who Got Game?: Baseball: Amazing but True Stories!

Celebrate the unheralded people and stories that helped shape the game of baseball!

Meet unsung pioneers, like John “Bud” Fowler, William Edward White, and brothers Moses Fleetwood Walker and Weld Walker, four African Americans who integrated white teams decades before Jackie Robinson.

Discover unforgettable moments, like the time a 17-year old girl named Jackie Mtchell struck out Babe Ruth and Lou Gehrig.

Marvel at records. Did you know that Japanese superstar Sadaharu Oh has a whopping 113 more career homers than Hank Aaron?

Finally, here’s a poem from my book, WISHES, DARES, AND HOW TO STAND UP TO A BULLY, where Jack and his grandpa attend a baseball game together in the summer of 1964.

TEAM

A day at the ballpark with Pops
and my two favorite teams feels like
a dream you never want to wake up from.

Four rows behind home plate,
the grass is so green it hurts my eyes.
So much noise, Pops and me
have to yell at each other to be heard.

Smell of hotdogs, warm and
dripping with mustard,
tastes better than any hotdog
I ever ate. Even the seats,
sticky with spilled soda and beer
feel solid under me. Only one thing
would make this one-of-a-kind day better.

A team of three.

Where are you, Dad? Do you remember
our Little League team
that never won a game our first year?
That didn’t stop us from playing hard, so hard
that the second season we were 6-6.

Team work.
Thinking about Jill and her family team
that may not win every game, but they will be together.
Things work out better when
you work together, like we learned
in Little League.

Yankees beat the Red Sox 9-3.

back cover

So, hunker down, make some hotdogs and read about America’s favorite past time.

Just in Time For Spring…THE BOLD BRAVE BUNNY, a New PB by Beth Ferry + A Bunny Bookmark Craft and Give-away.

It’s always a joy when a new picture book comes out by New York Times bestselling author BETH FERRY.

Her Latest THE BOLD, BRAVE BUNNY is a delightful addition to her growing roster of picture books.

Here is my review of this book:

A delightful story of determination, imagination, and realization as Teetu the bunny learns what it means to belong. Clever illustrations of the “wilderness” outside Teetu’s burrow reflect his wonder and imagination as he embarks on his first solo adventure of discovery.  Reinforces the idea that no matter how far we roam, and no matter what the world has in store, it’s comforting to know that family is waiting for us when we return.

I am giving away a copy of this book to one lucky winner who leaves a comment naming his or her favorite childhood bunny story. (Mine is THE RUNAWAY BUNNY by Margaret Wise Brown, a book I read to my kids over and over again) Your name will be entered in the random drawing and the winner will be announced on this blog.

For the bunny loving, book loving kids in your house, here’s a nifty and EASY origami bunny bookmark they can make by watching the step-by-step directions on the Red Ted Art site.

bunny book markers

https://www.redtedart.com/easy-paper-bunny-bookmark/

You might want to check out some other great “Bunny” stories:

BUNNY’S BOOK CLUB by Annie Silvestro  Bunny's Book Club and BUNNY’S BOOK CLUB GOES TO SCHOOL

KNUFFLE BUNNY by Mo Willems   

MR. REGINALD AND THE BUNNIES by Paula Wallace

Mr. Reginald and the Bunnies

National Pancake Day…Make Pancakes For Supper!

Tomorrow (March 12) is National Pancake Day, so why not celebrate this iconic food by serving it up for dinner? Give the kids a thrill from the ordinary dinner time menu and make pancakes for supper. There are many recipes out there, and Aunt Jemima makes a mix that passes the YUM test.

In my new book WISHES, DARES, AND HOW TO STAND UP TO A BULLY, 11 year-old Jack takes his 4 year-old sister Katy fishing for the first time. When they catch a one-eyed fish,  Jack tells Katy it’s a magic fish that grants wishes. Read the poems to find out what this has to do with PANCAKES:

FRED
After lunch I’m ready to leave.
No fish today, let’s go, I say.

Maybe the fish don’t like worms.
Maybe they’re veterinarians, Katy says.
She means vegetarians because
she hands me a grape and says
put it on the hook, Jack, please?
Can you sit without making a sound,
quiet as a stone?
She puts a finger to her lips, Shhhhh.
I hook the grape, toss the line,
hand the rod to Katy.
Before I settle onto the grass,
the line gives a tug.
Too heavy for me, I can’t do it, Jack.
I grab the rod and pull a fish out,
a fish with one eye.
It’s Fred, I tell her.
Katy strokes Fred’s tail with a pinkie.
A special fish, I say.
Like magic special?
Katy’s two eyes as wide as Fred’s one.
Don’t know, I say.
Katy frowns, so I say,
make a wish, quick before Fred goes back.
Pancakes for supper! she wishes,
kissing Fred on the tail.
Pancakes, I agree. As I slip
Fred into the water, he seems to
wink his eye before he swims away.

TRUE
It’s true, it’s true,
Katy sings when we sit down to eat
towers of pancakes, stacked on plates,
waiting for butter and syrup.
What’s true? Mom asks.
Fred
Is
Magic.
Katy says each word
licking syrup off a spoon,
eyes closed like she is having the
best
day
ever.

As I tell them about the one-eyed
fish and Katy’s wish, can they hear
my heart banging? Do they see
the zinging jolts of electricity
running through me?
Gran smiles and says,
I woke up wondering what to cook
for supper today, and right after lunch
a little voice in my head
told me to make pancakes.
Isn’t that funny?
Funny, says Pops.
Funny, agrees Mom.

There’s something
funny
strange
weird
that makes me wonder,
did Fred the one-eyed fish
grant Katy’s wish?
And if he did,
do I
can I
why shouldn’t I
make a wish?
The only wish worth wishing.
First I need to find out
how this wishing thing works.

 

pancakes on a griddle

You don’t have to wish for pancakes. Here’s one of my favorite scratch recipes:

MULTIGRAIN PANCAKES

1/4 c FLOUR        1/4 c WHOLE WHEAT FLOUR       1/4 c OATS

1 T BROWN SUGAR        1 T WHEAT GERM              1 tsp BAKING POWDER

1 EGG, beaten               1/2 c + 2 T MILK            2 T VEGETABLE OIL

Combine dry ingredients into a large bowl.  Pour wet ingredients into dry ingredients and stir until moist. Pour onto greased griddle. Serve with your favorite toppings.

Happy Pancake Day!  Everyone loves pancakes, right?

squirrel pancake

 

 

 

Celebrate National Popcorn Day! Make Popcorn Balls.

Sunday, January 19th is NATIONAL POPCORN DAY.  popcorn

Why not celebrate one of our favorite snack foods by having the kids make up some popcorn balls. Here is an easy recipe for MARSHMALLOW POPCORN BALLS taken from the I (heart) Eating website:

https://www.ihearteating.com/easy-popcorn-ball-recipe/

Ingredients

1 bag natural microwave popcorn*

1/4 cup butter

10 ounce bag mini marshmallows

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

Instructions

  • Pop popcorn according to package directions; set aside.
  • In a large saucepan, melt butter.
  • Continue cooking until butter begins to turn golden brown.
  • Add marshmallows, and stir constantly until marshmallows have melted.
  • Remove from heat, and stir in vanilla.
  • Add popcorn, and fold into marshmallow mixture.
  • When mixture is cool enough to handle, lightly spray your hands with nonstick cooking spray.
  • Scoop about 1 cup of the popcorn mixture and smoosh it into a ball.
  • Place on a sheet of waxed paper, parchment paper, or silicone baking mat to cool.

Notes

*Or about 9-10 cups of popped plain popcorn
**You can press candy pieces into the outside of popcorn balls.

***Nutrition values are estimates.

Nutrition Information

Serving: 1popcorn ball: Calories: 131kcal (7%)Carbohydrates: 23g (8%)Fat: 4g (6%)Saturated Fat: 2g (10%)Cholesterol: 12mg (4%)Sodium: 63mg (3%)Sugar: 16g (18%)Vitamin A: 140IU (3%)Calcium: 1mgIron: 0.1mg (1%)

Popcorn balls with M&M's on the outside

More popcorn ball recipes

HAPPY POPCORN DAY!

One Resolution For the New Year:Help Teachers Serve Those Underserved.

As students get back into the school routine after winter break, many classroom teachers might be struggling to help the most needy in their schools. You can help those underserved students, and the teachers who serve them, by donating school supplies.

DonorsChoose.org is an organization that empowers teachers in public schools across the nation to request materials and experiences greatly needed in their classrooms. Recent statistics indicate that 81% of all public schools in the US have at least one teacher who has posted a project or request on its website. Most of the schools who participate have more than half of the student population coming from low-income families. Requests can be as simple as paint to freshen up a classroom, mulch and topsoil to create a garden space, art supplies for a classroom, and more.

I donated to a classroom in MI asking for funds to purchase high interest Chapter Books for its students.

Feed  the hunger for knowledge by making a classroom teacher’s job a bit easier. To learn more: http://www.DonorsChoose.org

The Joy of Giving Back Can Lead to Better Health.

This time of year we are often bombarded with mail asking for help for various charities. I know everyone has his or her own favorites. If you are looking for a different way to get your kids involved and to teach them the importance of generosity, there are some organizations devoted to health and well-being. Not only does giving to others make us feel good, it actually increases activity in the brain’s reward region.

Here are a few you might consider:

A TEN DOLLAR donation to the Pan Foundation will provide a day of medicine to someone in need. The organization also helps those with chronic, rare, and life-threatening conditions get treatment.  http://www.panfoundation.org

Your donation of TWENTY-FIVE DOLLARS will teach one kid to cook for life. COMMON THREADS teaches families about nutrition and how to choose healthier food and cook delicious meals.  http://www.commonthreads.org

For FIFTY DOLLARS you can supply 20 US families with clean water.  WORLD VISION will deliver bottled water and filtration systems to US families who lack it. http://www.worldvision.org

May good health and prosperity be yours in 2020.

Easy Holiday Paper Crafts For Kids.

I am in love with the RED TED website! If you haven’t discovered this gem, head on over. There are so many great crafts for kids and adults and many come with step-by-step videos to show you how to make each project. Using any kind of materials imaginable, you and your kids can create so many wonderful gifts to decorate your home or give to family and friends for the holidays.

If you plan of giving some books as gifts this Christmas, why not add a homemade bookmark?  You and the kids can make them following the tutorials on the site.  It’s a simple way for kids to give a gift to classmates,  or as a Scout or Sunday School Project. Here is the link to some of the awesome BOOKMARK PAPER CRAFTS  with a holiday theme:

https://www.redtedart.com/christmas-paper-crafts-for-kids/?utm_source=newsletter&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=top_crafts_for_the_week&utm_term=2019-11-15

*Christmas Paper Crafts for Kids*. Everyone has paper, right? Combine paper with basic stationery items such as scissors, pens and glue and you have a fantastic list of fabulous Christmas Crafts and Christmas DIYs for kids and grown ups. Love how versatile Paper Crafts. CUTE Christmas Paper Crafts. #PaperCrafts #PaperChristmasCrafts #Christmascrafts #ChristmasPaperCrafts #Christmas #Christmascraftsforkids #papercraftsforkids

For more ideas on Do-it-yourself projects, check out the book BE A MAKER, by Katey Howes.

Happy crafting!