Friday, February 27, 2015

Freebie Friday**Free Kids books on Amazon Today!

Freebie Friday
Remember--these books haven't been reviewed by the Stubby Pencil, but they are all 4**** or more on Amazon's list of FREE books today. Free for your Kindle, that is. Print may cost $$.

NO EXIT: The Apple Grove Gang #1

December 11, 2013 8 - 12 3 - 6
Benny Churchill and Bug Beetle are off and running on the last day of school. They are ready for a great summer of fun with the Apple Grove Gang. Instead, they learn a lesson in politics. When the Apple Grove Community Center is closed, the Gang finds out just how hard it is to fight city hall. Finally, when their backs are against the wall, and they find out that there is no exit, the real fun and excitement begin.

The Awkward Diaries 1: I Can't Stand Bullies

November 3, 2014 7 - 12 2 - 7
***For a limited time, you can get the latest Bolaji O video book, "That Dragon Stole My Horse", for free - click here to find out more > (just copy and paste into your browser)***

The launch of an exciting and innovative illustrated new series from the perspective of an unforgettable kid every family can relate to.

It's a new school year, and Amanda AMAZon (please say it right)
finds herself thrust into middle school, where lifelong friendships are formed, lifelong bullies are the norm!

Amanda's got her best friend Kanti along for the ride,
it's all Amanda can do to keep from ripping the annoying neighbor BUG to shreds!

But when the 3 mean girls on the soccer team zero in on Amanda,
she finds some interesting allies on the way to surviving
the school's most feared trio!

Magical Charms for Breakfast: Chapter Books for Kids
(Fairy Tales & Magical Adventures Book 1)
August 13, 2014 7 - 12 3 - 6  
In bestselling author Merriweather Hope’s “Magical Charms for Breakfast,” All the kids in nine-year-old Stefan’s school have gone crazy for Magical Charms, the new cereal especially for kids they’ve been advertising on TV. Not only is Magical Charms colorful and pretty tasty—every box comes with its own unique surprise!

Stefan begs his mom to buy a box and can hardly wait to see what his prize is.

But unlike his friends, who get cool prizes like mini wands, teeny-tiny swords, and super-small unicorns, Stefan gets a boring miniature lamp that looks a lot like Aladdin’s, but can’t do anything special—or so Stefan thinks!

It isn’t until he accidentally wishes for something while holding the little lamp that Stefan realizes his prize is more than meets the eye.

A beautiful quirky girl - genie named Jinn lives inside, and she’s ready and willing to grant Stefan’s every wish! At first Stefan is ecstatic. How amazing it is to have everything he could possibly want right at his fingertips!

But he soon realizes that having a genie of his own just might be more trouble than it’s worth….

And then there’s the fact that Jinn has a mission from the Fairy Queen that she just can’t remember….

“Jinn, are you listening to me?”

“JINN! PAY ATTENTION! This is important!”

“Huh, what? Oh yeah. uhh. Sorry, Your Majesty,” said Jinn to the Fairy Queen as she sleepily rubbed her eyes. “A very important mission…don’t worry, you can count on me. Must…save…magic…” Jinn’s voice trailed off as her eyes grew heavy and gave way to sleep.

“JINN!” shouted the Fairy Queen “JINN! Remember the mission and focus on it!”

But it was no use, Jinn was fast asleep. The Fairy Queen shook her head in despair. But what choice did she have at this point? It was all up to Jinn now.

The Souls of Beasts (The Animal World Book 1)
November 23, 2014 9 - 12
Slithers the snake has had enough. Enough of Animal City, and enough of being an animal altogether. What he wants is peace and solitude, and there's only one way he's going to get it. By transforming himself into a Human Being. Slithers isn't alone. Mane the lion's cub, Trunkie the elephant, and Fury the ferocious border collie, all want to be transformed into humans too, but it isn't as simple as that.

First the four must travel through the dangerous Animal World and get to the Human World, but if there's one thing natives of the Animal World don't like – it’s animals that want to transform into Human Beings. Conniving pigs, fearsome wolves, zealous crocodiles, mad apes, and one very sly bear, are just some of the dangers that await, and to succeed the four travellers must use all their wits, courage, and willpower, and ultimately decide; is the freedom they crave found in the Human World, or is it found within themselves?

The Souls of Beasts is a wholesome, funny adventure story that's perfect for middle school students and adults.

* Contains one chapter of The Animal World Volume Two, DEATH IN ANIMAL CITY.

The Thirteenth Unicorn (The Ben Alderman Series Book 1)
January 8, 2011
While spending the summer with their grandparents on a remote farm in South Carolina, Ben Alderman and his sister Casey uncover a hidden world of magic; a world their grandmother is secretly visiting. It is a world where elves and dwarves are locked in mortal combat against a witch who is trying to free the last surviving wizard from exile. The witch has been defeated once before but with the combined power of the wizard, no one will be able to stand against them. Much to Ben's dismay, he learns that he is the one foretold in the ancient elfin prophecies to bring about the downfall of the witch and save this exciting new world from destruction.


Wednesday, February 25, 2015

7 Ways to Raise a Happy Reader

I am in no way proclaiming to be an expert in child development, or an expert in reading. I am a mom and a grandmother who loves to read, and my grandchildren love to be read to. They prefer it over television--imagine that.

What are some of the things your parents did to inspire you to read?

Even if your kids are mostly grown, don't think it's too late to start some of these habits. Start from where you are right now.

Here are 7 Ways to Raise a Happy Reader:

First--Start reading to your children before they are born. This is a perfect time to develop the habit of reading bedtime stories.

Hint: I like to give board books as baby shower gifts because a lot of new parents overlook this as a need. They're busy collecting diapers and layettes, and putting up the crib.

Second--Continue reading to them as infants. It doesn't matter what you read, just read. They love to snuggle with you and they love the sound of your voice or the voice of an older sibling.

I bought new books for my far-a-way grandchildren and sent a tape of my voice reading the story to them. When they get older they can follow along in the book.

Third--Be consistent in reading bedtime stories. Every. Night. Make it a part of the nighttime ritual. This is a great time for both kids and parents to unwind from daily rigors and enjoy some quiet bonding moments (okay that's in the perfect world. There will always be times when Life gets in the way, namely sick kids and what-not).

Fourth--Be a good example. Let your kids see you enjoy reading for yourself even if it's only for a  few minutes. Every. Day. Especially the Father figure. Kids are more likely to pick up the reading habit if they see BOTH parents read.

Fifth--When your kids get old enough to show preferences, take monthly or twice-monthly trips to the library and let them pick out their own books. Teach them how to treat books. Make Library Day a certain day of the month. Be. Consistent. Make it something to look forward to like a privilege for chores well done.

Some of my favorites
During the summer, and especially for school age kids, make sure Library Day happens every two weeks. This helps with summertime boredom and keeps kids caught up on their reading skills.

Sixth--As your kids get into school they will need a consistent 20-30 minute reading time everyday, without distractions, without electronics. A nice compromise is to allow them 30 minutes reading time on your eReader, occasionally.

Seventh--Try to make reading time more of a privilege than a chore or punishment. There are so many great Middle Grade books out there that reading will become its own reward soon enough.

Now, with all of that, there will still be some kids who really struggle to read, and it is a chore. Some children have challenges staying focused. Some have challenges like dyslexia. Some have challenges with vision. Before you get frustrated, step back and evaluate the situation, talk with teachers and counselors, visit the eye doctor or pediatrician.

I say this because one of my kids had problems reading in elementary school. It turned out she just wasn't interested in what there was to read at the time. Thank goodness for Nancy Drew books. When my daughter was 10 -11 years old, I saw some at Sam's club in a five-book set. I loved these books growing up, so I took a chance and she loved them too. She wanted more. I did whatever it took to keep her reading. Then, Harry Potter came out. I wish I could give J.K. Rowling a hug for what her books did for my daughter.

Second story: One of my grandsons had difficulty to the point he'd do just about anything to keep from reading. He was taking piano lessons at the time and really didn't like that either. He struggled at school. His parents decided to get his eyes checked, thinking maybe he was getting near-sighted (runs in the family). It turned out that his acuity was okay, but he has double vision. I can't imagine anything more frustrating than trying to read a book or sheet music with double vision. With the help of specific exercises, he is able to focus better and found The Diary of a Wimpy Kid too much fun to put down.

So don't give up. Find a way to share the joy of reading with your kids.

Friday, February 20, 2015

Freebie Friday--Free Kids Books on Amazon Today

Free Book Friday
These books have not been reviewed by The Stubby Pencil but they all have 4 or more stars on Amazon and the Kindle editions are FREE today.
Scab and Beads - Locket's Away
by Justin Johnson
Scab and Beads - Locket’s Away
Scabs is a daredevil who likes to take his bike off of some sweet jumps! He doesn’t usually land them, however, and the students of Steven A. Mason Elementary School have given him a fitting nickname.
Beads is a diva, who’s win at all costs attitude, along with her superb abilities in both school and jewelry making, make her the number one detective at Steven A. Mason Elementary School.
Together, these two form a partnership and friendship that is unstoppable.

This is the first book in this mystery series for kids. If you enjoy funny stories about friends, you should try this book. If you enjoy trying to solve mysteries right along with your favorite characters, you should try this book. If you enjoy stories that expand your child's vocabulary, you should try this book.
Tongue Twisters for Kids
by Riley Weber

"Rubber baby buggy bumpers" - Say this three times as fast as you can. How about, try saying " Loopy lizards lying lazily aloft a little lane of logs," without messing up. This Tongue Twister book is huge collection of funny phrases, ridiculous rhymes, and silly sentences that will have kids laughing for hours. Each one challenges your mouth muscles as you try to say these tongue twisters faster and multiple times.

A tongue twister is a phrase that is supposed to be difficult to articulate properly. Often times they take practice to say correctly. Tongue twisters are good practice for children as they learn to form words, phrases, and vowels. It's hard to say a tongue twister without a smile on your face. Each tongue twister in this book has it's own silly illustration. Kids will be entertained with these tongue twisters for hours.
Johnny B. Fast: The Super Spy
by Tom Doganoglu
“I’m Johnny B. Fast,” he said, holding out his hand. “And I’m a super spy.”
Nancy looked at him for a moment and then burst out laughing again.
Johnny felt really foolish holding out his hand for her to shake while she was laughing at him. He slowly retracted his hand.
“Thanks,” he mumbled.
She quickly composed herself.
“I’m sorry. I never met a spy who introduced themselves as a spy before.”

Johnny B. Fast: The Super Spy 1:
Johnny Clunker was an awkward and shy kid who kept mostly to himself. But when the school day ended he became Johnny B. Fast, a super spy.
Utilizing super technology so advanced that it seems like magic, Johnny and his friends battle the United Order, a ruthless organization trying to acquire the Super Chip – a computer processor so powerful it can virtually hold the world’s technology hostage.
But when one of his fellow classmates, Nancy Korrins, is also revealed to be a spy kid who was trained by the world’s most deadly and advanced agent, Johnny has his hands full trying to figure out if he can trust her to help him capture the Super Chip, or if he has to fight her as his greatest rival.

Don't miss the other books in the Johnny B. Fast: The Super Spy series:
Johnny B. Fast: The Super Spy 2 - Available Now!
Johnny B. Fast: The Super Spy 3 - Available Now!
Sarah and the Search for the Pot of Gold
by Justin Johnson

Have you ever wondered what's really at the end of a rainbow?

Sarah is leaving school one day when she discovers a rainbow. She makes up her mind to go searching for what lies at the end of it, despite her best friend, Amber's pleas not to. Will Sarah find what she's looking for? Or will she find that she should have listened to her friend, Amber, and just gone home?

This book includes comprehension questions and an answer guide at the end of the story to help your child engage with the text on a deeper level!

The Mystery of the Missing Money
by Paul Moxham
Are you up for a thrilling adventure?

The seaside village of Smugglers Cove is proving to be anything but quiet for the four children as they encounter yet another mystery while exploring Brackness Castle. This ruined fortress sits on the outskirts of the village and, as the children soon discover, holds more secrets than they could ever imagine.

Who is hiding in the dungeons? What is in the bag? Where does the secret tunnel lead to?

Set in 1950's Britain, this adventure story will suit people who enjoy Nancy Drew, the Hardy Boys or the Famous Five.

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Teaching Your Children about Sex: Using the Temple as Your Guide by Cherri Brooks

Help your children build strong, open, trusting relationships by discussing as a family the sacred subject of sex.

This informative and enlightening book addresses all the hot-button issues and taboo topics that have become so prevalent in our society, including things like gender identity, same-sex attraction, and the definition of marriage.

Written in a frank but sensitive style, this book will teach you to:

Bring up the subject with your children and answer their initial questions.
Use practical, age-by-age suggestions and language to establish an ongoing dialogue about sex.
Teach the facts and your moral view on them at the same time.
Address difficult subjects such as homosexuality, abuse, and rape.
Find additional reliable resources for yourself and your kids.

By using the temple as a metaphor, this book gives you all the tools you need to have “the talk” in a way that’s clear.

Genre: non-fiction
pages: 179
Publisher: Cedar Fort

Amy's Opinion:
This book is thoughtful, and very well organized with good information and tips about communicating with your children, in general. It is divided by children's age groups with sections of possible questions your kids might ask with ways you can answer them.
Some of the explanations and answers to questions are much better than I could come up with. However, I do disagree with some of what the author thinks is acceptable. She does have a disclaimer that the information is to be taken and adjusted to each families' beliefs and morals.