Winter Walk

by Virginia Snow

I love the unique illustrations in this beautiful winter book. Line drawings cover the pages with colored images highlighting parts of the woods that kids are learning about. “Grammy”  takes her grandkids on a winter adventure and as they explore the woods, they discover different birds, trees, animals and snowflakes. The book educates kids in a simple, illustrative way and even gives two crafts at the end (paper snowflake and pinecone bird feeder).

Beautiful Moon

by Tonya Bolden

This book has just hit the top of my list for bedtime stories to read with my girls. I LOVE it. It tells the story of a little boy who almost forgot to say his bedtime prayers and then goes through the people and things he prays for. It is a great reminder for both children and adults not only to pray, but the types of things that are important to pray for (like the homeless and the hungry). The boy prays for several “mature” things but also for his teacher to read a book every day at school. It is delightful and sweet and the illustrations are beyond beautiful. Although we are Christians, the book actually doesn’t even mention God or who exactly the boy is praying to so it would be appropriate for different religions.

The Great Katie Kate Tackles Questions About Cancer

by M. Maitand Deland

This book is geared toward a specific audience of children dealing with cancer either in their own lives or in the life of someone they know. The Great Katie Kate tackles the Worry Wombat and answers a lot of the basic questions about cancer, treatment and common things that come up until children feel less worried about it. Author M. Maitand Deland has a whole series of The Great Katie Kate books that covers topics like diabetes, epilepsy and asthma. The illustrations are great and the characters are relatable and approachable. This is a perfect book for a young child diagnosed with cancer.

“Can’t Wait Willow” and “Must Have Marvin”

by Christy Ziglar

These books by the niece of Zig Ziglar are fantastic! They have so many elements children love, including adorable illustrations. In both of these stories, the main characters Willow and Marvin are following their child desires for immediate gratification only to fall disappointed in the end because they didn’t hold out for what they really wanted. They teach a great lesson to children and make them think about the impulses the characters are making with a star that can be found on every page showing an emotion based on the character’s decisions. All families should add these books to their libraries!

Santa’s (Zany, Wacky, Just Not Right!) Night Before Christmas

by DK Simoneau and David Radman

Our family loves Christmas books. We read them year round! When we read this book we all adored it. It is so funny and it’s different from other Santa stories. It takes you through a Christmas eve night where nothing went the way it was supposed to and it all began with Santa having to do his own laundry. It’s a very fun story and all young children who love Santa with enjoy this book.

The New Old Truck

by Jennifer Somervell, Illustrated by her sister, Margery Fern

 

the new old truckThis is a charming true story about an old farm truck (a 1921 Model 10 Republic) that the farmer’s children adore. When the truck starts to fail them, the farmer wants to replace it. The kids object and insist that they love the old truck and don’t want anything new. Still, the old truck gets tucked away and forgotten about for many years until the farmer’s son restores the truck, with the rest of the family helping and celebrating. It is a great story and I imagine boys in particular will love it. My four year old daughter enjoys it and laughs every time it talks about the truck “farting” and “grunting” when trying to start. I love that the story is unique and and true. Beautiful illustrations make it a perfect choice for a family library.

The New Old Truck RRP$12.95 is available from selected booksellers, www.talesfromthefarm.co.nz and www.alma.lib.mi.us

The Man With the Violin

by Kathy Stinson

I love this book, perhaps because I am a former violinist. While this is clearly a children’s book it is actually a great reminder for adults to slow down and pay attention to the small details that children don’t seem to miss. This story is based on the true story of Joshua Bell, who played his Stradivarius in a D.C. train station and was barely noticed. The boy in the story, Dylan noticed the violinist and was moved. The music stays with Dylan, coloring his drab day and he eventually hears him on the radio later on. It is a moving story and it has nice illustrations. Children probably won’t appreciate the moral of the story as much as adults, but it is still a great one for kids to hear.

50 Below Zero

by Robert Munsch, Michael Martchenko (Illustrator)

This is a silly little story that is a nice short read for young children. Jason’s dad is a sleep walker and ends up in the most unlikely places and on one particular, snowy night, Jason’s father’s sleepwalking wakes Jason up. Jason finds himself chasing his father around the house where he ends up having to bring him inside from the snow. Kids find it funny to see what silly places (and poses) Jason’s father will be in next! It is a simple board book that is perfect for a short, humorous read.

Under Wraps

This movie was a definite schocker! I’m not usually into zombies, mummies or science fiction, but this really wasn’t like that.  It was totally different than anything I have seen before, but I really enjoyed watching it with my daughter. It kept my interest, the acting and the animation was good and the moral was very family oriented. It has a clever story line and in the end the family of four learns a lot about each other and becomes closer. It is a great movie to watch around Halloween, but it’s not really a Halloween movie so it is perfect to add to your family’s DVD collection for any time of year. It would definitely appeal to boys, but my daughter really, really likes it too. She is only four and it didn’t scare her, so you don’t have to worry about that factor either. It is a well made animated movie by ARC Entertainment and I recommend it to any family with young kids!
under wrapsAVAILABLE ON DVD: October 14, 2014
DIRECTOR: Gordon Crum

WRITER: Allison Ross

CAST: Brooke Shields, Drake Bell, Matthew Lillard

SYNOPSIS: Danny and older sister Eleanor fall into an adventure of a lifetime when Danny accidentally unleashes a centuries old curse involving mummies, phaoroahs and nefarious villains! When their archeologist parents go on an expedition to an ancient Pharoah’s last resting place, Danny sneaks into the tomb and finds a sacred amulet, which he takes home. When he accidentally breaks the amulet, all sorts of chaos follows, starting with his parents turning into mummies! Eleanor and Danny frantically look for clues to solve this nightmare but the police, an evil assistant, and a mysterious visitor from the past are suddenly getting too close for comfort.

DISTRIBUTOR: ARC Entertainment

Tryout Tips for Parents: 5 Tips for Helping Your Child Make the Team

By CoachUp

sports-teamAs the upcoming sports season approaches, our throats begin to tighten. Winter and spring sports tryouts are underway, and our children are stressed. Chances are, you’re feeling just as anxious for tryouts as your kids.  Best case scenario, they make the team and happily transition into the regular season, worst case they don’t and they come to you in a whirlwind of emotion that leaves you struggling to find a resolution.

If you’re looking for a more concrete way to improve your child’s skills, CoachUp is a great resource for families looking to hire one in their area. There are a variety of private coaches that will fit your, or your child’s, needs. With experienced instructors from squash to basketball to strength and conditioning, CoachUp coaches are qualified and have all been background checked for safety.

If a private coach doesn’t pique your interest, there are definite steps you can take to help your child make the team. These tryout tips for parents from CoachUp will help guide you through both tryouts and a successful sports season.

1. Rome wasn’t built in a day, put in the prep

Encourage your child to begin practicing on a steady gradient from casual to intense sessions a month before preseason begins. Have them start their practice at about 30 min every other day increasing to an hour or two each day the week before. You shouldn’t put too much pressure on them to be perfect, but do convey that it is important to be well conditioned before the first day. Suggest that they play around with their friends or future teammates. This will help them get a feel for the competition early so that they can assess for themselves how much practice they need to be doing. During the first week, help them ease their nerves by reminding them how much great practice they’ve been doing, they’re ready for this.

2. Eat, Sleep, Play

Sleep and nutrition are extremely important for your child’s well being in the first weeks of preseason. Make sure that your child gets a great night sleep not just the night before the first day, but also the whole weekend before. Help them gear up by preparing healthy meals in the weeks before and during tryouts. Making great breakfasts and nutritious packed lunches during preseason will help take some of the load off your child and show them that you’re there for support.

3. Pencil it in now…not later

Creating a schedule for your child’s sports season seems like an obvious step, but it is an incredibly important one. List all practices, games, team dinners, etc. along with their times and locations. Consider linking up with other parents to make a carpooling schedule and to exchange information in case of emergency. Securing a time effective transportation system for the preseason will take the burden off your child. Children often feel stressed or judged by coaches or teammates when their parents are late or forget an event, so showing them you’ve got it all under control will ease their nerves.

4. Be a good sport, Mom and Dad

Reacting positively to coaches’ decisions, results of a game, or practice schedules will set a good example for your child. Sympathize and suggest alternatives if they are upset, but do not intervene or create unnecessary drama. Obviously there are always special cases, but use your best discretion to pick your battles. Your child will learn from your constructive attitude, which will reflect positively on the playing field.

5.  Put it into perspective

Last but not least, be sure to encourage and motivate your child while putting it all in perspective. Sometimes kids can get overwhelmed with tryouts and overreact. If they perform poorly in a drill or scrimmage, prevent them from wanting to give up by presenting the positive sides. They can make it up the next day, or if not, there’s always next year or other activities. Remind them that you’re proud of them no matter what.

Make tryouts as easy as possible for your children. If you take care of their schedule, meals, and transportation, they can freely focus on their game. Your children will be less stressed and perform their best when they know you’ve got their back, both logistically and emotionally. So here’s to a successful, best case scenario sports season, your children will thank you!

 

About CoachUp

CoachUp is a service that connects athletes with private coaches, believing that private coaching is the secret to reaching the next level in sports + life.  The CoachUp mission is to help change the trajectory of kid’s lives through sports. CoachUp has won numerous awards, including the 50 On Fire “Top 50 Hottest Companies in Boston” and  the Gold Prize at MassChallenge.  Backed by a stellar investment team including General Catalyst, Breakaway Innovation Group, and Founder Collective.

Steering the helm at CoachUp is CEO and Founder, Jordan Fliegel, a young entrepreneur whose passion for sports goes beyond his business. Jordan firmly believes his life was changed when his father enlisted the help of a private coach to step up his basketball game as a teenager.  Fliegel’s experience with private coaching led to a successful academic and basketball career at the college and professional level.  He returned to Boston to start CoachUp and pay it forward by coaching youth basketball players. For more information visit www.coachup.com.