Time for Kids Releases Two New Titles for Curious Kids

While strolling Costco this weekend, my three-year old looked up at me and innocently asked, “Do donkeys go to church?”

And before I could answer the first question, he then asked, “What do donkeys do?”

The past few weeks, the kid has done his best to stump us with his curiosity and long list of questions, impossible questions included.  We do our best to answer them, but sometimes, truly, I have no answer because I really don’t know!  As every parent knows, kids are innately curious and they love to ask questions, which why I totally appreciate these new releases from Time for Kids.

Just in time for Halloween, the editors of Time for Kids released two new books for our inquisitive and answer-starved kid: That’s Awesome and The BIG Book of Why.

Geared to school-aged kids to read on their own, Time for Kid’s new books aim to answer many questions that even the littler ones might ask.

The Big Book of Why features 1,001 facts, including the science or history to further explain the answer in a straightforward and kid-friendly way.

And with Halloween in mind, here are some fun excerpts from The Big Book of Why:

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Happy 90 Years, Scholastic!

I can still remember those awesome days, sitting in a circle, indian-style at the library, listening to my grade school librarian read a silly story about Amelia Bedelia aloud during story time.  Or, how about those days when the latest Scholastic book club flyers went out?  I can still remember circling every awesome book on every page.  Or what about those awesome book fairs? Or how about collecting every single Babysitter’s Club book and re-reading them five times over.

These days, I practically squeal with excitement when we head to Soho, because that usually means a gratuitous trip to the Scholastic store—a trip that I wholeheartedly enjoy as a lifelong book lover grooming the next generation of book nerds. My boy embraces his Clifford classics.  And hello, a specific Pirate potty training book made life a little easier during these trying months.

Perhaps you have similar memories, or maybe more current ones of how Scholastic has impacted your life?

Today, Scholastic celebrates quite a monumental anniversary.  Ninety years ago, Robbie Robinson created the first issue of a magazine called The Western Pennsylvania Scholastic. Today, Scholastic is now the world’s largest publisher and distributor of children’s books.

Based on the awesome microsite to celebrate this anniversary, Scholastic has had a fabulous 90 years thus far!

If you’re in the NYC area today, be on the lookout for the many ways Scholastic is celebrating their special day.  They’ll be in Times Square, Central Park, outside the American Museum of Natural History, at the Liberty/Ellis Island Ferry Terminal, and  outside Scholastic HQ at 557 Broadway and will even be ringing the closing NASDAQ bell.  A busy day celebrating in NYC will be capped off with the Empire State building glowing a bright red as a nod to Scholastic’s amazing 90 years.

To emphasize their impact on the importance in reading for kids of all ages, Scholastic also announced their latest global campaign, Read Every Day/ Lead a Better Life.  It’s so fitting, isn’t it?  Check it out and be sure to fill out the Reading Bill of Rights to take part.

Congrats, and here’s to 90 more years of awesomeness, Scholastic!



Read for the Record Today

Readers unite: today, parents, teachers and children are being encouraged to take part in Jumpstart’s Read for the Record, which is a nationwide campaign that aims to set a new world record for the largest shared reading experience on a single day.

This morning, The Today Show interviewed spokesperson, Amanda Peete, about her involvement with Read for the Record.  According to Jumpstart,  Read for the Record encourages record-breakers to spread the word that reading with a child before he or she enters kindergarten can improve his or her chances of graduating from high school by as much as 30%. Today, more than 2.5 million children are expected to take part by reading The Snowy Day by Ezra Jack Keats. In the process, Jumpstart and the Pearson Foundation aim to draw attention to the growing crisis for disadvantaged young children whose literacy experience is limited and to Jumpstart’s role in addressing this issue.

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The Wizard of Oz Turns 71

Today marks The Wizard of Oz’s 71st anniversary, and a variety of sites are celebrating this milestone with fun facts, features and more.

Did you see Google today?  The Google Doodle of the day is an image of Dorothy and the gang embarking down the yellow brick road, with Oz in the distance, and letters that spell out ‘Google’ subtly placed.


The Wizard of Oz was based on a children’s novel written by Frank Baum, which was originally named The Wonderful Wizard of Oz.  The book-turned-groundbreaking film has touched generations of children with its whimsical story and the magic of ‘dreaming’ in Technicolor.

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Graduation Gift Idea: Yay You!

The month of June typically celebrates summer, dad, grads and the end of the school year.  This past weekend, our family celebrated dad and our very own grad.  Our niece graduated from high school, which undoubtedly closed one chapter and initiated another.

As a writer, specifically one who spends a lot of time focused on children’s products, I knew I wanted to gift our niece with a book.  But which one?  As much as I love Dr. Seuss and the ubiquitous Oh the Place You’ll Go, I knew I wanted to get something a little different.  Thank goodness for this idea I saw on Twitter!

One of my friends on Twitter tweeted about a perfect book and gift idea for grads.  When her son graduated, the famed children’s author, illustrator and definitely one of our kid’s all time faves, Sandra Boynton penned a coming of age book called “Yay, You: Moving Out, Moving Up, Moving On.”  The book embraces the possibilities and the upward trajectory of a new journey, is a perfect gift idea for graduates, or anyone embarking on a new chapter in their life.

Like our favorite children’s board books, “Yay, You: Moving Out, Moving Up, and Moving On” features Boyton’s clever rhymes and quirky illustrations.  As someone who set out on my own in my mid-twenties and left everything familiar behind, myfavorite line has to be, “Whatever you do, now or later, big or small, loud or quiet—whatever you do, don’t worry.  Just try it.”

Sandra Boynton does it again with “Yay, You: Moving Out, Moving Up, and Moving On.”  If you’re on the market for a wise and memorable book for a graduate, be sure to check out this Boynton classic.


Q and A with John Lithgow: Succinct, not Soporific

His theatrical and entertainment career spans four decades, through Broadway, Hollywood and back, garnering countless accolades, including a Tony, Oscar nominations, Golden Globes, some Emmys and four Grammys.

He has the capacity to make families laugh with eccentric roles like those from Harry and the Hendersons and Third Rock From the Sun, yet he can disturbingly induce the fear in his latest role as a murderer in Dexter and just as easily write seven endearing children’s books.

With all that, it’s safe to say this living legend transcends the “triple” requirements of being a triple threat.

And among those accomplishments, for the second year, Emmy-award winner John Lithgow will act as host for Turner Classic Movies (TCM)’s Essentials Jr., a summer movie showcase which highlights a lineup of iconic family-friendly films.  Set to run each Sunday throughout the summer, TCM’s Essentials Jr. includes films such as Old Yeller, To Kill a Mockingbird, Swiss Family Robinson, among others.

The other week, as part of his media rounds promoting TCM’s Essentials Jr., I had the chance to sit in on a short conference call to speak to Lithgow.

His voice resonated a little more than I expected it would.  And the phrasing of his speech was just as succinct as you’d imagine. In our short interview with the actor, author, singer, songwriter and performer, find out which films made an impact on him, what character he thought was brilliantly portrayed as a midwestern hick and why he thinks ‘soporific‘ is so fantastic.

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The Hot Mom to Be Handbook Signing Brings Together Glamour, Celebs and Friends

After a day of exploring fabulous toys, last night I had the chance to indulge in an evening of pampering at the Hot Mom to Be Handbook book signing event held at Paul Labrecque Salon and Spa in NYC.  Written by Jessica Denay with a foreword by Trista Sutter, The Hot Mom to Be Handbook is described as being a fun, tongue-in-cheek guide to maintaining style and fabulousness while defying the stereotype that often goes hand in hand with motherhood.


I love getting dressed up just as much as the next girl, but as a mom who embraces working in yoga pants all day and opts for ponytails in lieu of fancy up dos, I could have used this book during my pregnancy as a reminder to keep the balance.

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2010 Best Books for Babies

Beginning with Books, a literacy organization that promotes childhood reading, released their 2010 list of the Best Books for Babies.  The list includes a lineup of colorful and interactive books, some of which may even be in your own babies’ libraries.

According to experts, it’s never too early to start reading to babies.  In fact, regularly reading with babies and young kids encourages them to become enthusiastic lifelong readers, according to Beginning with Books.

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Happy Birthday Dr. Seuss

Born Theodor Seuss Geisel on March 2, 1904, the writer and illustrator better known as Dr. Seuss, produced classic children’s books that have rhymed, reasoned and influenced many generations. (Including the Olympian I had the honor of interviewing! more on that later.)


With Dr. Seuss’s birthday in mind, I thought I’d share some of my most recent Dr. Seuss finds:



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Happy National Puzzle Day!

In case you weren’t aware, today is National Puzzle Day.  (I wasn’t aware at all, but now I am.)  With that in mind, I’m reminded by how many really great puzzle sets that are out there.  Did any of you play with puzzles growing up?  I know we did.  I remember playing with whatever character du jour and putting it all together piece-by-piece, and feeling so accomplished when I finally laid the finally piece.

My mother-in-law, in fact, has done a great job of keeping many of my husband and his siblings’ old puzzles.  So, when the grandkids get together, all of whom range in age 17 to 2 years old, it’s fun to see them play with these puzzles together.

National Puzzle Day is said to encourage family togetherness, as well as encourage the skills that are involved in putting together puzzles:  reasoning, concentration and teamwork, among others.

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