International Children's Book Day

International Children’s Book Day

April– The Month of Reading!

International Children's Book Day

Celebrate the Magic of International Children’s Book Day!

April is a month chock full of opportunities to celebrate reading. There’s National Library Week April 3rd-April 9th. Then there’s D.E.A.R. (Drop Everything and Read) Day on April 12th. April 23rd is Shakespeare Day. And April 30th is El día de los niñosel día de los libros or Children’s Day, Book Day, a day to encourage family literacy.

But the celebration I want to discuss is International Children’s Book Day. This celebration began in 1967 to inspire a love for reading and to call attention to children’s books every April 2nd.

I love this celebration for a number of reasons. One, I stand behind the idea of stoking those burning desires for reading early. My children’s first regular outings were to the library, and to this day that remains our reward for everything. Both my children are as big of book nerds as me! A point of pride for this Book Mama!

But in addition to that early love of reading, there is something in particular about children’s books that is special. I firmly believe children’s literature should be held on a pedestal above any other genre. A good children’s book evokes feelings and creates cherished memories unlike any other. It can build safe spaces or entire worlds for us to escape. It also bonds and builds relationships.

I will never forget my father reading The Hobbit with me at bedtime growing up. Those evenings cuddled up next to him while he shared the adventures of Bilbo Baggins and Gandalf are still among my favorite memories. And yet, I managed to replicate that joy when sharing one of my own childhood favorites with my son for the first time. It was like experiencing the magic of Harry Potter for the first time all over again!

It even inspired me to pick up a few of my other favorites from childhood to read on my own again. The joy was still there, despite the years gone by. In fact, I found I was able to enjoy them again in a completely different way with an entirely new layer of life experience and wisdom.

It made me think, why should the whimsical fun of children’s books be limited to children? Why should we wait until we’re reading to our own children to pick up a formative favorite?

The joy of reading does not need to be limited by our age. Embrace that inner child from time to time and slip back to that world from your childhood, I dare you! You might find there’s no better escape than not only departing to a new world than your own, but leaving behind the bonds of “adulting” as well. It might even make you smile… 😉

Check out my Amaryllis Bookstore for some of my favorite Children’s Book Recommendations!

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Remember the Triangle Fire

Remember the Triangle Fire!

March 25th is the Anniversary of the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory Fire

146 people died in a half hour. This was a history-altering tragedy that affected almost every family living on the Lower East Side of Manhattan in 1911. Many of these deaths could have been prevented. All the more reason, we need to Remember the Triangle Fire and the lessons it taught us.

Sadly, the ones responsible got away unpunished. But, the fire left lasting effects, and a few good things did come from it.

1. MANY new laws and safety protocols that are enforced today.

2. Attention to poor working conditions and worker abuse.

3. A new respect and acceptance of women in unions and the workplace.

There are more, but these are the main ways the fire changed industrial history forever. For more details about the fire and its aftermath, stay tuned for my upcoming webinar on this topic.

We will never forget the sacrifice and tragedy that occurred on the Lower East Side that day. Each year there are still events to commemorate the victims. 

The Remember the Triangle Fire Coalition is also still working to build a permanent memorial to honor the victims. They are an amazing resource of firsthand accounts of the fire, educational resources and more. If you have not visited their website, I definitely encourage you to do so. I’m also attaching a link below for you to see how you can take part in aiding in their efforts to remember this historical event and the victims for future generations. 

I also wanted to offer my own memorial to the victims today. I wrote a short story with true faces and their accounts of that awful half hour. I found these details by digging through a number of records and testimonies from survivors that day. If you’re interested in reading, Click below to get this free short story. Thank you for joining me in remembering these women, their families and their stories.

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Grammar- Should We Be Teaching It?

Grammar- Should We Be Teaching It?

Why Schools Feel It Is Not Necessary.

Grammar- Should We Be Teaching It?

Somewhere in the last twenty years schools decided to stop teaching grammar. This was not really discussed or debated– it just happened. Why?

The main argument has been a shift in educational philosophy. Instead of previous generations, where the focus was on rote learning and memorization and worksheets, new philosophies sing the praises of critical thinking and hands on learning. In theory, this is great. Critical thinking skills are necessary across the board and will set children up for success in life and in the workplace. But are these philosophies missing something?

Current Grammar Curriculums

If you look at most public school primary grade curriculums there is a hole in grammar fundamentals. The approach is that students will learn these skills as they go. Teachers will use grading rubrics touching on punctuation and basic grammar principles as a scale to teach as necessary. But does this work? What happens when no one teaches the basic principles of the English language? Will a foundation ever be laid if students never learn the basic rules?

Arguments abound from high schools, colleges and superiors in the workplace saying no, students have not picked up these fundamentals. Today’s recent graduates including those with university degrees, seem to be unable to construct a simple declarative sentence, either orally or in writing. They cannot spell common, everyday words. Basic grammar and punctuation appear to be a complete mystery to recent generations.

Do We Need to Understand Grammar?

But is this a problem? Many would still argue no, that with technology capabilities what they are, it is no longer necessary to understand grammar ourselves. It is true that most writing is done on computers and tablets now. Most students no longer even carry notebooks and pencils to school. But should we rely on spell and grammar check for everything? Is it even entirely accurate?

The flawed approach to this argument is computers will never replace the conversational tone of human beings. In theory, grammar and spell check will pick up basic level mistakes, but will it ever replace the true understanding of sentence structure? Or possibly capture the beauty and fluency of the English language? 

Computers can also never replace the use of grammar understanding when it comes to our conversational interactions. Much like the cashier who can no longer make change on their own, our reliance on technology impairs our own intelligence and skillset to connect.

What are your thoughts on this issue? Are we sacrificing by losing our fundamental understanding of the English language?


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