Tag Archives: children

Why Does Santa Wear Red by Meera Lester

Why-Does-Santa-Wear-Red

This is such a fun book for anyone who loves Christmas, fun facts, yummy recipes, crafts, pop culture, home decorating, traditions from around the world,  history….I love it! I haven’t even finished reading it from end to end (so far, I’ve zeroed in on information about Santa and Christmas traditions (in North America)). But, I would like to share a few interesting tidbits with you:

  • Christmas was illegal in New England until 1681 and “it was only in the years after the [civil] war that Christmas began to win slow acceptance as a cause for revelry in various regions of the United States, and only at the dawn of the nineteenth century did any meaningful references to the man we would call Santa Claus begin to appear.” (Christmas was illegal????)
  • Why Does Santa Ride a Reindeer-Driven Sleigh? Santa flying around in a sleigh pulled by one reindeer…had long been popular in Russia where Father Frost arrived in villages in a reindeer-drawn sleigh. The Norse god Wodin was said to ride his horse Sleipner through the air to make sure people were behaving; in Holland, Santa rides Sleipner to this day.”
  • Why a Red Suit? Think bishop’s cape and you have the answer. Nicholas…..was the bishop of the church at Smyrna (Izmir in modern Turkey). He lived during the fourth century and was known to be kind and generous to children, especially to the very poor, giving away his wealth to them. Tradition states that he tossed special little gifts or bags of gold to them through open windows or down chimneys.”
  • “The earliest Christmas ornaments consisted of edible goodies, typically fruits and nuts. Eventually, these made way for cookies, candy and cakes….the first commercial ornaments for Christmas trees were actually hollow, brightly colored containers that held good things to eat….originally, trees were the means by which presents were displayed  on Christmas morning before their owners claimed them.”
  • Why are red and green the colors of Christmas? No one really knows for sure, but there have been plenty of educated guesses. Green….is the color of the evergreens that symbolize so much that is important to the meaning of the holiday….the holly berry seems to be responsible for the red. This red berry lives through winter, thus symbolizing life in the face of death, a representation of Christ.”

Finally, (and this is not in the book, but it is for real) if you are planning to write to Santa Claus, you have until December 17. Yup, you can write to Santa and he will write back. You can write by regular mail to this address:

Santa Claus

North Pole HOH OHO

Canada

(No need to attach a stamp, if you’re mailing your letter from Canada.)

Or, click here to send an email.

MERRY CHRISTMAS EVERYONE!

letterstosanta

Photo credit 1, Photo credit 2

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The Benefits of Reading Together

    1. A stronger relationship with you. As your child grows older, he’ll be on the move—playing, running, and constantly exploring his environment. Snuggling up with a book lets the two of you slow down and recaptures that sweet, cuddly time you enjoyed when he was a baby. Instead of being seen as a chore or a task, reading will become a nurturing activity that will bring the two of you closer together.
    2. Academic excellence. One of the primary benefits of reading to toddlers and preschoolers is a higher aptitude for learning in general. Numerous studies have shown that students who are exposed to reading before preschool are more likely to do well in all facets of formal education. After all, if a student struggles to put together words and sentences, how can he be expected to grasp the math, science, and social concepts he’ll be presented with when he begins elementary school?
    3. Basic speech skills. Throughout toddlerhood and preschool, your child is learning critical language and enunciation skills. By listening to you read One Fish Two Fish Red Fish Blue Fish, your child is reinforcing the basic sounds that form language. “Pretend reading”—when a toddler pages through a book with squeals and jabbers of delight—is a very important pre-literacy activity. As a preschooler, your child will likely begin sounding out words on his own.
    4. The basics of how to read a book. Children aren’t born with an innate knowledge that text is read from left to right, or that the words on a page are separate from the images. Essential pre-reading skills like these are among the major benefits of early reading.
    5. Better communication skills. When you spend time reading to toddlers, they’ll be much more likely to express themselves and relate to others in a healthy way. By witnessing the interactions between the characters in the books you read, as well as the contact with you during story time, your child is gaining valuable communication skills.
    6. Mastery of language. Early reading for toddlers has been linked to a better grasp of the fundamentals of language as they approach school age.
    7. More logical thinking skills. Another illustration of the importance of reading to children is their ability to grasp abstract concepts, apply logic in various scenarios, recognize cause and effect, and utilize good judgment. As your toddler or preschooler begins to relate the scenarios in books to what’s happening in his own world, he’ll become more excited about the stories you share.
    8. Acclamation to new experiences. As your child approaches a major developmental milestone or a potentially stressful experience, sharing a relevant story is a great way to help ease the transition. For instance, if your little one is nervous about starting preschool, reading a story dealing with this topic shows her that her anxiety is normal.
    9. Enhanced concentration and discipline. Toddlers may initially squirm and become distracted during story time, but eventually they’ll learn to stay put for the duration of the book. Along with reading comprehension comes a stronger self-discipline, longer attention span, and better memory retention, all of which will serve your child well when she enters school.
    10. The knowledge that reading is fun! Early reading for toddlers helps them view books as an indulgence, not a chore. Kids who are exposed to reading are much more likely to choose books over video games, television, and other forms of entertainment as they grow older.

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And Tango Makes Three by Justin Richardson and Peter Parnell

“And Tango Makes Three” is the true story of 3 penguins at the Central Park Zoo in New York City. It is the loveliest children’s book about love and patience, heterosexuality and homosexuality, families, cooperation and penguin behaviour. But, most of all it’s about love.

Roy and Silo are 2 boy-penguins, who picked each other during  the time that comes every year when “the girl penguins start noticing the boy penguins. And the boy penguins start noticing the girls.” And they do everything together, including making  a home together, “just like the other penguin couples”.

Roy and Silo want a baby very much, but it’s the one thing that they aren’t able to do like the other penguins. Until, one day….

The story is written by an assistant professor of psychiatry (Justin Richardson) and a playwright (Peter Parnell) and is so gentle and tender, it will touch your heart. If you want to introduce a young child to concepts that some find difficult to talk about, just give them this book and they will understand everything they need to know.

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The book has won many awards and, stirred up a lot of controversy since it suggests that Roy and Silo are gay. If you’d like to know more about homosexual behaviour among animals, click here.

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Teddy Bear vs. the Monsters in Your Room

Is this not the best picture you’ve seen? (At least, lately?)

I came across it on Facebook by chance; it’s by Begemott and it’s called “Sweet Halloween Dreams”.

But, it just says it all in terms of the function of a teddy bear, doesn’t it? Or, maybe, Teddy could be a representation of your bit of courage standing up to your fears in general. Or David and Goliath….or some other metaphor…

Does anyone have stories to share about their teddy bears or childhood fears of the dark? I never had a toy to sleep with, but I did endow my duvet with powers of protection.

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The Little Mole by Zdenek Miler

Today, I thought I’d turn my flashlight on the Little Mole, a cartoon character from the Czech Republic, first created in 1956.

He is probably more popular today than ever. (Last year the Little Mole even flew to outer space with NASA.) He is the star of many books and cartoons that demonstrate caring, sharing, cooperation, hard work, ingenuity and resilience and that encourage children to acquire knowledge and skills by following the Little Mole’s example. Part of what makes the Little Mole different is that there’s nearly no dialogue; most of the verbal communication is emotional exclamations, which adds to his innocence and, perhaps, partly explains his popularity in over 80 countries (ie. no dubbing required).

Have a look a the Little Mole in action and you may fall in love with him too: The Mole and the Snowman.

The Little Mole and his friends

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Go the Fuck to Sleep by Adam Mansbach

I LOVE kids. I often ask God why I can’t have any.

Kids love me. It is not unusual for them to follow me around as if I were the Pied Piper.

But, I can understand some to the frustration that comes from being around small children. So does the author of “Go the Fuck to Sleep”.

The book is written in verse from the perspective of a frustrated parent whose child refuses to go to sleep. The first two lines of each verse begins much like something you’d read to a child to persuade them to sleep; the second two lines express the frustration and refer to all the ways that young children try to get out of sleeping. Then, it just moves into the frustration of having a whole evening ruined.

“The tiger reclines in the simmering jungle,

The sparrow has silenced her cheep,

Fuck your stuffed bear, I’m not getting you shit,

Close your eyes. Cut the crap. Sleep.”

You will be able to relate and you will laugh out loud.

The “clean” version of the book that I found at Octopus Books.

Related: What I should be doing – Samuel L. Jackson reads “Go the Fuck to Sleep”

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The Little Mermaid by Hans Christian Andersen

This is soooo exciiiiiiiiting! I’ve been looking for this movie forever and now it’s here AND with English subtitles….therefore, I can share it! (O.K. I must calm myself…breeeeathe) I have LOVED Hans Christian Andersen since my Mom bought me a book of his stories in grade 2. (I will gush about that excessively in a future post.) I have loved this movie even longer. It is one of my all time favourite fairy tales.

I am SO happy that I can share this! Seriously. (I see that the earlier effort to calm down hasn’t worked, nevertheless, let’s proceed.)

Here it is: The Little Mermaid, in the original Czech with English subtitles.

(If you have any interest in this, please, see it as soon as possible…who knows how long it will be up there.)

P.S. I have cried buckets at the point where…alright, maybe, not everyone knows the story, so I will only give away the ending partially…towards the end, since I was 5 years old. Tell me that you didn’t do the same…(I think you will :))

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