Posts Tagged ‘raising girls’

Write a Review Wednesday: Dream Big Little Pig

Welcome to another Write a Review Wednesday, a meme started by Tara Lazar as a way to show support to authors of kids literature. Last week we reviewed Banjo of Destiny. This week we read SourcebooksDream Big Little Pig (age 4-8), written by Kristi Yamaguchi and illustrated by Tim Bowers. I have to thank Crystal at Raincoast Books for my review copy.


Poppy is a pig who dreamed big. From a posh prima ballerina to a big-time splashy super model, Poppy had big dreams about what she wanted to be when she grew up. Even when she discovered she didn’t have a talent for singing on-key or that she wasn’t very graceful, Poppy always remembered the encouraging words from her family and kept trying. She kept trying new things that interested her until she discovered skating. Like her other career endeavours, she wasn’t very good at skating either but the more she tried the better she got; the better she got the more she liked it.

Kids are full of big dreams and I think that’s something that should be encouraged, even when things don’t turn out as planned. In Dream Big Little Pig, Poppy has great aspirations for her life and she takes a few risks following her dreams. Yes she’s disappointed when things don’t turn out but the encouraging words she remembers from her family and friends always keep her trying something new. Dream Big Little Pig gives kids a great example of having dreams and taking chances and sometimes failing and sometimes succeeding but always trying. It’s also a reminder to us as parents that our words, though we may think they aren’t being listened to, are being absorbed and referenced when the time is needed. Words of encouragement may be the difference from giving up to trying again or trying something new.

I like how near the end of Dream Big Little Pig, Poppy seems to have found her gift and made her dream come true, yet that doesn’t stop her from having new dreams and aspirations. That’s probably a lesson for some of us adults.

Kristi Yamaguchi,figure skating superstar, believes in and lives by the motto ‘Always Dream. This is seen in her Always Dream Foundation, founded in 1996, designed to support organizations that have a positive influence on children. The inspiration behind Dream Big LIttle Pig is to instill this motto and belief to ,always dream, in the hearts of children.

To add a copy of Dream Big Little Pig to your own library, visit your local bookstore or Raincoast Books. For other great book recommendations for kids, read through the past Write a Review Wednesday posts. What are you kids reading?

Write a Review Wedneday: Me and Rolly Maloo

Welcome to another Write a Review Wednesday, a meme started by Tara Lazar as a way to show support to authors of kids literature. Last week we reviewed Bunny’s Lessons. This week we read Charlesbridge Publishing‘s Me and Rolly Maloo (age 8-12), written by Janet S. Wong and illustrated by Elizabeth Buttler. I have to thank Donna at Charlesbridge Publishing for my review copy.


Jenna is a star at math which makes her not so popular at school. So when Rolly Maloo, the most popular girl in school, invites Jenna over to her house, she is beyond thrilled. This could put Jenna on the popular list, hanging with the cool kids. But when Rolly asks Jenna to help her cheat on a math test, Jenna doesn’t know what to do. She knows cheating is wrong but is it so bad helping a friend in need?

We’ve all been here, well some of us anyway, on the outside of the group, wanting anything to be included. With kids of my own I see these issues rearing their ugly head again, especially with my 8-year old daughter. Everyone wants to feel included. Sometimes that desire can take over cloud your judgement, causing you to make bad decisions and miss the good things you already have.

Me and Rolly Maloo puts you in the shoes of Jenna, wanting to fit in and struggling with right versus wrong and misconceptions of friendship. I like that Jenna’s character, though she knows cheating is wrong, really struggles with the idea. Jenna doesn’t just take the moral high ground or stoop to cheating without giving it much thought. The way the story is written we don’t really know which path Jenna would follow since the actual cheat is interrupted.

Although you might perceive Rolly Maloo to be the bad guy (or girl) in this story, her characterization depicts her as having her own internal struggles over the whole cheating issue. This just reinforces that being popular doesn’t mean life is easy either; there are pressures and stresses and influences that Rolly falls pray to also.

The unique style of Me and Rolly Maloo makes it a great read not only because of the subject matter and issues touched upon, but also in the illustrations used. Me and Rolly Maloo is a chapter book with elements of a graphic novel. This graphic novel aspect gives you a peek at some of the more subtle feelings that not only Jenna and Rolly are encountering but also their friends and mothers (there is no father presence in this story. Actually, there is only one real male figure in the story, one of the classmates). This helps give some background without having to add another whole layer to the story. Plus it is a nice way to break-up the copy for those reluctant readers.

My 8 year old daughter hasn’t had a chance to read Me and Rolly Maloo yet but I think the storyline and the illustrative treatment will be something she will enjoy. To add a copy of Me and Rolly Maloo to your personal library, visit your local bookstore or Charlesbridge Publishing. For other great book ideas for kids, take a read through the past Write a Review Wednesday posts. What are your kids reading?

Girly Girl

As you probably know by now, I’m not a very girly-girl. That wasn’t a problem when my oldest daughter was little. Even as she grew older she exhibited a fashion sense that wasn’t typical girl style.

But kids grow-up and develop new interests; friends and outside influences start to play a part in our kids daily lives.

When my 8-year-old daughter returned from sleep away camp (which was an adjustment for me to deal with on its own) she kept talking about the make-up party they had one night in their cabin. My daughter doesn’t wear make-up so it didn’t occur to her to ask to wear it when she got home but nail polish is a different story.

This week my two youngest are at camp during the day, which gives me some one-on-one time with my oldest. She’s only 8 but already I’m starting to feel her pulling away, wanting to do things with friends instead of family so having time to just hangout was kind of fun.

So I booked a manicure at our local spa. My daughter would love the girl time (and nail polish that doesn’t end up all over her fingers) and I thought this might help my other problem.

My daughter loved her manicure. She picked out some nice bright pink and it looks wonderful on her. I of course, being so conservative, picked out a very pale colour. Sometimes I wish I was a little more adventurous. I decided before heading to New York City for BlogHer I’d make another appointment and grab something brighter. My daughter of course wants to come back with me. She says it’s to make sure I get a fun colour but I think secretly she wants to have another manicure. I might have created a spa monster, albeit a cute one.

Book Blog Tour: Alison Dare

Alison Dare is a 12-year-old adventurer. But that comes as no surprise when you look at her family tree: an archaeologist/adventurer for a mother, the masked hero known as the Blue Scarab for a father, even her uncle is an international super-spy. Despite the strict rules at the prestigious St. Joan’s Academy for Girls, Alison still thirsts for challenges.

Alison and her best pals – Wendy and Dot – somehow manage to find themselves involved in adventures that rival those of Alison’s globetrotting, planet-saving relatives. Whether it’s magic genies, super-powered bank robbers, or a dastardly baron bent on world domination, Alison Dare delivers the best thrills since Indiana Jones and more action than Lara Croft!

We had the chance to read up on Alison’s latest adventures in Tundra BooksAlison Dare, The Heart of the Maiden (age 8+) and Alison Dare, Little Miss Adventure (age 8+), graphic novels written by J. Torres and illustrated by J. Bones.

Both stories follow the exploits of the ever curious Alison, her eager to follow friend Dot, and her studious and sometimes reluctant participate Wendy. Alison Dare, The Heart of the Maiden consists of a few mini stories up front which give you an overall taste of the different characters you’ll encounter. The main story, The Heart of the Maiden, transports the girls into a world of secret tunnels and super ninja spies.

Alison Dare, Little Miss Adventure consists of three short miss-adventures: like what happens when Alison gets her hands on a magic lamp possessed by a mischievous genie or how her dad stumbles upon his magic powers as the Blue Scarab or how Alison tries to get her parents back together again and ends up foiling the evil plans of the Baron von Baron.

Both books are just shy of 100 pages, making them an easy and fun read. Even my 8-year-old daughter devoured these books fairly quickly. Once she started one adventure she couldn’t stop. The mini stories within each book as well as the books themselves can stand on their own so you don’t need to read them in a certain order. I’m a big fan of Indian Jones and the whole adventure genre. I loved that these stories followed along the same route but what I especially loved was that the main character was a strong and feisty girl. My daughter loved that part best too:

So many books for girls have girly characters in them. They’re concerned about clothes and boys and stuff. I love that Alison wears pants and gets dirty and hunts after mysteries. She’s cool. I think I’d love to be more like Alison, the part where she can solve mysteries. I think she’s a great book for girls because she shows girls they can do dangerous and adventurous stuff too. She’s a great role model for girls. I hope there are more Alison Dare books because she’s great.

I also loved J. Torres‘ tongue and cheek poke at the various other adventure stories, like Indiana Jones. You could see that in some of the book scenes (like Dr. Dare trying to escape a gang and yelling at her assistant to ‘start the plane’). These things may have been overlooked by my daughter (though she’s seen all the Indiana Jones films 5 or more times now), I couldn’t help but chuckle.

Alison Dare ventured over to our blog for a visit. It’s a good thing she’s always up for a challenge because her journey here was anything but smooth, from rock climbing to wrestling with the Greenopolis Spider to digging her way out of quicksand, Alison Dare eventually made it here to answer a few questions posed by my own adventurous 8-year old:

  1. What’s the scariest creature you’ve met when solving a mystery?
    Mother Snake-perior! She (at least I think it was a she) posed as Mother Superior to infiltrate our school. Mother Superior is actually pretty scary on her own, so imagine a snake-eyed, hissing, scaly version…
  2. Would you invite your mom or dad or uncle to speak on Career day at your school? Why?
    My mom went to St. Joan’s when she was a girl, so she’s actually participated in different events at school already. Dad was scheduled for Career Day last year but had to cancel last minute because… of… an overdue book emergency at the library where he works (that’s my story and I’m sticking to it!). Uncle Johnny is an international super spy and the first rule of being an international super spy is you do not talk about being an international super spy!
  3. If you could have one super power what would it be?
    I would love the power to become invisible. It would make sneaking out a lot easier. Plus, I can eavesdrop on people. I mean, evildoers!
  4. How do you get your homework done with all your mystery solving?
    Have you met my roommate Wendy? Can you say braniac? She helps me. A lot.
  5. Do you use any secret spy gadgets? Do you have a favourite?
    I’m not allowed. I, uh, borrowed a grappling hook from my Uncle Johnny once, you know, to scale walls and stuff. I broke Sister Mary-Catherine’s bedroom window. Oops.
  6. What advice could you give an aspiring (8-year-old) mystery solver
    Read a lot. Do push-ups. Nap whenever you can. But most of all… be daring!

Alison Dare is a great read for girls. My daughter has read and reread her two adventures while she holds out for more. And a book character that encourages girls to think for themselves, do what they want to do and take chances is a pretty good role model in my mind.

Alison Dare visited as part of Tundra BooksDouble Dare Blog Tour. You can also catch her adventures today with Khy at the Frenetic Reader, Kristin at Bookworming in the 21st Century, and Jennifer at Jenn’s Bookshelves. The tour runs until June 18 so check the tour schedule to find out where else Alison will appear. You can also see my Top Ten Tuesday post: Top Ten Reasons Girls Should Read the Alison Dare Books.

No Alison Dare book tour would be complete without a dare and Tundra Books has a doozy. If you have the chops to enter you could walk away with 1 of 3 Alison Dare prize packs. Go on, enter. I dare you. No, I double-dog dare you.

Top Ten Tuesday: Why Girls Would Love Alison Dare

Today I’m participating in a book blog tour with Tundra Books and their new Alison Dare stories. You can read my review and tour post and see the incredible journey Alison took to make it to my blog to answer my daughter’s questions.

So with the book blog tour happening today I thought I’d have to forgo another week of participating in Oh Amanda‘s Top Ten Tuesday list (I missed out last week). But after talking to my 8-year-old daughter, who helped me put my review together since she read both Alison Dare books also, I thought I could incorporate today’s Top Ten list into my book blog tour.

So today I give you the Top Ten Reasons Girls Should Read the Alison Dare Books:

  1. The main character, Alison, is a 12-year-old girl and for girls it’s great to read books with a strong female lead character.
  2. Alison’s family tree consists of an archaeologist/adventurer for a mother, the masked hero known as the Blue Scarab for a father, even her uncle is an international super-spy. And they all show-up in her adventures.
  3. Alison has a wild imagination (how else would encountering 1 scorpion in the desert translate into an army of them when she retells her story to her friends).
  4. Alison shows that girls can be daring and take chances and do their own thing. It’s okay to be who you are: a girl, strong, independent, adventurous, human.
  5. Alison’s super-spy uncle shows up at various times unbeknown to Alison or her friends until the last minute. His disguises are darn impressive.
  6. The Alison Dare books are great adventure stories, like Indiana Jones or Laura Croft. They even include cheeky references to some of story lines in those other adventure series.
  7. The current two Alison Dare graphic novels are a quick, fun, easy reads that work the images and storyline together wonderfully.
  8. A secret society of Ninja Nuns. Do I need to say more than that?
  9. If you read them (or your daughter or niece or friend) and like them then more Alison Dare books will follow which will make my own 8-year-old adventurer daughter very happy.
  10. I dare you to read them. No, I double-dog dare you. (now how can you not give in to that).

Dove thinks all girls are beautiful

I think all parents worry about their children’s future: Will they do well in school? Will they find true friends? Will they continue to be happy? I know I worry about these things and so much more for all three of my kids. But when you have daughters I think you have extra concerns about their own self-image, self-worth and perceptions.

I know my two girls are still young (3 and 7 years old) but that doesn’t mean that image concerns aren’t relevant. Recently I’ve noticed the effect media, friends, outside influences, heck, even myself, have had on my daughter’s perception of women and herself in particular. I think that’s one reason I’m such a big fan of Dove’s Self Esteem program. Every time you purchase a Dove beauty product a portion of that sale goes toward the Dove Self Esteem fund

Dove Self Esteem Fund

The program is designed to educate and inspire girls and young woman about a broader more realistic definition of beauty. The Dove Self Esteem Fund is a global project supporting a local charitable organization that fosters self-esteem. In the United States funds support uniquely ME! a partnership with Girl Scouts of the USA that helps build self-confidence in girls age 8-17. In Canada funds support the National Eating Disorder Information Center. And there are other worldwide programs. Since 2005 the brand has reached over 3.5 million girls globally and the mission for 2010 is to reach 5 million girls.

You Can Help

Next time you purchase a Dove beauty product, visit Dove’s site to enter your UPC code. Dove will donate $1 for each US household who enters a UPC code and you can choose one of three charities to direct the funds towards: Girl Scouts, Boys and Girls Clubs of America, or  Girls Inc. Be sure to enter your purchase before December 15, 2009 (valid for US residents only).

Thank You for Making a Difference

Dove understands that it’s because of you that the Dove Self-Esteem program has been able to make a difference in so many young girls lives. As a thank you they have given me a wonderful gift basket to offer to you. Share how you encourage self-esteem to the girls in your life, whether it’s your daughter or niece or grand-daughter.

For example: I take pictures of my girls and print them out for display so they and everyone else can see how beautiful they are as themselves.

Your story may inspire someone else and you could win a Dove gift basket consisting of one (1) Dove bathrobe, one (1) bottle of Dove Bodywash, two (2) ‘True You’ mother/daughter workbooks and one (1) Dove Bodymist. Contest is open to Canada and the United States. And with all the great woman out there I’m sure there are many self-esteen ideas and stories to share. But be sure to share your story by December 18, 2009. I’ll pick a name randomly after that.

If you have young girls in your life, make sure to visit Dove’s Self-Esteem program tools page. There you’ll be able to download a copy of the True You workbook, take a self-esteem quiz, try your hand at being a magazine editor and more.

I am participating in the Dove ‘Thank you for making a difference’ campaign and will be receiving Dove products along with copies of the True You workbook as a thank you for my participating post.