A Writer's Playground

Monthly Activities for Kids by Linda Martin Andersen

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Archive for January, 2013

Who Would Write About Leprosy? Joyce Moyer Hostetter, That’s Who

Posted by lindamartinandersen on January 27, 2013


“Who Would Write About Leprosy?  Joyce Moyer Hostetter, That’s Who” by Linda Martin Andersen

“A Writer’s Playground”–A place to find wordplay, writing, and monthly calendar activities for kids and those young at heart.

It’s World Leprosy Week–January 27–Feb. 2. 

You  have the opportunity to meet an author who says,

  “I write historical novels for young people. Sadly, I am drawn to tragic themes. However, my books do contain humor, and each are populated with spunky characters who tell their stories in a lively voice!”

Today, Joyce Hostetter will provide a question and answer session about leprosy and her book, Healing Water: A Hawaiian Story.

Join me in providing a warm welcome for Joyce Moyer Hostetter

[JoyceHostetter.JPG]

Healing Water: A Hawaiian Story

*Applause.*

Leprosy Q & A:  A little Conversation With Myself

Why did you write about leprosy?

Yeah, really.  Because is there a more depressing topic?  And my book, HEALING WATER starts on a real downer, with my character, 12 year old Pia, being deported to the Kalaupapa leprosy settlement in Hawaii.

The Book Trailer will give you a glimpse into Pia’s experience.

I wrote this story after discovering that Father Damien, a Catholic priest, chose to live among Hawaii’s leprosy patients.  He found terrible living conditions and much despair but he loved the people and petitioned the government to meet their needs. Because of Damien, the leprosy settlement became a hopeful community.   And trust me, my book gets more hopeful too!

So, before we go any further, what exactly is leprosy? 

The World Health Organization offers some terrific info on the disease.  IF you take a close look at their site you’ll discover that.

  • Leprosy is caused by a bacterium. Untreated, it damages skin and nerves and can lead to blindness and disfigurement. There are several types of leprosy.
  • Leprosy is not nearly as contagious as we once imagined.
  • Leprosy is spread through droplets from the mouth and nose of an infected person.
  • At the beginning of 2012 there were 182,000 people affected by leprosy – mostly in parts of Asia and Africa.

Is there a cure for leprosy?

Not at the time of my story (mid 1800s).  But, today, yes!  There are several drug combinations for several different types of leprosy.  One type requires twelve monthly doses.  The other involves six monthly doses.

Why are people so afraid of leprosy?

  • Untreated, leprosy can lead to disfigurement.
  • In the past people with leprosy were nearly always separated from their homes and family.  That’s something to fear!
  • The Old Testament (Leviticus 13) called leprosy a plague.  People with leprosy were considered unclean. In the Bible, leprosy typically referred to a variety of skin conditions – not necessarily leprosy as we know it today.  But the stigma followed leprosy down through the centuries.  The term “leper” is offensive; so many people now prefer to call leprosy Hansen’s Disease.

Why Hansen’s Disease?

In 1873 Gerhard Hansen of Norway, discovered the bacteria that causes leprosy.

Where do you go to research a story about leprosy?

How about Hawaii?  Actually I went to Hawaii to research life in Hawaii and also to visit the former leprosy settlement where my story takes place.  Doing so, gave me a feel for the landscape where my character lived.  However, I could only visit the leprosy settlement through a brief guided tour because former patients still live there and the state protects their privacy.  (That’s a good thing, of course.)

So how did you research leprosy itself?

I consulted the World Health Organization and leprosy related websites.  But I especially wanted to learn the kinds of things my character would have believed about leprosy in the mid- 1800s. I read memoirs by people who visited or lived in the Hawaiian leprosy settlement. I also interviewed three doctors who worked with leprosy patients in Africa and Trinidad.  They read my manuscript for accuracy and helped me get it right.

A favorite resource was an old book – The Path of the Destroyer: A History of Leprosy in the Hawaiian Islands and Thirty Years Research Into The Means By Which It Has Been Spread.  You’ve got to love a descriptive title! The author, Dr. A.A. Mouritz, worked with Father Damien.

Where can I learn more about Hawaii’s people and their history with leprosy?

Try these books.

Kalaupapa:  A Collective Memory – by Anwei Law

My Name is Makia:  A Memoir of Kalaupapa By Makia Malo

Molokai – by Alan Brennert – a novel set in the Kalaupapa leprosy settlement

Didn’t you write about some other disease too? What’s up with you and diseases?

Ah, such a good question.  I think tragedy calls to me.   My middle grade novel BLUE is about a girl whose family is affected by polio.  The sequel, COMFORT deals with the after-effects of polio and also post-war trauma.

So what disease are you writing about now?

Surprise – no diseases involved.   My work-in-progress is about fourteen year-old Amber whose mom has died. Amber regrets how she treated her mother and wants to undo the conflict in their relationship.  She goes on a search through some family keepsakes to recover her mother’s story.  Some pretty amazing stuff happened in her mother’s life which leads Amber to discover her grandfather’s story and on back through several more generations.  Each generation is a separate fully plotted story and they’re all threaded together by Amber’s emotional journey.

Thanks Linda for hosting this Q & A.  I’m impressed you are commemorating Leprosy Week.  Would you believe, I didn’t even know there was such a thing until you told me?

Guess what?  Joyce has agreed to give away a copy of Healing Water.  To enter, please leave a comment here before midnight February 2, 2013.  The winner will be announced on February 3, 2013.  Thank you for offering to do this, Joyce.  Please leave your email address on the post so I can contact the winner.  Thank you.

If you’d like to learn about the leprosy hospital in Carville, Louisiana that has now become a museum, check out Joyce Hostetter’s latest blog post at http://joycemoyerhostetter.blogspot.com/2013/01/in-keeping-with-world-leprosy-week-id.html

Copyright © 2013 Linda Martin Andersen

Posted in Careers, Character Traits, Interviews, Monthly Activities, Reading, Writing | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , | 81 Comments »

WELCOME A NEW FRIEND

Posted by lindamartinandersen on January 22, 2013


“WELCOME A NEW FRIEND” by Linda Martin Andersen

“A Writer’s Playground”

A place to find wordplay, writing, and monthly calendar activities for kids and those young at heart.

Kids + Playground = Fun

Or does it?

One year, my older grandson held his birthday party at a community park.  A picnic table provided a spot for refreshments and the park provided the entertainment.  Several of his friends  and a kid who was visiting the park, joined in to shoot baskets and other activities.  It was good to see the birthday party guests welcome  a new friend.  In a split second, the group had to decide whether to accept this person or to tell him to get lost.  Thank goodness they welcomed him.

Have you ever seen kids go from having fun on the playground to being aggressive, sometimes with their best friend? How does it happen?  What makes them turn on each other?  Sometimes, they don’t use self-control, especially if things don’t go their way. 

When I was an elementary School Counselor in Cumberland County, NC, students studied character traits each month. 

January’s character trait is self-discipline, which is defined as self-control.

Instead of suggesting a book title on the topic this month, I have a poem for you.

Joy Acey, a poet and friend, wrote a poem called “My Anger.”  She granted me permission to post it here.  I hope it helps you look at anger in a different way.  Please visit Joy’s website called “Poetry For Kids’ Joy” at http://www.poetryforkidsjoy.blogspot.com/2013/01/my-anger.html You’ll find the poem and activities she suggests for it.

Self-discipline--My Anger--Joy Acey

Questions for Discussion:

1.  Who is the new friend in the poem?

2.  Who did you expect the new friend to be?

3.  In what ways does the person change when he/she gets angry?

4.  Why does the author talk about a “knot?”

5.  What happens when the person holds in anger?

6.   Why does the author call “anger” a friend? Do you?

7.  What words might anger say when it let’s you know something isn’t right?

         Anger might say, “I’m ____________________ you.”

         Tell why here:________________________________________________________________.

8.  Tell about a time a friend helped when you were angry.

9.  Tell about a time you helped a friend who was angry.  How did it make you feel?

10.  What is a temper tantrum?  Does the person in the poem have these?  Explain.

Please share your answers in the comment section below.

Thank you, Joy Acey, for granting permission to post your poem.  It’s just perfect for a discussion about self-discipline. 

CALLING ALL POETS…For more wonderful poems visit “Poetry for Kids Joy” at www.poetryforkidsjoy.blogspot.com for a daily poem and a place for you to post your own.

Thank you for visiting “A Writer’s Playground.” Please come again soon.  Bring a friend. 

Coming soon:  A guest blog by Joyce Hostetter, children’s book author.

Copyright © 2013 Linda Martin Andersen

Posted in Calendar Events, Careers, Character Traits, Games, Interviews, Math, Monthly Activities, Reading, Science, Social Studies, Uncategorized, Writing | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , | 12 Comments »

A Duck is a Duck is a Duck–The Duck Test

Posted by lindamartinandersen on January 11, 2013


“A Duck is a Duck is a Duck–The Duck Test” by Linda Martin Andersen

“A Writer’s Playground”–A place to find wordplay, writing, and monthly calendar activities for kids and those young at heart.

Today’s post is all about word play.  I am focusing on ducks. 

No, it’s not Duck Day. 

It is a special day for a friend of mine who loves ducks.  For that reason, I’m sending her a few links about ducks that I think she will enjoy reading and/or listening to. I certainly hope you will also.

Expressions About Ducks.  Do you know these?

Songs/Videos:

Childhood Games:

Celebrity Ducks:

Celebration Featuring a Duck:

Charity Event with Ducks:

Entertainment:

Location, Location, Location: 

Search Engine:

Books About Ducks:

Product Details

  • And because my friend, Joan Y. Edwards, is celebrating a birthday and she has a published book about a little duck, I’m also featuring  Flip Flap Floodle here.

Amazon http://www.amazon.com/Flip-Flap-Floodle-Joan-Edwards/dp/1594572852/

Barnes & Noble http://www.barnesandnoble.com/s/flip-flap-floodle?r=1

Happy birthday Joan!

May you always carry Flip Flap Floodle’s song in your heart.  I hope you’re feeling ducky, birthday girl!

Love,

Linda

To help us all remember Flip’s song, here’s Joan to sing it for us.  http://www.joanyedwards.com/FlipFlapFloodle.htm  Just beware–if you sing it, it becomes a part of you. 

Please join me in wishing Joan Edwards a Happy Birthday!

*Quacking noises echo off the walls, ceilings, and floors and travel all the way to her home.*

Copyright © 2013 Linda Martin Andersen

Posted in Careers, Character Traits, Games, Interviews, Monthly Activities, Reading, Writing | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 41 Comments »

Write a Little, Write a Lot, Just Write

Posted by lindamartinandersen on January 7, 2013


“Write a Little, Write a Lot, Just Write” by Linda Martin Andersen

“A Writer’s Playground”

A place to find wordplay, writing, and monthly calendar activities for kids and those young at heart.

January 8-14 is Universal Letter Writing Week

Have you heard the chatter:  “Letter writing is a dying art,” some claim.  The number of letters mailed are on the decline and postal delivery may be reduced.  Saturday delivery could be eliminated.

At Christmas, a postal worker told me he had observed that only “little old ladies” were sending Christmas cards anymore.  Still, I won’t get discouraged because written communication does takes place, just in different places and in new formats.  Look for it.  It’s seen in blog posts, text messages, billboards, lunch boxes notes from Mom, church marques, cheers and jeers in newspapers, etc.  Where have you seen written messages?  Choose a day during Universal Letter Writing Week and keep a tally of written communication you see.  And remember to keep writing–a little, a lot, just write.

Recently, I read a letter written by Kelly Starling Lyons that was posted at ReaderKidZ, a blog site that reviews books written for children and spotlights authors.  Kelly chose a dynamic way to tell readers about her new book, Hope’s Gift.  After reading her letter, I hope you’ll consider purchasing a copy of  Hope’s Gift.

Hope's GiftFor description and purchase information:  http://www.amazon.com/Hopes-Gift-Kelly-Starling-Lyons/dp/0399160019/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1357338421&sr=8-1&keywords=hope%27s+gift

Read Kelly Starling Lyon’s letter to “Dear Readers” here:

http://www.readerkidz.com/2013/01/01/dear-reader-a-letter-to-you-from-author-kelly-starling-lyons/?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+Readerkidz+%28ReaderKidZ%29&utm_content=Yahoo%21+Mail

Listed below are a few examples of writing done by kids and adults.  Find your category.  How many of the listed examples have you written?  What others can you add to the lists?

Kids Write…

  • Thank you notes
  • Letters of apology
  • Poems, stories, and reports
  • Greeting cards (hand-made or purchased)
  • Letters to Santa
  • Letters to an author (not bad to be up there with Santa and the Tooth Fairy)
  • Letters to the Tooth Fairy (Seen posted at my dentist’s office):

Tooth Fairy--final one

Adults Write…

  • Emails  to family and friends
  • Notes in their child’s lunch box
  • Letters to someone deployed or far away
  • Greeting cards
  • Blog posts
  • Book reviews
  • Thank you notes–I recently won a copy of Stake Out by Bonnie J. Doerr at Carol Baldwin’s Blog.  I have been fortunate enough to win many books by commenting on favorite blogs.  When I am a winner, I always send an email thank you and sometimes I send a thank you note in the mail. 

Product Details

For description and purchase information:  http://www.amazon.com/Stakeout-Bonnie-J-Doerr/dp/1616030070/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1357338950&sr=8-1&keywords=Bonnie+J.+Doerr

To learn more about Bonnie Doerr’s book, Stake Out, check Carol’s blog post here:  http://www.carolbaldwinblog.blogspot.com/  Carol ‘s blog features book reviews and giveaways.  Check it out.

Adult Writers/Authors Write…

  • Letters to an agent or editor
  • Query Letters
  • Outlines
  • Proposals to Publishing Company
  • Thank you notes
  • Newsletters
  • Poems, short stories, and novels
  • Blog posts, tweets, a Facebook comments, or other social media messages.
  • Authors inform contestants of winning a contest
  • Authors or other famous person answers fan mail
  • Book Reviews–I recently posted two on Amazon:

Book Review #1:  Lessons Learned:  The Story of Pilot Mountain School  by Gretchen Griffith

Product Details

To hear an excerpt from Lessons Learned, listen here:  http://www.southernwritersonline.com/take-five.html

For description and purchase information:  http://www.amazon.com/Lessons-Learned-Story-Mountain-School/dp/0914875647/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1357329446&sr=8-1&keywords=Lessons+Learned+by+Gretchen+Griffith

5.0 out of 5 stars Lessons Learned: The Story of Pilot Mountain School by Gretchen Griffith, November 26, 2012
This review is from: Lessons Learned: The Story of Pilot Mountain School (Paperback)

Gretchen Griffith describes herself as a storycatcher. Her ability to capture the Pilot Mountain School stories and their underlying lessons goes beyond storycatching. She records more than mere words. Griffith’s text weaves the voice and heart of the people in such a way that readers connect, whether they grew up in that area or thousands of miles away. Lessons Learned tells the story of Pilot Mountain School, constructed in 1942, and how it became the hub of the community. Even though its doors eventually closed to rural school children, the lessons learned there were not forgotten. Today, the building serves as a gathering place for shopping and dining, as well as a center for a community outreach program. Pilot Mountain School continues to radiate lessons. Lessons Learned is recommended to all who love history and creative approaches to restoration of buildings.

Book Review #2:  Flip Flap Floodle by Joan Y. Edwards

Flip Flap Floodle cover 300x421 300 res

5.0 out of 5 stars School Counselor’s Review of Flip Flap Floodle by Joan Y. Edwards, January 4, 2013
This review is from: Flip Flap Floodle (Paperback)

When I was a School Counselor, I often used literature to illustrate good character traits and making good decisions. I shared Flip Flap Floodle with a 1st grade class. We had been talking about asking trusted adults for help when needed. This book fit right in with our study. After reading, the students created thank you cards to give an adult who had helped them. One of the children said that the author should get a thank you card for her book about helping others. I agreed.

Let’s talk:  What do you think about letter writing in 2013?  Does it make you sad that there are less handwritten letters?  Do you enjoy corresponding by email?  What are your thoughts? Please enter them in the comment section.

Thank you for visiting “A Writer’s Playground.” Please come again soon.  Bring a friend. 

Coming soon:  A guest blog by Joyce Hostetter, children’s book author.

Copyright © 2013 Linda Martin Andersen

Posted in Calendar Events, Careers, Character Traits, Games, Interviews, Math, Monthly Activities, Reading, Science, Social Studies, Uncategorized, Writing | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , | 16 Comments »

January 2013 Activities

Posted by lindamartinandersen on January 1, 2013


“January 2013 Activities” by Linda Martin Andersen

“A Writer’s Playground”

A place to find wordplay, writing, and monthly calendar activities for kids and those young at heart.

Think:  What does the word “January” bring to mind?  New Year’s Resolutions, winter wonderlands, snow days with snowmen and snowball fights, icicles, frozen ponds, ice skating, coats, hats, scarves, mittens,and gloves.  Warm fires and hot chocolate.  What else?  Check the lists below and expand your thoughts about January.

Special Days in January:

Copyright Law Day: 1  What are some examples of copyright violation?  Have you ever been unsure whether something was a copyright violation?  What did you do?  How could you check?  Who could you ask? 

Ellis Island Day: 1  Where is Ellis Island?  Why is it famous?  Do you know of ancestors in your family who passed through there?  Do you know why they came to America?  Do you know when?

Global Family Day:  1  A day of peace and sharing.  Families often share food with the needy.  What way can you and your family celebrate with peace and sharing?

New Year’s Day:  1  What traditions does your family observe on January 1–New Year’s Day?  Do you eat certain foods for good luck?  What foods do you eat?  Research New Year’s traditions in other countries.  Is New Year’s on a different day?

National Motivation and Inspiration Day:  2  Does setting goals or celebrating victories motivate you?  What inspires you?  Does someone you know encourage you to keep going?  Do you have a strong personal drive to reach your goals even when nobody is urging you on?  Can motivation and inspiration be the same? Why or why not?

Drinking Straw Day:  3  Have you ever used a silly straw, a flexible straw that bends, a straw from a fast food restaurant?  What color straws have you used?  Have you ever made bubbles with a straw?  Have you ever used one as a pea shooter or to blow food around on your plate?  Time to confess.  Nobody’s perfect.  We’ve all been at least a “little bad” before.  Finish these expressions about “straw.” 1. _______ or final straw  2. Straw that broke the _______’s back.  3. _______or clutch at straws.

National Chocolate Covered Cherry Day:  3  When I was a child, all the grandchildren got a box of chocolate covered cherries and a couple of dollars taped on top as a present from a grandmother.  Have you ever gotten chocolate covered cherries?  Have you ever given them?  As a teacher, I received boxes from students occasionally.  Do you like chocolate covered cherries or are they too sweet for you?  What would you expect this day to be like? 

Tom Thumb Day:  4  What country is this fairy tale from?  How long ago was it written?  What details can you tell about Tom Thumb’s clothing and his size?  Was he popular or unpopular?  Why?  Look for a copy of this story.

World Braille Day:  4  Name places you have seen words in braille.  Do you know anyone who reads braille?  Research and locate at least one school that teaches braille.  Research organizations that help serve the blind.  Name books written about a character who is blind.  Can you name a nursery rhyme with blind characters?

Three Kings Day:  6  What holiday is this associated with?  Why?  What is another name for these kings?  Locate their story.  Where did you find it?

Harlem Globetrotter’s Day:  7  Have you ever been to a Harlem Globetrotter’s basketball game?  If not, I’d recommend it.  Perhaps you’ve watched them on television.  What tricks do you remember?  If you’d like to see some videos of their plays check here:  http://www.harlemglobetrotters.com/   What’s their theme song?

Bubble Bath Day:  8  Have you ever taken a bubble bath?  Draw a cartoon with one bubble talking to another.  What might they say?  Would you be willing to share your conversation below?

Rubber Duckie Day:  13  Do you know the Rubber Duckie song?  Have you ever floated rubber ducks in bath water?  Have you ever played Pick Up Ducks at the fair or carnivals?  Have you ever been to a Rubber Duckie charity race down a river?  How else could you enjoy a rubber duckie?

Dress Up Your Pet Day:  14  Have you ever dressed up a pet?  If so, what type pet and how was it dressed?  How about at Halloween?  See Tracy Campbell’s blog post that’s a tribute for a dragon dog (Halloween) here:  http://tracycampbell.net/blog/?p=2217  Be sure to check out Tracy’s art for sale too. 

Appreciate a Dragon Day:  16  Name a book with a dragon character that you’ve read.  I’d like to recommend Where the Mountain Meets the Moon by Grace Lin.  Tell about a favorite dragon scene. Have you ever tried to draw a dragon?  Look for dragon images or check out drawing books to help, if needed.  What would you take with you if you had to slay a dragon?  Who would win–you or the dragon?  How?

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Cable Car Day:  17  Have you ever ridden in a cable car?  Where were you?  What city do you think of when someone mentions cable car?  Do you know any rice advertisements that have included a cable car?  Pinpoint a cable car location on a map or globe.

Kid Inventors’ Day:  17  This date was Benjamin Franklin’s birthday.  He was an inventor, even as a boy.  At 12, he invented swim fins for his hands.  What would you like to invent and why?  Research kid inventors. 

Winnie the Pooh Day:  18  Where is the setting for Winnie the Pooh stories?  Who is the boy who is a friend of Pooh?  How many other characters can you name from the series?  Which is your favorite?  Which one are you most like?  Which one are you least like?  Would your recognize the music for the theme song without the words?  Name an expression Pooh says.

Thesaurus Day:  18  Have you ever used a thesaurus online?  Do you own a hard copy of one?  When might a thesaurus be helpful.  If you have one, turn to an entry and see what it says.  What would you tell others about it?

Popcorn Day:  19  Have you ever seen popcorn grow?  What do you know about it?  Will any kind of corn pop or only certain ones?  Research and share what you learn.  Which do you think is more popular:  popcorn or potato chips?  Research to find out.  Baseball games, Cracker Jacks, and a song have a special connection to popcorn.  Do you know the song?

Inauguration Day:  21  Will you watch the inauguration?  If so, is it a school assignment or something of interest to you? Name a special inauguration event/happening.  How do you think this one will be remembered?

Martin Luther King Day:  21  Will you attend any special festivities for this day?  If so, what kind?  What fiction books have you read about the years of Civil Rights marches?  What nonfiction ones have you read?  I recently read We’ve Got a Job by Cynthia Y. Levinson.  I’d recommend it.

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National Pie Day:  23  Can you name a kind of pie for most letters in the alphabet?  Which is your favorite?  Do you want it topped with ice cream, whipped topping, or plain?  Have you ever seen someone get a pie in the face?  Where were you?  Could you tell us about it in the comment section below?

Belly Laugh Day:  24  When have you had a belly laugh?  Who do you think is more likely to bring one on:  a friend, a comedy act, a silly movie, a pie in the face, or a funny face?  Others?  Finish these expressions:  1.  Laughter is the best _______ 2.   Laughed so hard you nearly _______ a gut?  (What does this mean?)  3. Laughed so hard I almost _______my pants. 4.  Laughed until I _______ (tears).

National Compliment Day:  24  What was one of the nicest compliments you ever received?  What was one of the nicest ones you ever gave?  Do you think you give or receive more compliments?  Do you ever pass on compliments you hear others make?  Why or why not? 

A Room of One’s Own Day:  25  Have you ever had a room of your own?  If you could re-decorate with a hefty budget what would you change about your room?  If you must share a room, think of a way to make it more “your own” without taking over.  What would you change?

Holocaust Memorial Day:  27  Name books you have read about the Holocaust.  What other titles would you like to read?  Have you visited a Holocaust memorial?  Is a traveling one coming to your area?  The Anne Frank exhibit will be in my hometown of Fayetteville, North Carolina from March 18-April 21, 2013.  http://www.visitfayettevillenc.com/blog/liberty-point-blog/2012/10/23/fayetteville-is-the-east-coast-destination-for-national-traveling-anne-frank-exhibits/ Other events are coordinated with this special exhibit.  Check and see if your area is holding similar events.

National Puzzle Day:  29  Do you love puzzles?  Which type?  Crossword, word search, jigsaws, others?  How many jigsaw puzzle pieces do you prefer?  Have you ever put a puzzle together online?  Check this out:  http://thejigsawpuzzles.com/Puzzle-of-the-Day/Bern-Switzerland-jigsaw-puzzle

Seeing Eye Dog Day:  29  Do you know anyone with a seeing eye dog?  Do you know anyone who trains service dogs?  Do you know of other services for the blind such as reading to them?  The Lions Club provides services in my hometown.  What about yours?

Inspire Your Heart with Art Day:  31  How could you inspire your heart with art?  Do you visit art museums regularly?  What about exhibits at colleges in your area or local festivals.  Artists have blogs and websites that you might enjoy visiting.  What about receiving a poem a day from a poet?  I subscribe to Joy Acey’s blog post. You might like to also.   See here:  http://poetryforkidsjoy.blogspot.com/  Search for art that inspires your heart.

Special Weeks in January:

New Year’s Resolution Week: 1-4:  Will you make at least one?  I resolve to…

Universal Letter Writing Week:  8-14:  Write a letter.  Will you write a business letter or a friendly letter?  Look for a template.  Maybe you have one on your computer programs or you can Google a sample.

National Vocation Awareness Week: 14-20:  What career would you like to learn more about?  Research it or interview someone who holds that job. 

Hunt for Happiness Week: 20-26:  Finish this expression:  1. _______ (gems) hunt  2. _______(employment) hunt 3.  _______ _______(Spring holiday) hunt (outdoors).  Give examples of how to hunt for happiness.

No Name Calling Week: 21-25:  Why do you think we call others names?  What could we do instead?  Do you have a brother or sister?  How long do you think the two of you could get along?  Would you be willing to test yourself?  What could you do to reward yourself, if you do not call names for a set period of time?

World Leprosy Week: 27-2/2:  Do you know what leprosy is?  Do you know how you get it?  Do you know how to get well?  Name countries where this disease has been found recently.  Name a book which mentions leprosy. 

National Cowboy Poetry Gathering Week:  28-2/2:  If you’d like to read a book of cowboy poetry, I recommend you take a look at this one:  Cowboys by David L. Harrison and illustrated by Dan Barr.  List three cowboy words you would include in a poem of your own.

Cowboys

US National Snow Sculpting Week: 1/30-2/3:  Have you ever made snow sculptures? What shape would you attempt?   See photographs from Colorado here:  http://www.gobreck.com/events/international-snow-sculpture-championships/2012-image-gallery  What other states have snow sculpture competitions?  What other countries?

January is…

  • Be Kind to Food Servers Month.  Consider making cards for school cafeteria workers.  Make a card for a favorite waitress or waiter. 
  • Book Blitz Month.  How many books can you read this month for pleasure?  Consider reading the same title as a good friend and discuss it afterwards. 
  • Get Organized Month.  Name one organizing goal you can set for yourself or one project you can accomplish this month.
  • International Brain Teaser Month.  What do you think of when you hear brain teaser?  Check out this link at the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences:  http://kids.niehs.nih.gov/games/riddles/index.htm
  • National Child-Centered Divorce Awareness Month.  Do you have a friend whose parents are going through a divorce?  Are your parents?  What can you do for someone who is sad about a divorce in their family?  Have you ever read tips in a health book? Ask a librarian for suggested books on this topic. 
  • National Clean Up Your Computer Month.  Do you know how to defrag your computer?  Ask a parent or teacher to show you how.  Do you know how to create folders?  Do you know how to empty your trash bin?  What other ways can you clean up your computer? 
  • National Hot Tea Month.  What country to do think of when hot tea is mentioned?  Do you know any hot tea etiquette from Victorian Days?  Here is a site that discusses Victorian rules of etiquette for different occasions.  http://www.logicmgmt.com/1876/etiquette/atteas.htm
  • National Mentoring Month.  What is a mentor?  Have you ever had someone mentor you?  What mentoring experiences have you had?
  • National Slavery and Human Trafficking Prevention Month.  Does this exist today?  Discuss this topic with an adult.  Ask for safety tips you should know.
  • National Poverty in America Awareness Month.  What examples of poverty in America have you seen?  In what ways can you help those in poverty or those who are homeless?  In what ways do you help?
  • National Skating Month.  What kinds of skating can you name?  What kinds have you tried?  Consider a different type this month.
  • National Soup Month.  Brainstorm different types of soup.  How many letters of the alphabet did you name?  Have you ever eaten alphabet soup.  What words did you spell in your bowl?
  • Self-Love Month.  What ways can you show self-love?  Define narcissist.  What is the difference in these two?
  • Shape Up US Month.  What do you think this month is about?  Is it about about getting physically fit or taking care of things that need to be done?  Could it be both? 

*Thank you Brownie Locks.com for January celebration information.  For more January observances check out:  http://www.brownielocks.com/january.htm

Let’s talk:  Choose one or more of the conversation starters above and leave a comment. 

Thank you for visiting “A Writer’s Playground.” Please come again soon.  Bring a friend. 

Coming soon:  A guest blog by Joyce Hostetter, children’s book author.

Copyright © 2013 Linda Martin Andersen

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