Monday, February 20, 2012

I See the Sun in Afghanistan

This is the story of Habiba, a young girl living in central Afghanistan with her family. Her early morning chore is to retrieve water for her family’s use. Through the course of her day, she attends school, picks herbs and vegetables from the family garden, visits with her uncle living next door, and tends the sheep while her brother goes to afternoon school.

The war has affected the Afghan people in different ways. Her uncle next door lost his legs. Her aunt, uncle, and cousins lost their home. Therefore, they will be living with Habiba and her family. As families do, they share everything in difficult times, even when a small home is more than crowded.

The author has written a wonderful capsule of what could be a typical day in an Afghan family. Morning and afternoon sessions separate school for girls and boys. Great respect is shown toward elders; they grow their own vegetables, and butcher their own meat. The marketplace is beneficial for products not made at home, like the flat bread. A radio is available and the family listens to a BBC broadcast in Dari.

King has described a ‘day in the life’ very eloquently. Small children will enjoy the story of Habiba, her activities, and her family. Written in English and Dari, also known as Afghan Farsi, both languages are included on each page in the book.

The illustrations of Judith Inglese beautifully enhance the text with colorful collages. Amid the collages you can see the wonderful drawings and photographs Inglese included on the pages to bring more color and depth to the pages and text.

Our world is getting smaller due to the internet and children should have the safe opportunity to learn about other children in other countries and their lives. I See the Sun in Afghanistan is an excellent addition for any library. As an educator, I highly recommend it.

BIBLIO: 2011, Satya House Publications, 4-8, $12.95
REVIEWER: Debby Willett
FORMAT: Children’s Multi-Cultural
ISBN: 978-098187208-7

Reviewed for KSB Promotions Visibility Specialists,

Draw Plus Math!

Author, Freddie Levin’s book, Draw Plus Math! starts with a simple list of what your child will need to accomplish the math activities within this book. Levin includes some helpful drawing tips and basic shapes used in the book: square, rectangle, circle, oval, triangle, and trapezoid. Simple!
The table of contents includes twenty lessons starting from the basic shapes to creating a game using all the shapes learned in this book.

A note to teachers and parents regarding the learning expectations for the children follows. She suggests art activities in union with games and exercises strengthen math learning in ways that are fun. What child wouldn’t rather have fun when they learn?

With simple sketches, Levin starts with a fish tank for counting. Fish are different shapes and colors – some with stripes and dots. On a blank piece of paper the shapes are easily copied, colored, and counted. The child has used art to count fish and reinforced it with a tactile – tangible – skill.

The following nineteen lessons graduate from Even and Odd Numbers, Groups, Subtractions, Groups of Everyday Numbers, Review of shapes Used and New Shapes Introduced: parallelogram and star.

Starting at Lesson Nine, your child is given an opportunity to combine all learned shapes, including the two new shapes, and build them into new designs, and color them, as usual. This activity Leads to creative thinking, and tactile reinforcement.

The introduction of symmetry helps children with shapes, colors, patterns, matching, and then telling a story. Still using shapes, colors, and on to patterns, matching, and using pictures to tell a story. Lesson 17 introduces fractions using pizza and finally graphing is introduced using birds and three colors.

Draw Plus Math! is a great math support text for children six years and up. Levin has found key points in getting, and keeping children’s attention. In this book, children can tangibly learn math concepts. Levin has clearly put major time and energy into this product for your children to help them learn math skills while using their creative energies.

The illustrations are colorful and cartoonish as a child might draw. Yet, professional and show young children how to start with their drawing and shapes. Her illustrations are simple, based on the math shapes contained in the book, and the colors are right out of the basic set of boxed colored pencils. Pictures your child will be to replicate easily. This book is a great value for a family, home school, or public school use.

BIBLIO: 2010, Peel Productions, Inc., Primary, $8.99
REVIEWER: Debby Willett
FORMAT: Children’s NF, Education
ISBN: 0-939217-90-2

Reviewed for KSB Promotions Visibility Specialists,

Happy Crap - Unleash the Power of Positive Assumptions

Author Erika Oliver’s book Happy Crap is a source for motivation and inspiration for restricting your negative thoughts to positive that can transform your lives.

Oliver provides eight tools for your journey to living a more positive life with a Happy Crap attitude. Begin by choosing your thought. Oliver writes, “The quality of our thoughts – negative or positive – determines the quality of our experiences and our lives.”

While that seems a simple strategy, if it were there would not be so many people living with negative crap thoughts in their lives. Negative crap, or crappy crap thoughts, influence daily lives that are not recognized, until you are willing to see the positive side.

Without realizing, crappy crap shows up through assumptions – which are simply guesses. How many times does anyone start his or her day with an assumption – whether it is a crappy crap day or a Happy Crap day?

Oliver advises for Happy Crap days; make “daily decisions, set goals, and craft long-term plans using assumptions.” Other people will also make their own assumptions, whether positive or negative. Their assumptions could well be towards you. However, you are not responsible for the assumptions of others, only for yours.

How does negativity affect your life? Oliver suggests it impairs problem solving, communication skills, health issues such as depression, physical, and relationships.

Positive thinking allows you to see life with possibilities, a willingness to take on challenges, and seeing life with a Happy Crap attitude. It means taking control over your thoughts. In Chapter 9, Oliver provides the Happy Crap Tool Box with Eight Tools, a Color Exercise, and a Happy Crap Pledge.

It is your life, your future that you have control of – through your thoughts – make them Happy Crap thoughts – and a happier, more positive life.

BIBLIO: February 2011, In the Affirmative Publishing, Adult NF, $14.95
REVIEWER: Debby Willett
ISBN: 978-0-9799025-3-6

Reviewed for KSB Promotions Visibility Specialists,

Character Disturbance The Phenomenon of Our Age

Are there people who seem to bring confusion and pain into your life and you do not understand why or how they got that foothold? Perhaps you feel someone else is in control of your life and you would like to know how to regain your control. While this is not a ‘How-To’ book, it is a book to help you understand Disturbed Characters that may be around you. Finally, it has information to have healthy relationships in your life.

Internationally known for his bestseller, In Sheep’s Clothing: Understanding and Dealing with Manipulative People, author George K. Simon Jr., Ph. D. is back with Character Disturbance The Phenomenon of Our Age.

Simon states Disturbed Characters have specific reasons for behaving the way they do. In sharing his experience and research, through this book, Simon wants to alert the unsuspecting from any disadvantage the Disturbed Characters will have.

From the founding of our country, integrity and character has been recognized as an integral part of our society. Some positive aspects of an individual’s character are seen as self-control, ethics, loyalty, fortitude, and virtue.

A Disturbed Character “individual are notoriously nonchalant about things that upset most other people.”

Lacking an under-developed conscience, Disturbed Characters have the ability to injure without shame or guilt. With that, many Disturbed Characters lack genuine remorse for their acts that are hurtful to others. While they may offer an ‘I’m sorry’, it is not out of sincere contrition; nor is it an admission of guilt.

It is fruitless to confront a Disturbed Character, hoping they would feel shame or guilt, as it will only add to the victim’s frustrations. A Disturbed Character knows what they are doing; the result is what their actions were intending.

Control and manipulation are the keys used by Disturbed Characters. Usually they are subtle, but if cornered, a Disturbed Character must maintain the standard of control and their advantage is then at risk. A Disturbed Character looks at others with disdain – knowing they have the upper hand because they perceive themselves to be smarter and superior, thus they have the right to exploit others. You might have heard one vocal this, “I am smarter than everyone else.” It is because they believe it.

Simon describes four types of Aggression – overt, covert, active, and passive. He also states there are three things to remember in dealing with Disturbed Characters and aggressive personalities – position, position, position. Meaning a Disturbed Character must always maintain the upper hand, be in the dominate position, and resist submission to a higher power. All are part of the primary agenda for Disturbed Character personalities.

One should not try to change a Disturbed Character. They are truly happy with who they are. In fact, they are more satisfied with their lives than most non- Disturbed Characters will ever be. How could that be? Disturbed Characters do not experience ego problems. Self-confidence is not an issue with them. They can turn the charm on or off to accomplish their task, using whatever behaviors are necessary.

Simon suggests eleven tools to empower the average person to survive an encounter with a Disturbed Character. A few of them are:

*Become a Better Judge of Character;
*Knowing Yourself – understanding your own needs, insecurities, and belief systems;
*Invest Energy Only Where You Have Power – choose battles carefully, avoid losing battles, take charge of your own behavior;
*Never Accept an Excuse – if a behavior is wrong, there is no reason to accept it;
*Judge Actions, Not Intentions – actions speak louder than words;
*Stay Focused on the Here and Now – no exceptions;

Remember who you are dealing with and who has control of your life.

BIBLIO: June 2011, Parkhurst Brothers Publishers, Inc., Adult NF, $29.95
REVIEWER: Debby Willett
ISBN: 978-1-935166-32-0

Reviewed for KSB Promotions Visibility Specialists,