Get your kids ready to celebrate Dr. Seuss’ birthday and Read Across America Day

WASHINGTON, DC, Feb 27 — This weekend the nation celebrates Read Across America Day. To be precise, RAAD falls on Friday, March 1st, and you can be sure there’ll be a wide variety of official and non-official events to commemorate the occasion.

For example, teachers will likely prompt parents to encourage their kids to pick up a book, hoping that it will make reading a habit.

There are also online sources that provide ideas for parents and teachers about how to take advantage of the celebration, which coincides with the birthday of the prolific children’s author, Dr. Seuss. Seuss’s birthday is on March 2nd, but Read Across America Day, is celebrated on the nearest school day.

David Bruce Smith, education advocate, points out that generations of children have been mesmerized into becoming avid “bookworms by the tales of Theodor Seuss Geisel.”

One site, SignUpGenius, offers activities kids can do at home or in school, such as decorating a space with cozy pillows, sleeping bags or other comfortable items, along with a selection of age-appropriate books.

The children’s literacy initiative, Reading is Fundamental, advances what it calls, “literacy tips and tools” on its website to help motivate children. “But, reading is not just fundamental, it’s fun,” according to Smith.

Smith, an author and publisher, is also co-founder of the Grateful American Book Prize, along with the late Dr. Bruce Cole, former chairman of the National Endowment for the Humanities. He suggests selecting books that coincide with the interests of your children.

“If your sons and daughters have adventurous spirits, give them something that will capture their imaginations, such as Kathy Cannon Wiechman’s Like A River. It won the inaugural Grateful American Book Prize in 2015. More important, it will satisfy your child’s sense of excitement, while providing him or her with a first-hand “view” of the Civil War. Exciting stories like this are not just a learning opportunity; they also allow your children to travel back in time, and feel like they’re experiencing history,” says Smith.

He emphasizes that the purpose of the Prize is inspire kids to read exciting books, and—hopefully–develop a love for history—a requirement—if your child is to grow into a productive, and civically minded citizen.

If your son has a passion for sports, try Travel Team [Basketball] or Calico Joe [Baseball]. If your daughter likes love stories, give her Country Crush [boy meets girl, loses girl and maybe gets girl back] or Windfall [romance light and sweet]. And, if your children favor tales of adventure, there’s Crusoe [based on Defoe’s Robinson Crusoe] and Women Who Dared [from the pages of history].

“Books are ammunition for imagination—and a contributor to one’s success, especially when they propel us to learn the hows and whys of the past. Books teach young people how to think; they spur ideas, and develop the art of decision making,” says Smith.

Author Teri Kanefield, who was awarded a 2018 Grateful American Book Prize “Honorable Mention” for her young readers’ biography of Andrew Jackson, has an interesting interpretation about the Prize: “Books about wizards and romance with vampires will always command a wide audience. Those books don’t need much help. A prize like this one helps teachers and parents identify the books that experts have determined are most likely to engage young readers and make them want to read more.”

About the Grateful American Book Prize
The panel of judges for the 2019 Grateful American Book Prize is now accepting submissions for books published between July 1, 2018 and July 31, 2019. Historically accurate books of fiction and nonfiction written for middle schoolers are eligible.

Movie of the Month: The King and I

A widowed Welsh mother travels to Siam, and becomes the governess/English tutor to the many wives and children of an obstinate king. Starring Yul Brynner, Deborah Kerr, and directed by Walter Lang.

Patriotic Picks: February 2019

Whether it’s via their tone, topic, or tenor, certain works just say “America.” Here are three such titles, suggested by David Bruce Smith, founder of the Grateful American Foundation, in partnership with the Washington Independent Review of Books.

Patriotic Picks: February 2019

  • The Adventures of Tom Sawyer by Mark Twain. Humor, sentimentality, and the irrepressibility of the human spirit combine and shine in a seminal tale of 19th-century boyhood.
  • Death Comes for the Archbishop by Willa Cather. It’s 1851, and Father Jean Marie Latour arrives in New Mexico to spread the Gospel. And, for four decades, he does just that — gently, quietly, and while surrounded by his own unyielding loneliness.
  • Gone with the Wind by Margaret Mitchell. Civil War-ravaged Atlanta burns as hotly as the tempestuous love between Scarlett O’Hara and Rhett Butler in this Pulitzer Prize-winning novel that captures the death of the Old South.

Patriotic Picks: February 2019

Whether it’s via their tone, topic, or tenor, certain works just say “America.” Here are three such titles, suggested by David Bruce Smith, founder of the Grateful American Foundation, in partnership with the Washington Independent Review of Books.

 
Patriotic Picks: February 2019
 

 

 

 

 

 

The Adventures of Tom Sawyer by Mark Twain. Humor, sentimentality, and the irrepressibility of the human spirit combine and shine in a seminal tale of 19th-century boyhood.

Death Comes for the Archbishop by Willa Cather. It’s 1851, and Father Jean Marie Latour arrives in New Mexico to spread the Gospel. And, for four decades, he does just that — gently, quietly, and while surrounded by his own unyielding loneliness.

Gone with the Wind by Margaret Mitchell. Civil War-ravaged Atlanta burns as hotly as the tempestuous love between Scarlett O’Hara and Rhett Butler in this Pulitzer Prize-winning novel that captures the death of the Old South.

Patriotic Picks: February 2019

Patriotic Picks: February 2019

Whether it’s via their tone, topic, or tenor, certain works just say “America.” Here are three such titles, suggested by David Bruce Smith, founder of the Grateful American Foundation, in partnership with the Washington Independent Review of Books.

 
Patriotic Picks: February 2019
 

 

 

 

 

 

The Adventures of Tom Sawyer by Mark Twain. Humor, sentimentality, and the irrepressibility of the human spirit combine and shine in a seminal tale of 19th-century boyhood.

Death Comes for the Archbishop by Willa Cather. It’s 1851, and Father Jean Marie Latour arrives in New Mexico to spread the Gospel. And, for four decades, he does just that — gently, quietly, and while surrounded by his own unyielding loneliness.

Gone with the Wind by Margaret Mitchell. Civil War-ravaged Atlanta burns as hotly as the tempestuous love between Scarlett O’Hara and Rhett Butler in this Pulitzer Prize-winning novel that captures the death of the Old South.

Patriotic Picks: February 2019

Lost 80’s Live – Dates added in MI, CO, & NV

Now there are more opportunities to get lost in the 80’s. We’re going to join a number of other bands and focus on our tunes from that decade.

Also on the bill are A Flock of Seagulls, Wang Chung, Missing Persons, The Motels, and many more.

August 9
Aretha Franklin Amphitheatre
2600 Atwater St
Detroit, MI 48207

August 10
Fiddler’s Green Amphitheatre
6350 Greenwood Plaza Blvd
Greenwood Village, CO 80111
Tickets

September 7
Downtown Las Vegas Events Center
200 S 3rd St
Las Vegas, NV 89101
Tickets

Fun reads with a purpose for kids during the upcoming Presidents’ Day Recess

WASHINGTON, DC, Feb 14 – Children across the country are looking forward to a winter break on February 18th—this year’s Presidents’ Day. It will give them a chance to clear their heads and prepare themselves for the new classroom responsibilities during the last months of the school year.

“But, it can also be a good time for kids to engage in a bit of unstructured learning and to have some fun, too. For example, web sites such as Garden of Praise offer an opportunity to go on an entertaining “trivial pursuit” of little-known presidential facts,” says author, publisher and history education advocate David Bruce Smith.

And, since Presidents’ Day is all about George Washington and Abraham Lincoln, why not give your kids a chance to be carried away by a gripping story– or two– filled with excitement, adventure and a hidden history lesson? Pick up a copy of Chris Stevenson’s The Drum of Destiny, a story that is hard to put down, Smith says.

The book is about a boy on his way to join the American Revolution’s Continental Army. According to the author, “by reading [The] Drum of Destiny, young readers can learn about history without realizing they are learning about history. Most history textbooks are written with the idea of teaching kids facts they can memorize so they can then take a test. This method misses the most important aspects of history. The real life stories, the reasons behind the facts, and the character of our country’s founders are where the real learning is discovered.”

Stevenson won the 2016 Grateful American Book Prize, which Smith co-founded with the late Dr. Bruce Cole, former chairman of the National Endowment for the Humanities. The intent of the Prize is to encourage authors—and their publishers—to produce more books like The Drum of Destiny that make learning fun.

Says Smith, “knowledge of our nation’s history gives kids a crucial life lesson so that they can develop into responsible, civically minded adults.”

He offers these additional Presidents’ Day picks that would appeal to kids:

  • Tad Lincoln’s Father by Julia Taft Bayne
  • Abraham Lincoln: The Making of America Series by Teri Kanefield
  • Bloody Times: The Funeral of Abraham Lincoln and the Manhunt for Jefferson Davis by James L. Swanson
  • George Washington’s Secret Six: The Spies Who Saved America by Brian Kilmeade and Don Yaeger
  • George Washington: Soldier, Hero, President by Justine and Ron Fontes