Sunday, December 2, 2012

Gifts for a One Year Old

Someone special is turning the big ONE and you want to make a splash with a gift that won't get lost in the shuffle. Perhaps Mom and Dad are just getting started in a small apartment, so that rules out big plastic toys, no matter how appealing the commercials make them seem to babies.

So, you may ask yourself, what the heck is a meaningful, fun, stimulating gift for a one year old ? A gift of books for babies from The Lollipop Book Club.

The advantages of reading to children from an early age are indisputable. Language development starts from the time a child is born. When a child reaches one year, most parents really start to see the early signs of articulation.  Reading daily to a child is a crucial activity during this time of a child's life.

Here are some good tips for selecting the perfect gift for a one year old from The Lollipop Book Club:

  • Send a book for every holiday throughout the year.  We offer a wide selection of the best baby books for Christmas, Hanukkah, Halloween, Easter and Valentine's Day.
  • Send a birthday baby book for the month of the child's birthday.  Some cute titles include Happy Birthday, Baby by Dr. Seuss and Happy Birthday, Little Pookie by Sandra Boynton.
  • Make sure to include a book for babies that encourages interaction.  Book gifts for one year olds that are touch-and-feel or lift-the-flap always get the most attention from baby.
Next time you get that birthday party invitation in the mail, try out The Lollipop Book Club. Every package includes the book you select, a lollipop (real or "washcloth") and a bookplate, making every book a keepsake for years to come.

Sweet Reading! Karen

Gifts for 10 Year Olds

Finding that "out-of-the-box" gift for a 10-year old can be a daunting assignment, fraught with wasteful web searches, endless trips to the big box retailers, and usually a big receipt for something that will get discarded and forgotten after not too long. This age group is collectively one tough cookie to excite with a present, boys and girls alike. They have outgrown toys for the most part and have started to become particular about clothing. The challenge in finding exciting 10-year old gifts is made even more difficult for long-distance relatives and friends who want to send a meaningful gift.

A book of the month club gift from The Lollipop Book Club is one of the best ways to connect with a 10-year-old with a gift from the heart. You can choose from a great collection of carefully selected books that will inspire.  We have organized our books into categories to make shopping easy. They include Classics, Newbery Medal Winners, Just for Girls, Just for Boys, Fantasy, Mythology, and many more. 

We encourage you send an eclectic gift for 10 year olds with a good mix of books. Choose some of your favorites from when you were a kid (Where the Red Fern Grows, Old Yeller, etc.), some that are gender specific (like Lawn Boy and  Emma Jean Lazarus Fell Out of a Tree), and then toss in some favorites to expand their reading repertoire (Masterpiece is a good one!).

The Lollipop Book Club is the go-to gift shop for our loyal customers who discovered us six years ago. Check out our book of the month club reviews to see what people say about us time and time again. You will see some common themes in the feedback- excellent customer service, wonderful presentation, delicious lollipops, fantastic books- but the most important thing to take away from the response is that kids LOVE the gift.  So next time you are shopping for a perfect gift for a 10 year old, browse on over to The Lollipop Book Club. You will make the day of one lucky 10 year old kid!

Sweet Reading! Karen Gallagher

Monday, November 26, 2012

Best Christmas Books for Kids

Thanksgiving Dinner. Black Friday. Cyber Monday. Christmas Parties. Cookie Exchanges. Holiday Cards. Gift Lists for Family. Gift Lists for Everyone Else. Home Decoration. Extended Family Gatherings. Breathe!  Turn on the TV to relax with your family only to be bombarded by ads, sales, deals, doorbusters, last-chances...and additions to the Christmas list your children innocently believe they can add to Santa's already overflowing sled.

Enough is enough already! The only way to truly relax (with your kids, that is) and enjoy some quiet, "quality" time is with a children's Christmas book. And what better way to get into the holiday spirit (minus all of the stuff mentioned above) is with a collection of the best Christmas books and a kid or two snuggled by your side.

As a bookseller, I have compiled a list of must-reads this Christmas. So grab some of these Christmas books, a blanket, and someone small, and get lost for a little while in the warmth, innocence and humor of these Christmas tales.

Funny Christmas Books

The always-endearing Olivia has a really hard time with patience this Christmas.  Santa cannot arrive soon enough!  Sound like your kiddos?

 A cast of furry characters come to the rescue when Santa becomes lodged in the chimney.  Pure futility abounds until a tiny mouse succeeds in freeing the jolly old man so he can get on with his Christmas Eve duties.

 Ok, so maybe the newspaper on the cover is a little dated. Santa should try LinkedIn or Monster next time he needs to find a job. Regardless, we're sure glad things worked out for him!

 Christmas Books with a Message

 A little fir was alone in a forest, away from all of the other trees. One Christmas, his dream of being with others finally came true.

 Grab a box of tissues for this classic about the love, security, and comfort an evergreen provides for his forest friends.  And remember this touching Christmas book when you pick out your tree this year.

 Santa doesn't think he's up for the job this year and may have to cancel his deliveries. When the forest animals become upset, he reminds them of the true spirit of Christmas.

Christmas Chapter Books

Get the full story on  Ebenezer Scrooge and this classic novel. Perfect for readers 10 and up, including adults. A Christmas Carol makes the perfect addition to every coffee table and bookshelf this Christmas.

 Energy level (and accompanying behavior) is at an all-time high right before Christmas. You can only imagine the headaches for the chorus director trying to pull off what may be the very last concert in the school.

 Calling all feline lovers! Here is a moving Christmas chapter book about a black beauty who learns that Christmas is all about sharing time with those you love.

 That's a wrap for now!  For more wonderful Christmas books, visit The Lollipop Book Club.  This is the gift that will be remembered for a child's entire life. Not only will you inspire and reinforce a child's love for reading, but you connect with a little one through your thoughtful messages printed on a gift plate for inside each and every book. These books become special keepsakes that the children will cherish and remember they were given lovingly by you.

Sweet Reading! Karen Gallagher

Monday, June 11, 2012

Screen Time for Kids

During my oldest son's last check up, our pediatrician asked him "About how many hours of screen time a day do you log?" To which he quickly countered with the question, "Do you mean before school, after school, or total for the whole day?" Arghh! I forgot to counsel him on how to answer this question before the appointment.

Now that he is 10, the doctor no longer looks to me for a response. She knows Daniel is fully capable of answering the litany of questions before she begins the physical. She also knows that she'll get a more truthful response from him than from his mother, who will modify her answers to pass the test.  You know the drill...How many fruits and veggies do you eat in a day? How many times a week do you sit at the dinner table with your family? Do always wear safety helmet when riding your bike? etc.....

I know exactly how to answer these questions in a (mostly) truthful manner and still pass the test.  My kid...well, he just gives a 100% honest response with absolutely no regard for how this reflects upon me. Thanks for nothing!

Now that summer is here, managing screen time is even more of a challenge.  Here are some stats to help you put into perspective just how unhealthy it is:

- By the age of seven, a child born today will have watched one full year, 24 hours a day, of screen media.

-Since 1999, the amount of screen time for kids has doubled to nearly 7 hours per day.

-Studies have shown that children who watch TV or play video games for 2 or more hours a day are 60% more likely to have social, emotional, and concentration problems.  They are also more likely to be obese.

-The negative effect of too much screen time cannot be significantly diminished with physical activity.

-Children with televisions in their bedrooms tend to perform worse on academic tests than those who do not.

Ok...if you're like me, you may read these statistics and take satisfaction if they do not apply to your kid. But let's face it, the arguments against too much screen time far outweigh the benefits.

So how to we manage to keep our kids busy and productive this summer, and still maintain our sanity without the crutch of the TV?  Here are some of my ideas:

-Let your kids earn screen time by reading.  For every hour of reading, that equates to an hour of screen time.

-Hide the iTouches and use them for specific situations only (i.e. long car rides, waiting rooms, etc.).  When I tell my kids turn off the Xbox, I find them simply moving to their handheld devices, so I've got to put a stop to it now!

-Have mandatory black-out periods for screen time during the summer. For example, no TV, computer, or video games between 11:00 a.m. and 7 p.m. 

-Give your kids LOTS of responsibilities around the house this summer.  My 10 year old mows the lawn and my 8 year old puts away the laundry.  Fill their days with chores. It will give them a sense of satisfaction if you stick with it.

-Stock your home with supplies for lots of summer fun. Crafts, cooking and baking, reading, painting, play dough, water guns etc.

The most important thing to keep in mind is that kids will naturally gravitate to the easiest, most stimulating (in a bad way) activity- video games, TV, and computers.  I, for one, need to break this bad habit so that next time we are at the pediatrician's office, Daniel's honest response will make me proud!

Sweet Reading! Karen Gallagher

Scary Reading Statistics!

If you are lucky enough to have a child with a penchant for reading, I’m jealous! I’ve seen those book-toting tykes with novels that could serve as doorstops and weigh half as much as they do. They are so attached to their latest book that it becomes like an appendage.

My kids have appendages, too, but they are DSIs, iPod Touches, and other handheld gaming systems. They have achieved impressive high scores that garner respect amongst their peers, and believe me, their vocabulary is quite expansive. Someone could publish a dictionary with video game jargon. But these words will not appear on the SATs, cannot be effectively incorporated into a term paper, or used in business correspondence later in life.

Here are some quick, startling statistics that should be a wake-up call for all of us:

• Children who have not developed some basic literacy skills by the time they enter school are 3 - 4 times more likely to drop out in later years. (National Adult Literacy Survey, (1002) NCES, U.S. Department of Education)

• If a child is a poor reader at the end of First Grade, there is an almost 90% probability that the child will be a poor reader at the end of Fourth Grade. (The Public Library Association)

• Out-of-school reading habits of students has shown that even 15 minutes a day of independent reading can expose students to more than a million words of text in a year. (Anderson, Wilson, & Fielding, 1988)

• Nearly 40% of Fourth Graders have not mastered basic reading skills. It’s nearly 60% in California, and almost half of these children live with college-educated parents.(Council for Basic Education)

• When the State of Arizona projects how many prison beds it will need, it factors in the number of kids who read well in fourth grade. (Arizona Republic (9-15-2004) Advertisement by SheaHomes Inc.

Ok, so now that I’ve got your attention, what are you going to do about it? The most important piece of advice I can offer is to keep it fun! Here are some pointers that have worked for my kids:

• Leave it up to the teachers to introduce the classics like The Catcher in the Rye and Don Quixote. Your job is to get your kids excited about any kind of book, I don’t care if it’s Diary of a Wimpy Kid or Captain Underpants! Tap into their sense of humor and don’t worry so much about the “literary value” of a book.

• Create a special event around acquiring and reading books together. A date to the library or bookstore and lunch at the child’s favorite restaurant is a fabulous way to spend the afternoon. Cap the day off with some quiet time reading and talking about the new books.

• Remember that any reading material is good for kids, including newspapers and magazines. My son loves his subscription to Sports Illustrated Kids that I gave him for his birthday and he reads each edition cover to cover.

Teaching your children to love reading is a gift they will appreciate for the rest of their lives. Get the summer started with a gift of books from The Lollipop Book Club!

Sweet Reading! Karen Gallagher