‘Tis the Season For Some Superhero Parents

Undoubtedly you know it is THAT time of year again…especially if you have young kids.  Just yesterday I was at a T.J.MAXX in search of Christmas presents for my family and friends. It’s hard trying to make your money last when you have so many things on your list.  In fact, it’s impossible.  While there, I saw a father walking around with his young son.  He asked him to point out things he liked, things he wanted Santa to bring him.  Walking around, it was obvious that this man was making his own mental checklist…to pass along to Santa of course!  All I could think was: How is he going to remember a list when his kid is pulling everything he sees off the shelf?  It’s moments like these that I am tempted to walk up to a parent like him and say, Kudos to you, sir. Of course, I didn’t do that.  I’m not one to deliberately put myself in awkward situations.  Instead, when I noticed that most of the items his son was pulling from the shelves were books (!!!), I told him about Sylvan Dell Publishing and all of our exemplary elementary learning books.  The array of books on our website does not require a mental checklist, and it does not require picking up after a roudy child as they raid the aisles of T.J.MAXX.  AND for maximum stress relief, we do offer free gift wrapping…straight from Santa’s workshop…

Go to our online store now and choose the best way to further educate or introduce your child to science and math through literature.  At this time in the season, stores have become life-size anthills.  Don’t try to be a superhero and bust through the aisles like it’s nobody’s business…because you can’t.  I can already tell you that the massive checkout lines will be your kryptonite. Avoid the chaos with a few simple clicks, and…wahlah!  You can have some gift wrapped books at your door in no time.

Eureka! Multiply on the Fly is a Winner!

Multiply on the Fly written by Suzanne Slade, illustrated by Erin E. Hunter is a California Reading Association’s “Eureka! Silver Honor Book Winner” for 2011.

 The California Reading Association is a non-profit professional organization of educators devoted to the use of “standards-aligned instruction” and “research-based teaching strategies” in all aspects of reading and language arts education from the kindergarten level through college. The “Eureka! Children’s Book Award” was created to identify outstanding nonfiction books for children. Winners of this and other awards can be viewed in their journal, The California Reader or on their website, www.californiareads.org.

 Multiply on the Fly follows the arithmetic feel of Suzanne Slade’s What’s New at the Zoo? and What’s the Difference?. In this book children discover the world’s insects: from pirate bugs to Luna moths, while simultaneously learning multiplication. Teeming with fun facts, readers will multiply a variety of insects, including dragonflies, hungry honeybees and stealthy walking sticks.

 Suzanne Slade is the award-winning author of over 80 books for children. Her works include picture books, biographies, as well as many non-fiction titles about animals, sports, and nature. Slade has also written Animals are Sleeping and The Great Divide (which follows the series into division) for Sylvan Dell. One of her favorite parts of the writing process is researching and learning new things. Slade lives near Chicago with her husband Mike, two children, and their tiny dog Corduroy. For more information on Slade, you can visit her website at www.suzanneslade.com

 Erin E. Hunter is both a children’s book and scientific illustrator, specializing in entomological and botanical illustration. She has taught botanical illustration and field sketching at University of California at Santa Cruz, and has even drawn insects under a microscope for the Smithsonian’s Museum of Natural History. She illustrated the fourth book in Slade’s arithmetic series; The Great Divide, as well as Sylvan Dell’s A Day on the Mountain.  Hunter lives with her husband on California’s Monterey Peninsula where she tends to flowers, fruit trees, and vegetables in her yard when she’s not sketching and painting. Hunter’s website is www.eehunter.com.

 Check out more on Multiply on the Fly via the book’s homepage on our website.  Congrats to all!

The Many Facets of Halloween!

Our celebration of Halloween today is but a pale representation of its actual rich and multicultural history.  It was once a celebration marking the end of the growing season, and a heralding of the coming winter months.  It is told that this day, of all days in the year, is the one in which the veil between the living and the dead is the thinnest.  It is the day that ghouls and ghosts can walk among the living.  While costumes today are for entertainment and fun, they were once used to confuse the dead and keep the living safe on this supernatural night.  Blended from several origins, including the Celts, Romans, and Catholic tradition, Halloween came to be it’s own special celebration.  Today, however, it has become a nationally commercial holiday, supported by a consumer based economy. 

Back in the old days…with the history of the Celts, Druid priests were believed to have the ability to commune with the dead.  It was rumored that their powers were the most powerful on the last day of the year: Samhain (sow-en) according to the Celtic calendar.  On this day, the Celtic people would extinguish their hearth fires and gather in front of a bonfire for the evening instead.  A celebration of singing, dancing, and listening to stories would ensue.  At the end of the evening, each family would take some of the bonfire home and relight it in their hearths in hopes of good fortune for their home and family in the coming year.  If it did not light, misfortune or death would come to someone in the house that year. The celebration of Halloween does not come directly from this day, however, for credit can also be given to the practice of several other cultures.

For instance, in the New World, Halloween was largely disallowed.  In Maryland, however, it was encouraged, and people would attend parties with singing and dancing and ghost stories.  Children would dress in costumes and try to scare one another.  The actual tradition of trick-or-treating from door to door, did not begin until the Irish immigrants brought it with them when they came fleeing from the Potato Famine. 

In relation to Pagan tradtion, this night was determined to be the night that a young woman would find out her future husband.  This would be done by looking into a mirror in a dark room or by peeling an apple and casting the peel over her shoulder.  Many Christian churches, who believed such paganistic rituals would lead to witchcraft and Satanism, created “Hell Houses” (haunted houses to us today), which were meant to scare children and young adults away from ever tampering with such damning traditions.

As you can see, this now famous American holiday is due to the old practices of many cultures throughout the centuries.  There is so much more to learn about the history of Halloween as well all the other holidays we celebrate with our friends and loved ones.  The best part is that ALL of the learning can be done through the simply wonderful act of reading!

Tomorrow, Nov. 1, is the start of National Family Literacy Month.  Take advantage of this time to spark a budding love of reading in your child.  Read to them about interesting facts they don’t know, and let them read with you.  Sylvan Dell Publishing has a whole slew of options that can help aid you in educating your little one on a parent-child basis.  Check out our homepage, and from there you can read about every book we have to offer you and your child!