Archives for April 20, 2018

Charlie & Frog by Karen Kane is a Must-Read!

Looking for a great Mystery story for your kids? This one is great for ages 10-14! (Maybe a little younger or a little older depending on the kid). I also love how it teaches about sign language! This is a must-read.

We also had the opportunity to ask the Author a question and I love her answer to this one!

“DEAF CAN!” In Charlie & Frog, there is a statue at the school that represents a real-life true story about ASL’s origins. Frog’s dad explains that this is where her name comes from. Could you please share that story?

In Charlie & Frog, there is a statue at the school that represents a real-life true story about ASL’s origins. It is there because I took a piece of Deaf history and added my own twist. Inside the front gates of Gallaudet University, the world’s only university for Deaf and hard of hearing people, there is a statue of Alice Cogswell and Thomas Hopkins Gallaudet. Gallaudet was a neighbor of nine-year-old Alice, and even though she couldn’t hear, he was convinced she was intelligent and could learn. He proved it by placing his hat on the ground and writing the word “hat” in the dirt. Alice pointed to his hat, understanding those letters meant “hat.” Encouraged, Alice’s father sent Gallaudet to find a teacher for his daughter. Gallaudet went to Paris and returned with Deaf teacher Laurent Clerc. Together they opened the first school for the Deaf in Hartford, Connecticut in 1817.

Now comes my twist to this piece of Deaf history. In Charlie & Frog, Frog’s family history includes the story of Francine, the first child to be born Deaf in her family. The family learned about this newly established school for the Deaf, and planned a visit. When they arrived, they encountered Alice Cogswell sitting outside, studying a frog. Francine headed over to Alice, who signed “frog,” and pointed to the little hopper. Francine then repeated the sign “frog” and began hopping around. Two hundred years later there is now another bronze statue—this one of Alice and Francine, each signing the first letter of her own name. And a little frog sits between them.

Credit: Karen Kane.

Photo: Author, Karen Kane. 

Self Disclosure: I received a free copy of the book for participating in this Book Blog Tour. I only feature books I highly recommend and love this one! 

Aquarium’s Harbor Seal Shelby Gives Birth to Pup Veterinary staff help deliver mature mother seal Shelby’s third pup

The nonprofit Aquarium of the Pacific is pleased to announce that Shelby, one of the Aquarium’s harbor seals, has given birth to a pup. Shelby is one of the Aquarium’s original animals and was two years old when the facility opened in 1998. Most seals give birth to young starting at four to five years of age. At twenty-two years old, Shelby is considered a mature mom, and this is her third pup. Shelby gave birth to her first pup, a female named Bixby, in April 2012 at age seventeen and her second, a male named Toby, in 2013. Bixby was moved to a zoo in the Midwest in 2015 with other female harbor seals, and Toby is slated to move to an aquarium in the southeast in May. Troy, the Aquarium’s only male harbor seal, is the father of all three pups and has lived at the Aquarium since 2007.

“Shelby has had a normal, healthy pregnancy, and with her success at giving birth to two pups here at the Aquarium in recent years, we were cautiously optimistic about the arrival of her third pup. It is particularly special to the Aquarium that one of our charter animals has given birth to the next generation in the year of our twentieth anniversary,” said Dudley Wigdahl, Aquarium curator of mammals and birds. Shelby and her pup are in the holding area next to the Seal and Sea Lion Habitat. The shades may be open at times and closed at other times to allow for privacy for the mother and pup to bond.

Shelby is a Pacific harbor seal. Harbor seals can be found in the eastern Pacific Ocean from the southern coast of Alaska to the northern portion of Baja, Mexico. Their color and markings are unique to each seal, like a human’s fingerprints. Some have light-colored fur of almost white to silver or gray with darker circular or ring marks. Others have darker fur with light-colored markings. They range in size from 4 to 6.6 feet long and weigh between 110 to 375 pounds (males tend to be larger than females). They may spend up to 85 percent of the day diving for prey, primarily schooling and bottom-dwelling fishes such as herring, surfperch, rockfish, salmon, and hake. They are also partial to some invertebrates, including crustaceans. They get the water they need from their food and live about twenty-five to thirty years in the wild and longer under human care. Harbor seals are protected by the Marine Mammal Protection Act. While the species is not currently listed as endangered or threatened, harbor seals are sensitive to human encroachment.

The nonprofit Aquarium of the Pacific is a community gathering place where diverse cultures and the arts are celebrated and where important challenges facing our planet are explored by scientists, policymakers, and stakeholders in search of sustainable solutions. The Aquarium is dedicated to conserving and building nature and nature’s services by building the interactions between and among people. Home to over 11,000 animals, Aquarium exhibits include FROGS: Dazzling and Disappearing. Beyond its animal exhibits, the Aquarium offers educational programs for people of all ages. The Aquarium won a 2015 Travelers’ Choice Award for Aquariums, as awarded by TripAdvisor® travelers, and the 2017 TripAdvisor® Certificate of Excellence. The Aquarium offers memberships with unlimited FREE admission for 12 months, VIP Entrance, and other benefits. For more information, please call (562) 590-3100 or visit

Credit: The Aquarium of the Pacific. Photo Credit: Aquarium of the Pacific.


A Quick Look at California’s Smaller (and Safer!) Theme Parks

With summer rapidly approaching, parents are looking for fun places to take the kids. California is always a great place for families because there is so much to do and see. With so many theme parks and beaches, there is almost too much to choose from! However, you aren’t exactly thrilled about the prospect of being pushed and shoved in elbow-to-elbow crowds and so you are probably looking for some attractions which won’t be as big, and probably not nearly as dangerous.

Every Parent’s Nightmare – Losing a Child in the Crowd

Not only can you quickly lose sight of kids who tend to wander away if you don’t keep them tightly in hand, but there is always that off-chance that they will willingly go with a stranger, which is every parent’s nightmare. You might want to check on sites like Parent Guide to get tips from other parents who have found ways to keep their kids close in crowds. You’d be surprised at some of the innovative ways they’ve discovered. In the meantime, here are some alternatives if you have your heart set on a vacation in California this year.

Adventure City in Anaheim

While it isn’t the massive Disneyland Resort, Adventure City is nearby and for some, even more fun. It’s like stepping back in time with roller coasters dating back all the way to the 1940s and a really spectacular place for family photo ops. You will also find a petting farm and a place where the bunnies roam (Canoodle), along with an assortment of larger rides that the tweens would probably prefer. Located just outside of Los Angeles, it’s close enough to downtown where mom can get in plenty of shopping, especially in the Fabric District where materials by the yard are so much cheaper than they are back home.

Santa Monica Pier and Beach

Just to the west of LA is Santa Monica Pier and Beach. Here is where kids can have a field day. Not only does the amusement park date back over 100 years but it’s located on the pier itself. It isn’t Coney Island in the East, but it sure is the next best thing. The amusement park itself is called Pacific Park, and no wonder because, as mentioned, it is actually on the Pacific Ocean – the coast that is! From the park, it’s just a short distance to the long, sandy beach where the family can get a quick dip in the ocean and spend a bit of time resting in the warm Southern California sun.

These are just a couple of examples of where you can go that isn’t nearly as crowded or as large as the main SoCal attractions, but they are delightful nonetheless. For a longer list of small but amazing attractions in California, check out the Visit California website. Take your time planning because there is much to offer. You may want to spend a day at Disneyland, Universal Studios, or Knotts Berry Farm, but then again, with so many smaller attractions to visit, you might not have time this summer. Maybe next year, but for now, there’s plenty to do without spending a small fortune. Have fun in the Golden State and see you next year!