Archives for April 24, 2018

Books of the Week April 24th, 2018

Here are my top choices for this week!

This one is perfect for Autism Awareness month!

With autism on the rise in the United States, national award-winning children’s author and parenting expert Julia Cook believes that a little bit of understanding can go a long way towards helping children with autism fit in. In her engaging new children’s book, Uniquely Wired: A Book About Autism and Its Gifts (Boys Town Press, February 1, 2018), Cook provides an eminently readable primer of sorts, from the point of view of a child with autism, that will be a gift to parents, teachers, and kids everywhere who need a little bit of help understanding their peers with autism.

I liked this book because it teaches young children about empathy and accepting others differences. Zac is a very likable character.

Zak teaches readers that, although his brain works differently, it is pretty incredible, and he has a lot of gifts to share.

This one of a kind look into the life and mind of a child with autism rewards curiosity and helps make “uniquely wired” children more relatable to their peers. It provides answers to questions children have about their peers who may behave differently because of their autism. It also promotes awareness of the often-overlooked gifts that children on the autism spectrum have, as well as pointing out the ways they’re similar to, or exactly like, their peers.

This next one is also a delightful book for young children!

 SYLVIA ROSE AND THE CHERRY TREE (Tilbury House) by Sandy Shapiro-Hurt & illustrated by Xindi Yan. The art in this one will immediately draw you in (such vibrant, gorgeous colors!), and the sweet story of adventure and realizing the importance of home will pull at your heartstrings.

Bold, adventurous Sylvia Rose loves visiting the animals and trees of the forest. The girl and her favorite cherry tree share almost everything, including dancing and stories, but they can’t travel the world together because the tree is rooted deep in the earth. Determined to overcome this obstacle, Sylvia Rose enlists her animal friends to uproot the glorious tree, and Sylvia and the tree set off globetrotting together, taking in the wonders of the world from the Eiffel Tower to the Sydney Opera House, each sight more amazing than the last.    

Back home in the forest, however, the animals begin to suffer without the food and shelter of their life-sustaining cherry tree. Can the tree give up her newfound freedom and return to her role in the forest ecosystem?

I just love the characters and the story and recommend this for all young children! This is one of those stories I think that they will want to read over and over again!


If you love to draw or have a child who loves to draw…this really is the best series!

The How To Draw Cool Stuff series (Library Tales Publishing) by art teacher and professional artist Catherine V. Holmes guides readers through the basic principles of illustration by concentrating on easy-to-learn shapes that build into complex drawings. The original How To Draw Cool Stuff and the subsequent books, How To Draw Cool Stuff: Shading, Textures and Optical Illusions and How To Draw Cool Stuff: Holidays, Seasons and Events, each offer unique lessons for readers.

In addition to teaching basic drawing skills, this wonderful series provides:

  • Lessons on creating shading and texture for more realistic artistic renderings
  • Step-by-step tutorials on drawing fun and beloved characters like Santa Claus, the Easter Bunny, leprechauns and more!
  • A guidebook that can be used by art teachers in the classroom to help supplement lesson plans and provide students with independent activities
  • Valuable lessons in how to make drawing easier and more fun, such as: draw lightly, don’t aim to create an exact replica, and why patience pays off
  • A wonderful gift for all aspiring artists

I like that this really makes learning to draw seem easier! My favorite book is the How To Draw Cool Stuff: Holidays, Seasons and Events!

Self Disclsoure: I received free copies of the above books to facilitate this post. Images and information were also provided. I only feature books that I receive that I highly recommend.

Key Activities You Should Consider Letting Your Kids do

Keeping your kids busy is a must as a parent. However, it can be hard trying to find ways to do so in between busy schedules and school runs. There are a number of things that they can do in the comfort of your home. It requires a little creativity as well as sometimes thinking outside of the box. When choosing activities, you should try and ensure they have an educational element and there is something that helps them develop the core skills that they need. Just in case you’re stuck on ideas regarding things your kids can get up to, this article is going suggest three in particular.


One fun activity that your kids can get up to is learning how to garden. If your kids attend an independent school like Milbourne Lodge Pre-Prep and Prep School, they’re likely to participate in outdoor learning such as cultivating vegetables, herbs, and flowers on a regular basis. You can also extend this practice at home by buying them seeds and putting them in charge of nurturing and growing their plant. The good thing about this is that you don’t have to have acres and acres of land to do it and can begin with something as simple as a window plant you place in the kitchen. By having them continuously water the plant and teaching them about the conditions that it needs to grow, they could learn a lot about responsibility, as well as growth and patience.

Reading Club

Another activity your kids can participate in which is common, yet effective is joining a book club. Although not every child’s first love is reading, there are things you can do to encourage the habit and get them to fall in love with it; Firstly, it’s key that you figure out what exactly their interests are and then find books that fall into that category. If, for instance, they love superheroes, you can buy them a collection of superhero books to get them excited about reading. To start a book club with them, try buying them a series of books a month and getting them to discuss it with you or their other siblings. Some other ways to get them to love reading include trying audiobooks, finding ways to bring the book to life, and watching the movie version of the book after reading it if it’s available.

Apps and Games

Keeping your kids engaged in activities should be fun which is why you should consider using apps and games as a method as well. There are some games that you can play with your kids that will keep them occupied and teach them key skills. Some include patience, persistence, resilience, and learning that sometimes you win and at times you lose as well. Some games and apps to consider for your kids are Art Academy, Sketchbook Pro, Codecademy, and Book Creator for iPad. There are many more out there that you’d have to look for by doing some research.


Keeping your kids occupied is important for both you and them. The key is to continuously introduce new activities until you find ones that they enjoy and also learn from. By doing so, they should continue to grow key development skills and have fun while doing it.

DRUM TAO Brings Japanese Taiko to Musco Center 4.29

Musco Center for the Arts at Chapman University presents TAO: DRUM HEART on April 29 at 4:00 pm.

Since 1993, Japanese drum and dance ensemble DRUM TAO has combined music and dance to reflect Japanese tradition while incorporating other Asian cultural influences. Breaking past the traditional notions of taiko, TAO continues to create an entirely new art form that is modern yet retains a sense of tradition.

Entrancing more than seven million people globally, TAO has performed in 24 countries in 500 cities, and is the most prominent entertainment in Japan – playing more than 200 shows annually. TAO presented its work at the world’s largest festival of the arts — the 2004 Edinburgh Festival Fringe  and appeared at the 2010 Vancouver Olympics. The Arizona Republic calls TAO an “epic visceral thrill.”

 Tickets for April 29 are on sale now for $30-$50 and may be purchased through the Musco Center online at or by calling the box office at 844-OC-MUSCO (844-626-8726). All print-at-home tickets include a no-cost parking pass. Musco Center for the Arts is located on the campus of Chapman University at 415 North Glassell, Orange, Calif.

Credit: Musco Center for the Arts at Chapman University.


Since it opened on March 19, 2016, Marybelle and Sebastian P. Musco Center for the Arts at Chapman University has been hailed as “an ideal opera house, potentially the best in the West and maybe even something more” by the Los Angeles Times.

Designed by renowned architects Pfeiffer Partners, with acoustics by world-renowned Yasuhisa Toyota of Nagata Acoustics, Musco Center boasts an intimate seating chamber with 1,044 seats on three levels and a full-scale stagehouse capable of grand spectacle or lush symphonic sound with its unique orchestral shell in place. Musco Center serves as a dynamic focal point for campus life and the broader community, giving notice that world-class arts education and artistic achievement have found a new home in Southern California.

For more information about Musco Center and its upcoming events, and to purchase tickets online, visit




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Self Disclosure: I received free samples to facilitate this post. Image and Sweepstakes information was receive to post. Sweepstakes is not affiliated with SoCal City Kids.