Five Things Needed in Every Backpack

Deirdre Sullivan, author of Ming Goes to School shares her thoughts on the back-to-school season and a list of the top five things kids must have in their backpack for school!


Going back to school means different things for different families. I am a stay at home mom of four girls, so this time of year can pack in lots of emotions.  Marking the passage of time is always gut wrenching for me.  How is it possible they grow up so fast? And saying good-bye to the unscheduled lazy days of summer is never easy, but looking forward to the new school year can be full of excitement.

What has been successful for me over the last ten years is starting the school bedtime and wake-up routine a few weeks before the first day of school.  Getting the kids on school time seems to alleviate a lot of stress for them and they are well rested for the first day. We spend a good deal of time talking about the start of school and what my kids are looking forward to and what they are less excited about. This dialog uncovers fears or concerns they have and we address them far in advance of the first day.

The five things all kids must have in their backpacks is

  1. A Ming Goes to School picture book
  2. A little note of encouragement from me or their dad
  3. A lunchbox that they have helped pack to make sure it’s stuff they are guaranteed to eat and no one will be hungry
  4. School supplies
  5. Extra set of clothes, especially socks for their cubbies

As much as I cherish the summer days of sun-kissed cheeks and sprinkled ice cream cones, the first day of school has become one of my personal favorites. I’ve survived another summer, and I soak up every bit of silence in the house just before the school bell rings.

Here’s a picture of Deirdre at Ming’s age!

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Ming Goes to School by Deirdre Sullivan, illustrated by Maja Löfdahl

Ming Goes to School_coverMing goes to school, where she learns to say hello and good-bye. She meets new friends and introduces them to old friends (including her favorite teddy). She builds sandcastles and makes snow angels; she traces, glitters, and glues. She is so fearless that when held at sword point, she even walks the plank! And when she’s playing in the mud, she reaches out and touches the worms with her bare hands. But despite those brave deeds, she isn’t quite ready for the big red slide—not yet.

This is a very sweet story with soft, evocative watercolor illustrations that will help kids to grow comfortable with the idea of starting preschool. Ming is curious and playful and ready for adventure, but even she gets scared of new things sometimes. Kids will relate to her desires and fears and will be excited to see Ming at the top of the slide by the story’s end.

A quiet and reassuring picture book for preschoolers (3-5), this is a wonderful going-to-school story that can be read both at home and in the classroom or childcare center. The illustrations provide a lot of diversity of characters, making this feel like any classroom in any school in the country.

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Sky Pony Books at St. Christopher’s Elementary School

Mary Alice Alvarado shares the story of how Sky Pony books found a home in the library of St. Christopher’s Elementary School. Check it out below!  


Over President’s Week 2016, six major pipes burst in St. Christopher’s Elementary School, in Baldwin, New York. While students and teachers alike were elsewhere enjoying their winter recess, water spilled into several classrooms, ruining countless books and other classroom necessities. Many teachers received the heart-breaking phone call that their classroom was one of the ones affected by the water damage, and that the books they had lovingly accumulated over the years to share with their students, were destroyed.

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Faculty member Mary Alice Alvarado shared the news of the devastation with her daughter, Ronnie, an alumnae of the school and an employee at Skyhorse Publishing. When Ronnie informed some of her fellow Skyhorsers and Sky Ponies about the school’s need for books, Skyhorse galloped to the rescue.

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With a helping hand from many great Skyhorsers (especially Julie Matysik and Brianna Scharfenberg), Skyhorse was able to send dozens of Sky Pony books to the students of St. Christopher’s, who were overjoyed at being able to read with their friends again during recess and play time.

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While all the books that Skyhorse sent were special, some of the students’ favorites included:

Thank you, Skyhorse for your outstanding donation! The students and teachers of St. Christopher’s greatly appreciate it!

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Beyond the Book: Catherine Bailey on Hypnosis

Hypnosis Harry author, Catherine Bailey, is an expert on the subject of hypnosis. She wrote a book on it, after all. Catherine has put together some activities for you to take hypnosis to the classroom or bring it into your own home. Check out the discussion questions, coloring sheets, and activity page below!


BEYOND THE BOOK:

IDEAS FOR USING HYPNOSIS HARRY IN THE CLASSROOM AND AT HOME

Thank you for allowing me to write a guest post for your blog, Sky Pony. Oh sure technically I hypnotized you into letting me do it, but thanks all the same.

I am excited to share some fun ways to expand on Hypnosis Harry—either at school in the classroom, or at home in your playroom. So look deep into your screen, and read on.

Discussion Questions

Right versus wrong, consequences both good and bad, the ins and outs of dealing with family—Hypnosis Harry addresses all of these concepts. Young readers can be encouraged to explore these ideas through the following discussion questions.

(1) What are some things that Harry’s parents say no to, before they are hypnotized?

(2) Why do they say no to these things?

(3) Why do you think Harry thinks they are saying no?

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(4) What are some things your parents say no to?

(5) If your parents had to say yes/could not say no, what kinds of things would you do?

(6) What makes Harry change his mind and undo the hypnosis?

(7) Do you think Harry’s parents will be mad at him when they stop being hypnotized?

(8) What do you think Harry’s sister will do/ is doing with the watch?

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(9) If you could hypnotize anyone, who would it be?

(10) Do you think Harry will hypnotize anyone again?

Hypnosis Harry coloring sheet:

Hypnosis Harry coloring sheet:

Hypnosis Harry activity sheet:


 

Hypnosis Harry by Catherine Bailey, illustrated by Sarita Rich

9781634501712-frontcoverNo pajamas at the park. No toys in the toaster. Harry’s parents say no to everything! That is, until Harry learns about hypnosis.

With a little practice, and Grandpa’s watch, Harry puts his parents in a trance and envisions a future full of fun and yes’s!

Comic books by the crate, night-vision goggles for his teddy bear, a pet monkey (or two)—no request is too big or too bizarre. Harry loves his new freedom and, not to mention, all that bacon. So what if his robot goes rogue and playmates are hard to find? But when his ninja moves result in a playground pile-up, Harry starts to wonder if he really wants his every wish granted.

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