August 9th Book Lover’s Day

I love books! They are great for holding down loose papers on my desk, they make great doorstops and they help me sit up straighter when I am in a chair too low for the table I am at… oh, and they are pretty fun to read as well.

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Fiction, non-fiction, biographical, self-help, educational, picture, coloring… well they all have their purpose and can give us hours and hours of enjoyment. They are great for spending some quiet time, catching up on the latest trends, and studying areas of interest we can never learn enough about. They can take us to far away places, times long since past, and even allow ourselves to be transformed into a King or Queen or anyone we can imagine (or the author can imagine).

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They help us relax, fall asleep, and get into a zone that betters our mood, improves ourselves, or makes us feel better about the world we live in (often by comparing it to a world we haven’t known). They give us insight into how others think, reassuring ourselves that there are people who feel the same as we do, and often they help us remember things we might otherwise have forgotten.

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The written word is powerful, but only if someone reads it. Books are not always right, sometimes they challenge us to be better people, and show us things we may have missed along our life’s journey. They remind us of who we can still be, where we have been, and what we have in common with others when we think we are often alone. In other words, they are like an old friend who knows us, and loves us, and does whatever they can to help us realize our dreams.

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They can make us laugh, cry, or consider things we have never considered before. They can make us examine who we are, what we are doing, and what happened to lead us to where we are. In short, every book has a life of it’s own that it is willing to share with us. Oh, and they help us reach that top shelf, fill up empty spaces, and show we have some class to our friends and neighbors.

How to celebrate – Open a book and read today. Start writing your own book (you might be better at it than you think). Learn something you didn’t already know by reading a book that challenges the limits you have placed on yourself.

April 4th National School Librarian Day

Who is the most under appreciated member of your school staff? Okay, yes, there are a number of under appreciated members of a school staff but today it is the school librarian. In most schools they maintain and operate what is called the Media Center for schools, which includes the books, newspapers, in house television station, and a number of other jobs that would never get done if not for them.

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They need to know where every book in a library is since no one knows how to use those reference cards. They often, in the younger grades, have reading time with their students and run the school book fairs.

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Some are party animals as well. They learn how to make a library fun while making sure there is no noise. They update those library cards and pick out new and relative books from thousands that are available every year.

 

While most librarians have years of experience not all are the studious type you might expect., after all… they are human too. Once they let their hair down and remove those glasses there’s no telling what, and who, you might find.

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And sometimes librarians are super heroes, after all they have all the knowledge required to solve many mysteries of the universe, or at least they know where to find the answers.

How to celebrate – Take your school librarian to lunch today.  Let your librarian know you appreciate their talents. Return all your over due books and pay the fines without arguing.

April 2nd International Children’s Book Day

Give a child a book and let their imaginations soar. It really is something we teach our children, the ability to learn through reading. Some kids naturally love to read, others struggle with it, but its value is unmistakable. Just like you can’t love someone if you never met them or love to play a game if you’ve never played it, you can’t love to read unless you experience it and understand just where it can take you.

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Books like the Harry Potter series allow children to imagine themselves as Harry Potter, or any of the host of other characters in the books. It teaches them not only the love of reading but also social lessons by examining how characters deal with each other, and the situations they find themselves in. It gives them the inspiration to try other books to see what might be contained in those pages.

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April 2nd is chosen as International Children’s Book Day because it is Hans Christian Andersen’s birthday (born in 1805), the author of many children’s fairy tales that have even led to movies like Frozen, The Little Mermaid, and Thumbelina just to mention a few.

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One of the best ways to get your child interested in reading is to read to them before they can read themselves. Not only are you able to spend some quality time with your child but you will be showing them that books can be friends as well. Children look to their parents, older siblings, and even friends and want to mimic them as they grow. What better way to allow some one to grow then to show them the world of books.

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And now for a shameless plug! I’ve got a book out I think kids would love! It’s a Christmas story, but a whole lot more. It’s only available as an ebook but you can find it on Amazon or any other ebook source you might happen to use. I know, I know… I shouldn’t use this as a format to sell a book but maybe this story will get your child to read more and isn’t that what today is all about?

How to celebrate – Find a copy of your favorite book as a child and read it to your children. Find rewards you can offer your child for reading a book. Spend time reading as a family, allowing different members of the family play out the roles in the book.

November 12th Chicken Soup For The Soul Day

Chicken Soup For The Soul is a business. It has a publishing wing and a consumer goods wing. It has to date sold over 100 million books. The books are designed to celebrate who you are, where you have been, where you are going and who you will be thankful to once you have reached where you are going.

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The idea seems to have begun under the guidance of Jack Canfield of Cos Cob, Connecticut. There are over 250 books in print under the label of Chicken Soup For The Soul. The general idea is pretty simple, the books are a collection of real stories told by the people who lived the stories and are meant to be inspiring. That feeling of if they could do it, so can I.

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They come in a variety of subjects, primarily with general categories that most of us can relate to. I have known people who swear by the books believing they are helpful and meaningful, particularly if you need  boost or some reassurance. (I could personally use the one about cats!)

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The company was begun in 1993 and has moved into podcasts, film and television along with other media outlets. Even if you don’t have a particular problem you need help with they make for a fun read and are well worth the time spent reading them.

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How to celebrate – Treat yourself to one of the many Chicken Soup For Your Soul books. Give a book to  friend who seems down. Perhaps you have a story to tell yourself. Check out their website and see how to get more involved.

November 1st National Author’s Day

Now that Halloween is over it’s time to get back to the more serious side of life. Today we celebrate National Author’s Day, a day we are supposed to write to our favorite author and tell them how much we like their work. Now writing is a lonely job, unless you write with someone else which most authors do not do.

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The day was started by Nellie Verne Burt McPherson of Bement, Illinois who had read Irving Bacheller’s “Eben Holden’s Last Day Fishin.” For some reason she was laying in a hospital bed after World War 1 (I found no reason why) reading his book when she suddenly felt the urge to write him a letter and tell him how much she enjoyed it. He sent her back another autographed book and she in turn went to her Women’s Club and suggested they set up a day to honor authors. They did, and sent it on to the General Federation of Women’s Clubs who also accepted the day, November 1st 1928.

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The U.S. Department of Commerce recognized the day in 1949. But other than Women’s Clubs the day seemed to go unnoticed by the rest of America. Finally in 1968, Sue Cole, brought the idea back up and it has been celebrated every November 1st since then.

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It use to be that large publishing houses decided what books hit the market and what books didn’t. Today the large publishers hardly even exist anymore. If they do pick up a writer, they charge them back for every book printed that doesn’t sell. Most authors today would truly love to hear from you, particularly if you include a check with your letter. Most books, which come out in the millions every year, are self-published. Most never go anywhere because there is more expense to marketing the book than there is in printing it.

How to celebrate – Write to your favorite author. Better yet, buy their books. Check out all the new releases on Amazon, it will take you several days though to read through them.

May 5th Cartoonists Day

Cartoonists work in a large medium that includes animation, comic strips, comic books, editorial cartoons, graphic novels, manuals, gag cartoons, graphic design, illustration, storyboards, posters, shirts, books, advertisements, greeting cards, magazines, newspapers, and video game packaging.

William Hograth is credited with pioneering the Western sequential art. The cartoon we know best is the comic strip.  Many of us remember  “Peanuts”, “Blondie” and  “Beetle Bailey” from the newspaper every Sunday. Some comics came in single panels, reflecting the deeper thoughts of society at the time, such as the featured comic above done by Thomas Nash during the American Civil War. Most are funny, some are political, others are very serious. Nash covered the war from its highs and lows, saying in the newspapers, what others were afraid to say out-loud. He could also be humorous, such as when Nash created the Elephant for the G.O.P..004tnast

Among other great political cartoonists were James Gillray and Thomas Rowlandson in 18th century England. In the US, Ben Franklin is credited with being the first editor to put a comic in a newspaper.

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The twentieth century was filled with freelance cartoonists such as Charles Addams, Irwin Caplan, Chon Day, Clyde Lamb and John Norment, and of course, the comic strips which we are all familiar with such as those created by Mort Walker, who preferred to produce his comic strips with a studio, and Bill Watterson and Charles Schultz, who enjoyed doing their work alone.political_cartoon_by_queenmari

Marvel, D.C. Comics, Classics Illustrated, and so many other comic book companies have hired, and in some cases still do, so many cartoonists that it would be nearly impossible to list them all. Yet each one of them is truly an artist that creates a world we may not be able to live in, but we sure enjoy looking at.

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How to celebrate Cartoonist Day: Look over the comics in the newspapers and magazines that you read, but this time, be sure to make a mental note of who the artist was that created it. Watch an animated movie, make sure you pay attention to the credits at the end of the film.  Try drawing your own cartoon, see just how difficult it can be!

April 2nd International Children’s Book Day

April 2nd is International Children’s Book Day because it is Hans Christian Andersen‘s birthday.  Born in 1805, he is 211 years old today and doing remarkably well.  If you are thinking about sending him a card, he is somewhere in Denmark.

Seriously though, books have great value beyond using them for that reach to the top shelf.  For a child, they begin the learning process and open a world to them that can take them anywhere they want to go.  No one knows when the first book was written but I’d almost bet it was written for a child.

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In Cave-Man days the stories were handed down through the years by telling them over and over. No doubt, the stories were embellished some what, even with the paintings on the walls.  That was, until someone decided to write it down so that it didn’t change with every new generation.

Today it’s hard to imagine a child without a book.  (Though in all honesty there are plenty that don’t have them – check into Free Book.)  Books like J. K. Rowling’s “Harry Potter” take children to a world they could never hope to visit otherwise.  Even some comic books teach history, coloring books teach about people and picture books teach us to use our imaginations.

The top 10 books for children in 2015 were… “Hi!” by Ethan Long, “Counting Dogs” by Eric Barclay, “Wolfie The Bunny” by Ame Dyckman & Zachariah Ohora, “Winnie: The True Story of the Bear Who Inspired Winnie-The-Poh” by Sally M. Walker & Jonathan D. Voss, “The Day The Crayons Came Home” by Drew Daywaly & Oliver Jeffers, “Journey To The Moon” by Andy Mansfield, “The Marvels” by Brian Selznick, “Ballet Cat: The Totally Secret Secret” by Bob Shea, “The Story of Diva and Flea” by Mo. Williams and Tony DiTerlizzi and “Roller Girl” by Victoria Jamison.

So celebrate by reading a book to a child, hopefully one you already know, try writing your own children’s book, re-read a book you had when you were a child.