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Regina Walker
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Bookstores reward children for reading a certain amount of books over the summer by granting them a free book after completing a certain number of books. In grade school, children are required a certain number of hours of reading (outside of their required schoolwork). I am not aware of a general reward for average adults for reading a certain number of books or by reading a certain number of hours a day. I am aware of book club rewards and those for purchasing a certain number of books but not anything for reading them. (If you know of anything, please... Continue reading
Posted Jun 18, 2010 at Author's Blog
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I don't remember how I found H. Johnson, but soon I was running home on Saturday nights to sit by the radio and listen to him. H. Johnson has a Jazz Classics radio program that comes on WABE 90.1 from 9PM until 2AM (EST). I would dim the lights, burn some incense, light some candles, and sip red wine. Or I would have coffee and create as I was inspired with watercolors and oil pastels. H. Johnson takes the time to educate jazz newbies on the music he plays and does a mini concert at midnight spotlighting a particular artist.... Continue reading
Posted Apr 14, 2010 at Author's Blog
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I took a look at the Smithsonian's website for ideas on celebrating Jazz Appreciation Month and scanned the section dedicated to suggestions for parents. None of them seemed unreasonable – they were all convenient and relatively inexpensive. But one of them surprised me – take your child to a local night club, laws permitting. What? Okay, maybe they were thinking of your teenage-almost-out-of-the-house child or maybe there are night clubs that I am unaware of that don't serve alcohol. Anyway, that unnerved me somewhat and I got to thinking about my ideal preschool classroom or what I would do for... Continue reading
Posted Apr 9, 2010 at Author's Blog
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A lot of picture books about Jazz are rhythmic in prose so these are best read to your children. Many of these titles also have audio components, in some cases along with the book, so use that in conjunction when introducing little ones to Jazz (and poetry). Ella Fitzgerald: The Tale of a Vocal Virtuosa - Andrea Davis Pinkney Jazz - Walter Dean Myers Jazz on a Saturday Night - Leo & Diane Dillon Before John Was a Jazz Giant: A Song of John Coltrane - Carole Boston Weatherford Charlie Parker Played Be Bop - Christopher Raschka Bebop Express -... Continue reading
Posted Apr 8, 2010 at Author's Blog
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Andy Blackman Hurwitz is an award winning author of a series of children's books called Baby Loves Jazz. He has several other projects but because it's Jazz-oetry Month (Jazz Appreciation Month + National Poetry Month = Jazz-oetry Month) I am focusing here on the board books in the Baby Loves Jazz series. Hurwitz has an extensive background in the music industry and is self-proclaimed the best daddy in the world. Check him out further on his own website and check out the Baby Loves Jazz series on his Baby Loves Music website. There are CDs that provide supplemental lessons with... Continue reading
Posted Apr 6, 2010 at Author's Blog
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There are several compilations of music by Jazz greats that are varied interpretations of popular and standard children's songs that can be effective tools for a Jazz curriculum. For example, Ella Fitzgerald started out singing children's songs, and playing her music is an ideal segue to educate children about her contributions to Jazz. My favorite (second to Ella's Playhouse, of course) is the Baby Loves Jazz series. Jazz for Kids: Sing, Clap, Wiggle and Shake Nicky's Jazz for Kids Miss Ella's Playhouse Jazz and Swing for Kids Baby Loves Jazz Continue reading
Posted Apr 5, 2010 at Author's Blog
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Although the posts this month refer to Jazz-oetry Month (Jazz Appreciation Month + National Poetry Month = Jazz-oetry Month), I would be remiss to ignore the similarities of Hip-Hop to Poetry. I don't like Hip-Hop. It's not an affront to Hip-Hop - I just prefer other styles of music. But as an instructor, future parent, and advocate for children, I cannot ignore Hip-Hop. So, to that end, I recommend two books to enhance the education of Poetry this month for children. They can both be purchased at Amazon.com and have accompanying CDs. Hip-Hop Speaks to Children: A Celebration of Poetry... Continue reading
Posted Apr 4, 2010 at Author's Blog
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Transition your children from lunch (or whichever previous activity) to naptime to the sounds of accomplished Jazz vocalists and musicians. I'm talking about ballads and love songs and torch songs – not scatting, BeBop, or acid jazz. Check out my suggested playlist below. The albums suggested are generally soothing in their entirety – however, I have also suggested the best tracks. You probably could find several compliations of Jazz lullabys that are marketed for parents who don't know much about Jazz but many of the ones I find don't have a real Jazz sound or aren't performed by known Jazz... Continue reading
Posted Apr 3, 2010 at Author's Blog
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I am hesitant to publish this review of The Help because I fear it will not be considered a positive review. I am by no means adamantly against this book but all my feelings are not warm and fuzzy. I enjoy books that are set in the 40’s-60’s deep south, dirty south with racial tensions and humid summers. And The Help is set in 60’s Mississippi over a couple of years that include summers that are so humid sheets won’t dry on the line surrounding civil rights supporters’ deaths. So it fits that I would want to read the book... Continue reading
Posted Mar 14, 2010 at Author's Blog
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Children are most vulnerable to repeated abuse when they are starving for attention. Simply spending quality time with your children can greatly decrease the chances that children will allow repeated abuse to occur. When your child gets off the school bus and greets you, it is important to ask one simple question: "How was your day?" Sometimes your children will give you an automatic or default response of, "Fine," but sometimes you will get an earful. Resist the urge to slow them down when they are excited about the story they're sharing unless it's for clarity. Don't discourage them by... Continue reading
Posted Mar 2, 2010 at Author's Blog
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James McBride, an accomplished musician and African-American author, has written a stunning and impressive tribute to his Jewish mother. My review is late in terms of this book being published in 1996 and because it has been used for multiple higher education curriculums and political/philosophical discussions. However, the best books and stories are poignant for multiple audiences and stand the test of time. I'm sure my review cannot compare with what has been shared in those discussions, lectures, and debates, so I decided to take a slightly different route. My book review here is extensive because I compare my own... Continue reading
Posted Mar 2, 2010 at Author's Blog
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When I talk to parents about my mission to prevent child abuse and further explain that there is a gap in providing children tools for getting out of potentially dangerous (abusive) situations, they listen more intently. Then I say, "Adults don't believe children can get avoid abuse because they are so small." And they challenge me with the same exact response, "Who don't?" The lack of appropriate grammar is based on the emotion behind my opinion – appall and sometimes insult. Teaching your child to fight, kick, scream, and to tell are a great start to preventing and resolving sexual... Continue reading
Posted Feb 8, 2010 at Author's Blog
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Butterfly in the sky/I can go twice as high/Take a look, it's in a book, a reading rainbow/I can go anywhere/Friends to know, and ways to grow, a reading rainbow/I can be anything/Take a look, it's in a book, a reading rainbow…a reading rainbow O.M.G. that was my favorite show and I can still hear the music to the theme song (quoted above). You should hear me sing it! Or maybe it's better that you aren't tortured by my lack of talent. I used Reading Rainbow as my New York Times Best Seller List – although I don't recall buying... Continue reading
Posted Feb 7, 2010 at Author's Blog
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Zora Neale Hurston called it "telling lies" in her novels – based on her Florida research. Daddy called it telling jokes. I call it storytelling. Annually on Mother's Day we would go back to Daddy's hometown of Corinth, Mississippi for Mother's Day. After church we'd change clothes and Daddy would tell stories about elderly women who couldn't hear well, students who couldn't spell well, and other light-hearted fun times that didn't really happen quite the way the story proclaimed. And everybody would laugh. Daddy and his baby brother had wide grins, deep voices, and high pitched laughs. There were some... Continue reading
Posted Feb 6, 2010 at Author's Blog
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A college friend of mine once suggested – or ascertained – that women who were sexually abused in their childhoods grew up to be promiscuous or frigid and she put me in one of the categories and herself in the other. I agreed with her in theory but wondered if there were only two categories because I felt I was not accurately categorized but knew it was the better fit of the two choices. It's accurate that a lot of women who are sexually abused grow up to be promiscuous women for several reasons. Some women feel that's the only... Continue reading
Posted Feb 6, 2010 at Author's Blog
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I will never forget the first time I went to the public library. Mommy was very excited when I started Kindergarten and we had weekly trips to the school library. She took one look at the book I selected and laughed. I told her that I'd already read it during our hour-long visit and she laughed again. "Why did you choose this book?" she asked me. She returned it to my backpack with instructions to select a more challenging book next time. The next week she wanted to see my book. This time there was no laughter. "Gina, you are... Continue reading
Posted Feb 5, 2010 at Author's Blog
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It's no secret that sticks and stones may break our bones and that words can kill us. But one thing the parents and other significant adults in our lives don't understand is that those words don't have to be abusive to kill. One of the most lethal phrases I heard as a child was, "Keep your dress down." Those were the last words I heard before I was molested at my day care center and it left a tiny hole in my resolve that future abusers used to their advantage. Because of the chain of events, a simple phrase like... Continue reading
Posted Feb 4, 2010 at Author's Blog
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As a pre-school teacher in Tennessee I was responsible, along with my co-teacher and the advice of our mentor teachers, for creating a major project intended to last about four months ending in a presentation to the parents in the class. At the time we started teaching, the students were in love with Robert Munsch's The Paper Bag Princess and had memorized certain passages – those certain phrases that are repeated. Soon the children were noticed drawing pictures from the story and as we talked with them about their artwork, we wrote the sentences they paraphrased from the story on... Continue reading
Posted Jan 23, 2010 at Author's Blog
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While I was completing my practicum in college, on Valentine's Day morning my father passed away. It wasn't a shock - he was elderly and had been ill a while - but it was painful just the same. I refused to allow myself to grieve because I needed to have the presence of mind to finish my practicum so that I could get my degree. If I'd had the opportunity I might have taken some time off since I only had the one semester left but that wasn't an option for me. The classroom setting actually ended up being my... Continue reading
Posted Jan 23, 2010 at Author's Blog
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I come from a family of readers. Daddy mostly read educational materials. Mommy read Danielle Steele novels. I don't remember who my sister read when I was a child but I know she's particularly fond of African-American literature. And my brother read science-fiction. When it was time to read, everyone found a comfortable place in the house, typically in a reclining position, and there was complete silence in the house. So once I became a reader I would grab a picture book and choose a place near someone else and commence reading - aloud. Mommy was the nicest about it... Continue reading
Posted Jan 23, 2010 at Author's Blog
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A friend of mine, a new mother, wanted a soundtrack to her daughter's first birthday party. Her birthday was in winter and she was having nearly 20 children ages birth to ten! I thought that was insane! But it was her daughter's first birthday and the children were all family. So I assumed there would be hardly any liability and their parents wouldn't abandon their children, using the party for babysitting purposes. And since she was so excited about it, I didn't want to be Debbie Downer. She asked me about music and I asked her what she wanted the... Continue reading
Posted Jan 23, 2010 at Author's Blog
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Although this day is usually spent speaking of the Montgomery Bus Boycott, the Loraine Motel, and Rosa Parks, I was reminded of Coretta Scott King. Since 1970 an award in her name has been annually presented by the Coretta Scott King Committee of the American Library Association's Ethnic Multicultural Information Exchange Round Table. It’s given for the purpose of “encourag(ing) the artistic expression of the African American experience via literature and the graphic arts, including biographical, historical and social history treatments by African American authors and illustrators” of children’s books. “The books promote understanding and appreciation of the culture of... Continue reading
Posted Jan 23, 2010 at Author's Blog
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So far on this part I can do all the same stuff. I am hoping that this will look good enough to go ahead and stick with it since it is free. Continue reading