“Where words fail, music speaks.” -Hans Christian Andersen-


Listening to music is known to be one of the most uplifting things we can to, if you want to change your mood in seconds Music is your answer,who does not have some kind of artefact to produce music where ever you are, if you listen to your old favourites it can even make you feel younger,the image of days gone may  bring back beautiful memories, the energy you felt at that time,will make you feel like you did then, how great is that,if you are out walking with music you will find that you walk differently,there will be a little extra spring in your step,your head will be better positioned and if you add a swing to your arms and really get into the music you are listening to you will feel really relaxed and happy,working out is also great with music you get that extra bounce and much…

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Jackson’s Letter, and a Great Book

When a child takes the time to write a letter to his former teacher,
that in itself is a wonderful thing.

Dear, Jennie
I read the book the Chocolate Touch.
It was a really fun book even though I
Do Not Like Chocolate!!
Thank you for telling about the book.
From, Jackson Pugh

Thank you, Jackson, for reading the book.  Thank you for writing to tell me about it.  Do you remember chapter reading in the Aqua Room, and how much you loved Little House on the Prairie?  I do.  We laughed and cried together.

And now you are so grown up.  I’m glad you are reading.  I’m glad you wrote

me a letter.  Thank you!

The Chocolate Touch is a children’s book by Patrick Skene Catling, first published in the US in 1952. John Midas is delighted when, through a magical gift, everything his lips touch turns into chocolate. The story is patterned after the myth of King Midas, whose magic turned everything he touched into gold. Wikipedia


Posted in Book Review, books, chapter reading, children's books, Early Education, Expressing words and feelings, Giving thanks, Teaching young children | Tagged , , , , , , , | 41 Comments

More Valentines For Gloria

The Valentine cards for Gloria kept coming.

The plan was to make and decorate cards for our families,

Yet children made cards for Gloria – first.

All on their own.

We watched the magic of giving happen.

”No act of kindness, no matter how small, is ever wasted.”  -Aesop-


Posted in Diversity, Early Education, Expressing words and feelings, Giving, Gloria, Inspiration, Kindness, Love, Quotes, Teaching young children | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 36 Comments

Happy Valentine’s Day, Gloria

Happy Valentine’s Day, Gloria.

Love, your Aqua Room friends.

Posted in behavior, Early Education, Expressing words and feelings, Giving, Gloria, Love, preschool, young children | Tagged , , , | 32 Comments

Photo Prompt Story: Arachnophobia

My favorite photo is Mac and his Dad, reading “Charlotte’s Web”. Pete used this photo to write an endearing story of love, spiders, reading aloud… and a teacher named Jennie. Thank you, Pete.


This is a short story, in 940 words.
It was prompted by the above photo, sent to me by Jennie Fitzkee.

It wasn’t Scott’s fault, but he couldn’t be home much when Taylor was little. First it was Afghanistan, then a posting to Africa. He hardly saw his son grow from the little baby he left behind, and the home leave was too short for them to bond properly. Sometimes, Scott had to fight back the tears. There were other times too. Times when he thought about leaving the army, and finding a job close to home.

Leigh was his rock though. A wonderful wife, and a fantastic mother. She talked him out of quitting the army that she knew he loved, and promised him everything would be alright. “It’ll be okay, honey. I will explain things to Taylor. He’s growing fast now, and he will understand soon. Then…

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Charli Mills, Bobo, and “The Poet’s Dog”

Charli Mills over at Carrot Ranch Literary Community posted her new flash fiction challenge.  She always starts with an incredible prologue, a personal writing that paints a deeper picture of the challenge.  I love what she writes. Charli makes me feel ‘there’.

I was drawn to this photo of Bobo.  She was a dog.  She was searching.  I love dogs.

Starting with a story of two owls, Charli wrote:

I remarked how much they reminded me of our two dogs, brother, and sister, and the way they loped together, her with a limp and him with cocky stride, but both in unison the way connected spirits can be. The next day, Grenny fell violently ill and was gone by the second day after the owls visited. Worse, his sister Bobo, not understanding where her brother went, sought him everywhere and stopped eating. She wasn’t well — the vet said her kidneys were failing on top of an old spinal injury that decreased her mobility, sporadic seizures, and a congestive heart. We had been surprised by Grenny’s undetected prostate tumor that shut down his organs because we thought he was the healthy dog of the pair.

Somehow, the two owls made me think that Bobo would soon follow Grenny. She didn’t. She pulled through with her joyful determination.

There has always been something amazing about that dog. She was born the day after Christmas in 2006, into our hands. We all watched the miracle of birth that day, me, my husband and our three kids. She was the runt with the bow-marking on her head. Her brother was the only male and a big brute of a pup. We all fell in love with her that moment and although the Hub intended to keep the male, we all insisted we keep Bo(w)detta Bosephine — Bobo. Yet she enamored him, too. She would become his “snort,” his beloved dog.

No matter what life dished out to her, Bobo overcame with little fuss. At age five, a rough but accidental tumble from two of her pack on a hot summer day left her back legs paralyzed. We did what we could at the time, and our vet said she’d get better or not. We walked the dogs every morning, and she was pined to go. So, we lifted her into the car, propped her up in the back seat, and she learned that rides were much better than walks. Despite the odds, she did get better and walked with the drive of a wounded warrior (she had much in common with the Hub).

When we moved to Idaho, the seizures came next. They remained intermittent enough that we never had to medicate her but they left us all shakey after she’d have one. Her needs challenged both my strengths and my weaknesses. Yet, no matter what, she grabbed life with joy. I wrote about how writers could learn from her joyful determination and I still live by those teachings. She died exactly six years to the date that I wrote that post. Yes, our amazing Bobo, our sweet girl has walked on.

Bobo did not succumb to the call of an owl, but when we rushed her to the vet on Tuesday afternoon, I saw a lone pigeon sitting on the eave of the office, with markings like the ones we helped fledge. Always looking for meaningful connections, it’s part of what drives me as a fiction writer and gives me purpose as a human. Connections make us not feel alone. Our eldest left work and met us at the vet’s office, and our Arctic daughter called us and stayed with us while we sat and cried and told Bobo what a good dog she was. Our son called later that night. The pup that was born into our family’s hands passed in our arms.

In the end, I realized that she was determined to have joy. Another lesson. Joy is something we cultivate, persevere to grab hold of and choose. Not all the time. Not every moment. But we get up and notice the beauty, the preciousness of life, the good that exists, the purpose we can find. I grieve, but I’m determined to keep joy in my life.

That’s about all I can muster for now. What I’d really like is for us to tell stories about the “dog in the daisies.” It’s my absolute favorite photo of Bobo and it captures her essence. She was poised in a field of daisies as if looking right at that joy she chased. Maybe it was deer, but whatever she saw filled her being with mindful purpose. In that moment she was a happy critter in a mountain meadow.

Charli and Bobo

We don’t have our pets for the duration of our lifetimes, but we are better off for the time we do have them. I am content that a dog named Bodetta Bosephine had me from her first until her last breath. One day, I’ll hear a hoot owl calling for me, and on Wildfire I’m going to ride, Bobo greeting me with a woof — there you are!

Bobo was determined, overcame her obstacles with little fuss, and found joy in her life.

I want to be Bobo.

Dogs are our constant companions.  They love us no matter what, and so do we in return.  When they shine through thick and thin, like Bobo, it adds pride and a fierce sense of loyalty to our feelings.  Dogs must feel the same way.  Charli’s words describe that beautifully.

When I read Charli’s post, I immediately thought of Teddy, the dog in The Poet’s Dog.  Of course!  Teddy and Bobo were cut from the same cloth.  I wanted Charli to know Teddy.  Perhaps that would bring her some comfort.  Well, she knew Teddy.  Better yet, Charli read The Poet’s Dog aloud to Bobo just before she died.  She sent me this photo:

I know Bobo heard the words.  Dogs know these things.  I know she loved Teddy, and Sylvan.  What a gift to Bobo.  Thank you, Charli.


Posted in behavior, books, children's books, Death and dying, Dogs, Early Education, Expressing words and feelings, Giving thanks, Inspiration, joy, Kindness, Particia MacLachlan, self esteem, wonder | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 69 Comments

Children’s Book Trilogy – Highly Recommended

At long last, the third book in this trilogy, written by Amy Krouse Rosenthal and illustrated by Scott Magoon, was published this week.

The first book is Spoon, published in 2009.  I was immediately captivated by the clever story of a spoon who feels that he misses out on everything.  Knife gets to spread, and fork goes practically everywhere.  Chopsticks are cool and exotic.  He’s just a plain old spoon.  His mother tells him what his friends say, that he can measure, and dive into a bowl of ice cream head first.  He learns to see himself in a whole new way.

This is the perfect book to read to a child who might have some self esteem or self confidence issues.  And, doesn’t every child feel that way at times?

The second book, Chopsticks, was written in 2012.  Chopsticks have never been apart and are best friends.  While learning some fancy new culinary tricks, SNAP!  A chopstick breaks his leg.  “Chopstick was quickly whisked away” (to the doctor.)  This subtle humor is carried throughout the book.  Everyone waited.  “No one stirred, not even spoon.”  As chopstick heals, the other chopstick tells him to venture off and try new things.  “Go.  Chop, chop.”  He learns there is much he can do alone, like pole vault and play Pick Up Sticks.  Once his leg healed, the two could stand alone or stick together.

This is the perfect book to read to a child who is worried, or afraid to take a risk, or try something new.

In 2017, author Amy Krause Rosenthal passed away from cancer.  She had written the third book in the trilogy before she died.  This past weekend, illustrator Scott Magoon introduced the new book, Straw, at a local bookstore.  He was terrific!  Everyone laughed at the clever humor and play on words in the story.  Besides reading, he drew illustrations, and included children in drawing.


Straw lives up to the reputation of the other two books.  Straw has a big family and many friends, but “He has a great thirst for being first.”  He zips through drinking and is ‘bent’ on always being first… until he races through a very cold drink and gets BRAIN FREEZE!  He was feeling low until a friend came along and showed him not everything is a race. ” You gotta stop and smell the milk shake.”  He learned to blow bubbles and see their rainbows (that was the illustration he drew, with children helping to draw the bubbles.)  He shared all he had seen with his friends.  “What you’re feeling is called awe, Straw.”

This is the perfect book to read to a child who always wants to be first or be the boss.

As he drew an amazing illustration of Straw and the bubbles, he suddenly stopped and said to the audience,

“Let’s help bend the world a little bit and blow bubbles in our glasses.”

Everyone knew what he meant.  Take the time to pay attention and see beautiful things.

Straw has a sideways page.  I remember vividly one from the (one and only) book my grandmother read to me, The Five Chinese Brothers.  I’m glad to say a sideways page still holds the same awe for children.

I told Scott that his books were being read to hundreds and thousands of children.  I told him he made a difference.  Authors and illustrators need to hear this from the messenger, the one who reads their story aloud.  That’s me.  They need to know children connect and ‘get it’.  They need to know their book has made a difference.

Okay, the book signing line was long, and my fellow teachers were giving me the hairy eyeball as I talked to Scott.  Yet, Scott’s eyes said it all.  He was deeply grateful and happy.


Posted in Author interview, Book Review, books, children's books, Early Education, Expressing words and feelings, picture books, reading, reading aloud, reading aloud, Teaching young children | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 67 Comments