Apr
30
2012

Sites To Share Your Love of Reading

Happy Places For Bookworms

Sites To Share Your Love of Reading

If you stopped by to read this blog about books then you're probably already aware of some great places to read reviews, share recommendations and catch up the latest literary news. I have a few favourite places of my own and wanted to share some sites and what they can offer to avid readers.

For me, it all started with an obsession for Shelfari. It's a wonderful place to find bookish types and connect with readers who share your taste in books. The visual setup of the site with your collection of books arranged on your virtual shelf is what appeals to me most.

Then there's GoodReads. It seems as if every author and publisher is on there or at least they should be. GoodReads is also a great place to stumble upon some fantastic group discussions. Oh, that reminds me, StumbleUpon is also a great place to share book related finds and other interesting things. Come to think of it, the same could be said for Pinterest but don't get me started on that!

LibraryThing is for the more serious of the book searching, and cataloging book fans. The site boasts that it is the "world's largest book club." I don't know about that, but it is a great place to find the more obscure titles or out of print books.

BookCrossing takes book swapping to a whole different level. It actually allows book lovers to share their books outside of the virtual world. It's a very cool concept where you can send a book to another member, and so on, and so on...all the while tracking where it travels and who enjoys your book!

GetGlue is just plain fun. It's books, movies, tv, and stickers all rolled into one! A Yummy Mummy Book Club member turned me on to this social sharing site a while back. You can rate your books, find out what your friends on Twitter and Facebook are reading, and earn stickers as you go. I have to warn you though, it can become addictive like Pinterest.

Where do you like to share your love for reading? Please share the love in the comments below.

Relish reading,

Wanda Lynne

Apr
14
2012

Different Kinds Of Special

By Donna Carol Koffman

Different Kinds Of Special

Different Kinds Of Special is a wonderful children's book that celebrates the differences that make us all unique. The delightful story shares a message of inclusion, acceptance, empathy, and friendship across differences. Donna Carol Koffman is a Canadian author and poet. Koffman has a degree in Psychology, she is a certified Life Skills Coach, and a Reiki Therapist in Toronto. Different Kinds Of Special was inspired by Koffman's grandson, Reese, who has autism.

In my quest to promote World Autism Awareness Day for the entire month of April, I'm sharing this book, and a giveaway, with YMC readers. I had the pleasure of interviewing Donna about her book, Different Kinds Of Specialread on to find out the author's insightful answers!

Q & A With Donna Carol Koffman

WLY: I love your story’s message of empathy and inclusion. What age group does this book speak to?

DCK: I originally geared this story to very young children. However, as I have been going to schools to read to children, grade 5s have been included, and really enjoyed the story. So, I guess 4- to 10-year-olds. Although written with small children in mind, I hope my story speaks to all ages, including adults.

The word “special" can have negative connotations if used in the wrong content or tone. I appreciate how you use the word to mean something positive. Do you think children will gravitate toward the idea of being different or standing out from the crowd?

Every child wants to feel important. Children love to answer the questions about what makes them stand out. They come up with some great answers! I recently received a supreme compliment from a hearing impaired child, who after reading the story told his teacher he was proud to be special!

It’s fear that makes some children avoid other children who appear different from them. I think it’s very important for parents, caregivers, and teachers to be conscious of the words they use to describe children with learning differences or physical challenges. What are your thoughts on this?
 
I agree fear is the motivating factor for cruelty towards people with challenges. The very reason for this story is to help typical children gain awareness that there is no need to fear someone who is different from them on the outside. On the inside, we are all the same. It is up to parents to teach their children to have respect for all others, and learn the proper terms for people with exceptionalities.
 
The illustrations are wonderful. How did you work with the illustrator, Breanne Biggar, to bring the book to life? Can you tell us about the guest illustrator with the sidewalk drawings?
 
It took me years to find an illustrator who could capture my vision for this story. Finally, I put a notice up at Sheridan College School of Illustration. Breanne was the most talented illustrator I had come across. We met, I gave her some pages to draw, along with some photos of my grandson and my nephew, and the rest is history! When she had completed the drawing and painted the pictures, I broke down totally! She brought my characters to life. I am very proud of her. She is a very gifted young woman.
 
While searching for an illustrator, I happened in on a very young artist named Devin. Devin had a unique style of drawing. As he has Aspergers (which is on the autism spectrum), I knew drawing the story was not in the cards. I also knew he had to contribute. So, I wrote his work into the story. Devin was only 6-years-old when he did the drawings! I am so proud to have his contribution, and show off his incredible talent in this story.
 
Your poem at the introduction is beautiful! Can you share it with us? 
 
The poem was written after the story. It is called "LITTLE MESSENGER."
 
LITTLE MESSENGER
 
There are no
 
missing pieces,
 
but something
 
truly whole;
 
A little messenger,
 
whose brilliance
 
Shines before us
 
illuminating  
 
every day
 
of our
 
lives.
 
Giving us 
 
the message,
 
with his 
 
actions,
 
as words
 
elude him.
 
For us to
 
translate to
 
the world.
 
Donna Carol Koffman
 
Learn more about Different Kinds Of Special and purchase a copy from amazon.ca, amazon.com, parentbooks.ca or lostforwordpress.com.
 
BOOKALICIOUS BOOK GRAB GIVEAWAY
 
Bookalicious has a copy of Different Kinds Of Special to give to a lucky Bookalicious reader who shares what makes their child special. Leave your comment in the "click here to spill it!" bubble below to enter the draw.
 
Yummy Rules and Regulations
You must be a Yummy Mummy Club member to win. Click here to sign up. It's free and filled with perks! One comment per member. Entries accepted until April 20, 2012. Contest open to Canadian residents. Winners will be picked using www.random.org. Please mark the email wanda@yummymummyclub.ca as a "safe sender" when you enter a Bookalicious giveaway, and respond within 1 week to claim your prize. For more details on upcoming book news, sign up for the Bookalicious Newsletter!
 
Relish reading,
 
Apr
02
2012

April 2nd is World Autism Awareness Day

And The New Number is 1 in 88

April 2nd is World Autism Awareness Day

April 2nd is World Autism Awareness Day.

Yes, just one day devoted to building autism awareness around the world. As the mother to two boys—the oldest being on the spectrum—I consider myself an expert on autism. I'm not an expert on all the studies, treatments or research or the hows and whys of autism but an expert on the real world of autism. I spend a great deal of my time shadowing my adult son. I plan practically all of his daily activities so he can venture out into the community successfully. I'm basically in a constant state of micromanaging when it comes to my son's life. It can be overwhelming at times but I do have a very supportive husband who carries his fair share and we receive respite with our wonderful trio of personal support workers.

But...

When it comes to autism, I fear that I'm less of an activist in the autism community and more of an advocate for my son. When time permits, I try to be involved in the autism community, (I admin the @AutismOntLdn Twitter account and run a Facebook Group Autism Optimism), but a recent US report by the US CDC has ignited the activist in me. In the last decade their research has reported an increase from 1 in 155 to 1 in 88 cases of children diagnosed with autism. In Canada, the results from a McGill study in 2006 reported a similar ratio of 1 in 154 children with an autism spectrum disorder so the same increase can be inferred. With this dramatic increase in autism one would hope that more funding and programs would follow the obvious demand for services. The real truth in Canada is that funding is being cut to services and programs are being slashed left, right and centre. Schools have their hands full and families are missing out on services and this leads to very little hope for the future of individuals with autism. This should be a growing concern for us all and not just families that are dealing with autism.

Children with autism grow up to be adults with autism. Every child with autism should be given the opportunity and resources to develop his or her skills, be intergrated into society and live an independent life if it's possible to do so. If we keep cutting programs and funding what will the future be for individuals on the spectrum? Just a little something for us all to ponder as the cuts go deeper while the number of cases increase.

Since I run a blog about books, I can't resist the awesome opportunity to highlight a few books on the topic of autism. I hope that these books can be part of building autism awareness in the population in general and help family members, caregivers, and friends of people with autism.

Be Different by John Elder Robison

John Elder Robinson was diagnosed with Aspergers at the age of 40. He managed his difficult childhood at a time when the word autism didn't even exist. He learned to cope with his challenges and developed skills to function "normally" to lead a successful life. His book cover states, My Adventures with Asperger's and My Advice for Fellow Aspergerians, Misfits, Families, and Teachers. He shares tips on how to deal with bullies, and why social skills like manners matter. Robison is the author of the bestselling memoir "Look Me In The Eye" and the older brother (and frequent subject) of the bestselling Running With Sissors author, Augusten Burroughs. You can read my earlier blog post Vive La Difference written for Be Different's hardcover release and read an excerpt from Be Different.

 
Author and psychologist Mira Rothenberg relays her experience with eleven autistic and schizophrenic children at a summer camp in 1958. This was an era when either of these diagnoses were considered untreatable and the children were often sent to live in institutions where their needs were mostly neglected and ignored. Rothenberg and her colleagues applied what was then an unconventional treatment of loving care and tolerance. Their patients improved many of the emotional and physical issues associated with their conditions. Written like a narrative journal, "The Children of Raquette Lake is interwoven with personal histories and fascinating case stories that demonstate the healing power of the human heart."
 
Drawing Autism by Jill Mullin and Introduction by Temple Grandin
 
Drawing Autism is a very visual collection of positive perspectives from fifty people diagnosed with autism. The creative images include drawings, paintings, and collages created by insightful individuals who share their unique views of the world. Jill Mullins is a behavior analyst who trains teachers and social workers to use behavior techniques when working with individuals on the autism spectrum. Temple Grandin is a star in the autism community—most notably after Claire Danes Oscar winning portrayal of Temple's life—an American doctor of animal science, a professor at Colorado State University, a bestselling author and an autism advocate.
 
BOOKALICIOUS BOOK GRAB GIVEAWAY
 
Random House of Canada has an Autism Awareness Prize Pack to give to one lucky Bookalicious reader. The Autism Awareness Prize Pack contains a copy of Be Different, Drawing Autism and The Children of Raquette Lake. To enter leave a comment sharing how autism has touched your life. Use the "click here to spill it!" bubble below to comment. For more great books visit RandomHouseCanada.ca, follow them on Twitter: @RandomHouseCA @BookLounge @McClellandBooks and find Random House of Canada on Facebook.
 
Yummy Rules and Regulations
 
You must be a Yummy Mummy Club member to win. Click here to sign up. It's free and filled with perks! One comment per member. Entries accepted until April 9, 2012. Contest open to Canadian residents. Winners will be picked using www.random.org. Please mark the email wanda@yummymummyclub.ca as a "safe sender" when you enter a Bookalicious giveaway and respond within 1 week to claim your prize. For more details on upcoming book news sign up for the Bookalicious Newsletter!
 
Relish reading,