Five Tips on Using Books to Support Your Children’s Wellbeing

Were you read to as a child? Do you have favourite books from childhood? I was lucky to have parents who read to me from birth and I still have many of the books I loved, sitting on my shelf today. I was a book addict and most often had my head in a book. I used to walk around the house reading and bring a huge box of books home for the holidays. I was very lucky to have both parents teaching at my school and we had private access to the library during school holidays, which was so exciting to me! I also started writing when I was very small and loved to write and illustrate my own books. So it is no surprise that I am now a writer, and in particular, a writer of children’s books!

Stories have an enormous impact on all of us. Think about a television series that you adore. What are the things that make it special to you? Is it the characters, the narrative, the plot, the era of the tale, the costumes, the setting? Do you love to read stories in a particular genre and why? What about your favourite songs? Are you a lover of the words and the stories they tell? Or the sound and feeling of the music or both? The stories you watch, read and listen to, will connect with you on many levels.

For children, books are multi-faceted. Reading to children from birth helps to teach them language skills, as well as reading skills. They initially pick up the sounds and rythms of words and language and develop early literacy skills. They also learn to care about stories and books and to enjoy reading. Stories encourage imagination and develop problem solving skills. Books grow your children’s brains, develop their social and communication skills and help them to learn about their connectedness to others and their individuality. As they grow to understand the stories and words, they learn things about life, people and relationships. They can problem solve and develop empathy, emotional intelligence and lateral thinking skills.

Just as you might reach for a book that takes you away from reality, to have a break from the stress around you, children can immerse themselves in other worlds. Just as you might reach for a book that helps you deal with problems, when frightening things are happening in their lives, books can support children in understanding and coping. There are many things to be scared about in the world at the moment and books are even more important than they ever were for you and your children. There are also many wonderful things to celebrate about life and our world and books remind you and your children about all of these things too – they offer balance and perspectives that we can easily lose in the busyness of life.

Here are 5 tips on how to use books to support your children’s wellbeing.

  1. Reading offers quiet time together – taking time at the end of the day to read a book with your child, of any age, offers a closeness that can help both of you unwind. It is a special time to look forward to and it helps you and your children relax before sleep. Lying together reading a book offers opportunity to bring up issues or concerns and can deepen your relationship in a lovely, gentle way.
  2. Identifying with characters and stories – using characters and/or storylines to connect to things that are happening in your child’s life, and in the world in general, opens up opportunity to discuss those issues. You can choose to focus only lightly on the reality, such as saying, ‘look, Sam the hen (or whatever the character is) has the same problems we have and see how he is feeling better now?’ Or you can talk more deeply about whatever issues your child might be facing, using the story as a stepping off point. Judge this by your child’s age, their current mental health and your feelings about how much they can handle.
  3. Escape – Reading a book can be all about escaping reality and immersing yourself in another world. There are so many reasons to read a book, simply for a rousing good read! You can escape together to another place, another time or another world. Reading is a pleasure and a joy and does not require an internet connection or any fancy equipment! Libraries are wonderful places and it is free to borrow books, so make sure you join up. Supporting local authors by purchasing their books is also very important for the continuation of our industry, so if you can afford to buy books, please do and build a library for you and your child. It is something to treasure for life.
  4. An emotional workout – books can make you experience the entire range of human emotions and that is very healthy. It allows your child to express feelings they might be having in the real world, in a safe way. It opens up conversation about feelings in general and deepens your child’s understanding of their own feelings and those of other people. Developing emotional intelligence is so important, especially in our digitally connected world.
  5. Resilience building – reading stories about how different characters deal with difficult situations and work through those, can help your child to develop resilience to their own problems. Everybody will face multiple problems across their lives. Being able to deal with these, understand your reactions and how to move forwards, grows resilience. Bouncing back from things is vital to mental health and wellbeing. You can have direct discussions about these things, or just allow the story to sink into your child’s heart and mind. The more you read a story, the more familiar your child will become with the motivations of the characters and how their choices impacted their lives.

Reading together with your child will bring both of you many benefits and rewards. With any luck, they will go on to be lifelong readers. And that is one of the biggest gifts you can ever give.


The post Five Tips on Using Books to Support Your Children’s Wellbeing appeared first on Helen Edwards Writes.

find the cost of your paper

Shuffle An Array

Today’s exercise comes to us from Leetcode via Reddit:

Given an array consisting of 2n elements in the form
[x1,x2,…,xn,y1,y2,…,yn], return the array in the form [x1,y1,x2,y2,…,xn,yn].

The Reddit poster claims to be new to Scheme and functional programming, and was thinking of a solution using length and list-ref, but couldn’t solve the problem.

Your task is to show the student how to solve the problem. When you are
finished, you are welcome to read or run a suggested solution, or to post your own solution or discuss the exercise in the comments below.

Blog Tour Review: Haunting the Deep by Adriana Mather

Haunting the Deep (How to Hang a Witch, #2) by Adriana Mather

Publisher: Knopf Books for Young Readers
Series: How to Hang a Witch, #2
Publication date: 10/03/2017
Source: Publisher

The Titanic meets the delicious horror of Ransom Riggs and the sass of Mean Girls in this follow-up to the #1 New York Times bestseller How to Hang a Witch, in which a contemporary teen finds herself a passenger on the famous “ship of dreams”—a story made all the more fascinating because the author’s own relatives survived the doomed voyage.

Samantha Mather knew her family’s connection to the infamous Salem Witch Trials might pose obstacles to an active social life. But having survived one curse, she never thought she’d find herself at the center of a new one. 

This time, Sam is having recurring dreams about the Titanic . . . where she’s been walking the deck with first-class passengers, like her aunt and uncle. Meanwhile, in Sam’s waking life, strange missives from the Titanic have been finding their way to her, along with haunting visions of people who went down with the ship. 

Ultimately, Sam and the Descendants, along with some help from heartthrob Elijah, must unravel who is behind the spell that is drawing her ever further into the dream ship . . . and closer to sharing the same grim fate as its ghostly passengers.

Haunting the Deep is the follow up to How to Hang a Witch which follows Sam on another ghostly mission to break a spell that could quite possibly send Sam to watery grave. Anything and everything Titanic related intrigues me and the fact that this book follows Sam as she tries to navigate the mysterious workings that kept luring her onto the Titanic was just as spellbinding. Mather continues to impress by magically weaving a fascinating tale which was inspired by her own relatives surviving the voyage.

This book kept me immersed in its wonderfully woven mystery and never let go. I couldn’t put this book down no matter how many times I knew I needed to get some sleep before work. I couldn’t be more satisfied with how everything unfolded in this book. It was so great to live and experience with these characters. Fans of How to Hang a Witch will be thrilled that this book is just as captivating.

Haunting the Deep is a great follow up to How to Hang a Witch. The history, the magic, and yes the ghosts are just as enchanting. I would recommend this book to readers of all ages! It’s just that impressive!

Rating: 4.5 out of 5 Stars

Check out the book trailer!

Traveling West Virginia – Hawks Nest – New River Gorge Trail

We don’t do as much traveling as we used to. But we recently took a day trip to southern West Virginia.

Our first stop was Hawks Nest State Park. If you have traveled there before, you know where they get the expression half the fun is getting there – that is unless you are prone to motion sickness. If you are, then I would advise you to sit in the front seat of the car.

We have been to Hawks Nest many times, but this is the first time we ever rode the tram down to the river.

We wanted to ride the jet boats, but they were all booked up.

 So we did the next item on our list. We went on a hike. My husband has a bad knee, so he didn’t go with my son and me. He loves to talk, so he stayed and talked to the tram guys.

The hike was beautiful – a path filled with large rocks, rhododendron, foot bridges, caves, snakes . . .

Of course, my son had to climb up onto the first big rock we came to. Boys will be boys.

And speaking of snakes. This is where I encountered a baby snake wriggling under my shoe. I didn’t stay long enough to see what kind he was, but he wasn’t a black snake.

On the way back down the trail on this neat little foot bridge.

Our next stop was at a trail we had never walked on before. You drive over the New River Gorge Bridge, which is an experience I never tire of, and then travel a local road to a set of trails that take you to a great place for a photo op of the bridge.

I never took any pictures along the trail because we were in a hurry. We even sprinted in a few places. I never walked a trail so fast in my life. It was late and given the length of the trail we were going to be walking back in the dark. Thank goodness for cell phone flash lights!

The first mile and 3/4 was a fairly easy walk. But the last 1/4 mile was a heavy breather. This is approaching the end of the trail. And believe me when I tell you the view was well worth the huffing and puffing. 

This was as far out as I would venture. My son said that I couldn’t fall off unless I just walked off the edge. I said different — You could trip. You could slide. You could get woozy. So I played it safe.

We still got some great pictures. My son even took a few selfies.

After enjoying the view and taking a bunch of pictures, we started back. And yes, it was in the dark. I kept imagining encounters with wild animals, but none appeared.

My son said, “If we see Big Foot, shine the light while I take the picture.”
I told him, “Please make it a clear picture.”
For some reason all the pics people take of Big Foot are blurry. 😊

Press this link to a list of trails in the area. I would like to try them all out. The name of the trail we took is the Long Point Trail.

 Hope you enjoyed this Traveling West Virginia.

Have you ever been to either of these places?

If not, I hope you get to visit some day.