Tuesday, January 25, 2011

My Reading List - January 2011

Here is a list of the books I'm currently reading now (reviews to come soon):

Have any recommendations for me?  Let me know!

Friday, January 21, 2011

BOOK REVIEW: You Are Special by Max Lucado


ABOUT THE BOOK (From Amazon):

Max was interested in helping children understand their value--not from the world's perspective, but from God's. Wemmicksville is a land created by Eli, the God figure of the story. He creates each Wemmick in Wemmicksville uniquely, each with its own look and personality. Each story and video is a new adventure with the citizens of Wemmicksville. Punchinello is the central character, along with his friends Lucia, Splint, and Chip. When Punchinello strays from Eli, he begins to have problems. Only when Punchinello stays close to Eli does he clearly see how to walk through his life in Wemmicksville.

In this heartwarming tale, Eli helps Punchinello understand how special he is--no matter what other Wemmicks may think. Children will learn a vital lesson--regardless of how the world sees them, God loves each of them just as they are.

MY REVIEW:

My son Eli received this book as a gift when he turned 2, probably because his name is the same as one of the characters in the book. At that time, the story was a little confusing to him because he couldn't grasp the concept of someone else being called Eli. He's now 3 1/2. We read it again last night and he really enjoyed the story. I would also read this with older age groups (4-8) to use when discussing social issues like bullying and being picked on.

The reading level for this book is listed as baby-preschool. Although it can hold the attention of a younger listener with the beautiful illustrations, the message of the story is really for older readers/listeners. As kids begin socializing in school and experience being picked on for any reason, this story teaches that it only matters what others say about us if we let it.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

BOOK REVIEW: 33 Million People in the Room by Juliette Powell



ABOUT THE BOOK (From FT Press website)

Social networks are no fad. They’re a permanent reality: one that offers immense opportunities to smart, innovative businesses. Now, top social networking consultant Juliette Powell reveals how dozens of innovators are driving real ROI through social networks–and how you can, too.

Powell’s wide-ranging research, including coverage on Barack Obama's successful online strategy in his bid for the presidency, focuses on technology, media and gaming companies, leaders in fashion, beauty, publishing, finance, retail, event planning, and beyond. These powerful narratives illuminate the reality of doing business on today’s social networks as never before. Through them, Powell introduces new best practices, shows how to avoid crucial pitfalls, and helps you prepare for the newest trends in online social networking.

Drawing on the latest research, Powell connects the dots, uncovering the human dynamics and patterns that consistently underlie successful social networking initiatives. Along the way, she offers practical tools and advice for optimizing every stage of your own social networking initiative–from planning through measurement, and beyond.

  • Getting on, getting started, and making social networks work for you
    Defining and implementing your optimal social networking strategy 
  • Leveraging the amazing power of the microcelebrity
    Achieving worldwide impact in the niche that matters to you 
  • Transforming social and cultural capital into financial capital
    Be generous, build your trusted personal network–and discover all you get in return 
  • Profiting from the knowledge you never knew you had
    Opening your organization’s own social networking channels– inside and out 


MY REVIEW:

33 Million People in the Room is an inspiring look at the growing world of social networking and how it can be used effectively to promote a business, product or message. Juliette Powell discusses the importance of putting yourself out there, being authentic and making social networking a part of your daily routine. It doesn't have to consume your life, but should be included in the overall picture of your marketing strategy.

Powell provides detailed examples of how social networking has been used effectively by businesses such as Threadless (crowd sourcing) and politicians such as Barack Obama (virality and communities). She also gives good examples of how social networking can have a negative impact when businesses do not put value in online reputation management.

Overall, 33 Million People in the Room has provided me with a wealth of knowledge and an abundance of ideas to explore and add to my marketing practices. Whether you are a newbie to social networking or you already have a solid community, this book is bound to spark new ideas and motivate you to continue building your community using the social networking tools at your disposal.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

BOOK REVIEW: Making the "Terrible" Twos Terrific by John Rosemond



A few months ago I was nearly at my wits end with my 3-year-old son. A friend recommended this book and mentioned that the "terrible twos" for boys can sometimes hit later. I decided to give it a try. It took me a little while to get into Rosemond's writing style. He has a very philosophical approach to this development stage, but as I read on, this approach began to help me see my children (then 5, 3 and 1) in a different light. 

Early in the book he talks about stages of development and developmental needs. One of his biggest cautions in this area is television - which, according to Rosemond, contributes absolutely nothing to a child's developmental growth. As a parent of 3 young children (all born within 4 years), I admit, the television can be my best friend whenever I want to get something done. Reading his views on television in the beginning made me almost stop reading...after all, how can a man whose children are now grown possibly remember how time-consuming children are at this age and understand how heavenly it can be for mothers to have them sit in silence, if only for 30 minutes? But, I decided to continue reading with an open mind. After all, whose ever really said TV is good for kids? 

I can understand why there are negative reviews for this book. Rosemond's views are not always fun to read...especially if you are guilty of the behaviors he attacks (such as allowing your children to watch TV or sharing a "family bed"). At times my opinions differed from Rosemond's. I'm not a child psychologist, but as a parent of 3, I believe I have learned a little about parenting throughout the years that earns me some credibility. Rosemond would lose some points in my mind whenever he would discuss how his approach did not work with his first child (a boy) and then how he did it "right" the second time with his daughter and how that proved the method is effective. Having three children, I've learned that what worked for my first (a girl) didn't work for my second (a boy), and my third (a boy) seems to require his own individual approach to everything. I don't believe that one approach to anything when it comes to parenting is "one method fits all." However, the one main message I have taken away from this book is that when something doesn't work, re-evaluate and try something else. I feel like I've been given a new perspective on parenthood and a number of ideas for how to handle some of the main issues that parents deal with during the "terrible twos," which Rosemond explains can be anytime between 18 to 36 months. 

Overall, I recommend this book for parents (and caregivers) of young children.

Monday, January 3, 2011

BOOK REVIEW: I Love Christmas by Hans Wilhelm


Christmas (2010) is over, but we have a few new holiday books from Santa we still want to review.  The first review today was for The Christmas Penguin, then I Spy A Candy Caneand this review is for I Love Christmas by Hans Wilhelm.

ABOUT THE BOOK (from Amazon): It's Christmas, and the whole family is very busy. No one is paying attention to Noodles. Can he find a way to join in the holiday fun? He sure can!

This funny Level 1 story is perfect for beginning readers.

MY REVIEW: I read this book to my kids for the first time.  It's very cute and a quick, easy read.  My 6-year-old daughter is learning to read and this will be one I will have her read to me several times for practice.  As a parent (and dog owner), I can't help but cringe when the dog begins "helping" with things like decorating the tree and wrapping presents, but it's all part of the holiday fun, right?  We will enjoy this book in our house for many more holiday seasons!

BOOK REVIEW: I Spy A Candy Cane by Jean Marzollo


Christmas (2010) is over, but we have a few new holiday books from Santa we still want to review.  The first review was for The Christmas Penguin, this review is for I Spy A Candy Cane by Jean Marzollo, and the next review will be for I Love Christmas.

ABOUT THE BOOK (from Amazon): All new, easy-to-read riddles by Jean Marzollo are paired with fun photographs culled from previously published I Spy books to create an I Spy easy reader. With rhythm, rhyme, and picture clues, this book is written to support the newest reader!

MY REVIEW: I Spy books and other products are so much fun!  In this holiday version we see a number of holiday scenes and get to search for items in the rhyme. My kids and I like to turn it into a game to see who can find each item first.  The last few pages in this book have some word games (i.e. which words end with the letter y).  This is a nice addition for older children who are learning to read.

BOOK REVIEW: The Christmas Penguin by Mary Packard



Christmas (2010) is over, but we have a few new holiday books from Santa we still want to review.  The first is The Christmas Penguin by Mary Packard.  Next we'll review I Spy A Candy Cane and I Love Christmas.

ABOUT THE BOOK
(from Amazon): Rollie the penguin has a special Christmas wish: He wants to be able to fly! On Christmas Eve, Santa asks him to help deliver the toys. But when a bag falls from the sleigh, Santa fears that the bag is lost forever. Then Rollie "flies" through the water and retrieves the bag of toys. Santa is proud of Rollie, who realizes that penguins do indeed fly - in their own special way.


MY REVIEW: My son's dream is to fly.  As a 3-year-old, the moral of the story was lost on him, but it is a very cute book that helps parents talk with kids about being proud of who they are and the talents they have.  The writing style is very easy to read and understand.  We will certainly put this in our Christmas box to get out and read every holiday season.