“Embrace and kiss each other sweetly, lip on lip let friend and foe proclaim, ‘Christ is Risen!” Dionysios Solomos.

You may wish once in your life to come to Greece for the islands and the food but if you don’t experience the Greek Orhtodox Easter you aren’t going to discover the Divine Mystagogy of the Anastasis on Great Saturday and its deep meaning! The following article on the site : https://trigiro.com/traditional-easter-greece/ best describes the ambiance in and out of the church!

Holy Saturday The Eternal Flame arrives to Greece by military jet and priests carry it to their churches. The service starts at 23:00 and people start to gather at their local churches holding the “labatha” (a big candle) that is only used for that Easter midnight service. A few minutes before midnight people and priests gather outside the church and exactly on midnight priests call out “Christos Anesti” (Christ is risen) and pass the holy flame to those nearest him and one passes to another. Fireworks begin to light up the sky and people exchange traditional Easter wishes (“Christos Anesti – Christ is risen and in response, “Alithos Anesti” – truly, He is risen). It is custom to carry the Holy flame back home and smoke the doorframe to bless the house. Once home, family and friends gather to eat the traditional soup “maghiritsa” and crack red eggs that symbolize the opening of the tomb.

Except for my short story that is included in my future to be Anthology, written in Greek, and I post here on my blog, I have chosen some Children’s books on Greek Easter starting with Catherine’s Pascha!written by an exceptional friend, Charlie Riggle!

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It’s Pascha, and Catherine is determined to stay awake all night. Can she do it? Will she remember how to say “Christ is risen!” in Russian? Will her best friend Elizabeth remember how to say it in Greek? Will their parents let them play with burning candles, smash hard-boiled eggs, and eat sweets until the sun rises on Pascha?

Check more on Charlie on her blog, an abundant source of info on activities for kids, Greek Orthodox customs plus info on books fro kids with disabilities!https://charlotteriggle.com/pascha-queen-lady-days/

The Lucky Egg: A story about Orthodox Easter

Billy can’t wait for Easter! His family celebrates with special foods, but he looks forward to the most exciting part: cracking red eggs with his family. Billy hopes his egg will be the lucky one so he can have a year of good fortune. But Billy quickly remembers how fortunate he already is. Follow Billy and his family in another holiday adventure as he learns the story behind Easter and some beloved Greek traditions.
The Story of Easter (Little Golden Book) by [Jean Miller, Jerry Smath]

This gentle introduction to the biblical account of Jesus’s final days on earth, and Resurrection, is perfect for preschoolers. Lush, colorful illustrations of the Last Supper, Jesus carrying his cross, and the angel in the empty tomb are accessible to little readers who are just learning about Easter. At the end of the book, Easter traditions from around the world are introduced, from Ukrainian painted eggs (Pysanky) to the greeting of the Easter sunrise in the British Isles. It’s a perfect first book about an important holiday for many, and an ideal Easter gift.”

Easter Love Letters from God: Bible Stories by [Glenys Nellist, Sophie Allsopp]

Jesus came to teach people how to love. He came to heal us from everything that hurts us, and to fill our lives with joy, hope, forgiveness, and peace. And the more you get to know Jesus, the more you’ll discover that this can be your life too.

Easter Love Letters from God, written by Glenys Nellist and illustrated by Sophie Allsopp, guides children and families through Holy Week with seven beautifully illustrated Bible stories. Following each story the child will find his or her own letter from God. Children will love the excitement of opening the letters and parents will love how the letters elaborate on the Bible stories being told. Each message gives the child a sense of wonder as they discover what happened leading up to Jesus’ resurrection on Easter Sunday. A very special Bible verse, entitled God’s Wonderful Words to You will accompany each story and letter. Much more than a memory verse, each carefully chosen promise will be God’s very own personal words of love, encouragement, and hope.

Little One, God Loves You by [Amy Warren Hilliker, Polona Lovsin]

A sweet and accessible book inspired by a key concept in The Purpose Driven Life by Pastor Rick Warren, that we are created by God to be loved by God. Little One, God Loves You, written by Amy Warren Hilliker and inspired by the New York Times #1 bestseller The Purpose Driven Life, is a cute and cuddly board book that lets children know God made them solely for the purpose of loving them.

Little One, God Loves You:

  • Features sweet animal illustrations children will love
  • Perfect board book for parent-child read-aloud
  • Ideal for children ages 2-5
The Story of the Easter Bunny by [Katherine Tegen, Sally Anne Lambert]

New York Times bestseller!

Everyone knows who the Easter Bunny is. Each year, he comes with a basket of painted eggs and chocolates for children. But not everybody knows where he comes from. On a snow-cold day in a snug little house… So begins the true story of the Easter Bunny! With gorgeous and peaceful art, this fresh, innovative story describes how one little rabbit became a legend.

Απόσπασμα από συλλογή Διηγήματων μου για το πιο όμορφο Πάσχα μου! 

Δεν υπάρχει καλύτερος τόπος για τον καθένα μας από το χωριό του, την άνοιξη που οι μυρωδιές των λουλουδιών, του φρεσκοφυτρωμμένου γρασιδιού σε ζαλίζει μαζί με το βουητό της μέλισσας που βιάζεται να αδράξει χυμούς. Δεν υπάρχει καλύτερο χάδι από αυτό το αεράκι που σου ξεδιαλλέγει τα μαλλιά και σε νανουρίζει μαζί με τον μακρόσυρτο ήχο του θροίσματος των φύλλων από κάθε λογής δέντρο. Μέχρι και τα νεογέννητα φυλλαράκια στους κατσαρωτούς θάμνους, τα σκίντα όπως τα ξέρω εγώ, σε καλούν με ένα ρυθμικό καλοσώρισμα να πας κοντά τους και να τα χαιδέψεις.
Δεν υπάρχει καλύτερη ανάμνηση από το Πάσχα στην κορυφή του βουνού με τον παππού Γαβρίλη τον ερημίτη και την γιαγιά Αθανασία,(η οποία κοντεύει τα 97 τώρα αλλά είναι ή ίδια νόνα σε όλα της όπως τότε) σε ένα σπίτι χωρίς ρεύμα και με νερό από την πέτρινη βρύση μακριά από το σπίτι κρυμμένη μες στα εκατόχρονα πλατάνια. Κάθε φορά που γύριζες από την βρύση με το νερό στο μπότι κοίταγες τον κάμπο, σκαλωτά χωράφια,λιβάδια, κατσικούλες, πρόβατα, τα δέντρα με όλες τις αποχρώσεις του πράσινου που καμμιά παλλέτα δεν μπορεί να φτιάξει! Όσο όμως και να απολάμβανες τον ήλιο και το χωράφι του παππού πνιγμένο στις παπαρούνες και τα χαμομήλια να εναλλάσονται και να σε πηγαίνουν ως το λαγκάδι και πάλι πίσω στο μονοπάτι της ανάβασης για το σπίτι, το εκκλησάκι του Αι-Δημήτρη σε καθήλωνε! Ένα απλό εκκλησάκι μες το πουθενά μες την άγρια φύση με ένα μικρό νεκροταφείο αλλά τόσο θαυματουργό μέρος. Η βόλτα μας πρίν την Ανάσταση ήταν να κατέβουμε το μονοπάτι πνιγμένο μες τα αγριόχορτα τις πρασινογάλανες σαυρούλες και τα αγκονάρια , τις πέτρες που ήταν μεγαλύτερες από εμάς. Κατεβαίναμε σχεδόν μπουσουλώντας για να φτάσουμε στο κρυμμένο ξέφωτο και στην λαγκαδιά με το γάργαρο νερό για να πάρουμε μια μικρή ανηφορίτσα και να πάμε να ανάψουμε τα καντήλια μέσα στο εκκλησάκι και έξω στα μνήματα. Οι χωριανοί ξέρανε πως ο Παππούς Γαβρίλης φύλαγε τον Αι-Δημήτρη σαν τα μάτια του. Δεν υπάρχει καλύτερη θύμηση από το Πάσχα όταν ήμουν στο γυμνάσιο, το 1982 θατανε θαρρώ, 38 ολόκληρα χρόνια πρίν! Έπρεπε να πάμε περπατώντας από τον κεντρικό δρόμο που μας άφησε το λεωφορείο, φορτωμένοι με σακκούλες με ψώνια και τα ρούχα μας πάνω στην ανηφόρα, στον χωματόδρομο, μες τα αγκονάρια να γλυστράμε και να περνάμε τα υγρά μονοπάτια, τα μικρά ρυάκια και να βουλιάζουμε στις λάσπες να γινόμαστε χωτοί που λέει και η μάνα μου! Μιάμιση ώρα ανάβαση στην καλύτερη αγκομαχώντας πραγματικά με τα παράπονα στο στόμα,”είναι η τελευταία φορά δεν ξανάρχομαι, να βλέπω τον παππούλη να σβάζει τα αρνιά και να τα γδέρνει μπροστά μας, αντε τώρα να ξεπαγιάσουν τα χέρια μας για να καθαρίσουμετα πατσαλικά, να μαζέψουμε και να βοηθήσουμε να φουρνίσουμε τόσα ταψιά για τους ξένους που θα έρθουν περπατώντας μέσα από τις λαγκαδιές και να κοιμηθούμε χάμω 10 άνθρωποι,θείες,ξαδέλφια στα σαίσματα που δεν θα φτάνουν για όλους.” Κανένα όμως από εμάς τα παιδιά δεν σκεφτόταν αυτά μόλις πήγαινε στον Αι-Δημήτρη, ούτε όταν χάζευε τις ανθισμένες αμυγδαλιες που έκρυβαν το δύσβατο μονοπάτι για το εκκλησάκι. Ξεχνιέται η εικόνα από τα αγριοθύμαρα και τις ίριδες που μας άνοιγαν πέρασμα και δεν τολμούσαμε να τις αγγίξουμε για να μην χαλάσουμε την μαγεία της στιγμής! Δεν ξεχνιέται και το Πάσχα εκείνο που ο παππάς θα ερχόταν κατά τις 9 με 10 το βράδυ για να ψάλλει την Ανάσταση για εμάς πρώτα μιας και έτσι είχε συμφωνήσει με τον παππού, αλλά όσο και να βγαίναμε στο ύψωμα με το φακό δεν τον βλέπαμε να έρχεται μες το σκοτάδι. Κάπως έτσι πήραμε την απόφαση και φύγαμε όλοι μες το πετροσκόταδο, με τους ήχους της νυχτιάς για συντροφιά και ακολουθώντας ο ένας πίσω από τον άλλο πήγαμε και ψάλλαμε το Χριστός Ανέστη, προσκυνήσαμε τις εικόνες, ο αδελφός μου ο Δημήτρης χτυπούσε την μικρή ασημένια καμπάνα χωρίς σταματημό, κάτω από έναν ουρανό που μας έλουζε από το φως! Τι και αν είμαστε εμείς και ο Θεός μες την ερημιά με τον θείο Φίλιππα να ρίχνει σκάστρες ανελέητα στο μικρό προαύλιο για τα χρόνια πολλά! Γιορτάσαμε την Ανάσταση μέσα από την αγαλλίαση της ψυχής και το μύρο της φύσης που μέσα στην νυχτιά έγινε λάμψη φωτός και χαράς. Καλή Ανάσταση όπου και να είστε και με όποιες συνθήκες και να βιώνετε, μην χάσετε την χαρμόσυνη Ανάσταση και το κάλεσμα για Ζωή και Ανάσταση πραγματική!

“With every falling flake,a unique spark from interest falls from Heaven.” Percy Miller

Icy crystal droplets on ground and tree branches,

light’s shafts bringing life,

crystals in different shapes

freeze and thaw

with the wind’s subtle touch.

Fed by the cold air,

shadowed by the icy branches.

Copyright Agatha Rodi

Winter welcomes the New Year, 2020 with snow flurries and snow qualls or thundersnow. Wherever you live on this beautiful planet, remember to enjoy the new day coming with promises and hope. Frost on the grass and the edges of petals, the hoarfrost loosely attached to leaves and branches. Featherly crystals on birch trees and ferns. Snow carpets on sleepy Greek forests and slopes!

kalavryta snow forecast
KALAVRYTA slopes, Achaia, Greece.

Enjoy nature and love the moment along with my last post for this year choosing children’s books you will adore reading.

“Of all the forms of water the tiny six-pointed crystals of ice called snow are incomparably the most beautiful and varied.” — Wilson Bentley (1865-1931)
From the time he was a small boy in Vermont, Wilson Bentley saw snowflakes as small miracles. And he determined that one day his camera would capture for others the wonder of the tiny crystal. Bentley’s enthusiasm for photographing snowflakes was often misunderstood in his time, but his patience and determination revealed two important truths: no two snowflakes are alike; and each one is startlingly beautiful. His story is gracefully told and brought to life in lovely woodcuts, giving children insight into a soul who had not only a scientist’s vision and perseverance but a clear passion for the wonders of nature. Snowflake Bentley won the 1999 Caldecott Medal.

Bear never asks for anything. So when a letter arrives for the little chipmunk Izzy, urgently requesting her presence, she can’t refuse–even if there is a blizzard on the way! This heartwarming tale of friendship from bestselling author Brian Lies will melt even the chilliest of hearts.

Bear never asks for anything. So when she sends a note to Izzy urgently requesting her presence, Izzy can’t refuse! But a blizzard begins and slows Izzy’s progress.  As the snow accumulates, so do her friends, helping her on her way to Bear’s place.  
This heartwarming tale from best-selling author and illustrator Brian Lies shows readers the rewards of counting on friends to get you through, snowstorm or not.

In this almost wordless picture book, a host of woodland creatures take a child’s sled for a nighttime joy ride. Their whimsical ride is gorgeously depicted in bold watercolor, complemented by humorous expressions and pitch-perfect sound effects. With a timeless tone and classic characters, RED SLED will become a wintertime favorite.

From Caldecott Medalist and Newbery Honor author Kevin Henkes and acclaimed painter Laura Dronzek, the bestselling and award-winning creators of When Spring Comes and In the Middle of Fall, this picture book about winter celebrates the sights, sounds, and smells of the season. Snow falls, animals burrow, and children prepare for the wonders winter brings. Caldecott Medalist and award-winning author Kevin Henkes’s striking text introduces basic concepts of language and the unique beauty of the winter season. Laura Dronzek’s expressive paintings beautifully capture the joyful wonders of winter.

This is an engaging companion to the best-selling When Spring Comes and In the Middle of Fall. Winter Is Here is an ideal choice for story time, seasonal curriculums, and bedtime reading.

From bestselling author-illustrator Keith Baker, explore the wondrous world of winter in this charming story now available as a Classic Board Book!

No two snowflakes are alike,
almost, almost . . .
but not quite.

Follow a pair of birds on a snowflake-filled journey though a gorgeous winter landscape to explore how everything everywhere is wonderfully unique—from branches and leaves to forests and trees to friends and loved ones.

One cold morning a lonely boy wishes for something to do. His animal friends are hibernating, and he has nobody to play with―even all the birds have flown south. When he meets Jack Frost, the last thing he expects is to make a new friend . . . or to discover how enchanting winter can be!

Look out. Now look up. From the sky one flake falls, then another. And just like that—it’s snowing.In this beautiful book from debut creator Bomi Park, a young girl wakes up to the year’s first snowy day. From her initial glimpse out the window to her poignant adventures—rolling a snowman, making snow angels—the girl’s quiet quests are ones all young readers will recognize. Simple, muted text and exquisite, evocative art conjure the excitement of a day spent exploring the wonder of snow—and the magic that, sometimes literally, such a day brings. As subtly joyful as a snow day itself, this book will find its home in the hearts of young adventurers everywhere.

Blizzard is based on John Rocco’s childhood experience during the now infamous Blizzard of 1978, which brought fifty-three inches of snow to his town in Rhode Island. Told with a brief text and dynamic illustrations, the bookopens with a boy’s excitement upon seeing the first snowflake fall outside his classroom window. It ends with the neighborhood’s immense relief upon seeing the first snowplow break through on their street. In between the boy watches his familiar landscape transform into something alien, and readers watch him transform into a hero who puts the needs of others first. John uses an increasing amount of white space in his playful images, which include a gatefold spread of the boy’s expedition to the store. This book about the wonder of a winter storm is as delicious as a mug of hot cocoa by the fire on a snowy day.

Best wishes for a prosperous 2020 with Health, Success and Gratitutde to others! Till next Rock Post:

30 Happy New Year 2020 Facebook Covers, FB Cover Pics

Amelie Gets Busy! Thank you for the reviews!

 Sweet Rhyming Story Reviewed in the United States on December 13, 2019, by LUZDELMES Format: Kindle EditionVerified Purchase Amelia seems impressed with all the wonders around her at the village’s farm with her Greek grandma, yiayia. Visiting Grandma is an opportunity to enjoy nature, flowers, plants, birds and farm animals. The lovely yiayia protects Amelia with affection and care. The children story ends with a fond display of yiayia’s favorite keepsake box where she keeps the reason to be impressed of farm’s life.
The author Agatha Rodi uses elegant rhymes to make the story dances with poetic structure. Soft pastel illustrations depict the simple and beautiful gardening and farming’s life style.
I highly recommend this book for children ages 5-8 years old.

  Jonathan  after a long and full day of gardening and eating delicious foods – like pink crusted biscuit cake – Amelie takes some of … January 6, 2016 Young Amelie is very impressed! She announces this right up front, in case there was any doubt, but to discover by what exactly she is impressed, one must read on.  

Amelie spends her days in the village farm with her yiayia – Greek for ‘grandma’ – and with all of the plants and birds and animals therein.

She is a bit trepidatious at first, but yiayia is there to comfort her and to show her the wonders of life in this small, Greek village.

The flowers, the hedgehogs, the birds feeding their young, they all contain wonder.

Here I come, blooming garden! Oh, I am so impressed!

Finally, after a long and full day of gardening and eating delicious foods – like pink crusted biscuit cake – Amelie takes some of the treasures she has collected and forms a keepsake box so that she can keep the wonderful – and impressive! – memories.

A jay of yiayia’s favorite cherry jam
Some pieces of spinach pie and feta cheese
Full of spices and crispy dough.
I always take my village with me,
The blue light and the hues of the rainbow
That make me say wow!
That’s why I’m so impressed!

Kristi In this charming picture book, Amelie spends a day at the village farm and is impressed by all that she sees. The animals trees, the garden, and the food is impressive to her. The love between her and her grandmother is evident throughout this book. The illustrations are nicely done. Good read!

 Lisa’s Book Reviews  Lovely Story Written In Poem June 24, 2015 A story set in rhyming poetry with a young girl named Amelie, who becomes impressed with all she sees in the village of her grandmother’s farm. Chickens and pigs greet her. At first she is afraid. Her grandmother is close by to protect her and reassure her the animals mean no harm, they merely wish to be fed.

There are beautiful birds flying overhead while bees buzz to drink from a garden with roses. A hedgehog Amelie sees when watering the roses she believes is cute and adorable. She takes time to eat a piece of luscious cake.

Amelie is so impressed with all she sees, hears, and now knows. To learn what else she becomes impressed about you’ll have to read the book.

As this story is written in the form of poetry, it is a creative art whereby its words are an inspiration and beauty expressed in the most joyful collection of words having underlying meaning and a show of thought and feeling.

The artwork is soft and kind, adding just the right feel to the storyline.

As this story is written about a Grecian young girl, the words are of that culture and the reader can experience a touch of Grecian life through the eyes of Amelie, who enjoys her very first visit to her grandmother’s farm.

Evi rated it it was amazing

“Amelie gets Busy!” is a simple, yet powerful poem about Amelie and her “yiayia”. Living in a fast-paced world, Amelie’s story is a colorful reminder of the small, everyday joys of life. And every time Amelie is presented with a new surprise, she smiles with us “I’m impressed”! Garden trees, hedgehogs, roses, eggplants, rosemary and basil come together to give Amelie the perfect treat in this delightful poem that celebrates life!

Educating the Mind without educating the Heart is no Education at all.(Aristotle)

The First Day of  School seems to be the milestone in a student’s life. Every student develops a different approach about school, either becoming excited or really apprehensive of the surroundings and the teacher who invades his life. Reading picture books aloud with your child about starting school is a good way to prepare the student to be, for the challenge ahead. Through the stories about School, students start realizing what happens in a school day and what to expect.  So this means less stress and more self-esteem while being away from familiar surroundings.

  • Once school starts students have to know before hand about that new transition in their life. Activities related to the new program they have to follow every day is a good way to make them feel secure about this new change.
  • Organisation is another way to make students think of preparing their own bag, take the initiative in doing so, is a major step to become independent and take on responsibility. Organisation is a good example of being taught to deal with school demands in the future, even placing their lunch box is an easy and practical way to have a task to complete.

Thinking of those students with learning difficulties or special needs then both parents and teachers need to work together on an individual learning plan. Teaching charismatic students with Dyslexia, Autism, ADHD, the last ten years, has taught me that the teacher has to comply with the student’s existing skills, set realistic goals to make progress happen, and modify the curriculum as many times as it is needed. Reading aloud, incorporating drawing and painting is a good strategy to help the student find his path in the learning process.There are no magic tricks, the teacher has to be aware of the student’s strengths and weaknesses and promote reading by choosing specific books that attract his interest.

I hope the new School year brings the best results and that teachers help students to trace their strong points, love books and show their creativity. Till next Rock Post, have a good start, enjoy the books below and have fun at school, all year round!

It’s the first day of school at Frederick Douglass Elementary and everyone’s just a little bit nervous, especially the school itself. What will the children do once they come? Will they like the school? Will they be nice to him?

The school has a rough start, but as the day goes on, he soon recovers when he sees that he’s not the only one going through first-day jitters.

Rosie can’t wait to start kindergarten—she’s had her pencils sharpened and her backpack ready for weeks. But suddenly, on the night before the big day, her tummy hurts. Rosie’s mom reassures her that it’s just butterflies in her belly, and she’ll feel better soon. Much to Rosie’s surprise, when she says hello to a new friend on the bus, a butterfly flies out of her mouth! As the day goes on, Rosie frees all her butterflies, and even helps another shy student let go of hers, too.

A confident little boy takes pride in his first day of kindergarten, by the Newbery Honor-winning author of Crown.

The morning sun blares through your window like a million brass trumpets.It sits and shines behind your head–like a crown. Mommy says that today, you are going to be the King of Kindergarten!

Starting kindergarten is a big milestone–and the hero of this story is ready to make his mark! He’s dressed himself, eaten a pile of pancakes, and can’t wait to be part of a whole new kingdom of kids. The day will be jam-packed, but he’s up to the challenge, taking new experiences in stride with his infectious enthusiasm! And afterward, he can’t wait to tell his proud parents all about his achievements–and then wake up to start another day.
     Newbery Honor-winning author Derrick Barnes’s empowering story will give new kindergarteners a reassuring confidence boost, and Vanessa Brantley-Newton’s illustrations exude joy.

Award-winning poet Alexander compares reading a book to peeling the gentle skin of a clementine, digging in to its juiciness, enjoying it “piece by piece, part by part,” until you can “watch a novel world unfurl right before your eyes.” And who better to illustrate this delicious poem than Caldecott Honoree Sweet. The artwork is done in watercolor, gouache, mixed media, handmade and vintage papers, found objects including old book covers, and a paint can lid. Not a splash of color, a piece of paper, or a line is out of place. Starting with the initial collage that incorporates the building blocks of reading (the letters A to Z) and the lines from a poem by Nikki Giovanni that careful readers will have to pay attention to see, the tone is set. “So get/real cozy/between/the covers/And let your/fingers wonder/as they wander…” for there is much to relish in this poem and its exuberant images. “Squeeze/every morsel/of each plump line/until the last/drop of magic/drips from the infinite sky.” The book includes a note from both the poet and the artist. VERDICT A beautiful book not to be rushed through, but to be enjoyed morsel by tasty morsel.

This humorous new book in the beloved HOW TO . . . series takes readers through a fun and busy school year. Written in tongue-in-cheek instructional style, a class of adorable students gives tips and tricks for getting a teacher ready—for the first day of school, and all the events and milestones that will follow (picture day, holiday concert, the 100th day of school, field day!). And along the way, children will see that getting their teacher ready is really getting themselvesready. Filled with charming role-reversal humor, this is a playful and heartwarming celebration of teachers and students, and the perfect gift for back-to-school readiness or graduation.

Spend the day at school and join the little girl in everything she does in a day—from breakfast to bedtime. Meet her classmates and try to spot what each friend is up to in every lesson throughout the book. Can you guess what they want to be when they grow up? This reassuring introduction to the school day for little ones has bright, friendly artwork and is perfect for children about to go off to school for the first time.

National Book Award winner Jacqueline Woodson and two-time Pura Belpré Illustrator Award winner Rafael López have teamed up to create a poignant, yet heartening book about finding courage to connect, even when you feel scared and alone.

There will be times when you walk into a room
and no one there is quite like you.

There are many reasons to feel different. Maybe it’s how you look or talk, or where you’re from; maybe it’s what you eat, or something just as random. It’s not easy to take those first steps into a place where nobody really knows you yet, but somehow you do it. 

Jacqueline Woodson’s lyrical text and Rafael López’s dazzling art reminds us that we all feel like outsiders sometimes-and how brave it is that we go forth anyway. And that sometimes, when we reach out and begin to share our stories, others will be happy to meet us halfway.

A delightfully funny story that will reassure every child anxious about starting a new school or nursery.

Bears are clumsy. They don’t sit still. They’re much, much bigger than teachers – and they eat SUCH a lot of lunch! Yes, taking a bear to school is a BAD idea. But will this little boy find the courage to face the first day of school alone?

With so much to do, like painting, dressing up, storytime, and making new friends, he just might! And Bear? He’ll always be waiting at the end of the day, with a great big hug!

In this exuberant companion to If I Built a Car, a boy fantasizes about his dream school–from classroom to cafeteria to library to playground.

My school will amaze you. My school will astound.
By far the most fabulous school to be found!
Perfectly planned and impeccably clean.
On a scale, 1 to 10, it’s more like 15!
And learning is fun in a place that’s fun, too.

If Jack built a school, there would be hover desks and pop-up textbooks, skydiving wind tunnels and a trampoline basketball court in the gym, a robo-chef to serve lunch in the cafeteria, field trips to Mars, and a whole lot more. The inventive boy who described his ideal car and house in previous books is dreaming even bigger this time.

A warm, welcoming picture book that celebrates diversity and gives encouragement and support to all kids.

Follow a group of children through a day in their school, where everyone is welcomed with open arms. A school where kids in patkas, hijabs, and yarmulkes play side-by-side with friends in baseball caps. A school where students grow and learn from each other’s traditions and the whole community gathers to celebrate the Lunar New Year.

All Are Welcome lets young children know that no matter what, they have a place, they have a space, they are welcome in their school.

Sweet Moon, I thank thee for thy sunny beams. Shakespeare (Midsummer Night’s Dream)

Last night Moon’s dazzling light from my balcony made it seem almost as radiant as the sun, and turned our night into a never-ending twilight. Archaeological sites throughout Greece stayed open well after midnight, the  entrance was free, for visitors to enjoy the beauty. Lucky those who saw the brilliant white marble of the Acropolis, glowing in the moonlight, or the moon, hanging low over the sea and spent the night on the Aegean beaches. A recent article on Smithsonianmag refers to the Greek Philosopher Anaxagoras and useful info on the Moon.

”Close to the north pole of the moon lies the crater Anaxagoras, named for a Greek philosopher who lived in the fifth century B.C. The eponym is fitting, as Anaxagoras the man was one of the first people in history to suggest the moon was a rocky body, not all too dissimilar from Earth. Streaks of material thrown out during the impact that formed the crater extend 560 miles southward to the rim of another crater, this one named for Plato.” https://www.smithsonianmag.com/science-nature/ancient-greek-philosopher-was-exiled-claiming-moon-was-rock-not-god-180972447/

If you ever happen to visit Greece in August, do take part in the festivities, including singing, dancing, musical performances and poetry reading, food abundant and wine flowing, under the light of the moon. Down below find and buy for your little children one of the amazing books I suggest and enjoy the beautiful illustrations as well as text! Best summer wishes till my next Rock Post!

From writer Stacy McAnulty and illustrator Stevie Lewis, Moon! Earth’s Best Friend is a light-hearted nonfiction picture book about the formation and history of the moon―told from the perspective of the moon itself.

Meet Moon! She’s more than just a rock―she’s Earth’s rock, her best friend she can always count on. Moon never turns her back on her friend (literally: she’s always facing Earth with the same side!). These two will stick together forever. With characteristic humor and charm, Stacy McAnulty channels the voice of Moon in this next celestial “autobiography” in the Our Universe series. Rich with kid-friendly facts and beautifully brought to life by Stevie Lewis, this is an equally charming and irresistible companion to Earth! My First 4.54 Billion Years and Sun! One in a Billion.

A richly illustrated guide to the myths, histories, and science of the celestial bodies of our solar system, with stories and information about constellations, planets, comets, the northern lights, and more. 

Combining art, mythology, and science, What We See in the Stars gives readers a tour of the night sky through more than 100 magical pieces of original art, all accompanied by text that weaves related legends and lore with scientific facts. This beautifully packaged book covers the night sky’s most brilliant features–such as the constellations, the moon, the bright stars, and the visible planets–as well as less familiar celestial phenomena like the outer planets, nebulae, and deep space. Adults seeking to recapture the magic of youthful stargazing, younger readers interested in learning about natural history and outer space, and those who appreciate beautiful, hand-painted art will all delight in this charming book.

When the day has ended and everyone else has fallen asleep, a young boy embarks on a magical adventure with his friend the Moon. Their unusual journey is described in lyrical verse, creating a enchanting story that celebrates the serene beauty of the world at night. Jay’s trademark oil paintings with their crackled finish reveal charming details not mentioned in the verse: the moon loses one of its red slippers on the church steeple, for instance, and the boy recovers it in the next spread. The artist successfully marries the cool royal blue of the evening sky with the warm orange-reds of the buildings, many of which seem alive (two arched windows and a clock on the church tower form a face), alongside trees that appear to dance on curvy trunks. Boy and moon eventually link arms and accompany each other to their respective realms: the moon descends to skip across a bridge with the boy; boy and moon sail over a playground, and readers are treated to a bird’s-eye–view of a fanciful landscape. Endnotes for this soothing lunar lullaby contain facts about the moon’s phases and nocturnal animals.

nnie is preparing for Career Day at school, and is trying to follow her teacher’s directive to keep her career choice a secret. Every evening she works on her costume while her family asks for hints. Grandpop gives her a camera in hopes she will aspire to be a journalist like him. Grandma tells her about her days winning awards for her desserts and lets Annie borrow her mixing bowl and oven mitts. Dad is convinced that she’ll wants to be a mountain climber like him; and when Mom asks for a hint, she gives Annie some high-top sneakers hoping Annie will be a basketball player like she is. Annie does not commit to any of her family members’ career choices, but in the end shows that she can blend something from everyone and make it her own. Readers will have no doubt that Annie is well equipped to follow her dream to travel into space. The illustration of her room shows planets hanging from the ceiling, stars and moons on her bedspread and tissue box, space posters on the walls, and a telescope for stargazing. Tadgell’s watercolor illustrations are kid-friendly and complementary to Slade’s concise storytelling. Back matter gives a short biography of four female astronauts, information about the phases of the moon, and a list of sources to learn more. 

On time for the fiftieth anniversary of the moon landing, this father-daughter story celebrates a small community’s big contribution to one of America’s greatest accomplishments.

Marthanne and her father sit side by side, looking out over their mill village as the moon glows in the sky. Marthanne hopes that one day, man will walk on the moon, and she knows her father is helping America accomplish this mission: The fabric he weaves forms one layer in the astronauts’ spacesuits. Papa insists he’s only making a living, but Marthanne knows his work is part of history, and she’s proud. She tries to be patient, but she can’t stop imagining the moon mission: the astronauts tumbling through space, the fabric her papa made traveling all the way up into the sky. When the astronauts blast off and Neil Armstrong finally takes his first steps on the moon, Marthanne watches in wonder. She knows her papa put a man on the moon.

A stunning picture book that addresses the question: do any of us “own” nature?

 When a curious cat asks the question, “Whose moon is that?”, a panoply of animals try to stake their claim. The wolf, the owl, and the starry sky all have their reasons, but the moon ultimately answers for herself — her light is meant to be shared by everyone.  Many stake a claim on the orb, from a bird, a bear, and a wolf to a tree, a mountain, and the starry sky. In the end, the moon says it shines “for one and all, and none, throughout eternity.” Told in the “Alouette” verse form, this is an original tale. Full spreads bring the nocturnal world alive, with the night sky backgrounds in watercolor with a palette that incorporates the magical colors and movement of the aurora borealis. Each spread focuses on one particular subject and its connection with the moon. Krans’s signature intricate pen-and-ink illustrations are larger-than-life, such as an image of a bear looking straight at readers, the moon dropping behind her as she says she found the moon first and doesn’t “like to share.”

Kim Krans’s stunning ink-and-watercolor illustrations beautifully illuminate this simple exploration of our relationship to the world around us and our place in it.

“In this playful book, the anthropomorphized moon watches humans from afar and eagerly notes as they invent the first airplane, build rockets and prepare to take the first tentative steps on her surface. Through text and informative back matter, young readers learn fascinating facts about the moon, astronauts and the space program.

Pedal it! Four wheels move the body. Two wheels move the soul!

Summer frenzy of this year, in my neighbourhood is the presence of new bikes with kids of different age groups, coming and going all day long! There are such unbelievable places to go ride your bikes here in Greece, all over the place, at beaches, hills and undiscovered paths, beautiful scenic routes at the Aegean islands, countless unexplored villages on the top of the mountains in Central Greece, where the sky meets the trees.

Kids need that thrill of freedom and adventure a bike offers. Rides in places they discover for the first time add to their spicy incidents that make the summer holidays an unforgettable time in their life.

“Stathis Stasinopoulos, the founder of Folding Project and manufacturing company Velo Lab, is a passionate cyclist. The company’s bicycle is manufactured in Greece and sold internationally for serious bicyclists that regularly travel long distances, designed in a “cross frame” pattern.

Stathis Stasinopoulos bike on Kalymnos island, of the Aegean Sea!

Stasinopoulos says, “It combines the behavior of a Road Bike with the attitude of a City Bike.” It weighs less than 12 kilograms, yet maintains the standards of top riding quality and comfort. The 26 inch wheels and geometric design contributes to the bike’s agility and speed on the road. Folding only takes a mere 5 seconds and the bike can be rolled when folded, rather than carried. The company asserts that the majority of other folding bikes are heavier, take much longer to fold, and ride much less smoothly.” Find more on this interesting article on : http://greektv.com/soar-through-the-city-with-the-greek-engineered-folding-project/

If your summer destination is Greece, then check here for some of the iconic places to find bliss and relaxation : https://theculturetrip.com/europe/greece/articles/spectacular-places-to-cycle-in-greece/

What you shouldn’t miss is to read one of the following PBs to your kids!

This inspirational story follows the life of Big Red, a treasured bike. It starts its life in North America as a young boy’s prized possession, but when the boy grows up, he realizes that he has outgrown Big Red and decides to donate it to someone who truly needs it. Big Red’s life takes a dramatic turn when it gets sent to Africa, helping people to access the market, deliver medicine, and take people to the hospital. The author includes a section to help guide children in making donations and volunteering, making this a truly valuable book for broadening children’s worldviews. (With large amounts of text on each page, I recommend this for upper elementary students.)

Cycling rules the road in Amsterdam today, but that wasn’t always the case. In the 1970’s, Amsterdam was so crowded with vehicles that bicyclists could hardly move, but moms and kids relied on their bicycles to get around the city. PEDAL POWER is the story of the people who led protests against the unsafe streets and took over a vehicles-only tunnel on their bikes, showing what a little pedal power could do! Author and illustrator Allan Drummond returns with the story of the people that paved the way for safe biking around the world.

Want To Know! This series of informative picture books answers the many questions young children have about the world around them. Some subjects are familiar, but others are less so. Chock full of well-researched facts expressed in accessible and interactive ways, these books tell children what they want to know

Do you want to know all about the bicycle? What did the first bike look like? How many kinds of bikes are there? How can you chose the best bike for you? What kinds of cycling sports are there? Who are the most famous racing cyclists? 
These and many more subjects are discussed in this book. You will also find fun rhymes, a large fold-out page and a mini-quiz, and you learn how to repair a flat tire. By the time you finish this book you’ll be a real expert on bicycles!

The Cycling Wangdoos is an imaginative, fun to read rhyming tale of a Tibetan racing team who ride on a six-seater bicycle with a wacky yak on back. They have a long record of winning races by working together, until the smallest Wangdoo begins to think he’s pulling more than his fair share of the weight. Find out what happens when his discontentment quickly spreads through the team and the Wangdoos’s race takes a dangerous turn. When the race is over, the riders are left with a hard-learned lesson―that teams work best when everyone does their part. Laugh-out-loud illustrations bring this delightful story to life.

When little Etta the Elephant goes to her Aunt Ellen’s house, she takes a journey through bicycle-filled Cycle City, a town filled with bikes of all kinds! At the end of the day, a special surprise awaits Etta—the most amazing bicycle parade imaginable. Detail-rich illustrations in this fun seek-and-find book paint the colors of this unusual town where everyone rides some kind of bike—whether a penny-farthing, a two-wheeled unicycle, or a conference bike, everyone is on wheels! Packed with prompts and lots to see on every page, this is a sweet story for the sharpest of eyes.

Whether you are in the woods or at the beach, riding your bikes is the only way to feel the freedom of the moment. Till next Rock Post, enoy your rides with a book on bikes and be inspired to write a story!

Keep Smiling, because Life is a Beautiful thing and there is so much to Smile about.”Marylin Monroe”

Once a writer is dealing with many issues then writing habit comes to a halt. So much energy is wasted in tension and worry because life engenders issues that humans, (writers included, here) seem unable to solve. As months go by and time shrinks life still plays games and as usual doesn’t seem to cooperate and offer answers. That moment is the AHA! moment, when the human -writer we are discussing finds out that he/she has to have a chin up, show Faith and continue the writing journey.

All these previous months I was reading on different sites about time handling, postponing to write, anxiety adorned with excessive stress, blocking writers to express themselves and go on their set goals.Once I made the decision to have my monthly post I stumbled upon articles having the title: Understanding the way I feel. Then I realized the people around me are compassionate and think of me but I need to understand the way I feel! This kind of revelation woke me up! Because

(enjoy & download the Lesson plan from https://heartmindonline.org/resources/lesson-plan-the-way-i-feel) has to be the one related to

Feelings are difficult to decipher especially for a teacher like me, when my day is spent helping parents and kids to find a way to interpret their own ones! While teaching others on learning how to examine their feelings and understand their meaning, I forgot to leave some space free for examining and exploring the feelings created when writing takes place.

” Being alert and engaged is the ability to manage and direct one’s own feelings, thoughts and emotions. In general, the ability to be ‘present’ and to exercise self-control.” The above motto found on Heartmindonline site is the best reminder to be alert and always try for the best.

The books I chose to present in this Rock Post remind us feelings and carry specks of optimism. Enjoy reading them and let your feelings show you what comes next. There is always room for changes and new beginnings while being faithful to your past and to your inner voice. Till next Rock post take care, read a lot and think of reading your favorite book to kids in open spaces so they express their feelings in abundance.

Sometimes I’m Bombaloo!

The feeling of anger or frustration running out of control can be downright scary for kids. Katie’s temper makes her feel like a totally different person, and Bombaloo, who uses fists and feet instead of words, is a frightening person to be. Fortunately, firm but caring people in Katie’s life ensure that Bombaloo gets both the time to calm down and the love that she needs to turn into Katie again. And once that happens, Katie knows she can find ways to make up for the mistakes she made.

In My Heart: A Book of Feelings

Sometimes my heart feels like a big yellow star, shiny and bright. I smile from ear to ear and twirl around so fast, I feel as if I could take off into the sky. This is when my heart is happy.

Happiness, sadness, bravery, anger, shyness…our hearts can feel so many feelings! Some make us feel as light as a balloon, others as heavy as an elephant. In My Heart explores a full range of emotions, describing how they feel physically, inside. With language that is lyrical but also direct, toddlers will be empowered by this new vocabulary and able to practice articulating and identifying their own emotions. With whimsical illustrations and an irresistible die-cut heart that extends through each spread, this unique feelings book is gorgeously packaged.

Today I fell silly and other moods that make my day!

From silly to angry to quiet and sad, this little girl goes through them all…and is reassured that moods come and go, and that it’s okay to feel what you feel. An interactive page at the end that asks “How do YOU feel today?” comes complete with a wheel that allows you to change the expression of a face’s eyes and mouth. This light, fun book is written in exuberant rhyme that lends itself to being read aloud.

A smart Girl’s Guide:Worry

Every girl worries from time to time. Maybe it’s an argument with a friend, or a big test, or a performance in front of a crowd. Maybe it’s her body. Maybe it’s even something fun, like a slumber party or overnight camp — or something really big, like moving away or her parents’ divorce. For many girls, even small worries can take on a life of their own and get in the way of enjoying life. But this book will help take charge over your worries. You’ll learn tried-and-true ways to overcome fears and create a sense of calm. The book is packed with proven techniques for handling worry and creating confidence — freeing you to be the girl you’re meant to be.

My Happy Life.

Even if kids have more than one reason to be sad,  it’s important for them to know they can move forward despite it all. Dani’s first days in school are brightened by a new friend…until Ella moves away. Dani wonders if she’ll ever get over feeling sad about her lost friend, but remembers that, even though she was deeply sad after the mother died, she eventually found other ways to be happy again. This early chapter book handles difficult subjects with a gentle and optimistic touch, perfect for reassuring kids that they can make it through their own struggles.