Tag: Children’s Books

Lady Gaga’s New Children’s Book

Lady Gaga is well known for her unique sense of style and her amazing singing voice. She has eleven Grammys and was  nominated for an Oscar for her starring role in A Star is Born. Gaga has accomplished so much over the years, and she even walked the red carpet in a meat dress back in 2010. Now, she has signed with Macmillan, one of the big five publishing houses, to publish a children’s book.

Image result for lady gaga channel kindness
Image via Oprah Magazine

The book will be filled with stories from young people, and words of encouragement from Gaga. The young people who will be contributing their stories are apart of the Born this Way foundation, started by Gaga and her mother. The foundation has a program called Channel Kindness, which helps young people elevate their acts of kindness and bravery. According to Gaga, the book will help uplift communities and instill hope in everyone. It will also showcase how no act of kindness is too small.

Children need a book that can help them better understand ways to be kind, and they need a book that encourages kindness. We hear a lot of stories about bullying, and we rarely hear any stories about acts of kindness. Those stories are few and far between, and now Gaga is using her voice to uplift kindness.

 

According to one of the publishers, Jean Feiwel, she believes this book is an anthem and an embrace that children and everyone around the world need. Jean is absolutely right, and it will definitely encourage children to want to be better and to do better. Kudos to Gaga for spreading her kindness with the world.

The book will be released on September 22, 2020. You can pre-order your copy here.

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116 Years of Dr. Seuss

Whether you learned about environmentalism for the first time with The Lorax or enjoyed a day in with The Cat in the Hat, Dr. Seuss has impacted children for generations. From the publication of his first children’s book And To Think That I Saw It On Mulberry Street in 1937, it was clear that Dr. Seuss was going to be a mainstay in children’s literature. Seuss’ birthday is one of the biggest birthday celebrations in schools and libraries across the country. For those who are out of school, these lesser-known Dr. Seuss facts are not likely to be celebrated at the kids section of your local library.

 

Why Seuss Added the Doctor

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By now, most people know that Dr. Seuss was a pen name for Theodore Seuss Giesel. Giesel began using the name Seuss while he was in college, but didn’t add the doctor until later. His father had always wanted him to be a medical doctor, but Seuss clearly knew that wouldn’t happen. Rather than let his father down completely, Dr. Seuss became one of the most famous doctors of the past hundred years, whether or not he practiced medicine.

Dr. Seuss’ Dad might be even more interesting

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Even though Giesel’s father wanted him to become a man of medicine, he had his own unique career path. Giesel’s father was a professional beer brewmaster and was also a competitive marksman. Because of Prohibition, Seuss’ father had to change career paths pretty quickly. Maybe this is why he wanted his son to be in a more steady profession.

 

Political Statements in Doctor Seuss (or not)

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Lots of Dr. Seuss books are clearly political, from the environmental messages in The Lorax to the anti-fascist antics of Yertle the Turtle.  The famous line “a person’s a person, no matter how small” from Horton Hears a Who! has been used to support some controversial political causes.  Although this line was originally intended to help young readers understand that all people are important, the quote was used by a variety of pro-life groups to support their views. Dr. Seuss never made any statements about his stance of pro-life vs pro-choice, but he did threaten to sue one anti-abortion group for using the phrase on their letterhead. Seuss and his wife Audrey have both expressed that they don’t appreciate when famous Seuss quotes are taken out of context to support causes that they were never intended to support.

Seuss is Not the Only Pseudonym

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In addition to publishing more than sixty books under the name Dr. Seuss, Giesel also published a number of books under the name Theo LeSieg. His famous book Ten Apples Up On Top was not originally a Dr. Seuss book because it was published under a Theo LeSieg, even though now the book bares the name Dr. Seuss. In 1975, Giesel even wrote a book called Because a Little Bug Went Ka-Choo! under the name Rosetta Stone.

 

Even Dr. Seuss Had His Fun!

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While attending Dartmouth, Seuss was editor-in-chief of their humor magazine Jack-O-Lantern. Not unlike many other rowdy college students, Seuss and his friends were caught drinking in their dorm room one night, which got him kicked off the publication. Now, that might seem like a harsh punishment for a few beers, but Prohibition was still in effect when Seuss was in college. Giesel got his the best of them as he kept contributing to the publication under the name Seuss.

Work during World War II

image via brain pickings

Even if Giesel was too old to be drafted for the second world war, he certainly was working hard. In the early 1940s, he started as a cartoonist for PM, a magazine produced in New York. Giesel made over 400 cartoons for the newspaper, most of them propaganda. In 1942, he began working for the US Army in their documentary film division. One of the films he wrote, Your Job in Germany, was even directed by Frank Capra (the same guy who directed It’s a Wonderful Life and Mr. Smith Goes to Washington).

 

Seuss’ More Salacious Side

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Dr. Seuss, ever the pessimist about the publishing industry, wanted to make sure that his editors were paying attention. Apparently, Seuss used to slip in dirty images or swear words into his first drafts to keep everyone on their toes. Giesel even published a book called The Seven Lady Godivas: The True Facts of America’s Barest Family, which featured many nude drawings to illustrate the text. After its initial failure, as Seuss’ fame grew it was republished in 1987.

Featured image via Crushing Krisis

 

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You’ll Want This Book for your Kids

Hello readers!  Are you interested in a book for you kids? Well, look no further! Shaynae Clark, Detroit mother to Pierre Clark, a child with cochlear implants, has recently had her children’s book, We are Friends and We are Different!, published!  In it, she tells a story of different children coming together to be friends, despite their differences.

Clark’s book, according to the video above, is centered around children with various differences, because she seeks to teach the audience she is targeting that differences are ok in people; differences should not be the thing that defines who we can and can’t be friends with.

 

Clark’s book has gained inspiration from her son, who has Auditory Neuropathy Spectrum Disorder, where the inner ear successfully detects sound, but has a problem with sending sound from the ear to the brain.  As she has raised her child, she has embraced and understood what it meant to be an advocate for not only kids with cochlear implants but for other kids with disabilities and differences.

Clark says that her book is a good starting point for parents to begin important conversations with their kids about why people are different and to not be afraid of them.  If you are interested in her book, you may visit the amazon link above!

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Pure Gold: Jonathan Van Ness’ Children’s Book Debut

Jonathan Van Ness, the author of Over the Top and star of Queer Eye, has stepped out of his comfort zone. Bringing his signature humor and positivity, Van Ness has written a Children’s Book to inspire kids to celebrate everything that makes them special.

Image result for peanut goes for the gold jonathan van ness

Image Via Amazon

Looking back on his childhood, Van Ness never understood why he was more over the top than the rest of the children. It came to a point when he realized that there was little to no solace in books to make him feel as though his uniqueness was what made him special. This inspired Van Ness to write a book of his own that focused on a gender-neutral character in the form of a guinea pig.

 

Peanut Goes for the Gold is a heartfelt picture book that shows the uniqueness of a gender nonbinary guinea pig named Peanut. Peanut never fails to show their uniqueness. As the blurb states, “Whether it’s cartwheeling during basketball practice or cutting their own hair, this little guinea pig puts their own special twist on life.” By using gender-neutral pronouns, Van Ness gives room for children to insert themselves into the story in ways that they wouldn’t normally be able to.

Image result for over the top jonathan van ness

Image Via Amazon

Although Peanut can love themselves at such a young age, it wasn’t as easy for Van Ness to do the same. In his book, Over the Top, Van Ness shares his experiences with being different from other children. Growing up in a small Midwestern town, his unique personality caused “years of judgment, ridicule and trauma.”

 

Over the Top gives permission for Van Ness to share a side of himself that others haven’t seen. By sharing the pain and passion he felt at such a young age, it made headway for many to gain more insight into the whole Jonathan.

Through the good and the bad, Van Ness has been able to rise above and uplift children who may be experiencing the same.

 

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Professor Minerva McGonagall in Harry Potter movies

7 Facts About Minerva McGonagall

Today, October 4th marks the day of two very important birthdays: mine (not to brag) and my personal favorite Hogwarts professor, one who has proven to be the wisest and most badass character in all of Harry Potter, Minerva McGonagall!

 

Professor Minerva McGonagall in Harry Potter movies

Image via Vulture

 

While this surface-level description paints her in a blindingly positive light, the reality is that deep down (if you do your research), she has been through far more than anyone, muggle or wizard, had ever gone through or could even bear to live with and is actually one of the most tragic characters within the world that Rowling has crafted around the “Boy Who Lived,” all of which just adds an extra layer to her already complex character that came to be an all-round crowd favorite amongst the Potterheads (including me).

So, here are seven facts about Minerva McGonagall that you may not have known about from just reading the books or watching the movies. (Also, Maggie Smith’s strong acting chops adds another layer to the reader’s imagination of McGonagall’s badassery.)

 

1. Her sorting into Gryffindor took over five minutes

 

Sorting Hat on Hermione in 'Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone' movie

Image via Thought Catalog

 

If you actually counted every time a young witch or wizard gets sorted into a house in any of the movies, then you would get no more than a minute, or two tops.

Very much like Hermione (my personal favorite character of the series and whom the Hat was initially stumped on placing in either Ravenclaw or Gryffindor), Minerva has the special kind of qualities that can really stump – or stall – the Sorting Hat for at least five minutes straight upon placing a new-coming student into a House that it’s quite literally a “Hat-Stall,” until she was finally placed in Gryffindor, just like Hermione, and has really lived up to her House name in more ways than just being the House Head!

 

2. She was named after the Roman name for a Greek goddess

 

Painting of Athena with spear and shield

Image via commons.wikimedia.org

 

Speaking of living up to Gryffindor’s name, if you ever studied Greek/Roman mythology, then you should probably recognize McGonagall’s first name Minerva, which was the Roman name given to the Greek goddess Athena (a.k.a. goddess of wisdom, courage, and justice, especially when it comes to warfare).

As for her surname McGonagall, while it for sure shows off her Scottish lineage and was actually named after the Scottish poet William Topaz McGonagall (a.k.a. the worst poet known throughout the U.K.), it’s actually a name that’s not at all within the Wizarding World, which brings us to this fact…

 

3. She is a half-blood witch

 

Professor McGonagall duelling in Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire movie

Image via Bustle

While her mother Isobel Ross was a full-blooded witch, Minerva’s father Robert McGonagall, however, was a muggle, and Isobel, sworn by the International Statute of Secrecy not to reveal herself or anything about the Wizarding World to muggles, did not tell Robert until long after the birth of their first child Minerva, who started to exhibit her magical abilities to her parents.

Robert decided to stay and keep Isobel’s identity a secret, showing how loving and loyal her husband really was, and when her parents even later had two boys, Minerva helped her mother out in cleaning up the messes caused by her brothers’ magic.

(Keep her magically-mixed parents in mind: they will pop up again later…)

 

 

 

4. She won awards for Transfiguration and later, the Order of Merlin: First Class

 

Professor McGonagall teaching Transfiguration in 'Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone' movie

Image via YouTube

 

Not only is she awesome at her job teaching Transfiguration and at being a freakin’ Animagus (a.k.a. a product of Transfiguration that already made her more than qualified in teaching Transfiguration), she won awards for doing what she does best, including her badges for Prefect and Head Girl, top grades for her O.W.L and N.E.W.T exams, and upon leaving school, the Transfiguration Today: Most Promising Newcomer award.

Also, after the Battle of Hogwarts, because of her strong display of bravery (by far, her truest moment of living up to her Head of Gryffindor name) in protecting the Hogwarts grounds against Voldemort and his Death Eaters, she so rightfully earned the Order of Merlin: First Class, an award specifically given for acts of bravery or entertainment within the Wizarding World.

 

5. She was engaged to a muggle (for less than a day)

 

Professor McGonagall in 'Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince' movie

Image via Radio Times

 

Now, here is just a taste of what makes Minerva a tragic character of the series…

The summer after graduating from Hogwarts, Minerva returned home to Scotland and met Dougal McGregor, who was the son of a muggle farmer and with whom Minerva fell deeply in love. In fact, later that very summer, she accepted his proposal to marry him!

However, and this is the part where I get back to her parents, not willing to make the same mistake her mother made but still not willing to risk the secrecy of the Wizarding World, Minerva broke off the proposal the very next morning after their engagement, but she very much later regretted her decision to do so: during Voldemort’s rise, McGregor was murdered in the crossfire of an anti-muggle attack by the Death Eaters.

Try looking at her the same way you did before…

 

 

 

6. She married her former boss (for three years)

 

Professor McGonagall in 'Harry Potter' movie

Image via Hollywood.com

 

 

If you thought the previous point about Minerva’s tragic life was dark (but then again, this is the world of Harry Potter we’re talking about), here’s an extra dark layer…

While Elphinstone Urquart (Minerva’s boss from her first job working at the Ministry of Magic, a fact that I didn’t much room to make for on this list) over the years had asked Minerva to marry him, even while she was briefly engaged to McGregor, at one point, she finally accepted his proposal and of course, married and lived with him in a cottage at Hogsmeade. However, their marriage only lasted three years, as Urquart died from a Venomous Tentacula bite, and Minerva moved back to her Hogwarts chambers, leaving behind the home she shared with her last love.

I swear Minerva can never catch a break with her personal life!

 

7. She got to be permanent headmistress after Voldemort’s defeat

 

Professor McGonagall at the Battle of Hogwarts in 'Harry Potter and the DEathly Hallows: Part 2' movie

Image via The Book Addict’s Guide to MBTI

 

Well. At least she’s got one of many things going for her: after the Battle of Hogwarts, she was appointed Headmistress of Hogwarts. Permanently! And that is where we see her today…

I don’t think it’s too much of a coincidence that she and I both share a birthday: we’re both smart Libras with so much to offer the world. Happy Birthday, Minerva, my Hogwarts kindred spirit.

Also, to anyone out there in the U.K. if you ever find a normal-looking tabby cat looking down at a map, then you know where Minerva McGonagall is…

 

Featured Image via Wizards And Whatnot