Happy Thanksgiving! Catching up on reading…

FAADC7DA-F0F6-434F-9DE9-D2E7D97045C4Hello, I hope you all have a wonderful Thanksgiving holiday. I am in Munich, Germany. Before I left, I downloaded some books for the trip. I’m in the HERO mood lately. Actually, I’m in the process of trying to find an athletic challenge for next year. My daughter is going to train for a marathon. I am not a runner, I prefer hiking, so I am investigating those kinds of challenges.

In my research, I came across this GREAT book that I started reading last night, “Natural Born Heroes,” by Christopher McDougall. It’s really good, if you like learning about heroes. The author has a fast paced, high energy, writing style — not boring at all. For sure, you won’t put it down, you’ll feel like you are running right beside him on his quest to find out “what makes a Hero.”

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He says a Hero is not about strength and force, but about compassion, because hero’s are known as the protectors. He’s got all sorts of stories and analogies. I like it!

Oh, he has a chapter on Greek Mythology.  This brought back memories of my Italian mother. While we were eating dinner, she would read to us from this  Greek Myths book. Growing up in Italy, when she was in school, they were taught about Greek Mythology, so she would say it was her “DUTY” to teach us as well. And guess what, this book is a bit “old looking now,” but my Mom pulls it out to read to the grandchildren. YES, they must learn about Greek Mythology too! I smile when I see this book.

Ok, I’m off to explore Munich, one of my favorite cities.

It’s raining… Again, I think of my mother. When there was lightning she would say, “Zeus is mad at us! You see how he is throwing thunder bolts from the sky.”

Books: Do you have one that really made you “think?”

9F251DD9-289A-465B-912A-71DCC1758A83Someone asked me if I read a book that really made me “think” about life and moved me. I said, “YES,” immediately, because I came across Anita Moorjani’s book, “Dying to Be Me,” a few years ago and I still think about different parts of her book.

One day, I was watching Dr. Wayne W. Dyer on television, he was giving one of his inspirational talks. In the middle of the show, he said he wanted to introduce us to a woman he had met who had an interesting story. In walked, Anita Moorjani.

Moorjani began to share her story of having cancer and how she was in the hospital, went out of her body, was able to see her very sick self and reflect on “how” she could have ended up that way. As she says on the cover of the book, she decided that she wanted to live and once she re-entered her body in the hospital, she knew she was going to be CANCER FREE.

After watching Dyer’s show, I was curious to read Moorjani’s book. What I liked about her book is that she starts from her childhood to tell the story of her life and how she feels she got cancer. It’s a very interesting book.

If you are pressed for reading time, you can view her TEDx Bay Area.

Sometimes a book like this crosses our path, which makes us “think” about life.

Free Library is back! Expats in Hong Kong, finding prayer…

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You never know what you are going to find on a walk. A friend of mine sent me a picture of this Little FREE Library she found. I continue to be amazed at how creative these neighborhood libraries can be. Normally, I see them as big bird houses, but this was indeed different. I asked her to see what books they had inside.

Take a look, one book called, “The Expatriates” by Janice Y.K. Lee about three female expats in Hong Kong. Then a second book called, “The Water Will Hold You / A Skeptic Learns to Pray,” by Lindsey Crittenden.

Two books, so different. I looked them up online, click on the links. I downloaded and started reading the second book by Crittenden. It’s a bit sad, it deals with family issues. At the same time, the author learns to find prayer and how she does that is interesting.

So, if you walk by a library, stop and take a peek, who knows what you’ll find!

Books in Vending Machines… thanks to JetBlue and Random House

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Photo from ABC News story (Sept. 12, 2016) by Danielle Genet, “JetBlue’s Soar with Reading Book Vending Machine Program Expands to Florida.”

Like many people, I love books! As a child, books changed my life. They allowed me to escape from school, chores (when I convinced my Mom I was actually studying), dream, explore, learn — BOOKS were wonderful!

My Italian mother read books constantly. She insisted that her children read and learn about the world. One of the first really interesting books she gave me was an historical novel by Mika Waltari called, “The Egyptian.” I was glued to that book and next was ALL of Pearl S. Buck’s books about China. That’s how I fell in love with China.

Today I was reading through the latest Publisher’s Weekly newsletter and they had this exciting story about JetBlue and Random House teaming up to offer summer books to children in underserved communities through vending machines. I was thrilled about this. The photo I have above is from an ABC News 2016 “news clip.” You can see these are beautiful vending machines with a variety of books.

Jetblue Vending Machine 2Summer 2016 this book program was in Detroit. This summer they are in Florida. The program called, “Soar with Reading” was created to offer summer reading to children in communities where there are no books, which they call “book deserts.”  The program has been successful in Washington, D.C. and Detroit. Children have started book clubs and parents/teachers say children have increased their vocabulary too.

If you believe ALL children should have a book, then CAST YOUR VOTE!

Go to Soar with Reading and PLACE YOUR VOTE for the next city where JetBlue should donate books. Your options are Boston, San Francisco, New York or Los Angeles.

Right now, Boston is winning!

Come on San Francisco, let’s help OUR city!

VOTE TODAY — Spread the word about this great program!

Learning the Chinese Characters in a FUN way…

learning-chinese-charactersAre you trying to learn Chinese and you are overwhelmed with how many characters you would need to learn? While there are 50,000 characters, a Chinese friend told me that for basic reading I would only need to learn about 3,000 of them. My head was swimming in a sea of characters, only need to learn 3,000?  I had a thought that training to climb Mt. Everest might be easier.

As destiny would have it, I finally had my first introduction to Chinese characters this weekend. I stopped off at the Amazon bookstore. As I am writing a children’s picture book, I decided to do some research. I sauntered over to the children’s book section. I looked at ALL sorts of books, not many caught my attention even though some had been on the “best sellers” list. For me, the illustrations for many of the books were way too busy. What happened to simplicity, I thought?

THEN, I took a few steps to right, looked up to the top shelf and a beautifully illustrated book caught my eye called, “The Pet Dragon,” by Christoph Niemann. It was very sweet and innocent looking and who doesn’t love a story with a dragon! As I opened the book the author/illustrator wrote a message that he had been in China and learned his first Chinese characters there. Excited with what he learned, he wanted to share this with us, his result is this picture book.

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learning-chinese-characters-page-3He cleverly writes his story teaching us Chinese characters by adding them into the illustrations, so we can visually remember the Chinese characters in a humorous way. Here I show you a few pages from the book, so you can better understand what I mean.

This is lovely book. I would highly recommend buying it as a gift. I could see children wanting to read it over and over as they practice writing Chinese characters. Well done, Mr. Niemann!