Back to School Review: Part 2 – by Cara Potapshyn Meyers



GIVEAWAY: Back to School with Hallmark

Along with the notebooks, pencils and paper, I hope you’ll consider adding “confidence” and “encouragement” to your shopping list for back-to-school. Hallmark can help you support kids and their emotional wellbeing as they head back to class.

Hallmark along with is hosting a Give-away featuring Hallmark’s Back-to-School Care Package which includes:

•        A pack of Hallmark’s Kids Collection greeting cards, which feature kid-appropriate topics from managing difficult academic or social situations, to achieving a personal goal in the classroom or on the field.

•        A few of Hallmark’s “any day” greeting cards for kids, featuring music sensation Justin Bieber.

•        Lunchbox Notes, which offer 50 ways for you to add a little love to lunchtime.

•        Bug’Em, a pint-sized plush that can hold cards and other tokens of encouragement and give an unexpected lift to any youngster’s day.

If your child is particularly nervous about the first day, you might be interested in Nugget the Dog Interactive Story Buddy and his book Nugget’s First Day of School. Nugget, a cuddly pup, speaks up to reply aloud to key phrases in his book. The story chronicles Nugget’s first day of dog school, from the nerves beforehand to all the new puppy pals he makes during the day, and his excitement to return.

What words and phrases does your child need to hear from you at this important milestone and all through the school year? Hallmark would love to read about the ways in which you encourage your child. To enter the Give-away, please comment on the words and phrases you use to support your children as they head back to school. Provide your name and full e-mail address. Send your comment to: All comments must be received by September 7, 2012 to be eligible. Winner will be chosen at random and notified via e-mail.

If you would like more information, please visit


The Scribble Diary

Seven years ago, Lisa Currie started the Scribble Diary website ( as a small project to capture the works of some of her favorite illustrators. Little did she know that her homemade project would turn into a worldwide phenomenon—as people from around the globe have shared their own thoughtful, wacky, and intricate takes on her doodle prompts. Now, with her new book, THE SCRIBBLE DIARY: My Brain Right Now, Currie is encouraging us to record the details of our days through a unique visual format. 

THE SCRIBBLE DIARY will help you unleash your inner artist and get your creative thoughts and ideas out of your brain and onto the paper. Based on the original sketch that Currie created, this collection contains a wide range of quirky, open-ended and inspiring prompts that will encourage readers to create a visual record of their feelings—with words, pictures, doodles, color and more!

THE SCRIBBLE DIARY can also be used:

·         In the classroom: teachers can use exercises to get shy students out of their shell, to help ease the transition for new students, as well as students who face learning disabilities or difficulty speaking English

·          In hospitals and other mental health facilities: counselors and psychologists can use visually appealing format of THE SCRIBBLE DIARY to engage their patients, and help express their thoughts 

·          In summer camps and after-school programs: let the imaginations of children roam free as they decorate the pages from THE SCRIBBLE DIARY

·           And much much more!

Fans of Keri Smith’s work and creative types of all ages will welcome this all new way of keeping a diary.  

As many of our readers are aware, my son has a speech and language disability. When I first took a look at the Scribble Diary, I thought, what a terrific way for my son to not only express himself, but to help him with his deficits without him realizing it! My perception was right on the nose! I used the Scribble Diary with my son before he went to sleep away camp this summer so that he would be comfortable with it. I then sent it away to camp with him knowing that if he had downtime, he would much rather work on his Scribble Diary rather than write a letter or read a book. Again, I was correct. My son filled out several pages of the Scribble Diary while away. Since he has been home, I have continued to encourage him to use the Scribble Diary to describe or plan his day, even write about the best or funniest part of his day. His excerpts are sometimes hysterical!! I plan to continue to use this book with him to not only work on his language skills, but to practice organizational skills and letting become aware that it is okay to express himself both visually as well as through written word.

This book is not only for children with disabilities, however. Anyone can use it, even adults who want to relieve stress or just add some humor to their day! There are countless uses for this wonderful book! I encourage you to see for yourself! For more information, please visit

About the author:

Lisa Currie is an illustrator living in Australia.


Preschool Gems

When preschool teacher Leslie McCollom created the @PreschoolGems Twitter feed in 2010, it was because precious jewels were slipping through her fingers every day. Jewels like, “I don’t care about time outs. I only care about my life,” “Feed me pizza or I’ll die,” and “OK, but I’m still a dragon.” Although she swore she’d remember these gems forever, in five minutes they would vanish from her mind, never to be heard again by human ears. So McCollom became a covert anthropologist in the secret world of children, and when she launched her feed with her funniest findings, her followers quickly grew to more than 150,000 followers to date!

You can watch McCollom’s beautiful new book trailer by clicking here.

PRESCHOOL GEMS: Love, Death, Magic, and Other Surprising Treasures from the Mouths of Babes is McCollom’s wonderful collection of the most bizarre, hilarious, and jaw-dropping things overheard at her school.

Some of the many entertaining quotes include:

•              “My mom lived in the nineties.”

•              “Something’s happening with my butt.”

•              “People are hamburgers in America.”

•              “I have a cool trick, but it’s not allowed.”

By turns sweet, sinister, and naively sincere, these treasures show that kids are really just miniature people who are weirder and a lot less inhibited than their adult counterparts. PRESCHOOL GEMS is sure to delight parents, teachers and anyone looking for a laugh.

I was grinning and laughing out loud as I read through this adorable book! Not only is it a “quick read,” it adds cute drawings to bring additional delight to the book. Some of my personal favorite quotes were: “Tell us a story from your brain,” “I like all the colors except the colors of the rainbow,” “Who are me?” and “It was a long, long time ago. It was the day before this day.” Preschool Gems will have you chuckling as you read, thinking about your own child’s “quips,” and appreciating the specialness of unbridled youth! A great way to start out the school year! Before the “Homework Ghost” comes to visit!

Retail Price: $13

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