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A Vacation Journal Giveaway for Kids

The Perfect Giveaway for This Summer’s Getaway!

The Victoria Chart Company and Good Reads With Ronna want your children to have a wonderful summer vacation and what better way to do that than with a giveaway?! 

We’ve got My Vacation Journal  ($6.99, ages 4 and up) to send to one lucky winner. Here’s a chance for your child to record all those special, once-in-a-lifetime moments in print and maybe start a new family tradition. 

Just send us an email to with your name and address, then write a comment below about what your child loves about taking vacations to complete your entry. Be sure to write Vacation Journal Giveaway in the email subject line. Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter for more entries to the giveaway. Contest ends at midnight on Monday, July 30th. Contest rules can be found by clicking here. Good luck!

If you’re not familiar with The Victoria Chart Company, a leading UK developer of children’s reward charts and other products for positive child development (and available here in the U.S.), you really should be. The products are as affordable as they are practical. The My Vacation Journal prize in particular, billed as “A fun activity book for your time away from school!” can credit its creation to company founder Victoria Ballard. “As a child I would often write daily accounts of my family vacations” says the Company’s Founder, Victoria Ballard, “and it is wonderful that I can now share them with my children. I want other families to benefit from these wonderful keepsakes that hold such memories.”

Head over to Facebook and like this company at to be eligible for a 15% product discount and other offers, freebies and news.  They’ve also got a neat app, “Go Rewards” suitable for iPhone, iPodTouch, iPad and Android.

I wish I had had this 7 day journal as a kid whose parents frequently took my brother and I on mini-jaunts now long forgotten. I tended to write down impressions on napkins, postcards, place mats and other scraps that got lost, tossed or ruined by spilled water. There would be so much more meaning if I could see a receipt, a drawing or ticket stub to understand what I was feeling at the time, who I was with and what made the trip so terrific. Now these connections are at your child’s fingertips. Another plus, there’s an opening page with tips for parents on how to best utilize the journal and make the most of vacation time.

Children are also encouraged to take their Vacation Journal to school to show teachers and friends. What a great way to relive all the summer fun!

Fun Exploring Under & On the Sea

Today’s selection of ‘sea and do’ books is reviewed by Debbie Glade.

t6415_main_1Your daughter will have oodles of fun reading, learning and doing with Oodles of Ocean Fun from American Girl. This spiral bound book is chock full of unique activities, all with an ocean theme of course. Inside you’ll find pages to unfold, rip out and tear apart. There are posters, puzzles, cards, crafts, stickers, pages to color and facts to read. It’s always exciting for a child to get a busy book like this one. There’s enough stuff in here to keep her entertained for hours, making this is a great book for a car or plane trip or even just a rainy day.

The Oceanology Handbook: A Course for Underwater Explorers by Professor Pierre Aronnax, is one of those lovely, high quality exploration books we’ve come to know and love from Candlewick Press. The book has an old world look with ivory pages, 0763648744medhistorical-looking illustrations, some script writing and a neat scroll design running down one side of each page. It is divided into three sections: Exploring the Oceans: with 12 chapters on the history of the ocean and its vessels; Understanding the Oceans: with 7 chapters on the science of the constantly changing physical nature of the ocean, and Life in the Oceans: with 13 chapters on all the creatures who live under the sea. Readers learn about how the sea is navigated, sunken treasures, currents, tides, the ocean floor, marine plants and animals, the work of Charles Darwin and so much more. In the back of the book is a 4-panel foldout of gorgeous ocean stickers, a beautiful ending to a beautiful book. This one is a definite keeper!

debbieglade1Debbie Glade, today’s guest reviewer, is the author, illustrator and voice talent of the award-winning children’s picture book The Travel Adventures of Lilly P Badilly: Costa Rica, published by Smart Poodle Publishing. She visits South Florida schools with her reading, writing and geography programs. For years, Debbie was a travel writer for luxury cruise lines. She writes parenting articles for various websites and is the Geography Awareness Editor for She blogs daily at

Two Engaging New Activity Books From Chicago Review Press

9781556529559Theodore Roosevelt, Brains, Brawn and a Love of Nature

Reading Theodore Roosevelt for Kids: His Life and Times by Kerrie Logan Hollihan made me realize that there is so much I do not know about the fascinating lives of our past presidents, including this 26th President of the U.S. Did you know that both Roosevelt’s wife, Alice, and his mother died on the very same day in 1884? Or that his oldest child, Alice, named after her mother, was a wild and outspoken woman, who carried a green snake in her purse named after her stepmother’s skinny sister?

Born in 1858 to a wealthy family in New York, as a young boy, Roosevelt was called “Teddie” by his parents (and later “Teddy” by all). Young Teddie was a sickly, asthmatic child, but that did not stop him from seeking knowledge about the world. He was fascinated by nature and read voraciously about a variety of subjects that interested him. He hunted, collected birds, insects and fish and studied them in detail. Due to the family’s wealth, the Roosevelts traveled a great deal, and by the time Roosevelt attended college he had been to Europe twice as well as the Middle East.

Readers of this book will discover much more about his fascinating, adventurous personal life and how Roosevelt often voiced his political opinions while attending Harvard, leading to his long political career. He was elected to the New York State Assembly in 1881, served as Republican Vice President to William McKinley in 1900 and took over office as President (as the youngest to ever hold office at age 42) when McKinley was assassinated in 1901. President Roosevelt was loved for his great balance of understanding between big business and ordinary working class people. He believed people should be judged individually and not classified by popular opinion. His role in helping put an end to the Russo-Japanese war earned him a Nobel Prize for Peace. Today Teddy Roosevelt is remembered for his adventure travel, love of nature and his laws to preserve our nation’s natural wonders; he worked hard to protect our forests and established the U.S. National Park Service.

Kids will not only learn fascinating facts about Roosevelt but can also participate in 21 fun activities, such as drawing out Roosevelt’s many travels on a world map, stargazing by seasons and making a campaign button. There are resources in the back of the book to guide curious readers to more information.

9781569762806Native Americans, Culture, Conflicts and Treaties

Did you know that there are 562 different American Indian Tribes? Or that the true story of Pocahontas and John Smith is that Pocahontas was a young child when she met the much older John Smith, and there was never a romance between them? You’ll discover these facts and many more when you read   Native American History for Kids by Karen Bush Gibson.

There is a great deal of essential information about American Indians packed into this book including theories on how Indians arrived on the North American Continent, what life was like when European settlers came to America, wars and peace treaties, the destruction of many reservations at the end of the 19th Century, and modern lifestyles for Native Americans.

I love the offset copy in the book that features famous Native Americans like Jim Thorpe, one of the best athletes in U.S .history, who faced many hardships, and famous English settlers like Mary Musgrove Matthews Bosomworth, an interpreter who was instrumental in encouraging peace between Indians and settlers in the 1730s.

Kids who read this book will not only get insight into the lives of Native Americans but will also get important lessons on many different milestones in American history, such as the Louisiana Purchase, the Civil War and much more. Plus there are 21 activities; how to make Arapaho Fry Bread; creating a Three-Sisters Garden; making a totem pole; and even how to decipher a Navajo code. There’s a glossary of important terms and a detailed index at the back of the book. Everyone in the family should read this and talk about what they’ve learned together!

What I like about the Chicago Review Press biographical/history books for kids is that they are straight-forward, comprehensive, informative and never patronizing to young readers. Even though they are written for children, they are always a great read for adults too. They encourage you think, inspire you to do great things and leave you yearning to research more about the subject.

debbiegladeDebbie Glade, today’s guest reviewer, is the author, illustrator and voice talent of the award-winning children’s picture book The Travel Adventures of Lilly P Badilly: Costa Rica, published by Smart Poodle Publishing. She visits South Florida schools with her reading, writing and geography programs. For years, Debbie was a travel writer for luxury cruise lines. She writes parenting articles for various websites and is the Geography Awareness Editor for She blogs daily at

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