Saturday, February 11, 2006

Childrens Books

How do you introduce your child to books? The easiest way to do this is reading stories with your children and you can start it as soon as possible. Reading aloud develops a special relationship between you and your child. Toronto Public Library has a guide for Parents "Introducing Your Child to Books." This list has recommendations for children of all ages and also has a list for parents who want to learn how to introduce their children to books. also has a list of 100 best books for children selected by the National Education Association. This list is also divided into age groups and has book and author links to any TeachersFirst resources and lesson ideas.

Another good source is's Children's Books category. They also have books categorized in age groups and categories. is a great resource, specially when you are buying books for children. You can see the best selling books, popular pre orders, award winning books in children's literature and recommendations from Amazon editors, other parents and teachers.

North West Regional Educational Laboratory offers a very informative resource on the developmental considerations in selecting books for children. At Bank Street College of Education, the Children's Book Committee annually reviews approximately three thousand books to select the six hundred or so that they believe are the best books published for children that year. In the introduction they write:
In selecting books, we give high priority to a book' s appropriateness to a child's stage of emotional, social, and cognitive development. One word of caution: individual children's development is highly variable. Our guidelines are just guidelines. Know the children you're working with, their fears, wonders, and interests, and adjust your selections accordingly.
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Useful Parenting Books

You're Wearing That? Understanding Mothers and Daughters in Conversation by Deborah Tannen

Though this book doesn't promises a rescue plan but it gives you a very insightful view of relationship between mothers and their daughters. This book is about how words develop a relationship between them and the focus is on how words work and how they could send a negative or totally different message. This book doesn't gives you the tools to overcome those conversations but it does make you realize how daughters and mothers talk to eachother and how it sometimes leads to troubled situations. Deborah Tannen is also author of Best selling "You Just Don't Understand: Women and Men in Conversation" Which described the communication between women and men in the same fashion as her new book. For the trouble teenage years see the next book in this list.

Stop Negotiating With Your Teen
: Strategies for Parenting Your Angry, Manipulative, Moody, or Depressed Adolescent by Janet Sasson Edgette

This book is for parents who need permission to be parents. Author Janet Edgette advises a firm and authoritive approach to deal with teenage years. It may sound rude to some parents and teenagers but it is not rude. Janet talks about balance between freedom and discipline for growing kids. An user wrote a review to this book for college psychology course:
Many parents abdicate their responsibility to enforce consequences when their child misbehaves because they want to avoid conflict and hope the teen will grow out of this phase. In particular, many seem to subscribe to the sociocultural myth that teens are prone to mood swings due to "hormones run amok", and "can't help being moody and should be excused for it". Edgette points out that these "bad moods" typically blow over, and parents' acceptance of rude behavior to avoid conflict simply leads to loss of authority and greater conflicts. Another myth is that teens need "free rein" to learn autonomy. She reminds us that giving "free rein" is easy, but it should be balanced with direction and accountability so kids learn not just how to make decisions, but how to make good decisions. A final myth is that teens "don't like talking with their parents about serious issues and concerns". Edgette explains that teens do listen, but parents should avoid being patronizing or judgmental, and keep the conversation in the form of a dialogue, not a lecture.
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Thursday, February 09, 2006

Future of Reading

Last month, Guardian Unlimited published an special report about the future of books. The quest for the report was:
The world of publishing stands on the cusp of the greatest innovation since Gutenberg. With cheap, portable electronic readers just around the corner, what is the future of the printed book?
The story revolves around the technological breakthroughs in the field of publishing and the fears of concerned publishers about the evolution of e-publishing. From a readers point of view it doesn't discusses exactly how people feel about reading books on digital screens.

Some five years ago some people had the same discussion on the PC Magazine forums. Reading their posts I felt that not much has changed during last five years. I often read books on my PC and I find a little less interesting then reading a book on bed or in the bath tub. May be a portable lite-weight e-reader will provide me with the freedom of taking my ebooks anywhere with me, but what about the joy of turning pages? How I'll feel the smell of my new book and get excited for reading it? Only time will tell but for me, I feel that it will take atleast a decade to change my reading habits completely.

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Valentine's Day Gift Ideas

valentine's day gift ideas
Marley & Me : Life and Love with the World's Worst Dog by John Grogan

Philadelphia Inquirer columnist John Grogan and his wife Jenny decided that owning a dog would give them a foretaste of the parenthood they anticipated. "Oh my. I don't think I've ever seen anything so cute in my life." said Grogan's wife when they went to look at puppies and ended up picking out Marley. Marley was a cute, sweet and affectionate puppy who grew into a naughty dog. Check out Book Reviews on Amazon, Excerpt, and Official website.

I would also like to suggest, What to Expect When You're Expecting by Heidi Murkoff. Even after nineteen years the book is still on the reading list of every mother, married couples, single parents and even childless singles. A perfect companion to this book is The Expectant Father offering facts, tips and advice for Dads-To-Be.

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Wednesday, February 08, 2006

The world is flat by Thomas L. Friedman

The planet we live in is not flat, we learnt that centuries ago but Thomas Friedman in his book about the brief history of the twenty first century argues that The world is flattening. It is a book about the history of future as it seems to be shaping from the history of last few years. This book details how globalization, terrorism, finance and economic boom in China and India is going to shape our world in coming days. The main theme of this book is the metaphor for the global leveling of competition and capability through globalization. Friedman analyzes how accelerated change is made possible by intersecting technological advances and social protocols, e.g. cell phones, Internet, open source software, etc. He criticizes societies that resist these changes. He emphasizes the inevitability of a rapid pace of change and the extent to which emerging abilities of individuals and developing countries are creating many pressures on businesses and individuals in the United States; he has special advice for Americans and for the developing world (but says almost nothing about Europe). The flattening of the world makes possible complex supply chains based on value-added services, with products in all industries being increasingly leveraged through competitive commoditization and the possibility of using labor and services in emerging markets like India and China. Friedman's is a popular work based on much personal research, travel, conversation, and reflection. In his characteristic style, he combines in The World Is Flat conceptual analysis accessible to a broad public with personal anecdotes and opinions.

In a recent interview Friedman described the flattening of the world as:
What I mean when I say that the world is flat is that sometime in the late 1990s a whole set of technologies and political events converged--including the fall of the Berlin Wall, the rise of the Internet, the diffusion of the Windows operating system, the creation of a global fiber-optic network, and the creation of interoperable software applications, which made it very easy for people all over the world to work together--that leveled the playing field. It created a global platform that allowed more people to plug and play, collaborate and compete, share knowledge and share work, than anything we have ever seen in the history of the world. My book traces how that platform evolved and what it means for companies, countries, and individuals.

From the author website:
In this brilliant new book, the award-winning New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman demystifies the brave new world for readers, allowing them to make sense of the often bewildering global scene unfolding before their eyes. With his inimitable ability to translate complex foreign policy and economic issues, Friedman explains how the flattening of the world happened at the dawn of the twenty-first century; what it means to countries, companies, communities, and individuals; and how governments and societies can, and must, adapt.

Author Profile: Thomas L. Friendman

Thomas L. Friedman (born July 20, 1953) is a journalist, columnist and author of The Lexus and the Olive Tree and the World is Flat. He is currently working as an Op-Ed columnist for the New York Times. His columns, concentrating mainly on foreign affairs, appear in the Op-Ed page on Wednesdays and Fridays. Friedman is known for advocating a compromise peace between Israel and the Palestinians, modernization of the Arab world and globalization, while sometimes remarking on their potential pitfalls. His books address various aspects of international politics, from a centrist, neoliberal perspective on the political spectrum. Because of his writings, he has been called "technology-obsessed".

n addition to his writings, Friedman has also hosted several documentaries for the Discovery Channel from various locations around the world. In "Straddling the Fence" (2003), he visited the West Bank and spoke to Israelis and Palestinians about the Israeli security fence and its impact on their lives. Also in 2003, "Thomas L. Friedman Reporting: Searching for the Roots of 9-11" aired on the Discovery Times Channel. This program investigated the reason for Muslim hatred of the United States, and how the Sept. 11th attacks in New York, Pennslyvania, and The Pentagon were viewed in the Muslim world. In "The Other Side of Outsourcing" (2004), he visited a call center in Bangalore, interviewing the young Indians working there, and then travelled to an impoverished rural part of India, where he debated the pros and cons of globalization with locals (this trip spawned his eventual bestselling book "The World is Flat"). In "Does Europe Hate Us?" (2005), he travelled through Britain, France and Germany, talking with academics, journalists, students, young Muslims and others about the nature of the strained relationship between Europe and the United States. Source: Wikipedia.

Friedman's recent columns can be read here.

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Monday, February 06, 2006

Free Book Online

HarperCollins has started a program, enabling readers to have a free look at the full content of a book online. The program is supported by Google Ads and the book is 'Go It Alone! The Secret to Building a Successful Business on Your Own' by Bruce Judson. The full text of this book is available for reading and any one who wants to read can visit the author's website.

Intrestingly, the HarperCollins is a member of Association of American Publishers which filed lawsuits against Google, alleging that the Google Print is illegally scanning and indexing copyrighted works. Bruce Judson's free online book is displaying Ads by Google on the left sidebar.

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Sunday, February 05, 2006

American Vertigo by Avec Levy

The Atlantic Monthly gave an assignment to French journalist, activist, writer and filmmaker, Avec Levy to follow in the footsteps of another well-read French visitor, Alexis de Tocqueville, who in 1831 wrote the classic political travelogue, Democracy in America. American Vertigo is the result of this assignment where Avec M. Levy, an outsider, looks and writes about the political, social and economical situation in the U.S.

Bob Minzesheimer on USA Today writes:
After 1,500 miles of "slow travel" across America, the French writer Bernard-Henri Lévy struggles with his conclusions about "this magnificent, mad country, laboratory of the best and worst, greedy and modest, at home in the world and self-obsessed, puritan and outrageous, facing toward the future and yet obsessed with its memories."
The book has recieved more negative reviews from critics. Garrison Keillor from New York Times found it to be an irritating book:
He worships Woody Allen and Charlie Rose in terms that would make Donald Trump cringe with embarrassment. He admires Warren Beatty, though he sees Beatty at a public event "among these rich and beautiful who, as always in America . . . form a masquerade of the living dead, each one more facelifted and mummified than the next, fierce, a little mutant-looking, inhuman, ultimately disappointing." Lévy is quite comfortable with phrases like "as always in America." Bombast comes naturally to him. Rain falls on the crowd gathered for the dedication of the Clinton library in Little Rock, and to Lévy, it signifies the demise of the Democratic Party. As always with French writers, Lévy is short on the facts, long on conclusions. He has a brief encounter with a young man outside of Montgomery, Ala. ("I listen to him tell me, as if he were justifying himself, about his attachment to this region"), and suddenly sees that the young man has "all the reflexes of Southern culture" and the "studied nonchalance . . . so characteristic of the region." With his X-ray vision, Lévy is able to reach tall conclusions with a single bound.
I think what most reviewers forgot while reviewing this book is the simple fact that this is how America appears to an outsider. Being an American you take the over all environment around you naturally but for him it was strange and fantastic as an reviewer Beth puts it:
Yes, I like the book. Not because its about anything in America I know, but because of the elements of America I either didn't know about or didn't care that much about. Putting myself in the authors shoes I tried to visualize how he chose the places and people he was writing about. American Vertigo : Traveling America in the Footsteps of Tocqueville

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