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Get Your Girl…Go Squirrel!

Go Girl!, Media - Allison Kenny - July 10, 2016

In her kindergarten and 1st grade year, my little girl was always bringing home these 10 page paperback early readers with just a few words to a page. The featured cats and monkeys with lots of repeat phrases to make reading fun and accessible. As I sat with her each afternoon to practice her reading, I listened to storylines that were bland (ahem…hella boring) and thought, “I can do better than that.”

What are the words I want my daughter to read in the precious moments she’s reading for the very first time? As her critical thinking skills are just starting to develop, what characters do I want her to examine? What concepts do I hope she’ll dig into and ask questions about?

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It did not take long for me to generate a set of 9 simple stories that star a powerful girl (ahem…Squirrel) with the courage to learn from her mistakes. Are these stories about my daughter? YES. They are a celebration of all the things she has had the courage to learn since coming home to us. But our daughter is not the Squirrel in the story. Our daughter is one of the featured Go Girls cheering Squirrel on. Look for the girl with glasses. She helps Squirrel remember how to be a good friend, how to stay flexible, how to manage big feelings and how to love herself just as she is. These are the values I have for our girl. They all match up to the Go Girls! Culture Code and are reinforced in our summer camp.

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My daughter and her friends love coloring in these books. Christy Booth’s illustrations are so darling, that I can’t help but join in and color right along with them. Christy is an expressive arts therapist and captures the emotional life of children through simple shape and design in a way I didn’t know was possible.  Saturday mornings at our house look like each of the 3 Go Squirrel Coloring Books out with every colored pencil in the house. Mama Lynn, Squirrel and I each take book, drink tea and color…a sweet time I’ll always remember.

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I hope you love these books as much I loved making them. Order one book or all 3. Color with your kids- I’d love to know how it goes.

 

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The Moment our Adopted Daughter Claimed Her New Village

Foster/Adoption, Learning, Parenting - Lynn Johnson - April 27, 2015

Last week, I shared about how utterly moved I was when the Squirrel told me that she loved me for the first time.

As it turns out, she loves all of you as well.

Yesterday, as part of her “patch time” (see my post “Pirate Day” for explanation), the Squirrel had the idea to do some cutting.  Ever since her participation in Art Yowza camp last December, this is a skill she’s working to improve.  She’s determined to get better and better at it.  Patch Time is a great opportunity to practice as it is a focused activity that really engages her “lazy” eye.

I decided to draw shapes for Squirrel to cut.  As this was happening, Squirrel started asking me to write little love messages on each shape.  It started with “I Love Roxie” and “I Love Rufus” (our dogs).  Then, it progressed to a few close friends “I love Blaine.”  Until the Squirrel had an idea to make 1000 of these love shapes.  “They could be invitations to my birthday party!”

Seeing as her birthday is not until September (and she has no ability to grasp how long away that is), we convinced her instead to glue the shapes to a large piece of chart paper so that we can keep them for later.  I drew a tree for the background and together, we created this…

I love this piece so much because it is filled with all the family and friends she has claimed in just the last 6 months of this new life she was thrust into.  She has literally forged out new shapes and declared her love for her new village.  This simple “Patch Time” fine motor activity morphed into spiritual exercise; an act of gratitude aided by kid scissors and a glue stick.

 

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