NEW RELEASE #BookReview of The Plastic Magician by Charlie N. Holmberg (@CNHolmberg )#UrbanFantasy #NetGalley



The Plastic Magician

(The Paper Magician Series #4)

by Charlie N. Holmberg

Release date: May 15th, 2018


Plastic Magician by CN Holmberg Cover

I received a complimentary ARC copy of  The Plastic Magician (The Paper Magician #4 Spin-Off) by Charlie N. Holmberg from NetGalley and 47th North

New to the world of Charlie N. Holmberg I have to say I was pleasantly surprised by The Plastic Magician. This book although a spin-off of the popular YA Paper Magician Series (which I have yet to read) this book definitely works as a stand-alone.

The Plastic Magician treats us to twenty-year-old Polymaker (Plastic Magician) Alvie Brechenmacher’s adventures apprenticing abroad.  Down to earth, intelligent and highly enthusiastic, Alvie leaves her German-American family in the states to apprentice for the world-renowned inventor and Polymaker, Magician Praff in London England.

Enroute she meets a rather rude gentleman who causes her to get off at the wrong train station and this is where her adventure begins. Along her journey, Alvie meets wonderful friends, a kind-hearted love interest and a mentor who respects and believes in her.  Magician Praff and Alvie work on a life-changing invention to not only help a friend but to present at a world-famous convention(contest) for Magicians.  Magician Praff has already won the elite contest and it helped establish him as one of the best Polymakers in the world.  When word gets out to rivals that they are presenting a groundbreaking device that will help many people,  their work and lives are put in peril.

Holmberg does a fantastic job crafting this fantastical cozy mystery. She creates a unique, fun magic system and her characters are interesting, quirky and downright loveable. Although the mystery is fairly predictable, I really didn’t mind because I liked the sweet story that unfolded along the way.  There is a bit of adventure, a bit of romance and a great story that keeps you interested in Alvie’s journey.  

All in all a fantastic, fun read that I would highly recommend for young and old alike.


#Review of Beneath the Sugar Sky by Seanan McGuire #UrbanFantasy by Belinda Witzenhausen



Beneath the Sugar Sky (Wayward Children #3)

by Seanan McGuire

Release date: January 9th, 2018


I received a complimentary ARC copy of Beneath the Sugar Sky (Wayward Children #3) by Seanan McGuire from NetGalley and Tor in order to read and give an honest review.

Seanan McGuire is definitely one of my favorite fantasy authors. Her books have it all, perfect prose, masterful plots, exciting worlds and engaging characters and the same is true for her Wayward Children series. This dark and whimsical series like all of her work is so well written that it grabs hold of you and takes you twisting and turning into fascinating new worlds. McGuire addresses, race, sexuality, religion, illness, disabilities, mental health etc. and handles it with such nuance.  Her characters are multifaceted and each face personal challenges that so many can relate to.  

The series revolves around students housed at Eleanor West’s Home for Wayward Children.  The Home for Wayward Children is a safe haven for children who have traveled to different…

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March 2017 Newsletter


Welcome Back to the “NEW” Professor Owl’s Book Corner where in addition to supporting those with special needs and learning challenges, we are also committed to being more focused on YA/New Adult reading and literacy.  We will be featuring tips from a certified literacy tutor to help make your reading experience the best it can be.

We will also be encouraging young writers and artists with tips, writing exercises and will still be updating our Community News Boards with the latest news from Variety Village and The March of Dimes.

Professor Owl’s Book Corner hopes you enjoy our new format! Please feel free to give us your feedback on our new issue, also send us any ideas you may have to help Professor Owl’s Book Corner be all that it can be.  We look forward to hearing from you and to bring you a new, more interesting newsletter.


You can find magic wherever you look. Sit back and relax all you need is a book!” – Dr. Seuss


Literacy skills are often taken for granted by those who have them, it is assumed that everyone has learned to read and write. Adults and young adults who have trouble with reading and writing often want to improve these skills but find it difficult to begin the process. It can be very difficult for some people to admit “I have never learned to read or write.”
I have always been a self-proclaimed book geek and can never have too many
books. I just loved to read whenever I can. Several years ago, a young teen came to stay with my husband and I. He was a bright young man, who only was able to read at grade five level and really wanted to learn more,so he asked me to teach him. He was successful in improving his skills by the time he went home.

It was around this time, I first learned about the volunteer opportunities at our local Learning Centre. I took the Laubach Literacy course and spent several years tutoring there and to be honest, I found it to be the most rewarding volunteer work I have every done.

We will be showing you in our new series how to get these skills or improve the ones you do have by using Laubach Literacy Aids and at the same time have some fun doing it. If you know someone who would like to improve their skills, please show them these and perhaps help them if they need it.

Literacy pioneer and missionary Frank C Laubach discovered that literacy empowers and enriches people’s lives. His work began in the Philippines in 1930 and he continued teaching literacy to impoverished people in one hundred and three countries for over forty years.
If you have a computer or iPad we will list other websites below where you can play games to improve your skills, get help with your homework.

We will also give you information on literacy, learning challenges and recommend the new books being released, and at times some old classics.

When I contacted The Laubach office they really liked our ideas for Professor Owls Book Corner and gave us a lot of encouragement.


Lesson 1.

Some Tricky Consonants

The sound of x is made by putting the /k/ and /s/ sounds together ~ /ks/.
The sound of qu is made by putting the /k/ and /w/ sounds together ~ /kw/.
Sounds Like Correct Spelling Sounds Like Correct Spelling

bo ks box kw ack quack
fo ks fox kw ilt quilt
si ks six kw ick quick
mi ks mix kw iet quite

In each sentence below, circle the misspelled word that contain the /ks/ and /kw/ sounds. Write the words correctly on the lines that follow.

1. The teacher asked for kwite so she could kwickly give the directions.
2. That boks of books is kwite heavy.
3. The foks was so kwick we didn’t see it sneek by.
4. My mom always lets me miks the batter while she fikses the pans.

                 X Words                                                        QU Words

__________________________ __________________________
__________________________ __________________________
__________________________ __________________________
__________________________ __________________________

If you would like to complete these lessons and email them to Professor Owl’s Book Corner ~ send your answers to: We will include a lesson every second Thursday along with a newly released book review and if you email in your answers. At the end of every month we will have a draw for everyone who emails there answers~ and one lucky person will win a book.


The Marked
(Knight’s Academy Book 1)

by Emerald Barnes (Author)


Myka Williams has never fit in with her peers, and although her adoptive parents are loving and supportive, she feels most at home alone in the woods.

When she’s offered a full scholarship to Knight’s Academy in the Smoky Mountains of Tennessee, she takes the opportunity for a fresh start. She soon learns that Knight’s Academy is more than just a school. Within the stone walls of the institution, humans and vampires are mixing, and their offspring are going unnoticed.

As Myka falls prey to the evil plan of the school, she makes a chilling discovery about her own heritage and realizes that she’s at the Academy for more than just an education. Myka must yield to her birthright at the risk of losing everyone she loves or succumb to the fate that Knight’s Academy has in store for her—a fate worse than death.


This was a great book, well written with interesting characters and story line. Once I started reading this story, I just could not put it down until it was finished. That left me wanting more so I am looking forward to the new books in this series, soon, I hope.

To learn more about this great book and meet Myka and Mylo the characters in this new book of the month new release.

Interview with Myka and Milo


Scratchling Trinity

by Boyd Brent (Author)

(To be released March 1, 2017)


No one knew the importance of the Scrachling-born, until now. When a desperate orphan called Eric Kettle scratches a desperate cry for help into a wall in 1840, little does he know that it’s about to be answered by luckless Max Hastings in 2016. Both Max and Eric are soon to discover that they’re Scratchling-born, and that along with Ellie Swanson, a no-nonsense Scratchling veteran, they are destined to form the Scratchling Trinity. With an evil headmaster, a flying boat, two vengeful giants and a clutch of ghostly helpers along the way, they are off on an incredible adventure! The Scratchling Trinity is the much-anticipated novel by Boyd Brent, author of The Lost Diary of Snow White trilogy.

Available from: http://  and   and other fine bookstores.
We would love to hear about your favorite books and your views on the ones we recommend here… send them


Is it just us, or do your socks mysteriously disappear when you do the laundry? You know two go in the dryer but only one comes out? You search high and low but to no avail… doesn’t that ever make you wonder?

Your mission should you choose to accept it…

Write a story from the point of view of a lost object.  Are you actually a lost sock or did you plan a daring escape from the dryer?

✒ Write, be creative and most of all HAVE FUN! ✒


Attention all aspiring  authors: Have you heard of Every November thousands participate in an online writing event to complete 50,ooo words in just 30 days. Now they’ve made it even better, is a virtual writer’s camp, designed to inspire you and keep you motivated while you work on your masterpiece. Camp runs twice a year in April and July and unlike NaNoWriMo welcomes word-count goals of 30,000 and up. Writers can tackle any project they’d like, including new novel drafts, revisions, poetry, scripts, and short stories. So sign up today!  See you at camp!


Variety Village

 Variety Village2

SPRING PROGRAM REGISTRATION IS HERE! Persons with a Disability PHONE-IN March 1 @ 8:00am | General Registration IN-PERSON March 4 @ 7:30am

MARCH BREAK: March 13-17, 2017

March Break Camps are available during the week that elementary, middle and high schools are closed for the March break or spring break. These are primarily day camps and offer parents the opportunity for care other than daycare, that keep your kids engaged, active and having fun.

Download the 2017 March Break Camp Registration Form



Variety Village is pleased to offer several camps to children of all abilities* including March Break Camp, Holiday Camps and Kid Development Day Camps (camps that fall on days that are PA/PD days within the Toronto Board). Variety Village offers a broad range of integrated full-day camps for participants of all abilities*, ages 4 to 20+. Our Variety Village camp experience includes:

  • A 76,000-square-foot gym, two indoor pools and a 200 metre indoor track;
  • A combination of sports, swimming, games and training activities – all under one roof;
  • A fun way to learn new skills, make new friends, and enhance self-esteem;
  • An inclusive and barrier-free environment with experienced camp counselors




Pizza Nova raised $107,101 during the That’s Amore Pizza for Kids day sale on Tuesday, May 10!

Thank you to everyone who supported the sale and our greatest thanks to Domenic Primucci and all the franchise owners and their staff who worked tirelessly all day to make this the best year ever!

If you would like any further information on any of the events shown above

PLEASE CONTACT:  Variety Village

Address: 3701 Danforth Ave, Toronto ON M1N 2G2

Phone: 416-699-7167

Open ~ Tue 6:00 AM to 10:00 PM


March of Dimes

 logo March of Dimes

OpportuniTEA with Kate Linder and Y&R Friends



High Tea with Kate Linder & Friends from The Young and the Restless

Sunday, April 2, 2017 The Westin Calgary 320 4th Avenue SW, Calgary

VIP Ticket Holders Meet & Greet  12:15 p.m.

High Tea  1:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m.

Autographs & Photos for all guests 3:15 p.m. to 4:00 p.m.

March of Dimes Canada’s fourth annual Calgary OpportuniTea High Tea will take place at The Westin Calgary, 320 4th Avenue SW, Calgary, on April 2, 2017. The event features actors from the top-rated North American soap opera The Young & The Restless, including Kate Linder (Esther Valentine) and Christian LeBlanc (Michael Balwin) who will be co-hosting the event, Bryton James (Devon Hamilton), Elizabeth Hendrickson (Chloe Mitchell), and Tracey Bregman (Lauren Fenmore).


High Tea & Show tickets  $100

Patron preferred seating tickets  $125

VIP Circle of Friends tickets  $250

Our goal is to raise $40,000 at this event to support Alberta Peer Support Programs.

88% of all funds raised will benefit MODC’s

Conductive Education® and Peer Support Programs in Calgary.

  Co-Host Christian LeBlanc

(Michael Baldwin)

Bryton James

(Devon Hamilton)


Elizabeth Hendrickson

(Chloe Mitchell)


Tracey Bregman

(Lauren Fenmore)

Linda OlsenGlobal Calgary News Anchor, will also co-host the event with Kate Linder. The tea will include a Question & Answer session with the cast, an amazing raffle, silent and live auction, autograph signing and photo opportunities! Guests will also go home with a gift bag full of goodies.

Visit OpportuniTea Calgary 2017 website, where you can purchase your tickets online and find out more information about the event.

Sponsorship Opportunities Still Available To sponsor this terrific event, please contact Linda Yielding at 416-425-3463 ext. 7290

1st Annual Celebrity Bowling for Dimes


6 p.m. to 9:30 p.m.

The Ballroom, 145 John Street, Toronto, Ontario


On Thursday March 23, 2017 from 6:00 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. March of Dimes Canada will be hosting our First Annual Celebrity Bowling for Dimes Tournament at the Ballroom, 145 John Street, downtown Toronto. Teams will consist of 4 bowlers and a special celebrity (1/2 lane), or 8 bowlers and 2 celebrities (full lane).


Come meet:

bowling1                        bowling2

  Co-Host  Steve   Anthony                        Sean Jones



All proceeds from registrations and pledges will benefit our L.I.F.E. (Learning Independence for Future Empowerment) program at March of Dimes Canada, that supports youth with physical disabilities transition into adulthood responsibilities.

For individual bowlers that raise over $1,000, they will be entered into a draw for a 60″ Sharp Television (retail value over $1,600)! We will also be holding a very select auction – what might a celebrity have to auction off you ask? You will have to come out to see!


Visit Bowling for Dimes at for more details and to register.

For more information and sponsorship opportunities contact:

Linda Yielding

Manager, Special Events and Fundraising

March of Dimes Canada

10 Overlea Blvd.

Toronto, ON M4H 1A4

Phone: 1-800-263-3463 ext.7290


Opening Doors for Accessibility



Don’t Miss Opening Doors for Accessibility

in Windsor on February 24th and in London, Ontario, on March 31st!

If you are an individual living with a disability, health professional, service provider, caregiver /partner or family member, you should attend this free community resource showcase.

Opening Doors for Accessibility Windsor


Date:  Friday, February 24, 2017
Time:  9:00 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.


 Riverside Banquet Hall  1286 Lauzon Road, Windsor, Ontario
Fee:  Free  (Donations to March of Dimes Canada are welcome)

Sessions include / Au programme:

March of Dimes Canada’s Assistive Devices Program

Home & Vehicle Modification Program

Windsor Accessibility in Action

We Are Able

Stroke Recovery Groups

Aphasia Program at the University of Windsor

Stroke Community Navigation

Employment Services

and much more!

** Event will include lunch and networking opportunities.

Opening Doors for Accessibility London


Date:  Friday, March 31, 2017
Time:  9:00 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.


 Best Western Plus Lamplighter Inn & Conference Centre  591 Wellington Road, London, Ontario
Fee:  Free  (Donations to March of Dimes Canada are welcome)

Sessions include / Au programme :

Home Modifications

Aging in Place

Introduction to Adaptive Driving

Living Beyond a Disability

Connect Care Alarm System

Keynote by Paralympian, Dave Willsie

Presentation by Michelle Allen from Thames Valley Children’s Centre

Inspirational Speaker Kevin Bulmer

and much more!

** Event will include lunch and networking opportunities.


Please RSVP at 1-800-263-3463 or by email at / RSVP au 1-800-263-3463 ou par courriel à

** In the subject line, please be sure to identify the city where you wish to attend.

For more information on any of the above events, please contact


 wise-picks ~Lauback website, resourses for Tutors and Student.

www.alphca aplus .ca ~ In these pages you will find resources and information to enrich your learning experience. ~ Register with this site and you get information on: Online tutoring, words and vocabulary, homework help and much more. ~ Lots of fun and challenging activities for you and your family.




Professor Owl’s Book Corner ~ Newsletter ~ May 2016


May Banner

Welcome to Professor Owl’s Book Corner

In every month’s issue we will share with you

the wonderful world of books!


April showers ~ Bring May flowers.

floral-header may flowers


May is Cystic Fibrosis Awareness Month

By Sylvia McGrath



During May, Cystic Fibrosis Awareness Month, the foundation makes a special effort to tell inspiring stories about Canadians with cystic fibrosis. They also highlight how important funding from Cystic Fibrosis Canada works each and every day to make a real difference in the lives of people with cystic fibrosis, and their families.

For more information:

If you have been diagnosed with Cystic Fibrosis you know, it is a serious disease, which causes returning chest infections and the failure to absorb nutrients from the intestines.

Cystic Fibrosis is usually present from birth and occurs when a child inherits two defective copies of the gene responsible for CF, one from each parent.

Approximately one in 25 Canadians is a CF carrier, carrying only one defective version of the gene responsible for cystic fibrosis. Carriers do not have, and can never get, cystic fibrosis. In most cases, they are not even aware they are carriers.

CF is a multi-organ disease, mainly affecting the lungs and digestive system. A build-up of thick mucus in the lungs causes severe breathing problems. It may be difficult to clear bacteria from the lungs, leading to cycles of infection and inflammation, which damage the delicate lung tissues.

Thick mucus also blocks the ducts of the pancreas, preventing enzymes from reaching the intestines to digest food. People with CF must consume a large amount of artificial enzymes (usually 20 pills a day) with every meal and snack, to help digest and absorb enough nutrition from food.

What are the signs and symptoms of cystic fibrosis?

The main symptoms are-

  • constant cough which brings up thick mucus
  • difficulty breathing
  • repeated or prolonged bouts of pneumonia
  • bowel disturbances, such as intestinal obstruction or frequent, oily stools
  • Failure to grow normally
  • Excessive appetite, with weight loss

How does cystic fibrosis affect daily life?

Cystic fibrosis affects each person with varying degrees of seriousness. Each person with CF follows a personalized treatment program. For many, life consists of a daily routine of physical and inhalation therapy to keep the lungs free of congestion. It also includes a high-calorie diet and regimen of pancreatic enzymes and vitamin supplements to ensure adequate nutrition. Regular visits to a CF clinic are essential.

Is there a cure for cystic fibrosis?

There is no known cure for cystic fibrosis. However, research inspires real hope.

Since Canadian researchers discovered the gene responsible for cystic fibrosis in 1989, international research has brought us closer to a cure. The current pace of CF research suggests that the outlook has improved greatly due to the early diagnosis and new methods of treatment. A few seriously affected children have had a lung or lung-heart transplant that has improved their quality of live etc.

Cystic fibrosis is a very complicated disease, but you will find plenty of information at your countries Cystic Fibrosis Foundation web sites. They are sure to be able to answer questions for you and your parents.

Canada:  America:


POBC Books

Classic Books


The Complete Works of CharlotteBronte and her Sisters



The most cherished novels from England’s talented sisters, all in one volume. 

The Brontë family was a literary phenomenon unequaled before or since. Both Charlotte’s Jane Eyre and Emily’s Wuthering Heights have won lofty places in the pantheon and stirred the romantic sensibilities of generations of readers. For the first time ever, Penguin Classics unites these two enduring favorites with the lesser known but no less powerful work by their youngest sister, Anne. Drawn from Anne’s own experiences as a governess, Agnes Grey offers a compelling view of Victorian chauvinism and materialism. Its inclusion makes The Brontë Sisters a must-have volume for anyone fascinated by this singularly talented family.

For more than seventy years, Penguin has been the leading publisher of classic literature in the English-speaking world. With more than 1,700 titles, Penguin Classics represents a global bookshelf of the best works throughout history and across genres and disciplines. Readers trust the series to provide authoritative texts enhanced by introductions and notes by distinguished scholars and contemporary authors, as well as up-to-date translations by award-winning translators.

About the Author’s

Bronte SisterscrpF

Charlotte Bronte lived from 1816 to 1855. Jane Eyre appeared in 1847 and was followed by Shirley (1848) and Vilette (1853). In 1854 Charlotte Bronte married her father’s curate, Arthur Bell Nicholls. She died during her pregnancy on March 31, 1855 in Haworth, Yorkshire. The Professor was posthumously published in 1857.

Emily Bronte lived from 1818 to 1848. She wrote one strikingly innovative novel, Wuthering Heights, and was also a gifted and intense poet. She died of tuberculosis at the age of 30.

Anne Brontë, youngest of the Bronte sisters, was born in 1820. She worked as a governess between 1840 and 1845, after which she published Agnes Grey (1847) and The Tenant of Wildfell Hall (1848) under the pen-name Acton Bell. Anne Brontë died of tuberculosis in 1849.



NewBook Release for May 2016 

Future Imperfect

By Simon Rose (Author)

Future Imperfectf


Andrew Mitchell was one of the leading experts 0n highly advanced technology in Silicon Valley until he vanished following a car accident, which also injured his son, Alex.

When a mysterious app from the future later appears on Alex’s phone, he and his friend Stephanie embark on a terrifying journey involving secret technology, corporate espionage, kidnapping, and murder in a desperate bid to save the future from the sinister Veronica Castlewood.

Alex and his friend Stephanie love technology and are keen to learn more through Alex’s dad.  Then the mysterious app sends Alex and Stephanie on a wild goose chase and their world is thrown into chaos. Can Alex and Stephanie prevent millions of future deaths by solving this mystery

This book has everything children and this adult love to read about. I could not put the book down until I had finished it, as the story kept me engaged until the end.  Another great story written by Simon Rose, I look forward to reading his next book.

Available from and




Writing Prompt

“Our perfect companions never have fewer than four feet.” ~ Colette

After a freak accident you discover you have the ability to shapeshift into any animal. Choose an animal, write a story about what happened and explain your choice. Do you choose to be a lynx, bulldog or hamster and why? Get creative and have fun.

POBC Picks

Epic! – Unlimited Books for Kids



Via GooglePlay

Epic! – Unlimited Books for Kids

Epic! is the #1 children’s ebook library, offering unlimited access to over 10,000 high-quality children’s books. Epic! has been called the “Netflix of kids’ books” – it’s unlimited library your kids can take anywhere!
There are 2 versions of Epic!, both accessible through the one app:


* Over 10,000 great titles with many more added weekly
* Audio-enabled “read-to-me” books
* Individual customized child profiles at no additional cost
* Personalized book recommendations for each child
* Online and offline reading (take Epic! in the car, on a plane, or camping)
* Subscription needed to access full Epic! library. Use your subscription across devices, on Android, iOS, or any Web browser


* Completely free to elementary school educators in the US and Canada
* Access to unlimited children’s literature, including Read-to-Me and non-fiction books
* Ability to create 36 student profiles
* Personalized recommendations based on students’ reading levels and interests


Epic!’s library includes fiction and non-fiction books from leading publishers such as HarperCollins, Macmillan, National Geographic and many more.

Well-known books and series include:
* Flat Stanley
* The Chronicles of Narnia
* Goosebumps
* Disney Frozen
* National Geographic Kids
…and many more

The Epic! library contains a wide variety of book types:
– Picture books
– Chapter books
– Audio-enabled “read to me” books
– Non-fiction titles
– Audiobooks
– Spanish and bilingual books
– You can cancel your subscription anytime, no hassles or fees
– You can find instructions on how to manage and cancel subscriptions here:

Via GooglePlay (Android)

Professor Owl’s Book Corner ~ December 2015 Newsletter

Banner Dec

Welcome to the New Professor Owl’s Book Corner

In every month’s issue we will share with you

the wonderful world of books!


The more that you read, the more things you will know. The more you learn, the more places you’ll go.”

~~ Dr. Seuss, “I Can Read With My Eyes Shut!”


Snowflake final



Classic Books

Oskar and the Eight Blessings

by Tanya Simon (Author), Richard Simon (Author), Mark Siegel (Illustrator)

Oskar and the eight blessings


A refugee seeking sanctuary from the horrors of Kristallnacht, Oskar arrives by ship in New York City with only a photograph and an address for an aunt he has never met. It is both the seventh day of Hanukkah and Christmas Eve, 1938. As Oskar walks the length of Manhattan, from the Battery to his new home in the north of the city, he passes experiences the city’s many holiday sights, and encounters it various residents. Each offers Oskar a small act of kindness, welcoming him to the city and helping him on his way to a new life in the new world. This is a heartwarming, timeless picture book.

This book is wonderful. It truly has the makings to become a Holiday classic. The story is engaging, realistic, and has a dark but “feel good” vibe to it. The illustrations really bring the story to life in the format of the paneled pages- it was set up almost like a movie. At a time when the world is a mess, this book is a much needed glimmer of hope. This is a heartwarming story and perfect for both Christmas and Hanukkah.

“A wonderful, heartwarming picture book for any library at any time of year.” ―School Library Journal, starred review


Available at your library and


About the authors


Richard Simon and Tanya Simon are a husband-and-wife writing team. Richard is chair of the language department at an independent school and is co-author of a successful off-Broadway play. Tanya is co-author of the children’s novel Zora and Me, winner of a Coretta Scott King/John Steptoe Award for New Talent. They live in Westchester, New York. Oskar and the Eight Blessings is their first picture book.
Mark Siegel has illustrated a number of picture books, including the Texas Bluebonnet winner Seadogs with Lisa Wheeler and the Siebert Honor book To Dance, with his wife, Siena Cherson Siegel. He wrote and illustrated the New York Times bestselling graphic novel Sailor Twain, Or the Mermaid in the Hudson. He lives in New York with his family.


New Book Release ~  November 2015


Assassin’s Creed: Underworld

Oliver Bowden (Author)

Assin Creed final


*Brand new tie in book to the new Assassin’s Creed: Syndicate*

A disgraced Assassin. A deep-cover agent. A quest for redemption.

1862, and with London in the grip of the Industrial Revolution, the world’s first underground railway is under construction. When a body is discovered at the dig, it sparks the beginning of the latest deadly chapter in the centuries-old battle between the Assassins and Templars.

Deep undercover is an Assassin with dark secrets and a mission to defeat the Templar stranglehold on the nation’s capital. Soon the Brotherhood will know him as Henry Green, mentor to Jacob and Evie Frye. For now, he is simply The Ghost.

Assassin’s Creed: Underworld is the eighth gripping novel from Oliver Bowden set in the immersive world of Assassin’s Creed.

About the Author

Oliver Bowden is the pen-name of an acclaimed novelist. He has written all the Assassin’s Creed titles.

Available from and 




Writing Prompt

“Feeling gratitude and not expressing it is like wrapping a present and not giving it.”~William Arthur Ward

The holiday season is about giving and receiving but material gifts aren’t everything. What is the greatest gift anyone has ever given you that wasn’t material.  Write them a Thank You letter, thanking them for their gift. Reflect and write about what their gift meant to you in your life.

POBC Picks

A Parcel of Courage Book

A Parcel of Courage Book App

Via GooglePlay


“A Parcel of Courage” is an interactive educational book app based on two proven teaching methods: Montessori method and Shichida method.”
Many interactive activities within the heart-warming story are paired to reinforce the storyline, so that your kiddo can better comprehend the content and improve: spatial awareness, working memory, eye hand coordination, sequencing and listening skills (for better handwriting and other fine motor tasks performance) as well as enhance his/her problem solving skills.

I Play mode provides kids with 4 more unique educational games geared towards a preschoolers developmental interests and let them:
– learn numbers and addition within 10
– become familiar with patterns and sequences
– understand two or more objects in relation to each other
– recognize 25 new colors
– enhance creative thinking skills
– improve memory and other cognitive abilities

“A Parcel of Courage” based on a true story of how a family of three siblings came together to help their grandmother overcome her fear of flying so that she could come out to visit them.

Your kiddo will explore 15 beautifully illustrated interactive pages in the “I Listen” or “I Read” modes and play inside these pages to help our family meet their much loved Grandma and discover a magical surprise at the end.

There are 7 tasks to complete within the story to unlock something that will help kids make their wishes come true!

Some of the challenges children will face within the story are:

• Discover maps and beginning spatial orientation skills
• Construct a marble run using working memory of a briefly presented model
• Sequence baking courage chocolate cookies
• Learning how to address and send a post to granny (and use hand-eye coordination)
• Visually scan to help grandpa clean up the backyard
• Spatially orient objects to pack a suitcase
• Use auditory discrimination skills to help the postman

Independently explore and learn numbers and addition, sequencing, improve spatial reasoning skills, and develop visual memory skills. Earn points to add to your artifacts collection. Every game’s level rewards kids with mysterious outfits which transform into a magical airship.

A game where the child takes the role of a waiter and plays with Grandma, who requests a number of servings from a dish and gets kids to strengthen their numeracy skills and learn simple math concepts.

*Post Office*
A Montessori sequencing activity that gets children to attach stamps to posts with funny animals into a particular patterns. Kids can mark stamps like real postmen and send mails to friends and family.

This game gets children to fit the funniest and most delicious gifts in Grandma’s travel suitcase. It is a Tetris like puzzler that serves as a tool to develop skills of spatial reasoning.

Aimed to enhance the work of the right brain hemisphere, this game is based on the method of Japanese Professor Makoto Shichida. It caters to the individual needs of kids to nourish their inner genius with fun and develop memory, imagination, creative thinking and other cognitive abilities. The color wheel is designed to help naturally form color perception and aesthetic preferences. There are many colors that are new to children, and will help expand both their vision and vocabulary.

– Created for kids aged 3-7 years old.
– No banners, no ads, COPPA compliant
– No in-App purchases
– The app has a parents protected area

Other Features:
– Beautifully rendered graphics and original soundtrack.
– Personalization and options for saving the game results up to four family members.
– Opportunities to reminisce about grandparents and other loved ones whether they live across the globe, or down the street.

Enjoy a whole new family screen-time with this very playful interactive kids book “A Parcel of Courage”!

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Professor Owl’s Book Corner Newsletter ~ September, 2015

Banner Template

Welcome to Professor Owl’s Book Corner

In every month’s issue we will share with you

the wonderful world of books!


The more that you read, the more things you will know. The more you learn, the more places you’ll go.”

~~ Dr. Seuss, “I Can Read With My Eyes 


After a long break Professor Owl is back and it’s that time of year again, dust off those notebooks, sharpen those pencils it’s back to school…In this issue, we will share with you some of Professor Owl’s tricks to getting back on track and back to school.


                                                                                                          By Sylvia McGrath


It is that time of year again, children will be going back to school.   Many of them are looking forward to going back, however, for some it is the dread of the homework and lack of playtime can be a very scary thought.  For others it is not school that bothers them but the thought of being beaten up, embarrassed or tormented by bullies.

What is a bully?  A bully is someone who finds power and self-worth by belittling or intimidating others. Sad thing is that often bullies have usually been the victim of another bully.  If you are being bullied the best thing you can do is tell someone.  It’s not tattling, you are not telling to get someone in trouble, you are telling to protect yourself.  Another thing to do is if possible is walk away or stay near an adult if you feel threatened.  Remember being the victim of a bully is not YOUR fault.

You may not be the one being bullied, but being unfortunate enough to watch it happening someone else.  Do not join in, by encouraging or giving the bully an audience, if possible try to get help or find an adult.  Whatever you do don’t try to fight the bully!

Many years ago I was a housemother in a short term children’s home working with children who were deprived, abandoned or ill-treated and put in our care by Children’s Service. Over the past few years I have been doing a lot of research on children with special needs. It really upset me when I realized from my research that a child with a disability is more likely to be physically or verbally bullied than his typically developing fellow students.

Bullying has become a serious problem affecting many children and teens, however it is not likely that most children, especially those with special needs, will walk up to their parents and tell them, “I’m being bullied.”

Bullying can include name-calling, violence, or exclusion, and must be identified and addressed as soon as possible. The objective is to pinpoint the signs of bullying and take preventative measures against future incidents. This can make all the difference in the life and educational progress of a child with special needs. Here are some things we can do, as parents, to ward off bullying and protect our children:

Explain bullying:

  • Depending on what your child can understand, describe what bullying is, what kinds of behaviour are unacceptable and explain that bullying is wrong.
  • Some disabled children, who are used to being stared at, receive comments, and remarks, become used to subtle forms of harassment.
  • They may not be entirely certain that what is happening is bullying, especially if it feels normal

Support your child:

  • Support your child with knowledge!
  • Tell your child exactly what they should do when bullying happens.
  • Be very specific, even giving the exact words to say, like, “Stop teasing me!” or “Leave me alone.”
  • Tell your child to say nothing and simply walk away. Tell them exactly who they should then go and talk to at school if it happens.
  • Let them know that they must tell you right away…

Cleanliness & style:

  • Teach your child proper hygiene habits, and outfit them in stylish clothes.
  • Whether or not your child looks “right,” can make a huge difference with how they are treated by peers.
  • Your child is already different, so don’t let their clothes and grooming cause further distinction.

Stay in contact:

  • Stay in very close contact with your child’s special education teacher, social worker, school counselor, or anyone who is directly involved with your child’s school placement.
  • Frequently “check in” for reports on how your child is managing amongst their peers.
  • Ask your child how things are going, and look for signs of depression or negative feelings about school.
  • You could also enlist the help of another responsible student at the school (a relative, neighbour, or friend’s child) to keep an eye out on your son or daughter, and let you know if anything seems amiss.

Supportive friendships:

  • When friendships start to flourish, teach your son or daughter how to maintain them.
  • Have your child invite friends to come for ice cream, or watch a movie.
  • Your child may need assistance and suggestions on how to be a friend, but do not be too forceful.
  • Carefully observe whether their friendships are true and not deceitful attempts to take advantage in some way.

Obtain a peer tutor:

  • A peer tutor can be a role model, school assistant, and protector of your child.
  • Talk to the special education director in your school district, or the principal. Almost all schools have peer-tutoring programs, which could be extremely beneficial.

Set-up an IEP meeting:

  • Address any problems with bullying that you see.
  • Explain that the current situation is not working, and changes need to be made.
  • Be specific. Perhaps your child would do better in a self-contained classroom.
  • Maybe a peer tutor, classroom change, or schedule adjustment is needed.
  • Get the school “team” working on the issue.
  • Students who bully should be reprimanded through the school. I would suggest you work with school officials to address the matter.
  • Do not contact the perpetrator’s parents yourself. Bullying could be a symptom of bad parenting, so you might not get the results you’d want, anyway.

Take action if needed:

If you disagree with any decisions regarding your child’s education, or how things are being handled, you have options.

The following is an Exceptional Resource for All Adults Who Care about Safety for Kids

The Kidpower Book for Caring Adults:

Personal Safety, Self-Protection, Advocacy, & Confidence for Young People

                       Kid Power book       

This easy-to-use comprehensive guide puts Kidpower’s 23+ years of experience at the fingertips of parents and all adults who care about protecting children and teens from bullying, abuse, abduction, and other violence – and prepares them to empower young people with skills and knowledge in developing positive relationships, increasing their confidence, and taking charge of their emotional and physical safety.


Chapters Include:

What Adults Need to Know About “People Safety” for Kids

  • Creating a Foundation of Emotional Safety for Young People
  • Five Key Self-Protection Strategies for Preventing Trouble
  • Safety Plans to Prepare for the Unexpected
  • Boundaries and Advocacy to Build Better Relationships
  • Self-defense to Stop Most Emergencies
  • Protecting Young People From Bullying
  • Protecting Children from Sexual Abuse
  • Protecting Kids from Abduction and Teaching Stranger Safety
  • The Safety of Kids is Everybody’s Business – How to Intervene
  • One Million Safer Kids – A Call to Action From Kidpower

stamp out bullying


The following is an Exceptional Resource for All Adults Who Care about Safety for Kids

Do You Need A Homework Helper?

Back to school can be a lot of fun seeing old friends and teachers.  One thing most children do not like about going back to school is the homework.

Listed below are some websites that can help you with every subject – helping elementary and high school kids find what they need on the ‘net. They cannot do your homework for you, but offer great age-appropriate kid-friendly links to sites, by e-mail.

Nutritious Brown Bag Lunch Ideas

It’s back to school time and for many parents it means trying to come up with nutritious lunch ideas that their kids won’t trade.  In many schools, the old standard peanut butter & jelly sandwiches aren’t an option anymore due to deadly peanut allergies. Although time may be tight making sure your child eats right pays off in the long run.

Some general rules of thumbs:

  • The less processed high fat, high sugar foods in your child’s lunch the better.
  • Cutting foods into small bite-sized pieces makes it easier for your child to eat lunch in the limited time they have.
  • Make sure there are at least two or three vegetable and fruit servings and one portion of protein
  • Always include water, flavoured water or milk to make sure your child stays hydrated.  Avoid sugary drinks, which will cause you child to have an afternoon “sugar slump”
  • Tortilla wraps or pita bread are great alternatives to plain bread.
  • Rice crackers or Wasa Bread are good options to plain crackers
  • Provide low fat dairy products and meats when possible.
  • Making homemade “baked” potato, sweet-potato chips or pita chips
  • Making popcorn and adding seasoning
  • Packing flavoured rice cakes or mini rice cakes
  • Baked Tortilla Chips and Salsa

Some ideas…

  • Homemade Bean, Rice and Cheese Burritos.  Add lettuce, tomato, and avocado to up the nutritional value.
  • Sandwiches made with whole wheat bread, pita bread or tortilla wrap, a protein such as tuna salad or sliced chicken breast, roasted turkey or ham with veggies such as cucumber, grated carrots, sliced apples or lettuce and tomatoes.
  • Making your own “snack packs” with low fat cheese, cold cuts (cut with cookie cutters to make unique shapes) and whole grain or rice crackers.
  • Hummus or roasted red pepper dip with veggie sticks (carrots, celery, peppers, cucumbers) and homemade pita or bagel chips
  • Small fruit kabobs with, fruit chunks (dip apples into lemon juice to prevent browning) melon balls, berries with low fat yogurt.


POBC Books

Classic Books

Every month download to your I-pad, Reader or Computer “A Classic Book” ~ Completely FREE!

The Secret of the Old Clock

by Carolyn Keene May 1, 1930,

The Secret of the old clockF

I am an avid reader and have been since I was a very young child and loved nothing more than to lose myself in a good mystery. My love of Nancy Drew however, began forty-two years ago, when I purchased the books for my daughter also a book worm who admired Nancy and loved the idea of solving a mystery too.

Last year for Christmas, my daughter and her husband gave me a gift certificate to purchase some E-books and since I write reviews on some of the old classic books for Professor Owls Book Corner; we decided this coming year to share with our readers some of Nancy Drew’s great mysteries. I brought the first three in the series and this month we are reviewing the very first book.

This is the first book in the series and tells the story of Nancy’s search for the will of Josiah Crowley, a man who had seemingly intended to leave some much needed money to cousins and friend regrettably, greedy family members have laid claim to his fortune based on another will in their possession. Nancy believes Josiah wrote a newer will, and is determined to put things right. The story was as I remembered. The pacing is quick enough to compete with today’s fast-paced books, changes are smooth, and the ending completely satisfying. Young readers will likely find some of the overformal dialogue old, if not downright funny in places; however, in a world swamped with vampire, zombie, and other scary novel, a safe, old-fashioned whodunit might be a welcome break for readers of any ages.

Available also at your school and local library and at and

About the author

Nancy Drew Mystery Stories

By Carolyn |Keene


The Nancy Drew Mystery Stories were first published in 1930 by Grosset and Dunlap.  The original 56 stories were written by various people under the pseudonym of Carolyn Keene: …  …

 #1-7,11-25, and 30 by Mildred Wirt Benson
#8, 9, and 10 by Walter Karig
#26 by George Waller, Jr.
#27 by Margaret Scherf    #28 by Wilhelmina Rankin
#29 by Alma Sasse
#31, 33-56, and revised #1-34 by Harriet Adams
#32 by Charles Strong
 The writers were hired by the Stratemeyer Syndicate and followed outlines that were provided by the Syndicate.  Mildred Wirt Benson and Harriet Adams are considered the two most important Nancy Drew authors, and both women had a profound effect on the Nancy Drew series.  However, Walter Karig is also considered important because the three volumes he wrote are favorites with many readers.


New Book Release for September 2015


By Simon Rose



This is the second book written by Simon Rose that we have been honoured to review. It certainly was another great book.

This book starts with fourteen year old Max visiting a cemetery with a friend and finds himself caught up in the adventure of a lifetime. He suddenly gets flashbacks and discovers the fate of another boy lies in his hands.

Max must travel back in time to right the wrongs of the past. You are taken on a journey that is completely unexpected, and ended up somewhere you never would have expected. I love to be surprised when I read and was not disappointed! Professor Owl’s Book Corner will certainly be looking for more of Simon Rose’s books to share with our readers.

This is a great book for teenagers and will appeal to both boys and girls. I generally find books that involve time travel become confusing and to farfetched. Flashback is the exception. Simon Rose manages to keep it simple enough that the reader doesn’t need to get caught up in the details. They simply get to enjoy a good story.

Available from:, and




Writing Prompt

“When you are kind to others, it not only changes you, it changes the world.” – Harold Kushner

Write about a kind act that changes the world for the better. How does it change things?  How does it affect both those involved and those outside of the situation?  This can be real or make believe but think about, write and have fun!

POBC Picks

Professor Owl Recommends:


Boys and girls for  great websites filled with great links for all ages check out:

For Craft Ideas:

For Learning & Fun: &

Apps for Android and iPad/iPhone

Storybook Rhymes Volume 1

Fisher-Price Storybook Icon

Description ~Via GooglePlay

Read and sing along to baby’s favorite nursery rhymes! This interactive app encourages early learning with dynamic characters, engaging music, sung songs, animations and two great classic stories: One, Two, Buckle My Shoe and Itsy Bitsy Spider.

• Two classic nursery rhyme stories:
– One, Two, Buckle My Shoe
– Itsy Bitsy Spider

• Two modes of play that grow with baby’s development:
– Sing to Me – For the younger baby, the narrator sings the stories and any touch advances the content
– Read & Learn – For the older baby, the narrator reads the stories and the interactive touch points reveal additional animated content

• Tap the screen to interact with surprise animations
• Hear engaging music and sung songs for your baby
• Personalized book plate for your baby

Customizable Options:
• Turn background music on/off
• Turn narrator voice on/off
• Auto Play – will automatically “turn the page” to advance content for baby

Made for Ages 5 and Under

We recommend parent and child joint media engagement. See our Media Viewing Tips at:
End User License Agreement:

Via GooglePlay (Android) Via GooglePlay (Android)

Byron Nelson Legacy: A poem from Author Rich Weatherly ( @RichWeatherly43 )

Byron Nelson Legacy

And a promising new rising star

I knew and admired Byron Nelson,
a golfing legend, innovator… champion
held records for most tournaments won, most consecutive wins
yet a humble gentleman…

Awarded Congressional Gold Metal after his death,
Called Lord Byron by the press and his peers.
At The Masters Tournament this year, a newcomer
from this area arrived on the scene and rewrote the record books.
Jordan Spieth recorded the most birdies in one tournament,
tied for the lowest 72-round score, lowest 53-hole score and lowest 36-hole score.
He was the 1st wire-to-wire leader since 1976.
Spieth placed 2nd at The Masters last year, studied his mistakes,
and quietly, with deliberation
hit one stunning shot after another leaving the rest of the field behind.
I was most impressed with how he did it
and his demeanor following the win.
Like Byron Nelson, he comes across
As a quiet, humble person whose respectful of his peers and his followers.

Could this be the start of a new legacy?
Only time will tell.


  About Rich Weatherly


Rich Weatherly’s professional career spanned several decades. Much of that career included technical writing and copy writing. He also worked in media production and corporate photography.

After retiring from the corporate world, Rich focused his attention on creative writing. He continues to work on a series of short stories, and a collection of works that will include poetry, photography and miscellaneous writings.

Rich Weatherly is a descendant of one of General Marion’s militia at the Battle of Cowpens during the Revolutionary War. His maternal Great-Grandmother’s father scouted western Dallas, County and was numbered among the first 50 families to settle western Dallas, Co., Texas.

Rich is working on an historical fiction novel, Boundless Honor which begins in the fall of 1835. The story features the Texas Revolution and the Trail of Tears.

You can visit Rich at:

Links: WebsiteTwitterFacebook

“To the Bully” by author & poet Rich Weatherly ( @richweatherly43 )

Oh yes, we’ve seen you in action

even when you tried to hide it.

You taunt, tease, belittle,

provoke and pester

those who you find weaker than you,

or those you think are different.

You know…

the little guy, the geek,

someone from a different race, religion or region.

You make anonymous threats on social media,

a trip in the hallway or push in the back.

Or do you whisper about others to friends

just out of earshot of your victims?

Do you brush your teeth in front of a convex mirror,

Trying to build an inflated ego?

Do you pick fights or openly confront

or do you step out from behind your anonymous curtain

to push, shove or strike unprovoked blows?

Have you taken more trips to the principal’s office

than you can remember

or been taken into custody by local police.


If this is you, then you need help. See a counselor before it’s too late.


  About Rich Weatherly


Rich Weatherly’s professional career spanned several decades. Much of that career included technical writing and copy writing. He also worked in media production and corporate photography.

After retiring from the corporate world, Rich focused his attention on creative writing. He continues to work on a series of short stories, and a collection of works that will include poetry, photography and miscellaneous writings.

Rich Weatherly is a descendant of one of General Marion’s militia at the Battle of Cowpens during the Revolutionary War. His maternal Great-Grandmother’s father scouted western Dallas, County and was numbered among the first 50 families to settle western Dallas, Co., Texas.

Rich is working on an historical fiction novel, Boundless Honor which begins in the fall of 1835. The story features the Texas Revolution and the Trail of Tears.

You can visit Rich at:

Links: WebsiteTwitterFacebook

Professor Owl’s Book Corner ~ March 2015 Newsletter

March Banner

Welcome to the New Professor Owl’s Book Corner

In every month’s issue we will share with you

the wonderful world of books!


The more that you read, the more things you will know. The more you learn, the more places you’ll go.”~ Dr. Seuss


 banner Happy ST Pat


Saint Patrick was the patron saint and national apostle of Ireland who is recognized  with bringing Christianity to Ireland. Most of what is known about him comes from his two works, the Confession, a spiritual autobiography, and his writings, a denunciation of British mistreatment of Irish Christians.

Saint Patrick described himself as a “most humble-minded man, pouring forth continuous hymns of thanks to his Maker for having chosen him as the instrument whereby multitudes who had worshipped idols and unclean things had become the people of God.”

Saint Patrick is most known for driving the snakes from Ireland. It is true there are no snakes in Ireland, but there probably never have been – the island was separated from the rest of the continent at the end of the Ice Age.

As in many old pagan religions, serpent symbols were common and often worshipped. Driving the snakes from Ireland was probably symbolic of putting an end to that pagan practice. While not the first to bring Christianity to Ireland, Patrick is said to have encountered the Druids at Tara and abolished their pagan rites. The story holds that he converted the warrior chiefs and princes, baptizing them and thousands of their subjects in the “Holy Wells” that still bear this name.

There are several accounts of Saint Patrick’s death. One says that Patrick died at Saul, Downpatrick, Ireland, on March 17, 460 A.D.


 March is Easter Seals Awareness Month

by Sylvia McGrath

Helping children with disabilities gain greater independence

In 1922 a group of Rotary Clubs formed the American Easter Seals Programs in the United States of America. The province of Alberta founded the first Canadian Easter Seals program in 1945. Today, 40,000 children and their families across Canada have access to licensed agencies helping children with physical and/or mental disabilities

The most common disabilities that Easter Seals programs help are:

  • Cerebral palsy
  • Autism
  • Muscular dystrophy
  • Spina bifida

The best known services are the camp programs. There are twelve camps across Canada providing camp opportunities to over 4600 children. These camps provide programs for disabled children to participate in activities such as:

  • Archery
  • Sledge hockey
  • Music
  • Drama
  • Arts and crafts
  • Pottery
  • Camping in Tents
  • High Ropes
  • Fun sports
  • Swimming

These Camps are available to children at little or no cost to the families. Easter Seals also provides services such as mobility aids, adaptive computers, communication aids, wheelchair-accessibility, as well as modifications to vehicles and homes.

For more information on Easter Seals in your area, please see the links below:

Our International Affiliates Easter Seals Disability Services



Classic Books

Every month download to your I-pad, Reader or Computer “A Classic Book” ~ Completely FREE!

King Of The Tinkers

King of The Tinkers

About the story:

A boy and girl in rural Ireland fall into adventures with strange people from the Celtic past and almost as strange people from their own day. The lost Kerry Blue dog they find, and named Danny, until he is reunited with his owner who unimaginatively called him Kerry.

This  is great fun read where you can absorb a lot of misty myths and details about rural life before telephones and plentiful cars.  I read this  when I was  about ten and loved it, it hooked me into a life of adventure for the taking within the library walls. I highly recommend this book  for children or the young at heart.

Patricia Lynch is a wonderful storyteller with a  beautiful style of writing. Her people and animals become very real.


About The Authorlynchpatricia

Patricia Lynch

Patricia Lynch (1894 – 1972) was an Irish author of children’s literature and journalist. She was the author of some 48 novels and 200 short stories. She is best known for blending Irish rural life and fantasy as in The Turf-Cutter’s Donkey.


Patricia Lynch was born in Cork, Ireland. She received her education at schools in Ireland, England, Scotland and Belgium. She became a journalist and in 1916 was sent to Dublin by Sylvia Pankhurst to report on the Easter Rising for The Workers’ Dreadnought. Although a committed Irish nationalist, she retained a London accent to the end of her life.[1]

Lynch married socialist historian R. M. Fox in Dublin on 31 October 1922 and they settled in Glasnevin. She died in Monkstown, County Dublin on 1 September 1972 and is buried in Glasnevin Cemetery with her husband. Her semi-autobiographical A Story-Teller’s Childhood was published in 1947.[1]

 Also available at and


New Book Release

Carravagio ~ Signed in Blood

Gravaggio Signed in Blood-crop

Author Mark Smith

In 17th Century Rome, connections are everything. But for 15-year-old Beppo Ghirlandi, an indentured servant accused of murder, there is nowhere to turn. The only one who will help him is the painter from across the Piazza, the madman-genius known as Caravaggio – who, unfortunately, has serious troubles of his own. By helping Caravaggio flee, Beppo might just be able to stay alive.

I do not usually read historical fiction. However, this book was a great read.  Details in the description of characters, and history were very well written by the author.  Once I started reading the book, I could not put it down until it was finished.  Looking forward to reading another book in this series.

Reviewed by Sylvia McGrath, Professor Owl’s Book Corner ~  Newsletter March 2015


189658005X, 9781896580050

176 pages

Available from:  and



Writing Prompt

“Discover how to visit the past and bring yesterday’s stories into our lives today” ~ Gillian Hovell

You are an archaeologist from the year 3015 and your site is believed to be from the year 2015 (present day in your city/town). Describe what artifacts and structures you find; what do these tell you about this “ancient” society?

Get creative, write and more importantly have fun! 🙂

POBC Picks

Sight Words Learning Games

This month Professor Owl picks an app to help your child learn to read! 🙂


Via GooglePlay


• Sight Words Reading Learning Games for Kids – overabundance of words! Features over 300 SIGHT WORDS from the popularDolch word list!• Sight Words Reading Learning Games for Kids by Abby Monkey ® – great learning reading games for Preschool, Kindergarten, 1st Grade• Learn to read Elementary Sight Words in 6 engaging super duper EDUCATIONAL GAMES!

Award-winning educational software publisher introduces Action Sight Words Games & Flash Cards for Reading Success.

Abby Monkey® Action Sight Words Learn to Read Adventure with Star Fall Word Aliens for School Reading Success is a new educational READING APPLICATION by 22learn. The app is designed to help children learn and practice reading the most common sight words.

Sight words are words in English language that do not have a simple one-to-one correspondence between sounds and written letters, and therefore have to be learned “by sight.”

Being able to quickly recognize sight words is a crucial part of learning how to read. Sight words mastery is a necessary step towards an enormous reading improvement.

Sight Words offers children an easy-to-use interface and a grand choice of six fun educational games through which children can acquire mastery over this subject matter.


Control the Word Machine. Supply all the words that need to be produced by tapping on the words called.

(2) SPELLING (full version)
Your dog is hungry! Make cans to feed him! To make a can, drag the letter cards to their correct place and make a word you have just heard pronounced.

Make a Bingo to get a ticket for Aliens back home! (All star fall Wordaliens are animated.) Tap on the word corresponding to the one that you heard pronounced. Once you have matched cards from one side of the board to the next… Bingo! Aliens are back home!

(4) MEMORY GAME (full version)
Match the sounds to correct word forms! To do so, tap on one of the speakers, hear the word, and then select one of the cards below with a correct word. Do it for all words!

Tap on one of the speakers on the screen, hear the word pronounced, and place the word across the speaker. Repeat for all words to see wonderful gears animation.

(6) FLASH CARDS (full version)
Practice in the Flash Card mode. List through the words and top on the cards to hear the words pronounced again and again!

• Selection of individual words to be practiced within each category
• Avatar selection
• Choice of capitalized words and upper-case or lower-case letters
• Access to best scores

Get this app now and enjoy the progress your children are going to make in their reading skills. We are sure they will love the app the same way our little beta-testers did!

Check out more educational apps from 22learn:

Kids Alphabet Aquarium (Super ABC alphabet adventure for kids – Parents‘ Choice Award winner)

Abby Basic Skills Preschool (Winner Parents’ Choice Award)

APC Phonics Train Adventure (fun phonics school for kids – Parents‘ Choice Award winner)

If you have any suggestions on improvement, please leave us a message at We are always glad to hear about your experience with our applications and publications.

Professor Owl’s Book Corner ~ December 2014 Newsletter

Banner Dec

Welcome to the New Professor Owl’s Book Corner

In every month’s issue we will share with you

the wonderful world of books!


The more that you read, the more things you will know. The more you learn, the more places you’ll go.”

~~ Dr. Seuss, “I Can Read With My Eyes Shut!”


December is Safe Toys and Gifts Awareness Month

By Sylvia McGrath


Children Should Spend the Holidays with Friends and Family, Not in the Emergency Room

Holiday shopping season is already in full swing for shoppers and retailers who are eager to begin purchasing everything on their lists; however, when it comes to toys and gifts, lowest sale price may not be the safest for children.

In its most recent report The United States Product Safety Report on Toys estimated that hospital emergency rooms treated 256,780 Toy related injuries in 2013 throughout the United States.

Additionally, the CPSC found that 43% of the estimated 256,780 ER-treated injuries occurred to the head and face area. Lacerations, abrasions and contusions made up most of these injuries.

Prevent Blindness America, the nation’s oldest eye health and safety organization, has declared December as Safe Toys and Gifts Awareness Month. The group encourages everyone to make conscientious purchasing decisions based on what is best for each individual child.

There has also been a lot of attention around lead levels in children’s toys lately, but have you ever thought about toys as a possible cause of eye injuries? According to the Canadian Association of Optometrists, each holiday season thousands of children end up in emergency rooms because of eye-related injuries caused by unsafe toys. Here is how you can create a safer play environment all year long.

Tips on How to Purchase Safe Toys and Gifts for Kids

With so many toys filling up store shelves and the hustle and bustle of holiday shopping, it may be a lot to have to think about toy safety as well; but it does not have to be that difficult.

“The key to ensuring a toy is safe is to buy something that is age-appropriate as labelled on the product,” says Joey Rathwell, a spokesperson for Health Canada. “A toy that is appropriate for a six-year-old may not necessarily be safe for a toddler.”

Mr. Rathwell, suggests that teaching older children to keep their games and toys out of the reach of younger children can help avoid all sorts of injuries, including eye injuries.

The following may assist parents and caregivers:

  • Do not give  toys with arrows, bullets and missiles. Projectile toys can cause damage if they hit the eye, no matter how soft they are.
  • Discard or repair old or damaged toys. Loose parts and broken pieces are dangerous.
  • Have their child wash their hands after playing with slimy gel and gooey plastic toys. The chemical residue can easily get into a child’s eyes and cause irritation.
  • Avoid buying toys with sharp points or edges.

Nothing Substitutes for Supervision

Even if your child is mature enough to play with a specific toy, parents and caregivers should still keep a watchful eye. Children’s injuries often occur when there is no adult around.

It is also an excellent idea to read warnings and other safety messages on toy packaging together with your child before play. Teaching your child how to play safely can help prevent unnecessary eye injuries.

Toy Regulation in Canada

In Canada, toy safety is regulated by the “Hazardous Products Act” and the “Hazardous Products (Toys) Regulations.”

Health Canada works with manufacturers to ensure they observe these regulations. It also carries out toy testing and research. Any toy that does not meet the required regulations is removed from the market.

Health Canada officers regularly check toys for compliance, unsafe toys sometimes find their way into your home. “Some toys that are no longer considered safe may still be in people’s homes – they may be older toys, borrowed from a friend or handed down from an older child, or purchased at a garage sale. For this reason, parents and caregivers should check toys often and immediately report any safety concerns to the Consumer Product Safety Office.”

In the event that a toy is unsafe, Health Canada will work with the manufacturer to recall the product and have it removed from the market, and advise consumers of how to return or dispose of the product.

You can view Canadian Toy Council on its website.

Visit CNIB’s website for more information on eye safety.

For more information about toy safety, or if you think you have a toy that could be dangerous, contact Health Canada.

“In the excitement of the season, sometimes we may forget that not every gift is appropriate for every child,” said Hugh R. Parry, president and CEO of Prevent Blindness America. “By taking a few, easy safety precautions, we can keep the holidays happy for everyone!

Prevent Blindness America suggests:

  • Make recommendations to family members and friends about gifts that you feel are appropriate for your child. Be thorough about inspecting these gifts before allowing your child to play with them.
  • Inspect all toys before purchasing.  Check toys that your child has received as gifts to make sure they are appropriate for your child’s age and developmental level.
  • For younger children, avoid play sets with small magnets and make sure batteries are safe within the toy. If magnets or batteries are ingested, serious injuries and/or death can occur.
  • Gifts of sports equipment should not be used unless the appropriate protective gear (such as a basketball along with eye goggles or a face guard with a new batting helmet for baseball or softball) is worn.
  • Any toy that is marked “supervision required” must always be used in the presence of an adult. Keep toys meant for older children away from younger ones.
  • Always save the warranties and directions for every toy. If possible, include a gift receipt. Repair or throw away damaged toys.
  • Avoid toys that shoot or include parts that fly off.
  • Inspect toys for sturdiness. Your child’s toys should be durable, with no sharp edges or points. The toys should also withstand impact. Dispose of plastic wrapping material immediately on toys as they may have sharp edges.
  • Do not give toys with small parts to young children. Young children tend to put things in their mouths, increasing the risk of choking. If the part of a toy can fit in a toilet paper roll, the toy is not appropriate for children under the age of three.

For more information on safe toys and gifts for children as well as general children’s eye health topics, please contact

Prevent Blindness America by calling (800) 331-2020 or visit


Classic Books

Every month download to your I-pad, Reader or Computer “A Classic Book” ~ Completely FREE!

Christmas stories

by Charles Dickens.

Published 1910 by McLoughlin in [New York?] . Written in English.

 Christmas Stories by Charles Dickensfinal


Many of us are familiar with Charles Dickens Book “Christmas Carol,” this month we will learn about some other Christmas Stories he has written.

 Table of Contents

The cricket on the hearth.  The seven poor travellers.

Edition Notes

Other TitlesCricket on the hearth., Seven poor travellers.


Library of Congress PR4557 .A1 1910x
The Physical Object
Number of pages 143

ID Numbers

Open Library OL24197445M
Internet Archive christmascricket00dick
OCLC/WorldCat 5011611

Charles Dickens

About the author

Charles John Huffam Dickens (/ˈɑrlz ˈdɪkɪnz/; 7 February 1812 – 9 June 1870) was an English writer and social critic. He created some of the world’s most well-known fictional characters and is generally regarded as the greatest novelist of the Victorian period.[1] During his life, his works enjoyed unprecedented popularity, and by the twentieth century he was widely seen as a literary genius by critics and scholars. His novels and short stories continue to be widely popular.[2][3]

Born in Portsmouth, England, Dickens was forced to leave school to work in a factory when his father was thrown into debtors’ prison. Although he had little formal education, his early impoverishment drove him to succeed. Over his career he edited a weekly journal for 20 years, wrote 15 novels, five novellas and hundreds of short stories and non-fiction articles, lectured and performed extensively, was an indefatigable letter writer, and campaigned vigorously for children’s rights, education, and other social reforms.

Dickens sprang to fame with the 1836 serial publication of The Pickwick Papers. Within a few years he had become an international literary celebrity, famous for his humour, satire, and keen observation of character and society. His novels, most published in monthly or weekly instalments, pioneered the serial publication of narrative fiction, which became the dominant Victorian mode for novel publication.[4][5] The instalment format allowed Dickens to evaluate his audience’s reaction, and he often modified his plot and character development based on such feedback.[5] For example, when his wife’s chiropodist expressed distress at the way Miss Mowcher in David Copperfield seemed to reflect her disabilities, Dickens went on to improve the character with positive features.[6] His plots were carefully constructed, and Dickens often wove in elements from topical events into his narratives.[7] Masses of the illiterate poor chipped in ha’pennies to have each new monthly episode read to them, opening up and inspiring a new class of readers.[8]

Dickens was regarded as the literary colossus of his age.[9] His 1843 novella, A Christmas Carol, remains popular and continues to inspire adaptations in every artistic genre. Set in London and Paris, his 1859 novel, A Tale of Two Cities, is the best selling novel of all time.[10] His creative genius has been praised by fellow writers—from Leo Tolstoy to George Orwell and G. K. Chesterton—for its realism, comedy, prose style, unique characterisations, and social criticism. On the other hand Oscar Wilde, Henry James and Virginia Woolf complained of a lack of psychological depth, loose writing, and a vein of saccharine sentimentalism. The term Dickensian is used to describe something that is reminiscent of Dickens and his writings, such as poor social conditions or comically repulsive characters.[11]

 Also available at and


The Expatriates: Book One: Song of the Sending 


Corinne O’Flynn

 Age Level: 12 – 18 | Grade Level: 5 – 12
They told him his world was destroyed.
And they were the last to escape.
They thought he was safe.
They were wrong.
Jim Wales can communicate with animals, but that’s not why he lives with a traveling carnival. Turns out his family’s been hiding him there since he was little, since someone started hunting all the scholars. Jim is a scholar—someone who can manipulate energy using magic—and he has no idea.When a message arrives from Jim’s father—who supposedly died twelve years ago—Jim’s whereabouts are discovered, their carnival is attacked, and his mother is kidnapped. On the run with a strange glass map and a single coin, Jim finds himself racing to reclaim the father he thought he’d lost, plotting to save his mother, and discovering the truth about who he is.But going home isn’t the same as being safe, and trust is everything.

What readers are saying:


“Told in a beautiful, flowing style full of colorful images and adrenaline-pumping action.”

 “Pop some popcorn, sit back … and enjoy the thrill ride, right up to the end, which leaves you begging for more.”

 “Captures your attention from the start and then guides you through a roller coaster of adventure, drama, mystery, magic and young love.”

Corinne Headshot

About Corinne

Corinne O’Flynn is a native New Yorker who now lives in Colorado and wouldn’t trade life in the Rockies for anything. She loves writing flash and experimenting with short fiction. Her novel, THE EXPATRIATES (Oct. 2014) is a YA fantasy adventure with magic and creatures and lots of creepy stuff. She is a scone aficionado, has an entire section of her kitchen devoted to tea, and is always on the lookout for the elusive Peanut Chews candy. When she isn’t writing or hanging with her family, Corinne works as the executive director of a nonprofit. She is a member of Rocky Mountain Fiction Writers, Mystery Writers of America, and the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators. The Expatriates is available on Amazon, iTunes, Barnes & Noble. She blogs about her adventures at









Writing Prompt

“You have not lived today until you have done something for someone who can never repay you.”
~John Bunyan

Imagine you are walking down the street and find a hundred dollar bill with a note stating there is a spell attached to it.  The spell states you are not allowed to keep the money or spend it on yourself, if you did you would be plagued by bad luck. The notes suggests you donate it to a person in need or charity. Who would you give it to? How would you want them to spend it? Get creative, write and most of all…have fun! 🙂

POBC Picks

Booksy: learn to read platform

This month Professor Owl picks an app to help your child learn to read! 🙂


Via GooglePlay

Booksy is a learning-to-read platform for young kids (4-9). It’s designed from the ground up to help young children, K through 2nd grade, practice and develop their reading skills.*** FEATURED IN THE NEW YORK TIMES: LEARN TO READ WITH TABLETS ARTICLE!***This edition comes with 3 FREE Books. Books are only in ENGLISH. (A few Spanish books are available and Portuguese is coming).Think of Booksy as training wheels for books. It gives kids independence and security while providing help and support. Watch them glow with pride as they are able to read by themselves and gain independence.
Booksy is at its heart a library of age appropriate level-readers. We believe kids WANT to read when to give them fascinating and interesting books. That is why we partnered with experts to create books on topics kids will love. They will not only dive into reading, but with our nonfiction series also learn. Many books are written by experts and PhDs. Beautiful full-color images and illustrations.

Common Core aligned! Books on science topics, social science, math and everyday activities.
But BOOKSY is so much more. It has amazing features that make learning to read simple and fun. And, it includes powerful tools for parents and teachers to track kids’ progress.

Booksy requires Android 3.0 or higher. For full functionality, it requires a microphone.
It’s a TABLET ONLY APP. It has been optimized for most 7 and 10 inch tablets including Nexus 7 and 10.

Booksy features:
• Kids can tap on ANY word to have it read out loud. Not just the whole page, but the words they find difficulty.
• Quizzes help cement reading comprehension.
• Up to 10 users can be tracked in this editions
• Record reading sessions and track their progress without looking over their shoulder (RECORDING WILL ONLY WORK ON DEVICES THAT SUPPORT THIS FEATURE)
• Adults/Teachers can track kids’ progress in the Parental Dashboard
• Awesome content: level-readers on science topics—not just of literacy, but of science literacy!
• Motivation engine! Stars, awards and trophies keep kids engaged and coming back for more. Kids get:
⁃ Stars for every book they finish
⁃ Stars for every quiz where they get all the answers right


LEVEL 0 (50-150 words, repetitive structures and words for kids who are just starting to read)
✓ Fruits
✓ Puppies!
✓ Hummingbirds!
✓ Snakes!
✓ The american Flag
✓ Hello Bunny!
✓ Pocket Animals
✓ Animal Colors
✓ Counting Robots
✓ All kinds of Fun: The Mc Penguin Brothers
✓ Mr. Talbot’s vacation
✓ Animal Orchestra
✓ The Four Seasons!
✓ Days of the Week
✓ Field trip!
✓ School is Fun!
✓ Tommy’s Day

LEVEL 1 (150-300 words, simplified structures, for readers who are beginning to venture into reading on their own)
✓ Humpback Whales!
✓ Dinosaurs!
✓ Volcanos!
✓ Exploring Mars!
✓ Chimpanzees!
✓ Emperor Penguins!
✓ Insects!
✓ Solar System!
✓ Elephants!
✓ In a Jam!
✓ Bacteria
✓ Plants
✓ The Ojibwe
✓ The President of the United Stated
✓ Ponies
✓ Caterpillar to Butterfly
✓ Rhymes & Poems 1
✓ The Ugly Duckling
✓ The Tortoise & the Hare
✓ The Ant & the Grasshopper
✓ Jack & the Beanstalk
✓ Little Red Riding Hood
✓ Water!
✓ The Moon

LEVEL 2 (300-500 words)
✓ Dolphins!
✓ Global Warming
✓ Chocolate!
✓ Flowers!
✓ George Washington & the revolutionary war
✓ Thomas Jefferson & the Declaration of Independence
✓ The pilgrims & the First Thanksgiving
✓ The Beaty & the Beast
✓ Pinocchio


Learning Fun. Fun Learning.