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Bridges4Kids Review Panel: More Reviews

Here are more reviews from our panel members.


The Bully: A Discussion and Activity Story

The Bully BookReviewed By: Jackie D. Igafo-Te'o
Review Date: April 26, 2005
Author: Rita Y. Toews,
Illustrated by Jon Ljungberg
ISBN: 0-9736224-0-7
Price: $8.00 USD, $9.95 Canadian

Description: This new children's discussion and activity book provides helpful suggestions to both parents and children on how to deal this a stressful situation in a positive manner. (Paperback; 32 pages)
Jackie's Review:
Written by Rita Toews, this book is sure to make your child understand the feelings surrounding bullying situations, the effects of bullying, and how to handle bullying situations. The entire book doubles as a coloring and activity book. Toews does a great job at providing interactive fun while teaching a very valuable lesson. The book closes with a group of questions and answers, space to write about personal bullying experiences, puzzles, and even a parent/teacher quiz. I would recommend this book to anyone whose child is currently being bullied, has a friend who is being bullied, or has a child who IS the bully. It will surely help them put a face on bullying.

Making the Most of Plan-Do-Review

Making the Most of Plan-Do-ReviewReviewed By: Penny Ray
Review Date: April 25, 2005
Author: Nancy Vogel

Description:  Children in High/Scope settings learn how to plan their activities, accomplish their goals, solve unexpected problems, make necessary changes to their original plans, and reflect on the outcomes of their actions. These are valuable skills they will use throughout life. High/Scope's daily plan-do-review process makes it all happen. This book provides a blueprint for successful implementation. It includes support strategies, practical tips and suggestions, tried-and-true games and experiences for children, answers to frequently asked questions, real-life examples, sample notes to parents, a parent workshop plan, and planning and recall sheets to use with children. (Paperback; 250 pages)
Penny's Review:
PLAN-DO-REVIEW is one component of the Daily Routine of the High/Scope Preschool Curriculum, built around active learning. Vogel says “Active learning happens when these five ingredients are present: materials, manipulation, choice, language from children, and support from adults.”  Nancy Vogel uses the adult task of meal planning using a new recipe and the steps involved in cooking (the “doing” part), and then reviewing the dish and making mental notes on how to make it differently next time as an example of how children need plan-do-review as part of their real-life job of play in order to learn about the world. In this very practical book, Vogel devotes a chapter to each component of PLAN, DO and REVIEW, and she provides in depth explanations of the why and how to of each component. She offers many ideas about classroom set up, props and materials, and she troubleshoots potential problems that educators might encounter. Vogel’s chapter on implementing the Plan-Do-Review process in an existing program uses examples from teaching teams who successfully implemented the process into their programs. She answers commonly asked questions about implementing the Plan-Do-Review process, including how to answer parents and elementary school educators who would rather see them teaching academics. The last chapter, “Planning and Recall Games and Experiences” is a reference chapter filled with creative ideas for setting up children of all pre-school ages for maximum benefit in the planning and recalling times. Vogel’s book is aimed toward neurotypically developing children; the book does not address how to include special needs children with behavioral or auditory processing issues (autism, for example). She includes numerous useful ideas for children who have limited or no expressive language skills, but have no receptive language deficits. Vogel offers planning pages and review sheets in the reference sections that educators may photocopy and use in their own programs.

Sandbox Learning's "Success Stories"

Reviewed By: Jackie D. Igafo-Te'o
Review Date: May 16, 2005
Books are $8.99 each; Monitoring materials are $29.99

Description:  Success Stories are printable customizable stories on social, safety, and daily living skills for children with Autism, Asperger’s Syndrome, PDD, Fragile X Syndrome, Rett’s Syndrome, and other developmental disabilities. Safety and social skills are presented in engaging stories that focus on positive ways to manage feelings, act safely, and use social skills in a variety of situations. Individual social and safety concerns are further addressed by customizing the stories for the child. Customize the child’s appearance based on gender, hair style and color, eye color, skin tone, glasses, and method of communication. Alter the text to personalize the story’s content. Additional ideas for academic and language skill development are included with each book. All registrants receive a free story, "Waiting."

Jackie's Review: I recently had the privilege of reviewing 4 children's books from Sandbox Learning. The books focused on varying topics including social skills, daily living skills, communication skills, and behavioral skills. After seeing the first book, customizing it to my own child (name, location, teacher's name, favorite activity, etc), and having the option to print in full color or in sketched drawings that a child can color, I was hooked! I stayed at my computer to read 3 more books with my children. We customized each one and were on our way. A perk of checking out the website is that when you register, you are given a FREE e-book called "Waiting" which speaks to children about waiting throughout their day for their turn, feelings which surface while having to wait for something that you really like, favored activities, etc. You have nothing to lose by registering and you do not have to give any personal information. Each book is a "Success Story" which focuses on social skills, behavioral skills, communication skills, safety skills, or daily living skills. The books use real-life situations to explain appropriate behavior and response techniques to children. Pricing is very reasonable and is comparable to many children's books in print. You can customize a single story for several children - read them online - and then print each one if you want to. Customization only takes a moment and is actually quite fun for the kids! The books that I reviewed were each about 14 pages long. My daughter is actually sitting here right now coloring one that we customized to her and then printed.  I hope you enjoy these stories as much as we did. Going Places: This book teaches a lesson on safety in the community.  The visual cues provided in the book are clear and easy to understand; heavy background images, which can cloud the visual message, were carefully avoided. Safety in the community is imperative. All children can benefit from the lesson found in this book. This book is an effective, entertaining way to show children how they can interact within the community while keeping safety in mind.

High/Scope's Preschool Key Experiences: Movement and Music

High/Scope's Preschool Key Experiences: Movement and Music, BookReviewed By: Liz Buckmaster, MT-BC, Music Therapist, Lincoln Park Public Schools

Review Date: May 13, 2005
Author: Karen Sayers
ISBN:  1-57379-210-1
$ 9.95

Description:  This booklet and accompanying video provide a roadmap of how movement and music abilities develop in young children and how adults can support this process. Included are eight movement key experiences and six music key experiences. Through these experiences children develop steady beat competence, physical coordination, concentration, and the ability to process information and act on it. This informative booklet and colorful video provide many examples of children engaging in fun-filled activities that promote their development in movement and music. Also covered are many strategies teachers can use to support learning in these areas during teacher-planned group times and transition times, as well as during children's spontaneous play both indoors and outside. (soft cover, 36 pages)

Liz’s Review: The book I reviewed is Movement and Music by Karen Sayers and published by Highscope Press. This book focuses on the use of music and movement experiences with preschoolers. The first half of the book discusses “key experiences” in movement. Different experiences in movement such as moving in locomotor and nonlocomotor ways, moving with objects and describing movement are listed. Then each of the 8 areas is discussed in detail including why each is important for a child’s development. The experience is described in detail, and examples are given. Following that are detailed discussions on how teachers can support that key experience during small group time and large group time as well as ways to incorporate that key experience throughout the child’s day (i. e. while children are playing, during transitions, etc.) In addition, strategies for making the experiences meaningful and successful for children are outlined. The same format is used for the second half of the book, except that instead of key experiences in movement key experiences in music are discussed. This book is well organized and easy to read. It gives a good overview of the key experiences, why they are important to development, and how to incorporate them into the preschool day. The book is simple and gives clear examples of each area discussed. The only drawback that I see to this book is that it does not go into depth in any one area. It is definitely an introduction to using movement and music. It is not an “activity” book that gives you ready-made activities to use with children, but rather it gives you a framework to use to create your own unique activities. The book mentions a companion video which may be helpful to people who don’t have a strong in using movement and music with young children. Overall, I would give this book a good recommendation for people that work with preschoolers and want to incorporate more movement and music into their programs.

Love, Jean: Inspiration for Families Living with Dysfunction of Sensory Integration

Reviewed by: Kathleen Avouris, Unlocking Autism Rep-MI, Member: Autism Society of MI, Macomb/St. Clair Chapter
Review Date: May 20, 2005
Authors: A. Jean Ayres, Philip R. Erwin, and Zoe Mailloux
ISBN: 0-9725098-1-X
Price: $15.95
Description: Captured in correspondence written by sensory integration pioneer A. Jean Ayres to her nephew Philip Erwin, Love, Jean provides hope, insight, and inspiration to parents of children who have been diagnosed with dysfunction of sensory integration. Interspersed with Dr. Ayres's letters are Erwin's poignant and sometimes gut-wrenching stories about what it felt like before, during, and after his aunt diagnosed his condition, and renowned sensory integration therapist and researcher Zoe Mailloux's insights into sensory integration from a therapist's perspective. The result is a book that gently unfolds for parents of children with sensory processing issues what sensory integration is and how their children and they should be filled with hope that help is on the way. (paperback; 150 pages; 2004)
Kathleen’s Review: Inspiring, heartfelt and gut-wrenching journey into a family’s struggle with sensory processing issues and the hope in finding a way to fix it. What we all wouldn’t do to have an Aunt Jean in our family. And how wonderful for us that she did not give up on her research and development of therapies that have helped so many. This books invites the reader not only inside the family but; personally inside Philip’s and Jean’s personal thoughts, feelings and incites to find a form of therapy that worked. And to do this through long distant letters across the country from each other. Wow. It is as if you are directly involved or living there with them. Zoe Mailloux does a wonderful job explaining the various levels of sensory integration dysfunction and what to look for in a sensory integration therapists. Thank you Zoe. This is a must read for anyone directly involved with Sensory Integration.

About the Authors: A. JEAN AYRES, PhD, OTR - About 50 years ago, A. Jean Ayres, working as an occupational therapist with neurologically disabled children and adults, began to realize that the weak muscles and poorly coordinated hands and legs of these clients were not always their most severe handicaps. Her approach with these children differed from that of other professionals, for she believed that the best answers would be found in a better understanding of how the brain processes sensations - from not only the eyes and ears but other parts of the body as well. She is credited with founding the field of sensory integration. Dr. Ayres earned advanced degrees from the University of Southern California and undertook post-doctoral work at the Brain Research Institute at the University of California at Los Angeles. She was on the faculty of the University of Southern California for over 20 years. She is the author of Sensory Integration and the Child, Sensory Integration and Learning Disorders, and the Sensory Integration Praxis Tests. PHILIP R. ERWIN - Mr. Erwin received his bachelor's degree in Philosophy from the University of Oregon and certification from the Einstein School of Medicine's Institute of Emergency Medicine and the International Yacht Restoration School. Prior to advancing his career as a writer and shipwright, he taught wooden boat restoration at the International Yacht Restoration School and served as a paramedic and emergency medical technician in New York, Connecticut, California, and Oregon. ZOE MAILLOUX, MA, OTR, FAOTA - Ms. Mailloux is nationally and internationally recognized within the profession of occupational therapy in the area of sensory integration theory and practice. She is currently the Director of Administration at Pediatric Therapy Network, a non-profit children's therapy center serving over 1000 children and their families. She was a research assistant to Dr. A. Jean Ayres from 1978 to 1984 and was involved in many clinical and research projects with Dr. Ayres. In addition, she has published numerous journal articles and textbook chapters on these topics. Ms. Mailloux was the chairperson of the Sensory Integration Special Interest Section of the American Occupational Therapy Association from 1993 to 1996 and was named a fellow of this organization in 1993.


Evidence of Harm - Mercury in Vaccines and the Autism Epidemic: A Medical Controversy

Evidence of HarmReviewed by: Joy Majzel
Review Date: April 23, 2005
Authors: David Kirby
ISBN: 0312326440
Price: $26.95
Description: If you have a loved one with autism you simply must read Evidence of Harm. You will all too easily relate to the unimaginable struggles and hardships the families in this book face on a daily basis. You will be absolutely shocked and horrified as you read of many actions of government officials and agencies that we blindly put our faith in. Most importantly, if this theory turns out to be true, there are promising treatment implications for affected children. "Did the injection of organic mercury directly into the developing systems of small children cause irreparable harm? It's a plausible proposition, and a hugely important question". "An important and troubling book, Evidence of Harm reveals both the public and unsung obstacles faced by desperate families who have been opposed by the combined power of the federal government, health agencies, and pharmaceutical giants. From closed meetings of the FDA, CDC, and drug companies, to the mysterious rider inserted into the 2002 Homeland Security Bill that would bar thimerosal litigation, to open hearings held by Congress, this book shows a medical establishment determined to deny "evidence of harm" that might be connected with thimerosal and mercury in vaccines. In the end, as research is beginning to demonstrate, the questions raised by these families have significant implications for all children, and for those entrusted to oversee our national health." (Hardcover; 418 pages; 2005)
Joy’s Review: David Kirby explores the heated controversy over whether Thimerosal, a vaccine preservative made with 49.6 percent mercury, has contributed to the current epidemic of autism. An increasing number of families, physicians, scientists, and some in Congress point to a growing body of evidence linking mercury toxicity with otherwise unexplained disorders like autism. A link between the mercury in vaccines and autism has not been conclusively proven nor has it been decisively disproved either. It is important to note that this book is NOT anti-vaccine. Kirby, an experienced writer for the New York Times, does not have a loved one with autism. Kirby, therefore, has no agenda, other than to objectively explore both sides of this controversy. Medical professionals, relying on governmental agencies for guidance on the topic, desperately need to research this issue and come to their own conclusion. The book is full of information and studies, while it remains very readable and extremely interesting. Kirby's extensive documentation and attention to detail is very impressive. I can't imagine the time involved in all of the research, interviews, and verification of sources. Evidence of Harm reads like a Grisham novel and as Kirby peels back the layers of an apparent governmental cover-up it reminded me of The Pelican Brief. The horrible reality, however, is that this book is non-fiction. The blatant conflicts of interest in many of our top officials and the tremendous power and influence of the pharmaceutical industry are disturbing. At the same time, the great lengths that parents will go to for their children is moving. The book follows Lyn Redwood, President of Safe Minds, and the mother of a child with autism, in her fight against mercury in vaccines. The courage, determination, and effort on the part of the parent activists in this book are inspirational.

I'm Not A Brat & There's A Dragon In My Wagon

Reviewed By: Melody (age 8) and Jackie D. Igafo-Te'o
Review Date: May 24,  2005
Arnot (Arn) McCallum
Price: $6-8.00 each

Melody's Review: When we went to the Story Fest, you were very funny! Me and my mom loved it! When we went to your Story Fest I could not stop laughing! I took your books to school last week. Everyone loved them! My teacher read the poems to us and we all laughed. They all remembered you, too, from Story Fest. I hope we see you again next year!
Jackie's Review: These two books of silly poetry, written by 35-year teaching veteran, storyteller and author, Arnot McCallum, will encourage kids of all ages to pick up a book and read. The illustrations are eye-catching and do a phenomenal job of pulling the reader further inside the poems. If you have a child who is struggling to stay interested in reading, pick up one of Arn's books. You'll laugh together and find a new, whimsical love for the written word. In May 2005, I had the honor of sitting in on Arn's performance at the Story Fest which is held annually in Jackson, Michigan. I attended with my 3rd grade daughter's class and I must say that I was amazed at his ability to keep such a large crowd of children entertained - and ME for that matter!  Hundreds of children as young as 3 years old sat captivated for nearly 45 minutes as Arn spoke, sang and danced his way across the stage. I loved it! After watching his performance that day, I did something that I don't normally do - I contacted him regarding the possibility of writing a review of his work. The more I read his words, the more impressed I become.
About the Author: Arn has been featured in Windsor Life Magazine for his work promoting children's literacy. As a continued effort to encourage literacy in children, he created "The Super Rex Reading Motivation Program" which encourages children across Canada to read. This free program, funded through corporate sponsors, provides pizza parties and t-shirts to students as an incentive to keep reading. Arn's parent guide "Let's Read Together" is also available.  

The Silence Within & Supplemental Guide

Reviewed By: Janice Drewek, Preschool Teacher
Review Date: May 23,  2005
Author: Gail Goetze Kervatt, M.Ed.

Price: $34.00 per set

Description: The Silence Within describes a teacher’s experience with a selectively mute child. Also described is the process that followed in the child overcoming the disorder, after five years of being mute in school and all social situations.

Janice's Review: The book started with a chapter about the history of mutism. this chapter was important for understanding the condition and well written. The research component was very informative. The book showed how parents, teachers and psychologists can work together to help children. All the forms used by the aforementioned people were provided in the book. The majority of the book contained the actual notes that were written by the mother, teacher and psychologist following each of Nick's three weekly visits with the psychologist. I feel that it was unnecessary to have eight months of notes included in the book. Perhaps, one or two forms from each month would have been adequate. This is particularly true since the epilogue summarized his progress quite well. The appendices were worth while for teachers who are faced with the same type of child. Overall, I feel that this manuscript would work better as an article in an educational periodical rather than in book form.


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