Tag Archives: The Optimistic Child by Martin Selingman

WWW Wednesdays – November 20, 2013

WWW Wednesdays

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My bookshelf

1984 by George Orwell– What I’m currently reading 
I’m reading two books at the same time (this is not the most efficient way to read for me, but one of them is a fast read):
1984 by George Orwell. Last time I read it was in high school, so it will be interesting to see what I get out of it as an adult.
The 100 Simple Secrets of Successful People by David Niven. I enjoyed reading his book The 100 Simple Secrets of Happy People a few months ago (you can read my review here) so I thought I’d go ahead and read the other books in the series.

Lolita by Vladimir Nabokov– What I recently finished reading
Lolita by Vladimir Nabokov. I’ve wanted to read this book for a very long time and finally got to do it for my upcoming book club meeting. I think everyone will have a different opinion about this book depending on their gender and their age when they get to read this story. As a woman reading this book in my 40s, I’m fascinated by Humbert’s twisted mind and the many ways he justifies his thoughts and actions. He goes at lengths to explain why what he does is perfectly OK, and that gives me an idea of what goes through a child predator or a sex pervert’s mind. As for Lolita/Dolores, wow… First portrayed as an innocent pubescent child, you come to realize she’s got a much mature mindset and attitude than her age indicates. Overall I liked this book but I thought Part 2 dragged up for a little too long. The two-year long trip around the US bored me a bit and I found myself scheming that part of the book. The end is fascinating though. This is definitely one of those books you need to read in your lifetime.

The Optimistic Child by Martin Selingman. This book may not be so helpful if you have very young children but is definitely worth the read if you have tweens or teens. Seligman clearly marks the differences between seeing the glass half empty and the one half full. This book not only contains a lot of research data but also a ton of valuable concrete examples of what children can go through and how they handle it. Seligman shows what a parent should or shouldn’t say in some situations to be supportive, and he provides a lot of tools to help children become more optimistic than pessimistic. His 5-step problem solving process works for adults too, clearly explaining how to identify a bad event as temporary rather than permanent, take a fresh perspective, set new goals and a plan of action for the future. I definitely recommend this book if you’re interested in the subject for yourself or your kids.

– What I think I’ll read next
Teach Your Children Well: Why Values and Coping Skills Matter More Than Grades, Trophies, or “Fat Envelopes” by Madeleine Levine. Several people I know have read this book, so I thought, why not? I’m interested in coping skills for children, so hopefully I can find some good advice in this book.

My kids’ bookshelf

The Ninja Meerkats series by Gareth Jones and Luke FinlaysonWhat they’re currently reading
The Ninja Meerkats series by Gareth Jones and Luke Finlayson. I have not read these books yet but I have flipped through the pages. More importantly I’ve watched my seven-year old devour ALL 6 books in the series, and go back to reading them again and again. And I have seen my 5-year old flip through the books too, asking his brother to tell him what happens in each chapter and read him the story. Just check out the characters’ names: Jet Flashfeet, Chuck Cobracrusher, Donnie Dragonjab, and Bruce Willowhammer. Ninja Meerkats with super cool names? Can it get any better??? Hi-yah!

The Day The Crayons Quit by Drew DaywaltThe Day The Crayons Quit by Drew Daywalt. This is the second time we’ve borrowed this book from the library because we like it so much. A boy’s crayons each write him a letter to tell him why they’re upset in the way he uses each color. Having boys, I know too well that red (and black) is indeed the pencil that gets used all the time, and I have plenty of unused pink pencils. Oliver Jeffers drew the illustrations for this book, with crayons, of course, and they are brilliant.

– What they recently finished reading
This Plus That: Life's Little Equations by Amy Krouse RosenthalThis Plus That: Life’s Little Equations by Amy Krouse Rosenthal. My kids and I really, really like this book. We read it several times and never got tired of it, seeing each equation in a different light. This books sums up (pun intended) the little joys (and sorrows) of life in simple, yet smart equations, such as “wishes + frosting = birthday”. We’re big fans of Amy Krouse Rosenthal (Exclamation Mark!) and this book doesn’t disappoint. This is one of my favorite pages in the book:

This plus that

This plus that

The Purple Kangaroo by Michael Ian BlackThe Purple Kangaroo by Michael Ian Black. Comedian Michael Ian Black can be funny on TV but he’s also hilarious as a children’s book author. This isn’t the first book of his we’ve read but my boys really enjoyed this one, especially because Peter Brown’s illustrations go so well with the text. The narrator monkey bets that he can read your mind. How can this be? He bets that you’re thinking… about… a purple kangaroo! No, you weren’t thinking about a purple kangaroo? Are you sure you weren’t thinking about a purple kangaroo on roller skates… the story goes on, adding on to the ridiculous concept until the very end, where the monkey knows that you’re thinking about a purple kangaroo now! This is one of those books my kids ask me to read again as soon as I’m done, to see if it’s just as good as the first time. It is.

– What I think they’ll read next
I don’t know but I’m sure it will be good stuff. What about you? Any books you or your kids are reading you’d like to share?

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WWW Wednesdays – November 6, 2013

WWW Wednesdays

My bookshelf

The Optimistic Child by Martin Selingman– What I’m currently reading
The Optimistic Child by Martin Selingman. I found a reference to this book in How Children Succeed and I wanted to learn more about the subject. I’m starting this book today.

– What I recently finished reading
How Children Succeed: Grit, Curiosity, and the Hidden Power of Character by Paul Tough. This is a very interesting book full of research data and analysis with the goal to pinpoint what really makes our children successful in life. And by that, you should read what really makes a child graduate from high school, go on and graduate from college and then hold a job and be a productive part of society. Paul Tough demonstrates throughout his book that IQ levels and SAT scores are not accurate measurements to predict a child’s success (but GPA levels are and he explains why). Children can be taught many materials and learn a large amount of information but in the end, what really matters is their self-control, resilience, and perseverance, to name a few under the “character” umbrella. Tough doesn’t explain at all how to help your children develop these qualities but he does name a few books that will, including The Optimistic Child.

A Wind In The Door by Madeleine L’Engle. As much as I liked A Wrinkle In Time, I wasn’t impressed with its sequel. Don’t misunderstand me, I really like the story, the characters and what happens to them, but I’m not crazy about the way the story itself is told. I’m not sure L’Engle develops each character neatly and thoroughly, and she tends to use a lot of words and dialogs to describe little action. I also found some of the things that happened in this book quite loopy. I guess the 1960s and 70s can do that to you. I’d like to read the next book in the series but I think I’ll take a break from it for now.

– What I think I’ll read next
1984 by George Orwell. I know I said it would be my next book but I had to squeeze another one in between.

My kids’ bookshelf

What they’re currently reading
We’re big fans of Splat The Cat at our house. I mean, what’s not to like about a big, clumsy black ball of fur who has a mouse as a best friend? I love Rob Scotton’s illustrations too. They make me want to pet Splat’s fluffy fur on every page. Scotton’s had a lot of Splat The Cat books out, some of them written by him, others inspired by his character and franchised in an early reader book format. We haven’t read those yet but I do have a few, so I’ll probably review them in my next update. Here are a couple of the large format books we’re reading right now for the first time:
Splat The Cat And The Cool School TripSplat The Cat And The Cool School Trip: Splat’s class is making its way to the zoo and Splat can’t wait to see his favorite animals, the penguins! But it seems that Splat’s teacher, Mrs Wimpydimple, has every animal on her list except the… penguins. Somehow, Seymour the mouse makes its way into the elephant exhibit, scaring the elephant who runs into the exhibit next door and damages it. Can you guess which exhibit that is? Yep, when the class finally gets to the penguin exhibit, it’s closed for the day. But wait, Seymour has more than one trick up his sleeve and may turn today into Penguin Day after all… My kids love, love, love this story, as they can relate to visiting their favorite animals at the zoo and how disappointing it would be not to see them. The ending is a child’s dream come true for sure.
Splat The Cat Says Thank You: Splat’s best friend Seymour the mouse is sick and Splat has just what he thinks Seymour needs to get better: a whole thank-you book! Splat reminds Seymour of the many (hilarious) adventures when Seymour was there for him, and Splat thanks him for every time. But somehow, Seymour is still not feeling better. Will the thank-you book do the trick? My kids asked me to flip the pages and read the book faster every time Splat didn’t manage to make Splat feel better. I’m not sure they could take the suspense for much longer, poor guys! I love this idea of a thank-you book and I hope my kids will work on a project like that on their own one day.

Pete The Cat: I Love My White Shoes by James Dean– What they recently finished reading
We’re big fans of another cat, this time Pete The Cat by James Dean and other various writers. The original Pete The Cat: I Love My White Shoes book came out a few years ago and we still have to go on the publisher’s website to listen to the Pete The Cat song. Since then, more books have come out, some in large format, others in early reader format. Hey, when you have a popular book idea, why not make kids happy with more adventures of your cute feline? And these books really show you that you don’t have to have the most perfect illustrations for a children’s book. Kids actually love to see books with illustrations they could draw or paint themselves.
My five-year old is a great reader already and the 64-page early reader book format is perfect for him. He needs help with a few words here and there, but otherwise, he can read the whole book by himself and he has a lot of fun doing it. Some of the books we’ve enjoyed are:
Pete The Cat: Pete's Big LunchPete The Cat: Pete At The Beach. Pete wants to learn to surf like his brother but he’s afraid to go in the water. How long will it take Pete to give it a try and will it be worth it? Hey, who doesn’t want to flip the pages to see Pete The Cat on a surfboard?
Pete The Cat: Pete’s Big Lunch. Pete is hungry and decides to make a sandwich, adding on to it at every page because he happens to be very, very, very hungry. Did I say Pete was hungry? When his sandwich is finished, Pete realizes how huge it is and he knows he won’t be able to eat it all by himself. So he decides to invite his friends for lunch. This is a great lesson on sharing!
Pete The Cat: Play Ball! Pete’s team is playing a game today and Pete wants to do his best, but he’s not so lucky when it’s his time to bat. The pitcher isn’t so good and Pete gets to walk to first base. Pete isn’t so good at running to the next base, or batting when it’s his turn again. What will Pete do when things don’t go this way? Well, guess what? He’s OK, because he tried his best and he’s having a great time. What a great lesson on sportsmanship and how to enjoy playing the game the whole way through! This is definitely a winner at our house!

– What I think they’ll read next
I don’t know but I’m sure it will be good stuff. What about you? Any books you or your kids are reading you’d like to share?

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