Posts tagged ‘integrity’

RIGHT OR WRONG?

E is for Ethics: How to Talk to Kids About What Matters Most

Written by Ian James Corlett

Illustrated by R.A. Holt

 

The author is a Children’s TV writer and animator by trade. Distressed by the fact that schools no longer include ethics and civics teaching in their curriculum, he decided that he and his wife must assume that responsibility. Many years ago when his children were young, he and his wife decided to set one night a week as a family discussion time. Corlett developed a series of twenty-six stories that exemplified different aspects of moral behavior. Following each story, the children engaged in interactive questions for discussion as well as suggested activities.

The following is a list of the topics discussed in these stories: honesty, understanding, forgiveness, courage, perseverance, tact, politeness, loyalty, gratitude, truthfulness, sincerity, integrity, citizenship, responsibility, kindness, generosity, helpfulness, empathy, charity, trust, willingness, respect, fairness, acceptance, patience, and effort. There are simple colorful illustrations of a young child like the character of Lucy or Eliot featured in each story. A few famous quotations are sprinkled throughout.

This book provides a wonderful opportunity for parents to spend time getting to know what their children are thinking as well as fulfilling a necessary parental responsibility to guide and form a child’s character and values. Recommended for all ages in the family to enjoy and share.

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MICKEY’S MAGIC

Walt Disney: Saving America’s Lost Generation

Written by R.H. Farber
WaltDisney,pic

I thought I knew quite a bit about Mickey Mouse and the Mickey Mouse Club TV show that I enjoyed watching on TV while growing up in the fifties. Turns out, the Micky Mouse Club involved a lot more than the TV show, and its origin happened quite by accident.

Back in 1927, the young Walt Disney signed a one year contract with Universal Pictures to do animated films with his new creation, Oswald the Rabbit. After the contract expired, Walt learned that he had been misled. A loophole in the contract gave Universal full ownership of the character. To make matters worse, the studio had stealthily hired Walt’s best animators so they could continue making the cartoon. Walt refused to deal with the studio and developed a new character, a mouse named Mortimer. His wife encouraged him to change the name to Mickey, and so the soon to be famous character was born. When Disney decided to produce his third Mickey cartoon, Steamboat Willie with sound, it met with rave reviews.

Children were flocking to the movies to see the cartoons that preceded the movie. An entrepreneur named Harry Woodin of the Fox Dome Theater had a brilliant idea. He suggested to Disney that they launch a fraternity for children which would focus on the latest Disney cartoon. Walt’s brother, Roy, worked with Woodin to develop the club with Mickey Mouse as its central character. Walt was delighted that these clubs could teach children about values he thought were important: honesty, integrity, compassion and patriotism. He insisted that these clubs be made available to all children regardless of race, creed or sex. Club membership was open for children in grades one through seven; children had to be enrolled in a school. They needed to maintain high grades and moral values. All members were eligible for election to officer positions. The first club opened in September, 1929, and by 1933, three million children were enrolled. The Saturday meeting with entertainment, contests, and child centered activities helped lift the spirits of children and parents during the Depression when there was so little to be hopeful about.

Mickey Mouse became a role model to children and adults. Merchandise and advertising sprung up everywhere. Mickey Mouse and his character friends became associated with every major holiday and event like the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. Mickey became a part of weddings and family vacations. The California Pacific Exposition and the New York World’s Fair featured the cartoon character. Mickey became a symbol of all that is good versus all that is evil in society. By the time World War II came around, the original Mickey Mouse Club members would find his name and image a significant inspiration in war operations.

This book contains pictures of priceless Disney mementos. There are movie posters, flyers, pictures of historical events, touching photos of Disney and his family, as well as Disney merchandise and the adorable children who enjoyed it. Personally, I wish the author would have continued the saga into the later stages in the fifties and beyond with the advent of television and the development of Disneyland. Perhaps too much time was spent on the early years. Unless, of course, the author plans to write another book finishing the story to the end of Disney’s life. If you are in the mood for some nostalgia and an uplifting read, this book is recommended for ages eight through eighty.

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TEACHABLE MOMENTS

Bleagh: A book about values

 

Written by Leana Lyn Doray

Illustrated by Little Pink Pebble

Bleaghpic

This book uses a unique approach to teach life lessons to children by engaging a monster creature named Bleagh (pronounced Bleh). Doray prefaces the book by giving the three definitions of bleagh: 1) the name of a friendly monster who wants to make new friends, 2) the sound children make when they smell something unpleasant, and 3) the sound that a friendly monster makes. At the beginning of the story, the reader meets Bleagh, a friendly but ugly homesick monster who has just arrived at school for the first time. Bleagh misses his other monster friends and does not understand the language or the customs of these children who appear terrified of him. Their teacher, Ms. Lyn explains that the creature is not mean but afraid so they should show EMPATHY for him. They do make an effort to do just that, but Bleagh terrifies them with the sounds he makes. She encourages the children to show TOLERANCE,  but that is very difficult to do when the creature opens stinky garbage to eat for his lunch. Some of the children get the brilliant idea to give him a pile of stinky socks to eat. The classroom practices COOPERATION when they all must assume different roles in a class project. There are team leaders, presenters, timekeepers and illustrators. When the time comes for the students to examine all their work hung on the walls, Bleagh says that one of them, “looks like a baboon’s backside.” He has the children in tears. Ms. Lyn says, “You never truly see something till you see beauty.” After a few moments, Bleagh steps back and notices new colors and patterns, exclaiming, “It’s fantastic.” They all break out in applause. Near the end of the day, Ms. Lyn reminds them that it is time to vote for the Star Student of the day. Bleagh wants to vote for himself, but decides that would be cheating. So he displays INTEGRITY and votes for Ming instead. There is a surprise ending that all readers will enjoy.

In addition to the four highlighted virtues embedded in the story, there are spellbinding illustrations of monsters, exotic plants, art work, and the classroom in which the children work. Little Pink Pebble has done an amazing job of portraying the story line and moods of the characters. The drawings display multicultural children in beautiful colors and exotic settings. Furthermore, the lessons it promotes have universal appeal and relevance. I highly recommend this book to parents and teachers of children age seven and up.

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