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Indy “Talk” Shop


Kickstarter Campaign Launches Today!

Indy “Talk” Shop, a new creative educational toy startup for kids ages 0-3, produces toys that easily guide playtime with your kids for better bonding and learning. The company is launching a Kickstarter campaign today (February 28).

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As You Read, You Play, and You Learn, Naturally

Based on new research in child development and play methods, Indy “Talk” Shop is creating a line of playboxes that is qualitatively different. Each playbox comes with an original story about a cute yet clumsy dragon named “Indy” and a matching classic toy, such as a puzzle, blocks, train sets, etc. Each story guides a reading-while-playing experience that prompts playtime with your kids and enables an interactive dynamic between parent and child to enhance developmental areas that are critical for their growth. While essential for a child’s early learning, the playboxes also offer parents the tools they need to help their kids learn.

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Indy “Talk” Shop’s Kickstarter campaign offers backers an opportunity to donate the first playbox in a series, Indy and the Farm (an original story with a matching farm puzzle), to one of three New York-based national charity partners that support the education and advancement of children: K.I.D.S./Fashion Delivers, Family Health Centers at NYU Langone and Room to Grow. When you support Indy “Talk” Shop through the campaign, you will also buy Indy and The Farm for children in need.

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About Indy “Talk” Shop

Indy “Talk” Shop is co-founded by Frida Matute, M.A. CCC-SLP, a New York-based medical pediatric speech-language therapist, and Alex Adarichev, an architect and designer. Frida’s inspiration comes from tying her clinical experience, research and love of watching kids and parents learn together. Their five-person team has been working diligently to make this launch a success.

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Indy “Talk” Shop’s method is to embed tips and hints into the story’s pages, treating text with graphics, punctuation, capitalization and bold-faced type, so parents can read to their kids in a sing-song voice. This technique is “dynamite for language development,” says Patricia Kuhl of the Institute for Learning and Brain Science at the University of Washington. The combination of embedding tips for parents and encouraging an animated reading of the story while playing with the matching classic toy helps kids naturally repeat core vocabulary words and sounds. It also lets children practice early cognitive skills like problem-solving, matching and categorization.

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Play research has been going on for years, although not all toy companies are embedding this research directly into the design of toys Like Indy “Talk” Shop is. “Preschool children learn better when an adult is involved,” says Dr. Jenny Radesky, a pediatrician specializing in child development at Boston Medical Center. In other words, guided play is best for kids’ development, to help parents and kids bond, learn and play more effectively. “When parents keep the conversation going, rather than simply trying to get their children to hear as many words as possible, they are preparing their children for later language and school success,” say Kathy Hirsh-Pasek and Roberta Michnik Golinkoff, child psychologists and researchers at Temple University. Further research explains that healthy brain development relies on guided play between kids and parents. Indy “Talk” Shop playboxes guide parents through a playtime interaction that will make a difference in their kids’ development, whether they have five minutes or an hour to play.

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The NEW Angelcare/Sassy


“We’re pioneering design and functionality that is going to change the conversation about monitoring and baby care for years to come.”

-Tom Bratton, Angelcare CEO

This year, Angelcare Holdings, Inc. and its subsidiary Sassy Inc transformed as a company to create groundbreaking new products in baby monitoring and developmental toys. Combining the latest technological advances with scientific insight and modern intuitive design, the Angelcare and Sassy offerings deliver what today’s parents and caregivers want: peace of mind while helping their children thrive.

The Industry’s Top Innovators

Canada-based Angelcare assembled a team of the industry’s best minds to drive this unprecedented step forward in baby care standards. “Recruiting top talent was our number one goal for the relaunch,” Tom tells us. “We built our team from top global brands in a range of fields—baby, health and beauty, consumer electronics, technology/SaaS—to create this unique culture of innovation and thought leadership. When you get this caliber of people together, it’s amazing what they can create.” With a growth mindset and shared commitment to supporting children, parents and caregivers, the Angelcare/Sassy team focuses their combined insights and skillsets on transformative solutions that truly advance the industry standard.

Intentional, Science-Driven Design

Angelcare/Sassy taps into the desires and expectations of today’s millennial parents. From data-driven tools and a modern design aesthetic, to the latest technology and the best materials, Angelcare/Sassy brings baby care up to the minute and set the standard for decades to come.

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A Breakthrough in Baby Monitoring Technology

Coming in January 2017 to North American retailers, Angelcare’s new AC417 and AC517 baby movement, sound and video monitoring systems have a new sleek design and include the only wireless movement sensor pad on the market. They feature Angelcare’s new Activity Analytics for tracking baby’s movement. “Our new wireless sensor pad is all about simplicity combined with safety. Parents are going to love it,” says Angelcare President Jordan Riggs, “but the real game-changer is the activity tracking and reporting built into our new monitors.”

Current fans of Angelcare products know that their monitors are designed to sense baby’s slightest movements and sound an alarm if no movement is detected after 20 seconds. The new models offer this core alarm feature plus the ability to track, record and report on baby’s bigger movements (like restlessness, rollovers, and kicks). With this insight into baby’s activity level during sleep, parents are better able to adapt routines and respond to baby’s needs. The ultimate result is more peace of mind (and rest) for everyone. “Today’s parents use technology in all aspects of life,” Jordan says, “and at Angelcare, we provide moms and dads with easy-to-use monitors that help them care for baby, relax and enjoy the adventure of parenthood.”

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Sassy Set to Launch 100+ Products in 2017

Working with premier child development PhD’s and experts, Sassy renewed its focus to incorporate the latest research into all Sassy products with its trademark child-pleasing colors and shapes. The company is launching more than 100 new toys, feeding and baby care products in early 2017 that will help children thrive by focusing on developmental and educational needs.

The fresh offerings include an exciting range of new materials and bolder colors designed to help children play with purpose, as well as learn to solve problems, be flexible and self-motivate. From toys to teethers, bathing products to innovative cups, all of Sassy’s new products are designed to fit a child’s growing sensory perception, motor skills, and creativity.

“The Sassy team not only understands the importance of child development, they also bring a high level of style to the process,” says Sassy Vice President of Marketing Susan Hinshaw. “Today’s millennial parents demand more from baby and child care products. Sassy’s flair for stylish touches make the company’s new products consistent with modern aesthetics and compatible with on-the-go lifestyles.”

Today, Northbrook, IL-born Sassy is part of Angelcare Holdings, Inc., headquartered in Montreal, Canada, with development, design and engineering in Grand Rapids, MI. The company’s current product line includes developmental toys, feeding items, baby care products to help children thrive and industry-leading movement monitoring that gives parents 24/7 peace of mind.

 

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Tabitha Fink: The Cat with One Eye


I Fink Different.

She may only have one eye, but that’s just what makes her special. Other than that, she’s one fabulously storied cat. The 5-star, award-winning Tabitha Fink: The Cat with One Eye is written for children ages two through five that tells Tabitha’s story in playful rhyme and delightful illustrations that kids totally love.

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“A not-to-be missed story for the preschooler in your life – uplifting, enjoyable, and just plain fun. I loved every word!”

– Ellen Feld, Feathered Quill

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The First Place Winner of the 2016 Beverly Hills Book Award and a Feathered Quill 2016 Bronze Award Winner for Best Children’s Illustrated Book, the stories of Tabitha Fink start with the truth that no one is perfect, that we are all special and unique and that we should celebrate the uniqueness in everyone. Certainly this friendly, one-eyed cat is a fabulous example of that, as she scampers off on amazing adventures that will help children explore their emerging and sometimes challenging worlds. Tabitha’s next adventure is chronicled in Rick’s newest book, Tabitha Fink On a Mission to Mars.

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“The world of Tabitha Fink is a simple and playful reflection of the many special things that are part of children’s lives,” says author Rick Felty – who is one swanky cat himself, especially to me. During the many years we worked together in the broadcasting and promotion business, Rick was THE go-to creative mind, winning every kind of creative excellence award in the business, including the coveted Emmy. So it doesn’t surprise me one bit that Rick has created a unique world for Tabitha Fink filled with entertaining lessons for kids as well as cool products that keep her message alive. Fun t-shirts, hoodies and stickers are just a few that proclaim, “I fink different.”

“An adorable book with an uplifting message. Tabitha Fink teaches children to be happy with themselves instead of trying to be like someone else…celebrating their uniqueness and individuality.”

– Mamta Madhavan for Readers’ Favorite

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The Real Tabitha Fink

Rick is also a photographer, musician and private pilot who lives in New England with his wonderful family, a dog, a bunch of fish and the real one-eyed cat named Tabitha Fink. “We have found that some people want to know why Tabitha Fink has only one eye. This is a very natural question and we are happy to tell you all we know.” Come to find out, Tabitha was adopted that way. The vet isn’t sure why she has only one eye, and thinks either injury or illness played a part in her uniqueness. “In any case, the veterinarian told us that she would be able to live a very full life with only one eye,” Rick says, “and we can report that she does!”

Some cats only have a Facebook page. Tabitha Fink has an entire world for kids to explore and learn from. How cool is that?

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Children’s Book Series


Imagine a young child teased in school for reading aloud. Terribly. How could that child react?

Well, this one – a shy, introvert who enjoys spending time alone, dreaming up magical worlds, singing, dancing, drawing and writing- simply stops reading.

It isn’t until her teacher notices a huge drop in her test scores that it comes to the attention of her Mom. And the race to improve the child’s reading skills begins. It actually becomes an easy job, as the child reads well above her age level; as we know, all writers are great readers. She just doesn’t enjoy it as much as she once does. Until …

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Dragonriders of Pern

For me (yes, I am this child), I don’t really enjoy reading again until a friend introduces me to the science fiction book series, Dragonriders of Pern by Anne McCaffrey. By now, I’m a young adult, working in advertising. From here, it’s Frank Herbert’s masterpiece series, Dune and the works of Robert Heinlein (Stranger in a Strange Land, Time Enough for Love and Glory Road are favorites).

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Children’s Book Series

The nature of book series -the worlds authors create, the cast of recurring characters, the richness and intimacy of the storytelling – is what hooks me to the quick. Readers of all ages are drawn in with the sights and sounds of the storied imagination, so to speak, which encourages more reading, more imagination, more satisfaction.

Nowadays, children are huge fans of J.K. Rowling’s magnificent Harry Potter series (for the best treat, listen to the award-winning audiobooks, narrated by the oh-so-talented Jim Dale); Suzanne Collins’ The Hunger Games, the Twilight series by Stephanie Meyer and others (can you say, Diary of a Wimpy Kid?). And you don’t have to be a child to be taken by them.

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Certainly, the fascination with book series can continue well into adulthood – consider the popularity of George RR Martin’s A Song of Fire and Ice (aka Game of Thrones) and Diana Gabaldon’s Outlander series and the Earth’s Children series (Clan of the Cave Bear) by Jean M. Auel. Yes, book series can open up a whole new world to a reader and a whole new way of learning.

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Mango, Abuela, and Me


An endearing tale from an award-winning duo that speaks loud and clear about learning new things and the love that bonds family members.

Mia’s abuela leaves her sunny house with parrots and palm trees to live with Mia and her parents in the city. The night she arrives, Mia tries to share her favorite book with Abuela before they go to sleep and discovers that she can’t read the words inside. So while they cook, Mia helps Abuela learn English and Mia learns some Spanish too, but it’s still hard for Abuela to learn the words she needs to tell Mia all her stories. Then Mia sees a parrot in the pet-shop window and has the perfect idea for how to help them all communicate a little better.

Appropriate for children ages five through eight, Mango, Abuela, and Me is written by the award-winning Meg Medina, who has authored several books for young readers, including the highly acclaimed YA novel, Yaqui Delgado Wants to Kick Your Ass and the picture book Tía Isa Wants a Car, for which she received an Ezra Jack Keats New Writer Award. Now living in Richmond, Virginia, Meg grew up in Queens, New York.

061516_CRT_MangoAbuelaAndMe_insideimage“I turned to writing because my family wouldn’t stop talking. Ever,” Meg says. “I’m part of a very ordinary Cuban family, which is to say, a meddling clan of aunts, uncles, and grandparents who are tireless storytellers. Stories are such a powerful way to remember and make sense of what happens to you in life—and plenty had happened to them by the time they arrived in the U.S. during the early 1960s. My parents left in the middle of a revolution in their country, and they arrived the way many immigrants do: with empty pockets, no language, and in shock. But they also knew the power of stories. Families need their own tales to survive hard times, and those stories are a rope that can attach even the youngest children to their roots. Stories help you learn all the things that really matter to the people who are trying to help you grow up.”

The book is illustrated by Angela Dominguez who lives in San Francisco and teaches art at the Academy of Art University.

061516_CRT_MangoAbuelaAndMe_CoverPura Belpré Author & Illustrator Awards

Both Meg and Angela are honored with the 2016 Pura Belpré Author and Illustrator Honor Book Award, named after the first Latina librarian at the New York Public Library. Established in 1996, the awards are presented annually to a Latino/Latina writer and illustrator whose work best portrays, affirms and celebrates the Latino cultural experience in an outstanding work of literature for children and youth. It is co-sponsored by the Association for Library Service to Children (ALSC), a division of the American Library Association (ALA), and REFORMA, the National Association to Promote Library and Information Services to Latinos and the Spanish-Speaking, an ALA affiliate.

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The Incomparable Sally Huss


“Happy children make a better world. I write children’s books to help brighten the lives of children and add a little dollop of wisdom in the process.”

-Sally Huss

Children need core values, good habits, handy skills and a good sense of humor to keep them moving forward in a happy, healthy and productive manner. So says Sally Huss – imaginative artist, insightful writer and a friend of mine. Sally’s 80+ children’s books are stories full of fun rhymes and truly adorable illustrations that teach kids (and adults, too!) meaningful social and emotional skills. Plus, she adds to her children’s book collection all the time (sign up here for a free download).

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Fab Review – “…Kids like their crazy outfits … and their clothes combinations are no nuttier than llamas who like to wear pajamas… This is another lovely book of cute rhymes and adorable fanciful drawings that delight the imagination.”

-Healthy Living

Growing up in Bakersfield, California, Sally started painting at 10 years old. She studied art Occidental College before graduating with a degree in Fine Art from USC. Along the way, Sally followed her dream of playing tennis – first as a U.S. and Wimbledon Junior Champion, then a semi-finalist in the Women’s division at Wimbledon. Now a top senior player, Sally is a member of the Kern County Sports Hall of Fame (1977) and the Occidental College’s Athletic Hall of Fame. (2015).

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Fab Review- “How clever is this? Through a delightful adventure to the moon, the author explains not only how moon cheese is made, but how The Man in The Moon lights up the sky by doing his work happily, thus inspiring the visitors to do the same. We loved this book and I know we will read it often.”

– Jill McDonald

060816_CRT_SallyHussAfter Sally married Marv Huss -the love of her life and a top executive with Hallmark- she created several lines of greeting cards, clothing and ceramics, plus baby bibs, wallpaper for children, and more. Sally also writes and illustrates a King Features’ syndicated, inspirational panel for newspapers called Happy Musings. In the 80’s, the two developed Sally Huss Galleries across the country. “I continue to paint commission works for homes, offices and hotels and offer many of my prints on Fine Art America,” Sally says. “These include gift prints, prints for children’s rooms and large contemporary landscapes.”

Sally’s art, her children’s books and her writings always put a smile on my face …

and I bet they’ll do the same for you and your kids. You can also find all of Sally’s books on Amazon.

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Good Night Yoga


Do you know the President’s Council has added the practice of yoga to the fitness activities in the annual President’s Challenge?

Sounds True is an independent multimedia publishing company that embraces the world’s major spiritual traditions, as well as the arts and humanities, with a library of more than 1,500 titles including children’s books.

Good Night Yoga: A Pose-by-Pose Bedtime Story 

“I wrote this book because after years of teaching children’s yoga, I wanted a way for my students to (literally) take it home,” says author Mariam Gates. With a master’s in education from Harvard University and has more than 20 years’ experience working with children, Mariam’s renowned Kid Power Yoga™ program combines her love of yoga with teaching to help children access their inner gifts. “This book became a way to hand children the tools to create their own practice and for parents, caregivers, and teachers to share in that experience.”

For parents and caregivers looking for a fun and effective new routine for bedtime, Good Night Yoga is full-color book beautifully illustrated by Sarah Jane Hinder that tells the story of the natural world as it closes down for the night, while teaching children a simple flow of yoga postures inspired by their favorite characters from nature.

“There is a power in being able to pause and take a deep breath in and a long breath out. As I teach kids and train teachers around the country, I am amazed by how this simple tool of slowing things down through breath and movement can be so essential to how we experience a moment, a day, and our lives. This book is my way of bringing that practice to life.”

As a parent, part of Mariam’s purpose for writing this book is to create more ritual around bedtime, especially for her daughter, who needed a longer lead-in to sleep. The simple flow of the story gives kids a way to relax mentally and physically “let go” of the day.

Good Night Yoga is a complete guide to a simple sequence that is both fun and ultimately relaxing. Each pose has both visual and written cues as a support, and Mariam includes a spread where the entire flow is shown so you and your child can see “where you’re going.”

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Mariam and her artist partner Sarah Jane follow Good Night Yoga with Good Morning Yoga, a practice for kids and parents to greet the morning with joy and embark on their daily adventures with intention and confidence.

Namaste