The Wash Rag, The Reading Tub Newsletter, Issue 8, August 2005

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It seems that each year at this time, we have the same reactions: we are ready for the kids to return to school, and at the same time scratch our head in amazement about where our summers went. Labor Day seems to mark the change of the seasons, and, like the memories of summer, a continual reminder that life is always moving ahead … whether we are ready or not!

Here in the Reading Tub™ that message has been delivered to us in a number of different ways. We are very excited (if not a little bit intimidated) about the path that is laying itself out for us. As you’ll see in the articles that follow, there is plenty of change afoot.

Before we talk about what’s happening here in the Tub, I would first like to take a moment to talk about one of our inspirations: Reading Rainbow™ Just two years ago, when The Reading Tub, Inc., was just an idea, we looked to Reading Rainbow™ and other programs and organizations that were devoted to literacy to find our own niche. There is no one right way to teach children to read, and we believe there is room for all of us. Now, it seems that one of the beacons of children’s literacy for more than twenty-five years needs our help. Reading Rainbow™ is on the verge of writing its closing chapter, as funding reductions leave the show unable to finish production for the coming season. Reading Rainbow is a national treasure. We want to reach one million people by the end of August to let them know how we can save Reading Rainbow™. If you would like to help ensure that our children continue to enjoy this great program—whether at home or through their schools—please go to Look for the URL to go “live” within the next week.

If you’re reading this Newsletter, you have seen that the Reading Tub™ is moving its methods of communication to a blog. Frankly, dealing with anti-spam and anti-virus filters have significantly minimized our ability to communicate with our constituency. So, in June 2005, we established Srub-a-Dub-Tub to rebuild and expand our connections. Please take the opportunity to browse the blog … we’ve included news, articles, and reminders (like re-link your FoodLion MVP Card to support the Reading Tub™! That we believe are valuable to you. As we have to this point, we remain committed to minimizing our correspondence, and don’t envision updating the blog more than once a week (at most). Ultimately, though, Scrub-a-Dub-Tub offers us greater flexibility in posting interviews, book reviews, events, and literacy news. If you go to our Web site, you can pick up the URL to get the RSS feed directly (there are directions there). Otherwise, we’ll transition this group to a blog-mail version and you’ll get hyperlinks in an Email.

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Are you looking to promote your book, business or cause? Do you want to be featured on hundreds of main content pages and be WELCOMED, TALKED ABOUT, BOOKMARKED and FORWARDED by thousands of people all across the USA and CANADA? You can do both by simply reminding family and friends of the importance of teaching children literacy, character, life and safety skills. Go to Parties 4 Children’s Literacy to learn more about how the program works.

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The Reading Tub has a bumper-crop of Featured Authors this quarter, each with very unique journeys en route to becoming published authors.

* Marguerite Morris Arnold’s inspiration for her first published children’s books came from having to help explain the death of a parent to her niece and nephew. Her books bring attention to the need for books that help explain parental death for young children. Click here to meet Marguerite Morris Arnold – 2 and read our interview.

* Janet Mary Sinke has a wonderful story about how she came to be a published author after becoming a grandmother. Her award-winning books – drawn from her own experiences – celebrate the special bond between a child and a grandparent. Click here to meet Grandma Janet Mary and read our interview. You can also read our review of Grandpa’s Fishin’ Friend.

* Reg Down is a poet, musician, and artist. As part of his eurythmy classes with young children, he created Tiptoes Lightly, a young woodland fairy. He has collected the stories and added illustrations to create two books of short stories that will fill the imaginations of children of all ages (including pre-readers). Click here to read meet Reg and read our interview. For our review of the first book The Tales of Tiptoes Lightly, click here.

* Lorna Schultz Nicholson is a self-described Tom-boy. She combined her love of writing with her love of sports to publish several middle-reader chapter books about youth hockey. Lorna has two goals for her books. First, keep boys reading. Second, offer life lessons that have meaning for them. The hero in her stories is Josh Watson, a teen who discovers, and then learns to deal with Type I Diabetes. Click here to meet Lorna Schultz Nicholson and read about the inspiration for her books.

Have you voted for us? Go to our home page and click on the Top Mom’s Site button. We could sure use your vote to raise our profile and help families find great books to read with their kids.

As you know from the multitude of solicitations you receive in the mail, fundraising is a core activity for any non-profit organization. It is our principal means of securing the funding we need to offer the services you enjoy. Over the next year, we hope to introduce some unique opportunities for you to support our children’s and family literacy efforts. The Reading Tub™ Book Auction is our inaugural event. We are currently auctioning a complete, autographed collection of Janet Mary Sinke’s award-winning book series, My Grandma and Me. The winner will receive a signed copy of Grandma’s Christmas Tree, I Wanna Go To Grandma’s House, Grandpa’s Fishin’ Friend, and Grandma’s Treasure Chest, which is set for release in October 2005. The auction opened on 15 August 2005, and will close 8 September 2005, just before Grandparent’s Day. Click here to place your bid on these truly memorable books.<

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Christine Louise Hohlbaum, author, PR Diva Queen, and prolific children’s book reviewer, has a new CD-ROM coming out: The Author’s Companion: A Self-Guided Course on Book Promotion. To celebrate its release, Christine is offering “How to Market Your Book,” a free teleclass on 29 August 2005, at 8:00 PM ET. All callers will also receive a 20% discount on the purchase of Author’s Companion, which includes a workbook and audio series chock full of savvy PR advice. So register today with Allyn Evans at to reserve your spot today!

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The Tub is now overflowing with books! Since June 2005, we have received nearly two hundred titles, covering every subject (and nearly every holiday), and for every age group. We are thrilled to have the opportunity to review the books sent to us by independent publishing houses. It may take a little bit of time, but we will read and profile every one of them.

The creativity of the themes is matched only by the ingenuity of the products they are producing. Clearly, “Book + CD” is the future! One of the other things that caught our attention is the number of books designed specifically for families, whether for a home-schooling environment, or just as a way to create learning opportunities to be shared together. If you are searching for these types of books, be sure to use these terms when you search our site: active learning, interactive learning, or workbook the next time you visit our site

NOTE: This will be the last time Tub-side Reading appears as a column in our quarterly newsletter. It is being transitioned to a monthly feature on Scrub-a-Dub-Tub. That way we can highlight more books, more often! Be sure to add the RSS feed to your Email program for automatic updates.

Bathtub Blues, by Kate McMullen. After a full day of playing outside, it’s time for everyone’s bath. We follow along with four children of different hues who get their time in the tub! This is a book that uses humor to help children fear taking a bath, as well as those who love the water so much they jeopardize their safety. Award winning author Carolyn Howard-Johnson shares her view of this picture book with us. (ages 0 to 6)

The Bones on Black Spruce Mountain, by David Budbill. Daniel and Seth, two 13 year-old boys, decide to climb and explore Black Spruce Mountain. They want to test their survival skills and solve the mystery of a missing boy who supposedly died on the mountain. (ages 10 and up)

Click Here to Find Out How I Survived Seventh Grade, by Denise Vega. Seventh grade Erin Swift narrates the story of her life, beginning with the pre-teen angst of learning that she and her best friend Jilly will be on different tracks for the school year. As Erin discovers, life has plenty of learning in store for her. Christine Louise Hohlbaum offers her review of this middle reader chapter book about growing up. (ages 9 to 12)

Fortune Tellers Club, #7: The Burning Pendulum, by Dotti Enderle. When Juniper tells a classmate about her fortune telling hobby, she creates a stir at school that no one anticipated. She has parents taking sides and the school board deciding whether or not to expel her. As author and reviewer LJ Davis points out, this is a middle reader chapter book that can be used to start a great discussion about censorship and book banning. (ages 8 to 12)

I Take a DEEEP Breath!, by Sharon Penchina and Stuart Hoffman. Preschoolers listen along and learn that simply by taking a deep breath they can regain their composure no matter what kind of event they must confront: happy, sad, big, small, surprising, new, scary. This is a book designed to help children understand their own power in facing what they perceive as challenges. (ages 0 to 7)

Murphy’s Safety Songs by Tim Young. Murphy (a dog) is the Emcee for this collection of unique songs about caring for and remembering your manners around dogs. This is a songbook that offers advice for pet owners and pet lovers alike. (ages 3 to 10)

It has been a glorious summer for us here in the Tub, but we (like you) are ready for fall and the fun and discovery that come with moving to the next season of the year. With school now upon us, reading, writing, and learning will once again become a more routine part of our days.

Here’s to the next set of incredible memories and great opportunities. Enjoy.

The Reading Tub Crew