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OCD Characters in Children's and Young Adult books

OCD Characters in Children’s and Young Adult Books

My son has had a series of tics since he was little from squeeky sounds, to a Tiger Woods arm pump, to an extra hop in his step. There was also a throat clearing noise and excessive eye blinking. He generally would move from one tic to the next one in smooth succession.

When he had a severe concussion this past year, his neurologist said that he had Tourette’s Syndrome. His psychologist — very helpful for concussion because it can cause depression and anxiety — said that my son would have to have three tics simultaneously for it to be Tourette’s so he was deemed with just having a tic.

We actually think his tics are cute and it never worried us like his concussion does. We also figured he would outgrown it, which may very well be the case according this therapist.

This is what I learned about tics, Tourette Syndrome, and OCD:

Tics, Tourette Syndrome, and OCD

Tics are rapid, repetitive movements or vocal utterances. They may be motor (like excessive eye blinking) or vocal (such as a habitual cough or chronic repetitive throat clearing noises), chronic (continuing throughout childhood), or transient (lasting less than 1–2 years). In children who eventually develop tic disorders and ADHD, the ADHD usually develops 2 to 3 years before the tics.

Tourette syndrome, which is quite rare, is a more severe form of tic disorder involving motor and vocal tics that occur many times per day. The average age at which it appears is 7 years. While children with Tourette syndrome may develop ADHD, the 2 disorders are separate and independent conditions. Attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder is not a variant of Tourette syndrome, and Tourette syndrome is not just a variety of ADHD. Research has shown that chronic tic disorders, Tourette syndrome, and OCD may stem from some common factors, and a child with any of these conditions is quite likely to also have ADHD.

Obsessive-compulsive disorder involves such symptoms as obsessive thoughts (such as a highly exaggerated fear of germs) and compulsive behaviors (for example, excessive hand-washing  in an attempt to reduce the fear of germs) that the child is unable to control or limit. In this sense, OCD is similar to tic disorders and Tourette syndrome, and creates additional functioning problems for children with ADHD. From


One out of a hundred children suffer from OCD (Obsessive Compulsive Disorder). Research indicates that it is due to a chemical imbalance in the brain. From Mr. Worry

Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD) is a common, chronic and long-lasting disorder in which a person has uncontrollable, reoccurring thoughts (obsessions) and behaviors (compulsions) that he or she feels the urge to repeat over and over. from NIMH

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Cover Reveal for The Length of a String by Elissa Brent Weissman

Cover Reveal for THE LENGTH OF A STRING & 3 Book Giveaway!

I’m thrilled to revealing the cover for Elissa Brent Weissman’s lastest book, The Length of a String! We are also giving away three of her previous books. My son is a big fan of her Nerd Camp books! Please fill out the Rafflecopter below to enter.

What do you think of her book cover? Thanks for sharing your impressions!


The Length of a String by Elissa Brent Weissman

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10 Books for Kids with Supportive Families & 10 Book GIVEAWAY!

10 Books for Kids with Supportive Families & 10 Signed Book GIVEAWAY!

Please welcome Judy Newman today. She’s the President of Scholastic Book Clubs and is sharing her list of 10 Books for Kids with Supportive Families. We are also giving away 10 signed copies of Bobs and Tweets: Perfecto Pet Show. I’m giving away 5 copies on my Instagram (@PragmaticMom), and 5 copies here. Feel free to enter both giveaways to increase your chance of winning. Please fill out the Rafflecopter below to enter.


Family Matters by Judy Newman

There is so much I want to tell you about the Bobs and Tweets and I am so grateful to Mia for this opportunity to speak to her wonderful community—you!—people who care passionately about getting a wide range of diverse books into the hands of all children.

Bobs and Tweets: Perfecto Pet Show by Pepper Springfield, illustrated by Kristy Caldwell

This is an interesting concept: a rhyming early chapter book! In this story, the Bobs and Tweets, two very different kinds of kids, help each other out in order to get to their school pet show on time. Differences can be helpful, the Bobs and Tweets learn, when it comes to fixing a disaster. [early chapter book, ages 5 and up]

That’s been my day job too. My career, as President of Scholastic Book Clubs, has been devoted to making sure all children have easy access to top quality, affordable books in which they can see themselves and others—and help them make sense of the world around them.  And…have fun, be entertained, and learn to love to read! It’s a tall order, but great children’s books are uniquely able to do all that hard work.

In the Bobs and Tweets series, Kristy Caldwell, the illustrator, and I are creating a big world on Bonefish Street (where our characters live) and populating the community with interesting, imperfect, relatable characters—all kinds of kids and families—from many diverse backgrounds with different world views.Read more…

Young and Feminist

Young and Feminist: 3 Book GIVEAWAY

Please welcome Abby Richmond, a high school senior and friend of my oldest daughter. This book, Young & Feminist, is her brainchild. Her thoughts about being a feminist in these challenging times are below.

Young and Feminist edited by Abby Richmond

A collection of feminist essays by high school students. Contributors include Rose Bostwick, Alisa Caira, Sophie Chalfin-Jacobs, Clare Donohoe, Seika Ghavidel, Julia Greenblatt, Gabe Jasper, Zoe Jasper, Shanie Kalikow, Sam Kesselman, Zoe Lee, Chloe O’Neil, Madeline Ranalli, Abby Richmond, Maddy Sherbet, Sarah Vernovsky, Cate Waters, Kate West, Sophia Wilcox-Warren, and anonymous.

Please note that 100% of sales from this book will be donated to Planned Parenthood.

p.s. My daughter is also one of the contributing writers of this book and also did the cover.

By Abby Richmond

It’s a challenging time to be a feminist. Although sexism certainly existed in the country before Donald Trump was elected president, it now has a fresh face and firm role in governing our country. I’ve always taken notice of microaggressions and discrimination in my day-to-day life, but growing up as a cisgender straight white woman in an affluent city, I’ve been lucky to feel safe from the harshest realities of misogyny and other forms of bigotry. Donald Trump’s election, and the fervent support for his destructive policies and statements from wide swaths of the country, brought to light deeply-rooted sexism, racism, homophobia, transphobia, and xenophobia in our country. These dangerous tendencies were not as apparent as they should have been to people like me previously. Trump’s election signaled the end to an era of complacency for many liberals like myself in this country.

Donald Trump as bottom feeder by Zoe Lee

Mixed media art by Zoe Lee

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Percy Jackson coloring Book

Percy Jackson Coloring Book GIVEAWAY! #PJColoringBook

Disney-Hyperion sent me a copy of The Percy Jackson Coloring Book to check out, and is partnering with me for a giveaway!

The Percy Jackson Coloring Book by Rick Riordan with Artwork by Keith Robinson is in stores August 21st, 2017! I’m giving away a prize pack of the coloring book and pencils. Please fill out Rafflecopter at the bottom to win!
Percy Jackson coloring Book

Demigods, Brandish Your Pencils!

One (1) winner receives:

  • Copy of The Percy Jackson Coloring Book
  • Percy Jackson-branded tin of colored pencils

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How to Purchase the Best Stroller for Your Family’s Needs – 5 Questions

How to Purchase the Best Stroller for Your Family’s Needs – 5 Questions

Picking out a stroller is a rite of passage for expectant moms or dads. Along with the variety of baby stroller brands comes the many types you can buy from each brand. If weeks have passed since your search has begun, but you are no closer to choosing a stroller, this guide might clear the buyer’s fog.

Here are 5 questions that can help narrow down your choice.

How to Purchase the Best Stroller for Your Family’s Needs – 5 Questions

  1. Do I want a stroller that will double as a car seat for my baby?

An all-in-one travel system stroller consists of a stroller, seat base, plus an infant car seat. While these all-in-one strollers are typically heavy and can take up quite a bit of space, they have advantages that you may want. The infant car seat can typically be unsnapped from the stroller and placed in the car, all without waking up Little Junior to do so. This option is not for you, however, if you live in the city and don’t own a car. Or rarely use the car for your day-to-day errand shopping. Read more…

Diverse Children's Books

Please Join Us for #diversekidlit

What Is #DiverseKidLit?

Diverse Children’s Books is a book-sharing meme designed to promote the reading and writing of children’s books that feature diverse characters. This community embraces all kinds of diversity including (and certainly not limited to) diverse, inclusive, multicultural, and global books for children of all backgrounds.

We encourage everyone who shares to support this blogging community by visiting and leaving comments for at least three others. Please also consider following the hosts on at least one of their social media outlets. Spread the word using #diversekidlit and/or adding our button to your site and your diverse posts.


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Our Total Eclipse Experience in Woodburn, Oregon

Our Total Eclipse Experience in Woodburn, Oregon

It just so happened on our art school tour of the west coast that we would be in the solar eclipse of totality if we were willing to wake up at 4am and drive for a few hours to get to Woodburn, Oregon by 10am. We were.

Our Total Eclipse Experience in Woodburn, Oregon

Actually, we didn’t have much choice. As we drove from San Francisco heading to Vancouver, British Columbia, my husband could not find a hotel for us in Oregon. We didn’t realize that people had booked up all the rooms in the cities of totality long before we planned out trip.

Our Total Eclipse Experience in Woodburn, Oregon

My husband opted to drive to Roseburg, Oregon since he was able to find a hotel there, and then leave very early in the morning to avoid traffic to get to within the band of totality. I, along with a lot of others, opted for Woodburn, Oregon. It’s the closest city of totality on the Oregon/Washington state border while still on the same highway from Roseburg.

Our Total Eclipse Experience in Woodburn, Oregon

We arrived a few hours early only to find Woodburn breakfast options to be quite crowded. We used Google maps to find a small park nearby to watch the eclipse. There were several more serious photographers at our location. We had only our iPhones but we did have the presence of mind to bring eclipse glasses from Massachusetts with us. The glasses really helped!

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8 Asian Cinderella Picture Books including the Original

9 Asian Cinderella Picture Books including the Original

I’ve always wondered why Cinderella is such a popular fairy tale the world over. According to Cinderella: A Cross Culture Story, the original Cinderella dates back to China as early as 850 A.D with Yeh-ShenThe oldest European version was from Italy in 1634, traveling from China.

The elements of all the Cinderella fairy tales make for a good story: good wins over evil, rags to riches is possible, and, of course, the happily ever after ending. There’s also the widowed and sometimes hapless father who seems totally unaware of his bad marital choice, the conniving new step relatives, and the heroine who is rewarded for her goodness by a magical element rather than through her own fortitude.

It makes me wonder if a Cinderella narrative is good for girls? Maybe this is why the Wonder Woman movie is making such waves with Amazons who don’t need men, and are strong and fierce warriors who, frankly, make the men they battle look wimpy.

Today, I thought I’d survey the Asian Cinderella folk tales, which I’ve organized alphabetically by country.

What do you think? Are you Team Cinderella or Team Wonder Woman?

8 Asian Cinderella Picture Books

Angkat: The Cambodian Cinderella by Jewell Reinhart Coburn, illustrated by Eddie Flotte

Angkat appeared in an 18th century French essay while the author was researching Khmer folklore. The story, of course, is much older than that, but the exact age is not known. You can see the story’s roots from the Chinese version, Yeh-Shen, with the same element of magical fish.

Life changes for a lonely fisherman and his daughter when he meets a widow with her daughter across the fish ponds. Family discord centers around who will be called Number One Daughter. Traditionally, it should be Angkat, as the daughter of the father, but the stepmother schemes to get this title for her own daughter. The Number Two daughter’s role is that of family servant, and Angkat is tricked into this position through a rigged fishing contest. Angkat ends up releasing her fish into the fish pond, and caring for it as a pet. Her stepsister finds out and cruelly cooks the fish.

A Spirit of Virtue tells Angkat that her fish’s bones are magical, and finds two golden slippers in its place. Following the Spirit’s advice, she places on slipper on the open window sill and hides the other. A black bird carries the slipper to the crown prince, who searches for the mate, wanting to marry her.

The story has the traditional shoe finding element, but then the story departs from the typical ending. Her father, stepsister and stepfather are overcome with jealousy at her happiness. They kill her to get the stepsister into the palace. Where Angkat was killed, a banana tree has sprouted up. When it’s cut down, bamboo takes it place. The prince finds this bamboo grove and is able to reunited with Angkat, with the help of the Spirit of Virtue. Angkat’s family is banished from the land, and she becomes the rightful queen. [fairy tale picture book, ages 6 and up]

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