The Blog

Boosting kids self confidence!

 

Large group of children posing isolated in white

 

I have gathered 4 amazing articles on boosting you kids self esteem and confidence.Which is very important especially with school starting!

Here are the links:

http://kidshealth.org/parent/emotions/feelings/self_esteem.html#

http://kidshealth.org/parent/emotions/feelings/confidence.html#

http://selfesteem.dove.ca/en/Articles/Written/Boosting_self-

esteem.aspxhttp://www.todaysparent.com/family/parenting/how-to-build-your-childs-self-

Losing Scooby Doo: What Have They Done to the Female Characters?

daphne_scooby_doo.jpg

Our six-year-old daughter has always been a huge fan of Scooby Doo. We started her on the old cartoons and now she has moved on to watching the new ones (Scooby Doo!: Mystery Incorporated), which, admittedly are targeted to older kids. That said, as a parent who enjoyed the original antics of Scooby, Shaggy, Velma and the gang, I was saddened to see how the plot lines have turned.

Sure, the writing is as tongue-and-cheek as it has always been – and at times – very clever. Both kids and parents can enjoy a good laugh at the expense of those “meddling kids” and the mystery solving element is always fun. However, I couldn’t help but notice how Daphne and Velma’s motives have changed since the original. Daphne, although still an enthusiastic mystery solver, is in love with Fred. There’s a particularly disturbing scene where he wakes her up and she’s laying in bed wearing revealing lingerie. My husband and I both exchanged wide-eyed looks. Why?

Daphne in lingerie Scooby Doo

Although there’s still the spooky, mystery solving plot line, Daphne mostly cares about her relationship with Fred, how he perceives her and whether or not he’ll ask her to prom. The joke is that Fred is asexual and notices none of her advances.

At least we still have Velma, right? Wrong. Velma is now stupidly obsessed with Shaggy. Not only is she obsessed with him, she also nags him on his style and poor articulation… (“Like, sandwiches, anyone?”) Velma is portrayed as a controlling  girl with low self-esteem. To add insult to injury, producers felt the need to also put Velma in swimwear. Why?

Velma_in_her_swimsuit_scooby_doo

What I always admired about Scooby Doo was how the show taught kids about using evidence to come to rational conclusions. Monsters and ghosts always had a logical explanation, but to get to the answer, the viewer had to figure out the clues. Kids, especially young girls, are bombarded with enough sexuality through media and the Internet to last a lifetime. Whether it’s through Disney Princesses or Ever After High, childrens’ programming is continuing to “program” them on the idealized female physique. And now, Scooby Doo is losing the innocent fun of mystery solving in favor of putting the female characters in swimsuits. What’s the point? Can’t we allow kids to enjoy a simple, fun show without sexualizing the females… who seem to just pine for romantic relationships? Why have the show’s producers turned on their female characters? Velma and Daphne are no longer strong, independent mystery solvers. All they care about is their relationships with men who treat them poorly. What’s the message in that?

Do Scary Stories for Kids Lead to Nightmares?

scary stories for kids

Sometimes kids love hanging out with their monsters

I’ve long been fascinated by horror, as well as the reasons why we are drawn to it. More recently, as I’ve watched my nearly six-year-old daughter, Molly, become drawn to scary stories, I’ve been wondering, why kids seek frightening tales out and what sort of limits they require. This is partly why I wrote The Pinkaboos. I wanted to explore kid’s relationships with scary stories. I believe it is complicated and worthy of exploration in a series.

Molly, like most kids, is a paradox. She is simultaneously the bravest person I know and also one of the biggest chickens I’ve ever met. Last year we started having regular issues at nighttime with various fears and worries, but we’ve seen those issues recede and I believe that’s because we started allowing her to watch scary TV shows and read scary books. Yes, that’s correct.

I noticed that at night she was scared, but during the day she had a growing interest in things that were scary. My initial instinct was to limit all contact with anything but the cuddliest care bear story. But I noticed that she had an innate hunger for spooky stories, so I let her follow her natural inclinations. I’m glad I did.

One of our favorites is Neil Gaiman’s Coraline. Too spooky even for some adults, Coraline tells the tale of young girl who finds a door to an alternate reality, where her Other Mother lives. The Other Mother encourages Coraline to stay whenever she visits. At first it’s a mere suggestion, but as the story progresses, so does her pressure as well as scariness. It’s a messed up, beautiful tale and I half expected it to give her nightmares, but it didn’t. Neither did the movie, The Corpse Bride. Neither did any of the scary shows and books she went on to consume.

So for all of those parents out there maniacally Googling, “How to Prevent Nightmares in Children,” please think twice about the oft quoted advice to avoid scary stories at all costs. If a child is scared of these stories, by all means, don’t force it on them, but for the ones who are inexplicably drawn to scary books and TV shows, consider that their natural inclinations might just be how they seek to come to terms with concepts that they are already wrestling with.

But don’t just take my word for it. Here’s a fantastic explanation of why kids love and need scary stories and some great additional reading for bonus marks here and here.

If you’re still looking for some good advice for kids struggling with nightmares, Alice Thompson wrote up a wonderful list of 27 ways to help a child overcome their nightmares. There are plenty of great tips in there, but she misses my favorite; get a Fright and learn how to scare your nightmares away. If that sounds like a method your child might enjoy, be sure to check out our series, The Pinkaboos.

 

Stay Scary,
Jake

Wonderful Pinkaboos Book Review from Kristina Horner

Youtube book reviewer Kristina Horner included a great review of The Pinkaboos: Bitterly and the Giant Problem! You can see her complete April Wrap Up below with the Pinkaboos making an appearance at around the 10:40 mark.

Reviews like this are critical to the success of the series and we’re grateful that Kristina took the time to review it for us.

Remember, you too can make a huge impact on the series as well. Simply visit our page on Amazon and take a couple minutes to fill out a review and us, and the rest of the world, know what you thought. We read all of the reviews and often take the feedback into account when we are writing.

Speaking of writing… the next Pinkaboos book, Belladonna and the Nightmare Academy is allllllllllmost out. Stay tuned for the official release date.

Stay scary,
Jake

The Role of Women in Star Wars: The Force Awakens

Daisy-Ridley

As a father I wrestle with a few Star Wars related questions, first being, “What age is the best age to introduce your kid to the epic saga?” The second is, “Do I even show her the prequels, do I pretend they don’t exist or do I find some edited version in the bowels of the Internet that splices all three films into one, leaving the bulk of atrocious dialogue in the trash with the rats where it belongs?” Then there’s a fourth lingering question, “Is Star Wars worthwhile entertainment for a kid whose father is concerned about the portrayal of women?”

Don’t panic. The answer is yes it is. While the number of strong, well-articulated women in the film can be counted on your right thumb, Leia’s a pretty decent character for a 1970’s science-fiction movie even if she’s a bit of a romantic object; she’s also very self-assured and self-reliant. The iconic gold bikini is unfortunate but I suppose we can cut Star Wars some slack there since it’s hard to imagine Jabba putting her in a smart pant suit with a respectable blazer. Wait a minute… did I just become a gold bikini apologist? Oh no! Moving on…

Fortunately, based on what I’m seeing in the Star Wars: The Force Awakens trailer, my concerns about the depiction of women in these movies has been greatly alleviated. Rey, being played by English actress, Daisy Ridley, by all accounts doesn’t look like she’s going to need a prince to rescue her and will likely be more comfortable in practical combat gear than metallic beach ware.

No real surprises here. Disney has been very intentionally moving away from the damsel in distress for years now. Movies like Brave and Frozen seem to address it head-on and their success is all the incentive Disney will need to continue on that track. Congratulations free market!

Another positive indicator is the casting of Gwendoline Christie, the ferocious warrior, Brienne of Tarth, from Game of Thrones. The six foot three actress is not likely to be seen prancing around in lace. Not that tall women can’t be objectified, but Christie’s role is far more likely to be similar to how audiences have already come to know her – she’ll be a total butt kicker. It has already been speculated that Christie will be playing some kind of Storm Trooper commander, possibly the one seen 1:20 into the Star Wars trailer.

But perhaps we don’t even need to look for clues in trailers. At the recent Star Wars Celebration in Anaheim, Lucasfilm president, Kathleen Kennedy stated that all future Star Wars films would feature a number of “really strong women.” Here’s hoping that Kennedy is putting Disney’s money where her mouth is. So far it’s looking like there will be new hope in this galaxy far, far away.

‘DC Super Hero Girls’ to Offer Girls Line of Superheros

DC GIRLS

The publishing world for young girls is getting better and better and we’re so proud to be a part of it.

DC Entertainment and Warner Bros. are teaming up to launch “DC Super Hero Girls” in fall 2015, a new superhero universe designed specifically for girls.

“DC Super Hero Girls” will follow Wonder Woman, Supergirl, Batgirl, Harley Quinn, Bumble Bee, Poison Ivy and Katana as teenagers and star in the new line of products, geared at girls aged 6-12.

“DC Entertainment is home to the most iconic and well-known Super Heroes including Wonder Woman, Supergirl and Batgirl,” DC Entertainment President Diane Nelson said in a statement. “‘DC Super Hero Girls’ represents the embodiment of our long-term strategy to harness the power of our diverse female characters. I am so pleased that we are able to offer relatable and strong role models in a unique way, just for girls.”

When “DC Super Hero Girls” debuts, an “immersive digital experience,” including original digital content and digital publications will be available. As it develops, TV specials, made-for-videos, toys, apparel, books and more will continue to rollout through 2016.

Book Review: The Princess in Black

The Princess in Black Book Review

We love reading stories that empower girls — and The Princess in Black — written by husband and wife team Shannon and Dean Hale (art by LeUyan Pham), is a story that doesn’t try to be cool, it just is.

The story’s heroine is Princess Magnolia, who, in the opening of the story is having hot chocolate and scones with Duchess Wigtower when suddenly, the monster alarm goes off. The remainder of the story follows Princess Magnolia as she leads a double life as “The Princess in Black,” fighting monsters on one hand, and pretending to be a delicate princess to appease Duchess Wigtower on the other.

As authors of The Pinkaboos, we find that The Princess in Black has similar themes to our chapter books. Sure, girls can like pink and princesses, but other interests and qualities are also explored – bravery, athleticism and of course, monster fighting! The Princess in Black is the perfect solution for girls (and parents) who are looking for well-rounded stories. This book offers girls a heroine who is  fighting monsters and also suggests that the color pink isn’t automatically bad just because it is perceived as girly. Hooray for a multi-dimensional female character for young girls! We love this book.

Why We Wrote the Pinkaboos

Why We Wrote the Pinkaboos

Molly was five years old and laying in her princess tent when I heard her say it. She mumbled, “I don’t like the way I look.”

Her first expression of body image issues, muttered in her small voice was like a punch in my gut.

“What?” I said, trying to keep the alarm out of my voice.

She didn’t answer. And I didn’t want to make a big deal about it.

I looked at her tent and stared at the emblazoned image of a rose-lipped Aurora smiling sweetly back at me. Inside, I could see the outline of my beautiful little girl staring up into the night. I said something along the lines of “You shouldn’t worry about that stuff,” and I could sense her thinking about what I said, then she rolled over and went to sleep.

This frightening statement came on the heels of Molly’s recent interest in Ever After High, a cleverly written cartoon about the sons and daughters of fairytale characters who all attend high school together. Admittedly, I knew the show’s themes of school crushes and dating were a little old for her, but she enjoyed it so I let her watch it even though I couldn’t help but notice what has now become standard practice in toys and media targeted at young girls. All the female characters have large, exaggerated pouty lips. They all have absurdly thin Dolly Parton waists and wear short skirts with platform heels. It’s how the female dolls look today: vastly disproportional physical features paired with hyper-sexualized clothing and make-up—targeted for girls ages 6 and up. Some brands even have gone as far as to claim these dolls represent “female empowerment,” which is not only insulting, but a downright lie.

Another troubling moment: my husband Jake and I didn’t want to cut her off from Ever After High cold-turkey, since we’re both keenly aware that making a big deal about it would create a heightened level of fascination, but we made sure to watch it with her and ask questions to help her foster an awareness of what she was watching. This was one of my least favorite exchanges:

“Who is your favorite character?” I asked.

“Apple White,” she said.

“Why?” I inquired.

“Because she’s prettiest,” she said.

The sexualized depiction of the female in children’s media isn’t by any means a new topic. Parents have been ranting about this since Barbie. We’re all aware that the Bratz dolls culture is not a good one for our kids (especially girls) and articles about this grossly exaggerated idea of the female figure have made their obligatory rounds. As parents, we always thought we’d been pretty good at dealing with it: Molly’s in ju jitsu and softball. We didn’t indulge her three-year-long fascination with Disney princesses, but instead, tried to balance her interests by purchasing Wonder Woman comic books and Legos. However, here she was, only five years old, worried about how she looked. It came down to this: we needed to find media for her that wasn’t Tinkerbell, Sleeping Beauty, My Little Pony Equestria Girls Dolls or any other warped depiction of the female experience.

Collaboratively, Jake and I wrote The Pinkaboos chapter books for two reasons. Firstly, Molly was terrified of sleeping alone (she sleeps in a tent in our room), so we wanted to create brave female characters that could teach little girls how to fight their fears. And secondly, we wanted to offer children characters whose inner traits were the focus. One of the main characters in The Pinkaboos, for example, is a monster with horns. She looks completely different from the other characters, but her appearance is never addressed as anything but an asset (her girth makes her physically strong). She is just one of the girls—tough and loyal, silly and clever.

The color pink is also a theme in the book. Pink can be a polarizing topic when it comes to kids books and toys. On the one side you have parents who think girls should have cotton candy walls, sleep in pink beds and dream pink dreams. On the other side of the color spectrum you have parents who consider that sort of division a form of gender stereotyping. There are also a few who think that pink is just a color and that kids will like what they like and it makes sense to let them gravitate to the colors they prefer. I believe we fall into this third category. Molly loves pink. But she also loves wolves, superheroes and spiders.

We wanted to create stories where young readers can let their imaginations take over. We wanted to invent a magical world that isn’t overrun by characters with chiseled features and exaggerated breasts. In the world of The Pinkaboos, there are no love interests or “happily ever afters” courtesy of marriage. In the world of The Pinkaboos, little girls fight their fears and learn how to be brave. It’s a funny, spooky world filled with adventure. We wanted Molly to still have access to the “monster” world that kids gravitate towards, but we wanted her to find a story with strong female characters—so we wrote this story for her.