Archive for the ‘education’ Category

Two Free E-Books on Writing a Book

August 2, 2009

    1. Have you ever felt that you have valuable experience or ideas that could become the basis for a book? Perhaps you have no idea how to set about writing a book. Here are TWO FREE EBOOKS to help you get started.
      The Easy Way to Write presents "Becoming a Successful Writer" by Rob Parnell
      Rob Parnell is owner and founder of the Easy Way to Write, an Internet copany established in 2002 dedicated to providing excellent writing resources to writers of any proficiency from beginner to seasoned pro. The Easy Way to Write provides books and corses designed to help authors with anything from self-motivation and practical writing solutions to selling their work.
      "Writing for Fun and Profit" by Brian Scott
      He writes; "I've kept this book extreely simple for several very simple purposes:
      1) To show you how easy ti is to write your own book.
      2) To show you that it it really is a step-by-step process that you can follow over and over again.

      I want one very simple thing from you.

      I want you to forget everything you've learnt or heard or felt or thin is the truth. Not forever, just while you read through this book. I want you to read this with an open ind and a blank slate.

      Tales my Ghanaian Grandmother Told Me

  • Children and Reading- a Site you May Find Interesting

    July 30, 2009

    This article originally appeared in:

    I just discovered a wonderful web site where kids can practise reading, and follow directions to create all sorts of toys. At the same time, they recycle junk and learn about science. Is that a win/win or what!

    The site is Arvind Gupta’s Toys from Trash. It has hundreds of projects. Once you click on the thumbnail that takes your fancy, its page comes up with a series of diagrams and instructions to follow. The directions are clear and pitched at about primary school level.

    I tried out several experiments. Some were simpler than others in that the equipment needed was more likely to be lying around the house, but all that I tried had been expertly described with step-by-step instructions. More complicated projects had a “Do it details” link to a pdf. Young scientists will find so much to do here. So will young mathematicians, engineers, musicians, and artists (see Beautiful Butterfly and others in Paper Fun section).

    While you’re there, check out the amazing pdfs available (Books/English). They have different reading levels, so you need to browse to find suitable material for your own little learner, but I loved The Paper Aeroplane Book, The Rubber Band Book, AHA! Activities – a huge pdf of practical science lessons – and String Games, because they fascinate me still. So much to read, so much to do!

    For younger kids, Thumbprints is cute. It starts with a lovely poem about using our thumb to make prints, then follows up with some wonderful animal thumb print ideas to spark some artwork. More Thumbprints adds objects. Leaf Zoo shows how to add details to leaves to make some great creatures.

    There is also a gallery of films, showing the making some of the toys, and other documentaries. Most are not in English or subtitled, but fascinating just the same.

    This site would make a wonderful resource for one of those No TV evenings, or for teachers and parents looking for hands-on science activities. Arvind Gupta is so generous with what he’s made available online. I thank him on behalf of children everywhere.Tales my Ghanaian Grandmother Told Me by Dzagbe Cudjoe

    Nuggets of Wisdom from Writers

    July 12, 2009


    I have always been admiring of and intrigued by people who are able to express their wisdom and insight in a clear and pithy manner. Here are a few gems on writing.

    “The total life of the writer
    is the source of his work,
    all of these go into his writing
    in varying quantities:

    the sense, as of taste and touch,
    the rate of metabolism, blood pressure,
    the digestion, body temperature,
    the memory of things past,
    perhaps going back to the childhood
    not only of the writer but of the race itself.

    The success of his work
    depends on the liveliness
    and alertness of his brain,
    previous reading of books,
    shrewdness of insight into human character,
    his ear for the sound of language.

    The writer, therefore,
    must have a more than ordinary
    capacity for life
    and the power to retain what he experiences.”

    Paul Engle

    “I write for the same reason I breathe- because if I didn’t, I would die.” Isaac Asimov

    “You write in order to change the world, knowing perfectly well that you probably can’t, but also knowing that literature is indispensable to the world… The world changes according to the way people see it, and if you alter, even by a millimeter, the way … people look at reality, then you can change it.” James Arthur Baldwin

    “When written in Chinese, the word ‘crisis’ is composed of two characters – one represents danger, and the other represents opportunity.” Saul David Alinsky

    A book must be an ice-axe to break the seas frozen inside our soul.” Franz Kafka

    “You can’t wait for inspiration. You have to go after it with a club.” Jack London

    “You must write for children the same way you write for adults, only better” Maxim Gorky

    Tales my Ghanaian Grandmother Told Me

    Review of “Tales My Ghanaian Grandmother Told Me” by Dzagbe Cudjoe

    June 11, 2009

    A review of Tales My Ghanaian Grandmother Told Me by Dzagbe Cudjoe
    Posted by: PEAdmin on Wednesday, June 10, 2009 – 11:28 AM Print article Printer-friendly page Email to a friend Send this story to someone
    Reviews of Books
    Reviewed by Teresa Aguilar

    Tales my Ghanaian Grandmother Told Me
    by Dzagbe Cudjoe
    Strategic Book Publishing
    Paperback: 52 pages, October 8, 2008, ISBN-13: 978-1934925874

    Tales My Ghanaian Grandmother Told Me by Dzagbe Cudjoe is overall a well written collection of stories. The Author shows imagination and creativity , a natural story-teller. This is intended to be a children’s book, but I found that it was a little too detailed for a younger child to read without getting distracted. I would recommend this book for children age 9 and up.

    A very nice dedication to the author’s father included, and the book design was excellent. The picture included in the first story may be too scary for some younger children but all the others pictures would catch a child’s interest. I would have liked to have read more about the author to get a sense of her connection with Ghanaian culture. I hope in her next book she includes a photo and a little background information on herself. These stories are from the mind of the Author, but reading them you would think they were really stories passed down through generations.

    The first story in this book is “The Wicked Curse of Nibobobo” about a young man Fetu who wanted to marry Niniana a girl in his village but his father forbade him. The trouble that results from a curse made in revenge by Nibobobo, the mother of Niniana, affects the whole village. Fetu, Niniana, and a third character Ade then volunteer to take on the task of going to Great-Spirit-Who-Created-All-That-Is-On-This-Earth to remove the curse affecting the village. The three must pass all the trials given to them on their journey to prove themselves worthy of the great spirits help.

    The next story “Akua’s Foolish Wish” went into too much detail on the making of clay pots and a child may lose interest in the story before they get to the actual story line of Akua. Once it goes into the story of Akua and her wish that the commemorative figure she has made of a great chief can speak then the story moves along well. The story is humorous and children will enjoy the rest of the tale.

    “The Fingers of Fire story” is, by far, my favorite story in the whole book. A tale of Falisimu and his growing up in his Uncle Bendu’s home. The story describes how he came into his uncle’s care and met Laliya a girl close to Falisimu’s age. It goes into detail of what the lives of the children and adults were like in Northern Ghana which was interesting. It is an imaginative and spiritual story of two children creating an invention with the help of voices of fire and earth and finding out it’s use for the good of all.

    The final story “Journey To The Chest Of Gold” was rather odd and out of place compared with the other stories in this book. I didn’t get the point of time traveling school trips and being invisible. Time travel can be interesting as a story in itself but compared with the other stories it did not fit with the tales a grandmother would tell about myths and legends of Ghanaian culture. The talking gold weights made no sense whatsoever to me either. A child might enjoy the inanimate objects talking to one another but overall the tale was just strange. But the last three photos at the end of this story including actual gold weights was a surprising bonus.

    About the reviewer: Teresa Aguilar is a stay-at-home mom who lives near Lake Fork in Emory, Texas. Married for over 17 years with three children, the whole family shares a interest in books of all genres. She aspires to own a book shop of her own one day. Her time is spent raising her children and her miniature dachshunds and one orange tabby cat. She also tries to grow trees in clay, and finally having some success, maybe to have some shade in the future to read under. She would also like to say thank you to her cousin Jeanneta who read “The Hobbit” to her when she was a small child and started her love affair with books. compressed resized
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    Children have Educational and Creative Fun using their Favorite Book as the Basis of a Board Game

    June 10, 2009

    “Journey to Gameland: How to make a Board Game from Your Favorite Children’s Book” by Ben Buchanan, Carol J. Adams, Susan Allison and Doug Buchanan” (Paperback) encourages both education and fun. Reading becomes the basis for creating a board game.

    I gave this book to two girls aged ten and eight in South Africa and they just loved it! The following two reviewers are of the same opinion.

    :5.0 out of 5 stars For kids, by a kid — this is a great activity book, August 24, 2003
    By Diane C. Howard (Burlington, Iowa, United States) –

    Written by a kid (with adult help) and illustrated by the kid’s brother, JTG is a remarkable way to encourage creativity and get kids to do something besides watch TV or play on the computer.
    This isn’t an adult book, so some of the advice (how to make money, pawns, etc) might make grown-ups cringe and cry out that it is too crude or unfinished. So what? We’re talking make-believe.
    Buchanan goes step by step, offering advice and warning where difficulties might come in. His technique is simple and obvious, and any child can modify his advice to suit (soccer, favorite movie, family things). He even includes a super book list!
    I bought this book at a local bookstore and even though I have no kids and have nobody to play board games with I think this is easily a five-star book. You can even use it as a birthday party event (directions included).
    This is a marvelous edition to a family, school or church library. You won’t be sorry.

    5.0 out of 5 stars From the Board Games Editor at, January 31, 2006
    By Megan Romer (Ithaca, NY) –
    This book teaches your child how to make a board game based on their favorite book, and it’s interactive, like a workbook.

    The premise of the book is fun. Instead of being a standard workbook, it’s written in a style that mimics an actual journey, with “Postcards” that your child will fill in and “Guideposts”, which are for the parent or teacher to read.

    While a child reading and discovering this book will probably be gently tricked into thinking that they’re doing nothing but having fun, as a parent or teacher, you’ll realize how much they’re getting out of the activity! They’re thinking critically about their chosen book, finding ways to adapt it into a game using math and logic, and being artistic! What more can you ask?

    This book is a great resource for kids who can’t get enough of their favorite book, for parents who are trying to teach their child how to think critically about literature, and for teachers to help provide inspiration.

    Which country am I in – South Africa or England?

    April 1, 2009

    13th March, 2009

    To-day was the swimming gala at Wycliffe School. Julie invited me along to see her eldest granddaughter perform. The composition of the spectators was predominantly “white” with a small number of “Asian” families and very, very few “Black” families.

    I sat on a chair by the side of the swimming pool in a state of total disorientation. I was surrounded by buildings and beautifully manicured lawns and flower bed such as I associate with expensive, private girls’ boarding schools in the South of England.

    The sports staff were all striding around in short pleated navy blue skirts and white ankle socks. My feelings of deja vu were intense. Although educational standards at the school are exceptionally high I do wonder what sort of preparation is offered for life in the future South Africa. The school did buy a copy of “Tales My Ghanaian Grandmother Told Me” so perhaps that’s a promising sign.

    Inclusion or exclusion is no longer on the grounds of colour but of finance.
    Now available through

    Visit to a Secondary School in Pietermaritzberg,South Africa

    April 1, 2009

    12th March,2009

    Julie had made arrangements with her sister-in-law for us to visit Esther Payne Smith Secondary School where she teaches. The school is in the Northdale area of Pietermaritzberg which used to be an Asian area. The school in days past had an excellent reputation.

    Julie and I drove up to the entrance which is topped by razor wire as is the surrounding boudary fence. The gate was finally opened by a rather surly security guard. The boundaries of the property were littered with rubbish, unswept leaves were everywhere. One building was in a state of dereliction with part of its’ corrugated iron roof missing, glass was absent from many windows which were boarded up and covered with graffiti. There were holes in the ceiling in the passageways.

    We were met by Julie’s sister-in-law who told us of the difficulties the school faces, There is electricity only in the Headmasters’ office, there are no administrative staff, no photocopying or other office equipment and the one computer has to be kept in the safe.The science block is unused with thick layers of dust covering everything and chairs lying at sixes and sevens everywhere. A globe of the world lay on its side on the floor. The staff room was like a prison waiting room.

    The pupils are mainly from the nearby squatter camp or have been rejected by schools in their own area of Pietermaritzberg.The majority of pupils were tidily dressed wearing clean school uniforms.

    The first classroom Julie and I went into was predominately a class of boys. Despite a highly energetic teacher they were very apathetic and generally disinterested in everything. One girl arrived late wearing a short skirt and a condescending attitude.

    We visited a few other classes and in each when I spoke I emphasized that education is vital to their future lives and urged them to make full use of all opportunities which come their way. Questions were invited but only a few were put to me.

    the Headmaster Chris Ndlela had made time in his hectic schedule to have a few words with us. He is also Provincial Chairperson of SADTU (South African Democratic Teachers Union). Mr Ndlela is a can-do person who possess both insight into the problems the school faces and is finding creative solutions to rectify them. There had recently been a high profile visit from a representative from the Department of Education which intends to channel additional funds to the school. The Department of Education is highly impressed by the school because despite its’ lack of facilities the exam pass rate is impressive.

    I had been absolutely in awe of the entire staff’s enthusiasm and dedication and Mr Ndela repeatedly emphasized how important this was in getting the school moving forward and upward. Julie and I signed the Visitors Book which goes back to the schools foundation in 1926. I also presented the school with a copy of “Tales My Ghanaian Grandmother Told Me”.

    Julie’s sister-in-law later told us that the teachers we hadn’t visited had been very disappointed not to meet us. Apparently our visit had had a very uplifting effect on the staff. She also mentioned the fact that a number of pupils had told her that they had wanted to ask me questions but had been frightened to do so in case the questions were considered to be stupid. This made me realize that I should have behaved in a much more interactive and reassuring manner.

    I came away with great admiration for the entire staff who all have a true vocation. Now available through