Showing posts with label Must-Read. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Must-Read. Show all posts

Wednesday, August 9, 2017

MUST-READ: Family Goals, Embracing the Imperfections of Family Life by Michele S. Alignay

"If you want to bring happiness to the whole world, go home and love your family.”
- Mother Theresa


The family is the core of the society. What makes up a family including its values and principles can contribute in any way for the good and happiness of the community. It's the responsibility of the husband and wife to fulfill their duties to themselves and their children out of love and not by mere obligation. The members of the family should grow together and reach their goals as one. Together, they can live their lives to the fullest, pulling one another up, and must be willing to pull back a family member that is becoming out of sync. 

The family members must be mindful. In my own words it means that they should be physically, spiritually, psychologically, and mentally present whenever they are together. Spending time with one another should be quantified by time and quality. They should know their priorities and be always there for everyone. Therefore, nobody should be left behind.

Problems arise but resilience, understanding, patience, respect, love, and most of all, making God as the center of the family makes the relationship among its members more happy, fruitful, and meaningful.

Reading the book, "Family Goals, Embracing the Imperfections of Family Life by Michele S. Alignay", made me realize so many things. It prompted me to reflect on our family's condition, validate that somehow our family has been doing the right things when it comes to facing challenges, and answer so many personal questions as a mom.



Are we living as a family that God wants us to be?
Are we having a harmonious relationship?
Do we deal with trials and problems properly?
Am I fulfilling my duties as a wife and mom?
Do I fully understand that each member of my family is different and be treated with utmost respect, loyalty, and love?
Am I a mindful person all the time?

I am not being hard on myself but sometimes I feel inadequate as a mom and wife. I am not perfect. I also feel tired and burned-out. When I am so exhausted, sometimes I do things only out of obligation.

I also whined, felt so empty that nothing was left for myself figuratively and literally. Maybe, you had the same experience. Like me, surely you also felt guilty.

After reading this book,  I felt that there's nothing wrong with acknowledging our true feelings. What would matter most would be knowing how to channel our efforts positively and making sure that we would be basing our decisions for the good of the entire family.

Obviously, there are so things to be done and learned as I live with my family. This book has helped me in so many ways to improve my relationship with my spouse and kids. Honestly, I am still a work in progress. I would like to share some excerpts from the book that struck me.


1 "The heart of family bonding is more than the place where the family is or the occasions we celebrate. It's more than the food on the table or the activity we share. The heart is that portion of ourselves we willingly share with our family, without losing the essence of individuality. That 'I' in the family builds the healthy beautiful 'we'."

2  "You can enrich your relationships and converse in a deeper gut level by having the guts to talk, to laugh, to whine, and to mutually connect with the very people who hold you dear. Go and talk. Share yourself, especially what you feel. Do not be afraid to be vulnerable. Listen to the other person. Free yourself from judgments and giving opinions. Listen more and empathize. Just be who you are. Then see the wonders it does in deepening your relationship!"

3  "Mindfulness is being present in the moment. It is not fretting over what could have been. It's not judging ourselves for what we should be. It's allowing our thoughts as they are, observing them and checking ourselves against taped ideas."


4  "Family and relationships are fluid and flowing. We live. We learn. We are rebirthed. We grow. We retool. We relearn. As we go from one cycle to the next, it's a must to prioritize our intimate relationship with our spouse and our loving relationships with our children. To quote Anthony Brandt, 'Other things may change us, but we begin and end with the family.'"

5  "The emotional exchanges are crucial to our relationships. Sometimes, our relationships gets scarred, bitter, or estranged when we have more unpleasant emotional outburts. But why do we exhibit more emotions and become more transparent with our feelings when we got closer to someone? Because intimacy in relationships and the feelings of closeness only happen if there is a sharing of emotions. Our feelings are part of who we are. That feeling is uniquely ours. These feelings are actually part of God's great design for us."

6  "A resilient family views stress and crisis as opportunities for inner transformation and growth." 

7  "'It's not that we are busy, but what are we busy about.' Our core values will always be the center from which our life energy will flow. If we sre deadlocked in decision-making, aligning our realities snd priorities to our core values should make things clear." 

 8  "Why settle for spark when you can have fire."

9  "The best gift parents can give their children is a happy marriage. Happy parents and fulfilled married life bring about happy children and fulfilling parenting."

10 "ACCEPT. ACKNOWLEDGE. AFFIRM. They're like a magic formula for unloving the mysteries of loving relationships. It's living beyond the box. It's a conscious decision we live out each day as we express appreciation for our spouse."


11  "Moving on is a decision, not a feeling. And since it's a decision, we can sue our mind (more than our hearts) to think of how we get from point A (hopeless situation) to point B (a better state). Changing our mindset will change our patterns, habits, decisions, and emotions." 

12  "Let's forego of our 'shoulds' to see and appreciate what is in front of us. Let's allow ourselves to be free from our to-do list so we can connect with our loved ones. We need to touch them, to look at their faces, to connect not only with what we say but connect through their eyes, mind, heart and even their soul. And our nonverbal communications do not lie. Relationships will not thrive if we do not experience the other person-- in the flesh through our senses."


Alignay, M. S.(2016). Family Goals, Embracing the Imperfections of Family Life. Cubao, Quezon City: Shepherd's Voice Publications, Inc.

I recommend this book to all parents, husbands, wives, and those who are planning to get married and raise a family. I agree with what Brother Bo Sanchez said, "I'm so happy that Michele is giving us this important gift: clear, powerful, and wise guidance on how you can make your own family great." His statement sums up the magic that this book can bring to every family.



***************************

About the Book

Wouldn't it be great to have a perfect family? But now and then we got stuck with issues and problems that make it imperfect. Sometimes it can seem like downright hell!

Our family means the world to us, but they're the same people who get on our nerves. We want to improve the situation, but the very people we want to help are part of the system that keeps us trapped.

So how on earth can we understand and embrace our far-from-perfect family? Finally, here's a book that points is where our relationships have gone wrong, what we can do to revamp them and what goals to aim for to have a perfectly imperfect family we all dream of.

This book will give you practical and wise lessons to help you confront sticky issues and conflicts that tear your family apart, increase your intimacy with your partner, apply healthy ways of coping with life's stresses, especially those that attack your family's well-being, have crucial conversations with your kids and teens on growing-up pains, sexuality and other issues on digital age, and maneuver through critical family matters that will inspire you to deliberately work to achieve your family goals so you can go from OK to great!


About the Author

Michelle S. Alignay is a registered psychologist (RP) and a registered guidance counselor (RGC). Ichel contributes her expertise on family life as a columnist in Kerygma magazine, as administrator of Bo Sanchez's Family Reborn Club, and one of the board of experts of Mommy Mundo. She is also an in-demand speaker, an author, and a part-time lecturer for graduate and undergraduate students. Above all, her favorite roles are being a wife to Koots and a mom to Migo and Maia.

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Ancient Traditions and Modern Healing Combined Using Healthy Smoothies---Traditional Chinese Medicine Inspired Recipes

Having a household without helper and composed of two active kids, one of which has Mild Autism, is obviously a very busy one. Paps and I share with the bulk of work in doing the chores and raising our kids aside from our personal jobs. Paps is a high school teacher by the day and he teaches in the school where Kuya studies while I take care of Bunso who is now attending Special School and Occupational Therapy. Paps and I still work for our homebased business from the moment that our kids are asleep. This staying up late at night happens all the time because we have no choice but to extend our efforts. It is merely impossible for me to cover for him and do his share in the business task after dropping Bunso to school and while he is staying there for two to three hours because doing so at this point is most of the time being substituted with chores. From the moment that Bunso and I are already home, my time revolves around him alone because he needs it and he is my priority. Then late in the afternoon, in the evening, or late at night when the two big boys arrive, as the schedule permits, our focus as parents mainly is to have a brief family time with our kids during and after dinner time and do the chores thereafter. And the cycle goes on and on and on...

Paps and I are not complaining. We love our job as parents and we also like what we do for a living. We also have the same hobbies and we are happy with our present condition. We always wish to live longer and watch our kids grow and build their own lives separately but would constantly look for each other closely.

Living longer entails hard work and discipline. I have also learned just recently that a study has been made that parenting can lead to longer life. Well, mainly it's because parents have more reasons to live longer. They have to look after their kids until they die. It's a motivation that is so hard to break because parents love their kids unconditionally.

When I say hard work and discipline, it includes having a healthy lifestyle. Gone were the days when we would indulge in fatty and oily food or binge eating with junk food. We eat a balanced meal and tend to indulge or have ourselves a treat with dairy or chips once in a while. We don't want our kids to be ignorant with food. We believe that balance is always the key. We also don't take too much medicines and we take them only when they are badly and truly needed. We always resort to natural alternatives which includes choosing the right food in healing a specific disease. Sometimes, skipping medication is not an option but still it should be reinforced with taking food alternatives to heal the target disease.

Like for instance, drinking lots of water, cranberry juice, and coconut water is good for Urinary Tract Infection and Canker Sores because they kill and wash off the bacteria that cause them.  There are so many articles found in the world wide web about the healing wonders of fruits, vegetables, and herbs and sometimes it takes time to search and look for the right ones. Most of the correct information based on experience comes from  Chinese or Asian sources.

I don't do that anymore at the moment because now I have with me this tiny book with huge information about Chinese and Asian superfoods turned into smoothies, which are considered to be the convenient way to bring nutrition and refreshment into our daily living. Healthy Smoothies---Traditional Chinese Medicine Inspired Recipes by Kimberly Ashton (health coach and food educator) and Zhang Yifang (Traditional Chinese Medicine doctor) teaches us how to make healthy smoothies while making us understand about food therapy that is suited to our individual constitution. Body constitution, by the way, makes up our physical state, including the function of the systems of our body and metabolism and of course, our mental and spiritual states too.



How do we know our individual constitution in Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM)? 

The authors mention in the book that the features of one's constitution can be detected in three areas: the personal physical build, the body's internal functions, and the psychological state. A person's constitution also depends on the stage of life he or she is facing, such as puberty or menopause perhaps.

There are also two origins of constitution: congenital natural disposition and post-natal lifestyle (nature and nurture, in short). Moreover, there are so many factors that influence the formation of the constitution when speaking about the "nature" part like parents' physical and mental health, at the time of conception or the mother's pregnancy condition. When it comes to "nurture", our own lifestyles and actions influence our constitution.

To help us maintain our present state of being or constitution,  we have to learn first the basic healthy food that can help us maintain, relax, or heal it. In this book, a self-assessment is included to find that out.  The result can help us know what foods to choose according to our individual constitution. Isn't it cool? We can just try and test different smoothies that we think can help us gain healthier bodies with a concrete basis. We are being guided properly by this book by knowing the basics of TCM and the first thing to do is to know more about what we really need.

Next step is teaching the preparation of functional liquids and bases. TCM also stresses that aside from matching our food therapy to our individual constitution, we should also consider the season we are in and what effects we want the smoothie to have in our health. The liquids and bases that are the key parts to smoothie making are divided into three kinds: cooling, warming, and neutral. After this step, choosing suitable food and building our very own TCM smoothie follow, may it be for nourishing nutrition, immune system strength, detoxification, refreshment, or digestion aid. There are almost 40 recipes to choose from that are explained in a very simple manner which includes usage, ingredients, method of preparing, and most of all contraindication. Each recipe is supported with colorful photographs that make reading this book and learning from it enticing and fun.

I recommend this book for the reasons that I've mentioned above. It serves as a reliable guide for us to achieve optimum health and well-being. Dr. Ann Wignore, a Lithuanian-American holistic health practitioner, once said, "When we learn to eat properly we begin to rebuild our bodies and to fulfill our purpose on this planet to grow in health, creativity, wisdom, and compassion." This book can help us do it rightly to achieve this goal.
If you wish to have a copy, it can be purchased here in the Philippines via National Book Store (SM Mega Mall, SM North Edsa, SM Mall of Asia, and Robinsons Galleria), Fully Booked The Fort, and Fully Booked Rockwell. You may also buy it online at www.tuttlepublishing.com. Tuttle Publishing offers free shipping for items worth $35.00 (US $) and above. Aside from this book, there are a lot of interesting books available on the website.

Tuttle Publishing gets social. You may join the community for updates on FACEBOOK and INSTAGRAM.

Monday, March 13, 2017

Chinese Cooking Made Simple with Easy Chinese Recipes by Bee Yinn Low

Chinese dishes are my most favorite next to Filipino dishes. Their colors, textures, and flavors are so enticing and literally burst in my mouth. Whenever our family and loved-ones celebrate special occasions, we opt to reserve in our favorite Chinese restaurant because we are always sure that our guests would truly be satisfied and the compliments that we get are truly heartwarming.

My kids and husband can't say no to Chinese food like I do. For a cook like me who is fond of preparing quick and easy dishes due to my very busy schedule, my reliable source in giving me suggestions in finding easy Chinese recipes is my best friend Google (Moms, I know that you can relate. LOL!). I would search for the easiest and quickest recipes and of course, it also takes time to find the right ones and I would always end up cooking the dishes that I know--- Pancit, Lumpiang Shanghai, Yang Chow Fried Rice, Egg Drop Soup, and Siomai (using ready made wanton wrapper). Seriously, nakasasawa na and I also would always say to myself, "Sana mayroon namang iba."

Google search for this matter is finally over at the moment because now I have with me a copy of Easy Chinese Recipes --- Family Favorites from Dim Sum to Kung Pao by by Bee Yinn Low. It has over 70 great-tasting recipes to keep us covered when we crave for Chinese dishes- from appetizers; soups; dim sum and dumplings; beef, pork, poultry, seafood, vegetables, tofu, and egg dishes; noodles and rice; desserts; and drinks that are so easy to prepare and I guarantee that are so delicious.

How did Bee Yinn Low come up with this cookbook?

As mentioned in the book's preface, Bee Yinn Low grew up in a Chinese household in Malaysia. She watched her mother cook as she was growing up but wasn't allowed to help that much. After a few years as a working woman in California, her love for Chinese food kept her determined to replicate the unforgettable flavors that she tasted during her youth despite having limited time in the kitchen. She did her best to develop her own versions of her favorite dishes using the readily available ingredients in local supermarkets. She experimented, read, and tasted until her passion became an expertise. Thereafter, her meals became well-loved by her friends and loved ones that prompted her to share her love of Asian Cuisine through her blog, RasaMalaysia.com. Moreover, this website has become the internet's most popular Asian food site.

When I started reading this cookbook, I immediately felt the author's generosity in sharing her skills. All the contents were written and explained in a very simple manner, supported with detailed and enticing photographs that even people who still haven't experienced cooking or find it difficult to cook could follow.

Due to so much excitement, Paps, who is better and expert in the kitchen, cooked Sweet and Sour Chicken based on the Sweet and Sour Fish found on page 102. Wow! It tasted so good that he decided to cook it again the following day!

If I will be subjected to Marshmallow Test, I think I'll fail. Nah! Just kidding! This EASY CHINESE RECIPES, FAMILY FAVORITES from DIM SUM to KUNG PAO book by BEE YINN LOW from @tuttlepublishing is a winner! I can't help but share this ASAP before my scheduled review about it because hubby and I are so glad to have this in our cookbook collection! . . Last night, Paps @type2cell cooked Sweet and Sour Chicken based on the Sweet and Sour Fish recipe on page 102. It tasted so authentic but so easy to do. . . There are over a hundred authentic quick and easy to prepare Chinese recipes to try. Aside from that, the author developed versions of her favorite Chinese dishes that had all the taste but were a lot less work! Amazing! . . It's a must-have for cooking enthusiasts. Two thumbs up! . . #allaroundpinaymama #aapmfavorites #bibliophile #tuttlepublishing #BeeYinnLow #bookstagram #book #spotmyfood #chinesefood #yummyph #huffposttaste #buzzfoodfeed #wimyummy #momswhoblogph #mommybloggersphilippines #certifiedbloggers #momblogger #foodblogger #7september2016 #igersmanila #makeitblissful
A post shared by SJ Valdez (@allaroundpinaymama) on

Bee Yinn Low would like her readers to nail Chinese cooking by first giving basic cooking techniques and tips, basic tools in utensils, and understanding Chinese ingredients. She even included the basics on how to cook steamed rice, make sauces, condiments, and dipping condiments that would compliment the recipes in the book. The content on this part of the book that our family enjoyed the most was how to make homemade dumpling wrappers from scratch (page 31). Our kids were giggling while doing this maybe because it was truly fun and amazing!


Lumpiang Shanghai is a dish that Kuya and Loley love so much. Knowing how to wrap and cook them properly (page 65) makes him love it more. This shows that even kids can follow Binn Yin Low's recipes and replicating her creations here at home make our palates and tummies satisfied at the same time creating wonderful bonding moments while cooking and eating them with the family.


I highly recommend this cookbook. It's a must-have for busy moms and individuals who want to cook the best and yummy Chinese dishes at the comforts of their homes without taking so much of their time and effort. If you wish to have a copy, it can be purchased here in the Philippines via National Book Store (SM Mega Mall, SM North Edsa, SM Mall of Asia, and Robinsons Galleria), Fully Booked The Fort, and Fully Booked Rockwell. You may also buy it online at www.tuttlepublishing.com. Tuttle Publishing offers free shipping for items worth $35.00 (US $) and above. Aside from this book, there are a lot of interesting books available on the website.

Tuttle Publishing gets social. You may join the community for updates on FACEBOOK and INSTAGRAM.

Friday, December 16, 2016

REVIEW: Emma Kali-kaliwete! Emma U-utal-utal! by Meanne Mabesa Mijares

Reading the first few pages of the story book for kids, Emma Kali-kaliwete! Emma U-utal-utal! by Meanne Mabesa Mijares, made me remember this quote:


Courtesy: Quotesgram


It is indeed difficult to live in a world that is full of standards. Those standards, sad to say, are based on what the majority thinks are appropriate based on how they see themselves. If we are not like them, most probably they think that we don't belong.

In the story, Emma, a young school-aged girl, is just average in physical attributes but she looks very pleasant. She is good and studious but she is left-handed and she stutters when she talks. Those traits of hers make her prone to bullying because some of her classmates feel that she is not normal as they are.



Due to this predicament, Emma feels that she is inferior and doesn't belong which prompts her to write using her right hand instead. She also stops participating in recitations due fear of being teased. Her classmates make her feel that she's abnormal. What makes her situation difficult for her is that some of her relatives, teachers, and friends consider her abnormal and they don't even extend their efforts and patience to help her cope up.

Despite being treated differently, Emma chooses not to fight back. She does her very best to show her classmates that she is not ashamed of who she is. Her strong faith in the God and the belief that those challenges shall pass keep her moving forward. 

When her teacher gives her a chance to be her class' representative for the spelling contest, some of her classmates show that they are not in favor of her. Their teacher defends Emma and encourages her that it's her chance to show everybody that she is a good student and she can succeed.

Emma does her very best. She studies very well as she prepares for the upcoming spelling contest with the support of her parents. She's able to win and she wins the hearts of those who treat her unkindly.

They ask forgiveness from Emma. Instead of getting getting angry and thinking of revenge, Emma forgives her classmates.

Emma has a good heart. This story proves that nobody can put a good person down and our greatest enemy is ourselves. Instead of channeling our energy to think of revenge, focusing on self -improvement together with prayer is one the best ways to conquer our fears and challenges. No matter what other people say about us, the acceptance and love of our family can keep us going against all odds.

Courtesy: im-just-a-girl.tumbler

Reading this book together with my Bunso who was diagnosed with mild autism two years ago made me relate it to his current situation. It is inevitable that not all people are going to understand his special needs. We can't shield him forever from people who don't understand and don't even bother to educate themselves that children with special needs may be different in our normal standards but they are unique in their own right and they see the world in a different perspective. We may be surprised that they see things differently and most of the time, it's amazing. It is only if we go inside their world that we can see how they think. They think better, love more, forgive easily, and show affection without hesitations or judgment and we should learn from them. What makes them different from our normal standards makes them more beautiful. If we only accept them the way we want others to accept us and if we only forgive the way they forgive, this world is going to be a better place.

Courtesy: picturequotes.com

I encourage you, dear parents, to get a copy of this book. It teaches so many values that your kids can imitate and they can pass those values to their children in the future. The book is filled with life's lessons about showing respect, treating others the way we want to be treated, conquering challenges and fears, strong relationship with God through prayer, being self-directed, honing God's given talents, being forgiving, and being beautiful inside out.


Courtesy: jarofquotes.com


Talking about quality, the book is made with high quality printing materials and surely, your kids can keep it, just make sure that it is handled and stored with care, until it's time for them to raise a family when they can read it again with their children.

Emma Kali-kaliwete! Emma U-utal-utal! by Meanne Mabesa Mijares is available in all St. Pauls Philippines branches. Grab a copy now and you'll love it too.

Thursday, September 17, 2015

REVIEW: Geronimo Stilton Academy Pawbooks

On the 31st of July, Miss Joyce Bautista, Scholastic Philippines' Trade Manager, invited me to Geronimo Stilton Academy Pawbooks Trade Launch on August 22 at Powerbooks, Greenbelt 4, Makati City. I immediately said yes and asked if I could bring Kuya with me. 

When Miss Joyce said yes that I could bring Kuya to the launch, I immediately marked his calendar for him to see. He was in school then. I wanted to witness his reaction after taking a glance. He was surprised. It never failed to give him so much joy and excitement! Having the notion of being one of the first kids to see the newest Geronimo Stilton book series made him jump for joy!
 
Kuya's an avid reader of Geronimo Stilton Series, the fondness which he shares with his cousin, Kate. Whenever we go to any bookstore or book fair, he always asks me if he can check out Geronimo Stilton. He's also thinking of Kate during those times because Geronimo Stilton is always her request as "pasalubong" everytime we go for a visit to the province.

On the day of launch itself, the weather was not in favor of us. It was stormy that prompted us to cancel our attendance two hours before the start of the event. What made us cancel that late was we kept on hoping that the rain would stop. I had no choice but to do it despite of thinking that it was very unprofessional. Our home was far away from the venue, we would commute, and my primary concern was Kuya's safety. I really felt relieved when Miss Joyce sent a text message stating that she sincerely understood.

Kuya was very sad and disappointed. I was so sad too because a promise was broken. As a consolation, I assured him that once the books were out in the nearby National Bookstore, we would get copies for him and Kate. That premise still didn't work to take away his weariness. Imagine, it took him until the next day to accept the reality that we weren't able to make it.

Miss Joyce was very thoughtful. She informed me that she would send us copies of Geronimo Stilton Academy Pawbooks which I didn't tell Kuya right away. I wanted to surprise him again. I wanted to make amends because we were not able to attend the book launch.

When the parcel arrived, Papa and I had a connivance. I told him to let Kuya pick it up and let him open it for me. By the way, we observe privacy at home. We don't open other family member's mail or parcel unless we're authorized to do so.

Kuya was tired from school and he decided to open it in front of us after resting a bit. Then when he did, he was speechless! His eyes literally popped with so much delight! He couldn't contain his happiness. He thanked me but I said he should thank Miss Joyce for thinking of us.

Look what I got in the mail on August 27! I was #kiligtothebones when I received the complete set of the recently launched Geronimo Stilton Academy Pawbooks. The books came with badges and plastic folder pa (Kuya brought it to school due to too much excitement. LOL!) ! Thank you so much, Scholastic Philippines! I missed the book launched but still you sent me copies! Kuya and my niece, Kate, are big fans of Geronimo Stilton and they are going to enjoy answering them!









He hurriedly opened and answered one of the Pawbooks. He's being voracious reader of Geronimo Stilton made him  read and answer the activities with ease. 


Before I go further and tell you more about Kuya's learning experience, let me give you some facts about Geronimo Stilton.


Who is Geronimo Stilton?

According to Wikipedia, in the series, Geronimo Stilton, the title character is a talking mouse who lives in New Mouse City on Mouse Island. He is a best selling author that works as a journalist and editor for the fictional newspaper The Rodent's Gazette.

He has a younger sister named Thea Stilton, a cousin named Trap Stilton, and a favorite little nephew, nine-year-old Benjamin Stilton. Geronimo is a nervous, mild-mannered mouse who likes nothing better than to live a quiet life. But he keeps getting involved in far-away adventures with Thea, Trap, and Benjamin, and sometimes Aunt Sweetfur.

More about Geronimo Stilton and the complete list of books HERE.


What is his philosophy?

I've found some facts that I've adapted about Geronimo Stilton at www.geronimostilton.com that can make you understand his character more. You can read here that Geronimo Stilton teaches children not just to be cognitively smart but to become well-rounded persons with  good hearts as well.

*GERONIMO STILTON AND HIS MOTIVATIONS 

The weaknesses of Geronimo Stilton make him even more likeable: you feel sorry for him, you laugh with him and you celebrate with him at the end, because all of his defeats become successes.

With his actions and his ability to laugh at himself, Geronimo Stilton conveys ever present values: the importance of family, the capacity to overcome your fears, the acceptance of other peoples faults, the importance of education, consistency, approachability, open mindedness towards other cultures, curiosity about what you don't know, the knowledge that teamwork is more successful than acting as an individual, world peace, friendship, love. Further to that, solidarity, honesty, loyalty, sincerity, respect for the elderly, and those with lesser abilities.

Geronimo Stilton's stories are adventurous and full of surprises but are not exaggerated or use vulgarity. In his stories there are no weapons, violence, alcohol, tobacco, gambling, hunting, violation of laws or rude words, behaviour with a disregard for safety, racism, magic, astrology, or deviant behaviour.
 


*GERONIMO STILTON AND THE UNIVERSAL VALUES OF LIFE

Geronimo Stilton's behaviour is based on universal ethical values, like being approachable for others, the desire to do good, the commitment to grow and improve oneself. Additionally, Geronimo is brought to life with a healthy optimism: he is never discouraged in negative situations. At that moment, he may become depressed, even practically inconsolable. However, this state of mind never lasts long and is replaced by positive action. 


*GERONIMO STILTON AND EQUALITY

Geronimo Stilton lives in a multi-cultural society, based on the principles of respecting diversity. Furthermore, Geronimo is very aware of the theme of equality between males and females both in a social and working sense. 


*GERONIMO STILTON AND LIFE 

Sometimes Geronimo feels like as though he's the victim of the unfortunate circumstances he finds himself in. His job absorbs him completely and he feels suffocated by his responsibility to his co-workers, his friends and his family. But at the end of every adventure Geronimo has the feeling of being in complete harmony with himself and the world, because life is beautiful and he is happy to have so many friends and a family as special as his. 


*GERONIMO STILTON AND HAPPINESS 

Geronimo teaches that real happiness is not wanting what you don't have, but appreciating that which you do have. Attention should be focused on the positive aspects of existence and not on the what is missing. True gratification isn't tied to fleeting and occasional pleasures, but derives from putting your energy towards positive purposes. 


*GERONIMO STILTON AND PEACE

In his adventures, Geronimo Stilton always highlights the horrors of war, enhancing the importance of peace. His books want to be reassuring: you have to remember that the future awaiting us is beautiful. His motto is: 'Instead of being against war, support peace!' 


*GERONIMO STILTON AND COURAGE 

Geronimo teaches that confronting your fears is the simplest and most effective way of overcoming them. The best experiences require more effort but make you grow, stimulating you to develop new capabilities. Real courage is not being without fear, but confronting it whilst being aware of your limits and trying to overcome them. 


*GERONIMO STILTON AND FAMILY 

For Geronimo Stilton, family and loved ones are fundamental: they are the backbone of his whole life.
 
Family represents the caress on your heart that can brighten even the darkest of days.
Disagreements between relatives and friends that can't be resolved don't exist, nor do problems that can't be sorted out.
 


*GERONIMO STILTON AND FRIENDSHIP 

For Geronimo friendship is a fundamental value and he is ready to put all his fears aside and to face up to any difficulties in order to preserve it. Geronimo often takes the role of the 'chance hero', who confronts danger in the name of friendship. 


*GERONIMO STILTON AND WORK 

Geronimo loves his job and always says: 'Oh, how I love books! I like reading them, flicking through them, smelling them: I love the smell of fresh ink on freshly printed pages! How wonderful it is to be a publisher!'.
 
Geronimo works a lot and is always very busy. But he does it with joy, because working is his life and he feels privileged to be able to do a job that he likes so much.
 
Geronimo approaches his work in a deeply ethical way: he puts his heart into every story that he writes, to inspire courage, optimism and energy.
 
A book written from the heart is different from others: it's more beautiful, more real, better! 


*GERONIMO STILTON AND HIS ADVERSARIES 

Geronimo's attitude when facing his adversaries is never one of violent confrontation but always of competition with fair play, in the sense of civility and respect for others. He often considers the teasing from his enemies as an opportunity to practice his patience. 


*GERONIMO STILTON AND FANTASY 

The word Fantasy derives from the Greek work "phaino", meaning to show. It is the ability of the mind to invent stories or imaginary situations (without ties to reality, lived situations or concrete references).
 
It's fantasy that stimulates playing, to 'make believe', in the sense of creating big, exciting adventures with your playmates. It must not be an escape from the real world, but a sort of trip from which you return having grown. Creative people see the world through different eyes and can see what other people can't, they are able to solve problems looking at them from another point of view using creativity, initiative and optimism. 


*GERONIMO STILTON AND IMAGINATION

The term 'imagination' derives from the Latin words 'imaginatio , imaginari' (imagine). It is the capacity to visualize things or situations based on the stimulus of everyday life. For example, if you read a book or watch a film, you can imagine you are the protagonist of the book or film. Imagination is a quality that, if used in the right way, can also be very useful to surpass various difficulties and fears like exams, sporting competitions or public speaking... Imagining yourself in a positive situation helps you to become more trusting and optimistic and leads to the realization of dreams! 


*GERONIMO STILTON AND MAGIC 

Magic is just a negative illusion! A magic wand is not enough to change reality or to transform things that we don't want to accept. Since the dawn of time man has tried to find help in magic to resolve problems... but magic doesn't exist!

Magic amulets are useless, magic spells don't work...and witches, wizards, fairies, elves, gnomes, ogres and giants only exist in fairy tales and we can only accept them as protagonists of imaginative stories.
 


*GERONIMO STILTON AND NEGATIVE CHARACTERS 

In the world of fantasy, negative characters also exist, like ogres and witches. They are represented as evil and unkind characters, not to be imitated, because they are losers and unhappy. Good always triumphs over Evil, even if it's not immediately verifiable. 


*GERONIMO STILTON AND HAPPY ENDINGS 

Geronimo isn't a hero, he's not sporty nor muscular and is afraid of practically everything. But withstanding this, at the end he is always able to win, to obtain his goals and to resolve difficult situations. This is thanks to his humour, his capacity to see the positive side of everything and, above all, to the help of his friends.
 
If you identify yourself with him for his weaknesses, you feel reassured: if that blunderer Geronimo can do it... you will be able to beat your fears and overcome your difficulties!
In this sense you can say that happy endings aren't an illusion but a message of hope, because Geronimo teaches us to have faith in the future, not to be discouraged during difficult times and to build a better future.
 


There you go! Now that you know the basics about Geronimo Stilton, let's proceed to the Pawbooks.

Geronimo Stilton Academy Pawbooks are based on the best-selling children's book series. These books are activity based that motivates learners to read, develop their comprehension skills, enrich their vocabulary and knowledge in English language, and learn the basics of writing.

The following are the skill focus of the different Pawbooks and where the feature excerpts are coming from:

PAWBOOK 1

Skills Focus: predicting, inferring, sequencing, comparing and contrasting, recalling details and main ideas

Feature Excerpts from: 
#57 The Stinky Cheese Vacation
#46 The Haunted Castle
#43 I'm Not a Supermouse
#42 The Peculiar Pumpkin Thief


PAWBOOK 2

Skills Focus: Additional skills such as drawing conclusions and summarizing

Feature Excerpts from: 
#44 The Giant Diamond Robbery
#48 The Mystery in Venice
#51 The Enormous Pearl Heist
#55 The Golden Statue Plot


PAWBOOK 3

Skills Focus: Additional skills such as giving reasons, stating opinions and point of view

Feature Excepts from: 
#50 This Hotel is Haunted
#45 Save the White Whale
#56 Flight of the Red Bandit
#52 Mouse in Space          

Here are the strengths of the Pawbooks that Kuya and I have observed 

1     Excerpts and colorful texts and illustrations are developmentally appropriate. The fonts that are used conforms with the reading capacity of younger kids.

2     Presence of English parts of speech helps children in their command of the language.


3    Whilst-reading questions stimulate learners to interact with the text.


4    Comprehension questions develop literal, inferential, and higher order thinking skills.



5    Graphic activities develop learners' visual text comprehension.


Parents, I encourage you to teach your children the love of reading and learning and strengthen their values through Geronimo Stilton Academy Pawbook Series. Remember, it is research proven that children even adults learn when they are engaged and motivated. This series has been developed to build on children's interest in Geronimo Stilton to enhance their literary skills by doing a series of guided and structured exercises.

Even without a prior knowledge and experience in reading Geronimo Stilton story books, parents and children can catch up and understand what the character stands for due to the chosen excerpts written on the Pawbooks. However, I advise you, dear parents, to let your children read the story books prior to answering the Pawbook activities to make it more fun and engaging for them. I assure you that you and your children are going to love doing both. 

All Geronimo Stilton books are available at National Bookstore, Powerbooks, and other leading bookstores nationwide.



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