Apr 25, 2012

Preschool or Kindergarten Graduation Gifts: A Top 5 List

Now is the time when plans for graduation ceremonies are in full swing, even for young students. Do you remember donning a cap (maybe made of construction paper--get the directions for the adorable cap above) and getting a little certificate rolled up and tied with yarn (so as to resemble a diploma)? I do. In fact, I was seaching for something in the plastic storage box I use to hold “life archives” and came across my kindergarten “diploma” just the other day. Pretty remarkable, since kindergarten happened over thirty years ago for me!
Give your “graduating class” a diploma and a present to remember you by!  

5. It’s Tot Shabbat by Naomi Danis is about a group of preschoolers learning about Shabbat. If your nursery school has a Friday afternoon oneg Shabbat, then chances are your students would fit right into the book. Help establish a love for Shabbat and its rituals with this sweet little book. (Plan ahead and take a picture of your class at your next Friday afternoon celebration, get duplicates made and slip one into each book!)

4. My First Hebrew Word Book is a perfect send-off gift! With over 150 Hebrew words, with transliterations and translations, it can inspire bilingualism and foster a love of learning and a love for Israel, plus it is really fun! Did you know that “galgiliyot” is how to pronounce “roller skates”?

3. The Shabbat Box is a particularly good choice for kids who are going on to a Jewish day school. It's finally Ira's turn to take home the Shabbat Box from school, but a bad storm blows open his book bag and the box is lost. Kids can relate to the story, and they learn that a perceived calamity is just that!  
2. Hannah’s Way tells the story of a girl who is the only Jewish student in her class! When her teacher tries to arrange carpools for a Saturday picnic, Hannah is upset. Her family is observant, and she knows she cannot ride on the Sabbath. See how Hannah’s schoolmates solve the problem and make Hannah feel included.

1. Sammy Spider has had many firsts, but just like preschool students, he wonders what school is actually like. It’s Sammy’s lucky day when he hitches a ride to preschool in Josh’s backpack! The children are learning the Jewish principle of kindness to animals, but what will happen when they discover a scary spider in the classroom?

Who doesn’t love Sammy? A plush toy would make graduation day extra special!

Apr 20, 2012

Fundraising with Jewish Calendars

At home or at work, everybody uses calendars. Kar-Ben’s calendars are a perfect fundraiser for any Jewish organization, since each calendar includes Jewish and secular holidays and candle lighting times. Earn 20% of proceeds for your organization.

Choose your method for selling:
1.      Gather pre-orders from your group. Duplicate the order form and gather orders and payment (made payable to your organization). Kar-Ben will ship you the exact quantity you ordered and bill you for calendars, less a 20% discount for orders of more than 50 calendars. A designated person from your organization distributes calendars.

2.      Buy in bulk to sell at an event. Have an event coming up where you can sell calendars? Select calendars (a minimum total quantity of 50) to sell at your event and receive a 20% discount. Calendars are not refundable.

Fundraiser Ideas:
·         Great kick-off to a school year for fundraising

·         Perfect for synagogue men’s clubs or sisterhoods

·         Great for Jewish Day School fundraisers dedicated to special projects (raising funds for a class trip, Grade Government, community service projects)
·         Include order form in back-to-school information packets for Day schools and pre-schools

·         Sell calendars at back-to school night
·         Ask individuals or organizations to buy calendars to donate to elders in the community

·         Easy fundraiser for PTOs; ask parents to sponsor calendars to fulfill a school’s wishlist in addition to buying calendars

·         Easy fundraiser for schools that have policies against selling certain items like candy; no worries about kashrut, allergies or other issue
·         Set reasonable sales goals for each member of your group

Want to customize your calendars? We can provide quotes for custom printed calendars, so your group can include information, special date designations and even photographs. Contact us at 1-800-328-4929 for a customized quote. Great fundraiser or premium giveaway!
Kar-Ben Jewish Calendars – 5773

All calendars include secular and Jewish Holidays and candle lighting times.
Sammy Spider Jewish Calendar (5773)
978-0-7613-9145-6  $8.95
Colorful wall calendar featuring activities for children, 16 months (September 2012-December 2013)

My Very Own Jewish Calendar (5773)
978-0-7613-9122-7  $8.95
Colorful wall calendar, 16 months (September 2012-December 2013)

Executive Jewish Calendar (5773)
978-0-7613-9125-8  $9.95
Month-at-a-glance engagement notebook,
17 months (August 2012-December 2013)

Jumbo Jewish Calendar (5773)
978-0-7613-9124-1  $12.95
For desk or wall, 13 months (September 2012-September 2013)

Mini Jewish calendar (5773)
978-0-7613-9123-1  $1.95
Checkbook-sized, 13 months (September 2012-September 2013)
Want to customize your calendars? We can provide quotes for custom printed calendars, so your group can include information, special date designations and even photographs. Contact us at 1-800-328-4929 for a customized quote. Great fundraiser or premium giveaway!

Apr 19, 2012

Get to Know Heidi Smith Hyde

Get to know Heidi Smith Hyde, a Kar-Ben author whose books offer a slice of the Jewish experience in America. Favorites like Mendel's Accordion and Feivel's Flying Horses show the immigrant experience in America, as does Heidi's forthcoming (Fall 2012) book, Emanuel and the Hanukkah Rescue, a Hanukkah story about a boy in a new England whaling town.

We're not the only people who have recognized the historical value of Heidi's work. Recently, the Smithsonian National Museum of American History featured Feivel's Flying Horses as the centerpiece of an OurStory Program. Download the Reading Guide created by the Smithsonian's Education department.   
Kar-Ben: What was your favorite book when you were a child?  The Witch of Blackbird Pond by Elizabeth George Speare, 1958

Kar-Ben: Who are your top three favorite authors or illustrators?
Isaac Bashevis Singer
Stefan Zweig
William Trevor

Kar-Ben: Why did you want to become an author?For me it was never a choice, but something I was compelled to do.

 Kar-Ben: Do you have any advice for future authors? 
Never compare yourself with other writers or try to emulate their style. Just find your own authentic voice and let your imagination do the rest.

Kar-Ben: Where did you get the inspiration for your upcoming Kar-Ben book, Emanuel and the Hanukkah Rescue?I was inspired by an article which once appeared in Hadassah magazine. The article told of the Jewish involvement in the New England whaling industry during the eighteenth century. I find it simply fascinating that our ancestors were involved in the whaling business.

Kar-Ben: What are you most excited about promoting in your new book?
I look forward to sharing this little known piece of history with children as well as their parents.

Kar-Ben: What is the most interesting thing you learned in the process of writing or illustrating your book?
I learned that at one time, Jews served as merchants in places like New Bedford, Massachusetts, providing sea captains with necessary provisions such as oilskins, waterproof boots and barrels.

Kar-Ben: How do you hope your book will impact the Jewish life of a child?
Through literature we delve into the Jewish past, connect with the Jewish present, and inform our ability to shape the Jewish future. It is my hope that our readers are given the tools to help them make these valuable connections.

Apr 16, 2012

Yom HaShoah

By Jennifer Bjork

This Thursday, the 27th of Nisan, is Yom HaShoah. In English, this refers to Holocaust Remembrance Day. This day is set aside to remember the horrors of the past and the lessons that the past can teach the world.

Trying to explain the Holocaust to children is a daunting assignment. How does one explain to an innocent child that humans are capable of such disregard for human life?
I first learned about the Holocaust at Hebrew school in 5th grade. The teachers made (what I feel) a wise choice in using Anne Frank and her diary to teach my fellow students and me about the Holocaust. Her young age made a bigger impact because she was someone I could relate to, a little girl with hopes and dreams like my own.

Reading her diary made the realization of what happened to her and her family a little less jarring but much more meaningful. I was able to follow the progression of the Nazis' power through Anne’s eyes, getting to know Anne as she recorded her experiences. Anne’s sense of humor and relatable worries lessened the blow for me when I realized that each diary entry was a baby step toward her death.

On the flip side, each page provided me toward a bigger lesson than I bargained for about human behavior and what it means to share a world with people who are different than I, and those who might not like me because of that difference.

The Holocaust is a heavy and emotionally draining subject, but it’s also a great opportunity to teach children about compassion and respect for others through history’s mistakes. It’s also a good opening to teach children about social responsibility and the different prejudices that still exist between cultures, ethnicities, and races.

 Every child will respond differently to the stories they hear about the Holocaust but there are plenty of methods available to suit different learning styles. The important thing is that they learn and remember.

The People of the Book Are Now The People of the eBook!

You've known Kar-Ben as the leader in creating quality Jewish books for children. Our library has now gone digital!  We proudly announce the launch of Kar-Ben's eBookstore, featuring nearly 170 eBooks!

Now, anytime, anywhere, readers will have instant access to Kar-Ben eBooks, including fiction and nonfiction titles that highlight Jewish holidays, Bible tales, folktales, and life-cycle stories.

Kar-Ben's eBookstore offers complete online purchase capabilities. No log-in is needed to browse the eBook collection. Customers with a Kar-Ben eBookstore account may log-in and read previously purchased eBooks within the digital "My Bookshelf," which can be viewed by thumbnail cover images or more complete book details, and the digital bookshelf may be searched or filtered by category, age, or other common attributes.
Kar-Ben eBooks are available on browser-based devices and via the iPad® using the new Kar-Ben eReader App. The app is available free in the Apple App Store. Download the free eReader app here.

Apr 12, 2012

Planning a Program for Yom Hashoah? Free Educator Materials

Yom Hashoah, or Holocaust Remembrance Day, is April 19. Many schools and community organizations create programs to observe the gravity of the loss of lives during the Holocaust and to educate and create awareness among future generations.

Creating compelling programming for schools can pose a challenge, especially for children in younger grades who have not yet learned about the magnitude of the Holocaust. Children's picture books can be important tools for teaching about the Holocaust. A book like Benno and the Night of Broken Glass tells about Kristallnacht, but follows a day in the life of a cat in Berlin to show the destruction and disappearance of people from the community. A picture book like this can provide a basis for thought-provoking discussion and real learning even among children in very early grades.

This free resource guide provides context, definitions for vocabulary and allusions, questions for pre- and post-reading, and suggested activities. Download it here.

Kar-Ben has free resource materials to accompany several Holocaust related books:

This resource guide for Janusz Korczak's Children provides context, definitions for vocabulary and allusions, questions for pre- and post-reading, and suggested activities. Download it here.

A Comprehensive Study Guide for Teachers prepared by Tolerance Minnesota©, a program of the Jewish Community Relations Council.

This study guide is designed to help students, teachers, and families prepare for and discuss Six Million Paper Clips: The Making of a Children's Holocaust Memorial. It contains background information, lessons and activities for students in grades 6-12. Download it here.

The Secret of Priests Grotto combines natural history and family history to tell the remarkable story of the Stermer family, an extended Jewish that survived the Holocaust by hiding in the labyrinth of Ukrainian caves known as Priests Grotto to escape Nazi persecution. Download a teacher's guide.

Apr 9, 2012

What is an Online Bookfair?

An online book fair is an easy way to earn books for your school.

We furnish your school with a special code for ordering books through our website at www.karben.com. Anyone in your organization who purchases Kar-Ben books with this code,during a specific timeframe, contributes a percentage of the sale to your organization, which you can redeem by ordering Kar-Ben books for your library.

For more information or to set up a Kar-Ben book fair, please email publicity@karben.com or call 1.800.328.4929, ext. 229.

Hosting an online book fair? Use these images on your organization's website or in your organizations html-based newsletters.

Apr 5, 2012

For Interfaith Families: “I love you just like Papa Jethro loved Gershom”

With Passover and Easter in the next few coming days, many families with members of different faiths will come together to celebrate these holidays. Sometimes difference can make people feel separated, but often love spans this divide.

In Papa Jethro by prolific children's author and rabbi, Deborah Bodin Cohen, the book's only characters, a grandfather and his young granddaughter, are of different religious faiths: 

Rachel and Grandpa Nick have just about everything in common. They like to play with model trains, paint with watercolors, and go to the park. But Rachel goes to synagogue and Grandpa Nick goes to church. “Shouldn’t we have the same religion?” Rachel asks. “You are my grandpa.”
In answer, her Grandpa Nick tells her the biblical story of Jethro, Moses’ non-Jewish father-in-law, whose relationship with his grandson Gershom is a model of love and respect. With warm watercolor artwork and a gentle storyline, Papa Jethro sensitively looks at the issue of interfaith families and reminds us that the Bible has timely lessons for every generation.
Stories can have the power to connect children and grandparents in special ways. This book would be a lovely way for a non-Jewish grandparent to connect with their Jewish grandchildren, making real Grandpa Nick's sentiment to Rachel: “I love you just like Papa Jethro loved Gershom.” 

Want the book in time for a Passover visit?
Get the eBook now from Kar-Ben's parent company, LernerBooks.com. 
Or, order a paperback or hardcover copy directly from Kar-Ben.

Apr 2, 2012

The Four Questions

by Jennifer Bjork

The youngest child of the family has a massive task, reciting the Four Questions. In front of everyone. In Hebrew. And in song (at least in my family). Yikes! Thankfully, I have a sister who is the youngest in the family.

While I am often not called upon to recite the Four Questions, I like listening to them because these questions unmask the symbolism of the service and set an inquisitive tone. Passover is all about asking questions and answering them: questions about the meaning of life, a person’s place in the world, and God. Where would Jews be today if Moses had remained a prince of Egypt? Why is slavery wrong?

Many children realize how important reciting the Four Questions is and it can be intimidating for a shy child. Help them practice ahead of time by going over the Haggadah, and show them which page the questions are on and read them together. Read the Passover story and talk about the questions they have. Why did God pick Moses, even though Moses had a speech disability? What makes a leader? Why does the youngest child get such a big responsibility?

Understanding why the youngest child is given such important questions to ask will give the kid a little more confidence. Confidence and a little (or a lot of) practice makes a big difference!

During the Seder talk, discuss these questions to see what everyone else thinks. Do they see any comparisons between today’s world and that of the Israelites? How do the qualities of leadership apply to the current world?
Learn more about Let's Ask the Four Questions, find Haggadahs or explore more Passover books!