Jul 26, 2013

Happy 20th Birthday, Sammy!

Sammy Spider and the Shapiro family have been teaching children about Jewish holidays and values for 20 years!


Throw a birthday party for your favorite spider (or a Sammy-themed birthday for your child)! Then, spend the whole year celebrating with Sammy-related activities!

 Check out the Kar-Ben website for fun birthday printables like invitations, party hats, coloring pages and a pin-the-legs-on-Sammy game!
You can also find activities, recipes, and crafts for every month and many holidays! Make your own afikomen cover for Passover, a Sammy Spider grogger for Purim, or try Mrs. Shapiro's challah and blintz recipes!

Hear from author Sylvia A. Rouss and illustrator Katherine Janus Kahn about the creation of Sammy Spider in this video from Kar-Ben eBook partner Open Road Media!



In celebration of Sammy's birthday, Kar-Ben introduces the 19th and 20th books in the Sammy Spider series!

Sammy Spider's First Book of Jewish Holidays is a book of Jewish holidays for very young children, with one simple holiday fact per page and illustrated with iconic Sammy Spider art.
Sammy Spider's First Yom Kippur is a story about saying "I'm sorry." When Josh breaks the rules and plays ball indoors, he finds himself apologizing not only to his parents, but to Sammy Spider as well.

Jul 22, 2013

Prevent the "Summer Slide" with Reading Comprehension!

"Summer slide" is used to refer to the skills or knowledge that students lose when they're not in school during the summer months. The summer slide can be particularly problematic for young readers, as they need to practice their reading and comprehension skills consistently to maintain them.

One of the easiest ways to help combat the summer slide is to set aside a few minutes each day to read with your child, whether they're reading to you or you to them. Asking a few reading comprehension questions will help make sure your child is understanding the reading.

Help prevent the summer slide with these reading comprehension questions for The Cats on Ben Yehuda Street:

1. Why did Mr. Modiano never come inside for tea when Mrs. Spiegal invited him?

2. What does Mrs. Spiegal do with the fish Mr. Modiano brings her? Does Mr. Modiano know? What makes you think that?

3. What does Mrs. Spiegal like about Ketzie?

4. Where do Ketzie and Gatito always wait for Mrs. Spiegal?

5. How does Mrs. Spiegal feel when she can't find Ketzie?

6. Why does Mr. Modiano adopt Gatito?

7. How did Mr. Modiano's feelings about cats change from the beginning of the story to the end of the story? How do you know?

You can find The Cats on Ben Yehuda Street on the Kar-Ben website, along with other fun summer titles!

Jul 12, 2013

A Simple and Delicious Summery Shabbat Treat!

July means berry season, and what better way to use this tasty summer produce than by making a sweet treat for Shabbat?

No-Bake Berry Cheesecake

1 lb. cream cheese
1/3 cup sugar
2 Tbsp. lemon juice
8 oz. whipped topping
1 graham cracker crust
blueberries, strawberry halves

Beat cream cheese, sugar, and lemon juice until well blended. Stir in two cups of the whipped topping. Refridgerate for several hours. Before serving spread remaining topping over the cake and decorate with fresh berries!

Enjoy this recipe? Kar-Ben's "My Very Own Jewish Calendar" is filled with fun facts, recipes, activities, and more!

Jul 2, 2013

Looking for Fun Summer Activities? Kar-Ben has a Few Ideas!

If you're stuck on ideas for what to do with the beautiful weather and extra time that summer offers, take some inspiration from the characters in these books!

Tikkun Olam Ted

Ted spends his days working to make the world a better, kinder place by doing good deeds. Taking a lesson from Ted means participating in summer activities that are both fun and helpful!

1. Spend some quality time with your pets, or volunteer at an animal shelter. Animals appreciate the attention and the chance to get outside, and make great friends for a summer afternoon. Taking care of animals also helps children practice responsibility.

2. Use recycled materials to create unique new art projects. Keep some of those useful scraps out of the trash and use them for art projects instead of buying brand-new materials. Reusing what we can is as valuable to the environment as recycling.

3. Work in the garden - if you don't have one, help out a neighbor or volunteer at a community garden. Gardening is a great productive way to spend time outside, and watching the plants they care for grow is a great way for children to see the results of their hard work.

Thank You, Trees!

Children and adults celebrate Tu B'Shevat in this book, but you don't have to wait until January to try some of the activities they enjoy!

4. Go on a picnic. It can be as simple as taking lunch out into the backyard, or you and your child can plan an outing, complete with baskets and blankets.

5. Have an outdoors sing-a-long or dance with your friends. Children may be familiar with the same songs from school or family, and outside is a perfect place to be loud, dance out some extra energy, and celebrate.

No Baths at Camp

"There are no baths at camp!" says Max when his mother starts filling the tub. But as he recounts his week's activities, he realizes that there were many fun ways he got clean at summer camp. Whether it's at camp or at home, Max and his friends have some great ideas about how to enjoy their summer!

6. Stage an outdoor play. It can be a play, or try finding a reader's theater script for one of your favorite books! Reading a script will also help your child practice their literacy skills during summer break.

7. Build a fire and make s'mores. A campfire is also a fun time to tell stories and spend time relaxing after a long summer day.

8. Have a water balloon fight. Want to cool off, but can't make it to the pool? Have a water balloon fight instead!

9. Go for a nature hike. Find a park nearby - even the neighborhood park you go to all the time can provide interesting new things to observe, if you look hard enough. Try out a state park for even more adventure.

To learn more or to purchase Tikkun Olam Ted, Thank You, Trees! or No Baths at Camp, visit the Kar-Ben website!