In Ish (Readeo’s Book of the Month for January), Ramon is a budding artist. Unfortunately, his brother, in the way only brothers can, laughs at his drawings. Just as Ramon is ready to give up, he discovers that his sister (Marisol) has been saving his drawings and hanging them in her room. Her favorite is a drawing that looks vase-ish. Her belief in Ramon and love of his work completely changes his outlook. Not only is he re-energized to continue drawing, but he also adds writing and poetry to his “ish” repertoire.

My grandmother, Madge, recently passed away. This Christmas was our first one without her. She inspired me and many others with her selfless love.  Just like Marisol with Ramon, she believed in my siblings and me, even when we didn’t believe in ourselves.

Grandma Madge taught second grade. Over 50 years ago she had a special student — Dan Crandall. In first grade, Dan had a tough time with a difficult teacher and he no longer wanted to go to school. As a second-grader, he had two things working against him in his quest to no longer attend: his dad was the bus driver, and Grandma Madge was his teacher. Every day, his dad would take his hand and walk him from the bus to the door of the school, where Madge would take him by the hand and walk him to her classroom.

This simple act of kindness helped Dan feel more certain of himself. On Valentine’s Day that year, Dan gave Madge a heart-felt valentine. Each year thereafter, a valentine from Dan would show up at Madge’s door. Grandma Madge reciprocated this kindness with her own valentine to Dan and the tradition continued for many years until he reached his early 20s and joined the Forest Service. Shortly after that, Dan was fighting a forest fire and was involved in a tragic helicopter crash that took his life.

After Dan’s death, his parents began exchanging valentines with Madge each year until they died. Dan’s siblings were next in line to carry on the tradition with Madge. Now that she has passed on, my mom will exchange a valentine with Dan’s siblings and, after 50 years, the simple act of taking a child by the hand continues to inspire us and live on.

We’ll be giving away 5 hard copies of Ish this weekend. You can have multiple entries to win. You’ll get one entry each time you use BookChat this weekend and one for posting a comment here or on Facebook telling us about someone who inspires you. The winners of the books will be announced here and on Facebook on Monday!

Grandma Madge with me and Oliver

Tips for Connecting Long Distance with Kids – Allow Your Relationship to Grow

The relationship between a child and their parent is a precious one. As a grandparent, parent, military family, or frequent business traveler, we all can find ourselves away from the children we love. Whatever the reason may be for you to be a long way from your child, you need some tips for connecting long distance with kids. Thanks to this age of technology, it is very possible to stay in touch even over hundreds or thousands of miles. You may only be gone for a weeks, a year or two, or indefinitely. Whatever the case may be, you should not lose contact with your child. Here are some things you can do.

Sending gifts is one way to connect long distance with kids. They love to see some of the things you have access to wherever you are. This is a logical tip if you are going to be gone for a long time. Otherwise, you could bring a gift back with you instead of mailing it. They do not need to be expensive, but simply something that made you think of your child—perhaps a new book you know they will love.

Telling stories is a great way to encourage a growing relationship despite the distance. Let your child know the things you have been up to or retell a story they are particularly fond of. Either way, they will love hearing your voice. This can be done over the phone, in a letter, or with a recording you send to your child.

Using video chat is a good way to stay connected as well. This is more enjoyable and interactive than a simple telephone conversation. You may want to set up a time to meet online with your child over the phone with your spouse or other caregiver who is with the child so you are not disappointed if they cannot talk when you “pop in” for a conversation with your child. For this method to work, you and your child will both need web cams and high speed internet.

There is a way to combine all of these tips for connecting long distance with kids. Readeo’s BookChat is your best source for staying in touch with your child long distance. BookChat allows you to read digital children’s books to them. You’ll see each other and turn pages together despite the miles that separate you physically. This is a better option than Skype because it creates a meaningful shared experience and promotes literacy.

Researchers have done numerous studies to explain to parents how valuable reading aloud can be in child development. It teaches children about the world around them, stimulates brain growth, and speeds up literacy; however, this is only half the picture. Reading with a child also helps create a stronger bond between a child and loved one due to the intimacy involved in reading aloud– sitting on the lap or close to the reading partner, teaching words or information, and meaningful discussion. However, what can you do when you’re not actually together?

Readeo makes it possible to read with a child in real time over the Internet. By integrating video chat with digital children’s books, Readeo’s BookChat creates a long-distance reading interaction that is as close as it gets to having the child in your lap. Sometimes though, work or life takes us further than our computers can follow, and when it does, there are recordable storybooks.

Hallmark created Hallmark Recordable Storybooks and has several books available for purchase that can record your voice as you read a children’s book. Your voice will then play every time a child opens the book to begin reading. To set it up, you just press record and begin reading. You can record your reading as many times as you like. Once you are finished, you simply press save.

Recordable storybooks make it possible for children to still have mom or dad read a bedtime story even if they are in a meeting or grandma or grandpa can still read to grandchildren after they are gone. Reading goes beyond just benefiting our children academically; it lets them know how much we love them. Whether you’re in a rocking chair with your child on your lap, using Readeo, or a recordable storybook, be sure you are still finding ways to bond with your child through reading.

Grandparents Day

The third installment of our Grandparent Week series, this essay was sent in by
Readeo user Timothy S.:

Grandpa knew his grandchildren, all 12 of them better than nearly anyone. Certainly better than we knew ourselves, possibly even better than our own parents. He had a special gift. He knew us on the inside- what we liked, what we didn’t, what we wanted and what we were afraid of.

I was six or so when a storm one night bore down on our home in Florida near Ft. Meyers. The clouds poured rain and the thunder was close enough to rattle the picture hanging on the wall by my bed.

Most parents,( or in this case, grandparents) would come in to check on a child. If the child were crying, the parent might do one of two things: tell them to toughen up; or take them into a room more isolated from the storm.

Grandpa did something different. He quietly opened the door and pulled a chair next to my bed where he told me about the storms he played in as a kid, and later how the heaviest rain he ever saw fell as he waited on a battlefield in Germany.

He didn’t just talk, he listened, too. He asked me what it was about the storm that scared me. A funny question, I thought. But as I talked about the “scary parts” of a storm, we realized together that it wasn’t the lightning, the thunder, or the sound of the rain on the roof that really scared me. It was the whipping shadows of the trees on my wall that looked like monsters and made my heart race.

He stayed by my bed long after the conversation died down. The storm might have gone as well, I only remember that I fell asleep with Grandpa by my side.

Looking back some thirty-five years, I realize my grandpa was actually teaching me that night. Important lessons – that fear comes from the unknown and dissipates through the light of knowledge. That rather than remove you from scary situations, or solve your problems, real friends will be there to walk you through them. That my grandpa loved me.

And that a good grandparent will always be there for you. Happy grandparents day, Grandpa. I love you, too.



If you missed the other installments of our Grandparents Week series, check out our Introduction, read Fun Facts About Grandparents Day, read Why I Love Being A Grammie , and catch up on Our Favorite Grandparent Jokes.

Continuing our series of Grandparent Week posts, our favorite Grandparent Jokes (in no particular order)!

    1. A grandfather was telling his little grandson what his own childhood was like:”We used to ice skate outside on a frozen pond. I had a swing made from a tire that hung from a tree in our front yard. We rode our pony around the yard. We picked wild raspberries in the woods.”

      The little boy was wide-eyed, taking all this in. At last he said, “I sure wish I’d gotten to know you sooner, Grandpa!”


    1. A sweet boy surprised his grandmother one morning and brought her a cup of coffee. He made it himself and was so proud. He anxiously waited to hear the verdict on the quality of the coffee.The grandmother had never in her life had such a bad cup of coffee, and as she forced down the last sip she noticed three of those little green army guys in the bottom of the cup.

      She asked, “Honey, why would three little green army guys be in the bottom of my cup?”

      Her grandson replied, “You know Grandma, it’s like on TV, ‘The best part of waking up is soldiers in your cup.”


  1. One grandmother didn’t know if her granddaughter had learned her colors yet, so she decided to quiz her. She would point out something to her granddaughter and ask what color it was.Each time, the young girl would tell her the correct color.

    The grandmother enjoyed the quizzing, so she continued. Finally, the granddaughter got up and headed for the door, saying, “Grandma, I think you should try to figure some of these out for yourself!”

We hope you enjoyed a few of our favorite grandparent jokes! Stay tuned for a special post written by one grandson about his grandfather and a special Grandparents Day offer from Readeo. That’s tomorrow!

In the meantime, be sure to catch up on our previous Grandparents Week articles: Grandparents Day (week!), Grandparents Day Facts, and Why I Love Being a Grammie.

*Special thanks to Butler Webs