Well, 2018 has been off to a busy start so far! I have been actively marketing and distributing "A Song for Swinging," as well as continuing with school presentations throughout the valley.
I have also been working on my next book, which involves writing, storyboarding, sketching, and so much more. Things are very exciting, yet I just wish that there were more hours in the day!
So with spring break just around the corner, I think its time for a little getaway☺︎ We're heading down to Vancouver to attend the Healthy Family Expo on Sunday, March 18th. There will be tons of activities and fun stuff for the little ones, plus some musical performances by some of our favourite artists...we can't wait!
If you're planning on being in the lower mainland this weekend, consider checking this out. Maybe we'll see you there!!
Healthy Family Expo 2018 Info
The sun is shining today and it looks like, just maybe, spring is around the corner over here (although I am still fine with snow, as long as it's on the mountain). I thought I would share something, now that the weather may be warming up soon...
Whenever my kids start becoming irritable, it's amazing how getting outdoors can instantly change their perspective. All of a sudden, there's a new world to explore with different elements and challenges from what they might have been experiencing before. At the end, they always come away in a better headspace, filled with a new energy and interest in life.
I really believe that it's important for kids to develop a love for nature at an early age. As they grow older, they will remember those positive experiences and want to return to that particular state of mind. While I try to expose my kids to nature myself, my son was fortunate to have had this kind of experience within his school curriculum as well.
As part of a pilot project with his kindergarten class, he was able to participate in a "Forest School" program which included full days out of the classroom, immersed in a natural curriculum. My wife and I were lucky to be able to participate in this as well and both felt that this was such a beneficial experience for everyone.
It turns out that there are more programs of this type...I'm sure you have heard of the David Suzuki Foundation? It has been around for many years and has been emphasizing this type of education as well. They have recently come up with a similar type of program, which is designed for anyone - teachers, caregivers, parents, grandparents, etc...it's literally something that can be done in your own backyard!
Feel free to visit the link below for more information, as well as their downloadable "Nature as a Classroom" guide. In today's age, it's more important than ever to establish a solid foundation with nature in our kids. So they can continue to be happy, healthy, and in harmony with their world...
Nature as a Classroom
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Throughout my life, I have always been aware of the main ways in which music affects me. Listening to music has served me well by helping to release stress, boost concentration, and simply elevate my mood. But now as a parent, while experiencing music with my kids, I have noticed other aspects through them that are beneficial as well.
After searching online, I found a great article which highlights some of these qualities that music can instil in our little ones. Janelle Durham is an educator, social worker, and parent who uses research-based content on her blog (Good Days with Kids). There is a lot of excellent material there and you can view the original article here. She also has made a teachable PDF version of this, which I will include at the bottom.
Benefits of Singing with Your Child
- Musical skills: Singing builds skills in matching tone, keeping a steady rhythm, varying speed and volume, expressing emotion through the voice, etc.
- Mathematical and spatial skills: Children who have taken music classes score higher on math tests. Music enhances brain development in areas tied to pattern recognition, counting, organization, time, and division of larger notes into smaller notes (ie: fractions).
- Vocabulary: Music introduces children to the sounds and meanings of a wide range of words and helps strengthen memory skills.
- Literacy: Alphabet and number songs help children remember letter and number sequences.
- Rhymes and Prediction: As children sing, they learn about rhymes. Rhymes can help them learn to predict things… “if this line ends with star, the next line must be the one that ends with are.”
- Predictability and Cause & Effect: When you sing the same song to your baby or child over and over, they learn to expect what is coming next… “After mom says, ‘with a one step, and a two step’ she’s going to tickle me!”
- Tradition: Music is a unique and powerful way for children to connect to their roots. An African-American spiritual, a Yiddish or Irish lullaby, a Mexican folk song… all introduce a child to the family’s heritage in a way that goes beyond words or pictures.
- Emotional Intelligence and Social Skills: In the book Brain Rules for Babies, John Medina says that one of the most powerful things about music is that when a child learns to recognize different musical tones, they also learn to recognize different emotional tones, and can tell more about how the people around them are feeling. Even young babies who were exposed to music classes had improved communication; they were more likely to point to objects, wave goodbye, smile, and show less distress.
- Attachment: Music can foster emotional attachment. From the first day of our babies’ lives, music can be a way to make a connection – they love to hear the sound of your voice (and recognize both parent’s voices from hearing them in the womb). And pretty soon, the songs start becoming familiar and recognizable, and a part of their safe and secure environment.
- Routines and Transitions: Familiar songs create a sense of comfort for a child. No matter where you are, you always have access to this same familiar tune. Many parents and teachers learn the value of songs for reinforcing routines (“this is the song we always sing at bedtime”) and signalling that its time to transition from one activity to the next (the cleanup song)!
I hope that you are able to try some of this out! Whether through singing, playing an instrument, or simply listening to music, there are so many positive effects at work. And if you are looking for some great music that's suitable for both children and parents, please check out my playlist on Spotify. It's free!
Here is the PDF version of this article which you can download here.
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I had so much fun with my new little friends at A.S. Matheson Elementary! I am honoured to have been invited to the StrongStart Centre, which is facilitated there by Collette MacNeil. I have known Collette for years, since I used to take my own kids to her class regularly - I am so grateful to have her support!
StrongStart BC is an amazing program that is designed to deliver a positive early learning experience for children aged 0-5. The goal is to create an interactive, play-based environment that helps children enjoy learning, develop essential skills and get ready for school. Best of all, it's FREE!
As a parent, I love the diversity of the activities inside StrongStart, as well as the overall focus on healthy living. In fact, there seems to be a lot of crossover with themes that are included in my new book! Back when I started to write A Song for Swinging, my idea was that the story would simulate a typical day for a young child.
I thought this routine could include: free play, exercise, being outdoors, eating healthy, getting rest, and learning (both independently and with others). I hoped that, if a child can identify with these familiar elements, then maybe they can understand the bigger messages inside. ☺︎
Well, those kids sure seemed to enjoy the book! We talked about good food choices (with props) and then used multimedia to enrich the experience. At the end, we all sang the new lullaby together and I was surprised to see how quickly they remembered the words!
They loved learning about gibbons and were very excited to share their own stories about animals they have seen in nature.
I am so thankful to Miss Collette, the staff at A.S. Matheson, and the administrative team at School District #23 for providing me with the opportunity to present in such a wonderful environment. If you haven't visited a StrongStart centre, now is the time to check it out! There are different locations throughout the Okanagan (and the province), so please tap/click here for more information, including schedules and contacts. Start strong...and stay strong!
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What a nice surprise! The other day after school, my kids and I decided to visit the Mission branch of the Okanagan Regional Library. It was time for some new books, so we went right to the children's area (as usual). Kyla and Lincoln suggested that we start from the letter "A", in hopes that we might find something familiar...and we did! They were thrilled to see our book actually on the shelves with the official ORL classification label and maple leaf...so exciting!
This was a moment that we have been looking forward to ever since this project began. I remember the day when they first asked me, "Dad, is your book going to be in the library?" To be honest, at the time I wasn't sure if that would ever happen. This really is a dream come true for all of us!
We love the library and have enjoyed going there ever since the Baby Time sessions at the downtown branch. Back then, my kids already were making positive associations with the library and reading in general. Then it was Toddler Time, Pre-Schooler Time and all the fun events along the way, including Puppet shows and the summer reading contest! We became "regulars" and some of our fondest memories came upon those colourful mats and bean bag chairs.
We are so thankful to all of the amazing staff for helping to further our kids' interest in reading and learning, while at the same time keeping things entertaining for all. I encourage everyone to investigate their local branch and take advantage of all the great programs for children. There are so many adventures inside just waiting to be discovered!
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Local creations and talent
Kevin Lavigne - Nov 24, 2017 / 6:00 am | Story: 212389
Congratulations to David Allen for releasing his first good-natured Children’s Book this past week.
A Song for Swinging has both words and songs to go along with his artwork. In fact, the book started as an art project.
You know Super Dave as one of the best DJs in Kelowna for weddings, corporate events and all your school dances, so you can imagine how unique and fun the story and song are for both adults and children.
You can purchase A Song for Swinging at Mosaic Books downtown or from from David's website. It is also available at the library and Dave has been asked to go into the schools to do more presentations.
Don’t tell your kids, but they just may learn something too.
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Kelowna posted November 18, 2017 by NowMedia Staff
Kelowna author launches first book
Kelowna’s very own author, David Allen, launched his first book earlier this morning with a signing and on-site reading at Wentworth Music.
His book, titled 'A Song for Swinging', is about two Gibbons who display a happy, healthy and harmonious lifestyle. Their overall good nature sets a good example for David’s young readers.
David was inspired to write the book when his children discovered their love for Gibbons.
“It all started one afternoon with my kids before nap-time; we were sitting together on our cozy rocking chair reading a new book about primates,” says Allen. “They both fell in love with the page about gibbons and, every time we read that book, they couldn’t wait to see them again.”
David has an extensive background in music and, because of this, he chose to include an original bedtime lullaby within the story.
David created Good Natured Books in order to have complete creative control over his publishing.
“From start to finish it took about two years to write. I have a plan for an entire series of books that are going to follow the same themes of healthy living and being good-natured,” states David.
The children who attended the book reading thoroughly enjoyed the pictures that David illustrated himself.
The rhyming verse and silly nature of the primates will surely keep any child entertained.
To buy David’s book click here.
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On the Shelves at MosaicRight after the event, 'A Song for Swinging' went live at Mosaic Books downtown...and is selling fast! Be sure to check out this amazing place - the selection, staff, and overall atmosphere is really fantastic. They are the Okanagan's largest bookstore and have been for over 45 years!
In fact, they are celebrating this weekend with a 20% off anniversary sale! I am so honoured to be included here - and next to some of my favourite authors and illustrators! I can't believe this is really happening...
Article from the Kelowna Capital News
Good Natured Books celebrates first book launch in Kelowna
David Allen, the author of A Song for Swinging, is signing books at Wentworth Music today
- Music, children and story will combine in unique ways today in Kelowna as Wentworth Music hosts the launch of Good Natured Books.
The indie-publishing house, Good Natured Books, offers children’s storybooks about nature and being healthy. Allen loved to draw and write stories as a child and rediscovered his passion when his own kids began drawing and making art, according to Good Natured Books.
Lead characters Tingle and Tangle, a duo of gibbons, try their best at everything. So when a regular day in the trees takes a tumble, they are able to come out on top— while staying happy, healthy and in harmony with others, according to Good Natured Books.
“It all started one afternoon with my kids before nap-time; we were sitting together on our cozy rocking chair reading a new book about primates,” Allen said. “They both fell in love with the page about gibbons and, every time we read that book, they couldn’t wait to see them again.”
Then came the stuffies, gifts from their grandparents. Allen began sketching pictures of the fun-loving apes from the Asian jungle and his kids urged dad to write his first book.
The storybook includes the musical notes to a bedtime lullaby, an original work by Allen.
“I wondered what kind of a song would Tingle and Tangle like before bedtime, so I came up with a simple lullaby that I would sing to my kids every night,” he said. “Children love to hear the sound of their parent’s voice and it sets them up for a good sleep, which leads to a happier child overall.”
The public is invited to attend the book signing beginning at 10:30 a.m. on Saturday at Wentworth Music, #106 1634 Harvey Avenue in Kelowna.
You’ll find 'A Song for Swinging' at the Okanagan Regional Library, for purchase at Mosaic Books, or for order at goodnaturedbooks.com.
...and featured story from the Kelowna Daily Courier!
View the online version here
Tingle and Tangle are coming to Kelowna! They have jumped inside their flying suitcase and have now left the tropical rainforest. These fluffy little gibbons will arrive at Wentworth Music this Saturday at 10:30am and can't wait to meet you. Arrive early for a good seat!
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The music is getting louder! My book is in production and will be ready to launch on Saturday, Nov. 18th here in Kelowna! Traditionally, it makes sense for a new book to get released in a book store. But, since singing is one of the main themes in my story, it seemed like a natural fit to host this big event at a music store!
I will start by reading the book to the kids inside Wentworth Music at 10:30am. I will then talk a bit about gibbons and the background behind the story. Following this, my own kids will play the piano and help everyone sing the new song that is featured in the book!
Books will be available to purchase and can be signed afterwards. Cash is preferred, although credit and debit will be available as well (5% GST added to prices below):
Tap/Click below to stay in tune with this event and get more good news from Good Natured Books!
Music has always been very important to me...and now to my kids, which is really awesome to see! And when we discovered that gibbons actually sing intricate songs in the wild, it made sense to have music as one of the main themes in my first book.
I have always been on the lookout for tunes that are appropriate for toddlers, while at the same time being enjoyable for parents too. So I've started a playlist on Spotify with some of our favourite songs and plan to update it regularly with similar styles/sounds.
I call it "Rainbows & Gold," which includes contemporary artists as well as artists geared specifically for children. I enjoy playing it from the start and then letting it run throughout our day - it is over 4 hours long and will continue to grow! But if you would rather drag specific songs into your own playlists and control things yourself, please do! ☺︎
If you already use Spotify, I'm sure you know how to do this. But if you haven't tried this service yet, I would highly recommend doing so - it's free, easy to use, and gives access to so much amazing music.
Directions1. Download the Spotify player to your computer or download the app on your phone/tablet. Tap/Click Here
2. Open Spotify, create an account, then come back to this page. Then tap/click on this link and it should take you to the playlist on the web. Tap/Click on the big green button that says "Play on Spotify". Follow the steps so that you will be taken to the Spotify player you just downloaded. This sounds more confusing than it really is!
3. Once you are at the playlist in Spotify, tap/click where it says "Follow".
4. That's it - you can start playing music! The playlist will be saved to your library and will automatically update over time.
With the free service, I would suggest listening only when you are on a Wi-Fi connection (otherwise you might exceed your data limits)! There will also be short ads intermittently.
If you want the full experience with no ads, you will need to upgrade to a paid subscription. Then you can make this playlist available offline and take it on the road with you (as well as all your other playlists, of course!) For more information or troubleshooting, please visit Spotify here.
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