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Some local Little Free Libraries - Super Lexi's inside!

National Library Appreciation Week

ShippedLibraryBooksHappy National Library Appreciation Week! As a lover of libraries and all things books, I am proud to support this wonderful week. I was happy to see my Facebook community jump at the chance to get free copies of my chapter book Super Lexi for their local libraries. I sent out 15 signed copies to libraries on three different continents this week!

Also, because I simply could not help myself, I took Super Lexi on a Little Free Library book tour. If you are not familiar with the Little Free Library “take a book, leave a book” program, I highly recommend you check it out, because it’s a very cool and neighborly way to promote literacy.

Some local Little Free Libraries - Super Lexi's inside!

Some local Little Free Libraries – Super Lexi’s inside!

Next up: Teacher Appreciation Week, beginning May 5! As a grateful kids’ author, I intend to give thanks 😉

FrontCover

Vote for Lexi on A Mighty Girl!

My chapter book Super Lexi has been nominated to appear on A Mighty Girl, but she needs votes! A Mighty Girl is a wonderful site dedicated to raising smart, confident, and courageous girls. If you think Lexi is A Mighty Girl, please vote for her here!MightyGirlClick to Vote!

GoodReadsGiveaway

Super Lexi Giveaway on Goodreads!

Super Lexi is a warmly funny chapter book about a determined but nerve-wracked second grader.

Lexi’s got phobias about lots of things. Yogurt. Songs that get stuck in her head. Cashiers who think they’re good with kids. Her biggest phobia on Planet Earth, though, is eyeballs staring at her. That’s how come it’s too bad she has a solo in the school Parents’ Day performance. Good thing she has a plan. If she tornado-twirls at blur speed, she can disappear onstage!

Enter to win a copy of Super Lexi below!

Click to enter!

Click to enter!

Vonnegut

Big Week for Chapter Book Super Lexi!

Lots of activity with my chapter book Super Lexi this week!

The awesome tweets.

The awesome tweets.

First, investigative reporter from Wired magazine and esteemed supporter of the neurodiversity movement Steve Silberman tweeted kind words about Super Lexi. Needless to say, it made my day, because Steve Silberman is awesome.

Next, I began my long overdue journey on Goodreads! Who knew that was such a spectacular place? I can make friends who are only interested in talking about books? I can’t think of any thing more fun. Come find me. I”ll be thrilled to talk about nothing but books with you.

Click to find me!

Click to find me!

My Facebook page is happy!

My Facebook page is happy!

And finally, I am profoundly grateful that my Facebook page now has more than 2000 followers. The support has been overwhelming!

As many of you know by now, I have a phobia of eyeballs staring at me. Going public with Super Lexi was out of character for me, but I it did anyway in the hopes that I would figure out a way to survive it.

This is why I cling to an old quote my dear friend Kurt Vonnegut used to say (kidding, he was not my dear friend, though I’m certain my life would have been complete if he had been):

Vonnegut

Thanks to all of you, there’s hope for my wings yet!

SchoolVisit

First School Visit!

SchoolVisitI got invited to do my first school visit! Like Lexi, I have a “phobia of eyeballs staring at me.” Should be interesting! 😉

In all seriousness, though, I really enjoy talking to kids about Lexi. Invariably, we end up talking about following dreams and identifying superpowers within ourselves. It all ends up being very inspiring and I simply LOVE to see kids light up when they map out their plans to make their own dreams come true.

FrontCover

Super Lexi is Now Available!

FrontCover

I am so happy to announce that my chapter book, Super Lexi is now available! Click here to buy it now!

I am so grateful to everyone who  has supported me along the way. I particularly appreciate those of you that have read my blog or followed me on Facebook/Twitter as Lexi has grown from an idea to a full-fledged character.

A special thanks to Adam Winsor, whose beautiful illustrations capture Lexi and her spirit better than I could have ever hoped for.  And thank you to Keith Snyder for presenting Lexi’s story exactly as I had envisioned it!

 

Tomorrow

Super Lexi Comes Out Tomorrow!

Tomorrow

I’m getting so excited for the big day. My chapter book Super Lexi will be released tomorrow!!!

About the Book

Lexi’s got phobias about lots of things. Yogurt. Songs that get stuck in her head. Cashiers who think they’re good with kids. Her biggest phobia on Planet Earth, though, is eyeballs staring at her. That’s how come it’s too bad she has a solo in the school Parents’ Day performance. Good thing she has a plan. If she tornado-twirls at blur speed, she can disappear onstage!

SuperPowerWinners

Congratulations to Corinne and Carley!

SuperPowerWinners

Congratulations to winners of the Super Lexi Superpower Contest, Corinne, age 9, and Carley, age 8!

Corinne’s superpower is making homemade gifts like friendship pins, duct tape wallets and friendship bracelets. Carley’s superpower is being kind to others. Both superpowers help make the world a better place!

You’ll each receive a signed copy of my new chapter book, Super Lexi. Thank you for using your superpowers, and for participating in the contest!

Carley, age 8

Carley, age 8.

Corinne, age 9

Corinne, age 9

SuperPower

Win a Signed, Advanced Copy of Super Lexi!

What’s your Superpower?

Submit your child’s drawing of his/her superpower by 11:59 (PST) on Sunday, February 16, 2014 and win a signed, advanced copy of my upcoming chapter book, Super Lexi. One winner will be selected by raffle and announced on Monday, February 17, 2014.

Submission example:

SuperPower

Please have your child include his/her first name and age. Please do not include last names.

Submission Process
Submissions will be accepted through Facebook, Twitter or email.

Increase your Child’s Chances of Winning

  • Facebook – I will post all submissions to a Facebook photo album within 24 hours of your submission. Ask your friends to “like” your child’s image. Each like counts as an additional submission.
  • Twitter – Ask your Twitter followers to retweet your submission. Each retweet counts as an additional submission. You must include my Twitter handle @LeskosSuperLexi.

Winner selection process
The winner will be selected at random in a raffle. Each entry, Facebook like and retweet will count as 1 “raffle ticket.”

Legal Stuff
All entries must be drawn by children 12 years old and under and must be submitted by an adult 18 or over. When you upload or otherwise submit content to Emma Lesko for this contest, you give Emma Lesko a worldwide license to use, host, store, reproduce, modify, communicate, publish, publicly perform, publicly display and distribute such content. By submitting to this contest, you attest that you have the necessary rights to grant this license for any content that you submit to Emma Lesko for the purposes of this contest, and that you are of at least 18 years of age.

Thanks for participating – and good luck!

ReleaseDate

Super Lexi Release Countdown!

ReleaseDate

The countdown to the February 25 release of my early chapter book, Super Lexi is on!

Lexi’s got phobias of lots of things. Yogurt. Songs that get stuck in her head.  Cashiers that think they’re good with kids. But her biggest phobia on Planet Earth is eyeballs staring at her. That’s how come it’s too bad she has a solo in the school Parents’ Day Performance.

Join Lexi as she tries everything from crossing her eyes to “tornado twirls” in the hopes that she’ll turn invisible!

By "Ygufyt," age 8, California.

Featured Kid Invention: Marshmallow-y Snow Scene

By "Ygufyt," age 8, California.

By “Ygufyt,” age 8, California.

Upon learning that Lexi’s favorite food is marshmallows, California reader,”Ygufyt,” age 8, invented this spectacular recipe in the hopes that I would share it with all the other marshmallow-connoisseurs out there. Always one to celebrate kids’ superpowers, I’m more than happy to do so.

If your child has recipe or craft suggestions, please submit them to emma at emmalesko.com and I will be happy to post them.

Ingredients

  • 1 bag mini-marshmallows
  • 6 snowman Peeps
  • Sprinkles
  • Red Hot candies

Directions

Pour the marshmallows into a pan. Cook the marshmallows in the oven. The temperature should be 250. Turn the light on and watch the marshmallows melt. Take them out when they are melted and stir them. Stick the snowmen in and sprinkle with sprinkles and candy. Put it in the refrigerator and eat it when it’s cold.

 

Image: Flickr, Two Stout Monks

Quiet Christmas Activities for Kids

Image: Flickr, Two Stout Monks

Image: Flickr, Two Stout Monks

Not all kids enjoy holiday hoopla. For many, the holidays are a source of stress. These kids can be better off protected from things like holiday parties, school musical programs, trips to the mall, Christmas tree shopping, and lots of the decorating. Even too many crafts and cookie baking events can stress kids out. But that doesn’t mean they can’t enjoy the special season. There are lots of quiet moments that can be treasured during the season that are sure to recharge any introverted kid.

  1. Roast peppermint marshmallows at the fireplace with the Christmas lights turned on.
  2. Put hot cocoa or cider in a thermos and drive around looking at Christmas lights.
  3. Read a favorite holiday book near the fireplace. Better yet, write one.
  4. Make a cozy fort and decorate it with Christmas lights.
  5. Bring printable Christmas activities to a well-decorated coffee shop & enjoy warm drinks (hot apple cider for those that can’t have dairy or soy).
  6. Go “Christmas shopping” online for teachers and friends by the light of the Christmas tree.
  7. Play board games that only come out at Christmastime.
  8. Make snowflakes & hang them on your child’s bedroom ceiling. The effect is very cozy.
  9. Snuggle up for a Christmas movie night with popcorn.
  10. Go for past-bedtime walks in the snow. If your child dislikes the cold, sneak a microwavable heating pad under his/her coat.

What does your family do to enjoy quiet moments at Christmas?

Gifts

Best Kid Holiday Gifts Under $30

I get holiday shopping out of the way early so I can use my December free time for fun family stuff like baking or reading holiday stories by the fireplace. The more I can get online, the better. Below are my top picks for kids ages 5-10, all under $30. Click the images to go directly to the products.

Snow Anytime Snowballs

The weather doesn’t always cooperate. Now your kids can pelt each other with snowballs whether it snows or not! Bonus: no rogue snow chunks sliding down the backs of shirts. ThinkGeek. $19.99.

Tekno Black Light Bubbles

Pinterest be darned! I can never get the DIY glow-in-the-dark bubbles to work. These are a guarantee. ThinkGeek. $7.99 (black lights separate, $10+ on Amazon)

Cotton Candy Maker

Seriously. Is there anything cooler than this? It’s especially great at Christmas, because you can toss a candy cane in for peppermint cotton candy. Great for kids who can’t have corn syrup or food dyes. Amazon. $27.96.

Mentos Geyser Tube

25 foot soda geysers don’t make enough appearances in life. Especially in the snow. Steve Spangler Science. $4.95.

Scavenger Hunt

Perfect indoor game for a wintry day. Fun enough for the whole family to jump in. Amazon. $10.99.

Gotcha Gadgets

Turn pranksters into electrical engineers with this funny kit. MindWare. $24.95.

Carpet Skates

An awesome set of “ice” skates for those who live in warm climates, and also for those who dislike the elements as much as I do. Steve Spangler Science. $19.99.

Bouncing Bubble Kit

I love bubbles. I will never outgrow bubbles. Especially if they continue to increase in their coolness. These bounce. Need I say more? Steve Spangler Science. $29.99.

Easy Dollar Bill Origami

Any kid with this gem is sure to be a superstar in the school lunch line. Low priced enough for you to slip a couple of singles in. Barnes & Noble. $4.95.

uKloo Treasure Hunt Game

Treasure hunt games are always fun. This one’s geared toward beginning & reluctant readers. Mindware. $18.95.

Alvin Ho: Allergic to Girls, School, and other Scary Things

I have a soft spot for anxious kids in both real life and fiction. Little Alvin doesn’t get enough hoopla for the quality of his stories, in my opinion. Barnes and Noble. $6.99.

Real Walkie Talkies

These are not babyish walkie talkies that don’t work. These are the real deal, for elementary school kids who want to hide under their beds & talk to neighbor friends late at night, or who want to make games like Cops & Robbers a lot more interesting. Amazon. $21.99.

Planet Frog

Like the ubiquitous classroom butterfly kits, these things are an awesome lesson in transformation. Fat Brain Toys. $29.99.

 

 

 

AdventCalendar

Dairy-free Chocolate Advent Calendar

AdventCalendarNo kid should miss out on fun because of food allergy or intolerance. Though not recommended for children with severe allergies, this dairy-free advent calendar is quite easy and is a good solution for kids who don’t react if there’s a little cross-contamination.

 

 

What You’ll Need

Chocolate advent calendar from Trader Joe’s (or similar)
Enjoy Life chocolate chips

Instructions

  • Run a knife under the seals on both ends of the advent calendar to open it. Run your hand carefully down the inside to free the candy tray from the box, as it will be glued in spots.
  • Remove the candy tray.AdventCalendarTray
  • Pop out the chocolates gently. If they don’t come out without damaging the designs, skip this step.
  • Run the chocolate tray under hot water until completely clean. Dry.
  • Microwave the chocolate chips on 50% for one minute. Stir. Continue microwaving at 50% in 30 second increments until smooth.
  • Carefully spoon the melted chocolate into the molds. When finished, gently tap the entire tray against the counter until they are all level.
  • Leave chocolates on counter for several hours or overnight until hardened.
  • Re-insert the tray into the calendar, ensuring that it is not upside-down.
  • Glue or tape the box closed.
  • Give your safe advent calendar to your happy child!
CranberryBread

Gluten-free, Casein-free Cranberry Bread

CranberryBreadBetween the mushy food, the fancy clothes and all that grown-up talk at the table, Thanksgiving can be a source of stress for a lot of kids . One way to overcome this is to give kids control over as many aspects of the holiday as is reasonable. When I was a kid, my family put me in charge of a very important thing: the cranberry bread.

Every year, my wonderful sister and mother read the classic “Cranberry Thanksgiving” by Wende and Harry Devlin with me. It’s a picture book for school-aged kids, one of those quiet books from the 1970’s, with gorgeous illustrations. The plot centers around a world-famous secret cranberry bread recipe, which is published for the reader in the last pages (and on Amazon’s Look Inside).

Every year I made that “secret” recipe. Every year, I had at least one not-mushy thing to eat. Every year, I had a tiny but important amount of control at an otherwise stressful event. CranberryThanksgiving

Now that I’m older, I’ve passed the “secret” recipe down to the kids in my family. However, with food allergies rampant, not everybody in our family can eat those old mainstream recipes anymore. So, I’ve adapted it to be more allergy-friendly.

Ingredients

  • 2 cups Cybele Pascal’s gluten free flour mix recipe
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 3/4 teaspoon xanthan gum
  • 1/4 cup ghee or dairy-free butter (chilled)
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 1 1/2  teaspoon orange rind, grated
  • 3/4 cup orange juice
  • 3 cups fresh cranberries, (the recipe calls for coarsely chopped, but I prefer them whole)

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350
  2. Put flours, sugar, baking powder, salt, baking soda and xanthan gum in a stand mixer. Mix.
  3. Cut in butter and mix until crumbly.
  4. Add egg, orange juice and rind all at once. Mix until just combined.
  5. Add cranberries and stir.
  6. Spoon into 9x5x3inch greased pan. Bake for 1 hour and 10 minutes.
  7. Remove from pan, cool on wire rack.
  8. Enjoy!
IMG_2999 (2)

Allergen-free Mummy Pizzas (Guest Post by Super Lexi)

IMG_2999 (2)Normally, food shaped like faces is one of my phobias. But these spooky things are supposed to be creepy, so they make sense. Plus, they’re easy to make and your parents won’t gripe about how Halloween food has too much sugar.

 

 Ingredients

*Shortcut: if you don’t feel like making crust, use Udi’s bagels, but only if you’re not allergic to eggs.

 

Directions

Mix up the pizza dough just like the directions say.  Now wait while it sits in a blob for an hour.

 

To make that boring hour go faster, cut the whole lump of Daiya cheese into mummy tape. It’s soft enough for a kid to do it with a not-sharp knife . That’s good exercise and it  makes you better at handwriting. Daiya glops, though, so wipe your knife every now and then.

 

When the pizza dough is fat enough, have your grown-up turn the oven on to 375. Wipe or spray grease all over a cookie sheet. Put flour all over your hands. That’s messy and fun.

 

Now you’re ready to divide the dough up into 6 globs. If you know about fractions, this is a good time to brag about them. If not, ask your grown-up to tell you about them because they are spectacular. Then put the 6 globs of dough onto the sheet.  When the dough sticks to you, rub yourself with more flour. Flatten the dough globs into mummy shapes.  Perfect circles are boring mummies, so screw them up on purpose.

 

Cook those things for 6 minutes then have your grown-up take them out. Brush the melted ghee all over edges of the circles on account of that’s delicious, but it’s not a have-to.  Slop on some pizza sauce, then put the mummy tape all over. Don’t make it straight even if you like straight things on account of mummy tape is messy. Stick the olives on for eyeballs on and cook them for three more minutes.

 

After they’re done, look at how cute they are. Then take the olives off if you think they’re gross like I do. Now eat those delicious things!
Caramel

Coconut Caramel Dip (Gluten-free, Dairy-free, Corn Syrup-free)

Caramel

Happy October! This twist on the classic caramel dip is a great alternative for kids who can’t have dairy or corn syrup. You can taste the coconut in this dip, so I only recommended for kids who like that flavor. Some yummy variations include adding about 1/4 cup of dairy-free chocolate chips or a 1/2 teaspoon of cinnamon.

Ingredients

  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 cup coconut milk solids (This is the heavy layer at the top of a coconut milk can. Thai Kitchen usually has a full cup’s worth. Supplement with the liquid if you don’t have enough)
  • 1 tsp vanilla or vanilla bean paste

Directions

Cook sugar over medium-high heat in a heavy saucepan. When the sugar starts to melt (about 5 minutes), turn the heat down to low. The trick is to allow the sugar to turn a caramel color, without letting it get dark. Stir with a wooden spoon as needed if sugar is darkening quickly. When sugar is melted and is a caramel color, add the coconut milk. It may splatter, so back up if necessary. The sugar will solidify into a large solid candy. Keep over medium-low heat, stirring frequently until all the candy has melted (about 15 minutes).

Remove from heat and stir in vanilla. Refrigerate until the caramel has thickened (about 1 hour). Enjoy!