Hodge Podge Podcast and Blog is about ALL types of things! Join children’s book author, creative writer, blogger and podcaster, Alison Paul Klakowicz, on her journey to inspire! By way of guest interviews, travel, food, books, all things North Carolina, life as a military spouse and more!
I recently had the chance to porch sit with my bestie neighbor, Miranda Crosby and our mutual friend Danica Thomas, to talk about the ups and downs we’ve experienced throughout the Covid-19 pandemic— and how we have coped with the changes in our lives.
We brought our unique perspectives, backgrounds, personalities, quirks to the microphone 🎙 to chat candidly about this strange time in life that has turned the world 🌎 upside down.
Miranda— an Army spouse whose husband deployed overseas in January— is pregnant with their first child all while wading through these new socially distant waters sans her husband.
Danica— a widowed Army spouse, is a military suicide awareness and prevention advocate raising two young daughters as a single parent while working and virtually homeschooling her daughters all on her own.
Alison (me)— an Army spouse, children’s book author, writer, podcaster trying to juggle content creation, marketing, writing, book sales while rejoicing as the final week of the school year approaches for her second grader. Thank the LORD.
Yes, we probably sat too close to one another for some of your tastes. No masks were worn. However, to settle your worrisome minds— we each have been very careful over the past two months to follow public social distancing rules. Promise.
We just enjoyed being together.
Learning from each other.
We wanted to create a podcast message for all the folks needing validation, advice, self-affirmation, reassurance that everything is gonna be alright (to be sung in Bob Marley’s voice).
April is National Child Abuse Prevention Month. Each of us plays a vital role in raising awareness about the prevention of child abuse. It is of utmost importance that we each take an active stand to prevent child abuse to build healthier, more loving, whole communities where a child is never forgotten.
If ever there was a critical time to promote social wellness and prevention of maltreatment of children, it is now especially due to current world circumstances. Through social-distancing, it may seem even more challenging to help others, but we can still spread the word to create awareness.
Megan Pighetti was inspired by a longtime family tradition to create an adorable book called Fairy-Tailed Wish.
What is a Fairy-Tailed Wish you ask?
On birthday eves, children make a special wish for fairies to come and decorate their bedrooms with two special ingredients— FAIRY DUST and TOILET PAPER!
In this delightful book, Suzie and her fairies-in-training see that each child’s wish is granted. But when fairy dust meets toilet paper things don’t always go as planned, and a nighttime mission can quickly go wrong! And wake a sleeping child.
BUT these fairies are skilled and almost always pull off their birthday mission bringing joy, surprise and wonder to each and every child who awakes to this magical surprise!
The sentiment behind this adorable tale is a pure delight! The fairy journey is an epic adventure and sure to inspire all! The whimsical illustrations by Tamara Piper bring such vivid excitement to each page.
In a time such as now during social distancing when families are spending all of their time together at home with birthday parties canceled, what a true joy it would be to create a tradition as such to ensure a lifetime of memories!
It certainly inspired Megan who now shares this birthday custom with her children.
Megan Pighetti is an Indie Author. Fairy-Tailed Wish is her first children’s book. Megan lives in Colorado with her husband and two daughters. She is a graduate of Colorado State University. She is the creator and contributor to http://www.FairyTailedWish.com blog.
Follow Megan on social media to keep up with her! 👌🧚♀️👇
Charles M. Iker, a professional psychotherapist out of Rochester, New York, has written a wonderful picture book, Little Fergen’s Fish Feelings, to help young children affected by divorce build healthy coping skills.
The book features an adorable little fish named Fergen who is a happy fish who loves his home he shares with his siblings and parents, but begins to experience difficult feelings when he learns his parents plan to divorce.
The little blue fish has a very hard time transitioning into his family’s new normal. He feels confused, sad, angry and afraid. Fergen’s tummy begins to fill with what feels like hundreds of tiny little fish swimming and fluttering around which makes him quite nervous and talkative. Other days, he refuses to play or swim. He pretends not to hear others around him. The comfort and safety he once felt is gone. He no longer knows how to talk to anyone about his feelings.
Fergen’s father (also named Fergen) notices the change in his son. He asks Fergen to go with him on a long swim one day where he talks to his son about when he was a small fish and experienced a sad time in his life. Big Fergen tells his son about all of the emotions he too experienced, and confesses that his behavior was out of control because he did not know how to deal with his feelings. So he was sent to talk to an old, wise fish named Sam who helped him to heal. Fergen’s father suggests to little Fergen he would like to take him to meet Sam as well. The pair then sets off on a journey through the ocean to find the wise old fish.
When they find Sam, the old fish suggests that they need a “Meeting of the Minds.” The son and father touch their foreheads together under Sam’s direction who then gives them special words to recite to one another,
“Starfish are red, Coral is blue, Free these feelings stuck inside of you.”
The two begin to repeat the words over and over. All of a sudden the little fish begins to talk about all of the feelings he’d stored up inside of him. With the release of his worries, the tiny little fish in his belly begin to pop out of his mouth (the same fish that had been hurting his tummy). Each of the fish represents an emotion Fergen felt and had kept down deep inside of him.
Sam explains to Fergen that feelings are “neither good nor bad, simply a part of life.” Fergen is then able to allow his feelings out into open waters to free himself of the emotions he’d trapped inside of him.
Fergen then feels so much better, lighter, happier. He now knows what to expect and how to help himself feel better when his worries become trapped inside him again. All he has to do is repeat the special words wise old Sam taught him. Although he knows life will not go back to the way it was, despite the changes he knows he will be fine and feel better with each passing day.
This book is a wonderful resource for any child and/or parent experiencing a major change in their life. It provides clear and wise advice on how to accept those changes as well as how to communicate about your feelings in a positive way. The colorful and sweet illustrations by Ron Bracato provide relatable yet fun images children will learn from and enjoy.
Educators and counselors working with young children experiencing the trauma of divorce will love this book and want to implement it’s positive message into their counseling practices.
Little Fergen’s Fish Feelings is Charles M. Iker’s first children’s book. He holds thirty-five years of education and experience in psychotherapy; to include a degree and background in child and family therapy. He has extensive clinical experience working with children and adolescents and adults providing individual psychotherapy, couples’ therapy and family therapy.
The author pulled from his experience as a father and therapist who went through divorce and watched the emotional impact it had on his child and stepson to inspire him to write Little Fergen’s Fish Feelingsin hopes of helping other children through the trauma of separation and divorce.
Chaka Giangrosso has written a beautiful book, I Love My Gua, about the special relationship of a little girl with her grandmother whom she affectionately calls Gua. This book struck me in particular because of my son’s special relationship with my mother who is called JuJu. The importance of children building loving relationships with their grandparents is crucial in order for them to experience the unconditional love of a grandparent and wise lessons taught by them.
I am a firm believer that a child who spends time with older individuals will have a greater understanding of the world around them. They will learn what it was like many years ago when their grandparent was a child. They will learn about their family history and culture. They will realize that their parents were once children just like them. They will learn that grandparents are FUN too. Each valuable in understanding the cycle of life and what each individual (despite their age) has to offer the world.
I Love You Gua poignantly depicts the meaningful relationship between the granddaughter and her Gua. The super sweet illustrations by Cristal Baldwin emphasize their bond as well as the grandmother’s devotion and patience to her special little girl. The two love to have playdates and sleepovers where they read books, sing, cook and go through normal daily routines such as brushing your teeth. Each a special teaching moment where a child learns a simple skill and makes a precious memory that will last a lifetime.
This book is perfect for ANY child who has a special bond with their grandparent(s). Please consider adding this adorable book to your home library as it will be a keepsake for sure.
You can order a copy here:
Barnes and Noble:
Chaka Giangrosso, a native of Jamaica who relocated to the United States at age 12, is the mother of two young children. She is a United States Army Spouse and veteran out of Central North Carolina. I Love My Gua is Chaka’s debut children’s book based on her daughter’s special bond with her grandmother Gua (Chaka’s mother).