Queen Girls: Inspiring Girls with Real Stories of Female Heroes

Today I divert from my usual content to share with you a book series that I am very excited about. Though my children are no longer the target age, I love the mission of Queen Girls – to inspire girls to follow their dreams and envision them as possible and I look forward to sharing the books with my nieces and nephews. I also love that the stories are based on real women – short biographies that highlight the struggles and successes of women the world over.

Often times, classic stories highlight the strength, courage and skills of men while female characters are often stereotyped or one-dimensionall: the mother figure, the homemaker, the exotic beauty, the love seeker.

Did you know that 57% of children’s books have male protagonists, while only 31% are female? We believe that we should be telling different stories to our children. Let’s encourage girls to find their happiness, passions, drive and self-confidence from within. At the same time, let’s help boys to move to a place of equality.

Queen Girls Kickstarter

They also believe in giving back to the community and this is why they stand on a One for One model. Every time you purchase a book, another will be donated to local and international organizations who are fighting illiteracy and empowering girls.

The first fairy tale is Bessie, Queen of the Sky inspired by the story of Bessie Coleman, the first African American woman to hold a pilot’s license. The book will be available in English and Spanish.

When Bessie was growing up, no one could have imagined that a girl from a humble family would get out of the cotton fields and become a pilot. But with the help of her best friend Bloony, Bessie uses her courage and determination to make her dream come true!

How to get involved?

They are running a Kickstarter campaign to collect necessary funds to print the first book! Queen Girls is hoping to reach like-minded people who can help them ‘kick’ their crowdfunding campaign! If you believe in their mission and want to be part of the movement, donate and receive one of the first limited copies here!

bessie-and-bloony-flying

This multicultural team is formed by Jimena Durán (Spain), Andrea Doshi (USA) and Chiara Fabbri (Italy). They bring their diverse experiences to this initiative along with tons of love and dedication. Their intention is to open this collection to fellow authors and illustrators that could potentially bring their own Queens on board.

Books

Available in English & Spanish
Recommended age – 4 to 7 y.o.
32 page, hardcover & digital

Bessie, Queen of the Sky! Inspired by the story of Bessie Coleman, the first African American woman to hold a pilot’s license in the world – When Bessie was growing up, no one could have imagined that a girl from a humble family would get out of the cotton fields and become a pilot. But with the help of her best friend Bloony, Bessie uses her courage and determination to make her dream come true!

Isadora, the Rebel Queen! Inspired by the story of Isadora Duncan, a ballerina who danced away from rigid ballet technique towards what she perceived as natural movement. Influenced by the sea, she started dancing like no one ever did before, imitating the waves of the sea with her arms and feet – She defied conventionalist minds by creating what today we refer to as Modern Dance or “Barefoot Style.”

Savi, Queen of Education! Inspired by the story of Savitribhai Phule, a woman poet, an educationalist and a social reformer, Savi was one of the earliest crusaders of education for girls in India. She defied all odds to become the first female teacher at the first women’s school founded by her and her family.

And more books to come! We have the firm intention to grow this collection and open it up to fellow authors and illustrators that could potentially bring their own queens on board.

If this sounds appealing to you, please pledge to make it happen here!

#queeengirls #childrensbooks #booksforgirls
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The Gryphon Wifi Router Kickstarter Ends Soon ~ Reserve Yours Today

A few weeks ago, I discussed how our family is struggling with balancing our internet time. As my kids become more independent, the time they spend online – for academics, entertainment, gaming, and social media – has increased dramatically. Not only does it affect their mood, but it pulls them away from activities that they had previously enjoyed.

It isn’t just the kids. In the past, I would curl up on the couch with a cup of tea and a good book and enjoy listening to Jeffrey play the piano as Geneva quietly worked on an art project at the coffee table. I find I do this less often now because I am constantly drawn to my smartphone, specifically to social media. Admittedly, Spider Solitaire pulls me in a great deal as well.publications-for-gryphon-640x337

I have received monetary compensation for my time spent in reviewing this product.  All opinions expressed are true and completely our own. Please see my disclosure policy for more information.

We have had long talks about this during our family meetings and have vowed to make a change. One strategy we have recently decided upon is to turn off our wifi from 7p.m. every evening until 10a.m. the following morning. This is a big adjustment and we are still hearing groans and arguments from both our teens.

Another strategy that we are very excited about is the Gryphon Wifi Router. In just 2 weeks, Gryphon is more than 75% to the funding goal on Kickstarter and has been featured in some awesome publications! Here are a just a few:

San Diego Tribune
Wall Street Journal
9 to 5 Toys
Curbed
Uncrate

If you have not reserved one, it’s not too late. Go grab a Gryphon on Kickstarter now (www.gryphonconnect.com).   They are extending the early bird special for this week only, the deadline is November 6th.  Help us reach our goal and everyone will receive 1 FREE year of intrusion detection and whole house malware filtering ($49 value).

Parental Controls Made Easy with the Gryphon High Performance Wifi Router

Since we moved back to Oregon, I have returned to the public school classroom as a substitute teacher. At 14 and nearly 12 years of age, my kids are old enough to be left home alone for several hours at a time on occasion. I have no fears that they may catch the kitchen on fire while trying to make a grilled cheese sandwich. I am confidant they know what to do in the event that they may injure themselves. Even more so, their grandparents are just a couple miles away and check up on them regularly.

Parental Controls Made Easy with the Gryphon High Performance Wifi Router @EvaVarga.netI have received monetary compensation for my time spent in reviewing this product.  All opinions expressed are true and completely our own. Please see my disclosure policy for more information.

Online Safety

There is an added danger today, however, that my parents did not have to contend with when I was a child and my mother returned to the workforce … the Internet. The digital age brings a wealth of information and conveniences, but we cannot ignore the risks it poses for the family. Most children are exposed to the Internet at the age of 6, and 70% of children see inappropriate content by accident. The average family has 10 Internet-connected devices and counting, creating new security threats and vulnerabilities. However, the existing parental control tools are too complicated to use and expensive with annual subscriptions.

Honestly, the content itself is not the only concern. In our family, the biggest frustration we have is with finding balance. According to a report by Common Sense Media, a nonprofit focused on helping families and educators navigate the world of media and technology, teens in the United States spend about nine hours using media for their enjoyment. The report found that tweens spend about six hours, on average, consuming media.

When my son was younger, he would spend hours playing the piano each day. It was his passion. “I want to become a concert pianist,” he exclaimed regularly. Now that he has discovered YouTube and social media, I have to remind him to practice piano. He now dreams of receiving a silver play button when his subscribers reach 100,000.

gryphon_wifirouterWhile I admire his dedication to his new interest, I am very frustrated. He is sometimes so wrapped up in making his next video or battling against hackers on his Minecraft server that he neglects his other responsibilities. My husband and I have tried numerous strategies to help him find balance and develop better study habits. It is honestly, both time consuming and exhaustive.

Gryphon Wifi Router

When I learned of Gryphon, a powerful yet convenient approach to online safety, I was immediately intrigued. This new WiFi router is just what we have been looking for – an easy to use product that addresses many of our parental concerns about Internet safety and device time management.

Gryphon combines a high-performance WiFi router and a simple-to-use smartphone app, making it easy for parents to manage the connected home from anywhere. Now that I am working part time away from home, this is a huge comfort to us. Using our phones, his father and I can make a few adjustments and limit access to the internet when we are away.

Gryphon Online Safety from Pure Cinema on Vimeo.

 Even more, all the security features are built directly within the router itself, eliminating the need to install additional apps on your connected devices. Setting up the Gryphon router takes just three steps and a simple tap with the Gryphon app. As parents, we may grant access to specific websites, restrict internet access during various times of the day (such as during sleep and homework), and monitor our connected home devices like thermostats or cameras to prevent hacking. This can be done on your smartphone from anywhere.

gryphon_mobileapp

There’s a Gryphon App, Too

The app even features a social collaboration tool, so you can work together with fellow homeschooling parents to create a safer Internet for everyone, by recommending and rating specific websites. Wow!

The people behind Gryphon have worked hard over the last year on the design and the software platform and they have launched a Kickstarter campaign today for the final production of Gryphon.   You can go to www.gryphonconnect.com to find out more about the product and the campaign.

 

Learn With Piper: Coding, Computer Programming, & Electronics

I was provided an opportunity to preview this product in advance to give an honest review of these products and services. All opinions expressed are true and completely our own. Please see my disclosure policy for more information.

piper4

I can not express how excited I am to discover Piper! It is an amazing little hacker toolbox based on a Raspberry Pi that shows you how to build electronics by playing Minecraft.

I have been wanting to purchase a Raspberry Pi for a long time but just haven’t found the right way to grasp my kids’ attention. Until now!

My kids LOVE Minecraft!! Especially my son who, if permitted, will spend his entire day building elaborate cities and mini-games for his own server.

Over the past few years, I have shared with him a variety of tutorials and computer programming programs to encourage him to take his love for the game farther. Nothing has really stuck until we tried Piper earlier this week.

piper3Learn With Piper

The creators behind Piper have created a system that will empower children to build electronics, gadgets and sensors – including a responsive flashlight, an ambient light detector and a sound and light keyboard – all by playing Minecraft.

Play Minecraft. Build Electronics. 

They have been able to modify Minecraft on the Raspberry Pi to detect whether circuits are built correctly, and have structured the software to guide students through the basics until they reach more complex levels. Kids will enjoy playing Minecraft in a new way and parents will love the simplicity!

To see Piper in action, watch this tutorial on Vimeo.

“We created Piper to bring back the tinkering and building that inspired so many generations of inventors and creators throughout history. We want to give kids a way to start their journey into making and engineering, and we want it to be fun.” ~ Mark Pavlyukovskyy

piper2

My kids and I had so much fun playing with Piper that we didn’t want to leave. The Minecraft interface captivated their attention – allowing them the freedom to be creative – all the while teaching them how to add different electrical components.

Both of the kids wanted to tinker with the gadgets and they each remarked on the cool lazer cut “hacker toolbox” that houses the Raspberry Pi and other components. Lazer etchings were subtle and the box can be personalized to further express a child’s creativity.

As we walked out the door, my son exclaimed, “That was awesome! Piper is so fun!”

Piper is planning to launch its hacker toolbox early next week. Sign up today to find out how you can get Piper at a discounted rate of $149!

You can also enter to win your own personalized Piper kit. As a special perk your name will be printed on the front of the box!

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