Articles by Annie

Room to Create- Kids Can Publish Too

This is Chloe. Her big sister, Mia, just published a book on Lulu, and now Chloe wants in on the action.

And why shouldn’t she publish? Seeing your story printed is an amazing feeling. I still remember staring in awe, when my first grade teacher placed a book of my story, Perry the Parrot, into my tiny hands. Of course, that “book” was held together by red yarn and glue. I probably would have never stopped bragging if Perry had been a printed book.

Perry the Parrot may be out of print now, but there is a whole new generation of budding authors on Lulu. Check out The Travelling Dolphin by Clara Curtis or, my personal favorite, The Shiny Fork, to see the possibilities. With just a little help from parents to create an account, scan, and upload their work, kids can have the best book they will ever take to school for Show and Tell.

What stories will your kids have to tell?

Be the Favorite Child This Holiday Season

Becoming the favorite child this holiday is easy!  Here are five great gift ideas that show how much you care, or at least how much more thoughtful you are than your siblings.

Calendar:

Create a family calendar with pictures from the last year.  You can even include special dates, like birthdays, anniversaries and graduations, to keep the focus on what’s most important throughout the whole year.

Family Cookbook:

Compiling a cookbook of all your family’s favorite recipes is a sure way to make mom and grandma proud.  Plus, you get the benefit of having that amazing pumpkin pie recipe right at your fingertips year-round.

Photobook:

One of the easiest ways to thrill the whole family is making a photobook.  It can have pictures from the whole year, or just from a specific vacation or event.  Either way, it will be a great memento for years, and an excellent conversation starter for the family after you have already discussed the food and weather.

Family Yearbook:

Think yearbooks are just for school?  Not with the power of personalization that Lulu offers!  You can make a family yearbook and include pictures from every major event, dedicate a page to each family member, and include fun facts or stats.

Family History:

Writing a family history is the ultimate in “favorite child” gifts!  Published as a book on Lulu, you can capture the generations of your family by writing your family tree, favorite family stories, pictures, and special memories.

Preserve Thanksgiving Memories with Lulu

Thanksgiving is a holiday of family and friends and of remembering what is important in your life.  If your family is like mine, what is most important on Thanksgiving is food.  Lots and lots of food.
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Thanksgiving is the only time of year that some of my favorite family recipes make an appearance at the table, and all of those dishes are tied to strong memories.  As my family has gotten older and the kids have moved all over the country, I worried that some of the recipes would be lost.  The obvious solution was to write a cookbook.

I made my cookbook a few years ago by just uploading a word file and cover.  Simple!  Once I had my files ready, it only took a few minutes to publish and I had the perfect Christmas gift for my entire family.

All those delectable recipes have now been saved in my book The Midwest Meets the South.  Though grandma absolutely refused to let me print her famous yeast roll recipe in a book, so some secrets remain just that.

With the Lulu Studio it is now easier than ever to turn your Thanksgiving feast into more than a picked-over turkey carcass and memories.   Just choose your binding, type in your recipes, add photos and publish your book.  Easy as pie (which you should definitely include a recipe for in the cookbook).  You can get started here.

If you add family photos and the stories behind your meals, this simple cookbook can become a keepsake for generations.

Lulu Studio will be my first choice, when I make a second edition. (Grandma, I will get that yeast roll recipe one day!)

Happy eating everyone!

Banned Books Week

Celebrate Your Freedom to Read!

Every year hundreds of books are threatened with removal from schools and libraries across the country. Since 1990, the American Library Association’s (ALA) Office for Intellectual Freedom has recorded more than 11,000 book challenges, including 460 in 2009.

Even though most of these challenges are made with the best of intentions (protecting people or children from difficult ideas), banning books prevents the freedom to choose and express opinions. Challenged books range from Mother Goose stories and the Harry Potter series to classics like The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn.

The ALA’s annual Banned Books Week is going on this Sept. 25 – Oct. 2. Banned Books Week is the only national celebration of the freedom to read. Since its inception in 1982, Banned Books Week has served as a reminder that while not every book is intended for every reader, each of us has the right to decide for ourselves what to read, listen to or view.

Yo-ho-ho! International Talk Like a Pirate Day Is Upon Us.

Avast, me hearties!  X marks the spot on your calendars for International Talk Like a Pirate Day (ITLPD) this Sept. 19th.  It’s your annual opportunity to send your roommate to the galley to fetch more grog or to call your mother a bilge rat.**

ITLPD has gained quite a following in the 15 years since it was started by two

Lulu authors, Mark “Cap’n Slappy” Summers and John “Ol’Chumbucket” Baur.  What started as a game between a few friends has grown into an international phenomenon.  People look forward all year to the day when they can get away with dressing up in puffy shirts and bloomers while walking around all squinty-eyed and hunched over .  What is the secret to Summers and Baur’s success?  Obviously, everyone loves pirates and the chance to be creative.

Cap’n Slappy and Chumbucket also use savvy to keep their high-seas holiday afloat.  In addition to their website talklikeapirate.com, the duo have a series of books, like “The Maracaibo Caper and “The Sao Paolo Caper,” that’ll answer all your pirate jargon questions.

If you want to join the swashbuckling pirate ranks but don’t know where to start, Lulu can help. Check out these other great pirate inspired tales:

**I seriously do not recommend calling your mother a “bilge rat”.  This did not go well for me last year. Be warned!

Focus: Netiquette – The Art of Poise Online

In the tradition of all Good Southern Grandmothers (GSG), my piano teacher forced me into an etiquette lesson once a week, every week, for twelve years. The fact that I was there for piano lessons and that she was not actually my grandmother did not matter a bit. She was a GSG and so all of her students were hauled kicking and screaming into her school of elegant manners. (Later we learned that the proper way to decline is “No thank you, ma’am.” not that it would have made a difference.)

Over the years I learned everything from posture and poise, to setting a table and serving punch, to writing timely and thoughtful thank you notes. (I also learned how to play the piano, but that’s another blog post.) But recently I have found an etiquette void- The Internet. Blogs, email, messaging, forums… they are all so informal and deliciously anonymous. It is easy to forget your manners, or heaven forbid not know what the manners are at all!!

Fortunately, Lulu is here to help you fill in the gaps where Emily Post and GSG left off.

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If all else fails, treat people how you would like to be treated, and do not behave any worse online than you would in person. You’ll be just fine.

Happy reading, and remember – as all GSG will tell you- the point of manners is not to give you mindless rules, but to make everyone else around you as welcome and comfortable as possible.