Here’s How To Get Boys To Read In 5 Easy Steps

Between job requirements, commuting to work and school, extra murals, the latest Minecraft or Spinners, how does one win the battle of raising an all-rounder child? Inevitably, something will fall between the cracks. Don’t let it be your child’s love of books. Raising a boy who finds joy in reading sounds easier said than done, but, in the long run, it’s a battle worth fighting. Your mission is finding your way through the maze of everyday activities and temptations towards a half-an-hour bedtime reading.

Often disregarded, yet effective, reading equips children with much-needed life skills. Reading has educational, neurological and psychological benefits stimulating children’s developing minds and improving their emphatic skills, helping them socialise at school and thrive in life. To better understand this let’s see how reading happens. As you read this article, there are four different activities taking place in your brain:

1. Phonics: Associating a speech sound to each letter.

2. Sight: Some English words must first be recognised as a whole, then sounded (“the”). English vocabulary has 26 letters, yet when reading we use 44 speech sounds, 20 vowel sounds and 24 consonant sounds. Thinking skills are therefore involved.

3. Contextual analysis: Prediction of what will happen next.

4. Structural analysis: Understanding what a word means by looking at its root or figuring out its meaning from the context.

Here are the five steps on how to get your son to read – and loving it.

1. Visit the local library together, find books that interest him.

Image courtesy Unsplash
Image courtesy Unsplash

Let your son wander around the library, pick a book and sit down to page through it. Find books geared at your child’s age group and interests.

Read aloud to your son from as early in infancy as possible. Research shows that children who were read to as infants have higher chances to grow up with a love for books.

If your son can read, take turns reading aloud every day. Let your child read to you and don’t worry if he is mispronouncing some words. Rather allow him the pleasure of having finished that page.

2. Leave reading material around the house, reading means more than books.

Be it a picture book, a magazine, a joke collection, or even a comic book, you want your son to pick it up and enjoy a page or two at a time. How-to books on sport or another interest might be a great place to start getting a boy interested in reading.

Never make reading a chore. Rather surround your child with books than forcing reading on him. Place a bookshelf in his room and allow him to choose a few books he’s really interested in.

3. Read yourself… and make sure you get caught reading.

Children often mimic what they see, not what they hear and we, as parents, are our children’s mirrors. Waiting for your son to come out from school? Read; keep a book in the car just for this reason. Going to the Home Affairs for your son’s passport renewal? Take a book with you and allow your son to see you reading in public. There’s nothing to be ashamed of when we’re reading.

Modern day technology allows you to download eBooks on your phone. It is a casual way to get boys comfortable about reading in public.

4. Get dad, an uncle or a grandfather involved.

Get Dad to read too if your son struggles with reading. Try a father-son book club and perhaps get involved with other dads and their sons. Make it casual, have a BBQ-Book Club or a campfire. Pair books with an activity, away from technology might also help.

Remember, having positive role models helps both boys and girls stay interested in reading.

5. Start a reading list and have a rating system – think about it like a sport.

Write down what your son reads and what he would like to read next. Allow him to rate the books, group them in categories. This way you can both see where his interests lay and he can feel more in control over his reading.

Explain to him that reading is like a sport, it takes practice to get better at it.

Being a good reader will make learning during school years and tertiary education a lot easier. Reading entails an understanding of what is being said behind the literary meaning of the story, connecting that information to what we already know, relating to it and drawing knowledge from it.

Reading is the capacity of focusing on a task for a certain amount of time. And these skills, like the pieces of a puzzle, are what later help children experience a successful schooling career. For this is what reading entails, being able to focus for a prolonged time. Or at least until Mum or Dad come to switch off your light and forcefully remove the book from your hand because… tomorrow is school.

He is reading Joyful Trouble myBook.to/JoyfulTrouble
He is reading Joyful Trouble myBook.to/JoyfulTrouble – universal link

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Joyful Trouble, a book that reads like a movie”, an Amazon Bestseller.

This post was initially written and posted on the Huffington Post SA.

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The 5 Lessons I Learned From Madiba

There are many magical places in the world, spaces where nature and time seem to have a place of their own. Where the earth is so fertile that even the people living there seem to draw energy out of it and where time has a different pace and a deeper meaning. For what is a man’s life, but a stepping stone on which his children’s lives and his grandchildren’s lives are built upon.

 Such a man, with a spirit as fertile as the rolling hills of his native land and a will power as inexhaustible as the wind’s, was Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela, the man upon which a whole new nation was built.

This tall man with a bright, friendly smile and colourful shirts walked with the crowds and stood near the kings, listened to by all. Always one to speak of forgiveness, of dialogue and freedom, he had been an inspiration for many. Here are a few of the lessons he had taught us.

“Do not judge me by my successes, judge me by how many times I fell down and got back up again.” – Nelson Mandela.

It always seems impossible until it is done.” – Nelson Mandela.

“If there are dreams of a beautiful South Africa, there are also roads that lead to that goal. Two of these roads could be named Goodness and Forgiveness.” – Nelson Mandela

“Tread softly, breathe peacefully, laugh hysterically.” – Nelson Mandela

“Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world.” – Nelson Mandela

Read more on the Huffington Post SA.

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5 Medical Symptoms Named After Literary Characters

Fairy tales may be full of charm and enchantment but they certainly provide valuable lessons. Identifying oneself with heroes from literary works is a healthy stage in one’s childhood as children’s imagination is one of the ways in which Mother Nature protects them from the harsh realities of daily life.

The tricky part arises when adults find themselves tied up to literature, whether they like it or not, as several physical and mental disorders are named after literary characters. Here’s a look at five of them:

  1. Sleeping Beauty Syndrome
Sleeping Beauty painting by Victor Gabriel Gilbert
Sleeping Beauty painting by Victor Gabriel Gilbert

 

 

 

 

 

This classic fairy tale, first told by Charles Perrault (17th century), retold by the Brothers Grimm (18th century) and made popular by Disney, is much loved by one generation after the other. The medical condition is also known as Rip Van Winkle Syndrome, after the title of a short story written by Washington Irving (19th century).

 Without even going into the symbolism hidden inside this story and leaving aside the medical and hygienic implications of a human body asleep for 100 years, let’s just look into the neurological syndrome named after it. Also known as the Kleine-Levin syndrome (KLS), named after the medical doctors to have first mentioned and studied it, its first known case was reported in 1862.

This condition is characterised by frequent episodes of hypersomnia and behavioural disturbances. Individual episodes last more than a week, but less than a month. A normal lifestyle is out of the question as these patients tend to be bedridden. Patients experience approximately 20 recurrent episodes during more than a decade. Unlike the fairy tale that borrowed its name, the condition seems to affect predominantly male patients (68 percent) worldwide. It is a very rare disease, occurring one in a million. The onset of the condition seems to follow a viral infection. There is no known cure yet.

2. Munchausen Syndrome

The Baron Munchausen, illustrated by Gottfried Franz.
The Baron Munchausen, illustrated by Gottfried Franz.

 

 

 

 

 

 

One of my favourite stories as a child was that of The Surprising Adventures of Baron Munchausen by German writer Rudolf Erich Raspe (1785), based on true stories of a real baron.

The medical condition itself has nothing to do with the social satire depicted in the fairy tale, but rather with a desperate call for sympathy. The patients suffering from Munchausen Syndrome are not sick, but fake the symptoms in front of family and doctors, often secretly injuring themselves to maintain the illusion of illness. The Munchausen Syndrome is a mental disorder caused by childhood trauma, poor self-esteem, emotional or personal disorders. More common in men than women, it is difficult to obtain accurate statistics because lying is very common with this illness.

3. Dorian Gray Syndrome (DGS)

Portrait Of Dorian Gray painting by Mercuralis
Portrait Of Dorian Gray painting by Mercuralis

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This medical condition is named after the classical story by Oscar Wilde in which the main character sells his soul to keep his youthful appearance and beauty until the very last moment of his life. The patient suffering from this condition will be overly preoccupied with keeping his/her young look and a “perfect” appearance.

Dysmorphophobia, or excessive dislike of a part of one’s body, will often manifest, therefore these patients will abuse cosmetic surgery to the point where depression sets in. In addition, they will often abuse weight-loss products, mood enhancers and even their gym membership card. A sufferer of DGS shouldn’t be taken lightly. Although a lack of self-esteem or a narcissistic personality might be the cause, the syndrome itself often conducts to physical disorders as well as causing social and mental health issues (depression, even suicide).

4. Othello Syndrome

The_Return of Othello, from Othello,_Act_II,_Scene_ii painting by Thomas Stothard
The_Return of Othello, from Othello,_Act_II,_Scene_ii painting by Thomas Stothard

 

 

 

 

 

Named after the main character in the Shakespeare tragedy ‘Othello”, the patient affected by this malady lives with the constant obsession that their life partner is cheating on them. Psychiatrists John Todd and Kenneth Dewhurst were the first to name and study this mental disorder in 1955.

Within limits, jealousy is a normal human feeling. But when it leads to repeated interrogations of one’s partner, searches for nonexistent evidence, stalking, even violence, it becomes a “dangerous form of psychosis” (Todd).

The Othello Syndrome is believed to be caused by a stroke, a tumour, or some other injury, especially to the right frontal lobe but also by substance abuse like dopamine prescribed in the treatment of Parkinson disease. Alcoholism and cocaine abuse can also lead to the onset of Othello Syndrome. Not to be taken lightly, this syndrome can affect both men and women and it can lead to disruption of marriage, homicide or suicide.

5. Peter Pan Syndrome

Peter Pan
Peter Pan

 

 

 

 

Named after the main character in the book with the same name by Scottish novelist and playwright J.M. Barrie, it was first made popular by Dr. Dan Kiley in 1983. This syndrome defines men who refuse to act like grown-ups and assume responsibilities. They prefer to live in a juvenile world, are enthusiastic and like to have fun, but never settle down in a relationship because they dislike restrictions. They lack decision making skills and the ability to assume responsibilities. To disguise this, they act overconfident and arrogant. Women found in the same situation are affected by the Wendy Syndrome.

These people, although having developed intellectually and having above average IQ’s, have not developed emotionally past adolescence. The main cause is, probably, a lack of affection during childhood. With the aid of psychotherapy these people can learn to overcome their fears, to assume responsibilities and lead a fulfilled, grown-up life. However, this is not a mental disorder. The Peter Pan Syndrome is closely linked to Carl Jung’s theory of “Puer Aeternus” (eternal boy).

A similar syndrome is the Huckleberry Finn Syndrome, named after the main character in the Mark Twain novel. Developing in children due to a feeling of being rejected by their parents, feeling inferior in school or due to depression, it seems to be a defense mechanism. It manifests by a desire to do anything but go to school; these children will waste their time on the streets or playing computer games. Moving into the grown-up stage of life, these children might be at risk of frequent job changing and absenteeism.

This post was written for the Huffington Post SA.

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Joyful Trouble, Bestseller and Most Gifted Book on Amazon UK

Joyful Trouble is a Bestseller on both eBook and paperback format as well as a Hot New Release and No.1 Most Gifted in Africa for Young Adults on Amazon UK!

To celebrate this I am offering a few of my other children’s books for free.

Why don’t you visit my Amazon Author Page to choose some?

UK customers please click here.

US customers please click here.

Here are some of the amazing reviews Joyful Trouble received:

“Such a lovely book!
This heart – warming story is definitely about friendship and the strong bond that links men and dogs…and what a better “lens” to see the beauty of this friendship than a story told by a Grandfather to his sweet little grandchildren…!
But this story is most of all about the transforming power of love. Even the title talks about this: even though at the first sight the words “joy” and “trouble” are mutually exclusive, the situation changes under the magic touch of love….and becomes “joyful trouble”..
I definitely recommend this book for both children and adults: each generation will find its message and certainly feel better after reading this well told story!”

“I came across this little story which reminded me of home in Cape Town many years ago when my family and I visited Simon’s Town and posed next to a statue built in honour of a great friend – a large Great Dane. I loved the way Ms Furstenberg retells this naval story in the setting of a grandpa and his grandchildren spending time together and he relating Joyful Trouble’s story to them. I thought she did a marvellous job of this loveable dog’s passing – comparing it to the little boy’s kite – even I felt a tinge of sadness for this dog who touched so many lives. I highly recommend this story to be read even to younger children before going to bed, doing so in the same way the story is told – every time the little ones visit granddad, he tells them a little bit more. The chapters are just the right length for such a reading session. I’ve sent the link to my 10-year old granddaughter so that her mother can download a copy for her.”

This is a wonderful story which tells a wonderful tale about a military service dog whose efforts will warm your heart. As a dog lover and trainer, it never seems to surprise me how loyal and dedicated ordinary dogs are. They make such a wonderful impact in our lives. However, when these dogs are serving alongside our soldiers and sailors, defending our country, their heroic tales are more inspirational. I think the author tells this story very well. It is relatable and I’m sure many children will gain a lot from reading it. It is a great read for adults too!”

Very cute book that I read to my 7 year old daughter and she loved it. Fully recommend to any children, and not just dog loving children.”

A wonderfully skilled blend of fact and fiction, beautifully narrated, and really touches on the important things in life.”

Such a heartwarming, lovely story. Great for all ages. A cute twist on a true story. Like all of her books, you feel good when you read it.”

Such a well written and heart warming story for all children. Thoroughly enjoyed reading this book. Captivating read from the first page!”

“A book written for all the senses : tactile information, kinaesthetic, auditive….a strong auctorial voice explains every situation, making it possible for the reader to live it as a film.”
“A delightful story narrated by Grandad about a mischievious fun loving dog who gained the friendship and respect of the Navy Seamen. Patricia brilliantly conveys the child-like innocence and wonderment of the children. The story will make you “awww” as well as “lol”. Parents will enjoy reading Joyful Trouble to their little ones.”
I have just finished reading “Joyful Trouble” and I loved it!
Really funny and excellent likeable characters, especially the little brother Tommy. A charming read for those of us who understand the joys and pains of owning dogs.
Well worth a read, you won’t be disappointed. :-)”
You can buy Joyful Trouble from Amazon UK here.
US customers, please get Joyful Trouble here.
Joyful Trouble, a book that reads like a movie
Joyful Trouble, a book that reads like a movie

5 Simple Steps to Turn Your Boys into Bookworms

Raising a boy who takes pleasure out of reading books just as much as from a soccer ball or a Play Station might sound easier said than done, but, in the long run, it’s all worth it.

There are lots of books there that can stand on their own two feet and win the battle against a Nintendo, a Xbox or… even Minecraft!

Here are five easy steps to get your son to enjoy reading.

Find out on Red Tricycle here.

 

Kindle Storyteller 2017 Contest Entry “Joyful Trouble” and Some of the Best Book Reviews it Received

I am overjoyed to announced the release of my new children’s book Joyful Trouble just in time to enter it in the 2017 Kindle Storyteller Contest with amazing reviews from all over the world, the best ones written by children!

Here is one of my favorite book reviews:Joyful Trouble Review by 10 years old E from Ireland

Joyful Trouble Book Review by 10 years old E from Ireland 

Talented E, 10 years old from Ireland, left the following 5 Stars Amazon Review:

” This book is based on the true story of a dog called Joyful Trouble. There are three main characters: five year-old Tommy, his nine-year-old sister Anna, and their grandad. When they see a Great Dane in a parade, Grandad tells the kids the story of a dog he loved, called Joyful Trouble. He remembers being in the Navy during WWII and meeting the dog on the way to work one day.

Joyful Trouble was a mischievous but very helpful dog. The seamen got to know and love him and the dog was soon part of the crew. Joyful Trouble and Grandad were good friends and were put to work together. Along the way, the dog meets new friends, loses old ones and still is very happy. He causes a lot of trouble (that’s how he got his name) but also stops fights and commotion. In this book, Grandad is the story-teller and Anna and Tommy are the very eager listeners.

I love this book and it made me happy and, at some parts, sad. It is also a bit funny. The reason I love it so much is because I love dogs and true stories. I hope others will also enjoy it. I would recommend it for ages 8+.”

Thank you, E! Your heartfelt review is exactly what a writer strives towards 🙂

Joyful Trouble: Based on the True Story of a Dog Enlisted in the Royal Navy

Available in Kindle and Paperback from Amazon.

Read for free with Kindle Unlimited.

A humorous read about an incredible dog and how he found his true, yet unexpected calling.
A dog. A friendship. A purpose.
Proven to warm your heart, “Joyful Trouble” is a fast-paced, engaging and funny story.
Patricia Furstenberg paints a charming portrait of the bond between a small girl and boy and their much-loved Grandad. This book takes readers on an unbelievable journey, tackling universal themes and voicing animal rights and the importance of fighting for what is right.
When a Great Dane arrives in a Navy base nobody expects him to win everybody’s hearts, although breaking some rules along the way. But things soon turn sour as somebody threatens to put him to sleep. Who will stand up for this four-legged gentle giant?
A charming celebration of innocence.

***From the back cover of the print edition:***

“A superb tale which teaches us the true meaning of love, integrity, and the greatest things of all – a dog’s friendship and loyalty.” Susan Day Author, astrosadventuresbookclub.com

“Nine-year-old Ana and her little brother Tommy are taken on an historical adventure by their grandfather. It is the true story of an exceptional and gentle giant. Experiences that draw the reader in, through touching life lessons about courage, determination, resilience, loyalty, civic duty, empathy, history and a friendship that binds beyond human conception. ‘Grandpa looking into Ana’s eyes—said, ‘You must remember this. Determination and faith Ana, will always get you through tough times. Always.’” Jennifer Campana Lopez, TheJennieration.com – A New Generation of Fearless Thinkers & Learners.

The Storyteller contest is open until 19th May 2017 to budding and established authors.

 

 

 

 

Keep Your Faith South Africa

In a world where terrorism takes over peace and hostilities replace kindness and tolerance; in a country where #FeesMustFall and, indirectly, so does education, a country governed by the local version of He Who Must Not Be Named, how do we keep our faith strong, for the sake of our children?

I keep on telling myself that the people make the country and not its politicians. Although the politicians may very well break it. After all, the people have the power to choose their own government. Although power is not the correct word here anymore, choice is. Just as I choose not to speak ill of my husband in front of my children – or anyone else for that matter and just as I do not speak ill of my own children in front of them – or anyone else, because I don’t want to break them.

Read more on the Huffington Post SA.

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Does School Attendance Guarantee Literacy?

Early each morning a father braves the traffic riding his bicycle to his son’s preschool and then to work. It is an old bicycle model and he’s mended one of the tires but it transports both of them and that’s enough. He’s made a seat for his boy, right behind his own. His son has to go to school so that he’ll be ready for big school, when time will come. He’ll probably have to adjust the size of the child seat by then, but that’s something to worry about later. Today’s rainy; the roads are wet and the drivers impatient.

Early each morning a man runs 10km to get to work. He chose not to take the bus to save extra money and the work he’d found, although far, is good work and it pays for his children’s school, books, uniform and food. He knows the road off by heart and some of the drivers know him, they wave and give him priority. Just the 10km he has to run back at the end of the day is a bit much, but he’s got no choice.

It is determination that’s pushing these men, and many others, forward. The willpower to get the work done, to get that pay cheque, to pay those school fees, because school is important. They want their children to have the chance they never had. But is determination enough without an opportunity? Is school attendance that opportunity? And, above all, is it enough?

Most of us take reading, the simple act of understanding and subconsciously analyzing a text and taking enjoyment from it, for granted. We’ve been brought up in a culture of reading without even realizing it. Books, either electronic or hard copies, are within our reach, literally. What happens if the access to books is denied to a child? If the school or township is not having a library and even school books are scarce – because of financial restrictions or bad management?

Reading is proved to be linked to academic achievement, emotional intelligence and self-esteem.

Read the rest of this article on the Huffington Post SA.

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April Fool’s Day, Childish Mischief or Ingenious Merriment?

April Fools' Day
April Fools’ Day

 April Fool’s Day, Childish Mischief or Ingenious Merriment?

All Fools’ Day or April Fool’s is an ancient celebration with universal roots. A day perceived as cheerful and mischievous, childish and absurd, its appeal to the human sense of humor and intellect is what probably made it last throughout the years. Or perhaps that breaking down the general barriers for just one day and shining a different light on life is just the tonic humanity needs, thinks sociologist Jonathan Wynn.

 April Fool’s origin

2000 years ago Romans celebrated Hilaria (Latin for “happiness”) at the end of March, a day of fun and nonsense when people would dress up in disguises. The Northern Hemisphere displays unpredictable weather during this time of the year, playing tricks on people so here’s another speculation for April 1st as for centuries humanity took their cues from and looked for answers in nature. Around the same time Hindus celebrate Holi, the Festival of Color, one of the few non-religious Hindu celebrations of merrymaking and generally “letting loose”. The Jewish Purim, a lively and fun festival, is also celebrated mid-March. Surprising how this time of the year brings merriment and well-being all around the world!

Another explanation for April Fool’s is that during the reign of Roman Emperor Constantine a group of court jesters proclaimed that they will be able to do a better job at running the empire than he did. In those times court fools were wise people, held in high regard. So Constantine played, along allowing Kugel the Jester to be king for one day. Kugel used his power wisely and proclaimed that day one of absurdity and trickery, thus putting life into a different light. His edict pleased the masses and it became an annual event – says BU Emertius Professor of History Joseph Boskin in this interview.

Professor Boskin actually prancked the American public with this story on April 1st 1983.

April’s Fools Practices around the World

In Scotland people are being sent in a “fool’s errand”, “hunting the gowk” usually with a sealed message reading

“Dinna laugh, dinna smile. Hunt the gowk another mile”.

The poor messenger is being sent from person to person becoming the gawk, a word used for cuckoo bird which symbolizes the fool.

In UK the prank is only being pulled by midday, the person playing the prank after that becoming the April Fools himself.

In Italy, France, Belgium, The Netherlands or French speaking nations around the world this day is called Poisson d’Avril, rooted in the 16th century with its change from the Julian calendar to the Gregorian calendar. A paper fish is placed on people’s back symbolizing an easy catch, a gullible person.

Did you know?

Sugrophobia is the “fear of being suckered, tricked”, from “sugro” Latin for “to suck”.

Do’s and Don’ts on April Fool’s

Do plan ahead

Do help your little ones if they want to plan a prank but use your common sense

Do know the chemical substances you want to use

Do keep your hoax within moral limits

Do tell it’s an April Fool’s hoax as soon as you’re being asked

Do team up with your office mates

Do have fun and, remember, what goes around comes around

Don’t play the joke on your little children or your pets

Don’t resign as a joke

Don’t let a prank carry on for too long. It’s only fun if everybody is having fun.

Don’t experiment with potentially hazardous substances

Five of the best April Fool’s Hoaxes in history

  1. Prank Robbery, South Africa, 1952
    Four masked men entered a Stellenbosch bank and aimed water pistols at the staff shouting, “This is a holdup. Hand over the cash!” The alarm went off and the men threw the cash back, shouting “April Fool” then fled the scene in a car.
  2. Spaghetti Harvest, UK, 1957
    BBC broadcasted a three-minute segment featured a family from Switzerland carrying out their annual spaghetti harvest, picking strands of spaghetti from a tree and laying them in the sun to dry. Time was of essence as a sudden change in weather could impact on the flavor of the spaghetti. This was 1957 when spaghetti was still an exotic delicacy in UK. Some viewers called in asking where they could get their own spaghetti bushes.
  3. A new island in the Indian Ocean, UK, 1977
    The British newspaper The Guardian runs a special seven-page report about a newly discovered nation in a remote part of the Indian Ocean called San Serriffe, with the capital Bodoni and ruled by General Pica. The republic’s two main islands are named Upper Caisse and Lower Caisse and on an aerial view they look just like a semi-colon. The hoax was a huge success, with only a few people spotting that all the terminology was named after printers’ lingo.
  4. Google Translate for Animals, 2000
    In 2000 Google claimed they had come up with a new app called Google Translate for Animals. The app could decipher what your pet was barking, mewing, grunting or cheeping about. It also supplied a video that has been seen nearly 2 million times.
  5. Water Runways for airplanes, South Africa, 2012
    Kulula Airline announces that selected airports, Cape Town, Durban and soon, Hartebeespoort Dam in Gauteng will soon be operating water runways in an attempt to “curb rising airport traffic congestion and high airport taxes.” The departing gate will now be called a departing pier and instead of buses, the passengers will be ferried to the planes by water shuttles.

Spilling The Beans: Why #PayWithAPoem Day Is For Everyone

The Poet-Tree, Robert Montgomery
The Poet-Tree, Robert Montgomery

Take me to Croatia on the 21st of March! I only need 12 hours. I need this time to feed my soul and my body; poetry for the soul, coffee for the body. And if not Croatia, then fly me to Turkey, UK or Romania!

On this day only one can pay with a poem for one’s cup of coffee.

Would you do it?

Did you know that one in five people believe poetry is for professional writers only?

Poetry excites the mind and enlightens the soul. You could say: “Whoa, Babe, poetry ahead!” or “Yay! Poetry!” Either way your eye acknowledged it and your mind engaged with it and your heart, most probably, slowed down its pace. “I know this”, it pulsed. “It is my language.” Because poetry is the universal language of our hearts.

Pay With A PoemDay is a fresh, new approach on literature. In 1999 UNESCO (the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization) declared March 21 World Poetry Day, celebrating writing, publishing, reading and teaching of poetry worldwide, as UNESCO says, to give fresh recognition and impetus to national, regional and international poetry movements.

Pay With A PoemDay has been initiated in 2013 by the Viennese manufacturer and coffee retailer Julius Meinl and all participating coffee sites are supported by a global campaign. If not lucky enough to be in a participating country on the 21st of March, you can follow it on Facebook and Twitter, using the hashtags #PayWithAPoem and #PoetryForChange.

Read further on the Huffington Post SA, a post by Patricia Furstenberg

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