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Sunday, September 30, 2007

Young Children At Events

Scenario 1 - Beautiful wedding, and there is a toddler running around who can't sit still.

Scenario 2 - Wedding reception with kindergartners playing with the balloons hung in back of their chair.

Scenario 3 - Choir Concert and an approximately 4 year old sitting in different seats, putting his feet up on the pews in front of him, and earlier being very loud with a crinkly bag as he ate something with his sister.

Who's fault? My view is blaming the kids is wrong because that is at this age they are easily distracted and have short attention spans. The root cause is the parent is not recognizing the potential issue and being prepared by having something to them to do. I suggest bringing a picture book, coloring book, or some other type of silent activity they can do during events they would be bored by.

All three scenarios I have seen. I appreciated the mother on a plane trip I took who had a portable DVD player to keep her son's attention who I was sitting next to me. I wished she had turned it on earlier because it was not my responsibilty to keep her son entertained (he was bouncing around on the seat). Scenario 3 happened tonight where it was nice the Father took his kids to this type of wonderful performance which my daughter was in, but it was not fair to the audience around them.


Saturday, September 29, 2007

Museum Exhibits

Today I took my daughter to see the Dead See Scrolls in San Diego a 2 hour drive from my home. Logistically, it was a pain with our busy schedule. What I believe made it worth my family's time to see these "pieces of paper" was that it exposed my daughter to a once in a lifetime chance to see parts of the Dead Sea Scrolls from both Jordan and Israel. We also saw the King Tut exhibit. There was a lecture before hand since this was through my CGU's Alumni Association that arranged this. Lecture was great both for content and just watching how it was delivered by a Professor from CGU (and I am a CTM in Toastmasters and done some teaching). This trip was a great history lesson that I am sure she will remember and after we discussed it to further her understanding. A teaching technique to maximize the experience, since part of a parents job is to be a teacher. Science Museums are something I enjoy going to with my daughter - I wish Los Angeles had something the level of the Exploratorium.I appreciate my parents taking me to see special exhibits such as King Tut the first time it came to the US, the Saudi Exhibit, one by Russia, and one of the Terra Cotta Warriors. It's great to give your child the chance to grow with outside the class room activities.


Friday, September 28, 2007


Interesting article about the tunnels under what was a Chinatown in Fresno California. It just shows how widespread the Chinese presence was in California historically. Here is my list of current Chinatowns in the US and Canada and a good book on Chinatowns. The book, Exploring Chinatown, a Children's Guide to Chinese Culture has a huge amount of information in it about the Traditional Chinatowns, which were more like Ghetto's. Chinatowns have changed in the US with the changes in the immigration law, with new ones being created such as Las Vegas where it's a shopping center. The huge growth of the Chinese population in California since the Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882 was ended during WW2 (China was an Ally) and the changes to immigration laws in the 1960's. Asian's now make up 15% of California with 1 Million of them per the 2000 census being Chinese. Good article on the Chinese in California, I did not realize that the Chinese population in California at one point dropped 50% because of all the discrimination (which is why you have Chinatowns in Chicago and other places outside of California).

ChildBook's 10 Year Anniversary

Wow! Who would have thought that ChildBook would still be going after ten years. The miles stones the business has gone from the first Internet site, to the current one. From the nice surprise of our first sale (when we did not even accept credit cards!), to the selling of Disney Video's in Mandarin, to our expanding range of products. From having our product descriptions in Chinese, and being told there is problems with our site since not all customers had their browser set up to decode Chinese Correctly (remember NJ Star) and the surprise that many of our customers could not read Chinese anyway. ChildBook has grown threw the ten years and I have enjoyed the interactions with my customers. It has been a great learning experience as ChildBook has become the premier online place to Chinese Children Books and more!

10 Year Anniversary Sale
Page and my product recommendations for this week.

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Building Strong Self Confidence

Some ideas on how to increase Self Confidence in your child:

1. Have them take acting classes. A play my daughter was in had a boy who was taking classes, and he had excellent presence and was even part of the adult play. By being part of a class children learn how to control their body language (a great skill), how to project, stand, and more. There is usually a performance at the end of the class where your child gets to be in front of an audience. The class is meant to be fun for your child and not a chore. Here is some advice I found on how to pick a class.

2. Have them join Girl or Boy Scouts. Lots of group activities and chances to be leaders. Not all troups are created equal, but check around.

3. Find something your child is good at and focus on that. The goal is to make it fun for your child and make it a habit to participate in. Habits are built by doing actions repititively, and it takes time.

4. Have them take some type of Martial Art so they feel more comfortable with themself.

5. Talk to them (teach them) about peer pressure and get feedback from their teacher how your child interacts with other children. If new to a school, pack trading goods (extra stuff in your child's lunch) to break the ice with other children.

6. Singing Lessons. Again teaches how to project, good posture, and should be fun.

7. Watch your child on how they interact with other children.

8. Avoid negative self talk. A book I enjoyed reading to my daughter was The Little Engine That Could who said, I-think-I-can!

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Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Back To School Night Suggestions

Tis the season for Back To School Nights and your chance to spend a few minutes with your child's teacher. Some suggestions to help you make the most of your Child's Schools Back to School Night

1. Find out if your child can go with you

2. If your child is not, get a map so you know where you are going for middle school and High School especially, and have your child draw the best route.

3. Have them right down the periods, subject and name of the teacher

4. Bring something to take notes with and write with.

5. Remember you usually only get 10 or so minutes per class, so your time will be limited.

6. Find out for K-5 where the student has one teacher the entire day, what are the room numbers for the next year (example: if your child is in 4th grade, find out the room numbers for the 5th grade).


1. Greet the teacher and shake their hand saying you are so and so's parent, with your name.

2. Ask the teacher how your student is doing, but you probably won't get a good answer from middle school and high school (your child is one of 180 or so students they have, and unless they are either extremely good or bad, most teachers won't remember).

3. Look around the room, especially if there are projects.

4. Get advice from K-4 teachers on whom they recommend for next year for teachers.

5. Visit the teachers who are one year ahead for K-5 to look at projects (and find out what the competition is doing). At my daughter's school, the projects some of the 5th grader supposedly (with how much parental help) did was amazing. One was a working saw mill.

6. If your child is not doing well or you have concerns, schedule a parent teacher conference at another time than back to school night so the teacher can be prepared.

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Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Angel Island - Ellis Island for Chinese

I have wanted to carry a book about Angel Island and I finally tracked some down. Laurence Yep is coming out with another one early next year. Angel Island was the Ellis Island on the West Coast for Chinese Immigrants and ran for about a 100 year. Pretty Island in the San Francisco bay that you can get to from Tiburon via Ferry (yes, I spotted the mistake on the E-Mail which in one version was right). >There is a ferry from Sausalito to the Island. The barracks are closed for renovation and open in 2008. I found out about Angel Island from a play called Paper Son that if you get a chance should go to see. There is so much history of the Chinese in the US that is often hidden. Of the two books I carry, I like Kai's Journey to Gold Mountain. Lots of nice pictures. Angel Island Prisoner 1922 is very vivid and powerful (and on sale for $7.50) in Chinese and English, but little pictures.

A Year Without Chinese Goods

Seems somebody spent a year without buying anything made in China, and then wrote a book that looks like it is doing well on Amazon with good reviews, interesting. I especially like the part about buying toys for Christmas. I like the title of the editorial/article in the LA Times on this, Boycotting China, Good Luck!

Monday, September 24, 2007

Why Learn Chinese

I was updating my Why Learn Chinese page because I realized it was, how to say it, dated. I created the page when Childbook.com started 10 years ago - next week is the anniversary! And originally who I thought I would be selling to was children who had at least one parent who spoke Chinese. And in this market, there is a little bit of a push back due to peer pressure on the playground, TV, etc. on why Learn Chinese, especially when learning English is more important. So I wrote the page addressing why should a Child learn Chinese when they don't have too.

Well it turned out originally we were targeting the Chinese Learning Materials we sold to be more of an add on assuming there was some Chinese in the household, where now we are selling a lot of products that are for those who no Chinese. So I re-wrote the page to take into account a few of the changes in China's place in the world in the last 10 years and changed the focus to more of a general why learn Chinese.

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Sunday, September 23, 2007

Credit Card Security and Consumer Privacy

Many customers are careful on giving out their credit cards. After reading this story I can understand this as well as the number of privacy breaches from very large organizations. One good thing of the E-Commerce/Order Entry software I use is it does not even give me access to customer credit card information. There are two areas of privacy that any business should pay a lots of attention to IMHO. The first is privacy. The second is E-Mail such as newsletters. The goal is to give a great customer experience.

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Customer Service and PR

Kmart made a major public relations mistake when they treated an accident of putting shoes in the wrong box badly with a Wall Street Journal Reporter. Just another reason businesses should treat customers as you want to be treated. So many businesses are making it so hard to get good customer service to cut costs. They put you through these phone systems that make it almost impossible to get a real person, have you enter your account information, then when you finally get a real person ( gethuman.com is a great web site if the 0 and * don't work), and make for a frustrating customer experience. I remember when Amazon stopped for a while doing phone support (they do a little now), and most got outsourced to overseas. One issue I went through 5 rounds of communications with lots of prewritten snippets until I found Jeff Bezos E-Mail and his secretary had the problem fixed. What businesses forget as they focus so much on cost cutting is customers do have a choice, so it's great business to treat your customers right! Nice thing is ChildBook is a small business that provides great service.


Saturday, September 22, 2007

Chinese American Parental Involvement

Interesting research article from Harvard I just came across. I am not sure I agree with all of the information gathered on the Chinese parent part. What I have noticed is Chinese Parents I have been around often have careers picked out for their children at a young age, as well as what college they are going to, and extreme pressure on their children to succeed and a willingness to sacrifice accordingly. Which explains the amazing the amount of after school prep. programs their are in Rowland Heights. Want to take Algebra II in the summer before you take it for a grade that counts so it's just review during the school year, no problem. Only $1700 or so from one of these education places... Makes it interesting when your child did not take it during the summer, or have parents who are spending major time at night tutoring, and/or have private math tutoring after school. An interesting book that sounds closer to my experience is written by a journalist, who taught a year at a High School in Cerritos. High achieving, sleep deprived with extreme parental pressure is the student norm he writes about.

Friday, September 21, 2007

China Toys - Crib Recall and Mattel

1 Million Cribs recalled. Not good news for the continuing effort to improve the made in China brand. My guess on this one is it's a design issue. Mattel's apology in my opinion is their way of staying on China's good side. Interesting timeline of the China Safety Scare. Unfortunately this only mentions ones that impacted the US, which did not include the deaths, many of them children in Panama and China due to counterfeit sweeteners used in cough syrup. There was mention in the WSJ how some US based companies are putting big made in USA on their products.

Moon Festival Books

Moon Festival Books that I carry with my thoughts on them. Moon Festival is less than a week away, so fast. I just saw Halloween Items being carried in stores.

Moonbeams, Dumplings & Dragon Boats: A Treasury of Chinese Holiday Tales, Activities & Recipes (and a lot more), it's designed more for reading at home (with all the neat recipes in it). $19.95

Cloud Weavers: Ancient Chinese Legends has two pages of text on the Moon Festival that could be read to pre-schoolers. Very nicely done book.$17.95 (usually $19.95)/

The Moon Lady by Amy Tan, nice book but to much text for this age. $7.99

Moon Festival by Ching Yeung Russell is for a younger age with lots of pictures with some text. $9.95

Round is a Moon Cake by Thong, Roseanne / Lin, Grace (ILT) Cute book teaching shapes. $14.95

Good Luck Life: The Essential Guide To Chinese American Celebrations And Culture - Excellent book that is a great reference. $13.95, usually $14.95.

Exploring Chinatown: A Children's Guide to Chinese Culture - New book that mentions the Moon Festival.

Chinese Bakery Types

It's amazing all the different types of Bakeries. I was in Silicon Valley yesterday for a wedding of a family friend and we stopped by a Bakery on Castro Street in Mountain View. Old style Cantonese with no Soy Bean Milk (why do Chinese bakeries not sell this I don't get). Had mini moon cakes for $1.50, typical buns/pastries with pork inside it, and mango pudding. And a few others (Apple Turnover, etc). I compare this to the bakeries in Rowland Heights that combine French, Japanese, and Chinese to include new items such as walnut bread bun, brown sugar bun, something called Danish Bread with egg and dried pork, and lots of freshly baked bread sold in small packages of about 1/3rd the size of a regular load of bread. Chinese Markets such as 99 Market also sell bread like this (and have raised the price). Going into the bakery in Mountain View was like going into a time machine. I feel so lucky with all the choices of bakeries in my area from R J Patisserie that is amazing, to JJ Bakery, to Nei Nei Bakery is a favorite due to good value. I should get Chinesediner going again...

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Update on Lead and Product Safety

Wall Street Journal today had an interesting article about the Lead in toys awareness spreading to plastics as well as ceramics. With the advice basically buy US items for ceramics due to lead used in glazes that may not be sealed (lead was one of the first additives for glazes thousands of years ago). NY Times yesterday has an article about how some toy manufactures in Europe shun China, and will benefit. This article in the WSJ surprised me pleasantly, China halting the export of Ginger and Garlic till quality controls are put in place.

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Chinese Moon Festival Events in the US and Canada

I have put together the most complete list of Chinese Moon Festival events with over 50+ events across the US and Canada. The Moon Festival is one of the major Holidays celebrated by Chinese and is a time for families to gather is on the 15th day of the 8th Lunar Month per the Chinese calendar, this year is on September 25, 2007. The Moon or Autumn Festival events listed range from festivals to dinners to parades for 20 states and vary in dates.

Mei Mei Hu had kind words - she has great Chinese language learning videos that I sell:
"This is a great list for all of those seeking to find information about local Moon Festival events".

Locations include from California at the Joss House in Weaverville to the giant festival in San Francisco to Washington DC to New York City. Celebrations range from Dances to performances to parades.

Chinese Moon Festival Information including recommended books, calendar of events, lesson plans, and more. Traditional activities are eating moon cakes with your family, while enjoying the brightest moon of the year when the Moon and Earth are closest. The Moon Festival is also called the mid-Autumn Festival.

And yes, luckily Childbook.com does have a few books on the Moon Festival or visit my wifes site for some beautiful children's Chinese Dresses at www.elitedresses.com

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