The Importance of Reading to Your Children!

Copy and paste this link to read an excerpt of the book, Figaro.

I would like to share my passion about the importance of reading to your children.  As we know, reading is a fundamental part of both their learning journey and their childhood development.

I live in Toronto, Ontario, and I currently work with children from JK to Grade 8.  I also teach Spanish at the Toronto District School Board.  I have a doctoral degree in education from the University of Toronto and have recently published four children’s books for ages 3-10 years old. 

My daughters inspired me to write these books.  During their childhood development, they had difficulty pronouncing words and letters, in particular, the sounds “SH” and “F” – common issues for many young children.  Consequently, these books have been approved by a speech-language pathologist and can help children practice their articulation at all levels.  I have also translated three of these books into Spanish.

My books are also available on and  Please click on the YouTube link to read an excerpt from the book, “Figaro, the Flamboyant Frog.” And that’s not all – stay tuned for my upcoming children’s book, “About the Sloth, Sammy,” with a focus on the “S” sound.

My books are also available on and  Please click on the video below to read an excerpt from the book, “Figaro, the Flamboyant Frog.” And that’s not all – stay tuned for my upcoming children’s book, “About the Sloth, Sammy,” with a focus on the “S” sound.

Thank you for your attention and consideration.  Please let me know if you have any questions and, of course, keep on reading to your children!


Holiday Card Giving

It’s about to be that time of year again when you’re trying to figure out how you are going to make your gifts as festive as possible. It’s understandable that you are searching for a way to make your holiday gifts as unique and festive as possible, after all that’s what the season is all about. The more you can share the spirit of the holidays, the better, right?

I have some products that I can offer, including great children’s books, but what about something as simple and classic as holiday cards? Perfect for all ages and great for customization, cards are some of the best parts of the holiday season.

Do you know where, however, it all came from? The start of holiday cards is not as classic and Santa-like as you’d like to think. In fact, the person with the bright idea of creating Christmas cards was the assistant keeper at what we now call the post office. Since it was only used by the wealthy to send packages and parcels, he wanted to make it more accessible to the everyday person. With the help of artist, John Horsley, the two of them designed a card to sell to the common person that would need to be sent via the post office. This was the very start of a tradition that would grow in popularity to what we know it to be today.

While it appears as though its beginning is much more commercial-themed than many of us would like to think, it’s easy to see how, today, it’s about sharing loving messages with loved ones near and far during the holiday season.

You can find all sorts of options out there for colours, style, design and more. If you’re looking for unique holiday cards to give out to loved ones, have a look around my website. Sometimes you’ll find the right card for someone without even looking for it. This can often be part of the magic of holiday shopping.  Maybe you don’t even give out holiday cards like you used to. However, there is a true magic about picking out, addressing and sending cards to loved ones, no matter where they are.

Who knows, maybe you’ll even feel like it’s back in the early-mid 1800s when cards came into being. Regardless, grab onto the holiday feel in your own way by finding the right card for someone special in your life. From gifts to cards to the look on their face, it’ll be perfect for a holiday spirit!

The History of Christmas Cards,

See more of holidays cards here. The illustrations were originally done on canvas using acrylics. Here is my collection over the years. Click on the image.

Christmas card-Gingerbread

Happy Holidays!

Physical Health Programs by Marisol D’Andrea

Photo by Esther Max

There is an indisputable link between physical health and mental health.  When we exercise, we feel better. Or for a more biological take on things, endorphins and a whole boat-load of feel-good chemicals are released by the brain when we do.

When we feel good, we do good. Add to that that exercise is an effective form of preventive medicine, so great for the individual and also for business (fewer sick days and lower productivity) and one begins to see how health really impacts upon the communities that we live in.

Consequently, implementing free, accessible health care programs, in community centres for example, would be a real boost to all concerned – the individual, the centre and the community at large.

People tend to stick with something more so than when they try and achieve something on their own – through a sense of community and shared experience. Sure, you can see endless adverts for home exercise equipment that near promise you a thinner, healthier future, but then don’t deliver. Why?  Primarily because it’s being done in isolation behind closed doors at home. Way too many distractions plus not enough encouragement from others.

Accessible and affordable programs can focus on the need to tackle obesity – a problem that affects anyone, irrespective of whatever particular demographic they may fall in to.

Programs can also be tailored for say youth on one day, adults another day and seniors another, so as to encourage attendance through repeated patterns of recurrence.

A community engendered sense of health and well-being radiates a feel-good factor for all those involved. It also encourages a greater sense of community as it allows for individuals to get out and away from the allure of the TV or PC screen. Even just walking the dog gets people (and their dogs!) up and out, embracing activity and getting to know others who are doing similar or the same.There is no doubt, a healthier community is a better community. We should therefore do all that we can to harness that and provide people with the means to get themselves feeling better about themselves and in turn help out our community.