HGTV’s Property Brothers to read new children’s book at Austin’s BookPeople

Property Brothers Drew and Jonathan Scott will be heading back to Austin in October. This time, though, it’s not to shoot an episode of their HGTV show “Property Brothers.”

Instead, they’ll be at BookPeople Oct. 7 to read “Builder Brothers: Big Plans.” ($17.99, Harper Collins)

The Property Brothers Drew, left and Jonathan Scott, sit in an Austin home on Shoal Creek Boulevard that they remodeled for the show in 2012. AMERICAN-STATESMAN 2012

For the brothers, they are launching the book tour while also shooting in Calgary, where they are doing 14 projects for the show from now until December. They also just finished 16 projects in Nashville for the show.

Austin isn’t on their current list of where to film, but six years ago they did film projects here; we visited with them at one of the homes.

“I was just talking to people about Austin,” Jonathan Scott says. “We had the most fun. We always say, ‘You have to get there.'”

Filming in Austin, he says, was different because every house was completely unique. “There’s a lot of weird stuff we found in the walls and under the houses where we were renovating.”

They had fun filming during the day “and great food and music at night,” Jonathan Scott says.

Drew Scott would like to return to Austin because he’s a huge fan of “Fear the Walking Dead.” He says, he might just have to pop down here to see a filming of that show.

Before that, they’ll be here promoting “Big Plans.”

The Property Brothers have a new children’s book “Builder Brothers: Big Plans.”

The picture book is about two brothers (who happen to have the same names as the Brothers) who want to build something big. Will it be a castle? A treehouse? Or the ultimate doghouse for their two dogs?

The book, they say, is based on who they were as children. “It all comes from us as kids always scheming, always some adventure, it could only be solved by us,” says Drew Scott.

On one such occasion, they noticed that the neighbor’s dog didn’t have a doghouse. They gathered up a bunch of supplies on their farm and their dad took them to pick up some more. They designed and built a doghouse that the dog actually used.

In the book, the story has an unexpected twist. The brothers measure incorrectly, and the doghouse is built too small. They turn it into a birdhouse instead.

“We wanted to show kids you will come across struggles,” Jonathan Scott says. “Failure is not a bad thing.”

“Big Plans” is the first of a series of books. Each book will have a project that kids can make from stuff that they might have at home. In the first book, it’s a birdhouse out of a juice carton.

They use a lot of materials that kids might already have at home and repurpose them. “It’s thinking outside the box,” Drew Scott says.

As children they always were turning appliances boxes into experiences for their friends, he says, or creating their own Halloween costumes or building forts. “It’s so fun for kids not to be stifled, to be creative.”

While the brothers don’t have any children of their own, Drew says they were writing for any future children they might have, as well as their young fans.

Surprisingly, even to the brothers themselves, they have a lot of young fans, who come up to them in public places like airports or at home shows. “It blows our mind,” Drew Scott says of the number of kids that watch them. At home shows, kids bring them sketches of dream homes they are planning.

“Property Brothers” is giving kids inspiration, Drew Scott says. “It’s the reason we wanted to do a children’s book. It warms our heart.”

“It warms our heart . . . as if we only have one heart because we’re twins,” Jonathan Scott jokes.

The Scotts encourage parents to involve their kids in home improvement projects. “It means so much for kids to be involved in some way,” Jonathan Scott says. And that doesn’t mean you have to give your kids power tools. There are a lot of safer things they can do from painting to caulking, he says.

In writing the books, the brothers consulted with a child psychologist to make sure it was developmentally appropriate, but at the end of the day, the goal was to have fun. “This is a fun book,” Jonathan Scott says.

“For Jonathan and me, it’s a fun read,” Drew Scott says. “There’s a great message behind it. Working together is better than working by yourself.”

“It’s positive reinforcement for kids about the things you can accomplish,” Jonathan Scott says. “There are things kids want to do, and they can have fun doing them in a safe environment.”

They see it as a positive thing “with all the chaos in the world,” Jonathan Scott says.

Property Brothers read “Builder Brothers: Big Plans”

When: 4 p.m. Oct. 7

Where: BookPeople, 603 N. Lamar Blvd.

Tickets: You must buy a voucher for $17.99, which is good for admission for four people and a copy of the book, which you can get signed. or at the store.

Property Brothers return to Austin … this time with a kids’ book

Property Brothers Drew and Jonathan Scott will be heading back to Austin in October. This time, though, it’s not to shoot an episode of their HGTV show “Property Brothers.”

The Property Brothers Drew, left and Jonathan Scott, sit in an Austin home on Shoal Creek Boulevard that they remodeled for the show in 2012. AMERICAN-STATESMAN 2012

Instead, they’ll be at BookPeople at 4 p.m. Oct. 7 to read “Builder Brothers: Big Plans.” ($17.99, Harper Collins) To attend, you have to purchase a voucher, which is good for admission for four people and a copy of the book, which you can get signed. Buy your vouchers for $17.99 at or at the store.

The Property Brothers have a new children’s book “Builder Brothers: Big Plans.”

The picture book is about two brothers (who happen to have the same name as the Brothers) who want to build something big. Will it be a castle? A tree house? Or the ultimate dog house for their two dogs?

The book also comes with a guide to a do-it-yourself birdhouse parents and kids can do together.

RELATED: The Property Brothers talk about transforming an Austin home

Next week, we’ll be talking to the Brothers about the book and what their up to.

Ever been told to slow down? Mom Brooke McAlary tells you how she did it in new book

Brooke McAlary’s young adulthood and first years of parenthood were anything but slow. She had an active career and then became a working mother.

Then, about seven years ago, she was diagnosed with postpartum depression after the birth of her second child.

“I just thought that what was what parenthood was,” she says. “I thought it was exhaustion, numbness, anger and darkness.”

She remembers a time when her son was six weeks old. “I found myself looking at my reflection in the mirror and saying over and over again, ‘I hate you. I hate you,’” she says.

Thankfully, a voice in the back of her head recognized that she didn’t really hate herself and that she needed help. She called her husband and began getting professional treatment.

Her psychiatrist mentioned that maybe she needed to slow down.

At first, she wanted to laugh. After all, she was that person who needed to seem as if she was coping and doing well. Then she Googled “slow down,” and the germ of an idea began to take hold.

“I never got to enjoy anything because I was so busy,” she says.

What would slowing down look like? Could she really do it? How would she start?

She turned her search for answers into the blog “Slow Your Home,” and the podcast “The Slow Home: Podcast.”

On Tuesday, she’ll be at BookPeople talking about her new book, “Slow: Simple Living for a Frantic World” ($25.99, SourceBooks).


In the book, McAlary, 36, chronicles her journey from a fast-paced life to figuring out how to slow it down. This idea of being too busy is not just an American thing. McAlary is Australian.

Her first step was to rid her house of all the stuff that her family didn’t need. For McAlary, that seemed easier and more achievable than simply doing less.

“My head space at the time was terrible,” she says. “I was in a fragile emotional state.”

People would tell her to meditate or “do less,” but she says, “I could not meditate if I had tried to do it. My head would have exploded.”

She knew she wasn’t prepared to ask herself difficult questions, but she could focus on whether or not she needed something in her house.

She did it one small area at a time. She tried the Marie Kondo method of putting everything in a pile and then asking herself if that thing made her happy. But when she tried to declutter her entire garage at once, she left a pile of junk in the middle of the garage for a year. Instead she shifted to doing small things consistently, such as tackling clutter one drawer at a time.

Then she picked up the book, “642 Tiny Things to Write About,” hoping to spend a vacation restarting her creative writing. An assignment that appealed to her was “Write your eulogy in three sentences.”

It was a tough assignment. She thought about it and considered what she wanted her family to say about her when she was gone. None of the stuff that made her so busy seemed important.

“It was so instrumental in all the decisions I’ve made since,” she says. “It was pretty powerful.”

It’s an exercise she recommends more people do. “It gives us that idea of our central core values,” she says.

For McAlary, slowing down meant being present in her children’s lives.

“The biggest shift was that I was present for the first time, paying true attention to what I was doing, the way I was parenting them, the way I was spending time with them,” she says.

On the surface, it might not have looked much different, but it was. Her kids didn’t notice the change at first, but then one day they asked her to play hide-and-seek, and she gave her traditional response that she was busy. Then she came to them and asked them to play hide-and-seek. “I remember the look on their faces, that I was choosing to play with them,” she says.

Living “slow” doesn’t have to always be about parenting. It can be different for everyone. “We have this idea of what slow should look like,” she says. “That’s just something we’ve made up. It doesn’t have to look like other things. It’s about how it feels rather than how it looks.”

When she first started living slow, it felt like she would never be able to live as slow as others were, but then she realized that everyone starts somewhere, not where they are currently.

“Doing small things every day has such a big impact,” she says. “It always starts with one small step.”

Parents, especially, don’t need to be told what they’re doing wrong. Instead, she offers reassurance to parents: “Hey, you’re doing a good job. … You’re in the thick of it, and you’re doing a great.”

McAlary says she knows, for her, there are keys to living her life in a slow way.

She has to meditate every day, even if it’s just for five minutes before the children wake up.

She has to set boundaries when it comes to technology. If she wants to sit down and write, the phone cannot be on. She also does no screens at dinner and no screens in the bedroom.

She’s not always perfect. Some days are more slow than others. It’s about long-term balance, she says. “Over six months, do I pay attention to the things I need to pay attention to?”

At times, she’ll catch herself slipping and life suddenly feels too complicated again. “One of the most unexpected shifts was increased self-awareness,” she says. “I am able to acknowledge when I’m slipping back into fast. I’m able to put a stop to it before it becomes full-blown fast.”

It’s too much pressure. Instead, she offers her story and invites people to experiment with how they can get to the core of what’s important.

Brooke McAlary reads and signs “Slow: Simple Living for a Frantic World”
7 p.m. Tuesday, Aug. 7.
BookPeople 603 N. Lamar Blvd.

Get inspired by the royal wedding with these fun kids activities this weekend in Austin, May 18-20

While you watch the royal wedding on TV , your kids can be enjoying a story time all about a “Wedding of the Century.” And while proud parents will be celebrating graduation at the University of Texas, you can give your kids a love of education at the Summer Reading Splash!

These are just some of the events happening this weekend. Look for a great weekend with highs in the low 90s, and only some rain on Sunday morning.

“Fancy Nancy and the Wedding of the Century” will be read at Barnes & Noble.

The 2018 Summer Reading Splash! Authors including Newbery winner Kate DiCamillo and Bluebonnet winner Max Brallier will be in attendance. 10 a.m.-3 p.m. Saturday. Free. Austin Independent School District Performing Arts Center, 1500 Barbara Jordan Blvd.

BookPeople events: Cat Berry: “Penguin & Tiny Shrimp Don’t Do Bedtime!” 2 p.m. Sunday. BookPeople, 603 N. Lamar Blvd.

Tweens Night Out at Color Me Mine! Play games, paint and have pizza. $35. 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. Friday. Color Me Mine! 13500 Galleria Circle, U-110, Bee Cave.

Parkapalooza. Live music, kids activities. Free. 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday. Easton Park, 7000 Cardinal Bloom Loop.

Thinkery. Baby Bloomers: Away We Go. Learn about things that take flight. 9 a.m. Saturday. For birth to age 3. $5. Thinkery, 1830 Simond Ave.

Thinkery. Soap Making. Ages 4 and older. 10:30 a.m., noon, 2 p.m. or 3:30 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. $8. Thinkery, 1830 Simond Ave.

Zach Theatre presents “Goodnight Moon.” The classic children’s book comes to the stage. 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. Saturdays and 2 p.m. Sundays through May 27. $18-$24. Kleberg Stage, 1421 Riverside Drive.

Pollyanna Theatre. “The Secret of Soap & Spin.” 10-year-old Vic finds magic in the laundromat as his mother goes missing. For grades second through fifth. 2 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. $10.50-$12. Long Center, 701 Riverside Drive.

Barnes & Noble 11 a.m. Saturdays, story times at all locations: “Fancy Nancy and the Wedding of the Century.”

Kids Create: Make Art Like Alma Thomas. 2:30 p.m. Friday, Yarborough Branch.

Summer Camp Resource Fair. 1 p.m. Saturday, Carver Branch.

El día de los niños/El día de los libros Celebration. 11 a.m. Saturday, Pleasant Hill Branch.

Teen Harry Potter Club. 2 p.m. Sunday, Central Library.

“Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone” began the book and movie series.


New book ‘The Stepmoms’ Club’ reminds us: Don’t forget stepmoms this Mother’s Day

Mother’s Day can be the loneliest holiday for stepmoms. The children they are helping to raise are with their mothers. They’ve often helped create something special for the children’s mother and often the work they do is not acknowledged.

“You go to Starbucks and they don’t know you’re not a mother and they wish you a Happy Mother’s Day,” says Kendall Rose. She along with three friends formed The Stepmoms’ Club and now she writes about becoming a stepmother and the challenges of this unappreciated role.

She wrote the book as a girlfriends’ guide to this role, as a way for women to find answers about what other women weren’t talking about.

In “The Stepmoms’ Club: How to be a Stepmom Without Losing your Money, Your Mind and Your Marriage” ($15.99, Source Books), Rose shares stories and wisdom learned after 15 years of helping to raise her husband’s children from another marriage. Rose, which is a pen name she chose after her’s and her grandmother’s imaginary tea names, uses that name to protect her stepchildren. All the names in the book are not real names, but they are real women with real stories of how hard it is to be in this role.

How do you overcome the “wicked stepmother” stereotype perpetuated by Disney and make it work? The biggest rule is to always focus on the children and their needs.

“When parents don’t get along, they’re not focus on the issue at hand what’s going to be be most beneficial for the child or children,” she says. “That’s when we see the strife.”

Sometimes you have to put your needs last and take a step back. “There are times when the children really want you to be involved,” she says. “And there are other times looking for mother and father to be in that situation, even if it’s difficult as a stepmom that wants to be involved.”

You put the kids’ needs first, which is always the right answer.

That might mean that the mom, not you, shops for the dress to the dance, or that you sit with the mom in the bleachers at the game so that the kid doesn’t have to look for two different sets of parents. It might mean that there are times when you take a step back and let the biological parents get all the public acknowledgement.

Rose recommends entering into the relationship slowly and with knowledge. It will take some time to decide what this relationship is. “Making it into a big deal turns it into a big deal,” she says.

Instead, do more informal introductions, slowly start spending more time with them rather than launching head-first into part-time or full-time mom.

She recommends waiting until it’s very clear that this relationship is going to be permanent.

“In a new relationship, you’re still learning about one another, and then you’re learning about another family’s dynamics,” she says.

Once you do enter into the relationship, fill yourself with knowledge. That means you’ve read the divorce decree and all the custody documentation. You know what the rules are for how much time the children will be with their father, how holidays are divided and how much child support is each month.

This and a conversation with your partner will help you figure out what your role as stepmom will be. “Don’t make the assumption that you’re jumping full feet into the water, and you’re taking on the role of the mother,” she says. “They have a biological mother. Know where you fit within the family dynamics.”

You also have to figure out what your house rules are, which might be very different than Mom’s house rules. And then you have to figure out if it makes sense for you to be the main enforcer of these rules, for their father to be or for you both to be.

“There is something so important about letting go,” Rose says. “It sounds so much easier than it is. It’s about not getting caught up in what happens elsewhere.”

Often, the kids won’t be so welcoming to you. After all, this wasn’t something they got a choice in. “Tread lightly,” Rose says. “Try to connect with them on some level. Ease into it.”

Recognize that they might blame you for the breakup of their parents’ marriage or they might feel like liking you is a betrayal to their mother. You also don’t know what they’re being told at their other house.

“You have to let it play out over time,” she says. “Don’t try to be everything to everyone.”

Stepmoms have to recognize that there’s a lot they are not in control of: the terms of the divorce, the way the other parent parents. “There are things you can’t change, but you can change how you react to things,” Rose says.

Stepmoms are often the last to know important details like what’s going on at school because the teachers often primarily communicate with mom, maybe dad. You can make sure that you’re on the emergency contact list, that you’re on the teacher’s email that goes to all the parents, that you are in contact with any coaches or after-school activity provider. Rose also suggests giving the teacher a box of self-addressed stamped envelopes for them to mail to you a copy of any papers that might be going to home to the other house.

Recognize that there are parts of the children’s life that you’ve missed and are going to miss. And yes, they will talk about that time when they were little and said the funniest thing or their favorite stuffed animal, and you won’t be able to tell them more about that. “You have to let it go,” she says. “You weren’t there, as much as it hurts.”

There are some wonderful things, too, about being a stepmom. Often they come at unexpected times when you get a nice note or a card and you know that you mattered. “The smallest thing has the biggest impact,” she says.

And when a blended family works, it’s incredibly rewarding, Rose says.

“Parents can love multiple children; children can love multiple parents,” she says. “Sometimes it’s just a little bumpy, but they can get there.”

Bees, chemistry and more to explore this beautiful weekend, May 4-6


The rain is coming… but it will go away in time for Saturday and Sunday. Enjoy these Austin family events.

Science Mill. Fun with Chemistry. University of Texas Women in Natural Sciences group sponsors hands-on activities. 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday. Science Mill, 101 Lady Bird Lane, Johnson City.

Bullock Museum. H-E-B Free First Sunday. Math Happens. Noon to 5 p.m. Sunday. Free. Bullock Museum, 1800 N. Congress Ave.

Kindnesspalooza. Hear music from The Mrs., Madison McWilliams, SaulPaul, Big Don and Courtney Santana, plus experience a photo booth, magic mirror and more. Free. Benefits the Kindness Campaign, anti-bullying program.  Noon-4 p.m. Saturday. Hill Country Galleria, by the splash pad.

The Kindness Campaign’s Magic Mirror tells kids how great they are. 

Williamson Museum. Pioneer Days at Old Settlers’ Park in Round Rock. Learn how to churn butter, make corn husk dolls and dip candles. 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday. Free.

Neill-Cochran House Museum. Get the Job Done: Simple Machines. 1-4 p.m. Sunday. Neill-Cochran House Museum. 2310 San Gabriel St.

Finn Holt won Austin Lemonade Day contest one year. Austin Lemonade Day

Lemonade Day. Set up your own lemonade stand Saturday.

Maker Faire Austin. See artists and scientists and crafters make things and make some things with them. $12-$42. 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. Palmer Events Center, 900 Barton Springs Road.


Austin Maker Faire lets you be creative with the help of artisans.

Sustainable Food Center: Family Friendly Beehive Tour. Take this special class just for kids. 1 p.m. Saturday. Sustainable Food Center, 2921 E. 17th St. $40 with adult.

Wildflower Center. Movies in the Wild: “The Lorax.” See the movie outside. 6 p.m. Friday. $12, Free for children 4 and younger. Wildflower Center, 4801 La Crosse Ave.

Zach Theatre presents “Goodnight Moon.” The classic children’s book comes to the stage. 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. Saturdays and 2 p.m. Sundays through May 27. $18-$24. Kleberg Stage, 1421 Riverside Drive.


“Daniel Tiger.” (PBS)

Alamo Drafthouse. PBS Kids at the Alamo: “Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood.” 10:25 a.m. Saturday and 10:15 a.m. Sunday, Slaughter Lane.

BookPeople events: Michael Fry: “How to Be a Supervillain: Born to Be Good.” 2 p.m. Sunday. BookPeople, 603 N. Lamar Blvd.

Thinkery. Namaste and Play: Sense-ational: 9:45 a.m. (2-year-olds), 10:45 a.m. (3-year-olds), Fridays through May 11. $20 a class, $140 for the series. Thinkery, 1830 Simond Ave.

Thinkery. Baby Bloomers: Away We Go. Learn about things that take flight. 9 a.m. Saturday. For birth to age 3. $5. Thinkery, 1830 Simond Ave.

Thinkery. Soap Making. Ages 4 and older. 10:30 a.m., noon, 2 p.m. or 3:30 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. $8. Thinkery, 1830 Simond Ave.

Toybrary Austin. Mother’s Day professional photo session. 10:30 a.m. Friday. $7 (free for members). Toybrary Austin, 2001 Justin Lane.

Toybrary Austin. Daddy & Me Playdate: Make Mommy a Gift. $12. 10:30 a.m. Saturday. Toybrary Austin, 2001 Justin Lane.


BookPeople 10:30 a.m. story time: We Love Austin Authors, Saturday. BookPeople, 603 N. Lamar Blvd.

Barnes & Noble 11 a.m. Saturdays, story times at all locations: “Llama Llama Loves to Read.”




May the Fourth Be With You. 2:30 p.m. Friday, Yarborough Branch.

Saturday Family Movie: “Ferdinand.” 1 p.m. Saturday, St. John Branch.

2 O’Clock Tunes: Rollfast Ramblers. 2 p.m. Saturday, Twin Oaks Branch.

Revenge of the 5th: “The Last Jedi.” 2 p.m. Saturday, Central Library.

 “Star Wars: The Last Jedi,” is at the library for May the Fourth Be With You. Industrial Light & Magic/Lucasfilm

Ricardo Parra, Chilean singer-songwriter. 2 p.m. Saturday, Manchaca Road Branch.


Plan your weekend with the kids now with these Austin events, April 13-15

It will be nothing like last weekend — we promise. No sudden cold snap that made outdoor activities just icky. It might rain Friday morning, but then you’ll be good to go to be outside with your family.

Here are some events happening in and around Austin for little ones and teens alike:

Luke Keyes, of Austin Oddities was on hand to help kids and grown-ups in the art of super large bubble making much to the delight of his ever growing audience. Laguna Gloria Contemporary Art Museum holds Saturdays are for Families once a month. RALPH BARRERA/ AMERICAN-STATESMAN 2015

Contemporary Austin. Saturdays are for Families: Ships Ahoy. Enjoy a nautical-themed art-making day. 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday. Free. Laguna Gloria, 3809 W. 35th St.

Contemporary Austin. Teen Event: Destination Laguna. Explore the museum after hours with snacks and activities for teens. 6-9 p.m. Friday. Free for teens 13-18. Laguna Gloria, 3809 W. 35th St.

Science Mill. The Science of Sports. Test your balance, see how hard you can hit and more. 10 a.m. Saturday. Science Mill, 101 Lady Bird Lane, Johnson City.

Emma S. Barrientos Mexican American Cultural Center. Sábados en Familia. 10 a.m. Saturday. Free arts and wellness programs for the whole family, plus free lunch. Emma S. Barrientos Mexican American Cultural Center. 600 River St.

Williamson Museum. Hands-on History. Learn about the founding of Williamson County as the county celebrates 170 years, plus make a craft of the county namesake. Free. 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday. Williamson Museum, 716 Austin Ave., Georgetown.


Sherwood Forest Faire is open on the weekends.

Sherwood Forest Faire. Travel back in time to merry ol’ England with this fair. 10 a.m. to dusk, Sunday and Saturday. $12-$22. 1883 Old U.S. 20, McDade.

Zach Theatre presents “Goodnight Moon.” The classic children’s book comes to the stage. 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. Saturdays and 2 p.m. Sundays through May 27. $18-$24. Kleberg Stage, 1421 Riverside Drive.



Totally Cool Totally Art Teen Art Exhibition. Through April 26. Free. Dougherty Arts Center, 1110 Barton Springs Road.

Mexic-Arte Museum. Family Day: The Art of Resistance. Enjoy activities around the current exhibit. Free. Noon to 5 p.m. Sunday. Mexic-Arte Museum, 419 Congress Ave.

“Pancho Rabbit and the Coyote.” Pancho Rabbit goes through a dangerous journey with little help from his guide. 11 a.m.  Saturday and Sunday. $8-$12. Scottish Rite Theater, 207 W. 18th St. $3 adults, $1 children.

“The Smartest Girl in the World” is at Austin Playhouse.

Austin Playhouse presents “The Smartest Girl in the World.” Two kids dream of helping their family by going on a game show. For grades second through sixth. Pick your price. 2 p.m. Saturday. Austin Playhouse at ACC’s Highland Campus, 6001 Airport Blvd., South Entrance.

Thinkery. Seed Paper Making. Ages 4 and up. 10:30 a.m., noon, 2 p.m. or 3:30 p.m. Saturday-Sunday. $8. Thinkery, 1830 Simond Ave.

BookPeople events: Donna Janell Bowman reads “Abraham Lincoln’s Dueling Words.” 2 p.m. Sunday. BookPeople, 603 N. Lamar Blvd.

Alamo Drafthouse. PBS Kids: Explore the Outdoors.”  10:15 a.m.  Saturday-Sunday, Lakeline.

BookPeople events: Emma Berquist reads “Devils Unto Dust.” 6 p.m. Saturday. BookPeople, 603 N. Lamar Blvd.

Thinkery. Namaste and Play: Sense-ational: 9:45 a.m. (2-year-olds), 10:45 a.m. (3-year-olds), Fridays, through May 11. $20 a class, $140 for the series. Thinkery, 1830 Simond Ave.

Thinkery. Baby Bloomers: Spring has Sprung. Learn about light. 9 a.m. Saturday. For birth to age 3. $5. Thinkery, 1830 Simond Ave.

Wildflower Center. Sprouts. Preschool program. 10 a.m. Fridays. Free with admission. Wildflower Center, 4801 La Crosse Ave.

Wildflower Center. Nature Play Hour. 10 a.m. Saturdays. Free with admission to the gardens. Wildflower Center, 4801 La Crosse Ave.


BookPeople 10:30 a.m. storytimes:  Yoga, Saturday. BookPeople, 603 N. Lamar Blvd.

Barnes & Noble Events: 11 a.m. Saturdays, story times at all locations: “Pig the Star,” Saturday.


“Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone” began the book and movie series.

Teen “Harry Potter” Club. 2 p.m.Sunday, Central Library.

Safe Baby Academy. Learn how to care for your baby. 9 a.m. Saturday, Seton Northwest Medical Center, 1113 Research Blvd.

Car seat check.  9 a.m. Saturday, Covert Hutto Chevrolet, 1200 U.S. 79, Hutto.

Teen Book Club: “Revolver.” 3 p.m. Saturday, Central Library.

Reading, playing with your children could reduce hyperactivity, aggression and more, study finds

Need another reason to read and play with your babies and toddlers? A study out of New York followed children from birth to age three and then assessed them at age 4 1/2, about a year and a half after they were part of a reading program. Their parents were given Reach Out and Read tools to help them read and play with their children. Then a subset were video taped and given pointers on how to better interact with their babies and toddlers.

Reading to your children could reduce hyperactivity, aggression and more. Ricardo B. Brazziell/American-Statesman 2012

Those children whose parents were video taped and given pointers had 69 percent less hyperactivity. They also had less problems with aggression and internalizing problems.

The New York group also studied giving the Reach Out and Read program and video component to children who were age three to five. Like their counterparts who had been enrolled in the program at a younger age, those children also had less aggression and internalizing problems, but they didn’t see as much hyperactivity reduction.

The study is in the April edition of “Pediatrics,” the journal of the American Academy of Pediatrics.

Parents, you don’t know how to talk to your kids, but Wendy Mogel wants to teach you how

Parents, we talk a lot to our kids. Do we talk too much? Do we talk in the right way? About the right things? Are they even listening to us?

If you’ve ever wondered those questions or found yourself yelling at your kid, Los Angeles psychologist Wendy Mogel, answers those questions in her new book “”Voice Lessons for Parents: What to Say, How to Say It, and When to Listen.” ($27, Simon & Schuster).

Her answer to the first three questions, is “no.” The last one, is a definite “yes.”

Mogel is best known for her books “The Blessings of a Skinned Knee” and “The Blessing of a B Minus,” books that talked about letting your kid fail and embracing those failures as fantastic life lessons.

Dr. Wendy Mogel has written “Voice Lessons for Parents.” Amy Dickerson

This new book came out of coaching parents for the past decade and asking them to re-enact their moments of frustration with their children.

“These are adults who in their lives are articulate, calm and authoritative,” she says. “They are really good at communicating. When they talk to their kids, their voices would rise in pitch, their tone would become indignant. Their shoulders would hunch up to their ears, and they would start pointing and shaking their fingers. I watched them losing their authority.”

To Mogel, it sounded more like the way siblings talk to one another, not how parents should be talking to their children. They are giving their kids power, and it’s not a good power; it’s a scary power for their children, she says.

Today’s parents, when they are not losing their cool and yelling at their kids, are also trying to use logic and reasoning rather than just tell their kids what the boundaries are.

Parents are not going to win an argument based on logic, she says, in part because kids have changed. “Our children are more verbally sophisticated and articulate than any generation of kids have ever been,” she says.

Girls are powerful, little attorneys starting at age 4, and boys by about a year and a half later, she says.

“Parents are acting like a bad public relations firm,” she says. “They are trying to sell her on ideas, as if a child would say, ‘Gee, Mom, I hadn’t seen it this way. Thank you so much for the important context and telling me about the potential damaging consequences.'”

When Mogel coaches parents, she tells them to say a lot less. Keep the first sentence, which tells the kid what went wrong or restates what the child is asking for, and keep the last sentence, which tells the child what the consequence is for their action or your answer to their question. “Let’s cut out the whole middle part,” she says.

“Voice Lessons for Parents” by Wendy Mogel.

When we talk too much to our kids, our kids become “parent deaf,” as she calls it. They stop listening. They stop accepting the answer. They keep asking until you change your mind or they start insulting you until you bend, she says.

The way kids communicate and need to receive communication changes over time and is also different by gender. That doesn’t mean that every girl or every boy is the same way. Mogel knows she’s making generalizations, but there are some differences in gender that she’s found as she’s studied this.

For example, teenage boys stop talking to parents. Teenage girls won’t stop talking.

And parents react. They fear that there is something very wrong with their sons who aren’t talking or filling out basic paperwork to go to college. They think they need to fix every problem their daughter mentions or worry that this up and down roller coaster of emotions will be the norm into adulthood.

Parents are both afraid of their teens and afraid for them, Mogel says. “Parents take a snapshot and mistake it for the epic movie of their life,” she says.

It’s as if parents believe that their children are set in amber and don’t change. But kids are always changing. Take the feminist who is raising a daughter who loves pink and purple. Wait a few years and she’ll have a daughter who only wears olive green and black and has shaved the side of her head, Mogel says.

“It’s all a phase,” Mogel says. “The good stuff is a phase; the bad stuff is a phase.”

Yet, parents fret, and they share that worry with their children. Instead, Mogel would love parents to have a hobby — something for themselves. And she would love for parents to start their children on chores from the time they are little.

“They can’t pay rent or the mortgage and they can’t drive, but there are a lot of things they can do that you are doing for them,” Mogel says. “It makes you tired, it makes you resentful and you won’t have patience.”

You also won’t have the good conversations you’re craving.

Children might evoke this feeling of disdain toward their parents, but what Mogel knows, based on interviewing many middle- and high-schoolers, is that children really love their parents, and they appreciate them, too.

They talk to her about the sweet things their parents do, but they’ll never acknowledge those things to their parents. A big part of this is what the mission of puberty is (aside from all that biological stuff). It’s to separate from parents, to become individuals, to become adults. And that’s where the tension is. “They are not going to go from Little Buddy to Junior Statesman and skip adolescence,” Mogel says.

Instead of worrying what your kids say to you and act around you, Mogel would rather parents focus on how kids act around other people. Are they respectful to their teachers, kind to their friends, good with younger kids, are they courteous to servers at restaurants? If so, your kids are good human beings.

Parents become the brunt of kids’ attitude because our kids are exhausted by their schedule of school, extra curriculars and social events, she says. All day long they are having to switch from interpreting the code of their teachers, their peers, their friends, and navigate that code. Then they get home to you, and “they don’t have much emotional fuel left,” Mogel says. They don’t want to talk. “And then we ask them about their day,” she says.

Can you imagine, Mogel says, if someone asked us about our day and expected us to go through a play-by-play of what we did all day? “The girls will be irritated and will give you the scary news report and the boys won’t say anything,” she says.

Even younger kids recognize that you, the parent, are just trolling for things to worry about. Parents constantly are comparing their children to what they think every other kid in that school has experienced that day.

Just like kids, parents play into the false sense of what’s normal through the lens of what fellow parents are posting on social media or presenting in public. Really no one is telling you that their child likes to eat glue or skipped out of school or is failing math.

Kids will talk to their parents in meaningful ways, but they will do it when their parents are least expecting it. It happens when you are going through the drive-through because they have an appreciation for you that you are procuring something they want, and they do it when you’re loading the dishwasher, because they know that all of your concentration isn’t on them, she says. Parents become less threatening.

Mogel tells parents to ask themselves to WAIT: Why Am I Talking? If it’s just to fill the conversation void, stop.

Also parents should: Show up, Suit Up and Shut up. Be present, be ready and see the paragraph above.

With boys, you can get them to talk. You just have to show interest in the things they are interested in and stop nagging. Stop telling him to pick up his clothes off the floor. Stop giving him lectures about his future. Instead, be interested in the stuff they know and provide the platform to share that with you.

“You get to go on a journey with them if you stop judging every single utterance and weighing in,” Mogel says.

Boys also need you in ways that girls don’t. With girls, usually they have friends that they can talk to about heartbreaks. With boys, that’s not something that they will share with friends. That macho etiquette is still alive and well.

As the parent, you get to share the hurt, but you can’t immediately leap into wanting to fix it. That’s true for younger kids as well. One interesting thing Mogel noticed was that kids, especially younger kids in larger families, will immediately leap to telling their parents about someone being mean to them because they know they can get attention and that their parents will immediately use the “B” word — bully — and want to fix that for their children.

Don’t take that bait unless it becomes a clear pattern, and it’s more than just a mean word or gesture.

Mogel reminds that it’s also OK not to have a conversation with your child if you’re not ready. It’s OK to say, “I need to think about this.” “I’m not ready to talk about this right now.” “I will give you an answer tomorrow.”

That’s a better scenario than snapping to a decision or losing your cool and starting the lecture.

As the kids Mogel has spoken to before she meets with their parents tell her: “Please tell my parents to chill, to chillax.”

A new feminism: Author Elle Luna wants women (and men, too) to find their power to tell their story at SXSW

Artist, author Elle Luna is trying to create feminine power one woman at a time with her new book “Your Story Is Your Power: Free Your Feminine Voice,” (Workman Publishing, $17.95), which she co-authored with author and psychotherapist Susie Herrick.

The book takes women through three different parts of their world that might be holding them back. The first is the water they are swimming in: All those messages, those advertisements, those rap lyrics, those movies, that tell women that they are less than men. The second is their family story that might inform how they view the roles of women and men. The third is their own personality and how the nine Enneagram personality types might be leading women to make the same mistakes over and over again.

Susie Herrick, left, and Elle Luna have written “Your Story Is Your Power.”

Luna will talk about the book and lead participants through a conversation about how we think about women in her talk named after the book at 9:30 a.m. Monday, room 10AB at the Austin Convention Center.

Luna was approached by her editor to write the book, which came out last week, in response to the 2016 election and the 2017 Women’s March. Women have continued to speak out in the ensuing months. “It is exciting,” she says. “Emma (González) in Florida standing on the front steps saying, ‘ENOUGH!’ … and Tarana Burke and the Me Too movement … She recognized that women need a safe place to share stories of sexual abuse and harassment.”

Luna, 36, whose previous book was “The Crossroads of Should and Must,” was given nine months to put together the book, which included 450 paintings. She brought in Herrick, who is the author of “Aphrodite Emerges,” and who has been studying feminism and misogyny.

“We’ve really been looking at the stories we tell ourselves,” Luna says. She benefited, personally, from Herrick’s wisdom that comes from being about two decades older than her.  “We were both stuck in similar ways in our lives at different times,” Luna says. “She had been down this path.”

Luna, who grew up in Dallas, has a bachelor’s degree in English and art history from Vanderbilt University and a master’s of fine art from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. She spent her early career doing design for tech startups in Silicon Valley before she rented out a warehouse in 2013 and began painting again. In addition to being an author, Luna organizes #The100DayProject, which invites people to do something creative for 100 days and post it beginning April 3. About a million people in 65 countries have done so — everything from art work to embroidery to vegan cooking.

Luna definitely taps into her artwork for this book. It mixes words with artwork and painted words of quotes from famous people. Luna was inspired by Instagram and the way that people scan for information and are drawn to images. She sees it as a book that appeals 50 percent to the left side of the brain and 50 percent to the right side. It’s one that can be scanned, then glanced at, then read, then delved into more deeply depending on what you are ready to get out of it.

It’s for teenage girls and mature women, too.

The book uses the symbol of a labyrinth for discovering your power — which Luna and Herrick think of as electricity rather than strength or dominance over another person.

The labyrinth has two parts, the spiral and the meandering. The spiral represents going inside of yourself deeper and deeper and then coming back out. The meandering is the process of discovering. It’s very rarely a straight line.

“This book is how do we create that safe space internally where we can get really close to the water we are all swimming in and begin to wake up and flip on the light.”

For Luna, it’s the idea of when you find your power and work on the internal, then you can work on the external.

“In my own experience, when I stopped taking it internally, like hell was I going to take it externally.”

Working on the internal, that’s what helps women speak up. “That is what changes everything,” she says.

It’s figuring out why you get stuck in the ways you get stuck. She likens it to bowling and the book is the bumpers that help you avoid rolling a gutter ball. It helps you see where you want to go and helps you get there rather than making the same mistakes over and over again and winding up in the gutter again.

For Luna, it was about working on the voice in her head and how she talked to herself. Now she tells herself: “You need to say something nice to me, be my advocate.”

Sometimes the labyrinth can feel like taking two steps forward and 20 steps back, she says. “I’m still in the labyrinth.”

“Your Story Is Your Power” looks at the messages we are telling our girls and our boys. It looks at the fairy tales of Cinderella, Snow White and Beauty & the Beast. “What are we really telling girls, that they have to be beautiful housekeepers, slender and demure, get the prince and become the queen?”

While the book focuses on the messages girls receive, Luna also recognizes that boys are also receiving messages, too. One friend told her about being taunted as a 10-year-old when he recognized the beauty of a sunset and pointed it out to two friends. The response was “Who are you, a girl?” “Girl” was a derogatory term.

The men who have showed up at events for the book have expressed sadness for what they recognize the women in their lives have gone through, she says. Luna recalls one man who was from Israel and told a story about being in a synagogue where only the men could turn the Torah scroll’s rollers. When a friend’s daughter ran forward to try to touch the Torah, she was yelled at. He told the story with tears in his eyes because he knew the message that that girl had received.

For women, Luna wants them to work on the internal, but also help lift up fellow women. Right now her goal is to get more women to vote by helping to make sure their friends are registered, by helping to take people to the polls to vote.

“How do we stand up and say, ‘Enough is enough’? Now we’re not going to be quiet and be cute. We’re going to rock the boat until we right the ship.”

“Your Story Is Your Power: Free Your Feminine Voice”

9:30 a.m. Monday

Austin Convention Center 10AB