And I certainly didn’t start out as a princess!
I was quiet, shy, often tongue-tied as a child—a shrinking violet who avoided crowds, conversation, and especially cameras. I kept my head down. I found cubbyholes where I could hide away and read.
And write, of course.
And then one day—magic! I sold a story I had written. And then another. And another. Thirteen novels and novellas for adults and eight children’s books. So far.
One of my picture books is even about princesses. A pair of very famous princess sisters, too—Anna and Elsa of Arendelle. Maybe you’ve heard of them.
I deliver programs to crowds of kids, teachers, librarians, writers, readers. I speak at community events and festivals where hundreds of kids and parents come to talk to me, have books signed, and (horror of horrors) take pictures! Of me. Wearing a gown and tiara.
It’s out of my hands…. I simply am the Queen.
And since you’ve found your way to my palace, come on in. Please. Pop into the royal library to see the books I’ve written, the pressroom to find out how I ended up a queen, the playroom for videos, coloring pages, fun activities. Sit down in my kitchen to find out who’s helping the Queen eat healthy, and how. (The kitchen, my blog, is stocked with food art, coloring pages, kid-friendly recipes and other fun stuff, too.)
Barbara Jean the Story Queen
Detail, “Veggie Medley,” © Ben Mann 2016. www.mann-alive.com.
(Cooking Up Some Healthy Fun!)
If you’d told me a year ago that I’d be writing a blog dedicated to healthy foods, healthy cooking and healthy eating, I would have said you were crazy.
I mean, I’m not known as the healthiest of eaters. (My family, friends and housemates will corroborate.) Sometimes I skip meals. Sometimes—especially if I’ve skipped a meal—I stop at a drive-through for a burger. Sometimes I open a can for dinner and call it good. I have a weakness for pie and ice cream. Red wine. Dark chocolate. And I’ve never thought of vegetables as my closest friends…. [READ MORE]
Broccoli? Fun? Are you wondering if I’m maybe a little crazy?
Here’s the deal: 90% of getting kids to try a new food is getting them ready to try it. “Selling” it to them. Making it “cool.” Making it fun! Plopping a pile of overdone broccoli on a plate and saying, “Eat it, it’s good for you” usually doesn’t do the job…. [READ MORE]
Does your child turn up his nose at vegetables? Would he rather miss out on dessert than finish his greens?
Children often do not like trying new foods. Sometimes we have to talk them into taking just one bite of something new–and do it every day for a couple of weeks, months, maybe even longer…. [READ MORE]
Farm-to-Table. It’s all the rage–and with good reason.
For starters, local food tastes better! It’s fresh-picked at its peak and delivered to your table in minimal time. Food that comes from somewhere else has traveled on trucks, trains or planes and sat in warehouses before it finally gets to you…. [READ MORE]
Do your kids know where healthy food comes from? (Hopefully they realize it’s not from a convenience store or the drive-up window of a fast food restaurant!)
One of the best ways for children to learn about where the good food on your family table originates–and one of the best ways for them to learn to love it–is to grow it themselves.
Think about it: How much more likely is your daughter to eat a salad she makes herself–from ingredients she grew herself–than a salad plopped down in front of her at the table with…. [READ MORE]
Since everything is new when you’re a kid, pretty much every food is unfamiliar. And introducing kids to unfamiliar foods isn’t always easy.
Children warm up to new foods slowly. Sometimes it takes 15 or 20 or dozens of times for a child to be presented with a food before he learns to eat it. (Check out the Ellyn Satter Institute for more information.) Making the introduction to an unfamiliar food fun instead of a forced feeding can make it easier. How to do that? Many ways! Read a book. Download and print a coloring page. Share a hands-on activity…. [READ MORE]
10 FUN FACTS ABOUT COCONUTS
If there’s one thing I’ve learned about kids, it’s that kids love to learn—especially if what they are learning is quirky and fun! Try out these fun facts about coconut on your kids:
1. Coconuts are not nuts; they’re fruits, related to peaches and plums because, like these fruits (called “drupes”), they have a single seed at their center.
2. The word coconut comes from the Spanish and Portuguese word coco, which means “grinning face” or “skull.” It was named by 16th century sailors…. [READ MORE]
3 FUN & HEALTHY RECIPES FOR THE 4TH OF JULY
A creamsicle might not be the first thing that comes to mind when you think of healthy foods–but this homemade red-white-and-blue version, made with fresh berries, coconut milk and a little sugar-free coconut-milk ice cream and honey, is as healthy as a yummy, kid-friendly dessert can get.
The recipe, adapted from kaylaaimee.com, was created for a child with dairy sensitivities; if you prefer, use low-fat dairy milk and ice cream, which will also reduce the sugar content a bit…. [READ MORE]