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Joy

Australian town's literary treasure hunt creates a 'magical' way to encourage kids to read

The mom who started it wanted to help get kids away from screens.

children's books, scavenger hunts for kids.

Kids are encouraged to read a book and pass it along!

As wholesome and nourishing an activity as reading is, it has a hard time competing against screens for a child’s attention. However, some communities are bringing new life to reading by encouraging kids to embark on an interactive, never-ending literary treasure hunt.

In Braidwood, a small town in New South Wales, Australia, kid-friendly titles like “Goosebumps” and "Diary of a Wimpy Kid" are sealed in plastic bags then hidden around town, ready to be found in unsuspected places like shop windows, trees and nearby parks.

Inside the bag, in addition to the book, is a piece of paper that reads:

“You are the lucky finder of this book. Read it, enjoy it, and then hide it again for someone else to enjoy. Please reuse this bag. Add your name inside the cover and let’s see how many can find it!”


After reading, kids write their name in the book, then re-hide it or give it to a friend, adding an additional layer of fun involvement.

The whimsical idea was brought to Braidwood by a mom named Samantha Dixon, who had seen other communities with thriving hidden book projects online and noticed how positively kids responded to a previous trend of finding colorfully painted rocks scattered throughout the neighborhood. She saw a book hunt as a fun and creative way to keep kids from relying too much on technology.
kids books

Another treasure hunter found his prize.

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"I enjoy the fact these books are being read and are not just being left on the shelves and that kids are outside finding them not on screens," Dixon told ABC News Australia. "It's lovely to watch the little kids' faces when they find the books. It's a bit magical.”

Indeed, the kids seem to love it—whether they’re simply visiting town and happen upon a book, or have found several. The community has a very active Facebook community filled with children sharing their finds.

encouraging kids to read

Imagine finding an exciting new book hidden just for you to find it.

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Growing up as a techless bookworm, escaping into good books are some of my fondest childhood memories—and I know I’m not the only one. It’s crazy to think that future generations might miss out on that butterflies-in-the-stomach type of excitement that happens when you pick up a new book, or the pure joy of turning pages and allowing words to transport you to imaginary places.

And while there is nothing inherently wrong with reading a book from a digital device like an iPad or Kindle, especially for adults, there is something to be said for how it affects a child’s development as they are learning to read.

Print often encourages more slow reading, rather than fast scrolling for the sake of social entertainment, which comes with screens. And print definitely doesn’t have incessant pop-ups, making it easier to slowly absorb material without distraction. As Naomi Baron wrote in her book “How We Read Now: Strategic Choices for Print, Screen and Audio,” excerpted in The New York Times, “There are two components, the physical medium and the mind-set we bring to reading on that medium — and everything else sort of follows from that.”

It might be hard to break away from the convenience and instant gratification of technology, but hidden book hunts remind kids what’s so fun about reading in the first place. And fun is usually a great place to start with most things.

Pedro Pascal and Bowen Yang can't keep a straight face as Ego Nwodim tries to cut her steak.

Most episodes of “Saturday Night Live” are scheduled so the funnier bits go first and the riskier, oddball sketches appear towards the end, in case they have to be cut for time. But on the February 4 episode featuring host Pedro Pascal (“The Mandalorian,” “The Last of Us”), the final sketch, “Lisa from Temecula,” was probably the most memorable of the night.

That’s high praise because it was a strong episode, with a funny “Last of Us” parody featuring the Super Mario Brothers and a sketch where Pascal played a protective mother.

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AMC Theaters/Youtube, Variety/Twitter

AMC announced that it would be implementing a new three-tier ticketing system.

AMC Theaters, America’s largest movie theater chain, announced on Feb 6 that it will be adopting different ticket prices based on seat location.

Moviegoers will have three tiers to choose from based on sightline of the movie screen—Preferred Sightline, set in the middle at the highest price point, Value Sightline, set in the front of the auditorium at the lowest price, and Standard Sightline, which is basically everything else (including the back seats, which are perhaps the most commonly picked) set at the traditional cost of a ticket.

In other words…heartbreak will feel more expensive in a place like this…or less, depending on where you sit



The company’s announcement was met with both criticism and approval. While some feel the move follows a well-established business model, others have found it to be taking away a valued aspect of the moviegoing experience.

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Photo by alevision.co on Unsplash/ @camerconstewart_uk/Instagram

"Sometimes it pays to learn a language!"

It feels safe to assume that if money were no object, people would always choose to travel business class over economy. After all, who doesn’t want a fast check-in, fancy food and drink choices and more of that sweet, spacious legroom?

However, at anywhere between four to ten times the price of a regular economy ticket, this style of traveling remains a fantasy for many who simply can’t afford it.

Luckily, thanks to one man’s clever travel hack, that fantasy might be more achievable than we realize.

Cameron Stewart, a British photojournalist and camera operator, recently shared how he was able to score business class tickets at a fraction of the price, simply by switching the website language from English to Spanish.
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via Pexels

A mother puts a fresh diaper on her baby.

Scientists at Penn State University have devised a “smart diaper” that alerts parents when their baby is wet. The diaper is made of paper, treated with sodium chloride (salt) and has a circuit board drawn with a pencil.

When the humidity level rises in the diaper, the graphite and the urine are absorbed by the paper and it turns on a sensor powered by a small lithium battery. The sensor then sets the alarm on an app that parents download onto their phones.

“The hydration sensor is highly sensitive to changes in humidity and provides accurate readings over a wide range of relative humidity levels, from 5.6% to 90%,” the researchers at Penn State said in a statement.

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Pop Culture

Kelly Clarkson and Pink's gorgeous unplugged 'What About Us?' duet came with a timely​ message

"We're not listening to each other right now. And it's so loud, and so gross, and so angry…"

Pink and Kelly Clarkson teamed up for a sweet acoustic version of "What About Us?"

Pink and Kelly Clarkson are both known for having powerhouse voices that can belt at incredible ranges but also soften for a sweet ballad. Put the two of them together, and…well, dang.

On Feb 6, Clarkson featured Pink on her daytime talk show, in which she often sings with musical guests. The two superstars sang several acoustic duets with pitch-perfect harmonies, prompting fans of both artists to clamor for a collaborative album.

One song they sang together was Pink's "What About Us?" Pink previously described the song to The Sun in 2017: "The world in general is a really scary place full of beautiful people. Humans are resilient and there's a lot of wonderful—like I said in the song—'billions of beautiful hearts' and there are bad eggs in every group. And they make it really hard for the rest of us."

In the intro to their duet, Clarkson asked Pink about the impetus behind her writing the song.

"We're not listening to each other right now. And it's so loud, and so gross, and so angry and people are being forgotten," Pink shared. "People are being counted out and their rights are being trampled on just because a group of people doesn't believe in them."

"Like, I don't understand how so many people in this world are discounted because one group of people decided they don't like that," she continued. "And I won't—I won't have it. One of the most beautiful things that my dad taught me was that my voice matters and I can make a difference, and I will."

The lyrics of the song seem to address the political leaders and decision-makers who hold people's lives in their hands as they pull the levers of power. It's a beautiful song with an important message wrapped up in gorgeous two-part harmony.

Enjoy:

Pop Culture

Keanu Reeves shocks a small-town pub by stopping in for a pint and taking photos with the staff

“So today we had a surprise visitor for lunch. What a lovely man he was, too."

Keanu Reeves in São Paulo, Brazil, 2019.

Keanu Reeves has a reputation as one of Hollywood’s nicest celebrities. Recently, he cheered up an 80-year-old fan who had a crush on him by calling her on the phone. He’s also bought an ice cream cone for a fan to give an autograph on the receipt and crashed a wedding to take photos with the bride and groom.

He’s also an incredible humanitarian who gave up a big chunk of his money from "The Matrix" to a cancer charity.

The “John Wick” star was his usual gracious self over the weekend when on Saturday, February 4, he and a friend walked into The Robin Hood pub in Tring, Hertfordshire, about 30 miles outside of London.

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