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Movies are a powerful way to take us somewhere special

We can travel to a different country, explore a different universe, visit a different time in history or even a different time in the future! Movies are an amazing way to do so many creative things without leaving our chair or our bed! SoaringMovies shares several of our favorite classic movies as well as new movies that are coming into theaters. You and your family can watch the movie together and then everyone can enjoy creating cool projects inspired by these movies.

Movie Activity 1: “Hugo” Based on the book The Invention of Hugo Cabret, Hugo is an orphan who lives in the train station of Paris during the 1930s. The movie has an inspiring message that Hugo shares. “I imagine the whole world as one big machine. Machines never come with extra parts. They always come with the exact amount they need. So I figure if the entire world was one big machine, I couldn’t be an extra part. I have to be here for a reason. And that means you have to be here for some reason too.” Hugo creates the most amazing inventions… ever.

Activity/Discussion Guide:

  1. Hugo fixes machines and tinkers with them. He works on the Automaton, a mysterious mechanical robot-man. Now it’s your chance to become an inventor and create your very own invention. Think about something cool that you can invent. Use Soaringwords border to draw a picture of your invention, write a story about it.
  • What was your favorite part of the movie? Why?
  • Hugo and Isabelle have a marvelous adventure in the movie. Use Soaringwords border to draw a picture or write a story about a special adventure you’d like to go on.
  • Share your adventure with Soaringwords and we will share it with children in the hospital to cheer them and motivate them to write their own adventures.

Movie Activity 2: “Why, Charlie Brown, Why?”

This movie deals with cancer and portrays a lot of feelings. The character Janice discovers she has lekemia and it shows the effect the illness has on her family and friends.

Activity/Discussion Guide:

  1. How did this movie make you feel?
  • How did the friends come together to make their friend feel supported?
  • Use Soaringwords border to draw Snoopy and your favorite characters from the movie.
  • Make your own cartoon strip filing in the boxes.
  • Above each figure you draw in the boxes, make a bubble over the head and write in a message.

Movie Activity 3: “The Lion King”

The movie tells the story of Simba, a young lion who is to take his father Mufasa’s place as king. However, after Simba’s uncle Scar kills Mufasa, he must stop his uncle from conquering the Pride Lands and avenge his father.

Activity/Discussion Guide:

  1. How is Simba brave? How did Simba find the strength to carry on? Sometimes things happen in life that make us sad. How did Simba remember what his father taught him  in the “Circle of Life” and how did this help him save the community?
  • Use Soaringwords border to draw your favorite characters from the Lion King.
  • Create a family crest by putting in the things that represent your family. You can put in bubble letters from your last name, flowers from your state, your favorite kind of tree or bird, or other cool symbols that remind you of your family.

Movie Activity 4 “Fantastic Mr. Fox”

This film is about a fox who steals food at night from three mean farmers. The farmers try to capture the fox and his family but with the help of his friends they are able to outwit the farmers.

Activity/Discussion Guide:

  1. What is the motto or message of this movie?
  • Make a poster for your hospital room or to give to another child based on this motto. Use bright colors and you can also use cut outs and stickers.
  • How does the movie inspire you to “Never give up?”
  • Use Soaringwords border draw a scene from the movie.
  • Who was your favorite character and why did you choose this one?
  • Create a new character for the movie.

Movie Activity 5: “Harry Potter”

Activity/Discussion Guide:

  1. Have a Harry Potter Movie Marathon!
  • Harry is a wizard but he is also a human being with feelings.
  • How do his friends and community support him?
  • Who is your favorite character and why?
  • What was your favorite scene?
  • Can you draw a picture from the movie?
  • Use Soaringwords border to design your very own seal for a Quidditch uniform.

Soaring Songs®

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When you hear music sometimes it is hard not to sing along, hum along or start moving your body to the beat! Songs are a powerful way to change our moods, often  immediately. Songs can calm us down, can wake us up, music can even make us laugh, make us feel hopeful, and inspire us to feel grateful. Today you are invited to create Soaring Songs. It’s fun and easy!


Here is how to get started: Just think of your favorite song and listen to it a couple of times. Now comes the cool part. You can invent new words to your favorite song. Think of your favorite things. You can write your new song lyrics just for yourself or you can devote the new song lyrics to someone in your family, your favorite nurse or doctor, or your roommate in the hospital. Once you get started, it’s fun to make up funny and new lyrics to lots of your favorite songs. Whether you re-write the words to Happy Birthday; Shake, Rattle and Roll; the theme from the Lion King; from your favorite singers, this activity will make your spirit sing!

After you finish your Soaring Songs: You can make a video singing your new song and send it to and we’ll share it on our website.

Motherhood Exaggerated by Judith Hannan

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Untitled from Soaringwords on Vimeo.

Soaringwords Book Club® Discussion Guide

1.  What is the significance of the book’s title? What does it mean to you to be an exaggerated parent?

2.  Motherhood Exaggerated is not just a medical story. It is a chronicle of a mother’s evolution to meet the challenges of her child’s illness. We are all shaped by the events in our past that can trigger positive or negative reactions during times of significant stress. The author recounts the factors that helped make her the mother she was at the time of Nadia’s diagnosis—the way she was parented, the loss of her mother, her history of anxiety disorders, her relationship with her husband—and how she had to reshape herself.  What has shaped you as a parent and how do you find yourself evolving as you meet the challenges of your child’s illness?

3.  The author turns the loss of her daughter’s hair into something fun and funny and an occasion for uniting the family. She describes Nadia as “ …on stage now … pulling and laughing … calling her mother to the dinner table where she has left a bowl of downy tresses. Nadia beams, ‘It’s angel hair pasta.’” How did you respond to this section?  Have there been times when you have turned, or wanted to turn, a potentially traumatic event into something fun or playful?  How have you and your family used humor? Do you think it is effective?

4.  The author heard her mother’s voice disapproving of the fact that everyone was enjoying the “angel hair pasta” joke. She imagines her mother saying, “… by wanting to turn losing hair into fun, you are expressing your own denial of Nadia’s experience.  You are not allowing Nadia to examine her feelings …” How do you react when relatives or friends judge your actions and impose their parenting style on you?

5.  As much as caring for an ill son or daughter connects a parent and child on a deep and enduring level, it is also a moment of separation. The author describes this when Nadia goes for her first diagnostic test, a Panorax. “Later, I will recognize this as the point at which my journey and Nadia’s separated, as it must for all mothers and daughters— but, for us, too abruptly. We will remain side by side; Nadia in her boat and me in mine, our vessels the same size, color, and shape but never again the same.” And again, after Nadia’s surgery, which is described as a rebirth, the author refers to Nadia’s ninth birthday as “… the final contraction in her redelivery. Unlike the first time I, her mother, have little to do.” What are the ways you feel connected to your child? In what ways do you feel outside his or her world?

6.  The author devotes an entire chapter to a search for faith, which remains unsatisfied even as her spirituality deepens. What role, if any, does faith play in helping to support and sustain you? The author states, “I never thanked God for healing my daughter, just as I never prayed to God to cure her. But I was grateful for the doctors, for chemotherapy, for Nadia’s strength and my own, all of which might never have existed if humanity had never felt called upon to examine, judge, and reform itself.” Share how you experience gratitude. List five things you are grateful for right now. (Share responses with the group)

7.  The author is quite pointed in her observation that our society tends to romanticize illness and that we demand of the youngest patients that they be heroes, that they possess some deep wisdom and a sense of calm that even adults can’t attain. This attitude made it difficult for the author when she discovered the reality to be quite different. She even found herself judging eight year old Nadia for not being braver or more stoic. What kind of preconceived notions did you have before entering into the world of your child’s illness? Have you found yourself judging your child or having unrealistic expectations of him or her or of yourself?

8.  There are many moments in Motherhood Exaggerated when the author and her daughter had a tug-of-war between staying “cocooned” and in retreat from others vs. connecting with friends and family or the hospital community. When the author attempted to install a closed-circuit broadcast between the hospital and Nadia’s classroom, Nadia said no. “It wasn’t just about seeing what she was missing, though.  Nadia did not want to be distracted from what she now saw as the necessary task of establishing her life at the hospital.” When Nadia is finished with treatment she is ready to return to her world of school and friends and pretend as if nothing ever happened. At the same time, the author was unable to leave the world of Nadia’s illness. These dichotomies raise many thought-provoking questions. How have you balanced your outside, or old, world with the community in the hospital? Has there been friction between you and your child because of different priorities?

9.  The author found a lot of solace in nature, even for a few minutes. “On the terrace outside the hospital playroom I hear cars, sirens, construction, and, once in a while, a bird singing. But the sun is on my face, and the air doesn’t smell like hospital. Nadia is inside, excited to be doing syringe art—splattering paint with the same supplies I had used to drop saline into her trache.” Where are the places you can go and what can you do to nourish and replenish yourself?

10.  One of Nadia’s doctors told the author, “We will do our part to make your child healthy, but you must keep raising her, teaching her, disciplining her.” Ill children are entitled to all of their feelings but not all behaviors are acceptable (e.g. being rude to a nurse). What has it been like for you to parent your child during the illness? Have you been able to continue providing your child with the lessons that were important to you before illness struck? Is this important to you? How do you feel when you do have to discipline or push your child?

11.  The author avoided support groups offered at the hospital but developed a community of friends at the hospital, particularly with the Barovs. One of her first observations was that this was a family that wasn’t always talking “about blood counts or making frantic phone calls.” Their conversation didn’t revolve around illness as much as helping each other. What kind of supportive community within the medical setting do you think you need? Have you been able to find it? Do you have any frustrations or need for support that could be better addressed by the hospital?

12.  The author and her daughter experienced mostly compassionate care from the medical community. But there were times when the tiniest of words spoken by a doctor, or the presentation of an idea or plan that had never occurred to the author, would completely alter her outlook or train of thought. What has your experience communicating with doctors been like? Have you been able to speak openly, to voice your own thoughts and fears, to advocate for your child? If doctors have been insensitive, how have you responded? What might hold you back from speaking?

13.  Motherhood Exaggerated provides a very personal view into the author’s marriage and the entrenched patterns that sabotaged her and her husband’s ability to work as a team during the early stages of Nadia’s illness. In one scene, a surgeon, while draining fluid from Nadia’s cheek, insists he isn’t hurting her, despite the fact that she is crying in pain. The author’s husband asks Nadia if it really hurts. The author writes, “I don’t know where to look. If I look at the doctor, she [Nadia] will think I chose to side with him over her. If I look at John, my own fury and frustration will have a focal point. I want to tell him, You come stand here if you want to know if it hurts.”  Have you experienced similar tension with your spouse or other family members? If you are married or in a committed relationship, what are the strengths in your partnership that you are bringing to the care of your child? What are the weaknesses? Make a quick list. If you are separated, or a single parent, create a circle of support for yourself and your family. Write this down on a piece of paper, discuss and share what you have written.

14.  What other issues has Motherhood Exaggerated raised for you, either as a medical story or of the journey of a parent? What lessons did you learn from the story?

Author of Motherhood Exaggerated, Judith Hannan and Soaringwords CEO & Founder, Lisa Honig Buksbaum

SoaringJokes and Riddles

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Have you ever heard of the expression, “Laughter is the best medicine.” This means that when people laugh and smile, they relax and the body actually releases chemicals – called endorphins – that make them feel better naturally. When children are young they laugh about 500 times a day, when they grow up they laugh less than five times a day. That’s not funny at all!  Help Soaringwords share more laughter starting right now! Here are simple steps to make joke books filled with SoaringJokes for ill children or for anyone that needs a laugh.

SoaringJoke Book Materials: Index cards (large size). Hole punchers (to put ribbon through or you can just use a binder clip) Ribbon or binder clip to bind the book Markers and crayons to inscribe and decorate the books Stickers to decorate the book covers

 Here is how to get started:

1. Think of some great jokes. Here are few samples of SoaringJokes:
-What do you get when you graduate from scuba diving school? 
A deep-loma
-Where do cows go on holiday?
Moo York
-What do sheep do on sunny days? 
Have a baa-baa-cue!

2. Hole punch a set of 7-8 index cards. Two holes so you can bind it like a book.

3. Make a special cover design on top index card.

4. When you have finished the cover and your dedication page, each index card will become another page in your
Joke Book. Make a hole in each index card. On each index card write a joke. On the front of each page write “Q” or the Question part of the joke. For example, “What is a skunk’s favorite contest?” You can decorate this front page with bubble letters, or choose a different color to write out each word. You can make a picture of the subject of the joke. On the back of this page is your “A” or Answer part of the joke-“A smelling bee!  Ha Ha.” And you can draw a picture of a skunk laughing.

5.  When you are finished creating SoaringJokes Book you can bind it with a ribbon or a binder clip.

If you are in the hospital, you can give your joke book as a gift to somebody who needs a laugh.. your roommate, your favorite nurse or doctor, or someone in your family. If you are doing a Soaringwords volunteer project, you can create joke books to donate to hospitalized children to inspire them to laugh and smile.

Guess Who Zoo

The Guess Who book series is the first children’s book series to be designated as part of the Soaringwords Book Club where children read the books and then are invited to make SoaringRiddles to donate to hospitalized children.  Author Howard Eisenberg will be visiting many of Soaringwords 196 partner hospitals to read Guess Who books to hospitalized children to help them pass the time and enhance their well-being.

The author and Mascot Publishers are proud to cooperate in a program to Buy One, Give One to motivate consumers to purchase an extra set of books to donate to a hospitalized child (Press Release). To purchase your book click here.

Create a SoaringRiddle

Scanned from a Xerox multifunction device001 (1)Riddles are questions or statements phrased to tell its answer and they are usually presented as a game. Riddles are like puzzles and they ask the question: What am I? Many people enjoy riddles because they are fun to tell and even more fun to figure out! The riddle you make will be shared with a child in a hospital to bring laughter and joy to them!


1) What is black and white and red all over?
A panda bear with a sunburn.

2) Why do hummingbirds hum?
Because they forgot the words!

3) How do bees get to school?
By school buzz!

4) Why did the turkey cross the road twice?
To prove he wasn’t chicken!

5) Knock Knock!
Who’s there?
Cowsgo who?
No they don’t, cows go “moo!”

 Click here to see more riddle examples. See what other students from P.S.75 in New York City have created, click here.

Here’s How to Get Started:

  1. Pick an animal from the animal worksheet that you want to be your answer (like a dog or dinosaur).
  2. What does your animal do? What does your animal look like? Write these ideas down.
  3. Draft your riddle. Try reading it to a friend to see if it makes sense. You can re-word it and try again!
  4. Share your riddle with friends and family!
  5. Use the SoaringBorder to write and decorate your riddle.


  • Do use the SoaringBorder to write your Riddle. Fold your border to make a book. (When printing the border press “two-sided copy”.
  • Do make sure your words are legible and neat, so that the Riddle can be easily read. Your Riddle may end up on our website!
  • Do use darker colors for the words and bright colors for your picture.
  • Don’t include illness or death in your Riddle.
  • Don’t write “Get Well Soon” or “Feel Better” because these messages can make an ill kid feel sad.
  • After You Finish Your Riddle: You can give your Riddle to someone who is ill. Or, you can mail it to Soaringwords and we will share it with a hospitalized child.