Archive for May, 2023

Chipper Sends Sunshine – a virtual blog tour and giveaway

This post is sponsored by Kimber Fox Morgan. The review and opinions expressed in this post are based on my personal view.

From the Publisher:

Chipper Sends Sunshine  Written by Kimber Fox Morgan and Illustrated by Kim Sponaugle

Ages 4+ | 32 Pages

Publisher: Creative, Simple Wonder Press | ISBN-13: 9781737038672

Publisher’s Synopsis: Chipper the Fox and his Arctic friends travel to summer camp for fun in the sun! After an amazing summer, how will they stay in touch with their new friends and keep their summer adventure going?



Kimber Morgan is a multi-award-winning children’s book author who lives in Charlotte, North Carolina. Kimber is a fun wife and imperfect mom of 3 crazy kiddos and two little lemon (problematic) dogs. She tries to live her strengths the best she can. Morgan is a homemade Halloween costume type of mom who lets her kids mix the Play-Doh. She bakes fun birthday cakes (cutely, but far from perfection) and loves a homemade Valentine and a school project.

Writing children’s books is an extension of her creative strength. She strives to create picture books that are beautiful, engaging, humorous, and with themes of acceptance and kindness. She hopes you love reading her works. Kimber is available for author visits and wants to connect with you.

Visit her on Instagram @kimbermorgan_writes and her website,



Chipper Sends Sunshine

Written by Kimber Fox Morgan

Illustrated by Kim Sponaugle

Chipper and his friends from the arctic region decide to go south on a camping vacation. When they arrive at Bright Stars Camp, they immediately forge new friendships. They engage in activities like archery, swimming, sunning on the beach, and racing competitions.

Alas, the time moves swiftly. How will they continue the bonds formed here over until seeing each other again next year.  Each of the arctic friends attempts to send gifts to their new friends, but none arrive safely. Finally, they discover the perfect gift. Can you guess what it is?

This charming rhyming, animal picture book contains illustrations that are delightful to look at and fun to read. I would suggest it as a bedtime story or group read aloud for preschool and primary grade children.

Enter for the chance to win a paperback copy of Chipper Sends Sunshine and an Amazon Fire HD 8 Kids tablet! Good luck!

Enter for the chance to win a paperback copy of Chipper Sends Sunshine and an Amazon Fire HD 8 Kids tablet! Good luck!

One (1) grand prize winner receives:

  • A paperback copy of Chipper Sends Sunshine
  • An Amazon Fire HD 8 Kids Tablet






Word Dragon is the first book in an interesting adventure book series for elementary and middle-grade readers. When siblings, Eli and Grace visit an antique store owned by “Uncle Larry,” a nonstop fantasy adventure ensues.

Their dad is searching for a second-hand lawnmower. Eli and Grace meet the lovable but absent minded store owner who loves telling stories to children. Larry gives them a hubcap, a length of rope, and an old Scrabble game with a missing letter. He informs the children they they can use these to go on an adventure, but once begun they cannot return until they solve the mystery to find their way back.

Challenge accepted! The brother and sister head off. They will meet a Word Dragon and avoid fireballs thrown at them along the journey. I particularly enjoyed the word vocabulary list that encourages young readers to expand their vocabulary. Readers will definitely want to sign up for a return visit to Uncle Larry’s store.



DIVERSITY to me: A children’s picture book teaching kids about the beauty of diversity

Written by Marisa J. Taylor

Illustrated by Fernanda Monteiro

I love the non-judgmental presentation of diversity presented by this author.

She shows both in text and illustration diversity is not restricted to skin color. We all have different talents, personalities, and physical traits. These must be assessed together so that all races can live and work together in harmony.

Recommended to parents, teachers, and librarians of preschoolers and primary grade children.



Weeny Meeny’s Halloween

Written and illustrated by Marin Darmonkow

Weeny Meeny is rather young for a witch just passing the 1000 year mark. She enjoys newfound independence as she can now consider herself a mature witch. One thing bothers her. All the other witches fly about town never considering the litter in the streets. Weeny Meeny is environmentally conscious and wants to do something about it so she teams up with her pets, a black crow and a black cat.

Weeny Meeny strives to combine her magic with some hard work. The three friends enlist the aid of some unlikely allies and set to the task. Will the streets of the town be clean for Halloween?

The illustrations are child-like pencil drawings etched in Halloween colors. They add a unique aspect to the tale. While the book is targeted for readers ages three through ten, there is quite a bit of text on each page, which makes me feel it more suitable for a bit older reader or as a child’s beginning reader rather than a picture book for the younger child.


A Parent’s Guide to Boosting Your Child’s Reading Comprehension

Reading comprehension is essential to success in school and in life. You play a major role in helping your kids retain the information they read. There are basic and more advanced strategies that any parent can use to assist their children in this area.

Basic Steps to Strengthen Comprehension

  1. Make it fun. Your child may already feel uneasy if reading is an area of weakness. Project a calm and happy attitude and even try to turn reading into a game.

  2. Practice. Practice. Practice. Encourage your children to take advantage of every opportunity to test their reading skills. In addition to books, they can read street signs and cereal boxes.

  3. Select materials that match the reading level of your child. People retain material best when they can read at least 90% of the words. Otherwise, they’ll get distracted by asking questions or trying to figure out the meanings of unfamiliar words.

  4. Choose subjects your kids love. It’s easier to get your kids to read if you keep their passions in mind. Browse your local library for new books about dinosaurs, fairy princesses, or any other area of interest.

  5. Create a summary. Ask your child to recap what was just read. If they struggle, prompt them gently by dropping some clues. When they get it right, praise them for doing a great job.

  6. Take time off. Small children and even some adults have limited attention spans. Alternate between reading and other activities such as baking cookies or taking a walk.

  7. Break long texts down into smaller segments. Approach a large textbook a few pages or one chapter at a time. You can gradually increase the length of reading assignments as your child progresses.

  8. Find a comfortable reading spot. Designate a special area for reading. It could be the corner of the living room couch or while sitting at the dining room table.

  9. Discuss the reading material. Encourage conversation about whatever you and your child are reading. Question one another and share your impressions.

  10. Supplement reading with other activities. Generate more enthusiasm by combining reading with other special activities. This will give your children something to look forward to. If you’re reading a book about the American Civil War, you could plan a family outing to a local museum or even Gettysburg.

  11. Read aloud to each other. Take turns reading aloud to each other. Kids learn faster when they hear and see words at the same time.

  12. Go back and re-read. Let your kids know that a smart student goes back and re-reads sections that they find difficult. Tell them that even adults do this.

Advanced Steps to Strengthen Comprehension

  1. Scan the text before reading. Give a complicated textbook the once-over before you plunge in. Suggest that your kids focus on the chapter titles, section headings, and any words in bold or italics.

  2. Take notes. Purchase a memo pad and sticky notes so your children can jot down thoughts and questions as they read. This is called active reading. Older kids may be more comfortable taking notes using their eBook reader.

  3. Experiment with inferences. Explain what inferences are and how to use them. Making an inference is when you draw conclusions based on clues in the text and your own experiences.

  4. Spot flag words. Talk with your kids about how flag words help you to understand a text by establishing word relationships. Give examples such as analogies, cause and effect connections, or comparing and contrasting.

  5. Map the story. Some readers have a more visual learning style. These kids may benefit from drawing squares or circles and filling them in with elements of the story such as characters, plot, and theme.

With skillful guidance, even children who are reluctant to read can discover the joys of reading for pleasure. As a parent, you’re the best role model and instructor for helping your kids to build reading comprehension skills and love of literature for a lifetime.





Mrs. Wiggles and the Numbers: Counting Book for Children, Math Read Aloud Picture Book

Written and illustrated by Lisa Konkol

Poor Mrs. Wiggles has lost her students. She stands alone in her one room school.

One day the numbers fall off the shelf and come to life. As they introduce themselves, the number zero finds himself without a role. The other numbers welcome him and teach young readers that each of us is important. Children learn to count with single numbers and groups of ten. Finally, they receive a bonus page on which numbers are matched to the corresponding number of objects.

This interactive book contains funny illustrations and appealing faces to entice the youngest readers. Recommended as a read aloud for toddlers, preschoolers, and reluctant readers to be enjoyed over and over.



Social Skills for Kids 3-10

Written by Kate Herm

I like the detailed introduction explaining just how to use the book. It is important to note that the author requests the book be read in sequential order. While the child may only need work enforcing one or two areas, it is necessary to examine each stage within the framework of social-emotional development.

Herm presents activity suggestions grouped in categories like communication, listening, body language, self-control, empathy, problem-solving, manners and developing friendships. Of course, many of these categories contain social emotional skills that overlap. Parents can mix and match activities according to resource availability and time constraints. Most of the activities can be adapted to be flexible with an older or younger child. Perhaps siblings could work on some of these together or parents might introduce them on play dates.

A good addition to a parent or teacher’s education bookshelf for preschool and elementary school social skills.



11 Healthy Ways to Put Yourself First



The ability to set goals and achieve them requires mustering up the courage to take responsibility for your life. That involves putting yourself first. By putting yourself first, you are simply making it a priority to take care of your mental, physical, emotional, and spiritual needs.

Creating the life that you desire is no one else’s responsibility but yours. You cannot do that if you keep getting in the way of yourself by thinking and caring too much about others. No doubt, caring for the needs of others is a natural human instinct, but it should never be to your detriment. 

Many people are oblivious to the realization that they are the architects of their fortunes. They like to believe that putting the needs of others first, before their own, follows a universal moral code of conduct that you must adhere to, the failure of which makes them less human or less fortunate in life.

There are various reasons why people believe that putting the needs of others ahead of their own is the best and only way to live. They may think people will stop liking them, or that being a tireless caregiver gives them a sense of purpose and fulfillment. Some sincerely feel responsible for others, or worse, they don’t feel worthy of making themselves a priority.

Whichever one of the above categories you may find yourself in, the good news is that you can reset your thinking. Sadly, many people today suffer from thoughts of negating their own needs for the benefit of others. It is, however, essential to know that this thinking is false. You need to unshackle yourself from them to successfully take charge of your life and fully accomplish your goals.

Rather than confining your thoughts to the preconceived notion of scary consequence that would supposedly befall on you if you put yourself first, it is much more reassuring to focus on the numerous benefits guaranteed by putting yourself first. The importance of this is tied to many wholesome benefits some of which include:

  • Being more productive
  • Being happier and more joyful
  • Having more energy
  • Receiving more respect from others
  • Improved relationships
  • Experiencing less fear
  • Suffering from less stress
  • Feeling less resentment
  • Experiencing less depressed

These are the key areas where you stand to benefit if you learn to put yourself first. In this report, we will be looking at various healthy ways to put yourself first to gain the many wonderful benefits.

Strategies for Putting Yourself First

Below are some healthy ways and tips that can help you develop the habit of putting yourself first without burning bridges or negatively affecting your energy, enthusiasm, and motivation. Following them will help you achieve your goals, protect your mental and physical wellbeing, and overcome even your biggest challenges.

  1. Choose Your Purpose

Having a clear purpose in life is essential. It is the simplest, most basic thing every person needs to live a fulfilling and satisfying life. Without a clear sense of purpose, you will end up living your life haphazardly. Your purpose also makes it easier for you to say ‘No’ to people and things that do not align with your highest good. Being aware of your life purpose and living it helps you identify those things that you need to do and when you need to do them. By consciously reaffirming your purpose regularly, you will be inspired to multiply your efforts of taking action to see your purpose fulfilled.

  • Live by a Vision

Putting yourself first also requires that you develop a clear vision of the life that you want to lead. A vision keeps you focused on the journey of your life. A clear vision will allow you to effectively prioritize your tasks and projects as the important things will align with your purpose and vision of your ultimate life. To get clear about your vision, start by reflecting on these three questions:

  • Who do I want to be?
  • What do I want to do?
  • How do you want to feel?

If you are unsure about your vision, ruminating on these questions will assist you in getting clear about what you want out of life.

  • Set Personal Goals and Plan

Setting personal goals is a wise way to ensure your vision becomes a reality. Goals make the realization of your vision much more achievable and will keep you motivated and focused on what you want out of life. After taking the time to set your goals, set aside regular time to plan how you will achieve each of them.

  • Learn New Skills

As you draw up your goals and develop your vision, you may find you need to learn new skills to make your ideal life a reality. Take some time to identify those areas that you may be lacking in knowledge and skills. Then take proactive steps to bridge the gap between your present level and your desired level regarding your knowledge and skills.

  • Set Personal Boundaries

Setting person boundaries is a skill you need to master when learning how to put yourself first because you will need it a lot on every step of your journey. That is especially true if you tend to be a people-pleaser. Others are used to you backing down and giving them what you want, so you’ll need to stay strong. Look them in the eye and kindly say, “No, thank you.” Even when they try to convince you to think otherwise, practice sticking to your decision by not get pressured into consenting. Setting personal boundaries is a vital skill because it enables you to defend your time and your rights which is an essential component of putting yourself first.

  • Get Exercise

Putting yourself first isn’t only about goal setting and getting ahead. It’s also about taking the time for self-care. After all, if you don’t take care of your health, you’ll be unable to live your purpose or fulfill your life’s vision. Put yourself and your health first by starting a program of regular exercise as soon as possible if you aren’t already doing so. Engaging in a brisk daily walk is all that’s needed to improve and maintain your health.

  • Eat Healthily

A healthy diet is equally as important as your body’s need to exercise. Eating a nutritious diet is a huge part of taking care of your health and putting yourself first. If your diet needs a major overhaul, take it one step at a time and work your way up to your ideal diet. Remember, putting yourself first is about being kind to yourself.

  • Sleep Enough

Getting sufficient sleep is another essential component of putting yourself first. It is also necessary for boosting your performance and replenishing your energy. By getting enough sleep, you will be better equipped to face the hurdles of the new day with greater confidence, energy, and enthusiasm. Never allow anyone or anything come between you and the need to get enough sleep.

  • Schedule Relaxation

Sometimes you may be lacking the energy you need to live your ultimate life. Rather than trying to push through such times, it is better to maximize your relaxation and recovery. You can engage in activities that will help reduce fatigue and replenish your energy, such as meditation, yoga, massage, or a quick nap. If you find you run low on energy and motivation on a regular basis, start scheduling relaxation or downtime into your day. A consistent relaxation routine will keep you on more of an even-keel, so you don’t burn out.

  1. Journal

Apparently, you have 60,000 or more thoughts per day. When you feel you have a lot to do and you are overwhelmed with too many ideas, journaling will help clear your head. Journaling can also lead to better self-awareness, which is the foundation of putting yourself first. You can journal any way you wish—with paper and pen or by using an app. You might choose to journal every day or only when you feel overwhelmed or unsettled. Whatever works for you is perfect.

  1. Practice Gratitude

Take some time each day to reflect on the positives in your life. It’s easy to focus on the things we’d like to change and neglect to be appreciative for all we have. It is very important to have a realistic perspective on your life and identify the positives for the sake of your health and wellbeing. As you find the time to write down and reflect on all the things you are grateful for each day, you will reduce your stress levels and naturally find more and more to be grateful for in your life.


Putting yourself first is something you must make a conscious effort to do. You must fill your cup first, or you will end up with nothing left to give to others. Even when you face negative reactions from people who feel that you are selfish for putting yourself first, remembering the tips outlined above and applying them will give you the wherewithal to go on regardless and live the life that you desire.

Vivienne in Paris a virtual blog tour and giveaway #VivienneInParis

This post is sponsored by Maria Castellucci Moore. The review and opinions expressed in this post are based on my personal view.


Vivienne in Paris

Written by Maria Castellucci Moore

Illustrated by Emanuela Mannello

Ages 4+ | 38 Pages

Publisher: Mascot Kids | ISBN-13: 9781637551431

Publisher’s Book Summary: Vivienne in Paris follows a young Parisian girl on a journey through Paris to find what makes her tick. Join Vivienne as she discovers the sights, smells, tastes, and sounds of the city that make her feel alive. What better place to explore, observe, and delight in her senses than Paris?

This book tells a story of mindfulness and insight into how the surrounding world can really move you. It unites curiosity, wonder, and marvel to enlighten, surprise, and tickle your deepest spirit. Sometimes it’s the smallest things that bring you the greatest joy.



Barnes and Noble


Owner Entrepreneur, first-generation American, writer, and mother to four children. Maria Castellucci Moore strives to bring passion and enthusiasm to all her endeavors. A lover of all things European, María has found great passion through her travels to Paris, Italy, Spain, and South America. Her affection for winemaking, foreign languages, the arts, ballroom dancing, and traveling has given María a unique and grateful perspective on life. Her love for her family and helping others through charitable giving has enabled María to thoughtfully curate purposeful life adventures.

María Castellucci Moore earned her bachelor of arts degree in finance from Dominican University on a tennis scholarship, and later pursued studying at New York University and the London School of Economics with a focus on global affairs. In 2016, with her siblings, Maria founded Castellucci Napa Family, a luxury wine and real estate brand. María runs her wine label and a family real estate development company in the greater Bay Area. She is a board member of the San Francisco Opera Guild and is enthusiastic about building opportunity and community through the arts.

María resides in Saint Helena, California, with her husband and four young children. She enjoys writing; traveling; attending the opera, ballet, and symphony; flower arranging; winemaking; ballroom dancing; and playing tennis and the piano.

For more information, visit



Vivienne in Paris

Written by Maria Castellucci Moore

Illustrated by Emanuela Mannello

Come tour Paris through the eyes of a child. Vivienne takes the advice of her grandfather who counsels her to experience her favorite places by opening her mind and heart.

Vivienne sets off on her bicycle to revisit her favorite friends and places in Paris. This time she allows her senses to totally immerse her. She smells the food, the flowers, touches the fabrics, feels the wind, sees the beauty of its buildings, and hears its voices. Suddenly, ordinary surroundings flood her body and mind with rich imagery. Vivienne’s readers magically accompany her on a journey that feeds their imagination.

I appreciate the way Moore challenges her readers with new vocabulary, exciting verbs, and fanciful forms. The beautiful illustrations complement the text perfectly and entice elementary school age readers to travel to Paris on an armchair adventure they will want to repeat over and over.


Enter the giveaway for the chance to win a signed hardcover copy of Vivienne in Paris and a Kindle!

One (1) winner receives:

– A hardcover copy of Vivienne in Paris signed by Maria Castellucci Moore

– A Kindle (2022 release)



Tuesday, May 2, 2023The Children’s Book ReviewA book review of Vivienne in Paris
Wednesday, May 3, 2023The Momma SpotA book review of Vivienne in Paris
Thursday, May 4, 2023Me Two BooksA book activity paired with Vivienne in Paris
Friday, May 5, 2023Life Is What It’s CalledAuthor interview with Maria Castellucci Moore
Monday, May 8, 2023My Reading GetawayA book review of Vivienne in Paris
Tuesday, May 9, 2023icefairy’s Treasure ChestA book review of Vivienne in Paris
Wednesday, May 10, 2023Barbara Ann MojicaA book review of Vivienne in Paris
Thursday, May 11, 2023Lisa’s ReadingA book activity paired with Vivienne in Paris
Friday, May 12, 2023Twirling Book PrincessAuthor interview with Maria Castellucci Moore
Monday, May 15, 2023Joanna’s BookshelfA book review of Vivienne in Paris
Tuesday, May 16, 2023The Review WireA book review of Vivienne in Paris
Wednesday, May 17, 2023Heart to HeartAuthor interview with Maria Castellucci Moore
Thursday, May 18, 2023Crafty Moms ShareA book review of Vivienne in Paris
Friday, May 19, 2023The Fairview ReviewA book review of Vivienne in Paris
Monday, May 22, 2023Cover Lover Book ReviewA book review of Vivienne in Paris
Tuesday, May 23, 2023Satisfaction for Insatiable ReadersA book review of Vivienne in Paris
Wednesday, May 24, 2023Because I Said SoA book review of Vivienne in Paris
Thursday, May 25, 2023A Blue Box Full of BooksA book review of Vivienne in Paris
Tuesday, May 30, 2023The Growing Readers PodcastAuthor interview with Maria Castellucci Moore



The Women of Washington’s Spy Ring

Written by Kit Sergeant

If you enjoy historical fiction and American Revolution nonfiction, you will love this book. Sergeant focuses on three female members of the Culper Spy Ring, George Washington’s main source of spying on British intelligence during the war.

Readers follow the lives of three women, Elizabeth Burgin, Margaret Coghlin, and Sarah, Sally Townsend. Slowly and inextricably, each of these woman’s lives entertwine with more familiar names in history like Aaron Burr and Benedict Arnold.

An intriguing and compelling read for fans of spy novels and historical fiction featuring lesser known but important historical figures.


%d bloggers like this: