Posts from the ‘memoir’ Category


Hey Nana! Connor’s Story of Love

Written by Toni Nunemaker

This book is a testament to the young life of Connor, a boy who was murdered by another in a playground not far from his home in a trailer park nearby. The memoir is penned by his grandmother, who herself undergoes a transformation because of the crime.

Readers need to be prepared for an emotional roller-coaster as Nana proceeds through a gamut of emotions proceeding from the moment of the crime, the funeral, the criminal investigation, the trial, and the family’s readjustment to a life without the nine-year-old child, who brought so much love into the world.

Nana even learns to understand and accept the grief that Jamarion, the young murderer, and his family experience and the abuse that led up to it. I think the author does an exceptional job of portraying her conflicting emotions as well as the character of the gentle and loving victim, her grandchild, and the special relationship they both shared.

The book is a powerful commentary on abuse, addiction, love, and the way various members of society cope or fail to cope with them. This book is one that will force readers to consider these issues, whether they agree with the author’s ultimate decision in her acceptance and forgiveness. Recommended for young adult and adult readers.

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Holocaust Survivor
Dan Myers, Author, and Editor
Virginia Weinkratz, Narrator

This is not a book for the feint-hearted. The author relates her personal experience as a young 22-year-old Jewish girl growing up in Poland. She communicates the heartache of suddenly being torn from family and community to live a life of fear and uncertainty. Trapped between the German and Soviet forces, the family fees struggling to remain together. Once captured, the men and women are quickly separated. Regina and her mother are torn from her father and male siblings. They are moved from the ghetto to Auschwitz where Regina loses her mother and befriends Elka. Regina describes in graphic detail the physical, mental and emotional atrocities of prison life. Then she is marched to Majdanek, where she remains close to death until “liberated.” Two-thirds of the Jewish population as well as many whom the Nazis viewed as undesirables would be wiped out during World War II.

This book is recommended for young adult and adult audiences who are prepared to read about one of the darkest events in history.

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Dottie’s Daring Day

Written by Meg Welch Dendler

Dottie is an adorable dog who lives with Mindy, a University of Arkansas student, and her cat Mindy. About a year before, Mindy had seen Dottie’s picture online and had driven all the way to Oklahoma to adopt her. One Saturday, Mindy decides to take Dottie for a walk on the Razorback Greenway Trail. That decision would begin an adventure Dottie would never forget.

When a bike rider inadvertently loosens Dottie’s leash, she decides spontaneously to run away. Dottie rationalizes that she will be home before dark. Dottie meets a raccoon, a hog, and a seeing eye dog, to name a few travelers along the way. She is frightened and scared, but like a rebellious teenager, her curiosity and love of freedom spur her on. Then Dottie finds herself at a football game. Will she ever be reunited with Mindy?

This animal adventure tale is told in first person. The dialogue is amusing and feels genuine. While the story is marketed for ages three and older, the book is really appropriate for a middle grade and young adult audience. Dendler includes a glossary to assist younger readers with some of the more difficult vocabulary. A few photos enhance the appeal.

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Tails of Sweetbrier

Written by Deanie Humphrys- Dunne

Illustrated by Holly Humphrys-Bajaj


A warm and moving autobiography of a girl who had a dream of riding horses. That might not seem so tough to achieve until you discover that Deanie was afflicted with cerebral palsy. Deanie convinces her parents that she will work hard to achieve that dream, and her father opens up a riding school to support that dream.

Readers follow Deanie’s journey as she learns to walk, trot and canter on her pony, Little Man. As her confidence grows, she begins to dream of loftier goals. Despite a family tragedy with a barn fire that results in the loss of her horse, Chiefie, Deanie and her family persevere and rebuild. We follow their successes and failures as well as the physical hardships that Deanie endures.

The author teachers her young readers to reach for the stars. Work hard to achieve your dreams and use the challenges and failures that occur along the way as a ladder to climb to success. Beautifully written story written in less than one hundred pages that make it perfect for a middle grade and young adult audience. Deanie’s physical challenges and determination also provide inspiration for those with special needs and learning disabilities. The black and white illustrations draw the reader into the story and personalize the narrative enhancing its appeal. Highly recommended for readers age eight and older, especially those who love horses.

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The Little Linebacker: A Story of Determination

Written by Stephen Tullock and Maria Dismondy

Illustrated by Heather Heyworth


This picture book is based on the life of Stephen Tulloch, who has spent ten years playing football in the NFL. Tale begins introducing Stephen as an elementary school student who loves playing football. He is about to attend his first Little League Football practice. Stephen is soon disappointed because he wants to practice daily instead of weekly. Stephen’s mother urges him to be patient; Stephen decides to gather friends and practice on his own. The scene shifts to school where Stephen has difficulty concentrating because he can think of nothing but football. Stephen’s mom and a friend at the nursing home, urge him to keep trying and practice harder. Fast forward, Stephen is now in high school. He is frustrated when classmates pick him last to be on the team, but Stephen resolves to remain a good team player. Soon Stephen is of college age and even though he makes the football team, he overhears scouts expressing the opinion he is too small to be successful in professional football. Stephen never stops believing in himself and pushing himself to the limits. He overcomes all obstacles and earns a spot in the NFL.

The illustrations in this book are multicultural with simple, clean lines. They depict both genders, young and old, able and disabled. One thing I thought odd was that the face of Stephen does not appear to change as he ages from elementary school through college. This picture book is targeted for readers in the five to seven age range and the illustrations will appeal to that age, but young children might find the rapid plot development from one age to another a bit disjointed. Advice is often delivered in well-known phrases for adults, but these may not be meaningful to young children. I found the teaching guide at the beginning of the book useful for parents and teachers in presenting the story lessons. Likewise, Tully’s Tips at the end of the book offer good advice for child readers. His example of service to the community to promote their health and welfare enhances his influence as a role model. If this book were expanded, it would be an interesting biography chapter book for older readers, especially those interested in football. I applaud Tulloch’s determination and success as well as the fact he wishes to use his experience to inspire other young people to follow their dreams.

The Super Bowl is almost upon us. Would you like to make your own football hero from materials you have around the house? Below you will find a picture and link with  instructions:

Football Player Craft                

Contributed by Leanne Guenther

This football player toilet paper roll craft makes a great project to occupy kids while parents are watching the game.



Then if you get hungry, you can make a football cake to share with family and friends.




Multicultural Children’s Book Day 2017 (1/27/17) is its fourth year and was founded by Valarie Budayr from Jump Into A Book and Mia Wenjen from PragmaticMom. Our mission is to raise awareness on the ongoing need to include kid’s books that celebrate diversity in home and school bookshelves while also working diligently to get more of these types of books into the hands of young readers, parents and educators.

Despite census data that shows 37% of the US population consists of people of color, only 10% of children’s books published have diversity content. Using the Multicultural Children’s Book Day holiday, the MCBD Team are on a mission to change all of that.

Current Sponsors:  MCBD 2017 is honored to have some amazing Sponsors on board. Platinum Sponsors include Scholastic, Barefoot Books and Broccoli. Other Medallion Level Sponsors include heavy-hitters like Author Carole P. Roman, Audrey Press, Candlewick Press,  Fathers Incorporated, KidLitTV, Capstone Young Readers, ChildsPlayUsa, Author Gayle Swift, Wisdom Tales Press, Lee& Low Books, The Pack-n-Go Girls, Live Oak Media, Author Charlotte Riggle, Chronicle Books and Pomelo Books


Author Sponsor include: Karen Leggett Abouraya, Veronica AppletonSusan Bernardo, Kathleen Burkinshaw, Maria DismondyD.G. DriverGeoff Griffin Savannah HendricksStephen HodgesCarmen Bernier-Grand,Vahid Imani, Gwen Jackson,  Hena, Kahn, David Kelly, Mariana LlanosNatasha Moulton-LevyTeddy O’Malley, Stacy McAnulty,  Cerece MurphyMiranda Paul, Annette Pimentel, Greg RansomSandra Richards, Elsa TakaokaGraciela Tiscareño-Sato,  Sarah Stevenson, Monica Mathis-Stowe SmartChoiceNation, Andrea Y. Wang


We’d like to also give a shout-out to MCBD’s impressive CoHost Team who not only hosts the book review link-up on celebration day, but who also work tirelessly to spread the word of this event. View our CoHosts HERE.

MCBD Links to remember:

MCBD site:

Free Multicultural Books for Teachers:

Free Kindness Classroom Kit for Homeschoolers, Organizations, Librarians and Educators:

Free Diversity Book Lists and Activities for Teachers and Parents:


Barbara Ann Mojica, author of the Little Miss HISTORY Travels to… series and the Little Miss HISTORY COLORING BOOK   http://littlemisshistory.comlmhholdingbookscolorbookfrontcvr


















Stories Around the Kitchen Table: A Collection of Women’s Memoirs

Edited by Anne Randolph


The editor based this collection on her creation of the kitchen table writers’ concept, which encourages women to find their creative author’s voice. A small group of women gather around a kitchen table and begin writing their thoughts with pen in hand. No need to worry about grammar, spelling or second guessing. Weekly sessions begin and end with the inspiration of a poem. Each author writes about her thoughts and dreams. Following the time allotted for writing, each of the participants listens and shares taking turns to read aloud. At the end of this nearly one hundred page collection of stories, Randolph includes short biographies of each participating author.

Topics are diverse; emotions and writing reflect the natural setting and willingness of each participant to immerse herself in the writing process, and more importantly to lend a willing ear to each other’s work. In “Belly Flops” the reader is treated to a young girl’s first experience diving into a swimming pool. “When I was Ten” propels its readers back in time to a child’s visit to Manhattan during World War II. “Learning to Fly” transports us to an airfield for a first flying lesson. “A Slow Leaving” reflects the emotional roller coaster the writer experiences as her husband is about to leave the house because their divorce has become final.

This book is a good tool to preview many styles of writing and a good conversation starter for a woman’s group on many topics up for discussion on women’s issues in the modern world. Recommended for young adult and adult readers.

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Wishing my family, friends, and followers health, happiness and prosperity in the year to come.


Looking back to 2016, I count my blessings. I released the seventh book in the award winning Little Miss HISTORY Travels to….children’s nonfiction book series, Little Miss HISTORY Travels to MOUNT VERNON.

Little Miss HISTORY and I traveled near and far to visit old friends and acquire new ones. I’d like to share a few memories with you….


In January, we assisted a local girl scout troupe working on earning their community badge by reading about Little Miss HISTORY’S trip to The Statue of Liberty.

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We participated in READ ACROSS AMERICA in March with our friends at Temple Hill Academy in Newburgh and had a pajama reading party at Ralph R. Smith Elementary School in New Hyde Park.


One of the highlights each May is Children’s Reading Week. Little Miss HISTORY Travels to Intrepid, Sea, Air & Space Museum was my feature book in 2016 at the Hudson Children’s Book Festival, the largest children’s book festival in New York state.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              babswithhost


Our summer travels included a trip to eastern Long Island, where I discussed the Little Miss HISTORY book series with Linda Marie Frank on her TV show, The Writer’s Dream.


We journeyed to the Museum of Science and Innovation in Schenectady to read about SEQUOIA NATIONAL PARK at the four day Science and Technology Festival.


For Thanksgiving I traveled south to the Carolinas to visit with family and read to first grade children at Harrisburg Elementary School in South Carolina.


I welcomed the opportunity to share in the holiday spirit with authors Iza Trapani and Michael Garland at FDR’s home and presidential library in New Hyde Park for the Children’s Holiday Reading Festival in December.

As 2016 comes to a close, Little Miss HISTORY has plans to travel to new and exciting destinations by some unconventional means of transportation. I hope that children and adults will enjoy a new opportunity to put their creative stamp on the adventures of Little Miss HISTORY. In just a few weeks, her very first coloring book will be available online and in your favorite bookstore. You can add your personal touch to images from her adventures and read words of wisdom from historical figures. Take a sneak peak at the cover!


Please continue to follow my family friendly book reviews  for ages preschool through adult on Wednesdays and Sundays. To subscribe click on the word Follow or hit the orange RSS FEED button in the upper right hand corner of this page.

Look out 2017, here we come!


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