Posts from the ‘memoir’ Category

COURAGE AND PERSEVERANCE

Tails of Sweetbrier

Written by Deanie Humphrys- Dunne

Illustrated by Holly Humphrys-Bajaj

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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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#ReadYourWorld AGAINST ALL ODDS MCBD 2017

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The Little Linebacker: A Story of Determination

Written by Stephen Tullock and Maria Dismondy

Illustrated by Heather Heyworth

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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                          http://www.dltk-kids.com/sports/mfootball.html

Contributed by Leanne Guenther

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

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

http://www.pillsburybaking.com/recipes/football-cake-2295

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PLEASE FOLLOW MY FELLOW AUTHORS, BLOGGERS AND SPONSORS OF 2017 Multicultural Book Day

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: http://multiculturalchildrensbookday.com/

Free Multicultural Books for Teachers: http://bit.ly/1kGZrta

Free Kindness Classroom Kit for Homeschoolers, Organizations, Librarians and Educators: http://multiculturalchildrensbookday.com/teachers-classroom-kindness-kit/

Free Diversity Book Lists and Activities for Teachers and Parents: http://bit.ly/1sZ5s8i

THANKS FOR SUPPORTING ME IN THE FOURTH YEAR OF CHILDREN’S MULTICULTURAL BOOK DAY MAKING THE WORLD A BETTER PLACE FOR ALL OUR CHILDREN.

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


 

 

 

KITCHEN CHIT-CHAT

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

Edited by Anne Randolph

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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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REFLECTING BACK AND LOOKING FORWARD…..

HAPPY NEW YEAR 2017!

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

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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….

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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.

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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.   https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qNXOKQBolik

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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.

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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.

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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!

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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!

 

KANSAS KIN

Butter in the Well: A Scandinavian Woman’s Tale of Life on the Prairie

Written by Linda K. Hubalek

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Dedicated to Maja Kajsa Svensson Runneberg, the homesteader who settled the Kansas farm on which the author grew up, this work of historical fiction is written in first person as if the journal of Kajsa, the protagonist. The author carefully researched her life in the late 1800’s in the Smoky Valley of Kansas. Many Swedes emigrated because famine, crop failure and social structure prevented Sweden’s farmers from earning a living. Large numbers of families sold their possessions to buy passage to America; many wound up in Kansas after the Homestead Act of 1862 offered free land to those willing to settle there.

Kajsa and her husband Carl arrived with their infant daughter in 1868. They did not know the language, brought little money, and had no roof over their heads. Brutal winters, hot summers, crop failures, insect plagues, windstorms, and disease claimed many of the settlers’ lives. Kajsa’s story traces her journey, living underground in a sod house, making friends with neighboring Swedes, the arrival and death of family members. As they alternately take steps forward and face calamities, Kajsa enjoys the heights of joy and falls to the depths of despair when Carl is struck and killed by lightning. Time passes slowly, but within the next twenty years, the Smoky Valley will see the rise of churches, schools, towns, and even railroads.

The reader wants to cheer and cry while following Kajsa’s journey. Hubalek says the book is appropriate for ages nine through ninety-nine. Those who have an interest in history, memoirs, or psychology will enjoy the book. Though the plethora of details provided sometimes become tedious, the photographs, maps, and recipes are a pleasant addition. Teachers interested in giving students a unique perspective on Westward expansion will find this book useful.

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TONGUE-TIED?

Ruby Lee and the Very Big Deal

Written by Nancy Buffington

Illustrated by Stephanie Mullani

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Ruby Lee is a fifth grade student who has just won a contest. The problem is the prize she had hoped to gain was not something she wanted; it was to deliver a speech about her town at the first event ever held to celebrate life in Ruby’s town. Her friends and family congratulate her, but Ruby is terrified. The only time she had appeared on stage at age six had been a disaster because she had forgotten all her lines! Ruby wishes she could vanish into thin air.

Great Aunt Alice comes to the rescue. Alice is a bit of an eccentric who is rumored to have been a somewhat successful actress way back when. One day while Alice is sitting under the tree in the backyard with her dog, Thumbelina, Alice reveals that she will share her Nine Secrets of Becoming a Star with Alice. Over the next week’s time, Alice gradually shares them. Here are the nine secrets:

  1. Be yourself
  2. Practice, practice, practice
  3. Don’t even try to be perfect
  4. What the audience doesn’t know won’t hurt them
  5. Take charge
  6. Give yourself credit
  7. Have fun!
  8. Get ready to do it again
  9. Feel the love

Alice boasts that she has worked with some of the greats of the acting world. One evening she drops a picture signed by Johnny B., which Ruby picks up and places in her pocket for good luck. The big day has finally arrived. Has Ruby been able to internalize her Great Aunt’s tips in her quest to overcome her fears? How will the big speech go over?

This book can be used a  guide for anyone, child or adult, who is afraid to speak in public. Ruby’s story is in the format of an early chapter book and is an entertaining read for young readers. The author, who was once just like Ruby, is now a public speaking coach. The cast of characters included at the end of the book is a nice little time capsule of acting greats at the beginning of this century and is a bonus for those interested in the theater and the movies. I recommend this book as an interesting chapter book that promotes self-confidence  for those who are shy. Children and adults ages seven and up will enjoy the read.

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A BOOK YOU NEED TO READ – BOOK BLAST

Megan'sbook

 

Synopsis

Megan’s book, Who Am I?  How My Daughter Taught Me to Let Go and Live Again, is about her journey into post-partum depression, anxiety disorder, panic attacks, stays in the psych ward, divorce, emotional abuse, domestic violence, law school, how she managed to graduate from law school and a beautiful little girl who emerged from all of this chaos.  

Author Bio

Megan Cyrulewski has been writing short stories ever since she was ten-years-old.  After attending Grand Valley State University, Megan eventually settled into a career in the non-profit sector for eight years.  She decided to change careers and went back to school to get her law degree from Thomas M. Cooley Law School.  While in school, she documented her divorce, child custody battle and postpartum depression struggles in her memoir. Megan lives in Michigan with her 3-year-old daughter who loves to dance, run, read, and snuggle time with Mommy.  Megan also enjoys her volunteer work with various organizations in and around metro-Detroit.

Excerpt

On January 18, 2012, we all convened in the courthouse for the Motion for Parenting Time hearing. My dad and I arrived with my attorney, but Tyler loved an audience so he brought his dad, step-mom, and his new on-again off-again girlfriend, Heather. Tyler walked in with his posse in tow, cocky as hell. It took all of two minutes for the judge to knock him off his feet.

The Judge addressed our respective attorneys. “Why are we here?”

“Your honor,” Tyler’s attorney began, “my client has clearly been denied his parenti—”

The Judge didn’t even let him finish. “How?” She turned to my attorney. “Don?”

“Your honor, as you can see in the divorce decree, there was supposed to be a review when the minor child turned twelve-months-old. The Defendant has ignored that review.”

“I—if I may, your honor,” Tyler’s attorney sputtered.

“I see the review in the decree. It’s here in black and white,” she told Tyler’s attorney. “What is the problem? Why didn’t you understand the review? Your client signed the divorce decree.”

Tyler’s attorney tried again. “But your honor—”

The judge cut him off. “There is to be a review conducted by the Friend of the Court referee assigned to the parties. Until then, the Defendant will continue his parenting time schedule as agreed upon in the divorce decree. Dismissed.”

And that was it. After eight police reports and numerous harassing text messages, phone calls, and e-mails, we won. As Don and Tyler’s attorney went to speak with the clerk to file the necessary paperwork, Don told us to wait for him outside the courtroom.

As we exited the courtroom, the hallway was so packed with people that my dad and I were only able to find enough space to lean against the wall. We were talking about the court proceedings when we looked up at saw Tyler and his new girlfriend standing right across from us.

“Why do you lie about everything?” Tyler screamed.

Heather walked up to me and stood about an inch from my face. “As a mother myself, you should be happy that Tyler is the father of your child.”

My jaw dropped. “I’m sorry but I don’t know you.”

She smirked. “Well you’re going to get to know me, bitch.”

Tyler made a big show of pulling her from me like I was going to punch her or something. By this time, everyone in the hallway was watching us. We were pure entertainment.

Heather continued her rant. “Two times in the psych ward, Megan? What a great mother you are.”

“Where is your mom, the real mother of our child?” Tyler screamed. “She’s the one who takes care of Madelyne.”

My dad and I tried to move away from Tyler and Heather but they followed us.

“Awww…” Heather mocked. “Do you have to take a Xanax because of your anxiety?”

“Go take your Xanax and sleeping pills, you drug addict,” Tyler shouted.

Finally, Don emerged from the courtroom and pulled us into a quiet corridor. He explained that I needed to call our referee to set-up a meeting to discuss a visitation schedule. I told Don about the verbal assault by Tyler and Heather. Don said he would call Tyler’s attorney to let him know that Heather would not be allowed in my house.

Upon leaving the courthouse, Heather screamed, “See you on Sunday, Megan.”

I turned toward her and said calmly, “I don’t know you, but you are not welcome in my home.”

That night, Tyler sent me multiple texts attacking my mothering skills, my supposed drug addictions, how he was going to fight for joint custody of Madelyne, how Heather would be accompanying him for his visitations, and a barrage of other insults:

  • “Get a life already”

  • “Don’t you have something better to do than wasting your parents’ money?”

  • “Go take your pills and relax, oh yeah, then your parents would have to watch our daughter. Oh yeah, they already do.”

  • “Go talk to your friends. Oh yeah, you don’t have any because of how crazy you are.”

  • “Interesting to know you’ve been to the hospital a couple of times. You really need to get it together.”

  • “Better go call your lawyer and make up some more stuff about me.”

  • “Don’t be mad at your sorry life.”

  • “I am sure living with Mom and Dad the rest of your life will be fun.”

  • “When you get a job, then you can pay me child support. Fun.”

I finally had to turn my phone off at midnight.

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