Friday, February 28, 2014

Friday Firsts and Fancies - Susan B. James "Time and Forever" Romance

Usually this is a parent and children's book blog.  However, today I'm going to indulge in a guilty pleasure. Yes, it's Women's Lit or Romance day.  I'm featuring a review of Susan B. James "Time and Forever" debut novel.  In case you're wondering why?  I feel romantic, here on the last day of February, with the last of the Valentine candy all gone.  I reminisce about lost loves and romances.  About how 1969 was such a good year to be young and in love.  If you remember 1969, or any other special year of romance, then here is my review.  Enjoy:

This is a lovely combination of Time Travel and Romance.  So, if you love romances, you'll enjoy this one.  If you love time travel, this novel has a great time travel story.  If you love time travel romances, Time and Forever, by Susan B. James, is absolutely the one for you!  The story is about two sixty-three year old women, both now alone.  They have successful careers.  They have their grown children -- even grandchildren.  Yet they still long for the love, romance, and special companionship they each had in the past – specifically in 1969, (which was a very good year for space travel and romance!) 

 Product Details

Have you ever had a romance in the past, however long or short-lived, that you’ve wondered, if only I could go back and have a do over?  Maybe you've wondered what if?  Or even "Why was I so timid, so careful, so proper, and said no when I could have said yes?"  In this story both Sherry and Lorena have the opportunity to do just that – go back into their past and do things differently.  Will their recklessness change history?  Will they jeopardize the lives of their children?  Will they end up with new regrets?  You’ll have to read this exciting story to find out. 

For sure you will be entertained by this fresh approach to long lost love, time travel to “get it right,” finding your soul-mate, and agonizing over the ever popular masochistic “what-ifs.” You might even be swept off your feet by the beauty of the romantic love Ms. James portrays.  This is one fast moving page-turner that I’m sure you will enjoy reading.  It’s a delightful and satisfying “guilty pleasure!”  By the way, in case you’re wondering, I, too, would go back to 1969 – in a soulful heartbeat!

Available at

Tags:  Romance, Time Travel, Soul Mate, 1969, Guilty Pleasure

Thursday, February 27, 2014

Februrary 2014 Releases from Guardian Angel Publishing

A Rainbow of Birds Academic Wings by Janet Halfmann, Illustrations  by Jack Foster
Birds have their legends just like people do, and baby birds love to hear the stories. Papa Cardinal, whose job it is to pass down bird ways to his chicks, tells them the story of how birds gave the world the rainbow. It’s a tale of fun and squabbles and magic! 

Cricket & Snail Guardian Angel Animals & Pets by Mel McIntyre, Illustrations  by Eugene Ruble

Does slow and steady always win the race? Find out how two very different creatures try to outdo each other in a friendly contest, jumping and climbing and using their natural talents in the best way they can … with surprising results.

Frederick Lost and Found Guardian Angel Animals & Pets hardcover and softcover

by John Robinson Perry, Illustrations Aumi Perry
Frederick has a good life as a magician's rabbit.  But when he decides he can do better on his own, he takes an unexpected adventure that will change him forever. 

Grandma Has to Go Away Wings of Faith hardcover and softcover 
by Nancy Hughes, illustrations by Doug Kirkpatrick
Written for children who have experienced the loss of a loved one, Gracie’s mother shows her a gift from Grandma that will comfort and give them hope as they miss her in the days and weeks ahead. Includes music and a song.

Grandma’s Treasures Early Chapbook for Tweens by Judith J Miller, illustration by Alexandra Lillis

On one of the worst days of her life, Jennifer returns to the woods to find her and grandmother’s buried treasure from two years ago. Finding the buried treasure, she realizes the real treasure are memories that will bring back thoughts of happy times spent with her grandmother, memories that will never be buried by time.

Lynda Burch, Publisher of Guardian Angel Publishing.

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Wacky Wednesday - Crazy things Principals and Teachers do to Encourage Reading

We're coming up on Dr. Seuss Day of Reading celebration.  I was looking for crazy ideas to share with you about how to encourage reading in children, when I came across this post from:

Gary Hopkins Monday, November 15, 2010 (Thanks, Gary! I've edited it a little.)

Fun 'Challenges' Engage
Kids, Families in Reading

Kids lined the sidewalk in front of a Buckhannon (West Virginia) Academy Elementary School as their teachers raced by in teams of two. It was just before Halloween, so teachers dressed in football uniforms, pink rubber boots, and toilet paper might not have seemed such an odd sight -- except for the fact the costume-clad educators were pushing each other on office chairs!

 : Children reading book under apple treeThe office chair race was a reward for students who earned the goofy high-speed event by reading more than 9,000 books in summer. “This was a great activity for the kids,” said Principal Randall Roy, who emceed the race. “They had a great time.” 

Halfway across the country reading specialist Sandy Lambert and Principal Kim Lasanby-Barber dressed as pirates and “walked the plank” as students cheered them on. The pirate-themed celebration culminaed the fall reading challenge at Lincoln School in Spring Valley, Illinois. Students earned the reward by exceeding the goal of reading for 80,000 minutes. The school’s 200 students read for a total of 196,310 minutes.


Principals and teachers across the country do all sorts of crazy things to encourage students to pick up books and read. Here are more examples of schools in the middle of “reading challenges".

 : ReadingStudents at William E. Young School in Homer Glen, Illinois, are involved in a 100,000-minute reading challenge. “If 95 percent of Young Elementary students read 30 minutes a night, that means our school will have read 100,000 minutes total in just one week,” said Principal Michael Szopinski. If students achieve the goal, Szopinski will don reindeer antlers and a blinking red reindeer nose during the week of November 29. 

If all goes to plan, students at Stafford (Texas) Primary School will see their principal, Kim Yen Vu, in a dunking booth next spring. The year-long “Principal’s Reading Challenge” has been going on at Stafford for a few years. Back in 2008, Vu kissed a pig when students reached their goal. This past year, she sat atop a wall -- the school’s marquee -- dressed as Humpty Vu-mpty. This year, teachers and students “aim” to see Principal Vu soaked. 

banana split photo: Banana Split banana-split.jpgStudents at Bonneville Elementary School in Orem, Utah -- where the school mascot is a bronco -- had a year-long “Top Bronco” reading challenge. Parents log students’ at-home reading minutes on monthly calendars. The goal is for K-2 students to read 50 hours during the school year and grade 3-6 readers to read 75 hours, explained Principal Shawn Brooks. To motivate students, a January “half-way-there” banana split party will be held for students who've achieved half their goal. A “Double Club” movie party will be held for students who read double their goal. 

 : A vector illustration of two kids learning alphabetAt West Rocks Middle School in Norwalk, Connecticut, students take on the “Read Around the World Reading Challenge.” Students earn “miles” for each book they read on their way to 29,000 miles. To be precise, a trip around Earth is 24,901 miles, but students will stop off in -- and learn about -- some of the world’s major cities as they travel. “As students participating in the Read Around the World Reading Challenge will get raffle tickets and be eligible for prizes,” added Dr. Lynne C. Moore, the school principal. 

At Burr Intermediate School in Commack, New York, the “Burr Reading Challenge” encourages students to make reading a daily habit, with special events to motivate them to read.  During October students wrote book reviews on paper bags.. The “paper bag book reviews” are displayed throughout the school in (American Education Week), and after that week the bags will go back to the supermarkets to share with the community. 

Reading is a community event in other ways at Burr.  October 25 to December 3, students participate in the annual Ronald McDonald House Read-a-Thon. The read-a-thon raised more than $2000 for the Ronald McDonald House. Students also collected books to donate to a Suffolk County homeless shelter. [read more]


Find more ideas for motivating student reading in these Education World articles:

Principals’ Feats Fuel Fabulous Reading
What would students do to see their principal throw cow chips, spend a night on the roof, or get slimed? It turns out that they will do a great deal -- of reading! Included: From becoming ice cream sundaes to singing songs and kissing pigs, see what principals have done to encourage their students to read.

Principals Make Reading a School-Wide Goal
Students pledge to read thousands of pages… First- and fifth-graders buddy up for reading… Those events and others are part of school-wide reading programs at two Minnesota schools. Included: Additional activities to help make reading a school-wide goal.

What are other ideas you can think of to challenge and then reward your students for reading!  Make Reading Fun!

Monday, February 24, 2014

Monday Madness - and Mid-terms Maladies

I love alliteration, can you tell?  And maybe it's not so much Mid-term Maladies as it is your mad teen and malevolent drugs.  Why drugs in the same sentence as mid-terms?  A lot of kids have trouble budgeting their time, or taking on too much, and then running out of time to study and/or complete papers and projects.  
What do they do if they run out of time?  In high school they may get docked a grade point for being late or may be able to ask for extra time or even get extra credit assignments  -- to show they've learned it.  However, in college there's usually no allowance for late work, no pleading for extra time, no "make up" lessons or extra credit assignments.  Kids resort to what we did in our day -- drugs to stay awake.   
Their drug of choice could be caffeine in its many forms:  coffee, tea, soft drinks, "energy" drinks, power drinks, espresso beans, even caffeine pills, and so forth.  We've all seen over-caffeinated students, and rolled our eyes.  
But what about other drugs?  In my day it was Dexamyl or Dexedrine (Dextroamphetamine)-- appetite curbin diet pills, also used to stay awake.  I got mine from my father, who was a traveling salesman and needed help staying awake on business trips.  Others got them from people with drug  prescriptions for dieting. Still others got theirs from drug dealers. You'll notice that it has "amphetamine" at the end.  It is in that class of drugs.
Free The Person A Tablet Stock Photos - 4461953And it's no different today.  Kids get Adderall from drug dealers, often in their college dorm.  Others get Adderall from kids who've been prescribed it for ADD and are re-selling it to their friends.  Clearly this is risky behavior.  We know more about drugs and their side affects or addictive potential.  If kids are only taking these drugs at mid-term and finals times, then they'll probably be okay.  But if they continue to use these drugs more frequently, like once a week instead of twice a term, then there is more risk of addiction or health damage.

So what can you do about this as a parent?  I'm not sure there is much you can do.  You've already given your teen the drug lecture, along with the drug education they've received in elementary, middle, and high school.  But when dealing with eighteen year olds --  now young adults -- what can you do that will be both supportive and get through to them?  

1)  You can tell they about your own experiences -- which may or may not have an effect, but at least you're being honest about your own drug use (prescription on non), or no drug use and why you made that decision.  The important thing here is to be honest and open a discussion.
Concept of depression: text graphics - stock photo
2)  You could give the doom and gloom talk -- about how hard it would be for family and friends to survive a worst case scenario.  Short term drug use as a study aid may not pose huge risks, but there's that one case of the teen thinking he or she can fly and jumping off the 3rd floor.  There are drug and alcohol related auto accidents -- not always the teen's fault, but being in the wrong place at the wrong time, or out of control doesn't help.  There are life-changing injuries.  There are teens dropping out of college because of mental or emotional instability (aided or enhanced by drug use or lack of sleep?)  

3)  The most important thing for me to communicate to my teen is that no matter what she does, has done, or will do -- my love is unconditional.  I will love her NO MATTER WHAT.  She needs to know that she can call me any time day or night -- and I made the same offer to her friends -- and I will drop everything and come to her or their aid.  They have to know how much they are loved and supported and cared for.

Yes, your beloved child isn't a child anymore, but he or she is still yours and needs you and your support.  Sometimes texting is enough for them. Not for me, sigh.  But I'll take what I can get, as long as I can keep our communication lines -- whatever they are -- open.


Tags:  teens, drugs, Adderall, Dexedrine, Dexamyl, Dextroamphetamine, study, mid-terms, college, lecture, help, love, support, fear, hope