I’m going to add a deleted scene to The Rockstar Chronicles. Vote for the character you would like to see more of below. The poll will be open for one week! You can vote once a day.
There’s nothing better than collecting a series of books. Especially kids books. They take you back to your youth and remind you of days spent reading under a tree and nights hidden under a blanket with a book and a flashlight. You eagerly devour each one, sure of the next waiting patiently for your perusal.
Sometimes it’s enough to simply have your favorite book, but it’s so much better to have all of them, ready and waiting for re-reads on your sick days, rainy days, and bored days. Here’s my list of several Fantastic Series & Where to Find Them.
So if you are in search of the perfect birthday present, Christmas present, or just present in general, be sure to check out these series. They are perfect for the kids who loves to read! Which series do you wish had just one more book?
One of my favorite conversational topics is books. And every time I find a fellow book lover and we begin to chat, our conversation inevitably comes back to the same question. What was your favorite book to read when you were little? Something I’ve noticed is that many younger children are missing out on some of the great classics. So I’ve listed the top 10 Must Reads for 10 & Unders below.
I can’t begin to tell you how many times I’ve read the books by Laura Ingalls Wilder. They were my absolute favorites growing up and I still think of Mary, Laura, Carrie, Grace as well as Pa and Ma as people I know. The great thing about these books is that they are educational and can lead to great family projects and learning opportunities. Perfect for both boys and girls (though the boys may have to skip the descriptions of Laura and her sister’s dresses!).
Maybe it’s because I come from a small town in the South, but the Anne of Green Gables series was one of the most relatable to me. I recognized myself and my town in L. M. Montgomery’s characters. Family legends, gossip, and disagreements pepper these books and leave the reader feeling as if they’ve just returned from PEI every time they turn that final page. These books also hold a special place in my heart because Anne of Green Gables is the first book that made me cry, at least as far as I can remember. And for that, I will always hold their memory dear.
A perfect bedtime story. The Wind in the Willows is a comforting, magical book with just enough adventure and danger to excite young readers. Its whimsical nature and lovable characters are entertaining and memorable.
A must-read on my list at a young age. Full of danger, excitement, and magic, this prequel to The Lord of the Rings series is a perfect read for a child interested in heroic quests and exploring the world. The Hobbit features so many good lessons for youngsters, I would highly recommend it.
Parents, I can guarantee you that you will enjoy reading these books with your children. Lemony Snickets descriptions of situations and explanation of both word meanings and philosophy will entertain both young and old alike. And don’t forget, this book is part of a series. Also, please add Lemony’s autobiography to your to-read list.
By the author of Where the Red Fern Grows. Summer of the Monkeys is a great story of love and family in the Ozark Mountains. It’s hilarious in parts with just a touch of seriousness to help bring the lesson across.
Who can forget Meg, Jo, Beth, & Amy? Their story is both educational and an entertaining read. A great way to introduce young readers to the importance of sisterhood and the idea of growing up.
Young readers who love horses will not be able to put this book down. Many of Black Beauty’s struggles struck a chord with me when I first read it.
This is a great read for kids who are being picked on for being too quiet and/or boring. This is something that bookish kids are frequently accused of and this book, while featuring a character that may be deemed “too perfect”, does a great job of showing what’s really important and the danger of excess in anyone’s life.
Filled with life lessons, parables, and wordplay. The main character is hilarious and his adventures are even better!
There are so many more books that are must-reads for kids, but I’ve listed my top ten here. I’ll follow up soon with another list! I already have four on it! What would you add to this list? What is your favorite must-read for kids?
It’s been a long, cold, WINTERY winter for most of us in the United States this year. But slowly (very slowly!) winter has lost its icy grip and spring is on the way. Spring marks new beginnings, perhaps even more so than New Year’s.I love the freeing feeling of warmth, sunshine, and a fresh start. Which makes my love of spring cleaning no surprise. Below I’ve listed seven new ways to spring clean your supply of books.
1. Sell them. There are several online retailers out there. I always check amazon.com, ebay, hastings, and half-price books for the best price, but they are just a few sites out of many. Shop around, but remember not to shop! This can distract you and lead to no sales & several buys!
2. Donate them. Check with your local library, school, hospital, homeless shelter, and nursing home. There is always a need for good books, especially among the impoverished. Don’t forget local reading programs.
3. Increase their value. Have a few favorites you can’t bear to part with? Find the author on the internet and check for upcoming events. Signed copies can justify your inability to part with them. Oh, this book? I can’t part with it. It’s a collectors item! and don’t worry about its condition. There’s nothing I love more than seeing a reader’s dog-eared copy of my book. It means that book is loved!
4. Create your own lending library. Find a venue and create your own library. But be forewarned! Only use books you aren’t attached to and let go. It may not come back to you, after all.
5. Organize your personal library. Get those stacks of books off the floor! You can make your obsession pretty. Nothing looks better than book-lined shelves.
6. Read your to-read pile. Don’t just them by your bed! Take the with you. I always keep one or two copies in my car, purse, and parents’ house. Force yourself to finish your to-reads before buying any more books. What better motivation is there than that?
7. Get crafty. Now, I don’t advocate the destruction of books. However, old or damaged copies that can’t be salvaged can sometimes be reused. Check out pinterest and etsy to find some great ideas.
So go ahead, clean out those closets. Shed the old and begin with the new. It’s spring!
What copy can you not bear to part with and why?
Vote for your favorite band name! I am almost ready to announce the name of the band in The Rockstar Chronicles and I need your help in choosing the perfect name! Voting is only allowed once per day and I will close the voting on Sunday, March 15th.
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Think there’s no meaning to fairy tales besides the prince rescuing the fairy maiden? Think again. I should probably make clear from the beginning that this post is about modern day fairy tales. The original fairy tales are not always so happy…. If you don’t know what I’m talking about, try looking up the original version of almost any fairy tale and you’ll see what I mean.
Modern day fairy tales, however, are much different. Think of your favorites. What were their core messages and values? And what meaning did they leave you with? I’ve outlined 12 Ideas you can Steal from Fairy Tales and insert into your personal mantra below. Let’s get started.
- Love is the answer. Think of any fairy tale. Got it? What happens in almost every ending? Some type of love saves the day, whether from a parent, a friend, or more often, a prince. This idea is one I find to be very true and one of the main reasons fairy tales are so popular.
- A makeover can change your life. This one is not quite as deep, but it is very fun. Who doesn’t love the feeling of a fresh haircut or an outfit that makes you feel like you can conquer the world? Even better, in fairy tales, it doesn’t happen every day. It’s a special event that transforms the character into a new purpose and a new life. It’s the symbolic beginning of a new stage of life that’s really fun, too.
- Magic is all around us. A newborn baby, flowers in the spring, rain on a tin roof, starlight, true love. Life. Magic really is all around us, if you take the time to see it.
- The underdog can win. This doesn’t happen only in fairy tales. What’s your favorite hobby? What do you enjoy doing? Your favorite sport? Think about it for a minute and then look it up along with the words “miracle” or “underdog.” No matter what it is, there’s an underdog story. There’s your inspiration for today!
- Friends can appear at the most unexpected times. They really can. I have only a few people I truly consider my best friends and they all showed up when I was least expecting it. Friends that show up at the most unexpected times are usually the best, BTW.
- And stick with you through everything. Ever gone through a difficult time in your life? Did your friends stick with you? If not, they weren’t your true friends. Please refer to #5 above because it simply means they are on their way.
- Anything can happen. Anything can happen. At any time and to anyone. Need I say more?
- Traveling is a good way to enrich your life (and possibly get yourself killed). There’s nothing like travel to lead a person to new ideas, adventures, and paths. Travel is the best and easiest way to build self-confidence and love for the world around you. Do it!
- Good always triumphs and Evil never wins. The pure and sweet and meek can make it. It’s the foundation of almost every fairy tale I can think of. It’s a valuable moral and a true one.
- Animals can be your best friend. How many characters in fairy tales receive help from animals? Yep, a lot! In fact, I can’t think of a single fairy tale that doesn’t have an animal hero. Doubt this one, too? Look it up. Animals have done some amazing things.
- There are a lot of scary things out there… There are. This one is one of the truest. Top three, definitely. There are a lot of scary things in this world. We live in a world with many, many flaws.
- But in the end, everything is going to be alright. This my favorite and, in my opinion, is the best idea to steal from fairy tales. Coming from a religious point of view, as I do, it’s incredibly true. If I could take only one idea from every modern day fairy tale, it would be this one.
Still think there’s no value to fairy tales? I find them to be invaluable. All 12 of these are ideas I would love to steal from fairy tales and insert into my daily life. And I try to. What ideas do you steal from fairy tales? What are your favorites?
Anyone who reads this blog knows how much I enjoy reading. But even I can admit there are a few unintended consequences of over reading that are hard to foresee. I’ve listed the top 9 problems with reading below.
- You lose sleep. I can’t count how many times I’ve gotten in bed, exhausted, and picked up a book. Just a few pages, I tell myself. I’ll just read to the end of this chapter. And every time (EVERY SINGLE TIME!) I read far past that and spend the next day in a sleepy blur, waiting until I can get my hands on that book once more, unless, that is, I already finished it the night before. 😉
- You live in a dream world. Read enough books and the characters and places in them begin to live in your mind. They seem so real! You’ll find yourself almost giving advice to others based on something a CHARACTER IN A BOOK did. This is not something that non-readers appreciate so be cautious. Readers, on the other hand, will understand.
- You are book broke. On a budget? Doesn’t matter. Those books are beckoning and there’s not much you can do to resist it. But, and this is important, under no circumstances should you venture into a bookstore. Don’t do it because not only will you be broke but you will also find….
- Your books take over your house. There’s no more room for you in your house because you have piles and piles of unread books covering every surface. You vow that you’ll sell them or give them away after you’ve read them, but….
- You are addicted to your books. Give them away? Not this one, you tell yourself. This is my favorite. And this one and this one and this one and…. Pretty soon you realize that you won’t be giving away that book. Or that one. Or that one. Or that one.
- You use words no one else has used since the 19th century. Reading historical fiction books can have problems all their own. You begin to think and speak like a person from that time period. But it could be worse, you could be inserting words and phrases that are entirely made up from Fantasy or Sci-Fi. Not that I’ve ever done that….
- You forget to feed yourself. You sit down with a new book and then, just seconds later, you look up, dazed and confused. Only to find it’s been hours! And you’re starving! And… wait… let me just finish this page….
- The library is not happy with you. It’s perfectly reasonable to assume that the library wants you to read, isn’t it? And they do. But they also want you to return that big stack of books on time and not owe a ginormous fee every time you come back, swearing you aren’t going to check out anything this time, but maybe you’ll just take a peek….
- You can’t stop. Once you begin and get hooked, you can’t stop. Try to make a reader stop reading. Take away their book at breakfast and watch their eyes drift to the newspaper, the cereal box, and even the mail. Once you start, you cannot stop. You can’t! So why even try? 😉
So keep telling yourself that the library appreciates all those overdue fines you pay and that you have room for just one more book and that it’s okay to miss eating and sleeping and anything else you need to tell yourself. You have discovered the 9 problems with reading and you now know it’s not just you. Maybe we should start a group?
How many of these problems do you have? And, even harder, if your house was burning down and you were trying to get out of it (while falling all over your piles and piles of books), which one would you save?
Like it or not, EBooks are here to stay. I hear and understand the complaints of die-hard readers when it comes to EBooks. They worry about quality and miss the old days of heavy hardbacks and fresh pages. I, too, love books in print. It’s one of the main reasons why I insisted on offering my books in print version as well as digitally.
However, I have to say I’m a sucker for EBooks. I love the ease and simplicity of bringing up a story on my phone, laptop, or other device whenever I have a few minutes free. Or even, if I want to admit it, during otherwise boring activities I’m required to attend. 😉 Another plus I see with EBooks is the reach it can have while encouraging children to read.
- Books at your fingertips. Your kid is bored? Download an ebook! It’s that simple. I know, I know. I hear parents saying “But my kid would rather play a video game or get a new app.” Which brings me to my next point….
- Many EBooks offer more than just the book. Some books have accompanying apps, games, and more. It’s not something that is extremely common at the moment, but it’s growing.
- EBooks make any author and any story accessible. Is your child going through a phase of being interested in dinosaurs and paleontology? Just go to your distributor of choice and search with those key words. You can easily find several choices for every interest.
- EBooks can be tied into your everyday life. Going to a Renaissance festival? Find a book before you attend and build up excitement about that trip. I would have loved this as a child and I imagined kids and parents doing just that when I wrote The Faire Pendant series.
- EBooks are flexible. One of my favorite things about EBooks are the fact that they are flexible. I don’t have to worry about packing a book which invariably leads to a sore shoulder from my heavy handbag or returning my books to the library on time which I seem to be incapable of doing. I sometimes wonder how many books I’ve “purchased” for the library through my fines.
- EBooks are cheap. They are! Most EBooks are very competitively priced. When you think about it, an EBook is usually only about the same price as a cup of coffee or a snack. And they keep kids entertained for hours while also being educational. It’s a win-win. And besides, for me personally, I usually have library fines high enough to have PURCHASED the books in EBook form. Anyone else out there have the same problem? No?
- EBooks are an understood medium for your kids. It’s the new millennium and children now are not like the children I knew growing up. They are highly technical and spend a lot of time using technology. Everything from television to laptops and cell phones to Ipads are what they are familiar with and understand. I try to imagine what I would have thought as a child if I had been in the same situation but it is difficult. Maybe like someone giving me a paintbrush and an easel when I asked for a camera?
Despite all the reasons listed above, I still believe in the power of print. However, like I’ve pointed out, EBooks definitely have a place in our society. I enjoy having access to both print and EBook formats. I read different books in each medium and I love it. What do you think about EBooks for children? Would your child enjoy them?
Overheard: “Ugh. I hate Winter. Now that Christmas is over, it’s going to be boring and dreary and cold till spring.” My reaction? Winter is not boring! Winter is what you make of it. I love winter because it seems like a vacation for me. Even though I still go to work, write during every spare minute, and complete every other mundane task we as humans must do, I find more relaxation during the deep of winter than pretty much any other time. Here’s why….
- Winter is slow… Just after the holiday’s, I find that things slow down considerably. Holiday parties, shopping, and trips are over. It’s cold out in most places and people tend to hibernate. The typical yard sales, festivals, and outdoor parties of the spring, summer, and fall don’t happen in the dead of winter. It’s just too cold. To me, this means plenty of free time to focus on other things. Take this opportunity to invest in yourself. Really think about what you want out of this year or if there’s anything on your bucket list you haven’t completed yet and start on it!
- And the days are short… Again, in most places this is true. It gets dark very early in winter, providing with you the perfect opportunity to rest. Go to bed early, take hot baths, treat yourself to an at-home spa day. You have plenty of time and no one is going out in this weather…
- But there’s plenty to do… Tired of hibernating at home? Visit your friends and family. Winter is the perfect time to meet up for lunch or to have an early dinner. Most people (besides you! ;)) are at their least busiest this time of year. Find time to reconnect.
- And lots of places to go… Lots of vacations packages and rates are at their cheapest this time of year. Save up (or better yet, ask for money for Christmas) and take that vacation. It’s the perfect time of the year to find a deal.
- And best of all, plenty of books to read. Yes, yes, I’m bringing it back to reading. I love to read. I don’t mind declaring it. It’s one of my favorite activities and it’s easy to do. Winter is the time of year with long, cold nights free for filling up with good books. In the summer, I try to get outside and play with my pets and work in my garden, leaving me little time for reading at night. In winter, I can relax and read to my heart’s content.
I’m not trying to declare winter the most exciting season of them all, but with this post, I hope to share why I like it. Every season has value and winter is the time to rest. The days are going to be cloudy, the air cold, weather bad (at times), and days short, but that doesn’t mean you can’t make the best of it. What do you like to do in winter? What are your favorite books to read?
It’s that time of the year again. Fresh starts and new beginnings are on the horizon. A new year full of hope and promise lies before us all. And what better time to make change in your life than this time?
Most resolutions are for individuals, but I propose several resolutions between yourself and your child(ren) as follows. If you are looking for some ideas, I have included a list of my favorite resolutions. Pick one (or more!) resolution for the next year from the list below. All hours and terms, of course, are up to you.
- We will play together. This year, I (the parent) resolve to spend at least two hours every week playing the game of you, (the child(ren)), choice. If you are feeling very brave, you may leave the resolution as is. If you are not technical, you may want to amend it to exclude video games, computer games, etc. Board games are an excellent choice.
- We will have a special project. This year, I (the parent) resolve to spend at least two hours every week working on our own special project with you, (the child(ren)). This resolution is one of my favorites as it can take any form. You could take up a hobby, take lessons together, train a pet, grow plants, sightsee around your home, build a dollhouse…. There are just too many choices! Talk with your child(ren). I’m sure they have some ideas!
- We will imagine together. This year, I (the parent) resolve to spend at least two hours every week pretending with you, (the child(ren)). I’m seeing forts, camp-outs, tea parties, etc. Let your (and their) imaginations run wild.
- We will create together. This year, I (the parent) resolve to spend at least two hours every week creating with you, (the child(ren)), in the medium of your choice. Drawing, painting, sewing, calligraphy, music, etc. This can be incorporated with a special project very easily.
- We will cook together. This year, I (the parent) resolve to cook at least one meal every week with you, (the child(ren)). This resolution is very exciting because it turns a somewhat mundane chore into a fun event for the family. If you have multiple children, I suggest cooking with each separately. Their proud faces at presenting the meal they cooked specially with Mommy or Daddy never gets old.
- We will read together. This year, I (the parent) resolve to read the book of your choice at least two hours every week with you, (the child(ren)). You may or may not want to include the stipulation of the book of your choice. Instead, you may want to say the book of our choice. Reading with your child(ren) can be so rewarding and enjoyable while also increasing their vocabulary. Reading is such a critical skill very often overlooked in this day and age and such a fun thing to do together.
Be careful when choosing your resolutions as they are an oath and a promise between yourself and your child(ren). If you have limited time, make sure you adjust the hours in your resolution. It’s fine to go over, but most children will notice if you don’t meet the minimum. Remember, these resolutions cannot ever be a waste because you’ll be spending time with some of the most precious people in your life.
My resolution is to create more fun games, ideas, stories, and content for children in my newsletter. I have a lot of plans brewing and I’m very excited about it. What do you plan on resolving for the new year? Are you going to use any of the suggestions above? Do you have any additional suggestions of fun resolutions to make with your child?