Tag Archives: family

Funny How The World Doesn’t Stop…

15 Oct

Hello bloggy friends,

I am here once again to explain why I have lately not been the ball-of-blogging fire that I usually am.

Back in July I told you my aunt and three cousins were in a horrific car accident while vacationing in California (they live in Pennsylvania, where I do). My aunt and one cousin did not survive  (Original Story). My other two cousins were left in critical condition. This lead me to be less than regular on my blog and responding to my emails in a timely and professional manner (something I have always prided myself on).

I am happy to say that after months of rehabilitation (both mentally and physically), my cousins Sequoia and Elizabeth, their surviving siblings and my uncle were feeling mentally ready to have a memorial service for my Aunt Beth and cousin Savanna. Our family’s lives were getting back into their normal groove.

Savanna and Aunt Beth

And then another accident.

Literally on the same day my Aunt India and my mother were sending out the memorial invitations, my cousin Steven (son to my Aunt Beth) was in a horrible motorcycle accident. Our lives went on hold again. Steven lost his leg and was left in critical condition on a ventilator. This was two weeks ago. Steven has some moments of consciousness where he responds to commands. We are hopeful he will continue to improve over the next weeks.

This is a lot for me to process and I have been faltering in my usual routine (again). I thought today about how life continues all around you. Nothing stops when you are thrown into life-altering circumstances. For a few days after Steven’s accident, I think even more than the one that took my Aunt and cousin, I felt like I was just watching life, not taking part in it – I think it’s because I am getting older and I am understanding the reality and permanence of death.

But I am also reminded of the Epictetus quote – “It’s not what happens to you, but how you react to it that matters.”

The quote will be my rally cry over the next few days.

It feels much better to ride the wave than be caught in the undertow.

My cousin Monique has set up a Go Fund Me page to help with Sequoia and Elizabeth’s medical and rehabilitation expenses. Please keep the family in your thoughts and prayers.

Rayne Shines by Bonnie Ferrante

26 Jul

rayneshinesRayne Shines

By Bonnie Ferrante

30 pages – ages 4-7

Published by Single Drop Publishing on March 3, 2014

The Grays don’t have that much fun. They don’t enjoy anything they do. Rayne Gray, the youngest, was bored with her toys, grossed out by the food at the restaurant, and acted just like her parents who found something wrong with EVERYTHING! Most of all, Rayne couldn’t understand why the new neighbors were so HAPPY. When Sunny, the new frogs’ daughter, invites Rayne to play, Rayne is taught to see life in a new way.

This is a wonderful book with a marvelous message. It tells you that, if you look at life positively, you can enjoy it more or appreciate little things. I like that the Gray family are green frogs, while Sunny’s family are poison dart frogs – extremely colorful! The illustrations were cute, but not my favorite style. The message of the story is so great, I think a lot of kids and adult will love it.  The book is perfect for kindergarteners. It helps them understand the message in a subtle way.

I give this four out of five bookworms!fourbooks

Wish You Weren’t by Sherrie Petersen

11 Jul

wishyouWish You Weren’t

By Sherrie Petersen

138 pages – ages 8+

Published by Intrepid Publications on March 15, 2014

Marten couldn’t believe it. A wish he made on a star actually came true – and he feels awful about it. He wished that his little brother, Aldrin, wasn’t there. While at a museum, Aldrin just… Faded away. Marten and his best friend, Paul, meet a strange man named Tör, who says that he will help them get Aldrin back. Using watches that can control time, Tör, Marten, and Paul go through time, trying to undo what happened. When Tör’s star he comes from starts to die, and signs of Aldrin start disappearing, it’s up to Marten and Paul to stop Aldrin from disappearing forever.

This was a very good time travel book. Ms. Petersen’s plot has no holes and her description of the story puts the reader right in the middle of it. I like books like this – a little bit of magic, a little bit of time travel, a lot of adventure. It was a great read. I like Ms. Petersen’s writing style. She gets into the mind of an 11 (almost 12!) boy very easily. Marten is a great character and, speaking as a 12 year old boy, he acts very realistically. I understand why he does everything he does. I also like Tör – he is mysterious and I love the idea of him being in charge of making sure the wishes made on his star come true. The book was appropriate for all ages. I think a lot of kids (and adults) will love this story.

I give this book five out of five bookworms!fivebooks

READING FOR RENN – One Kid Trying to Help Another Battle Epilepsy

7 Oct

I want you to meet my friend Renn.

rennRenn is 6 1/2 years old and has Epilepsy.

He is the son of Bethany Telles, author of “Waiting for James in a Sea of Pink,”. I have been following Renn’s battle with epilepsy on “The Brain of a Jedi” blog (Click HERE).

He gets seizures every day. They tried all kids of medications that didn’t work. Renn has had all kinds of tests and procedures done and they didn’t work.

 On October 28th the doctors are going to put some kind of grid in his brain to figure out what part of his brain is doing it and then they are going to take that part of his brain out. They may have to take a whole section out.

Renn Likes Star Wars. He’s A Jedi Master!

As if having part of your brain taken out at 6 1/2 years old isn’t enough, the Telles family has to deal with living pretty far away from the hospital that Renn gets the procedures done at and there are a lot of medical bills.

This is all really hard for me to think about (I can’t imagine what Renn’s brother, Eli is going though). Renn is so young and he is facing some scary stuff. His whole family is. I saw that the Telles family set up a donation page to help with Renn’s medical expenses (click HERE) and I wanted to help, but I am an 11-year-old kid and I felt pretty helpless. 

I thought about what I could do to help Renn and his family. I thought about what I can do, what I can do better than anyone I know. I came up with…



Super Reader and I are very good friends.

This gave me an idea. I am the fastest reader of anyone I know. 

I thought about how I could turn my super reader power into something helpful and I came up with “Reading for Renn.”

Read4RennPurple (1)

Designed by Julie Rowan~Zoch

I am asking people and businesses to sponsor me for the month of October. Sponsor me for every AR point I get. For those of you who don’t know AR is Accelerated Reader. AR is a program that some schools do. Kids read books, take tests and get points. The goal set for me by the school this year, as a sixth grader, is 60 points. My personal goal for this year is to get 1505 points (just enough to beat the district record I set last year 😉 ). For Reading For Renn,  my goal is to get 150 AR points for the month of October. You can follow my progress right here. I will keep track of the points I get and I’ll have a little widget on my side bar too.

FOR EXAMPLE – If someone sponsors me for 10 cents for every point and I get 150 points they donate $15.00 to Reading for Renn which goes to the Telles family to help cover Renn’s medical costs. On November 1st I will announce the total AR points I earned for the month of October. Please think about sponsoring me, spreading the word or just cheering me on!


Designed by Julie Rowan~Zoch

If you would like to sponsor me, please leave a comment in the comment section. You don’t have to leave your name if you don’t want to, just an email address I can contact you at the end of the month with instructions on how to make the donation to Reading for Renn. If you’d like to make a donation directly, you can click on the PayPal** button at the bottom of this post (you don’t have to have a PayPal account to make the donation).

Please share my fund-raiser with the people you know. I was really surprised at how serious Epilepsy can be. I didn’t know all of this until I met Renn. I think more people should know about it. 

All money I raise will go to helping the Telles family pay medical bills and stuff related to Renn’s care. If they have more than they need, I will ask them to donate the rest to The Epilepsy Foundation. A great organization dedicated to finding a cure for Epilepsy.

I want to give special thanks to Susanna Leonard Hill for giving me advice and suggestions on this Hare-Brained Scheme. 🙂 Thanks to Julie Rowan-Zoch for designing the awesome Reading for Renn button (that you are welcome to share and link back here) and the image for the point counter! 

Thank you for taking the time to read this! Now excuse me, I have to get back to reading!


UPDATE #1 – Want the code for the Reading for Renn Button?!?

Click HERE to hop on over to S&K’s blog post with the code they developed and copy it for you to use!

Thank you to Cool Mom of the S&K gang for writing this! Check out Stanley and Karina’s book and blog by clicking HERE!

UPDATE #2 – NY Media Works Just pledged to MATCH the money I raise! I am trying even HARDER to read as much as I can! My mom just got me their latest book – The Bubblegum Princess! Click HERE to order it! Click HERE to visit NY Media’s website!

bubblegumUPDATE #3 I got the Purple Lightsaber Award from Renn! Battle on Renn! So many people are behind you!

Purple Light Saber Award

My Reading for Renn Challenge is over. Thank you all very much! With your help I was able to raise over $3000.00 for the Telles family! May the force be with all of you!

The Very Fairy Princess Takes the Stage by Julie Andrews Edwards and Emma Walton Hamilton

29 Jul

takesstageThe Very Fairy Princess: Takes the Stage

By Julie Andrews Edwards and Emma Walton Hamilton

32 pages – ages 3 – 6 years

Published by Little, Brown Books for Young Readers on May 3, 2011

The very fairy princess, Gerry, is excited when she learns that her ballet class is going to perform a ballet dance on stage! It was called “The Crystal Princess”, and Gerry knew she would make a PERFECT princess – she was a natural, of course.

Tiffany got the part. Gerry didn’t. Gerry got the part of the jester. With a silly hat, and shoes, and costume… And stick. Worst of all, Gerry has lost her sparkle. How can a fairy princess get her sparkle back?

My sister Josie LOVES these books. I have to say I really like the very fairy princess stories too because of the messages in the books. They are perfect for young kids. Ms. Edwards and Ms. Hamilton are awesome at assessing what young children think. I can totally understand how Gerry feels about not getting the princess part and having to settle for being a jester. Plus, I like the theme of this book. I like plays and musicals and ballets (not that I do ballet! No no no) a lot, so I like how this book takes place on stage. 🙂 I think this is a great book for younger kids!

I give this book 5 out of 5 book worms!fivebooks

Speaking of the theater –


Playbill for BTE’s The Enchanted Pig. The cover was designed by a kid! 😀

Last week we went to see a play performed by a local theater group and it was AWESOME! I was so happy that my mom found a local theater company near where we moved to. The group is the Bloomsburg Theatre Ensemble (click HERE to go to their website) and we saw The Enchanted Pig. It was HILARIOUS and well acted!!! It’s about a princess who is supposed to marry a pig and doesn’t want to (who would? Well, except maybe another pig…).

My favorite character was Mother Wormwood, the evil villain. She was interesting. 😉 I liked how the princess meets the Mothers of the Moon, Sun, and Wind. And how the Mother of the Wind wore Aviator Glasses/Goggles. 😀 Josie said her favorite character was Princess Wanda (not the main princess) and Princess Eulalie Irene (the main Princess)  and my mom liked King Gorgeous III the best. Actually all the actors were awesome (the Pig prince was great)! Just like the message in “The Very Fairy Princess: Takes the Stage” it shows that all of the actors are important to a show!

If you are in the Bloomsburg PA area make sure to check this theater group out! I can’t wait to go again!

Like the Bloomsburg Theatre Ensemble on Facebook HERE.

Follow Bloomsburg Theatre Ensemble on Twitter – @BTE

Pa Dug & Rosie In The Garden Series By Dr. Niamh Clune

22 Jul


Pa Dug & Rosie in the Garden Series

By Dr. Niamh Clune

Illustrated by Marta Pelrine-Bacon

Published by Plum Tree Books 2013

Ages 3 and Up

I love the idea of this series! Not just because it is written by Dr. Niamh Clune, poet, author, and blogging friend of mine (visit her at Plum Tree Books HERE), but because the Pa Dug & Rosie In The Garden series talks about how everything serves a purpose in the garden. It teaches kids about how a garden works and that everything in nature is important. It is a great way to help young kids learn about the outdoors.

In book 1, (Rosie Wears Her Wellingtons) Rosie goes outside while wearing her red Wellington rubber boots. She first thinks she can’t go outside because it is raining, but her mom lets her as long as she wears her wellies. She learns that sherosiewearswellies can do anything outside in them. From jumping in puddles to digging in the garden with Pa Dug, planting seeds, Rosie does everything in her Wellingtons!

wollee the wormIn book 2, (Wollee the Worm) Rosie is helping Pa Dug dig in the flower garden and she shovels out an earthworm (which she names Wollee). Rosie is taught how worms help bring food to the table by helping the soil and plants “breath.” In this story, Rosie learns the (very important) purpose of worms in the garden.

I love these books! I love how it teaches young kids in a fun way. The rhyme in the stories is also great! Another reason I love these books is the illustrations. They are striking!  I like how there is only one or two things colored (in one color – ex: Rosie and her surroundings are black & white, while her Wellingtons are a nice shade of red) on each page.

This is a great series because it teaches kids about being outside. I think a lot of young kids, they just play videogames and know practically nothing about the outdoors. Some kids think that food just comes from a grocery store. They don’t know about gardens and farms. I am lucky because I am outside a lot, and I like being outside in the rain a lot. Because of that I also wear my dark green Wellington rubber boots. You CAN do anything in them (except for flying – trust me, it doesn’t work.  I tried it. Superspeed and superstrength don’t work either. 😉 ). Josie, my little sister, loves bugs, worms, and spiders, so she read this book. Wollee the Worm is why she wants to have a Worm Garden. Our grandfather is helping her build it. Josie wants to have the worms for her garden and to go fishing with. She really enjoyed the Wollee the Worm book. 🙂  I think this series is for kids, their parents and grandparents! 😀

I give both books 5 out of 5 book worms!


You can get the Pa Dug & Rosie in the Garden series at the Plum Tree Books website.

The next book in the series is, Biddle the Bee!


Lucy the Wonder Weenie by Nina Clark and Horace the Tortoise At the Water’s Edge by Krystal Russell!

21 Jun

First off to start the day, I want to wish my Mom a “HAPPY BIRTHDAY!!!” 😀 She turned 27! 😉

lucywonderLucy the Wonder Weenie

by Nina Clark

Illustrated by Sara Pulver

32 pages – ages 4+

Published by CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform on February 11, 2013

Lucy, the Wiener dog, loved to lick everyone. Sadly, everyone didn’t like to get licked. But when Lucy eats some magic beans, she turns into… LUCY THE WONDER WEENIE!!! She uses her licking powers to make EVERYONE happy, whether they lick it… er… like it or not!

This was a cute picture book (and I love a good doggie story). I like the message the story gives – “use your strengths”. It is important for kids to learn this! Lucy was a great character and she is based on a real dog!  I liked the  illustration style used in the book. I thought it was different and colorful. The book would make a great read aloud for parents and kids.


I give this book four out of five book worms!fourbooks

You can visit the Lucy the Wonder Weenie blog HERE.



Horace the Tortoise At the Water’s Edge

By Krystal Russell

Illustrated by Tabitha Smith

58 pages – ages 5+

Published by Tall Tails Publishing House on January 9, 2013

Horace the tortoise didn’t like the day if it was sunny, cloudy, or rainy. It was never a perfect day. As always, he goes to the edge of the water and checks it with his foot. But it’s always too warm, too cold, or too wet. Except for one day, he fell in, and met a new friend – Todd the Toad. Will Todd change Horace’s grumpy outlook?

This book has TWO great messages – “Don’t be a pessimist” and “Try new things” and “Make new friends”! Oh wait, that’s three great messages. 🙂 I like the story and the messages it gave.  I thought the illustrations are really well done and went well with the story. The length and word difficulty of the book makes it a parent read aloud book, but that can be nice too because parents can use the book to talk to their kids about making friends and trying new things.

I give this book four out of five book worms!fourbooks

Double Review: Lizzy Speare and the Cursed Tomb and Chase Danger Book #2!

10 Apr

Fist I want to tell you to click on over to Susanna Leonard Hill‘s blog because she is having a vote for the best March pitch from “Would You Read it Wednesday!” My revised pitch is there for the chapter book I wrote “The Adventures of Tomato and Pea.” The pitch that wins the vote gets to have it read by a real editor – Erin Molta! Click HERE to go THERE and vote!


Lizzy Speare and the Cursed Tomb

By Ally Malinenko

352 pages – ages 9+

Published by Antenna Books on September 10, 2012

Lizzy S. Speare didn’t know why a bunch of people were angry at her father. First she heard a man who had a weird discussion with her father about her. Then some guy with an eye patch showed up.When the eye patch guy came, Mr. Speare told Lizzy and her best friend, Sammy, to get upstairs. Upstairs, where they think they’re safe, the first guy appears and takes Lizzy and Sammy with him to his castle… in New York City! His name is Jonathan Muse, and he says he helped William Shakespeare with ideas. He says that he was Shakespeare’s Muse, and he is immortal. Lizzy finds out that she is the last living descendant of Shakespeare himself! That isn’t all! The second guy (eye patch guy), Dmitri Marlowe, is a descendant of Kit Marlowe (an English playwright), and has kidnapped Lizzy’s father! Lizzy, Sammy, and Jonathan need to get him back!

The story idea behind this book was excellent! The combination of action and adventure, fantasy, myths and Shakespeare is cool! I liked the Lizzy character a lot. She was nice, and adapted to situations well. She was smart too. The story read pretty well, in a couple of spots I thought it got hung up, but the story kept me totally into the book. I found a couple of editing errors, and the “D” word was used twice, but other than that, the book was good for younger readers. I love the myths the story highlights! I am planning on reading the next book in the series!

I give this book 4 out of 5 bookworms.fourbooks

chasedanger2Chase Danger Super Spy: Pirates of Pineapple Island

by Chad Olivera, Lisa Olivera, and Chase Olivera

Illustrated by Adam Goodman

32 pages -ages 5+

Published by Magic Fire Music Studio in 2012

Chase Danger, seven-year-old super spy is back in an exciting adventure! Chase and Ali Bali (another 7-year-old super spy) fight evil villains together as a great team. Ali Bali’s brother gets kidnapped and Zalezgon’s magical pineapples are stolen by a band of pirates led by Captain Looney. The pirates plan on taking over the world (MWAHAHAHAHA!!!)  and it is up to Chase and Ali Bali to save the day!

I love the graphics in the Chase Danger books! This adventure was awesome too (just like the first, see my review HERE). I think the Chase Danger books has something for every young reader. Plus it comes with a read-along CD so kids who can’t read yet can follow along. The CD is also cool because there is music and sound effects.  The idea of 7-year-old super spies is cool and I love the Chase and Ali Bali characters. The action in the book is exciting enough for older kids, but not too scary for younger kids.

Five out of five bookworms for Chase Danger #2.fivebooks

For more super spy action, visit the Chase Danger website HERE!

PPBF! When No One Is Watching by Eileen Spinelli

1 Feb

Susanna Leonard Hill has a feature on her blog called Perfect Picture Book Friday. It is a list of “perfect” picture books recommended by all sorts of people. I chose this book because it portrays how lots of kids feel and Mrs. Spinellli does it really well!

whennooneiswatchingWhen No One Is Watching

By Eileen Spinelli

Illustrated by David A. Johnson

26 pages – ages 4+

Published by Eerdmans Books for Young Readers on February 7, 2013 (this is the official release date, but you can gt it already)

Theme/Topic – Being shy – Friendship

Opening and Synopsis –

“When no one is watching, I dance. I leap and I spin and I prance ’round the room. I twirl with my pillow and whirl with the broom. When no one is watching, I dance.”

A girl talks about her being shy around others and how she is herself when no one is there. But when people are there, she hides, keeps to herself and doesn’t want anyone to notice her. When she is alone, she is brave and she dances and she has a loud voice. The girl also tells us that with her friend (who is also shy) she feels more brave and less shy. Together the friends “don’t care who’s watching at all.”

Why I liked this book –  This is a great book about shyness by Eileen Spinelli, an amazing poet and author! The writing is musical and flows well. The message about being shy when people are watching is one a lot of kids (and I am thinking adults too) will like reading about. I also like the message about friendship and finding a person that can help you feel not so shy. I especially liked the rhyming and the rhythm of the story! I really like the illustrations, and the backgrounds chosen for each page. The artwork went well with the story. I think kids 4+ would absolutely LOVE this book like I did!

Activities and Resources –

Play “Red Light! Green Light!”. This is a game (if you don’t know it) where one person is “it” and they stand in one place. The rest of the people playing line up facing the person who is “it” a little way away from the “it” person. The “it” person turns around so she can’t see the others and yells “green light.” The others start walking (or running depending on how far away they are) until the “it” person turns around and yells “red light.” If the “it” person sees anyone moving, that person has to go back to the start. The “it” person keeps doing the “green light,” “red light” thing until someone reaches him/her. Then that person wins.

Discuss shyness with your child if they seem to be shy. Tell them that even presidents and movie stars and adults and kid book reviewers can be shy. 😉

Make some fun masks to “hide behind” for shy kids. My sister Josie actually gave me this idea. 🙂 When she was younger (like around 5), she made a mask and would wear it when she was feeling shy about saying something. She pretended it was her friend Zoe. Zoe would come and say things that Josie was too shy about. I think it helped her because we don’t see Zoe anymore. 🙂

To learn more about Mrs. Spinelli and all of her awesome books, please visit her website HERE.

To find more Perfect Picture Books please visit Susanna Hill’s blog  HERE!

A Day To Be Thankful

21 Nov

Tomorrow is Thanksgiving. A day to be thankful. A day for giving. A day for family and friends. A day for eating turkey and mashed potatoes and thinking about all the things you should be Thankful for.

I am Thankful for my mom and dad and my sister Josie, all the rest of my family, my friends, my home and my life. I am Thankful for all the people who visit my blog and take the time to read it and comment. I am Thankful I get to go to school and learn.

What are you Thankful for?

One more thing I am Thankful for at this time of year – COLD WEATHER…okay maybe not the cold weather, but that means it brings SNOW!! I LOVE SNOW! I am Thankful that we live in a place that gets a bunch of snow in the winter. 😀

I hope we get snow.

Speaking of snow, I have two great winter picture books with snow in them to tell you about today! They both get a rating of 5 bookworms from me!

Snow Games

By Joanna Marple

Illustrated by Maja Sereda

31 pages – ages 3+

eBook Published by uTales,  2012

Bear, Owl, Squirrel, and Mouse are going out to play in the snow. They go sled racing, but Mouse came in last. When they have a snowball fight, Mouse’s snowballs fall too short. Will Mouse find a snow game he can shine at?

The story in this book is very nice. I love books about believing in yourself and realizing you don’t have to be the best at everything. The illustrations are cute and the rhyme of the story is excellent! Mouse was a very nice character who wanted to prove that he wasn’t horrible at all the snow games. I think kids 3+ will like this book!

To learn more about Joanna Marple, please visit her website HERE. Click on the book to go to uTales to find her book.

Next up is –

Cold Snap

By Eileen Spinelli

Illustrated by Marjorie Priceman

40 pages – ages 5+

Published by Knopf Books for Young Readers on October 9, 2012

It’s really cold in the town of Toby Mills. At first the kids enjoyed playing in the snow, but the temperature keeps dropping and the townspeople are freezing. The icicle on the statue of the town’s founder (General Toby)’s nose keeps growing each day and the temperature keeps dropping! The townsfolk are having problems, Mr. Moffat was stuck on the train for 2 hours because the doors froze shut. People are slipping on the ice. The chilly wind blew kids off the playground swings!  As it gets colder and colder, the townspeople (and their pets) do everything they can to stay warm. The townspeople complain to the mayor, but what can he do? Then the mayor’s wife hatches a plan to thaw everyone out.

BRRR – I got chills just reading this book! I love the story about all the townspeople and how they deal with the COLD. The mayor’s wife’s solution was an awesome ending to the story. I won’t give it away, but I will say that it was a great way to lift the townsfolk’s spirits (and warm them up).  The story makes you feel happy. 🙂 The illustrations are amazing, you can feel the cold in them too! The picture I have of the cover of the book doesn’t show how frosty it is. It is actually all sparkly and it gives it a very pretty effect. There is also a great recipe at the end of the book that you use snow to make…all I need now is snow for it – LET IT SNOW! I think kids 5+ would like this book!

To learn more about Mrs. Spinelli and her other AWESOME books, please visit her website HERE. Cold snap can be found in all bookstores!


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