Monday, October 5, 2015

World Teacher Day

Posting late today, but I couldn't miss celebrating our teachers.

I've had some amazing teachers in my life.  My kids have had some amazing teachers.

My kids currently have some pretty awesome teachers too.

We've been blessed.

Of all the memories of teachers in my life, one woman stands out.

Meet Ms. Pratt.

Ms. Pratt was my 10th grade English teacher... and became my good friend.

Here she is with Pixie, who's named for her.  If we did the godmother thing in the LDS church, she'd totally be Pixie's.  :)

We owe so much to good teachers.  Happy World Teacher's Day!

Saturday, September 19, 2015

Picture Book Round-Up-- Kar Ben Publishing

We've received a couple more great books from Kar Ben to share with you!

3 Falafels in my Pita
A Counting Book of Israel
board book
5 stars

My little girls LOVE this book.  I love saying "falafel".  ;)

A cute counting book with simple text (numbers 1-10), with many things featured from Israel.  For example: Masada, the beach, falafel (obviously), Tel Aviv, Eilat, and the Western Wall.

I totally recommend this one-- it's a great size, the simple text is ideal for toddlers, and the bright illustrations have universal appeal.

The Wren and the Sparrow
picture book
4 stars

I wanted this one to have a little more history... I was thinking it was more specifically based on a true story rather than just on the musicians in the ghetto in general.

That said, it's a wonderfully told story with gorgeous illustrations and I really enjoyed it.

While it is a picture book, the length and themes make it one for an older audience, say elementary school age.  I could see using it in a classroom even in the upper elementary grades and it's the kind of picture book Boo still chooses to read.

A great gift idea for a teacher or anyone who loves historical stories from WWII.

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Dad Is Fat by Jim Gaffigan

5 stars
book club book

Oh my gosh.

The laughter-induced tears, people!

I so enjoyed this book.  Having 5 kids myself, I could definitely relate... though how they do it in a tiny New York apartment is beyond me!  We have probably double that space and we feel like the walls are closing in!

Thankfully, I don't have the bedtime/sleep issues, and I absolutely disagree with him about Disney vacations... (we LOVE LOVE LOVE Disney vacations!!!)

But yes.  So much yes.

I wonder if my kids explain our family by saying "Five kids, Mormon" the way he always said "Six kids.  Catholic." lol

(Actually that's one thing I love about living in Utah.... it's not THAT weird to have 5 kids.)

Anyway, recommended.  Absolutely.  This is a perfect gift idea for any parent with a sense of humor on your Christmas list. :)

Monday, September 14, 2015

Max the Brave by Ed Vere

5 stars
copy received for review
(This post was supposed to go up last Saturday... oops.  You know how you always think of the thing you need to do when you can't do it? Yeah... we got an awesome Max cape in the mail with the book and I wanted pictures of the little kids at least and I keep remembering after they're in bed.)

Ah, Max.

This is a definite favorite here.  Max is hilarious.  In Are You My Mother? style, Max goes from critter to critter asking if they are mouse... because Max is going to be brave and chase the mouse.

So does mouse admit to being mouse? Of course not.  Mouse declares he is a monster and sends Max on his way.

The text is great-- fun and a good length.  The illustrations are fun.

Overall, highly recommended.  This should DEFINITELY be on your Christmas shopping list for the preschool crowd.

Want to win a copy for yourself?  Of course you do!  Use the link below. :)

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Friday, September 11, 2015

If You Feel Too Much by Jamie Tworkowski

copy received for review


It's been a weird week.  And I know, I usually post about 9/11, but somehow this all feels connected right now.

See, I'd intended to post all week about suicide prevention, depression, and To Write Love on her Arms... including reviewing this book.

But what to say?

I don't feel like I'm in a mental place right now where I can put my own struggle out there.  I like the idea, but I can't find the words.

I've started so many blog posts this week.

I don't have all the answers.  Some days I'm not sure I have any answers.

But as Jamie says more than once in this book-- I'm alive.  I'm here.  That's valuable.

This book is honestly kind of an odd compilation of blogposts... bits and pieces of Jamie that didn't always make sense to me.

It's not nearly as much stories of depression as I thought.

You see, for all that this book is tiny, I was scared to read it.

Scared to open myself up to other people's pain.  Sometimes I internalize too much of it... and this balancing act of life is hard enough as it is.

But there was less pain than I expected.  And more than anything there was hope.

Hope and an affirmation that we're all in this together-- all writing our own important overlapping stories.


I don't see how I can rate this book... how do you give out stars for a person's life?

I'm glad I read it.  I recommend it.

And at the end of the day, I like how it closes.... with the same words they're using for suicide prevention week this week:

We'll see you tomorrow.

Monday, September 7, 2015

We'll See You Tomorrow

Welcome to National Suicide Prevention Week.  Yeah, I know, not very literary, but it's a subject that hits close to home.  Today I'm highlighting this year's campaign: We'll See You Tomorrow.  I love that.
Later in the week I'll be reviewing If You Feel Too Much and sharing more about To Write Love on Her Arms.
We'll See You Tomorrow
Melbourne, FL - September 4, 2015 - To Write Love on Her Arms is currently gearing up for its 4th annual campaign to honor National Suicide Prevention Week (September 7 - September 13) and World Suicide Prevention Day (September 10). This year's campaign, inspired by words that closed out last year's "No One Else Can Play Your Part" campaign, is called "We'll See You Tomorrow."
At the end of last year's NSPW campaign, founder Jamie Tworkowski wrote:
"Above all else, we choose to stay. We choose to fight the darkness and the sadness, to fight the questions and the lies and the myth of all that's missing. We choose to stay, because we are stories still going. Because there is still some time for things to turn around, time for surprises and for change. We stay because no one else can play our part.
Life is worth living.
We'll see you tomorrow."

Tworkowski, who is a New York Times Bestselling Author, released his debut book "If You Feel Too Much" last May. The book debuted at #6 and #16 on the New York Times and Publishers Weekly Bestseller lists, respectively. "If You Feel Too Much," which was named, "A testament to suicide prevention" by the New York Times, documents TWLOHA's founding and rapid growth. Today the organization is a worldwide movement dedicated to helping those who struggle with mental illness, showing them that they are not alone and that their story is important.
According to the World Health Organization, more than 350 million people worldwide suffer from depression. An estimated two-thirds of those people never get help, even though untreated depression is the leading cause of suicide. Although TWLOHA knows people are struggling today, the organization wanted to send a message that there are people and organizations working to make sure they see tomorrow.
People can participate in this year's campaign by buying the organization's World Suicide Prevention Day pack, joining the conversation by using #Tomorrow15 and #WSPD15, and donating to the Classy fundraising page. TWLOHA will invest the donations to the "We'll See You Tomorrow" campaign into avenues of treatment and recovery.
To Write Love on Her Arms is a nonprofit dedicated to presenting hope and finding help for people struggling with depression, addiction, self-injury, and suicide. TWLOHA exists to encourage, inform, inspire, and also to invest directly into treatment and recovery. Since its start in 2006, TWLOHA has donated over $1.5 million directly into treatment and recovery and answered over 180,000 emails from over 100 countries.
For more information on To Write Love on Her Arms,please visit:
To get involved in National Suicide Prevention Week, please visit:

Friday, August 28, 2015

The Lemoncholy Life of Annie Aster by Scott Wilbanks

received for review
4.5 stars
R- 2 ish

The information that accompanied this book has this to say about it: "The physics-bending charm of The Time Traveler's Wife meets the curious mischief of The Eyre Affair in this unconventional and utterly enchanting debut novel..."

And it's a great description.

This book was fun.  The fantasy element was interesting, the mystery satisfying, and the characters!  Oh, the characters.  A goofy cast of misfits that somehow cobble themselves into a family.

If nothing else, read it for the characters.

There were a few passages that seemed to be missing crucial details.... I'm hoping that either that's because I was reading an uncorrected ARC or I was more tired than I thought when reading.  Could also be a hint of "first novel" trouble, but overall this didn't read like a first novel.  (That's a compliment, I promise.)

There is (itty-bitty spoiler ahead, though really with how early I caught it, it can't be THAT much of a spoiler...) a somewhat subtle gay rights message, but it's not a hit-you-over-the-head-propaganda type and honestly even if you disagree with the choices of a gay lifestyle, I don't see how you would have anything but compassion for the character's implied backstory.  What a terrible burden to bear-- I say that largely because to that character it clearly was.

Anyway, I very much enjoyed this one and recommend it.  :)