Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Book Signing

Last Sunday my church had a big event and our Circuit Writers critique group participated. Those of us whose books had been published had the opportunity to sell copies.
Book signings are always fun for me, and it was nice to have people buy some of my books.

Here’s a photo of me at the table.

Saturday, December 9, 2017

Books as Gifts

Back when I was a kid I always got a book for Christmas and still have most of them today. I’ve shared them with my kids, grandkids and students over the years, and still sometimes re-read them myself. 
I always enjoy getting books as presents and often give them to other people.
There’s something about unwrapping a hard copy someone cared enough to choose for me that makes a book a special gift. 
And, even in this world of e-books and other tech things, I sometimes give books to other people for Christmas. 
Of course I’d love to have people give books I’ve written to others, but I hope lots of people will give whatever books they think their loved ones will like to them.
In another decade most of today’s technology will be obsolete and the likelihood of kids sharing  today’s e-books with their own kids and grandkids is practically nil. But hard copies are much more likely to last.

And every time someone notices a book you gave them on a shelf, they’ll be reminded that you cared enough to give it.

Wednesday, December 6, 2017

Signs of Trouble

Years ago I worked in a Special Ed class in the Bay Area and sometimes we took the kids to a nearby indoor shopping mall to practice recognizing the words on signs. That’s what inspired me to write Signs of Trouble. The book is about kids with learning disabilities who get separated from their class on a field trip and use what they’ve learned about safety rules and recognizing signs to get reunited with them. 
Of course nobody ever got separated from the real class, but plots need trouble to be interesting.
This book is a good one to share with young kids because it helps them learn how to be safe, recognize important signs, and understand others with learning disabilities. There are lots of educational activities at the end that can be shared in classrooms or by parents who read this book to their children.

Jack Foster’s cute illustrations are fun and he even used his own niece who has a learning disability as the model for one character.

Kids will enjoy this story, if I do say so myself.

Saturday, December 2, 2017

All Time Hero

All time HEro (I don’t know why the E is capitalized) is about a class of kids who learn about what it means to be a hero and get to do presentations about their own favorite heroes.
The classroom setting and characters will seem familiar to most kids. As a teacher myself, I appreciate the realistic way Mrs. Jett talks and interacts with her class, and all the kids seem like some I’ve met. 
Kids up to eleven years old will enjoy this book and learn about some famous people. Maybe some of them will even be inspired to become heroes or heroines themselves. Spoiler alert; the book includes some religious content.
Jack Foster’s illustrations are cheerful and fun. 

Susan Bangert-Wood has done an excellent job writing this book, which is both educational and fun to read.

Wednesday, November 29, 2017

Because of Mr Terupt

The book, because of mr. terupt (I don’t know why the title has no capital letters. by Rob Buyea, is about a class of fifth graders and their new teacher, who is wonderful. He manages to inspire and engage each of the students in unusual ways.
But then something terrible happens! I don’t want to spoil the plot by telling what that is or how the kids handle it, but I will say it’s dramatic and life-changing.
As the book goes through the school year the chapters are told from the points of view of various students and all of the characters are believable and realistic. Maybe that’s because the author is a teacher himself.

In my humble opinion every kid in that age group should read this book. I read about five or six middle grade fiction books a year, and have done that for years. That means I’ve read thousands of them in my lifetime and because of mr. terupt is definitely one of the best I’ve ever read! 

Saturday, November 25, 2017

A Christmas Story

We used to have Deaf foster sons and one of them was from a Jewish family. His birth mother had told me I could teach him about Christianity and take him to church because he wasn’t getting any religion otherwise. He wondered why Santa Claus had never brought him any gifts, so I told all the boys the true story of Nicholas, who did secret good deeds and eventually became known as Santa Claus. Since the boys were all Deaf of course I told it in Sign Language.
Of course I made up the actual good deeds since the only one we know is about Nicholas throwing gold coins down a chimney to provide a dowry for young girls so they could get married. Some versions I’ve read say that was so they wouldn’t be sold into prostitution when their father died and that is NOT appropriate for kids.
In the early 1980s I had gotten one of those newfangled things called a computer.
One day I remembered that college professor who had told me I’d never make it as a writer because I had no creativity. I realized I’d been writing everything in his class according to the thesis sentence outline we’d learned for the College Entrance Exam. Of course my writing had been uncreative!
So I wrote down the story I’d been telling our boys, sent it off to Pockets magazine, and it was accepted right away! I even got paid for the story, so I was a professional writer! The title of the story was Secret Service Saint.
Later I was teaching at a Catholic school and had to write and direct a Christmas show for the whole student body. I rewrote Secret Service Saint as a play and it was performed.
Then in 2009 Secret Service Saint was accepted and published as a book by Guardian Angel Publishing. 

Anyone who wants kids to learn the truth about Santa Claus and be encouraged to do secret good deeds should give them this book. It’s available at the usual online places and local bookstores can get it through their distributors. It’s also available as an e-book.

Wednesday, November 22, 2017


On Thanksgiving we are all thankful for our food, homes, etc. 
Of course we know lots of people are homeless and/or living in poverty here in the USA, but compared to most people in the history of the world, we’re rich.
Even a hundred years ago not everyone in America had electricity and indoor plumbing. And nobody had an automobile. 
Seventy five years ago there was no such thing as television. 
Most homes had a single telephone attached to the wall with a wire. When I was young if I’d seen people walking around alone while talking out loud I’ve had assumed they were crazy. Today people do that all the time while using their phones. We can communicate with people all over the planet in a matter of seconds.
Today we have washing machines, dishwashers, synthetic clothes that don’t need to be ironed, gas or electric lawnmowers and other tools, and the list goes on and on. We take lots of those things for granted.

That’s a lot to be thankful for, but the most important thing is love. We are thankful for family and friends who love us, and that has been the same as long as people have existed.