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.

Saturday, November 18, 2017

A Shadow of Fear

Since I recently talked about my first middle grade novel I thought I’d share about the second one today.
A Shadow of Fear is about a boy named Ben who has many fears. He wants to prove he can be brave and act like Jesus so his parents will allow him to go to camp and his older brother will stop teasing him.
He has a friend who uses a wheelchair and has a dog that can help her. The dog isn’t an officially trained service dog, but she relies on it and is devastated when the dog disappears.
Can Ben face his fears to search for the dog in the woods at night?
I learned that this book helped one young reader face his own fears and hope it will do the same for others. It would make a great gift for a shy kid.

This book was published by Mantle Rock Publishing, is available at the usual online places, and can be ordered at local bookstores.

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

The Peril of the Sinister Scientist

The Peril of the Sinister Scientist was actually the first book I had published, back in 2009. It’s  middle grade fictions for kids from eight to thirteen years old.
It’s about a boy named Joshua Davidson who thinks he might have been cloned from the blood on the Shroud of Turin because a scientist who had worked on that experiment twelve years earlier seems to be stalking him. But who is Joshua really? If he learns his true identity will his life be changed forever?
I got the idea for the book long before I wrote it when the What Would Jesus Do movement was popular and I was often substitute teaching in a Middle School. I wondered, what would Jesus do in Middle School?
People who read this book have told me it had them laughing out loud. 

It can be ordered online or through local bookstores.

Saturday, November 11, 2017

Paisley the Goat

We’ve all heard of people counting sheep to help them fall asleep, but in this book a goat named Paisley counts some different things to help herself fall asleep.

The first thing I noticed about Paisley the Goat was that Paisley actually is paisley! Illustrator Eugene Ruble shows the goat covered with the bright, colorful design known by that term. 

This book by Ross Meyers will be a great one to read to young kids as a bedtime story. They’ll enjoy the story and pictures reminding them of the beauties of nature as they also enjoy learning to count to ten. 

Wednesday, November 8, 2017

A Shadow of Fear

I often review other people’s books on my blog, but it’s time to share about some of my own.
A Shadow of Fear is a short book for Middle Grade kids. It’s about a boy named Ben who wants to prove to his parents that he’s mature enough to go to camp like his older brother does. He decides to try to act like Jesus, but doing that is harder than he thought it would be. 
Ben has a friend who uses a wheelchair and needs him to do something really dangerous. Can Ben really face his fears and do that?
I was very grateful to learn that one kid who read this book decided to face his own fears and doing so made a difference in his life. I hope other kids who read this book will also learn to do what is right even if they’re afraid.

A Shadow of Fear was published by Mantle Rock Publishing. It can be purchased online or ordered at local bookstores.

Saturday, November 4, 2017

Harriet's Heartbroken Heart

In Harriet’s Heartbroken Heart twins Harriet and Harrison do everything together until Harrison becomes seriously ill and then dies. 
Harriet is devastated, of course, but works through her grief and finds hope at the end of the story. 
This book manages to cover the painful topic of death without being depressing, and the illustrations by Jack Foster are cheerful and cute. 
It will be a wonderful help to children dealing with grief from the death of anyone they love. And kids who know someone else dealing with grief will find it helpful, too. 
 Counselors who work with kids should all have copies available to share with them.
Authors Lainie and Nika Belcastro have both worked with children dealing with emotional pain, so they were highly qualified to write this book. 

There are very few books available for kids coping with the death of a loved one, so Harriet’s Heartbroken Heart is much needed. 

Wednesday, November 1, 2017

Times and Seasons

I love Autumn! It’s my favorite season of the year, even though sweeping up all the fallen leaves is a lot of work.
And the four seasons have existed as long as our planet has.
But, what about all the other kinds of time?
Years are natural, as are seasons, months, and days. Morning, noon, and night have always happened on Earth.
But seconds, minutes, hours, weeks, decades, and centuries are human inventions. Well, not exactly inventions, but they only exist because we decided they do.
I know the ancient Romans had calendars that included weeks, months and years, but when did people start calculating those things? Did people in Asia and Native Americans do that? 
I’d love to know how and when those concepts first developed.