Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Green Books Campaign - Billy Had to Move

I have been waiting for this day for a while now.  Today, 200 bloggers take a stand to support books printed on environmental paper by simultaneously publishing reviews of 200 such books. It is a phenomenal feat, and I am excited to be a part of it!  Make sure you check out the campaign page to see which other bloggers are involved and see the other reviews.

Title: Billy Had to Move
Author: Theresa Fraser
Illustrator: Alex Walton
Review Copy Provided by: Green Books Campaign, via Loving Healing Press

About the Book:  Child Protection Services have been involved with Billy and his mother for some time now. He has been happily settled in a kinship placement with his grandmother and enjoys his pet cat, interacting with neighbors and even taking piano lessons. As the story unfolds, Billy's grandmother has unexpectedly passed away and so the story of Billy Had To Move begins.

Unfortunately, Billy's mother cannot be located. Mr. Murphy, Billy's social worker, places him in the foster home of Amy, Tim, and their baby "Colly." Billy experiences great loss resulting not only from his grandmother's death, but also the loss of the life he knew. Billy's inner journey therefore has also begun and with the help of Ms. Woods, a Play Therapist, there is hope.  

My Review:   I chose Billy Had to Move because, as an educator, I see kids like Billy more often than not.  Kids like Billy walk through the door of my school everyday.  Some, I know their story, because they are in a wonderful situation and they freely share, but others, I would never know about unless the foster parents tell me or CPS shows up to meet with them and reveals the truth.  Truth is, it's reality, and we have to help our kids understand kids like Billy.

That's why I'm glad that this book is available to children.  We don't need to hide foster care in our society, we need to embrace it and help the kids that are involved.  A children's book is a great way to do that!

The author does a fabulous job of sharing Billy's thoughts with the reader.  We don't always know what these kids are thinking and feeling, but with the help of a play therapist, Billy's story, thoughts and feelings are revealed.  The counselor on my campus uses play therapy with some of our kiddos and it is fascinating to see it in action.  You can learn alot about a child and/or their situation just by listening to them play.  Much is revealed in a short time, if you just take the time to listen and make them feel comfortable.  That is what Mrs. Woods, the play therapist does for Billy.

This book is sad because it does deal with grief when Billy loses his grandmother.  How he deals with that may be different than how you as an adult, would deal with grief, and it's important to share that with children. They can relate to Billy because he is a child, and it may help them to deal with the death of a loved one.

Billy Had to Move is a book that I will definitely be sharing with my counselor.  I feel that it would benefit children who experience grief through the loss of a loved one, children who are in or have to be put into foster care.  Billy had to learn to live with strangers, and the reality is, many children in our country today are dealing with the same thing.  Thank you Theresa Fraser for putting "Billy's" story out there so that others may benefit! 

Thursday, November 4, 2010

2010 Green Books Campaign

I will be participating in this campaign next week, so I thought I would get the word out in case you are interested in visiting some of the other bloggers who will be joining me.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Word Discipline with Rachael Scandarion

Today I have the pleasure of welcoming Rachael Scandarion, WOW author, as she tours the blogosphere. I hope you enjoy her post on "Word Discipline."  She will be stopping by to read your comments, so be sure to let her know what you think!

Rachael Scandarion has been writing poetry, short stories, fiction and nonfiction since she was seventeen years old.  She has a BS in Business and Entrepreneurship from Nova Southeastern University and is working on her MFA in Interdisciplinary Arts at NSU.  Rachael¹s MFA CAPSTONE project will be based on her memoir, ³Into the Light: A Life Imprismed,² an anthology of her life¹s adventures, works, loves, challenges, and passions.  Over the past 1.5 years, Rachael has been researching a project involving the history of African slavery, 1st Nation Peoples, the survivors of the Nazi Holocaust and the common bonds shared by all Next Generations. Rachael lives in Florida, has a passion for: singing, her extraordinary 23-year old son, her awesome mother ­ who is also her best friend ­ and her sweet, young Japanese Chin named Tutu.  For more information please contact:

     “Less is more,” I whisper to myself as the pitter-patter of keys pounds away in the background. A deluge of words spills like a waterfall onto the blank page in front of me while echoes of the Minimalist movement’s most famed artists beat their ageless message into my brain… “LESS IS MORE… LESS IS MORE… LESS IS MORE.”
     Sounds easy enough, doesn’t it? Yet, when I sit down and begin the process with the purest of intentions to heed the call, it’s as though the words write themselves then fight to the death for immortality… battling redlines; contesting edits; surviving rewrites and revisions.
     For a writer, the discipline of “word economy” is serious business: more torturous than nails down a blackboard; more challenging than writer’s block. In this time-starved day and age of texting that often leaves grammar, impassioned communication, and eloquent soliloquy to one’s imagination, the ability to ‘economize’ while effectively staying true to one’s story is paramount.
     In today’s competitive publishing environment where the marketplace is rife with exceptionally talented authors, poets, and writers of every genre imaginable, it is essential that all writers learn how to finesse their stories while adhering to the keys of word-economy:
  •  “The most valuable of all talents is that of never using two words when one will do.” (Thomas             Jefferson)
  •  "Four basic premises of writing: clarity, brevity, simplicity, and humanity." (William Zinsser)
     How is this end best achieved? Personally, I’ve found a most helpful method to be writing the first draft of my story without consideration of word economy and then rewriting the story to meet a varied array of guidelines for 600, 1500, 2500, 3000 and 10,000-word writing competitions. In each case, I’ve learned that word economy and honing my skills in a compelling and impassioned voice are not mutually exclusive. That is to say, both skills can be accomplished successfully without necessarily negating the other.
     Take for instance “The Painter’s Box,” my 1st prize winning short story for the 2010 fiction writing contest which is available through in the Fifteenth Dame Lisbet Throckmorton 2010 Anthology – link below:
     Originally written as a 5,000-word short fiction piece, paring it down to the requisite 3,500-word limit was challenging but well worth the exercise. Less was definitely more… and the impact of the editing process was inspired.
     The method I’ve described allows me the opportunity to learn what makes my writing style unique; what is essential and nonessential; how my ‘critical eye’ can teach me to be ‘selective’ and ‘flexible’ and not to be married to my ego… just let it go.
     One last comment on the subject: Find and keep a great editor at your fingertips. Whether it’s a friend, confidant, colleague, or paid professional (mine is my amazingly patient and always supportive mom), always run your pieces by someone who has a passion for reading and editing your work. There’s nothing better than an honest critique that helps you determine just how much less is more.
     What techniques do you use to master word discipline?

Rachael, thank you so much for stopping by today and sharing your writing wisdom with us. It is always inspiring to me to hear a writer's thoughts behind their craft.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Blog Tour - Care for Creation

TitleCare for Creation
Author:  Christy Baldwin
Illustrator:  Shelly Draven
Review Copy Provided by:  Tribute Books

About the Book:  Care for Creation helps children to foster an appreciation and respect for nature. They learn to protect the environment through recycling, home energy conservation and neighborhood clean-ups. Through accompanying Bible verses, they are encouraged to be responsible stewards of God's creation.

My Review:  What a great way to teach children how to care for our earth!  Not only do they learn the hows and whys of taking care of this world we live in, but they are also learning Bible verses that teach about the same concepts.  Each page pairs a concept for taking care of the earth with a verse that coincides with that concept or area of the earth that the page is referencing.

The illustrations in this book are very vivid and life like!  I just love the bright colors that the illustrator uses throughout the book.  Many of the pictures look just as if you were looking at the actual scenery or people.  It is excellent artwork that will hold children's attention!

There are not many books out there that are written on a young child's level, about caring for our world, recycling, etc.  This one does it in such a way that I think children would want to follow the advice in the book and start doing some of the things that are mentioned.  I also like the biblical references, which aren't seen in many children's books.  If that is not your cup of tea, then this may not be the book for you. 

Kudos to the author for going out on a limb with this one and adding the spiritual element into a children's book!

There is even an interactive guide at the end of the book with suggested activities and a discussion guide.  I love to see these added to books to give parents and readers seeds for thought.
site designed by aerin at