Monday, June 18, 2018

A Difficult Week

This past week has been quite difficult. My mother-in-law was in the hospital and hospice was called in for my brother-in-law, John. Despite these difficulties, I was able to find comfort in the facts that my mother-in-law is now home recovering and we were able to visit with John right before he left the rest home and opted for hospice.

I have always admired John for his loving spirit, his musical talent, and above all, his complete faith in an unseen Heavenly Father. This is a faith shared by my husband, daughter and I as well as our family. It is the reason that John, despite incredible pain and weakness of body, smiled at us the entire time we visited him. It is the reason for the unexplainable peace he had about dying. And the belief that we will one day see him again makes the loss that we are going to soon experience a bit more endurable.


Unfortunately these events meant I was unable to visit the library and gather a new stack of books to review, but I am put in mind of a wonderful book by a friend of mine that explains the concept of life and death to children. It is entitled The Life of Bud and is the story of a leaf from formation to falling from the tree. 


Well, that about wraps it up for this week. Join me next week, same crazy time, same crazy channel. Also be sure to drop by Literacy Musings Mondays for more great blogs as well as my personal website Fun With Aileen where you will find more on reading, writing, and my very own chapter and picture books. And finally, you can find me on twitter if you want an extremely brief glimpse into my days.

Monday, June 11, 2018

Connections

Personal connections are important to everyone, and that is one of the reasons I enjoy being a part of our local Farmers' Market. It gives me an opportunity to interact with people in my community that I wouldn't normally know and an opportunity to share my struggles and triumphs as well as theirs.

This past Saturday was our first market day after a long winter and I welcomed vendors both new and old with a smile and a joyful heart. I hugged a customer who lost her husband last year and rejoiced that she was doing well with the help of friends and family. And I mourned the loss of a customer who used to bring his small dog to visit all of us at the market each week.

I chatted with my maple syrup vendor about the complexities of raising a teenager, I took pictures, and I sold lots of mini quick breads. In essence, I lived life, I interacted with those around me, and hopefully, my existence made a difference.






The two books I read for this week's review were both about connections. The first book, Through With The Zoo, was a story of a small goat from the petting zoo who longed to get away from all the people and other animals and find a space of quiet and serenity. He searched high and low for such a space and when he finally found it, he realized that we all need a balance between alone space and time with others.


The second book, Mango, Abuela, and Me was the story of a young girl whose Spanish speaking grandmother moved in with her family and shared a room with her. At first it was difficult for the two to communicate, but soon the young girl decides they can teach each other. With the help of a new parrot which keeps the grandmother company while the girl is at school, the three soon become bilingual and have much to share with each other.


Well, that about wraps it up for this week. Join me next week, same crazy time, same crazy channel. Also be sure to drop by Literacy Musings Mondays for more great blogs as well as my personal website Fun With Aileen where you will find more on reading, writing, and my very own chapter and picture books. And finally, you can find me on twitter if you want an extremely brief glimpse into my days.

Monday, June 4, 2018

Niagara Falls and Diversity

This past week, Emily, myself, and Emily's Aunt Kay made our much awaited trip to Niagara Falls where we had a fabulous time despite my having contracted a poison ivy rash before we left. We settled in to our hotel about ten minutes from the downtown area and opted to take a tour with Gray Line Niagara Falls on our first full day. Our tour guide, Larry D. The Legend, led us on an informative journey to see the whirl pool which is the only spot of water in the Northern hemisphere where the water moves counter clockwise, Through the Cave of the Winds where Emily and Aunt Kay felt the force of the hurricane deck, and onto the Maid of the Mist where we got up close and personal with the American and Canadian falls.







We picked an opportune week to visit as the gulls were nesting, and we were able to see chicks just a few inches away from the path we strode upon.


On our own one evening, we took a jaunt to the lights. I found the casino on the Canadian side fascinating as well and admired the constantly changing colors of the building lights.



We managed to slip in a stop at a chocolate factory where we watched two ladies make chocolate suckers and we sampled some delicious ice-cream.




On our last day we did a little antiquing in a town forty minutes away and when we returned we explored down town Niagara where you never know what you might find around the next  corner.


And as we toured all the wonderful spots, we spent time chatting with a mother and daughter from England, a mother who was visiting with her two daughters, one of whom was born in Japan, and her two parents who were visiting from Cuba. We passed many Asian families on vacation just like us, and we saw many Indian families enjoying the plethora of Indian restaurants dotting the area.

This diversity of people is what lead me to pick the book A Different Pond out of my review stack when we arrived home. A Different Pond is the story of an early morning fishing trip and the bond between a son and father. A Vietnamese Family who moved to America after the Vietnam War, they are poor, and not only must the father and mother hold down multiple jobs, the father must fish to provide food for the family. I found this story touching not only because it shows a family much different than the one I experienced growing up, but also because it seemed to me to be the authors way of honoring his parents who were also Vietnamese refugees.


Well, that about wraps it up for this week. Join me next week, same crazy time, same crazy channel. Also be sure to drop by Literacy Musings Mondays for more great blogs as well as my personal website Fun With Aileen where you will find more on reading, writing, and my very own chapter and picture books. And finally, you can find me on twitter if you want an extremely brief glimpse into my days.




Monday, May 28, 2018

Cars and Buses, Oh My!

This past week has been a bit crazy with finishing up school and getting ready to go on a trip to Niagara Falls with my sister and Emily. I mowed both our lawn and my mother-in-laws. I shopped for sun screen and road trip snacks. And I made enough food to feed an army even though only my husband will be home.


And while I was in the midst of all this preparing for our car trip I happened to see a twitter post by fellow author Josh Funk about a female illustrator/writer he wanted to promote. His exact words were, "Due to Gender Inequity, every day I'm posting an awesome picture book, published this century, illustrated by a woman. For Day #81, meet the CAT ON THE BUS by ." Now @StudioAram happens to be Aram Kim, and the resaon I know this is because I had just picked up her book, Cat On The Bus at my local library.


So I was super excited to read this almost wordless picture book about a homeless kitty who rides the bus and finds a forever home. This touched a cord with me not only because the illustrations are so adorable, but because we have three cats, two of which are rescue cats. 

But since many of my readers are dog lovers, I also read The Very, Very, Very, Long Dog by Julia Patton. It is the story of Bartelby, an extremely long dog, whose friends take him on walks, that end in chaos caused by his extremely long back end. Never fear, however, because his friends come up with a fun way to help Bartelby avoid calamities.


Well, that about wraps it up for this week. Join me next week, same crazy time, same crazy channel. Also be sure to drop by Literacy Musings Mondays for more great blogs as well as my personal website Fun With Aileen where you will find more on reading, writing, and my very own chapter and picture books. And finally, you can find me on twitter if you want an extremely brief glimpse into my days.

Monday, May 21, 2018

Fine Reads By Friends

Hey everyone. I hope your past week was enjoyable and relaxing. Our week was indeed enjoyable even it wasn't so relaxing. For some reason, May seems to overflow with one event after another. Emily attended her last after school science class and her last Wednesday teen church  meeting until fall. She also had an orthodontist appointment and I mowed both our yard and my mother-in-laws. And finally, we rounded out the week by celebrating my mother-in-laws 81st birthday and my husband's aunt's 80th birthday.



In-between, I managed a trip to the library where I found a wonderful chapter book by my friend Jessica Young titled Haggis and Tank Unleashed - Digging for Dinos. Now if you and your sprouts have never read anything by Jessica Young, I highly encourage you to do so. Jessica has a wonderful way with words and the confusion those words cause between friends Haggis and Tank as they track dinosaurs is hilarious. The scene where the dogs egg sit some dinosaur eggs they find is pretty funny as well. Jessica is also a master of imagination as she unleashes a surprising ending!



I also managed to review two books sent to me in e form for my friend Holly Niner. I was particularly taken with The Day I Ran Away. Told from the pov of a young girl telling her dad about her day and how she rran away, this tale shows  how a child's day can go from horrible to memorable when a little love is added to the mix. The wonderful way this story unfolds, allows children to see that punishment for wrong doing doesn't mean parents don't love them. I especially loved the ending where the young girl turns the negativity of running away into something positive and fun she can share with her parents. 


Well, that about wraps it up for this week. Join me next week, same crazy time, same crazy channel. Also be sure to drop by Literacy Musings Mondays for more great blogs as well as my personal website Fun With Aileen where you will find more on reading, writing, and my very own chapter and picture books. And finally, you can find me on twitter if you want an extremely brief glimpse into my days.

Monday, May 14, 2018

Fun In May

May is flying by quickly, but we're having lots of fun over here in Ohio. Emily and I attended our last Cook Book Club meeting until September (we close for summer reading).

I turned 49, and Emily made me the most beautiful birth day card.


She also made me an unbelievable Mother's Day card.



And I read the two books I found in the wild at my library a couple of weeks ago. "In the Wild," is what we authors say when we see books by friends in public places like book stores and libraries. The first book happened to be written by my friend Ame Dykman and is titled Read The Book, Lemmings.


Fox has a book all about lemmings, but the Lemmings won't read the book and keep jumping overboard every time Fox mentions that Lemmings "DON'T" jump off cliffs. Fox saves the lemmings repeatedly, but can't understand why they won't read the book. When Fox learns that the lemmings can't read, he sets about to remedy the situation because every lemming should know how to read!

The second book is illustrated by my friend and ultra talented human being, Will Hillenbrand, and is titled Sneeze Big Bear Sneeze! Now don't get me wrong, the author Maureen Wright does a brilliant job with the story of Big Bear arguing with Autumn Wind about who is causing the leaves and apples to fall, but Will's illustrations take the story to the next level.


Well, that about wraps it up for this week. Join me next week, same crazy time, same crazy channel. Also be sure to drop by Literacy Musings Mondays for more great blogs as well as my personal website Fun With Aileen where you will find more on reading, writing, and my very own chapter and picture books. And finally, you can find me on twitter if you want an extremely brief glimpse into my days.

Monday, May 7, 2018

Time For A Ride

The weather has warmed up here in Ohio, so my husband moved Emily's bike from the shed to the garage. Now she can easily access it any time she wants to ride which she does frequently. And that segues into the first book I read this past week which is Spin.


Spin is a simple story of few words about a mother and daughter on a bicycle ride. At the same time, the colorful pages subtly convey the message of persistence as the girl encourages herself to keep moving up the steep hills, down the long hills, and around the windy bends. Definitely a book great for reading and discussion with kids from five to eight.


The second book I read titled, My Pillow Keeps Moving, is a book about the creative way a dog and a cat find a new home and get out of the cold. This text in the book splits between page text and words on the signs in the illustrated buildings which I found to be a fun addition. Reading this book puts me in mind of how we came to adopt our oldest cat, Max. Someone had dumped several cats in the neighborhood, but Max decide he wanted in our house. He would sit at our back door looking in and when I went out to scare him away, he would not be deterred. Eventually we capitulated and let him in, and I must say he is quite the character.



Well, that about wraps it up for this week. Join me next week, same crazy time, same crazy channel. Also be sure to drop by Literacy Musings Mondays for more great blogs as well as my personal website Fun With Aileen where you will find more on reading, writing, and my very own chapter and picture books. And finally, you can find me on twitter if you want an extremely brief glimpse into my days.

Monday, April 30, 2018

Southern Kentucky Book Festival Part II

So it's been a week since I attended and participated in the Southern Kentucky Book Festival, and the glamour is slowly fading as I get back into the swing of scooping cat boxes, cleaning bathrooms, and washing dishes. But the one thing that doesn't fade are the new friendships and great books I discover each year.

One of the first authors I met, Bridgid Kemmerer, happened to be riding the hotel elevator at the same time as me. Bridgid is a YA author with a new book out called More Than We Can Tell which is the tale of two people with past secrets that threaten to crush them. I don't usually read YA because of time constraints, but if I did, I would definitely add this book to my list of to reads.


The next new friend I made happened to be Robin Newman whom I knew from FB but not in person. When I arrived in the lobby hotel, she stood chatting with my friends Debbie Dadey and Tracey Barret. Robin is the author of a series about a pair of mice detectives that solve food mysteries. As you all know, I love mysteries, I love food, and I love food preparation, so it stands to reason that I would love an author who incorporates food into her books.

Detective Robin and me

My table mate, Peggy Goodman, happened to be a Bowling Green resident who wrote a book about a lady with a pie truck called Peg The Pie Lady. There were my panel mates, Holly Niner children's author, Joe Wos cartoonist and maze creator, Crystal Day  Nahsville Country singer and children's author, and Amy Parker Christian children's author.

Me and Peggy Goodman 

Panel Session with Crystal Day, Amy Parker, Me, Holly Niner,
 Robin Newman, and Joeseph Wos
Me and Joe


Cat Jordan, Holly Niner, Robin Newman
I also met YA authors Jacob Devlin, Sharon Cameron, and Cat Jordan. Cat flew in all the way from California and I'm so very glad she did. On the last day of the book fest we had a good chat about all things literary and how fellow authors and illustrators for the most part are extremely nice and quite supportive of each other. There were many others as well, so be sure to browse the Southern Kentucky Book Festival Author Line Up Page and check them all out!

Jacob Devlin, Me, and Sharon Cameron
Me and Cat Jordan

Well, that about wraps it up for this week. Join me next week, same crazy time, same crazy channel. Also be sure to drop by Literacy Musings Mondays for more great blogs as well as my personal website Fun With Aileen where you will find more on reading, writing, and my very own chapter and picture books. And finally, you can find me on twitter if you want an extremely brief glimpse into my days.

Monday, April 23, 2018

Southern Kentucky Book Festival Part I

Hey everyone. The family and I are home safe and sound from our recent Bowling Green, Kentucky trip where I participated in my fifth Southern Kentucky Book Festival. I know I've said this more than once, but this festival is one of my all time favorites. Not only is it run well by the amazing
Sarah Volpi and her awesome volunteer staff, it is a place of unimaginable fun. A place where I catch up with literary friends, make new friends, engage with readers, and convince friends and random strangers to take lots of photos for me____lots!

This year I posed with some of my kidlit besties like Mark Wayne Adams author, illustrator, and owner of  a paper bow tie. Be sure to click on the link above and check out his long list of fabulous work.

Me, Mark, and accidental photo bomber and new friend Alisha Klapheke

And Debbie Dadey who reveled with delight along side me when we met the oh so famous and oh so nice Loren Long. Debbie, who I aspire to be like, with her hundreds of  Bailey School Kid and Mermaid Tail books.

Debbie Dadey, Loren Long, and Me

And of course no visit would be complete without advice from my girl MG author Gail Nall, a hug from my girl MG author Kristin O'Donnell Tubb, and a smile from my girl children's author JessicaYoung.

Debbie Dadey, Me, Gail Nall, and new friend Stephanie Faris
New friend Jennifer Maschari, Me, and Kristin O'Donnell Tubb
New friend and panel mate Holly Niner, Me, Jessica Young, and Gail Nall
You can't even imagine how much laughing goes on when I hang with these fabulous ladies and gents. I just wished laughing burned more calories, lol. If you've ever been to a book fair you know the plethora of books can be overwhelming, so I encourage you to check out the links I've provided and browse these authors wonderful books at your leisure.


Well, that about wraps it up for this week. Join me next week for SOKY part two, same crazy time, same crazy channel. Also be sure to drop by Literacy Musings Mondays for more great blogs as well as my personal website Fun With Aileen where you will find more on reading, writing, and my very own chapter and picture books. And finally, you can find me on twitter if you want an extremely brief glimpse into my days.