Monday, July 25, 2011

Book Review: Tantrums, Troubles, and Treasures by Clayton Paul Thomas

Tantrums, Troubles, and Treasures

A Parent's Guide to Parenting in the 21st Century

Clayton Paul Thomas

ISBN 978-1-257-05609-5

Lulu Publishing- 2011

What parent hasn't had a difficult day being a parent? Author Clayton Thomas uses his experience as an elementary teacher to break down certain aspects of parenting. He is also a parent so the things he suggests are things he has attempted to model with his own children.

This resource is entertaining as well as enlightening. Mr. Thomas gives illustrations of behaviors and how certain actions affected those behaviors. His suggestions are positive and he has had positive outcomes with the children he has been lucky enough to know and to teach. The book is divided into chapters which tackle one major point at a time and he gives a small assignment at the end of the chapters to help illustrate his point and to help parents relate the point to their parenting.

The lessons in the book give parents permission to learn how to be more effective when talking with their child and with teaching children the behavior they expect. He is also clear that children are human and will mess up from time to time. He discourages loud yelling or other parental ineffective responses and goes on to show the reader other more effective techniques.

Although the goal is to have children who know how to behave and choose to do it, the author also gives good illustrations regarding discipline when a child's behavior warrants consequences. His practical no nonsense approach works and parents gain the respect they seek when trying to teach life lessons.

I appreciate the book as parent because it puts more emphasis on developing positive parenting skills rather than concentrating on the negative behaviors of the child. So often what we as parents read is more negative than positive. It is good to read the good things others see in our children, even those kids who are difficult.

I think any parent would benefit from reading this book. If the reader keeps an open mind and puts some of these positive parenting techniques to use on a continual basis, the behavior of the children affected will improve.

Clayton Thomas has a website with more parenting tips at

He can also be found on Twitter @claylauren200

Monday, July 18, 2011

Book Review: Carla's Cloud Catastrophe

Children's Picture Book: Humor

Carla's Cloud Catastrophe

Beth Bence Reinke

Illustrator; Ginger Nielson

Age level: 4-8

ISBN: 978-0-9828346-0-2

4RV Publishing LLC

June 2011

Summary from Publisher: This is a tall tale about an absurd cloud phenomenon that creates havoc, threatening to make Carla miss her own birthday party. As she walks to City Hall, Carla encounters silly scenarios in the cloud filled town. The story will tickle the reader's funny bone and resonate with imaginative children who wonder about clouds and what might happen if they fell from the sky.

My take on this book: This is a silly fun book that enhances the imagination of the reader. It is such a wonderful feeling to read a book like this for the simple pleasure of being silly, pretending, and laughing out loud with your child.

The world today has so many serious problems, natural disasters, and heartfelt tragedy that it is absolutely refreshing to read a book like this with my grandchildren. It is a great conversation starter with little ones too. Questions like "What would you do if the clouds fell from the sky?" ,  "Wouldn't it be fun to play in the soft fluffy clouds floating to the ground?" and  " How would you feel if something happened and you missed your birthday celebration?" are all good questions to stimulate a lively discussion and tickle the imagination along with the funny bone.

This is a cute story, fun, refreshing, and a great picture book to read over and over again.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

The Butt Book- A Review on the book and on Writing.

The Butt Book

Author: Artie Bennett

Illustrator: Mike Lester

Bloomsbury Publishing

This is the funniest, cleanest, and most wholesome book for children I have read on this part of the anatomy. There is nothing in this book more than G rated believe me, and I had to read it to believe it myself.

The book has great illustrations that are the most discrete depictions of all kinds of bottoms. They are done in good taste and in an inoffensive way. No parent would object to the rhyming verse used to answer the questions all children have, mainly what is fascinating about "butts"

This is one book for children that will be read over and over from beginning to end. It is just a silly and fun book about a body part that all kids are curious about.

After reading this fun story, those of you that want to write for children should take a look at how this book is laid out. It follows the picture book format that is talked about in all the writing books and is no more than the usual 24 pages. The text can stand alone but the illustrations enhance the story and the humor. The concept is a simple one, familiar to children of all ages from potty training aged toddlers to second or third graders reading this independently. It's fun, flows easily, and is does not introduce the child to anything that parents might object to although initially parents will want to read it because of the title. The meter is even and goes from page to page in an easy transition.

Writers that want to write for children should read all kinds of children's books and this one should make your list. It can be purchased at or found in your local book stores. Author Artie Bennett is a great example of a writer who has taken an everyday topic and turned it into a book that will be read over and over just for the fun of it. Boys who are reluctant readers will really find this book a hoot. This is a great summer read. You can read more about this author at

Thursday, July 7, 2011

SFC Blog: Families Matter: Interview: Children's Author, Linda Valderrama

Here is the link to a great interview. Linda will be here on the blog as a guest in the future. Her book is so cute and young children will be encouraged to brush their teeth after reading this fun story.

SFC Blog: Families Matter: Interview: Children's Author, Linda Valderrama: "Joining us today is Linda Valderrama, author of Brush Barry Brush. This is a children’s book geared toward preschool age children. Wel..."

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Book Review: Brush Barry Brush

 Brush Barry Brush

Author: Linda Valederrama R. D. H.

Illustrations: Sudi Memarzadeh

ISBN: 978-0-578-06605-9


Brush Barry Brush is a charming picture book for very young children which introduces the activity of daily living: brushing your teeth. The illustrations and the simple text make the concept easily understood. The text introduces foods that are healthy followed by different children brushing their teeth, that is until Barry. Barry eats blueberries and doesn't brush. Guess what? Barry's teeth look blue.

Barry then brushes and has a sensational smile with white clean teeth. Children will want to read the story over and over. This fun book also has a chart for keeping children on track. Fun stickers are included that can be used to mark when the child brushes after every meal. What a fun way to help young children learn to grasp and develop the healthy habit of brushing teeth.

This is a great concept picture book with a fun story and a lesson cleverly woven throughout.

Friday, July 1, 2011

My Goals... Where are you with yours?

I have been looking at my goals and trying to see them with a fresh eye. My personal number one goal is to put God back in control of the writing side of my life. That being said, here is what I have come up with to propel my writing and to push myself outside the comfort zone.

1. Research, write, revise, and polish an article for a children's magazine for August, October, and December. The target magazines will be Jack and Jill with a health focus, Highlights for a nonfiction focus, and American Girl also a nonfiction focus. The guidelines and themes will help me to pick a topic, and one topic idea may be able to be slanted and reworked for two of the targets depending.
2. Write a short fiction story for a children's online magazine and submit according to guidelines or themes by December 2011. The target for this will be Stories for Children's Magazine.

3. Marketing for The Cancer Prayer book will include posting to the books new blog and using social networks to promote the book on a continuous basis. Networking, marketing, social media, blogging, and making contacts as a blog editor will help me to reach more connections that will lead to more paying writing assignments. I have a few small paying assignments but much of what I do is still on a nonpaying basis. My goal here is to market myself and concentrate on gaining one steady source of income by December 2011.

These goals are general but I am narrowing the focus and listing on a daily basis specific actions that will move me towards each of the goals by the targeted date. I am also making a list of the things that distract me from my goals and I am posting them at my desk as a warning label. How are your goals coming for 2011? If you have a great idea to get a fresh outlook, please feel free to share.

These goals don't specifically list critique groups, writing clubs, or other ways a writer connects to other writers for support but feel free to include those ideas in you goal planning. My weekly goal/marketing plan starts every Sunday so July 3 will be the first fresh plan for the second half of 2011. Wish me luck and I will do the same for you.


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