The grief surrounding the loss of a loved one is unbearable. This heart-wrenching memoir of a mother enduring the worst kind of sorrow attempts to bring comfort to grieving parents. As she ponders over what she could have done differently she clings to the endless distress. That said, fate is beyond one’s control, with pain only mitigating over time. Her only solace now is to seek justice and process the heartbreaking reality of her life.
The Worst Life Has To Offer by Venetta Cox-Mylnczyk is a memoir that grips the raw emotions in one’s heart, translating a mother’s story of resilience as she navigates life after the unforeseeable death of her two sons, only 6 months apart. This book touches the core of your being and evokes empathy bringing tears to your eyes with the overwhelming realization of how one trivial mistake can drastically change another’s life.
Venetta has battled the worst, yet still perseveres in the face of adversity. She offers sincere compassion with her words to those that have been subjected to the worst kind of grief: a pain unimaginable. With emotions that hit you right in the gut, it evokes a powerful sense of strength in those who have dealt with the most unfair of life’s circumstances.
The Worst Life Has To Offer by Venetta Cox-Mylnczyk is a book that truly depicts raw sentiments of a mother’s plea for justice: encapsulating a sense of hope for those to overcome even the darkest of days and come out strong in the face of adversity. Challenging as it may be, nothing can compensate for a loss like this, but this narrative genuinely grasps the intricacies of pain, and gracefully honors the memory of her two sons, Brandon and Devon.
Pages: 132 | ASIN : B09TS42PXN
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Raspberry Red follows a young girl as her family flies from a war-torn country and eventually makes it back home to start over again. What was the inspiration for to your story?
The subject of this book has matured in my mind since I was a small child. As the 100th anniversary of the independence of Finland approached, it seemed to be just the right time to write “Raspberry Red”, as it is inspired by drastic periods in the history of our country.
At the same time, the book can be fitted equally well for any country, at any time. The topics are sadly current even today. Recent news proves it painfully. I still remember my conversation with the Greek illustrator Georgia Stylou about the book. After reading the script, she felt connected to the story through the developments in her own country throughout the years.
“Raspberry Red” is also a tribute to the Finnish generations before me. Over the years, I have listened to the personal experiences of many people about the war, leaving home, and adaptation to demanding situations. There have been threats, danger, escaping in haste, and joys and sorrows experienced and shared.
In addition, as a child, I lived in Eastern Finland in an area where a lot of evacuees from Karelia had been placed. Families no longer had a home and familiar regions to return to after the war.
I will never forget the stories of these people. They were telling about everything they had experienced or what they had to leave behind them. The tears were plentiful, and the songs were full of longing. The hospitality was present, although there was little to offer. The new life gradually began.
Aino is a strong young girl that stays strong for her family during these difficult times. What were some driving ideals behind your character’s development?
The book includes some of my mother’s experiences with her father going to war and how she waited for him to return. As a child, my mother-in-law also had challenges keeping the family village shop running together with her mother during the war. The most dramatic moment of Aino in the story is encountering the foreign soldier. That had taken place in real life for a deceased lady when she was young. Her perseverance and survival after the war showed great courage and determination.
Aino, the girl in my story, had to face highly demanding situations at a young age. Everything in her life changed in a short time. I wanted to highlight the child’s vulnerability and sensitivity, but simultaneously her ability to adapt to the inevitable. Aino doesn’t lose hope of getting father back home.
Fortunately, she gets to talk about father with other people close to her. She shares her feelings and expectations with her friends, mother, and grandparents – except for one event; meeting the enemy soldier face to face. It was such an overwhelming experience that only the father’s return frees her to reveal what happened. She feels safe and confident going through the situation only with her own father. He has been a soldier, too, and can understand the event’s significance for all parties.
What were some themes that were important for you to explore in this book?
I find it extremely important to pass on the experiences of previous generations to younger people. We must try to learn something from what has happened in the past. Maybe this would prevent the same mistakes from happening again.
The themes of war and peace are, in my view, among the most important stories of all – though telling them requires a sensitive mind and a skilled hand.
In the twists and turns of this story, we encounter people of all ages whose lives have been shaken utterly. I want to encourage the reader to believe that even during difficulties, good things happen, too. People help each other, and also, in the most challenging situations, it is possible to choose a humane option.
Stories that connect real experiences and increase empathy are valuable. They help us better understand people in different situations.
What is one thing that you hope readers take away from Raspberry Red?
Before I can answer this question, here are a few words about my general motivations for writing several children’s books about conflicts and wars. As an author, I find it necessary that my audience is left with hope even after reading such books.
I want to consider the needs of children as a target group carefully. Their ability to understand is essential for how the story is told, and their feelings must be respected and protected. They need wise guidance in meeting the most significant challenges of their lives.
We often say in Finland: As long as there is life, there is hope. The English saying “hope is eternal” means roughly the same thing. I find this thought very encouraging. The idea of keeping up hope to the very last moment is important. However, I want to attach another thing to it, overall respect for life. This attitude means a humane approach to other people’s lives, too, not just our own.
I want to believe that we can cherish humanity, even if life is challenging at times. I find it especially beautiful if a person respects the life of others, even if their own is under threat. It is probably the greatest gift you can give to another.
The foreign soldier in the “Raspberry Red” carried this warmth with him. He used the humanity of his heart in a most stressful situation and chose to save the life of the child of the enemy country, as his highest priority.
This message of love and respect is necessary for all ages, in all countries. I write about it in all my books, not just “Raspberry Red,” and plan to do it as long as possible.
Posted in Interviews
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Multi-Award Winning and Amazon best-selling Author Medea Kalantar Introduced readers to her new book series Honeycake. Inspired to write these books when she learned she would become a grandmother, Kalantar’s stories are based on her own family, whose members come from many ethnic backgrounds. This unique mix is a perfect recipe—just like the spices in a honey cake. That is why she calls her grandchildren her little Honeycakes.
In the sixth installment of the delightful Honeycake book series, Nala’s uncles, Victor and George, take her to a fundraiser where she meets Alexis, a girl with an artificial arm. Through her interactions, Nala learns that you are never too young to lend “a helping hand,” that it’s okay to be different, and that being different doesn’t stop you from doing great things in life.
All proceeds from each book sold in Honeycake: A Helping Hand will be going to The War Amps CHAMP Program as Medea Kalantar’s charity of choice.
The delightful Honeycake book series is endorsed by Unstoppable Tracy Schmitt.
With all the negativity in the world, Medea Kalantar’s series is a much-needed glimmer of hope and positivity. The Honeycake Book Series teaches valuable life lessons, giving children the tools to overcome obstacles in their everyday lives.
The Honeycake books teach children about diversity, acceptance, kindness, mindfulness, trust, and gratitude. This series will enlighten, empower, educate, and entertain children and their families for generations to come.
In Honeycake – A Helping Hand Nala learns that being different doesn’t stop you from doing great things. Available on Amazon, Barnes & Noble and anywhere ebooks are sold.
Posted in book trailer
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Andrew’s Awesome Adventures with His ADHD Brain provides insights into ADHD behaviors and provides pragmatic strategies for children with the inattentive subtype of ADHD. Why was this an important book for you to write?
My son does not fit the stereotypical profile of a boy with ADHD since he is not hyperactive and impulsive. Inattentive-type ADHD is under- and misdiagnosed in boys due to the absence of hyperactive behaviors; these children are often labelled as lazy or apathetic. The current literature is lacking in resources for children, parents and teachers on boys diagnosed with the inattentive subtype of ADHD.
What is a common misconception you feel people have about children with ADHD?
That they are all hyperactive and impulsive; that they are not smart because they cannot keep up with school assignments, or get failing grades; that their behavior is deliberate and they can just change it, if they put in the effort.
What is one piece of advice you would give to someone who is struggling with ADHD?
Realize what your special talents are and strengthen those. Kids and adults with ADHD are creative, great problem-solvers, and fearless.
What do you hope is one thing readers take away from your book?
To realize that their ADHD doesn’t have to limit them, but instead they can have limitless possibilities.
Posted in Interviews
Tags: author, author interview, book, book recommendations, book review, book reviews, book shelf, bookblogger, books, books to read, ebook, goodreads, kindle, kobo, Kristin Wilcox PH D, literature, nonfiction, nook, novel, parenting, parents, read, reader, reading, self help, story, writer, writing
Children with ADHD fight battles most of us will never understand. Each day finds them experiencing a constant barrage of thoughts, all competing to find their way to the forefront. Parents and teachers alike can benefit from truly listening to a child’s account of an average day living with ADHD, especially Inattentive Subtype. The Inattentive Subtype of ADHD is a prevalent but often not recognized. Andrew is a child living with ADHD, and his journal-style account of his life is the focus of his mother’s book. Kristin M. Wilcox’s book describes both the child’s and the parent’s experience with this incredibly challenging disorder.
Andrew’s Awesome Adventures with His ADHD Brain is a unique account of a family’s understanding of the disorder that is a part of their day-to-day lives. Wilcox artfully divides the book into two main parts–one from her son’s perspective and one from her own. She has handed parents and teachers a thorough look at what a child hears each day as he tries to focus and time and time again loses sight of the last thought he had as easily as he breathes.
I more than appreciated Andrew’s perspective. As a teacher, I have seen many students over the years fighting their own inner battles. Only those who live with ADHD know the inner banter, and Andrew’s very thorough commentary allows readers to gain a true understanding of the chaos that can ensue and the emotional toll ADHD can take on the entire family. This is a must-read for any parent of a child with ADHD.
Wilcox manages to give readers a guide that is not only informative but simple to read. There is nothing worse than actively seeking information on a topic only to find the resources dry, boring, and incredibly difficult to understand. Wilcox bypasses all of those issues and hands readers valuable information on one of the least understood types of ADHD. I found the Wilcox family’s story to be immensely helpful in the elementary classroom. Wilcox’s appendices are a wonderful resource for families and educators. This easy-to-follow list of questions and answers regarding symptoms and signs is especially beneficial to families and educators.
I highly recommend Andrew’s Awesome Adventures with His ADHD Brain to any parent who has a child dealing with the symptoms of ADHD. Schools would benefit greatly by adding this to their teachers’ resource rooms or to their recommended reading lists. This is the book families and teachers have needed for decades.
Pages: 114 | ISBN: 195735402X
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The Mommy Clique is an entertaining and unpredictable novel filled with gossip and betrayal that will keep readers on their toes. Beth comes back to her hometown after many years to take care of her mother. She is worried about coming back to town, and to make matters worse she is forced to face the mean girl clique of mothers on her street. She soon realizes that she has become the target of these women, and they are looking for some fun. We find out that their ‘perfect’ life in the suburbs is not as great as it looks on the outside.
This is a riveting character driven story and author Barbara Altamirano does a fantastic job of creating believable characters, even when they do some unbelievable things. Each character is different in their own way but they all have one thing in common, they are mean girls and no one can be better than them.
Each chapter in the story is told from a different perspective. This allows the reader to get an intimate look at their thoughts and feelings and truly understand them. Even if readers can’t relate to certain situations they’ll still find that the characters have surprising depth, even when they sometimes seem shallow.
The reader learns that some of the characters in the story are not as happy and perfect as they seem and are putting up a façade. Elise, who is also referred to as the queen bee, is a surprisingly complex character and she is one that I loved to hate. I think that is a testament to the author’s writing ability, as she is able to evoke such strong emotions from the reader. I was also surprised by Beth’s character because, when she is first introduced to the group, she is looked at as weak and as easy prey, but as the story progresses readers learn that she is not at all who we think she is.
This is an engrossing evolution of the high school mean girl story. But when I thought I knew where this story was going the author adds an unexpected twist and once it is revealed you will not be able to put the book down.
The Mommy Clique is a spunky urban drama that will captivate readers as they are drawn into the melodrama, the cattiness, and the backstabbing. I highly recommend this book to readers looking for a quick but compelling story.
Pages: 203 | ASIN: B088DJS6TT
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Lillian is taking a bath one day and decides that it would be fun to learn how to swim. Her father agrees and quickly signs her up for swimming lessons. But that night Lillian feels that she may have been too hasty in her decision and starts to worry. Sure enough, when she is in class she is frightened by the noise and wild activity in the class. How will Lillian ever learn to swim?
Scared to Swim is an educational children’s book that shows young readers how to conquer their fear, specifically their fear of swimming. Many parents, myself included, think that sending their child off to swim lessons solves their swimming problem. But for some kids all the activity of a swim class can make them nervous. Author Tuula Pere illustrates this point perfectly in her children’s book.
I loved the art in the book as it made Lillian’s emotions throughout the story very plain. The dramatic enhancement of emotion on the characters make for some funny scenes, like when Lillian says she wants to learn how to swim. I literally laughed out loud when I saw her waving her arms around as if she was swimming.
This bright kids book sends a powerful message to young readers that if they trust in their parents, and give it a good try, together they can accomplish anything. I thought this book was going to show the parent encouraging their child to take the class. I was delighted to see that the parent is the one that helps their child learn a new skill and gain confidence in themselves. This shows young readers that relying on family can be powerful.
Scared to Swim is about so much more than swimming, and all of these ideas are shared in an easy to understand and beautifully illustrated picture book. This is a fantastic book to read multiple times as I’m sure that every time a child reads it they will pick up a new subtle but important lesson.
Pages: 34 | ISBN: 9523254510
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If you learn nothing else as a parent, you quickly learn some powerful lessons about time. Time is of the essence when you have children. So time-saving tips are always welcome, from getting enough sleep to knowing just what to say and when to say it. Brenda Miller has given parents a handbook that will save them precious hours of research and conferring with friends and family. From handling the everyday chaos of parenting to dealing with tantrums and how to effectively say “no,” Miller covers each and every dilemma, a parent could possibly encounter.
The Kid Code: 30 Second Parenting Strategies, by Brenda Miller, contains some of the best advice I have come across in 20-plus years of parenting. So many parenting books tend to be filled with a narrative that doesn’t necessarily apply to the advice readers actually crave. Miller’s book is everything we need with as little extra filler material. She gets to the point quickly and efficiently, offering short, one to two-page snippets of advice that address each parenting issue directly and without lengthy introduction sections. This is a book I wish I had when my son was born.
As a teacher, I find many of Miller’s strategies applicable in the classroom. I was especially taken with her advice on dealing with conflict and saying “no” with heartfelt words. I am finding this comes in particularly handy when it comes to the classroom and teaching students to deal with conflict and how to say no to each other in a much kinder manner. Surprisingly, Miller’s advice on saying “no” applies to older children as well. Overall, most of her 30-second strategies can easily be adapted to various situations, making this a must-read for a much wider audience than just parents of young children.
The Kid Code: 30 Second Parenting Strategies is the self-help manual parents wish they had when walking in the door with a newborn. Any parent or teacher feeling lost when it comes to dealing with rebellion, their own confusion as to the adult in charge, or learning how and when to apologize effectively needs to read the strategies contained in this eye-opening book. This insightful book offers advice that is brief, solid, and to the point.
Pages: 318 | ASIN: B097GXSD54
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