All Kids Can Thrive is a holistic educational resource for the education of children with special needs. Why was this an important book for you to write?
I felt that it was important to write this book at this time because many parents and educators are struggling for answers and ways to cope through these very challenging times both personally and professionally. Everyone strives to make a difference and it can be frustrating when it seems that you can’t reach a child or simply do not know what to do to help empower a student or even your own child. That is why I’ve searched the world for programs, courses, and mentors to enable me to help others. The biggest yet most surprising discovery is that relationships and safety are two keys to motivating active learning.
‘All Kids Can Thrive’ is for all educators whether the students have special needs or not. Each child is unique and should be valued exactly as they are. ‘All Kids Can Thrive’ is a resource filled with many tips, tools and strategies to empower any parent and educator to be successful with implementation and use of problem-solving tools.
What is a common misconception you feel most people have about special needs classrooms?
One misconception is that children with special needs should be in their own segregated classroom. That is not inclusion! For true inclusion to exist, students should be part of mainstream classes with meaningful programming adjusted to their abilities and skill levels. Studies show there are many benefits for all with inclusion. Sadly, despite proof of its benefits, inclusion still has a long way to go with regards to educational settings.
People tend to forget that students with special needs have a right to belong and a right to be treated and honoured as valuable citizens of our communities. This should include the right to be included in regular classrooms with proper support and training for the educators.
What were some ideas that were important for you to explore in this book?
Throughout this book it was essential that I stressed the importance of treating the whole child-mind, body and spiritually. Each child has their own unique gifts, talents and strengths and it is important to assess and build upon those abilities. Honoring a child’s culture and heritage is important to develop a better understanding of thoughts, beliefs, and actions. When the whole child is considered, they can grow, develop, and reach their highest potential physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually.
What do you hope is one thing readers take away from your book?
I would love for the reader to see how important they are for the success of the child and that the reader discovers that no matter what the problem is – there is always an answer. Relationships are an important key, and any child can thrive if they have at least one responsible, caring adult in their corner rooting for them that is willing to protect, value and love them. Love matters most!
Posted in Interviews
Tags: ALL KIDS CAN THRIVE, author, book, book recommendations, book review, book reviews, book shelf, bookblogger, books, books to read, children, ebook, education, goodreads, kindle, kobo, literature, nonfiction, nook, novel, parents, read, reader, reading, school, Sheena L Smith, story, teachers, writer, writing
Little Dragon and the Rainbow Poo, by Andrew Dunne is a children’s story of a dragon’s adventures that causes his poo to change colors. Every event causes his poo to turn into each color of the rainbow. Then, when he meets with his friend Daisy Doe at a show, he finds that his poo has turned a special color!
Dunne’s use of rhymes and colorful hand drawn illustrations all throughout the book brings this cute little story to life. This book reminds me of another children’s book Everyone Poops by ‘Tarō Gomi’, but with a much more fun and adventurous tone. The author rhymes each line with the color being used, which easily captures the readers attention and makes it more exciting to read. The hand drawn art is unique, but I would have liked to see more bright and vivid colors. Overall, the storyline provides a fun way to open up the subject of going to the bathroom with children that are potty-training or having issues using the toilet, while also learning the colors of the rainbow.
Little Dragon and the Rainbow Poo is an adorable story that kept a smile on my face throughout the entire book. The fun rhymes and storyline is captivating and will keep young readers attention. Little Dragon and the Rainbow Poo is a fun book for young children that will provide plenty of fun and educational material for parent and teachers.
Pages: 24 | ISBN: 0995393303
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Diane Gensler couldn’t be more out of her element. She is Jewish and teaching in a Catholic school. The two worlds colliding around her are just the beginning of her experience educating the students of the parochial Baltimore school. Gensler finds herself facing anti-Semitism in addition to what can already be a challenging career path. While she has looked forward to being a teacher in her own classroom, she can only begin to guess what this particular position has in store for her. What Gensler finds out in her first days at the Catholic school is that even creating a welcoming atmosphere and being an eager teacher might not be enough to battle the preconceived notions of others.
Forgive Us Our Trespasses, by Diane Gensler, is the story of the author’s time spent teaching in a Catholic school in Baltimore. As a Jewish woman, she experienced biases and treatment to which her coworkers were immune. Her first year as a teacher should have been filled with joy and rewarding firsts, but she was subjected to prejudices–some veiled, others not so much.
As a teacher, I found so many truths in Gensler’s story. There is a seemingly endless number of things you are not told when you enter your first year, and she reveals them all plus more. I felt every one of her frustrations over losing instructional time to extra and unexpected duties. Nothing prepares you for all of the additional tasks, and Gensler explicitly lays out each and every one of them with all of the brutal honesty of a teacher eager to educate but overwhelmed by the magnitude of her job.
Gensler handles herself with a finesse not always known to first-year teachers. From dealing with attending Catholic church services to coping with parents who seem out to prove her incompetent, she persists and does so with much success. I was amazed at how well she dealt with coworkers who snubbed her without reason and the coldness of her principal. It takes a strong person to do this job and handle that kind of treatment.
I am giving Forgive Us Our Trespasses, by Diane Gensler, 5 out of 5 stars. If it were possible to give it more stars, I would do so enthusiastically. Gensler has put into writing what every teacher feels and given voice to some of the most challenging aspects of our jobs. Her words are not only relatable; they are filled with all the raw emotion of a woman experiencing the sting of prejudice while facing some of the most important work that can be done.
Pages: 188 | ASIN: B08BNPNP3J
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My Buddy Knows… Letters is an educational picture book that teaches children about the alphabet in a fun and playful way. What inspired you to write this book?
I was helping my high school aged daughter study for a chemistry test and we were using flash cards. Afterwards, I was marveling at how often we use flash cards to test our memory.
That got me thinking, “Why don’t we use flash cards for teaching early concepts?” My Buddy Knows series was born.
Fun fact: each of the “Buddies” in the books are named after my children.
I loved the art in this book. What was the art process like in putting this book together?
Surprisingly, all of the art in the books were acquired from a site that offers royalty-free images, approved for commercial use, free of charge.
It was a case study, of sorts, for my YouTube channel for authors, Keith Wheeler Books. I wanted to prove that you didn’t have to spend a lot of money to produce a book, if you focused on quality content and provided your reader with an amazing experience.
How does this book help young children with their alphabet comprehension?
The simple answer is that it makes learning fun. It’s like a game. Plus, as you turn the page, Josh(the “buddy” in the book) pops up in different places.
I can’t tell you how many parents tell me that their child loves to see where he’s going to pop up next.
This is volume one in the My Buddy Knows series. What are the other books in the series and what is the goal for the series overall?
There are currently 4 volumes in the My Buddy Knows series. They are:
My Buddy Knows Letters
My Buddy Knows Numbers
My Buddy Knows Colors & Shapes
My Buddy Knows Baby Animals
I’m also in the process of creating a spin-off series: My Buddy Knows Languages. I’m in the process of creating the first 5 books in the series:
My Buddy Knows Spanish
My Buddy Knows French
My Buddy Knows German
My Buddy Knows Italian
My Buddy Knows Japanese
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Tags: alphabet, author, author interview, book, book recommendations, book review, book reviews, book shelf, bookblogger, books, books to read, children, ebook, education, goodreads, Keith Wheeler, kids, kindergarten, kindle, kobo, literature, My Buddy Knows… Letters, nook, novel, parent, picture book, read, reader, reading, school, story, teacher, writer, writing
Bullying: What Are We Really Scared Of challenges our current response to bullying and explores successful ways of dealing with bullies. Why was this an important book for you to write?
I was able to get inside the head of a bully, learn all the secrets as to how they bully and why. Stemming from this, I was able to devise an action plan to stop bullies from hurting me. After many years of implementing this plan, learning that it worked every time, seeing the world was in such a state with bullying problems, saddened, I felt it was imperative I shared the secrets to defeating the bullies to help victims with this worldwide problem.
What were some ideas that were important for you to focus on in this book?
Divulging the truth about bullying, that it is not just the schoolyard bully or domestic violator, but that bullying is in every aspect of our lives. Exposing their secrets and sharing how easy it is for bullies to be retrained during counselling from being a physical violator to a psychological abuser because that is when they are most dangerous. Demonstrating, with examples, how easy it is to fall victim to bullies and what to look out for to be safe from the manipulations of bullies. Explaining to victims that the Justice system is more often than not, a lame duck when it comes to seeking help from them so they don’t fall into the abyss of depression when it fails to help them. Most importantly, I wanted to empower victims to be self reliant, to help themselves to stop the bullies in their lives.
What is a common misconception you feel people have about bullying?
That bullying is scary, that once they fall victim to a bully it will never stop, that they cannot defeat it and no one would believe them.
Do you have plans to write other books on this topic?
Yes, I am in the midst of writing a book for younger children (ages 3-8) to help them understand bullying and what they can do to stop it.
Posted in Interviews
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Mommy, Daddy Please Teach Me!, by Michael A. Brown, is an educational children’s story about appreciating what our parents have done for us. Through this book readers will learn to value the things their parents have taught them by exploring various real life examples such as learning to dress themselves and learning to love themselves. The story portrays diverse families in many different situations that children find themselves in on an average day. The author then uses this base to show some simple, but effective, examples of the numerous ways that parents help their children learn and grow.
It’s important to appreciate the things our parents have taught us. They have taught us a lot of things that have helped us become the people that we are today. Our parents have always been there to guide us through life and it is important to think about what we have learned from them. Michael A. Brown inspires this kind of thought and understanding in his exceptional picture book.
Along with the multiple examples given that show how parents educate children, this cute book also helps remind kids to cherish the lessons their parents give them. If the reader were to discover something in the story that they didn’t know about, such as the concept of money, then they’d have something new to discuss with their parents.
Mommy, Daddy Please Teach Me! is yet another brilliant book by Michael A. Brown that uses beautiful illustrations to capture children’s attention and then inserts a lesson while looking over all the beautiful imagery.
Pages: 34 | ASIN : B08K3QQNMG
Tags: author, book, book review, bookblogger, childrens book, diversity, ebook, education, elementary, fantasy, fiction, goodreads, kids book, kindle, kobo, learning, literature, Michael A Brown, Mommy Daddy Please Teach Me!, nook, parent, picture book, read, reader, reading, school, story, teacher, writer, writing
Lance Vance Picks a Topic, starts with introducing us to our 9 year old, smart, cocky and impulsive protagonist Lance and then proceeds to follow his journey from the time he receives his Science Fair assignment to the day of the Science Fair. This charming children’s book follows his adventure, impulsiveness and knack for creating something new and is bound to inspire young readers.
Children are often afraid of science as a subject and science fairs can be a real cause of anxiety in not only them but their parents too. But through Lance’s story, the author successfully breaks down the steps of the Scientific Method and makes it easy and simple for children to grasp. It aims at imbibing and instilling scientific flair in children from a very young age. After all science is the most exciting subject, if we just introduce kids to it right! Lance’s hilarious yet thrilling experiments does exactly that. It instigates creative thinking in young readers. The storyline is compelling and keeps readers engaged. Lance is bound to fascinate them. The writing is lucid and that helps in easy comprehension of not only the plot but the insights as well. The illustrations are really adorable and will hold their attention.
I recommend this book to all young readers so that they get to enjoy science in its all glory and don’t associate fear with it. It is an interesting subject and science fairs allows them to create fun projects. I’m really looking forward to more of Lance’s adventure.
Pages: 53 | ASIN: B08CSZZ2W4
Tags: adventure, author, book, book review, bookblogger, childres book, ebook, education, Emmie Miller, fantasy, fiction, goodreads, kids book, kindle, kobo, Lance Vance Picks a Topic, literature, nook, parent, picture book, read, reader, reading, school, science, science fair, stem, story, teacher, writer, writing
Amen and Amen by Gene Vickers is a simple but enchanting story set between the backwoods of Blairsville in northern Georgia and the elegant suburbs on its hilltop. While abject poverty and limited opportunities have kept one side of society barely scraping by, the other half lead extravagant lives filled with imported cars and vacation homes overseas. Long-buried secrets and animosity steeped in classism have divided the town for generations yet all that will start to change when the wealthiest boy in school befriends one of the poorest girls in the county. Their unlikely relationship will inspire a revolution throughout their town, leading to well-drawn lines in the sand becoming blurred as God and humanity intervene.
At its core, the book focuses on faith, family and football, first and foremost, and how those factors can come together to unite those who would be torn apart otherwise. Prepare to get swept away by interweaving tales that peer into the lives of the disenfranchised and the rich that prove that maybe the two have more in common than expected at a glance. Follow two disadvantaged adolescents in a heart-warming underdog story who join the elitist ranks of the football team in a move that upsets long-established social dynamics, for better or worse. Out on the gridiron, economics hardly even matter as the playing field is leveled to allow everyone’s God-given talent to shine through whether they reside in a trailer park or a mansion. Enemies can become brothers just as school friends can become lovers as long as everyone grows in grace and understanding.
Still, not everyone is without their faults and prejudices and, since the ages of old, the sins of the father can and certainly do come back to haunt his children so it’s easy to get caught up in the quaint town’s gossip mill and endless drama. Sinners and their descendants alike try throughout to reconcile with their past and present misdeeds from clandestine backroom dealings to unplanned pregnancies with only a hope and a prayer. However, with God’s eternal love comes forgiveness, culminating in a story brimming with vibrant characters, a touch of colorful language, and a whole lot of soul.
Amen and Amen is a twist on the classic boy-meets-girl theme yet the rags-to-riches theme can become repetitive. Some characters can feel one-dimensional at times as they heel-turn their previous convictions seemingly through faith alone and not necessarily hard work. Perhaps it just goes to show that humans are flawed and still God forgives all.
Read Amen and Amen if you want a feel-good Christian story filled with patriotic characters who, through their faith, prevail no matter what comes their way.
Pages: 357 | ASIN: B08DL6FB5P