Friday 56: Review-If I Could Ask God Anything

If I Could Ask God Anything

* Grab the book nearest you. Right now.
* Turn to page 56.
* Find the fifth sentence.
* Post that sentence (plus one or two others if you like) along with these instructions 
on your blog or (if you do not have your own blog) in the comments section of this blog.
Post a link along with your post back to this blog Starting Fresh and to Storytime with Tonya and Friends
* Don't dig for your favorite book, the coolest, the most intellectual. Use the CLOSEST.
Here's mine:
"After you die, you can live forever with My Father God and Me in heaven."
If I Could Ask God Anything
Awesome Bible Answers for Curious Kids!
By Kathryn Slattery

Product Details

  • Reading level: Ages 9-12
  • Paperback: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Thomas Nelson; 2 edition (March 30, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1400316022
  • ISBN-13: 978-1400316021
My Review:

If I Could Ask God Anything is a wonderful paperback book for children to discover clear, fresh answers to important questions about God, faith, prayer, and Christianity in language that the children will understand. Author Kathryn Slattery tackles difficult and challenging subjects that are hard for children to understand such as:

1. Who Is God and How can I Know for Sure God Loves Me?
2. Did Jesus live on Earth before or after the dinosaurs?
3. Why Is Taking care of Our Planet Important to Christians?
4. Why Do People Hurt Other People?
5. How can Anything Good Come Out of Pain and Suffering?

 This little book of well organized scriptural answers will help young readers establish a closer relationship with God as well as help parents nurture their child's mind and spirit with Scripture-based guidance. I have felt like a curious child sometimes and have often thought about asking God how He made butterflies and what do things look like from His perspective... This book is a welcomed addition to my library for future reading to my grandsons. It is written to bring peace and comfort and hopeful to the reader who has so many questions that beg for answers to be filled and indeed Kathryn  Slattery explains them well. The book is worth buying, reading and for gift giving as well.

If I Could Ask God Anything: Awesome Bible Answers for Curious Kids

Kathryn Slattery Biography

Kathryn Slattery loves writing stories about faith and inspiration. She has written hundreds of articles for a wide variety of publications, including ParentLife, Today's Christian Woman, and Angels on Earth magazines, and she is a longtime Contributing Editor for Guideposts magazine.
She is the author of the memoir LOST & FOUND: One Daughter's Story of Amazing Grace (GuidepostsBooks), IF I COULD ASK GOD ANYTHING: Awesome Bible Answers for Curious Kids (Thomas Nelson), GRANDMA I'LL MISS YOU: A Child's Story about Death and New Life (David C. Cook), THE GRACE TO GROW: The Power of Christian Faith in Emotional Healing, and A BRIGHT-SHINING PLACE: the Story of a Miracle. Her popular children's book THE GOSPEL FOR KIDS (David C. Cook) has more than 100,000 copies in print in nine languages. Kathryn is also the author of FINDINGS, a web series of true first-person reflections at, and a contributing author to numerous "Best of" Guideposts anthologies.
Kathryn resides in Connecticut with her husband Tom, where they are the parents of two grown children and happy owners of a roly-poly pug named Max.

Visit Kathryn and learn more about her work at, and on Facebook: Kathryn "Kitty" Slattery.

BOOKS by Kathryn Slattery:

LOST & FOUND: One Daughter's Story of Amazing Grace
GuidepostsBooks, 2008. An Inspirational memoir about forgiveness and reconciliation between a daughter and her mother. Crossings Book Club selection. Family Circle Book of the Month.
IF I COULD ASK GOD ANYTHING: Awesome Bible Answers for Curious Kids
Thomas Nelson Publishers,2006; 2nd Edition, 2010. Answers to questions about God and faith for ages 6 and up.
GRANDMA, I'LL MISS YOU: A Child's Story about Death and New Life
Chariot Books, David C. Cook Publishing Co., 1993. For ages 5 and up.
Chariot Books, David C. Cook Publishing Co., 1989; Cook Communications Ministries International, Portuguese, Hungarian, Czech, Bulgarian, Romanian, Polish, Slovak, and Spanish paperback editions, 1999. More than 100,000 copies in print. The story of Jesus for children ages 5 and up.
THE GRACE TO GROW: The Power of Christian Faith in Emotional Healing
Word Books, 1984; Bantam Books paperback, 1985; Spanish and French editions, Vida Press, 1985, 1986; Fairway Press paperback, 1996. Written by Dr. William P. Wilson, Professor Emeritus of Psychiatry and founder of the program for Christianity in Medicine at Duke University, Durham, North Carolina.
A BRIGHT SHINING PLACE: The Story of a Miracle
Doubleday Books, 1981; Ballantine Books paperback, 1983; Harrison House, Inc., paperback, 1988. Written by gospel singer Cheryl Prewitt Salem, Miss America, 1980.
THE BEST STORIES FROM GUIDEPOSTS, Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., 1997
THE POWER OF FAITH, Inspirational Press, New York, 1997
A VERY PRESENT HELP: God's Power in Our Lives, Guideposts, 1985
THE GUIDEPOSTS FAMILY CHRISTMAS BOOK, "Emmett McCallister's Christmas Eve: An Old Tale Retold," 1981
GUIDEPOSTS Magazine: 16 East 34 Street, New York, NY 10016
Contributing Editor, 1977 to present
Author, FINDINGS web series on, 2009 to present
Director, Guideposts Writers Workshop (National Writers Contest) 2000 - 2005
Director, Guideposts Young Writers Contest (National High School College Scholarship Competition) 2000 - 2005
GUIDEPOSTS is one of the nation's Top Ten magazines, with a paid circulation of over 2.5 million and estimated monthly readership of over 12 million. A non-profit, interfaith publication, Guideposts was founded 60 years ago by Dr. Norman Vincent Peale, and features true, first-person stories of faith, hope and inspiration by people from all walks of life. Cover stories ghostwritten for Guideposts include: Brian Williams, Robert Duvall, Emme, Fred Rogers, Diane Sawyer, Heather Headley, Ricardo Montalban, Ed Asner, Ginny Thornburgh, and Alberta Hunter. Hundreds of other stories include: CeCe Winans, Robby Benson, Dick Van Patten, Robert K. Massie, Rosey Grier, B.J. Thomas, and numerous personal stories dealing largely with the struggles and joys of parenthood and family life.
B.A., Mass Communications, University of South Florida, Tampa, Florida, 1973

If you're a young mother or grandparent who finds themselves saying... "I don't know" to your young ones' questions, I recommend this book to you so that you have the answers to some challenging questions close at hand!

Comments are welcomed and encouraged! I hope you enjoy your stay at LadyD Books. Thanks for stopping by!
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If You can Talk, You Can Write by Joel Saltzman

 My Review:

I was so inspired after reading this great book because Joel's words helped light a fire within me. I had a strong desire to write but just didn't know how to do it! Well, the author gives you tools (motivational ones) that you will want to use in your tool box of encouragement. When I finished the book, I knew I had lowered my expectations of myself and began writing, which made me feel better and kept me organized and moved me forward a little each day to just write with conviction daily. Thanks, Joel... this is just what I needed to hear. I hope others will get your book so that they will keep writing, too! 5/5 stars!

If You Can Talk You Can Write

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Writing a Children's Book

I’m thinking of writing a book someday. Yes, I think about this all the time. Everywhere I go I’m always meeting authors or editors. I have so many ideas and stories that I want to share with you. Then I feel overwhelmed because I don’t know where to begin. Have you felt that way before?
I have received some good advice along the way. Mostly I meet well-disciplined folks who set aside the block of time to write every day. I come from a family of teachers and they are always reading books. I love to read also and find the time to read wonderful children’s stories to my grandsons before their bedtime when I am with them.

Perhaps you are one who has always kept a journal. I find that writing helps one to get out their feelings more and more and to just go with your feeling and try to express them at that moment.

I find that others are perfectionists and just can’t seem to begin writing, kind of like “writer’s block.” The fear of getting started can be crippling for some and their struggles of rejection. I always try to encourage those sensitive writers with the idea that publisher's are rejecting your ideas, not you. Get back in the saddle, re-write another manuscript for submission.

I have no expectations placed upon myself, I just write a little every day, maybe 1,000 words a day and really that’s not very much. Once I get started writing, I begin to see that this discipline now helps me to be organized. Sometimes I sketch out my ideas and go back and fill things in with more detail.

Some folks are highly gifted and born with such great writing skills. I’m not trying to be another Harry Potter author. I love the fact that there is freedom in writing about something that you're passionate about and putting your vision or twist on it. You are uniquely you and it’s your story to tell.

I spend my time sifting through ideas for my children’s book. I think about morals and the theme of the story. Am I trying to teach a child a lesson and the consequences of his choices or am I writing about a character having a large conflict and how does he resolve it?

When you research ideas for children’s books don’t be discouraged if you discover that someone else has already written about your ideas and they are published! Dig deeper and see if you can put a different spin on it.

It does take some time to write out your plot. I’m always thinking of what the audience can relate to. I know that there are tons of books on the market for children regarding their love for animals. So, that takes a different twist and turn in your future writing because animal stories are so highly overly done. Will you choose a magical land where your animal characters talk with one another or keep it real and practical? Find something unique to write about, keeping in mind that publicists read at least 2,000 children's books a day.

After I write something down on paper, I choose to read it out loud afterwards and see where the story line is going. I’m usually looking for more tension in the story plot, like how can things go from bad to real bad? And then, when did the story draw me in as a reader? Hopefully from the beginning!

I personally try to focus on events that can happen in my story for a certain age group that the reader will understand. Mostly for me that age group can be from 4 years old – 8 years old. I try to draw a clear picture for my reader to follow because my goal is to hook them in. At the same time, I need to keep everything simple because children’s attention span is limited.

True stories that cause a universal connection with everyone seem to be the winners. I love reading about how someone has overcome their life’s challenges. Writing a children’s book that stands out and shines above the others takes lots of hard work and effort.

So, for now, I just keep writing and want to pass along this encouragement to others. Sometimes I wonder if I’ll ever get my book completed. Completing a manuscript and celebrating the journey along the way would be a marvelous goal to aspire to. In the meantime, give it a go and just begin scribbling random words and thoughts on the napkin near you. So you want to write a book? You have nothing to lose and everything to gain by writing your book! Yes, that's what I want to do!

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Blog Tour: The Raindrop by Brian D. McClure

the Raindrop

A big thank you to the Cadence Group and Pump Up Your Book Promo Tour for sending me this very cute children's book! For more information, visit

Product Details

  • Reading level: Ages 4-8
  • Hardcover: 36 pages
  • Publisher: Universal Flag Publishing (February 1, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1933426012
  • ISBN-13: 978-1933426013

Product Description

"I am just a raindrop, I am smaller than small. What am I doing here? I have no use at all..." So begins the story of The Raindrop. In this adventurous journey, many Truths are uncovered which help the Raindrop remember the higher purpose of his life. This simple and heartfelt story, allows children and adults of all ages to remember the Truth of who they are.

About the Author

Brian D. McClure is the author of a number of popular childrenÂ’s books. His books share a common theme of the interconnection and oneness of all and resonate with simple Truths which are common to all of us. Brian believes that in order to end fear and violence in our world, we must all be proactive in helping everyone remember who they are. Brian is also the creator of the Universal Flag. This flag was created to represent our Interconnection and Oneness with All. It is a symbol that transcends differences and honors the uniqueness and commonality of all.


Ohio-born native Brian McClure is the Founder and President of The Universal Flag and its affiliate companies. He is an author, human rights advocate and messenger of the oneness of all. Inside of the Universal Flag Companies, he set up a Non-Profit Foundation to help relieve the suffering which he has witnessed in third world countries, along with spreading the Universal Flags throughout the World. The flag was recently paraded and flown at The United Nations as part of World Peace Day.
Brian has been interviewed on countless national radio shows and has been in a number of publications
including CNN, CBS & NBC TV. He is the host the hit radio show, "A Call To Consciousness" - which is heard weekly on KTLK 1150AM in Los Angeles and KFNX 110AM in Phoenix Arizona.
He has spoken at many organizations, churches, and institutions including The Agape Spiritual Center, The Inside Edge and The Onion based at the Unity Spiritual movement Center. Brian's humanitarian efforts have extended worldwide. Recently Brian took it upon himself to visit and document impoverished communities in Sierra Leone which had just ended an 11-year war several years before, and Uganda. Upon his return, he has been very proactive creating awareness about the real conditions which go largely unreported in the US.
Brian once stated: ''The power of a symbol cannot be underestimated. Politicians use symbols to gather and mobilize support. Corporations use logos to create effective, profitable brand loyalties. Now, the world has a new symbol, the Universal Flag is one that calls forth promise and potential for all. It defines our interconnectedness and oneness with ALL." As Brian has said many times, "the Universal Flag Symbol acts as a signpost reminding us of our deepest truths. The symbol represents a world filled with infinite possibilities."
Brian has developed an awareness of equality among all people and nationalities. His primary goal is to help people remember that inside each of us we hold the higher truths that are transforming our world.

 About The Book- My Review

Brian is a wonderful storyteller. I really liked this book. It's well written and very entertaining. The Little Raindrop has quite a personality that you will love from the start. The large, colorful illustrations by Buddy Plumlee capture the storyline well.

This hardcover children's book begins with The Raindrop questioning his worth and purpose to the Cloud. As he's falling through the sky, repeating "I am smaller than small, I am no use at all", well these words remind me of a Max Lucado children's book, Tallest of Smalls. Have you read that one?
What I find so cool is that an author can take a familiar storyline and change it with his vision and perspective and I think that's a marvelous writing tip. In this case, Brian's book is unique and stands on its own with a great lesson science lesson on H20 plus I feel that the heart of this book empowers children to know that they're loved and have a purpose in the bigger picture of things called life. (family)

The story moves along with all the trees crying out for rain and this certainly is a call uttered by many farmers where I live in Southern California! All at once the drops answer the call except the Raindrop
is still caught up in thinking about his own purpose. Here is where I like how the author provides a conflict for the main character to solve. And then the plot goes deeper and I like that, too.

This really cute kids book sends a great lesson about our water system for children of ages 4-8. There is much freedom in discovering your purpose and we find out later on in the story that the Raindrop realizes he is part of the water system. I especially like this part of the story:

"Some of the raindrop became hydrogen, some of it became oxygen, and some of it became corn. Through the wonderful process of energy, the Raindrop changed form."
The story doesn't end there but I encourage you to purchase this cute book for inspiration and encouragement. Great overall message with everyone having their unique giftedness. 4 1/2 stars!
The author's dedication page is priceless... thank you!

The Raindrop was provided by The Cadence Group for review.

Comments are welcomed and encouraged!
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Thanks for stopping by!
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Stunning New Coat for Anna

A New Coat for Anna

I discovered this wonderful book at our local library and immediately fell in love with it. First, I have a daughter named Anna and then I recall so many wonderful stories that my mother shared with me, coming out of World War II. Anna's stunning new coat reminds me of my own mother's sacrificial love for me so many times. Many thanks to Harriet Ziefert for writing such a beautiful, heart-warming book of excellent quality for all to read. I loved this book. How about you?

The book A New Coat for Anna, written by Harriet Ziefert and illustrated by Anita Lobel, takes place right after World War II and tells the story of young Anna, who has outgrown her old winter coat. As a result of the war, money, food, and other goods, including clothes, are still very scarce and Anna’s mother does not have enough money to buy her a new coat:
Last winter Anna’s mother had said, “When the war is over, we will be able to buy things again and I will get you a nice new coat.” But when the war ended the stores remained empty. There still were no coats. There was hardly any food. And no one had any money.
Anna’s mother must make choices about what she will buy and decides to exchange the few valuable items she has left for the services of a farmer, a spinner, a weaver, and a tailor to make Anna a new coat.
“Anna, I have no money,” she said, “but I still have Grandfather’s gold watch and some other nice things. Maybe we can use them to get what we need for a new coat.”
The story takes readers through all the steps involved in the production of Anna’s new coat. First, Anna and her mother go to the farmer and offer to trade grandfather’s gold watch for enough wool to make the coat. When spring comes, the farmer shears his sheep and gives Anna’s mother a big bag of wool. Anna and her mother then take the wool to the spinner and offer to give her a beautiful lamp if she will spin the wool into yarn. After receiving the yarn, Anna decides that she would like her coat to be red, so she and her mother pick lingonberries and dye the yarn red. Then they take the red yarn to the weaver and ask her to weave it into cloth in exchange for a garnet necklace. Two weeks later, Anna and her mother take the cloth to the tailor, who measures Anna and makes her coat in exchange for a porcelain teapot.
At the end of the story, Anna proudly wears her new red coat home and shows her appreciation for everyone who helped make her coat by telling her mother that she would like to invite the farmer, the spinner, the weaver, and the tailor to come to their Christmas celebration.

Product Details

Lobel, Anita
Lobel, Anita
Ziefert, Harriet
Dragonfly Books
New York
Clothing and dress
Children's fiction
Children's 4-8 - Picturebooks
Historical - Military & Wars
Family - Parents
Series Volume:
v. 7
Publication Date:
May 1988
, Yes
9.95x7.86x.17 in. .33 lbs.
Children's Book Type:
Picture / Wordless
Age Level:
 Editorial Review - Kirkus Reviews Copyright (c) VNU Business Media, Inc.

Beskow's classic Pelle's New Suit told the story of outgrown clothing replaced by bartering labor for wool, spinning, weaving, and sewing; now Ziefert sets it in postwar Europe, where Anna's mother trades cherished possessions--a gold watch, a garnet necklace--to acquire the much-needed garment. The war is over, but shops are still empty, even of food, and no one has money. This coat is a year in
the making: the wool must grow all winter while Anna shivers in her old coat, the lingonberries for the dye must ripen all summer. When the new red coat is ready at last, Anna, like Pelle, shows it off to everyone who helped make it, and on Christmas Day she returns to thank the sheep. With its boarded-up windows and winter landscapes, this is more sober than most of Lobel's work, although her flair for decorative repetition appears in subtle ways: in the herd of sheep, the hanks of yam, scenes repeated in a mirror. Pictured details, such as the shabby, cozy garret home crowded with surviving treasures and family pictures, add substantial information to the text. A warmly satisfying variation on a familiar story.

Teacher Guide

About This Book

Here is a priceless story of a mother's devotion to her daughter during the poverty and heartbreak following World War II. Anna needs a new winter coat, but her mother can not afford to buy her one, and all the local stores are empty after the war. The Mother decides to trade her few possessions to buy the wool and pay for the work of a spinner, weaver, and tailor to make Anna's coat. When the bright red coat is completed, Anna invites all the craftspeople who made it to celebrate with her.
Youngsters ages four to eight will be touched by the mother's love and sacrifice for her only daughter. A good topic to ask during a classroom discussion might be — "In what other ways do parents make sacrifices for their children?"

A New Coat for Anna

A New Coat for Anna and is a piece of realistic fiction. It is based on a true story told to the author by a friend. It takes place in a small European town just after World War II. It illustrates that sometimes your don't need money to get what you need and that it can take imagination for figure out how to get those things. It is the heartwarming story of a mother and her young daughter's ingenuity in bartering creatively.
Young Anna, the daughter needed a new coat for the next winter but she and her mother had no money or materials for the coat. So Anna's mother had the idea to trade their few possessions to get the coat made step by step. She gave a farmer something in exchange for the wool he would shear from his sheep in the spring. Come spring, she took the wool to a spinner and offered her a beautiful lamp if she would spin it into yarn. The spinner did the work when the cherries were ripe in the summer. Anna and her mother picked ripe lingonberries in the summer for the dye for the yarn. Then the mother took the newly red yarn to the weaver and offered him a garnet necklace so he would weave the yarn into a bolt of cloth. As summer turned to fall, the cloth was finished and the mother took the bolt to the tailor and exchanged a lovely teapot for his services in sewing the coat. By winter, Anna proudly wore her new red coat home, stopping to admire her reflection in every story window. She and her mother thanked all who had been a part of making the coat with a Christmas Eve party. It took a year around, some hard work, and some clever bartering, but Anna and her mother got what they needed without spending a bit of money.

 Key Concepts:

Sometimes other people find the things that you have are more valuable than money. Money is not always necessary for obtaining one's needs.

 First Sentence:
Winter had come and Anna needed a new coat.

A New Coat for Anna (Dragonfly Books)

This is my favorite review of this wonderful children's book:
As the post-war child of a family that suffered through World War II in the Netherlands, I can say that "A New Coat for Anna" has the ring of authenticity. In many ways, it reminds me of first-hand stories I heard from my parents and older siblings about the hardships--and the creativity--of ordinary people during those very difficult years.
This well-written story takes the reader through a year in Anna's life, as her mother arranges to have a new coat made by bartering with her neighbors. She trades jewelry for wool, and then a lamp to have it spun. Anna and her mother pick lingonberries together, which they use to dye the yarn red. The bartering continues as the yarn is woven and then tailored into a coat.
The story concludes with a Christmas celebration, "the best they had in a long time," where Anna invites the farmer, the spinner, the weaver, and the tailor to enjoy a Christmas cake together. Anna also takes the time to thank the sheep on Christmas Day.
Even the candles on the tree in Anita Lobel's cozy illustration remind me of the Christmas trees of my childhood. Whenever I share this inspiring tale with children, I wax nostalgic and tell about the candles on our trees.

"A New Coat for Anna" drives home the harsh realities of war and its impact on the daily lives of children... and their neighbors. But it's done in a heartwarming way. Highly recommended.
And I echo what so many other's are saying... I highly recommend this one, too!

Comments are welcomed and encouraged!
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Thanks for stopping by!
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Friday 56: Robin Hood by Neil Philip

* Grab the book nearest you. Right now.
* Turn to page 56.
* Find the fifth sentence.
* Post that sentence (plus one or two others if you like) along with these instructions 
on your blog or (if you do not have your own blog) in the comments section of this blog.
Post a link along with your post back to this blog Starting Fresh and to Storytime with Tonya and Friends
* Don't dig for your favorite book, the coolest, the most intellectual. Use the CLOSEST.
Here's mine:
"For the man had once been stopped by Robin and the outlaws, and had been forced to pay for his passage through the forest."
From Robin Hood - Timeless Classic Stories For Today

Product Details

  • Hardcover
  • Publisher: Gerstenberg (February 1, 1998)
  • ISBN-10: 3806747407
 It seems to me that Robin Hood is the world's favorite outlaw-hero. Do you find that to be so? Children of all ages seem to enjoy the real world of the Robin Hood legend. No other outlaw in history or literature is as famous as Robin Hood. People from everywhere love this colorful hero and his bandmerry men, who robbed the rich to give to the poor. I do recall making a Robin Hood costume for my son in his younger days of pretending to ride through the royal forest of Sherwood. I suppose I will be making a Robin Hood costume for my grandson as well in the near future! 

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Cover of "Dinosaur Stomp!"Cover of Dinosaur Stomp!

Originally uploaded by Chasing him
Awhile back I had written a blog entry on dinosaurs , particularly Dinosaur Roar because my grandsons were really into playing with them back then! You can read more about it at:

Dinosaur Roar 

Well, this particular book is on my Support Your Local Library Reading List so I decided to read it this time to my neighbor's little girl to see her reaction. I love how the book begins with comparing and contrasting dinosaurs. For example, they're either fierce or meek. Dinosaur's either roar or squeak. Young children seem to giggle when you read the part out loud where dinosaurs are fast or they are slow! And then especially when you see that a dinosaur is either fat or he is tiny, this will usually bring about much laughter out loud!

Dinosaurs of every shape and size race, roar, and stomp through this colorful book of opposites. And where are all these silly-looking creatures off to? A dinosaur picnic, of course! These goofy pranksters and the simple, playful rhymes that accompany them will delight children everywhere. Surefire fun for readers big and small.

Paul Stickland is the author and illustrator of Dinosaur Stomp! and Ten Terrible Dinosaurs. He and his wife, Henrietta Stickland, have also collaborated on The Christmas Bear.


Paul Stickland is the author, illustrator and pop-up engineer of many, many children's books, including Dinosaur Roar!, The Christmas Bear, Santa's Workshop, Big Dig, One Bear One Dog, Truck Jam, A Number of Dinosaurs, Dinosaurs Galore, Monkey Business, Ten Terrible Dinosaurs, Bears! and many, many more...
I am based in the ancient town of Sherborne, Dorset, in England.
I have six children, Rowan, Felix, Gus, Kit, Arthur, and Tabitha.
For the past few years, despite a rigorous publishing schedule, I have spent as much time as I can out on the road, giving inspirational talks and fun drawing and pop-up workshops to children (and their parents!) in schools, libraries and literary festivals, from Edinburgh, Cheltenham and Glastonbury. I have worked in the UK, Italy, and America, in a great diversity of settings, the more challenging the better!

The visits start with the simplest of readings, through explanations of the process of creating and producing a children's book, to drawing workshops and hands-on pop-up workshops. I am happy to work with all sizes of groups. I have found working with children with special needs to be particularly rewarding.

I am a passionate advocate for the world of children's books and as the years pass, I have become more and more drawn to working with and empowering young children to expand their creativity through this magical world.

If you are interested in contacting me, please do so via my website,
Do visit my websites, stores and blog:*

I love this book and highly recommend it to your little ones! 5 stars!

Here's the latest entry at Paul's blog:

"Naughty Little Dragon sitting on my desktop this morning, whilst I draw fish…"

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I Heard It From Alice Zucchini: Poems About The Garden by Juanita Havill

I enjoyed visiting with my grandmother when I was a youngster on her farm and continued her way of life all through my days of growing up. From living on a small piece of land to 100 acres and now enjoying the land once again of 2 1/2 acres to farm, I simply find it very rewarding. Watching where food comes from, building up the soil, mulching and yes, weeding, too is all part of a gardener's life.

I have found preserving food to be ever so rewarding during the winter months especially to open up a jar of canned peaches or make a pot of soup with frozen green beans. There is nothing quite like the taste of a fresh picked tomato bursting in one's mouth.

So, I wonder if perhaps you've grown a potted cherry tomato on your patio or have planted rows of summer corn? Then how many of us have planted a zucchini mound only to discover later that one zucchini plant can feed your whole neighborhood squash for the entire summer?!

LadyD Books GardenGardening with LadyD Books

Besides visiting gardening blogs in my spare time, I also enjoy reading children's poems about gardens.  And my favorite book to read by Juanita Havill ,
I Heard It from Alice Zucchini: Poems About the Garden

I love this book and found it so very imaginative and refreshing. Apparently others have, too. Take a look at these editorial reviews:

From School Library Journal

"Kindergarten-Grade 6-A bountiful harvest of lyrical poems that expresses delight in the world of nature. It is hard to resist singing such selections as Dainty Doily Dill Weed: Dainty Doily Dill Weed/dances in the breeze,/waving yellow blossoms,/calling to the peas. The poems are easily committed to memory due to their flawless rhythms and storytelling narratives. In Nursery Rhyme, the King of the Beetles and his queen, both wearing armor of golden green, will lose their home when the Rhubarb forest is baked in a pie. In another poem, a sweet but short marriage is arranged between a bee and Sweet Cicely, who laments, '-¦I flower in May,/in June, go away./How could we have enough time?' Havill knows how to craft a lullaby, a lyric to be sung, and a rhyme that begs chanting. Well suited to the charm of the verse, Davenier's pen-and-ink and watercolor illustrations transport readers to the ground level of the garden alongside mice, snails, crickets, and a busy young fairy. The book's arrangement reflects the cyclical movement from season to season. A table of contents offers 20 poems ripe for the picking from this first-choice book.-Teresa Pfeifer, Alfred Zanetti Montessori Magnet School, Springfield, MA "
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From Booklist

"K-Gr. 3. As in George Shannon's Busy in the Garden (2006), Havill's collection of verse captures the science and backyard magic of growing things. Some selections are factual, even instructional: "Plant seeds early in the spring / when the ground is warm . . . Let the sun and rain pour down. / Be careful where you hoe." Others are filled with whimsy, as in a poem that suggests how worms navigate underground: "They switch on the light bulb radishes / and crawl in the beams of their glow." Davenier extends the fanciful imagery in scenes of lively, gossiping plants and animals, rendered in her signature watercolor-washed ink sketches. Children may feel puzzled when characters introduced in the poems aren't always pictured on the page, but a miniature, winged girl, who appears on each spread, provides visual continuity and amplifies the sense of enchantment. Fine choices for springtime poetry units, these selections offer excellent opportunities for studying sound, imagery, and poetry's range--from quiet reflections to boisterous chants--throughout the year. Gillian Engberg"
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved

Product Details

  • Reading level: Ages 9-12
  • Hardcover: 32 pages
  • Publisher: Chronicle Books (February 23, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0811839621
First Sentence:

"In the still chill of a winter night seeds on the gardener's bench rattle their packets with chattering."

I found Alice Zucchini to be a lovely book and very well written. You'll find twenty whimsical poems celebrating the joys of a garden from start to finish. There's the Pea Pod Chant, Rhubarb Forest, dance with the Dainty Doily Dill Weed and gossip with Alice Zucchini is one of my favorites... so cleverly written and I love Juanita's imagination of the pumpkin's enchanted evening! The illustration's by Christine Davenier are superb!

Juanita Havill is the author of more than thirty books for children and young people, including Jamaica's Find, which won her the Ezra Jack Keats new Writer Award.

Garden Pot Craft Kit

 Earth Day Flower Pot Craft

 Then there's this neat activity for children to do in preparation for Earth Day!

Color-Your-Own Papier-Mâché Earth Day Flowerpots

Oriental Trading Company 


Tips for a Family Garden
Celebrating Earth Day and Going Green

Tips for a Family Garden

It seems that kids spend most of their time indoors playing video games or watching television these days. Want a way to get your kids off of the couch and save some money at the same time? Start a family garden.
The benefits of a garden are numerous. First of all, you get to save money on food. A garden is not just for flowers, although there are some that have edible leaves. In a garden you can grow fruits and vegetables which have been the staples of a healthy diet since humans first discovered them.
Number two, a garden is very eco-friendly. By growing your own food you save on trips to the grocery store which saves gas and decreases pollution. Also, fresh foods contain more of the vitamins and nutrients your body needs so you’ll be getting healthy.
Introduce your kids to nature in a way that shows how it directly benefits them. If you take the care to tend your garden, you will have delicious food to eat anytime. There’s nothing like feeling hungry and going outside to pluck a juicy red tomato off the vine.
Here are some tips for families who want to “go green” by producing their own food in a family garden.
  1. Get everyone involved. Tilling the soil is a big job. The entire family can help prepare the ground for the garden.
  2. Read up on gardening. The reason so many people don’t have vegetable gardens is because they don’t know what’s involved. When you start without a plan, you are soon to fail.
  3. Decide what you will plant. Most gardens are begun at certain times of the year depending on what vegetables you choose and where you live.
  4. Use organic fertilizers and insect repellants. Organic gardening products are eco-friendly and allow you to eat foods right off the vine or out of the ground if you choose. Early settlers didn’t have chemical pesticides. Adding friendly insects to your garden, like ladybugs, will take care of undesirable pests without any chemicals.
  5. Weed the garden. Weeds can choke growing vegetables and ruin a garden. Regular weeding is a necessary part of bringing your vegetables to harvest. Take turns so no one feels like they are doing all the hard work themselves.
  6. Freeze or give away extra vegetables. You will have enough for the months when nothing is growing. Sharing your vegetables with friends and neighbors might inspire them to begin their own garden.
  7. Watch your garden grow. There’s nothing wrong with taking a daily tour of the garden with your kids. They can see the fruit of their labors as the vegetables enlarge and push through the soil. You have a front row seat to see nature at work.
Do you want a family activity that is environmentally sound and saves money? Start a family garden using the tips above. Also contact your local cooperative extension office for more on gardening.

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50 Famous Authors and Their All-Time Favorite Books

I was delighted to hear from Carol Brown and I'm so honored that she would take the time to write me and share this wonderful article  that I wanted to post  for my readers. Here's her sweet note that I'd like for you to see and then I sincerely hope you will click on the link and read about 50 famous Authors and Their All-Time Favorite Books.

We would love to share with you an article that we just posted on our own blog! “50 Famous Authors and Their All-Time Favorite Books” ( would be an interesting story for your readers to check out and discuss on your blog, so we hope you will consider sharing it!
Thanks so much for your time, and have a wonderful day!
Carol Brown"
Take a look at this great list of professional advice from Ancient to 17th Century, Classics, Well-Known Books and Authors, and Lesser Known Works.

I have read The Screwtape Letters by C.S. Lewis, Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte, War and Peace by Leo Tolstoy, Robinson Crusoe by Daniel Defoe, Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen, The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald, Great Expectations by Charles Dickens, Hamlet by William Shakespeare, Don Quixote by Miguel de Cervantes, and The Bible to name a few...

I hope you'll read the list and stop by my blog and leave a comment perhaps on what you've read, what books do you like and what do you recommend for a good read... I'd love to hear from you. Thanks again Carol... all the best to you!

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Friday 56: Poetry by Heart-A Child's Book of Poem's to Remember

Cover of "Poetry By Heart"Cover of Poetry By Heart

* Grab the book nearest you. Right now.
* Turn to page 56.
* Find the fifth sentence.
* Post that sentence (plus one or two others if you like) along with these instructions 
on your blog or (if you do not have your own blog) in the comments section of this blog.
Post a link along with your post back to this blog Starting Fresh and to Storytime with Tonya and Friends
* Don't dig for your favorite book, the coolest, the most intellectual. Use the CLOSEST.
Here's Mine:
"I must go down to the seas again, for the call of the running tide."
From the poem Sea Fever by John Masefield

Because April is National Poetry Month, I have been treating myself to a wonderful selection of children's books of poems. Today's selection is from Poetry by Heart: A Child's Book of Poems to Remember. Foreword by Andrew Motion Poet Laureate, UK and compiled by Liz Attenborough.

Poetry By Heart: A Child's Book of Poems to Remember

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National Poetry Month with Seasons: A Book of Poems by Charlotte Zolotow

The First National Poetry Month

Modeling the success of Black History Month (February) and Women’s History Month (March), the Academy of American Poets initiated the first National Poetry Month in April 1996, enlisting the Poet Laureate and the Library of Congress, as well as poetry reading hosts, teachers, librarians, booksellers, publishers and other literary groups across the country to organize events celebrating poetry in American life throughout the month.
Poetry’s place at the center of American history and culture was most eloquently celebrated in the letter President Bill Clinton sent from the White House to mark the beginning of that first National Poetry Month:
“Throughout our history, America has been blessed by the powerful voices of our poets. Dedicated artists, innovators, and stewards of our language, they tell us not only who we are, but also who we can become. They distill our emotions, clarify our thoughts, and renew our spirits with the vigor of their words and the freshness of their perspective.... In this age of profound change and exciting possibility, we need our artists more than ever to imagine the best future for us and remind us of what is good and constant in our past.”
(You can see a facsimile of the original letter at the Academy of American Poets Web site, at the bottom of their page of city proclamations supporting National Poetry Month.) National Poetry Month Activities
The marquee event of National Poetry Month is a high-profile reading series, which began with the April 1996 reading at the Library of Congress hosted by then-Poet Laureate Robert Hass and including Rita Dove, Anthony Hecht, Mark Strand, Carolyn Forché, Linda Pastan and Charles Wright. This has evolved into an annual benefit gala called Poetry & the Creative Mind, which gathers movie stars, writers and public figures to read poems, celebrate contemporary poetry and raise money for AAP and its National Poetry Month events.
Each National Poetry Month since 1996 has also seen an ever-growing upsurge of performance poetry events in towns all around the U.S., poetry teaching projects in schools, library book circles turning to poems for the month of April, newspaper articles about “the current poetry renaissance,” poetry publishers’ schedules rearranged to focus on April publication dates, poem-a-day emailings, and writing group challenges to write a poem every day during the month. AAP publishes an online calendar listing poetry events around the country, and invites poetry organizers to participate in the National Poetry Month festivities by adding their April events to the calendar. Each year, AAP also makes a National Poetry Month poster for distribution to schools, libraries and bookstores to promote “poetry awareness.” National Poetry Month

 With that being said, I went to our local library and took a look at their children's section of poetry books. I found quite a selection for children ages 9-12.  A few days ago I read Shel Silverstein's A Light in the Attic. Today I would like to introduce you to An I Can Read Book...

* SEASONS (A Book of Poems) by Charlotte Zolotow

Product Details

  • Reading level: Ages 4-8
  • Paperback: 64 pages
  • Publisher: HarperCollins (February 18, 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0060518545
  • ISBN-13: 978-0060518547
*About the book:

This is a gentle book that I would like to pass down to all my grandchildren. This beautiful collection of forty poems introduces the children to a wonderful safe place of all the seasons to be experienced. Charlotte Zolotow has a way with words that paint wonderful scenes in my mind of falling golden leaves and playing with grandparents in the country. I'd like to share a few of her poems with you so you get a sense of her writing.
Where?"I look up into the sky and see the birds like black arrows flying high.  Where they come from where they go only they really know flying flying flying by in the blueness of the sky."
Erik Blegvad is the illustrator of this book and his drawings are very much Tasha Tudoresque! His drawings contain particular moods and emotions. Mostly I enjoy his country scenes that remind me of summer days in Maine. Here's another one of Charlotte's poems that I love:
 The Crickets

"The crickets fill the night with their voices- it is like a message in another language spoken to a part of me who hasn't happened yet."
5 stars! I love the book!

Seasons: A Book of Poems (I Can Read Book)

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