#Sponsored Book Spotlight: Going to School: Rose Blake

SYNOPSIS: Spend the day at school and join the little girl in everything she does in a day—from breakfast to bedtime. Meet her classmates and try to spot what each friend is up to in every lesson throughout the book. Can you guess what they want to be when they grow up? This reassuring introduction to the school day for little ones has bright, friendly artwork and is perfect for children about to go off to school for the first time.

MY THOUGHTS: “Going to School’, as it’s title suggests, is a good starting point for the pre-K set. Those parents/guardians whose little ones are anxious about staring school full time will find a friendly, accurate representation of what to expect. Simple yet eye-catching illustrations will help these younger readers follow along and stay focused.
It may also be of help to those students who are transitioning from half day to full day kindergarten. It’s a cute book and younger readers are likely to enjoy it. I give it 3 stars.

Rose Blake studied Illustration and Animation at Kingston University, where she was awarded the D&AD Best New Blood Award. She followed this with an MA at the Royal College of Art. She works as a fine artist and as an illustrator, and has Blake has completed commissions for The New Yorker, The New York Times, The Telegraph, The Sunday Times, The BBC and Tatler.

*Pic & synopsis belong solely to the author/publisher
**I received the aforementioned title in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are mine.


#Sponsored Book Spotlight: C is for Chickasaw: Wiley Barnes

SYNOPSIS: The award-winning children’s book C is for Chickasaw by Wiley Barnes walks children of all ages through the letters of the alphabet as it teaches elements of Chickasaw history, language, and culture. Each topic is introduced by two lines of rhyming verse, followed by additional information explaining its place or importance in Chickasaw culture.
Colorful illustrations familiarize readers with the style of Southeastern Native American art, and a question and activity section in the back provides a springboard for further discussion.
The C is for Chickasaw children’s book can be paired with its companion learning tools, the C is for Chickasaw app and the recently released C is for Chickasaw coloring book, to provide additional hours of fun while learning about Chickasaw language and culture
AUTHOR INFO: Wiley Barnes, Chickasaw, holds a bachelor’s degree in journalism from Oklahoma State University. He has spent nearly eighteen years forging a career in publishing, writing, printing, and graphic design, with the last eleven years at the Chickasaw Nation. During that time he has had the pleasure of working on a number of projects that promote Chickasaw culture and celebrate Chickasaw people. Barnes lives in Ada, Oklahoma, with his wife and two children.

MY THOUGHTS: What an absolutely fabulous idea! Wiley Barnes has brought children a way to learn Native American History quickly, efficiently and happily. Obviously, parents/educators know how much elementary age children love books that have a pattern or a rhythm. ‘C is for Chickasaw’ brings them this beloved way reading with a twist. While reinforcing their knowledge of the alphabet and including Native American history, you’re combining two classes in one great book. Adding the coloring book brings art into the mix while they’re re-reading the story! Brilliant!

I completely understand why it is an award winner. The colorful images that are on each page will catch even the youngest readers’ attention. Older, independent readers can benefit from the extra, more detailed text. The easy-to-follow, rhymes will allow for memorization. The knowledge that young readers will gain from ‘C is for Chickasaw’ is priceless. History books just don’t offer these same important and under-taught details. I give it 5 stars and highly recommend adding it to your homeschool library!
Further info can be found here.
*I received the aforementioned title in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are mine.
**Pic & synopsis belong solely to the author/publisher.

Book Spotlight: Ruby and Hewey: A Story of Friendship: Rebecca and Rodrigo Pool

BOOK INFO: Ruby and Hewey: A Story of Friendship is the tale of how Ruby and Hewey became best friends. They learn life lessons of acceptance and that being yourself is always the best choice. In this story we meet the quirky characters on Farmer Carol’s animal rescue farm. Hewey the sheep, is new to Honeysuckle Animal Rescue Farm and is struggling to fit in. When Hewey’s feeling down, an unlikely friend steps up to help him realize his potential. Honeysuckle Farm is full of fun animals and new friends.

MY THOUGHTS: I loved reading ‘Ruby & Hewey’! The beautifully illustrated characters experience several different scenarios which teach them (& readers) big life lessons. First, there’s friendship. The relationship between the two main characters is based on trust and giving each other a chance. Next, we have an anti-bullying message. Hewey is bullied by the other sheep, but handles it with grace and patience. He utilizes a support system (Ruby) and expresses his feelings. Then, we have Hewey’s choice to do the right thing. Without spoiling the ending, I’ll say Hewey makes a choice to forgive and help those in need.

All of these scenarios are relevant to today’s children. They’re often bombarded with ways to combat bullying and make friends. However, this book shows young readers all the right ways to achieve this. The story keeps young readers’ attention with its fast, action-packed plot and likeable characters. I’ve recommend the book to several libraries for their anti-bullying displays. I know this one will be a hit! 5 stars!

AUTHOR INFO: Rebecca and Rodrigo are a married couple that is committed to bringing entertainment to children through songs and stories. We are a family run business and love creating together. Our Mission is to entertain kids of all ages through songs and stories; promoting multiculturalism, acceptance, and believing in yourself. In addition to writing the original story, the Pools now feature all the characters from Ruby and Hewey: A Story of Friendship on their YouTube channel RnRaside Kids, where they sing songs and tell stories.

Holiday Gift Guide: New Amish Journals

SYNOPSIS: Amish Wisdom enriches the journaling experience with sage advice for practical living. This high-quality journal features expressive images, lined blank pages, and decorative end papers. 144 lined pages with plenty of room for journaling your thoughts and dreams
Filled with folksy, humorous quotes from the Amish oral tradition
Earthy wisdom that expresses the simplicity of the “Plain” lifestyle
High quality hardcover journal with expressive images and decorative end papers

SYNOPSIS: Amish Wisdom from the Scriptures enriches the journaling experience with spiritual truths that convey the simple wisdom of the “Plain” lifestyle. Filled with beloved proverbs that play a daily role in Amish speech, this beautiful lined journal offers insight into authentic “Pennsylvania Dutch” culture. 144 lined pages with plenty of room for journaling your thoughts and dreams
Filled with beloved Proverbs that play a daily role in Amish speech
Spiritual truths that express the simple wisdom of the “Plain” lifestyle
High quality hardcover journal with expressive images and decorative end papers

MY THOUGHTS: Amish culture is something I’ve heard about regularly as a native Pennsylvanian. Every interaction I’ve had with Amish folks has been an enriching and positive experience. As a horseman’s daughter, I was present for a number of their visits to my father’s barn and their Godly nature was evident.

While the Amish way of life may be considered ‘plain’ and ‘simple’, there are many times when I wonder if they have the ‘right’ way of life. Hard work, less technology, a deep faith- perhaps that isn’t a ‘simple’ way at all. Those of us living a high-tech, fast-paced world, can learn much from our Amish friends.

I love the journals. They provide food for thought with their wisdom, encouragement for your faith, and a beautiful space to record miracles, struggles, and daily life. If there’s a loved one on your Christmas list who is a fan of devotionals or journaling, this is the perfect gift for them. You will be in their thoughts daily.

Find them here:



*I received the aforementioned titles in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are mine.
** Pics and synopsis belong solely to the author/publisher.

Book Spotlight: The Vanished Child M. J.Lee

SYNOPSIS:Every childhood lasts a lifetime.
On her deathbed, Freda Duckworth confesses to giving birth to an illegitimate child in 1944 and placing him in a children’s home. Seven years later she went back but he had vanished. What happened to the child? Why did he disappear? Where did he go? Jayne Sinclair, genealogical investigator, is faced with lies, secrets and one of the most shameful episodes in recent British history. Can she find the vanished child?

MY THOUGHTS:This has to be one of the saddest books I’ve read. Just the thought that children actually went through some of the things that are mentioned in the book is heartbreaking and mind-boggling. I understand the desperation that some of the parents faced at this. To let your child go thinking they’re receiving the best of care and they’re receiving the worst possible nightmare of their lives is unbelievable.

Mr. Lee does an incredible job articulating the drama, the mysterious circumstances, and perseverance that folks of this historical era went through. Our main character, Jayne Sinclair, has perhaps her toughest case yet.
Not just from fact-finding perspective, but because of the emotional baggage that comes along with it. We learn a lot more about her family especially her new stepmother as the story unfolds.

Once again it reminded me why I’m such a fan of the series. Mr. Lee has definitely made this series stand out with his choices in Era, historical accuracy, and having a very tough female lead. Of all the books in the series, this one is by far the most dramatic. Make sure you have tissues handy while you’re reading. I have to give it 4 stars and I do recommend it.

Book Spotlight: The Silence of the Snakes: Ruby Loren

Synopsis: Madigan Amos is on her second-ever zoo consulting job, reviewing animal welfare conditions to recommend improvements. She didn’t expect it to include lions attacking one of the keepers, a series of thefts from the mansion of the family that owns the zoo, having a sick green mamba turned over to her by a stranger, or a woman dead of an ax to the head. She’s not at all sure she’s going to get out of Snidely Wildlife and Safari alive.

MY THOUGHTS: This second installment had a lot more mystery and suspense than the first. The happenings at her current zoo location are a bit hard to figure out initially. As with the first, it opens with a good, attention grabbing scene.
There are some slow points and some confusing scenarios. However, it is a good read and I will continue with the series. I give it 3 stars.

#Sponsored Book Spotlight: JOE DE YONG: A LIFE IN THE WEST: William Reynolds

SYNOPSIS: Joseph Franklin De Yong was a cowboy artist, protégé of Charles Marion Russell (Montana’s cowboy artist), and an historical consultant on western films. Dan Gagliasso wrote, “While director John Ford made extensive use of Frederic Remington’s art in his western films, it was the Russell ‘look,’ kept alive by De Yong’s costume designs, scenic sketch art, and historical advice, that influenced the form and feel of such classic Westerns as The Plainsman (1937), Union Pacific (1939), Buffalo Bill (1944), Red River (1948), and Shane (1953).” The authentic work De Yong did in film continues to influence the way costume and set designs for western movies are conceived, as evidenced in classics like Dances with Wolves and Unforgiven, and the mini-series Lonesome Dove.
Joe De Yong: A Life in the West (Alamar Media/September 2018) by William Reynolds is an in-depth biography that takes readers on an incredible journey exploring western culture of the early 20th Century through the story of one unsung cowboy. Reynolds tells De Yong’s story by including photographs of sketches, paintings and documents culled from private collectors as well as from the permanent collections of major western museums.
De Yong’s life was one of challenges, including overcoming cerebral meningitis in 1913 that left him totally deaf. Never one for self-pity, De Yong went on to become the only protégé of his artistic hero Charles M. Russell. He would take the skills he learned and make a life in the movie business working with Cecil B. DeMille and many others. The early films De Yong worked on created a pathway to authentic depictions that – while it was never loudly recognized – was utilized by many in the industry.

Over ten years of research, Reynolds reveals the life of a relatively unknown artist/illustrator who started out to be “just a cowboy” who turns out was quite a “mover and shaker” touching the lives of so many in the western art world of the 1920s through the late 1960s.
This long-awaited, in-depth, biography a treat for any western art fan or disciple of Charles M. Russell.

William Reynolds is an award-winning Western journalist and publisher who as worked in the Western industry for over 35 years. He is the author of several books on Western art and culture including The Faraway Horses with Buck Brannaman, The Cowboy Hat Book with master hatter Ritch Rand, and The Art of The Western Saddle. Reynolds is an active member of the Western Writers of America, Los Rancheros Visitadores, as well as a member of the Board of Trustees of the Santa Barbara Historical Museum and former board member of the National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum, and the Santa Ynez Valley Historical Museum. For more information about him visit his website, http://www.WCReynolds.com.

MY THOUGHTS: This book is absolutely amazing! The level of research and deciation that William Reynolds has given to this work is staggering. From page 1, readers can feel the passion that he had for this project. When an author believes this strong in his work, it’s contagious. You love it because the author loves it.

I’m sorry to say that I wasn’t familiar with Mr. De Yong prior to this work. Now, I can honestly say that I feel as if I really know him. As a homeschooler, I love biographies of often overlooked yet amazing individuals. Biographies such as this one give children a chance to explore the world how it once was and those who made it what it is today. Authors such as Mr. Reynolds give readers an opportunity to explore, grow, and extend their education beyond textbooks.

As opposed to many mainstream biographies, Joe De Yong’s contains a vast amount of images; in fact, over 500! That’s tremendous! If you happen to have a reluctant reader who is also a fan of westerns or cowboys, then you need to pick this book up. In addition to being a biography, readers are also treated to American History, western culture, and, of course, art.

It really is worth a read and it is a profound educational piece. Well-done! I give it 5 stars!