Friday, November 26, 2010

Fridays with Irene: Sam and Gram and the First Day of School, by Dianne Blomberg

Sam and Gram and the First Day of School
By: Dianne Blomberg, Ph.D.
Illustrated by: George Ulrich
Magination Press, 2009.

Starting school for the first time can be very traumatic for children. This is a story devoted specifically for kids who are about to venture out to school for the first time. It shows how Grams can make it easier for kids to face that
first day of school.

Sam is used to spending his days with his grandmother while his parents are at work. However, now that he's old enough to start school, he has to leave the warmth of his grandmother's bosom. Despite her reassurances, he's scared of this big, unfamiliar building as he approaches it. Once he gets into the building, however, things change for Sam. He makes friends, discovers many fun and exciting activities, and realizes that he's not as scared and lonely as he thought he would be.

The book can also be used as an educational tool for parents since it includes a special section that will help them prepare their children for the first day of school with enthusiasm and confidence. The illustrations are lively and bright. This book is a must read for parents, teachers, and the kids that are about to go to school for the very first time.

Reviewed by Irene S. Roth

4 stars


Irene Roth writes fiction and nonfiction for teens and tweens. Irene also writes academically and holds a Masters Degree in Philosophy. In addition, she writes reviews for Stories for Children Magazine, Blogcritics Magazine, Booksneeze, Tynsdale Publishers, The Muse, and is review editor for Humane Medicine International. She has written over 200 reviews, articles, and stories, both online and in print. Irene is a members of the Society of Children's Book
Writers and Illustrators (SCBWI), CBI Clubhouse, and the Children's Writer's Coaching Club. Visit her websites at:,,,

Thursday, November 25, 2010

New children's picture book about autism

When Horatio has difficulty reading, his parents meet with the teacher to discover why. Horatio hears the words Dyslexia and Special Ed. “No way! Kids will think I’m dumb.” But go he does, and with amazing results.

Now from Guardian Angel Publishing!

Visit the author's website.

Monday, November 22, 2010

The New Teacher Resource Coaching Center

The New Teacher Resource Coaching Center invites you to join with other teacher leaders and dedicated educators as a part of this growing professional membership site. The NTRCC is a support center designed for professionals who want to empower their teaching and students with a purpose and passion.

Members of the center gain unlimited access to a wealth of articles, tip sheets, templates, teleseminars, and other great resources that will help them build their teaching career to the next level.

Specifically, members receive:

1. Access to two monthly teleseminars taught by a professional elementary, middle school or high school educator who knows the tricks of the trade and what works and what doesn't
2. Unlimited support to classroom tested resources including charts, checklists and tip sheets on a wide range of teaching areas
3. Specials, offers and special promotions on various teaching materials and instructional resources offered through the NTRCC.

To become a member, all you have to do is sign up. You'll be prompted to provide a password, contact information and payment registration. Once you receive your access number, you will be able to log-in anytime - 24/7!

Click here to find out more about the center and how you can join!

Membership in the NTRCC is just a modest $7.97 a month.
Special holiday savings! Get the second month of membership FREE when you purchase a one month's membership.

Monday, November 15, 2010

This week at the National Writing for Children Center

National Writing for Children Center News!

(printed with permission from the editor & founder, Suzanne Lieurance)

The National Writing for Children Center
is a showcase for children's book authors and illustrators.

Each month we showcase up to 12 authors and/or illustrators to let children, parents, grandparents, teachers, librarians, and others interested in the world of children's literature know about these artists' wonderful new children's books.

Authors and illustrators who are interested in being showcased at the National Writing for Children Center should visit our Showcase Application page for a complete list of all the promotional activities included in our monthly showcase.


This Week on Book Bites for Kids

Book Bites for Kids airs LIVE every Monday, Tuesday, and Thursday afternoon at 2:00 CST on blogtalkradio.

Listen to the live show on and call in during the broadcast to ask a question or just to make a comment at 1-646-716-9239.

If you can't make it to the LIVE show, visit the National Writing for Children Center to listen to the replay of any or all of the scheduled shows.

Donna McDine Monday's guest is Donna M. McDine.
Donna is a PR Intern for the National Writing for Children Center. She'll talk about what's happening this week at the center and at the Children's Writers' Coaching Club.

America's Black Founders Tuesday's Guest is Nancy I. Sanders.
She'll talk about her new book America's Black Founders.

Silent Night Thursday's Guest is Mary Helene Jackson.
She'll talk about her new book Silent Night.

Click here to learn more about each of these guests!


Guardian Angel Kids Ezine Now Open for 2011 Submissions

The 2010 holiday season is rapidly approaching and now is the time to brainstorm and write your fictional short stories, non-fiction articles, and/or poetry ideas around the 2011 Guardian Angel Kids Theme List.

January: Animals - Submission deadline December 15, 2010

February: Grandparents - Submission deadline December 30, 2010

March: Concepts (Shapes, Colors, ABCs,) - Submission deadline January 15, 2011

April: Health - Submission deadline February 15, 2011

May: Horses - Submission deadline March 15, 2011

June: Wheels - Submission deadline April 15, 2011

July: Outer Space - Submission deadline May 15, 2011

August: Cuisine - Submission deadline June 15, 2011

September: Good Behavior - Submission deadline July 15, 2011

October: Sports & Activities - Submission deadline August 15, 2011

November: Dogs - Submission deadline September 15, 2011

December: Faith - Submission deadline October 15, 2011

These themes also tie into the Guardian Angel Publishing books, so be sure to check out the many books published each year at

Guardian Angel Kids Ezine needs 1 article per issue for parents/teachers on the subjects of reading, writing, teaching, parenting or something that ties in well with a theme.

Please visit Guardian Angel Kids to read and adhere to the submission guidelines at This is a paying market.

Click here to learn more!


Get This FREE 2010 Holiday Supplement from the Old Schoolhouse Magazine
Get this free Holiday 2010 guide from the Old Schoolhouse Magazine. It's full of recipes, crafts, articles, and other resources to make this your best holiday season ever!

Click here to get the digital download here now!

Enter This Week's Book Giveaway

Every week, visitors to the National Writing for Children Center can enter the drawing for our Book Giveaway by leaving a comment at the site.

On Sunday, we draw a name from among those people who left comments, and that person is the lucky winner of the week's Book Giveaway.

Visit the National Writing for Children Center any day this week and leave a comment to be entered in this week's Book Giveaway.

Next Sunday, November 21, 2010, we'll be giving away a copy of aRhythmetic, by Tiffany Stone, Kari-Lynn Winters, Lori Sherritt-Fleming, & Scot Ritchie .

Click here to visit the NWFCC and enter the giveaway!

We're Sending Our Showcased Authors Out on Tour This Week!

This week we start 6-day virtual book tours for each of the authors showcased this month at the National Writing for Children Center. Follow along on these tours and register for prizes as you learn more about our showcased authors and their new books.

The first tour starts this Monday, November 15th. Find out where and when all our showcased authors will be on tour by visiting the National Writing for Children Center this week to get the schedule for these tours.

This Week's Teleclass for Children's Book Authors
This week, children's author Pat McCarthy will present a teleclass called How to Write a Proposal for a Children's Nonfiction Book..

This LIVE teleclass will take place on Tuesday, November 16, 2010, at 1:00 p.m., CST and will be recorded.

NOTE: Members of the Children's Writers' Coaching Club have automatic access to this LIVE teleclass. Nonclub members may register for the teleclass here now. Members and nonmembers who register also receive a link to the replay the day after this live event.

$5.97 For Non club members

Non club members, click here to register!


Friday, November 5, 2010

Fridays with Irene: Finding Lincoln, by Ann Malaspina

Finding Lincoln
By: Ann Malaspina
Illustrated by: Colin Bootman
Paintings by Coretta Scott King Honour artist
Albert Whitman and Company, 2009.

This book is based on a true story. It is about a boy who wants to get a book out of the main library in Alabama about young Abraham Lincoln.

The setting for this book is the 1950's Alabama where only white people were allowed into the main library. But Louis wasn't going to put up with that reality. He mustered up as much courage as he could and walked straight into the main library, with people staring. Ultimately, one of the librarians had to escort him out to keep the peace within the library. But before she did, the librarian quietly took him aside and asked him to come back to the library the next day after 5 p.m. Louis did and she made sure that he got the book he wanted and she even gave him a temporary library card.

At the end of the story, there is an informative note for the reader about how blacks were segregated until the 1960's in Alabama. There is also an informative sidebar that is full of facts about Abraham Lincoln, and a reference list for further reading. It is truly a wonderful book that
most kids will enjoy reading. The paintings are very vivid and realistic for the time portrayed by the author.

Rating: 5 Stars

Discussion Questions For Educators and Teachers.

1. Write a short account about Louis' courage. Would you be that
courageous in similar circumstances? Why?

2. Write an short account about the life of Abraham Lincoln and
his incredible perspicacity in abolishing slavery.

3. Read one or two books on the reading list and talk about what
you learned about Abraham Lincoln.

Reviewed by Irene S. Roth

For more about Irene Roth, please visit her blogs at:

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

New FTC Regulations and What They Mean to You--the Reviewer

If you’re a book reviewer, chances are you’ve heard about the new FTC (Federal Trade Commission) regulations concerning bloggers who review products online.

What’s going on and what do their new guidelines mean for you, the book blogger/reviewer who writes reviews? Is the FTC keeping records of who’s doing what online? Can the reviewers be fined for accepting books for review if they don’t have a disclosure posted on their blogs stating how they got their books, and whether or not they bought them themselves or were provided by authors or publishers?

The truth is, the FTC has been struggling with how to deal with bloggers for a long time. The FTC doesn’t see book bloggers as journalists, so the guidelines that apply to, say, The New York Times, wouldn’t apply to an independent book blogger. The people at the FTC see blogs as a new type of communication so blogs must be treated in a different way.

What’s the difference between a reviewer who works for a newspaper or magazine and a book blogger?

Basically, their reasoning is that in the case of a newspaper reviewer, it’s the newspaper that gets the compensation, not the book reviewer, whereas in the case of the blogger, she gets to keep the book. So there’s a direct connection between the compensation and the review. Many people think this is silly. After all, there’s nothing stopping a newspaper reviewer from keeping a book. There’s no one at the newspaper making sure all review copies are stored in a secured shelf once reviewers have read the books.

How do you deal with this new regulation if you don’t want to get into trouble and want to come across as an ethical reviewer?

The FTC has made it pretty clear: A disclosure is required.

In order to meet the standard, all you have to do is put a disclosure on your blog, a brief, clear message prominently displayed on your sidebar or on the ‘About the Blogger’ or ‘Review Policy’ pages. Your disclosure could be something like this: “Review copies are provided by authors and publishers. I don’t receive monetary compensation for my reviews.” (If you receive monetary compensation or, let’s say, a gift such an Amazon gift certificate, you must state this clearly). The clearer and more straight forward the disclosure, the more you’ll come across as an honest, ethical reviewer. It’s all about integrity and good practice behavior.

If you go to my blog,, and scroll down a bit, you’ll see my disclosure on the right sidebar. As you can see, it’s pretty short.

Here is an example of a longer disclosure from a mom blogger:

Though the degree of prominence isn’t spelled out (as far as I know), some bloggers are including this disclosure at the bottom of every review they post, but this isn’t really necessary, not as long as the disclosure is easy to find somewhere on your blog.

The FTC regulation is a good thing for the consumer. If you’re a reviewer with Amazon Affiliate purchase buttons all over your blog, I want to know if you’ve accepted monetary compensation in exchange for your reviews. Granted, most bloggers earn only pennies from their affiliate buttons, but I still want to know.

The FTC guidelines also put responsibility on the authors, publishers and other marketing people (such as publicists) who are trying to promote a book. For example, if you’re an author looking for bloggers to review your book (as in the case of virtual book tours), you should make sure those bloggers you send your book to have that disclosure. Or at least, this is what the guidelines suggest.

But to go back to one of my initial questions: Can reviewers be fined for accepting books for review if they don’t have a disclosure posted on their blogs? The answer is, it will depend on each individual case. The FTC has stated that they will look at this on a case by case basis.

There are millions of blogs out there, and most of them do some form of reviewing in some sense or another. It would take the FTC a lot of money and resources to check what every single blogger is doing, but at least by following their guidelines you can be sure you’ll be on the safe side. I should also point out that these new regulations are especially targeted at bloggers who often receive expensive items for review, such as furniture, electrical appliances, beauty supplies, etc.

Here are two great audio interviews that book publicist Penny Sansevieri conducted on the subject. Be sure to listen to them at your convenience if you want to be better informed.

Interview with Intellectual property specialist and attorney Michael Donaldson.

Interview with Liza Barry-Kessler of

What do you think about these new regulations? Are they a good or bad thing?

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Review of The Bug That Plagued the Entire Third Grade, by Lori Calabrese

The Bug That Plagued the Entire Third Grade is a delightful picture book written in rhyme about a boy who wants to win the school's Bug-A-Fair and become Student of the Year.

It all starts when Matt finds a strange-looking bug on his Dad's car. He takes it home, puts it in a jar, and tries to find out what kind of bug it is. But no matter how many books on insects he checks, he can't find it anywhere. Finally, a chance of being recognized at school! Why, the bug could even be a Mighty Bug! Then things get complicated when Matt catches a different kind of bug--the flu! His mom tells him to stay home, but nothing will stop Matt from going to school and winning the fair. Of course, now that he's sick, it isn't only the newly-found bug he brings with him, but also the microscopic one inside his body!

What I really enjoyed about this story is the way the author skillfully combines verse and a complete plot with a clear beginning, middle and end. Each line of verse is essential in moving the tale forward. The book also has a melodic rhythm that young kids will enjoy listening to again and again. The cartoon-like illustrations are simple and colorful. I particularly enjoyed the clever way the author weaves the two types of 'bugs' by playing with the language. This is Lori Calabrese's first children's book but based on this talented debut, I'm sure it won't be her last.

If you're interested in purchasing this book or finding out more about it, visit the author's website at

Watch the trailer: