Friday, August 30, 2019

Wondrous Weekly Giveaway Linky (Aug 31-Sep 6, 2019)

Welcome to this week's Wondrous Weekly Giveaway Linky. Well, it was supposed to be a nice, long holiday weekend, but here in Florida it has turned into a scramble to prepare for Hurricane Dorian! For those of you, like our family, who are in its potential path, my prayers and thoughts are with you. In the meantime, if you need a distraction (and have power), enter some giveaways! Bookmark this page and visit it daily to see what new contests have been added to the linky below. And if you're hosting a giveaway on your blog or website, feel free share it in the linky. Invite your social media followers to join us, too.

NOTE: Where it asks for "Your Name," enter the name of your giveaway along with the end date. For the URL, enter the exact URL where your giveaway is located. Comments are appreciated but never required. Thank you!

Tuesday, August 27, 2019

Look! Babies Head to Toe: An Author Interview and Board Book Giveaway!

By Robie H. Harris
Illustrated by Anoosha Syed
On Sale August 27, 2019 | Abrams Appleseed | ISBN 9781419732034
Board book | $7.99 | 20 pages | Ages 3 and up

Look! Babies Head to Toe is an exuberant introduction to the parts of the body and the senses. Filled with fun, repetitive sounds and a melodic voice, this book will captivate babies and toddlers.

About the Author
Robie H. Harris has written award-winning and internationally acclaimed children’s books and is known for writing about serious issues with honesty, understanding, and humor. Harris has written over 20 books for everyone from toddlers to older kids, including the definitive Family Library about sexuality: IT'S PERFECTLY NORMAL, IT'S SO AMAZING!, and IT'S NOT THE STORK! Harris travels around the country speaking about how picture books address the genuine feelings and concerns of young children.

An Exclusive Interview with Robie H. Harris!

1. At what age should children be introduced to books? As early as possible. What does early mean?
— Could mean four or five months or six months. Just holding a young infant in the crook of one’s arm and reading the words out loud as the infant hears the words and gazes at the art in the book is a comforting time and a sharing time for both the infant and parent or caregiver. Often, you will hear the baby gurgle and coo while listening to your voice and at times even reach toward or touch one of the babies who are illustrated in a book—books such as LOOK! and WHO? How do I know this? From my own experiences of sharing a board book with an infant. One parent sent me a video of her six-month-old baby gurgling and cooing while my first board book, WHO? A Celebration of Babies, was being read to the baby just as I have described above. The infant also reached its hand out to touch a few of the babies that artist Anoosha Syed created for LOOK! I also know this happens because parents and caregivers have told me about having the same kinds of experiences when sharing WHO? and LOOK! with infants. Others have sent me photos. These kinds of interactions that I have just described are also backed up by exciting new research that talks about the benefits of introducing board books to younger infants, older infants and toddlers. Older babies and toddlers also love board books and can be totally engaged in them. Sharing a board book with an infant or toddler is early literacy in the making and helps to create a love of language, art, and books for years to come.

2. How do you come up with the ideas for your books?
— Lots of ways. Of course memories of my own children as babies and also my grandchildren as babies fuel my thoughts for all of my books, including my two board books. Another way that an idea for a book pops into my head happens when I am out and about and see an infant or toddler or young child doing something that fascinates me or catches my eye, along with the sounds and the language that child is using. I always grab a pencil or pen and pad or a scrap of paper ASAP and write down those words and the actions that I have just witnessed. While young infants do not begin to say actual words until they are older infants, the sounds that they make is their language, one of their ways their ways of talking and interacting with us and telling us how they feel or sometimes even what they want or need. So words matter the most to me. And soon, a story begins to pop into my head. And after a while, I begin to write. As I am writing, somehow, even though I can’t draw for beans, images pop into my head that could be the images that an artist such as Anoosha Syed might just put into the book I am beginning to write. But I always want to see what images the artist comes up with first before my thoughts are passed on to them. That’s because they often see things I do not see and come up with wonderful ideas that have never entered my mind. After that, I often comment and make suggestions on early sketches and later art that is sent to me. That’s just what happened as Anoosha created her joyful, endearing and engaging art for LOOK!

3. How did you develop your interest in early childhood education?
— My mother loved babies and toddlers and young children. And I as a child and as an adult found them fascinating from the day they were born, through their infancy and toddlerhood and all the way through their years as young children to their young adult years. I also had the good luck to spend two days a week for a year on the world-famous pediatrician Dr. T. Berry Brazelton’s Child Development Unit at Boston Children’s Hospital. Along with those in training to become pediatricians, I would observe infants and toddlers and young children and together with Dr. Brazelton discuss the normal development of infants, toddlers, and young children. This was another experience that helped me understand just how amazing and fascinating our very youngest children are and continue to be. So as a children’s book author, how could I not weave into my books what I saw and observed at my time on Dr. Brazelton’s unit?

4. What advice do you have for parents to help them encourage their children to love reading?
— Make sure you read to your child once a day, every single day. And find a quiet time to do so, if possible, and don’t be interrupted by a call on your phone or anything else. Just enjoy your special time together. Start early and keep on reading books to them. Have a basket of board books on the floor with just board books in it—nothing else. And it’s okay if your infant or toddler sits on a book, chews on it, puts it on top of their head, drools on it, or opens it and is looking at the book upside down. These are simply some of the main ways books become part of their lives and will continue to be part of their lives as they grow up and older.

5. How do you respond to people who say it's easier to write children's books than books for adults?
— Most often my response is, “Children’s books from board books to YA literature are all difficult to write. The children’s book authors I know and respect all work as hard as anyone writing for adults. Writing is hard for most every author I know, no matter who their audience may be.”

6. What in your background prepared you to write children's books?
— It may have been my elementary school, where the first thing we did every morning no matter how young or old we were was create stories, whether written or told out loud. In kindergarten, we dictated our stories to our teachers who would write then down for us and then we would illustrate them. One might say that I began to create children’s books in kindergarten!And I would venture to say that by eighth grade most of my classmates were wonderful writers of both fiction and nonfiction. The experience that also influenced me and helped to prepare me to write board books me was the year I mentioned above spent at T. Berry Brazelton, MD Child Development Unit at Boston Children’s Hospital. Dr. Brazelton and his colleague Josh Sparrow MD who is now the director of the Brazelton Touchpoints Project, read drafts of each of my board books and commented on what I had created. Their comments helped me to think in new ways about how to write a board book.


One lucky winner will receive a copy of the board book, Look! Babies Head to Toe by Robie H. Harris! Enter through the Rafflecopter form below. This giveaway is open to U.S. residents only and ends at 11:59 PM ET on Tuesday, September 10, 2019.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Saturday, August 24, 2019

So Cool! So Cute! An Awesome Giveaway from National Geographic Kids Books!

National Geographic Kids Books is rolling out a brand-new series of picture books that are perfect for kids ages 3-7 (preschool-2nd grade). This series combines two wonderful things: super cute photos of all your favorite animals and silly text that will have the whole family laughing. Add to that some great nonfiction content that gets kids learning, and, what can we say? This series is just so cute! Read on to learn more about these awesome books:

So Cool! Sharks

Sharks are among the world's top predators, but that's just ONE reason why they are SO COOL. So who wouldn't want to hang out with them to learn more! Kids can catch the hunting habits of a great white shark while learning that its true nature is as chill as a frozen fish stick. This is the perfect little reader to get their brain buzzing and keep them laughing during downtime, bedtime, or anytime.

So Cute! Pandas

Get ready for cute overload, panda style. And the funny thing is, this panda isn't just cute. It's got attitude! You'll flip over the adorable photos and be equally charmed by what this sassy little panda is thinking on every page.

Note from Susan: These books are so funny! When kids read that sharks are "one of the world's oldest and fiercest fish," a shark says, "Who you calling OLD?" A big panda rolling on the ground sticks out his tongue and says, "Who you calling CUDDLY? I'm super TOUGH!" Kids will love the charming real-life photos of these animals, along with just enough facts to fascinate them and hold their interest. Parents will love that they're learning AND laughing! You'll want to collect this entire series as it comes out!


To celebrate the release of the first two books in their So Cool! So Cute! series, National Geographic is giving away a very huggable prize pack: a hardcover copy of So Cool! Sharks, a hardcover copy of So Cute! Pandas AND adorable shark and panda plushes (shown above). Enter through the Rafflecopter form below. This giveaway is open to U.S. residents only and ends at 11:59 PM ET on Sunday, September 8, 2019.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Disclosure: I received a complimentary copy of this prize to facilitate my honest review.

Friday, August 23, 2019

Wondrous Weekly Giveaway Linky (August 24-30, 2019)

Welcome to this week's Wondrous Weekly Giveaway Linky. It's hard to believe it's already the last week of August! For some of you, like me, your kids have already gone back to school. For others, you get to enjoy one more week of summer together. Either way, I hope that everyone has a great school year ahead. Let's celebrate the back-to-school season with  some giveaways! Make sure to bookmark this page and visit it daily to see what new contests have been added to the linky below. And if you're hosting a giveaway on your blog or website, feel free share it in the linky. Invite your social media followers to join the fun, too. Have a great week!

NOTE: Where it asks for "Your Name," enter the name of your giveaway along with the end date. For the URL, enter the exact URL where your giveaway is located. Comments are appreciated but never required. Thank you!

Thursday, August 22, 2019

Fable Ranger Series Book Tour: Giveaway for a $25 Amazon Gift Card

Fable Ranger Book 1
by A.L. Brown
Genre: Middle-Grade Fantasy, Fairy Tale Mashup
Take care what you wish for. You just might get it. 

Twelve-year-old Casey doesn’t think life could get any more unfair. Plans for her special basketball tournament are tossed aside by her sister’s wedding plans. She even has to be a bridesmaid now, with all the lace and silk and—oh, the horror! All she wants is an escape, but she never imagined she’d be swept away to a world of Mother Goose rhymes, fairy tales, stories of Arabian Nights, and oh, by the way, all but one fairy godmother has been kidnapped. 

Casey learns she’s been summoned as the Fable Ranger to lead the search and rescue of the missing wish-makers. But she’s not the hero they want. In the world of fairy tales, damsels aren’t meant to swoop in and save the day. 

Now all Casey wants is to go home, but the veil between worlds is on lockdown. Taking fate into her own hands, she embarks on an airship flight to find the phoenix tears that can open her way home. Her journey would’ve gone as smooth as the perfect layup if it weren’t for that pesky bounty the evil Dovetail has placed on her head. But if Casey fails, the Arabian Nights will disappear forever -- and leave her trapped in a world unraveling one fairy tale at a time.

**Only 99 cents!!**

Fable Ranger Book 2 

Casey is home! But not for long… 

Casey’s short-lived return to the real world is followed by a rapid scramble back to Lorealia to tackle Dovetail and more of his mischief. This time, it’s a family affair -- not just to save the missing godmothers, but to rescue her sister Leslie as well. 

Snow White is now Snow Leslie, trapped in an off-script fairy tale that’s doomed to spiral into a never ever after with the rest of Lorealia if Casey, her father, and Charlie-boy fail their mission to stop a war. 

And has the book finally realized it made a mistake in choosing Casey as the Fable Ranger after all? Why is it rejecting her? 

Don’t miss this final installment of the exciting Fable Ranger duology.

Born and raised in Little Rock, AR, Angela now calls Central Texas home. 

Reading and writing have been lifelong passions. It was around the time she gave birth to her forever-love, nicknamed Chipmunk, that she really took writing seriously. After all, how could she teach her child to follow her dreams if she hadn't tried herself? 

As a YA fantasy/sci-fi reader and author, she favors the magical, mysterious, the darker side of life...even harbors a secret fright for things that go bump in the night.

Follow the tour HERE for exclusive excerpts, guest posts and a giveaway!

Saturday, August 17, 2019

A Healthy and Delicious Option for the Whole Family: Banana Wave Banana Milk!

Can you drink a banana? Yes, you can, thanks to Banana Wave! Their non-dairy banana milk is healthy and delicious—the perfect drink for all ages. I love, love, love the taste of Banana Wave, whether it’s their original, chocolate or strawberry flavor. But I don’t drink it just for its amazing taste. Research shows that bananas’ reputation as the “World’s First Super Food” is true!

For example, researchers at Appalachian State University found that bananas are just as effective as sugary sports drinks in providing nutritional support to endurance cyclists. Not only did bananas provide antioxidants, but also fiber, potassium and Vitamin B6. And they have a healthier blend of sugars than sports drinks. That means they're a great choice for your little sports stars, too!

Steven Gelerman, CEO of Banana Wave, says that bananas are also a great source of prebiotics for intestinal health, plus they’re a natural appetite suppressant, making them a great choice for people wanting to lose weight. Bananas are also rich in pectin, a fiber that absorbs heavy metals and toxins from the body, and even helps smooth the skin. No wonder bananas are known as anti-aging foods! They also provide potassium, which helps with muscle contractions, nerve impulses, and heartbeat regulation.

As a mother, I’m always looking for healthy foods for my family that my kids will actually eat or drink! Banana Wave fits the bill. Not only can you drink it straight (I love the 8-ounce drink boxes for school lunches), but it can be poured over cereal, used in smoothies or shakes, stirred into coffee, and even used as a dairy milk substitute in baking recipes. Get the 32-ounce size for baking and sharing!

I am a new fan of Banana Wave Banana Milk! I hope you’ll join me in serving it to your family. Learn more at and look for it in the aisles of your local grocery store!

Disclosure: I received a complimentary product sample to facilitate my honest review.

Friday, August 16, 2019

Wondrous Weekly Giveaway Linky (August 17-23, 2019)

Welcome to the Wondrous Weekly Giveaway Linky! I know it's been a little quiet around this old blog the past few months, but I promise that I have some great things coming up, including more giveaways! Speaking of giveaways, make sure to bookmark this page and visit it daily to see what new contests have been added to the linky below. And if you're hosting a giveaway on your blog or website, feel free share it in the linky. Invite your social media followers to join the fun, too. Good luck!

NOTE: Where it asks for "Your Name," enter the name of your giveaway along with the end date. For the URL, enter the exact URL where your giveaway is located. Comments are appreciated but never required. Thank you!

Sunday, August 11, 2019

A Back-to-School Story from Chicken Soup for the Soul

You Gotta Be Cool in Middle School
By Susan M. Heim
From Chicken Soup for the Soul: Parenthood

You can tell a child is growing up when he stops asking where he came from and starts refusing to tell where he is going.
~Author Unknown

When you’re in middle school, the need to look “cool” outweighs any desire to get good grades or please your parents. Social status is everything! So when my son, Dylan, asked to ride his bike to school, rather than be dropped off by his apparently “uncool” mom, I tried to consider his new status as a middle-schooler.

On the one hand, I was terrified of sending him off to school alone. I’d always been there to drop him off and watch him safely enter the school building. If he rode his bike, I wouldn’t have that reassurance that he’d arrived safe and sound. What if he got hit by a car or accosted by a stranger? There was also bad weather to consider. Fortunately, middle school started at 9:00 a.m., so at least he wouldn’t be riding in the dark.

On the other hand, I knew that I couldn’t baby my son forever. He was a typical boy for his age, seeking independence and separation from his mother. At some point, I had to learn to “let go” and give him his wings, despite my fears for his safety. Besides, neither of us wanted him to be “that kid” whose mother was constantly hovering over him. Definitely not cool.

So, with fingers crossed and prayers said, I reluctantly told my son he could ride his bicycle to school. That gave me the title of “cool mom” — at least for a day or so. Everything went well until the day that Dylan temporarily lost his coolness. . . .

As he described the scene to me later, he was just leaving the school on his bike at day’s end when he was apparently distracted by the crowd around him. Other kids were streaming out of the school; cars were everywhere; people were shouting and laughing. Naturally, Dylan was checking out the sights around him instead of the path ahead. Suddenly — BAM! — he rode his bicycle straight into the side of a big metal newspaper box, knocking him to the ground!

Sheepishly, Dylan looked around to see if anyone had seen his misfortune. Due to the chaos, it appeared that his tumble hadn’t been noticed by too many people. But it wasn’t over yet. As he began to rise to his feet, Dylan spotted a police car parked on the other side of the street. The police officer in the car was looking right at Dylan. And then he raised his megaphone to his mouth:

“Are you all right, young man?” he bellowed across the street.

Hundreds of heads suddenly turned to see Dylan rising from his fallen bike, which had clearly had a collision with the newspaper box. Dylan’s face turned red. He gave the officer a terse nod and the “okay” sign with his fingers, and then quickly hopped on his battered bike and rode as fast as the wind, never looking back.

“I was so embarrassed, Mom,” my son told me that evening. “I’ll definitely be watching where I go from now on!” Lesson learned.

And I learned a lesson, too. My son would most assuredly get into some scrapes as he traveled the road to independence, but he would get through it on his own. And, as often happens in middle school, Dylan’s uncool incident was soon old talk as other kids managed to embarrass themselves in various ways. Thankfully, Dylan and I both survived middle school!

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Reprinted by permission of Chicken Soup for the Soul, LLC © 2013. In order to protect the rights of the copyright holder, no portion of this publication may be reproduced without prior written consent. All rights reserved.

Disclosure: This post contains my Amazon affiliate link, and I will receive a small commission on purchases made through this link.

Friday, August 02, 2019

Wondrous Weekly Giveaway Linky (August 3-16, 2019)

Welcome to the Wondrous Weekly Giveaway Linky! If you love to enter giveaways, be sure to visit this page daily to see what new contests have been added to the linky below. There are some great giveaways on my right sidebar, too! And if you're hosting a giveaway on your blog or website, feel free share it in the linky. Invite your social media followers to join the fun, too. Thanks for stopping by!

NOTE: Where it asks for "Your Name," enter the name of your giveaway along with the end date. For the URL, enter the exact URL where your giveaway is located. Comments are appreciated but never required. Thank you!