Sunday, February 28, 2010

Eat This Not That = David Zinczenko

An entertaining look at the best and worst foods in America.

I really enjoy these books. Granted, I don’t use them as a resource guide like you’re supposed to. I just read them from cover to cover, giggling and learning as I go. Some of the items are fascinating and others are horrifying. And it does sink into my brain and affect my grocery shopping and eating out. Random trivia from the book will pop into my head. Just think how much more effective it would be if I *did* use it as a reference.

250+ Activities and Ideas for Developing Literacy Skills -M. Ellen and Hilda L. Jay

A great resource for parents of young kids or anyone working with smaller children. This book contains over 250 activities to do with kids to help increase their literacy. The activities and ideas are quick and easy to integrate in everyday life. It’s about being more purposeful in the interactions you already have.

I picked up this book because as a part of my job I work with kids who need help with their reading and literacy skills. While most of the ideas and activities are children from the pre-literate stage through pre-school, I did find some ideas I can adapt for the older kiddos I work with. Also, I appreciated how the authors touched on all forms of literacy, not just reading. The book contains ideas for numerical literacy, cultural literacy, charts, graphs, money, and even computer literacy.

Definitely a book to check out.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Step-Wives: 10 Steps to Help Ex-Wives and Stepmothers... - Lynne Oxhorn-Ringwood, etc.

I had waited so long to get this book from the library…to find it completely useless. To be honest, I skimmed a lot of it.

Don’t get me wrong. I think it’s great that this ex-wife and this step-wife found a way to get along and communicate effectively. And they say you can do the same even if you are the only “step-wife” working on the relationship. But I just don’t see how that’s practical. Especially when ones’ step-wife has told you that her kids are none of your business and then blatantly ignores any communication from you regarding them.

Monday, February 8, 2010

Notes Left Behind - Brooke & Keith Desserich

Elena Desserich wanted to become a teacher. But at 6, a rare form of brain cancer threatens her very survival. This book is the story of her struggle as told through journal enteries written by her parents.

Based on the title and the synopsis I read, I really thought the book would be more about the literal notes that she left behind in their home. It wasn't, even though there were some copies of those notes scattered throughout the book. The synopsis also said that the book was written for Gracie, Elena's younger sister, so that she would be able to remember Elena. I don't really see it accomplishing that goal either as the book more deals with their parents thoughts surrounding Elena, her illness, and coping.

It wasn't realy well-written. But I'm sure that my journal enteries, compiled and published, wouldn't be either.

This book did make me think about how I would handle being in the same situation. Would I do things differently? The same? And how incredibly challenging a terminal diagnosis to one's child would be.

I give kuddos to the Desserichs for being so transparent, but I don't know that this book is a recommended read.

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Split Ends - Kristin Billerbeck

Sarah Claire is an up-and-coming hairstylist from Wyoming. That is until she moves to LA and is relegated to chief hair sweeper and coffee maker. Sarah Claire is determined to make a name for herself in this market and break the Winowski curse when it comes to love. She has talent. She has grit. But will her past keep her from success in the future?

Better than the last Billerbeck book that I read. But I was still disappointed. I loved her Ashley Stockingdale series and recommended them to many people. However, I haven’t loved a lot since. This one had several dropped or randomly arranged story lines. Also (and I know this isn’t the author’s fault), there were many typos, misspellings, etc. And being the grammar-freak I am, that always takes away from the overall pleasure for me.

I did like the main plot and the old movie references. Since this is our book club pick for February, I’m interested in seeing what everyone else has to say about it.

Boundaries with Kids - Drs. Henry Cloud and John Townsend

Award-winning Boundaries authors have now adapted that material for anyone working with children. The book has practical tips on how to help your child instill boundaries and self-control in children and to maintain your boundaries as well.

I thought this book was excellent. As I read it, the thought most often in my mind was of situations and scenarios in which I could apply what I was reading about. There were many areas – both with my step-kids and the kids I teach – that I could see myself improving by using the practical ideas Doctors Cloud and Townsend present. I also was faced with the realization of where I let my own boundaries fall and how to shore them up.

It was very well organized and easy to read.