Saturday, June 25, 2016

Starter Bible by Thomas Nelson is a Wonderful First Bible for Youngsters

This Starter Bible is a padded board book geared toward young children, ages preschool through third grade. It’s written as a kid-friendly way to introduce little ones to Bible stories. From Adam and Eve through the resurrection of Jesus, the stories include Biblical teachings from both the Old and New Testaments.

I was pleasantly surprised when I received this book in the mail. It’s more substantial than I had expected, yet still compact and lightweight for youngsters to easily carry around by the attached handle. It’s also very well made.

The photos are gorgeous and are sure to hold the attention of even the youngest child. The simple, straightforward accompanying text tells each story in a way that children can easily understand. This book would make a wonderful and welcome gift!

5 of 5 Stars, Review by Susan Barton

I received a complimentary copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.  

Friday, June 24, 2016

The Witch with The Glitch by Adam Maxwell is Quirky, Funny and Great Fun for Kids

Are you looking for a funny, quirky chapter book for your youngster? Well I've found one that might be just the thing your kiddo would love to read. The great thing? It's currently FREE on Amazon!

The Witch with The Glitch centers on three friends - Ivy, Oswald and Nina - who help out in a bookstore owned by Nina’s aunt and uncle. The friends cut corners when tidying up so they have plenty of time to go on adventures. In this particular adventure they meet a witch who lives in a gingerbread house and turns the trio into a werewolf, a ghost and a vampire. They must find the mysterious Izzy before midnight or they’ll remain little monsters forever.

This was a quirky, humorous children’s chapter book. It’s only 69 pages, but the author includes a great deal of action-packed adventure for young readers. There’s a nod to Dracula, Hansel and Gretel and even Ghost Busters that may or may not go over a youngster’s head. The author inserts some personal commentary here and there throughout the book that some readers might find distracting, but I felt it went along with the book’s quirkiness.

As a book lover, I appreciated the idea of a group of friends working in a bookstore and getting caught up in book-related adventures. This is certainly a unique and unusual children’s book that I think is worth reading!

5 of 5 Stars, Review by Susan Barton

Thursday, June 23, 2016

Amanda in Arabia by Darlene Foster is An Action-Packed Adventure Story for Girls

I LOVE books that put girls in the role of adventurous heroes, so when I saw Amanda in Arabia by Darlene Foster I knew I had to download it. It didn't disappoint me! If you're looking for something for your tween girl to read this summer, I can certainly recommend this book. My book review is below.

Amanda is a twelve-year-old Canadian girl who’s given the opportunity to spend a month-long vacation with her aunt and uncle in the United Arab Emirates (UAE). She’s immediately drawn to the sites and beauty of a land that’s very foreign from her own and is thrilled when she gets the opportunity to ride on a camel. On a trip to a local village she buys an intricate and old perfume flask from a mysterious shop owner who insists he knew it was meant for her. From there Amanda’s vacation is filled with adventure, intrigue and even danger.

This was a wonderful chapter book for young girls. I love books that show girls as adventurous heroes and this one certainly fits that category perfectly. Amanda in Arabia contains just the right amount of action, suspense and mystery to keep youngsters involved and reading. It’s a super quick read and I finished it in just under an hour.

The cultural references were educational and engaging. Ms. Foster has placed a spunky tween in the main character role and it works beautifully. What young girl doesn’t need another positive role model to read about? Wonderful!

5 of 5 Stars, Review by Susan Barton

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Quirky Characters Clown Bunny Bookmark

Just one final idea for those Quirky Characters. What better way to encourage children to read than to have them create their own recycled bookmarks? Just like all the other Quirky Characters I've made, this clown bunny was made entirely from recycled materials. Cereal boxes, colored with markers make up his body. The body pieces were glued together with thick tacky glue (I used Crafter's Pick). Scraps of yarn looped through a punched hole creates the tassel. Super simple and FREE!

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

The Gift by Rebecca Hubbard is a Useful Book for Teaching Children About Patience, Friendship, Trust and Love

I recently had the pleasure of reading and reviewing an awesome children’s book titled “The Gift”, written by licensed family therapist Rebecca Hubbard. I was so impressed with the way this book is written that I realized right away The Gift is much more than simply a children’s book. It’s a valuable lesson about friendship, trust and love, which will appeal to a wide variety of readers.

When I finished reading, my mind was already formulating the many ways this book could be incorporated into any number of programs that benefit children and their families. It turns out I was absolutely on track with my assessment. When I contacted Ms. Hubbard, I found out that The Gift has indeed been used successfully in a variety of therapeutic ways.

According to Rebecca Hubbard, “The Gift has been successfully used many times since it's publication. A parent told me that he uses the concepts in the book with his teenage daughter every day. He says to his daughter, “You are Pippin’” when he senses she needs to regulate herself and approach a situation or others with a calmer energy.

A teacher related that she and her class had a very in-depth conversation about how Pip’s thoughts were far from accurate when assessing Buck’s behavior. She said that this led to a class discussion about the importance of listening and paying attention to the perspective and feelings of other people.

Some of my therapist friends use this book to teach their clients about how our thoughts affect our behavior and feelings, and how our thoughts can sometimes become distorted. Personally, I like to use The Gift to help adults reinforce compassion when helping children through difficult situations.”

When discussing why she chose Pip’s father as the book's parental figure Ms. Hubbard explains, “I think one of the most powerful relationships in the book is the relationship between Pip and her father. Though the father is a minor character, he is the glue that holds the story together. He is also the glue in Pip’s life. Without him, she would not be able to navigate developing a friendship with Buck. Often in the media, the mother is the most attuned and compassionate.I felt it was important to represent an attuned relationship between a father and a daughter. 

When defining the friendship aspect of The Gift Rebecca says, “This book can help children learn about perseverance and the importance of working for what you truly want. Friendships are a beautiful part of life. They also present many joys and challenges. It is difficult to learn how to develop a healthy friendship, to value another for who they are and not who we want them to be, and how to learn to work through problems. As Pip learns, friends are not ready-made and seeing someone for who they truly are is an amazing gift.”

I could see The Gift being used by parents who are in the process of choosing a rescue pet for their child. Just as many adults enter new relationships with past emotional baggage, rescued pets and shelter animals do as well – often much more baggage than they can handle. Children who understand this prior to choosing a pet will be more understanding and patient. What a wonderful way to prepare a child for this new experience!

The Gift is currently a finalist in The People's Book Prize Contest. You can submit your vote here

The Gift is available in print and eBook formats on 


Rebecca J. Hubbard is a master's level Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist with over twenty years of experience working with children and their families. She began writing short stories as a child for her own amusement and enjoyment. Rebecca discovered that she could facilitate the healing of her young clients by writing stories for them.

Currently, Rebecca works at Spirit Reins as a clinician and as the clinical supervisor where she practices Natural Lifemanship, ™ a Trauma-Focused Equine Assisted Psychotherapy™ model.

Rebecca is a native Texan, who enjoys spending time with friends and family, including her two dogs, Idgie and Sully, and her two horses, Cash and Cloud. She also loves to read, paint and garden. Rebecca encourages readers to connect with her via her website and Amazon Author Page.


Goodreads Book Giveaway

The Gift by Rebecca J. Hubbard

The Gift

by Rebecca J. Hubbard

Giveaway ends July 29, 2016.
See the giveaway details at Goodreads.
Enter Giveaway

Kids and Camp Postcard Ideas

Here's an idea to use those Quirky Characters that I featured in my previous post. Making postcards to send home while at camp might ease those homesick blues. Kids and parents can create them together prior to camp, to have on hand as needed. Don't forget to send some stamps too (and maybe a few envelopes to add extra protection for that precious artwork).

© 2016 Susan Barton

I used only recycled materials to create the postcard - cereal boxes to be exact - so it cost me nothing to make. I used permanent markers to color the Quirky Character and added thick paint to the printed side of the cardboard (I used a pallet knife for better coverage). The Quirky Character is glued onto the postcard using a strong craft glue (I used "Crafter's Pick"). Then I printed out the saying from my computer and glued it on with my homemade decoupage glue (school glue and water).

I drew lines for addressing the card on the back and it's ready to go. These postcards would also make a great Vacation Bible or other summertime craft activity!

© 2016 Susan Barton

Monday, June 20, 2016

Quirky Characters Journal Page Elements

I've been having so much fun making these Quirky Characters for my journal pages. They take no time at all and since I use recycled papers and cardboard they cost nothing to make! This would be a wonderful summertime activity to do with the kids. Children could create their own Quirky Characters to glue into their own homemade summer journal!

© 2016 Susan Barton

If you decide to make some of your own Quirky Characters I'd love to see some photos! Leave a link in the comment section below.