2019 Reading Goals

The new year is around the corner which means it’s time to set up some new year’s resolutions! As a person completely fascinated with the written word, I doubtlessly will be making resolutions centered around reading.

While some people like to set a number of books to read, I like my goals to be a bit more nuanced than a number. Setting reading goals around a number, tends to focus the goal on mere consumption and as Edmund Burke once said, ” to read without reflecting is like eating without digesting.” Will it benefit me to read 100 pictures books in an hour?

What I really want to do is find and complete a reading challenge list. There are so many of them out there and they look like a lot of fun! I mean, just look at this list of lists:

12 of the Best 2018 Reading Challenges for Adults

I could, alternatively, write my own list. If I were to write my own list, I would like to stick to a theme of some sort. Maybe I could create an “Around the World” book challenge list with stories that take place in other countries. That might be fun. 🙂

In addition to making resolutions about the books I will read, I’d also like to make resolutions focused around reading too. Discussing books is so rewarding and satisfying, perhaps I should add “join a book club” to my list too. I currently am part of a local mom’s book club in my community but it never hurts to branch out and try new clubs.

Finally, bringing it back to my good friend Burke, I want to resolve to become a better consumer of literature. I make plenty of mental notes while I read, but perhaps it is time to invest in a little notebook for the ideas that pop in my head while I read.

So, what about you? Are you making any reading resolutions this year? What do your reading goals look like for 2019?


1000 Books Before Kindergarten

In today’s post, I would like to highlight a wonderful reading program called, “1000 Books Before Kindergarten.” I came across it on Twitter as someone proudly “tweeted” an adorable photo of their cute, dimpled baby next to a couple of books and the hashtag #1000BooksB4K.

As the name of the program suggests, the goal is to get parents and caregivers to read at least 1000 books to their children before their child enters school. It seems like a daunting task but one sees how achievable the goal really is after breaking down the numbers:

1 book every night x 365 days a year= 365 books

365 books a year x 3 years= 1,095 books

Why is this program so important? Read what the 1000 Books Foundation says:

Depending upon where you live, public education is only provided over an age range starting between five (5) and eight (8). However, numerous studies have established that by age three (3), a child’s brain has reached 80 percent of its adult volume. The brain develops most rapidly during the first 1,000 days of a child’s life. A toddler’s brain creates up to two million new connections every second. Early experiences and interactions are a key factor in a child’s brain development. The ability to learn language skills is greatest before the age of six (6). Early literacy skills have a lifelong impact on educational and occupational success.  The most important predictor of school success is being read to at home during early childhood

So, what are you waiting for? If you have a tiny human in your life, head to your nearest library. You’ll find everything you need to complete this very important challenge.

10 Questions with Dana Stoica

The importance of raising generous and kindhearted children does not escape most parents today and those searching for tools to reinforce those values need not look further than to Dana Stoica’s Generosity Book Collection. Her books talk about the importance of generosity in our life and include a parents’ corner that talks about the most important gifts that parents can give to their young ones: the gift of dreaming big, the gift of believing in yourself, the gift of joy.

In addition to being a great resource for families, Stoica has pledged that a majority portion of book royalties be donated to Saint Jude’s Children Research Hospital.

After reviewing these wonderful books, I wanted to learn a little bit more about Stoica so I caught up to her and asked her to answer 10 author questions.

Book cover.jpg

1.What books have had the biggest influence on your life?

Some of the most powerful reading memories of my life are:  The Secret Garden- Frances Hodgson Burnett. I was captivated by the imagination, compassion, and touch of fantasy that this book awakened in me as a child.

Another iconic book was Great Expectations – Charles Dickens. I felt a strong bond with the book character, with his dedication to pursue his dreams, overcome weaknesses and treat others with respect no matter of the circumstances.

Recently I got extremely inspired by “The Power of Now” – Eckhart Tolle, an extraordinary reading that gets you connected to the indestructible essence of being in the moment.

2. How long does it take you to write a book?

Writing a children book does not necessary take a lot of time. What takes time though is coming up with a meaningful and relevant book concept and message that can have a positive impact in the reader’s life.

3. What kind of research do you do, and how long do you spend researching before beginning a book?

The “Generosity Book Collection” has a very specific and clear thematic and it aims to create an organic platform that gives children and parents the opportunity to talk about the importance of giving and kindness. I did not do any research per say for this collection. It is my perpetual intention to promote life values that raise awareness about how we can make a positive difference in our own life and in the life of others.

4. How many hours a day do you write?

I write every time the inspiration and the creativity flow in. It can be anywhere from 5 minutes to a couple of hours, days…

5. What is the most difficult part of your artistic process?

I intend to give a dual purpose to my books. The stories are dedicated to the children while the parents will also have an exclusive message as a take away. What I like to spend a lot of time on is on how to create the synergy between the children story and the message for the parents in order to ensure that this unique reading experience has a significant meaning and it can make a positive difference.

6. What was one of the most surprising things you learned in creating your books?

I was pleasantly surprised by how the power of illustrations can give words a completely different dimension. It was also extremely interesting to see through my daughters’ eyes and understand how they perceive my stories and the message that hides behind them.

7. How do you define success?

For me success is the equivalent of happiness, well-being, wisdom, wonder, and giving.

8. What other authors are you friends with, and how do they help you become a better writer?

One of my best author friend was my grandmother who inspired me and encouraged me to write from an early age. She understood from the first minute that for me writing is like breathing: it comes very natural and it reflects my way to communicate with the world.

9. What do you like to do when you’re not writing?

I love spending time with my family and creating meaningful memories. I also love horses and exploring the world.

10. What message do you have for young artists and writers who are following in your footsteps?

I recently read Elisabeth Gilbert’s book: Big Magic – Creative living beyond fear. She describes in a very realistic way the challenges that young authors have to face nowadays.

I strongly believe that if your passion is writing, you should pursue it all the way up to the end while maintaining a pragmatic approach to the everyday life.

Book Review: Christmas in Time by Zoe Matthews and Jade Jenson

Who can pass up a free kindle read? I know I can’t. I recently downloaded Christmas in Time by authors Zoe Matthews and Jade Jenson to read in my spare time and was pleasantly surprised with a wholesome time-traveling romance.

The novel I read is actually the sixth book in their Time Travel Romance Series, but aside from a few references to stories prior, starting with book six was not an issue. Actually, the referencing made me want to go back and check out some of the other books in the series.

Christmas in Time, aside from being a light romance, is a coming of age story as main character Garrett-of-the-future-but-literally-living-in-the-past mans up and makes a life for himself. In the meantime, sweet Colleen, must go on her own voyage of courage as she loves and learns how to love herself. Through this character the authors are able to bring diversity to Christmas in Time and make some light social commentary about contemporary issues in America.

Well suited for young adults and older readers alike, A Christmas in Time is a good fiction read for this season. Check it out today!

Christmas in Time (Time Travel Romance Series, Book 6): A Sweet Time Travel Romance (Time Travel/Mail-Order Bride Romance Series) by [Matthews, Zoe, Jenson, Jade]


This week in school libraries: FAME 2018

The Florida Association of Media in Education (FAME) is hosting it’s 46th Annual FAME Conference at the Orlando Hilton Lake Buena Vista- Disney Springs. As an advocacy group for school libraries at the local, state, and national level, FAME supports not just school libraries but the dedicated librarians and library professionals who man them. FAME provides top-notch professional development and keeps school library professionals abreast of emerging trends.

This years conference promises to be just as informative and inspiring as conferences years past.  The opening keynote speaker is Elizabeth Acevedo, author of The Poet X. Dominican-American poet and author, she is the 2018 National Book Award for Young People’s Literature recipient. In addition to Acevedo, various other authors, including James Ponti, Neal Shusterman, and Bridgid Kemmerer will hold book signings and author sessions. Conference goers can attend numerous informative workshops and gather information regarding books, furniture, makerspaces, equipment, and new technology. Additionally, Jennifer Lagarde, popularly known on Twitter as, “Library Girl” will deliver the closing keynote.

For those not able to attend in person, there are still two ways to participate. FAME will be going LIVE on their website Friday. Those interested in this event may also keep informed by searching @FloridaMediaEd and #FAME18 on Twitter.