Night Buddies - Adventures After Lights Out

Book Recommendation Time! The Children’s Series You Need in 2018

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If you’re a follower of children’s literature, you’ll no doubt have heard of author Kobi Yamada. His first two children’s picture books, What Do You Do With An Idea and What Do You Do With A Problem, both became New York Times bestsellers and have received unprecedented acclaim for both their uplifting storytelling and beautiful illustrations.

His third book, What Do You Do With A Chance, was just recently released, and will no doubt become his third success! Below you will find a short description and recommendation for each book , but trust me when I tell you…you NEED to add these books to your shelves in 2018. (more…)

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How to Set Your 2018 Reading Goals

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Hi all, and happy New Year! I hope all of you had a wonderful time during the holiday season and are ready to take 2018 by storm. One of the things I always do at the start of the year is take time to remember all the amazing books I read in the previous year, and set goals for how many more I want to read in the coming one.

A lot of us make the resolution, “I want to read more,” to go along with your fitness, health, and work goals. But what does “more” actually mean? If you’re someone who wants to read as much as you possibly can in 2018, here are my tips for you to make it happen! (more…)

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The Spectacular Books Behind Your Favorite Holiday Films!

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First off, I want to wish you all a happy holiday! With schools and offices shutting down for the season, I know a lot of us are getting into the holiday spirit by watching our favorite holiday-themed movies. But did you know how many of your favorite holiday classics actually were based on books? Here are some books to pick up for a read that you may find familiar! (more…)

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2017 Book-Lover’s Holiday Gift Guide

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We are midway through December, and that means the holiday season is officially upon us! Finding the perfect gifts for your loved ones can be a battle, so I wanted to make it a little easier on you. If you have any book lovers in your life, any of these gifts will be the perfect match:

Banned Books Heat Reactive Mug

This mug features lines from books that were once banned or challenged; fill them up with your favorite hot beverage to reveal all the words! The best part about this gift is that for every mug sold, you’ll help fund literacy programs and book donations to communities in need.

The Wish Tree, by Kyo Maclear

“Charles wants to find a wish tree. His brother and sister don’t believe there is such a thing, but his trusty companion Boggan is ready to join Charles on a journey to find out. And along the way, they discover that wishes can come true in the most unexpected ways.” This children’s book, which uses poetic verse to tell an inspiring holiday message, will be loved by kids and adults alike.

Book Cover Tote Bag

Everybody needs a plethora of tote bags these days, whether to carry groceries or all the books you buy at your local bookstore. And every book lover would proudly carry a tote featuring their favorite book’s cover on the front. You can find dozens of varieties, from classics like Pride and Prejudice, to new favorites like children’s book, Wonder.

A trip for two to your local independent bookstore

Nothing says bonding like browsing bookshelves together, and a promise to have a full day exploring and reading books together is the ultimate gift to give. Most independent bookstores also offer gift cards if you can’t find the time to go with your loved one yourself!

What are you most looking forward to this holiday season? Let me know in the comments!

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What Your Favorite Authors Have to Say About Thanksgiving

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Thanksgiving is almost upon us, which means great food, time with family and friends, and reflecting on all we have to be thankful for this year. But sometimes it’s hard to get past the craziness of every day life to pause for gratitude, or sometimes it feels like there just isn’t a lot to be grateful for. That’s when I turn to my favorite authors…they always have just the right way of expressing how I want to feel during the holidays. (more…)

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You’re Not In It Alone: A Message to Single Parents

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Regular readers of this blog may well know, I raised my son John as a single father. While the memories I have of our time together while he was growing up are special, I know there were as many difficult times as there were wonderful ones.

An article about Kate Middleton, British royalty and mother of (soon-to-be) three, came out on SimpleMost the other day, where she shares this thought on parenting.

“As a mother, just getting used to leaving my own child at the school gates, it is clear to me that it takes a whole community to help raise a child. Whether we are school leavers, teachers, support staff or parents we are all in this together.”  (more…)

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4 Ways to Prepare for NaNoWriMo

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Halloween is almost here, and while some get excited for costumes, trick-or-treating, and scary movie nights, most writers out there will tell you that the best part of Halloween is when the clock strikes midnight…and NaNoWriMo officially begins!

Every November thousands of writers come together with one common goal—to write a 50,000-word novel (or start of a novel) in one single month. It’s crazy. It’s audacious. There is more coffee consumed in one month than the rest of the year combined. But it’s also a time to start making your novel-writing dreams come true, no perfectionistic pressure allowed! (more…)

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How Reading Before Bed Will Improve Your Life

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Do you remember the days you were a kid, falling asleep to your parents reading you a bedtime story? Well, it turns out immersing yourself in a good book before falling asleep actually has benefits that can last you your entire life! As tempting as it is to get on your phone and scroll through social media until your eyes get heavy, or to turn on a TV show to play in the background while you nod off, here are four reasons you should abandon those habits and pick up a book when it gets dark out. (more…)

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Writers: Pay Attention to the Details

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Now that our kids have gone back to school, we writer-parents have a little more alone time on our hands to get back into a writing groove. Which is why I thought now would be a perfect time to share a few writing tips over the next few weeks with you!

I’ve given and been given a number of writing tips over the years—I think, as writers, we are always seeking the expertise of others to consistently improve our knowledge of the craft. But so much of the writing advice out there focuses on helping writers through big scenes. They focus on making big plot decisions, on structuring your novel, on getting your main character just right.

And while all of this stuff is MAJORLY important, I’d like to tell you all today that good writing pays attention to the small details every bit as much as it focuses on the big plot points. Don’t let any part of your book remain insignificant…even the smallest scene needs to count.

The scenes you might think need the most attention are the ones where a mystery is revealed, a character dies, an explosion happens, etc. etc. But what about the scene where your character is talking to his mother? What does that scene have to do with your story? What does it reveal about your characters or the way the view the world?

Small details, like the weather, or the time of day, or what the air smelled like, will also significantly improve your story once you really focus on them. Details ground us in stories, and they are every bit as important as the big plot point that drives the story forward.

The point I’m trying to make is that there are NO parts of your story that should slip by you as unimportant, or even as less important than something else. Make a decision to pay attention to every word you write down. Make everything count. And I promise, your story will be the better for it.

What small details do you like to pay attention to in your writing? Are you a fan of writing the details? Let me know in the comments!

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Fall Book Recommendations!

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Fall 2017 has been, and will continue to be, a time for fantastic new children’s and YA book releases. Today I’m sharing with you some of the most anticipated yet!

It Takes A Village, by Hillary Rodham Clinton.

Written by our own historic former presidential candidate, this picture book was written to inspire America to celebrate its differences by coming together. The Washington Post says, “It Takes a Village offers a universal, unifying message. It captures perfectly Clinton’s vision of a multicultural America working toward a constructive goal.”

All’s Faire In Middle School, by Victoria Jamieson.

After winning the Newbery Honor in  2015, we have been eagerly awaiting Jamieson’s new book—this one about a girl named Imogen who is going to public school for the first time after growing up homeschooled. It’s already a bestseller on Amazon after releasing just this month!

Robinson, by Peter Sis.

Based on a real story from his childhood, Sis blends fantasy with reality in this dreamy Robinson Crusoe-inspired tale. Kirkus Reviews calls this, “an enchanting love letter to the magic of childhood.” The perfect book to curl up with on a cool fall evening!

What are you looking forward to reading this fall? Let me know in the comments!

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