The Recess Queen

recess_queenThis book is a favorite! Powerful insights into playground bullying, school violence, and poor self-esteem.  This book offers wonderful life lessons while weaving through character development traits like responsibility, integrity, courage and leadership.  The Recess Queen is a great teaching tool for guidance counselors, teachers or parents.  This book is a sure hit!

~ TURNING STONEchoice

Interview with Author Traci Dunham – The Oyster’s Secret

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Below the waves and into the deep sea, Mr. Oyster is quietly, but confidently being himself.  Author, Traci Dunham debuts her first children’s book, The Oyster’s Secret with vibrant and engaging illustrations and a clever stroke of curiosity.  TURNING STONEchoice had an opportunity to talk with the author and listen to her insights on this soon to be children’s classic.

What inspired you to write this book?

Inspiration hit me last summer while sitting down by the water in my hometown of Wildwood Crest. I  wrote the book on the beach that day on the back of a crossword puzzle.

What was your goal in writing The Oyster’s Secret?

I wanted to let children know that their self-worth comes from what is on the inside.  It doesn’t matter what you look like or what you do.  Beauty comes from the inside out.  Raising a daughter that is handicapped has shown me that every person has value and a purpose. I love books that have a message and too many children’s books today do not.  With so many children being bullied, I want every child to know that even though they are different it is ok.  I am hoping this book teaches children at a young age to accept those with special needs.  I don’t think that there are many books out there that reach the younger age groups about children with special needs and I wanted to do that.  I’ve experienced firsthand the lack of education young children receive in regards to this topic.

Do you have any other works in progress?

Yes – My Sister Lu Lu and Me, a story of two sisters, one who is handicapped.  It is written from the point of view of the sister who is not handicapped. She talks about their differences and let’s everyone know that even though her sister is different it is ok.

The Oyster’s Secret is a delightful story, geared toward the juvenile reader with an incredible message of acceptance, self-confidence, and inner beauty. To enjoy your own copy please visit The Oyster’s Secret.

For more information about TURNING STONEchoice and our process please visit www.turningstonechoice.com.

Sammy@TSC

 

 

ANGST – Book Review

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Steven, Sarah, and Johnny are three best friends attempting to navigate the perils of freshman year in high school while dealing with the realities of teen life. Steven is coping with the return of his biological father and attempting to prove his worth for his father’s attention and time. Sarah is in her first romantic relationship with an older, mysterious, sophomore and is verbally tormented by a group of girls. Johnny seeks to live up to his father’s legacy on the football field and wrestles with his emotions for Sarah. Angst chronicles the personal stories of each individual as they grow apart over time but reunite in a dramatic conclusion.
Angst is a gem of a book! The author strikes the tone of the teen perfectly through his three main characters. Teen readers will relate and parents if you are wondering what is going on in your teenagers head and in their world, read this book. Nothing is off-limits, the real issues, pressures and doubts, but not without palpable solutions. A fast read and a super-cool ending!

Available on amazon.com here http://www.amazon.com/Angst-Christopher-Avery/dp/0984002200/ref=pd_rhf_gw_p_dnr_1
~Sammy @TURNING STONEchoice
For more information on TURNING STONEchoice and its process, visit http://www.turningstonechoice.com

Book Review – The Skin I’m In

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According to Maleeka’s peers, she is too poor, too skinny, too black and too smart. All of which seems to make her a moving target for abuse by Charlese, a frienemy who extorts homework from Maleeka in exchange for nice clothes and a deferral from a beat down. As if life was not cruel enough after the loss of her father, she endures relentless insults from John-John. Every turn in the hallway, in class, and on the bus, he hurls negative remarks about her dark complexion. “What is his problem anyway?” She wonders and questions her self-image. Although the reader can assume Maleeka struggles with loving and accepting the skin she is in, the writer, Sharon G. Flake clearly examines the turbulent life journey of a young person trying to understand the right choices to make under tough circumstances, which is the more significant issue for Maleeka.
The Skin I’m In is a quick pick for reluctant readers and a Coretta Scott King award winning book. Appreciated for exploring how a young person with incredible potential can feel so low, and how one teacher can make a difference in a student’s life, The Skin I’m In is highly recommended and perfectly relevant for middle school and high school students.

For more information on TURNING STONEchoice and its process, visit http://www.turningstonechoice.com
~Sammy @TURNING STONEchoice

My Mouth is a Volcano – Suggested Reading & Review

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A Mom’s Choice Award book by Julia Cook, My Mouth is a Volcano addresses the annoying habit of interrupting others through a child’s point of view with humor and imagery. Louis, a vibrant boy with very important words to share with the world has a lot to say and struggles with controlling his words. Will he be able to keep his volcano from bubbling over onto others with a zangy method mom shares or will he keep erupting? Playful illustrations to match Cook’s words deliver the message of how difficult it really can be to stop “erupting.” A simple, fun read with practical application for all, and an excellent resource to set the tone for classroom behavior in the beginning of the school year. Teachers, parents and child-care workers will reap the reward for reading this witty book coping with social skills, polite conversation, self-control and appropriate behavior. Appropriate for ages 4 and up.

For more information on TURNING STONEchoice and its process, visit http://www.turningstonechoice.com
~Sammy @TURNING STONEchoice

Suggested Reading & Review – The Other Wes Moore

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The Other Wes Moore is a riveting, true story of two lives, one name and the diverging paths that led one to prison for life and the other a Rhodes Scholar. The author examines the overwhelming similarities between two boys: both living in the same poverty stricken neighborhood in Baltimore, both fatherless, both coping with a violent and drug saturated environment and both having run-ins with police at an early age. Among the themes the book presents with detailed examples and honest questions are: the impact of educational opportunity, family influence, expectations, personal choices, and support.
The book is currently used as common reads for incoming freshmen at colleges and universities but is also an accessible read for middle school and high school students who may be impacted by this book. Moore, the author shares in the afterword, “I will never forget the letter I received from a fifteen-year-old young man from Baltimore who has already spent part of his young life in juvenile detention. He said this was the first book he had ever read cover to cover, and after reading it he was forced to think about the type of man he wants to be, for himself and his family.”
A must read for educators, parents and students who need to look beyond the circumstances of life and expect and envision a possible future ahead. Excellent resources are built into the back of the book with a list of over 200 organizations that help young people through their journeys and questions to consider after the read. Here is one for you to consider. The author says to the other Wes, “I guess it’s hard sometimes to distinguish between second chances and last chances.” What do you think he means?

For more information on TURNING STONEchoice and its process, visit http://www.turningstonechoice.com
~Sammy @TURNING STONEchoice

The Giving Tree – Suggested Reading & Review

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“Once there was a tree…” Simple prose, with an insightful indictment on the way society does life with such egocentric tendencies, and on the flip side, revealing the tenderness of altruistic giving. There are many reviews on this classic poem focusing on the incredible love of the tree, comparing the tree to a friend, or a parent. Others perceive the tree continues to give in order to relive the joy experienced with the boy when they simply spent time together. Of course, the tree gives sacrificially only to provide fleeting happiness to her boy. When will enough truly make the boy happy? He continues to take all she has to offer and on every returning visit her boy never reaches contentment, searching for happiness in money, a house, a boat, family. Where does real joy come from? Where does contentment and peace reside? Perhaps in the end the old boy and old stump will both decide.
Beautifully written and illustrated, convicting both adults and children to consider their roles in life. Are you a giver or taker? As always, the choice is yours! Enjoy, engage and contemplate, The Giving Tree by Shel Silverstein.

For more information on TURNING STONEchoice and its process, visit http://www.turningstonechoice.com
~Sammy @TURNING STONEchoice