Category Archives: Books

Get Kids Talking About Bullying With Charlie’s Birthday Wish

1StopMom was provided with product for review purposes only.

October is National Bullying Prevention Month. Bullying is something very close to my heart because I was bullied when I was younger. During those times I felt I had no one to turn to for help and ended up suffering a lot. As a parent I make sure to talk to my kids all the time about bullying. I started doing this when they were young. I wanted to make sure they knew what to do if they are being bullied and how to not stand by and watch someone else suffer at the hands of a bully. Bullying is a topic that should be discussed all the time. This month is a great time to help bring awareness to the topic and keep the discussion going.

I was recently sent the book Charlie’s Birthday Wish by Educator and Mom, Rene Micka to review.

charlie's birthday wish review

Rene Micka is a parent and an educator who has worked with children of all ages for 15 years. She spends a great deal of time volunteering at her children’s Catholic school, where she runs many of the programs. Character education is a focus of all her efforts in the classroom. As a member of the Big Brothers Big Sisters Program, Micka’s experiences have led her to have a greater understanding of the issues affecting children in distressed situations. Although she is no longer teaching, she has made it her mission to see to it that children get the better life they deserve. Charlie’s Birthday Wish is her debut children’s book.

This book stands out against other books about bullying because it is told from the viewpoint of the bully. Written for children ages 3-9, this story is about Charlie who is about to celebrate his birthday.  Unfortunately for him, he is not as excited as he should be because he is afraid none of his friends will attend his birthday party. Charlie has not been very nice to his friends. He has made fun of them and called them names.

charlie's birthday wish

Charlie did look forward to telling his Mom what he has done. When he finally does tell her, she helps him to apologize to his friends and invite them to his party.

I think that Charlie’s Birthday Wish is a great book for young children to learn about the consequences of being a bullying. The story shows how bad Charlie felt for the way he treated others and how he fixed the problem.

Connect with Rene Micka at Better Day Books and on Facebook, Twitter, Goodreads, and Shelfari.

Charlie’s Birthday Wish is available in print and ebook format and can be purchased from Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and other major online booksellers.


Good And Cheap Cookbook Review

good and cheap cookbook

I believe I can never have too many cookbooks. They come in pretty handy when I am meal planning. I love pulling out a few different cookbooks from my growing collection and finding new recipes to try. Sometimes my kids will join in and pick a few dishes they want to try.

I recently checked out a cookbook by Leanne Brown, Good and Cheap: Eat Well On $4 A Day. Food is one of my biggest budget busters so I dove right into this cookbook.

Good and Cheap is full of a lot of useful information. There are tips about what types of  foods you should keep in your pantry. There are suggestions of what spice flavor combinations works well together. This is something I want to experiment more with because I am clueless when it comes to spices.

I can not wait until I go to the next farmer’s market and get some fresh zucchini so I can make some Charred Summer Salad. Doesn’t it look delicious?

charred summer salad

A section of the book I really liked was 12 things on toast. I have always eaten toast plain or with a little jam. It never crossed my mind to try caramelized onions or roasted vegetables on toast!

I was pleasently surprised with Good and Cheap. This cookbook has a variety of recipes that can be made on a budget. The recipes come with clear and crisp pictures and easy to follow instructions. I loved the way Leanne offered creative ways to eat different foods.

This book will be a great addition to any cookbook collection. It would be a great resource for young adults on their own for the first time as well.

Leanne Brown started on this journey by creating a free pdf cookbook for people with very tight budgets, particularly those on SNAP/Food Stamp benefits. The project has grown and a second edition of Good and Cheap: Eat Well For $4 will be available to buy on July 14, 2015 for $13.00

Stay Connected!

Follow Leanne Brown on Twitter
Become a Facebook Fan of Good and Cheap

I was provided with a copy of this book for review purposes. The opinions expressed are 100% my own. 


Seeds Of Freedom: The Peaceful Integration of Huntsville, Alabama Book Review

seeds of freedom

“Mention the Civil Rights era in Alabama, and most people recall images of terrible violence. But something different was happening in Huntsville. For the citizens of that city, creativity, courage, and cooperation were the keys to working together to integrate their city and schools in peace. In an engaging celebration of this lesser-known chapter in American and African-American history, author Hester Bass and illustrator E. B. Lewis show children how racial discrimination, bullying, and unfairness can be faced successfully with perseverance and ingenuity.”

I was recently sent a copy of Seeds Of Freedom by Hester Bass to review. This book is a story about segregation in of Huntsville, Alabama. The story is set in 1962 during The Civil Rights Movement. Told in the present tense, Seeds Of Freedom touches upon the reality of how differently African American people were right from the start. The story starts off with examples of how unfair treatment like a girl who has a picture of her traced feet on a sheet of paper because she will not be allowed to try on shoes.

I really liked how the book mentioned how seeds of freedom consistently and what is needed to make them grow. Change does not happen overnight just like you can’t grow a plant immediately. You have to feed it and take care of it. You have to keep at it if you want change to happen.

The citizens of Huntsville courageously worked together to get their voices heard through non violent demonstrations like Blue Jean Sunday and sit ins.  Hester Bass packed a lot of information into this book. I was happy to see important people mentioned like Dr. Martin Luther King and President Kennedy. They had very important roles during the Civil Rights Movement.

I think this book is a great way to get a conversation going with children and encourage research to learn more.

You can get a copy of The Seeds Of Freedom: The Peaceful Integration of Huntsville at for $13.50


The CosmoBiography Of Sun Ra: The Sound Of Joy Is Enlightening Review

1StopMom was provided with product for review purposes. Opinions are 100% my own.

Cosmo Biography Of Sun RaChris Raschka, the author of The Cosmo Biography Of Sun Ra: The Sound of Joy Is Enlightening took an interesting route when writing this story. It is the biography of Jazz musician, Herman Blount, also known as Sun Ra. The book will definitely appeal to young children because the story is told as if we imagined that Sun Ra was not from Earth but Saturn.

The story starts at the beginning when Sun Ra “landed” on Earth. A lot of Sun Ra’s life is covered from his love of books in addition to music, the places he lived and the people he played with. There is quite a bit of information is fit into this 40 page book.

I really like the point of view from which this biography was told. Sun Ra unlike most earthlings did not see color when it came to people. He just wanted to play music, which he believed brings us all together. Sun Ra was a free-spirited and creative person. He not only made music but eventually made his own clothes.

This book is a great way to introduce children ages 4-9 to Sun Ra. The vibrant illustrations really help to bring the story to life. The author Chris Raschka also did the illustrations which works well with the personality of Sun Ra.  Neither he or his music could be easily defined. This was a wonderful book.

Buy The Cosmobiography of Sun Ra:The Sound Of Joy s Enlightening at Amazon for $12.95


Half Price Books Half Pint Giveaway For NonProfits and Educators!

half price book stores

My family is a big supporter of Half Price Books.  Not only do we sell our gently used books there and donate to Half Pint, but we love to shop there too! Especially when we get a flyer for great savings. I am always adding to our personal library and shopping at Half Price Books is easy on our budget.

During the month of April, various Half Price Book stores throughout the country are hosting book giveaways for nonprofit organizations and educators. This is a great way to get books into the hands of young readers.

Visit their website to see if there is a location near you. If you know of an organization or educator might like to participate in this giveaway, please share this information with them

You do have to RSVP 24 hours before your selected event.

There are three giveaway events in Wisconsin:

Tuesday, April 1
10 am
Half Price Books Warehouse
12020-F W. Feerick Street
Wauwatosa, WI 53222

Tuesday, April 8
10 am
Half Price Books
4250 East Towne Blvd.
Madison, WI 53704

Tuesday, April 22
10 am
Half Price Books
281 N Casaloma Dr.
Appleton, WI 54913

If you are interested in donating to the Half Pint Library, the donation drive ends March 31, 2014  so you still have time! Remember for each book you donate, Half Price Books will match it.



Books For Kids: Bonker and Friends Series Review Plus 1 Million eBook Giveaway

single ply publishing

Bonkers and Friends is a series of stories starring the Tompkins family and their mischievous feline Bonkers, written by Paul Langley and illustrated by Henryk Jackimczyk. The three books are aimed at children aged seven years old and up”. 

Paul Langley suffers from an autoimmune disease called Wegener’s granulomatosis. Because of this condition, at one time Paul spent several years conifined to a hospital bed. During the time he was in the hospital he kept himself occupied by telling stories to other patients. Eventually these stories were written down with drawings. This is where Bonkers got his start.

My family was sent copies of the Bonkers and Friends series to review. The series has three books: Boomerang, All Aboard and What A Circus.

Bonkers and FriendsBoomerang is the book where you are first introduced to Bonkers and The Tompkins. He wore the cutest little glasses and was not alway called Bonkers. He had a accident with a cricket bat that caused his eyes to look North and South at the same time. Mr. Tompkins thought he looked as if he was bonkers and this is when his name was changed from George. Boomerang is a fun adventure involving a deer named Boomerang who like to writes notes to Mr. Tompkins while causing a little havoc.

The second book in the series is All Aboard. This time the Tompkins are going a cruise and Bonkers is going along. Instead Bonkers will be staying with at the farm he was born at with his brothers and sister.However, Bonkers decided he did not want to stay at Mrs. MacDonald’s farm. He wanted to be with the family and snuck on boat.

In What A Circus, Bonkers meets up again Boomerang, his friends and siblings. This is Bonkers first time at the circus and he amazed by it all. It turns out to be quite an amusing adventure.

The Bonker and Friends storis all end on a positive note and are enjoyable to read. All three books were written in a way that pulls you in. Paul Langley did a great job of bringing the story to life. It was funny series and will make a great read.

All Aboard ebook Giveaway

Now you don’t want to miss out the 1 Million eBook Giveaway from Single Ply Publishing. You can get a digital copy of the second book in the series “All Aboard”. It is available in formats for Kindles and other devices.  Visit the Bonkers and Friends website to get your free copy of All Aboard. Don’t be worried about how to get the book on your device because there are instuctions on the site to help you out.

Grab your copy of the Bonkers and Friends series ebooks at

Connect with Paul Langley:

Visit the Bonker and Friends website
Follow Paul Langley on Twitter


This Halloween Give The Treat Of Reading


 “When a young Englishman named Sebastian Walker set out to publish the very best books for children in 1978, he launched his company in the spare bedroom of his London home and convinced a team of brilliant and ambitious people to join him. The company’s unique message was clear: books and their creators were the stars of Walker Books. His rare commitment, support, and generosity went on to infuse Candlewick Press, founded in Massachusetts in 1991, along with Walker Books Australia. Today, Sebastian Walker’s legacy flourishes on three continents. Candlewick Press is part of a passionate global publishing enterprise with infinite horizons.”

Halloween is usually all about the candy and the costumes.  As a parent, I like to mix it up sometimes. This is the perfect opportunity to offer a different type of treat, books!

Luckily, I don’t have to force my kids to read. I introduced them into their lives when there were very young. All of them enjoy reading as much as I do. One look in our home and you will find books everywhere. On bookshelves, in piles on tables and in beds. It is just normal to us.

I recently had the pleasure of reviewing a few haunting children’s books from Candlewick Press.

candlewick books


Vampire Baby By Kelly Bennett

For ages 4-7 years old and grades preschool to 2nd grade

The story is about a little boy and his little sister Tootie. The little boy felt Tootie was a fun baby until she got her first two teeth, which happened to be canine teeth. Tottie began to bite everything from toys to furniture and even her big brother. Tootie’s big brother was convinced she was a vampire baby because she liked food that was red and would not sleep at night. Their parents believed she was perfectly normal.

This is a cute little story about siblings and loving each other no matter what.

Filbert the Good Little Fiend By Hiawyn Oram

For ages 3-5 years old and grades preschool to kindergarten

This book is about a family of fiends. Mommy, Daddy and Filbert.  Mommy and Daddy liked to be scary while Filbert did not not.  He was kind and sweet and wanted nothing to do with anything creepy or spooky. Filbert ends up getting kicked out of school for being too good. He meets an angel who was kicked out of school for not being good enough. Both of them just wanted to be accepted for who they are.

We loved the illustrations in this story. It was full of beautiful fall colors. It delivered a great message of there is nothing wrong with being yourself.

Ghost In The House By Ammi-Joan Paquette

For ages 3-7 years old and grades preschool to second grade

This story is about a ghost who comes across a few different characters while in a creepy haunted house.

This was a light and fun story that rhymes. Little ones will have fun guessing who is making all the different sounds in the house.

The Music of Zombies By Vivian French

For ages 6-10 years olds and grades first to fifth grade

This book is the fifth book from the series the Five Kingdoms. Prince Albion expects a unique occasion when he starts planning Cockenzie Rood Day to celebrate his kingdom — and himself. What he doesn’t expect is boppings on the head and kidnapping, all because a zombie wants to play his fiddle in the talent contest. With a misbehaving path, a romantic bat, and a greedy butler to set them on their way, Gracie Gillypot and Prince Marcus are off on their fifth adventure. It’s up to a Trueheart, a resourceful prince, and Gubble the troll to stop the zombie before he does some giant damage to the Five Kingdoms.

Kayla was starting reading the book and liked the story. She did not think it was too scary even though there were zombies! Of course she wanted to how the story got to where it is and wants to read the other books in the series.