Posted in About me, Confessions of a bookaholic, Monday Mania

Monday Mania#19: Favorite Childrens Books

Everyone has books they loved growing up.  Below is a list of some of my favorite children’s books.  This list is far from complete, so if you feel that a book should be added to this list please add your book’s name and author in the comment section below.

Adult readers remember that reading out loud with a child, even if they already know how to read, is a great way to encourage them to read on their own AND is a great bonding experience.

  1. The Mare On The Hill by Thomas Locker
  2. Where The Wild Things Are story and pictures by Maurice Sendak
  3. The Story of Barbar by D E Burnhoff
  4. Goodnight Moon by Margaret Wise Brown art by Clement Hurd
  5. Everything by Dr. Seuss
  6. I Just Forgot by Mercer Mayer
  7. Madeline by Ludwig Bemelmans
  8. Berenstain Bears series created by Stan and Jan Berenstain
  9. Curios George by H.A. Rey
  10. The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle
  11. The Velveteen Rabbit by Margery Williams
  12. Where The Sidewalk Ends by Shel Silverstein
  13. The Giving Tree by Shel Silverstein
  14. Corduroy by Don Freeman
  15. If You Give A Mouse A Cookie story by Laura Numeroff, illustrated by Felicia Bond
  16. Winnie the Pooh by A.A. Milne
  17. Love You Forever written by Robert, illustrated by Sheila McGraw
  18. The Stinky Cheese Man and Other Fairly Stupid Tales by Jon Scieszka and Lane Smith
  19. James and the Giant Peach by Roald Dahl
  20. The Little Prince by Antone De Saint-Exupery
  21. Harold and The Purple Crayon by Crockett Johnson
  22. I’ll Always Love You by Hans Wilhelm
  23. Charlotte’s Webb by E.B. White
  24. The Giver by Lois Lowery
  25. A Girl of The Limberlost by Gene Stratton-Porter
  26. Anne of Green Gables by L.M. Montgomery
  27. A Tree Grows in Brooklyn by Bety Smith
  28. Island of Blue Dolphins by Scott O’Dell
  29. Nancy Drew series by Carolyn Keene
  30. Hardy Boys series by Franklin W Dixon

Happy Reading!!!!


Posted in advice, Helpful information, Monday Mania

Monday Mania #18: Books About Developmental Disorders

Developmental Disorders are common diagnoses in today’s world but are not really understood by most people. In this post Developmental Disorders are defined as neurologically based conditions that can interfere with the acquisition, retention or application of specific skills or sets of information (ex: Autism Spectrum Disorders, ADHD and Tourette’s Syndrome).  These disorders are not considered mental illnesses, although some symptoms do overlap, because the brain is affected differently (see Monday Mania #17: Books about Mental Illness).  Every developmental disorder is a uniquely confusing time for the  individual diagnosed and their family.

Developmental disorders are not preventable or curable at this time, but they are treatable.  Below I have compiled a short list of books for the whole family.  This list is far from complete but will help give you a start.

The books are separated into 3 categories: general resources, family/self-help, and memoirs.  The books were placed in a category based on the subject and how the information is presented.

* If you are aware of other books that can help please put the book’s title and author in the comment section at the end of the post.*

General Resources

  1. Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, 5th edition (DSM-IV) (2013) by American Psychological Association
  2. The Essential Guide to Psychiatric Drugs (2007) by J.M. Gorman
  3. Understanding Developmental Disorders: A Casual Modelling Approach (2005) by John Morton
  4. Living with Tourette’s Syndrome (1995) by Elaine Fantle Shimberg
  5. Social Skills for Autism Spectrum Disorders and Other Developmental Disorders (2012) by Laurence R. Sargent
  6. Dual Diagnosis: An Introduction to Mental Health Needs of Persons With Developmental Disorders (2002) by Dorothy M. Griffins, Jane Summers and Chrissoula Stavrkaki

Family/Self Help

  1. The Complete Guide to Asperger’s Syndrome (2006) by Tony Attwood
  2. Understanding Autistic Behaviors (2018) by Theresa M Regan
  3. The Caregivers Companion (2015) by Carolyn A. Brent
  4. The Autistic Brain: Thinking Across the Spectrum (2013) by Temple Grandin
  5. Anxiety Relief for Kids (2017) by Bridget Flynn Walker
  6. Being The Other One:  Growing Up With a Brother or sister Who Has Special Needs (2005) by Kate Strohm
  7. Attention Deficit Disorder: The Unfocused Mind in Children and Adults (2006) by Thomas E. Brown
  8. Planning For the Future:  Providing a Meaningful Life for a Child With a Disability (2005) by M.L. Russell


  1. Thinking in Pictures: My Life With Autism (2006) by Temple Grandin
  2. Passing For Normal (2000) by Amy Wilensky
  3. Stuttering: A Life Bound Up in Words (1997) by Marty Jezer
  4. The Ride Together: A Brother and Sisters Memoir of Autism in the Family (2003) by J. and P. Karasik

Remember, this list is FAR from complete and I encourage you to look for ones that are ment for the specific diagnose(s) you or your family member received, including children’s books to help younger kids understand what is happening to themselves or their sibling.

Please know that there are a variety of different psychology professionals, groups and organizations out there at the local, national and international level.  There are multiple national organizations with websites that allow you to search for resources “near” you.  I am not personally acquainted with organizations/groups covering all developmental disorders, but your health care professional probably knows who they are.  (I am familiar with a few organizations for Autism and Asperger’s Syndrome, contact me for these)

If you are aware of other books/resources that can help please put the information in the comment section at the end of the post.

** Do not use my list as a substitute for care from a mental health professional(s). I created this list to be used in combination with help from mental health professionals, I want to pass on these resources because I have a family member who was diagnosed with a nuerodevelopmental disorder. ** 

Posted in advice, Helpful information, Monday Mania

Monday Mania #17: Books About Mental Illness

Mental Illness is a common diagnoses in our society.  Almost everyone knows someone related to  or diagnosed with a mental illness, some just aren’t aware of it.  In this post mental illness refers to biological brain disorders that interfere with normal brain chemistry (ex: bipolar disorder, OCD, PTSD and Schizophrenia).  This is opposed to Developmental disorders (ex: autism spectrum disorders & ADHD), which I am posting about next week.  I am addressing them separately because they are different types of disorders. But whatever the diagnoses is, it’s a confusing time for the diagnosed individual and their family.

Mental illnesses are not preventable or curable at this time, but they are treatable.  Below, I have compiled a list of books to help both diagnosed individuals and family members.  This list is far from complete but can provide you with a start.

The books are separated into 3 categories: resources/guides, family/self-help, and memoirs.  The books were placed in a category based on how the information is presented and who wrote it.

* If you are aware of other books that can help please put the book’s title and author in the comment section at the end of the post.*

General Resources

  1. Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, 5th edition (DSM-IV) by American Psychiatric Association (5/18/2013)
  2. The Essential Guide to Psychiatric Drugs (2007) by J.M. Gorman
  3.  Brave New Brain: Conquering Mental Illness in the Era of the Genome (2001) by N Andreason
  4. The Broken Brain: The Biological Revolution in Psychiatry (1984) by N. Andreason

Family/Self Help

  1. How to Live With a Mentally Ill Person: A Handbook of Day-to-Day Strategies (1996) by C. Adamec
  2. The Caring Family: Living with Chronic Mental Illness (1982) by K. Bernheim, R. Lewine and C. Beale
  3. Calming your Anxious Mind (2007) by J. Brantley
  4. Understanding Depression: What We Know and What You Can Do About it. (2003) by J.R. DePaulo
  5. What To Do When Someone you Love is Depressed (2007) by M. Golant and S. Golant
  6. More Than Moody: Recognizing and Treating Adolescent Depression (2002) by H. Koplewicz
  7. Planning for The Future: Providing a Meaningful Life for a Child with a Disability (2005) by M.L. Russell
  8. When Madness Comes Home: Help and Hope for the Children, Siblings and Partners of The Mentally Ill (1997) by V. Secunda
  9. When Someone You Love has a Mental Illness: A Handbook for Family, Friends and Caregivers (1992) by R. Woolis


  1. An Unquiet Mind: A Memoir of Moods and Madness (1995) by K.R. Jamison
  2. Hurry Down Sunshine (2008) by M. Greenberg
  3. Is There No Place on Earth For Me? (1982) by S. Sheehan
  4. My Sister’s Keeper: Learning to Cope With a Sibling’s Mental Illness (1992) by M. Moorman

Remember, this list is FAR from complete and I encourage you to look for ones that are ment for the specific diagnose(s) you or your family member received, including children’s books to help younger kids understand what is happening to themselves or their sibling.

Please know that there are a variety of different psychology professionals, groups and organizations at the local and national level out there.  I am personally familiar with my local branch of National Alliance On Mental Illness (NAMI), and whole-heartedly recommend them as a resource; they offer support, education and other services to diagnosed individuals and family members.  NAMI and other national organizations have websites that allow you to search for services in your area.

If you are aware of other books that can help please put the book’s title and author in the comment section at the end of the post.

** Do not use my list as a substitute for care from a mental health professional(s). I created this list to be used in combination with help from mental health professionals, I want to pass on these resources because I am a family member (and friend) to individuals diagnosed with mental illnesses. **

Posted in Helpful information, Monday Mania

Monday Mania #16: Fiction vs Nonfiction

Everyone knows that there is a difference between fiction and nonfiction, but when asked to explain it find themselves fumbling over all the different ways they have heard them explained.  So, I thought it would be helpful to put this together.


Definition: something invented by the imagination or feigned.

Categories: Contemporary, Chick Lit, Crime Fiction, Comics, Fan Fiction, Fantasy, Graphic Novels, Historical Fiction, Horror, Mystery, Paranormal, Romance, Science Fiction, Suspense, Thrillers


  • To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee
  • 1984 by George Orwell
  • Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austin
  • The Lovely Bones by Alice Sebold
  • Siddhartha by Hermann Hesse
  • Mercy by Stephen King
  • The Davinci Code by Dan Brown


Definition: writing that is about facts and real events.  *This is the broadest category of literature.

Categories: Biography, business, cooking, health & fitness, pets, crafts, home decorating, languages, travel, home improvement, religion/spirituality, art & music, history, self-help, true crime, science and humor.


  • The Diary of a Young Girl by Anne Frank
  • A Brief History of Time by Stephen Hawking
  • The Art of War by Sun Tzu
  • The Joy of Cooking by Irma S. Rombauer
  • The Origin of Species by Charles Darwin
  • The Witches: Salem, 1692 by Stacy Schiff
  • Eat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert

All the books that I listed above are adult books, but the information I have given you is also true for children’s books, short stories, poetry and other forms of writing.

If you have any questions or thoughts please leave them in the comment section and I will get back to you as soon as I can.

Happy Reading!!!!


Posted in Fun tidbits, Helpful information, Monday Mania

Monday Mania #15: 8 Undeniable Facts About Reading

Everyone has different views on why and when reading is good for you but there are eight undeniable facts that everyone should know.  I have listed them below with some basic information about why.

  1. It increases intelligence – A children’s books expose kids to 50% more words than prime time TV.  Also, children who read are better able to grasp abstract concepts, apply logic in various scenarios, recognize cause and effect, and utilize good judgement.
  2. It can boost your brain power – When you read you have to remember a lot of things (including different characters, the main plot and subplots).  All of these things create new memories, meaning new synapses being created and old ones being strengthened.  Therefore, your short-term memory and recall capabilities improve.
  3. Can make you more empathetic – Science published research by David Comer Kidd and Emanuele Castano, showing that literary fiction has the power to help its readers understand what others are thinking by reading other people’s emotions.  The impact is more significant on those who read literary fiction as opposed to those who read nonfiction.
  4. Reading can help you relax – A 2009 study by Sussex University researchers found that reading may reduce stress by as much as 68%.  David Lewis, a cognitive nueropsychologist told  The Telegraph “It really doesn’t matter what you read, by losing yourself in a throughly engrossing book you can escape from he worries and stresses of the everyday world and spend a while exploring a world of the author’s imagination.”
  5. Reading before bed can help you sleep – If used as part of a bedtime ritual, it can send signals to the body its time to wind down and go to sleep.  However, this only applies to real books, as screens like ebooks and tablets can actually keep you awake longer.
  6. Reading is contagious – 75% of parents wish their children would read more for fun.  How do you encourage this?  Start by reading out loud at home, and don’t stop when your child learns to read for themselves.  A report from Scholastic suggests that reading out loud to kids throughout elementary school years may inspire them to become frequent readers.  More than 40% of frequent readers (aged 6-10) were read to out loud at home, but only 13% were not.
  7. Improves your health – Studies with elderly patients have shown that is decreases mental decline by 32%  and that you are 2.5 times less likely to develop Alzheimer’s.  Another study showed that depressed patients in a mental health ward showed positive improvement when they read stories out loud.
  8. Reading improves motivation – Reasearch has found that those who read about characters doing something are more likely to actually do it in real life.  Meaning your more motivated to do something you have concerns about (like asking for a raise, or go mountain climbing).

Happy reading!!!


Posted in Monday Mania

Monday Mania #14: 10 Best Quotes about Reading

  1. “Reading gives us someplace to go when we have to stay where we are”                         – Mason Cooley
  2. “How often you read something is immaterial; how you read it is crucial”                      – Virginia Voeks
  3. “It takes a thousand voices to tell a single story”                                                                     – Native American Proverb
  4. “Reading is seeing by proxy”                                                                                                       – Herbert Spencer
  5. “Read not to contradict and confute, nor to believe and take for granted; nor to find talk and discourse; but to weight and consider. Some books are to be tasted, others to swallow, and some few to be chewed and digested.”                                                        – Francis Bacon
  6. “Books don’t change people; paragraphs do, sometimes even sentences do.”                 – John Piper
  7. “It’s what you read when you don’t have to that determines what you will be when you can’t help it.”                                                                                                                           – Oscar Wilde
  8. “Books are the plane, and the train, and the road. They are the destination, and the journey. They are home.”                                                                                                             – Anna Quindlin
  9. “Books are a uniquely portable magic.”                                                                                    – Stephen King
  10. “Books are the quietest and most constant of friends; they are the most accessible and wisest of counselors, and the most patient of teachers.”                                              – Charles William Elliot
Posted in advice, Fun tidbits, Monday Mania

Monday Mania #13: Why Reading Is The Secret Ingrediant

Reading is the secret ingredient to what you might ask.  Reading is the secret ingredient to your well-being.  Reading has quite a few benefits that can impact many different areas of your life, most of which people aren’t aware of.  I have compiled some of these benefits here to show you.

When you read you are giving yourself alone time. Alone time allows you to reduce stress and enter a more tranquil state.  Also, reading for pleasure has been found to improve confidence and self-esteem.

By reading you can escape your reality and step into someone else’s.  Researchers have found that people who read about a character doing something are actually more likely to do it in real life.

With every book you pick up you increase your knowledge and improve your knowledge and improve your vocabulary.  As this happens other people will find you more attractive and interesting because you have so much to talk about.

Reading can boost your brain power.  Children who read are better able to grasp abstract thoughts, apply logic, recognize cause and effect and utilize good judgement.  Also, books can influence your “moral laboratory” in ways to increase your empathy.

You don’t have to read certain books (or genres) to see these effects.  Most types of books will offer these benefits without you even realizing it, so go ahead and read your heart out.

Happy reading!!!!


Posted in advice, Helpful information, Monday Mania

Monday Mania #12: 5 Common Distractions & How to Deal


Everyone has had times in their lives where distractions have kept them from reading books.  Here I have created a list of five common distractions and some easy ways to help readers avoid them.  These ideas can also work for studying for school as well.

  1. Phone: If you can, leave your phone in a different room of the house/apartment.  If you can’t, put the phone on silent and put it face down so you can’t see notifications as they come in.
  2. TV: Choose an area where you have no clear line of sight to the TV screen.  If someone else is watching TV ask them to keep the volume on a lower setting so you can’t hear it from where you are sitting.
  3. Wandering Thoughts: If you can’t focus on your reading because your thoughts keep wandering elsewhere, try giving yourself five minutes to allow your mind to go over what it wants and then go back to what you are reading.
  4. Family/Friends: They wont mean to interrupt you, but they will.  Communicate with them so they can make an effort to give you some space while you are reading.
  5. Noise: Most of us live in areas where we have neighbors and other things that make sounds.  Since we can’t expect silence, try a sound machine to cancel out undesired noise. Try one of these

Have fun reading!!


Posted in Monday Mania

Monday Mania #11: The History of Storytelling

No one can know for sure when storytelling began.  In the beginning human memory and creativity were all we had to keep the stories alive.  This meant storytellers had to find creative “tools” to get their listeners engaged in the story allowing the listeners to remember it.

The earliest known record of oral storytelling is found in Egypt, when the sons of Cheops entertained their father with stories.  Oral storytelling varies amount the different indigenous communities/cultures around the world. Although there are 3 general themes that seem to run through all communities’ stories.  First are the stories that reflect the wisdom and knowledge of the communities earlier people.  Secondly, there are the mechanisms that keep our ancestors alive and finally, they can offer a sense of tranquility and understanding about our world and fears.  Stories can also be used as an excuse for failure, but I’m not really going to look at this area of storytelling here because it is self-explanatory.

Oral storytelling is generally divided into two main groups: Mächen and Sagen.  Both of these words are German and have no exact English translations.  Mächen loosely translates to “fairytale(s)” and takes place in a separate world of nowhere-in-particular, at an indeterminate time in the past.  They are clearly not intended to be understood as true.

Sagen is roughly translated to “legend(s)” and are supposed to have actually happened, very often at a particular time and place.  They draw much of their power from this fact.  When the supernatural intrude (which they often do), it does so in an emotionally straining way.  Many UFO stories and stories of supernatural beings or events belong in this category.

Mo matter what type of story you are talking about they are kept alive by being told again and again through many generations.  The material of the story undergoes several changes and adaptations during the process of time but the core values stay the same.

The invention of the written word had a huge impact on storytelling.  The cave paintings located in Southern France are 30,000 years old and appear to be the first form of “written” storytelling, but since little is known about them all I will tell you is that they are pictures of mostly buffalo (or mammoths) and humans in a sequence suggestive of a timeline for a group of people.  The oldest surviving tale is the epic, Gilgamesh, relating to the deeds of a Sumerian King and the oldest copy is dated from 700 BC.

By writing a story down you are creating a consistent version of the story and this allows you to focus on other aspects of the story and it allows multiple people to see the same version of the story.  Did you know that Aesop lived in 500 BC but his fables were not written down until around 200 BC?  That means his stories were told orally for 300 years before someone decided to write them down on paper.  It makes me wonder what unknown changes were made between Aesop’s death and the time they were written down.  Are the written stories better or worse than the originals that Aesop had created? We will never know because the written version is the only version know today.

I would like to take this moment to point out that one of the most popular and well-known texts was passed down orally for generations before it was written down.  I am talking about the Old Testament of the Bible.  I hold this text in very high regard and in no way wish to dishonor it.  I simply want you, the reader, to see the impact writing had on storytelling.  Can you imagine the memorization skills and ability you would need to be able to remember the Old Testament?  How would you have the mental space to evaluate what you have memorized once you are done?  The people who can do this have to put a great amount of time and devotion into it and will only do it if symbolizes something of great value.  But, by having the stories written down you are able to shift the portion of you brain that was focused on memorization onto other areas of storytelling, such as the meaning behind the words.  Writing has allowed stories to become an even greater educational tool than it was before writing.  Allowing you to imagine new perspectives with greater ease and help you to reinforce family and cultural values to your children.

In recent years I have notice that social media (Facebook, twitter, instagram, snapchat, google +, tumblr, ect.) is having  a bigger and bigger impact on storytelling.  I love social media and think it is a fabulous way to stay in contact with people and share photos, I am not some old fart who opposes technology, I want to make that clear.  But social media should not be anyone’s main format for storytelling.  With oral and written stories your imagination is the limit, while social media limits you to an arbitrary number of characters.  I believe social media can have some usefulness with storytelling if used correctly.  To me, storytelling should still be done orally or in written formats such as poetry, songs, novels, chants and dancing ect., and social media should be used to inform others about your work and where to find it.

But, even with the creation of writing and social media humanity had continued to use storytelling as the primary form of passing on values, ancestry, and entertainment.  We have just added more formats (radio, books, movies and songs).

So, storytelling has a history almost as long as humans and our futures are intertwined.  Humans will decide the fate of storytelling.  Humans decide the stories that are and are not told.  Readers are the ones with the knowledge of stories, so we need to lead the way in keeping storytelling relevant for future generations.  Tell your kids stories so they can learn new things and become empowered to tell stories of their own to others, passing the tradition of storytelling on.

Keep reading!!!img_3500

Posted in Helpful information, Monday Mania

Monday Mania #10: Why You Should Read Comic Books?


A lot of people discard comic books before they even give them a chance.  As a teenager I was one of those people.  Then, in my mid-twenties my now husband talked me into giving them a chance.  I now wish I had started reading them younger.

In my opinion comics are simply a variation of short stories where most of the information is conveyed through art instead of words.  This setup can be perfect if you have limited reading time or are looking to fill a short gap between two novels. Plus, with the knowledge that more episodes are to come you are given the chance to receive details you wouldn’t get in other short stories.

There are comic book characters who have been around for decades.  Superman’s first comic book came out in 1938 and new comics are still being published.  Also, he has had appearances in other characters comic books.  That’s a lot of information about one superhero.  Sure, there is only a limited amount of information in a single 20 page issue, but when you add 90 years of issues together you have more details than you could fit into any book or movie.  Remember, there are words and pictures to convey the message.


Yes, comic books are short but they are usually released weekly.  Some popular characters have more than one comic (Superman and Batman both have their own comics, are in Justice League together and make regular appearances in other comics).

Character diversity is incredible.  Main characters can vary from superheros to super-villians (and anywhere in between).  Two of my favorite characters, Harley Quinn and Batman, are actually rivals.  They both have their own comic books, but can often cross over into each others stories because of their roles in each others lives.


Many people already like comic book characters but don’t even know it (who likes AMC’s The Walking Dead). Also, it’s becoming common to create comics based on TV shows and movies (My Little Ponies, Bob’s Burgers).

The comic book community is fun, friendly and ready to talk, just like most book clubs.  I am a DC girl (Wonder Woman, Harley Quinn, Batman and Superman) over Marvel (Avengers) but this is a bond not a divide (like Star Wars vs Star Trek).  I have had conversations based around my preferences in characters costumes (for example, which Batman has the best Bat suit).

I believe that comic books can be adult picture books and that they are a fun and engrossing alternative to TV.  The next time you are looking for something new to read consider heading to the local comic book store instead of the book store.  If your unsure where to start ask a clerk to make a recommendation based on your book preferences.  Have fun reading.img_3500