Thursday, February 23, 2012

World Read Aloud Day is March 7, 2012

Celebrate the Power of Words and Stories and Take Action for Global Literacy with LitWorld

I am so excited to share with you an event I am going to participate in. World Read Aloud Day!

About World Read Aloud Day
Worldwide at least 793 million people remain illiterate. Imagine a world where everyone can read... 

On March 7, 2012, LitWorld, a global literacy organization based in New York City, will be celebrating World Read Aloud Day. World Read Aloud Day is about taking action to show the world that the right to read and write belongs to all people. World Read Aloud Day motivates children, teens, and adults worldwide to celebrate the power of words, especially those words that are shared from one person to another, and creates a community of readers advocating for every child’s right to a safe education and access to books and technology. By raising our voices together on this day we show the world’s children that we support their future: that they have the right to read, to write, and to share their words to change the world.
To learn more about LitWorld and to register to participate in World Read Aloud Day, please visit: LitWorld

Be sure to follow LitWorld!

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

From My Bookshelf to Yours: Rubber Shoes: A lesson in gratitude/ Los zapatos de goma

Rubber Shoes: A lesson in gratitude/ Los zapatos de goma is a beautiful story about being grateful for what you have. Gladys gets a new pair of ugly brown rubber shoes. She is very unhappy about this and set about to destroy them, lose them, get rid of them any way she can. Unfortunately they are indestructable. Finally when she grows out of those "ugly" shoes her mother takes her to give the shoes to another little girl. Gladys sees how the other little girl feels about those "ugly" shoes she learns about gratitude.

This book is written in English and Spanish which makes it rich in cultural diversity. The illustrations are very gentle in a beautiful color pallette. You and your child will love this story and its powerful but not overwhelming message. This is one of my new stories that I will use in therapy with my clients.

*A free copy of this book was given to me for  a honest review.  No other compensation was provided for this review.

Monday, February 20, 2012

Interview with Gladys Barbieri, author of Rubber Shoes: A Lesson in Gratitude

Tell us a bit about you:  I'm a first grade teacher and I will have been teaching for 15 years this July. I graduated from the University of San Francisco and went to graduate school at Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles, receiving my M.A in Elementary Education.

Tell us 3 interesting/crazy things about you
1. I'm a really outgoing and social person so people are surprised to learn that I prefer doing things in a small and intimate setting like reading and watching movies at home.

2. I love, love, love home baked chocolate chip cookies! I can devour them quickly, chased by a super cold glass of milk:)

3.  Deep down I would love to be on the show: Dancing With The Stars! Not sure if I would be any good, but I would be up for the challenge.

What inspired you to write Rubber Shoes: A Lesson in Gratitude/Los zapatos de goma??
People often ask me when I make time to write and the truth is I don't have a set time to write. So far the stories that I have written have just come to me during a long run with my dog Chucho. Usually I see an image or two in my mind and in the course of a few months that story literally presents itself to me. And that's when I do sit down and scribble away on a note pad. The wonderful part of this writing process is that the more open I make myself to receiving such stories, the more and more stories that I am able to write and hopefully one day share.  That's pretty inspiring!

What do you hope your books will impart to children?
I hope my books impart valuable lessons that teach children and adults love and connection. Children's books are so powerful because they lend themselves to discussing so many relevant topics from girl power, being grateful to taking care of the environment.

What are you working on now?
If all works as planned I will start the next book this spring. I can't say too much about it other than it has to do with girl power and the color pink. Can't wait to see what the finished product looks like.

Do you have any favorite children's authors or favorite books?I want to have my own children's bookstore so I can store and share all of my favorite books. Just today I was introduced to HOW ROCKET LEARNED TO READ by Tad Hills.  But my all time favorites are: Ezra Jack Keats' books, author of THE SNOWY DAY. I find it pretty remarkable that he was the first to introduce a little black boy as the main character way back when in the 1960's. Jan Brett books, author of THE MITTEN are great because the illustrations teach kids how to infer. Judy Blume books and RAMONA QUIMBY books are classics that still make me smile.

What author would you like to meet and what would you say?
Neale Donald Walsch, author of Conversations With God: An Uncommon Dialogue.  I have read and reread this book many times. I then read book 2 and 3 (it's a trilogy).  Needless to say I was blown away.  The concepts were so immensely new and yet they absolutely resonated with me. I'm sure it's no coincidence that shortly after reading Conversations With God I began to write. The funny thing about my writing experience is that every time I finish a story I usually end up quite moved with tears in my eyes because I know the lessons contained in the stories come from a higher place other than me.

If you weren’t a writer, what would you be?
Well, I'm a teacher first and foremost. This writing business is very new to me. But given the opportunity I would have loved to be a dancer: a ballerina, a flamenco dancer or a tap dancer.  Next, a children's bookstore owner. You never know, I might win the lottery and make those dreams happen.

What obstacles have you experienced in your writing journey?
Too many to tell...but I will share this one experience.
Being that the book: Rubber Shoes/Los zapatos de goma is a bilingual children's book written in English and Spanish, some bookstores have not been interested in carrying it. That's a bummer.  But like I said earlier, for every person that doesn't like the book, there's another person saying what a great story it is.  I'll just focus on the positive responses, makes for a brighter and more hopeful day.

What advice would you give other aspiring writers?
Write! Write! Write!  There is a lot of truth in that saying, "There is something for everyone". Someone might think your writing is just plain horrible. However, there might be someone who thinks that what you have to say is just plain brilliant. No matter what, just keep writing.

Anything else you would like to share?
When I was little there were sometimes green monsters under my bed. They would miraculously disappear whenever my mom turned on the night light.

Click here to read Rubber Shoes Book Review
Where can people buy your books? Do you have a web page or fan page?Rubber Shoes/Los zapatos de goma can be purchased on my website:
On my website parents and teachers can also find educational resources and comprehension questions in both English and Spanish.
Books can also be purchased on Amazon and Barnes and Noble online.

Sunday, February 5, 2012

From My Bookshelf to Yours: I Love You More Than Chocolate

I Love You More Than Chocolate is a sweet rhyming book that will help you share with your child how much they are loved. The story lists all the wonderful things that we see in our own lives. This is a sweet story that is perfect for a bedtime ritual.  The author sings a sweet song that matches the words in the book.  You can listen to the cd that it comes with while you share the story with your children. What a wonderful way to remind your children how much you love them.

*A free copy of this book was given to me for  a honest review.  No other compensation was provided for this review.
Click here to read Interview with Melanie Milburn

Interview with Author Melanie Milburn of I Love You More Than Chocolate

About Melanie
Melanie is a gifted musician, award winning songwriter and a dedicated preschool teacher. Her children’s concerts are fun with music that is jazzy and entertaining. The lyrics are inviting and relate to the everyday experiences of a young child. You will find yourself humming, tapping and clapping right along with your little ones as Melanie shares her children’s songs.
Melanie’s family concerts will touch your heart in many ways. Her original songs are about real life experiences such as letting go of your children, healing from a miscarriage and falling in love with Jesus. Her songs will make you laugh and cry.
When not writing songs, performing concerts or teaching preschool, Melanie can be found living in beautiful Durango, Colorado with love of her life, her husband, Joe.

What do you hope your book, I Love You More Than Chocolate, will impart to children?
I believe ALL children have the right to feel loved.  I also believe it is impossible to overdo it when telling a child they are loved.  I hope this book will remind ALL children they are special and loved.  If a child feels loved by reading/singing this book, then I have made a difference in the life of a child.

What are you working on now? 
I am presently working on 2 more children’s books.  Both of the books were originally songs, just like “I Love You More Than Chocolate”.   One is about using your imagination and the other is a true story about a little boy who spent a lot of time in the time out chair at preschool, and how I think he felt about it. It is called the “Time Out Chair Blues”.

What do you do in your spare time when you’re not writing?  
Spare time?  What is that?   In my spare time, I love taking long walks with my husband, Joe, while exploring God’s beauty here in Durango, Colorado.

Who was your favorite author when you were young?
I loved Frances Hodgson Burnett! “The Secret Garden”, and “The Little Princess”, were my two favorite books growing up.

Do you have any advice for aspiring authors? 
Write about what you know; write about what you have experienced’ and write about what you are passionate about.

Describe yourself in 5 words
Compassionate, sensitive, energetic, spontaneous, and playful!

If you weren’t a writer, what would you be?  
 I love my job as a preschool teacher, and I love children.  I am also a singer/songwriter and my job allows me to use my love of music while teaching children through songs and movements.  I guess if I HAD to choose another career it would be the lead singer in a rock and roll band! 

If you could have dinner with one person, dead or alive, who would it be and why?  
Tim Tebow.  I am a huge Denver Bronco fan.  Tim Tebow is the quarterback for the Denver Broncos.  He has taken so much criticism and yet he always responds with nothing but integrity and class.  I would love to know how he has learned (at such a young age) to handle all that pressure so graciously.

Where can people buy your books?  
My books can be purchased on, on my web site,, Maria’s bookstore, in Durango, Colorado and from me!

Do you have a web page or fan page?
 Yes, I have a web site.  It is

Anything else you would like to share?
I also hope this book will help parents put life in perspective.  We all have the tendency to get so busy with life that we forget to slow down and make sure our children know how special they are and how much we love them.  Children need to hear that they are loved.  Parents, cherish your time with your little ones.  They grow up so fast.