Diversity Reading Challenge

Rachel Isadora’s I Just Want to Say Goodnight is a cute, diverse picture book for the littles

I Just want to say GoonNight

I just want to say goodnight

AAAARGGGGHHHH!! You know how difficult it is to get little ones to go to bed, right? LOL Well apparently littles all over the world are no different. In this delightful, I Just Want to Say GoodNight, little Lala knows it’s time for bed, but is finding EVERY possible excuse to prolong bedtime: she needs to say goodnight to the fish, the cat, and the goat! She even wants to say goodnight to a rock.  Exasperated, Mama finally gets the little one in bed and Lala has one more goodnight to say: to the moon.

SUPER cute book! I love the diversity of this book; set in a village in Africa the beautiful illustrations depict what feels to be a realistic interpretation of life there. Also? small ones everywhere will be able to relate to Lala. Who wants to go to bed when there is so much to see and do?

I love this book. Diversity without banging your head against a wall.


Children Lists

Whatcha Reading? Summer reads for Middle Grade


Let’s revisit some summer reads from the past!

Here’s my Summer Reading picks for middle grade/tweens.

Watch the video!

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Books Children

#TuesdayReads: Inkheart by Cornelia Funke

It’s no secret by now that I LOVE listening to audio books. I am especially keen on listening to them in my car on my iPhone though my app.  I just recently read Inkheart by Cornelia Funke and I was SMITTEN. So smitten in fact that I dragged out the end as long as I could.


Surely you’ve done that too? Prolonged the ending because you don’t want to finish the book? What’s even a more compelling reason to not finish a book is if the reader is phenomenal. The reader of Inkheart is Lynne Redgrave and OH does she bring the characters to life! Here’s a little bit about Inkheart:

Twelve-year-old Meggie learns that her father, who repairs and binds books for a living, can “read” fictional characters to life when one of those characters abducts them and tries to force him into service.

Characters from books literally leap off the page in this engrossing fantasy. Meggie has had her father to herself since her mother went away when she was young. Mo taught her to read when she was five, and the two share a mutual love of books. He can “read” characters out of books. When she was three, he read aloud from a book called Inkheart and released characters into the real world. At the same time, Meggie’s mother disappeared into the story. This “story within a story” will delight not just fantasy fans, but all readers who like an exciting plot with larger-than-life characters.


Inkheart is for anyone who loves books. Anyone who eats, sleeps, and breathes books because they love them so much. All of your odd bookish habits would not seem so odd if you shared them with Meggie; she has her own way of behaving towards books.  It’s like they’re in your mind behaving as you would behave.  Lynne Redgrave and Funke (the author) create a world that envelopes you like a literary hug and stays in your brain long after you’ve stopped listening to the book.  The characters became people with feelings you could predict and villains you could hate.

I encourage everyone who loves books to read this one. You’re never too young or too old to get carried away by good writing. This writing is good. Exceptional.

And I pity the fool who reads Tinkerbell out of Peter Pan, don’t you?  Have you read Inkheart? What about any of the followup books?


BookGirlTV is My New Fave Channel on YouTube @SamiJoLien @BookGirlTV

Tessa Smith McGovern finds the best new books to read for BookGirlTV so you don’t have to and takes you behind the scenes with today’s top authors.

With BookGirlTV, McGovern cuts through the advertising and hype to find what books you should be reading right now. She aims to save people time and money by only highlighting exceptional books that readers will want to finish and to provide readers with an interactive, entertaining and life-enhancing monthly video book club that fits anyone’s schedule. BookGirlTV also works to shine a light on under-recognized female writers, both emerging and best-selling, and can help new authors learn strategies and wisdom from successful authors.

The most recent edition of BookGirlTV’s author interview show, ‘Just Books with Tessa Smith McGovern’ features an interview with Linda Fairstein about her book “Terminal City,” which reveals the “dark side” of New York City’s Grand Central Station. McGovern’s upcoming interviews include Adam Braun, founder of Pencils of Promise and author of The Promise of a Pencil, and author and journalist Anna Quindlen.

BookGirlTV also produces a series called BookGirlBUZZes, 1-2 minute book reviews that tell you what a book’s about (don’t worry, no spoilers here!) and whether those 5 star Amazon ratings are accurate – think of it as the mobile version of your local bookstore clerk.

BookGirlTV airs Thursdays at 4 p.m. on YouTube and BookGirl.TV and after on Facebook, Twitter, BlipTV, Dailymotion, iTunes, Pinterest, LinkedIn, Tumblr, Reddit, Roku and all connected TVs. The BookGirlBUZZ mobile app for Android and iOS allows people to stay up-to-date and watch BookGirlTV on their favorite mobile device. The email newsletter also keeps people in the know about new episodes of BookGirlTV and offers the chance to win free books, many of them signed.

About the BookGirl: Tessa Smith McGovern, originally from England, published her first short story in 1996 and has continued to publish work while also founding eChook Digital Publishing and hosting and producing BookGirl.TV. McGovern’s linked short story collection, “London Road: Linked Stories,” has earned high praise, including being the Gold Medal Winner in the 2012 eLit Awards. McGovern also teaches at The Writing Institute at Sarah Lawrence College, NY.

You know I’m a fan of Youtube (you HAVE seen my channel, right?) so I love anything connected with books.  Check her out:


Surviving Summer Vacation by @kathilipp

Surviving Summer Vacation

Surviving Summer Vacation by Kathi Lipp

I came across this little gem on Netgalley (LOVE) and it was a great quick read so I thought I’d share it with you.  The subtitle of the ebook is just as great as the title: Plans and Prayers for a Mom’s Sanity.  Isn’t that great? With families being busier than ever, summer  can sometimes be overwhelming. The kids get a break from school but yet Mom still has a long list of chores to get done and now she has to juggle the kids into that mix.  It can be stressful.

Here are some of Kathi’s tips that I thought were great:

  • Plant a pizza garden, “marinara based meals all summer long” and dinner? SMART!
  • Create experiences that Mom wants to participate in too, so it’s not drudgery for her as well. GENIUS
  • Summer screen time. Set limits. GO PLAY
  • Book club where “no one gets in trouble if they don’t read the book one month” MY KINDA CLUB
  • Create a home library: buy books at thrift stores and garage sales.
  • Develop a home reading program with prizes and games.

I LOVE these bookish ideas! I would add: make a special reading nook. I like reading in a comfy couch by a window with pillows but wouldn’t an outdoor tent or fort be fun too? Maybe a treehouse?

Check this book out. It’s a quick read and you might find something in it for yourself! What’s one bookish activity your family enjoys during the summer?

Young Adult

The Maze Runner by James Dashner is like OMG. For serious.

Maze Runner

So I just finished listening to James Dashner’s The Maze Runner and I am ASTOUNDED! I downloaded the book from Audible (full disclosure, I am an affiliate) and have been listening in my car for days. Last night my life bottomed out because I was approximately an HOUR from the ending and I couldn’t wait until the next time I was in the car to hear the ending! so, I bottomed out and listened to the rest at the house; something I almost never do.  Well, maybe almost never. Cuz, it seems like a pattern.

Anyway; what can I say about The Maze Runner? First of all, I think the title is a misnomer. It’s not really about the maze. It’s more about the boys; think Lord of the Flies without all the whatever. I don’t want to give ANYTHING away so I’ll just say that if you are a reader of books that you should get this book. If you like dystopian you should get this book. If you like boys you should get this book. If you like coming of age you should get this book. If you like good books you should get this book!

No wonder this book is so popular! I was on the edge of my (driver’s) seat from jump. My only complaint: I would have preferred if the last few chapters occurred in the next book. I felt way to overwhelmed by too many emotions and actions to properly process the ending. To be sure, we knew there is another book after this, so readers will want to go to the next book anyway, right? Too much too much, my brain is on overload!!!!

And there’s a movie coming out???

I’ll be first in line.

Did I mention that I can’t help but use the word “clunk” in my every day vocabulary now?

Oh I might have mentioned it on the Twitter.

Thanks Dashner!
Try Audible Now and Get A FREE Audiobook!


The Upshot: Summer Vacation Reading for Tweens


The Perfect Dog by John O’Hurley

Here’s a book that combines two of the things I hold dear: books and dogs. The Perfect Dog is written by John O’Hurley.  Take a look!


Well, what did you think?  What’s your perfect dog? Tell me below!