Books Children

Zoey’s Post-it Notes by Zoey Steiner

More than anything I love kids, but you know that, right? Imagine a kid who writes a book? Can anything get more awesomer than that?

I think not.

That’s why I decided to read and review Zoey’s Post-it Notes

Zoe is a girl who is getting bullied in school. I don’t know why bullying is still a thing but it IS. I wish it weren’t. I know schools work hard to make it stop, but since sometimes kids can be jerks, it still happens. Zoey didn’t seek help, though but managed to figure out a way to help herself.

Zoey created positive post-it notes and posted them around her room. I’m pretty sure this was the original intention of 3M when they invented these, don’t you? What a more perfect way to inspire or remind yourself of something than to post encouraging notes where you can see them and be helped by them. Zoey had good days and bad days at school but she managed to find a way to make a bad situation good through a post-it note.

I strongly believe in the power of self talk and I have often posted uplifting sayings to myself; usually on a computer at work. It really does work.

I’m so glad Zoey found a way to help herself and is now visiting schools helping other kids improve their self esteem.

I have one note to share with Zoey:

Zoey, if you’re reading this, I think you are AWESOME!

If your child is struggling with bullying perhaps this book will inspire them to seek help.

For more books on bullying click here.

Please get help if you’re being bullied. You don’t have to put up with it and you’re not ugly, stupid, or uncreative or any of the mean things a bully says to you.


Blogging from A to Z Challenge Diversity Reading Challenge

#atozchallenge Bad Girls Book Club Letter Y Yacqui Delgado Wants to Kick Your Ass

Welcome to the Blogging from A to Z Challenge

Today’s letter is


The Book

Yacqui Delgado Wants to Kick Your Ass by Meg Medina

Yacqui Delgado Wants to Kick Your Ass by Meg Medina

I’ve had this book on my radar a while and I’m anxious to read it. Our heroine, Piddy, arrives in a new school only to become the subject of Yacqui Delgado’s harassment. As you can imagine, the bullying escalates and it affects Piddy’s life completely and Piddy has to figure out how to get help and get Yacqui and her bullies to stop.

Anyone who survives bullying is awesome in my book.
And a total Bad Girl.

Go Piddy Go!!

If you are someone you know is having trouble with bullying please GET HELP.

Books resources

You Can Be a Cool Kind Kid by Barbara Gilmour, an anti bullying book for the littles

Although October is winding down, it’s still important to remember that it’s Anti-Bullying Awareness month. I’m a firm believer in anti-bullying campaigns. Is there anyone who is pro-bullying? If so, I want nothing to do with them.

But I ramble. Here’s an anti-bullying book for the littles. It’s actually a series of books along with items that can be used for a school curriculum: a cd, wristbands, bookmarks, word charts, flash cards (yay!), etc.

You Can Be a Cool Kind Kid by Barbara Gilmour

In the first book, we meet Tanner, he thinks everything is cool. Except bullying. Bullying is not cool. Neither are bad words or being rude. During the rest of the book, Tanner illustrates ways to be cool, by using good manners, helping people, being polite, etc.

The book is a great way to teach self-respect and respect for others. Little ones will get it AND the characters inside the book are a good diverse representation!

BTW I ADORE their slogan: Social Skills that break the cycle of bullying by redefining cool.


Check out their website:

Teachers, get you some of this!




Books Children

Interview with Maggie Mitchell Author of The Big Stink

I love having friends who write books for ME! I have a friend, Maggie Mitchell, who among other things is a children’s writer. She wrote a lovely

book called the Big Stink, which I will be reviewing later.

The Big Stink by Maggie Mitchelle

Mags graciously sat down with me for a lil ole interview.  Let’s step into the mind of Maggie Mitchell, shall we?

UNCONVENTIONAL LIBRARIAN: Welcome to our interview! Let’s get started. Do you drink coffee?

MAGGIE MITCHELL: I haven’t had any caffeine in 5 weeks! I don’t need a medal or a parade for that feat, it’s just something I wanted to do for my own personal health. Prior to that point, however, I did enjoy coffee ‘drinks,’ but I never got into a cup of joe from a countertop coffeepot. Say that three times fast.

UL. coffeepot coffeepot coffeepot. I win!  Do you like donuts or cookies? Do you dunk?

MM: No dunking. I like my beverage & carbohydrate entities to remain separate, unless there are Oreos and milk involved. I love to bake cookies…and eat them…but if I had to choose, I’d go with a donut that someone else made!

UL: Donuts for the win! We’re kindred spirits. How did your book get started?

MM:  After my daughter was born in 2010, I had a great compulsion to write. I wrote The Big Stink as a response to a particularly profound stink bug invasion that fall, coupled with sad, sad stories I was hearing on the news about the outcomes of bullying in schools. I took something serious and something not-so-serious and developed a story. I love that inspiration can just strike! I was open to it and it found me and I have a book to show for it as the proof!

UL: That’s the great thing about inspiration; it STRIKES! So, tell me, what else have you written?

MM: I wrote Kacey the Papercat in 2012, which is a poetic ode to our big male Tuxedo cat. He’s actually laying at my feet as I type this. I used to write my own blog, but as my daughter got older and when my son was on his way (he was born in December 2014), it became clear to me that blogging was not the way I wanted to use my “extra” time, so I went off the grid. I like it off the grid. I think I’ll stay.

UL: (singing: “Kacey the Papercat…something something where it’s at.”) I hope you like the theme song I just wrote for you. If you could have any superpower what would it be?

MM: Since I am a mom, I can already read minds and predict the future, so those are out. I’m going to have to say flying. If I’m going to be up high, though, I like going fast. I am not a fan of ferris wheels. My superpower would have to be fast flying.

UL: YES!! Flying! What makes you happy?

MM: I think most moms out there would agree with me when I said that seeing my children happy makes me happy. However, I’m going to come right out and say that being alone also makes me very happy. There is nothing so lovely as taking a nap in the middle of the day and waking up naturally to a quiet house. Or sitting on the beach for as long as I like without interruption. I think I’ve done those things before, perhaps in a past life.

UL: hmmmm I can agree.  Something about being alone with your thoughts is glorious. Wrapping up now, anything else you want to tell us?
MM:Wear sunscreen, don’t be afraid of color & mixing patterns, and, from Death of a Salesman, “It’s not what you say, it’s how you say it. Because personality always wins the day.”
UL: Well said, Mags.

Isn’t Maggie just the coolest? Stay tuned for my review of her anti bullying book on this channel!

See you soon!

Young Adult

The Ford 99 Test with @eric_devine author of Press Play


Tomorrow I’ll post my review of Press Play by my new BFF Eric Devine. Today, however, I wanted to have a little fun and share the test that I gave to Eric. See, Eric is high school teacher so I thought he might be keen on TAKING  a test, rather than GIVING the tests. Naturally, he could not not say no to my incessant nagging charms and consented to take the Ford 99 Test.

I love the Ford 99 Test because it gives the author a chance to drill down on a particular issue in the story. Kind of like Inside the Actor’s Studio with what’s his name except I’m not what’s his name and the authors are not actors. But whatever, right?  It’s a chance to have an in depth discussion with the author which is always fun, right?

So. I asked Devine to open up Press Play to page 99 and share some behind the scenes action.  Here we go:

Page 99 in Press Play begins with this bit of narration from Greg Dunsmore, the protagonist:

“I lift my arms and Alva and Gilbey look at me like I’m a magician.”

Seems fairly innocuous, right? No, not even close.

Alva and Gilbey are Greg’s tormentors. They are the captains of the lacrosse team and are starting to wonder if Greg, who is known to secretly record people with his phone, has just done so while they preyed upon a freshman teammate.

They’re right, Greg has been, and for all the right reasons. During his self-imposed weight loss challenge and documentary (Greg tips the scale at 352 at the opening of the novel), Greg and his friend/personal trainer, Quinn, accidentally find the lacrosse team brutally hazing the underclassmen. Greg secretly recorded that incident, and has since recorded the subsequent events he’s had access to.

The problem is that the school’s principal is the team’s coach, and he seems, at minimum, complicit in the hazing. He is also well connected to the Superintendent. In fact, every outlet Greg can think of to turn to with his evidence is tainted with former players in a town devoted to its lacrosse team. Therefore, all he can do is get as much evidence as possible, and figure out the rest as he goes.

But, here, on page 99, the lax bros have spotted him, and they want the tool of Greg’s trade, his phone.

The page before has this bit of narration:

“And so I do what I have to in order to survive. I reach behind me and wedge my phone in between my ass cheeks. And then I clamp down. Hard. It seems as if all the squats have paid off, because it doesn’t slide at all.”

So, here Greg stands, having mystified the brutal youth for a moment, until they think it through.

“Alva pins me to the lockers and pats me down. He even lifts my belly to check the fold. Embarrassing, but thorough. He stops at my crotch and looks up. ‘Tell me you didn’t put it in there.’”

What ensues is a pivotal moment for Greg. In the past, he has protected himself with the films he creates, a veritable cocoon, because of the deception they weave. But he doesn’t have that choice now. He has to sacrifice his phone or himself. He has to decide how far he wants to take his investigation, because if Alva and Gilbey get his phone, the game is over. However, if he refuses to hand it over, then the pain has only just begun.

Toward the end of the page, Alva says to Greg, “That’s how this works, Dun. Hand it over now.”

Greg’s response: “And you know that will never fucking happen.” I look him straight in the eye, just in case it drives home the point of never.

And what follows is a terrible moment of pain and public humiliation. But Greg has remained true to himself. The question is whether that will be enough to carry him through the rest of the novel.

Guess you’ll have to read to find out 🙂

*                                    *                                         *                                             *                                                          *

As gross as it seems, stuffing the phone in his backside is a smart move for several reasons

  1. the lax bros won’t think to look there
  2. even if they figure out it’s there, who wants to touch something that’s in someone’s butt?
  3. the thought of being wrestled to the ground and having the phone forcibly removed is only equally as disgusting as the thought of actually doing the wrestling and sticking your hand in his butt to get the phone. And then back to #2.

Are ya ready to read my full review tomorrow?

yeah ya are.




Anti Bullying Prevention: Marlene Marlene the Queen of Mean

Since October is Bullying Prevention Month I thought I’d take a look at a book that caught my eye. It’s called Marlene Marlene, The Queen of Mean and it’s written by Jane Lynch.  Please check out my video:

What do you think? Is this a more realistic look at a recovering bully? It takes time and they often make mistakes? What’s your fave bullying prevention book?


30% Off the New Harry Potter Cover Art by Kazu Kibuishi at The Scholastic Store Online! Re-enter the magical world – Shop Now!


King for a Day by Rukhsana Khan

If there was ever a book that combined everything I love about reading this is it! Taking place in Lahore, young Malik and his sibs participate in the annual kite festival.  What I love about this book is that young Malik is in a wheelchair! I love that he is differently abled and while his representation is noted it’s not THE thing that the book hangs on. He’s just a boy who’s wicked good at flying a kite. 90 thousand star rating.

I love this book so much I thought I’d share it with you in a reading. Wanna see it? Check out the illustrations, they are GORGEOUS!

Isn’t that the best story ever?

Thank you Lee & Low for this book!


Blogging from A to Z Challenge Books

O is for Odd #AtoZ Challenge



Welcome to O, which is for Odd. Have you ever felt odd? Yeah me too.  Here’s a book for you.



When the new kid joins his class, Woodrow agrees with his schoolmates–Toulouse is really weird. He’s short – kindergarten short – dresses in a suit like a grandpa, has huge eyes, and barely says a word. But Woodrow isn’t exactly Mr. Popularity. The frequent target of the class bully himself, he figures that maybe all Toulouse needs is a chance.

And when the two are put together in gym to play volleyball, they make quite the team. Toulouse can serve, set, and spike like a pro. He really knows how to fly around the court. But when the attention and teasing switch back to Woodrow, he learns that the new kid is great at something else: being a friend.

D’awwww doesn’t that sound cute? Who doesn’t love the name Toulouse?

So I’ll admit that finding a title with the letter O was tough.  Got one for me?


Books Children Young Adult

Anti Bullying and Ripple’s Effect, A Book Review

Friends, bullying makes me very very unhappy.  I’m proud to share a resource with you that will help little ones find strength within themselves to stop a bully.