When I Carried You in My Belly by Thrity Umrigar, Illustrated by Ziyue Chen

When I Carried You in My Belly is one of those books that should have been written years ago because you’re instantly carried back in time to when you were a little one in your mama’s arms and feel like the book was written just for you.

“When I carried you in my belly,

we danced every dance together:

the rumba and the samba,

the tango and the fandango

And that is why your feet…

Tap in rhythm to the earth today”

Aren’t those words precious? The whole book is a love song. It’s also an affirmation to girls that they are loved and that they are capable of doing anything. And that’s a fact that many, too many girls outside of the US don’t know. The book shows people of color and families participating in activities that aren’t stereotypically gender specific. Like the grandfather bakes, the grandmother builds the baby’s crib. The family bellydances, and eats noodles and represents so many great things about non traditional families.

So much good going on in this book!

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Baby Sisters Need Vaccines Too #Blogust #TBT

Baby Sisters Need Vaccines Too
#Blogust #TBT


When you become a parent for the first time you strive to do everything absolutely perfectly: contamination free zones, no strangers holding baby, homemade baby food, every single baby first documented in the baby book.  By the time the second baby comes along, you mean well, but somehow a binky dropped on the floor no longer needs the sterilization chamber of a hospital ward: just pop it into your mouth and give it right back to baby. Homemade baby food? Yeah right. Give #2 some jar food that you got on sale. Sure I have baby’s photo book ready. Ready to take out of the package and insert all those stunning firsts that are still uploaded into my camera.

So you see where I’m going with this? Second and subsequent babies kinda draw the short straw when it comes to getting things. It’s not for lack of love and affection that seconds draw up short; it’s just that parents are busier and they also learn a thing or two about what’s important and so they cut corners.

The one thing seconds  NEVER get skimped on are VACCINES.

In our house, #1 son came first.


And we were smitten. As newly minted parents we did everything we were supposed to for him. Photos? Check. Homemade baby food? Check. Vaccines? Check.

Then baby sister came along and our world changed dramatically. If I thought I was smitten with my first child, her brother was smitten with her. Photos? Check. Homemade baby food? Not so much. Vaccines? Check.

Of course we got our precious baby sister vaccinated. She stole our hearts and we wanted to make sure that #1 son had a baby sister for life.


Without vaccines, big brothers won’t get a shot at having a baby sister. And every kid deserves a baby sister. Look at the two siblings above: at her high school graduation #1 son is still smitten with his baby sister.  This #Blogust in honor of them, I’m sharing my personal vaccination stories.

Help give children life-saving vaccines by joining with Blogust. Each comment or post share will provide a vaccine to a child in need – up to 30,000 in the month of August.

Please help me help the little ones. Share and comment. Every time you do, a little sibling somewhere can get a vaccine.

2015 Diversity Reading Challenge Books Children Diversity

The Little Tree by Muon Van

In the shadows of an old forest stood a little tree. She was so small, she was the smallest tree of all.

Opening lines are EVERYTHING to me.

Doesn’t that opening line just KILL?

It sets up the scene, starts the emotions rolling and lets you know you’re in for a great story. I’m almost near tears already!

The Little Tree by Muon Van

As the little tree sends her little seed out into the world, she wonders what will become of it.  One day she finds out. And when she does, OMG will you cry! There are so many different ways to love this book! The author of the book is of Vietnamese descent and discusses the families emigration from Vietnam to Hong Kong and then to the U.S. These feelings are depicted in the illustrations as well. Parents will appreciate the story because that’s exactly how it feels to send a small child out into the world: magical and frightening at the same time. Children will love the story because of the gentle way the tale unfolds, the soft drawings and the feeling of magic and wonder. So much diversity and multiculturalism without saying a word about it. LOVE!

The Little Tree is sure to be a favorite! Add this to your Diversity Reading Challenge.

2015 Diversity Reading Challenge Diversity

Chocolate Mixer by Jason Armstrong

Here’s a story all littles can understand: that they are a mixture (mixer) of their mommy and daddy.

Chocolate Mixer by Jason Armstrong

The children in Chocolate Mixer, happen to be brown like chocolate milk (and who doesn’t love chocolate milk??) even though they are a mixture of a white (vanilla) mother and a chocolate (Black) father. The very BEST line in the easy to read rhyming book is the line from Dad:

“He sat me on his lap and said “my rainbow you see” we are all some kind of mixer, just look at a family.”

Isn’t that cute? Even the youngest kiddos can look at families (possibly their own) and see how everyone is different shades of color, just like a rainbow.  What a great way to discuss similarities rather than differences with the littles.  There are SO many teachable moments in this book!

Add this to your 2015 Diversity Challenge!

Banned Books

Banned Books Week-And Tango Makes Three.

Here’s a book for the littles:

3. And Tango Makes Three, Justin Richardson and Peter Parnell

And Tango Makes Three, Justin Richardson and Peter Parnell

Here’s my review.

I’m pretty sure it’s obvious why this book was challenged; it “promotes the homosexual agenda”. This book is
so adorable it hurts.

Check it out!


Sudden Secrets by C. Lee McKenzie

I love reading kids mystery books for several reasons:

  • the tragedy isn’t usually too gruesome
  • I’m a scaredy cat so they aren’t usually psychological thrillers (Gone Girl, anyone?), and
  • I feel smart when I figure the plot out before the main characters

That’s why I was so stoked to read Sudden Secrets by C. Lee McKenzie. The first thing I hafta tell you about this book is that the main character’s name is Cleopatra Brown. I”m sure you can figure out who she’s named after, right?  Well, C.Lee is a friend of mine and I have a cat named Cleo (Cleopatra Jones) so maybe MY Cleo was the inspiration for this heroine?

Sudden Secrets by C. Lee McKenzie

So Cleo moves into  a new house in a new neighborhood after a mysterious family accident.  Cleo’s family is estranged and there’s something spooky going on in the abandoned house across the cul de sac from her house.  I love the premise for this story, it reminds me of Nightmares by Jason Segal, which is written for tweens.  Sudden Secrets is for teens, however, due to a few underage drinking situations. I’d say, 13 is a good starting age for this book.

Anyway, Cleo the girl, not Cleo my cat, decides to uncover the mystery surrounding the old Victorian across the street.  Meanwhile, there’s typical teen drama, love triangles and homework and a mysterious pizza guy who figure into the equation.  Cleo’s parents are estranged.  The father is on an archeological dig in Afghanistan and mom hides away at the museum curating Egyptian artifacts.  The parental jobs feel alot like Rick Riordan’s The Kane Chronicles, because those heroes are descendants of  Egyptian gods.

Another bit I love about Sudden Secrets is that there is a mention of Boo Radley.  You gotta love it when a book is mentioned in a book! Just the right length of book for a lazy summer afternoon read.  While this title doesn’t qualify for the Diversity Challenge families dealing with grief certainly get my attention.  I’m not loving the cover but it does evoke a dark mood but the book isn’t really as dark as the cover would have you think.

Anyway, you be the judge and let me know!

I’ll be interviewing her soon so check back often, mkay?

Adult Fiction Books

Towne Book Center Book Club Pick: The Light Between Oceans

I heard this idea on NPR one day a long time ago and it stuck with me: whenever I hear the title of the book somewhere in the book it makes me think: gagggggggggg. I don’t know why. It feels hokey or something. And seeing as I’m a fan of very strange sounds, gagggggggghhh is not a sound I like to make when reading a book.  It’s kinda like that mushy feeling you get when there’s too much kissing going on in a book. blech.


Where was I? Oh . The Light Between Oceans. The title is NOT in the book and for that I love the book.  I didn’t love the book; didn’t hate it either.  I LOVE LOVE LOVE learning about lighthouses and Australia, but the story took too long to develop.  But when it did develop, it was nice.  What’s interesting about the book is that the human struggle post WWI in Australia is strikingly similar to that all over the world: PTSD, break ups of families, sadness, loss, new beginnings, etc.

The life of a lighthouse keeper is a lonely one. And while I’m not a swimmer or a fisherman nor do I enjoy breezy ocean sprays, there is something about being alone with a lighthouse (and it’s dangerous mercury) and the magnificent ocean view that intrigues me. Hours of solitude and being alone with my thoughts sounds like a pretty pleasurable way to spend my days.  It’s completely romantic rubbish, I’m sure but the introvert in me likes at least the idea of it.

Thanks to the magic of the internet I found a photo of a lighthouse that might have been the inspiration for the lighthouse in this book.


Not nearly as romantic looking as imagined in the book but gives you an idea of what the terrain might have looked like.

So, the great thing about reading books is that you get to travel. For this book I traveled to Australia and learned about Tasmania too, while googling Australia.

I wonder where I’ll travel to next in my readings?

Have you read The Light Between Oceans? What are your thoughts?