2015 Diversity Reading Challenge

I am Jazz. A Book for Transgendered Children.

Here’s a book I love about a young girl and her family who figured out early on that she was different.

I am Jazz.

A gentle understanding of kids who are born into the wrong bodies.  I can’t express enough how important this is. All kids need acceptance.
Also? This book is OBVIOUSLY a qualifier for the Diversity Challenge!


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?

Books Children

Lola and Tattletale Zeke by Marcia Goldman

Tattletales are the WORST!!! I have two kiddos of my own and I have seen the damage tattling can cause. In our house, Pumpkin, the younger sister, would tattle on #1 son about EVERYTHING.

It was awful. And so annoying. I’m sure I’m not the only parent who suffered through this experience! How do you teach little ones the difference between tattling and informing?

It’s so so so hard! I came up with a trick when I taught preschool that worked for us. I drew a giant elephant head with very large ears and told the littles to talk to Mrs. Ears (or whatever I called her) about whatever was troubling them. Quite often the littles would wait their turn to talk to a posterboard with a kindly elephant face.  Sometimes, though, it just wasn’t enough and the kids just HAD to tell me.

I wished I’d had Lola and the Tattletale Zeke by Marcia Goldman to share with them.

1 Lola (3)


Just LOOK at Lola!!! How ding dang adorable is she????

Well Lola has an annoying little brother named Zeke who tattles. Sweet Lola is at her wit’s end with this annoying little brother but she manages to work the situation out so that both she and Zeke learn a lesson.  OMG the photos in this book are so so so so so ADORABLE!!


If your littles don’t learn a lesson from Lola and Zeke in this book, you must not be showing them the pictures. Kids love dogs and they will love LOLA. Aaaaaaaaand they will learn any lesson that Lola is teaching. Prolly even trigonometry.


Marcia and Lola visit schools and talk about Autism. Lola could talk to me about anything, she’s so adorable!

You’ve got to grab this book and read it to your littles. And maybe your pooch. Especially if your doggie is still piddling on the floor.  Are you listening Bailey?

A dorbs.

Look at that face.