"To find out what a story's really about,' the Librarian said,

'you don't ask the writer. You ask the reader."

- SNOW & ROSE by Emily Winfield Martin

Monday, October 24, 2016

Blog Tour (Guest Post and Giveaway): HAPPY MAMAS by Kathleen T. Pelley (C)

Welcome to the HAPPY MAMAS Blog Tour... 
"A perfect ode to motherhood!"

Hosted by TheChildrensBookReview.com
by Kathleen T. Pelley
Illustrated by Ruth E. Harper 
Release date: October 10th, 2016
Published by CWLA Press 
Genre: Children ages 3 - 6
Format: Hardcover


A lyrical read aloud that pays tribute to mothering in the animal and human kingdoms. 
Charming illustrations depict activities that bring joy to a mama and her baby over the course of a day: feeding her little ones bundles of bamboo shoots; teaching her calf hot to trumpet a loud jungle cheer; playing peek-a-boo; watching her little ones fly from the nest; singing a serenade to the man in the moon; or crooning owly lullabies through the deep dark woods. But as the moon glows and the stars shine, what is it that makes all mamas - from desert jungle, from forest to field, from land to sea - happiest by far? 

Mamas and babies everywhere will delight in this happy romp - a perfect ode to motherhood.

Perfect for one on one sharing or for use in the classroom. 

Importance of having a Spanish version of Happy Mamas

We Celts love our circles – long ago we worshiped the moon and the sun, we sat in a circle to tell our stories, and when St. Patrick brought us Christianity, he took our beloved circle and placed it around the Christian cross, giving us the Celtic cross.   Most stories are circular too in their structure – that last page will often circle back to some character, scene, or concept from the first page, and reveal some shift or change that has taken place.  And of course, just as circles are seen as ways of connecting, so too are stories: stories connect us to other cultures, to other places, to other people and even to our ancestors and descendants.  That is why they are such an effective way of teaching children compassion and empathy: stories allow children to see the world through another’s eyes, to touch it with another’s skin, or to feel it with another’s heart.

But before children can relate to other cultures, they need to develop a strong connection to their own, which means they need to see themselves reflected in the stories that are read to them.  In this way, they can develop a strong sense of pride and honor about their heritage, language, and traditions.  From my own experience of growing up within a Scots/Irish culture (I was born and raised in Scotland, but spent most of my summers on my grandparents’ farm in Ireland) that was often undermined by the overall dominant English influence, I can totally relate to this need for honoring one’s own language and traditions.  Back in those days, the only kind of accent heard on radio or television, was the “Queen’s English.”  Scottish or Irish accents were branded as uneducated or inferior, and it was not until fairly recently, that the trend came full circle and now these regional accents are much more in vogue.

 Later, when I came to America, I experienced a certain loss of my cultural identity that is common amongst many immigrants.   I craved time with other Scots/Irish people – our accent and dialect, our traditions and common cultural roots gave us an immediate and lasting bond.  When I visit children in schools, they love to learn about the differences between Scots English and American English, and delight in some of our lovely Scottish sayings such as, “Lang may Yer Lum reek” or “the best laid plans o’ mice and men gang aft aglae.”   I like to show children how our language is so tightly connected to our identity and how this explains the need for a new American dictionary that came into existence after the American Revolution.

Of course, some may argue the danger of immigrants who maintain strong ties to their native land, is that they will never totally assimilate into their host country.  However, I think the opposite is true: when children have a strong bond to their native land, it can help them be more open to learning about the culture where they live and so ultimately strengthens their sense of belonging to two cultures.

As we know, this sense of not belonging is at the root of many or our societal woes, but when I talk to children about writing, I explain that sometimes we can actually use this feeling of not belonging to help our writing.  William Trevor, the Irish novelist, who was one of those rare breeds – a Protestant living in the south of Ireland (predominantly Catholic), attributed his literary success to his experience of always being “other” and not belonging.   As I tell children, when you come from another land, it is easy for you to observe things that the native people cannot see, and so it helps you to become a better writer.

In recent years there has been much discussion in the publishing world about the need for diverse books.  Rudine Sims Bishop noted, “When children cannot find themselves reflected in the books they read, or when the images they see are distorted, negative, or laughable, they learn a powerful lesson about how they are devalued in the society of which they are a part.”

Again, from my own experience of over twenty years of reading picture books to children – Kindergarten – 8th grade at an inner city school serving the Hispanic community, I witnessed this phenomenon first hand.  Over and over again, when I managed to find a wonderful picture book, featuring Spanish speaking characters or depicting some aspect of life in Spanish speaking countries, I could see the children literally sitting up in their seats, saucer eyed and mouths agape. Their excitement at connecting to these characters was palpable.  The perennial favorite for all grades from 1st -8th was The Quiet Place by Sarah Stewart and David Small, featuring a little Mexican immigrant girl in the 1950’s.

No wonder then, when I heard my Happy Mamas was also going to be a Mamis Felices, I was a very Happy Author!

Picture books are meant to be read aloud – they should be a veritable auditory feast filled with fresh, juicy, alliterative words, onomatopoeia, and rhythmic, playful language – all the better to enchant young readers into an early love of literature.  The first sound a child hears in the womb is the beat of the mother’s heart and so naturally we humans feel soothed and lulled by rhythmic patterns be it the pitter patter of rain, the click clack of knitting needles, the tick, tock of a clock, or the lovely lilt of a tale well told. 

 I fell in love with stories before I could read or write, by listening to them – on the radio, around the peat fire in my grandparents’ farmhouse, and later on, when we finally acquired a television in our house, from the voice of Roald Dahl himself reading aloud Charlie and the Chocolate Factory – yes, really!  When I write a story or read it aloud, I want to bask in the beauty of words and the wonder of language.

So, imagine my delight, when we found our talented translator, Gloria Garcia Diaz, an immigrant from Mexico, and translator of acclaimed author, Laura Resau’s book Star in the Forest.  Now, I have to admit, I can speak only a small smattering of Spanish, but like most Scots educated people, I did study French, German, and Latin all the way through high school, and even continued with my Latin through university.  All of that to say, I know enough about the translating process to understand that a good translation, especially of a children’s picture book, requires a translator who is willing to breathe her own life and love into the text, and thus retain the rhythmic, playful language that makes it a joy to read aloud for any parent.  Gloria’s labor of love now means that Mamis Felices will have a wider circle of children and parents who can enjoy this book and celebrate a Mama’s love.

Newbery Award winning author, Katherine Paterson, maintains that in every children’s book there should be “the wonder of language and the wonder behind and beyond the story that ties us to the mystery of the meaning of our lives and all of creation.”

And that is the magic of literature – it links us together, like letters in a word, or words in story no matter our race, culture, religion, age, or language.

Gracias, Gloria for our Mamis Felices!

·        Lang may yer lum reek – old Scottish blessing for newly married couple, meaning long may your chimney smoke – may you always have enough money to put wood in your fire!

·        The best laid plans o’ mice and men gang aft aglae”  the best laid plans of mice and men often go awry- from Rabbi Burns, Scottish Bard, To a Mouse.

Rudine Sims Bishop’s article, 1980 “Mirrors, Windows, and Sliding Glass Doors.” http://weneeddiversebooks.org/mission-statement/


- Enter to win an autographed 6 picture book prize pack from acclaimed author Kathleen Pelley. The prize pack includes finger puppets, adorable stuffed animals, and HAPPY MAMAS.

One (1) grand prize winner receives:
Value: $150.00+
Three (3) runner-up prize winners receive:
  • A copy of Happy Mamas autographed by Kathleen Pelley
Value: $14.95

- Giveaway begins October 10, 2016, at 12:01 A.M. PST and ends November 10, 2016, at 11:59 P.M. PST. Open to US and Canadian addresses only. (Prizes and samples provided by Kathleen Pelley.)

(Bumbles and Fairy-Tales will not be held responsible for any lost, unclaimed, damaged, etc. prize(s).)

ABOUT THE AUTHOR - Kathleen T. Pelley

Kathleen Pelley was born in Glasgow, Scotland, but spent most of her childhood summers playing on her grandparents' farm in Ireland. Her passion for stories stemmed from listening to them on the raiio during the BBC children's story hour. Later, her gentle Irish father fanned the flame even more by feeding her his tales of fairies, leprechauns, and banshees. 

So much did Kathleen love stories, that off she went to Edinburgh University and earned a degree in HISTORY. She didn't much care for all the facts and dates and numbers, but how she loved the stories of Rasputin, Napoleon, and Bonnie Prince Charlie! One character in particular captured Kathleen's imagination - Florence Nightingale. After completing her degree, Kathleen studied to become a children's nurse, but it was brief and disastrous dalliance. For much as Kathleen loved children, she did not like to see them sick and suffering. However, decades later, Kathleen now sees herself as a kind of a nurse, because she believes that stories can heal the hurts in our hearts. 

As a former elementary teacher, Kathleen enjoys sharing her passion with people of all ages. She has been a regular speaker at Regis University on "Nurturing a Passion for Stories," makes frequent presentations at schools and conferences, and has been telling stories at an inner city elementary school for the past 20 years. She believes that one of the best ways to teach our children empathy is through stories that help them "walk a mile in another man's moccasins." When she's not reading, writing, telling, or listening to stories, Kathleen enjoys knitting, Scottish music, and hiking with her husband and two Golden Retriever dogs along the trails of sunny Colorado. 

Sunday, September 18, 2016

ROALD DAHL 100th Celebratory Blog Tour (Feature and Giveaway): MATILDA by Roald Dahl (MG)

Happy Sunday to you all!
I am so very happy to be a part of this 'Celebratory Blog Tour' for Roald Dahl's 100th birthday!
SO many fond childhood memories when it comes to his books... I remember for a short period of time trying to use all of his made-up words in everyday lingo - it didn't work very well and annoyed my 3rd grade teacher, lol! Maybe I'll do better now... 

by Roald Dahl
Original release date: 1988
New paperback release date: February 11th, 2016
Published by Penguin
Genre: Middle Grade to Everyone
Format: Paperback


Matilda is a little girl who is far too good to be true. At age five-and-a-half she's knocking off double-digit multiplication problems and blitz-reading Dickens. Even more remarkable, her classmates love her even though she's a super-nerd and the teacher's pet. But everything is not perfect in Matilda's world. For starters, she has two of the most idiotic, self-centered parents who ever lived. Then there's the large, busty nightmare of a school principal, Mrs. ("The") Trunchbull, a former hammer-throwing champion who flings children at will and is approximately as sympathetic as a bulldozer. Fortunately for Matilda, she has the inner resources to deal with such annoyances: astonishing intelligence, saintly patience, and an innate predilection for revenge. 

She warms up with some practical jokes aimed at her hapless parents, but the true test comes when she rallies in defense of her teacher, the sweet Miss Honey, against the diabolical Trunchbull. There is never any doubt that Matilda will carry the day. Even so, this wonderful story is far from predictable. Roald Dahl, while keeping the plot moving imaginatively, also has an unerring ear for emotional truth. The reader cares about Matilda because in addition to all her other gifts, she has real feelings. 


MATILDA will always hold a special spot in my heart in more ways than one... not only was it the first Roald Dahl book I've ever read, and then became one of my most favorite childhood re-reads; it is also a favorite that my family and I can share with my dad. 

First, let me be honest - my dad is not a reader. Nor has he ever read Matilda, or any other book every (except the Bible). His love for Matilda originated from the movie starring Mara Wilson, Danny DeVito and Rhea Perlman... the latter two being some familiar faces to him from television already. He was very intrigued to see these characters in such a film and needed to see the movie again without any interruptions. And since then, anytime the movie was on television, dad did what he could to watch it in its entirety. 

Now, a quick reminder, my dad is not a reader *laughs*... finding out that the movie is based on a book was mind-blowing to him. He comes from a generation where those things are separate - it's either a book or a movie and that's that. He's heard of movies being "based on books" which to him meant they took the idea of the book and did something similar, but it's not the same. And then I started talking about the book... he's was intrigued, shocked and giddy with excitement to finally be able to talk about something we had in common other than family, food and the newscasters poor choice in hairstyles or clothes on the local news channel. We connected in a way that we had never connected before - and discussed things we never imagined we would have ever talk about: character development, how accurate the adaption is/was, Matilda's abilities and how they came to be and where they may have come from, how and why the author wrote the story and why they chose to make it into a movie, etc. 

At first he saw Matilda as just a silly little girl and compared her to the likes of Home Alone - a funny movie with lots of kid pranks and dumb adults. But with further discussion, he began to see her strength and humor, and the struggles she goes through from being different... 

My father will never read Matilda. And I'm okay with that. What matters most now is that he admires my love of books, and how important they are to me. And though he admires it, he still doesn't completely understand my love of books, he is not a collector or hobbyist. But, after our in-depth discussion of Matilda and seeing how a book can make you think, create discussions and build your imaginations, he has a new understanding and respect for those who do love books. He no longer sees our books as "throwing away money on dust collectors" and this makes my heart happy. If only we could get all non-book-lovers to realize how much our world comes from reading... and to stop saying "just watch the movie".

And now, I am really looking forward to seeing dad's next surprise... my son is currently reading Matilda for the first time, and hasn't seen the movie in its entirety yet. He's hoping to watch it with his grandpa so they can talk about it too! 

*A paperback finished copy of MATILDA was sent to me by the publisher for an honest feature. All thoughts here are my own.


(Bumbles and Fairy-Tales is not to be held responsible for any lost, damaged, unclaimed, etc. prizes.)


Roald Dahl (1916–1990) was one of the world’s most imaginative, successful and beloved storytellers. He was born in Wales of Norwegian parents and spent much of his childhood in England. After establishing himself as a writer for adults with short story collections such as Kiss Kiss and Tales of the Unexpected, Roald Dahl began writing children's stories in 1960 while living with his family in both the U.S. and in England. His first stories were written as entertainment for his own children, to whom many of his books are dedicated.

Roald Dahl’s first children’s story, The Gremlins, was a story about little creatures that were responsible for the various mechanical failures on airplanes. The Gremlins came to the attention of both First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt, who loved to read the story to her grandchildren, and Walt Disney, with whom Roald Dahl had discussions about the production of a movie.

Roald Dahl was inspired by American culture and by many of the most quintessential American landmarks to write some of his most memorable passages, such as the thrilling final scenes in James and the Giant Peach - when the peach lands on the Empire State Building! Upon the publication of James and the Giant Peach, Roald Dahl began work on the story that would later be published as Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and today, Roald Dahl’s stories are available in 58 languages and, by a conservative estimate, have sold more than 200 million copies.

Roald Dahl also enjoyed great success for the screenplays he wrote for both the James Bond film You Only Live Twice in 1967 and for Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, released one year later, which went on to become a beloved family film.  Roald Dahl’s popularity continues to increase as his fantastic novels, including James and the Giant Peach, Fantastic Mr. Fox, Matilda, The BFG, and Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, delight an ever-growing legion of fans. 

Two charities have been founded in Roald Dahl’s memory: the first charity, Roald Dahl’s Marvellous Children’s Charity, created in 1991, focuses on making life better for seriously ill children through the funding of specialist nurses, innovative medical training, hospitals, and individual families across the UK.

The second charity, The Roald Dahl Museum and Story Centre – a unique cultural, literary and education hub – opened in June 2005 in Great Missenden where Roald Dahl lived and wrote many of his best-loved works. 10% of income from Roald Dahl books and adaptations are donated to the two Roald Dahl charities.

On September 13, 2006, the first national Roald Dahl Day was celebrated, on what would have been the author’s 90th birthday. The event proved such a success that Roald Dahl Day is now marked annually all over the world. September 13, 2016 is Roald Dahl 100, marking 100 years since the birth of the world’s number one storyteller. There will be celebrations for Roald Dahl 100 throughout 2016, delivering a year packed with gloriumptious treats and surprises for everyone.


September 5 Peace Loves Books - Charlie and the Chocolate Factory Excerpt
September 5 - The Compulsive Reader - Danny, The Champion of the World Review 
September 5 - The Starry Eyed Revue - James and The Giant Peach Review
September 6 - Ex Libris Kate - The Witches Review
September 6 - Cracking The Cover - The Magic Finger Feature - Short Review and History 
September 6 - Lost In Lit - The Witches Feature - Revisiting The Witches as an adult 
September 7 - Cozy Reading Corner - Charlie and the Great Glass Elevator Excerpt 
September 7 - The Plot Bunny - The Magic Finger Review 
September 7 - Lilli's Reflections - The Twits Excerpt 
September 8 - The Irish Banana - Matilda Review 
September 8 - Ticket To Anywhere - Danny, The Champion of the World Excerpt
September 8 - Cuddlebuggery - Quentin Blake's Illustrations of Roald Dahl's Books Feature
September 8 - Beth Fish Reads - Going Solo Review 
September 9 -  Ravenous Reader - The BFG Excerpt 
September 9 - Paper Cuts - The Giraffe, the Pelly and Me Excerpt 
September 9 - The Lovely Books - The Witches Excerpt 
September 9 - A Glass of Wine - James and the Giant Peach Excerpt
September 10 - Novel Novice - George's Marvelous Medicine Excerpt 
September 10 - YA Bibliophile - Fantastic Mr. Fox Review
September 10 - Watercolor Moods - The Magic Finger Feature - Collage
September 11- Jessabella Reads - Charlie and the Chocolate Factory Review 
September 11- Who R U Blog - Charlie and the Glass Elevator Feature - Trivia
September 12 - Belle of the Library - The Twits Review 
September 12 - Book Mania Life - George's Marvelous Medicine Review 
September 12 - The Book Swarm - Danny, The Champion of the World Excerpt 
September 12 - Book Belles - James and the Giant Peach Feature - Book to Movie
September 13- Roald's birthday! - Brittany's Book Rambles - Matilda Excerpt 
September 13 - Roald's birthday! - Mundie Kids - The BFG Review
September 13 - Roald's birthday! - Read Now Sleep Later - Boy Excerpt
September 13 - Roald's birthday - Consumed By Books - Matilda Excerpt 
September 13 - Roald's birthday - I Am A Reader - James and the Giant Peach Excerpt 
September 13 - The Novel Life Lessons that Roald Dahl has taught me feature
September 13 - The Book Rat - Esio Trot Excerpt
September 14 - Belle's Bash - The BFG Excerpt
September 14 - WinterHaven Books - Esio Trot Excerpt 
September 14 - A Book and A Latte - The Magic Finger Excerpt
September 14 - Hello Chelly - Matilda Feature - BookBags
September 14 - Loving Dem Books - Youtube Feature
September 15 - Writing My Own Fairy-Tale - George's Marvelous Medicine Review 
September 15 - The Book Bandit -The Giraffe, and the Pelly and Me Review
September 15 - Hopelessly Devoted Bibliophile - Esio Trot Review
September 15 - Coffee, Books and Me - Top Ten Reasons You Should Read Roald Dahl's Books
September 16 - Undeniably Book Nerdy - Boy Review 
September 16 - Supernatural Snark - James and the Giant Peach Review 
September 16 - My Friend Amy - Going Solo Excerpt 
September 16 - The Quiet Concert - Danny, the Champion of the World Review 
September 17 - Book Briefs - Charlie and the Great Glass Elevator 
September 17 - Andi's ABCs - Charlie and the Chocolate Factory Feature - ABCs
September 17 - Just Another Rabid Reader - The Magic Finger Review 
September 17 - Adventures of Cecelia Bedelia - Roald Dahl Feature - Food Feature
September 18 - Bumbles and Fairy-Tales - Matilda Feature - Reading With Dad
September 18 - Addicted 2 Novels - Esio Trot Review 
September 18 - Pure Imagination - Fantastic Mr. Fox Excerpt 
September 18 - Green Bean Teen Queen What Roald Dahl Means To Me Feature
September 19 - Bookiemoji - The Witches Excerpt 
September 19 - Shooting Stars Blog - Roald Dahl Feature - Etsy Products
September 19 -  Alexa Loves Books - Matilda Feature - Style Files
September 19 - Nightly Reading - Matilda Review

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Waiting on Wednesday #151: THE MAGNOLIA STORY by Chip and Joanna Gaines, Mark Dagostino (A)

"Waiting On Wednesday" is a weekly meme hosted by Breaking the Spine.

This is where we get to 'spotlight' the books that we are anxiously waiting to be released!!! The ones that we are dying to get our hands on and read into the wee hours of the night!!!

by Chip and Joanna Gaines, Mark Dagostino
Expected release date: October 18th, 2016
Published by Thomas Nelson (HarperCollins)
Genre: Adult Lit
Format: Hardcover, eBook, Audiobook


"Are you ready to see your fixer upper???"

These famous words are now synonymous with the dynamic husband-and-wife team Chip and Joanna Gaines, stars of HGTVs Fixer Upper. As this question fills the airwaves with anticipation, their legions of fans continue to multiply and ask a different series of questions, like Who are these people? What's the secret to their success? And is Chip actually that funny in real life? Be renovating homes in Waco, Texas, and changing lives in such a winsome and engaging way, Chip and Joanna have become more than just the stars of Fixer Upper, they have become America's new best friends. 

The Magnolia Story is the first book from Chip and Joanna, offering their fans a detailed look at their life together. From the very first renovation project they ever tackled together, to the project that nearly cost them everything; from the childhood memories that shaped them, to the twists and turns that led them to the life they share on the farm today. 

They both attended Baylor University in Waco. However, their paths did not cross until Chip checked his car into the local Firestone tire shop where Joanna worked behind the counter. Even back then Chip was a serial entrepreneur who, among other things, ran a lawn care company, sold fireworks, and flipped houses. Soon they were married and living in their first fixer upper. Four children and countless renovations later, Joanna garners the attention of a television producer who notices her work on a blog one day. 

In The Magnolia Story fans will finally get to join the Gaines behind the scenes and discover: The time Chip ran to the grocery store and forgot to take their new, sleeping baby. Joanna's agonizing decision to close her dream business to focus on raising their children. When Chip buys a houseboat, sight-unseen, and it turns out to be a leaky wreck. Joanna's breakthrough moment of discovering the secret to creating a beautiful home. Harrowing stories of the financial ups and downs as an entrepreneurial couple. Memories and photos from Chip and Jo's wedding. The significance of the word magnolia and why it permeates everything they do. The way the couple pays the popularity of Fixer Upper forward, sharing the success with others, and bolstering the city of Waco along the way. 

And yet there is still on lingering question for fans of the show: Is Chip really that funny?
"Oh yeah," says Joanna. "He was, and still is, my first fixer upper."

Why I'm waiting on THE MAGNOLIA STORY... 

First... have you seen their show??? 
It's rare to find people that seem genuinely caring, sweet, funny and loving on tv! I really enjoy watching fixer-upper reality shows - I like seeing the before and afters, the creativity, the odd pieces of furniture some use to show the houses once they're ready to sell; but this couple not only accomplishes all of that, they do it in such a fun and loving way - I'm always smiling along with them and feel like they could be my bestest friends.

Next... I'm honestly not a 'reality tv' show kind of person. The drama either seems to fake or it totally stresses me out. This is one of those rare shows where I feel like I can say that I'm a fan and would really like to know more about them as a couple, their business and any other tidbits that they're offering to share with us.

And lastly.... is Chip really as funny in real life as he is on tv???
I think he is, lol! Probably more goofy than they try to portray him to be! 

Well, don't hold back - what are you waiting for this week??? 

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