***CHILDREN’S BOOK GIVEAWAY (2 Copies)*** Ben’s Adventures: A Day at the Beach {Elizabeth Gerlach}

Full disclosure: I was sent a copy of this book to read and review for my blog.  All opinions are my own. This post contains Amazon affiliate links.

Giveaway details will be given at the bottom of this post!

As soon as I finished reading this book with my children, I sent Elizabeth Gerlach an email which contained only 1 sentence:

“This might just be one of the most beautiful books I have ever read.”

Description from Amazon:

Awarded 5-stars from both Reader’s Favorite and the award-winning “Read With Your Kids” podcast, as well as a Certified Great Read.

Meet young Benjamin who takes us on an inspiring & fun adventure to the beach in this first book in the Ben’s Adventures series. You’ll smile and be inspired as you follow Ben into his imagination and he shows us that all kids can play and dream.
 
In his first adventure, Ben imagines a perfect beach day where he builds sand castles, flies kites, plays with crabs and enjoys special moments with his family. Ben loves the sun on his face and the wind in his hair. He can dream, he can play, and he can interact and have meaningful experiences. Ben smiles, and you will too.

“Let’s build a sandcastle”, I say to my friend.
He says, “Sounds good.”
And we make our plan.
With one tower built,and two more to go.
I kick and laugh and then think “Oh No!”

A Great Book for Introducing Special Needs or Disability to Young Children Ben’s Adventures provides a simple and subtle way to introduce special needs and disability to your child. It can easily open the discussion for what disability means. Why does someone need a wheelchair? If someone’s in a wheelchair, can they still play with me? It will help young minds recognize and understand differences among us and ACCEPT those differences. And the main character Benjamin will reinforce the important take-away that just because someone might be different or need assistance, he/she is still a kid, can be a friend, and can enjoy kids’ play.

Teach Empathy, Inclusion and Acceptance from an Early Age Kids will have as many (if not more) similarities than they have noticeable differences.It’s our job as parents to talk about these issues with our kids. Understanding and accepting others throughout our lives is learned in childhood.

Ben is a young triplet brother that shows all kids can play & dream. Ben’s Adventures was inspired by the author’s son Benjamin who had cerebral palsy. Despite Ben’s challenges in life, he smiled everyday. It’s a wonderful message that is important for typical families AND those with special needs. And it provides a good introduction of disability for any family. In writing it, Gerlach wanted to show that all kids are capable and able to do great (or even simple) things.

My Thoughts:

I absolutely, positively love this book.  So much.

The story itself is beautiful, the pictures are adorable, and the discussion that it created between my 7 year old daughter and I after we finished reading was amazing.  We discussed differences in people and even though someone might not always be able to communicate in the same way that you do…they still have feelings, thoughts, and dreams.  It was an amazing and inspiring discussion and this book was a perfect catalyst to discuss such an important topic.

It would also be a wonderful book for a classroom!  The discussions and writing assignments that could follow would be endless.  If you have any teachers in your life, their classroom would greatly benefit from this book.

I love, love, love this special book.  In fact, it’s one of my favorite books that I’ve ever reviewed on my blog.

A Conversation with Elizabeth Gerlach, in Her Own Words:

Briefly give a description of your book:

Ben’s Adventures is about a young triplet brother who has cerebral palsy. He loves his family/friends, creating memories and taking adventures! He’s in a wheelchair but shows that ALL kids can play & dream and create meaningful connections and memories.

In this first book, Ben takes us to the beach where he plays with crabs, builds sandcastles and flies with kites.

How did you create the idea for your book?

It’s inspired by my triplet son Benjamin. Ben passed away from a serious illness in 2016 at almost 4 years old. Despite his/our challenges, he always had a smile on his face and laughed quite a bit. As a family, we loved to have different experiences and adventures and just spend time together. I wanted to show that even though a child might have additional needs, it doesn’t mean they can’t enjoy ‘kid things’ and have fun. And I wanted to represent disability in a children’s book by creating a main character who uses a wheelchair.

What audience would be most interested in your book?

Ben’s Adventures is probably most suited for Preschool through second grade. It’s a good message for any child/family (not just one with additional needs). I’ve been told it helps to introduce the concept of disability with kids that aren’t yet familiar. Families have been able to have meaningful conversations around the book.

Where can your book be purchased?

Signed/Dedicated copies are available on my website here: www.Bens-Adventures.com

But it’s also available on Amazon in both Hard Cover and Kindle format.

https://www.amazon.com/Bens-Adventures-Day-at-Beach/dp/173270340X/

Use 3 adjectives to describe your book:

Inspirational

Sweet

Touching

Any additional information that you would like to provide about you or your book:

Ben’s Adventures just received a 5-star review from Readers’ Favorite and has average 5 star review on Amazon.

As a family, to honor Benjamin, we established the Ben Smiles Memorial Foundation to purchase switch-adapted toys and other devices to kids with motor challenges. www.BenSmiles.org

***GIVEAWAY DETAILS***

I have 2 copies of Ben’s Adventures: A Day at the Beach to give away (US only for this giveaway)! 
Winners will receive an autographed and dedicated copy of Ben’s Adventures: A Day at the Beach

To be entered, please complete these 2 simple steps:

1. Follow and/or subscribe to my blog

2. Leave a comment below telling the first name of the person you would have the author write the dedication inside the cover to if you are chosen to win a copy

**You must complete both of these steps to be eligible for the giveaway and you must complete them here on my blog (not on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram)**

Giveaway will end Friday morning at 6:00 CDT and the winner will be randomly chosen and announced in Friday morning’s blog post.

Make sure you check back on Friday to see if you’ve won (you will have 48 hours from the time I post the winner to email me your mailing address.  If I don’t hear from you within 48 hours, I will pick a new winner).

If you already follow and/or subscribe to my blog, you are still eligible…just leave a comment below to be entered 🙂

Good luck!  Can’t wait to read your comments!

It would really help me if you could follow/subscribe to my blog.  Also, please “like” my Facebook page ,  follow me on Twitter, and follow me on Instagram!

Click the image below to order the book through my Amazon affiliate link.  When you order through this link, I receive a tiny commission. Thank you for your support, Xo

Let’s Chat: Spoilers. Love Knowing or Better Blind?

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You’re in the middle of an amazing book.  You tell someone what you’re reading.  Without thinking, they give away the ending.

Or…

You’re in the middle of an amazing book.  You close it without bookmarking.  When you open again to find your place, you open the cover a wee bit too far and mistakenly read ahead.

Or…

You’re in the middle of an amazing (uplifting) book.  You tell someone what you’re reading.  They tell you how tragically sad the ending is and how it will make you sob.  You spend the rest of the book trying to figure out the sad twist that you never knew existed.

Or…

Someone posts something on Facebook and while innocently scrolling through your newsfeed, you now have books (AND REALITY TV) ruined for you.

THE.  WORST.

All of these situations have happened to me and I’m quite certain they have also happened for a number of you.  Admittingly, I am more sensitive to this than most people.  I absolutely HATE knowing anything ahead of time.

When I’m reading a book and the plot is getting GOOD, it’s not uncommon for me to physically put my hand over the rest of the page so I cannot mistakenly read ahead.

When I am watching reality tv (my favorite), I mute the sound and look away when Chris Harrison announces, “Tonight on the Bachelor” or “Coming up after the break”.  Scenes from next week?????? FORGET ABOUT IT.  Hell no.

I saw Hamilton without listening to a single song first although everyone told me I needed to.  I did zero historical research.  I walked into that theater completely blind and I truly think I had a better experience because of it!

Have you ever noticed the following disclaimer that I include with every book review that I  publish on my blog?

(Disclaimer: I will never post spoilers in my reviews HOWEVER the comment section is completely fair game to discuss any and all specifics including spoilers)

I have heard that there are people who when they receive a book, the very first thing that they do is to read the last page of the book.  Do people like this really exist?!?

I never Google a television show for any reason unless I am 100 percent caught up in the current season.  I have blocked people on Facebook when they post status updates about current television shows so nothing will be ruined for me if I’m an episode or 2 behind.  I turn away from the magazines in the grocery store checkout aisle when they post photos of current reality tv stars.

I once told a friend how excited I was to watch the Bachelor finale that night and she responded with “Oh!  ____won!  I just read an article!”  This was roughly 3 hours before the finale aired.  And of course my friend was right.  And of course it was the girl who I NEVER thought was going to win.  It would have been such an amazing finale.

When I’m reading or watching television, I NEVER try to predict the ending.  I just enjoy the present and not give too much thought into trying to figure out what will happen next (on a side note, this is also a fantastic way to go about life…but that’s a different post for a different day).

To me, nothing beats an amazing twist that I never saw coming.  Nothing is better than a surprise ending.  When an author has the ability to make this happen, it’s brilliant.  So many specific books come to mind…but I don’t want to spoil any of them for you!

What are your thoughts on all of this?  How do you feel about spoilers?  Tell me a story about a time when someone ruined something for you!  

It would really help me if you could follow/subscribe to my blog.  Also, please “like” my Facebook page ,  follow me on Twitter, and follow me on Instagram!

Local friends, I run a storytime every Tuesday and Friday at Whimsy Cafe in Buffalo Grove, Illinois from 10:00-10:45! Bring your kids (6 months-5 years) for stories, songs, and lots of fun. Price is included in your child’s admission, no need to sign up. If you are a blog reader, please be sure to introduce yourself!  I can’t wait to meet you and your little ones. 🙂

 

 

 

 

 

Book Review: This Is How It Always Is {Laurie Frankel}

Happy Friday!

If you are reading this that means that I haven’t actually frozen into a block of ice by this point.  Silver lining, right?

It’s. So. Cold.

Breathtakingly beautiful outside?  Absolutely.  Ridiculously unbelievably freezing outside?  You betcha.

I just walked in the door from driving my daughter to school (I was not about to let her wait at a bus stop this morning) and the thermometer in my car was reading in the negative numbers.  Holy hell.

I posted this photo on Instagram yesterday and titled it “My Favorite Summer Reading Spot”.  It’s funny and yet heartbreakingly sad all at the same time.

Stay warm, local friends.  It’s insane out there.

One great thing about spending time inside when it’s too cold to leave is the opportunity to read a well written book!  Unfortunately, the book that I reviewed for you today is not well written.  I would encourage you to browse through past blog posts to find book recommendations because I definitely would NOT recommend the following book…

thisishowitalwaysis

Synopsis from Goodreads:

This is how a family keeps a secret…and how that secret ends up keeping them.

This is how a family lives happily ever after…until happily ever after becomes complicated.

This is how children change…and then change the world.

This is Claude. He’s five years old, the youngest of five brothers, and loves peanut butter sandwiches. He also loves wearing a dress, and dreams of being a princess.

When he grows up, Claude says, he wants to be a girl.

Rosie and Penn want Claude to be whoever Claude wants to be. They’re just not sure they’re ready to share that with the world. Soon the entire family is keeping Claude’s secret. Until one day it explodes.

This Is How It Always Is is a novel about revelations, transformations, fairy tales, and family. And it’s about the ways this is how it always is: Change is always hard and miraculous and hard again, parenting is always a leap into the unknown with crossed fingers and full hearts, children grow but not always according to plan. And families with secrets don’t get to keep them forever.

My Thoughts:

(Disclaimer: I will never post spoilers in my reviews HOWEVER the comment section is completely fair game to discuss any and all specifics including spoilers)

2 Stars

I know I’m in the minority here but I really didn’t like this book.  I SO BADLY wanted to!  I was very excited to read it because I heard such great things.

The actual story was beautiful and the message behind it was important.  However, the characters were underdeveloped and the writing was…painfully long.

There were certain moments that were well written and others that felt like they were never going to end.  Ever.  This book took entirely too much time for me to finish because honestly, I was so incredibly bored through so much of it.

I wanted MORE out of the writing.  I wanted the author to dig deeper into this intricate story and these characters. I wanted her to develop these characters on an entirely different (deeper) level. So much of this book was just “surface writing” on a topic which truthfully deserves so much more than that.

Bottom Line:

This book had all of the potential to be wonderful.  It wasn’t.

Did you read this book?  What did you think?  I would love to hear your thoughts in the comments below!

It would really help me if you could follow/subscribe to my blog.  Also, please “like” my Facebook page ,  follow me on Twitter, and follow me on Instagram!

Local friends, I run a storytime every Tuesday and Friday at Whimsy Cafe in Buffalo Grove, Illinois from 10:00-10:45! Bring your kids (6 months-5 years) for stories, songs, and lots of fun. Price is included in your child’s admission, no need to sign up. If you are a blog reader, please be sure to introduce yourself!  I can’t wait to meet you and your little ones. 🙂

Click the image below to order the book through my Amazon affiliate link.  When you order through this link, I receive a tiny commission. Thank you for your support, Xo