About Me I am a retired librarian and I now support books and authors through my reviews.

I have always loved to read and I was able to share that love through my work as a public librarian for 22 1/2 years. I now enjoy reading to my granddaughter and supporting authors through my reviews!

Sunday, January 26, 2020

Raising the Challenging Child: How to Minimize Meltdowns, Reduce Conflict, and Increase Cooperation by Karen Doyle Buckwalter, Debbie Reed, Wendy Lyons Sunshine

Raising the Challenging Child: How to Minimize Meltdowns, Reduce Conflict, and Increase CooperationABOUT THE BOOK

What's the worst you've ever faced as a parent? An all-out tantrum at the mall? A son who won't take out his earbuds to listen to you? A daughter who's failing at school and won't do her homework? A teen who constantly breaks curfew? A call from the police? Whatever you're dealing with, Raising the Challenging Child will help.

Building on their work at Chaddock, a nonprofit organization that has worked with some of the most challenging kids in the nation for more than 150 years, the authors empower frustrated parents with practical tips and real-life examples on how to

- minimize behavioral meltdowns
- reduce conflict
- increase cooperation
- promote healthy attachment
- improve family relationships

The strategies they share work both for the child who is going through a difficult phase brought on by life disruption or trauma, and for the child who faces chronic struggles. Parents, teachers, and those who work with children and youth will find positive, practical steps they can start taking today in order to understand and address the baffling behavior of the child under their care.


This book is titled Raising the Challenging Child but I believe that it offers excellent advice for rasing all children. Parenting is never easy and guiding a child to adulthood can seem overwhelming but this book offers a wealth of information. Divided in three parts, it focuses on (1) the parent or caregiver; (2) the child; and (3) the steps for parent and child to follow so that conflict can be reduced and cooperation will increase. I was impressed with the excellent advice in the thirty chapters and I especially liked that each chapter offered sections such as " Perhaps you've done this...instead, try this...", "Perhaps you've said this...instead, say this...", and "Perhaps you've thought...instead, try considering this..." I often found myself thinking "Wow, I really have done that!"

I was eager to read this book and I believe that Raising the Challenging Child is a valuable resource for ANYONE who works with children!

I received a complimentary copy of this book from Revell and was under no obligation to post a positive review. These are my own thoughts.

My rating: 5 of 5 stars


Karen Doyle Buckwalter, MSW, LCSW, is director of program strategy at Chaddock in Quincy, Illinois. She serves on the board of directors' advisory board of the Theraplay® Institute in Chicago and has trained and consulted at family behavioral health organizations and youth foster care centers in the US, the UK, Australia, Denmark, and beyond. In addition to her degrees, Karen completed a two-year marriage and family therapy training program and 500-plus hours in diverse modalities, including Theraplay, Trust-Based Relational Intervention (TBRI) ®, and other attachment, trauma, and developmental approaches. Karen also hosts a weekly podcast, Attachment Theory in Action.

Debbie Reed is president and CEO of Chaddock. Currently engaged in doctoral studies, she has also played a leadership role in child- and family-serving organizations at the state and national levels, including the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services' Child Welfare Advisory Committee, the CEO council of the Alliance for Strong Families and Communities, and the national board of the United Methodist Association of Health and Welfare Ministries. In addition, she trains and consults with organizations on topics related to nonprofit leadership. Debbie also writes a weekly leadership blog, Reed About Leadership.

Wendy Lyons Sunshine
 is an award-winning writer and journalist. She is coauthor of The Connected Child.

View all my reviews

Saturday, January 25, 2020

Broken Promises by Melody Carlson: Review & Giveaway

About the Book

Book:  Broken Promises
Author: Melody Carlson
Genre:  Middle Grade
Release Date: December 15, 2019

A school play sounds like fun…for some.

As she settles into life in the middle school of her new hometown, Zoey agrees to audition for the school play to encourage Louisa. Isn’t that what a BFF does? But she’s none too sure it’ll actually be fun—especially when she’s cast as a dog! Louisa really does need her support though when some of the older girls get upset at a sixth grader landing the lead role. Zoey does her best to be supportive and finally begins to feel really at home with her grandparents and at school.

Until someone pulls the plug on all her dreams.

Click here for your copy. 


Melody Carlson once again writes about sixth-grader Zoey and her best friend Louisa and even though I am much, much older, I thoroughly enoyed this book that targets readers in the middle grades. Louisa is very excited to try out for the school play and she wants Zoey to be in it also, and even though Zoey admits to possessing little talent and having no enthusiam, she does end up getting a part in the musical Annie. What follows is a realistic story about middle-school students and all of the drama that young people in this age group often experience: bullying, jealousy, and trying to fit in with other students. Zoey also has a lot of conflicting emotions to deal with: she felt that her mother dumped her at her grandparent's house but now she is beginning to enjoy small-town life and then...all of this might change if her mother comes to take her back to Seattle.

Broken Promises is a charming story that tugs at your heart as Zoey deals with living with her grandparents and trying to gain acceptance in a new school. Louisa and her Christian family are wonderful influences for this young girl who had never been exposed to God's Word until she came to Cedarville and the author is able to share a subtle faith message throughout the book. I also appreciate that Grams, Gramps, and Uncle Ned are so loving and supportive because, in today's society, many grandchildren now live with their grandparents.

This is the third book in the Being Zoey series and I am eager to see what the future holds for this young girl. I surely recommend it for young readers and I also believe that this would be a great book to read together and then discuss with your own daughter/granddaughter.

I received a complimentary copy of this book from the author but there was no obligation to write a positive review. These are my honest thoughts.

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

View all my reviews

About the Author

Melody Carlson has written more than 200 books for teens, women, and children. That’s a lot of books, but mostly she considers herself a “storyteller.” Her young adult novels appeal to teenage girls around the world. Her annual Christmas novellas become more popular each year. She’s won a number of awards (including RT’s Career Achievement Award, the Rita and the Gold Medallion) and some of her books have been optioned for film/TV. Carlson has two grown sons and makes her home in the Pacific Northwest with her husband and yellow Lab dog.  

More from Melody

For many tweens, middle school is a jungle of insecurities, mean girls, and disappointments. As usual I gave Zoey plenty to deal with. Including a BFF with high expectations and an absentee mom who still hasn’t grown up. Even though some people let her down, Zoey keeps plugging along, even playing Sandy the dog in the school play. And through her struggles she changes and matures — kind of like real life.

Blog Stops

janicesbookreviews, January 19
deb’s Book Review, January 22
Texas Book-aholic, January 23
Older & Smarter?, January 25
Mary Hake, January 25
Blogging With Carol, January 29
Remembrancy, January 29
Vicky Sluiter, January 30


To celebrate her tour, Melody is giving away the grand prize package of a copy of Broken Promises and the classic Annie movie (DVD or digital download, winner’s choice)!!
Be sure to comment on the blog stops for nine extra entries into the giveaway! Click the link below to enter.