Buster Bartholomew Benjamin Brown and the Schoolyard Bully

Begin to discuss the important topic of bullying with your child using Buster Bartholomew Benjamin Brown and friends.

About Buster Bartholomew Benjamin Brown and the Schoolyard Bully

Anna Pierri’s Buster Bartholomew Benjamin Brown and the Schoolyard Bully is a strong introduction to the concept of bullying through easy-to-read rhymes and vibrant cartoon-style illustrations. In this first book of the series, the reader is introduced to the hero, Buster – a young mouse who’s large for his age and has “a heart that’s as big as a huge Redwood tree.” When trouble (a.k.a. old Rocky Ratnik) comes knocking for his trusty sidekick, Just Billy, Buster learns that dealing with a bully by acting like a bully is not the answer.

My Thoughts

“Because you are bigger and have strength and have might, you should use it for good – not to bully and fight” – Buster Bartholomew Benjamin Brown

That quote sums up this story for me perfectly. It is a fantastic, rhyming story for young children that addresses size, bullying, standing up for yourself but also using our size for good not just to intimidate. Your child will love the rhymes and bright, bold illustrations and you as the parent will love the lessons that they are learning.

We hear a lot about bullying and fighting in schools (and in general) and I know most schools put a lot of effort in to anti-bullying but sometimes the messages just don’t seem to go through. Some kids use their size to intimidate others or force them to do something they want them to do. While others may use their size to try to stand up for the weak but this can be just as wrong. Children have to learn to find that balance but also be confident in themselves to stand up and use their voices for change.

This book follows Buster Bartholomew Benjamin Brown (we had so much fun with his name!), who is a mouse that is large for his size and has four sisters. He has a good and kind heart and wants to protect those around him, something to be admired! He meets Just Billy (his new best friend), who is quite small for his age, intelligent but worried he is not as strong and who tends to get picked on by the larger students. Together they make a plan to stop Just Billy from being picked on but it doesn’t quite work out as planned as Buster Bartholomew Benjamin Brown appears to be the bully to the school teacher after pushing the real bully to the ground (and very kindly apologizes for wanting to hit the bully, which so many children can relate to!).

This is a wonderful book for you and your child to read together and begin the process of talking about bullying, peer pressure and how to stand up for ourselves. It gives them tools but also allows you to talk to them about what is going on in their own lives and help guide them in their own reactions. This will be a great resource and starting point for parents and children.

You can purchase a copy of this book here.

About the Author

ANNA PIERRI calls Caledon, Ontario, home, where the local wildlife, and especially the mice, give her daily inspiration for her writing. An avid storyteller from a young age, Pierri realized her dream of becoming an author with the Buster Bartholomew Benjamin Brown series. She is also the founder of Ruby Two Shoes Publishing Inc.

About the Illustrator

STEVE SLAWICH’s vibrant and animation-style artwork in the Buster series draws from his years of cartooning experience and working with licensed children’s products for companies like Nelvana and Disney Studios, where he had a six-year, full-time stint drawing another famous mouse. Slawich currently lives with his wife and son in Huntersville, North Carolina.

Disclosure: I received a copy of this book in order to facilitate this review. All opinions expressed are my own.

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Made in Italy Spotlight Tour

Italy Book Tours

MADE IN ITALY takes you on a complete tour of the dazzling artisanal legacy of Italy, uncovering off-the-beaten-path destinations and one-of-a-kind, hidden workshops where everything from leather bags to gilded frames are turned out completely by hand,
piece by piece.

About Made in Italy

Richly painted maiolica ceramics from Tuscany. Supple Florentine leather. The cameos of Naples and the Amalfi Coast. Parmigiano-Reggiano, the king of cheeses. Jaw-dropping glass from the island of Murano.

MADE IN ITALY takes you on a complete tour of the dazzling artisanal legacy of Italy, uncovering off-the-beaten-path destinations and one-of-a-kind, hidden workshops where everything from leather bags to gilded frames are turned out completely by hand, piece by piece.

This book includes instructions for getting a free copy of the companion guide, ARTISANS OF ITALY, with complete, continually updated listings of Laura’s personally recommended shops and artisans across Italy.

Laura Morelli, art historian and trusted guide in the world of cultural travel and authentic shopping, leads you behind the tourist traps to discover some of Italy’s most traditional arts.

Laura holds a Ph.D. in art history from Yale University and shares how, what, and where to buy; hints on recognizing quality and authenticity; and tips for bringing home the artisanal treasures of Italy in your suitcase.

You can purchase a copy on Amazon, Barnes & Noble and the author’s website.

Enter to win a signed copy of Made in Italy here.

About the Author

LAURA MORELLI holds a Ph.D. in art history from Yale University, has taught college students in the U.S. and in Italy, and currently produces art history lessons for TED-Ed. She authored a column for National Geographic Traveler called “The Genuine Article” and has contributed pieces about art and authentic travel to CNN Radio, The Frommers Travel Show, and in USA TODAY, Departures, and other media.

Laura is the author of the Authentic Arts guidebook series that includes the popular book Made in Italy. Her fiction brings the stories of art history to life. Her debut novel, The Gondola Maker, won an IPPY for Best Historical Fiction and a Benjamin Franklin Award.

Connect with her on her website, Twitter and Facebook.

Disclosure: This is a spotlight tour, I received no compensation for this post. All opinions expressed are my own.

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The Chef’s Secret Spotlight

iRead Book Tours

With luscious prose that captures the full scale of the sumptuous feasts for which Scappi was known, The Chef’s Secret serves up power, intrigue, and passion, bringing Renaissance Italy to life in a delectable fashion.

About The Chef’s Secret

​A captivating novel of Renaissance Italy detailing the mysterious life of Bartolomeo Scappi, the legendary chef to several popes and author of one of the bestselling cookbooks of all time, and the nephew who sets out to discover his late uncle’s secrets—including the identity of the noblewoman Bartolomeo loved until he died.

When Bartolomeo Scappi dies in 1577, he leaves his vast estate—properties, money, and his position—to his nephew and apprentice Giovanni. He also gives Giovanni the keys to two strongboxes and strict instructions to burn their contents. Despite Scappi’s dire warning that the information concealed in those boxes could put Giovanni’s life and others at risk, Giovanni is compelled to learn his uncle’s secrets. He undertakes the arduous task of decoding Scappi’s journals and uncovers a history of deception, betrayal, and murder—all to protect an illicit love affair.

As Giovanni pieces together the details of Scappi’s past, he must contend with two rivals who have joined forces—his brother Cesare and Scappi’s former protégé, Domenico Romoli, who will do anything to get his hands on the late chef’s recipes.

You can purchase a copy of this book on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Indiebound, Kobo, iTunes and Google Play.

About the Author

Crystal King is an author, culinary enthusiast, and marketing expert. Her writing is fueled by a love of history and a passion for the food, language, and culture of Italy. She has taught classes in writing, creativity, and social media at several universities including Harvard Extension School and Boston University, as well as at GrubStreet, one of the leading creative writing centers in the US.

A Pushcart Prize–nominated poet and former co-editor of the online literary arts journal Plum Ruby Review, Crystal received her MA in critical and creative thinking from UMass Boston, where she developed a series of exercises and writing prompts to help fiction writers in medias res. She resides in Boston but considers Italy her next great love after her husband, Joe, and their two cats, Nero and Merlin. She is the author of Feast of Sorrow.

You can connect with her on her website, Twitter and Facebook.

The Giveaway!

Enter to win in a grand prize package of 2 paperback books by Crystal King (Feast of Sorrow and The Chef’s Secret) and a $25 Amazon GC (1 winner) or you could win a paperback copy of The Chef’s Secret (5 winners) here.

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The Military Wife

A young widow embraces a second chance at life when she reconnects with those who understand the sacrifices made by American soldiers and their families in award-winning author Laura Trentham’s The Military Wife.

About The Military Wife

Harper Lee Wilcox has been marking time in her hometown of Kitty Hawk, North Carolina since her husband, Noah Wilcox’s death, nearly five years earlier. With her son Ben turning five and living at home with her mother, Harper fights a growing restlessness, worried that moving on means leaving the memory of her husband behind.

Her best friend, Allison Teague, is dealing with struggles of her own. Her husband, a former SEAL that served with Noah, was injured while deployed and has come home physically healed but fighting PTSD. With three children underfoot and unable to help her husband, Allison is at her wit’s end.

In an effort to reenergize her own life, Harper sees an opportunity to help not only Allison but a network of other military wives eager to support her idea of starting a string of coffee houses close to military bases around the country.

In her pursuit of her dream, Harper crosses paths with Bennett Caldwell, Noah’s best friend and SEAL brother. A man who has a promise to keep, entangling their lives in ways neither of them can foresee. As her business grows so does an unexpected relationship with Bennett. Can Harper let go of her grief and build a future with Bennett even as the man they both loved haunts their pasts?

My Thoughts

The Military Wife is a beautiful story of suffering, forgiveness, grief, hope and love. The characters in this story are either members of the military or spouses of an enlisted member. We are given an intimate look at the lives of military wives and the sacrifice that many of them go through. Many of them have given up careers or the potential for a career to follow their husband as they are moved to base to base, they deal with raising children on their own and not to mention with the psychological impact that their spouses may be dealing with.

Harper, now a single Mother after the death of her husband overseas is struggling with moving on. She loves her child and is an excellent Mother but doesn’t do enough for herself. She misses her husband and is afraid to move on in fear of hurting his memory. When his best friend and SEAL partner enters her life again, she realizes she needs answers for closure. What she wasn’t ready for was the attraction to this man that meant so much to her deceased husband and the impact he had on their lives.

While dealing with her own struggles, her best friend and the person who carried her through her husband’s death, is dealing with her own trials. Her husband is dealing with many mental health issues but refusing to seek help. This not only takes a toll on his wife but his children and we watch as not only him but their whole family spirals out of control.

This is a beautiful, heart wrenching at times story of ordinary people struggling through death, grief, forgiveness and searching for calm in a storm and a sense of purpose. I loved every moment of this beautiful story (and wouldn’t mind a part two!).

You can purchase a copy of this book here.

Rating: 5/5

About the Author

LAURA TRENTHAM is an award-winning author of contemporary and historical romance. She is a member of RWA, and has been a finalist multiple times in the Golden Heart competition. A chemical engineer by training and a lover of books by nature, she lives in South Carolina.

Disclosure: I received a digital copy of this book in order to facilitate this review. All opinions expressed are my own.

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Bring Star Wars to Life with Star Wars Maker Lab

DK Canada

Ever wanted to move things without touching them like a Jedi can? Or grow your own kyber crystal? Now you can (and maybe just maybe you can share with your child!).

About Star Wars Maker Lab

With 20 amazing projects, Star Wars™ Maker Lab teaches your child how to become a Master of science, in both the real world and the Star Wars galaxy. Using clear step-by-step instructions, the book guides scientists and makers through each experiment – from making Jabba’s gooey slime or a hovering landspeeder, to an Ewok catapult and a glowing Gungan Globe of Peace. Each experiment has fact-filled panels to explain the real-world science as well as the Star Wars science fiction from the movies.

With projects that are out of this world, this Star Wars book can keep children entertained for hours, making use of many household items such as cardboard tubes, baking soda, cornstarch, straws, balloons, and food coloring. There is also plenty to keep adventurous scientists engaged, with instructions on how to make your own bristlebot mouse droid, lightsaber duel, and Mustafar volcano. Star Wars Maker Lab supports STREAM topics and helps children to learn the basics of science by traveling through the Star Wars galaxy.

My Thoughts

This beautiful hard cover book is a child (and adults) dream come true. We are huge Star Wars fans although we do argue over if the newer or older movies are better (I still love the oldies!). This bold, vibrant book is full of ideas that help make the popular series come to life.

I have to be honest, some of the experiments would require you to have to go out and make a special purchase as you may not have them lying around the house. Which is perfectly okay – you just would have to plan out the projects to ensure you had every item (I don’t own a hamster ball but that project looked like so much fun).

We decided to tackle making Kyber crystals this weekend. I had most of the items needed except for clothespins but we improvised and it still worked. The kids loved the craft but were a bit impatient with wanting to eat the crystals as soon as possible. I loved how the book explained the process of creating the cyrstals and how it worked while incorporating a Star Wars theme. I was also a bit impatient and kept pulling the skewers out of the solution to check on the state of the crystal formation, this was fascinating to watch even as an adult!

This is an excellent craft book for any Star Wars fan. You will want to plan ahead to ensure you have everything you need to create the crafts but you will not be disappointed (our next item to tackle is creating our own light sabres – awesome right?). The instructions are easy to follow, a lot of illustrations to help you along the way and helpful hints (like watch the hot sugar boiling but this Mom still managed to splash herself!). Enjoy hours of Star Wars themed fun with this book – you will never have a dull PA or snow day again!

You can learn more about this book on the DK Canada website and purchase a copy on Amazon.

Disclosure: I received a copy of this book in order to facilitate this review. All opinions expressed are my own.

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