Author Archive

Book Review: Stars Before Bedtime

Stars before bedtime is all about the different constellations in the sky.  There are icons for exercises you can do for relaxation before bedtime throughout the book.  I found the stars and constellations in this book to be so cool, that while I was in Jamaica and out on the beach watching the Hanson concerts each night, I would try to see what constellations I could find.  I was able to spot Orion’s belt on my own, but I also used the app “SkyView” to look for even more and was able to find my Zodiac constellation and many more.  If you have a child who is interested in the stars this may be a great book to use before bedtime and combined with the app may be a really cool “hands on” so to speak project for them!

I received a free e-copy of this book in order to write this review, I was not otherwise compensated.


About the Book

Create a calm bedtime ritual with this debut book in the Before Bedtime series, Stars Before Bedtime – a soothing journey through the glittering constellations of the night sky woven with tried-and-true sleep exercises from the best-selling author and clinical psychologist Dr. Jessamy Hibberd.

In this fast-paced world, relaxing and preparing for sleep can be difficult for children. This beautiful, fact-filled book helps ease bedtime struggles with mindfulnessmuscle relaxationgentle yoga posesvisualization, and other exercises proven to help kids release stress and anxietyclear their mindsget ready for bed, and fall asleep faster while also boosting happiness and improving overall health.

With gentle, calming artwork from the wonderfully talented Hannah Tolson and simple, melodic text, children explore the sky’s constellations and the mythical stories behind them as they get their minds and bodies ready for bed. Each exercise, called out by a moon symbol, is simple and easy to do. Usher in calm with these and more soothing techniques:

Stretch out on your bed like the snake-like constellation Draco the Dragon—take a deep breath in through your nose and then breathe out all the air through your mouth, making a hissing sound, just like a slithering snake!Close your eyes and picture the ship from the constellation Argo Navis in your head. Now climb on board and let’s go on an adventure. You are the captain of the ship. Maybe you’ll dream of floating through a moonlit sky on broad wings, like Aquila the Eagle. Or perhaps you’ll drift down a glittering stream with Cygnus the Swan.Hold your hands together just like Castor and Pollux, the twins of the constellation Gemini. Rest them on your chest—can you feel your breath moving in and out as your chest rises and falls?

The pages are self-contained so you can start anywhere and complete as many, or as few, exercises as you like. Join your child as they complete the exercises—you might just find something that works for you, too. Tips on mindfulness and extra resources for parents are included at the back of the book. Stargazers of all ages will love this journey through constellations.

Good sleep is essential for growing brains. Each beautifully illustrated book in the Before Bedtime series helps curious children prepare for sleep by uniting a different intriguing non-fiction topic with sleep-inducing mindfulness exercises; an effective alternative to the traditional bedtime story. Fascinating facts are paired with guided relaxation techniques inspired by the topic for a peaceful routine that not only leaves bedtime battles far behind but equips children for success in a hectic world.

Book Review: Cryptocurrency

Cryptocurrency is a digital currency, like bitcoin.  Crypto means hidden.   Bitcoin uses block chain technology to be created and if you lose it, it is gone forever.  There is a story in this book about someone who buried a hard drive with bitcoin on it – now worth $127 million and it is totally missing.  There are definitely pluses and minuses on using cryptocurrency so it will be interesting to see how things evolve.

I received a free e-copy of this book in order to write this review. I was not otherwise compensated.

About the Book

Cryptocurrency is a new digital form of money. It can be transferred, it doesn’t involve banks, and it can be used to purchase items on the internet and in some stores. As cryptocurrency gets more popular and widespread, it will impact people’s lives in new and important ways. Includes glossary, websites, and bibliography for further reading.

Book Review: Online Search

Online Search teaches about the ways you can find things on the internet.  It starts by explaining how early computers were HUGE! and that computer programming is basically a more complex way of saying to give a computer instructions.  Searches aren’t always accurate, but it depends on what you tell it to look for as it can take things very literally.  It also talks a little bit about data privacy concerns – which is a big deal for everyone – and comes up a LOT in my cyber security grad classes!

I received a free e-copy of this book in order to write this review. I was not otherwise compensated.

About the Book

Online searches help people find information on the internet. Search engines can help find anything from the weather forecast to an episode of a favorite TV show. With more and more devices performing searches, people can find the information they need anywhere. Includes glossary, websites, and bibliography for further reading.

Book Review: Reusable Rockets

Reusable rockets is all about rockets that are, well, reusable.  Space X has one that they are hoping to use again – it has landed safely and is now ready to be reused.  This is a really cool concept and SpaceX is doing a lot of really great things with rockets.  Maybe that means eventually we’ll be able to travel really fast and live on Mars?

I received a free e-copy of this book in order to write this review. I was not otherwise compensated.

About the Book

Reusable rockets are rockets that can be launched, recovered, and launched again. Reusable rockets are already in use, and they have been used to supply the International Space Station. Reusing rockets will help bring costs down and open access to space for many more people. Includes glossary, websites, and bibliography for further reading.

Book Review: Clay Play! Animal Favorites

This is a fun book with instructions on how to make all your animal favorites out of clay!  There are general animals, birds and sealife! Some of the ones I’d love to try and make are the unicorn, panda, koala, whale and dolphin!  There are even instructions on how to make accessories so your animals can sport hats and scarfs for the winter!  The book includes all the supplies and tools you will need to make your very own menagerie!

I received a free e-copy of this book in order to write this review. I was not otherwise compensated.


About the Book

Full-color illustrations and easy-to-follow directions explain basic techniques as well as every step of the crafting process for 29 clay projects — a sloth, flamingo, narwhal, llama, panda, zebra, unicorn, koala, elephant, and other cute critters. Each project includes a list of materials consisting of colored clay and ordinary household items. The step-by-step instructions feature numerals corresponding to color photos that provide helpful examples. Crafters of all ages will adore these fun-filled projects, which make charming keepsakes and unique gifts.

Book Review: Stephen Hawking

This book is part of the “Little People, BIG DREAMS” series and is a board book for younger kids to learn the story of Stephen Hawking.  This is a pretty cool way to teach kids about dreaming big – “No matter how difficult life may seem there is always something you can succeed at” is a great message for children – and anyone, really!

I received a free e-copy of this book in order to write this review, I was not otherwise compensated.


About the Book

This board book version of Stephen Hawking—from the critically acclaimed Little People, BIG DREAMS series—introduces the youngest dreamers to the incredible life of this genius physicist and author.

When Stephen Hawking was a little boy, he used to stare up at the stars and wonder about the universe. Although he was never top of the class, his curiosity took him to the best universities in England: Oxford and Cambridge. It also led him to make one of the biggest scientific discoveries of the 20th century: Hawking radiation. Babies and toddlers will love to snuggle as you read to them the engaging story of this fascinating scientist, and will also enjoy exploring the stylish and quirky illustrations of this sturdy board book on their own.

Little People, BIG DREAMS is a best-selling series of books and educational games that explore the lives of outstanding people, from designers and artists to scientists and activists. All of them achieved incredible things, yet each began life as a child with a dream.

This empowering series offers inspiring messages to children of all ages, in a range of formats. The board books are told in simple sentences, perfect for reading aloud to babies and toddlers. The hardcover versions present expanded stories for beginning readers. Boxed gift sets allow you to collect a selection of the books by theme. Paper dolls, learning cards, matching games, and other fun learning tools provide even more ways to make the lives of these role models accessible to children.

Inspire the next generation of outstanding people who will change the world with Little People, BIG DREAMS!

Book Review: Creating Celtic Animal Designs

Creating Celtic Animal Designs is a book all about tangled knot work.  There are birds, hounds, lions, hares, horses, snakes, fish, foxes, bears… While these all look super amazing I fear they are a bit too advanced for my skills.  The book includes techniques and materials needed for making your own, but I am not sure that this is a project I’ll be adding to my ever growing to try list any time soon.

I received a free e-copy of this book in order to write this review, I was not otherwise compensated.

About the Book

Many instruction books just teach how to duplicate designs without providing any clues for the next step — making your own! This unique guide features the highly effective Aon method, a technique for creating your own original designs rather than copying examples. It’s easy to comprehend, with simple step-by-step instructions that focus on incorporating animal forms into Celtic patterns and designs.
Creating Celtic Animal Designs builds on author Cari Buziak’s experience teaching and writing about Celtic patterns and their creation, meaning, and history. Her nine in-depth examples encompass both traditional and contemporary renderings of animals — hounds, lions, hares, birds, and other creatures. Cari demonstrates the freehand drawing of Celtic knots and moves beyond the basics to show how to manipulate and develop stand-alone patterns into panels and combinations. Artists, designers, art instructors, tattoo artists, and anyone who appreciates Celtic designs will find this book a treasury of both instruction and inspiration.

Book Review: 108 Stitches

108 Stitches is a book from MLB Pitcher Ron Darling, which had some controversy surrounding it with some mentions he made about players on the 1986 Mets team.  Unfortunately he was supposed to make a CT appearance promoting this book that I was hoping to attend, but it ended up getting canceled.  I thought this book contained a lot of fun and interesting stories about his teammates as well as some stories about his time as an announcer for the game which he has been doing not only for the Mets games on SNY but some playoff games on TBS as well.  Most interesting were his stories about Yogi’s buttcrack (I never thought I’d ever type that!), Harvey vs Collins in the World Series and Wilmer crying.  The latter two I had watched on TV so it was interesting to get another perspective of these events.  While this book took me nearly a year to read, I blame my grad school load and not Ron’s writing style – had I had the time to actually devote to reading this book I am sure I would have finished it much sooner – but the chapters were set up in such a way that it was perfectly find to read one here or there and come back to it much later and still be able to enjoy the full story put forth.

I received a free e-copy of this book in order to write this review, I was not otherwise compensated.

About the Book

This is New York Times bestselling author and Emmy-nominated broadcaster Ron Darling’s 108 baseball anecdotes that connect America’s game to the men who played it.

In 108 StitchesNew York Times bestselling author and Emmy Award-winning broadcaster Ron Darling offers his own take on the “six degrees of separation” game and knits together wild, wise, and wistful stories reflecting the full arc of a life in and around our national pastime.

Darling has played with or reported on just about everybody who has put on a uniform since 1983, and they in turn have played with or reported on just about everybody who put on a uniform in a previous generation. Through relationships with baseball legends on and off the field, like Yale coach Smoky Joe Wood, Willie Mays, Bart Giamatti, Tom Seaver and Mickey Mantle, Darling’s reminiscences reach all the way back to Babe Ruth and other early twentieth-century greats.

Like the 108 stitches on a baseball, Darling’s experiences are interwoven with every athlete who has ever played, every coach or manager who ever sat in a dugout, and every fan who ever played hooky from work or school to sit in the bleachers for a day game.

Darling’s anecdotes come together to tell the story of his time in the game, and the story of the game itself.

Book Review: Get Coding 2! Build Five Computer Games Using HTML and JavaScript

Get Coding 2! Teaches you how to code web-based computer games using HTML and Javascript.  It starts with the history of these programs and making games and then goes into making games which get more complicated and bigger as you go along.  It also explains how all games are essentially made in the same way they were in the 1980s!  I liked that there are some step-by-step instructions in here for beginners and am looking forward to finding the time to trying some of them out!

I received a free e-copy of this book in order to write this review, I was not otherwise compensated.

About the Book

Ready to learn how to code a game? Get an introduction to programming with this fun and accessible guide.

Learn HTML and JavaScript. Design and build five interactive computer games. Create cool graphics. Code simple artificial intelligence. This appealing guide, covering essential coding concepts, offers an ideal introduction to all these activities and more. By following simple step-by-step instructions and completing five exciting missions, aspiring programmers are invited to code well-known games such as tic-tac-toe and table tennis, then customize their projects to test their skills.