Glitter and Glue Book Review

Glitter and Glue

By Kelly Corrigan

Genre: Memoir

4 out of 5 chickadees singing! This book was “squarely in my wheelhouse.” I found it at a Goodwill and it was only $2, so I thought I’d give it a shot. As a former nanny/babysitter, I was intrigued by the story of Kelly nannying in another country. This book did not disappoint me.

Kelly goes to Australia as a 19 year old as part of her “seeing the world” tour. She gets a job as a nanny for the Tanner family. The Tanners have just lost their mother, Ellen. John is the father and his children are Millie, 7, and Martin, 5. Not until Kelly starts the job does she find out that Ellen’s son (John’s stepson), Evan, and Ellen’s father, Pop, also live in the house. She’s intrigued about the fact that Evan and Pop stay at the house even though their tie to the other family members (Ellen) is gone. She’s also interested in who Ellen was and how the family will move on without her. She becomes a bit of a surrogate mother to the children for a while. Throughout the story of Kelly nannying, she reflects on her relationship with her own mother. We also get to hear some of Kelly and her mother’s connection after she has her own children.

I was very interested in the Tanners’ lives and how Kelly fit into it. I thought she portrayed a lot of hope, positivity, and appreciation throughout this story. I really have no complaints. It was a well-done and sweet memoir.

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All I Can Handle Book Review

All I Can Handle: I’m no Mother Theresa: A Life Raising Three Girls with Autism

By Kim Stagliano

Genre: Memoir, Parenting

This book is probably a 3.5. Like many other reviewers, I was hoping this book would be more about how Kim manages three girls with autism and what their day to day lives are like. There was a lot of information in this book about various autism controversies. Do vaccines cause autism? Is autism exacerbated by diet? Should we try to “cure” autism or accept neurodiversity? These are a few of the issues that Kim brings up. While I found her discussions somewhat interesting, I wanted a little more memoir to this book.

Kim has a great sense of humor that shines through with her writing. She tells some hilarious stories that parents of children with autism will definitely be able to relate to. The book includes some personal pictures, which was a nice touch. Kim is at her best when telling stories about her life and her girls- I just wish there had been even more of that in the book.

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A Stolen Life Review

A Stolen Life

By Jaycee Dugard

Genre: Memoir, Autobiography

4 out of 5 chickadees singing. Jaycee is a truly amazing girl! She survived such a horrific situation and somehow raised two girls in spite of it all. This is her sharing her story. Unlike similar memoirs about people who have gone through horrific situations, this book was written by Jaycee alone. She says in the book’s introduction that this book may seem confusing, but that’s how her life felt during this time. It was good to have that “heads up” because the book did jump around a lot and was confusing. There were a few sentences that even seemed contradictory to each other and I’m not sure why that wasn’t fixed by an editor? Despite these issues, which I understood since Jaycee only had about a 5th grade education, this was still a good read.

I liked that this book included entries from Jaycee’s secret journal during the time. They weren’t very specific about what was happening in her life at the time, but they were filled with emotion. She was trying to make sense of the crazy new world she was put in where she had no control. I was amazed to read how Jaycee made a strange little life for herself and her daughters in the backyard. She learned to use the computer and created some graphic designs. She homeschooled her girls by printing worksheets off the internet. I was also shocked to read about how often she actually went out in public when she was older. Despite these things, her life was never her own. This book reminded me a lot of Hidden Girl: The True Story of a Modern-Day Slave Girl. Both girls were out in public at times, yet no one noticed that things were amiss. I also loved reading about Jaycee’s recovery because how does one recover from 18 years of sexual and emotional abuse?? I really want to find out more about Jaycee’s story, because there were some holes, and how she is doing now. This book is an incredible testament to the resiliency and strength of the human spirit!

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Skin Deep Review

Skin Deep

By Casey Watson

5 out of 5 singing chickadees!

This book was incredibly heartwarming. Sweet and affectionate Flip comes to live with Casey after a house fire. She has fetal alcohol syndrome (FASD) and is sure that she’s ugly. She attaches to Casey immediately, calling her mummy. Casey thinks it’s a part of her FASD- forming shallow attachments with people because she struggles with empathy. It turns out that Casey’s mother is an alcoholic who inadvertently started the house fire. More secrets about Flip’s difficult home life are revealed as she stays with the Watsons. We also get to read more about the Watson family, including Tyler, who they are fostering long-term.

I really enjoyed this book. It felt like a quick read and I fell in love with little Flip. I love Casey’s openness and honesty about fostering, the challenges she faces, and the mistakes she sometimes makes. I plan to read a lot more of her books!

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Seven Best Non-fiction Books I Read in 2016

Seven Best Non-fiction Books I Read in 2016

Hello readers! I read some awesome books this year! What about you? I’m going to eventually make a fiction list, but I read a lot of non-fiction this year, so here it goes! In order of awesomeness…

1. Instant Mom by Nia Vardalos: I loved this memoir by Nia Vardalos, the star and author of the “My Big, Fat Greek Wedding” movie. Nia writes about adopting her daughter from foster care. This book truly touched me, but was also very informative.

2. Take Control of the Noisy Class: From Chaos to Calm in 15 Seconds by Rob Plevin: This was the best classroom management book I have ever read. The author worked in both general and special education and some tough environments, so he really gets challenging students.

3. The People v. Disneyland by David Koenig: I loved this book about the various lawsuits against Disneyland over the years and how they resulted in changes in the park. Surprisingly not dry for a book about lawyers and lawsuits.

4. For the Love by Jen Hatmaker: This book is a collection of essays on a large variety of topics, including parenting, church, and social media. It’s very funny and many of her points are refreshing.

5. Hidden Girl: The True Story of a Modern-Day Child Slave by Shyima Hall and Lisa Wysocky: This book really opened my eyes to modern-day slavery. It is so insane to me that she was a slave in Southern California for 21 months before she was rescued. The depravity of some humans and the resiliency of other humans is shocking.

6. Another Place at the Table by Kathy Harrison: I loved this very real look at the American foster care system from a woman who has been fostering for 13 years. She is brutally honest and an inspiration.

7. How to Talk to Kids Can Learn by Adele Faber and Elaine Mazlish: This was a great book for anyone who works with children. It was also the most engaging book about teaching I have ever read, as it is full of comic strips. This book has a lot of practical strategies for changing your language to improve your relationships with children.

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