Here are the latest titles I’m recommending (and in case you’re new here, if I don’t like a book I read – whether I’ve purchased it or received it from a publisher for review – it doesn’t make the cut. This blog is about the things I love!)

The Empty Room by Lauren B. Davis

This fictional work follows a day in the life of an alcoholic, with frequent glimpses back into her past. Every time I put it down I couldn’t wait to pick it back up again. The way I worded it on Twitter was that I can’t relate to alcoholism, but I certainly feel like I have a far better understanding of it now, after reading this book. Plus, Davis is a Canadian-born writer (award-winning, in case that matters to you).

How To Be An Everyday Philanthropist by Nicole Bouchard Boles 

This book for adults has tons of fantastic philanthropic ideas, and only a small section of them involving your cash. It’s divided into sections such as “Use Your Body”, “Use Your Family”, “Use Your Time”, “Use Your Trash”, etc.

There are many tips in here that my family and I already do, but I picked up some new gems, such as writing letters to ill children. The book is American, but I’d love to find out if there is a system for doing this in Canada. I also decided that I need to start giving blood again – before I had kids I donated blood at least 20 times, and then just stopped and never got back into it, so I have the next local clinic date written in my calendar. Tons of ideas to suit a range of ages, talents, and incomes.

Talk With Your Kids by Michael Parker, M. Ed.

The format of this book is amazing: a great introduction, followed by 109 topics, about 2 pages each, with ready-to-use questions to spark discussions with your children (or students). My “kids” (home and school) are too young, as it’s recommended for ages 10-15 but will definitely be holding on to it to use with my daughters or if I ever teach an older grade. Topics include: Music Downloads, Sports, What Is Cheating At School?, Is It Ever Okay To Lie?, Should We Cage Animals?, Housework, Online Etiquette, Making Promises…the list goes on. I can’t wait to use the book as a springboard for talking about some of these sensitive and/or controversial topics at home.

David and Goliath: The Brick Bible For Kids  by Brendan Powell Smith

“Brick” means Lego (I’m assuming the author couldn’t use the trademarked word) and this book is full of Lego-built illustrations depicting the David and Goliath Bible story. My students loved this book, and the boys especially are eager to reread (and get a closer look at the pictures). It does mention the cutting-off-of-the-head, which some parents may not be comfortable with, but if your child is already familiar with the Old Testament, that detail will be nothing new. The author has also recreated Noah’s Ark and The Christmas Story in the same way…I’d love to add those books to my classroom library as well!

What’s Bugging Nurse Penny? A Story About Lice by Catherine Stier, Illustrated by Suzanne Beaky

While I will not delve into personal stories about lice at the present moment (I may get there someday), young kids need to know about lice: how it’s transmitted (in order to prevent it) and that it has nothing to do with their cleanliness. (Parents need to know this too – and here are so many misconceptions and so much misinformation out there as well…not that I’ve done a lot of research on it or anything. I’ve just…heard from a friend.)

This book covers the facts in an entertaining way, and my students really enjoyed listening to the story and asking questions afterwards.

Disclosure: I was provided with some of the above books for review purposes. Opinions are, as always, my own.

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