Friday, May 29, 2020

Time Off

Normally, I review children’s books, but I thought this topic was important for those grownups who care for and teach children. Time Off: A Practical Guide to Building Your Rest Ethic and Finding Success Without the Stress, a book by John Fitch and Max Frenzel, was just released.  It is an in-depth look at time spent not working and the concept of rest ethic.  The authors begin with a stroll through the history of the view of work vs. leisure, beginning with the ancient hunter-gatherer cultures. It is interesting to contrast how the ancients only did enough work to ensure survival, whereas today, work tends to consume us and leaves little time for true relaxation.

John Fitch & Max Frenzel

Nine traits are presented to show the importance of mindfully incorporating time off in one’s life.  The authors show how a good rest ethic is as important as a good work ethic.  They recount the benefits of rest, including better health and greater productivity and creativity when working. They show how excessive time spent working can actually be counterproductive.  The final chapter takes a thought-provoking look at the future and how people will compete with artificial intelligence. Throughout the book the authors invite the reader to engage in the topics they discuss by suggesting an activity to practice the topic. I like the profiles peppered throughout the book that make it an interesting read and illustrate the authors’ points.


I expected this to be “researchy” and “textbooky” book.  While the authors do support their work with research, it is not at all a dull book.  I enjoyed reading it and learned a great deal.  It is a book that will cause the readers to reflect on their own attitudes and habits related to work ethic and rest ethic.

Wednesday, May 27, 2020


Author Kat Kronenberg has crafted a story of encouragement for children. The third book in her LIVE BIG trilogy, THINK BIG, takes the reader to the wilds of east Africa again.  The animals were faced with a series of challenges brought on by a lightning strike that set the savanna on fire.  Each animal had to connect its head and heart and overcome its fears to help the others.  Even Baobab Tree came up with a grand idea to save the animals.  Throughout the fiery crisis, poor Kudu struggled with fear, but finally was able to THINK BIG and rescue Mama Bush Baby and her baby.

The author includes a section at the end of the book to help understand the concepts and catch words used in the story.  Kronenberg’s website includes some hands-on activities to follow up the book.  Proceeds from the sale of her book go to

David Miles created the illustrations for THINK BIG.  His use of light really brings the story to life.  See more of his illustrations in the gallery of his website.

Monday, May 18, 2020

Dress-Up Adventures


            Pretend you are ten years old.  Instead of spending a lot of your summer playing on a sunny Florida beach, you are stuck inside with nothing to do but read.  That’s OK.  You love to read.  Then, each book you read sets your imagination in gear for some fun! 


All this really did happen to the author of Legends from Mom’s Closet.  This author, Sasha Olsen, really is ten years old.  Thanks to an exceptionally rainy Florida summer, she spent more time doing one of her favorite activities: reading.  She wound up reading biographies of ten amazing women. She read about women from different cultures, like Frida Kahlo, Yayoi Kusama, and Billie Holiday.  She read about women from different time periods, like Cleopatra, Marie Antoinette, and Jackie Kennedy.  She even read about some stars of their days, like Marlene Dietrich, Audrey Hepburn, Twiggy, and Joan Jett.

Reading about these legends' lives inspired her to try to recreate each woman after she read about her. To do that, she had to check out her mother’s closet to put together the costumes.  Sometimes her grandmother even came to her rescue with hair styling assistance and a few items of clothing.

To document all this fun, she wrote about it in her diary.  What a fun read!  Her mom’s friend took beautiful photographs of all her costumes and props and ofSasha all dressed up.  She even included a page of directions on how to dress up like each of the women. 

Your girls from about six to 12 years old will enjoy this book.  Maybe this will be a springboard to read some biographies that will spark their imaginations.  Don’t be surprised if you find them rummaging in your closet to find some dress-up clothes!  

Author, Sasha Olsen