Archive for August, 2010


Title: The Golden Pathway

Written by: Donna McDine

Illustrated by: K.C. Snider

Ages: 8-12

Publisher: Guardian Angel Publishing, Inc.

Hardcover: ISBN: 978-1-61633-081-1; 1616330813

Soft cover: ISBN: 978-1-61633-088-0; 1616330880

eBook: ISBN: 978-1-61633-082-8; 1616330821

Published: August 2010

Raised in a hostile environment where abuse occurs daily, David attempts to break the mold and befriends the slave, Jenkins, owned by his Pa. Fighting against extraordinary times and beliefs, David leads Jenkins to freedom with no regard for his own safety and possible consequences dealt out by his Pa.

Author: Donna McDine 

Artist: K. C. Snider

Ordering information:

Guardian Angel Publishing: 

Article first published as Book Review: The Golden Pathway by Donna McDine on Blogcritics.

Do you like reading books based on historical truths? Are you one who is fascinated with understanding what happened at a particular time in American history? If you answered yes to the aforementioned questions, you must read Donna McDine’s The Golden Pathway.

The book is about a dark period in American history. The story is about David, a young boy who attempts to free Jenkins, a slave owned by his Pa.

David’s Pa is a mean-spirited drunkard who has very little regard for his own flesh and blood. He often verbally abuses David by calling him a sissy every chance he gets.

David is the complete opposite of his Pa. He is a kind-hearted and compassionate boy. He risks his own life in an attempt to lead Jenkins to freedom. The daily beatings that his Pa subject Jenkins to, compelled David to action. David is certain if something is not done Jenkins will end up dead.

Will David get caught? Can he safely lead Jenkins to freedom?

I was held captive wondering how in the world David could accomplish such a dangerous mission. The story has a very interesting twist that kept me guessing until the very end.

This book shows that for every evil deed committed, there is always many individuals willing to make a wrong right; this is the part of the story I found to be very inspiring. The dad represents evil, but the son represents all that is good.

It took many cold-hearted people to make slavery continue, but we must never forget that if it were not for people like David, slavery would have taken a lot longer to be abolished.

The fine illustrations by K.C Snider made the story come alive. The expressions on David’s face exemplified the compassion he showed toward Jenkins. I am especially fond of the picture of David trying to comfort Jenkins after being beaten to a pulp by his Pa. Ms. Snider’s illustrations captured the true essence of the story and that is why the story jumps off the page.

Reading The Golden Pathway made me stop to think about all the kind-hearted people who helped many slaves and made it possible for them to escape.


Article first published as Book Review: The Bug That Plagued the Entire Third Grade by Lori Calabrese on Blogcritics.

Would you like to take a trip down memory lane? Do you remember being in the third grade? I do not recall my own experience, but I remember quite well when my three children attended third grade. I will never forget the many times they scared me half to death by bringing home snakes and many other creatures.

Lori Calabrese’s The Bug That Plagued the Entire Third Grade is a delightful story about Matt. Matt is determined to enter his school’s Bug-A-Fair. To enter the contest he must present a bug. Lucky for Matt, he has found the perfect bug, but things take a turn for the worst after Matt becomes ill with a cold.

Matt has to convince his mom to let him go to school so he can submit his priceless bug to the Bug-A-Fair. His mother agrees. Matt proudly arrives to school to submit his bug, but much to his dismay, after a strong sneeze, the lid comes off the bug jar and his bug flies away into the third grade class.

Will Matt be able to capture his bug in time to enter the school’s contest? Or will his teacher send him home to recover from his cold? This story will warm your heart because it showcases the adventures of a young boy who wants to impress his teacher and win the attention of his fellow classmates.

Reading the story will surely bring a huge smile to your face, just like it did me, because it reminded me so much of similar adventures my three children and their friends experienced during their elementary years in school.

Every elementary school should have a copy of this precious book in their school library.


-For more information about the book visit Lori at:

  • Paperback: 24 pages
  • Publisher: Dragonfly Publishing, Incorporated (August 4, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1936381052
  • ISBN-13: 978-1936381050

         CLICK HERE FOR THE AUDIO:  A0000023

    There are two very important verbs in the Spanish language.  These verbs are used on a daily basis to communicate.  Both ser and estar means to “BE” but they are not used interchangeably.  When I was first learning Spanish my teacher taught me one of the easiest ways to distinguish between SER/ ESTAR is to remember ESTAR is ALWAYS used to talk about location and your physical state, any other usage SER must be used.  She also taught me another tip; SER is used to describe people.

    Here are some examples of ESTAR-LOCATION:

    Ella está en la cocina.-She is in the kitchen
    El está en la casa. – He is in the house
    Nosotros estamos en el jardín.- We are in the garden
    Pablo y Paco están en la escuela. Pablo and Paco are in school
    María y Lupe están en España.- Maria and Lupe are in Spain


    Ella está enferma.- She is sick
    El está nervioso- He is nervous
    Nosotros estamos muy cansados- We are very tired
    Pablo y Paco están  enfermos- Pablo and Paco are sick
    María está  muy bien- María is feeling very well


    Yo estoy
    Tu estás
    El está
    Ella está
    Usted está
    Nosotros estamos
    Nosotras estamos
    Ellos están
    Ellas están
    Ustedes están


    Yo soy
    Tu eres
    Él es
    Ella es
    Usted es
    Nosotros somos
    Nosotras somos
    Ellos son
    Ellas son
    Ustedes son

    Yo soy Americana-I am American
    Ellos son Mexicanos- They are Mexicanos
    Ella  es flaca- She is skinny
    Nosotros somos  alumnos- we are students


    Article first published as Steps to Help Raise Globally Sensitive Children on Blogcritics.


    Would you like your children to grow up knowing about other cultures?  If you answered yes, here are a few things you can do to help your children become globally sensitive. 

    Firstly, enroll your child in a foreign language class.  It is a very good idea to expose your children to a foreign language at an early age.  The study of a foreign language will teach your child not only the language but about the culture of that country.   There are many long term benefits in doing this.  Statistics have shown that the earlier you learn a language, the easier it is for an individual to master that language.

    A child who starts language learning early on will do much better in that language when he or she is ready to attend high school.  Many colleges require a minimum of three years of a foreign language before you can be considered for admittance.  Additionally, a student with prior language exposure will be able to take   advanced placement level classes by the time he or she is a senior.   A student taking AP classes can accrue college credits while in high school.  My niece graduated from college in three years because she took AP classes while in high school.

    Secondly, if you have the financial means visit a foreign country.  Travelling can open a brand new world to children, thus opening the doors to see from firsthand experience what other people are like.   Another option is perhaps going on a mission trip with a church group.  A mission trip is real eye opener not only for children but for adults too. 

    Thirdly, you can bring another culture and country into your child’s life without leaving your home by sponsoring an exchange student.   There are agencies that will help you locate a suitable student to help meet your specific needs.   There are even grant programs sponsored by the U.S. Department of State.  International educational exchange is the best way to foster mutual understanding between people around the world.  I lived with a French family in France; I still keep in touch with them to this day.  My daughter recently returned from spending the semester in Lausanne, Switzerland.  After her semester of studies ended, she visited with my former host family for two weeks. 

     My daughter helped expand my former host family’s English language skills and understanding of American culture while she learned about the French way of life.  No textbook or movie can do this as effectively as being there in person.

    Raising globally responsible children can be a fun adventure.  I believe everyone will benefit from this important endeavor.  In the end we can find joy and peace in knowing we have done our part in making the world a much better place for future generations.

    BOOK REVIEW: Change of Heart By shari Maurer


    Rich Text
    Article first published as Book Review: Change of Heart by Shari Maurer on Blogcritics.


    Have you ever wondered about organ donation?  Did you know that 106,000 people in the United States need to receive organ transplants?  If you have ever pondered upon the aforementioned questions,   you should consider reading “Change of Heart” by Shari Maurer.

    This is Shari Maurer’s first young adult novel.  Married to a cardiologist, Maurer’s novel is a gripping story about Emmi, a sixteen year old girl who needs a heart transplant.  Her life turned into a nightmare overnight.  A star soccer athlete, Emmi contracted viral myocarditis.  The condition damaged her heart permanently, requiring her to get a transplant.

    The story explores many themes:  Love, loss and how mortal we all are.  It is a story that will show you how to appreciate all that life has to offer, for no one truly knows when his or her life can come to an abrupt end.

     The story also showcases the true behavior of the typical teenager.   Though I did not care for  the way Emmi treated her mother, but that aspect of her character portrayed very well how most teenagers act irrationally.

    The main character Emmi befriends Abe, a sixteen year old who also had a heart transplant.  Through Abe, Emmi learned how to cope with her heart transplant.  It was also through him that   Emmi learned what true friendship and love is. 

    Emmi had two other close friends.  Becca and Sam.   Sam and Emmi became boyfriend and girlfriend, but later in the story Becca and Sam betrayed Emmi.  The events that led to the betrayal were very real and believable.   The author did a real good job showing how human Emmi is and how she later forgave Becca and Sam.

    The story kept me captivated to the very end.   The one thing reading this moving story did for me, it showed me how we should never take life for granted.  I also learned the importance of organ donations. Donating an organ may save as many as eight lives.  I never gave a second thought to the idea of being an organ donor, after reading Change of Heart I decided to become an organ donor.




    The verb être is a very important verb in the French language.  It is used in daily conversations.


    Je suis
    Tu es
    Il est
    Elle est
    Nous Sommes
    Vous êtes
    Ils sont
    Elles sont

    In many of my previous post I used the verb être to describe and say thing about others.  Notice when saying something about yourself you also use the être.  Here are some examples

    Je suis Haïtienne- I am Haïtien
    Je suis petite-  I am short
    Je suis mince-  I am thin or skinny

    Here is where learning when to use the subject pronouns comes in handy.  In my previous posts we covered in details when to use the subject pronouns, now we are ready to study verbs.

    Make no mistake; you MUST UNDERSTAND how to use verbs before you can master a new language.

    I used the subject pronoun JE to say something about myself
    The subject TU is used when someone is talking directly to you
    Tu es Haïtienne? – Are you Haitian?

    The subject IL is used when speaking about a male
    IL est Haïtien ? – Is he Haitian?

    The subject Elle is used when speaking about a girl
    Elle est Haïtienne? – Is she Haitian?

    Please take the time to review this information.  My next post I will cover the plural forms of être.




    Today we will talk about when to use the plural forms ellos/ellas.

    ELLOS-Used when talking about a mixed group of boys and girls.

    EXAMPLES: Pedro, Paco y Mónica son Mexicanos-  Ellos son Mexicanos.  They are Mexicans.

    Raúl, Eduardo, Ricardo y Eva son Mexicanos también- Ellos son Mexicanos también.  They are also Mexicans

    Julio Iglesias, Rickie Martin, Juan Gabriel y Talía cantan muy bien- Ellos cantan muy bien.  They sing very well.

    ELLAS-Used when talking about a group of girls or females only.

    EXAMPLES: María, Eva, y Elena comen pizza- Ellas comen pizza. They are eating pizza.

    Angélica, Magdalena, y Marisol son muy simpáticas- Ellas son muy simpáticas. They are very nice.

    Josefina, Mónica y Lupe son muy delgadas y altas- Ellas son muy delgadas y altas. They are  verytall and  very thin.

    TIPS:  Listen to the audio recording several times until you have the information memorized.  Make flashcards and put a picture next to each to help you remember the information better.  Happy Study!




    Ils and elles are the plural forms of il/elle.  When speaking about more than one you use these plural forms.   ILS- Used when speaking about  a mixed group of boys and girls.

    EXAMPLES:  Marie et Paul sont  américains- Ils sont américain- They are Americans(Marie and Paul)

    Halle Berry et Morgan Freeman sont acteurs américains- Ils ont acteurs américains. They are Americans
    actors.(Halle Berry and Morgan Freeman are American actors)

    ELLES-Used when speaking about a group of girls only.

    EXAMPLES: Halle Berry et Julia Roberts sont actrices américaines-Elles sont actrices américaines(They are American actresses)

    Jennifer Aniston et  Sharon Stone sont blondes- Elles sont blondes( They are blonds)

    Learning when to use these pronouns will enable you to speak about people correctly.  It can be very embarrassing to use he when you  mean she and vice versa. 

    Happy Study!



    Last lesson I spoke about the French pronouns il/elle.  Today will talk about the él/ella in Spanish.  Remember French and Spanish are both romance languages, they have similar conventions and grammatical structures.

    ÉL can be replaced with a masculine singular noun- place, person, or thing
    Ella can be replaced with a feminine singular noun-place, person or thing

    EXAMPLES: Pablo es Cubano- Él es Cubano, Julio Iglesias es Español,  Él es Español, Denzel Washington es Americano- Él es Americano-(Pronouns are used to replace nouns)

    EXAMPLES: María es Cubana- Ella es Cubana,   Eva es española- Ella es española,  Halle Berry es americana- Ella es americana

    Again there is no guess work; you need to understand how to use these pronouns because they are used on a daily basis to communicate with people!


    Title: The Slippery Art Of Book Reviewing
    Authors: Mayra Calvani and Anne K. Edwards
    Publisher: Twilight Times Books
    Copyright: June 2008
    ISBN:-13- 978-1-933353-22-7
    Format: Trade Paperback
    Genre: Book Reviewing
    Rating: 5 stars

    Are you a new author? Do you need a comprehensive manual that will help you understand how to promote yourself and your book? Getting your book reviewed is the most important step you can take to help you advance. 

    After reading the book, “The Slippery Art of Book Reviewing” by Mayra Calvani and Anne K. Edwards, I learned about the importance of quality book reviews.  This purposefully written guide explores how to set up your own website for reviewing, how to hone in your skills to become a well sought after book reviewer, along with numerous, well-designed aspects of book reviewing.

    The resource section is invaluable. Towards the back of The Slippery Art of Book Reviewing, there is an abundance of information, including contacts for various publishers, online, and print media. Mentioned are several references to Amazon. Because of the impact that Amazon reviews have on books sales, Amazon reviewers will find this particular guide to be very supportive.

    It is an exceptionally instructive book. A few topics covered in the book that I found to be very helpful are as follows:

    Five keys to being a good reviewer
    A reviewer’s responsibility to the reader, author and publisher
    The difference between book reviews, reports and press releases
    Pre-publication versus post-publication reviews
    Dozens of print and online venues for getting started as a reviewer

    I highly recommend this book for any would-be reviewer, but also, for any author who would like to get reviewed!