A Woman's Voice

Book Reviews ~ 12 Steps 12 Stories Spiritual Messages of Recovery for Children and the Child in You

Debra Alessandra12 Steps12 Stories
Spiritual Messages of Recovery for Children and the Child in You by Author Debra Alessandra

Motivational/Inspirational Author Debra Alessandra has a special gift. She is making every effort to reach out to children to help them understand and overcome the struggles of having a family member/loved one who is dealing with the negative consequences of alcoholism.

12 Steps 12 Stories consists of just that…12 delightful and easy to understand tales that coincide with the 12 steps to the recovery program offered to those with an addiction to alcohol. At the beginning of the book, Author Debra Alessandra adeptly explains the disease of alcoholism and its three dimensional parts of mind, body, and spirit. She states that “the alcoholic has lost their connection to a Power Greater than themselves.” She further extrapolates on the 12 step recovery program.

In her noble effort to help children cope with this debilitating disease, Author Debra Alessandra utilizes colorful characters and illustrations to reinforce each step that a recovering alcoholic is actually facing. In doing so, she creatively and effectively takes the child through the program along with the recovering alcoholic so that they can better understand the experiences of the parent or loved one. This process is a “valuable resource” for the parent as it may “help the children you love feel comforted, included, and valued”.

This children’s book is definitely an enjoyable and easy-to-read little gem. It deals with a very difficult subject in a positive way in order to openly and honestly discuss alcoholism and the effects it has on the whole family as a unit. In other words, it offers the opportunity to deal with this disease as a family rather than the go-it-alone approach. There is a strong “spiritual emphasis” incorporated into the book which stresses the need for a Higher Power to help cope with the devastating disease of alcoholism. In my opinion, this emphasise can be beneficial when dealing with other illnesses as well. As the author states…”these 12 stories will assist parents, grandparents, relatives, counselors, therapists, and members of the clergy to begin to discuss the spiritual principles behind the steps.” I wholeheartedly agree!

Inspirational Author & Book Reviewer ~ Dolores Ayotte

Book Reviews ~ Princess Natoree and the Tree Climber

From the first page to the last, I was captivated by this great little book. I don’t think I have ever seen such a bright and colorful children’s book. The story of Princess Natoree, only child of King Oska and Queen Emma, is both heart-warming and educational as it contains a moral lesson that is beneficial for all to learn.

King Oska is very protective of his only child and very much wants what’s best for her. He is not as generous in spirit as his lovely wife Queen Emma, who has every desire for Princess Natoree to be happy. Princess Natoree loves all the children in the kingdom and enjoys playing with them on a regular basis. King Oska does not like this arrangement and is selective in choosing whom she may play with…this restriction brings some sadness to Princess Natoree because she misses being with her friends. One of her very dear friends is a fragile boy by the name of Matura who walks with the help of a wooden crutch.

In order to ensure that Princess Natoree marries an ideal man, King Oska decides to set up an endurance test. The winner of this test will then become the future Prince to ten year old Princess Natoree. Queen Emma is not enthusiastic about this arrangement as she prefers Princess Natoree to marry for love. The challenge set up for all the young boys to try and qualify to be the Prince is that they must scale the tallest tree in the Kingdom. No one is able to manage this tough physical feat except…

Talented J.B. Babo has done a fine job of teaching a lifelong lesson “about overcoming all odds to do extraordinary things”. I can’t wait to read this gem of a book to my grandchildren!

I received a free copy of this book from the author for my honest review.

Inspirational Author & Book Reviewer ~ Dolores Ayotte

Book Reviews ~ Tadeo Turtle

Author Jan Cox
One of my favorite genres to read and review is children’s books and “Tadeo Turtle” lives up to my expectations of a well-written and enjoyable book for the young child. Author Jan Cox is a former elementary school teacher who has tapped into her area of expertise to pen a great children’s book. It is filled with her own handpainted illustrations and a story with a simple life lesson that is bound to benefit its young reading audience.

Tadeo Turtle is a typical fun-loving turtle who thinks that his pleasure is being hampered by his heavy shell. In a dream, Tadeo’s shell accidentally falls into a stream. In his travels he meets up with a CAT who mistakes him for a rat. Tadeo desperately seeks the shelter and safety of his shell. It is difficult to find as it looks very much like the rocks at the edge of the stream. He finds it just in the knick of time before the CAT is able to pounce on him. Tadeo soon realizes the benefit of being content with just the way God intended him to be….shell and all!

I especially enjoy children’s book that are written in rhyme and with a moral lesson as well. Author Jan Cox has done a fine job of including both of these techniques in “Tadeo Turtle”. I also like the idea of the additional fun activity ideas at the end of the book. They will definitely stimulate young children to use their imaginations as they creatively engage in these suggestions…i.e. paper turtle plate, dough turtle, rock turtle, etc. I am also a former teacher and grandmother so I fully realize the pleasure these suggestions will bring.

Inspirational Author & Book Reviewer ~ Dolores Ayotte

Book Reviews ~ Paul The Owl

Elan EzraAs a mother, grandmother, and former teacher, I give full credit to talented children’s Author Elan Ezra for penning a wonderful children’s book that is sure to be enjoyed by many a reader.

“Paul The Owl” is primarily about the experiences of a young ten month old Elf owl by the name of Paul. He is very eager to spread his wings and have his first flying expedition. After eating a meal of insects and other mites provided by Mother Owl, she encourages him to make his way. Paul is a small owl…actually the smallest in nature and he is very self-conscious about his tiny size. He is made even more aware of his diminutive size by Gary, a big spotted owl who sees him fly by. Gary commences to ridicule and mock Paul about his size. His teasing ways eat away at Paul’s self-esteem and he becomes reluctant to fly at night in order to avoid Gary’s nasty comments. This does not last long as Paul is not familiar with the forest during the day and he quickly returns to his regular night time routine.

One night, Gary has even gone so far as to mock his three chick brothers. They are also humiliated by his ridicule and decide to fly on their own to prove him wrong. They end up stuck in a hollow log and are unable to free themselves. Paul comes to the rescue despite his size and manages to release them so that Gary can then carry them back to the safety of their nest. Gary is ashamed of his rude behavior and cannot believe that Paul rises above this unkind treatment and helps him rescue his three little brothers.

Paul learns a very valuable lesson as well. He readily forgives Gary and his grandfather’s words hold true…”even if I’m a small owl, I’m still an owl, and I can do anything I want”. I agree…size isn’t everything and good things come in small packages just like Paul, the little Elf owl who saved the day. Kudos to Author Elan Ezra for providing a great opportunity for children to learn to accept themselves as they are and to develop a positive self-image based on that fact!

Inspirational Author & Book Reviewer ~ Dolores Ayotte

Book Reviews ~ My Little Puppies

Nicola KlugeMy Little Puppies by Author Nicola Kluge

Oh my….what an incredible children’s book! The pictures are delightful and true to life. The educational opportunities in this book are almost too numerous to mention. It is very clear that talented Author Nicola Kluge is an experienced educator as clearly demonstrated in her introductory note to both parents and teachers.

There are several tools provided to encourage further opportunities to learn as well as tapping into the deductive capabilities of young children. After a description of what the lovable puppies are doing in each set of pictures, questions are asked in order to explore what it might be like for children if they were to engage in similar activities. These questions are asked in such a way as to stimulate the mind to predict outcomes and get the creative juices flowing. Counting spots on the puppies….looking for similarities and differences are just a couple of examples.

Author Nicola Kluge uses every occasion to incorporate the many facets of teaching young children by developing skills in Language Arts, Critical Thinking, Math & Science, and much more. There are many suggestions, puzzles, and a variety of different games included at the end of the book to further enhance this wonderful educational opportunity. As a former elementary school teacher, I can say with certainty…pre-school and early grade children will love this book. I have several grandchildren and I can’t wait to share it with them. The illustrations are adorable!

Inspirational Author & Book Reviewer ~ Dolores Ayotte

Book Reviews ~ Brothers in Stripes

Liz KernBrothers in Stripes by Author Liz Kern

Another delightful children’s book penned by talented Author Liz Kern. Tiger cubs, Hamjou and Zazou, are not your typical “Brothers in Stripes”. The both have much more of a tendency to overeat and sit idly by while the other tiger cubs enjoy frolicking in the jungle.

Hamjou and Zazou also have a tendency to be a little disobedient and one day they wander a bit too far from home. They have a frightful experience when a herd of elephants rush by and almost trample them. They do manage to escape, however…in their haste they fall into a deep hole. Although Mother and Father Tiger search for them…after several days they are still nowhere to be found. Thank goodness for these two tiger cubs that the rainy weather manages to save the day. Now they have a great story with a lesson or two to share with future cubs of their own.

First of all, I love reading and reviewing children’s book. As a grandmother to nine grandchildren, they hold a special appeal to me. Secondly, author Liz Kern is a wonderful children’s author. This is her third book and it succeeds in doing exactly what she intended to do. The pictures are wonderful and the message gently touches home. Children are not so different from our animal friends. They also require regular exercise, a healthy diet, and the opportunity to learn the benefits of obeying their parents and not wandering too far from home. The captivating illustrations in this children’s book definitely add to the reading pleasure. Good stuff!

Inspirational Author & Book Reviewer ~ Dolores Ayotte

Book Reviews ~ The Fishy Adventures of Gus, Toby And TooToo – Big Tale 1

JoyceI read and review a wide variety of books but for one reason or another I am always drawn to the delight of reading a book penned especially for children. “The Fishy Adventures of Gus, Toby And TooToo” is no exception.

This one is the first in a four book series by talented Author Joyce Mitchell. In the introduction, the young reader gets to meet the main character, a beautiful rainbow trout by the name of Gus. He describes his surroundings in depth which results in a great learning opportunity for children. He further explains how he swims downstream to his favorite eating spot. On one particular day, he meets Toby and a new adventure begins with this not so humble brook trout fish. Toby quickly manages to hog the food while Gus copes with an empty belly feeling. Soon TooToo joins the quest for food and Gus is surprised to hear that she already knows Toby. TooToo is a beautiful female golden carp. These three fish friends manage to entertain themselves for quite some time as they search for food.

This series of fish adventures is a wonderful educational tool and a great introduction to “chapter books” as my grandchildren fondly refer to them. The use of alliterations such as Thunder Thicket and Cavern Cove, as well as, the sense of humor the author displays throughout this novel is very appealing. The colorful illustrations add to this pleasurable learning experience.

Inspirational Author & Book Reviewer ~ Dolores Ayotte

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