Hi All, Sorry being M.I.A. for so long.

I had to take some time away from the blog now that

edits on my debut middle grade novel are in full swing,

slow-going still, but swinging. Plus, a blackout in my area

over a week ago, chores piling up, and tight on money

also contributed, but I’ll try to update at least once a

week until things improve on the homefront.

Today, I’m taking a break from my usual posts to

discuss something else that’s been weighing heavy on my

heart lately-

There’s been a lot of talk among parental circles, educators, and all in between about why are kids and teens either take life too seriously or not enough, more often it’s not enough.

Lots of parents seem to be of the view that kids today are lazy, screen obsessed entitlement freaks who don’t want tot work hard for their futures. 

While there’s truth to that, we also overlook another truth, kids are being pressured to grow up faster at all fronts, and yet we complain when they want to be grown ups fast. Well, we’re creating our own problem on this specific point.

As a both a writer of children’s books, and a education-challenged under 30 “Deadbeat” I know from my own experience that we overlook a lot of issues when we talk about education. 

Instead of ranting, I’ll let picture do my talking for me, but fear not, I’ll have MORE words to say on this topic later.


NOTE: I’m in no way parent-bashing here,

I‘m not a parent nor teacher, and for those of

you in education from either the parent and/or

teacher POV who are doing right by our

nation’s youth, understand I say this because

I wish there were more of you.


More and More Parents see their kids like this- 



Instead of this-   01_Tristeza

What “Test” is worth feeling like this?


When did school become “God?”


Does “Sucking at Math” make me less worthy?


Is this future migraine/ulcer GOOD for me?

What parents WANT to see-


What they NEED to see –  Crying_child_with_blonde_hair

“Mommy, you work a second job to make money, what am I getting out of pre-k and first grade becoming my “second job?” that I don’t get paid for.”




“Dad, I may not have to walk 100 miles to get to school like you did in the “Once upon a time Olden days” , but that doesn’t mean it’s any easier for me, either.”


They’ll NEVER get here- University_Park_MMB_I7_Graduation   312px-MplsMTMstatue   USMC-12062   The_Turtles Group_951 81st_TW_photo Winter-wedding-20120203-001 AT_CALGGETT_MEMORIAL_HOSPITAL-WALTER_SOLON_MOYER_III,_THE_FIRST_BABY_OF_THE_NEW_YEAR,_AND_HIS_MOTHER_-_NARA_-_552638     Father_with_his_first_baby_at_first_sight If they Burnout Here-   School's_OutAdults of the World, I URGE you to hear this. We CAN’T let this-  










Destroy THIS-      












Kids, Parents, Educators, and all those in-between-

What do you think? Please have the courage and heart

to share in the comments below.

Weekly Readings

Weekly Readings 1


Today’s post will be semi-short today.

I’ve got a lot of do, but wanted to share a bit of what I’ve been reading amidst “Life Happens” moments. Keep in mind, I’ll likely review these in-depth, so these are only bullet points of books  you might want to read with or without your child-

I have been reading a LOT of picture books I want to review on T.A.A., and a few early readers, as well. I can’t write these books (YET) but they are are a joy to read-

I, Crocodile

I, Crocodile by Fred Marcellino

He’s one of the few illustrators I know of who mostly illustrated other authors books, and this is one of the few (If not only) book he wrote and illustrated. His art has a vintage feel without being hokey or saccharine. Humor here is dry yet cheeky, but not as subversive as Dahl or Sendak. Something in the middle.

That said, if your kids or students love Dahl or had the debate about Jon Klassen’s “I Want My Hat Back” about “if he or didn’t he” to a certain rabbit, they’ll love where this story ends. I personally found it a bit sadistic for my tastes, but it was true to the character, and I respect that.

Carousel Cat

Carousel Cat by Robert J. Blake


Sweet art and a brilliant love letter to Jersey Shore, YEARS before the recent damage of Hurricane Sandy.

This is a cat story even a devout dog-lover like me
(I’ve grown to like cats, too) can enjoy. Animals don’t talk here, but a fine story of how animals help us carry on in hard times.

I know one of the needs of some agents and editors are books about families struggling financially. There’s organic hints of that in the story that can be great talking points for parents and teachers to use for the pre/emergent readers up to second grade.

Wonderful illustrations, and it’s bit text heavy by today’s minimalist standards, but every word counts, in my opinion.


Wolves by Emily Gravett


I’ve seen this author everywhere but never read her until this book. If could write nonfiction, this book is a litmus test to how I’d do it. Facts presented in a non-sterile way.

The illustrations are abstract yet express the real world facts about wolves, in a fantastical way, the presentation is brilliant on two levels, both promoting libraries and early research skills for students, and I’m personally a sucker for vintage accents in a book.

For those of you with skiddish little ones (Not all kids have the the courage of Madeline early) this book has a dual ending, one more silly than factual, but both are well handled without either sounding patronizing.


Barnaby the Bedbug Detective

Barnaby the Bedbug Detective

Written by Catherine Sitter

Illustrated by Karen Sapp


Of course, I had to get a (domestic) dog story in there, and this is a great one, it’s loosely based on true events, and a different kind of career animal for readers to learn about.

While most career dogs known to kids are police dogs, fire dogs, and given our worldview these days, bomb-sniffing dog used in the military or national guard, this is one of the lesser known

Until recently, I always thought bedbugs were made up, but they’re real, and can be a big problem, even harder to detect than termites. It’s good dogs like Barnaby in real life that aid us in keeping them out of our home.

It’s also a charming story with non-preachy messages of adopting older dogs from shelters, seeing promise in others where some see only problems, and there’s a little “Leo the Late Bloomer” here as well.

That’s all for now. Until next time,

May the Fantastical Fauna be with you.


If my ramblings convinced you to buy one or more of the books mentioned above, please support T.A.A. by clicking on the affiliate cover images above.