Mom, author, nurse, teacher . . . reading the world around me

Month: April 2024

The Feel of a Classic Literature for Today’s Kids

Copyright Macmillan Publishers.

Are you looking for a book to read with your kids, grandkids, classroom, MG book club–or if you’re like me and just love to read Middle Grade stories? This new release from Feiwel & Friends (Macmillan Publishers) by debut author Allie Millington has the charm and heartwarming appeal of classics like Charlotte’s Web, but with plenty of appeal for modern kids.

From the opening pages, Olivetti has the feel of the favorite children’s classics I loved reading as a kid. However, unlike the classics, this novel includes cell phones, laptops, and all of the modern contrivances today’s kids rely on daily.

Copyright Pixar/Disney

I loved the way Olivetti (the personified typewriter who shares the narration of the story) struggles with the same emotions we humans do. My favorite Disney film is the original Toy Story, and Olivetti is reminiscent of Woody. Just like Woody is replaced by Buzz, Olivetti feels replaced by a shiny new laptop. When he finds himself on the shelf of a pawnshop, Olivetti’s struggles intensify. Here’s a fun fact about this Toy Story connection: The incomparable Tom Hanks, who voiced the icon character of Woody in the Pixar films, read Olivetti and loved it enough to write a review for the New York Times! How cool is that?

The other narrator in the novel is Ernest Brindle–a quiet boy who prefers keeping to himself. When Ernest’s mother is reported missing, he blames himself. Even though he shies away from friendship in general, he teams up with the pawnshop owner’s daughter as well as Olivetti to discover where (and why) his mother has gone.

As a former 4th grade teacher, this is a novel my students would have enjoyed reading as a class. It has the same type of quirky characters as Kate DiCamillo’s books, introduces them to the lost art of typing, and ends with hope.

Order Olivetti here.

Spring Fling Kidlit Contest ’24


I’m participating in the Spring Fling Kidlit Contest again this year. If you’re new to Spring Fling, it’s a fabulous writing contest where you find (or create) a springtime GIF and then write a 150 (max) word story for kids inspired by the image.

For all the rules/details, click here. The community engagement for this contest is great. If you write a story, be sure to read other entries and comment on those as well. Meet new writing friends and make new social media connections. That’s the best part of the contest. Thanks to Kaitlyn Sanchez and Ciara O’Neil for putting this together!

Thanks for stopping by to read my entry this year!

Dandy’s Big A-Choo!!

147 words

One bright spring morning during allergy season,

Dandy stifled a sneeze before school.

On the sidewalk

Lilac, Iris, and Hyacinth stood together,

forming a circle of pink, white and purple.

Dandy hopped over to say hello.

They tightened their ring, whispering,


Dandy sniffed.

Tulip and Azalea dazzled in a display of pink.

They linked leaves, muttering,


Dandy snuffled.

At recess, Dandy jumped on a swing near Daffodil,

who stopped swinging and hissed, Weed.

Dandy’s stem straightened.


Kids ran to her, cheering…

allowing her fluffy white seeds

to carry their wishes away on the wind.

Dandy’s heart soared along with them.

A beautiful white Clover with four perfect leaves whispered,

Some flowers may call us weeds.

But we let children share the deepest

desires of their hearts

to believe in magic.

What could be better?

Nothing, Dandy thought. I’m fine and dandy!

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