Sunday, February 17, 2013

Book Review: Can't and Able: An Inspirational Story by Cynthia Fabian

Title: Can't and Able: An Inspirational Story
Author: Cynthia Fabian
Illustrator: Daniel Stevens
Publisher: Strategic Book Publishing
Date of Publication: Dec. 20, 2012
Source: received from author for honest review
Get your own at: Barnes & Noble | Amazon |

Goodreads Summary:

What does it feel like when you just can't do what the other kids, I mean stars, do? Can't kept trying, but he never seemed to shine as brightly as the other stars, and was always teased and bullied by others. Can't feels that he is less than the other stars and just cannot shine. It wasn't until Can't realized he Can, that everything changed for him. Find out how Can't became a hero and ultimately became Can. Able is the star who had it all. Able helps Can't to realize that he can really shine. Connect with Can't, Able, and all the stars that live in their neighborhood and beyond in the star-studded children's book Can't and Able: An Inspirational Story. The colorful artwork by Daniel Stevens creates beauty and fun throughout the universe. And as we all know, the star is the limit! Originally from New York City, Cynthia Fabian now enjoys meditation and the quiet life in Somerset, New Jersey. "I grew up with a disorder. I always felt like I could not shine, just like Can't. When I became a teacher, I saw many children that were experiencing the same difficulties. They were teased and often felt smaller. This book is for all of you, struggling and not knowing how to change your circumstances. If you simply believe, you can change your own circumstances. Believe in yourself and you will see the wonders of change are in your power." Publisher's website: http: //

Mom's Thoughts:

What a beautiful and promising story for children and adults alike!!  The illustrations, the sweet characters, and the inspiring plot come together to bring us a wonderful story about a little star that learns to shine as bright as he can, just being himself.
The pictures are bright and happy, keeping my youngest child as well as my oldest ones interested throughout the whole story.
Even though this story is about a star we can all learn from what Can't goes through with his fellow stars as well as learning to believe in himself.    The issues portrayed in the story can be helpful for young adults just like the small kids too.  We all go through some type of bullying; dealing with our peers isn't the easiest thing to do but we see how Can't is able to get through it being different from the other brighter stars.
Another issue we are faced with that is discussed in the book is confidence.  I, myself, still find it hard to get my confidence where it needs to be to do the things I want to do-like writing.  I see this same problem in my son, and he was excited about the book enough he wanted to help with the review.
I was very impressed with this story and love how the message teaches children how to cope with teasing and still embrace the beauty in being different from others.
I think any parent could use this helping tool to show their own kids how they can go from thinking of themselves as a "Can't" to a "Can"!

Conner's Thoughts- 9 yrs old
I learned a lot from my Mom.  But this story, Can't and Able, helped a little too.  It's okay for kids to be different.  For me that is really important because I am a twin so I can really enjoy being different.  Mom always says being different is fun because if everyone were the same it would get really boring.  Well it is never boring out our house!
I really liked how Can't knew he couldn't shine as bright as the other stars, but he still did the right thing when Able was in trouble.  Just because they were mean, didn't mean that Can't had to be that way too.
Another reason I liked this book a lot was because the characters are stars.  They look like really friendly stars too.  I thought it was pretty cool because my parents are always telling my brothers and me that we should always reach for the stars.  Oh and never say you can't do something; but instead always say "I can!" Now I am starting to understand why that is now.
Great story!

Thursday, February 7, 2013

ARC Book Review: Secret of the Portals: The Adventures of Bruten and Tommy by Brant Waldeck

Title: The Secret of the Portals
Series: The Adventures of Bruten & Tommy
Author: Brant Waldeck
Publisher: Create Space Independent Publishing
Date of Publication: October 8, 2012
Source: received from author for honest opinion
Format: paperback, 224 pages

Goodreads Description:
Bruten Stone and Tommy Staunton discover secret portals to other worlds... right in their own town! It's an adventure like no other that leads them to amazing worlds and untold riches, but it soon becomes clear that they will have to defend the worlds from those that would like nothing more than to exploit them for profit. As two recently graduated 5th graders, are they up for the challenge?

Mom's Thoughts:
This is one of those books that would be a perfect anthem for young boys.  It has adventure, exploration, unexpected characters, and two best friends.  I would even imagine some girls, that are a bit on the tough tom-boyish side, would benefit from the story too.  
As an adult, the story did flow a little slow for me; but I think my sons, however, loved the flow and rhythm of the book.  It also helped that there were fight scenes back to back to keep one's attention at all times.  
I would even think that those kids that aren't big on reading, could enjoy the different fantastical elements included here, and may find a new respect for books. 
How cool would it be to set out to explore, in the woods, pretending to be warriors visiting other worlds, then actually find portals to different planes of existence?  I really enjoyed the vast imagination Mr. Waldeck has as he puts his creativity to use personifying animals and stones.  
I also enjoyed how our author took two characters that are pretty different in many ways, like Bruten is the athletic one where Tommy is more of the thinker, and he made them best friends.  
Secret of the Portals is a great fantasy story for middle grade readers and younger, with lots of excitement that is fun to read to the kids.  And there is a twist that will make even the adults sit up and take notice.  
What a great little story with some very positive attitudes for boys and girls to always believe in yourself and in the right honorable way to do something.  
I give it four stars!

Buy the Book:

Connect with the Author:

Brant Waldeck lived in a small town in rural Ohio until he was fourteen years old. From there he moved to a suburb of Columbus, Ohio. After high school, he attended Miami University (OH) and graduated with a degree in marketing. After five years working at advertising agencies, Brant set out on his own to be a freelance designer. His business evolved into a successful marketing agency. His life revolved around creativity, but it wasn’t until he had kids of his own that Brant began to explore the idea of writing. Brant credits his children as the key to his creative inspiration. The minds of children see possibilities that adults tend to shut out. The trick to being creative... never stop thinking like a kid.

Brant currently resides in a suburb of Charlotte, NC with his wife, Jenny, and three kids, Gillen, Brannen and Braelyn.