Tuesday, December 18, 2012

EReaders for Kids: Just Another Screen?

As a parent I’m constantly in the midst of the “battle of the screens” with my children. They want to be on them more, and I’m struggling to steer them toward non-screen activities. Unfortunately I can’t say that modeling the behavior is one of my strategies as the very nature of my work has me staring at screens most of the day. However, I want my children to grow up as I did, learning and growing using a little bit of independence and imagination. Not comatose, glassy eyed, and with the only thing moving being their thumbs. I know many parents who feel the same and have opted out of purchasing screened devices this Christmas. While I agree that parent should take a stand, not only monitoring but cutting back on such usage, there is one device I think needs an exemption: The eReader.

First, anything that gets kids reading more is a plus. And let’s face it, some kids view physical books in a negative light. Just the sight of a book puts some kids off. Personally, I love paperbacks and though I have a Kindle I still love to hold a book once in a while. But kids want to hold what’s cool. eReaders are cool. They’re compact, light-weight, easy to use, and the battery lasts a long time.

eReaders can also save parents money on purchasing books. You can find tons of free books, low-cost books, and discounted books. There is always something to read when you have an eReader.

Now, for the best part. eReaders can help your kids with reading 

comprehension. Have you ever had a child ask you what a word meant while they were reading? And you, trying to be the ultimate parent, may have said, “Go look it up.” Yeah, right. I’m sure that’s just what they did. I’ve been in education many years and can tell you that students will skip right over a word they don’t know simply because it’s too hard or too much work to figure it out. The other day, my daughter was reading on the Kindle Fire. I looked over and saw her touch upon the word “frail.” A small window popped up with the definition. She read it and continued on with her story. As easy as a simple touch on a word and your child can get the meaning of a word as long as it’s in the dictionary. You can also click to go to another page with a longer explanation of the word.

Many of the latest eReaders have much more than just books. If you’re concerned your child won’t use it for reading you can set up parental controls for downloading. Have them start out with books and earn their way to games and apps. I suggest cutting back on other devices and make room for an eReader. Getting one that everyone can share would make a great gift for the entire family.

Happy Holidays and Happy Reading!

Sunday, December 16, 2012


The Tide Breaker by Sonya Watson

Blurb: Once upon a time, there was a sixteen year-old girl that lost both her parents under unusual circumstances. Abrianna was lonely and found some comfort in the arms of her boyfriend, Michael. Life turned grim when she realizes that a man, who was once the enforcer of fate, wanted her to die. The disgraced enforcer had taken great steps to ensure Abrianna’s death and planned to do this by enlisting the help of humans and creatures without their knowledge. Evil had washed over the land the humans named Dainesville. Abrianna had the power to heal the land and when she did she would return prosperity to the lives of the townspeople. When the time came for Abrianna to stand alongside her half-brother, Stephen, to fight the coming evil she did so without hesitation. Life ended. Darkness fell. Love faded. The End?

Author Bio: Sonya was born in Mandeville, Manchester, Jamaica but moved to Canada eleven years ago. She discovered writing when she was eleven. However, was unable to pursue it since she lived in a country where writing was impractical. She rediscovered the art during third year at York University. Kinesiology, the program she was enrolled in, was no longer simulating and found herself questioning her purpose in life. This led her to poetry and poetry led her to writing novels.

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Take Me, I'm Yours by Donna Fasano

Guest Book Review by QBR fan Linda:

Take Me, I’m Yours by Donna Fasano

Lainey Adams rescues four year old Abbie Mitchell from a kidnapping attempt. As a reward, Abbie’s wealthy grandfather, Alfred Mitchell, wants to make Lainey’s dream of a large day care center come true. Abbie’s father, sexy single-dad Derek Mitchell, has learned the hard way to never trust a beautiful woman. Derek is a smart businessman who has become a workaholic and Alfred throws Lainey right in his path, hoping to teach Derek what is most important in his life.
Ms. Fasano has a talent for telling stories, and I swear she uses magic. This story hits the ground running with a kidnapping attempt on the beach of a four year-old girl who has gotten away from her grandfather. This author has a way to capture her characters and make them real people and puts them into situations they must work through, and she does it in a totally believable way. Lainey is a smart woman and stays true to her character no matter what it costs. Regardless of what happens, she keeps her integrity.
Derek is taken with Lainey, but because of his pride he has some issues to work through. He has a hard edge because of his history with Abbie’s mother, and the tension was almost unbearable for me. He is a smart man and has a big heart, but I was afraid the odds were too big to get past all of his issues. I was on an emotional rollercoaster. Perhaps I am just a little emotionally vulnerable right now, but I was so afraid I was not going to get my Happily Ever After in this story.

One huge risk the author took in this story was Victor. He was a peripheral character that played a big part and all we know about him is what is conveyed to Lainey through another character. Although that other character has a shady history, Lainey trusted her and I think this is where my anxiety was the worst. I don’t think it would have lessened my anxiety of the situation if Victor had been more fully developed though.

One of the delights in this story are the kids, Lainey’s son, Brian, and Derek’s daughter, Abbie, were perfectly written. I love the way they interacted with the adults in this story. How the author conveys the interactions of her characters through their actions and dialogue is plain magic. Donna Fasano has yet to disappoint me; this is an intelligent heartwarming story.

This review was originally posted on Big Al's Books and Pals review blog on Friday, September 28, 2012 **