Posted in Book Review, Lil Bro's Fabulous Fridays, Reviews by Annoying Little Brother


By David Biedrzycki

Book Source: bought at Book Beat

Book Status: available

Lil Brother here to tell you about a funny book that also teaches you Japanese words. In SumoKitty a stray kitten gets adopted by sumo wrestlers and takes care of their mice problem. But he eats too much and can’t chase the mice and gets kicked out. He was a very fat kitty. (One of our kitties is trying to be a SumoKitty)

He works at getting back in shape and earns his place back. On about every page is a new Japanese word to learn.

My cat is black. He is not a SumoKitty but he takes very good care of our foster kitties. I like anything with black cats in it.

This book is about not giving up and putting in hard work. It is about when you do something and stop trying hard. Then you have to try even harder.

Kids who like cats, Japanese and fun books will like this. I am going to read it to my cat everyday so he can be a SumoKitty.

Posted in Book Review, Meet the authors

Micki Fine Pavlicek

1.     When you were my age (10), did you like to read?

In think my experience with reading is different from many authors.  I don’t remember reading being encouraged at home. As a child, I think I had an undiagnosed reading disorder, making reading quite difficult.   I learned to read to do well in school but reading for pleasure didn’t come until later in life. So, you can imagine I didn’t start out wanting to be a writer.  

Having said that, I remember receiving a book from my godparents that I absolutely loved.  I loved horses as a child so this book was right up my alley.  

King of the Wind: The Story of the Godolphin Arabian, by Marguerite Henry (Author), Wesley Dennis (Illustrator).

2.     What is a book that made an impact on you?

Since I didn’t read much as a kid, adult books are the ones that have had the biggest impact.   The books with the greatest impact on my life are about mindfulness meditation.  Full Catastrophe Living by Jon Kabat-Zinn changed my life, along with books by Sharon Salzberg, Thich Nhat Hahn and Jack Kornfield.  

For pleasure reading, I like books that use language that lights up the story, words I can hear and feel, words that make me want to hear every word and not skim over anything.  I like the brilliant work of Jane Smiley, in particular The All-True Travels and Adventures of Lidie Newton. 

As an adult I read children’s book teaching kids mindfulness and others that are encouraging and hopeful.  A few books about maintaining connection with a caretaker figure come to mind, like The Kissing Hand by Audrey Penn, illustrated by Ruth Harper and Nancy Leak and The Invisible String by Patrice Karst, illustrated by Geoff Stevenson.  

3.     Is it hard to come up with book ideas? 

I have one children’s picture book, May All People and Pigs Be Happy, which teaches loving-kindness meditation and an adult book, The Need To Please: Mindfulness Skills to Gain Freedom from People-Pleasing and Approval Seeking.  

The very idea to even write these books came without prompting during meditation.  Several times I would hear the thought . . . “Book!” At first I tried to ignore those thoughts, partly because I didn’t think I could write a book.  Finally, as I meditated, I asked the question . . . “What book?” As I softened around the idea of writing a book (I hadn’t considered myself a writer), the subjects emerged and thoughts came as I sat quietly. 

Once I had a general outline for the The Need To Please I received a contract to write it, which included deadlines. This made for a fair amount of anxiety, especially being a first time author, making it difficult to put flesh on the bones of my outline.  I had difficulty finding the “right” words to express my thoughts.

For May All People and Pigs Be Happy, I didn’t have a contract and wasn’t in a hurry, so I simply let the ideas come a little at a time.  I wanted the book to follow the way loving-kindness meditation is traditionally taught, so I had a basic skeleton for the book.  I also have a stuffed pig, Pigalina, and I love her. Pigalina would pop into my mind along with the way loving-kindness meditation is taught.  From there ideas would simply pop into my mind about the plot. Since I wasn’t in a hurry, the book came to me in its own time without much trouble.  

4.     What author or book have read recently that impacted you?  

I am rereading Viktor Frankl’s inspirational book, Man’s Search for Meaning.  

  • Is there a new or lesser known author you think kids should be aware of?   

I don’t know if Andrew Jordan Nance is a lesser-known author but he has a few lovely books that help kids develop mindfulness and emotional regulation.  His recently released book is The Lion in Me.

6.     What advice do you have for a kid who wants to be an author?  

Spend some time being quiet and letting your imagination enchant you.  The imagination is a wonderful source of ideas. If you are quiet you can listen to and see what you imagination gives you.  Follow your imagination. Most of all, you don’t need to try to hard to make things up but let them come to you. Keep writing down your thoughts and over time they can come together into a plot.  

I hope this interview is encouraging for you.  I didn’t read as a child. I thought I couldn’t write a book.  Even though I had no confidence as a writer, I knew I had ideas worth writing about.  So, I did it. You can too.  

When I didn’t have a deadline, I had fun writing and it was productive.  Have some fun writing down your story and mix in some persistence. You can make it happen.

7.     As an author, do you hear from your readers? What do you like about that?

I love hearing from readers.  I have heard many lovely stories about the impact of May All People and Pigs Be Happy.  These stories warm my heart and sometimes bring tears to my eyes.  One person told me that she read the story to her daughter who had been crying because a friend was mean to her.  They practiced the loving wishes from the book and the daughter felt calmer and more loving toward herself and her friend.  These stories are important because I can see the mission of helping kids find their inner kindness and caring being full-filled.  

8.     If you could portal into any book (yours or another person’s), what book would it be?

I would be Claire from my book, May All People and Pigs Be Happy.  She learned loving-kindness at an early age as I wish I had.  

Posted in Reviews by Annoying Little Brother

May all people and pigs be happy

By Micki Fine Pavlicek

Illustrated by John Pavlicek

Book Source: copy provided in exchange for review

Book Status: Available

Annoying Little Brother taking over the blog with a review today. Bridget is at track cycling practice when I write this so she can’t stop me.

This is a story about a girl and her pig. It is about mindfulness and learning to control your emotions.

The girl’s feelings get hurt and the pig helps her think more positively. By changing how she thinks, she does nice things for other people. She has a saying about being happy, safe and loved.

This is a book I am going to share with my school. It could help lots of kids think differently. I am using mindfulness to change my behavior and it helps. It takes practice so I am still working on it. I might try using the phrases in this.

Posted in Book Review


By Kevin Sylvester

Book Source: library

Book Status: available

This book is so good!! I only know Kevin Sylvester as a silly guy, so this book is really different, because it’s so serious.

1. They are attacked and are going to need a lot of skills to survive.

2. They are underground on another planet.

3. They uncover secrets of “Melming Mining” that are not good at all…

4. This book has creepy ending.

5. This is just a book that is really cool.

Posted in Book Review

My bicycle life

A month ago, my parents took me to a velodrome race, and I loooooved it!! My dad took to Class 101, and I started training to race at competition level! My first race was about a week ago, and I’m racing tonight and tomorrow evening! I have my own jersey too!!! I. Am. So. Exciteeeeeeeed!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I love to race because it’s really fun to go reeeeeaaaaaaaaalllllllllyyyyyyyyy fast, and I can’t wait until I finally get to finish the 10 mile test! It’s scary when I have to dropwall, which is dropping from the wall at the top to start a race! I am not usually in the mood for staying close together because I either go so fast I’m overlapping tires, which you are not allowed to do in races, or even in training, pretty much. Or, I’m too slow and the other racers don’t even stay on my tail, and they go around me. And now it’s time for school!!!! Math! Yay.

Posted in Book Review

A Wish in the Dark

By Christina Soontornvat

Book Source: review copy provided as part of book publicity

Book Status: available March 24, 2020

A Wish in the Dark is set in a fantasy world but it seems a lot like ours. I was lucky enough to get the publicity booklet which explained some of names and places. Plus I sent Christina a question or two.

1. This is supposedly a middle grade retelling of Les Miserables. I am not sure because I haven’t read it but that is what Christina says.

2. There are two boys growing up in prison because of what their mothers did. Their mothers have died but they still have to stay until they are 13. This is a story of being punished for someone else’s action. Plus the women had done minor crimes to survive and where given long sentances.

3. There is a Governor who controls the city through the rules and the lights. This creates a world of the haves and the have nots. It is nearly impossible for the have nots to have a better life.

4. One boy escapes the prison and lives with monks for years. He returns to city and becomes part of movement for change.

5. There is girl who is a “have” but never feels good enough. In reality her parents have a secret about her that they are protecting.

6. I think this book pairs well with Padma Venkatramen A BRIDGE HOME. Both books are about living in a society of haves and have nots that were created by people. The people who create the system are afraid and use that fear to withhold things for control.

7. This is a book about resource sharing too. The Governor makes resources hard to access but one of the boys figures out how to make orbs (aka lights) more accessible.

8. I asked my mom to read this after I finished so I could discuss. I think this would be a good class or family read. There is so many discussions you can have.

I always feel special when I receive a book as part of the publicity campaign, especially for authors with a following. I will be passing this book on to another kid reviewer and buying a copy of to giveaway in a spring book giveaway.

Posted in Book Review

Friend or Fiction

By Abby Cooper

Book Source: gifted by author

Book Status: available

1. This book is about a girl, and all her friends move away, so she writes stories. The stories are about a girl named Zoe.

2. A boy brings Zoe to life, and Zoe does litterally everything Jade, ( the girl ) writes about her doing!

3. Jade’s dad has Liver Cancer.

4. Jade tries to control Zoe’s life, and Zoe isn’t up to it. She does things Jade writes, but not exactly how Jade’s writes them.

5. It’s a book about friendship, and how you can’t control your friends!