Resources to Help Kids

Dear Adult Readers,

I worry these days about how kids are reacting to the pandemic and rampant racism., says, “[Kids] are fully realized people with observations and opinions about the worlds they live in and aspirations about the ones they want to bring into being.”

As a parent, grandparent, retired teacher, and kids’ author, I hope parents, teachers, and those who love or work with kids will please embrace your opportunity. Take all the peace, charity, illness, death, anger, and violence that kids are witnessing or living through, and watch for teachable moments.

Start by giving kids a chance to vent, ask questions, and express their concerns. Read books together. Let kids draw pictures about how they’re feeling and use them as springboards for discussion. Their sharing should guide your teaching.

You don’t have to have kids to know that children are the future. Soon, they will be making and enforcing the laws that will affect us all and which will leave a legacy for the generation that follows them. Let’s hope those laws and that legacy are grounded in a strong foundation of inclusion, altruism, peace, and anti-racism. Please do what you can to help, now.

So, get a clue, Readers. Children are smarter than many people think. Currently, however, many need our help to sort through their confusion and to learn how to create a world free from racism and hate. Let’s give them the tools and hearts to improve their future–and the world. Resources follow.


Here are some resources that might be helpful for teaching anti-racism:     This is the website of the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators: anti-racism resources; recommended reading; political/justice organizations; petitions; funds     31 chapter books to support conversations on race, racism and resistance; anti-racist activism; Zoom meetings with expert panels     How to talk to kids about race–books and resources’s/books-with-diversity    22 picture books to inspire conversations about diversity     75 books about extraordinary black mighty girls and women


Here are some resources that might be helpful for talking with kids about COVID-19:     Articles from the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry are listed under these sections: Talking with Kids About Coronavirus; Talking to Kids About Sick Adults and Lost Loved Ones; Supporting Parents of and Kids with Disabilities; Activities for Kids; General Coping Tips; Helping Parents Cope     Articles from Johns Hopkins Medicine include What is COVID-19 for All Children?; Why Can’t I Visit? How to Talk with Kids About COVID-19; COVID-19 Activity Book; Videos for Parents and Kids.     Articles from the Centers for Diseases Control include Tips for Talking to Children; Facts About COVID-19 to Discuss with Children; and, many other subtopics.     Articles from the Association of Child Life Professionals are listed under these sections and include many subtopics:  Resources for Children and Teens; Reading Materials and Handouts; Videos; Resources for Parents and Professionals; Handouts; Videos and Podcasts; and others.     Resources from Prodigy for Educators, Families, and Prodigy Users. Included is Prodigy’s Top 5 #LearnFromHome Resources for Parents.

Judging a Book By . . .

Hello, Kids and All Readers,

I’m so excited to tell you that my publisher, Acorn, and I have started working on the cover design for Eucalyptus Street: Green Curse. It’s Book 2 in my Botanic Hill Detectives Mysteries series and releases on October 20.

The next few weeks will reveal to me how the designer captured on paper the scene I chose to depict. This is not a quick process, and sometimes, disagreements occur. But compromise will be key to design the best cover possible. After all, a cover is what we look at first when looking for a book, right? We really DO judge a book by its cover, for better or for worse.

What is YOUR favorite book cover of all time? I have many since they come from a series. You guessed it. Nancy Drew! I especially liked one of the later covers for The Mystery at Lilac Inn, Book 4 in that series. It shows a ghostly, iridescent image that prompted me to want to read the book, for the first time, as a child. The book’s insides did not disappoint, either!

So, get a clue, Readers. Watch my newsletter for updates about Book 2’s cover and, in the future, the big Cover Reveal. Then, you can judge for yourself!

Fun Listening Now Available!

Dear Kids, Teachers, Librarians, Families, and Other Audiobook Listeners,

Drum roll, please . . . after months in the making, the audiobook of Nutmeg Street: Egyptian Secrets is finally available on Audible (a division of Amazon and ACX).

Yay! Now, the Botanic Hill Detectives and all the characters in the book have voices. Many thanks once again to my eloquent Narrator/Producer from ACX, Mr. Tom Jordan. You will love all the voices he performs to animate the story.

Audiobooks provide great entertainment, especially on long car rides, and are indispensable teaching tools in the classroom, reading lab, and at home.

So get a clue, Audiobook fans. Want a PROMO CODE to get a FREE audiobook review copy of Nutmeg Street  from Audible? Watch for the GIVEAWAY SECTION in my May 31 Newsletter for your chance to request one free code to claim your review copy. If you care to leave a review at after you listen, it would be greatly appreciated!



A Surprise Invitation

Dear Readers,

I just received word today via Twitter that my book Nutmeg Street: Egyptian Secrets is being read in a Michigan teacher’s virtual book club with her students. How awesome is that?!

I provided the books in a Twitter giveaway contest, and this was one of four winning teachers.

Next, I was invited to join the club during the last session to surprise the kids.

So get a clue, Readers. Let’s keep the kids reading. This is why I write.


Doggone It!

Dear Readers and Dog Lovers,

Recently, I fostered an adorable, lovable poodle-bichon mix named Dante. He was a mini version of my own dog Jimmy Lambchop. I had been in the market for a friend for Jimmy for some time, and I was sure Dante was the one.

I will never learn if the person who named Dante admired the Italian poet, Dante Alighieri (1265-1321), best known for the epic poem The Divine Comedy. Since I had been a literature major in college, that possibility struck me immediately . As a result, I found myself calling Dante “Mr. A” for the nine days he called my house his home.

Dante was a rescue from Mexico who, at the age of seven, deserved a forever home. Sadly, mine just didn’t turn out to be the one. You see, Dante and Jimmy just didn’t “click.” No sparks. No interest. No engagement. Returning Dante to the rescue owner was heartbreaking for me. Perhaps for Dante as well. He had gotten very comfortable at my house. I had gotten very attached to him.

So get a clue, Readers. I miss Dante but know that the right loving home awaits him soon. (Thankfully, I’m told there is a long list of applicants for him.) As difficult as returning a foster to a shelter or rescue can be, stepping up and fostering an animal can be so rewarding. Just think about all the love and security you can give them, even if it isn’t forever. Fostering teaches you to live and love in the moment, regardless of the outcome. That’s one powerful lesson.



Book Your Donation

Dear Readers,

I just got back from the Post Office. I mailed four boxes equaling twenty-four copies of Nutmeg Street: Egyptian Secrets to my Twitter raffle winners!

Twenty kids and four teachers in four different states will soon be reading my book in their #VirtualBookClubs. What a great feeling I have that I’m doing something constructive for kids and teachers during this Shut Down!

So get a clue, Readers. Keep looking for ways to bring a smile to others during this unusual time in everyone’s life. You’ll get back much more than you give!