Monday, September 1, 2014

Great book to discuss self acceptance as well as the hurt of bullying

Wonderful book about blocking negativity and learning to love yourself. This book was a jewel of a read with so many different ways to open discussions from bullying, to respect, to accepting who you are. Abena is a sweet little girl who's growing awareness of the negative comments of former playmates begins to sour her demeanor. Where she used to find pleasure in her African roots, now she resents anything about her culture. Her grandmother tells her stories about her own youth, as well as quotes her pastor, that "God doesn't make mistakes." She stresses the lesson that we have to find peace and happiness with who we are. Abena shakes off her resentments and when she goes to school the next day, she encounters another girl who faces similar problems. She passes along her lesson, and the girls find their happy place. Washington writes clearly, without sentimentality, but with bright dialog and great visuals. I felt like a fly on the wall in Abena's bedroom. This book transcends race, creed, or nationality. Any educator can broaden a discussion to encompass all types of prejudice. Whether it's body type, a physical challenge, or a person's background, intolerance hurts, ignorance is dangerous, and bigotry is a weapon that loses it's barb when a person is armored with self confidence.

Happy Reading!
Carole P. Roman

Dark novel about the power of society of those who dare to be different

Interesting and atmospheric book about 17th century Amsterdam. Nella is a young bride to a wealthy merchant adjusting to big city life in Amsterdam. The marriage was arranged by her financially challenged mother and Nella is sent to live with her new husband's cold family. When the marriage remains unconsummated, Nella must discover the web of lies and secrets of the wealthy merchant house. Joannes Brandt is a kind man but an uninterested husband. Out of guilt, he buys his young wife a large cabinet that is an expensive replica of the very house they live in. Strange miniatures begin to arrive from an unknown craftsman that has chilling details. Will they unlock the mysteries of the gloomy home or foretell a devastating future? This book was as dark as a Dutch Masters' painting. The home was filled with anger, unfulfilled dreams, and secrets. Burton imbues a creepy tension as the novel rockets to it's combustive conclusion. Well written, with a flavor of its times, The Miniaturist is an fascinating window into the uber strict religious climate of 17th century Amsterdam, when anything that was different had to be hidden from society.

Happy Reading!
Carole P. Roman

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Peter Ackroyd knows how to write history

Peter Ackroyd knows how to write about history. Organized and easy to read, this is a comprehensive and interesting book about the Tudor dynasty. Just when you think there is nothing new, he blends more information seamlessly throughout the entire book. Concise, well written, lovingly researched, Ackroyd knows what to include and where to place it. If you are interested in history, this book is a must. If you love the Tudors, then add anything he writes to your library.

Happy Reading!
Carole P. Roman

Monday, August 18, 2014

When my kids and I were looking for an artist for the cultural series, we wanted to find someone who would mix media together for the final product.While Bonnie Lemaire takes the reader and their imagination on a flight of fancy, we wanted this series to be more concrete. We loved the way Kelsea drew children, and when I wrote to her I told her the importance of it not looking too cartoonish. We wanted realism mixed with ethnically correct features. The most important thing was we wanted to avoid stereotypes. Kelsea did all that and more.  She is respectful of all the customs and cultures. I loved the research she did to make things as correct as possible and present the country in an entertaining and beautiful way. 

Picking artists without ever speaking to them, or meeting in person was hard. Yet, the three illustrators I chose have a keen understanding of the product. They were willing to jump into my world and take a chance creating new characters to be embraced and loved by children. I am grateful for them taking me on and am please to let the the world know about it!


Kelsea Parks Wierenga graduated with a BFA in Illustration from the Milwaukee Institute of Art and Design in 2006. She has worked seven years as a professional illustrator and designer for, a Print On Demand book publisher in Charleston, South Carolina. Sometimes I’m a Fire-Breathing Dragon is an original story that Kelsea wrote, illustrated and published in 2010.
Kelsea is currently illustrating author Carole P. Roman’s cultural children’s book series available on These informative and entertaining books detail every day life for kids living countries around the world including: Mexico, France, South Korea, Norway and many more. 
Kelsea is available for illustration and design work. 

Friday, August 15, 2014

A great tool to help get a person's life in order

Really simple, easy to follow guide to help a person put their life in perspective and stop procrastinating. John Cruise first identifies the problem, then describes the many possible causes. His next chapters are devoted to relatable ways to break the bad habit of putting things off. He urges the reader to set smaller but definitive goals to be able to achieve success until they can build up to bigger projects. A well written book, it was a vital bit of information because as an overachiever working with many procrastinators, this book helped me not only to understand people I work with, but learn to help them as well. Procrastinating is global and affects physical, emotional, and financial well being. Learning to place things in realistic order, set reasonable goals and learning to say no to the impossible, a person can have a calmer and more balanced life. Nothing works like success and this book is the key to that.

Happy Reading!
Carole P. Roman

Monday, August 11, 2014

Featured Artist: Sarah Boettcher

"I mostly use chalk pastels and Faber Castell pens on my traditional art and I use a drawing tablet and Paint Tool Sai for digital art. I've been doing digital art for barely over one year. I started drawing traditionally when I was really young. I would draw in the dust on the car windows and on the kitchen walls in pencil. If I had just gotten back from a play date I would need to find a quiet space to draw. I kept drawing into middle school where I won a poster contest for a town holiday. My dream would be to become a paid artist doing what I love. A few months ago I received my first paid commission to produce large canvases to Epic salon in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. The owner of the salon immediately after contacted me to draw a design for her personal business cards. I want to continue developing my skills and sharing my art with more people."
 Sarah Boettcher 

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Shark information from nose to tail

Great book that is a treasure trove of interesting facts about sharks. My grandson is fascinated with them and adored this book. Filled with great information, the book teaches us that sharks see color. Everything form the variety to their reproduction is discussed. Dan Jackson does not speak down to children and allows grown up and scientific vocabulary to stretch young minds. Informative and colorful, it is a great introduction to marine biology.

Happy Reading!
Carole P. Roman