Wednesday, June 12, 2019

10 Free Library Books About Dad

Photo courtesy of: StockSnap; courtesy of: Pixabay

With Father's Day fast approaching, I wanted to showcase books that focused on this special paternal holiday.

So I trekked on over to my local free library and perused the shelves.

It didn't take long before I had a growing stack of books devoted to dads with catchy titles, humorous story lines and adorable illustrations.

If you're looking for books to read your children that focus on fathers, here are ten you might like with a brief overview provided for each.

1. When Dads Don't Grow Up

Author: Marjorie Blaine Parker
Illustrations: R.W. Alley
Publisher: Dial Books For Young Readers: A Division Of Penguin Young Readers Group
ISBN: 9780803737174
Rating: 5 Lemon Drops

Book Summary:

A wonderful celebration of dads who haven't forgotten that milk tastes better through a straw, basements are scary places, and indoor sports are fun. Oh, and they don't mind getting their hair wet-if they have any.


If you're looking for a playful story that shows the silly side of dads this is the book for you. Parker and Alley have created a charming book filled with illustrations that capture the tender moments of four very special fathers and their kids.

2. Papa, Do You Love Me?

Author: Barbara M. Joosse
Illustrator: Barbara Lavallee
Publisher: Chronicle Books LLc
ISBN: 9780811842655
Rating: 5 Lemon Drops

Book Summary:

Set amidst the Massai culture of Africa, a young boy questions the intensity of his father's love and learns that his father's love for him is unconditional.


A beautiful story that uses poetic language and beautiful watercolors to convey the genuine love fathers have for their children.

3. Daddy Adventure Day

Author: Dave Keane
Illustrator: Sue Rama
Publisher: Philomel Books: An Imprint Of Penguin Group
ISBN: 9780399246272
Rating: 4 Lemon Drops

Book Summary:

For one little boy, Daddy Adventure Day means, one thing- his father's undivided attention, endless fun and lots of surprises.

On this particular Daddy Adventure Day, the two attend the son's first baseball game where they take part in super-loud singing and rooting for the team wearing white shirts. They top the unforgettable day off by sharing a banana split before going home to Mom.  


An ode to busy fathers dedicated to creating memories that last a lifetime with their children and demonstrate the infinite patience of a saint. Contains heaps of special moments that are sure to bring a smile to readers' faces.

4. Your Daddy Was Just Like You

Author: Kelly Bennett
Illustrator: David Walker
Publisher: G.P. Putnam's Sons: A Division Of Penguin Young Readers Group
ISBN: 9780399252587
Rating: 4 Lemon Drops

Book Summary:

Every child wants to know what their parents were like as children. This heart-warming story does just that.


Colorful illustrations and active descriptions are tailor made for a story time that is meaningful and reminiscent of a father's childhood.

5. Because I Am Your Daddy

Author: Sherry North
Illustrator: Marcellus Hall
Publisher: Abrams Books For Young Readers: An Imprint Of Abrams
ISBN: 9780810983922
Rating: 3 Lemon Drops

Book Summary:

Through rhyme and grandiose pronouncements, a father tells his daughter the many adventures he would take her on if he could.


A nice sentiment to a father's love for his child. I thought the story was sweet but lacked originality.

6. The Grandpa Book

Author: Todd Parr
Publisher: Little, Brown And Company: Time Warner Book Group
ISBN: 0316058017
Rating: 3 Lemon Drops

Book Summary:

A colorful book that shows the special ways grandfathers express their love for their grandchildren, from taking them to school to giving hugs and telling stories.


Through simple language and vivid colors, Parr describes the many sides of grandfathers and how they show affection.

7. Daddies

Author: Lila Prap
Publisher: North-South Books Inc.
ISBN: 9780735821408
Rating: 4 Lemon Drops

Book Summary:

A lively rhyming book about a father and a son playing a silly game at bedtime. The two impersonate an assortment of animals, from rhinos to kangaroos and lions.


A book filled with bright and bold colors that is sure to delight fathers and children and have them mimicking animal sounds with the characters. The black lined illustrations are appealing and offer a nice contrast to the vibrant colors and different shapes used throughout the book.

8. My Dad Is Big And Strong But...

Author: Coralie Saudo
Illustrator: Kris Di Giacomo
Publisher: Enchanted Lion Books
ISBN: 9781592701223
Rating: 4 Lemon Drops

Book Summary:

A role reversal between father and son, has the child playing the part of the parent at bedtime and all the shenanigans that go along with convincing an unruly dad he needs to go to sleep.


A comical story that will have fathers and children giggling as they read it through several times over.

9. Tad And Dad

Author: David Ezra Stein
Illustrator: David Ezra Stein
Publisher: Nancy Paulsen Books: An Imprint Of Penguin Young Readers Group
Rating: 5 Lemon Drops

Book Summary:

A humorous tale of a young frog named, Tad, who wants to be just like his dad, so much so that he never leaves his father's side. Night and day, he wiggles, swims, splashes and hops right alongside his dad. As Tad grows, the lily pad becomes too small for the two of them and things get pretty crowded.


A story that doesn't disappoint in delivering the timeless message of how fatherly love and encouragement help their children thrive.

10. Song And Dance Man

Author: Karen Ackerman
Illustrator: Stephen Gammell
Publisher: Scholastic Inc.
ISBN: 0590430092
Rating: 5 Lemon Drops

Book Summary:

A timeless tale about a grandfather who performs his old vaudeville stage act in the attic of his house for his grandchildren.


A story that pays homage to the performers of the bygone days before TV and cell phones. It affirms how one generation can influence the next, especially when there's a talented grandfather like the song and dance man to inspire them.

Happy Reading & Happy Father's Day!

Tuesday, June 11, 2019

Book Review: Prompt Me Again! Workbook & Journal

Author: Robin Woods

ISBN: 978-1941077122
Publisher: Epic Books Publishing
Released: November 4, 2018
Format: Paperback
Reviewer: Ellwyn Autumn
Rating: 5 Lemon Drops

This book will have you up writing way past your bedtime!

I have to be honest, I've gotten writing prompt books before intending to finish every single exercise and guess what? I didn't. They failed to keep me engaged. 

Sure a few pages here and there sparked my interest but then they wound up in my slush pile of "I'll Get Back To It," which I never did.

Robin Woods' Prompt Me Again! Workbook and Journal is altogether different. The book is part of a writing series aimed at empowering your writing and boy does it pack a powerful punch in the pencil.

Right from the beginning, Woods waylays your worries with a metaphorical introduction that encourages you to leave your inner critic behind and take a chance on your inner writer.

There are so many features included in the book that are intentionally targeted to bolster your vocabulary and imagination. She also incorporates a writing sample to help you get started on your new literary adventure.

She arranged the book into sections chock full of resources perfect for an aspiring or experienced writer. It would also make a great supplement to any English or Creative Writing classroom. 

Although it is geared for older students, with the right modifications, elementary school educators could apply many of the exercises. 

(FYI: Robin Woods is a high school and university English and literature instructor, so she knows how to construct a rigorous writing module.)

Some sections include:
Story Starters In The First And Third Person
Descriptive Phrases To Insert In Your Writing
Dialogue Prompts
Fill In The Blanks
It's Your Choice
That's Classic
Traditional Prompts

There are also diagrams to outline detailed story maps, lists of alternative words and my favorite, Fairy Tale Mash Ups. 

Early childhood teachers could easily utilize one of these prompts as a conclusion to a unit on fairy tales and folk tales.

As a creative writer and a former classroom teacher, I highly recommend this book for any classroom and aspiring author.

5 Lemon Drops!

Thursday, May 30, 2019

Interview With School Counselor/Author Gabi Garcia

Photo courtesy of: Gabi Garica

Gabi Garcia is a woman whose accomplishments can inspire us all to set our goals high. As a young child, she and her family came to the United States from Mexico. 

When she first arrived, Gabi knew very little English, but she didn't let that hold her back. She applied herself and soon became bilingual in Spanish and English.

After high school, she earned a Bachelor's Degree in Government and Spanish. Upon graduating, she became a teacher before getting a Master's Degree in Educational Psychology.

Today she is a licensed professional counselor, a prolific author and a proud mother.

She lives with her family in Austin, Texas.

Now that I've introduced you to Gabi, let's get to know her a little better.

Hello, Gabi, welcome to Lemon Drop Literary. Thank you for agreeing to do this interview.

Thank you for having me.

Why did you become an Elementary School Counselor?

I was a bilingual teacher for 4 years and realized that the students I worked with did not always have access to bilingual counseling services and there was such a great need.

What grades do you serve?

(K-3, K-5?) I worked on an elementary campus for 4 years and served students K-5. After that I became a Special Education Counselor in my district where I served students who received special education support in grades K-12! I did this for 12 years.

What are the responsibilities of an Elementary School Counselor?

So many! When I was on a campus, I provided classroom guidance lessons to all grade levels (weekly & biweekly), individual and group counseling, mentor/volunteer coordinator, 504 coordinator, parent and teacher support, ARDs and other duties as required that I am possibly forgetting.:)

What are your concerns regarding the mental health of young children?

I am concerned that there is not enough support to address these needs. 

Campus counselors are overburdened, and community resources seem to always have their funds scaled back, meanwhile it is our kids who pay the price.

Have cuts to education effected School Counselors? If yes, how so?

Most definitely! School counselors wear so many hats and one of the things I saw in my district was a great deal of burnout.

English Version 
How has your School Counseling experience influenced your writing?
My work has been a huge influence. I think it is critical that we give our students the tools to be caring, engaged, thoughtful individuals that see their worth beyond test taking. 

One of the reasons I wrote Listening with My Heart is because I saw how hard kids could be on themselves when they made mistakes or things didn’t go the way they wanted. 

I also realized that adults talk to kids a lot about how to be friends to others, but not about how to be friends to themselves and this is so important!

What inspired you to become a writer?

I have always had notebooks of stories or poems I was working on, but it took me a while to give myself permission to share my work with the world. 

In a way, I see my writing as an extension of my counseling work. It is my intention that my books will be of service somehow. This inspires me to keep writing.

English Version

Which genre do you write?

Currently I am only writing children’s picture books.

What do you find most challenging writing for your genre?

Children’s books need to be short otherwise, kids (and adults) can get bored. You need to convey the story/ message in 500-600 words, which can be tough.

What are you working on now?

I am working on a children’s picture book called Mateo Finds His Wow: A story of Wonder & Gratitude which will be out late April/early May.


How many books have you written?

I have written 4 books: Listening to My Body, Listening with My Heart, I Can Do Hard Things, and my soon to be released book Mateo Finds His Wow.

What has been your most rewarding experience since publishing your work?

It has been incredibly rewarding to hear from kids, parents and educators who take the time to let me know that they my books have been useful to them or supported their work in some way. It is very humbling.

What advice would you give to authors just starting out?

Make the time to write and don’t worry about it being good. Write.

Spanish Version

What message are you sharing in your books?

All of my books have an underlying message I hope teaches children to be mindful and kind to themselves, although they all do it in different ways. 

Listening to My Body teaches kids that the better they get at paying attention to their bodies and their feelings, the better they’ll get at treating themselves with kindness and care, Listening with My Heart teaches kids to pay attention to how they talk to themselves and the importance of being a friend to themselves, and I Can Do Hard Things teaches them to pay attention to their inner voice and values so they can be true to themselves.

When you're not writing where can we find you?

I have an almost 6-year-old daughter, so I spend most of my time playing, riding bikes or otherwise engaged with her and my family. I also love going on walks, practicing yoga and reading.

What are your favorite books?

The House on Mango Street by Sandra Cisnero, A Wrinkle In Time by Madeline L’Engle, Trauma Through a Child’s Eyes by Peter Levine and Maggie Kline, The Body Keeps Score by Bessel Van Der Kolk, and anything by Brene Brown.

What are your favorite TV shows/movies?

I really enjoy food shows like Chef’s Table, Ugly Delicious and most recently Salt, Fat, Acid, Heat.

Spanish Version

Is there anything else you'd like your readers to know about you?

I am so deeply grateful for the work that teachers and counselors do. It is such important work and while I am not in a school at this time; I do hope that my books can be of use and support the work that educators do.

Do you have a website/Facebook page?

Yes! has free downloadable reader’s guides that accompany all my books. 

My hope is that these materials will be useful to you (about 80%) even if you don’t have the books.

Where can we find your books?

Thank you, Gabi, for spending time with us and sharing your story. We wish you continued success and lots of luck!

Monday, May 27, 2019

Book Review: Silly Willy Apple Cake

Author: Amelia Griggs
Illustrator: Winda Mulyasari
Publisher: Amelia Griggs
Released: April 11, 2019
Format: Kindle, Paperback
ISBN: 978-1092879712
Reviewer: Ellwyn Autumn
Rating: 4 Lemon Drops

Silly Willy Apple Cake is a story with a great recipe for love and fond childhood memories!


Silly Willy Apple Cake is a sweet slice-of-life tale that takes us inside the happy kitchen of Bella and her mother Mia. 

Told through charming rhymes, the book begins with the duo picking apples at a farm. Once their baskets are full, they quickly decide to make an apple cake when they get home.

After inspecting the apples, they mix them up in a bowl with flour, sugar and spices then pop it in the oven. While they wait for the cake to bake, they spend the evening playing a silly willy word game. 

Before long, the cake finishes and mother and daughter end their special day eating scrumptious pieces of apple cake. Yummy!

I enjoyed the wholesome message of 'family time' shared in this book. In today's fast-paced society, parents and children need to unplug from electronic devices and engage in pleasurable interactive activities. 

Making a meal or a special dessert is a perfect opportunity to create positive memories that will last a lifetime.

Another wonderful feature about cooking or baking with children is the educational value involved with the process. 

Kids can learn a great deal across the curriculum from this seemingly simple act:
vocabulary, measurement, following a sequence of directions, collaboration, using the five senses, health, nutrition, family traditions. 

In addition to the rhyming words, another wonderful educational element is the list of action words used in the story: washing, cutting, mincing, slicing, chopping, peeling, mashing and dicing. 

A Kindergarten teacher could also utilize this to introduce and reinforce 'ing' words. The King of Ing rules!

While writing the story, Griggs', drew inspiration from the enjoyable moments she spent baking with her own mother when she was a young girl. 

Because she cherishes these childhood memories and wants her readers to create their own special moments, she included a recipe for Apple Cake at the end of the book. 

I can think of no greater gift for an author to share with others.    

Winda Mulyasari's illustrations are cute, colorful and sprinkled with a generous serving of sweetness that's endearing. They capture the playfulness of the characters and compliment the story in a lovely way.

I give it 4 Super Sweet Lemon Drops!

4 Lemon Drops!