September 8th is International Literacy Day

Tuesday, September 8, is 

International Literacy Day

“You cannot open a book without learning something.”

     ~ Confucius 

Help your children develop a love of books by snuggling up with one of these 25 Children’s Books to Teach Your Kids Meaningful Values

The Mine-O-Saur children's book that teaches values, such as generosity.

The Mine-O-Saur is one example of a children’s book that teaches values – in this case, generosity.


BY: Dr. Seuss
Who better than Dr. Seuss to remind us how lucky we truly are, even when we’re down in the dumps?
THE MORAL OF THE STORY: Focus on what you have and don’t dwell on the bad.

BY: Margot Zemach
This Yiddish folktale depicts gratitude in an uproarious light. When an unfortunate man follows the advice from his Rabbi, his life seems to go from bad to worse – or does it?
THE MORAL OF THE STORY: Things are not always as bad as they seem.

BY: William Steig
Sylvester the donkey is thrilled to have found a magic pebble! But when he encounters a lion on his way home, he must make a decision that separates him from his family.  When he’s finally reunited with them, he learns a valuable lesson.
THE MORAL OF THE STORY: Always be grateful for family.

BY: Mr. Meus
Billy Babble is the richest Babble in Babbleland. He begins to feel like something is missing and sets out on a quest to fill his empty heart.
THE MORAL OF THE STORY: A grateful heart is a happy heart.

BY: Dallas Clayton
Filled with whimsical illustrations and quirky characters, this book notes all the things in life to be grateful for. The list spans from simple joys – tree, trains, a nice breeze and rain –  to the extraordinary – skipping jungle cats and alligator acrobats.
THE MORAL OF THE STORY: We have so many reasons to give thanks.

An Awesome Book of Thanks is a children's book that teaches values


BY: Shel Silverstein
A classic by Shel Silverstein, this tender story is that of a boy who learns a lesson about the gift of giving – but only after it’s too late.
THE MORAL OF THE STORY: Generosity should be appreciated and returned.

BY: Sudipta Bardhan-Quallen
The Mine-O-Saur is always snatching up all the toys, grabbing all the snacks and hoarding all the blocks, yelling “mine, mine, mine!”  When will he learn the secret to making friends?
THE MORAL OF THE STORY: Sharing is caring.

BY: Jeff Brumbeau
The generous Quiltmaker spends all of her time making quilts only to give them away. When she’s approached by the greedy king to make him a quilt, she agrees, but only under certain conditions.
THE MORAL OF THE STORY: Giving is the true secret to happiness.

: Katie Smith Milway
This is the true story of a mother who gives a little money to her son, Kojo, after receiving a loan from some village families. With this tiny loan, Kojo buys a hen that grows to a large flock and then an entire farm.
THE MORAL OF THE STORY: Giving even a little can make a big difference.

BY: Vera B. Williams
After their home is destroyed by a fire, Rosa, her mother, and grandmother save their coins in hopes of buying a comfortable chair that her hard-working mother deserves.
THE MORAL OF THE STORY: Generosity is important in hard times.

A Chair For My Mother is a children's book that teaches values


BY: Demi
A Chinese emperor holds a contest where the child who grows the most beautiful flowers from his seeds will be his successor. On the final day, it appears many children have won the contest, but there is only one true winner.
THE MORAL OF THE STORY: Honesty is the best policy.

BY: David Shannon
David always has a good excuse ready whenever he gets in trouble for his mischievous antics. Slowly, David realizes that making excuses makes him feel bad, and saying he’s sorry makes him feel better.
THE MORAL OF THE STORY: It’s better to own up to your mistakes.

BY: Berkeley Breathed
Fannie Fudwupper’s big brother, Edwurd, spends his time cooking up giant lies. But one day, Edwurd tells such a whopping lie that the army, the air force, and the dogcatcher are called to reverse the damage.
THE MORAL OF THE STORY: Stick with the truth.

BY: Thierry Robberecht
Sam is so eager to make friends at his new school that he tells them a story that isn’t true. But when the truth comes out, Sam realizes the difference between telling a story and spinning a tale.
THE MORAL OF THE STORY: Your true self is your best self.

BY: Stan and Jan Berenstain
When Brother and Sister Bear accidentally break Mama’s favorite lamp, their little lie about how it happened grows bigger and bigger. Thankfully, Papa Bear helps them find the words that set everything right again.
THE MORAL OF THE STORY: You’ll always feel proud about telling the truth when the  time comes.

The Berenstain Bears and the Truth is a children's book that teaches values


By: Lynea Gillen
This colorful picture book contains endearing examples and vibrant illustrations of people doing good to inspire children to be grateful, caring, and kind. Be it the people that build houses, deliver babies, or take care of others, the message is that people are good.
THE MORAL OF THE STORY: Kindness is always appreciated.

BY: Phillip M. Hoose
This fun book explores life from an ant’s perspective, when an ant strikes up a conversation with the boy who’s about to step on him.
THE MORAL OF THE STORY: Kindness should extend to all living creatures.

BY: Jacqueline Woodson
New girl, Maya, comes to school and tries to befriend Chloe, but Chloe continually rejects Maya’s attempts at friendship. After Ms. Albert teaches a lesson about kindness, Chloe realizes she has been cruel to Maya. But Maya’s family has moved away, and Chloe is left feeling that she will never have a chance to show Maya kindness.
THE MORAL OF THE STORY: You never know how far even a little bit of kindness can go.

BY: Philip C. Stead
Amos McGee, the zookeeper, makes sure to spend a little bit of time with each of his animal friends each day at the zoo. When Amos is too sick to go to work, his animal friends come to him to return the favor.
THE MORAL OF THE STORY: Be kind to others and they will be kind to you.

BY: Carol McCloud
This award-winning book is based on a beautiful metaphor – that everyone has an invisible bucket that be either be filled or dipped into. Helping others and being kind feels the bucket, while the opposite empties it out.
THE MORAL OF THE STORY: Helping others and being kind brings happiness to yourself and others.

Have You Filled a Bucket Today? is a children's book that teaches values


BY: David Shannon
Camilla Cream is very, very worried about what other people think of her. In fact, she’s so worried that she refuses to eat her favorite food, lima beans, simply because the other kids don’t like them. But things change when she breaks out in a bad case of the stripes.
THE MORAL OF THE STORY: Being different is nothing to be ashamed of.

BY: Helen Lester
Tacky is an odd bird and his friends make fun of him for it all the time. But when hunters come, his odd behavior saves the day.
THE MORAL OF THE STORY: Being different has its perks.

: Munro Leaf
Ferdinand isn’t like all the other bulls. While they snort, leap, and butt their heads, Ferdinand is content to just sit and smell the flowers under his favorite cork tree.
THE MORAL OF THE STORY: Always march to the beat of your own drum.

BY: Robert Munsch
Stephanie’s friends, and even her teacher, start copying how she wears her ponytail. She moves it to the side, to the top of her head, even right in front of her face, but they still keep copying her. Until one day she outsmarts them all.
THE MORAL OF THE STORY: Strive for non-conformity.

BY: David McKee
Elmer is the multi-colored elephant, while all the other elephants are grey. He’s different and not so sure he likes that. It takes some time for Elmer to accept who he is, but, when he does, he couldn’t be happier.
THE MORAL OF THE STORY: Self-acceptance takes time, but comes with a big reward.

Elmer is a children's book that teaches values

Visit GOODNET – Gateway to doing good

PicArt / PicEdit Random Shenanigans

Tired of summer reruns?

See the original - Read the book!
See the original – Read the book!
PicArt / PicEdit Shenanigans

A reverse kissing booth! It could catch on…


Book Reviews Horror Horror

Just to tease you…

I just e-mailed an author about one of their books I started reading last night. Now, I want to tease you a little bit.

This new story is one of the most horrifying things I’ve read.

You should know what a bold statement that is.


Soon, my loves. Soon.

Peace, Love, & Necrophilia ❤
~ sg

Random Shenanigans

BuzzFeed-Books: The Great Debate!


The Great E-Books Vs. Print Debate
On which side do you stand in the Battle of the Books?

Six BuzzFeed employees engage in a vicious debate to decide which books are better, printed or electric.
Moderated by Nathan Pyle

Originally posted on BuzzFeed Books – click HERE to see the vicious debate between six BuzzFeed employees.
Then, come back here so we can have our own debate!
I’m curious to hear everyone’s thoughts on this.

Since we have to choose a side, (for this discussion only), once you choose, don’t hesitate to share why you love them both!

I love the smell of literature in the morning…

I use my e-dictionary & highlighting options DAILY.

Personally, for the ME I am right now, I have to argue on the side of e-books. Don’t think that I don’t love everything about a printed book – the feel, the smell, the pride of looking at your collection…::sigh:: I’ll try for three Pro/Con points –
$ £ One of my arguments for e-books is COST.
I’M BROKE. Not just the regular “If I eat Top Ramen twice a day, then I can justify buying the new Laurell K. Hamilton hardcover this week,” broke. No. I’m at the – “If I don’t want to die, I can eat Top Ramen twice a day, and still afford to drink something other than water,” kind of broke. Having an e-reader allows me an escape from this one room slice of paradise located in the seventh circle of Hell, (take a left at Albuquerque, exit just past Xibilba). Without reading, I’d die.
☼ ☀ READING IN BED has many perks –
I can use ‘night mode’, (black screen w/white lettering), and read all night without the light disturbing my husband. Having to get out of bed to turn off the light, right at the perfect moment to close my eyes & drift off), isn’t a ‘thing’ anymore. Positional comfort and page turning without uncovering my [covered] ‘warm arm’ are other pros. Let’s not forget the possibility of monsters getting me when I set my feet on the floor to go switch off the light! No longer an issue!
♪♫ Here’s one I’m probably alone on, TTS.
Short of hiring a midget to stand by the headboard and tell you a story, you don’t have a Text To Speech option with a printed book. If you have any device other than a Kindle, the TTS options are pretty awesome these days. I love IVONA, and have two (free) voices for the program. Kendra is my US voice, and Jennifer is my UK voice. I adjusted the pitch and speed for both, and got them to sound really good. HOWEVER… I only have Ivona on my cell. My Kindle still uses the factory voice, but, I got used to it pretty quick. Now, if my eyes are sleepy, I don’t have to stop the story. I listen to books on my way to & from work, and I look forward to my walks! TTS has made a HUGE impact on my life.


I adore my printed books though. (I have 5 next to me right now.) But, for the purposes of this debate – I chose to stand on the side of EVIL.
Use the social media buttons at the bottom, and share this with your master-debater, book-loving friends!
Make your choice, aannndddd… GO!

Horror Quoted Quotes

Quoted – Bram Stoker


Book Reviews Horror

Right To Life by Jack Ketchum

Right to Life (Cemetery Dance Novella Series, #4)Right to Life by Jack Ketchum
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I liked this book, but the entire time I was reading it – I kept comparing it to Perfect Victim: The True Story of “The Girl in the Box”. The stories aren’t just similar – some details are practically identical (once artistic license is removed).
Colleen Stan was threatened with stories of ‘The Organization’, and the head-box was so detailed that it couldn’t have been from anywhere else.
It’s a good story, but the true story of Colleen Stan is horrifying.
If you’re a fan of True Crime, read Perfect Victim: The True Story of “The Girl in the Box”.

View all my reviews


Quoted – Mo Willems

Quoted - Mo Willems

I wish I could live like this!
If I’m reading a book that I’m not into, for whatever reason, I wish I could let myself STOP reading. But, I get a feeling – that ‘I forgot to do something’ feeling…
It’s something I need to work on.
Can you stop reading in the middle of a book?

Book Reviews Dark Humor

BARNACLE BRAT by Adrian Baldwin

BARNACLE BRAT by Adrian Baldwin


5/5 Bloody Towel Hooks
– (if you don’t giggle at the reference – you don’t know
your Dark Comedy 101

‘When there is absolutely nothing left to do, you HAVE to pull the trigger.”

It begins with an upside down Betty.
Betty is a V.W. Bug. But, her occupants are upside down too. Lester & Veronica are hanging by their seat belts in the back seat – (sixty year olds looks much older upside down), while the also upside down driver, Leon, is arguing with a dummy (“I’m a mannequin!”) in the front.
This is the opening of BARNACLE BRAT, and even though it’s tagged as a Dark Comedy For Grown-Ups, I never imagined it would live up to my definition of a dark comedy. (Not saying I wear a cape of Super Wit, just saying I have a pretty messed up sense of humor!)

* The Urban Dictionary defines a big girls blouse as –
A male displaying percieved feminine characteristics through actions which cause his peers to think less of him. Being a big girls blouse is much worse than being just a girls blouse, thus it’s highly insulting nature.Also used to force a man to do something they fear through peer pressure.
See also: pink fluffy curtain; gaylord

Leon Blank is enough of a character to fill this book.
He’s a bit … ‘touched’. He hears voices, (and answers them), he sees things (side effect of being sexually frustrated?), and speaking of sexually frustrated – his tastes are a tad unconventional – Voyeurism; Feederism; Shoes – that kind of thing. Since the accident, these things seem to be escalating. Saying he’s ‘easily distracted’ doesn’t quite grasp his level of – oh look! A duck!
Now, add in the cast of characters that surround Leon, and you get 400 pages of a book that you can’t put down. When you HAVE to put it down, for pesky things like sleep or work, it calls out to you. I thought about Leon when I wasn’t reading about him. I admit that it took me a little longer than usual to finish this book, but I chalk that up to rereading sections that I listened to on my commute to & from work.

* The Urban Dictionary defines (in part) Feederism as –
An underground sexual fetish which involves one partner (the feeder) feeding the other, both to obtain sexual arousal and to encourage weight gain in the feedee.
Some feeder relationships are not undertaken with the purpose of weight gain at all but for the enjoyment of food in an intimate context.

Leon seems to get constantly used and taken advantage of by those closest to him – his ‘agoraphobic’, “Im not lazy, I’m just not well”, brother Richard, his grandparents Bill & Norma- who always seem to be busy, (unless they want some of his money, then they’ll spare 5 minutes), and even the people he considers friends, like Wayne. But, he’s nearing the end of his rope. I was wishing he’d go balls-out on some of these people; it made me feel better that he KNEW what was happening, (for the most part), and I wasn’t in a rage because he was clueless & naive.

“Silence is argument carried out by other means.”
Che Guevara

The evil clown, the one that reminds him of John Wayne Gacy’s ‘Pogo’ character, has started following him more vigorously, and he’s carrying a baseball bat! And now – who a that big, wrestler-looking dude with him?
He fears he’s losing his grip, he’s definitely losing time. Did he talk to that girl earlier today, or was it a week ago?
He’s going to start keeping track of things. Writing it down, a journal to keep track of the weird things.
And there is no lack of weird things in this book!

Even listed as a dark comedy, don’t think that everything is a barrel of laughs. There were times that I’d be pissed off, and other times where I felt I wanted to cry. I also laughed out loud – a couple times I laughed out loud while listening to the book, and people think I’m a lunatic!
If you have the choice, let me recommend the physical copy of this book. (I have both – e-book and a [signed] physical copy). The electronic version doesn’t do justice to the stunning cover-art, or the different fonts used.

Awesome gift from author Adrian Baldwin!
Awesome gift from author Adrian Baldwin!

**A note to film-maker/photographer/artist MIKE ZAFFINO –
Again, Marco (Mike for a bit, in my head :/ ) – my deepest & heartfelt apologies to you.
I have a weird sense of humor, and have an odd need to quote movies at every possible moment. While I think I’m hilarious most of the time, I forget that people who have never met me, or even heard my name, have no clue as to what I may be thinking at any given moment. I want to publicly say that I’m sorry – I came off rude when I meant to be funny. I hope we can start fresh!!

I have a special little video that I want to share here, kind of an ‘inside’ joke for Adrian & some of his buddies. (They’ve got a Molly and they know how to use it!)
If you haven’t read the book yet, or the acknowledgements at the end, that’s ok – because you can enjoy the video for what it is. Someone on YouTube, COYOTE STARRK, made this video for Jonathon Culton’s song re: your brains – and it’s been one of my favorite things for a long time.

Adrian on FACEBOOK

Adrian website:

Anthologies Book Reviews Horror

ASYLUM by Matt Drabble


Blackwater Heights is a building with a long dark history, some of it is well known but more is shrouded in myth and legend. None more so than that of its founding father Horace Whisker.

Martin Parcell is an ex-journalist with shattered dreams of an author’s career. Sidelined through a car crash’s injuries, he finds himself forced through governmental austerity measures having to take a custodians position at a private mental health hospital. A writer with undoubted talent, but an author without a story.

He begins his new job deep in depression and drowning under waves of his lost dreams. On his first night he meets Jimmy, his elderly supervisor who has spent most of his life within the hospital walls. Jimmy is nearing retirement age and desperate to rest his weary bones. Jimmy offers Martin a way out for both of them, access to the background histories and stories of the hospital’s patients.

A collection of 13 tales from the darkly disturbed minds of the residents of Blackwater Heights.

As the long night unwinds, Martin finds himself deeply troubled as the tales unfold before him and threaten to drag him down into their insanity.

I’ve had this book for a long time. I loved the sound of the synopsis, and am always on the lookout for an asylum story to scare the crap outta me.
It somehow got lost in my Kindle, I think it was from the blow up & the replacement, it screwed up my filing system. When I picked it back up and started over – I remembered how great it started, and I’m pissed that I haven’t read it until now. ALTHOUGH… I am getting to enjoy it right now – so it’s all good. I can’t stay mad at me forever.

The first chapter laid everything down beautifully, and gave me a huge ‘ah-ha’ moment when I figured out how I believe things are going to go.
Martin is a writer. Unfortunately, we all know that writing just doesn’t pay the bills. Looking to make ends meet, he picks up a gig at the ‘bin’… custodial arts at the local mental asylum. While working the first half of his shift, the regular janitor, Jimmy, tells him the background story of this hospital, and of the man who built it.
Martin knows that this is a story that is begging to be told. Jimmy knows it, too.
Jimmy also knows that Martin wants to write this story, so he lays his offer down. “I’ll tell you the story, for 50% of the profit.” He sees that Martin is a little reluctant, so – he ups the ante. All the residents of this hospital – they each have a story, and Martin can be the one to write them. The only thing that stands between him & their memories? The keys on Jimmy ‘s key-ring.
According to the title of this book, there are thirteen different tales of terror in our visit to Blackwater Heights Mental Hospital. Let’s dive right in, shall we?

Chapter two tells the us Julian’s tale.
Jillian is a man obsessed with numbers. Everything is precisely scheduled, accounts perfectly balanced, and timed. He came to the UK when the U.S. company he worked for, as an accountant, planned to expand and purchased an area to develop. He was to fly to London and tour the new facility. Sadly, nothing has gone as planned. His plane didn’t land in London, it landed 430 miles away from his planned destination. That’s why Julian rented a car, one without on-board SatNav, and tried to drive the distance. What happened on that drive led to a car accident, a burned down cabin in the woods, and four dead bodies.
Eight days later, he ended up in Blackwater Heights.

Chapter four is Duncan Murray’s story.
Thirty eight years old, the overweight & scruffy graphic designer lives a boring, and practically anonymous life. When the voice in his head started talking to him, he blamed everything from being overly tired to a possible brain tumor. He realized that it was neither of those things when he refused to do the things The Voice was goading him into – The Voice retaliated by causing harm to the people that would have only been mildly inconvenienced or annoyed by the initial suggestion. Refuse to kick that little dog? Ok. It’s owner can enjoy this heart-attack. Refuse to pinch that girls ass? See what I can do that’s worse! Duncan learned to live with The Voice by creating some boundaries & ground rules – until The Voice went silent.
When The Voice finally did return – it was only a matter of hours until Duncan arrived at Blackwater Heights.

Chapter five is Martin and Jimmy discussing things in between rooms, and in between residents. I got a little tickle in my gut here. I got an idea of something to watch for in later scenes with these two. (I just wanted to make a note of it).

In chapter six we learn Dr. Samuel Dietz story.
Dr. Samuel is a man who harbors dark fantasies and even darker secrets. Running an institute for the blind should keep him safe from prying eyes, but his debauchery can’t be hidden from the new resident – Sarah Conner.

Chapter eight is Janet Marlowe’s story.
Janet is working as a psychic, Gypsy Rose to her clients. She knows all the cons to lure in the rich, and prey on their losses. The grieving are willing to accept her words as comfort, until she gets a client that takes her words a little too seriously.

Chapter ten is about Detective Inspector Daniel Bowden.
Dan learns an important lesson while investigating a string of mysterious deaths. And in the end, when he doesn’t get the thing he wants the most – he finally understands.

Chapter twelve is the story of Billy Hayes
Billy gets his first summer job, working in a toy store that is getting ready for it’s grand opening in his little town. It’s not like any toy store he’s ever seen – no X-Box here. These are hand made toys, dolls to be specific. Those creepy dolls, whose eyes seem to follow your every move. His boss, the store’s owner & doll maker, puts his heart & soul into these dolls – like they were his… children.

Chapter fourteen is the tale of twenty-three year old Brittany Nichols – STORMY SEAS
Brittany is a writer, suffering writers block after her first novel topped the critic’s lists but didn’t do well with the public. She goes on holiday looking for her muse, renting a secluded cottage for three months. She finds more than her muse when Mother Nature throws an epic hissy fit.
Brittany isn’t the one who ended up at Blackwater Heights, though.

Chapter sixteen Gerald Dayton
This is an awesome story. One of my favorites so far.
Gerald is an actor – one of those dick-head actors who treats everyone like shit & acts all superior. He has an epiphany one night, and realizes that he’s been… well, he’s been a douche bag. He’s going to turn things around – act for the art, for the feelings it used to invoke in him.
He receives a mysterious script shortly after this. No name attached, only signed ‘The Director’. This script is amazing, and Gerald wants this roll.
He throws himself into it, becomes the character – like Heath Ledger did as The Joker, with almost the same result.
Let me know how you feel about this one – I’m dying to talk about it with someone!

Remember that idea I had – well, I’m even more convinced that I’m headed in the right direction about Jimmy. Martin is tottering back & forth with things, too. He’s not so sure that he wants to do this anymore.

Chapter eighteen Donnie Biggs
A group of teens want to be the next great band. The white faces and black make-up, leather clothes fit for The Village People. They can hardly play, but that doesn’t matter. When you’re hungry enough for success, you’re willing to do whatever it takes to become a star – and these boys are hungry.

Chapter twenty Morton Banks
There was a talk show host ages ago, before talk shows are what they are today. Hell, before they were what they were in their height of success. A host who was cool At first, until the novelty wore off & we saw him for the sham he was. Sleazy. More sleazy than the guests on Springer today. He smoked on the set, and told off the guests. I am thinking this has to be loosely based on this guy, or else it’s one hell of a coincidence! Morton Downey Jr. is the guy I’m referring to, and if you know who he is (was), then you’ll see the resemblance when you read this chapter.
Morton Banks is the host of a failing paranormal investigation television show. He needs to be back on top, so he’s willing to do whatever it takes to get there, even if it includes faking a live broadcast from a notorious killers home & killing ground.

Chapter twenty-two
Major Donald Carragher has a YELLOW STREAK a mile long! He went to extreme measures to hide his shame while serving his country. Now, he thinks he’s made it, that no one will ever find out, but a blast from the past begs to differ! In the end – will he finally stand UP and do what’s right, or will this be the time that his secret is exposed for the whole world to see?

Chapter twenty-four
Zachary Carmine is the harshest, and most snarky food critic to ever work for the paper. His readers love to hate him, and the restaurants he reviews for his column, DISH OF THE DAY, are made or broken by the few lines he shoots out – usually before he even tries the food.
He gets a mysterious call that leads him to try the best food he’s ever tasted, and that one taste changes him – forever.

Chapter twenty-six
Sara Wilton is taking a NIGHT CLASS in Criminology. She’s faced with a question I’ll ask you guysow, too…
Do you think you could pick out a serial killer on looks alone? I’m drawn to this phrase again – Never Judge A Book By It’s Cover!!

Twitter: MattDrabble01
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