Archive for March, 2012

Go Orange for Animals

April is Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Month! By wearing orange in April, you take a stand against animal cruelty

This month, show you stand with us by wearing orange, and help us stop puppy mills, dog fighting and other abuses, yes even neglect from shelter, chained animals, fresh water and food plus medical care. Pet owners are held to a higher standard of care for their animals. cruelty and neglect must stop. By sharing the awareness to foster better care, educate your family, friends, neighbors we help improve the quality of life for those animals great and small. 

Orange. A past student of the arts, an art lover, and won’t pass up the opportunity to visit our art galleries within the community. I pondered the reasoning behind why the ASPCA would consider Orange for the April is Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Month!

So taking a moment to read up on the meaning of orange.  Orange is a power color, also one of  the healing colors. Orange represents the changing seasons so in that sense it is a color on the edge, the color of change between the heat of summer and the cool of winter.

Personally, the word “Change” makes all a good  point.  Be the Change to prevent animal cruelty. Another interesting fact is orange stimulates  social ‘change’. Orange is mentally stimulating, so while we look at the color, we stimulate thought and the reaction to make change. A useful color to get people thinking or get them talking about the need for change.

Be the Change to Prevent Animal Cruelty This April, for each person reading this post, may you share and help the social movement to draw awareness: animals great and small deserve a quality of life, for they give so much to us, we need to give back.

Thank you ~ Martha



March 31, 2012 at 7:27 am 9 comments

Last Day to Celebrate E Book offer

 For the joy of reading, what special moments do you create for your young readers? A sleeping bag with a flashlight, a couch with a blanket? Maybe the cat curls up and read along, personally I think the cat would fall asleep. The family dog would be most interested in hearing the young reader read out loud. Dogs love to read along…..especially when the star of the book is a dog.

In the spirit of Lorax, here is a special offer to be green : Take advantage of the new EBooks formates. From Kindle to Sony each day there seems to be a new App for downloading great books for children to read. So I want to share with you a green moment. Here is a coupon code for Darby’s Story EBook ~ Enter this coupon code BU93U (not case-sensitive) receive your Kindle or Epub to PDF. Darby’s Story is offering a 40% off coupon for the 7 #ebook formates provided on This 40% off coupon is good for the next 40 days, expires March 30, 2012.

March 30, 2012 at 7:28 am 1 comment

“Z” for Goodnight Moon

We have come to the end of the alphabet, Read Across America does not have to end, neither inspiring our kids to discover the joy of reading. Here is one of my old-time favorites, my parents read to me and I read this delightful book to my son. With a quiet moment, kids are ready for bed, snug as bug in a rug; redicover Maragaret Wise Brown’s Goodnight Moon

“In a great green room, tucked away in bed, is a little bunny. “Goodnight room, goodnight moon.” And to all the familiar things in the softly lit room–to the picture of the three little bears sitting in chairs, to the clocks and his socks, to the mittens and the kittens, to everything one by one–he says goodnight.

In this classic of modern children’s literature, beloved by generations of readers and listeners, the quiet poetry of the words and the gentle, lulling illustrations combine to make a perfect book for the end of the day.”

To add your collection of family favorites, that you can pass on to your kids, grandkids. 

Here is amazon’s link: Goodnight Moon

        Thank you for joining Darby, Bangle Bear and all my friends in creating a wonderful adventure of
                         Reading Across America and the Joy of Reading.

March 28, 2012 at 7:36 am Leave a comment

“Y” You Can Do This

A dog lover’s moment, and happy to share an incredible author, she set’s an example for young writers’ heading to college or those seeking a greater opportunity. Meet Adriana Cerrotti a Penn State World Campus student, Adriana shares a message through her work, Why A Dog Can Help Children Learn from Mistakes

.World Campus Student Publishes Her First Children’s Book

Repost Article permission provided by Adrianna Cerrotti. Published by on Thursday, February 2nd, 2012 at 7:30 am
Filed under Student Perspectives.

Adriana Cerrotti

Penn State World Campus student, Adriana Cerrotti has always wanted to be an artist. Through hard work and determination, she’s accomplished that dream, having worked as an illustrator for major animated film companies such as Disney (she was responsible for bringing Ariel to life in The Little Mermaid 2) and Hanna-Barbera.

She recently published her first children’s book, Never Give Up, an accomplishment that let her tap into her passion for child psychology. The book was inspired by a developmental psychology class she took through Penn State World Campus. “That course gave me the confidence I needed to create this book,” she says.

Why A Dog Can Help Children Learn from Mistakes

Hic Up, the main character of Adriana’s book, is a dog who makes mistakes but perseveres toward doing the right thing.

Adriana picked a dog for a main character, she says, not only because she’s a dog lover (she has two dogs of her own and fosters dogs regularly), but because children love dogs and because “dogs make mistakes. We are more permissive with their mistakes,” she says. “Because children are more likely to let dogs make mistakes, it lets them learn how to learn from mistakes,” she adds.

Lifelong Persistence

Adriana’s creation, Hic Up, shows that persistence can lead to success, which is a tale she has lived nearly her entire life.

Growing up in an impoverished area of Argentina, Adriana taught herself to draw using herself—one hand served as model while the other hand drew. Her father owned a small shop of paintings, the back of which occasionally served as home to traveling Bohemian artists.

Every day, she asked her father to get her pictures that she could copy, but hewas resistant due to the unseemly lifestyle that characterized many artists he knew. Adriana was passionate about art though, and persisted. Eventually her father gave in to her requests and sent her to a local teacher.

She worked diligently to refine her techniques over the next few years. Then change happened quickly. One day she decided she wanted to be an animator, and the next, her father found her a connection—he knew a person who worked as an animator for the legendary studio Hanna-Barbera, which created The Smurfs, The Jetsons, and The Flinstones, among many other popular cartoons.

After a stint with Hanna-Barbera, Adriana was driven to continue her development as an artist. Her dream—to work for Disney—seemed achievable, and she pursued it vigorously.

She didn’t know English at the time, yet she sent out her portfolio—in English—to renowned animation companies. She used a cover letter her friend wrote in English, which she copied by hand every time she’d send out her materials.

“I copied those letters like I’d copied drawings,” she says. Eventually, it worked, and she heard back from a company in New Zealand. She hesitated slightly, since she truly wanted to work for Disney. Still, she thought, it was worth a shot, and she left, with only $100 in her pocket, and began working as an illustrator in New Zealand.

She worked on animated films that were English, even though she didn’t know the language. She relied on her friends and co-workers to describe the events of each scene so she could paint the correct emotions on faces.

About ten months after she moved, Disney tracked her down and offered her a position in Australia. Without skipping a beat, she left and began working on a movie called Redux, and later on The Little Mermaid 2 (Adriana was in charge of King Triton and Ariel).

Later, she met a man from Hollywood—who later became her husband—and she moved to the United States to be with him. It was through her husband that she first found an interest in Penn State. She was looking for a psychology program, and her husband pointed out Penn State’s international acclaim and strong reputation. Today she is happy to be here, and she’s excelling in the program; she is a member of the 2011-12 Logue Family Trustee Scholarship and was asked to join the collegiate honors society Phi Kappa Phi.

Adriana is already at work on a follow-up children’s book. Check out her first book, Never Give Up, through

If you have questions for Adriana, post them here and we’ll try to get them answered for you!

March 27, 2012 at 8:27 am 1 comment

“X” Xylophone vs Pots & Pans

Children before they can walk… love music. A musical instrument likely found in a children’s room is the Xylophone with colorful bars. With a smile on their face they compose music only they and their playmates understand.  Then once able to walk to discover the kitchen cabinet doors with pots and pans, some children will also find the plastic tubs. The child with wooden spoon in hand delights in the tones, from a ping to pong… ding and a dong the children keeps on smiling.

Years ago I too was a culprit in the kitchen band, with my older brother and younger sister we hit the big charts, rising super musician… happy times… maybe not so much for Mum.

A favorite musical moment.. watching Bugs Bunny and the Road Runner Show… the animations with the soundtracks of great classical composers like Bach and Beethoven,  and Opera, yes even Opera The Barber of Civil. Bugs and Elmer Fudd on stage performing. Bugs with ointment in hand, messages Elmer’s bald head with great enthusium in beat with the music. Classical music and Opera are still very much alive in our lives, we may not be aware of the influences in commercials and movies… it’s there.

Well, at work my favorite Bay Area classical station is in the back ground. Why? The  music creates a relaxed atmosphere to focus and type along to the notes.

To discover more visit Amazon’s page music famous child composers. Amazon’s children’s book famous Musicians

March 26, 2012 at 8:18 am 4 comments

“W” Conversations with Slimy Bookworm

Online Kids BookstoreInpart to Read Across America, I am adding one of favorite web book stores, offers book lists by age, category, and even a free gift suggestion service. They feature articles and resources, discounts via their email list, a blog to stay up to date, and much more. Parenting books are also available on their website.

“The truth is that is a small online independent bookstore that offers books for young children. where the market forces favor the mega bookstores. Most independent booksellers I know are not in it for the money. They are passionate about books and literacy and bookselling is a labor of love, ” says Bola Ajumobi, Founder of

About twice a week there is a wonderful book review to read and enjoy. Go visit and let Bola know Darby and Martha sent you  Slimy Bookworm remember to follow the blog for great book reviews

March 25, 2012 at 8:02 am Leave a comment

” V” The Versatile Blogger Awarded To Me?

  Through the weeks I have met some incredible authors, bloggers and illustrator with awemazing talent. Some have been featured on the great adventure to Read Across America.

The most resourceful basket of goodies are the groups on Linkedin. Claire Cappetta writes a blog, I so enjoy receiving  her post. ‘Claire is a creative writer and has recently retired from the financial world to concentrate on the dream of publishing a first novel, which follows a woman’s journey through relationships, domestic abuse and empowerment. Although a difficult topic to cover the story is heartwarming.’  This is Claire Blog

I understand under the rules I have to tell you seven ‘somethings’ about me, here goes:

1. I love animals, no surprise there, stories about kids and animals, creating an edible garden in the backyard and the abundance of wildlife traveling through the farm and the seasonal visitors to the pond. 

2. I gravitate to people who are real, no putting on the stuffed shirts, I’d rather we kickback and ambrass the fellowship of  our unque sense of humor and learning from each other.

3.  Picnics on the lake!

4. My favorite colors, that difficult to say, I enjoy the colorful ray of flowers. The natural mixing of an artist pallet.

5.  The most exciting moment, climbing an open steel fire tower, I don’t like heights.

6. Most beautiful place the Masia Mara, East Africa. That summer I had read Hemingways Green Hills of Africa. The beauty takes your breath away.

7. My dream one day to visit Malta. To paint the landscapes and architecture while my Honey takes photo shots for his gallery shows.

I now have to pass the award onto 15 bloggers who I read regularly and follow or think are just plain amazing, whether they are long established or ‘newbies’, like me:

1. Dare to Dream Big, Excerpted from They Stood Alone!: 25 Men and Women Who Made a Difference by Sandra McLeod Humphrey

2. promotes reading, writing, and the visual arts online

3.  Humor/fun Cartoons and children illustrator

4. interviewing authors and illustrators (budding, traditionally published, and indies)

5.  (Honoring Excellance) a resource for selecting quality materials for children and families

6. The Cows Are Coming Blog  Martin Rothery, this gentleman from the UK adds humor like no other, The blog is the ramblings of a bovine obsessed writer. His newly published book, ‘Cows” ~ Cows are trying to take over the world! But how would these normally docile creatures do such a thing?

7. Net Working Chick Elizabeth ~ The networking chick blog is for the 20 something woman and will discuss workplace issues, startups, social networking, and careers. Her articles are incredible insightful and joy to read. I could not resist, in my reply to Elizabeth, I mentioned what a great resource for boys and girls graduating from High School and College  looking to get out in the world.

8. The Illustrators Onion Blog Greg Jackson Freelance Illustrator Australia ~ Illustration can make you laugh, it can make you cry but it can’t make your lunch! Everday illustrators tackle the big questions…life? …love? …breakfast cereal? Greg posted his project ” Sketch Book Project 2012″. I so appreciate the arts. Thought this global art project needed to be shared for all ages to participate. You can review Greg’s work here: “The King of Toast”

9. Adorable Beagle blogger inspiring hope for all furry creatures great and small.

10. a gathering place for pet blogger

Wow, there we go! Seven things about me you didn’t know and fourteen great blogs I visit regularly, there are a few others but I can only do fourteen.

March 24, 2012 at 7:57 am 1 comment

“U” Ultimate Author’s Choice

A collection of my favorite books through Read Across America. If by chance you over looked a day A to Z here is a list of The Reading Across America participating books, authors, and blogs. Remember when visiting these great persons, to say: “Darby and Martha” sent you : )

Sandra McLoed Humphry’s Book Review

     Miki Peluso ‘s Book Review

Journey To Rhyolite     Steve Bartholomew “Bart”  Book Review  

Konocti Caves Kit DeCanti’s Book Review

 Deborah Hartman’s Book Review

 Dicy McCullough’s Book Review

The Bravest Boy I Ever Knew Lisa Eichlin ‘s Book Review

Darby’s Story Ebook celebrate Read Across America special this month. Encouraging pet adoption and Reading is a Joy.

Thank you everyone for Joining Me On READ ACROSS AMERICA, we are not done so come back to read more : )

March 23, 2012 at 7:46 am Leave a comment

“T” They Stood Alone!: 25 Men and Women Who Made A Difference

Setting an example with great energy to help inspire the youth,  Sandra McLoed Humphry created a fanstastic book for all ages. Here is Sandra story ~ While doing my school visits, I discovered so many students who had already given up their dreams and no longer had any personal aspirations. They were willing to settle for “just getting by” and weren’t particularly interested in discovering their passions. I wanted to restore their hopes and their dreams by showing them that one person can indeed make a difference. Each of the 25 men and women in my book made a unique contribution which changed and shaped the course of history, and they weren’t afraid to take a risk even when it frequently meant standing alone. I write my books to encourage kids to believe in themselves, to discover their passions, and to follow their hearts and persevere until they fulfill their dreams. I also encourage my readers to always think in terms of eventually giving back to society as they are able to do so.

They Stood Alone!: 25 Men and Women Who Made a Differenceis a collection of brief biographies of 25 men and women who refused to conform to the societal beliefs and expectations of their time and, by stepping out and away from the crowd, they changed their world and ours as well. (For ages 10 and up). It has just received the 2011 Mom’s Choice Gold Award for Young Adult Nonfiction and was the 2011-2012 DIY Book Festival Winner for the Teenage category.

My Blog: My DARE TO DREAM BIG! Blog at part educational/part inspirational and presents a new biography each week of someone who overcame great obstacles to achieve their goals and fulfill their dreams.

Here are some comments from Blog followers: 

Another incredible story Sandra. Thanks for sharing. Where would the world be without people who refuse to give up on an idea! Darlene Foster

Another wonderful story. I always leave this site thinking, if these pioneers can accomplish so very much. Maybe there is a chance for me to realize my dream. Back to the writing table!! Olyn Warfield

Love to read these! I always learn so much about such influential people. Thank you Sandy! Eli Pacheco

Love today’s post! Was it your intention to leave readers with misty eyes? If so, you succeeded! I am sharing this on a future blog if that’s okay with you. I am definitely linking this back on my blog. Thank you for your time and your work. Pam

I love these inspirational posts. I’m a firm believer that anyone who ever made it, and I mean, really made it, most likely faced adversity at some point(s) in their lives. He or she who tries nothing, achieves nothing. I’m a follower Sandra. Keep up the great work. Keith Flanagan

Sandra McLeod Humphrey is a retired clinical psychologist, a character education consultant, and an award-winning author of eight middle-grade and young adult books. She’s also the recipient of the National Character Education Center’s Award for Exemplary Leadership in Ethics Education (2000) and the 2005 Helen Keating Ott Award for Outstanding Contribution to Children’s Literature. You can learn more about her books by visiting her Web site at

March 22, 2012 at 8:04 am 1 comment

“S” … And The Whippoorwill Sang

Read Across America has been an incredible journey for me. In my pursuits to discover the undiscovered, I have met some incredible people who are inspiring, have placed their lives within pages, and opened their lives to us. Here is another amazing Author, Micki Peluso and her book. . . . And The Whippoorwill Sang–, which will offer moments of placing your heart on your sleeve with humor.

When I asked Micki Peluso to participate, I encourage the Author to submit any or all information, I like the opportunity to read the book reviews, interviews, and other media coverage on the book and author. Then I pick what touches my heart-strings, so here is one 5 star book review by John Evan for … And The Whippoorwill Sang.

. . . And the Whippoorwill Sang by Micki Peluso

For those of you who could never imagine having to say good-bye to a special loved one, especially a precious young child, take the time to read And the Whippoorwill Sang.  Prepare yourself to laugh hysterically one moment, to yourself or even out-loud, and then sink into your seat with consolation as you embark upon a twenty-two year journey through the lives of Micki and Butch, as seen through Micki’s eyes.

The author, Micki Peluso, has a true gift for storytelling. It is genuinely difficult to set the book down once you begin to identify with its characters; you wish to read on and on. It was a rocky beginning for the couple, as we become onlookers into their personal lives just entering into adulthood, but you are soon to identify that this precious couple were blessed with the instincts of survival.

There are two journals intertwined within the pages of . . .And the Whippoorwill Sang; one that spans two decades of the couple’s trials and triumphs clearly chronicled by historic date, and another that spans a shorter, ten-day journey that, had you personally been there, and you feel you are as you read on, would seem to last an eternity.

I encourage you to get your copy and find a quiet place to absorb Micki’s personal true-life memories, the memories
which urge us to Weep, to Laugh, to Grieve, to Dance.

John M. Evans
National Victim Services Training Manager
Mothers Against Drunk Driving – MADD
511 E. John Carpenter Freeway, Suite 700
Irving, Texas 75062
469-420-4564   Direct Line

Please follow Micki’s Blog A Writers Journey ~ Blog

To Purchase your copy of … And The Whippoorwill Sang Amazon book & Ebook

March 21, 2012 at 8:20 am 1 comment

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