Wednesday, March 26, 2014


Disclosure: The author provided me with a copy of the book to review. Opinions, as always, are my own.



Helping Young Children Cope With Stress

To be effective, school guidance counselors need to be agile. It's imperative that we possess the requisite skills to address the spectrum of social and emotional needs diverse student populations experience. Students face all types of stressors that sometimes lead to depression, which in turn affect their being able to access the curriculum. The stressors are as varied as the students themselves and include peer pressure, poor self-esteem, adjustment issues, domestic violence, abuse, poverty, homelessness, crime, bereavement, or coping with a critically ill parent or loved one. When available, age-appropriate resources, such as books, are a blessing to the helping profession. I recently came across one such book.

This Author Writes From Personal Experience

Author Jenifer Gershman
Jenifer Gershman's WHERE DID MOMMY'S SUPERPOWERS GO? is a poignant story told from the perspective of a young boy whose mother undergoes treatment for a serious illness. The boy's sweet narrative voice and the book's beautiful illustrations guide child readers through his journey, as he watches his mom lose her "strength," copes with her absence as she undergoes treatment, and later notices how her appearance has changed when she returns home.

What makes this book special is that the author who wrote it writes from experience. WHERE DID MOMMY'S SUPERPOWERS GO? is the book she wishes had been available to her to read to her four-year-old son as she underwent high dose chemotherapy and stem cell transplants for a rare blood disorder, that if left untreated, could've taken her life.

I'm grateful to have another tool to add to my school guidance counselor's toolbox. WHERE DID MOMMY'S SUPERPOWERS GO? is a book I would be comfortable reading with a young child because of the compassionate manner in which Gershman handles the technicalities of illness, sadness and a child's capacity to understand both.

To Learn More About The Author Or To Order A Copy: 

Author's Blog
Facebook Page
To Purchase

Jenifer and her son.

Monday, March 17, 2014

When There's No Other Way But By Plane

Whoever forgets their first trip on a plane? I remember mine. It was 1987, and while all my high school friends took our class' senior trip to Mazatlan, I flew across the country to the Big Apple. That was a long time ago. Still, I remember so many details of that flight. Like thinking that the twenty-something law student who sat next to me was "old." Or how annoyed I was to have to crane my neck to watch Some Kind of Wonderful on the cabin's movie screen.

A Fear of Flying

Over the years my discomfort fear of flying has waxed and waned. There was a point after I moved to Boston where for a period of three years I traveled all over the U.S. and other parts of the world. Flying became so routine and mundane, like washing dishes or folding laundry, that I eventually looked forward to those few hours of uninterrupted quiet in the sky. I could read, sleep, watch a movie or just stare out at the clouds.

Know The World

A lot has happened since that has changed how I view humanity. For starters, I'm more outwardly focused; I try to stay abreast of current events (social media helps a lot). And while I'm more informed, it's a constant battle to not become hyper vigilant. Living as though danger lurks around every corner is, well, no way to live. Yet, that's exactly how many in this country and abroad have to live, in order to survive.

Children Watching The News

As parents, our challenge lies in gauging how much of the morning news to allow our children to watch. What I can tell you is that we monitor our son's TV time. He watches. He asks questions. My husband and I answer as best we can. It's tough sometimes, knowing how much is enough. We want him to examine issues from all angles. We want him to be age-appropriately informed to walk in reality, but not be traumatized. We want him to know that there's more good than evil in this world. 

The problem lies in knowing that with knowledge comes its companion -- loss of innocence. 

Monday, March 10, 2014


ARC of The Secret Side of Empty by Maria E. Andreu
Thanks to mí amiga Ruby, I had the chance to read an advance reader's copy of Maria E. Andreu's debut novel The Secret Side of Empty. All I knew before starting it was that the story revolved around an undocumented high school senior.

In many ways, M.T. is a typical teenage girl. She worries about school, is in love with a boy and enjoys spending time with her classmates. Yet, while her friends are applying to colleges and learning to drive, all M.T. can do is watch. Because of her parents' undocumented status and her having been brought into the U.S. as a small child, she has no Social Security Number, no birth certificate, none of the documentation needed to apply for a driver's license or for college. Because of her circumstances, she's forced to be a spectator. M.T.'s experience is not unique, except for the fact that she's able to hide her undocumented status because of her fair features.

"A little chunk of me will always be a stranger everywhere, different chunks of stranger in different situations."

As she nears graduation, M.T. finds herself in an increasingly desperate situation as her home life spins out of control. She's trapped at home and at school with little to look forward to in the only country she knows. With the threat of being deported to Argentina in her shadow, she becomes despondent and nearly gives up on life.

"For a split second I feel like I've forgotten my stuff, but then I realize I'm just an observer. Someone who can look but can't touch."

This novel is loosely based on the author's life and is one that will touch many readers for the simple fact that we may have watched friends, family members, or neighbors suffer in silence, or give up on their hopes and dreams altogether. I'm confident The Secret Side of Empty will soften the most hardened of hearts and give readers a glimpse into what it feels like to be the victim of circumstances.

Hop on over to GUB Life to read my friend Ruby's review!
Gracias Amiga and thank you Maria for the ARC.