About Read to Kids

Pre-published Picture Book author, member of SCBWI, published poet, past 21st Century after-school assistant, a graduate of University of Illinois at Springfield.

Remembering A Hero


(Eulogy for a Father)

A WWII veteran (Bronze Star & Purple Heart) may not reflect his physical bravery in 2019, but always his spirit. My hero Veteran died in 2002.

Remember this man, mourning not
the honored soldier’s purple heart
nor the brown of loyal uniform,
that stood strong for the greater good.

Remember this generation, whose values
joined sweethearts for sixty years
and buried heart wrenching loss and longing
in love undimmed by poor health–no tears.

Remembering, grandchildren told
his kindness, delight in their growing.
Through winter sledding, summer wagon rides,
his children celebrated–knowing.

This death has but claimed a body;
his strength and good from this world gone.
We remember, Joy surmounts pain,
and His love, without end, lives on.



the story of Andrew on his birthday

     At five months gestation, Andrew’s bone disorder was evident. His cherub face topped the body of a little person, a dwarf. The next sonogram should indicate the type and severity of this bone disorder.

     “I think he’ll just be short,” our daughter willed. She prepared for a baby shower and rearranged the small room in her house for a new baby boy. We were given faith.

     March,1995, the American Academy of Pediatrics reported “Achondroplasia is the most common form of disproportionate short stature.” Children are of normal intelligence and lead productive lives. We were given acceptance.

     Then, doctors announced the impossible. Thantatophoric Dysplasia*, is a lethal dwarfism in which a short, narrow rib cage prevents the lungs from expanding. Babies, often, are stillborn or survive a short time.

     About eight months along, our daughter’s appendix required surgery. An immediate C-section was planned to remove the appendix and the baby. We gathered at her bedside to pray the Our Father and Hail Mary and ask that God let Andrew be born alive. We were given hope.

     The delivery room was electric. Appendix out. A Pastoral person waited to baptize Andrew. A shout came down the hall. All ears in the waiting room heard, “He’s pink and crying! No, he is very pink!” On October 17, 2003, Andrew was born, 5 LBs, 15 ¾” long. We were given Great Joy!

     The task of caring for Andrew began. At one month he stopped breathing and was put on oxygen. On Hospice, he required a decision-making parent present at all times. People came from far and near with food. Others were baby holders to keep the head elevated. A fund raiser drew 80 people. Parents, especially, received Fortitude.

     Andrew was dying, and Andrew was living, smiling, cooing, grasping toys, noticing his musical mobile and Christmas lights, eating and gaining weight. We found humility and love abounding.

     Mother Teresa wrote about listening for God, who speaks “. . . in the silence of the hearts.”

The fruit of silence is faith.
The fruit of faith is prayer.
The fruit of prayer is love.
The fruit of love is service.
And the fruit of services is silence. (p.64)*

        This is when Andrew speaks. In his sleep he often smiled with so much love   that you heard it in your heart. Andrew died May 12, 2004, yet His love remains –the greatest of all gifts. **


* Maelouf, Jean. MOTHER TERESA, ESSENTIAL WRITINGS, Orbis Books. Maryknoll,            NY., 2001.

**First Corinthians, 13:13


I’m very late posting this review of another amazing Josh Funk Picture Book.

As summer faded into a sunny but chilling fall day, I reached for a sweater and retrieved a box from our front porch. Yes!

Inside was the latest book from the team of Josh Funk and Brendan Kearney:

Lady Pancake & Sir French Toast,


Pancake and French Toast are meeting to decide what to do about the sub-zero temperature inside the refrigerator when Agent Asparagus invites them to join the Fridge Bureau of Investigation team. But the Agent suddenly disappears, and Pancake and French Toast are left on their own, unless a previous villain, Baron von Waffle, will guide them through the refrigerator.

This Picture Book is cleverly written in fetching rhyme and illustrated with fun, animated characters and golden embossed emblems on an icy, blue jacket cover. But what makes this an outstanding read, is the question a young story-lover may ask: “He (Baron von Waffle) used to be the bad guy. Can he change and be a friend?”

Check it out  Mission Defrostable  rated on GOODREADS







by Josh Funk and illustrated by Stevie Lewis

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One grandson had said, “You can’t get lost in a library. I don’t believe it.”

As two boys began to read, they were intrigued by the complexity of the New York Library structure and a descriptive metaphor that measured Astor Hall by elephants and buffalo.

Since everyone one is taught to speak softly in a library, both grandsons understood how worried Lion, Fortitude, had become when he had to roar to get the attention of the voices in the hall. His good Lion friend, Patience, was lost. But they both must return to their posts at the library entrance before the city awakens.

Illustrator, Stevie Lewis, uses luminous colors, reflecting the time of day, and is sensitive to the feelings of the characters and the prominence of this iconic structure.

Thanks to author, Josh Funk, readers can become acquainted with the interesting history of the New York Library, following the story. This is a book for every library. It’s a story of friendship and feelings, surprise after surprise, magnificent words, and it confirms my belief that Picture Books are not just for children.

After finishing the book, you’ll probably want to visit the library. GO HERE!

For quality, artful, publishing, I thank Henry Holt and Company.

Monthly Picture Book Reviews



Winner of 2016 PEN New England Susan P. Bloom Children’s Book Discovery Award

Author: Michelle Cusolito www.michellecusolito.com

Illustrator: Nicole Wong www.nicole-wong.com

I must confess. I would never have known the existence of a Dumbo Octopus or a Ghost Crab or tube worms, and more, without reading FLYING DEEP, written by, Michelle Cusolito, and illustrated by, Nicole Wong.

Two grandsons who keep me company in the summer months were not as sold on the book, at first. They are good swimmers and were not bothered one bit by three passengers who are sinking to the bottom of the ocean while aboard Alvin, a small, submersible. They were concerned about how long it took to arrive at the bottom.

I began the story at the back of the book. The illustrations were compelling. The Glossary defined Dumbo Octopus and tube worms as living organisms. If we were inside Alvin, would we see them? We read facts about how far down Alvin must travel. How long would that take? We began turning pages faster, and the boys read, too.

“Look, there’s a Ghost Crab! Those aren’t flowers, Grandma. They’re tube worms”
FLYING DEEP was an exciting journey that opened our eyes to the wonders of the ocean.

To learn more about ALVIN, go to www.whoi.edu/main/hov-alvin
Thank you, Charlesbridge Publishing and Eight Cousins bookstore in Falmouth, MA. Thank you, Tara Lazar, for a STORYSTORM day with Michelle Cusolito.                        Thank you, Michelle, for signing my copy of your award-winning book.


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by Josh Funk with illustrations by Sara Palacios

Some unexpected and annoying happenings have kept Pearl from building a sandcastle. But today is her last day at the beach. Maybe her robot, Pascal, can help, but a sandcastle can take all afternoon to make. Will they finish in time?

Although this Picture Book promotes the fact that more girls are coding, it’s also a fun story about a girl who plans, doesn’t give up when things go wrong, wisely brings her robot to help, and figures out all the steps that lead to her goal.

Wisely, Josh Funk wrote this funny story about a serious subject that’s interesting to kids. Kids learn coding terms while reading and seeing the effects of sequences and loops with the turn of a page.

I purchased this book at a nearby store on May 22, 2018. With permission, I am happy to review it. Checked the facts at GirlsWhoCode .

“JOSH FUNK?” you ask.

Yes, he’s the one who teamed with illustrator Brendan Kearney to introduce LADY PANCAKE AND SIR FRENCH TOAST and a second adventure, THE CASE OF THE STINKY STENCH.

Josh has lots of fun for kids on his Website, JoshFunkBooks. If you head over to his Website, you’ll be able to watch a book trailer about one more trip to the refrigerator, coming soon.


Today my short blog may give you some insight on the fuzzy, furious mind of a writer. Today I completed Tara Lazar’s STORY STORM writing challenge, getting 30 ideas or titles in 30 days from the amazing guest bloggers that greeted me each day this January, 2018.

I’m ready with 5 BEST IDEAS to connect with agents if I’m one of the Grand Prize Winners this year. If not, I sure have plenty of ideas to turn into a manuscript (two drafts already), thanks to Tara’s program.

Yesterday, I still had two blank lines until I remembered that Vivian Kirkfield wrote a sweet story about Sarah. But what if my character was not so sweet? Josh Nash wrote that he is “always on the clock.” Off to the prompt care with my spouse, I grabbed my notebook and wrote a new draft.

Creativity begets more creativity. If you don’t stop, you’ll never run out of ideas. And some will be great.

Most thankful for children’s author, Tara Lazar, who gives inspiration to writers all year on her blog.  https://Writing for Kids (While Raising Them).com



I Scream, You Scream, We All Scream For … Cotton Candy!

WHAT A SWEET TREAT! Many thanks to children’s book author, Lauri Fortino, @Lauri14o for posting; with thanks to author/poet Jill Esbaum for sharing the story of COTTON CANDY in a new picture book by Ann Ingalls, illustrated by Miggy Blanco.

Source: I Scream, You Scream, We All Scream For … Cotton Candy!