Book Review: The Nerdy Parent’s Guide to Raising a Nerdy Child by Leo Murphy – 1.5 stars

Ugh…I was so disappointed in this book. I had really high hopes that this would be what it promised: ‘a parenting guide that will help you engage with your little ones with crafts, games and recipes based on their new nerdy interests!’ I’m a huge Star Wars, Harry Potter and Hunger Games fan so this book should have been right up my alley. Instead, it turned out to be an encyclopedia of nerdy characters and plot lines that any good ‘nerdy’ parent would already know!

The book covers the Star Wars, Harry Potter, Marvel, Game of Thrones, Lord of the Rings and other franchises in great detail. It also covers some lesser known shows, movies and video games like Firefly, Sailor Moon and Minecraft. While Murphy purports to provide ideas about how to get your kids excited about these different fandoms, the recommended activities boil down to making cardboard tube light sabers (Sat Wars, of course) and wooden wands (Harry Potter.) Quite honestly, there wasn’t a single activity included in the book that my 11 year old son couldn’t have thought of himself.

While the anthologies of episodes, characters and locations for each fandom were pretty comprehensive and somewhat interesting…I struggle to understand their inclusion in this particular book. If you love a fandom enough to consider yourself a ‘nerdy parent’ about it, you likely don’t need a book to tell you the names of the characters and the episodes and give you a synopsis of the overall storyline.

The content of the book is also somewhat disjointed. Some parts read as overly technical (like a series of misplaced footnotes): ‘Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets—1998 (also a film released in 2002, rated PG)—In their second year at Hogwarts, Harry and his 2 friends must solve the fifty-year-old mystery of an evil force that is turning students at Hogwarts to stone.’ Other parts, however, are overly simplified. For example…an activity suggestion about creating your own Harry Potter Sorting Hat Ceremony contains only this information about Slytherin: ‘The serpent appears on its green and silver crest. Slytherin house values ambition, cunning, and resourcefulness.’

All in all, while I found the Nerdy Parent’s Guide to be a good idea in concept, I couldn’t figure out who the intended audience would be for the finished title. The information included seemed either incredibly light for those seeking ideas about how to indoctrinate their kiddos into their favorite fandom, or incredibly heavy for those who are already major fans!

To check out The Nerdy Parent’s Guide to Raising a Nerdy Child for yourself, click the link below:

The Nerdy Parent’s Guide to Raising a Nerdy Child: An Unofficial Parenting Guide

Guest Book Review: The Scent Keeper by Erica Bauermeister – 4 stars – Review by Sarah Williams – Available May 21st!

Have you ever been transported back to the memory of a time and place by a smell?  The Scent Keeper is a man with a seemingly magical machine that can preserve those smells on “scent papers” that he keeps in sealed glass jars.  This is one of the unusual truths Emmeline grows up with, living alone with her father on a tiny island off the coast of western Canada.  It’s a subsistence life filled with stories and fairy tales, and the scents of their life—spruce and pine, damp earth and applewood smoke, winter storms and the first day of spring.

As she grows older, Emmeline’s increasing independence eventually leads her to discover that at least some of her father’s stories have been lies.  Her adolescent plan to convince her father to leave the island results in a terrible event that changes everything and forces Emmeline to leave the island alone.

On the mainland, Emmeline realizes again and again how sheltered her life was– she’d never seen any person except her father, let alone taken a warm shower or ridden in a car.  She experiences and processes much of this newness through her acute sense of smell, which quickly becomes an obvious “difference” at school. Her only friend, Fisher, is a boy who is different in his own way and carries his own set of secrets. Emmeline finally leaves the comforts of her small town and adoptive parents to venture into the big city to find out the truth about her father, about the mother she never knew, about Fisher, and about who she is and what’s important to her.

I thought this was a quiet, but lovely, book. The characters are people who care about each other, but mostly keep their thoughts to themselves, leaving some mystery to each of them.  There are many detailed descriptions of scents, which seemed over-done at the start of the book, but it became clear that that’s just how Emmeline experiences her life.  She’s a “nose,” and the later parts of the book give an interesting view of how that talent is useful in retail and advertising, not just perfumery.  I kept coming back to this book, drawn to the mystery.  I  wondered what new aspect of Emmeline’s childhood would be revealed or explained, and hoped that she’d learn enough to be able to make peace with her past and figure out her present. 

Today’s review was written by Sarah Williams, a classmate of mine from The University of Notre Dame. Sarah is a high school math teacher living in Portland, Oregon. She’s mom to a middle-schooler and a toddler, and is finally carving out time for things that SHE likes to do–reading, hiking, and running half marathons.

To get your copy of the Scent Keeper by Erica Bauermeister, please click the link below:

The Scent Keeper: A Novel

Author Event: Louis Bayard (Courting Mr. Lincoln) at Giuseppe’s Ritrovo – Bexley, Ohio – Prosecco and Prose

I attended an author event at Giuseppe’s Ritrovo in Bexley, Ohio last night. It was sponsored by Gramercy Books and featured Louis Bayard, the author of Courting Mr. Lincoln (amongst many other titles!) The event was called Prosecco and Prose and was very cozy…about 70 people attended and we were treated to hors d’oeuvres and wine while Bayard spoke about his book. Each attendee was also gifted a copy of the book and the author made himself available after the presentation for signing.

Bayard’s presentation was engaging and funny. He’s a handsome gentleman ‘of a certain age’ (His words, not mine!) He was placed in an awkward position in the room (patrons were on every side of him, including behind him) and he joked about trying to find a way to speak to us without putting his rear end in anyone’s face. He subsequently read three passages from his book. The prose that he shared was fantastic and the voices that he assumed for President and Mrs. Lincoln gave the listener insight into what the book sounds like in Bayard’s head.

The readings that Bayard chose were from the points of view of the three main characters of the book: not-yet-President Lincoln, Mary Todd Lincoln and Joshua Speed (Lincoln’s friend and the potential 3rd leg in the love triangle that Bayard explores.) In his book, the author explores the rumors that have persisted about Mary Todd Lincoln (that she was severely depressed, crazy and unpleasant) as well as the popular characterizations of President Lincoln (that he was awkward, uncouth and unsuccessful with the ladies.)

Bayard also plumbs the topic of Lincoln’s relationship with Speed: the two men were extremely close friends and very intimate. Some have intimated that the relationship between Speed and Lincoln was more than platonic (Bayard referred to it as ‘lavender,’ which I thought was a terrific descriptor!)

Bayard admits that there are 9000 books about Lincoln and self-deprecatingly refers to his as the 9001st. Nonetheless, after hearing him discuss the approach he has taken to looking at Lincoln’s life, I believe the audience at Prose and Prosecco last night left with an excitement for reading more about Lincoln from an as-of-yet unexplored perspective! I’m looking forward to digging into Courting Mr. Lincoln and understanding how the tension between these three parties is ultimately resolved.

If you’d like a copy of Courting Mr. Lincoln, please click the link below:

Courting Mr. Lincoln: A Novel

Book Review: The Archive of Alternate Endings by Lindsey Drager – 5 stars!

This book!  I’m not even sure what to say!  I’m a pretty simple reader who loves books but doesn’t have a very ‘sophisticated palate’ when it comes to writing.  This book, however, is absolutely beautifully written and even a neophyte like me can tell!  The message in this book is powerful, the writing evocative and the structure intricate.  I definitely plan to read The Archive of Alternate Endings at least twice (and I’m not a re-reader) just because I know that there is more to get out of it that I wasn’t able to grasp the first time!

Drager chooses, for her structure, the years past and future on which Halley’s comet passes closest to Earth.  She imagines the past happenings during those years and fictionalizes historically-based stories from the lives of Johannes Gutenburg, Edmond Halley, Jacob and Wilhelm Grimm and Ruth Coker Burke.  The book has two themes:  the story of Hansel and Gretel and homosexuality.  While those may not seem to be themes that naturally play well together, she weaves both of them into the book in such seamless and amazing ways that the potential dissonance between considering a fairy tale and pondering sexual orientation is completly eradicated.

It’s almost impossible for me to explain how beautiful this book is.  It’s one of those books that almost limits itself to the recommendation, ‘Really…just read it! Then you’ll understand what I mean!’  I learned a great deal from the content of this book…about Halley’s Comet, about fairy tales and about the AIDS epidemic. I also had an opportunity to feel deeply:  while the book jumps back and forth between characters, settings and time periods, every combination is more redolent with emotion than the next!

At only 168 pages, this book can be read quickly but I found myself returning over and over to particularly poignant passages.  Here’s an example:  ‘We are quick to say that folktales have a moral or a lesson or a creed.  But most of the stories that have survived the ages are told for one purpose only, and that purpose is to say this:  “Being human is difficult.  Here is some evidence.”‘

I would unequivocally recommend this book to anyone who appreciates being challenged to think or who greatly admires beautiful writing.  Even if you don’t consider yourself amongst those two groups, I would challenge you to give The Archive of Alternate Endings a try.  If you aren’t charmed, or moved or intellectually stimulated by what you read, I’ll eat my hat!  

To get your copy of The Archive of Alternate Endings, click the link below:

The Archive of Alternate Endings


Mama Panda Bear Virtual Book Club Tonight! 8 pm EDT – The Only Woman in the Room by Marie Benedict

Don’t forget…we’ll be discussing The Only Woman in the Room by Marie Benedict in the Mama Panda Bear Virtual Book Club tonight at 8pm EDT!

Here’s the login information:

Can’t wait to meet you this evening!

Author Event: Celeste Ng at La Tavola Restaurant and Grandview Heights High School – Columbus, Ohio

I had the privilege of dining with Celeste Ng at La Tavola Restaurant and then attending her on-stage interview at Grandview Heights High School tonight. Author of Everything I Never Told You and Little Fires Everywhere, Ng was incredibly gracious and personable.  Having the opportunity to meet her and hear her thoughts from the stage was very rewarding and definitely a highlight of my week!

Interviewed by local Grandview Heights Library Patron Service Director, Eileen McNeil, Ng answered questions from the stage about everything from what it was like growing up with scientist parents to whether or not she considers herself ‘political.’  Her amiability and quick wit were on ready display for the audience this evening.  She is self-deprecating and funny but very clear in her opinions about the plight of minorities (which she defines as women, people of color, people with disabilities and non cis-, non-hetero people) in our country today.


Ng described for the audience how and why she came to set her books in Ohio and the importance of highlighting diversity and discrimination in her work.  She described her childhood (split between Pittsburgh and Shaker Heights, Ohio) and how deeply she feels the experience of being the children of immigrants. She described her works as being primarily about identity and whether or not one can leave the past behind.  Ng explained that she believes that her roots in a family with immigrant parents have led her to be fascinated by those topics.  

Ng explained how important she believes it is to write about families and that the dynamic between parents and children fascinates her.  She expressed her opinions about the importance of family as a topic of exploration and made very clear her opinion about the criticism and derision that some (particularly female) writers receive when the topic of their writing is primarily domestic:  there are few things more important than raising a human being to be part of society.

Ng was asked about her presence on Twitter and talked about how much she (unexpectedly) enjoys it and uses it as a platform for her opinions and beliefs.  Although I personally focused more on the amazing character development and driving narrative that make up her books when I read them, hearing Ng speak tonight reminded me of the many portions of her writing that touch on political and social topics.  I was very excited to hear Ng say that she has accepted being a ‘political writer’ as part of her identity (because, as an Asian-American, cis/hetero woman and mother, people will view her actions and writing through a political filter) and embraces the opportunity to explore and expound upon those topics.

Generous with her time (Ng stopped at every table this evening and spoke to each person who was present while graciously signing books and taking pictures) and engaging in her speech, Ng was a joy to meet this evening.  There are few things more satisfying that recognizing that an author whose work you truly enjoy is also someone whose beliefs and personality you also really admire!


Book Review: Never Sit If You Can Dance by Jo Giese – 4 stars

You know all those things that your mom and/or grandma say that you don’t pay any attention to day-to-day but become part of the fabric of your life? That’s what this book is about. A light read with a heavier impact, this book is sweet and endearing but will leave you slightly emotional and weave it’s way into your thoughts long after you’ve turned the last page!

Giese’s book is a memoir:  she positions it as a memoir of her mother’s life but, in truth, it is also a memoir of her own.  Her mom, whom she calls ‘Babe,’ was born in 1916 and is clearly a product of her time.  Giese tells her mother’s story in vignettes, each representing some saying or life lesson that she impressed upon others.  Everything from ‘Don’t be drab’ to ‘Never leave a compliment unsaid,’ Babe’s lessons are straightforward and initially, I worried that there wasn’t quite enough there to warrant a book.  I’m glad I kept reading, however, as Babe’s life lessons (though perhaps coming off as a little simple and dated) are as important and applicable globally as they were to the person she became.

Babe lived the classic 1940s and 50s housewife life…she raised three children, supported a working husband and managed relationships with her extended family.  Not all was rosy for her, however, and Giese allows us a peek inside the crippling depression that Babe suffered with after several miscarriages and the pain that losing a spouse and outliving all of one’s friends must cause.

Through Giese’s book, we see a picture of a loving wife and mother in Babe.  We also see some of the typical mother-daughter discontent that arises over a lifetime of loving one another.  The lessons that Giese gleans from her mother’s outlook on life are poignant and honest:  you can imagine that although Giese grew into her appreciation of her mother’s wisdom, it likely grated on her when she was younger and had less of the gift of hindsight.  While it’s possible to question whether or not Babe’s lessons are really that important…I dare you to read about her methods for saying goodbye and not have it change the way you view partings forever.

Giese is a journalist by trade and the book is written in a very straightforward, friendly style.  I admire the way she tells her mother story cleanly and allows the reader to draw his/her own conclusions while still fortifying the tales with her own impressions and feelings.  This book could easily have devolved into a ‘Don’t Worry, Be Happy’ guidebook from the 1950s.  Giese, however, infuses the stories with her peronsal spin and allows the reader to see how Babe’s tutelage impacted the woman she ultimately became.   Giese allows the reader to follow her mother right up to her death in 2015 and leaves us, through her stories with a better understanding of what vulnerability and nurturing really mean. 

At 168 pages, Never Sit If You Can Dance is a quick and easy read. Be careful though. You may not recognize the deep impact that book’s simple message is having upon you until you close the book and walk away. Babe’s message, as well as Giese’s, will stick with you and wander back to you like an old friend just when you least expect it!

To get your copy of Never Sit If You Can Dance, click the link below:

Never Sit If You Can Dance: Lessons from My Mother

Middle Grade Book Review: The Wrong Shoes by Caryn Rivadeneira, Illustrated by Graham Ross – 4 stars

This book’s subtitle is ‘A Book About Money and Self-Esteem’ and that’s what I really liked about it: it covers topics of financial literacy and self-esteem in ways that are extremely accessible to its target audience (8-12 years old.)  Peppered with engaging, comedic illustrations from Ross, the book moves along at quick clip and will keep a tween’s interest while imparting some wisdom along the way.  Never condescending, Rivadeneira’s book is structured as a 64 page set of journal entries by two tweens: Marco and Amelia, and follows their journey as they try to find ways to fit in and make money fast!

True to its title, The Wrong Shoes first focuses on Marco’s dilemma:  he’s being made fun of at school for wearing shoes that were popular last year.  Initially proud and excited about his footwear choice, Marco is embarrassed as a classmate rallies the troops to harrass him about this ‘fourth grade flunky’ shoes.  As all kids and adults can commiserate with Marco’s situation (who hasn’t been targeted in school for some social or fashion misstep?) it’s a good place to start to establish Marco’s urgency in needing money.

Marco’s mother refuses to buy the ‘right’ shoes for him (yeah Mom!)  She doesn’t have the budget for it right now and encourages Marco to solve his own problem.  While she doesn’t minimize Marco’s discomfort (again, yeah Mom!) she empowers Marco by suggesting that he has the means to resolve this issue on his own.

Given this dilemma, Marco enlists his friend Amelia to help him figure out how to earn cash quickly.  His mom sets up an appointment for him with a neighbor she thinks can help.  The neighbor shows the kids how to make a list of things that need to be done in their community and assess whether or not they want to do them and whether or not they believe anyone would pay for the services.  Some of the tasks Marco and Amelia identify are more gratifying than others (hey…$12 for picking up dog poo is not bad!) and they earn 1/2 of what Marco’s needs for the shoes pretty quickly.

The neighbor then points them to the local bank manager who advises them about saving money and interest.  It’s a good lesson…the bank manager helps Marco and Amelia gain strategies for not spending their earned money and helps them understand the (slow) process of earning interest.  Rivadeneira’s explanation of how interest is earned and why it accumulates is spot-on…I’ve never heard it explained in such a kid-friendly way!

Finally, the bank manager introduces them to a local pastor who educates them about the power of charity.  She encourages them to do service work and explains the concept of donating 10% of one’s earnings.  While initially resisitant to the idea (who wants to give away a portion of the money he’s trying to raise to buy shoes?) Marco and Amelia eventually come to understand the ways in which giving assists the community and makes the individual giver feel valuable and responsible.

During their meeting with the local pastor, she introduces the kids to a gentleman who served in the  military and subsequently suffered with some financial hardships/homelessness and ultimately came to work on the staff of the pastor’s organization.  This gentleman consciously doesn’t wear shoes in order to remind himself his gratitude for footwear and stay in touch with his memories of times when he was not fortunate enough to have any.  The interlude with the shoeless gentleman struck me as awkward…I wasn’t entirely sure how it fit into the story.  While it may have been the impetus for Marco ultimately deciding that the ‘right shoes’ were not as important as he originally thought, it didn’t exactly seem to fit with the storyline and seemed a bit ‘forced’ in my opinion.  While gratitude is certainly a valid concept to introduce in a story about money and fitting in, I’m not sure that this vehicle for doing so flowed in the way the author might have hoped.

If I had any other concern about this book, it was only that Marco and Amelia seem gender stereotyped a bit.  She is polite, diligent and responsible.  Marco eats too much, has sketchy manners and is more selfish.  I found myself wondering why the female character always has to be the dependable foil to the boy’s ruffian persona?

Overall, however, I really enjoyed this book and am looking forward to introducing it to my 11-year old son.  There is much within it that he already knows but the presentation is engaging and he is likely to absorb more of the ‘lesson’ within than he would getting it only directly from my husband and me.  Financial literacy is so important for children to learn and so often overlooked as something they will simply intuit…I found Rivadeneira’s foray into introducing the topic through the lens of trying to ‘fit in’ very appropriate and extremely valuable.

To get your copy of The Wrong Shoes by Caryn Rivadeneira for you and/or a tween that you know, click the link below:

The Wrong Shoes: A Book About Money and Self-Esteem (Generous Kids)

Book Review: The Wonder of Lost Causes by Nick Trout – 4 stars

As Mark Twain said, ‘I like a good story, well told…’ That’s exactly how I would describe The Wonder of Lost Causes. Nick Trout presents the story of an 11-year old boy (Jasper) who has Cystic Fibrosis (CF) and lives alone with his veterinarian mother, Kate. Told from alternating viewpoints (Jasper’s and Kate’s) we learn what its like to live with a CF diagnosis and how a very special dog can change a person’s outlook on life!

Kate is (with good reason) a very involved, nervous mother who has scheduled Jasper’s life (by necessity of his condition) down to the minute. She does everything she can to protect him from anything that might cause his condition to worsen while harboring the typical ‘mom concerns’ about her child’s happiness and ability to fit in with others.

From the beginning of the story, we are in Kate’s and Jasper’s heads. We see the difference between how Jasper sees himself and how his mother sees him: Jasper is engaged with the world and seems fearless in the face of a terminal illness diagnosis while Kate is somewhat neurotic and works to wrap Jasper in ‘bubble wrap’ to keep him safe.

Jasper spends a great deal of time at his mom’s veterinary practice and is introduced to a dog (Whistler) who has been horribly abused and is terribly rough-looking. While Jasper has always had bonds with the animals he encounters, his relationship with Whistler is particularly special and he begins to believe that he can ‘communicate’ with Whistler and feel his feelings.

Drama ensues as Whistler begins to have a positive impact on Jasper’s life and Kate struggles with her resolve regarding not allowing Jasper to have a pet or deviate from his precise life schedule. Trout does an amazing job illustrating the love between Jasper and his mom while also giving us a very intimate look at the necessary level of concern that a parent with a terminal child experiences constantly.

Ultimately, a decision must be made…not only by Kate but by outside parties who wish to seperate Jasper and Whistler. You’ll find yourself torn again and again between rooting for the relationship that has blossomed between boy and dog and considering the impacts of that relationship on Jasper’s health and others involved. This is ultimately a feel-good book and you’ll walk away sure that the right decision has been made…your heartstrings, however, will definitely be pulled along the way.

I was incredibly impressed by Trout’s ability to walk the delicate path between Jasper’s desire to ‘live life’ and his mother’s need to protect him. The reader is given very clear glimpses into what it might be like to live with a terminal illness and I was not surprised to learn (though I had to do some digging to find out) that Trout is both a veterinary surgeon and a CF parent. His insight into Kate’s neuroses was obvious and his ability to make the reader feel those complex feelings was masterful.

Trout also knows his dogs. While I had never read any of his other books (including Patron Saint of Lost Dogs and Dog Gone, Back Soon) I discovered that his back catalog is devoted almost solely to books with a canine protagonist. Writing from what he knows, The Wonder of Lost Causes, was both sweet and penetrating. I loved the endearing relationships between Jasper and others (Whistler, his mother, his elderly friend Burt, etc.) but didn’t find them too saccharine. That balance is exceptionally important to me…I often find overly sugary books offputting.

The realistic (sometime even caustic) perspective that Trout provides allowed me to truly enjoy this book without feeling like I was reading a fairy tale. His characters are real and their feelings are authentic. The plot, though somewhat fantastical in that the boy and dog communicate with one another, was believable enough that I found myself flipping through the book in parts to find out if it was based on a true story. Though not written from the perspective of the dog, Lost Causes reminded me, in some ways, of The Art of Racing in the Rain by allowing human realities to be illuminated by the involvement of a canine companion.

If you love animals (especially dogs) Lost Causes is definitely a book you shouldn’t miss. Even if you don’t, however, this book has something to say that you’ll want to read. You don’t have to love dogs to love a ‘good story, well told.’

To get your copy of The Wonder of Lost Causes, click the link below:

The Wonder of Lost Causes: A Novel

Middle Grade Book Review: Misha Alexandrov by Jan Karol Tanaka – 4.5 stars

Misha Alexandrov, by Jan Karol Tanaka, is the story of a mixed-race (Russian and Aleut) 10 year-old boy who migrates to California’s north coast in the early 1800s as part of a boat crew of working men. Misha lost his mother prior to embarking on the trip with his father and was then orphaned in Alaska before arriving in California. He is being cared for, somewhat reluctantly, by a member of the crew (Dmitri) who promised his father he would look after him.

When Misha’s ship arrives on the coast of California, he is immediately overwhelmed by the beauty and mystery of the location and longs for the opportunity to make a new home for himself. Nonetheless, the community he arrives in is a working colony and he has no skills that can benefit the well-being of the town. Moreover, he is viewed with suspicion by the inhabitants of the colony who see him as ‘bad luck’ due to the loss of both of his parents. His status as mixed-race (a ‘half-breed’) also hinders his ability to assimilate into the community.

Luckily for Misha, Dmitri is a man of his word and does everything he can to protect and promote him. Misha also becomes the beloved friend of a Hawaiian cook and local Indian boy who fight to help him in his quest. Dmitri begins to train Misha in the carpentry trade and his hopes that he will be able to become a contributing member of society rise. Unfortunately, the foreman (Tarasov) of the local company is both a tyrant and a racist and threatens to send Misha home alone on the next ship if he cannot prove his value.

Through a combination of ingenuity, grit and the love of his new friends, Misha fights to build a new home and be allowed to stay in California. We watch his struggle with fear, impulsivity and the injustice of others as he grows and matures in his new environment. You’ll find yourself rooting hard for Misha to succeed and ‘feeling all the feels’ for his friends and supporters as they take on Tarasov and the hurdles that Misha must face to stay with them.

Tanaka has written a beautifully quiet book that delivers a heartwarming coming of age story. Her prose is gorgeous and her characters are both believable and endearing. There is plenty of action and humor within these pages but the tone of the book is mostly reflective and hopeful. Tanaka’s style is reminiscent of Jean Craighead George (Julie of the Wolves, My Side of the Mountain) or Scott O’Dell (Island of the Blue Dolphins) and readers will treasure this story in much the same way they do those.

Tanaka creates Misha’s story in such a way that readers will learn a lot from his experience without feeling preached or pandered to. Lessons about the history of California, the importance of love and friendship, identity and racism are delivered subtly and with a gentle hope. Misha is not depicted as a perfect character and even the motives of the story’s villain are explored in light of his own upbringing and struggles. The opportunity for tremendous encouragement and optimism exists within this story and young people will see themselves in Misha despite differences in time, place and circumstance. This is one of those timeless stories that is historical in nature but all too easily applied to the struggles we face today.

Both adults and young people alike will be touched by Tanaka’s writing. To get a copy for yourself and/or one to pass along to someone else who needs this message of determination and hope, click the link below:

Misha Alexandrov (Distant Shores of Home) (Volume 1)