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1. Mental Health and Social Justice article; I’m honored SCARS is a recommended read

Scars-360I’m honored that SCARS is a recommended YA read in Michelle Falter’s thoughtful, insightful post on mental health and social justice. I agree that we need to be brave and talk about our issues; eventually it will help create greater understanding, compassion, and empathy.I have long been open that, as a direct result of daily/nightly rape and torture at the hands of my family, I suffer from severe depression, PTSD, anxiety/panic attacks, and dissociation, among other things, and I used to self-harm to cope. I also tried to kill myself as a teen. Abuse leaves lasting effects. scars-mental-health-post And yet we can find ways to cope and to heal. And part of that, I believe, is being able to be open about what we’re going through, let go of societal shame or judgement, and find acceptance in ourselves and from people we are close to. Give high-school teacher and educator Michelle Falter’s post a read; I thought it was fantastic. I would personally prefer the term “mental health,” but I wholeheartedly agree with her sentiments! Read it here: http://goo.gl/6VMDDt.

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2. Why LGBTQ Pride and YA LGBTQ Books Are Needed

(Originally written and posted for Pride Week on E. K. Anderson’s blog.)

pride-2015-confettiI once overheard someone say that Pride Week was a giant party and why wasn’t there a party for them (heterosexuals). It may look like a party—we certainly work hard at celebrating and connecting with friends and loved ones, and at being proud of who we are—but many of us in the LGBTQ (Lesbian, Gay, Bi, Trans, Queer/Questioning) community have faced homophobia, harassment, hatred, hate violence, and some have even been murdered. It can be a struggle to be who we are in the face of hate and discrimination. It gets even harder when we are isolated or lack support, and especially for teens who may lack community and resources.

Many LGBTQ teens are afraid to come out to their families or friends because they may be bullied, attacked, kicked out of their families and homes, or killed. Even in the US, Canada, and the UK, there are still queer youth (and adults) who are stalked, bullied, harassed, beaten, raped, and/or murdered for who we are and who we love. In at least seventy countries, it’s still a crime to be gay. Just being a teen is hard enough, with the social pressures to conform and to be liked, never mind the added pain if you’ve experienced bullying or abuse. Add in homophobia, and it’s no wonder that LGB youth are four times as likely to try to kill themselves.

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Every questioning and LGBTQ teen should have a safe place to explore and grow into their own sexuality, to be able to feel good about it and celebrate it, rather than fear the reaction of their parents, friends, or the world around them.

For some, Pride Week may be the first time they see that they’re not alone; that they see themselves in a positive light without hatred, disgust, or shame; that they can hold their lover’s hand in public without fear of backlash; or that they feel a real sense of safety, community, and belonging.

book-rainbow-gd-cribbs-2-stainedBut LGBTQ Pride Week—one week out of the year—isn’t enough. We all need to see ourselves reflected in popular culture—through books, comics, TV shows, movies, magazines, and ads—to help us know that we’re not alone, that we’re okay as we are, and for LGBTQ people especially to help fight homophobia and embrace who we are. There are some LGBTQ media, but not enough to reflect our real world, and teens in isolated or conservative areas or with homophobic parents or communities may have a hard time finding resources.

Many queer and questioning teens don’t have support around them, don’t have anyone they can talk to, and books may be their first or only way to find someone—a character—like them. I think we need many more LGBTQ books, and especially lesbian and trans books (I’ve found there are usually more gay-focused than lesbian books available). Books where the teen characters are simply LGBTQ, and the story line is about another issue (which helps normalize us), as well as more YA LGBTQ romance. Books that I hope any reader will want to pick up, regardless of their sexuality. Hey, I read books with both heterosexual and LGBTQ characters all the time; I don’t discriminate based on sexuality. I just enjoy a good book.

cheryl-books-prideI make sure to have LGBTQ characters in all the books I write, whether they are the main character or secondary characters. It’s important to me. As a queer teen, I struggled to find lesbian characters in books, movies, and TV where the lesbians didn’t kill themselves or end up unhappy. I found very few—only one teen book that had a lesbian character that I can remember—Annie On My Mind by Nancy Garden. This has changed over the years; there are more LGBTQ YA books now, but there still aren’t enough, and in so many books even LGBTQ background characters are mysteriously missing. I have been delighted to see more and more heterosexual writers bring LGBTQ characters into their books. I hope someday soon we’ll see a greater number of books reflecting the world we live in, with characters who are LGBTQ, and of different cultures and races, disabilities and abilities, mental health issues, and everything that makes up all of us.

Books give hope. I desperately needed books that reflected my experiences as a queer abused teen; they helped me survive. And books can save lives. And I know that from the many reader letters I’ve received; many tell me that after reading one of my books it’s the first time they talked to someone about being queer, or abused, or even that my book kept them from killing themselves. If you are or know someone who is part of the LGBTQ community, I hope you’ll buy, read, or give some YA LGBTQ books.

You can find many here:
GAY YA: LGBTQIA+ Characters In Young Adult Fiction;
LGBT YA. via YA author Malinda Lo;
A Guide To YA Novels With LGBT Characters via YALSA;
I’m Here, I’m Queer, What The Hell Do I Read? via Lee Wind;
Wrapped Up In Books: LGBTQ YA Fiction 2015; and
LGBT YA Reviews.

I hope you accept and celebrate who you are and who you love, help others do the same, and find many people who love and accept you for the beautiful person you are.

Happy Pride Month! I hope you feel pride and joy about who you are all year long.

If you need to talk to someone:

US:
The Trevor Project, Crisis and suicide intervention for LGBTQ youth
GLBT National Center

Canada:
LGBT Youthline, Confidential support for LGBTQ youth
Kids Help Phone

UK:
London Lesbian and Gay Switchboard

International:
International crisis and suicide helplines

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3. What a gift for Pride Week! USA Gains Marriage Equality In All 50 States!

The USA has just gained marriage equality in all 50 states! SO happy for the USA and proud of you all, too. Congratulations on marriage equality! This is truly love winning and not hate. We are inching towards ‪#‎LGBTQ‬ equality! This is a huge step forward, and something to celebrate.

Now we need even more countries to give queer people the right to marry (it shouldn’t be something that has to be given; it should be a basic right) and an end to homophobia and hatred! An end to LGBTQ hate crimes–murder and bullying and rape–and an end to LGBTQ suicide. It’s still a crime in at least 70 countries to be queer. We can’t stop fighting for equality and justice for all. For all LGBTQ people to live in safety and be able to be out and who we are.

Today is a huge mile stone for the US. So happy for you USA! Happy, happy Pride to you all.

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4. Happy Pride!

Happy Pride Week from Petal and me! I wish you pride and a feeling of rightness in who you are–always. I hope you find many, many friends who celebrate you and love you for who you are. And I hope you celebrate the freedoms we have and that we’re still fighting for, hope you celebrate love and the right to be who we are, in whatever way you choose to. Happy Pride!

pride-petal-cheryl-2015

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5. This is #IReadYA Week! And some of my recent favorites.

i-read-ya-lavenderI love reading YA books; they’re my favorite–and I love writing them, too. (Smiling) So much emotion and tension, strong-girl characters (and strong boys, too) who I root for, no boring bits or long passages of description that stop the story, so often characters overcoming great odds or fighting for what is right or learning something important about themselves and other people, and novels tackling issues that others aren’t talking about. YA books feed my soul–and they helped me survive when I was a teen being abused. So I’m happy ‪#‎IReadYa‬ week is here! (See @thisisteen on Instagram for more info.)

I’ve been on a YA fantasy binge for a while. Some of my most recent favorites are:

Unremembered by Jessica Brody,






The Body Electric by Beth Revis,





Elusion by Claudia Gable & Cheryl Klam,




Everything That Makes You by Moriah McStay,

and The Taking by Kimberly Derting–all of which I highly recommend.

I’m looking forward to reading lesbian YA novels:

The Summer I Wasn’t Me by Jessica Verdi

and If You Could Be Mine by Sara Farizan. And I love Julie Anne Peters’ novels, and so many other ‪#‎LGBTQ‬ novels.

And I always recommend realistic YA fiction by Ellen Hopkins, Jennifer Brown, April Henry, Laura Wiess, Jo Knowles, Gail Giles, and many more. Discover the fantastic books out there waiting for you!

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6. Picture Book Review and Win A Copy of Daredevil Duck! (US only)

daredevil

Daredevil Duck
Written and illustrated by Charlie Alder
Publisher: Running Press
Recommended Age: 3-6 years
Publication Date: May 12, 2015
Review Source: Book received from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.



Daredevil Duck likes to think he’s the bravest duck in the world–even though he’s afraid of things that are too dark, too wet, too fluttery, and too high. He has a superhero helmet, X-ray glasses, cape, and tricycle to help him feel braver and stronger, but he gets teased by other ducks for being a scaredy duck. One day when he was floating along the water, a mole popped out to say hello, and Daredevil Duck got so scared he ran away–and ended up right back where he started. The mole asked him to rescue his balloon from a tree, and after some encouragement from the mole, Daredevil Duck climbed the tall tree, rescuing the balloon, and floated through the air, conquering his fear of heights. After he landed and the mole praised him as being the world’s bravest duck, Daredevil believed him–and tried to be brave in many ways: roller-staking, rolling down hills, turning off the light before getting into bed. And he reminded the ducks who teased him that he really was brave. Yet he’s not always brave; sometimes he’s still afraid of things.

One of the first things I noticed was the creative and fun use of lift-a-flap panels of various sizes hiding and then revealing Daredevil Duck when you turn or open the panel. They’ll be fun for little hands. The illustrations are bright and colorful, with Daredevil Duck standing out in primary colors of yellow (his beak and feet), red (his helmet) and blue (his cape and glasses). Many illustrations have a large amount of white space in the background, which makes the characters stand out even more, while other pages have colorful backgrounds. Some of the illustration style–signs pointing to objects in a spread or a sign “taped” to a page, reminded me of Melanie Watt’s Scaredy Squirrel, as well as the scared/brave character concept. Readers who love Scaredy Squirrel may also love Daredevil Duck. There’s a comic-like quality to the illustrations that will please many young readers.

The text appears both in the usual print on the page, as well as through signs, mini comic panels, and dialogue bubbles, engaging both visual and auditory interest. It teaches the reader about being brave–both that we don’t have to be brave all the time, and that sometimes if we take a chance we can face our fears and come out stronger. I like that the text isn’t preachy; it just tells a story with meaning. At times the text felt too long to me, but the story was entertaining.

Daredevil Duck encourages readers to find their own little ways to be brave–trying new activities, meeting new people–and reminds them that they can be brave and yet still scared sometimes, too. Fans of Melanie Watt’s Scaredy Squirrel and anyone who’s ever been scared but wants to feel brave will likely enjoy Daredevil Duck.

Recommended.

If you’d like to win a copy of this book, leave a comment below. In one week I’ll use the random number generator to pick a winner.

You can see other reviews of Daredevil Duck at these blogs:

5/4 Wife Hat, Mom Hat
5/5 Geo Librarian
5/6 In The Pages
5/7 Stacking Books
5/9 Bea’s Book Nook
5/10 ReaderKidz
5/11 Coffee for the Brain
5/12 The Picture Book Review
5/13 Mrs. Brown Loves Bookworms
5/14 Mom Read It
5/15 Unpacking the POWER of Picture Books
5/16 Cheryl Rainfield
5/17 Unleashing Readers

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7. STAINED comes out in paperback today!

STAINED comes out in paperback today! I’m excited and happy. (Grinning) Like I did with SCARS, I drew on some of my own trauma and healing to write STAINED.

Stained-paperback-may-2015-01

In STAINED, Sarah thinks she knows what fear is-until she’s abducted. Now she must find a way to save herself.

Sarah is a strong girl character who grows to recognize her own strength. And just like I had to, Sarah must rescue herself over and over again until she’s finally safe. I know that you can save yourself, too, if you need to. You are stronger than you know.

I’ve been so excited that I had to take another pic with my “Sometimes you have to be your own hero” T-shirt–the tagline from STAINED and a theme in most of my books–and the paperback copy of STAINED in my hand. (Grinning)

Stained-paperback-tshirt-may-2015-02

My lovely 94-year-old neighbour Nan took the photo, and though you can’t see her, Petal is on the sofa behind me. (Smiling)

If you want one of the special message T-shirts or hoodies you can order at http://www.teespring.com/cherylrainfield and when there are 20 orders they will print again.

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8. April Is Sexual Assault Awareness Month.

april-sexual-assault-awareness-month
April is Sexual Assault Awareness Month. Speak out when you can. Support survivors. Take gentle care of yourself. I do. smile emoticon

-Cheryl Rainfield, author of SCARS, STAINED, and HUNTED, and incest, rape, and torture survivor.

April is Sexual Assault Awareness Month. Speak out when you can. Support survivors. Take gentle care of yourself. I do. smile emoticon

-Cheryl Rainfield, author of SCARS, STAINED, and HUNTED, and incest, rape, and torture survivor.

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9. Share To Win 1 of 3 Inspiring Message T-shirts or T-shirt Plus 3 Signed Books by Cheryl Rainfield

STAINED releases in paperback on May 11th! To celebrate, I’m hosting this contest. Share to win 1 of 3 Limited Edition T-shirts, or a Limited Edition T-shirt plus a signed copy of SCARS, STAINED, and HUNTED.

cheryl-rainfield-tshirt-front-square-contest

cheryl-rainfield-tshirt-back-square-contest

To enter: Share one or both contest images; copy & paste this paragraph; follow Cheryl Rainfield (on Instagram, Facebook, or Twitter); and tag @CherylRainfield. This contest is to celebrate STAINED paperback releasing May 11th! T-shirts are also available for purchase at teespring.com/cherylrainfield Full contest rules on CherylRainfield.com/blog.

Twitter contest tweet: “Share to win 1 of 3 Inspirational T-shirts plus 3 signed books by @CherylRainfield” (or whatever message you want as long as you tag me and include the contest image).

You get 1 entry for each social media you share this on. Remember to tag CherylRainfield so I can see your entry.

You get 10 entries for each copy of STAINED that you buy. Yes, this includes any copy you’ve already purchased, in any format. Email a receipt to Cheryl(at)CherylRainfield(dot)com

T-Shirt has two inspirational quotes–one on the front, and one on the back.

cheryl-rainfield-tshirt-front-and-back

Open to US, Canada, UK, and New Zealand readers.

Contest ends March 30, 2015 at Midnight EST.

Winner will be chosen randomly using the Random Number Generator.

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10. Limited Edition T-shirt: Sometimes You Have To Be Your Own Hero and You Are Stronger Than You Know

If you’ve read my books or interviews about me, you’ll know that I write about strong-girl (and emotionally strong boy), and that I draw deeply on my own trauma and healing. I had to save myself over and over again until I was finally safe, and I had to draw on my own strength to survive. I believe we are often much stronger than we think we are, and sometimes we don’t know just how strong we are until we’re faced with painful situations where we have to draw on our own strength to cope.

STAINED comes out in paperback on May 11! To celebrate, I’m releasing these limited edition T-shirts and hoodies. One quote is on the front, and one on the back. They’re available for pre-order now.

cheryl-rainfield-tshirt-front

cheryl-rainfield-tshirt-back

You ARE strong. Remind yourself or let someone you love know you believe in them.

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11. I believe that love and compassion cut through hate.

I believe that love and compassion cut through hate. I believe that when we use them, they help make the world a kinder place. I believe this, even after all the hate used against me, all the hate my abusers tried to teach me; love and compassion cut through all of that. And that’s something that I try to show in every book I write–love and compassion bring healing, greater kindness, and empathy. I think they work especially well in YA lit, where hope is often expected or encouraged.

love-and-compassion

I didn’t grow up with love. My parents were part of intergenerational, interconnected cults. Their hate was a constant, along with daily and nightly rape, abuse, and torture that they used against me. They tried to make me hate like they did by using torture and mind control. And while those things had some effects on me, I will never be like them. Never hate like them.

A part of what kept me from hating like they did was a conscious choice that I made. I remember at a very young age being raped after torture and looking up at my rapist, seeing the hatred that twisted his face, and thinking that I would never be like him. Another thing that helped me be different was my own intense compassion for others. I knew what it felt like to be in deep pain and to be tortured, how unbearable it was, how much I wanted to die, and I never wanted anyone else to have to feel that pain. Books also helped me to be different–they showed me that people could be kind and loving, showed me that people could fight against evil or cruelty and win. And the small bits of kindness and compassion that I was offered by various people over the years–usually teachers, but later as I grew older, also two therapists–helped me immensely. They were soul food that I clung to, warmth in the coldest, bleakest times in my life. They kept me alive.

My abusers tried to teach me to not only to hate other people, but also to hate myself. I would not turn my hate on others–I vowed over and over again to never be like my abusers–but I did turn it on myself. The bits of kindness, love, and compassion I experienced from others, especially from two good therapists I had, helped cut through that hate. It helped me learn, slowly, to love myself. And it helped me give even more love and compassion to others. And that love and compassion I received was incredibly effective at cutting through mind control–even though that mind control was repeated, extreme, and enforced through torture.

Love, compassion, and kindness are powerful. They help us heal. They help us love with an open heart. They help us hang on when we feel that we can’t. They help us believe in ourselves, love ourselves, and treat others more kindly. And those acts of compassion, love, and kindness can make a HUGE difference in someone’s life, whether it is a small or big act of kindness or compassion–given in person or long distance–or whether it is found in a book. Never doubt that any act of Kindness, compassion, or love that you make will make a positive difference. However you do it, I hope you will keep compassion and love alive in your heart. I know I will.

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12. Book Therapy: A Poem by Cheryl Rainfield

I hope you enjoy this poem I wrote last night. Books help me heal and escape pain; I hope they help you, too.

book-therapy-poem-feb-2015-01

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13. Some New-ish Picture Books I Love Including A New Dr. Seuss: Horton and the Kwuggerbug and More Lost Stories; The Worst Princess; Drop It, Rocket!; and Mr. Wuffles!

Horton and the Kwuggerbug and more Lost Stories
Written and Illustrated by Dr. Seuss aka Ted Geisel
Published by: Random House Books For Young Readers
Published: Sept 9, 2014
ISBN-13: 978-0385382984
Ages: 4-8 (and up)
Source: Book obtained from publisher in exchange for an honest review.
My rating: 5/5

It’s incredible to me that we can read new Dr. Seuss stories after Ted Geisel died, but these Dr. Seus stories were “lost.” They’re treasure I’m glad was rediscovered: A new Horton the Elephant story, a fanciful story about Marco (from And To Think I Saw It On Mulberry Street) who arrives to school late and tells the tale about why; a police officer who saves the town; and a short grinch story featuring a different grinch than the one who stole Christmas. These stories have the same wonderful rollicking, almost perfect rhythm that Dr. Seuss is known for; twists and plot surprises that keep the reader interest; conflict that keeps us riveted; characters we care about, empathize with, and root for; and humor. I loved the satisfying ending, especially, in Horton and the Kwuggerbug where a mean-spirited character gets his just desserts; this was my favorite story in the book. I also love that the stories include fanciful made-up words and great imagination that fit his stories perfectly.

Dr. Seuss’ beautiful, strange, evocative, and trademark illustrations fit the stories perfectly, with crazy cliffs and strange-looking trees, emotionally expressive characters, and bright colors. They’re Dr. Seuss’ strong illustrative style that generations of readers have loved and been entranced with, and generations will continue to love.

The stories all have a strong emotional appeal, with conflict and psychological tension. These are pure Dr. Seuss, and they’re a delight. When I finished reading, I had Dr. Seuss’ rhythms and some of the rhymes running through my head–which shows how catchy they are; I think is a sign of greatness. I loved these “new” stories, and I think children and Dr Seuss fans will love them, too.

My only criticism is that Horton and the Kwuggerbug probably should have been published on its own; the other stories aren’t as polished or as captivating. For instance, How Officer Pat Saved the Whole Town is all about what might happen, not what is happening, so it’s not as dramatic or intense or fun, though it’s still enjoyable.

Also included is a long, detailed introduction by Charles D Cohen–an expert on Dr Seuss stories. It provides some fascinating detail for readers who love Dr. Seuss.

Highly recommended.


The Worst Princess
Written by Anna Kemp
Illustrated by Sara Ogilvie
Published by Random House Children’s Books
Ages: 3-7 (and up)
Source: Obtained from the publisher for an honest review.
My rating: 5/5

This is a refreshing tale about a princess who thinks she needs to be saved from her tower–until she realizes that getting “saved” just locks her up in a different tower. The princess makes friends with a dragon, and together they travel the world. In the end, the princess saves herself.

I love books that show girls being strong, not ruled by sexism, who are able to save themselves–especially when the books are written well, without being preachy or didactic. This book is a delight on all levels–the content, the way the story is written, and the illustrations.

Kemp’s rhyming text flows smoothly; there is rarely a rhyme that feels even slightly forced. The story is lively and entertaining, and the dialogue helps it move quickly. Humor permeates the story, from the names the princess and prince call each other (twit, turtledove), to the insults given (the prince telling her to twirl her pretty curls), to the dragon setting the prince’s shorts on fire. I love the princess making tea for the dragon, and the way they become friends who defend each other and travel the world together. Princess Sue is a strong role model that breaks out of the sexism she was trapped in.

Ogilvie’s illustrations are vivid and alive, quirky and expressive, and a delight to pore through, with a lot of detail to enjoy. The characters and the objects they interacting with have strong outlines which bring them into the forefront and focus, while backgrounds are more muted and blurry. I love the bold, bright colors. Princess Sue’s bright orange hair is echoed in the dragon’s bright orange-red scales, which visually and emotionally tie the two together even more. And the prince does look like the pompous twit he acts like, with his thin curly mustache, foppish hair, long narrow nose, and stuck up expression.

This is an important–and fun!–book for both girls and boys. None of us need be constrained by the gender rules for behavior that society sets for us. Girls can think for themselves, protect themselves and others, travel the world, and be outspoken. Boys can stay at home, cook, take care of children, or follow their dreams, whatever they might be. Though the book doesn’t show boys escaping their forced gender roles, it will make children (and adults) think, and it challenges sexism in a humorous way. We need more books like this.

If you love strong-girl characters, you have *got* to get yourself–or the kids in your life–a copy of this book! I think it’ll become a classic, like Princess Smartypants
and The Paper Bag Princess. This, for me, became an instant favorite.
.

Highly recommended! If I could give it a higher rating, I would. This is a keeper, and one to give away as gifts, too.


Drop It, Rocket! (Step Into Reading, Step 1)
Written and illustrated by: Tad Hills
Published By: Random House Books for Young Readers
Published: July 8, 2014
ISBN-13: 978-0385372541
Ages: 6-9
Source: Obtained from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. (As you may be able to tell, I only review books I love.)
My rating: 5/5

Rocket loves to find new words. He brings the little yellow bird many objects so they can make words from them. But when he finds a red boot he refuses to put it back down or trade it for anything–except for a book which the friends then pore over.

Hill’s sentences and words are short and easy for young readers to read, so that should bring a feeling of success, and yet they keep reader interest by telling a great story. The story moves quickly with a lot of dialogue, and there’s some great humor (with a set up of Rocket dropping every object he’s asked to, until he gets to the boot) and conflict. I love the focus on words and reading. It’s very feel-good and fills me with delight.

Hill’s illustrations are sweet, light hearted, and expressive, with great emotion, facial expressions, and body language. The illustrations perfectly compliment and enhance the text. I love how they work together so that the illustrations show things that the text doesn’t, such as how all the objects Rocket brought back are printed out as words. The great amount of white space around each illustration helps to add to the light, airy feeling of the illustrations.

If you love books about books or words, you’ll want to pick this one up! Highly recommended.


Mr. Wuffles!
Written and illustrated by: David Wiesner
Published by: Clarion Books
Published: October 1, 2013
ISBN-13: 978-0618756612
Ages: 4-8
Source: I purchased the book myself.
My rating: 5/5

I love David Wiesner’s books; he’s created some of my very favorites, especially Tuesday and Flotsam–so I look forward to each new release, and Mr. Wuffles! didn’t disappoint. Mr. Wuffles! is a Caldecott Medal Honor Winning title, and it deserves to be.

Mr. Wuffles doesn’t play with any of the toys his human buys for him. But when a tiny alien spaceship–the size and almost the look of a golf ball with protrusions–lands in Mr. Wuffles’ house, Mr. Wuffles goes crazy playing with it. The tiny aliens inside get headaches and feel sick from being tossed around, so when they think Mr. Wuffles is asleep they sneak out. Mr. Wuffles is about to attack them when a ladybug distracts him, and the aliens flee to safety–into the walls of the house, where they are greeted by ants and ladybugs who’ve all been chased by the cat (as evidenced by the paintings on the wall). The aliens and the bugs–who look similar in shape–become allies and friends, sharing food and ideas, and coming up with a plan for escape, while Mr. Wuffles watches them under the radiator. The aliens and bugs distract the cat until they get their spaceship working and fly away, out the window, while the triumphant bugs don some of the alien attire and add to their paintings on the inner walls of the house.

There are only a few short lines of text in the story; most of the story is told through the illustrations. But the sparse text works to emphasize certain details in the book, and bring the story full circle. In the first two panels, Mr. Wuffles’ human says “Look, Mr. Wuffles, a new toy!” and when the cat walks away, says “Oh, Mr. Wuffles,” which makes the reader notice all the toys Mr. Wuffles never plays with. Three quarters of the way through the book, we see Mr. Wuffles’ human asking him what is so interesting–while he stares determinedly under the radiator, where the aliens and bugs are–to Mr. Wuffles, they seem like living or animated toys. And then in some of the last panels, Mr. Wuffles’ human brings hima new toy–a rocket–while saying “Hey, Mr. Wuffles–blast off!” and then when Mr. Wuffles walks away, saying “Oh, Mr. Wuffles.” So we see again Mr. Wuffles snubbing toys for living creatures–bugs and aliens. And there’s also some humor with the rocket symbolizing outer space and exploration of the universe and other intelligent life–while real aliens have already visited Mr. Wuffles’ home. The text works well, emphasizing key story points.

The illustrations are what make the book. SO much is told through the beautiful, colorful illustrations–through body language, through action. The story is well paced and also holds a lot of humor, with a funny explanation for why some pets may prefer chasing after bugs and living creatures than playing with their toys, and humor that animals, insects, and aliens may be more intelligent than us or notice things that we don’t.

The illustrations are painted in various sizes of panels, almost like a comic book, some taking up a full spread, some half a page, some a quarter or a fifth or less, the action moving beautifully from one panel to the next. The viewpoint also changes, moving us from seeing Mr. Wuffles and what he’s doing, to seeing the aliens and bugs and what they’re doing. The bright, rich colors, realism, and strong storytelling bring the story alive. There is so much to see on every page–details readers will love to find–and fantastic expression and body language.

Anyone who’s owned a cat will also recognize the body language and behaviors of a cat–chasing after a fly, leaping up in surprise, swatting at moving objects, getting overwhelmed at too much stimuli, a swishing tail when wanting to pounce or annoyed at something–and refusing to play with some expensive toys while loving chasing after anything from nature.

This is a funny, light-hearted fantasy romp, especially for children with imagination and cat lovers. There’s also a bit of a fun surprise for readers who buy the hardcover; take off the paper jacket, and instead of the cover you see outer space. :) Highly recommended.

If you can, I hope you buy pick these books up at your local bookstore or library. They are well worth it, and will bring many enjoyable reads. I know I’ll be buying copies for gifts–they’re that good.

0 Comments on Some New-ish Picture Books I Love Including A New Dr. Seuss: Horton and the Kwuggerbug and More Lost Stories; The Worst Princess; Drop It, Rocket!; and Mr. Wuffles! as of 1/25/2015 4:05:00 PM
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14. Love my books? Here’s how to help!

cheryl-rainfield-books-500

Do you love my books? Do you want to read even more books by me? Here’s how you can help me (and other authors you love):

Buy a copy of our books. Publishers look at sales when they’re considering publishing a new book by an author. If the previous books don’t have good sales, another book by the same author might not get published.

If you can’t afford a copy, then please request it at your local library. Most librarians are happy to order in books that readers request.

Post a review–it doesn’t have to be long, even a sentence or two–on Amazon, especially, and also B&N, GoodReads, etc. Reviews help other readers find the book. This is one of the most helpful things you can do, and authors really appreciate it.

Post your review on social media: your blog, Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, etc. This again helps other readers find the book.

Post a photo of the book, or the book and you, a book and your pet, etc. to social media. This also helps get more reader interest.

Recommend it to your friends. I know I love hearing about books my friends have enjoyed, and your friends likely do, too.

Request a copy at your local library.If there are a lot of requests for a book, a library may order more. Or, if there haven’t been any previous requests, they may order a copy.

Recommend it to a book club.If you or a friend is reading in that genre, why not let others know about it?

Ask your local bookstore where the book is located. This may help to gain more bookstore interest in the book.

Add it to your to-read or other lists on GoodReads.You may help someone else discover a book they’d like to read.

Re-post an author’s book tweets, posts on Facebook or Instagram or other social media.

If you like a tweet or post, it helps to re-post it; many more people will see it and perhaps look up the book.

If you especially love my books, sign up for my newsletter or join my street team (where you can sometimes win prizes, hear news first, read a free short story, and more.

If you do any of that, know you have my deep appreciation and thanks.

0 Comments on Love my books? Here’s how to help! as of 1/23/2015 6:33:00 PM
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15. I think safe touch is so important for children and teens in school

I think safe touch is SO important. I desperately needed it as a child and teen in school from a few kind teachers who saw my pain; it was the only place I got safe touch. I’m honored to be quoted in Jessica Lahey’s article “Should Teachers Be Allowed To Touch Students?” in The Atlantic. I hope you’ll give the article a read. (smiling) I think it’s a thoughtful, insightful article.

As an incest and torture survivor who was also bullied at school, I had no safe place–not at home, and not at school. I rarely saw kindness or compassion; most of what I did see I got from books. But I had two really kind, compassionate high-school teachers who knew I’d been abused, and one librarian in middle school who was also kind. All of them were women, because I was scared of men because of all the rape I’d been through–and all of them gave me safe touch. It’s part of what kept me from killing myself.

I desperately craved safe touch. I was starved for it on a deep soul level. At home and in the abuse and torture I endured–my parents were part of cults, and they also rented me out to men for money and “shared” me with their friends–I was never touched except for abuse, rape, torture. So to get it from these teachers in a safe way–a touch on the arm, a rub on my head, a hug–it met such a deep need I had to be treated with kindness and love and warmth and humanity, and it helped offset some of the abuse and torture and cruelty. It helped me feel like I mattered, like I didn’t deserve to be abused, like maybe someone cared about me a little bit. It helped me believe in people, that they could be kind, and that maybe, just maybe the abuse and torture I experienced every day and night wasn’t my fault. But it did more than that. Their touch–and their listening to me about some of the abuse and/or my pain–also helped me want to be here a bit more when all I could breathe and feel was pain, depression, despair, and bleakness.

I struggled a lot with wanting to die all of my life. Books helped me to be here–they gave me an escape–and I also used self-harm to cope with the pain and memories, and often cut instead of killing myself. And I also needed dissociation to survive the torture and keep me alive. But that safe touch I got? It was like a balm to my soul. It was healing, instead of causing harm like everything I had at home. It was affection when I had none. Sometimes it helped bring me out of triggered abuse memories. It told me my parents and other abusers were wrong to treat me the way they did, even though I couldn’t really believe that. And I just *needed* safe touch on a deep level.

I think as humans we need safe touch; I think it’s a basic human need, along with food, shelter, and safety. It lets us know we’re loved. (I know there’ve been studies, for instance, on babies not thriving when they don’t get touch.) And those teachers who used safe touch with me, and were compassionate and kind, helped create pockets of safety for me where for a few hours I could actually focus on something besides the terror I lived in–I could learn and love to learn and want to learn for them (and me). I could breathe a little easier. I could hope for safety some day. When I hear people saying that children shouldn’t be touched in school situations, it makes me sad, and it worries me. If a child doesn’t have any safe touch in their lives, it’s easy to get really disconnected from people and life, and to not want to live at all. I needed that safe touch desperately, just as I needed to be heard about the abuse and to (eventually) get safe. A kind, compassionate teacher may be the only safety and caring a child or teen has in their life.

0 Comments on I think safe touch is so important for children and teens in school as of 1/23/2015 10:59:00 AM
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16. Do what you need to do to be happy, well, and take care of you.

do-what-need-20141231_185658-450Do what you need to do to be happy, well, and take care of you.

That can vary from person to person. What’s right for you is what feels right. What helps you and doesn’t hurt you. And it doesn’t have to be what everyone else is doing. It’s what YOU need. What will help you.

For instance…I had a hard day today. Some of the things I’ve done to help myself–spent time with my best friend. Ate some junk food as well as healthy food. Held a superhero toy (I happen to love Superman and Wonder Woman.) Read a good book. Texted some friends. All things that helped me.

What helps you?


This can be a hard time of year for many people, so I thought I’d post more positive messages for people again–selfies along with the messages, so people can see the person (and author) behind the message. I think it helps make it more personal and real.

I will try to post photos most days of December for you all. Let me know if you like this idea. :)

And if you like this post, if it speaks to you, I hope you’ll share it with others. You can see them on all www.CherylRainfield.com/blog

#cherylrainfield #YAwriter #YAlit #iReadYA #YAsaves #booklover #bookworm #booknerdigan #quote #inspiration

0 Comments on Do what you need to do to be happy, well, and take care of you. as of 1/4/2015 3:39:00 PM
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17. Listen to your body. Rest when you are tired. Eat when you are hungry.

listen-to-body-20141230_195547-450Listen to your body. Rest when you are tired. Eat when you are hungry.

We live in a society that tells us we have to constantly go, go, go! Work hard, play hard. But we need to take time to rest–to rejuvenate our bodies and our spirits. And constantly working or producing isn’t good for us. Eventually our bodies–and our spirits–will rebel. And often we have set times for meals–instead of eating when we’re actually hungry. Instead of paying attention to our bodies and what they need.

If we take time to rest when we need to, eat when we’re hungry, we’ll be fresher, feel more alive and ready to meet the challenges we need to. Ready to work more and play more. :)


This can be a hard time of year for many people, so I thought I’d post more positive messages for people again–selfies along with the messages, so people can see the person (and author) behind the message. I think it helps make it more personal and real.

I will try to post photos most days of December for you all. Let me know if you like this idea. :)

And if you like this post, if it speaks to you, I hope you’ll share it with others. You can see them on all www.CherylRainfield.com/blog

#cherylrainfield #YAwriter #YAlit #iReadYA #YAsaves #booklover #bookworm #booknerdigan #quote #inspiration

0 Comments on Listen to your body. Rest when you are tired. Eat when you are hungry. as of 1/3/2015 4:49:00 PM
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18. Be yourself. You’re just right the way you are.

be-yourself-20141229_184941-450Be yourself. You’re just right the way you are.

We’re told so often through advertisements, the media, through parents and well-meaning friends, to change this and that, that we’ll be more attractive, or a better person, or somehow a better us. And of course it’s good to grow, to find ways to be kinder, more compassionate. But take a moment to see yourself as you are now. You are JUST RIGHT the way you are. Right this very moment. You are beautiful. Don’t feel you have to change for anyone else. I hope you can love yourself just the way you are. Because I think you’re special. (hugging you)


This can be a hard time of year for many people, so I thought I’d post more positive messages for people again–selfies along with the messages, so people can see the person (and author) behind the message. I think it helps make it more personal and real.

I will try to post photos most days of December for you all. Let me know if you like this idea. :)

And if you like this post, if it speaks to you, I hope you’ll share it with others. You can see them on all www.CherylRainfield.com/blog

#cherylrainfield #YAwriter #YAlit #iReadYA #YAsaves #booklover #bookworm #booknerdigan #quote #inspiration

0 Comments on Be yourself. You’re just right the way you are. as of 12/31/2014 10:51:00 AM
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19. Open yourself to the good in your life. It will keep coming in.

open-to-good-20141222_093812-450Open yourself to the good in your life. It will keep coming in.

Sometimes we have trouble seeing the good that’s already in our life. We focus on the painful things or bad things, instead of the things that bring us moments of joy and happiness. It may be especially hard to see the good if you’ve had a lot of bad or hard things in your life, or if you’re a survivor of abuse or trauma. I struggle with it myself.

But opening up to the good that’s there allows us to see even more good around us. Things that bring us contentment, happiness, moments of joy. They seem to build on each other.

So keep trying to open to the good, to see it around you, and you may find more comes in.


This can be a hard time of year for many people, so I thought I’d post more positive messages for people again–selfies along with the messages, so people can see the person (and author) behind the message. I think it helps make it more personal and real.

I will try to post photos most days of December for you all. Let me know if you like this idea. :)

And if you like this post, if it speaks to you, I hope you’ll share it with others. You can see them on all www.CherylRainfield.com/blog

#cherylrainfield #YAwriter #YAlit #iReadYA #YAsaves #booklover #bookworm #booknerdigan #quote #inspiration

0 Comments on Open yourself to the good in your life. It will keep coming in. as of 12/26/2014 6:42:00 AM
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20. Reach out for support when you need it. You may be surprised how many people care.

reach-out-support-20141223_174545-450Reach out for support when you need it. You may be surprised how many people care.

I’ve often found it hard to reach out for support in my life–especially as an abuse survivor who was hurt and betrayed so often. But when I have reached out, I’ve been surprised to find people genuinely care. And how many of them. I think you’ll find the same.

People care, and they want to be there–but you have to let them know what will help, and when you need help. So if you’re having a hard time, remember to reach out.

If you’re in crisis and you’re reaching out often, it can be good to spread out your support network, or phone, text, or email a crisis line as well. You can find a lot of great ones here: www.crisistextline.org/get-help-now/

As always, take gentle care of yourself, and remember that you can get through this.


This can be a hard time of year for many people, so I thought I’d post more positive messages for people again–selfies along with the messages, so people can see the person (and author) behind the message. I think it helps make it more personal and real.

I will try to post photos most days of December for you all. Let me know if you like this idea. :)

And if you like this post, if it speaks to you, I hope you’ll share it with others. You can see them on all www.CherylRainfield.com/blog

#cherylrainfield #YAwriter #YAlit #iReadYA #YAsaves #booklover #bookworm #booknerdigan #quote #inspiration

0 Comments on Reach out for support when you need it. You may be surprised how many people care. as of 12/27/2014 2:39:00 PM
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21. You have the right to say “No.” Do what’s best for you.

right-to-say-no-20141224_193035-450You have the right to say “No.” Do what’s best for you.

I think it’s hard for a lot of women and survivors to say no. We feel guilty, feel like we should always take care of other people, or do what’s best for others and forget about ourselves. But we matter, too, and our own needs are important. If you don’t want to do something or it doesn’t feel right, then it’s important to listen to that. To say “no” when you need to. Say No when you need to, and you’ll often feel relieved.

I hope you keep your own power, and say No when you need to. (And say yes to the things you truly want.)


This can be a hard time of year for many people, so I thought I’d post more positive messages for people again–selfies along with the messages, so people can see the person (and author) behind the message. I think it helps make it more personal and real.

I will try to post photos most days of December for you all. Let me know if you like this idea. :)

And if you like this post, if it speaks to you, I hope you’ll share it with others. You can see them on all www.CherylRainfield.com/blog

#cherylrainfield #YAwriter #YAlit #iReadYA #YAsaves #booklover #bookworm #booknerdigan #quote #inspiration

0 Comments on You have the right to say “No.” Do what’s best for you. as of 12/28/2014 4:27:00 PM
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22. Sending you warmth, joy, and good feeling. I wish only good for you.

sending-you-warmth-20141225_084220-450Sending you warmth, joy, and good feeling. I wish only good for you.

If this is a hard day for you, I hope you’ll take good, gentle care of yourself. Remember that positive distraction–reading a good book, watching a feel-good movie, listening to music that makes you feel good, talking with a friend, drawing or writing or dancing–can help shift your mood or help you get through a hard time. And remember that many people know what you’re going through. You are not alone.

I hope you find some happiness today, joy in little things, have good people or animals around you, reach out to others, have some good food. And remember you matter.

Happy holiday!

Hugs, Cheryl Rainfield (and Petal)


This can be a hard time of year for many people, so I thought I’d post more positive messages for people again–selfies along with the messages, so people can see the person (and author) behind the message. I think it helps make it more personal and real.

I will try to post photos most days of December for you all. Let me know if you like this idea. :)

And if you like this post, if it speaks to you, I hope you’ll share it with others. You can see them on all www.CherylRainfield.com/blog

#cherylrainfield #YAwriter #YAlit #iReadYA #YAsaves #booklover #bookworm #booknerdigan #quote #inspiration

0 Comments on Sending you warmth, joy, and good feeling. I wish only good for you. as of 12/29/2014 5:43:00 AM
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23. Do what is right for you.

do-right-for-you-20141226_183713-450Do what is right for you.

Sometimes what you need is different than what others need. It doesn’t matter, as long as it’s good for you–as long as it helps you, doesn’t hurt you (or anyone else). For instance, sometimes I just need to stay home and read a book and cuddle with my dog instead of being out with friends when I’m having a hard time, while others might need to be with friends or go out and do something. Other times, I might find the opposite. It depends on my needs at the time. Or there may be times that I need to say something to feel right about a situation, even if someone else doesn’t agree. I try to go by my heart and my gut.

Trust your heart, what you need at the time, and do what is right for you. You’ll feel better about it.


This can be a hard time of year for many people, so I thought I’d post more positive messages for people again–selfies along with the messages, so people can see the person (and author) behind the message. I think it helps make it more personal and real.

I will try to post photos most days of December for you all. Let me know if you like this idea. :)

And if you like this post, if it speaks to you, I hope you’ll share it with others. You can see them on all www.CherylRainfield.com/blog

#cherylrainfield #YAwriter #YAlit #iReadYA #YAsaves #booklover #bookworm #booknerdigan #quote #inspiration

0 Comments on Do what is right for you. as of 12/30/2014 3:32:00 PM
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24. Speak to yourself gently and with compassion.

speak-gently-20141227_175043-450
Speak to yourself gently and with compassion.

How we speak to ourselves matters. The way we think about ourselves can influence how we feel about ourselves. If you’ve grown up with abusive or critical parents, you may have absorbed some of their criticalness or harshness and turn it on yourself. If you talk to yourself with a harsh voice, I hope you can let that go, and talk to yourself with the same compassion and understanding you would a friend. You deserve that same support.

Try to catch yourself when you’re being harsh with yourself, and change the tone you use, the words. If you do, you may find that you’re happier.


This can be a hard time of year for many people, so I thought I’d post more positive messages for people again–selfies along with the messages, so people can see the person (and author) behind the message. I think it helps make it more personal and real.

I will try to post photos most days of December for you all. Let me know if you like this idea. :)

And if you like this post, if it speaks to you, I hope you’ll share it with others. You can see them on all www.CherylRainfield.com/blog

#cherylrainfield #YAwriter #YAlit #iReadYA #YAsaves #booklover #bookworm #booknerdigan #quote #inspiration

0 Comments on Speak to yourself gently and with compassion. as of 12/31/2014 10:45:00 AM
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25. Take time to recharge yourself.

take-time-recharge-20141228_164714-450Take time to recharge yourself. We need work, but we also need rest and play. It’s lovely to help others, but it’s also important to take care of ourselves. And sometimes we work so hard or are there so often for other people, we forget to take care of ourselves and do what we need to, to recharge.

For me, it’s things like reading a book, playing with my little dog Petal, talking with a friend and getting a hug, watching a show. Taking a moment to read an old reader email or post that made me feel good. Looking at a photo of someone I love. All those things help me recharge my soul, my heart, my energy so that I can keep working hard and keep being there for others.

What are your ways of recharging? I hope whatever you do to help yourself regain some of your energy and good feeling, you do it often.


This can be a hard time of year for many people, so I thought I’d post more positive messages for people again–selfies along with the messages, so people can see the person (and author) behind the message. I think it helps make it more personal and real.

I will try to post photos most days of December for you all. Let me know if you like this idea. :)

And if you like this post, if it speaks to you, I hope you’ll share it with others. You can see them on all www.CherylRainfield.com/blog

#cherylrainfield #YAwriter #YAlit #iReadYA #YAsaves #booklover #bookworm #booknerdigan #quote #inspiration

0 Comments on Take time to recharge yourself. as of 12/31/2014 11:07:00 AM
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