Read Me Day

February 27 is Read Me Day, an event that was started in 1986 by Frankie DeWees, a teacher at East Hickman Elementary School in Lyles, Tenn. Its purpose was to celebrate the importance of reading. The event was called “Read Me Day” because students, teachers, and visiting readers were invited to wear a shirt, cap, or pin with a message on it so the children could “read the reader.”  Book’em, a nonprofit organization that focuses on collecting and distributing books to children and teens in lower-income families and providing volunteer readers to local preschools and elementary schools, made it a week-long celebration in 1990.

Today, I am happy to introduce readers to author Geena Bean. Abby and I reviewed her book, Come Back Dear Sun, a few years ago on this blog. Now, you will get a chance to hear directly from her why she thinks reading is important.

First of all, I want to thank Kim for hosting me on her blog today.  Thanks, Kim! Today, I will be blogging about the importance of reading. I can’t emphasize how crucial it is for adults to implicate reading with their children and students on a regular basis. Ideally, a child should be read to, or read on their own, for 30 minutes a day.

Reading books is such an irreplaceable gift because it allows us to escape into the imagination and minds of another human being. We get carried off to far away worlds and places we have never even dreamed about. We gain new experiences through senses and conflicts of our characters. There is no greater reward than to pass on the knowledge of the millions of books which exist within our world.

Currently, I am working with United Way as a literacy ambassador for a program called Celebrity Read. I’ve visited seven schools this month and I can’t tell you how gratifying this program is. The kids get really excited and engaged throughout all of my readings. Their imaginations are endless once you ignite their minds. Reading to them helps strengthen their own imaginations enabling them to become better educated and creative. It helps them develop a unique voice when they are creating their stories.

My current children’s book, Come Back Dear Sun, is a story encouraging kids to put away the video games, iPads, internet, and television controllers and run outside to play or read books instead. When our children’s minds are being stimulated for too long by video games and computers, they are losing out on their abilities to be unique and creative. Their minds and voices are being constructed by the screens they are watching. Instead, they should be actively playing and communicating with one another or getting lost in a book.

Come Back Dear Sun has a five-star rating on

Come Back Dear Sun has a five-star rating on

When I was a child, I spent most of my time in the library borrowing books or at the bookstore with my mom purchasing them for special occasions. I had an endless bookshelf of picture books and middle grade novels. My favorite books ranged from Clam I Am, The Cat in the Hat, Sleeping Beauty, There Was an Old Woman Who Lived in a Shoe, Caps For Sale, The Berenstain Bears, The Little Golden Book Series, Pippi Long Stocking, Matilda, Huckleberry Finn, Harriet the Spy, the Judy Blume series and countless others.

And the reading legacy lives on. As an author, I feel my writing has grown so much over the last two decades because of all of the books I have read. Currently, I read picture books, YA novels and regular novels. Reading others’ work helps to strengthen and lengthen the capacity of our mind and imagination. I’ve learned so much through captivating worlds and characters my fellow authors have created.

I encourage you all to read as many books as you possibly can. Not only will your mind be stimulated; some stories will even enlighten you. “The greatest gift is the passion for reading.

It is cheap, it consoles, it distracts, it excites, it gives you knowledge of the world and experience of a wide kind. It is a moral illumination.” ~ Elizabeth Hardwick

About Geena:

Geena graduated from Rutgers University in 2003 with a degree in English. She published her debut picture book, Come Back Dear Sun, in January 2013.  Since then, she has been visiting schools throughout New Jersey while giving assemblies and presentations for her author work. When she is not too busy visiting schools, Geena loves to volunteer for organizations such as the Boys and Girls Club and United Way. As an avid literacy ambassador, her mission is to instill the importance of reading, writing, and imagination within the minds of adults and children around the world.

Besides her author work, she loves rescuing animals (she has two kitties named Luna and Cheex), traveling around the globe, running in or outdoors, going to concerts, cooking, and snuggling up to old 80s movies like Beaches, Dirty Dancing, Footloose, Grease, Top Gun, The Breakfast Club … the list goes on. Geena also loves to listen to music and a lot of her writing is inspired by New Age artists such as Enya, Hans Zimmerman, Jeff Pearce, Darshan Ambient, David Helping and Karunesh. She is also a huge Bruce, Coldplay, Imagine Dragons, Stevie Nicks, Naked and Famous, U2 and Death Cab for a Cutie fan.

You can purchase Come Back Dear Sun from online retailers such as You can connect with Geena on her website,; on twitter; and on Facebook.

You also can connect with Geena here by leaving her a message. She and I would love to hear from you!


National Love Your Pet Day

Some pet lovers celebrate National Love Your Pet Day every February 20 (although some might say every day is Love Your Pet Day). For many, pets are more than “just a dog” or “just a cat” (or just a you-fill-in-the-blank animal). I am no different.

There have been dogs in my family since before my birth. Our first dog was patient; she would let me try to ride her like a horse and let me lie my head on her like a pillow. I thought she was my best friend. Our second dog had a lot of quirks, and I loved to dress him in my doll clothes. Clearly, he was patient, too.

Nico is the first dog I have had on my own, so I feel a special bond with him. He thinks he’s my protector–he barks at everything (and when I say everything, I mean EVERYTHING). He is vocal in other ways, too. He grumbles at you if you discipline him. It’s not a growl, but it’s a “I heard what you said, and I don’t like it” kind of message. It’s like he has to get the last word in, which is why my boyfriend says Nico is a lot like me. He also lets us know when he needs to go to the bathroom (which I appreciate), when he wants to go outside to beg for treats from the neighbors, when he wants a treat from me, when he wants to get up on the furniture, when he wants breakfast or dinner, and when Tugger is getting on his nerves.

There was a little bit of grumbling from Nico when I took this picture.

There was a some grumbling from Nico when I took this picture, while Tugger tried to push Nico out of it.


Nico verbally demands attention from us, while Tugger is a bit different. He isn’t very vocal (other than how he howls when he hears me in the driveway), but the expressions on his face usually give us a clue as to what is going on in his head. Generally, he just wants to love you and cuddle with you. He won’t turn down a treat, but he thrives on attention, so much so that he knocks Nico out of the way if anyone tries to pet Nico. There are times Tug isn’t nice to Nico, like when he hogs the dog bed or pushes Nico out of the way so Tug can go through the back door first.

For animal lovers, you understand when I say my kids are not the typical kids who you have to carpool, help with homework, or take to birthday parties. Like people with human children, you know I have to clean up after them and make sure they are fed, warm, and loved.

Because of today’s holiday, I thought I would reflect on the biggest ways I have shown my love for my two fur babies.

I love Nico so much that I have not had his vocal cords removed. (It is with great love that I hush him when the whining starts at 4 a.m.)

I love Tugger so much that I don’t kill him when he pees on Nico. (It is with great love that I called Tugger a “douchebag” when this happened this morning.)

How could I not love these faces?

How could I not love these faces?

I love them both so much that I wrote a children’s book series about them.

Please tell me ways that you show love for your pet. The examples can be sweet, sentimental, funny … whatever you want to share. I look forward to reading your comments!




International Book Giving Day

This year, I decided to celebrate holidays that may get overlooked. Did you know January 26 is Bubble Wrap Appreciation Day, March 1 is World Compliment Day, and May 1 is Beer Pong Day? Through 2015, I will be highlighting lesser known holidays. Some days, there will be a guest blogger to discuss that holiday. Today is one of those days.

Carmela Dutra, a children’s book author and illustrator, is the first guest blogger to partake in this series of blogs. Below is what she has to say about International Book Giving Day:

What comes to mind when you see the date February 14th? No doubt it’s Valentine’s Day. This is after all the day for lovers, but what about those who are lovers of books? Well good news! This day is also for them! In addition to Valentine’s Day, February 14th is also International Book Giving Day.

Here’s a little background for those unfamiliar with holiday. This is a day devoted to instilling a lifelong love of reading in children and providing access to books for children in need. Book Giving Day calls on volunteers to share their favorite book with a young reader. Although the holiday originated in the UK, book lovers around the world now join in the celebrations every year.

Even though this day has passed it really got me thinking. Why does this have to be a day celebrated only once a year? Why can’t we make it a conscious matter to share our books with others? Especially to children in need?

Would you share books with others, especially children?

Would you share books with others, especially children?

What, or how could we do this? Book Giving Day has few organized events. Instead, individual volunteers are encouraged to give a favorite book or books to children. This can take many forms; some people give books as gifts to their own children or to those of friends. Others donate books to children’s libraries, schools or charities. Still others leave books in places where they’ll be found, such as doctors’ waiting rooms or coach stations.

February 14th is a day to tell our family and friends we love them. What better way to tell our children, nieces, nephews, grandchildren, etc. than with a book!

Books are small things that leave a lasting impact! So many authors are where they are today because of a book. Imagine, by our giving a book instead of a card we could be helping to inspire a future author. What’s more, an inscription on the inside cover is the best way to take a book, and make into something more.

Never underestimate the power of giving a book! #Giveabook!

About Carmela

Everyone dreams about taking adventures, having fun, and saving the day. If you can’t take a real life adventure the next best thing is to read one. Carmela takes those dreams and brings them to life in her series, The Adventures of Lorenzo the Bear.

Encounter at Jellyfish Cove is the first in The Adventures of Lorenzo the Bear series. The reader is introduced to the main character, Lorenzo the Bear; his new friend Lucy Bear; and Lord Boris, the Red-Butted Baboon. While accompanying Lorenzo on his adventures, the reader learns the lesson of true friendship. Look for the next book in the Lorenzo series, Journey to Honeysuckle Mountain, to make its debut in March!

Carmela’s blog can be found at To learn more about Lorenzo the Bear, his website is Other ways to connect include Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Goodreads.

Encounter at Jellyfish Cove was published in October 2013.

Encounter at Jellyfish Cove was published in October 2013.

A Readers’ Favorite award recipient, Encounter at Jellyfish Cove can be found online at retailers such as Amazon and Barnes and Noble, as well as on Readers’ Favorite website.

The second book in the Lorenzo the Bear series will be in small hands next month.

The second book in the Lorenzo the Bear series will be in small hands next month.