Tag Archives: Books

How To Tell The Future

How To Tell The Future


At times wouldn’t we all love to know how to tell the future? No one knows exactly what the future may hold for them, but I am sure that I’m not the only one who wonders about it often. We learn that although we can’t predict what may happen, that what we do today will impact our tomorrows, we also learn that even then sometimes life has a way of changing the best laid plans! One thing we know for sure about planning the future is that when it comes to our kids, when we #InvestinChildhood, it pays off. According to Save the Children, kids  who are enrolled in Early Childhood Development programs are more likely to enroll in school, plan their families, become productive adults, and educate their own children than those who don’t.

Fortune favors the prepared mind.-Louis Pasteur

Infographic_31It has now been proven that early education is essential to help kids get on the right path in life. Not all children are born into the same opportunities, but if given the right tools, the playing field is leveled.  September is Bright Futures Month for Save the Children to champion the investment in childhood and provide children with the early learning essentials for a bright future. Given the right tools all kids can learn and thrive to their full potential.

It all begins at home. I am personally glad to know that the research now backs up those seemingly endless evenings when I tucked in each of my four children by reading them a book!

By the age of three children growing up in poverty without books will have heard an average of 30 million fewer words than their peers. As you can imagine they are starting off at a great disadvantage so that by the time they get into school they are about a year and half behind the kids who were read to. And they may never catch up.

The first five years of a child’s life are critical for building the foundations of success. By the time children reach five years old their brains are already 90 percent developed. If within those rapid years of growth children do not receive adequate care including being played with, spoken to, and read to, their social and emotional skills will likely be underdeveloped. Preschool is a lifesaver for the children who do not get those necessities at home, and it is Save the Children’s mission to help children in need get the early education  they need to succeed.Infographic_41

Save the Children’s Early Learning Platform, “Invest in Childhood” seeks to raise awareness among U.S. consumers of the early learning deficit that children living in poverty experience. By mobilizing our celebrity ambassadors, corporate partners and supporters, we shine a spotlight on this critically important issue to create a brighter future for children.-Save the Children

Last year during my interview with Save the Children Artist Ambassador Jennifer Garner  she talked about her visits with Save the Children to homes enrolled in the early education programs they support.

“When Save The Children rolls up and goes once a week to see them, they bring them books, they bring light, they bring life. And the main thing that I love to see is they bring encouragement for these moms.”-Jennifer Garner

We may not be able to project what the future will hold for us or our children, but it is within our power to prepare and lay down the foundations for them that we know can help lead to success.  We can also help to shape the futures of children in need by joining Save the Children to #InvestInChildhood by getting them the early learning essentials for a bright future. Together, we can help ensure that all children have the opportunity to reach their full potential.


A strong start is a child’s best chance for a successful future. Let’s invest in childhood today – giving children the best chance for a better tomorrow. Learn more here.

Tell your own future by downloading, printing and creating your own future teller for you or your kids!

Nantucket Book Festival #ACKBookFestival

Nantucket Book Festival #ACKBookFestival

desert adventure

My sixteen year old went to a three day concert festival earlier this month, and I imagine our girl’s weekend at the Nantucket Book Festival was to the six of us book lovers, what being in proximity to the rock stars were to my teen daughter. If it were socially acceptable I’m sure we too would have stood up and screamed as some of our idols took the stage, but in the subdued Nantucket Athaneum we surely would have been sternly escorted out out by a gentleman in a navy blazer.

That’s not to say that we didn’t have our wild moments of dancing to random bands in a dive bar…. or……ok, so maybe that was the one wild moment of the weekend….. but it was a thrilling weekend full of books and authors, great food, and friends, wild in the stories we got to explore .   The point is, if you are a book lover, a reader or a writer, or a lover of stories and those who tell them, then you should have been there too. The amazing storytellers who spoke had us in awe, throughout the weekend we were on the emotional rollercoaster that comes with the close study of human nature as told through narrative.

It all started with our gracious host, an island homeowner who had attended every Nantucket Book Festival since it’s inception four years ago and been raving to us about it ever since. Her wonderful blog CreativeWhimzy highlights the type of creative, thoughtful and energetic person our gracious host Jo is. We arrived to welcome gifts, mugs she had designed for all of us, each with a handmade tag, to enjoy our morning coffee in!IMG_8946

We were up bright and early on Friday morning for breakfast with Anita Diamant, best selling author of The Red Tent, who gave a talk about her recently released novel The Boston Girl, and her craft. I have found that writers are often great speakers, as natural storytellers they often know how to keep their audience humored and enthralled.


Anita Diamant


Following Anita Diamant, author of A Long Way Gone, Ishmael Beah spoke to us about his journey from child soldier in Sierra Leone to best selling author in New York City. He introduced his new novel The Radiance of Tomorrow and discussed his transition from memoir to fiction and his role in providing “the lost boys” of the war in  Sierra Leone a human face and insight to the rest of the world .


posing with Ishmael Beah


Leaving the athenaeum with our emotions piqued by the amazing authors we had just heard, we discovered the Typewriter Rodeo in the courtyard outside. We each got a poem typed out for us by the rodeo based on a word we gave. By then we were all practically in tears of overwhelmed emotions and the festival had only just begun!



Authors L to R: LaShonda Katrice Barnett, Bret Anthony Johnston, Belinda McKeon, Scott Turow, Azar Nafisi


What we have discovered is that authors are great story tellers, and each author captivated us with the behind the scenes of the stories they told. Breakfast with Jodi Picoult and Alice Hoffman was up close and personal, it was such a treat to get a glimpse of each of them outside of their writing, and the view from the Dreamland theatre event space could not be beat.


up close and personal with Jodi Picoult and Alice Hoffman



Our final morning of the Nantucket Book festival was magic despite the deluge. The White Elephant is impeccable, the event space, the brunch, and the service was amazing. Ishmael Beah was amazing as well. How he can infuse such heartbreak yet inspiration in one delivery is the true magic. His wisdom and insight into human nature are treasures, mined only as someone who has seen humanity at its worst and best could do.


The weekend at The Nantucket Book Festival felt like a dream. One where fairy tales and nightmares haunt your consciousness and leaves you on the other side of something intangible. It felt like gift that can be held and turned over in my mind for a long time to come.


Feed The Mind & Feed The Hungry With Ann Hood

Feed The Mind & Feed The Hungry With Ann Hood

An Event With Ann Hood & Her Newest Book The Obituary Writer

Author Ann Hood is one of the most charming speakers!   Not only can she tell a great story, but she is engaging and funny while doing it.  At another fabulous event organized by Robin Kall, donations for the Rhode Island Community Food Bank were collected, and Ann Hood read from her latest book The Obituary Writer . It was an event where we could feed our minds and help to feed the hungry at the same time.

A sophisticated and suspenseful novel about the poignant lives of two women living in different eras.

On the day John F. Kennedy is inaugurated, Claire, an uncompromising young wife and mother obsessed with the glamour of Jackie O, struggles over the decision of whether to stay in a loveless marriage or follow the man she loves and whose baby she may be carrying. Decades earlier, in 1919, Vivien Lowe, an obituary writer, is searching for her lover who disappeared in the Great San Francisco Earthquake of 1906. By telling the stories of the dead, Vivien not only helps others cope with their grief but also begins to understand the devastation of her own terrible loss. The surprising connection between Claire and Vivien will change the life of one of them in unexpected and extraordinary ways. Part literary mystery and part love story, The Obituary Writer examines expectations of marriage and love, the roles of wives and mothers, and the emotions of grief, regret, and hope.- The Obituary Writer By Ann Hood

I can not wait to dive into my signed by the author copy  of this book from this great evening!

Ann Hood Reading of The Obituary Writer

Signing Books

Robin Kall & Leah DeCesare of www.motherscircle.com

Collections for the Rhode Island Community Food Bank

Elizabeth Atalay & Ann Hood

Inspiring Women: Robin Kall Turned Her Passion Into Her Profession

Inspiring Women: Robin Kall Turned Her Passion Into Her Profession

Robin Kall Celebrates 10 Years of Reading With Robin

I always love hearing stories of women who have managed to turn a passion of theirs into their profession. This seems to be an ideal that many of us only dream about, but is exactly what Robin Kall has achieved.  As a lover of books I have been fascinated by Robin since I moved to RI, and first heard of her radio show Reading With Robin. I love to discuss books and to hear author’s speak about their work, so of course I thought it was brilliant to have an entire radio show of author interviews, and book discussions.  It is exciting for me to live in a state that always seems to have such great literary events going on, and I know that Robin plays a large part in drawing both new and  big name authors alike to our tiny state.  This Saturday November 24th marks the celebration of the 10 year Anniversary of Reading with Robin, and I finally had the chance to ask her how she turned her love of reading into a career, and what advice she would give others starting out.


How did you get started?

RK: I would listen to the John DePetro show and call in with my comments…I became a regular -‘Robin from Providence’ and then eventually I would come into the studio to play RI jeopardy on-air with John and the callers…that sort of thing.  I so enjoyed being on-air and writing my own material that I pitched the idea to do a show. Being such a book enthusiast I thought that doing a show about a subject I am so passionate about would make for fun radio.

What advice would you give to other women about turning your passion into your profession?

RK: As far as turning your passion into a profession -I’d say never take anything out of the realm of possibilities.  Brainstorm-write every idea down..you can always get rid of the ones that really don’t make sense. It’s amazing some of the ideas I’ve found from old notes I had written and put away. Thinking outside of the box is so cliche, but the way things are done now looks almost nothing like the way they were done even 5-10 years ago.  You need to be very creative and very persistent. When I first suggested the show idea I was greeted enthusiastically with my idea of being on-air, but not necessarily about books…but I kept at it, and here I am today..10 years and hundreds of books later!!

To celebrate those ten years on the show this upcoming Saturday morning, November 24th
from 7-8am there will be a special 10 Year Anniversary Celebration Show! The show will be streaming live at www.920whjj.com and Robin is joined by special co-host, NYTimes Bestselling author, Ann Hood!  They will be hearing from some of our favorite authors:
Susan Jane Gilman (Undress Me in the Temple of Heaven) Caroline Leavitt (Girls in Trouble), Jane Green (Another Piece of My Heart), Claire Cook (Wallflower in Bloom) and Adriana Trigiani (The Shoemaker’s Wife)
Plus a few more if there is time!  There will be special anniversary show giveaways throughout the show and also on the Reading With Robin Facebook page! (please ‘like’ it!)

Lots has changed in the ten years since the show first began but one thing that will never change is the love of a great book!!!
www.readingwithrobin.com for more information!!



Reading With Robin

Reading With Robin

To celebrate my friend Julie’s birthday the other night, we went to the annual An Evening With Authors event hosted by Robin Kall of Reading With Robin.  An Evening With Authors is one of my favorite nights out, it is always a fantastic event featuring amazing writers, and this was the third year we have attended. Each year we emerge just blown away by being in proximity to such rock stars of the literary world.   We are thrilled to have heard their behind the scenes stories, tricks of the trade, and details of their writing processes.  As Avid readers my girlfriends and I are always fascinated and inspired hearing glamorous bestselling authors tell us their “dirty little secrets” of  the really not so glamorous writing life.  Spending all day writing in their pajamas, not always having a say in the jacket design of their books, renting hotel rooms to find the peace they need to write. This year we heard stories of the writing lives of featured authors Elizabeth Berg, Chris Bohjalian, and Amanda Eyre Ward.

Left to Right on the Authors Panel: Robin Kall, Amanda Eyre Ward, Elizabeth Berg and Chris Bohjalian

Discussions are based on questions that the authors themselves write to ask each other, and this year some of the  questions were about their relationships with editors, and how the stories unfold as they are writing. Following the discussion attendees have the opportunity to purchase the writer’s work and meet the Authors as they get their books signed.   The evening serves as a fundraiser to support Breast Cancer Research through the Love, Carol Foundation.  The Foundation was set up to honor Robin’s mother whom she lost to Breast Cancer in 1997, when her mother was only 53 years old.

With Robin Kall (center) at An Evening With Authors

Julie getting her book signed by Chris Bohjalian

I love that Robin Krall has created a successful career for herself based on her love of reading and books. In 2002 she launched Reading With Robin a RI radio talk show she hosts, that airs on WHJJ 920AM and is devoted to authors, readers, and the books they love.  She also writes the  “Well-Read” column for  www.golocalprov.com which appears every Tuesday.  I am so grateful that she creates events for readers and lovers of books in the community, bringing authors to our area, and enriching the depth of our reading lives.

The Author (of this blog post) with Amanda Eyer Ward and Elizabeth Berg