An Attitude of Gratitude

An Attitude with Gratitude


Dr. Valerie Allen

Even in difficult economic times, we live in a land of abundance. Most families exceed the basic needs of food, clothing, and shelter. Children have more than ample toys and clothes. Often, they have difficulty finding storage for the excess items in their bedrooms and play areas. In this land of plenty, it is difficult to teach children how to appreciate what they have. The joy of giving is often lost in the expectation of getting.

How do we teach children to be thankful for what they have? We need to engage them in the act of giving and doing for others. They will not only develop an appreciation for what they have, but will learn to care for their belongings, and have the satisfaction that comes from sharing and helping others.

Here are some activities you can do to develop gratitude and appreciation in your youngster.

1. Thoughtful Families:  Set an example at home. Discuss acts of kindness by friends, coworkers, or family members. Acknowledge heroic acts, which are reported in the paper or on the news. Talk about charitable donations and organizations such as the March of Dimes, Hospice Houses, and Habitat for Humanity. Help children understand there are others less fortunate who are in need of financial and emotional support. Tell them about Mother Theresa and her famous words, “We cannot do great things—only small things with great love.”

2. Thankful Thursdays:  In the spirit of Thanksgiving, plan a day of gratitude each week throughout the year. Children can make a list or draw a picture of all the people and things in their lives to be thankful for each week. They can keep track of what they have done for others, as well as what others have done for them. You can help them plan a random act of kindness for the following week. Soon they will develop the spirit of Thanksgiving during every season of the year.

3. Take Action: Children can help a neighbor with yard work. More formal activities can be arranged through a church or volunteer organization to help at a school, collect canned goods, or work at an animal shelter. Children can make place mats, napkin rings, or menu cards for meals-on-wheels. They can participate in community clean up days, plant a tree, or help collect litter at a park. Encourage your children to become a positive influence in the community.

4. Thank You Notes: Children should get in the habit of writing notes to express appreciation. Not just for birthday or holiday gifts, but for those who give their time or help with projects. Write letters to teachers, neighbors, firefighters, police officers, the pediatrician, or the choir director to recognize their time and effort. Cyber kids can send thanks via email.

5. Thrift Stores: Teach children to share. Have your youngster clean out toy boxes and clothes closets once a month. Have them remove an old item when replacing it with something new. Have them bundle up the items and take them to a consignment or thrift shop or a domestic shelter to be shared with others.

6. Twice Around: Recycle, reuse, and repurpose. Recycling is a wonderful way to respect and preserve our environment. Children can save and sort newspapers, cans, glass jars, and plastic containers. They can also be creative by using items in unique ways. For example, the plastic bags from groceries can be reused as trash bags. The Sunday comics can be used as wrapping paper. Small plastic containers can hold pieces and parts from board games, hair accessories, or jewelry.

Money is not the essential factor in helping others. Children need to learn giving of themselves is the most important gift they can offer. Doing for others is the best way to develop an attitude of gratitude in your youngster.

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~  Valerie Allen  ~

Write, Publish, Sell! 2 ed
Beyond the Inkblots: Confusion to Harmony
Amazing Grace
Sins of the Father
Suffer The Little ChildrenThe Prodigal Son

Stories for the Man in Your LifeLove Stories for Your ValentineA Gift for Mom: Short Story Collection’Tis Herself: Short Story Volume One’Tis Herself: Short Story Volume Two’Tis Herself: Short Story Volume ThreeThe Sun and The MoonSummer School for Smarties
Bad Hair, Good Hat, New Friends
Go to the Guidance Office and Ask the Counselor 

Omar, el jaguar (a Hispanic Children’s Book)

My name is Andrea Olatunji and I write books to inspire and empower children. I am originally from Uruguay and I live in the United States where I have been teaching Spanish for almost twenty years. I have taught all levels from Kindergarten to college and doing so, I discovered that everybody (without exception) likes a good story.

I have used stories to engage, entertain, teach a language, highlight culture, heal, connect, validate and much more. Yet, I have always found it challenging to find the right stories. I wanted books in Spanish that represented my beautiful Hispanic culture. I wanted books where my kids could see themselves reflected. I wanted stories that were beautifully written and illustrated and that delivered powerful messages. These stories were hard to find, so I decided to embark in the beautiful journey of writing and illustrating my own books.

Omar, el jaguar is my first book and the first one in a Spanish series that features animals that are native to the Americas. Omar is a lonely jaguar looking for friends. He encounters some that invite him to play but he thinks these animals are not fit to be his buddies because they don´t look like him. Later on, he discovers that they have more in common than he thought.

Available on Amazon

This is a beautiful story about celebrating diversity and protecting our environment. Since it published last year, Omar, has gained a lot of media recognition and it won two awards: The Moonbeam Spirit Award (in the Conservation category) and The International Book Award (in the Children´s Educational category). It has also become an asset for many parents and teachers, especially during the pandemic. I created a guide with lesson plans, project ideas, and guiding questions to use with the book.

My second book, Guillo, el armadillo, follows the steps of his predecessor by inspiring kids. It is based on a project I did with my own students where they have to teach something they knew how to do well.  In this process, many of them discovered their unique talents. The book is coming up in December.

To learn more about me and my books, you can visit

You can also follow me on social media:

@aolatunjispanish (Facebook)

@andreaolatunji (Instagram)

Grief and Loss Books

The only one I have read from this list is A Grief Observed by C.S. Lewis which was great! But, thought this list might help others, so I’m sharing it.

Dealing With My Grief


In the dark hours and days/weeks after someone dies we often lay in the actual dark not able to shut off our minds, only wanting to sleep so the pain is not so real; physical.

Or in the literal, as it is such a mental stress load in those early days. Consumed with anguish, grief and loss.

We search endlessly for books, articles, websites to help us understand what we are feeling, to know we are not alone, to help up cope.

I have since read many books on grief in the 8 short years since my daughters death, the ones that helped me cope were actually the fictional stories of parents suffering though a tragedy, in a very morbid way I was comforted.

I read books that were supposed to help you cope, or teach you to let go.

I preferred first…

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November 19 – Children’s Grief Awareness Day

I didn’t know about this day of observation but I think it is a good thing to bring to people’s awareness. I worked for Hospice for over 10 years with teens who had lost a loved one. Occasionally, I filled in for the leader of the younger children. There were children as young as 3 years old in that group. My heart went out to all of them, but especially the youngest who, when they held the talking stick, would say their name and whom they had lost. Sometimes it would be their mother. But, what always amazed me was their resiliency of spirit. And, in my own journey with grief after the loss of my husband of 24 years, there is definitely a resiliency that exists, especially when we have a faith. I have leaned on God throughout this journey as well as friends and family. We need to provide that safe place for our friends and family when there’s a loss and also encourage that deepening of their spiritual life. If ever there was a time to develop a personal relationship with Jesus Christ, it would be after a loss in your life. May you enjoy this post about a great book that I believe will help parents and teachers discuss the important topic of death, loss, and grief.


About the Holiday

Created in 2008 by the Highmark Caring Place, A Center for Grieving Children, Adolescents and Their Families in Pennsylvania, Children’s Grief Awareness Day is now recognized by organizations around the world. The day seeks to raise awareness of the painful impact that the death of a loved one has on a child and the fact that receiving support can make all the difference in their life as they grieve. It also provides an opportunity to make sure that these children receive the support they need.

The statistics are sobering. Before graduating from high school, one child out of every 20 children will experience the death of a parent. That number does not include those who experience the death of a sibling, a grandparent, an aunt, uncle or cousin, or a friend.

To learn more information on the needs of grieving children and find available resources, visit the

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The Guesthouse Teen & YA Series

New author Judy Ann Koglin is a self-described “jill-of-some-trades, master of none.” She grew up in the Seattle area, then attended Washington State University in Pullman. She and her husband Wade raised a family and now live in the town of Kihei on the beautiful island of Maui.

In her teens and twenties, Judy Ann enjoyed several trips to Chelan, Washington and found it to be a magical resort town. She also spent a teenage summer working in a charming beachside area on the Puget Sound, and she draws on both of these experiences to weave coming-of-age stories such as the ones in The Guesthouse Girls series.

Judy Ann released the first two books in The Guesthouse Girls series, Summer Entanglements and Midsummer Adventures on November 1 and was the #1 New Release in the category of Teen & Young Adult Christian Friendship Fiction on Amazon.

Available on Amazon

The third novel, Late Summer Love is due out in December, and more books about this group of girls will be released in early 2021.

These books were designed to be a good alternative for girls age preteen and older who want a wholesome but contemporary read about girls who might be similar to themselves. The four teenage girls in the series are Amie, Emma, Hope, and Kendi, who come to the busy lakeside resort town of Chelan to help fill summer jobs.

While there, they stay in rooms at The Guesthouse, run by a kind Christian lady named Aunty Nola. Kendi is a musician and an artist from Redmond and comes to Chelan to work at the local coffeeshop. Hope, who hails from Lynnwood, is athletic and tends to keep to herself. She is in town to work at her uncle’s boat rental business and earn money for college. Emma from Pasco, is passionate about learning about business and possibly finding a boyfriend, and she is excited for her job working at Chelan’s busy general store. Fashionable Amie is a Chelan native, but she is staying at The Guesthouse since her parents are in Missoula helping her grandpa this summer.

Readers can hear about the adventures that the girls have, both separately and together, as they discover friendships, adventure, faith and love. Topics dealt in this novel include challenges with first jobs, first time living away from parents, first real crushes, teen friendships, learning about God, and thinking on your feet.

Signed copies of the books can be purchased directly from the author at or they can be purchased through Amazon and

These fun “beach reads” would make perfect stocking stuffers!

Connect with the author on Social media:

Facebook: @theguesthousegirlsbooks

Instagram @judyannkoglin_author and @mauishorespublishing

I’m On My Way Book

Hi everyone!

I didn’t get this post up earlier because first off I didn’t have anything to post so I was going to need to write something and oddly enough, I had today off, and decided to pursue a task I had been putting off which delayed me writing a post all together.

The reason I had today off was because I live in Florida and there was a Tropical Storm named Eta just off the southern coast. I work at a school and here in Florida there are these tall bridges called Causeways and when winds reach or exceed 40 mphs, the buses cannot go over the bridges, so school was canceled.

Fortunately, the storm wasn’t too bad. There were winds and rain but nothing to worry about in regards to any damage to life or home.

The task I had been putting off was to spend some quality time editing my late husband’s story that I have been writing for him and about him.

He had wanted me to write his story after he got sick and he had given me some of his thoughts on what he wanted it to say that I had written down. I thought we were going to have time to write it together the following summer. But, he didn’t make it that long. He only lived 7 months after his diagnosis of terminal brain cancer.

You see, just before his diagnosis, he and his sister walked the Camino in Spain which is a 480 mile pilgramage. He wanted to share his experience on that walk along with his subsequent battle with cancer.

So, I have written it without him. His sister has been helping me because she had taken good notes of where they were each day and what happened.

It was an emotional day. I hadn’t re-visited his story since this summer. But, I made good progress on the editing.

I’m a little worried, though, that it reads too slow.

My working title is, I’m On My Way (it’s a double meaning about being on his Spain pilgrimage which is also known as The Way and once he returned home, being on another type of pilgrimage that would ultimately end in heaven.)

Would anyone be interested in reading the first chapter and giving me feedback?

If so, please leave a comment below.

Interview with Anthony S. Author of Paradise and the Pandemic

Check out this children’s author interview about his newest and timely subject matter book, Paradise and the Pandemic

E-Author Resources

Good morning,

I’m pleased to bring you this interview with Anthony S, author of Paradise and the Pandemic.

Please enjoy!


-Vincent Lowry


#1 What is your author name? Author Anthony S (Texas)

#2 What is the title of your book and the genre? “Paradise and the Pandemic” (Genre) children’s book

#3 What is the book about? A female character named “Paradise” who entertains and educates our youth. (virtual learning book series)

#4 Where did you get the idea for it? I was inspired by my niece

#5 How long did it take you to write it? It took me six weeks to write it… not including editing

#6 Did you learn anything from it? I learned quite a bit from the project… as always, taking things into consideration.

#7 Do you have website? I have a website I am currently working on the animation I anticipate launching in three…

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Job and Career Planning for Teens

Hi Everyone,

Welcome to Wanda Luthman’s Children’s Book Blog.

Today, I’m having our favorite Child Psychologist, Dr. Valerie Allen, share a topic for our teens…

Job and Career Planning for Teens
Dr. Valerie Allen

As teenagers progress through high school their career plans may boarder on whimsical, fantasy, or the far fetched. Parents, don’t be alarmed! What must Mrs. Disney have thought as her little boy, Walter, kept drawing all those mice? It’s good to think big and plan accordingly, however, it’s also important to consider “Plan B,” just in case fame and fortune doesn’t come overnight for your special teenager.

Arts and Humanities: skilled production of creation and/or presentations for aesthetic appreciation and/or recognition. Think: artists, creative writers, journalists, musicians, entertainers

Construction: processes in the building trades which help citizens in their living environment and life styles to meet their needs. Think: architects, civil engineers, mechanical engineers, tradesmen, .

Education: application of knowledge in research and helping individuals in gaining skills and techniques necessary to accomplish tasks. Think: professors, teachers, trainers, researchers.

Government: developing and enforcing the system of community living at the local, state, and national levels and regulation of quality standards for the production of goods and services. Think: politicians, lawyers, judges, law enforcement, policy makers, city planners.

Health and Welfare: maintaining the physical and mental well-being of humans, as well as being active in the care of animals as they impact on the overall well-being of society. Think: medical field, mental health professionals, case workers, veterinarians, personal trainers, life coaches.

Manufacturing: the design and production of goods and materials in an effort to make a product suitable for consumer use. Think: factory production of parts and pieces, heavy equipment, machinists, factory workers, assembly line.

Personal Services: aiding individuals in their daily life functions as related to their needs and desires. Think: direct patient care, case workers, vocational/career guidance workers, barbers, cosmetologists, health and beauty spas.

Product Services: the repair and maintenance of goods being used by the consumer. Think: auto   services, appliance repairs, mechanical engineers, infrastructure maintenance, utility workers.

Natural Resources: the management of environmental reserves in the production of goods and materials to satisfy the needs and wants of the consumer. Think: forest workers, fish and wildlife officers, pollution control, waste management workers, recycle and re-purpose workers.

Recreation and Entertainment: the application of artistic skills and talents for an individual’s own pleasure and/or the pleasure of others. Think: sports, spas, gyms, playgrounds, zoos, culture, entertainment.

Trade and Finance: involves the process of exchange of goods and services as well as monetary services, to aid both the producer and the consumer personally or professionally. Think: banking, investing, insurance, real estate, stock market, bookkeepers, accountants, loan officers

Transportation and Communication: the transfer of goods and people by air, land, or water and the transmission of information throughout the community and world society.  Think: airline pilots, boat captions, train conductors, big rig drivers, bus drivers, computer/IT workers

All jobs are classified into one of three categories; those involving people, data, or things. There is,  of course, overlap but the basic focus of a job is in one of these three classifications. This list of career clusters would be helpful to assist your teen to explore where his or her skills and interests might be found. You can use this information as a good talking point with your teen.


Dr. Valerie Allen is a child psychologist in private practice. She has written a work book for teens and parents, “Go to the Guidance Office and Ask the Counselor About Career Choices.”
She has also published two children’s chapter books, “Summer School for Smarties” and “Bad Hair, Good Hat, New
Friends ” and a picture book for beginning readers, “The Sun and The Moon.”
Oh yes, she has also raised six children from whom she has learned many things about life and love.

Thank you, Dr. Allen, for being a guest on my blog today and helping parents everywhere help their child be a success!

As always likes, comments, and shares are appreciated!

Thank you everyone for reading my blog.

Stay safe

Hayley the Halloween Cat & The Search for Bitty the Bat

Available on Amazon

Hi, everyone,

I hope you’re enjoying the beginning of the change to cooler temperatures (that is if you live in the Northern Hemisphere).

In Florida, it is only slightly cooler but it is the beginning of the season that we live for! Cooler temperatures and less humidity. It’s time to get outside and enjoy the great outdoors!

Being that it’s October means the beginning of the holiday season too! We kick it off with Halloween at the end of this month (October 31st).

If you’re looking for a fun and cute (non-spooky) Halloween-themed book for your child or classroom, this one is perfect!

Hayley the Halloween Cat and The Search for Bitty the Bat is about two friends preparing to celebrate Halloween only Bitty, the bat, has gone missing. Hayley asks everyone if they know where her friend is hiding. Pretty soon everyone has joined in the search. Finally, they find Bitty when he shows up with a wonderful surprise. Come on the fun, character-filled hunt with Hayley and friends!

It’s available on Amazon as a paperback or an ebook. It is available in Kindle Unlimited!

So, don’t delay in getting your book today and share in the fun as we kick off this holiday season!

Enjoy the cooler temperatures everyone!

Please continue to stay safe.

As always, likes, comments, and shares are very much appreciated.