This is my first school year since I began my teaching career 12 years ago that I do not teach an English class. I am exclusively a World History teacher and I am loving that role. However, English runs in my veins and I am missing some of the class discussions and learning surrounding novels in my classroom.
Nothing can replace the collective investment in the same characters and story. I miss the days when students would come in and beg to read all period so they could find out what happens next.
Just because I am no longer a high school English teacher doesn’t mean those experiences must come to an end.
I’ve taken years of experience in the classroom, my passion for books, and my interest in growing deep rooted communities to create a Guide to Hosting a Book Club. This four-page workbook walks you through how to plan for a successful book club launch or how to streamline the organization of an already established club.
In this guide, I walk you through creating norms for your group and choosing the right material to consider. I am also happy to launch this guide as a free resource for The Ameri Brit Mom community.
My experience in the classroom and with online teacher forums has led me to question the recent pushback from families and stakeholders over curriculum. While it may seem like a new trend that has today’s educators hyper-vigilant about what they post and send home, it is far from a new experience in the profession.
In fact, censorship of reading material has been around for thousands of years. And it’s been in the classroom since the printing press brought us the ability to read mass-produced literature.
Covid and distance learning brought curriculum to more eyes than ever before. That, coupled with social media has led to a recent increase in public inquisitions. But, this is not a new battle for society. We’ve been banning books and censoring author’s voices since the written word began to exist. Although educators may feel under attack during this time, we also must remember that in order for an individual to grow they must question.
I’m all for healthy challenges that lead to growth and a better understanding of our world. I also see tremendous value in challenging the censorship and reading the material that others try to ban.
Today, as we observe national Banned Books Week, I wanted to celebrate some of my favorite books from the list. Many of these books have shaped our society and brought to the surface the problems plaguing our world. They’ve caused us to think critically or in some cases, just to escape reality for a while to a land of what if?
To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee
Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone by J.K. Rowling
Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury
The Glass Castle by Jeanette Walls
All American Boys by Jason Reynolds and Brendan Kiely
The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini
For a more extensive list of Banned Books in the US, check out this Barnes and Noble list, and remember that when society questions printed material it often brings to light productive conversations about topics of controversey–and that’s where the growth happens.
Life changed for everyone the day the boxes arrived. The world awoke to a wooden box with a single string inside. Before long, the phenomenon of the strings and their purpose became clear–each string is a measure of the amount of life that remains for each person.
While some were encouraged by the length of their string, others were given the harsh truth that life would end sooner than they’d hoped. Before long, the world began to dichotimize into Long Stringers and Short Stringers. Those with longer strings called the shots and limited those with shorter strings to “safe” roles in society.
Things became more complicated for those relationships where one learns they will far outlive the other, and society is rocked as it begins to wrestle with the terms of the strings and how each person should live out the remaining days or years.
This is a thought-provoking tale of
-an archetect who is afraid to tell his family of his fate
-a politician who uses the strings as a campaign ploy
-an editor who learns to cherish her partner and their moments together
-a college student who bravely chooses to serve his country in his final days
-a doctor who is near retirement
-a teacher who refuses to open her box
Each of these people are connected to a support group for those with short strings. Together, they ask the tough questions–now that you know your time is short, how will you spend it?
This story was equal parts engaging and thought provoking. I fell in love with the characters and questioned my life right along with them. Erlick beautifully wove some of life’s most important questions into a story about likeable characters. This was my favorite book of 2022 so far, and a debut novel for this author.
Be sure to follow me on Goodreads to see what I am reading next and to check out other reviews like this one.
Four elderly pensioners living in Cooper’s Chase, a retirement community in England, make up the membership of the secret Thursday Murder Club. Each week a retired detective, nurse, psychologist and intellectual gather around the jigsaw table in the community meeting room and discuss crimes and investigate them on their own. The group leans on the insight of an underappreciated young copper named Donna to inform them of police intel, and they help her to solve some of the cases that police have given up on.
When a murder spree strikes close to home, The Thursday Murder Club break out all of their tricks and try to get to the bottom of it before the local police.
Their investigation puts them in harms way and gives each of the club’s members an opportunity to flex their atrophied muscles. The search for who would want the community’s developer dead leads to a long list of subjects, many uncovered secrets, and a trip to Cyprus.
This English Best-Seller is well read for a reason. The four main characters are charming and unique. Even though the crimes of the community are serious there were many endearing and light moments between the elderly characters. The ending was a twist I did not expect albeit a bit convuluted. I rated this a 3-star book because although I enjoyed the characters, the ending could have been stronger.
You can follow my reading journey on Goodreads. Join me and see what I’m reading next or any of my recommendations from past reads.
Encounters with big time celebrities don’t happen in the small, British town of Belford, so when V finds herself making tea at the local cafe for an A-lister she is caught off guard. She was used to the painstaking customers from the pensioners court down the road-not gorgeous men from London.
In this short story, you can experience the essence of a quaint British bakery based on my own experiences this summer.
“The Closing Shift” is the latest installment in my short story collection. For access to exclusive content including this 8 page story, you can join my Patreon page.
Each month, members of my Patreon receive critiques, calendar pages, newsletters, and a short story. You can become a patron for only $5/month. When you join, you not only receive exclusive content, but you help me to grow and launch this brand and business into the world.
With a subtitle of How to Stop Doubting Your Greatness and Start Living An Awesome Life, the expecations were high from the beginning. I approached this book with the end of the school year behind me. Each summer, I try to get rid of all the awful habits I formed while on survival mode during the school year. The reason this title spoke to me was because I needed a good pep talk to reignite my motivation after a pretty difficult year of teaching.
This five-part book explores the elements of self-love:
How You Got This Way
How to Embrace Your Inner Badass
How to Tap into the Motherlode
How to Get Over the BS Already
How to Kick Some Ass
The gut punches came right at the start as Sincero explores the psyche of self-sabotage and the creation of obstacles to our productivity. The power of being present is something we have control over, but first we must manage our natural tendencies toward snoozing through life.
The tools for embracing our badass may seem simple at first, but Sincero gives stories and practical steps for breaking out of the self-destructive cycles. A strong focus on self-love is the theme of the book, and many examples are provided for ways in which you can love yourself more each day.
Falling back in love with your life and the God who made you is the premise here, and when I got to the last page I felt like I just got a kick in the seat of my pants from an old friend. Jen Sincero does a great job of motivating through tough love and strong truths. I came away from this book with affirmations and goals to live the most badass life I could imagine.
I gave this book a 4/5 stars. I tend to prefer novels and fictional books, but a good non-fiction every now and again has the power to change your life. While I’m not sure much of this book was earth shattering in my journey, I did feel pumped up to get to work on myself.
Check out my Goodreads account to see what I’m reading next!
Jude knows what is to be raised by parents who were never present. Most of her childhood was spent reminding her career-drive mother of her own existence. Which is why she decided to be the most involved and approachable mother to her twins, Zach and Mia. Along with her husband, Miles, Jude builds a comfy life for her beautifully happy family in an affluent community.
Across the stream, within a collection of indigenous people’s mobile homes, Lexi is being raised by Aunt Eva. Determined to break the generational curse that landed her own mother in jail, Lexi vowed to create a better life for herself.
During their freshman year, Lexi and Mia hit it off and became inseprable friends. Each girl was exactly what the other needed and throughout high school they shared a special bond that grew only stronger with time. Jude opens her family’s home to Lexi and welcomes her as one of her own.
Senior year brings its usual pressures for the teens. Jude has worked hard to set her twins up for the perfect college and Lexi begins to complicate those plans when she falls in love with Zach. Jude is torn between wanting her children to be happy or succesful at the college of her dreams.
One night, after a wild senior party, tragedy strikes Jude’s family and she is thrust into unspeakable terror. In the days following she must choose once and for all how to protect her family at all costs.
This is a story about friendship, love, growing up, motherhood, loss, and redemption. There are so many aspects of life covered in this novel as it spans a couple of decades–the childhood and adolesence of Jude’s children. At times, it was easy to relate to Jude as a mother who wants the best for my girls, but at other times I saw the dangers of her “helicopter” approach to parenting and the way that affected her relationships. Night Road is a tale that cautions us to cling to those we love, but not so tightly that we strangle them.
I gave this book at 4/5 star rating. Although I can get behind anything by Kristin Hannah, there were parts of this book that seemed forced or unexplored. Without giving away too much of the plot, there was a trial that landed a teenager in jail for something I just don’t think is realistic. I found myself losing a little interest once I got to this portion of the story and I was less invested from there on out. But…Kristin Hannah is still a phenomenal writer in my opinion so the writing style kept me entertained. And her typicl twists and turns continued to surprise me until the final page.
Be sure to check me out on Goodreads for more reviews!
This is the first chapter of the novel I am currently working on. It’s a YA piece about a young girl who sets out along the Appalachain Trail in search of a missing person…and her purpose. All of her friends are headed to college soon, but Raven is staying behind to help run her parents’ Bed and Breakfast. This is a story about finding your true calling, coping with change, and finding the courage to succeed. I started working on this piece as part of my final portfolio in grad school. Only my graduate advisor and critique partner have seen this chapter and the others for this story. You can gain exclusive access to this 12 page chapter when you join my Patreon page.
Each month I publish a short story on my Patreon page for those readers who pledge $5 a month or more. If you would like to read this first chapter please consider joining my Patreon page.
I am so happy to see another week of the 2021-2022 school year come to a close. Two more stand between me and summer vacation. It’s Friday and I’m excited to join in on the Five Minute Friday writerly fun. This week our prompt is Vision.
Five months into the year and I want to take some time to reflect. So far in 2022 the days have been long, but the weeks have been short. At the beginning of the year I cast a vision for myself in my bullet journal and set an intention for the year to live with “passion and drive”.
The vision I started the year with has expanded in five months.
I’ve worked with clients on novels, short stories, blogs, letters, academic papers, social media profiles, and more. With each client I am building confidence and expertise in the field.
Each month I send out a newsletter to update those who want to know how this vision and business is growing. The newsletter starts with a letter to my readers and provides updates on my business as well as my blog. If you want to join the FREE subscription and receive those monthly newsletters, subsribe here:
Another way the vision is expanding is through Patreon, a website dedicated to helping creative small businesses interact with customers and clients by providing exclusive content. You can join my Patreon page to receive free monthly edits, a monthly short story, creative content, and more.
This vision for The Ameri Brit Mom continues to grow and I am so happy to have readers and fans like you to support my dream. Thank you so much for stopping by and I would be delighted if you would consider a way to partner with me and my vision during the second half of 2022.
The Ameri Brit Mom Writing and Editing Services launched in January 2022 and I have already built a great client list. As I continue to grow my business, I would appreciate any type of support that you are able to offer.
Since the business launch I have worked with clients on manuscript edits, doctoral thesis formatting, scholarship revisions, business letters, and blog audits. I am open to just about any project and would love to come alongside you to produce any type of project that effectively communicates your message.
Join the FREE subscription to The Ameri Brit Mom and help support the launch of this female-owned solopreneurship: