Review of, They Call Me Mom: Making a Difference as an Elementary School Teacher, by Pete Springer

It’s Monday morning, and as night slowly emerges into day, I’m thinking back to a great weekend. Great because I was able to have an in person visit with some family members for the first time since the beginning of the pandemic.

As no doubt you’ve “guessed” from the title, I’m starting off the week with a book review. I hope you have a great day!

What’s it about?

Here’s the first paragraph from the book that sums it up nicely:

How did I get here? It seems like an odd question. I’m not just learning about the birds and the bees as I approach age sixty. It is more of a question of reflection as I look back at an incredible thirty-one-year career in education. The staff I worked with are some of the best people I know in the world. The students I taught motivated me to want to be a better teacher and person. I have a lifetime of happy memories to draw on that have inspired me.

My Thoughts:

I have to be honest, when I first picked up this book, I was expecting the pages to be filled with anecdotes. Please don’t get me wrong, there are plenty of these within the pages that complement the overall theme of the book. I’m not sure why I had originally come to this conclusion, when the very title suggests otherwise.

I want to stress that I was NOT disappointed by this realization. Not by a long shot. Pete does an excellent job of sharing wisdom, insight, and common-sense approaches to the struggles and rewards of this noble profession. It was an eye opener for me, and I’ve come to possess a new appreciation for those who work in the education field. It is very apparent that Pete was and remains, very dedicated and passionate about his calling as a teacher.

I highly recommend this book to anyone who works, or is thinking about a career, in the education field. As a parent, it was certainly a behind the curtain peek at an often misunderstood and underappreciated profession.  

Meet Pete Springer and grab your copy:

I’m a retired elementary teacher (31 years) who will always be a strong advocate for children, education, and teachers. My favorite thing to do as a teacher was to read to my students, and now I’m following my heart and writing children’s books for middle grades.

Amazon.com

Advertisement

Please Welcome Author Susanne Perry

Happy Hump-Day! We’re halfway through the week and plowing through November. I don’t know about your area, but here, our stores have been lined with Christmas Decorations, including those, “Try Me,” noisy, animated things, that must have the store staff pulling their hair out by now.

Today I have the pleasure of hosting Susanne Perry, she’s the author of, The City Streets Series, a great series that I’ve thoroughly enjoyed. In fact, I’ve included a review of, Gutterpunk, along with links to my reviews of Runaway, and Veteran.

But first I’ll start by welcoming her to my post and give her the floor. She’s discussing the questions I think most of us have been asked at some point. “Why do you write? What’s your motivation?”

Please take it away, Susanne!

Indie authors are often asked, “Why do you write? What’s your motivation?”  The same questions are probably posed to all authors and writers, published or not. I can only speak as an indie at this point in my writing journey, but one thing I know for sure is that I don’t do it for fame, riches, or a desire for an easy, stress-free life. 

Before writing my first three novels, a mystery series set in the homeless community, I worked in social services. Most of my career was spent with public programs serving young children and their families in one capacity or another, in positions ranging from advocate to educator to program manager. I learned two things, above all else, over those years:  that we ARE, indeed, our brother’s — and sister’s — keepers and that it DOES take a village to raise a child.

For better or worse, my beliefs are infused into the novels I’ve written. I often describe the series as novels steeped in social justice. Will everyone like what I write? Of course not. Might my novels make people uncomfortable? I hope so. Could my novels engage readers in conversations about social issues and suggest avenues for change? I can only hope and pray it might happen.

First and foremost, I strive to write “page turners” those stories that propel the reader on to the next page until the end is reached, the mystery solved. But after writing three novels about neighbors in our communities living in abject poverty and ignored by most the people who encounter them daily, I’ve moved on to other situations and topics. I had to let it go, at least in my writing journey if not in my hopes for a more compassionate society. A reader buying one of my books once asked me how I could stand to write about the homeless because it was such a depressing topic. My response was a bit off-the-cuff, but I don’t regret it. I answered that yes, being homeless is depressing — especially if you’re the one experiencing homelessness. If I ever revisit the topic, I’ll write a short prequel, a novella, to broaden the story of Leah, the runaway girl referred to in the title of the first in the series.

My current project is nearly complete, and I hope to publish soon. The story is not about housing insecurity but involves a sad, depressing state of being, nonetheless. The title is “Swan Song.” The story is about a woman confronted with her own mortality. Not only must she accept it, but she learns that her fate did not need to be. She decides that she is not interested in restitution in the time she has left – Instead, she wants revenge on those responsible for her demise.

What Amazon says:

Gutter Punk: a suspect out of police Lieutenant Liz Jordan’s past threatens to expose a devastating secret. When he demands that Liz find his daughter who is missing among the street kids, known as gutter punks, Liz knows that to refuse could be the end of her career. Enlisting help from Youth Advocate Quinn Hadley, a former gutter punk, Liz is thrown into a world where survival depends on keeping your head down, never trusting adults, and hiding your true identity—even from your friends. Gutter Punk is the third novel in the City Streets Trilogy.

My Take:

Liz Jordan’s years on the force have given her plenty of insight into the criminal world. This time, however, she becomes completely indoctrinated into the world of homeless kids, or Gutterpunks, as they are known in the lingo. She’s been on the force many years, and by this point, has even made Lieutenant in the Homicide Division. In spite of her extensive knowledge, she soon discovers how little she understands about this secretive world.

Fortunately, she has friends on the inside, both new and old. The final book of the series, Gutterpunk is a smooth continuity of the series, with all the essential ingredients I’ve come to expect of her books. The staple characters remain, but are seasoned, in a good way, by life experiences.

Liz is forced to reconcile with the ghosts of her past when an old nemesis makes a demand that, on moral grounds, she cannot refuse. What transpires is mystery, action, but no quick fixes. And that’s what I enjoy most about her writing; there’s no, slap-bang, all is fixed.

Susanne’s background in working for non-profit programs serving children and families is well voiced in her writing. There’s something authentic about books written by those with real world experience.

I highly recommend this entire series to everyone!

Meet Susanne:   

About the Author: Susanne Perry is the author of the City Streets series of mysteries — Runaway, Veteran and Gutter Punk—set within the street community of the Pacific Northwest. Her short story, Prep Work was chosen by Riversong Books to be included in their volume of Best Short Stories of 2022.  Swan Song is set in Arizona and is her fourth novel. 

For more about my writing, info on live events or future projects, follow my blog page at http://susanneperrybooks.com or find me on LinkedIn and Instagram. Please remember that reviews are an indie author’s best friend. My sincere thanks go to Mark Bierman for this opportunity and for being such a basically excellent dude. 

Here are the links to my reviews of Runaway and Veteran.

Cassie’s Wishes

Cassie took a deep breath and blew her wishes into the wind. It was getting dark and Mommy wanted her home for dinner, so she got up and watched them drift into the sunset. Satisfied, Cassie went home, washed up, and sat down at the table.

“So, Miss, what did you get up to today?” Mother smiled.

“I blew some wishes out into the world.”

Mother handed Cassie a plate of spaghetti, her favorite, and winked at her. “I’d ask you what those were, but I know that takes away their magic.”

Later, as Cassie laid her head against the soft pillow, listening to the crickets and the hoot of Chester, the barn owl, she prayed that her wishes would find the right people.

As Cassie, slept, a great wind picked up and blew those wishes around the globe, over miles of ocean and into every country of the world.

One landed the shoulder of a grieving father, as he stood at the graveside of his ten year old daughter who’d died from leukemia. An inexplicable peace began to fill his heart.

Another drifted past an ICU nurse, as she left the hospital, exhausted and discouraged from a never ending battle against COVID. Hope renewed some of her energy and lifted her spirits.

One landed in the lap of a little girl, as she sat in threadbare clothes, eating the last meal she’d have for awhile. Her rumbling belly ceased and her heart was filled with the promise of a better tomorrow.

One landed on the uniform of a police man. The years of service for his community, had lately seemed to be overshadowed by the horrific actions of a few, and the media relentlessly pelted them with negative stereotypes. He felt his discouragement fade.

The last wish will land on you, wherever you are, and whatever you are going through. It will give you strength and resilience.

Cassie woke the next day, to a better world.

Photos with Captions, To Make You Smile and Think

Here we are, Friday before the rescheduled Spring Break. The kiddos will be off next week, but we are under a ‘stay at home’ order from the government. They don’t call them ‘lockdowns’ anymore. Probably sounds too negative, and morale is not exactly pie in the sky, these days.

Well, how about some photos with captions, to lift your spirits.

Parents of grade schoolers will get this one.

Photos with Captions, To Make You Smile and Think

Did everyone remember to change their clocks ahead this weekend? At least for those areas that practice this. In Canada, most of the province of Saskatchewan, some locations in Québec, and some areas of British Columbia, don’t use DST and stay on standard time all year.

I must admit, that I wish my home province of Ontario, would dispense with Daylight Savings Time, but that’s just me.

Regardless of what your area does, or how you feel about it, I hope these photos with captions will brighten your day. Enjoy. 🙂

Before you criticize, please try to remember that not everyone has the same advantages as you.

Sage means business.
They grow up too fast.