Blog Archives

Second Chances

Everyone needs a second chance at some point in his or her life.  Sometimes it happens as an adult, as a result of a bad decision.  All too often, though, it happens as a young child through no fault of the child.  And it happens to dogs, too. 

Second chances are needed by everyone.

Purchase SECOND CHANCE here

Sandra J. Gerencher explores this idea in her book Second chances: How Adoption Saved A Boy with Autism and His Shelter Dog.  As the title implies, this book is the story of what adoption means to one small family.  This family is Mom, Ryan, and three dogs—PJ, Shelby, and Little Rascal.  In the opening pages, the family adds Chance, a shelter dog, to their “pack.”  As he sees the unconditional love Ryan has for him, Chance learns what adoption is.

This book is interesting in that it is told from the perspective of Chance the Dog.  Ryan’s autism comes into play through his conversations with Chance—it is hinted at that Ryan rarely communicates vocally with people, yet he is able to communicate with Chance.  Ryan teaches Chance that it doesn’t matter that he was unloved before, he is special to someone.

While I liked the message of this book—that everyone, no matter what the circumstance of their early life, is special—I found that I was really confused by the book.  I looked at this as a book for elementary age children, but it seemed to be written for an older audience.  I tried reading it to my 3-year-old and 7-year-old sons and they were both very bored with it.  My 9-year-old, who doesn’t like me to read to him anymore, read the book himself.  He said he liked the pictures in it, but had a hard time following the story.  The book is nicely written; I am just not sure that it hits the intended target audience.


PBS Kids Recommended title

Book web site:

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Tribute Books website:

Tribute Books Facebook: Archbald-PA/Tribute-Books/ 171628704176

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Sandra J. Gerencher is a special education teacher in the Bangor Area public school system. Prior to becoming a teacher, she worked at Lehigh University in a school-based program, as a Program Specialist for adults with disabilities. Over the past 20 years she has worked with children and adults with special needs in such areas as counseling, Behavior Specialist Consultation, behavioral research, crisis intervention and abuse therapy. Sandra graduated from Lehigh University with a M.Ed. in Special Education (2004) and from Chestnut Hill College in Philadelphia with an M.S. in Counseling Psychology (1999).

Sandra J. Gerencher and her son Terry

Sandra J. Gerencher Bio:

Christmas Twist

The night in history that fascinates me more than any other is the night when Jesus was born.  While the Bible tells us certain things–that the birth happened in Bethlehem, in a stable, that three kings from the east followed a star to that stable and that the birth was announced to shepherds by a group of angels–but there is so much we don’t know.  There are so many places where we can use our imaginations to fill in the blanks.  Cheryl G. Malandrinos gives her take on what might have happened that night in her book Little Shepherd.

This book follows Obed, a young shepherd barely five years old, from the hills where the angels appeared to the Bethlehem stable and back to his sheep.  Obed doesn’t quite understand everything that happens that night.  He is especially confused about why the shepherds are more concerned with seeing the baby the angels spoke of than protecting their sheep.

I really enjoyed this book.  Malandrinos did a wonderful job of capturing both the confusion and the wonder that Obed experienced that night.  I could easily picture the wonder in his eyes by thinking of one of my sons in his position.

As I write this review, my sons are fighting over the book.  The toddler loves the colorful illustrations.  The nine-year-old and seven-year-old are arguing about who gets to read it first.  Any book that captures the interest of all three of my sons has definitely earned its place on my bookshelf.

Cheryl Malandrinos is a freelance writer and editor. A regular contributor for Writer2Writer, her articles focus on increasing productivity through time management and organization. A founding member of Musing Our Children, Ms. Malandrinos is also Editor in Chief of the group’s quarterly newsletter, Pages & Pens.   


Cheryl is a Tour Coordinator for Pump Up Your Book, a book reviewer, and blogger. Little Shepherd is her first children’s book. Ms. Malandrinos lives in Western Massachusetts with her husband and two young daughters. She also has a son who is married.


You can visit Cheryl online at or the Little Shepherd blog at 

Christy Baldwin’s CARE FOR CREATION

I will be the first to admit that I am not a very “green” person. As a work-from-home Mom, I like to do things the quick and easy way. That often means just tossing unneeded papers and empty cans and jars into the trash. If the trash removal company I use offered recycling pick up, I’d be more likely to do it. I just don’t have the time to sort everything and then make a trip to the recycling center every week. Sure, I like the idea of unplugging things that are not in use to save energy (more out of a desire to lower my own utility bill than out of a desire to help the planet, I’m afraid), but that takes extra time, too. Recently, we did switch to CFL light bulbs, though. They were on sale when the light bulb in our living room burned out. Even the sale price wasn’t enough to make me want to buy the bulbs. It was reading on the package that CFLs last so much longer than traditional bulbs that made me want them. The longer the bulb lasts, the less often I will need to change it.

CARE FOR CREATION, by Christy Baldwin

Now that you know all of this about me, you might be surprised to learn that I volunteered to review a children’s book called CARE FOR CREATION. I know I surprised myself that I volunteered! Yet I was intrigued by the idea behind the book. How could Christy Baldwin, or any other author for that matter, possibly back up green living with the Bible? To me, it didn’t seem possible. I just had to read the book to find out.

What I found was a wonderfully written and beautifully illustrated book that not only gives tips on how to save energy and protect our planet, but a book that does give Biblical reasons for protecting the Earth. And it makes sense. When looking at this planet as God’s creation and a gift for our use, it really is hard to justify not doing all we can to protect the planet for future generations. What got to me most, I think, is the verse that Baldwin used to close her book: “Anyone, then, who knows the good he ought to do and does not do it, sins” (James 4:17).

At the very least, the book has given me a lot to think about. And I am sure as soon as my 9-year-old and 6-year-old get their hands on the book, I will have a couple of little guys telling me, “Mom, stop thinking and start DOING!”


Writing has been a passion of Christy’s since she was very young. As a child, she loved to write stories for her grandfather and poems

Christy Baldwin

 just for fun. She lives in Mason, Ohio with her family and is active in church, Boy Scouts, Girls Scouts and volunteering with various organizations. Christy has a bachelor’s degree in Elementary Education from Cedarville University and a master’s degree in Special Education from the University of Scranton. She is a stay at home mom who enjoys spending time with her kids and being involved in their schools. Her previous children’s titles include Nine Things Nathan Noticed at Night and Remembering Wilma.

For more information on author Christy Baldwin and her work, please see the following links
Book web site:

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Tribute Books website:

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Nine Things Nathan Noticed at Night

A different side of life shows itself in the night. One evening, little Nathan notices this new world. He can see how God moves in the night, while we are sleeping.

Written by Christy Baldwin, Nine Things Nathan Noticed at Night is a beautiful story of one boy’s path to discovery. Each page tells not only what Nathan noticed, but gives Biblical perspective on what happens in the night. The bright, lively illustrations by Sarah Barnes help make this a must-read book.

My sons, ages 2, 6, and 9, crowded around me as I read the book. The youngest loved the bright colors. The older two enjoyed reading the Scripture passages together. They were amazed at how God can really be seen in everything around them. Reading this together was a wonderful experience. It was amazing to see God work in my children, to actually see them come to a deeper understanding of Him through the words and pictures in this book.

Nine Things Nathan Noticed at Night, as well as other books by Christy Baldwin, can be purchased from Tribute Books.