Aromatherapy for Self-Care

Author: Sarah Swanberg MS, LAc
Publisher: Rockridge Press
Genre: Health / Aromatherapy
ISBN: 978-1-64611-221-0
Pages: 210
Price: $16.99

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Aromatherapy has been known to have therapeutic effects when used for various ailments. But the average person probably has no idea where to start when presented with a long list of available essential oils. How do you know what combinations would work best? Aromatherapy for Self-Care provides answers.

Before diving into the various recipes, Swanberg explains some of the methods used for aromatherapy, and what kinds of tools will be needed. She also shares some of the more reputable companies who produce essential oils, along with pros and cons of using each. Several essential oils are described in detail, and these form the basis of most of the recipes for emotional, mental, and physical well-being. These will used in many ways, including with a diffuser, inhaler, or carrier oil.

Good quality essential oils are expensive, so it would be cost prohibitive to buy all of the recommended oils right away. But it would be possible to dabble in some of these recipes to get a feel for them first, and then continue to explore what feels right to you. Aromatherapy for Self-Care is a wonderful guide to using these essential oils in your own life.

Reviewer: Alice Berger

children, nature, science

Bright in the Night

Author & Illustrator: Lena Sjöberg
Publisher: Thames & Hudson
Genre: Children / Science / Nature
ISBN: 978-0-500-65219-0
Pages: 48
Price: $17.95

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Even though it’s dark outside, there are many things with features that are bright at night. Either through reflected light or UV light, these shine brightly all around us. Bright in the Night shares some of these unusual objects and creatures with us.

Beginning with the night sky, Sjöberg shows us the moon, stars, and planets, as well as the northern and southern lights. Next are mysterious lights, and glowing stones and mushrooms. We also see animals’ glowing eyes and body surface areas that shine in UV light. Lights on land include lighthouses, neon signs, and safety reflectors.

Bright in the Night is written for serious science-minded kids, as the topic is covered in quite a bit of depth. Anyone who wants to learn more about the bright objects around them at night will enjoy this interesting and informative book.

Reviewer: Alice Berger


The Luckiest Snowball

Author & Illustrator: Elliot Kreloff
Publisher: Holiday House
Genre: Children
ISBN: 978-0-8234-4105-1
Pages: 40
Price: $17.99

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Izzy is playing out in the snow when he decides to make a snowball. Before he can toss it, the snowball tells him to stop. Once Izzy realizes it’s alive, they make snow angels and build a fort and snowman together. But when Izzy brings it inside the house and introduces his new friend, Larry, to his mom, the snowball yells for help. Larry is melting!

Over the course of the year, Larry meets all kinds of interesting food in the freezer where he lives. And as each season rolls around, Izzy takes him out to see the scenery outside. Larry keeps reminding Izzy that he’s melting, and back into the freezer he goes. Finally, it’s winter, and Larry can play outside again. This time, he decides to stay outside when Izzy goes back into the house. Winter is his home.

Larry considers himself the luckiest snowball because he’s had the opportunity to see all of the seasons. Children can learn about the seasons also, as they explore the information provided in the appendix. The Luckiest Snowball is a fun read for kids.

Reviewer: Alice Berger

children, self improvement

How Did You Miss That?

Author: Bryan Smith
Illustrator: Lisa M. Griffin
Publisher: Boys Town Press
Genre: Self-improvement / Children
ISBN: 978-1-944882-45-7
Pages: 32
Price: $9.99

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Braden has a list of things to do before bed, and he’s sure he accomplished everything in record time. But when his mom checks his work, she shows him all the things he didn’t do. How could he have missed them all? Then his mom shares a four-step process to self-monitoring to be sure he doesn’t make the same mistake again.

At school a few days later, Braden is reminded of this problem when he misses a whole page on a test. His teacher goes over the process with him again, and this time he’s sure he’ll remember. He soon has opportunities to share his learning with his younger brother, and even with his parents!

Self-monitoring is an important skill for kids who want to live successful and productive lives. It helps them identify what they want to accomplish, stay focused, double-check everything, and ask for assistance when they need it. How Did You Miss That? shows kids these steps in action and also provides tips for parents and educators. I highly recommend it.

Reviewer: Alice Berger

self improvement

A Year of Self-Love

Author: Troy L. Love, MSW, LCSW
Publisher: Rockridge Press
Genre: Self Improvement
ISBN: 978-1-64152-764-4
Pages: 234
Price: $15.99

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In our fast-paced society, we seldom take the time to do loving things for ourselves. But without filling our own wells first, we lose the ability to keep giving to others. A Year of Self-Love guides the reader through a year’s worth of positive messages designed to keep us focused on loving ourselves more.

Some days, the entry may be a single quote, such as, “I believe in the essence of who I am and what I was born to do.” Others may involve a short reflection, such as thinking about a moment someone was kind to us and visualizing the experience in detail. Most entries are very short – a paragraph or less, but other days may be a full page. All are easy to read and fit into a busy lifestyle.

While not every entry will resonate with every reader, they will remind us to focus on our inherent self-worth. Self-care is not optional if we want to live a happy and fulfilled life. A Year of Self-Love provides us with helpful support.

Reviewer: Alice Berger


The Thank You Letter

Author & Illustrator: Jane Cabrera
Publisher: Holiday House
Genre: Children
ISBN: 978-0-8234-4250-8
Pages: 34
Price: $23.99

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Grace is celebrating her birthday and receives a bunch of really great gifts. So the very next day, Grace sits down to write Thank You letters to everyone who gave her a present. But when she’s finished, she keeps writing Thank You letters to other people she knows. Everyone who receives a letter feels really special.

One day, Grace comes home to find Love letters written to her. Her Thank You letters have sparked a lot of love in the community, and everyone wants to share how good they’re feeling. Grace had no idea how her letters would impact the community in such a wonderful way.

The Thank You Letter is a terrific book for kids on the power of gratitude in their lives. By showing her gratitude with others, Grace has opened up a flood of positivity all around her. I highly recommend it.

Reviewer: Alice Berger


Brother John

Author: August Turak
Illustrator: Glenn Harrington
Publisher: Clovercrost Publishing
Genre: Christian living
ISBN: 978-1-945507-94-6
Pages: 48
Price: $19.99

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When answering the question, “What is the Purpose of Life?” in an essay for the Templeton Prize, August Turak shared an encounter with a Trappist monk named Brother John. His essay won the contest and went on to be published in two anthologies. Readers reached out to him over the years, telling how the story had inspired them. But as it grew harder to find, Turak realized it was time to publish it as a book of its own.

Brother John is a simple, humble man who manages much of Mepkin Abbey, a 3000+ acre property run by the Trappist monks. There is no task he considers beneath him, and he’s always there to lend a hand for anyone who needs it. As Turak spends time at Mepkin, he encounters Brother John holding an umbrella one rainy Christmas Eve, waiting to walk with anyone who had forgotten his own. Struck by the way that Brother John lives his life, Turak examines his own, questioning if he has the ability to be so selfless in his giving.

Brother John offers a gentle reminder that Jesus asks a lot of us, and many of us aren’t willing to take the risk to give more of ourselves to others. What is the purpose of life? No answers are given, other than to look things square in the face and do the work we know we must do.

Turak receives a wonderful message from his spiritual director: You would not seek Me if you had not already found Me, and you would not have found Me if I had not first found you. May we all find Him in our own lives.

Reviewer: Alice Berger