Secret Storms


Secret Storms

Julie Mannix Von Zerneck and Kathy Hatfield

 

 

Hear the voice of young woman whose fears are real, whose freedoms have been taken from her and whose only crime was that she loved someone and wound up pregnant. Julie’s voice comes through loud and clear from page one where she describes her living nightmare. Forced to leave the private hospital where she was receiving good care, her parents decided to place her in a state mental hospital for the insane. Why? Because she dared to embarrass them, want to keep her child and not have an abortion and make sure she was hidden away until her child was born. Even worse she would be forced to place her daughter up for adoption her parental rights completely gone. As you take the journey along with Julie and hear her voice as she relates her first encounter with the other inmates you might say you understand the fear she had, the unhappiness within her heart and the reasons why she reverted into herself.

 

November 22, 1963 is a day that no one will ever forget. Lee Harvey Oswald killed JFK and the entire world mourned. But, strangely enough so did the patients in this mental hospital along with the staff. Even stranger how the patients were able to react normally at times and then go off with behaviors indicative of those in a mental institution. They seemed at times transfixed or mesmerized by the newscasts and the media hype related to Kennedy’s death. When it ended so did they in many ways.   But, when the final shovel covered his grave and the news media and hype died down the end result would be more than just frightening to Julie who knew she was in the wrong place, did not belong in this hospital but whose voice was more than just silenced. As Julie tells her story and relates what brought her to this hospital she flashes back in time to when she was born, her life with her parents who spent more time traveling and concerned with their careers than with her, and then to her fears, hopes and dreams for getting out of this hospital. From the first words and the start of this book you can feel the emotions, the sadness, the urgency in the author’s voice when sharing her story. She also includes short paragraphs leading up to the birth of her daughter, explaining to the reader the child’s growth within her mother before she is born.

 

 

But, Julie describes her life living in the state mental hospital, dealing with the other patients, befriending a girl named Theresa, wishing she would not harm herself, protected by someone she called Mafia Whore and many others that would impact her life and her memory. Reverting to the past we meet the nuns of Sacred Heart in the many different places that she went to school. But, one woman named Mother Hunter would remain in her heart and mind forever, as she was her designated Nun who nurtured her and took care of her. Moving to a new home with her parents she missed the nuns but loved the new house. But, you can hear her voice and understand that within the happy times the loneliness prevailed as her parents spent more time writing books, creating their own lives and enjoying the accolades they received.

 

Julie received love from her brother and the one constant in her life her Aunt Aimee. There are others and many other times that she shares in part One of this memoir which ends with the birth of her daughter and some amazing and heart felt photos allowing readers to get to know her family more closely.

 

As a raging volcano can take aim at the unsuspecting people and land devastated in its wake, or a cyclone or tornado that destroys everything in sight, so the secret storms raged within Julie each time she could not express her inner most thoughts and feelings to those in charge of the state mental hospital causing her to become somewhat like the rest. Sadly we learn more about her stay at the mental hospital and meeting Frank the father of her child. Their courtship unique, her first job a breath of fresh air and the end result would be tragic in some respects. Learning the many roles she undertook, working at the Westbury Music Theater and making lifelong friends Julie’s story is both heart wrenching and heartwarming leading up to the birth of Aimee which will bring more than must a few tears to the eyes of readers. Next, we meet Kathy, her daughter and learn about her parents, her arrival in this world and her early life. Adopted right after Julie gave birth she never knew for a very long time that she was adopted. Not until her adopted mother passed away and her father remarried would she learn the truth.

 

 

Life with her stepmother started out smoothly but the end result would be four years of abuse at the hand of this woman. Blinded by her and not really seeing what she was doing to his children, he went as far to adopt hers and what the stark truth came out and Kathy learned that she was adopted things changed drastically and her life became a nightmare. But, not everything stayed the same and when Gloria finally leaves things change, their lives are relatively normal and now she wants to know more about her birth mother. But, finding her was no easy task and trying to convince her brothers as to her reasoning harder. You see, they were adopted too. Imagine how she felt when her stepsister for whatever reason tells her she was adopted.

 

The storms raged within Julie at times, her frustrations rise and then her life changes as she decides to give up acting and becomes the owner of a bookstore. Imagine having a role in General Hospital, Secret Storms and The Doctors. Imagine being in plays on the Broadway stage. Her husband Frank was now making films all over the world, they were traveling to many places all over the world but what comes through are her innermost thoughts as she justifies her feelings, her reasons for what she does and how she feels and the fact that no one expects anything from her at times. No matter how successful Julie became or has become her depression shined through at times and impacted her life.

 

Both authors have different voices that are presented yet both have been through many hard times but maybe not in the same way. Yet if you think about it they were both cheated out of knowing the other for such a long time. One a mother whose child was literally taken or ripped out of her hands and the other not knowing she even existed until someone accidentally on purpose blurted out the truth. Following Julie and Part Three: the pictures of Patty McCormack who I know is a great actress, Julie and Frank are priceless.

 

Then, Kathy meets Bryan Hatfield and her life takes on a new meaning. But before the calm comes more of a storm as her life would change even more. Her father lost his job, they lost their home and she would move on to live on her own. Life was hard for her and taking care of herself even more difficult but marriage a blessing. Then, things would change as the information needed to reunite her or unite her with Julie just might come and what she learns about her birth parents quite compelling. How they connect and what she learns I think I will leave that to the reader to learn as some mysteries you need to solve on your own. Read the letter that Kathy writes to Julie and I guarantee you will need more than just a few tissues. Heartfelt, heartwarming and definitely the start of something special for both mother, daughter and of course father.

 

Imagine the meeting and imagine getting to know each other. Read this outstanding memoir and learn what happens when a miracle occurs, someone answers their prayers and 46 years apart melt away and their lives become one. Brothers and sisters meeting for the first time. Grandchildren meeting uncles and aunts and two women who would never be apart again. An epilogue that is quite compelling and a young girl whose visions about herself changed as she entered the world as the daughter of a well-known executive producer. The ending you have to read for yourself and where they are and how their lives intertwine will allow readers to know that some storms that rage really hard often die down when you least expect it and the sun comes out. Check out the photos at the end and make sure you read the book. This is one outstanding memoir. Can you hear the voices of Julie and Kathy? I can. Once they were apart and now they are often heard together.
Fran Lewis: reviewer

 

 

 
 

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Rivka’s War


Rivka’s War

 

Marilyn Oser

 

Sitting in a circle you can see what is happening in the world right in front of you. In back of you is what is still to come. Off to the left you might see what is about to happen and to the right what you hope or dread never would. As Rivka and her family see the world, not all of them view it through the same eyes. Their field of vision and perception of the times, the war that is about to come and those that will inflict pain, sorrow and death on so many, difficult to see and in some cases clouded. Her mother views the world as a place where she cares for her children, tries to speak her mind to her husband hoping that some day they will finally leave and go to the “land of gold,” or America. Her father, a boot maker has made his way in their world by creating boots that not only the Jewish people covet but the gentiles too. Added in those in charge of the military, the Russians and the Germans seem to want what he and only he can create. Treating his workers fairly, paying higher wages than most his business has its ups and downs but for the most part thrives.

 

Mischa and Rivka are twins. One is smart and has a head for numbers and the other languages. Both twins different in so many ways and yet living in the same house but in two different worlds with dissimilar ideals for their futures. Mischa wants his life to run in a different direction than Rivka. Wanting to experience life outside of his village he is enthralled with the way things are happening when the Old Russian government falls and the New Russian is now in power. Justice, freedom and the rights of the people would surpass those of the rich and powerful. More than anything he was thrilled to be in Petrograd and to be educated even if how he got there required his father using more than just his influence and wealth. Listening to those in power speak and seeing the new Provisional Prince in person, hearing Leon Trotsky, and a man named Lenin thinking that his visions for the future was really what he would aspire too.

 

Rivka had her own vision for herself but quite different than you might think. Hearing her voice you begin to wonder whether she realized her worth and value to this family. Helping her father in his business, her mother at home and learning more about the war and the world Rivka’s vision of what was yet to come on the left was quite different than Mischa’s. With the war in coming and the changes coming through many Jewish people were persecuted, killed, robbed and their homes burned leaving them without anywhere to go. Some lived in camps others on the street and some tried to escape. But, one incident would change it all for Rivka as she goes down to the shed to change their goat’s bedding and finds a precious little bundle that would become her life. A little baby boy that she would cherish and care for with all the love she could give to anyone. For two years she and her family took care of this child, nurtured him, loved him until the day things changed and her world crumbled. No matter how hard she fought she could not fight what did come and what was in front of her as the child’s parents came and took him away.

 

Shattered, broken and forlorn Rivka, the girl with spirit seemed to have her light dimmed and her spirit fading. Not until her mother spoke about her own losses and explained that she was not the only one who has suffered at the hand of others, did she appear to understand, go back to work but she was still a shell of what she was before. Mishca has his own new perspective of what he hoped would come to pass. As he looks to the right of the circle where he sits within his own ring of life or hope he sees his father and family coming to live with him in this new world that he has found and become accustomed.

 

A reaction from his father that will set in motion a chain of events that will change Rivka’s life. One letter with his thoughts and hopes for his family and himself might cause a silent war within his family equally as powerful as the one that has taken some many lives already. WWI cost many people their lives and the one that was brewing within this family might cost them even more.

 

Undying respect and loyalty is not easy to attain. As Rivka decides to defy her family, their wishes and their beliefs, listens to the words of one woman and becomes part of a battalion of young women willing to fight for what they feel is peace and freedom but in a way most would not fathom. The training more than brutal and rigorous, the rewards few and the punishments harsh, as a band of 1500 women enlist and undergo training that most men might not be able to endure. Throughout the novel you hear the voices of many people expressing their thoughts, views and beliefs about the war, how it should be fought and the compromises that many felt needed to be made. Some felt that within New Russia their should be committees to decide how to proceed whereas Yashka, the commander of Rivka’s Battalion of Death, was unyielding in her views, beliefs and stopped at nothing to get what she wanted. At times feeling defeated, many of her troops leaving and joining committees, and then something unexpected happens. As Mischa tries to reach out to Rivka to sway her to join the other side, she does not and what happens is quite compelling and leaves her alone with only those left in the Battalion to call family. Are these really her beliefs or is she just brainwashed? What happened to the freethinking young girl as thoughts of her life before, her family and her young child flood through each time a friend is killed, they lose ground on a mission or Yashka takes an unorthodox action.

 

War takes on many faces but when the commander of their battalion is brutally killed what happens next will either endear you to Yashka or make you wonder what is going to happen next. Listening to Yashka relate what happened in Petrograd it seems that those at the top are fighting for control. Some banished to other places and a letter from her brother would enlighten her. There are so many wars being fought along with the one against Russia and Germany. At times the reader wonders whether Rivka is fighting for her own beliefs or that of Yashka. You often wonder whether she really believes in what she is doing or is just so enthralled with this woman she cannot see clearly the changes that the country is undergoing and decide what is really right. What about her family? Was she dead to them?

 

As Yasha’s voice is heard when departing for Petrograd and her journey. You hear how she lived, struggled, her thoughts about the Germans, Russians and the war along with the many deceptions she created into order to survive. But, what happens next reminded her and the reader that no one was exempt or above what was deemed their law. As she was marched in place with many other women and about to be killed someone comes to the forefront and she receives what some would think a reprieve but others a stay of execution but for how long? But, the end came and she was freed and along with Rivka they take the next journey as we hear more voices relate their experiences. Filippov is the next voice followed by Aaronsohn, Avram and their final destination. The British and the Americans were sure to come an take over the city as you hear the voice of Filippov, Yashka and Rivka are targets and the end result still awaits. Rivka filled with confidence, went to the consulate and hoped as Rivka’s journey and war takes on another direction. Illness strikes her and the author brings to light more than just the fears that plagued her and Yashka regarding their lives, freedom and the direction of the country as they embark for Israel and her first reaction not what you would expect. Rehovoth was where she wound up living in a barracks and the many controversies that are brought to light concerning a Jewish State, Yiddish vs. Hebrew and much more.

 

A man named Avram would change it all for her as one war did not end and another would be coming. Just how this all ends and where Rivka winds up as she finally comes to grips with what she sees within the circle that is now right in front of her. Author Marilyn Oser sums it up for Rivka, Avram and the reader when you read page 232 and hear his voice and hers as they decide when and if Rivka’s War within herself and that of the world come to an end?

 

The history, the story, the characters and the courage of so many are brought to light in this novel based on actual facts. Losses, hope, revenge, sacrifice, trust, deceit, lies and survival comprise this outstanding novel. Jewish life was difficult during the war and many might not realize that it is still difficult in many parts of the world now. The Yiddish expressions brought back many memories and the history of a nation that is still hoping to be recognized brought to light.  Hear their voices, read their words, understand her struggle and find out more about this courageous woman and so many others. This is a five star novel.

 

Dedicate to all those that fought for freedom:

ווידמען צו אַלע יענע וואָס געקעמפט פֿאַר פֿרייַהייט

Fran Lewis: reviewer

My Mother’s Secret: My review


My Mother’s Secret:

J.L. Witterick

 

Can you hear the cries within the hollow graves of the 6 million people or more that were senselessly killed because one man deemed them inferior? Can you feel the pain, anguish and horror as they marched to their deaths within the confines of a chamber filled with gas? The mass murder of Jews under the German Nazi regime from 1941-45 will haunt the world forever. There are many who hated and still do the Jewish people and then there were some that risked it all to protect and safe so many. Unselfish, relentless and brave these people became the champion of so many in order to keep them sheltered and safe from persecution. Jobs, homes, lives destroyed at the hand of one mad man who deemed himself superior to all. As we hear the many voices within this novel, this important story that is being told by so many, we teach about one woman, Franciska and her daughter Helena whose kindness, bravery and caring shined through this tumultuous time.

 

Listen carefully as you hear the individual voices of the five people that are telling you their stories, their hardships, joys, triumphs come through loud and clear as we begin with Helena, Franciszka’s daughter. The story opens with Helena telling about her family consisting of a father, brother, a mother that was like a perfect rose or orchid and a brother who meant more than just the world to her. Her father was a Nazi sympathizer who would argue his viewpoints much to the horror of her mother. Hitler deemed himself superior and the sad part is so many believed his doctrines and were brainwashed by his actions and words. Blaming the Jewish people for everyone was his mantra. When Hitler became Chancellor her father left to join him as Helena, her brother and her mother move back to Poland. Leaving and not looking back her mother buys a small house with some land to raise chickens and grow vegetables. With so much distrust in the world it is amazing that Helena and her brother Damian understand that the differences in people is what makes them unique and special.

 

Helena is smart and decides to try for a secretarial job hoping to help her family. With a mother who was always doing favors for everyone providing eggs, help and more it is no wonder that she was able to get the perfect dress for Helena’s interview with Casmir Kowalski. But, although she gets the job one person within the company would make sure that she was not quite well received. How far will you go to protect your family? How much will you give up in order to keep others safe? As her relationship with Casmir turns from casual to more serious both have to decide on what is really important to them. When his father calls him to come and work in his business which he transferred over to him. The truth about his family, his father and his wife comes out and they separate as she remains with her mother and now we learn the secret that she could not ever share. Within the cellar and the attic of their small house they are hiding several people to protect them from the German’s and being killed.

 

Next, we hear the fate of her brother Damien and one young German soldier who seeks refuge within her home. Bronek is the next voice we hear as we learn about his family. Bronek and Dawid are brothers that have always been inseparable. The war would change that for them. Dawid in school because of his older brother, his mother working hard cleaning the clothes of many families and his father in construction until that fateful day. Liquor and too much drinking can take the lives and has taken the lives of many as it did his father when he took a fatal fall. Leaving Bronek to be the primary wage earner he took on any job he could until promoted to manager of the company. This allowed him to hire his brother as bookkeeper. But, this is where the story changes as both brothers are introduced to two women. They marry and then the Hitler and Stalin send in their troops to their town and the next thing you know they are looking for someplace to hide. But, before they do something tragic happens to his brother and her young child. With a young child of his own Bronek needs to find somewhere safe for his family to hide and is about to give up when Franciszka agrees. But, what happens next will tear at your heart and your inner core as the Germans come and what they do is more than horrific. Then we learn the fate of Damien who is Helena’s brother. The fear, the unhappiness and the heartache comes through loud and clear as we now meet Mikolaj.

 

 

How does one woman find a way to outfox the German commander and her neighbors? The characters in this story are real. Their lives will eventually intertwine and the end result will take you back to a time that we cannot and will never forget. Mikolaj’s father was a doctor revered by everyone. His mother is the world to him and he was always bringing home beautiful jewelry and dresses for her. At times she would even give the dresses away to those who needed them since some her not her style which explains how Helena came to wear the vanilla dress to her interview and why his father saw her wearing it on the street. But, things changed for them one day when they went to the market and purchased eggs from Franciszka. A fight broke out they were hit and their eggs fell all over them leaving both mother and son covered. When his father learned of the incident he forbad them from going to that market and would send their servants to purchase what they needed but there is much more. As the war takes more than just some prisoners and this revered chief of his hospital is relieved of his duties but not before he is threatened and made to save the life of a German Commander, and does. Not everyone is evil and this same man warns him about what is about to come and hopes that he can gain safe passage or find somewhere to hide. Once again Franciszka comes through but what happens when a German officer comes to her house is quite compelling and what his father does proves he is still in control. Suspicions high, fear even higher this strong, brave and courageous woman does more than just safe the lives of these people she restores their faith and spirits too.

 

Next, we hear the voice of Vilheim a young German soldier who did not believe in what was being done. With parents that were not close to him and a grandmother who was his champion Vilheim learned the value of life, caring and giving. Her final words before he leaves to go to war: Trust No One: Never were more honest and truer words spoken and next we learn his fate. Told to kill, not care what he does will surprise the reader and honor what his grandmother taught him. But, what he has to do to stay alive and hide from the war will endear you to Franciszka even more and the courage and compassion depicted and related by author J. L. Witterick in this story allows the reader to know just what research she did before writing it and how dedicate she was to sharing the stories of these people.

 

 

The final voice is the first one that of Helena and of course in the Epilogue the author’s thoughts. A documentary film dedicated to the memory of Franciszka Halamajowa title “No 4 Street of Our Lady,’ tells the story of this Catholic woman living in Sokal, in easterhn Poland during WWII. Only 30 of the 6000 Jews living in Sokal survived the Holocaust. She hid 16 in her hayloft over her pig sty, and a hole under the kitchen floor. With her special brand of love, caring, intelligence and understanding this woman never cared for own comforts but for that of others.

 

If you neighbors came banging on your door hoping they could seek refuge with the confines of you home what would you do? Would you risk your life and that of your daughter to save people you hardly know? This documentary depicts the story of this Polish-Catholic woman who saved so many during the Holocaust and pretended to be a Nazi sympathizer.

One powerful story outstandingly written and told in the voices of so many to help readers understand the lengths this woman went to in order to save so many. In memory of those who did not survive and to those of us who will never forget I dedicate this review to you and to the two courageous women who never faltered. Helena and Casmir what happens to them and those they saved you will have to learn for yourself. Did they forget this amazing woman learn that for yourself. The pictures below will make the story come alive. One book that everyone needs to read and one book that will remind you that this really did happen.

Fran Lewis: reviewer

 

25 perfect days: my thoughts


25 Perfect Days: Mark Tullius

 

 

Would you want to live in fear, face oppression or lead a life where you are dehumanized, manipulated and controlled by others? Would you want to be part of this imaginary place where your life and everyday being is planned and orchestrated by others? What would you do if you lived in a world where the government made all of your decisions, your individual rights were taken away and the end result would be a world where the government controls absolute authority and centralized control over every part of your life where you and everyone else are subordinated to the state and if you dare to go against or oppose their doctrines, ideals, political views or cultural mores you will be more than just silenced or suppressed? People do not realize when change is about to occur and subtle and covert things happen and we often take a while or backseat and wait to find out the outcome. But, we need to keep our eyes wide opened, our minds clear or what you are about to learn about will not be fiction but fact as the author of 25 Perfect Days takes the reader on a road, not one you want to travel into a world that no one wants to live in. How will you survive if the world has contaminated water, food storages that cannot be rectified, a religion that you are forced to follow and some who feel that only the elite deserve to live and rest need to be eliminated. Hitler killed and exterminated along with many others. Those who would not hesitate to imprison those whom they considered dissenters led what would happen if the world as you knows it?

 

Would you live in a world where you would be oppressed? Would you want to live with higher taxes, a health care system that did not provide what you need and as they did in many of the concentration camps experiment on people? What would you do if all that you heard on the news were what they wanted you to hear and not the truth? Let’s begin our journey and you decide whether you will fight back or become one of them.

 

 

What would you do if you came face to face with a murdered, rapist, killer for five minutes? At the end of the first of the 25 stories you have to decide for yourself what you would do if you came face to face with a killer who raped and murdered your child or sister. The story Five Minutes Alone starts the reader on a journey that will take you inside the minds of many people that control your every move, life and decide whether you live or die. Many will be terminated, exterminated because they dare to express their own feelings, go against what is expected, want to have a child or dare to want to keep their child and not give it to the cult called The Way. Each story interlocks with the ones coming before it and the events are chronicled over a forty- year period. Each reverting back to that terrifying five minutes where decisions were made and many lives changed. What happens to Jeremy and Justin the two brothers whose sister was murdered? Find out where they wind up when you read Fourteen Angry Marchers and learn part of Justin’s fate and understand what happens to Jeremy when you read Thirteenth on the List but their stories are far from over and their fate not sealed until they meet again and in the story titled Eleven Times More Likely. The first story begins in 2036 and the next you find yourself dealing with Angry Marchers one year later. The time spans of these events change but the messages are loud and clear as people no longer have the right to bring up their own children, some are placed in cages hoping to be taken and cared for and others will never see the light of day. Families are separated and children sent to live with and become servants of the Way. Others live in fear of the Controllers and that they will be able to detect and hear their every word and eliminate them. Some are tortured at the hands of those in charge while others are connected. Weight and height specifications determine whether you are live or die. Food that is contaminated, water that is not purified, health care and medical care to those that can afford it, fear reigns and young children forced into slavery.

 

What would you do if your food were genetically modified, if experiments were done on you or your children to benefit those in charge? What would you do if you have to pay higher taxes, could not speak your mind, worried about what you said about the government or dared to rebel?

 

Welcome to a world where everyone is programmed to do what others tell them to and where those that disagree will not see the light of another day. But what happens when some do not care and defy the authority of others? Correction officers who inflict pain on others. A man named John Longely that will inspire you and whose son becomes a Disciple but why? A man named Julio who goes to the DMV with his sister and is arrested for buying bleach. Imagine having to decapitate your limbs in order to fit the weight requirements set by those in charge. Imagine having to deal with body scanners, weapons and inhuman treatment as part of your daily life? Imagine a man who thinks he is God and runs a cult called the Way and says he is doing everything for the benefit of mankind. What about those that live their lives hoping to escape but sacrifice themselves for their family?

 

Reality or fiction? Are we blind to what might really happen? Could anyone fight back and rebel? Each story reverts back to that precious five minutes when four people had the chance to take matters into their own hands and what happens you just won’t believe. Is it love, faith, courage, brainwashing, fear, hate or just plain complacency that allowed this to happen? Would you be able to live in a dystopian society? The stories deal with the lives of many different people whose voices you hear throughout the book and whose feelings and thoughts will surprise and astound the reader as they weave a plot so intricate and deadly you won’t know what the final outcome is for society and the world until you read the last page and wonder if the author has more to come for these people and possibly 25 more days into the future to see what comes next.

 

Should the government tell you how much you are allowed to weigh, what you are allowed to eat and if you are allowed to drive a car and get a license? What about the fact that this government allows only a certain percentage to drive, where they work and overpopulation is controlled through sterilization and mass extermination. The Way is the religious group at the center of this corrupt and dysfunctional world. Twenty- five perfect days or forty years to find yourself living a permanent nightmare. You decide when you read this novel. Characters that are unique, vividly described and a story that will keep you wondering: Fact or Fiction? Real or Imaginary? Could you live through these 25 Perfect Days? What’s your definition of Perfect?

 

I read this book in one hour and could not put it down. It is thought provoking and gives the reader much pause for thought.

Fran Lewis: reviewer

 

Arizona is Where I Live: Rico Austin


Arizona Is Where I Live

Rico Austin

 

 

 

 

 

 

Get your ski gear, sunscreen, and hat and get on the tour bus and join me on our special tour of Rico Austin’s home state of Arizona. Find out where the fun activities are, the Grand Canyon, the special places of interest, where to hike, bike and even just take a cool swim. Check out the great Map of the State and find out where the many cities are located. Sit back, make sure you have your camera ready and let’s begin our tour with a visit to the Grand Canyon, which happens to be this state’s nickname. The beautiful pictures drawn by Cindy Work makes the scenery and the landscape come alive. Check out the vibrant colors, the details and the amazing way she shows the depth and just how steep this Canyon is. Look at the man on foot and the woman behind him walking carefully, watching every step as they enjoy the greenery, the water below and the amazing site. Did you know that it would take two days to get back up to the top once you are all the way down? Better make sure you have plenty of water or soda pop to keep you hydrated.

 

I bet you did not know that in this state there are so many animals that run wild and free. Check out the illustrations and see if you can find all of the animals and learn their names. Author Rico Austin like the coyote the best because he sings a special tune. Which animal is your favorite? Check out the colorful illustration of the coyote that Cindy drew? Can you hear him sing? I can just by looking at the illustration and listening?

 

 

Next we have the most beautiful picture of the greenery and the animals that live in what looks like the forest. We have my favorite the rabbit and of course the deer. The colorful picture makes you wish you were there too. Quail looking for feed look lifelike. The two precious children playing in the sand look like they are really having fun. The expressions on their faces look so realistic it’s as if they want to invite you to join them.

 

Learn about the outdoor fun in the summer and some of the history of the state like the state flower and hold tall and old it is. This I think you are grown up enough to read and learn for yourself.

 

We are going to visit the State Capital in Phoenix, which is pictured in beautiful colors, and the Flag of the USA and the State Flag flying high. But, what makes this special is the author tells the story of the state in poetry or rhyme and the pictures even of the Cactus and the wrens are so real and well illustrated you can fell the thorns as you touch the cactus and say Ouch! There are outdoor activities in hiking, mountain biking and even swimming and what about nature walks? There are so many ways to have fun in this beautiful state that I think you need to explore the rest and finish the tour on your own by reading this great book, learning about the state and then taking a swim with a friend and deciding what things you like to do in your own special state.

 

 

 

If you live in Arizona then you will love the great state flag that all kids can recreate on their own. Just get some red, gold, blue and yellow crayons or paint, paper and a ruler to make your own flag of Arizona and then how about finding out what your state flag looks like and making one?

 

Where you live is special and everyone should honor their state in some way. How about drawing some pictures on the special page at the end or the book of something you like to do in your state. How about writing a story or a poem about your state too? How cool is that? Maybe you can even send you thought to the Governor of your state or the Mayor to let them know how special you think your state is. Why not make your own book of your own state. Find out the what the state capital is, the state flower, where the fun places are to go, what animals are special and more. This is a great book for kids of all ages and adults to do this special project at home with their children. A definite must read and a great way to teach children about Arizona. Thanks Rico for sending me this special present. Fran Lewis: reviewer