Wednesday, April 27, 2016

The Leader in Me (2nd Edition) by Stephen R. Covey, Sean Covey, Muriel Summers, and David K. Hatch

Title: The Leader in Me (2nd Edition)
Author: Stephen R. Covey, Sean Covey, Muriel Summers, and David K. Hatch
Read by: Fred Sanders
Publisher: Simon & Schuster Audio
Length: Approximately 8 hours and 45 minutes
Source: Simon & Schuster Audio Digital Review Copy – Thank-you!

The subtitle of this book explains it all: “How Schools Around the World Are Inspiring Greatness, One Child at a Time”.  I first heard of The Leader in Me at the college I work at, Northeast Wisconsin Technical College.  The book was discussed as well as the seven basic habits, but not much detail was given.  I then heard about The Leader in Me again this year as it is being used at the school my children attend.  When I was given the opportunity to review this audiobook, I jumped at the chance to learn more about what The Leader in Me entails.

In the Leader in Me, there are basically seven habits which are briefly explained at the beginning.  The habits are as follows:

Habit 1 – Be Proactive
Habit 2 – Begin with the End in Mind
Habit 3 – Put First Things First
Habit 4 – Think Win-Win
Habit 5 – Seek First to Understand, Then to Be Understood
Habit 6 – Synergize
Habit 7 – Sharpen the Saw

After the introduction of these habits, the rest of the audiobook focused on how well different schools implemented these habits and how it made a difference in the lives of the students.  I eagerly anticipated the section on how to apply this at home and at the college level so I could work on it with my own children and college students.  Sadly both of these sections were very brief.  It did mention a book called Seven Habits of Happy Kids by Sean Covey.  I checked this out from the library and brought it home last night.  All of my kids said they’ve already read it at school and were eager to read it again which was very interesting.  Seven Habits of Happy Kids focuses on stories that involve the seven habits with a parents note on the end with discussion points for your kids and ways to implement the habits.  More information about the Leader in Me and tips can be found at:

From listening to the audiobook, I learned overall that the system works great, but not how to actually implement it.  I gathered that your school has to sign up basically for training on how to implement it school wide.  I’m not sure how that works on a college level.  I was happy to learn what the Leader in me was all about, but sad that there weren’t more practical applications of it in this audiobook.

Fred Sanders was a good narrator of the audiobook and it was very interesting to listen to on my daily commute and while I was working on chores.

My favorite part of the audiobook was actually a story towards the end about Helen Keller and Annie Sullivan.  It basically described how Sullivan was able to use the leadership principals in her own life to make a success and was able to teach these principles to Helen Keller.  I was fascinated and would actually love to listen to an audiobook all about that!

Overall, The Leader in Me is a very informative audiobook that describes how the seven leadership habits are working in schools around the world, but doesn’t provide the practical insights on how to apply them.

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Winner of Wildflower DVD!

The lucky winner of the Wildflower DVD is Traveler!  Traveler has been contacted via email and has one week to email me her mailing address so I can send her a copy of this exciting and suspenseful DVD.

Traveler was selected from the comments for the review (and trailer) of this movie using

Thank-you to all who entered this giveaway and to Icon Media Group who allowed me to review this great movie and also provided a copy of the DVD for a giveaway.

Sad, you didn't win?  I'll have another giveaway up for a great book at the end of May.

No Talking by Andrew Clements

No Talking is the story of a contest between the fifth grade boys and girls at Laketon Elementary school.  Who can go the longest without talking?  All words that are accidentally spoken are counted against you.  Teachers and parents can only be answered with three words.  Dave Packer, the mastermind of the contest is inspired by Gandhi who he has learned about for his class project about India.  Fellow fifth grade student Lynsey’s constant talking drives Dave insane, and his blow up at Lynsey is what starts the contest.  Lynsey is the captain for the girls, and Dave is the captain for the boys.  Will the kids be able to do it?  Who will win?  What will teachers and parents say?

We read this book for the Kewaunee Public Library Youth Book Club.  My two sons, Kile (10) and Daniel (8) were honestly not that keen about the book.  They liked that it was boys versus girls and wanted to see who would win, but they felt it lacked adventure and at times was too moralizing.  Kile actually wasn’t going to go to book club at first because he didn’t like it, but decided last minute to go and tell what he thought about it.

I thought it was an interesting story and had some good thoughts about the greatness of silence.  I also thought the kids were very inventive in how to make the challenge work.

Overall, No Talking is an interesting unique story that I enjoyed as an adult, but my two sons did not enjoy.
Book Source: The Kewaunee Public Library

Friday, April 22, 2016

Pies & Prejudice (The Mother-Daughter Book Club #4) by Heather Vogel Frederick

Title: Pies & Prejudice (The Mother-Daughter Book Club #4)
Author: Heather Vogel Frederick
Read by: Cris Dukehart, Amy Rubinate, Kate Rudd, and Emily Woo Zellner
Publisher: Dreamscape
Length: 9 hours and 32 minutes (8 discs)
Source: Review Copy from Audiobook Jukebox – Thanks!

What if there was a book club where mothers and daughters could read the classics of literature together and spend time bonding?  This series of books is about just such a book club where the club picks one book a year to read and learn about.  The Mother-Daughter book club has chosen Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen as their book to read during the girls’ freshman year in high school. 

Budding writer Emma and her family are immersing themselves even more in the experience by going to England for the year.  Emma was not keen on the idea at first, but is more at one with the experience when the group promises to skype with her and her Mom to keep them in the book club experience.  Emma’s family swaps a house with another family that lives in their house in Concord, Massachusetts.  Emma loves England, but finds herself homesick after being harassed by bully Annabelle.

Cassidy is a star hockey player that learns to appreciate something different when she begrudgingly becomes an ice dance practice partner with Tristian.  Tristian and his brother Simon are from England and part of the house swap with Emma.  Tristian is standoffish and Cassidy finds herself often at odds with him.  Are first impressions always what they seem?

Jess finds her singing dreams disappointed, but finds a new passion in life when she helps to rehabilitate an injured fox.  Megan starts a “Fashionista Jane” blog that snarkily dishes on the fashions found in her school.  But being sometimes cruel about others’ clothing does not help her find romance with nice guy Simon.

There are a lot of plot lines going on in this book, but I highly enjoyed it.  The point of view switches between Emma, Cassidy, Jess, and Megan.  I admit I was confused at first at who was who, but the audiobook helpfully has four different narrators, one for each girl.  As I got more into the novel, I could tell instantly who was narrating.  I have not read the other books in this series and that would have helped too.  I enjoyed this book so much, I need to go back and read the other books.

I loved how the story was not a retelling of Pride and Prejudice, but was instead a new story of these four girls and how they and their mothers learned to love the story of Pride and Prejudice and Jane Austen. It had a lot of great facts about Jane and Pride and Prejudice intertwined throughout the story as well.

Overall, Pies and Prejudice was a fun and very entertaining audiobook.