Friday, November 28, 2008


May we be aware not of the things we lack, but of all that we have.
May we feel not the absence of those we love, 
but the presence of those who love us.
May we see not just the harshness of our world, 
but the gentleness of its mystery.
May we know not the cold of despair, but the warmth of hope rising.
May we speak not of our hurts and losses,
 but of our healings and blessings.
May we be with each other not in the shadows of the past, 
but in the light of the present.
May we bring to our table not judgment, resentment, or anger,
 but acceptance, compassion, and forgiveness.
May we remember to feed our spirit by living out of thankfulness.

Poetry Friday is at Under the Covers.


 Over the last few years, I've experimented with multigenre research reports. I've also begun working on integrating more technology into my teaching. I haven't done much with photo essays, but after reading OUR FARM: FOUR SEASONS WITH FIVE KIDS ON ONE FAMILY'S FARM and WHAT THE WORLD EATS (reviewed yesterday), I'm ready to give it a try. In OUR FARM, author Michael J. Rosen follows Dave and Becky Bennet and their five children- Caleb (17), Chase (15), Cayne (10), Grey (8), and Ali (4) through a year on their farm in rural Ohio. The family raises cattle, alfalfa, a small flock of chickens, and also has a vegetable garden. 

Rosen has divided the book into an introduction, then has a chapter on each of the four seasons. Each chapter begins with a "By the Numbers" page, which I found fascinating (did you know the average cow eats 25-35 pound of hay a day, but produces 65 pounds of manure? That is really right, it's not a typo!). The remainder of the chapter is a series of 1-4 page spreads on various topics related to the farm. Some are about the animals- the dogs, rabbits, cattle, turkeys, etc. Some are about the work on the farm, topics like birthing calves, corralling cows, baling hay, etc. Others are about the fun of living on a farm- building a treehouse, playing in the hayloft, swimming in the pond, etc. One of my favorites was a four-page spread with a picture and description of different kinds of farm machinery. Rosen typically begins each section with a brief introductory paragraph, then the rest is told by different members of the Bennett family, usually 3-5 speakers per section. The heart of the book, though, is the million color photographs which truly do capture life on a farm.

If I had any doubts before, OUR FARM has truly convinced me that a picture is worth a thousand words. I'm ready to try the genre of photo essays. Does anyone have any suggestions?

Thursday, November 27, 2008


Happy Thanksgiving! Today, all over the United States, people will sit down at loaded tables and gorge on turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes, cranberries, and pumpkin pie. We'll celebrate our blessings with family and friends. We'll take walks and watch football games. And that is how it should be. Even though, this has been a hard year for so, so many, there is still much that is good and right with the world…

This week, my sons and I have spent time looking at WHAT THE WORLD EATS, a book of photo essay of food from around the world. Peter Menzel and Faith D'Aluisio travelled to over twenty countries all over the globe- places like Bosnia, Chad, Ecuador, Greenland, France, Mexico, Mongolia, the Philippines, and the United States. In each country, they selected one or two families and spent time learning about what they eat and how they live. 

Each section in WHAT THE WORLD EATS is about one of these families. The section opens with a full page, color picture of the family, surrounded by a week's groceries (it's more than a little startling to learn that a family in a refuge camp in Chad spends $1.22 per week on food, while one of the American families spends $342). On the opposite page, there is a grocery list, broken down into the food groups. The chapter contains interview with the family- information about how/where they get food, how they prepare it, how they eat. There are also tons of full color photographs of families at grocery stores and street markets, preparing and cooking food, and eating.  Fact boxes contain snippets of information about the country- population, amount spent on health care, amount of pop consumed. Most chapters also have a recipe. 

After every few chapters, the authors include a section called "Photo Gallery." These two page spreads, about topics such as kitchens, fast food, and street food, are  fascinating visual comparisons (the spit roasted guinea pig did gross me out a little!). These are followed by sections called "The Numbers," graphic displays of everything from life expectancy, to literacy rates, to amount of meat consumed, to number of McDonald's. I could teach an entire unit on graphs- line graphs, bar graphs, pictographs, etc., using the material in this book. They're outstanding!

I know it's cliche, but sometimes, a picture truly is worth a thousand words. That's definitely true of WHAT THE WORLD EATS. It's a book every library in the United States should own. I think it's become a new Thanksgiving tradition for our family…

Wednesday, November 26, 2008


Tony O'Brien is the head of the Documentary Studies program at the College of Santa Fe. Mike Sullivan is a bush pilot and photographer who spent years working with Jacques Costeau, and has done humanitarian and environmental work all over the world. These two men travelled to Afghanistan to interview children about their families, their histories, and their hopes for the future. Each two page spread contains a beautiful full color photograph of a child, taken either at school, home, or at the rug factory, or market, or bakery, or marketplace where they work. The opposing page tells the child's story. Here is the story of Nadira, an eleven-year-old carpetmaker:
I have been working on the carpets for six years. Because of the work, I don't go to school. I would like to go; my family would like me to be in school.
There are eight in our family, and four make the rugs. I don't know how much I make in a day; the money goes to the family. I start at five in the morning and finish at seven at night.

And here is Shaheen, a ten-year-old pick pocket who was interviewed at the Kabul police station:
There are six people in my family. My father died six years ago.
I was selling plastic boxes in the bazaar. A boy named Jamadeen came and said, "Work with me and you will make 1,000 or 1,500 afghani a day." He said, "Come and watch me. I will pick a pocket and you will see how much I earn in a second." He went and robbed someone and got 700 afghani…I started being a pick pocket with my friend twenty days ago. I've done it five times." He is then asked what he thinks will happen now that he has gotten caught, and he says he will go to jail.

These children appear to have had hard, hard lives. They speak of hunger, of having to leave their homes during times of fierce fighting, of family members killed by the Taliban. At the same time, most of these children also tell stories of hope. They talk about going to school, of the importance of education, of their hopes for peace in Aghanistan.

I cannot get these children's faces and stories out of my mind. If I had money, I would buy this book for every politician in Washington…

Sunday, November 23, 2008


In summer, 1979, Cylin Busby was nine years old, living with her parents and two older brothers on Cape Cod, Massachusetts when her life changed  in a matter of minutes. Cylin's father, John Busby, a policeman, was on his way to work when a car pulled up next to him and shot off the bottom half of his jaw. Busby managed to steer his car onto someone's lawn and stumble into their kitchen, where he came very close to bleeding to death.

THE YEAR WE DISAPPEARED is a memoir, told by Cylin Busby and her father John, in alternating chapters, of the terrible year following Busby's shooting. Busby is taken to Massachusetts General, where he spends the next few months unable to talk or to eat, recuperating. Perhaps even sadder, though, than what happens to Busby, is what happens to his family. The man who shoots Busby is a man with very close ties to the community and the police department. Because of these connections, the investigation is haphazard at best. No one is arrested, and the family spends the next year basically under house arrest, with round the clock police guards, a sniper on their roof, and a police dog chained up in their backyard. Ultimately, the family decide they must leave the area, and move to Tennessee.

This is not a book for the younger set, in fact, I don't think I'd use it much below seventh or eighth grade. It is, however, a great read for those inclined toward CSI type books and shows- I devoured it in one afternoon! 

Saturday, November 22, 2008


Maybe the best way to begin to talk about this book is to lift a quote from the back flap:

"During his many years spent writing American history textbooks, Steve Sheinkin filled fat files with all the amazing stories and surprising quotes that textbook editors would never let him use. Now he is finally using all that material to write history books that kids will actually want to read."

And that's exact what this book is- a history book that kids will actually want to read! Steve Sheinkin has taken all of these stories and quotes and turned them into a factual, fun chronicle of the American Revolution. I'm not sure quite how to describe Sheinkin's approach to talking about the war, other than to say that it's just fun to read. 

The book begins, for instance, with a chapter, "How to Start a Revolution." This chapter is broken into 13 steps, e.g. Step One: Kick Out the French; Step Two: Tax the Colonists; Step Three: Kill the Taxman.  

Sheinkin continues the STORY of the American Revolution using hundred and hundreds of stories- stories of the characters, the battles, the events. I loved learning, for instance, that the British marched toward Lexington and Concord for two purposes: 1) to destroy ammunition that the Patriots had stored there, and 2) to capture Patriot troublemakers Sam Adams and John Hancock, who were holed up with Hancock's fiance Dorothy, were holed up at the house of Reverend Jonas Clark in Lexington. When Paul Revere arrived, Hancock and Adams spent the night arguing about whether they should join the battle (Hancock's choice) or flee (Adams' desire). They finally decided to leave, but not before Hancock had instructed Dorothy to meet him in Woburn later that day, and to bring the salmon that they had planned for lunch. 

Kids (and adults) who read this book will truly understand the American Revolution, because the will understand the hearts of major and minor players. They will know, for instance, why Benedict Arnold turned traitor. They'll feel new sympathy for the British soldiers (many of whom were seventeen and eighteen-year-olds who became soldiers simply because they had no other means of supporting themselves). They'll be present at the Fraunces Tavern in New York City, where George Washington had the final meeting with his generals at the end of the war. Washington gives a toast, then invites each of the generals to shake his hand. General Henry Knox, the closest, steps forward and takes Washington by the hand, then bursts into tears and grabs Washington in an enormous bear hug. "Then all of the other officers, tears streaming down their cheeks, line up to hug their commander."

At the end of the book, Sheinkin includes a section, "Whatever Happened To…," a series of short biographies of major characters after the war, as well as extensive notes about his research process and sources. The artwork, black line drawings done by  Tim Robinson, perfectly match the voice of the text. There are pictures of events and characters on almost every page. My favorites, though, are the labelled maps, that really help the reader understand the geography of a number of events throughout the war. 

This should be a must read for every American history teacher! 


My niece is a senior in high school. It's a high stress time, filled with AP classes, ACT's, and college applications, not to mention all of the typical high school friend drama, relationship drama, etc. The next time I see her, then, I'm going to pass along CHILL: STRESS-REDUCING TECHNIQUES FOR A MORE PEACEFUL, BALANCED YOU, my latest CYBILS read. CHILL is a self-help book for teenage girls. The book begins with an introduction to stress, and is then divided into four sections, each addressing different aspects of stress. TAKING ACTION, about some of the sources of stress, has chapters on time management, organization, and saying no. LOOKING OUT addresses support systems and how to gain perspective. LOOKING IN is about things teens can do to help themselves. There's a chapter on journalling :). I also learned about DIY (Describe the event, identify the thoughts, identify the emotions), which I think would be great to teach to my elementary students. Finally, there is a section on GETTING PHYSICAL, with ideas for exercise and nutrition. 

Deborah Reber seems like she knows teenage girls really well. She writes in voice that is friendly and matter of fact. She has interviewed lots and lots of teenagers, and includes their strategies for dealing with various issues. Each chapter contains space for writing and thinking, quizzes, bulleted lists, advice column type letters, and affirmations (I wrote down the ones on organization for myself!) Each chapter is followed by a "time-out" a mini-chapter on a specific topic like the college admission process, friendship, or eating disorders.

This book would definitely make the rounds in a middle or high school classroom.

Friday, November 21, 2008


Books for Christmas campaign? I love it! Actually, though, I have had my own personal Books for Christmas campaign for many years. I also have Books for Birthdays, Books for Baby Showers, Books for Anniversaries, and Books Just for the Sake of Books.

Anyway, I know what book I'm giving people for Christmas this year. I'm giving AMAZING PEACE by Dr. Maya Angelou. When I came across it last week at Tattered Cover, I thought it was a new book. In researching a little more, however, I've discovered it was actually published three years ago, in 2005. Guess it's not a new book, then, instead it's just a "new to me" book.

AMAZING PEACE is a poem that Maya Angelou read at the White House Christmas Tree Lighting in 2005. It's not, however, a poem only for people who celebrate Christmas in the Christian sense.

We clap hands and welcome the Peace of Christmas.
We beckon this good season to wait a while with us.
We, Baptist and Buddhist, Methodist and Muslim, say come.
Come and fill our world with your majesty.
We, the Jew and the Jainist, the Catholic and the Confucian,
Implore you to stay awhile with us.
So we may learn by your shimmering light
How to look beyond complexion and see community…

Read the rest of the poem here.

The book comes with a CD of Maya Angelou reading the poem. That alone was enough to make me snatch it up immediately, but if I had any doubts, the illustrations, done by Steve Johnson and Lou Fancher, would have further convinced me. 

Right now, in my world, in my country, in the lives of some people I love dearly, even in my own heart, peace seems very far away. This is the book I'm giving for Christmas…

Tuesday, November 18, 2008


Some books are so, so, so  beautiful that you could just look at them forever. That's how I feel about HORSE SONG: THE NAADAM OF MONGOLIA.  The illustrations are breathtaking.

In 2004,  Ted and Betsy Lewin journeyed to Mongolia to see the horse races of Naadam, a summer holiday. They landed at Ulaanbataar, then rode 800 miles in a minivan to a remote camp on the steppes in Southern Mongolia. The Lewins spent about a week living in a ger (a collapsible tent with a wooden frame and felt covering), eating curds and drinking airag (a fermented drink made from mare's milk). Most importantly, they chronicled the preparations and running of the horse races of the Nadaam, as seen through the eyes of Tamir, a nine-year-old jockey (who is actually a composite of several boys the Lewins met during their trip).

I love when a book takes me to a place I have never been and teaches me about a culture I might never have known. That is definitely true of HORSE SONG. And in this case, it's done, so, so, so beautifully…

Monday, November 17, 2008


About two weeks ago, I read an article about THE LEANIN' DOG, by K.A. Nuzum, a Colorado author. I'm buried in piles of CYBILS Intermediate/YA Nonfiction, but since it was a dog story, and since it was by a Colorado author, I made a mental note, and resolved that as soon as I had made it to December 31st, and had read all 59 of the CYBILS books, I absolutely had to get hold of this book. Then  last week I was at the TATTERED COVER, and there it was, THE LEANIN' DOG, just sitting there, calling my name. And of course I had to have it. And once I had it, of course I couldn't wait to read it. And boy, am I glad I did! This is one heckuva great read!!!!!!   SOOOOOOOOOO GOOD!!!! Definitely one of the best books I have read this year. 

Eleven-year-old Dessa Dean lives with her dad in a cabin high in the Colorado mountains. It is December, about a week before Christmas, and Dessa is grieving the loss of her mother, who froze to death about six weeks earlier, as Dessa sat next to her in the snow, begging her to get up. The trauma of the accident has caused Dessa to become an agoraphobic, and she has not left the house/front porch in over six weeks. 

One day, as Dessa studies, she hears a noise on the porch. She opens the door and finds a big brown dog with a gimpy leg. Dessa and the dog become friends, and the relationship becomes a place for the healing of Dessa's deep sadness.  

This is a story of grieving, friendship, and healing. A must read for any dog lover…

Friday, November 14, 2008

MODEL- Cheryl Diamond

 MODEL is the memoir of twenty-year-old super model Cheryl Diamond. At age fourteen, Cheryl Diamond moves to New York City to pursue a modeling career. By sixteen, she has "made it." She lives with her cat Tigger in a rundown apartment, going on casting calls, and doing photo shoots and runway shows every day. In her book, Diamond explores the inside workings of the modeling industry- politics/unscrupulous agents, makeup pencils in the eye, and the eating disorders that abound. She seems amazingly savvy for one so young, and somehow manages to stay away from the drinking, drugging, and sex stuff that surrounds her every day. Then her entire career is almost taken by one disastrous mistake. 

This very readable memoir is definitely a book for high school, or possibly mature middle school readers. Although it's far removed from any world I've ever experienced, I found it a really interesting read.


My dad was born in 1929. His entire life, he said very little, at least in words. When it came to actions though, he spoke so, so loudly. I've been missing him all day.

Robert Hayden

Sundays too my father got up early
and put on his clothes in the blueback cold,
then with cracked hands that ached
from labor in the weekday weather made
banked fires blaze. No one ever thanked him.

You can read the rest of the poem here.

Monday, November 10, 2008


Everywhere I go, experts are telling me that I need to teach kids to think like mathematicians, or think like scientists, or think like historians. In theory, I agree with them. In reality, however, I find this more than a little difficult. You see, I am not a mathematician, or a scientist, or a historian, and I don't know how they think. And it's a teeny bit hard to teach kids to do something I don't know how to do myself.  In AIN'T NOTHING BUT A MAN: MY QUEST TO FIND THE REAL JOHN HENRY, I think I have found an answer, at least to the history dilemma.

Author Scott Reynolds Nelson is a history professor at the University of William and Mary who specializes in railroads, and more specifically, railroads and railroad workers in the South. A previous book, STEEL DRIVING MAN: JOHN HENRY: THE UNTOLD STORY OF AN AMERICAN LEGEND, written for adults, won several awards, including an award for the best history book of 2006. I can see why.

AIN'T NOTHING BUT A MAN  is like a field trip into the mind of a historian. Nelson allows us to follow him as he puts together an enormous history puzzle-- who was John Henry? Listen to him at work:
"I didn't start out looking for John Henry. In fact, that search was part of a larger mystery I was trying to solve. But that is the way I work. I am a historian, and my work is an endless scavenger hunt. No matter what the assignment I am working on, I keep picking up clues and filing them away. I don't know when I will use those bits of information, but I keep them, and sometimes they come in handy…"

"The more you know about the past, the more questions you ask. Once you have a handle on what others have found, you can see the gaps, the spaces, the places that have not been covered. That is exactly what happened to me. Even before I thought about John Henry, I discovered that some 40,000 men, the largest railroad workforce in the South, were hardly mentioned. Why? I set out to learn more about those men. That was the mystery I was trying to solve."

"Once upon a time, historians were trained to spend all of their time poring over official documents and other writing left from the past. But more recently, they have realized that the past comes down to us in many ways. Some scholars study fashions, others food. Some sit in graveyards looking at the decorations on tombstones, and more and more historians pay attention to songs" (p. 16).

Nelson is one of those historians who is interested in songs. He uses songs about John Henry, a man who drills into rock (and who I always thought was a part of American folklore, kind of like Paul Bunyan) to learn more about the 40,000 African Americans who built and maintained railroads in the deep South in the 1800's. The reader hikes with Nelson into the hills of the back country of West Virginia, and sits in dusty university libraries, and examines old photographs and prison records, as Nelson painstakingly puts the pieces of the John Henry mystery together. It's a fascinating journey and one that I think kids would absolutely love. 

AINT NOTHING BUT A MAN is illustrated with old photographs, artwork, prison records, and other artifacts from Nelson's search. Each document is thoroughly labelled with a caption that is chock full of additional information. Text boxes give kids  background that enables them to more fully understand the text.

I loved this book! I can't wait to share it with kids!

Sunday, November 9, 2008


Did you know there is a COMMENT CHALLENGE going on this month? The goal is to read and comment on five kidlitosphere blogs for 21 days, starting November 6th. I only started today, so I'm a couple of days late, but at least I started. Read more about this at Mother Reader.


Some people might describe me as a little headstrong, but basically, I have always been a "good girl," one of those kids whose pretty much did what was expected. My worst sin, I think, was getting thrown out of second grade during a phonics lesson on short e (someone should have told me that short/long e were in no way connected to height, and that I was not supposed to tell the teacher I really didn't care to learn about short e because I already knew how to read). Nevertheless, throughout my school career, I was secretly fascinated by girls like Bernice R. who wore frosted lipstick and blue nail polish, and spent lunch recess making out with boys on the railroad tracks behind Washington Irving Junior High.

SEA QUEENS: WOMEN PIRATES AROUND THE WORLD tells the story of some "bad girls," a dozen or so pirate queens that sailed the high seas, beginning with the Greeks, and ending in the 1800's. The book begins with a short chapter on pirates (did you know that some pirates, called privateers, were actually paid by their countries to protect their ships, or raid the ships of other countries?), which is followed by a series of short-ish biographies of each of these "wild women?" The biographies are accompanied by text boxes which give additional information about the character , area, or time period. I found the text boxes as interesting as the biographies. 

I also loved looking at Yolen's notes and bibliography in the back of the book. The copyrights on the texts she used for research range from 1831-1995. In her notes, she talks about how she wrote another book about pirates thirty years ago, but many of the sources she used for this book were not available then. 

The illustrations in this book match the text perfectly. A beautiful navy blue cover (no book jacket) with a colored woodcut right in the center. Illustrations inside the book are simple, black and white woodcuttings, that perfectly augment the text. 

A fun read for the naughty and secretly naughty!


Saturday, November 8, 2008


I always wonder about writing books aimed at a child/teen audience because honestly, I just don't know that many kids that would read them. I know there ARE lots of kids who love to write, write of their own volition, dream of being writers one day…but I simply don't meet that many of those kids. Maybe one or two a year…

Even so, I keep  reading books in this genre. I like owning books about writing. I learn things that help ME as a writer. I hope that maybe I will meet a kid who would enjoy the book. SEIZE THE STORY, one of the CYBILS nominees, is my newest acquisition. 

SEIZE THE STORY is written by Colorado author, Victoria Hanley. The book is basically divided into two chunks- the first eleven chapters talk about various aspects of writing: developing character and setting, writing dialogue, conflict, showing and telling. Each chapter opens with several really nice quotes from famous authors, (e.g. "Better to write for your self and have no public, than to write for your public and have no self.,  Cyril Connolly). The chapters are broken into short, readable sections. Most sections end with an actual writing "exercise" to try. I have been using the chapter on "Showing, Not Telling," as mini-lessons in a fourth grade classroom this week, and have gotten some really nice stuff from kids. The chapter on conflict taught me some things I can use in my own writing.

I absolutely loved the extensive collection of author interviews. Hanley talked to a list of fifteen fabulous YA authors- people like T.A. Barron, Carolyn Bauer, Chris Crutcher, David Lubar, Laura Resau, and Todd Mitchell (many of these are from Colorado!). She asked them questions like:
  • What is the easiest part of writing?
  • What is the hardest part of writing?
  • What advice do you have for teens who want to be writers?
These 2-3 page interviews would be fun to share with a class as part of an author study, or to include in a author notebook, or to share as writing mini-lessons! Hanley also includes a chapter of questions people have asked her-- How long does it take to write a book? What about symbolism? What kinds of things did people do to encourage/discourage you as a writer when you were growing up? This chapter also gave me lots of things to think about.

Thank you, Victoria Hanley, for sharing your expertise! The next time I meet a teen who loves to write, I will definitely share this book with them, In the meantime, old lady teachers and elementary kids can learn a lot from you! 

Friday, November 7, 2008


This victory 

is not 
the change
we seek.

It is only
the chance

for us 

to make 
that change.

And that
cannot happen

if we
go back
to the way
things were.

It cannot happen
without you

 a new spirit
of service
a new spirit
of sacrifice

So let us summon
a new spirit
of patriotism

of responsibility

where each of us

to pitch in
and work harder

and look after
not only ourselves

but each other.

Barack Obama
Chicago, November 4, 2008


Tuesday, November 4, 2008


I woke up really early this morning, hours before the polls opened anywhere. I laid there thinking that today truly is a historic day. After work today, I will go and stand in line to vote, probably for hours. And when it's over, either an African American man will be elected President, or a woman will be elected vice president. Either way, it will be a first for our nation.

I feel strongly about my candidate. At the same time, I keep thinking that tonight, one candidate who truly loves his country, and has worked very, very hard, and has poured his heart and soul into this election, will be very, very disappointed. I know that it isn't the thing I'm supposed to be saying, but whether or not I agree with him politically,  I ache for that person… 

Saturday, November 1, 2008



GREAT PEACEMAKERS is a collection of twenty 6-8 page biographies of great peacemakers from around the world. The book is divided into five sections: Choosing Nonviolence, Living Peace, Honoring Diversity, Valuing All Life, and Caring for the Planet. It contains biographies of some people you would expect to see, e.g. Mahatma Gandhi, Martin Luther King Jr., Mother Teresa, Desmond Tutu, Albert Schweitzer, and Rachel Carson. It also contains biographies, however, of people I had never heard of, or at least had never heard of in this context:
  • Astrid Lindgren- author of the much-loved PIPPI LONGSTOCKING, but also a children's and animal rights activist
  • Anderson Sá- founder of a band and musical movement that has gotten Brazilian kids out of street gangs and into music and the arts
  • Colman McCarthy- a former Washington Post journalist who has taught courses in peace making to more than 6,000 prison inmates, and high school and university students
  • Bruno Hussar- a Catholic priest who created a village on a hilltop between Jerusalem and Tel Aviv, where Jews and Arabs live, learn, and work together
Each biography starts with a large black and white photo, and a brief summary of the peacemaker's accomplishments. Each chapter ends with a page of four or five quotes from the peacemaker. There is also a website (

There is much to love about this book. I love that readers are exposed to such a wide range of peacemakers-- male and female, old and young, rich and poor, from all over the world. I love that this book might provoke kids into considering their own lives in light of the greater good. I love that the biographies are short enough that you could pick the book up and expose kids to an amazing individual in fifteen minutes (or less). 

If I had one wish for this book, it would have to do with formatting. The book is just not as visually appealing as it could be. Everything inside the book is black and white, there is absolutely no color. There are no subtitles, or pull quotes, or anything else to break up the pages and make them more visually appealing. The margins are narrow, and the print goes to within a half an inch of the edge of each page. If there are sequels, and I definitely think there should be, I'd love to see the authors and publishers work a little on the formatting of the book.