Reading and Happiness

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“Surrounded by darkness yet enfolded in light.” ~― Alan Brennert

There is an interesting article in the New Yorker Magazine about the connection between reading and happiness.  Researchers say when we read that there is a neurological process that takes place in our brain that transports us away from our everyday life to feeling as if we are in the place in the story, right along with the characters.

Bibliotherapy (reading books to make people feel happier) can be traced back to 1916 when the term was used in an article in the Atlantic Monthly. “Books,” the article said, can be used as a “stimulant or a sedative or an irritant or a soporific. The point is that it must do something to you, and you ought to know what it is. A book may be of the nature of a soothing syrup or it may be of the nature of a mustard plaster.”

palisades parkI had to laugh when I read that quote because I am currently reading a novel called Palisades Park by Alan Brennert. Through the story I have been transported to the famed amusement park in New Jersey and I have been eating hotdogs with mustard and sugary cotton candy in my imagination from the Midway. My mind has been spinning in circles as I’ve imagined the Cyclone roller coaster and the tilt-a-whirl and all the other rides. Every bit of the book has heightened my senses, as it’s stirred nostalgic memories of my youthful visits to the amusement park at Hershey Pennsylvania and Gwynn Oak Park in Baltimore.

Brennert’s book has done well in taking me to Palisades Park during the height of it’s popularity, in the 1930s. He has helped me understand the value of such entertainment in uplifting the American spirit during war times. All four of my senses have been fulfilled through his rich descriptive writing of tastes, sounds, smells and site of the historical times and events in his novel. You’ll hear the cacophony of calliope and shrieks. A sensational nostalgic summertime read!   Highly recommended.

If you are looking for other good reads that will transport you back to another historical time Gift of a Lifetime: Finding Fulfilling Things in the Unexpected and short stories Lessons of Heart & Soul, will remind you of the times when life was much simpler. This blog is brought to you by award-winning author Sue Batton Leonard.

 

Library Browser Finds

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“I took my time, running my fingers along the spines of books, stopping to pull a title from the shelf and inspect it. A sense of well-being flowed through me ….” ~ Beth Pattillo

I’m truly convinced it’s time well-spent allowing oneself a lengthy browse in a library. The other day I came across a book that if you read only one book this year, The Awakening of Miss Prim should be it. In my opinion, this publication that I randomly came across should be front and center of any library. For a short time, it probably was. But books, even the best, quickly get backlisted.

Old world libraryBriefly, the storyline goes like this. A woman takes a job as a private librarian in the small town of San Ireneo de Arnois. When she arrives she finds that the community, an enclave of sorts, is filled with villagers from the baker to the florist to shoemaker to bookstore owner who have fled from other places to settle where there is something special, “it’s unusually harmonious.” Most believe that by “returning to the old ideals of a simple, traditional, family-based economy” it is what is best for society.

Hailed as “an ode to the simple joys of life,” by Huffington Post, through this impeccably rendered fictional story one comes to understand why books, art, culture, civilty and philosophy matters. Without these things entire generations of people’s values and relationships with one another are altered.

This International Bestseller by Natalia Sanmartin Fenollera “set against a backdrop of steaming cups of tea, freshly baked cakes and lovely company” is a short, charming, and deeply thoughtful story. A treasure to behold for all readers.

An interesting side note: This debut novel was originally published in Spanish in 2013. In 2014 it was re-published in paperback, and in English.

This blog is brought to you by award-winning, debut author Sue Batton Leonard.

Thirsty Thursday: A Barber’s Message

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Children, after all, are not just adults-in-the-making. They are people whose current needs and rights and experiences must be taken seriously. – Alfie Kohn

Books, inspiration and a motivational message from a man who cuts hair for a living is what today’s message is all about. This barber is reaching “rock star status” among youth with his passion for sharing his views on the importance of education and finishing school.

Take just two minutes to watch this video. This story is not hot off the press but, maybe you haven’t yet seen it. You’ll be impressed!

Come on back on Friday to All Things Fulfilling. We will see what else we can share that will be of interest in helping you to provide important messages to the youth in your life.

This blog is brought to you by the author of Gift of a Lifetime: Finding Fulfilling Things in the Unexpected and Short Stories: Lessons of Heart & Soul.

 

The Warmth of “Heart Bread”

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“God be thanked for books; they make us heirs of the spiritual life of past ages.” ~ William Ellery Channing

On Saturday I had a book signing at Come and See Christian Books and Gifts in Steamboat Springs, Colorado. People drifted in and out throughout the day to shop and to speak with me about my award-winning publication Gift of a Lifetime: Finding Fulfilling Things in the Unexpected.

During quiet times, I took the opportunity to browse and become more acquainted with what was in store. In the children’s section I came across a book called “Making Heart-bread.” I thought it was particularly meaningful, and the concept of the tale holds value for both children and adults. It is based on a true story of what helped heal emotional scars of children who were traumatized during the World War II era.

Heart BreadBriefly, a grandmother teaches children the difference between making bread to fill the “tummy” and bread that fills the soul. Making heart-bread she says is very important because it “never runs out.” The recipe has ingredients which nourish us most in times of need. The ingredients are revealed throughout the storyline.

After having read Making Heart-bread I have feelings of warmth inside me knowing I have been given all the fundamentals of heart-bread throughout my lifetime. Heart-bread is that which is made from memories of love and spirituality.

heart-shaped-potholders-1This blog is brought to you by award-winning author Sue Batton Leonard. For information on her two publications Gift of a Lifetime:Finding Fulfilling Things in the Unexpected and Short Stories: Lessons of Heart & Soul , please visit https://allthingsfulfilling.com/about-the-book/

See you on Monday on All Things Fulfilling.

 

Holiday Gift for the Family

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There are many little ways to enlarge your child’s world. Love of books is the best of all. —Jacqueline Kennedy

book cover with two award stickers

What makes for good stories that families can read together?

One or more memorable characters

Writing that paints a picture

A unique voice (audio books hold the best treasures!)

Messages that make us either groan or laugh, reflect or ponder

Cause emotional reaction from the reader (feelings of sadness, love, hope, compassion)

Leaves the reader changed in some way (i.e. attitude or understanding about something)

Themes that are relevant to family life and are age appropriate

Topics that lead to engaging discussion for family members

Gift of a Lifetime: Finding Fulfilling Things in the Unexpected contains all the elements of a good story for family enjoyment. Here are the words of some book reviewers ~

“This is a story of trust, faith, friendship and deep love for one another.” ~ Barbara Gueldner, Ph.D., MSE, Licensed Psychologist.

“Gift of a Lifetime is indeed that…a story of how the simplest words can have the most impact on our lives.” ~ Salley Gibney, You are Never Alone Foundation

“Sue’s ability, through dialogue, to share Fanny’s voice and powerful role in Sue’s developing years is a gift to readers.” ~ Mary B Kurtz, author

Share this warm hearted story with your family this holiday season!   It is available in the following three reading choices. How To Order:

Author Sue Batton Leonard has won three Book Awards for her debut publication.

  • Merit EVVY Award – Anthology
  • 2nd Place EVVY Award – Audio Book
  • Winner of Harvest Book Contest – Young Adult Category

Feeding the Needy through Literacy

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Harvest Book CompetitionLast Saturday I participated in The Harvest Book Reading Contest, sponsored by  MANASPIRITS.  Since Gift of a Lifetime: Finding Fulfilling Things in the Unexpected won in the Young Adult Category, I was given the opportunity to read aloud from my memoir during the nationally broadcast blog talk radio show. To view the e-magazine which was published in conjunction with the contest and to read about the other finalists, please follow this link.https://flipflashpages.uniflip.com/3/97499/340894/pub/.

 

kids-readingThe purpose of this event was to “feed community literary passions while helping to feed the hungry.” I was so pleased to be included in this nationally broadcast radio show. Children’s hunger is always a good cause to support.

Proceeds went to St Mary’s Food Bank Alliance http://www.firstfoodbank.org/ which is the world’s first food bank, organized in 1967. This event alone raised enough money to fund 5,000 Thanksgiving meals for people in need.

Fueling literary passions, another mission of the Harvest Book Reading Contest, is also such a worthy cause.  It has been said that “no skill is more crucial to the future of a child, or to a democratic and prosperous society, than literacy.”

In my opinion, we need opportunities no matter how small or large, to send messages to every child in America that books are the most valued material thing they can have in their lives. Above all else. And reading is the key to all understanding.

Thank you to the folks at MANASPIRITS who organized this event. I greatly appreciated being involved with it. And congratulations to all the other category winners!

This blog is brought to you by  author Sue Batton Leonard. For information on her book, which is winning awards in the young adult category, please visit this link. http://amzn.to/1vDFUMt

Helping Children Map a Future

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Here is the treasure chest of the world – the public library, or a bookstore.” ― Ben Carson, Think Big: Unleashing Your Potential for Excellence

Baltimore, Maryland. The home of Johns Hopkins University, Goucher College, Towson University, and many other colleges and outstanding schools in the greater Baltimore area.

A few weeks ago, I returned to Towson, in the suburbs of Baltimore, to do a book signing at Ukazoo Books for my memoir Gift of a Lifetime: Finding Fulfilling Things in the Unexpected. I found out something related to literacy and education that I didn’t know existed.

Towson, the town of my native roots,  is the home of The Carson Scholars Fund. This non-profit organization awards top performing students (both academic and humanitarian) through their scholarship program (Carson Scholarships). It also provides funding to schools to build libraries where children can learn to appreciate reading and books outside of a classroom in a comforting and warm environment provided for their enjoyment.

To date, The Carson Scholars Fund, which was started in 1996 by Johns Hopkins pediatric neurosurgeon, Ben Carson and his wife Candy has awarded 6200 scholarships and provided funding to 100 libraries. The scholarships have been given to deserving students in 50 U.S. States.
Ben Carson.We are so very fortunate to have in this country, outstanding citizens who are helping children map a future for themselves. Their generosity in giving scholarship money and building resources such as libraries and institutions of higher learning is what sets our country apart and makes it “America the Beautiful.” I read this book and I  put in on my recommended reading list.

To discover more about The Carson Scholars Fund, please visit and explore this website.http://www.carsonscholars.org/dr-ben-carson/general-information.

This blog is brought to you by author Sue Batton Leonard. For more information on her EVVY award-winning memoir, an anthology of stories called Gift of a Lifetime: Finding Fulfilling Things in the Unexpected, please visit this link. http://amzn.to/1vDFUMt