The Big 4-0!


Earlier this year, I turned 40. I resolved I’d give others a gift, and decided I’d review 40 picture books this year. I’m on Goodreads and Amazon as Sue Hodara.

I’m sharing the books that moved me… and so if you see high praise in all of my reviews, it’s for a reason…

Nowadays, it’s easier than ever to find fault and call things out in a variety of channels. Sometimes it’s a challenge to read/hear/see the good in the constant cacophony.

As the books I’m reviewing spoke to me, I hope my reviews will help others find books that speak to them.

Good books are always a great reason to celebrate!

Happy reading!



#50 Precious Words

Vivian Kirkfield set forth a challenge, and I chose to accept it: Write a story with a beginning, middle, and end in only 50 precious words.

Friends, here is my story, based on a true story:

An Unlikely Pair (44 words)

A crow became smitten
with an orphaned kitten.
Mama bird took such good care of the cat in need,
that the unlikely pair became best friends indeed.
Little Fur and Big Feather always stuck together–
playing their days away in all kinds of weather…

Below, enjoy the video that inspired the story…


Not What I Had In Mind… Even Better

My first post was not the one I had in mind, but what I finally ended up posting seems to have struck a chord with people.

I had a completely different list in mind, and a different first blog post in mind, but technology was not working with me last week… though try as I might (over and over and over again–literally losing most of the day)… and so I happened upon the idea of resilience, and how important that is to encourage and instill in our children.

As a mom and teacher, I find kids learn best when they infer things for themselves, by experience, or reading/watching a beloved character going through a similar experience. It’s not just an empathy thing, as wonderful as that is…

It’s more about having the distance to watch a situation play out because kidsĀ aren’t directly involved in it. That distance gives kids the safety to try the lesson on for themselves in their own ways, in their own time, with as many readings/viewings as they want.

One of my favorites on the list (and my son’s too) is Giraffes Can’t Dance. Seeing Gerald fall in the first few pages, and then proving to himself and others that he can overcome what he felt was impossible is euphorically triumphant, no matter how many times we read it.

The lyrical language builds momentum and gains power as the story progresses–emboldening Gerald and the readers. The illustrations mirror this progression with a major shift in Gerald’s facial expressions and postures. Not only do they work in perfect harmony, but both keep getting better with each read, making it a book we’re happy to read again and again. (And resilience is all about “going for it” again and again!)

Whenever I have the chance, whenever we see a giraffe in a picture or a play with a toy, I mention Gerald, and my son instantly smiles, because after so many readings, that feeling of triumph and resilience is the association we both make.

If you have any suggestions for other books to inspire resilience, or read any of the books mentioned in these last two posts, feel free to comment below! I’d love to hear from you.