International Honor Medalist!

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Sammy: Hero at Age Five received 2019 Reader’s Favorite Honorable Mention in the Non-Fiction – Drama! Grab your copy here and reviews are below. 

Review #1: Review by Deborah Lloyd

Reviewed By Deborah Lloyd for Readers’ Favorite

Sammy, born the day before Easter in 1985, lived with his mother and brother Gene in a small town in Kansas. He lived the normal life of a little boy – riding his big wheels, playing with trucks, and running in the backyard. He loved the homegrown vegetables from his mother’s and Slim’s gardens. Slim was the man who lived next door and was like a member of the family. Then cancer arrived, changing their lives forever. Sammy shares the ups and downs of painful, scary treatments. He and his mother spent week after week in the children’s oncology unit at the hospital, several hours from home. Sammy was observant and knew when his mother had been praying or crying. He also became aware of Jesus’ presence and His help during difficult times. In the memoir, Sammy: Hero At Age 5, written by his mother and brother, M. Schmidt and G. D. Donley, the sad journey peppered with many joyful moments is shared.

One of the most intriguing aspects of this true-life story is that it is told from Sammy’s point of view. While written in the language of a five-year-old boy, the messages within his words are truly profound. The thoughts fit a little boy’s world – excitement in eating a popsicle; hoping his mother will marry again, and he will have a new father; a wish to go to Disney World. The writing is clear and concise, and the photographs add to the realistic nature of the story. M. Schmidt and G. D. Donley shared their story to help other children and families facing these kinds of diagnoses in this memoir. This is a touching and unforgettable book!

Review #2: Review by Lucinda E Clarke 

Reviewed By Lucinda E Clarke for Readers’ Favorite

The story of Sammy: Hero at Age Five told by his mother, M Schmidt, and his brother, Gene D Donley, recounts the first years of his life from his earliest days until his sad death from cancer before he reached his sixth birthday. We learn of the early days, filled with love and happiness, his close friendship with his older brother, and the family friends who supported them. They had recently moved to a new town and his mother had met and was dating a nice man. Everyday life was normal, until Sammy began to get sick – again and again. The doctors did not diagnose his condition in the early stages and some tragic mistakes were made. Through all this, Sammy describes the toys, outings and events he enjoyed, the dressing up for Thanksgiving, his new bicycle, his favourite movies, followed by yet more visits to the hospital. Sammy shows us his world from the perspective of a small, five-year-old boy who shows so much courage through all the treatments he endured for long, painful months. There are moments of pure joy when he was released from hospital to spend a few days at home, before returning for more sessions of chemotherapy and radiation. It is no spoiler to say that sadly he passed away to go, as he tells us, to live with Jesus – the cover depicts him as an angel.

The true story of Sammy is a heart-breaking tale of courage, acceptance and an unshakable belief in a better life, free from pain, after death. While the facts of Sammy’s cruel illness are taken from journals and notes recorded during his treatments and hospital stays, what grips the reader is the roller-coaster feelings and the awe experienced by the reader of this child’s short life. There are both funny and sad moments, his understanding of how hard his mother fought to get him the best – sometimes at odds with the diagnosis and medicines prescribed by the doctors. His loveable personality shines through on every page and he has left a legacy of a life well lived that is an example to us all. The last few lines in the book are a complete shock. But I’m not giving anything away in this review. I am proud to award it 5 stars.

Review #3: Review by Deanna R Sweeney

Reviewed By Deanna R Sweeney for Readers’ Favorite

Sammy: A Hero at Age Five by M. Schmidt and G. D. Donley is a story about a little boy named Sam and his love for his family and friends. Yes, it is a story that includes Sam’s battle with cancer, but for me, that was not the main theme. This story is told from the point of view of a five-year-old boy and his main focus in telling us this story is to relay the love he has for his family and how grateful he was to spend every minute he could with them. It is also a story of Sam’s incredible bravery and faith in the face of a devastating situation.

The very first thing that struck a chord with me was the fact that if Sam had lived, he would be close to my age. He grew up in the same world that I grew up in and I instantly related to him. This story was written in such a way that it really feels like there is a five-year-old boy telling it to you, which makes it all the more heartbreaking. Once I got into the story, I couldn’t stop reading. It amazes me how this young child took all of the things he had to face in his battle with cancer in his stride. He adapted to his new situation while maintaining relatively good humor through it all. I would be lying if I said I wasn’t crying my eyes out by the end of it. Thank you for sharing this little angel’s story with us. Beautiful tribute.

International Silver Medalist!

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Suzy Has A Secret has won the 2019 Reader’s Favorite Silver Medal in Children – Social Issues! Review below. You can grab your copy now. 

Reviewed By Tiffany Davis for Readers’ Favorite

Suzy Has a Secret by S. Jackson with A. Raymond is a children’s story about educating them on self awareness and inappropriate behavior. The story is simple and easy to read to children. It’s important to allow children the opportunity to learn what should and should not be done to them by family members. Suzy did not like the game of tickling that Uncle Bob played with her when her parents weren’t around. Suzy did not want to keep the secret from her parents, but Uncle Bob made her feel that she couldn’t tell anyone about the way he touched her. Although the story is short, it has a powerful message because all children should know the importance of not allowing anyone, young or old, to touch their bodies.

Children have a right to be happy and understand what should not be happening when Mommy and Daddy aren’t around. The portion of the story designed for Parents and Educators was a good read because it reaffirmed that children have the right to know that their private areas are off limits, and that when playing no one should ever touch those areas. When dealing with children, it’s important to ensure they understand at an early age that they can talk to their parents about anything and not be scared. Abusers use manipulation when abusing children to keep them from telling their parents, that’s why parents need to have a strong bond with their children to make them feel comfortable. One thing I learned is that you should not ask a lot of questions if you suspect abuse, but rather ask simple questions for the best and most reliable answers.

How to Develop Your Brand as a Book Author — Nicholas C. Rossis

This is a guest post by Stewart Dunlop. Stewart is a full-time content marketer at Foundr and part-time reader, gamer & footballer. You can follow or tweet him @stewydunlop. How to Develop Your Brand as a Book Author From a literary point of view, we live in blessed times! Thanks to the development of modern […]

via How to Develop Your Brand as a Book Author — Nicholas C. Rossis

When to Use a Semicolon vs. Colons: Not So Hard, Really – Karen Conlin… — Chris The Story Reading Ape’s Blog

on BookWorks: Punctuation marks are like road signs for readers. They guide the eye, signaling whether one needs to stop (a period), pause (a comma), watch for a shift in focus (an em-dash), notice a connection (hyphens and en-dashes), and more. For whatever reason, people seem to have more trouble with the semicolon and colons […]

via When to Use a Semicolon vs. Colons: Not So Hard, Really – Karen Conlin… — Chris The Story Reading Ape’s Blog

Why You Should Turn Your Story into a Screenplay (and how to do it) — Chris The Story Reading Ape’s Blog

Today I welcome writer A. S. McDermott onto my blog, who is sharing his advice on turning your story into a screenplay. Big thanks to Arran for being today’s guest poster, please make sure to check out his links and details at the end of this post. So you’ve finished your novel or short story.…

via Why You Should Turn Your Story into a Screenplay (and how to do it) — Chris The Story Reading Ape’s Blog

Are You An Employee Or An Entrepreneur? — Nicholas C. Rossis

I subscribe to the newsletter of Mridu Khullar Relph. Mridu is a highly successful freelance writer. She writes magazine features writer and has contributed to several women’s and general-interest publications including Elle, Marie Claire, Vogue, Glamour, and Cosmopolitan. She’s also a motivational speaker and writer who has written Shut Up & Write: The No-Nonsense, No […]

via Are You An Employee Or An Entrepreneur? — Nicholas C. Rossis

Are You An Employee Or An Entrepreneur? — Nicholas C. Rossis

I subscribe to the newsletter of Mridu Khullar Relph. Mridu is a highly successful freelance writer. She writes magazine features writer and has contributed to several women’s and general-interest publications including Elle, Marie Claire, Vogue, Glamour, and Cosmopolitan. She’s also a motivational speaker and writer who has written Shut Up & Write: The No-Nonsense, No […]

via Are You An Employee Or An Entrepreneur? — Nicholas C. Rossis

This entry was posted on September 5, 2019. 2 Comments