The Brain Sucker by Glenn Wood

The Brain Sucker by Glenn WoodA creative, zany adventure awaits middle grade readers in The Brain Sucker by Glenn Wood.

Callum McCullock is a disabled boy living with his grandmother, Rose. When demented scientist Lester Smythe’s plot to eradicate goodness from the world puts Rose in danger, Callum and his good friends, Sophie and Jinx, band together to defeat his evil plan.

There is so much to enjoy in this novel: the well-developed characters, the neat inventions, the antics of Lester’s bumbling thugs, the craziness caused by Jinx “little problem,” and so much more. Wood definitely knows how to create a story this age group will love. There are kids in the roles of heroes, a battle between good and evil, humor, and the love of family and friends.

It didn’t take me long to finish this one because I never wanted to put it down. I also really felt the selected font was perfect for the story, so kudos to the book designer.

Highly recommended.



Rating: :) :) :) :) :)
Series: Thunderkit Chronicles
Paperback: 224 pages
Publisher: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform; US Ver 1 edition (June 28, 2015)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1512161624
ISBN-13: 978-1512161625
Purchase at Amazon!

I received a free copy of this book from the author. This review contains my honest opinions, which I have not been compensated for in any way.

The Search for Primary Emotions by Peggy Kruger Tietz, Author of Yell and Shout Cry and Pout: A Kid’s Guide to Feelings

Yell and Shout 2Yell and Shout, Cry and Pout: A Kid’s Guide to Feelings is an essential guidebook for adults in steering children through the confusing behaviors that emotions evoke.  When you understand the purpose of emotions, behavior becomes understandable.  Each of the eight emotions is clearly defined thorough vignettes and illustrations, keeping both adult and child captivated, thus creating an opportune time for discussion. By recognizing that all humans experience these emotions throughout their lives, the book provides a true sense of comfort. Emotions are not to be shunned, but rather embraced and explained to provide a positive development environment for all children.

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  • Yell and Shout Cry and Pout is available at Amazon.
  • Pick up your copy at Barnes & Noble.
  • Discuss this book at PUYB Virtual Book Club at Goodreads.

The Search for Primary Emotions by Peggy Kruger Tietz

As a psychologist, I have seen, over the years, a lot of families and children.  For many years I did play therapy, where children could act out the things that were bothering them.   I was often struck by the intensity of their feelings, and of their enthusiasm to express them in that setting.  Often their play mirrored what was happening in their lives.  As I got to know the kids, I could share with their parents ways that they could help their kids express themselves at home.   Often this meant helping parents get comfortable with their own emotions and become more aware of what attitudes about emotions they were sending to their kids.  It was not uncommon to find that parents had certain emotions they really didn’t want their kids to express.   Not surprisingly these disallowed emotions were exactly the ones being expressed in the play room.

Wanting to be more helpful to parents, I often recommended books, but not infrequently had trouble finding exactly what I was looking for.  There were good books about a specific feeling, or books about a day filled with many feelings, but none about all our primary feelings.  And none really explained the purpose of each of those primary feelings.   I was disappointed because I had a clear idea of what I wanted and what might be helpful to the parents I was working with.

So I was prompted to start researching and thinking seriously about creating the book I was envisioning.  I wanted the book to be simple and educational.  I wanted it to be fun and full of stories and illustrations that kids could relate to.  I wanted it to include interactive questions so kids could talk about their own emotions while reading the book.

None of this was as simple as I thought.  First there was no common agreement about which emotions were primary.  I ended us using Paul Ekman’s research which was exactly what Peter Docter, artistic director of Inside Out did.  For artistic reasons Docter only used five emotions and I ended up with eight: the six Paul Ekman found to be cross-culturally valid, and two more that his student, Dacher Keltner considered primary.

I was also surprised at how much work it took to be clear about the description of each emotion.  Initially Fear and Anger looked a lot alike, and I had to go back and do more research until I understood how they were different.

I also had to pull together a lot of information to create the examples of situations that most commonly trigger each emotion.  I initially created shapes for each emotion, but found that cumbersome; instead, I chose a color to identify and express each emotion.  All in all, I’m very pleased that the book turned out to be packed with useful information, and that parents and kids have found it fun and useful.Peggy Kruger Tietz

Dr. Peggy Kruger Tietz is a licensed psychologist and maintains a private practice in Austin, Texas.  She sees a wide range of children with normal developmental problems as well as children who have experienced trauma.  Her Ph.D is in developmental psychology from Bryn Mawr College.  Before entering private practice Dr. Tietz treated children in multiple settings, such as family service agencies and foster care.  Dr. Tietz, trained at the Family Institute of Philadelphia, and then taught there.   She specializes in seeing children individually, as well as, with their families.   She has advanced training in Play Therapy as well as being a certified practitioner of EMDR (eye movement desensitization and reprocessing, for children and adults).   She has conducted workshops on parenting, sibling relationships, and emotional literacy. 

Her latest book is Yell and Shout Cry and Pout: A Kid’s Guide to Feelings.

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Chapter Reveal from Captive of Friendly Cove by Rebecca Goldfield and Mike Short



From the creators of the award-winning Trickster and District Comics comes another graphic novel about adventure and tribal life. After his ship is burned and his shipmates killed, British sailor John Jewitt lived for nearly three years as a captive of the Mowachaht people, a Native American tribe on the west coast of Vancouver Island. During his captivity, Jewitt kept journals of his experiences and of tribal life. Follow his adventures as he plies his skills as a blacksmisth, saves the life of his only remaining crew member, and comes up with a strategy to free them both.


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Rebecca Goldfield is an award-winning writer/producer of both documentary films and graphic novels, with a focus on history and science. Her work has aired on NPR, PBS, the Discovery Channel, and National Geographic TV, among others. She was a contributor to the Harvey-nominated graphic novel District Comics, and is presently working on a television series about institutional corruption. Goldfield splits her time between Washington, DC; rural Pennsylvania; and New York City.rebecca

Mike Short lives in Lorton, Virginia, where he watches DVDs with his wife, plays with his kids, chases his runaway dog, or burns the midnight oil drawing comics. He was a contributor to the Eisner-nominated graphic anthology Trickster: Native American Tales: A Graphic Collection.



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Guest Blogger Glenn Wood, Author of The Brain Sucker

The Brain Sucker by Glenn WoodThe Brain Sucker by Glenn Wood is a book written for middle schoolers (ages 9-12) featuring a Callum McCullock, a unique hero, and his two friends. Callum is confined to a wheelchair – but that certainly doesn’t stop them from moving to stop “The Brain Sucker“. We’re searching for websites, blogs, and other online locations where we can share information, interviews, reviews and much more about The Brain Sucker. The Brain Sucker was originally released by Walker Books Ltd in New Zealand, Australia and the UK and was a Sakura Medal nominee. It is now being released in the US and Canada by the author.

For much more about Glenn Wood and The Brain Sucker, you can visit his website –

The Brain Sucker has been previously released in New Zealand, Australia and the UK. But this is the US and Canadian launch. Callum, his grandmother Rose, his friends Sophie and Jinx and the evil demented scientist Lester Smythe are heading to the US – and are ready to meet you!

The Brain Sucker is a critically acclaimed children’s book that has been published in Australasia and the UK by Walker Books. It follows the story of a disabled boy and his two friends who band together to defeat the evil plans of a demented scientist who has invented a brain sucking machine to rid the world of goodness.

Writing characters with a disability by Glenn Wood

I have an admission to make. I didn’t set out to include a disabled character in my story. While I have a reasonable knowledge of mental disability – my parents worked with intellectually handicapped people for some years – physical disabilities were new to me. I had never used a wheelchair myself or knew of anyone who was confined to one. This is how it came about.

When I first came up with the concept of The Brain Sucker I was confident the idea of an evil genius who had invented a machine that could suck the goodness out of kids was strong enough to explore further. I also knew that having a great central premise was not enough to carry the story. The book also had to be populated with strong and interesting characters.

Lester, my antagonist, came to me fairly quickly. His purpose and personality sprang directly from the book’s premise. But once his character was formed I needed an equally compelling hero. I wanted a character that had the guts to handle whatever was thrown at him, a boy who had already faced adversity and risen above it with strength and humour. The resulting protagonist was Callum, a thirteen-year-old boy who had been born with a spinal injury and was confined to a wheelchair.

This presented me with several challenges. As previously stated, I knew very little about children with disabilities or the restrictions faced by people in wheelchairs. It was vital I handled writing a disabled character with sensitivity and I was acutely aware that my character could never feel like a victim. I also wasn’t interested in writing a story where disability was the central theme. It became increasingly important that my readers saw Callum as a teenage boy first and foremost and the fact he was in a wheelchair became almost irrelevant.

Experts I spoke to confirmed this was the right approach and I quickly discovered that having a hero that was confined to a wheelchair was liberating rather than limiting. The way Callum copes with his disability opened up two very strong character traits. He became fiercely independent but also incredibly stubborn and this developed into one of the main themes of my story – the importance of being able to ask for help when you need it.

Writing a character like Callum has been a rewarding experience for me. The response to the book has been extremely positive with many reviewers commenting on how refreshing it is to see a disabled character in the main role in an action adventure.Glenn-Wood-Author-Brain-Sucker

Glenn Wood
Author of The Brain Sucker and The Bully Chip


Glenn Wood is an award winning copywriter and author who has four published books to his credit. These include his popular autobiographical novels – The Laughing Policeman and Cop Out – and two middle school books The Brain Sucker and The Bully Chip.

For more information about The Brain Sucker by Glenn Wood, visit his website You can get a copy of the book at


Invisible Jenny May by Dawn Aldrich

Jenny May does everything right. She minds her manners, makes her bed, dresses herself, ties her own shoes and braids her own hair without reminding. Yet, despite her good behavior, no one in her large family notices her, except Granny. With Granny’s help and some “magic” tea cakes, find out how Invisible Jenny May becomes visible.

A signed copy can find its way to your home by ordering on Dawn’ s website, where you may indicate to whom she should sign the book. Otherwise, you may also order through Halo Publishing International, Amazon or Barnes and Noble. Invisible Jenny May is also available in Kindle and Nook versions.

You can learn the story behind Invisible Jenny May at Christian Children’s Authors, where Dawn blogs on a regular basis.

Angels, Angels Everywhere by Michelle Beber

Angels Angels Everywhere 2 In this beautifully illustrated book about angels, certified spiritual teacher, archangel life coach and angel intuitive Michelle Beber lets kids know angels are here to help and love them.

Angels, Angels Everywhere is a wonderful way to share the gift of angels with your child. Featuring angels that are culturally diverse allows the reader to feel that these spiritual beings are like them in many ways. The melodic prose flows along with the story and the illustrations are lovely. A great book that can be a source of comfort and joy for many.

Rating: :) :) :) :) :)

Publisher: Balboa Press (October 27, 2014)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1452518947
ISBN-13: 978-1452518947

I received a free copy of this book from the author through Pump Up Your Book. This review contains my honest opinions, which I have not been compensated for in any way.

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Candy’s Chocolate Kingdom (Book 1: Kingdom Fantasy Series) by Nirit Littaney

Candy's Chocolate Kingdom

Candy is young girl who likes sweets…especially chocolate. She enjoys it so much, she even dreams about it. But when her dreams reveal something important, Candy knows she has to change her ways.

Candy’s Chocolate Kingdom is an adorable story about taking things a bit too far. Candy wants chocolate morning, noon, and night, but her dreams show her a problem or two she hadn’t thought of before and she changes her eating habits. It’s a great lesson for kids. And it’s delivered in a subtle way, so it’s easier to hear.

The colorful illustrations by Abira Das are a fabulous complement to Littaney’s story. This is a sweet book you won’t want to miss.

Rating: :) :) :) :)

File Size: 4899 KB
Print Length: 26 pages
Simultaneous Device Usage: Unlimited
Publication Date: April 6, 2015
Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
Language: English


Purchase here!

I received a copy of this book from the author through Pump Up Your Book. This review contains my honest opinions, which I have not been compensated for in any way. 

Nirit Littaney is a fresh, imaginative author who weaves vivid images and important life lessons into endearing stories for children. After being confined to her bed for years by an incurable illness, Nirit experienced the same triumph of spirit that many of her characters undergo in their journeys through lands near and far.

Nirit’s commitment to personal and physical healing, along with her story-like travels around the world, have inspired her to pen inventive tales for families in search of humorous, insightful bedtime stories. She writes for children in hopes of making them giggle while they also learn a lesson or two.

Today, Nirit lives in Israel with her angel of a husband, who champions each of her new books as if he were the wide-eyed child she wrote them for. When Nirit isn’t dreaming up new characters, she works as a nutritionist, medical coach, and spiritual leader. She is eager to inspire and help others with the lessons her own challenges have taught her—and what better way is there than through books?

Her latest children’s book is Candy’s Chocolate Kingdom.

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