Painting for Peace in Ferguson: Healing a Community #kidlit

No one can dispute that the events surrounding the 2014 shooting of an unarmed teenager by Ferguson, MO police has changed the fabric of our society forever. Even now, racial tension run high in a city that still struggles to recover.

BUT…after months of tension something appeared on the streets of Ferguson that hadn’t been seen there for a long
time… HOPE. Author and Ferguson native Carol Swartout Klein captured this story in the children’s picture book,
Painting for Peace in Ferguson in a colorful and inspiration story.

Painting for Peace in Ferguson

Written in child-friendly verse, the actual artwork painted on hundreds of boarded up windows illustrates the story.

Painting for Peace in Ferguson

The book’s simple but powerful message is that when people reach out to each other across lines that divide us and work together, remarkable things happen. And both children and adults can make a difference. Painting for Peace in Ferguson also won an Outstanding Book of the Year GOLD Award – Independent Publisher 2015 State of Missouri Selection for Library of Congress National Book Festival. This is a BIG deal. This is like a Grammy award for independent authors!

Painting for Peace in Ferguson

Painting for Peace in Ferguson is also being used in schools, around dinner tables, and around the globe. The book opens doors and starts positive conversation about all of the issues around race in America, not only in Ferguson, but in Baltimore, New York,Cleveland, South Carolina, and across the country. A single paintbrush can paint one picture but thousands working together can transform a community. Profits from the book benefit youth and recovery programs in the Ferguson area. The book is set-up as a non-profit and all proceeds after printing costs have gone to grants to organizations in Ferguson that work with youth or the arts.
About the Author

author Carol Klein

Carol Klein is the author of this timely book.  Painting for Peace in Ferguson tells the true story of how the community of Ferguson (Carol’s hometown) came together to create beautiful, inspiring and hopeful art on the boarded up windows of the town which just days earlier had been the scenes of massive unrest.

What I Loved About this Book

The pictures are amazing: Vibrant, colorful and the images of people painting messages of hope was very touching. The creativity of artists, young and old, was mind-blowing. One of the many paintings with inspirational saying that caught my eye was this one; ” Think of all of the beauty still left around you and be happy.


There is two full pages of names of everyone who participated as an artist or as a supporter-over 300 names.

The very last page had positive thoughts from the artists who painted murals in Ferguson including this one from an artist who painted with her 8 month-old daughter and 83 year-young mother.

“It felt good to be a part of something positive and beautiful that would let people know we haven’t given up on the neighborhood. I hope we can come together and find a new NORMAL.”

Grab your copy of this wonderful picture book HERE


**I was not compensated for this review. Opinions expressed are purely my own. Some of these links are affiliate links.


A Picture Book about Adoption ABC, Adoption & Me

I have to admit when I saw, then read ABC, Adoption & Me by Gayle H. Swift and Casey A. Swift, I got teary-eyed :)
Why? because I am an adoptive mommy!
We adopted our son Jake at birth as a domestic adoption and also as a designated adoption. It’s a pretty magical story. Jake is almost 13 now, pushing 6 feet tall and eats like a horse!
Our family is so lucky to have Jake as our son in SO many ways. He is a true gift from God and one of two reasons I get out of bed every day.
When it comes to the details of his adoption, we have gotten the occasional ridiculous question from time to time, but we have not experience some of the uncomfortable (and down-right unkind) instances that many families of adopted kids encounter. THAT is yet another thing I love about ABC Adoption & Me as well. It very much brings home the message that, adopted children are just that…children.
When I asked author Gayle Swift about why she created this sweet book, she had this to say:
As adoptees, our children wrestle with big feelings, challenging issues and complex relationships. As parents. it is our privilege to walk a lifetime with them, supporting them through their journey to integrate dual heritages through birth and adoption. ABC, Adoption & Me provides an easy way to converse about adoption so that kids know their questions and concerns are welcome. It plants the seeds of open dialog and introduces some of the hard stuff in a way that is gentle and can lead to deeper discussions as children mature. As an adoption coach, I know that kids usually assume the “hard stuff” is off-limits unless parents demonstrate through words and actions, that parents are strong enough to acknowledge and validate all of their children’s thoughts and feelings on adoption. A book like ABC, Adoption & Me speaks through the child’s perspective; kids tell us that normalizes their emotions and thoughts.
ABC, Adoption & Me has been awarded Favorite Read of 2013 by Adoptive Families Magazine, Notable Picture Book of 2013 by Shelf Unbound and Honorable Mention Gittle List 2013, and named Finalist in the Independent Book Publishers of New England 2014 Book Awards. Earned an Honorable Mention in the 2014 Purple Dragonfly Book Awards.
Another thing that I loved about ABC, Adoption & Me is that it presents adoption from the child’s point of view. This distinguishes it from the many books that focus on the joy parents experience through adoption and on reassuring adoptees how much they are loved. ABC, Adoption & Me celebrates the miracle of family and addresses the difficult issues faced in adoptive families as well. It truly provides an opportunity for readers to come away with a deeper understanding of what it means to be an adoptive family and provide teaching moments that bring families closer, connected in truth.
Loved this book! Thanks, Gayle!
Gayle H Swift
Gayle H. Swift is the co-founder: GIFT Family Services and author: ABC, Adoption & Me: A Multicultural Picture book. Connect with Gayle and this book via Amazon Barnes&Noble Facebook Twitter Website Google+
**I was gifted a copy of this book from the author. Opinions expressed are purely my own.
ABC Adoption & Me is part of Multicultural Children’s Book Day!
Multicultural Children's Book Day

Our mission is to not only raise awareness for the kid’s books that celebrate diversity, but to get more of these of books into classrooms and libraries.

The MCCBD team’s mission to spread the word and raise awareness about the importance of diversity in children’s literature. Our young readers need to see themselves within the pages of a book and experience other cultures, languages, traditions and religions within the pages of a book. We encourage readers, parents, teachers, caregivers and librarians to follow along the fun book reviews, author visits, event details, a multicultural children’s book linky and via our hashtag (#ReadYourWorld) on Twitter and other social media.

NOTE: The full name of this event is Multicultural Children’s Book Day and our official hashtag is #ReadYourWorld.

For your information (include if you want to): The co-creators of this unique event are Mia Wenjen from Pragmatic Mom and Valarie Budayr from Jump Into a Book/Audrey Press. You can find a bio for Mia and Valarie here.


Multicultural Children’s Book day 2016 Medallion Level Sponsors! #ReadYourWorld

Platinum: Wisdom Tales Press * StoryQuest Books*Lil Libros

Gold: Author Tori Nighthawk*Candlewick Press,* Bharat Babies

Silver: Lee and Low Books*Chronicle Books*Capstone Young Readers T

Tuttle Publishing ,NY Media Works, LLC/KidLit TV* China

Bronze: Pomelo Books* Author Jacqueline Woodson*Papa Lemon Books* Goosebottom Books*Author Gleeson Rebello*ShoutMouse Press*Author Mahvash Shahegh*Live Oak Media

Multicultural Children’s Book Day has amazing Co-Hosts and you can view them here.

All Done Monkey, Crafty Moms Share,Educators Spin on it,Growing Book by Book,Imagination Soup,I’m Not the Nanny,InCultural Parent, Kid World Citizen,Mama Smiles,Multicultural Kid Blogs,Spanish Playground

Classroom Reading Challenge: Help spread the word on our Classroom Reading Challenge ! This very special offering from MCCBD offers teachers and classrooms the chance to (very easily) earn a free hardcover multicultural children’s book for their classroom library. These books are not only donated by the Junior Library Guild, but they are pre-screened and approved by them as well.

What we could really use some help with is spreading the word to your teacher/librarian/classroom connections so we can get them involved in this program. There is no cost to teachers and classrooms and we’ve made the whole process as simple as possible. You can help by tweeting the below info:

{click to tweet} ​ Teachers! Earn a FREE #Multicultural Kids Book for Your Classroom! #teachers, #books #teacherlife

To learn more about MCCBD and how you can get involved, go HERE.

Multicultural Children's Book Day

Multicultural Children’s Book Day


Diet can help reduce chronic inflammation By Bonnie Brost of Essential Health

(shared with permission from Essentia Health press release)

Like aging water pipes in a house, our blood vessels get a little rusty as we age. That “rust” is caused by inflammation.

Short-term inflammation helps our body heal, but chronic inflammation takes a heavy toll.  And if we are not getting enough anti-oxidants in the foods we eat, our bodies do not have the right fuel to stop this low-grade burn. The persistent flames of oxidation slowly attack healthy tissue in joints, arteries and the brain.

Researchers have linked chronic inflammation to a long list of conditions: heart disease, arthritis, cancer, obesity, type 2 diabetes, Alzheimer’s disease, asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease as well as inflammatory bowel diseases such as ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s disease.

While genetics and lifestyle choices play key roles in chronic inflammation, what we eat also plays a part. Some foods, such those rich in anti-oxidants and Omega 3 fatty acids, act as fire extinguishers. Other foods, such as trans fats and refined sugars, throw on gasoline.

One of the most popular anti-inflammatory foods is tart-cherry extract. Muraleedharan Nair, a professor of natural products chemistry at Michigan State University, has shown in lab experiments that tart-cherry extract can stop the formation of some inflammatory agents 10 times better than aspirin. His findings have fueled a cult of cherry-juice devotees among arthritis patients who swear by two tablespoons of concentrated juice each day. In recent research, Nair found that sweet cherries, blackberries, strawberries and raspberries produce similar effects. That’s why the Arthritis Foundation promotes eating berries every day.

The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics recently reviewed more than 1,300 books on anti-inflammatory diets. While the books offered variety of ideas, the basic concept of an anti-inflammatory diet matches the Mediterranean style of eating that I often advocate. This plan, which is also heart-healthy, says:

  • Eat more fruits and vegetables, at least four cups a day. Enjoy bright-colored berries and cherries. Eat a variety of vegetables, including leafy greens such as spinach, kale and cruciferous vegetables such as broccoli, cauliflower and Brussel sprouts.
  • Consume good sources of Omega 3 fatty acids, such as salmon, whitefish, trout, tuna or walnuts, canola oil and flaxseed. Two to five servings a week is a good insurance plan.
  • Turn to more plant-based proteins, such as beans, nuts and seeds. Limit red meat, processed meats and high-fat dairy products.
  • Choose whole grains instead of refined ones to get more anti-oxidants. Look for the whole grain symbol on packages of breads, crackers, cereals, rice and pasta.
  • Use the monounsaturated “good” fats found in olive oil, nut butters, avocados and seeds that lubricate blood vessels. Avoid trans fats and saturated fats that clog arteries.
  • Avoid refined foods and processed foods, which fuel inflammation. Limit baked and boxed goods.
  • Add herbs and spices, especially ginger, turmeric, curry and garlic. They pack a flavorful and anti-oxidant-rich punch.

Remember, diet is only one risk factor. Smoking, excess alcohol use and excess calories that cause weight gain boost chronic inflammation. The best way to decrease inflammation is to lose weight because fat cells release inflammatory signals, explains Dr. Walter Willet, chairman of the Department of Nutrition at Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health. Getting adequate sleep and regular physical exercise can also help.

Bonnie Brost is a licensed and registered dietitian in the Wellness Program at the Essentia Health St. Mary’s-Heart & Vascular Center in Duluth. Contact her at

BONUS! Try this anti-inflammatory recipe

This easy sauce brings the anti-oxidants of sweet dark cherries to a new stage when served over baked salmon. Combining this sauce with the salmon’s Omega 3 fatty acids makes this meal an anti-inflammatory king. You can also pair the sauce with a chicken breast, turkey or a pork tenderloin. This recipe was adapted from a recipe on by Amy Wisniewski.

Salmon with Cherry Sauce

1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil

2 green onions, chopped

Dash of salt

10 ounce package of frozen dark sweet cherries or 2 cups pitted dark cherries

1/2 cup red wine

2 tablespoon balsamic vinegar (or flavored balsamic such as pomegranate)

Heat oil in saucepan with chopped green onions and dash of salt. Add cherries, wine and vinegar. Cook over medium heat for 20-30 minutes, until thickened. Serve with salmon, chicken, turkey or pork.

Nutritional information

Serving size:  ¼ cup

Servings per recipe: 8

Calories: 50

Total fat: 2 gm

Saturated fat: 0 gm,

Trans Fat: 0 gm

Cholesterol: 0 mg

Sodium: 15 mg

Potassium: 100 mg

Carbohydrates: 7 gm

Fiber: 1 gm

Protein: 1 gm

**some of these links are affiliate links


Are Your Ready to Wear Red? National Wear Red Day®

American Heart Association - Go Red for Women

Are you ready to Wear Red?

Today is National Wear Red Day®, are you ready to lead the battle against heart disease and stroke in women?

Break out your best RED outfit and show the world that you stand with Go Red For Women®.

Join women like Meliah Jefferson, who at the young age of 33 suffered a massive heart attack. “I was devastated; I thought I had been doing the right things,” she says about her ordeal. But the one thing Meliah wasn’t doing is getting regular Well-Women Visits with her doctor.

Meliah Jefferson
Meliah Jefferson

Today Meliah wears red to encourage women not to make the same mistake she did. She reminds everyone: “Knowing about your family history is great, but you have to do something about it” to prevent heart disease. That includes Well-Women Visits.

You can stand with women like Meliah by not only wearing red tomorrow but also giving to Go Red For Women®. Your financial support allows the American Heart Association to build awareness about cardiovascular disease in women so that we can save lives.

Since we first launched Go Red For Women® in 2004, nearly 285 fewer women die from heart disease and stroke each day. And death in women has decreased by more than 30 percent over the past 10 years.

While those statistics are great, unfortunately, 1 in 3 women still die of heart disease and stroke, even though 80% of cardiac events may be prevented with education and lifestyle changes. This means there’s still much more work to be done.

When you Go Red For Women® you build awareness about this deadly disease, inspire women to make lifesaving changes, and help save lives.

Today is the day – let’s make this the most successful National Wear Red Day® in our history.

Thank you for your support.

The Go Red For Women® Team

Go Red For Women

Follow us: Facebook Twitter YouTube Instagram

Powered by WordPress. Designed by Woo Themes