Tackling the Bully of the World

I’m sitting with my trio at the kitchen table, while they use their imaginations like typical UBAM kids, and share with buzzing excitement these out-of-print cards that I scored at the More Store at National Convention this past week. If you’re not familiar with National Convention, you’re either A. Not an Usborne Books & More Consultant (and are missing out!) or B. Are an Usborne Books & More Consultant and did not make it to Convention (you’ll want to plan for Convention 2019 NOW!) I sat down with the intention to review some notes from this past week, and opened up my portfolio where this beauty of a book tumbled out into my hands.

I flipped through it.

I started reading.

I read it some more…and more. And then I glanced up and my children had traced and drawn about ten animals a piece, and before I knew it, I was finished with this book and sat here with my breath held. I looked at my three beautiful and unassuming children and my heart was filled with a combination of both joy and sadness.

Bully on the Bus by Kathryn Apel is the one book that we need right now. It’s the one book that every parent and educator should read. It’s the one book that every child should read and have read to them. It’s the one book that should be in every child’s back-to-school bag given to them by school administrators or PTO groups. Now, this is saying a lot from me, because I believe in the power of books and feel that one book is never enough.

The title of the book is predictable. Yes, there is a bully on the bus. Leroy is picked on by a much older student named DJ. He’s tormented by her daily on the school bus. Leroy’s big sister Ruby tries to step in when she can, but it’s ineffective. The bus driver has tunnel-vision to get all of the children home safely, and his focus is: driving, stopping, and moving on until his bus is empty for the day.

She’s big.

She’s smart.

She’s mean.

She’s the bully on the bus.

She picks on me and I don’t like it.


I don’t know

how to make her


Leroy faces what many other children who are victims of bullying face. He feels like he can’t tell anyone what is happening, he loses interest in school, he creates excuses to avoid his his regular activities and schedule, and he feels lost and even hopeless. He fears telling his parents, and is misunderstood until Ruby speaks up to help explain what it is that her younger brother has been dealing with.

Together with his parents, teacher, and school bus driver, Leroy spends his bus ride immersed in a book of Fairy Tales given to him by his teacher. She tells him that he has a Secret Weapon,  but Leroy doesn’t know what the secret is. Daily, on the bus he gets lost in his book. One single book, where he builds confidence, learns to read better, and learns that he has a voice with the power and knowledge from reading. He learns to speak up to DJ, channeling the inner wisdom gained from reading his Fairy Tales. He finds his voice.



Leroy stands up to DJ using his words. He doesn’t use his fists, his body, or a physical weapon. He uses his mind, and his voice. He uses his strength that was gained from within the pages of a book.

We’ve had too many tragedies and senseless acts in the past year, dare I even say in the past week? I find myself becoming desensitized to the school shootings, reports of suicide, and while mass shootings and high-profile suicides are yes, tragic, and yes something that is hard to grasp; what is happening closer to home?

What is happening


your home?

It starts at home. You and I? We are our child’s first teacher. Our memories are first created on the laps of our parents. We dive into feedings, and diaper changes, and snuggles and rocking. And, hopefully sooner than later, you introduce a book to your child for the first time. Will it be a classic children’s book? Is it a book gifted to you at your baby shower? Was it a similar title on your bedroom shelf next to a dusty trophy or baseball?

I’m going to let you in on a secret. Are you ready?

Continue to love your child more today than the first day that they were placed in your arms. Your child needs you more today than they did as a brand new baby. That may seem absolutely ridiculous, comparing your completely helpless newborn baby to a walking-talking-have-their-own-opinions child. Just because they no longer need you for all of their care, they do need you more now to be able to learn how to handle the tough parts of life, that whether we want to face them or not, we need to face.

I firmly believe that if we can start tackling life like Leroy, his family, his bus driver, and his teacher, we can start building the lives again of our children-all of our children who are so lost and confused in the world that we live in. Parenting is tough. There are days that I feel that I’m not sure how much longer I can keep wiping up the same spills, mending the same holes in the knees of uniform pants, or tying the same shoes, wishing my children would grow and learn; mature to be able to do more of these things on their own without my assistance. And you know what? It will happen. Someday. Sooner in fact, than I realize. But, somewhere along the way-we’re losing children. We’re losing families. We’re losing the grace and beauty of the day that is mundane with a carelessness that just makes me shake my head in disbelief and embarrassment that so many of us are raising the next generation of children who are not being shown and given to them the tools to find their voice and speak up. To not be afraid. To not share their good days with their bad days. To try to find ways to make our children happy and temporarily satisfied with more technology, less time outdoors, and less time getting lost

In the pages


a book.

Yes. This is the one book that your family needs. It is also the one small change that you can make, right now to create for your child and your family a home filled with hope, and love. Commit to helping your child find their voice.



This book is now available for purchase! At the original time of this publication, the book was not yet listed on my website. To order, please visit: 


If you are a teacher, educator, counselor, or therapist in the Greater Cleveland area and would like several copies for your school or organization, please let me know and I can assist you with adding this book to the homes of the amazing children in your care. 

For more titles from Usborne Books & More, please visit: E4209.myubam.com 



Tuesdays in Tremont!

Strawberry Recipes

Please join me on Tuesdays starting at 4:00 p.m. for my very first Weekly Event at the Tremont Farmers’ Market!

Each week I’ll have a variety of Usborne and Kane Miller books to choose from, a Book of the Week and a corresponding FREE craft, and the opportunity to support other small businesses and stock your fridge and pantry with local produce, baked goods, and more.

Tremont Farmers’ Market is one of the largest week-day Farmers Markets in the Greater Cleveland area.

Shop Local.

Buy Local.

Heights Reads.

Keeping the Magic of Christmas

My eight year still believes in Santa Claus. In fact, I’m confident in saying that he also believes in the Easter Bunny, and the Tooth Fairy. If I had any doubt earlier this year as we started decorating for Christmas if he still believed, it was quickly squashed this morning at the breakfast table.

Yesterday, my daughter knocked our Elf, Snowball, from his watchful place on a rogue decoration still hanging up from her birthday party in October. The paper globe hung in the arched doorway leading upstairs, and two nights ago, my husband moved Snowball to hang off of the decoration. If you’ve got the visual (or the song) of Wrecking Ball going through your mind, you’re spot on in how Snowball was hanging off the paper lantern.

According to my friend who was watching the kids, chaos ensued. Charlotte was traumatized, Greyson started crying, and Theo stood there stunned all watching this lifeless Elf fall quite ungracefully to the floor. And, this is why:

My children, including my eight year old, still believe in the Magic of Christmas. It’s that simple.

Yes, we have an Elf. Yes, he joins us shortly after Thanksgiving. No, we don’t dress him up, arrange him in elaborate displays at midnight (looking at you, those with a Pinterest board devoted to Elf Shenanigans). No, the children are not allowed to touch him once he’s joined our family until Christmas Eve. On Christmas Eve, the kids can play with Snowball all day long, because they understand that Santa picks Snowball up when he delivers their Santa Present on Christmas Eve night. Santa scoops him up, places him carefully in a bag with other Elves who have been picked up on our street and all over the WORLD and then he hangs out at the North Pole until Santa decides when he needs to arrive to our home again next year. Wait. What did I just read?

You read correctly. Together with my husband, we create the Magic of Christmas. Our budget is not extensive, our time is quite limited, and my patience is usually over by 7 p.m. every single day. And still, I’m proud of the fact that at 8 years and 4 months old my oldest son still believes in Santa Claus. Want to know the secret?

We have been authentic each and every year what Christmas is all about. First and foremost, it is in celebration of Jesus’ birth. We give gifts to others to celebrate Jesus’ life. My oldest son was 3 before he met Santa Claus for the first time. We’ve been fortunate to be able to go on the Polar Express for the past several years, and take part in that magical part of Christmas while the kids get to talk to Santa while on the trip. Each year I hold my breath, waiting for my children who are now reading to read the familiar signs to prove that we otherwise are not physically at the North Pole. Fingers crossed for this year too!

It’s hard to keep the magic and the “secret” of Santa alive. But this morning, when I sat across the table from Greyson, he had legit big kid tears streaming down his cheeks. He was concerned that Snowball was permanently damaged; that his magic was gone because Charlotte had touched him making his magic go away. So, I don’t need to question whether or not he believes. What I have to do, no-what I need to do is to keep the magic alive for him this year.

Tomorrow marks nineteen years that my grandparents have been gone. Maybe I’m nostalgic thinking of all that has happened in nineteen years, and that I wish they had been a physical part of. I know that they would love these children to pieces if they were still here and in good health.

So, to all of you who are questioning if you tell your child the truth, or if you’re looking for ways to make Christmas more Magical this year-keep it authentic. This season will be over before we know it, and so will the chances that next year at this time will Greyson will still believe. And, when we get to that point with him and his siblings, we’ll figure out how to tell the truth of the story behind Santa Claus. But, the thing is: Christmas is still magical. Embrace it while you can.

Now to figure out what to do with our Elf.


A Book for Every Season

Whew! It’s almost October! You know what that means?!

Pumpkin Spice Lattes! Leaves changing colors! Cooler temperatures! Sweater Weather! Kids donning their favorite Halloween Costume! and, and, and….

It’s also by far the busiest month here at Heights Happiness, both social and work related. The madness is sprinkled with some travel out of state for a wedding, celebrating our ninth wedding anniversary, my daughter turns five, my niece (and Goddaughter) gets baptized, and while we’re mentioning it, two words every parent dreads: Halloween Costumes. October is also my absolute favorite month, and I wish it lasted longer in conjunction with everything that is filling the pages of my overflowing planner.

So, it’s an exciting time, and also a stressful time. Maybe you’re reading this, and like me, you’re contemplating how you’re going to A. Pull this month off and B. If it’s easier to hide under a blanket with your tenth PSL for the month. Amiright? Well, the good news for all Mother Goose Time families and educators is that I’m going to now provide to you my Top Picks from Usborne Books & More for October’s Theme: Weather & Changing Seasons.

Week One: Weather 

This week we’ll learn more about the Sun, Wind, Clouds, Snow, and Rainbows. Titles to add to your curriculum this week include:

Sun, Moon & Stars


Snowflake in My Pocket

Crow in the Snow

What makes it rain? 

Week Two: Seasons

Teaching about seasons is one of my absolute favorites! There were more titles that I could have added, and narrowed it down to the list that made the “cut”.

Cut & Color Playbook Seasons

Waiting for Winter

On the Seashore

Shine-A-Light Secrets of the Seashore

Shine-A-Light Secrets of the Apple Tree

Shine-A-Light Secrets of Winter

Week Three: Changes

This reminds me that here in Ohio, it’s gong to be Daylight Savings Time all too soon! Brace yourselves! Top picks to highlight the changes that happen in our World include:

Night Animals


Science with Air

Goose on the Loose

See Inside Weather & Climate

Weather & Climate Changes (also great for lessons during week four!)

Week Four: Storms

I’m SOOOO excited about the lessons in the Teacher Guide for the last week of the month! Here are some other resource books to add to the lesson for the final week of October.

Science Activities Volume 1

Science Activities Volume 2

Science Activities Volume 3 (this book also has great resources for week one’s lessons on clouds and rain).

Storms & Hurricanes

365 Science Activities

My top recommendation from Usborne Books & More to add to your home or school library as an additional resource for the month of October (and fantastic any time of year) is the Weather Picture Book Pack. This bundled collection of 4 books covers all the seasons. It’s a steal too at $14.99 for 4 books, that’s $3.75 for each book in the collection, and of course is backed by the lifetime 50% guarantee when you buy from an Independent Consultant (hint! That’s me!)


I currently own many of the titles that I mentioned in this post, so I’ll be sharing them next month how I embed these books along with the recommended books listed in the Mother Goose Time Teacher Guide. 

Keep Reading!


19510309_1588341684509993_3025539560496814781_nAs a Mother Goose Time Blog Ambassador, I receive Mother Goose Time curriculum in exchange for my honest and authentic stories resulting from personal experiences in implementing this curriculum with my children. All opinions and thoughts are my own and are in no way influenced by others.


Why I Chose the Book Lady Life

As a parent of a children still very much in the “why” stage, I thought it might be fun to share with you my personal “why” I joined with Usborne Books & More. It’s hard to believe that I’m approaching my three year anniversary as a Book Lady!

I still identify as a SAHM, but I also run two businesses: my book business, and my childbirth education and doula business. I’m a mom first, and a business owner second. But, just three short years ago, my youngest child was born. Life was totally upside down just three years ago.


It’s hard to believe, but this kid is now three! 

You see, I have rough pregnancies. Each pregnancy the Hyperemesis gravidarum had gotten worse, and my pregnancy with Theo was brutal: ER trips, ten days in the hospital, a feeding tube and a Zofran pump. I’m not going to go into full details now, as its still emotional to dig around and talk about it, let alone put it into writing. I’ll save that for another blog post. 🙂

Raising kids is hard. If anyone says differently they’re either A. Lying or B. Have never raised children. The challenges of raising children is a major part of my “why” I joined with Usborne Books & More. When Theo was born, we had a 5 year old and a 21 month old. We had three kids five and under, my husband started a brand new job the same day that Theo was born, and I was struggling managing it all.

  • I needed support.
  • I needed to have something other than being a wife and mother.
  • I needed something that I could put my creative energy into.
  • I needed something that I could carve out of nothing and make into whatever I wanted it to be.

And, I found that with books.

I attended a Facebook party, and was already familiar with the books. The party was so much fun! When the consultant posted about the opportunity selling these books just like her, I felt a little flutter of something inside. The logical part of me tried talking the spontaneous part of me out of even considering starting a new business with a 6 week old baby, but spontaneity and logic starting working together, and I started researching more about Usborne Books & More. Everything that I found excited and energized me, and I knew that I needed to give it a try.

I loved that there were (and still are!)

  • No monthly quotas
  • Low-cost start up (under $100)
  • Training was done at my own pace via Facebook team pages and in resources provided by UBAM
  • Multiple avenues for income streams
  • Option to work with the school and library market
  • Book Fairs! (I flipping LOVED Book Fairs as a child, and I still do as an adult!)
  • Being around like-minded individuals who are passionate about literacy and books
  • Discount on everything Usborne Books & More sells
  • Amazing incentive trips I could earn for FREE
  • First to know about new titles being released
  • Networking with my community

…..and most importantly building an awesome home library for my children

I had nothing to lose. And, if I decided (or decide at any time) that this is not the right fit for me, I’ve met amazing people along the way, and it all started with buying a box of books. I’m pretty confident when I say that I’ll continue to live the “Book Lady Life”, and each day there is a new opportunity to share these books. Books change lives, and these books are so important.


If you’re curious to hear more about the opportunity with Usborne Books & More, or if any of my “whys” are resonating with some personal “whys” of your own, let’s start a conversation. Together, we’re making a difference, one book at a time.

Keep Reading!






Heights Happiness

Welcome to the official launch of this blog! I’ve written many ideas down since the beginning of 2017, and it’s time to get this started.

I have so many ideas to share about motherhood, raising three children, how I incorporate my Usborne Books & More business into my daily life, activity and curriculum ideas for your home or classroom, and exploring the vibrant city of Cleveland while showing how I found my happiness in the Heights.

I’ll be gradually adding more to this blog, so stay tuned!

Keep Reading!-Beth