bookmobiles · library

Making a Difference on the Bookmobile


I couldn’t contain my excitement when I was offered a position to work on the Bells for Books bookmobile for the Garden City Public Library.

Two of my favorite things: kids and kid lit. What a dream job!


I started in January of 2017, but we happened to have one of the most extreme Idaho winters in history. My kiddos were excited to have so many snow days, but I was anxious to get out on the bus and start making a difference.


I worked on behind the scenes stuff while I waited for safe driving conditions. This consisted of processing new books and donations, repairing books, and withdrawing books beyond repair. One of my favorite things was reading personal notes on the end pages of donated books. These books were special to the initial reader and would be special once again to young patrons who checked them out.

The purpose of the bookmobile was to offer children access to books and get them excited about reading. Many of these kids did not own books or were unable to visit a library. We did not issue library cards or require fines for late or damaged books. We just wanted them to read!

We distributed snacks, hats and mittens, and backpacks with school supplies. We also ran a reading incentive program in the winter, facilitated STEM activities in the summer, and participated in fun events like Touch a Truck and Trunk or Treat.


Patrons referred to the bookmobile as THE BUS, but we had a more personal name for him. The kids were thrilled when Thomas received his monster makeover, which would not have been possible without a generous grant from the Greater Boise Area Rotary Foundation.

Working on the bookmobile was a perfect fit for me because I only read kid lit! The kids loved that I was able to honestly recommend a wide range of picture books, chapter books, middle grade, and YA novels. We also compiled a wishlist. I searched for requested titles in our office. We would try to purchase them with our budget if we didn’t have them, or if we needed more copies of a popular title. Sometimes I would bring personal books from home that my kids had already read a bazillion times.

My kids were able to visit me every week on the bookmobile because one of the stops was near our house. Their friends thought it was pretty cool that their mom drove the big blue bus.

The most rewarding aspect of this job was getting to know the kids. We were greeted with huge smiles every time we pulled up to a stop. Sometimes the kids would even jump for joy on the sidewalk as soon as they saw Thomas. The kids told me jokes, talked about school, and shared intimate stories about their lives.

One of the most difficult parts of this job was when children moved away. A girl wrote her name on a piece of paper and gave it to me so I would “always remember” her. Kids hugged me, drew me pictures, and even gifted me their favorite stuffed animals.

It was even more difficult when it was my turn to move. My husband accepted an excellent job opportunity in Seattle, so I had to say goodbye to Thomas and the kids. I cried on my last day. Several times.

The library staff threw me a little going away party.


Lucky for me some of my co-workers used to live in the Seattle area. They recommended places to explore with my family. I already couldn’t wait to visit the Seattle Public Library.

At the end of the party, our library director told me that I changed these kids’ lives and they would remember me.

I hope she’s right.


Did you visit a bookmobile when you were a child? Do you have a bookmobile in your community? I’d love to hear about it!

Learn more about the Bells for Books mobile literacy program!

Check out this blog post by Chronicle BooksA Brief History of Bookmobiles in America!


Idaho: Rodeo Ropers, Inventors, Astronauts, Authors and So Much More . . .


As a native Idahoan there are two things I get tired of hearing about from outsiders:

  1. Potatoes.
  2. Smurf turf.

Yes, Idaho produces a lot of potatoes. Yes, the Boise State football field is blue. But there are so many things that make Idaho a wonderful place to live besides potatoes and BSU football. We have amazing hot springs, bike trails, camping, fishing, hiking, skiing, hunting, whitewater rafting and kayaking.

Kayakers from all over the world compete in the North Fork Championship.

North Fork of the Payette River near Banks, Idaho.

  Fun facts about Idaho:

  • Idaho is the 13th largest state in the U.S.
  • 63% of Idaho is public land
  • Idaho produces 72 types of precious and semi-precious stones
  • Idaho has 3,100 miles of rivers (more than any other state)
  • Idaho has the longest gondola in North America (Silver Mountain in Kellogg, Idaho).
  • The first alpine chairlift was used in Sun Valley, Idaho
  • At 212 feet, Shoshone Falls are higher than Niagara Falls
  • The deepest river gorge in North America is Hells Canyon (7,900 feet deep)
  • The Frank Church River of No Return Wilderness area is the largest in the lower 48 states (2.3 million acres of backcountry)

*To learn more fun facts about Idaho visit:


Famous folks who have called the Gem State home:

  • Barbara Morgan: NASA Astronaut
  • Joe Albertson: founder of Albertsons grocery store chain
  • J.R. Simplot: founder of Simplot (one of the largest privately-owned companies in the world)
  • Sacajawea: Shoshone Indian guide and interpreter for explorers Lewis and Clark
  • Gutzom Borglum: sculptor of Mount Rushmore National Memorial
  • Philo T. Farnsworth: invented the cathode-ray tube that would later lead to television
  • Gene Harris: jazz pianist
  • Paul Revere & the Raiders: band
  • Built to Spill: band
  • Lana Turner: film and television actress who starred in over 50 films
  • Aaron Paul: actor best known for role in Breaking Bad
  • William Petersen: actor best known for role in CSI Las Vegas
  • Dan O’Brien: Olympic gold medalist and world champion decathlete
  • Kristin Armstrong: Olympic gold medalist bicycle racer
  • Picabo Street: Olympic gold medalist alpine ski racer
  • Jerry Kramer: NFL player
  • Shea McClellin: NFL player
  • Harmon Killebrew: MLB player inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame
  • Larry Jackson: MLB pitcher
  • Dee Pickett: Pro Rodeo Champion
  • Ezra Pound: poet and critic in the early modernist movement
  • Edgar Rice Burroughs: author of Tarzan of the Apes
  • Vardis Fisher: author of Children of God, Tale of Valor, and Mountain Man
  • Ernest Hemingway: author of numerous short stories and novels, including Farewell to Arms, The Sun Also Rises, and For Whom the Bell Tolls

*To learn about more famous Idahoans check out

One of my favorite things about writing this post was learning about Idaho authors. I had never heard of Edgar Rice Burroughs or Vardis Fisher. So let’s talk more about authors and books! This is a book blog after all. I am pleased to introduce a variety of books written by Idaho authors.


Beginning Watercolor Painting: Learn Easy, Fun, Creative Watercolor Painting by Marilee Donivan


Kandu and the Magic Meadow: A Color Mixing Story by Marilee Donivan


Joshua Tree: 30 Paintings by Mark W. McGinnis


Ponderosa Pines: 24 Paintings by Mark W. McGinnis


Poplar Leaf Study: Version One: 24 Paintings by Mark W. McGinnis


Snake River Basin: 72 Paintings by Mark W. McGinnis



A Conversation with Shakespeare by Diane Bilyeu


An Orange for You: A Child’s Book of Awareness by Mark W. McGinnis


Artie the Sleepy Bat by Michelle Netten


Big Little by Leslie Patricelli


Binky by Leslie Patricelli


Blankie by Leslie Patricelli


Buddhist Animal Wisdom Stories, Volume 1 by Mark W. McGinnis


Fa La La by Leslie Patricelli


Huggy Kissy by Leslie Patricelli


Grandma, Does My Moon Shine Over Your House? by Jane Freund and Mary Hansen Freund


Mama’s Purse by AJ Irving

Mama's Purse

Mooser on the Loose by Jane Freund


Morgan’s Walk by Bonnie Kloster


No No Yes Yes by Leslie Patricelli


P is for Potato: An Idaho Alphabet (Discover America State by State) by Stan Steiner


Potty by Patricelli


Ruby Lee and the Very Big Deal by Nancy Buffington


Simon the Slow Penguin by Michelle Netten


Teddy the Unready Tyrannosaurus Rex by Michelle Netten


The Christmas Tin by Sheila Eismann and Ali F. Putz

christmas tin cover 300 dpi from CMR 08-01-13

The Girl Who Had a Big Adventure: Cancer, Chemo & Cupcakes by: Stacia Mers and Jane Freund


Then the Twins Came by Sharon Rose Anderson

Then the Twins Came

Tubby by Leslie Patricelli


Viku and the Elephant by Debu Majumdar


Viku to the Rescue: A Story from the Forests of India by Debu Majumdar

Viku to the Rescue

Viku and the Ivory Thieves: A Story from the Forests of India by Debu Majumdar

Viku and the Ivory Thieves

Wily Riley The Coyote Conqueror by Jane Freund


Yummy Yucky by Leslie Patricelli


Christian Fiction:

A Promise Kept by Robin Lee Hatcher


Beyond the Shadows by Robin Lee Hatcher


Love Without End (A King’s Meadow Romance Book 1) by Robin Lee Hatcher


Whenever You Come Around (A King’s Meadow Romance Book 2) by Robin Lee Hatcher


Shield of faith (Cady Miller series) (Volume 1) by Danney Clark


Shield of Honor (The Cady Miller Series) (Volume 2) by Danney Clark


Shield of Justice (Cady Miller Series Book 3) by Danney Clark


Sovereign Ground (Breaking Bonds Book 1) by Hilarey Johnson


Sunday’s Promise (A New Day book 1) by Janice Hildreth


Monday’s New Beginning (A New Day book 2) by Janice Hildreth


Tuesday’s Child (A New Day Book 3) by Janice Hildreth


The Heart’s Pursuit by Robin Lee Hatcher


Winds of Freedom by Rebecca Carey Lyles


Winds of Wyoming by Rebecca Carey Lyles



Comfort Food Gets a Vegan Makeover by Jill Skeem



Broken Things: A Dystopian Thriller by G.S. Wright


Cheyenne: A Timeless Series Novel (Book 1) by Lisa L. Wiedmeier


Promises: A Timeless Series Novel (Book 2) by Lisa L. Wiedmeier


Daylight: A Timeless Series Novel (Book 3) by Lisa L. Wiedmeier


Awakening: A Timeless Series Novel (Book 4) by Lisa L. Wiedmeier


Against the Dawn: A Shaede Assassin Novel by Amanda Bonilla


Blood Before Sunrise: A Shaede Assassin Novel by Amanda Bonilla


Crave the Darkness: A Shaede Assassin Novel by Amanda Bonilla


Death Storm: A Dark Fantasy Zombie Apocalypse (Hungry Gods Book 1) by G.S. Wright


Death’s Reach (Hungry Gods Book 2) by G.S. Wright


Echoes of Savanna by Lucinda Moebius


Empire of Shadows by Miriam Forster


Feeder (Chroncles of the Soul Eaters Vol. 1) by Lucinda Moebius


Indigo Traveler by Merri Halma


Raven’s Song: A Haven Novel by :Lucinda Moebius


Shaedes of Gray: A Shaede Assassin Novel by Amanda Bonilla

Shaedes of Gray


All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr


Down in the River by Ryan Blacketter


Evel Knievel Jumps the Snake River Canyon: And Other Stories Close to Home by Kelly Jones


Faraway Places by Tom Spanbauer


Gilead by Marilynne Robinson


Housekeeping by Marilynne Robinson


I Loved You More by Tom Spanbauer


Lila by Marilynne Robinson


Sewing Shut My Eyes by Lance Olsen


The Laughing Monsters by Denis Johnson


The Lonely Polygamist by Brady Udall


Train Dreams by Denis Johnson


Tree of Smoke by Denis Johnson


Volt by Alan Heathcock


Guides/Outdoor Recreation:

Idaho for the Curious: A Guide by Cort Conley


Idaho Off the Beaten Path, 8th: A Guide to Unique Places by Julie Fanselow


The Day Hiker’s Guide to Stanley, Idaho Scott Marchant


The Day Hiker’s Guide to Sun Valley & Ketchum by Scott Marchant


The Hiker’s Guide: Greater Boise by Scott Marchant


The Hiker’s Guide to McCall & Cascade by Scott Marchant


The Middle Fork: A Guide by Cort Conley


Historical Fiction:

Cocos Island Treasure: You Can Still Find Pirate Booty If You Know Where to Look! by Stanley McShane


Desiderata (Karolus Chronicles Book 1) by Judy Ferro


Agnes (Karolus Chronicles Book 2) by Judy Ferro


Flight of the Earls: An Heirs of Ireland Novel by Michael K. Reynolds


Lies: Ann Putnam Jr.’s Recounting of the Salem Witch Trials by Oliver Dahl


Railroad Redemption by Wynette I. Mellen


Soldier of Rome: The Legionary (The Artorian Chronicles Book 1) by James Mace


Soldier of Rome: The Sacrovir Revolt (The Artorian Chronicles Book 2) by James Mace

SoldierofRomeThe Sacrovir Revolt

Soldier of Rome: Heir to Rebellion (The Artorian Chronicles Book 3) by James Mace

SoldierofRomeHeir to RebellionBookThree

Sons of the Sea A Tale of the Old Grimsby Fishermen by Stanley McShane


The Dark Lady by Dawn Chandler


The Last Confederate Battle by John J Cline


The Woman Who Heard Color by Kelly Jones


Historical nonfiction:

American Indian Tribes of Idaho by Robert D. Bolen


Blackfeet Raiders Nomads of the North by Robert Bolen


Smoke Signals & Wagon Tracks by Robert D. Bolen


The Horse Indians by Robert Bolen


The Lakota Sioux Indians by Robert D. Bolen


The Snake People by Robert D. Bolen


Treasure Valley’s Electric Railway by Barbara Perry Bauer & Elizabeth Jacox


War Chief Paulina by Robert D. Bolen



Drinking with Dead Women Writers by Elaine Ambrose and AK Turner


Drinking with Dead Drunks by Elaine Ambrose and AK Turner


This Little Piggy Went to the Liquor Store by AK Turner


Mommy Had a Little Flask by AK Turner


Hair of the Corn Dog by AK Turner


Gold Pans and Iron Skillets by Carol M Green


Midlife Cabernet: Life, Love & Laughter After Fifty by Elaine Ambrose


Milk Cans and Quilt Blocks by Carol M Green


Never Sniff A Gift Fish by Patrick F. McManus


The Grasshopper Trap by Patrick F. McManus


They Shoot Canoes, Don’t They? by Patrick F. McManus



Spilling Blood Bundle (Episodes 1-4 of the Vampire Horror Thriller) (Spilling Blood Season) by G.S. Wright


Spilling Blood (Episode 5) by G.S. Wright



18 Stepping Stones to Transforming Grief: Find the Courage to Transform Any Tragedy by Laurie and Biff Boggs


Best Friend Worst Enemy: Overcoming Self-Sabotage in Your Life by Jane Freund


Codependency: The “Normie” User Guide – How the Non-Addict learns to Love the Addict when Love Hurts by Rochelle Cunningham


Free My Heart of Grief to Love by Sandra Moore Bernsen


Life Transitions by Carl Lovell


Med Free Bipolar by Aspen L Morrow


Menopause Sucks: What to Do When Hot Flashes and Hormones Make You and Everyone Else Miserable by Joanne Kimes & Elaine Abrose


The Secrets Behind the Eyes by JoEllen Claypool


Watson’s Way by Joel Lund



A Realist’s Guide to Being a Pastor’s Wife by JoEllen Claypool


Broke, Hungry & Happy by Rae Ann Norell


Crash Landing Into a Field of Outhouses by Rochelle Cunningham and Kenneth A. Bauer


Crystal Clean: A Mother’s Struggle With Meth Addiction and Recovery by Kimberly Wollenburg


Eggshells and Elephants – My Cancer Journey Thus Far by Jane Freund


Hitting Fear Head On by Laurie and Biff Boggs


Into the Horizon: A Lifelong Obsession with Motorcycles by Lance Gines


Life is a Circus Run By a Platypus by Allison Hawn


On the Dark Side of the Moon: A Journey to Recovery by Mike Medberry


Sherman by Elaine Sturm


Soul Sale: A Rude Awakening by Americus Dotter


Throwing the Bones by Jeannine Antoniou


Traplines: Coming Home to Sawtooth Valley by John Rember


Walked Away 1: From Mormon Truth to Real Grace by R.L. Fogg


Middle Grade:

Mysteries in Our National Parks: Deadly Waters: A Mystery in Everglades National Park by Gloria Skurzynski


Mysteries in Our National Parks: Over the Edge: A Mystery in Grand Canyon National Park by Gloria Skurzynski


Mysteries in Our National Parks: The Hunted: A Mystery in Glacier National Park by Gloria Skurzynski


A Million Ways Home by Dianna Dorisi Winget


A Sliver of Sun by Dianna Dorisi Winget


A Smidgen of Sky by Dianna Dorisi Winget


Prisoner 88 by Leah Pileggi


The Dreamers: A Story of Sam Kullen by Oliver Dahl


The Nightmarers: Another Story of Sam Kullen (The Dreamers) by Oliver Dahl



A Darkly Hidden Truth (The Monastery Murders) by Donna Fletcher Crow


A Very Private Grave (The Monastery Murders) by Donna Fletcher Crow


An Unholy Communion (The Monastery Murders) by Donna Fletcher Crow


BREAKING STEELE: A Sarah Steele Legal Thriller (Sarah Steele series Book 1) by Aaron Patterson


TWISTING STEELE: A Sarah Steele Legal Thriller (Sarah Steele series Book 2) by Aaron Patterson


MELTING STEELE: A Sarah Steele Legal Thriller (Sarah Steele series Book 3) by Aaron Patterson


Confession: Samuel Elijah Johnson Series by Troy Lambert


Death by Autopsy: A Toni Day Mystery by Jane Bennett Munro


Grievous Bodily Harm: A Toni Day Mystery by Jane Bennett Munro


Too Much Blood: A Toni Day Mystery by Jane Bennett Munro


Murder Under the Microscope by Jane Bennett Munro


Dreams, Ghosts and Tractors by Jeanette S. Andersen


If Cooks Could Kill: An Angie Amalfi Mystery by Joanne Pence


Two Cooks A-Killing: An Angie Amalfi Mystery by Joanne Pence


Red Hot Murder: An Angie Amalfi Mystery by Joanne Pence


Courting Disaster: An Angie Amalfi Mystery by Joanne Pence


Bell, Cook, and Candle: An Angie Amalfi Mystery by Joanne Pence


Into the Darkness: A Ridge Falls Story by Marlie Harris and Troy Lambert


Lost and Found in Prague by Kelly Jones


Mustard’s Last Stand by Kathy McIntosh


Notorious (The Nate Richards Mystery Series Book 1) by Ray Ellis


Dead List (The Nate Richards Mystery Series Book 2) by Ray Ellis


One O’Clock Hustle: A Rebecca Mayfield Mystery (Rebecca Mayfield Mysteries Book 1) by Joanne Pence


Two O’Clock Heist: A Rebecca Mayfield Mystery (The Rebecca Mayfield Mysteries Book 2)


Redemption by Troy Lambert


Shadow of Reality (An Elizabeth and Richard Mystery Book 1) by Donna Fletcher Crow


A Midsummer Eve’s Nightmare (An Elizabeth and Richard Mystery Book 2) by Donna Fletcher Crow


A Jane Austen Encounter (An Elizabeth and Richard Mystery Book 3) by Donna Fletcher Crow


Stray Ally by Troy Lambert


Temptation by Troy Lambert


The Lost Madonna by Kelly Jones


Who R U Really? by Margo Kelly



100+ Tips for Overcoming Self-Sabotage in YOUR Life! – A Freundship Tips Book by Jane Freund


Ahead of the Flaming Front: A Life on Fire by Jerry Mathes 


 Amor and Exile: True Stories of Love Across America’s Borders by Nathaniel Hoffman


Be Your Own Hero: Senior Living Decisions Simplified by Catherine L. Owens


Bound for the Backcountry by Richard H Holm


Discovery The Common Sense Weight Solution by Jacklyn Shue Brown


Fever and Guts: A Symphony by Jerry Mathes


Fractured: America’s Broken Health Care System and What We Must Do to Heal It by Ted Epperly MD


From the Ganges to the Snake River by Debu Majumdar


Hanged – A History of Idaho’s Executions by Kathy Deinhardt Hill


Idaho Beer: From Grain to Glass in the Gem State (American Palate) by Steven J. Koonce


Idaho Wine Country by Alan Minskoff


Making Livable Places: Transportation, Preservation and the Limits of Growth by Todd Shallat


The Blue Doorknob: The Artistic Life of Cornelia Hart Farrer by Rita Branham Rodriguez


The Crucial Voice of the People, Past and Present: Education’s Missing Ingredient by Victoria M. Young


The Editor’s Eye: A Practical Guide to Transforming Your Book from Good to Great by Stacy Ennis


Spirits of the Salmon River by Kathy Deinhardt Hill


Stalked by a Mountain Lion: Fear, Fact, And The Uncertain Future Of Cougars In America by Jo Deurbrouck


With Our Good Will by Doug Copsey


Write Well Publish Right by Lucinda Moebius



Strange: Unexplained Tales from Idaho and Beyond by Catmarie Wilson



Idaho Impressions by Mark Lisk


Idaho: Portrait of a State by Mark Lisk



A Batch of Pancakes: Poems Prose and Wisdoms by Thomas Logan


American Amnesiac by Diane Raptosh


Anatomy of Melancholy and Other Poems by Robert Wrigley


Earthly Meditations: New and Selected Poems by Robert Wrigley


The Journal West by Jerry Mathes


Stranger in Town: New & Selected Poems by Ron McFarland


Through the Trees: The poetic end to a toxic relationship by Nina C. Palmer


Religious Non-Fiction:

A Woman of Substance by Sheila Eismann


Dear God, He’s Home by Janet Thompson


Dear God, They Say It’s Cancer by Janet Thompson


Dear God, Why Can’t I Have a Baby by Janet Thompson


Freedom Is Your Destiny by Daniel Eismann


It’s a God Thing by Larry Baker with Becky Lyles


Praying For Your Prodigal Daughter: Hope, Help and Encouragement for Hurting Parents by Janet Thompson


The Fine Art of Female Friendships by Jane Freund


The Ultimate Survival Guide For Youth Ministers: Maintaining Boundaries in Youth Ministry by Joel Lund


On a Wing and a Prayer by Becky Lyles


Stirrings of the Spirit by Sheila Eismann



A Place to Land by Mary Vine


Maya’s Gold by Mary Vine



Apocalypse Witch by G.S. Wright


Young Adult:

Boundless (Unearthly) by Cynthia Hand


City of a Thousand Dolls by Miriam Forster


Fan Art by Sarah Tregay


Gift of the Phoenix by Donna Cook


Inherit Midnight by Kate Kae Myers


Love and Leftovers by Sarah Tregay


Of Pirates and Werewolves (Book 1) by Isaiah Silkwood


Temple of Kahrnahrgx by Joel Lund


The Boy Who Returned from the Sea by Clay Morgan


The Boy Who Spoke Dog by Clay Morgan


The Kissing List: Stories by Stephanie Reents


The Last Time We Say Goodbye by Cynthia Hand


The Vanishing Game by Kate Kae Myers


Unearthly by Cynthia Hand



Charlie Blue Gets Attacked

Two weeks ago, our sweet Charlie Blue was attacked. It was a scary experience, but we are thankful that she is healthy, happy, and just as sweet as she’s always been.

Owyheestar Weimaraner's News

IMG_20131116_144151Two weeks ago the unimaginable happened. Something happened that that we never thought about, and certainly never worried about. Two weeks ago, our sweet Charlie Blue was attacked by an off leash dog.

My husband, Ian, took Charlie for a walk in the evening on the Greenbelt, which is a path that runs along the Boise River. He took her to one of our favorite spots by the river—a spot that we often fish at with our two young children. A jogger came to this spot with her off leash dog. Charlie was on leash. Ian said it happened so fast, and before he knew it the other dog was on Charlie’s back. Charlie didn’t fight back. Ian had to kick the other dog to get it off of her.

It was dark by the time Ian and Charlie returned home. We didn’t realize how serious her injuries were until…

View original post 234 more words


We have a ninja, a kangaroo, and a Weimaraner puppy


Thinking of a picture book idea every day during November for PiBoIdMo has been a piece of cake so far, but it’s only November 4th and I know the challenge will become more difficult.

My six-year old son is a purple belt in taekwondo and my two-year old daughter loves to hop around pretending she’s a kangaroo. After watching Mason show off his moves and Sophie hop around the house, my friend Robin told me, “Your kids are great. One’s a ninja and the other is a kangaroo. It doesn’t get any better than that!”

I laughed and said, “That’s a great idea for a picture book!”

Mason with his medals at the City of Trees ATA tournament.

There’s never a dull moment at our house. We have a ninja, a kangaroo, and a Weimaraner puppy. I think many of my ideas during PiBoIdMo will come from the crazy stuff Charlie Blue does on a daily basis.

She howls when my son plays the harmonica. She brings back stuff to recycle almost every time we walk. She pulls the kiddos on their sled in the winter. She rolls in smelly stuff. She jumps in the back of the bike trailer when she gets tired. She swims in the river, but she’s afraid of sprinklers. She’s a furniture hog. And the queen of stealing hats . . .


Ian and Charlie fighting over the chair.


One of my favorite Charlie moments happened when my daughter was crying hysterically on my lap. Charlie (the biggest food thief in the world) gently carried a graham cracker in her mouth over to Sophie and pushed the cracker up to Sophie’s hand with her nose. My husband, Ian, and I sat dumbfounded for several seconds. Did that really just happen? Wow!

Charlie is my quiet companion on our daily walks. I often come up with my best writing ideas when I take her to the river near our house.

Charlie retrieving the Ninkasi frisbee.
Charlie retrieving the Ninkasi frisbee.

We find cool stuff together like Idaho rock art.


And for being a big spazzy puppy, she sure is sweet and gentle with Sophie.


I can’t wait to see what kind of mischief Charlie gets into this month. She might come home smelly with a dirty diaper or a dead squirrel in her mouth (yes, this has happened), but who knows  . . . she might do something that leads to another PiBoIdMo idea in my notebook!


A Taste of the Holidays

A Taste of the Holidays


I am excited AJ’s Children’s Books will have a table at A Taste of the Holidays this Thursday. There will be food from local vendors, wine tasting, coffee tasting, and Christmas caroling. There’s something for everyone!

Come out and enjoy a night of free food and drink tastings, entertainment, holiday shopping, and find out how you can support your local businesses! There will be live entertainment, and a raffle full of great prizes! Bring or buy your Christmas gifts and get them wrapped for a donation to help the Cotton Tree School in Belize.

Join us in support of a family who will be placed in a new home in December by CATCH Meridian – take a tag and donate an item to a family who will be placed in home in time for Christmas.

When: Thursday, December 12th, 2013
5:00 – 9:00 pm

Where: Courtyard by Marriott
1789 S Eagle Rd.
Meridian, ID 83642

Cost: FREE! … See you there!

Book Signing

Local Author Signing at Hyde Park Books


THIS SATURDAY! Idaho authors will be signing books at Hyde Park Books from 10-3. There are many subjects and genres to choose from by all sorts of folks! Come meet local authors who will sign their books for you AND you can support the local economy! There will also be light refreshments, including Mediterranean Hummus from Jill Skeem’s book Comfort Food Gets a Vegan Makeover.

Authors who will be present are as follows:

10 AM to Noon

*Cherie Buckner-Webb
*Jane Freund
*Janice Hildreth
*AJ Irving
*Joel Lund
*Jill Skeem
*Jeannine Smith

1 PM to 3 PM

*Americus Dottier
*Merri Halma
*Laurie Kuntz
*L.D. Webb

Books by other local authors will be available. SO COME ON DOWN to meet local authors and enjoy Mediterranean Hummus!

Idaho Authors' Community

I am the featured IAC author today!

1450759_10202122792332341_1353197706_nIdaho Authors' Community Logo

AJ received a B.A. in Journalism and Women’s and Gender Studies from the University of Oregon. Her first children’s picture book, Mama’s Purse, has won local and national awards. She lives in Boise, Idaho with her husband, two children, and a Weimaraner named Charlie Blue.

Why buy books from the Idaho Authors’ Community?
– Get books PERSONALLY autographed by the author
– Choose from nearly 200 books from a wide variety of subjects and genres
– Support the local and domestic economies

Check out the wide variety of work from authors across Idaho. Think of this as your online bookstore and peruse the various sections. Come back frequently as we will be adding more books on a regular basis!

Idaho Library Association Authors' Reception

Idaho Library Association Authors’ Reception

IMAG5392-1-1 The Idaho Library Association Authors’ Reception was one of my favorite events this year. I met librarians from all over the Gem state. I even met one librarian from Athens, Georgia!

I think libraries are so important, especially for children. It is important to me that my book is available for kiddos to check out at the library. After this event, I am happy to say that Mama’s Purse will be available at many more libraries around Idaho. I am also excited about being invited to participate in preschool storytime.

Over 40 local authors were present at this event, including many members of the Idaho Authors’ Community (IAC). I’d like to take this opportunity to introduce you to the IAC members who attended the 2013 ILA Authors’ Reception.

Sandra Moore Bernsen
Sandra Moore Bernsen grew up in a remote town in western Montana, moving to Idaho in the early 1990s. Her life experiences led her to the study of intuition and meditation, learning the Berkley Psychic Institute method of clairvoyant reading and healing. She finds sharing and counseling a source of strength. She enjoys creative pursuits, whether it be soil and seed, needle and thread or wood and nails. She loves spending time with her husband, Rick, and her dog Anna. They enjoy the new experiences, places, friends, and lifestyle that RV-ing provides. Sandra knows that life can be short and change in an instant. Enjoy each and every day! Sandra is available for speaking engagements. Her book is entitled, Free My Heart of Grief to Love.

Robb Bolen
Robert D. Bolen, owner of the business & website, Fort Boise Bead has written many books about Native Americans including Blackfeet Raiders Nomads of the North. In this book, he has written about the Blackfeet Indians who came out of Canada into Montana, along the Upper Missouri River and dominated the tribes on the northern plains and the buffalo hunting in that area. They were a fierce tribe and raided the neighboring tribes in what is now present day Idaho. Bolen has also written Smoke Signals & Wagon Tracks, American Indian Tribes of Idaho, The Horse Indians, The Lakota Sioux Indians and The Medicine Crow Indians.

Danney Clark
I am a third generation Idaho native who lived first in eastern Idaho then moved to Boise in the 1st grade. Attended and graduated from Borah High in 1965 where I met and later married my wife in 1966. I attended Boise Junior College before joining the Navy to serve aboard ship during the Vietnam War. After discharge I worked at several jobs before beginning a career in ’73 in the insurance industry. I just recently retired to write full time after forty years with the same company. My wife and I have two married daughters and two lovely college-age granddaughters also living in the valley. My passion is for Christ and my writing style is dictated by Him. My current novel is Shield of Faith, one of three written about a character named Cady Miller, takes place in 1865 during the Idaho City gold rush and the Civil War. The second book of the series, Shield of Honor, has just completed edit and will be available on Amazon as an ebook prior to printing. Book three is written and will go to my editor after she has a few minutes to recollect herself.

Marilee Donivan
Marilee Donivan taught elementary school for many years, enjoying creative teaching and the resulting “aha” moments of students in their exciting discoveries. Her teaching won national awards. She now extends her love of teaching through her illustrated books for children and adults. Marilee uses vibrant colors and mixed media as she writes for a variety of genres—children’s picture books, Christian inspirational books, and illustrated art instruction. Her intention is to inspire and instruct, with emphasis on daily enrichment, appreciation, and encouragement. Marilee has lived in beautiful Idaho since 1970 and revels in the state’s varied landscapes, which are a constant source of inspiration for her artwork. Her current home is Boise. Some of her books include Springs of Hope, Faith Refined, Beginning Watercolor Painting, and Kandu and the Magic Meadow.

Judy Ferro
Author Judy Ferro is an Idaho native, a former secondary teacher, and a retired school librarian. An avid student of the Middle Ages, she has written two coming-of-age books about girls growing up in the court of Charlemagne. The title character of Desiderata is a Bavarian hostage who loathes Charlemagne and the prince she is to marry. In her new surroundings, she explores her feelings about friendship, social classes, and war. In Agnes the daughter of Charlemagne’s head cook learns to read and write Latin but finds her dreams for the future blocked because she is a female. She is forced to choose between following her heart and serving her King. Judy is available for readings and for talks on writing and on the Middle Ages. Desiderata and Agnes are available in print from Ingram, Amazon, Barnes and Noble and as e-books through Amazon and Barnes and Noble. Two other e-books, 9 Best Poems by Judy Ferro and Two for the Show: A Play in Three Acts, are available through Amazon.

Merri Halma
Merri Halma lives in Nampa, Idaho with her husband, Kevin, fifteen year-old son, James, and two cats, Clarence and Demon Lynx. Merri is originally from Sunnyside, Washington and has been a student of life, studying different forms of spiritual practices which she uses in her fantasy worlds. Merri has been writing since she was elven or twelve. It was a means to help her express herself and an outlet for her active imagination. Her books that are out are Indigo Traveler, it is available on, kindle, from Hastings in Nampa, Idaho, The Rubaiyat in Caldwell, from the Etsy store Idaho Authors’ Community, or from her directly. She owns Dreaming Lizard Press and wants to work with people who want to publish or need assistance to finish their manuscripts. She will be working on publishing a children’s picture book entitled Pancake Breakfast Surprise, a memoir, and there will be at least three more books on Indigo Travelers, with different main characters and griffins.

Janice Hildreth
Janice Hildreth has an elementary education degree from BSU and taught school for eight years. She lives in Boise and is currently a reviewer for the “Book Addicts” column in the Idaho Statesman newspaper. She published her first book, What Would the Bible Say? For Adams Media, Boston, in 2003. She currently writes inspirational romance for women. The author of the series, A new Day, set in Idaho and Washington, about the McKinnon family. The first three of the seven-book series are available today: Sunday’s Promise, Monday’s New Beginning, and Tuesday’s Child. You can pre-order Wednesday’s Rescue (release date Dec.2013). Each book addresses a societal issue women face today. Also under the pen name B.J. Parker, she co-writes chapter books for grades 4-6. The series titled What Would Jesus Do . . . . feature four mini-detectives in Florida. Also a public speaker, she is available for speaking engagements on raising readers, self-publishing, and the art of writing.

AJ Irving
AJ Irving is a mama who loves to write picture books. In 2011, she started her own children’s book publishing company. AJ’s Children’s Books LLC released Mama’s Purse, winner of five awards, in 2012. Irving received a B.A. in Journalism and Women’s Studies from the University of Oregon. She lives in Boise, Idaho, with her husband, two children, and a Weimaraner named Charlie Blue.

Bonnie Kloster
I’m Bonnie Kloster, grandma, retired educator, and a local author. I grew up under the shadow of the Sutter Buttes, about fifty miles North of Sacramento, CA. where summers were blistering hot and where winters were synonymous with tule fog. I’ve always loved words. I used to rip open grocery bags, scribble down my thoughts, climb up a tree and “read” to clucking hens, skittering cats or my faithful dog. Majoring in English, I graduated from Sacramento State with a lifetime teaching credential. I taught kindergarten-second grade for over thirty-four years in two large school districts at opposite ends of the state, Elk Grove U.S.D. and Ontario-Montclair U.S.D. Promoting literacy and the love of reading are passions of mine. RUFUS & FRIENDS, Books 1&2 are E-Z to read concept books, appropriate for ages 2-7. Books are designed to be read to the child (read-aloud), with the child (guided reading), and finally the child reads them by himself (independent reading). Illustrations enhance the text and promote critical thinking. RUFUS & FRIENDS deals with concepts taught in preschool and kindergarten, colors, days of the week, time to the hour and position words (prepositions). Books also promote friendship and good values.

Rebecca Carey Lyles
Rebecca Carey Lyles grew up in Wyoming, the setting for her Kate Neilson novels. She currently lives in Idaho, where she serves as an editor and mentor for aspiring authors and as a coach for women transitioning from prison to life on “the outside.” Winds of Freedom is the sequel to the award-winning first book in the Kate Neilson series, Winds of Wyoming. Her non-fiction books include It’s a God Thing! Inspiring Stories of Life-Changing Friendships and On a Wing and a Prayer: Stories from Freedom Fellowship, a Prison Ministry.

Wynette Mellen
Wynette Mellen has been married to her husband Shawn for 11 ½ years. They have three girls which includes fraternal twins. The Mellen family are active members in their church, Treasure Valley Baptist in Meridian, Idaho and are committed to schooling their girls in Wilder. Wynette has an amazing story of how God used her late grandmother to lead her into writing. Her books include Railroad Redemption, What do You See? and The Shortcut.

Lucinda Moebius
Lucinda Moebius grew up in the mountains of Idaho and Eastern Oregon. Her mother taught her to read when she was four years old and since that time books have been her constant companions. She has a Bachelors Degree in English Teaching, a Masters in Educational Leadership and is currently pursuing a Doctorate in Education. Lucinda supports her writing habit by teaching High School and College. She currently lives in Boise, Idaho with her husband, stepson and their dog and cat. Her books include Echoes of Savanna, Raven’s Song, and Write Well Publish Right.

Rae Ann Norell
Rae Ann Norell is the author of Broke Hungry & Happy, and is a retired clinical social worker, former teacher, and violinist in the Boise Philharmonic. She is a facilitator for the local chapter of The Compassionate Friends, a support group for bereaved parents. She enjoys writing, reading, traveling, motorcycle road trips, and spending time with her daughter and her three grandchildren. She lives in Boise, Idaho.

Janet Thompson
Award Winning Christian Non-Fiction Author and Speaker, Janet Thompson, is the founder of Woman to Woman Mentoring and About His Work Ministries, also known as AHW Ministries. Janet’s passion and focus is one about generation teaching and training God’s life lessons to the next generation: Sharing Life’s Experiences and God’s Faithfulness. After living in Southern California her entire life, Janet and her husband, Dave, moved to Garden Valley, Idaho, where the deer and the elk roam and they love their cozy home! Some of her books include: Woman to Woman Mentoring: How to Start, Grow, and Maintain a Mentoring Ministry DVD Leader Kit, The Team That Jesus Built: How to Develop, Equip, and Commission a Women’s Ministry Team, Face-to-Face Bible Study Series, God’s Best for Your Life First Place 4 Health Bible Study, Praying for Your Prodigal Daughter Hope, Help, & Encouragement for Hurting Parents, Dear God, They say it’s Cancer: A Companion Guide for Women on the Breast Cancer Journey, Dear God, Why Can’t I Have a Baby? A Companion Guide for Couples on the Infertility Journey, Dear God, He’s Home! A woman’s Guide to Her Stay-at-Home Man.

Linda Going Varnes
Linda Going Varnes is a college art instructor and stained glass window designer. She has collaborated with author Dottie Basye as illustrator for The Angel With Big Feet, published in English by WestBow Press and in Spanish by Lutheran Hour Ministries. Her designs have also appeared on 12 Lutheran Hour Floats in the Pasadena Tournament of Roses Parade. Her second book, The Donkey With Big Ears, was created for children with special needs. I know a Little Hebrew (and his name is David) was inspired by studying the Psalms in her grandfather’s 1912 Hebrew Bible. She is currently writing an accompanying Bible study. Each of these books are available in Nampa, Idaho at Northwest Nazarene University Bookstore, Artistblue Gallery in the Karcher Mall, the UPS Store on 12th and Greenhurst, and Hastings on the Boulevard. In Caldwell, they are sold in the TVCC Campus Bookstore, For Heaven’s Sake, Boot Hill Country Crafts, and The Rubaiyat Bookstore. On-line all three are listed on the ETSY site for the Idaho Authors’ Community. The Angel With Big Feet is also available through WestBow Press and Amazon. The Spanish version is offered at discount at

Virginia Williams (Stanley McShane)
I am the granddaughter of Patrick John Rose, who was born aboard his father’s ship, the Marguerite, off the coast of New York on January 29, 1872. Patrick claimed to have sailed for more than 30 years a professed to be a “sailor, prospector, miner, cowpoke, and oil worker.” He published one book (Bitter River Ranch in 1936 through Phoenix Press) during his lifetime using his pen name, Stanley McShane, and wrote many others as well as painted numerous illustrations for his manuscripts. In addition to local Hastings Bookstores and locations in Washington and Oregon, his books are available in print through and digital download through Kindle as well as Apple, Barnes & Noble, Nook, and most eReader applications. Posthumous publications are presented through Rose Point Publications and can be found on eBay and Etsy.

Victoria Young
Victoria M. Young is a veterinarian who practiced in Michigan and South Dakota prior to settling in Caldwell, Idaho in 1990 with her husband and two children. She juggled her career with family obligations and the desire to serve in her children’s classrooms. With that exposure, her quest began to find solutions to the problems she witnessed and experienced. Reading extensively for grant writing purposes about safe and disciplined schools as well as professional development in science education, she further expanded her pursuit of solutions and went beyond those topics to include education policy and history. Her book, Education’s Missing Ingredient: What Parents Can Tell Educators (2009), was accepted by Rowman & Littlefield Education Publishers. While continuing to advocate for the improvement of existing schools, Dr. Young stumbled upon historic evidence that the Community Education Concept was written into law in 1965 and that the original Effective Schools Research was based on Community Schools. This story for the vision of quality and equality in educational opportunity is told in the second addition of her book, now titled, The Crucial Voice of the People, Past and Present (2012).

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Please visit The Idaho Authors’ Community Etsy shop and facebook page to learn about more members of the IAC and their books.

Founded in 2012, the Idaho Authors’ Community is an organization of Idaho authors and authors-to-be working together to help connect Idaho readers and authors. The core philosophy of the Idaho Authors’ Community is that a rising tide benefits all ships. Thus, the IAC encourages authors to be committed to their own success and that of their fellow authors.

IAC · Idaho Authors' Community · Mama's Purse Book Tour

Letter from AJ


Last Saturday I celebrated the one year anniversary of my first book, Mama’s Purse, at the one year anniversary of the Idaho Authors’ Community. We had a canned food drive and a drawing for autographed copies of IAC books.

It has been incredible to watch the IAC grow. I am thankful for all that I have learned and I take pride in being able to help new members. I look forward to another year of writing, traveling around Idaho, and meeting new faces.

Read today and every day to come because reading is so much fun!

Best wishes,


IAC · Idaho Authors' Community

IAC One Year Anniversary!


By the time of this celebration, the Idaho Authors’ Community will have held nearly 30 book signings across the state in this, our first year. Even more will be occurring in 2013 but we want to take some time to invite you to come help us CELEBRATE! Come meet all sorts of Idaho authors and see what books we have available. WHEN YOU COME, WE ASK THAT YOU BRING SOME NON-PERISHABLE FOOD TO GIVE TO THOSE IN NEED!

The Idaho Authors’ Community is a statewide organization of 60+ authors and authors-to-be committed to our own success as well as the success of other authors. With over 100 books written by IAC members, readers who attend this event will have a wide variety of books from which to choose. The books also come from a wide variety of genres including fiction, nonfiction, children’s, historical, outdoor, Idaho, memoir, poetry, romance, and the list goes on and on. . .

In 2013, the IAC will hold book signings in all 44 Idaho counties. If you know of potential locations for IAC events or are interested in joining the IAC, contact Jane Freund or Wynette Mellen at or 208-407-7457 (Jane). You can also check out the IAC online bookstore at