I am a National Board Certified, Language Arts, middle school teacher. I am certified to teach grades 1 – 6 any subject, Language Arts, Reading, and ESOL through 12th grade.
I am an avid book reader and reviewer. "Steps to Courage" is my first book.
Where to find Sandra Stiles online
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Smashwords book reviews by Sandra Stiles
- In Leah's Wake
on July 22, 2011
The family that seems like they have it all together can be very dysfunctional. No matter what your profession, when your family is having problems, everyone in the family is affected. Leah was the member of the family who seemed to have everything. That is until she met her boyfriend. Instead of pulling him up to her standards, she lowered her own. She started drinking, smoking and doing drugs. Then she is kicked off of the soccer team. Leah makes one bad decision after another. She blames everyone around her instead of taking responsibility for her mistakes. You’d think Leah’s mom would have seen the signs since she was a family counselor. Unfortunately, she was too close to the problem.
I also think Leah was trying to please everyone. She didn’t want to disappoint anyone when it came to her playing soccer. Her parents were so excited for her. It became their dream for her to become a soccer star and not necessarily her dream. Those we think should have seen trouble heading their way often turn a blind eye to the problems. Another problem with a rebellious teen is that younger sibling might be tempted to follow in their steps. This is what happened to Justine. She wanted to fix things and help her sister and her mother. Instead she started down the same path. I think all parents should read this book before they ever have children. Parents can’t use the excuse that they have raised their children in the church or sent them to a private Christian school so they won’t rebel. I am here to tell you that under the right circumstances even those children can take a wrong turn. This was an excellent book, especially since it was her first. I do believe we will see more from this author in the future.
- Molly Gumnut Rescues a Bandicoot
on Dec. 25, 2011
Molly is one of those kids who loves animals. A class project, where she has to take a picture of a native animal is the beginning to this wonderful story. When she sees the neighbor’s cat attack a bandicoot, Molly jumps in to save him. She is not supposed to have the bandicoot as they are an endangered animal. She begs her dad to let her keep him. She even names him Furble. Dad takes the animal to her grandmother’s house because she is one of a few people allowed to nurse the animal back to health as a wildlife rescue officer. Molly is not very happy when her grandmother tells her that they will release the animal back where he was found when he is healthy. It is here where she decides that she will have to take matters into her own hands. Molly is allowed to help her grandmother, but almost blows it by trying to get a picture of it for her school project. She is constantly getting herself in trouble trying to do the right thing. For example she goes to talk to the neighbor whose cat injured Furble and comes across as rude and almost loses her opportunity to help her grandmother. It doesn’t help that she has a snotty little classmate named Gretchen who tries her hardest to see that Molly is always in trouble. This was a wonderful book that shows kids that they need to stand up for what they believe in, but at the same time there is a right and wrong way to do it. Both boys and girls will enjoy this book. Molly’s antics will keep the reader rolling.
- Velvet Ball and The Broken fairy
on Dec. 25, 2011
I have never read a book where the author addressed the issue of alopecia, or hair loss in kids. I don’t even think most kids know what it is. In this story we are introduced to a young girl named Velvet Ball. She has a disease that caused her to lose all of her hair. Her parents move her to the country to try to improve her health in the hopes her hair will grow back. The kids at her new school don’t want to be her friend. They bully her around and call her names. One day on her way home she finds a fairy hanging from a tree. The fairy promises to grant her a wish if Velvet will help her. Velvet has no idea how much trouble Roseberry is going to cause her. I see several common things running through several of Patricia’s books. She always has her characters rescuing something or someone. There is usually a bully that the man character must deal with, in this case the kids at school plus the fairy with an attitude. She also always teaches a lesson. It is one that is not thrown into a kids face, yet one that they learn along the way. This book has so much to offer. It would be great for discussions about accepting differences. I laughed at the fairy’s antics, before she learns she isn’t a fairy. The ending had a surprising twist I didn’t see coming but I hope it leads to another book.
- Star-Crossed Rascals
on Dec. 25, 2011
This was a wonderful adventure story. Polly and Gertie are best friends. When Polly’s parents leave her Aunt in charge of her for a week, things get really hairy. Polly can’t seem to do anything right. Everything she attempts to do ends in catastrophe. It all starts with a gumball that she and her best friend make. This is the first thing that gets her on her aunt’s bad side. When she tries to hide her dinner of Liver and Spaghetti, can you say yuck, she gets in more trouble. Trying to fix her mistakes only makes things worse. Her aunt has no patience for kids and this adds to the humor. I rooted for Polly and Gertie all the way through the book. The writing style of this book reminded me of Roald Dahl. I think kids who liked “George’s Marvelous Medicine” by Roald Dahl will love this book. It has the cranky relative that you love to hate. The antics in the book are hilarious and of course you find the parents have a tendency to overlook the mischief that Polly and Gertie get into. I highly recommend this book to my students and to parents everywhere.
- Sweetie Goes to Bed
on May 16, 2012
This is a simple bedtime story to read to your tiny ones. Sweetie is a young penguin whose loving parents put him to bed. When they fall asleep Sweetie gets up and begins to explore. He meets a friend named Bobo and runs into danger. He learns a valuable lesson about obeying his parents. This would be a great story to read to your child after you have tucked them into bed. Great pictures.
- Faith & The Blindfold
on April 28, 2015
This was a unique way to teach about faith. It was also a unique way to get people to study and memorize scripture. The symbolism in this book was fabulous. The book is set up so you can click on the scripture and read it right then and there or you can read it all before or after reading the story. I myself clicked on it as I read. Then I went back and reread the story. This is a different way to get people into the scriptures. For family devotions or youth groups, there is a script so that they can actually put on this skit.
I received a copy to facilitate my review. The opinions expressed here are my own.
- Avra's God
on April 28, 2015
Author Ann Miller has created a story that could be happening to you and your friends. Avra has a very close walk with God. This doesn’t mean she isn’t vulnerable. It means she has to rely on her to keep her on the right path. She especially needs his help when she finds herself attracted to Cisco. Cisco has some major issues. He is attracted to Avra. He wants what she has, yet like so many it is easier to live the life he has. Those quick fixes like drugs and sex make it easy to make excuses. Then we meet Jessie and Kallie. Kallie doesn’t trust men because her father ran out one them. If she can take control of the situation then she won’t get hurt. That’s what she tells herself. Jessie is a preacher’s kid. He is in a band and loves the attention he gets from all of the girls. I could relate to so many of these characters. I was raised in a very strict Christian home. When the doors of the church were open we were there. When I rebelled I made sure my mom knew what I was doing. I wanted to show her I could be bad, yet God constantly pulled me back to him.
I believe anyone and everyone who reads this book will see themselves in one of the characters. That is hard to admit because it means we look back at a part of our past that we may not be proud of. At the same time it means we look back at the way God directed our past.
Like Avra, we want our faith to lead our friends to, or closer to a walk with God. This is one of the best books I have read this year and I am glad to recommend it to others.