or Call: 661-703-2382


Take Time To Read!

The Rag Coat, written by Lauren A. Mills, was a favourite of mine to read to my classes at Thanksgiving Time. Our Canadian Thanksgiving is in a couple of weeks, with the holiday south of our border in less than a month’s time. What will Thanksgiving mean to you this year? In the time of this pandemic, we are to be reminded to look for blessings, however small.

The focus in my classroom in October was on being thankful what you had and the need to be kind to others in need. The father’s comment in the book that “People only need people, and nothing else.” is a valuable lesson indeed. As Kiwanians, we are always in need of increasing our membership to help others less fortunate than ourselves.

The young girl in the story is called Minna. Her family couldn’t afford a coat for her but her Papa kept her warm in winter with a burlap sack and her Mama’s patchwork quilt wrapped around her. Little eight- year-old Minna started school after her father’s passing but she had no coat to wear. Her neighbors contributed scraps from their family remnants to make a patchwork coat, lined with the old sack her father would wrap her in. Her classmates teased her about her unusual coat but soon learned what bits of their history were apart of it.

This is a touching story, ideal for 7 to 10 years old. I made a mistake in selecting The Rag Coat one year as our club’s donation and Readaloud for our local elementary schools. One Kiwanian scolded me after volunteering in a classroom, saying that he couldn’t get through reading the story to the children without tearing up…I took that as high praise!

Happy Reading,

Julia Levine 


Author and Illustrator Ashley Spires has created a picture book about an unnamed girl and her very best friend, who happens to be a dog.

For those who are struggling during this time of Covid and feeling frustrated in your efforts to achieve your goals, this funny book for young children offers a perfect example of the rewards of perseverance and creativity. 

The protagonist has a wonderful idea. “She is going to make the most MAGNIFICENT thing! She knows just how it will look. She knows just how it will work. All she has to do is make it, and she makes things all the time. Easy-peasy!”

But making something happen isn’t easy, and the girl tries and fails, repeatedly. Eventually, she is so mad, in fact, that she quits. Her dog convinces her to return to her project with renewed enthusiasm.

The story deals honestly with the feelings expressed, while at the same time reassuring us that it’s okay to make mistakes. While this book is intended for youngsters, the message speaks to us all, 

Happy Reading,

Julia Levine 


This month I am recommending a book for the times, My Hero is You! It is free for all.

During the early stages of this book project, more than 1700 children, parents, caregivers and teachers from around the world shared how they were coping with the COVID-19 pandemic. The input was invaluable to script writer and illustrator Helen Patuck and the project team in making sure that the story and its messages resonated with children from different backgrounds and continents.

The book is intended primarily for children aged 6-11 years old. It is a collaboration of United Nations agencies and international agencies providing mental health support in emergency settings.

In order to reach as many children as possible, the book is widely translated. It is released as an online product and I have your links below. Many other languages are also available to be downloaded.

Here is your free download in English.

Here is your free download in Spanish.

Be Well,

Julia Levine


This month I am recommending a literacy website for elementary ages children from Kindergarten through to Grade 8. There are a number of free books available to read online or download with related activities at FreeKidsBooks.org.

The site is divided into grade categories and age recommendations. As well, there is an ESL area and books in a variety of languages. As our global e-club is dedicated to helping children with reading this free site of books will help entertain them throughout the summer months no matter where they live.

Billy Saves The Day is the sixth title in the Billy Books series. Each book addresses a unique topic—bullying, arrogant pride, jealousy, lying, stealing, lack of self-belief, understanding money, and secrets. Written to help parents, guardians and teachers deal with the issues that challenge pre-teen children; each topic is presented in a gentle way through storytelling. Setting the issues in a meaningful context helps children to understand the challenges, and to see things from a different perspective. The books act as icebreakers allowing for discussions of difficult subjects. Additionally, each title is supported by a free activity book to reinforce the learning, while having fun.

I would love to hear from those who make use of it.

Be Well,

Julia Levine

This month I am recommending The Undefeated, by Newbery Award-winning poet and author Kwame Alexander and illustrated by Kadir Nelson. The Undefeated won the 2020 Caldecott Medal, the 2020 Coretta Scott King (Illustrator) Book Award, and a 2020 Newbery Honor.

The Undefeated is a tribute to African Americans throughout American history, from the time of being captured, though slavery, the civil rights movement, and highlights achievements in sports, literature, music, politics, and other fields. A poem that forms the text celebrates those who survived as well as those who didn’t, an acknowledgement of the painful history that should not be forgotten. 

It’s a tribute to African American heroes and regular folks who faced struggles, prejudice and those who succeeded despite their hardships. From the bold pictures to the poetic words, this book is well worth reading. You can see it being read on You Tube.

From one reader to another,

Julia Levine


Each of us is struggling with stay at home orders. Children are as well. Parents and grandparents may be dealing with children that are lonely, bored or unhappy. The book I am recommending this month is 100 Things That Make Me Happy written by Amy Schwartz. It is most suitable for the young ones, ages 3 to 6 but I confess it makes me happy as well.

It is a celebration of 100 everyday things that will make you smile. The book is written in rhyming couplets from slippery floors to dinosaurs, from goldfish to a birthday wish and everything in between. Amy Schwartz creates a wonderful synergy between the art and text that is sure to please. The pages are oversized, drawing the child’s imagination into the book.

Be Well,

Julia Levine


This month’s book is Wherever you go: My love with find you by Nancy Tillman.

In honour of Valentine’s Day, this month I am going to recommend a Read Aloud for you to share with your son, daughter or grandchild. I just mailed two copies to my grandbabies in Canada.

Love is the greatest gift we have to give our children. It’s the one thing they can carry with them each and every day. If love could take shape, it might look something like these heartfelt words and images from the inimitable Nancy Tillman.

Wherever You Are is a book to share with your loved ones, no matter how near or far, no matter how young or old, they are.

Happy Valentine’s Day and sharing the love of reading!


The book I am recommending to you this month is a story based upon a true story. The Grade Twos I read this book to were eager to identify all the animals inside the front cover before I began to read the story. This book is quite timely knowing the terrible fires now roaring through Australia.

The young boy, Antonio Willie Giroux, loved to explore the woods and look for animals, but they always remained hidden away. One hot, dry summer disaster struck: a fire rushed through the forest. Everyone ran to the lake to stand knee deep in the water as they watched the fire. Slowly, animals emerged from their forest home and joined the people in the water. Miraculously, all survived but Antonio never forgot the time when he watched the distance between people and animals disappear.

Happy Reading!

Julia Levine


EOT member, Mary Jo Brubaker, spoke to the club about their 42nd Woolly Worm Festival in North Carolina. In the American Northeast, it is believed that if the woolly worm has more brown on its body than black, it will be a fair winter. If the woolly worm has more black than brown, the winter will be harsh. Who knew?

The festival is a 2 day event being held in Banner Elk. This family event is co-hosted by the Avery County Chamber of Commerce and the Kiwanis Organization of Banner Elk.They welcome more than 16,000 people to the community to make family memories and the chance to earn the prestigious honor of predicting the high country winter.

The profits from the Woolly Worm Festival support county-wide projects as well as the children of Avery County. 

Thank you Mary Jo for sharing your wonderful event with us!

As this is the month of December, I would like to share one of the best Christmas books to read to a child, The Christmas Miracle of Jonathan Toomey. The premise of the book is the clash of innocent perceptions of a young boy with the downcast spirit of a grieving widower. The ensuing confrontations are humorous and poignant.

It is a touching story that captures the beauty of the season as seen through the eyes of a young child. It is a book that highlights the transformation of a man disillusioned with everything to gradually finding the joy of life.

The realistic, beautifully drawn illustrations make it a believable tale. If there is no child to read to, I suggest you read this one to yourself. You won’t be sorry you did.

While many of us may have different traditions and celebrations, our hope is that we all find joy in this holiday season.

Merry Christmas or Happy Hanukkah to all!

Julia Levine


If you would like to support the ongoing work of our Kiwanis Eye of the Tiger Club, please click here: