Code Name Nanette by M. E. Dawson is a novel that fulfills the adage that fiction reveals truth in a way that is unavailable in mere facts. The storyCode Name Nanette by M. E. Dawson is a novel that fulfills the adage that fiction reveals truth in a way that is unavailable in mere facts. The story occurs against the backdrop of World War II and depicts in vivid detail, not the bloody battles, but the more intimate conflict of one-on-one encounters that confronted the brave women who operated as spies. Using all of their skills—including their sexuality, at great personal risk, they cobble together important intelligence that was pivotal to the allied victory. Code Name Nanette provides some insight into the personal cost of that intelligence gathering. The reader experiences Nanette and Regina not as cold, calculating automatons but as living, breathing, loving—and lusting—human beings. In the shadow of the moment-to-moment risk of death or capture, they come to live at an intensity that equals and then overcomes any fears they harbor. While they struggle to fight for their values and the defeat of the Axis powers, they encounter moral choices that have no simple answers. They inhabit a world of grey that shades to ebony. Amidst this backdrop, they live and love, fight and survive, gather and report. Heroes, certainly, for the most part, unsung, and anonymous their stories deserve to be told. M.E. Dawson’s lyrical writing captures the beauty and the horror of war, the intensity and passion with which people experienced life. Whether it is a firearm pressed to an enemy’s back, or the caress of a lover’s tongue, M.E. paints the moment in vivid prose. War makes strange bedfellows. *****FYI, includes vivid depictions of intimacy,...more
At one time, “bully for you” was a celebratory expression. Today the word bully occupies a lot of attention and exclusively conjures up a world of hurAt one time, “bully for you” was a celebratory expression. Today the word bully occupies a lot of attention and exclusively conjures up a world of hurt, rejection and fear. Families, schools, and churches, all struggle to handle this detrimental behavior. Bullying has worsened . Children accept fewer variants from a narrow definition of “acceptable” Today’s youth tighten the parameters of conformity. Violators of these rigid norms are called out, bullied and ostracized. As adoptive families, we yearn for acceptance, to be seen as “normal” and “as good as” families form through biological ties. We are especially committed to nurturing healthy, warm relationships. We are also personally aware of the effect trauma has on attachment and developing relationships. As a consequence, we practice compassion and understanding and encourage others to embrace an attitude of empathy, understanding and support for our kids. At some level, adoption makes our children and our families “different”–not “less than,” but nonetheless, different. We have a vested interest in being strong proponents of inclusion, tolerance and respect for others. Perhaps our initial motivation will emerge from concern for our children. Ultimately, we must care about all children. Everyone deserves to feel and be safe.How do we prepare our children to deal with bullying? How do we train them to choose kindness, respect and tolerance? One excellent resource is Carrie Goldman’s award-winning book, Bullied. Bullied by Carrie Goldman has been named a National Parenting Publications Awards 2013 Gold Medal Winner and a Mom’s Choice Awards 2013 Gold Medal Winner! It is a complex, well-researched book on bullying. Goldman delineates what bullying is—and isn’t. She offers many ideas and techniques on how to combat it and how to prepare kids to face it, deflect and defuse it. The research she includes buttresses her suggestions very well. These are not pie-in-the-sky suggestions, but well-documented strategies. Bullied moves beyond blaming and finger pointing to focus on improving relationship skills. As I read Bullied, I picture in my mind a huge wheel. At the core, sat the issue of bullying and then radiating from it were the many factors that emerge from this hub. Knee jerk reactions focus on disciplining the bully and on advising victims to ignore the bullying. Time has proven that these approaches are inadequate and in many ways counter-productive. While meanness may be deflected by ignoring, bullying cannot. This is because by nature bullying creates an unsafe situation, one in which the victim feels endangered, trapped and helpless. With the addition of cyber-bullying, there is no safe space to which the victim can escape from the relentless cruelty. As parents, teachers, administrators peers and anonymous bystanders we can and must do better. Goldman demonstrates that we must approach all members of the bullying triad: the bully, the bullied and the bystanders. Each needs additional skills. Change comes through awareness and it is easiest to create the empathy and necessary skill sets when kids are young, when empathy is still an instinct that hasn’t been crushed by outside influences. Goldman proposes age-appropriate approaches that reflect kids changing attitudes, motivations, fears and concerns. Additionally, Goldman calls on adults to examine their own behaviors, conversations and entertainment choices to identify the kind of values that those choices teach. Use respectful parenting styles that teach (the essence of discipline,) instead of simply punish. The toll that bullying takes on a person has life-long impact. Some victims will take their own lives (commit bullycide,) others will be permanently damaged by the memory, the crushing, relentless and enduring hit at self-esteem. They will shoulder a life-long and cruel burden of both the active bullyers as well as the silent bystanders whose very silence was interpreted as affirmation that the bullying was merited. A very tragic legacy indeed. This book offers so much. My bottom line assessment: bullying is a problem in which each and every one of us must be part of the solutions. Each of us contributes to the atmosphere that allows bullying to thrive in our schools and our culture. Unless we are part of the solution, we are part of the problem—even if only peripherally. I highly recommend this book to parents, teachers. Check out Carrie Goldman’s excellent website: Portrait of an adoption --Gayle H. Swift, author, "ABC, Adoption & Me...more
As an adoptive parent and now as an adoption coach, I search for books that support adopted children and help them learn how adoption influences theirAs an adoptive parent and now as an adoption coach, I search for books that support adopted children and help them learn how adoption influences their lives. Many books have been written on the subject. How does a family identify the best books-- especially those that address adoption from the child's point of view.
Mary Grossnickle's sweet story, "A Place in My Heart, is one great example of a story that validates the adopted child's point of view. Charlie--a chipmunk adopted into a family of squirrels wrestles with the differences in their appearance. Adoptees commonly feel like they don't quite fit so they will easily identify with Charlie's struggle. He's an endearing character, full of mischief and curiosity. His mother recognizes the stress factors that challenge Charlie and she responds in a supportive and adoption-attuned manner. Parents also can identify with Charlie's desire to be reassured that he holds a special spot in the hearts of those he loves. We all share this need for connection. This is especially true for adopted children which is why kids will respond to Charlie's situation.
Mommy overtly acknowledges and encourages his thoughts and feelings for his birth parents. This helps helps Charlie to work through them. Charlie learns that he doesn't need to hide or deny his feelings. Charlie doesn't have to choose one over the other; he doesn't have to worry about being disloyal or hurtful to his adoptive parents. Their hearts are large enough to hold all of the people Charlie loves and all of the people who love Charlie. Mom designs a craft project so Charlie can own the important people in his life and place them in his heart. Together they realize that there is always room for loving relationships....more
Friedman and Roth have created a charming story that spotlights Cassidy's preparations for her turn to be Star of the Week. The illustrations and textFriedman and Roth have created a charming story that spotlights Cassidy's preparations for her turn to be Star of the Week. The illustrations and text capture her excitement and the many activities she completes to ready herself for her turn in the spotlight. Because Cassidy was adopted from China , she has extra facts to share that set her apart from her classmates. Friedman handles Cassidy's concerns well, in a way that reveals her struggles yet depicts her as confident and capable. The story will appeal to all kids who have a chance to be Star of the Day (or something similar.) It will resonate especially well with children who were adopted--whether it was international, from foster care or by private placement....more
Glorious illustrations make this a pleasure to view. I am troubles by the idea that the baby was simply set adrift and then floated across the world uGlorious illustrations make this a pleasure to view. I am troubles by the idea that the baby was simply set adrift and then floated across the world until the adoptive parents discover her hidden in the grasses....more
This book is the real deal. Grace, courage and wisdom are rare commodities. Yet, Taylor Black embodies them all--PLUS a charming bit of spunk and miscThis book is the real deal. Grace, courage and wisdom are rare commodities. Yet, Taylor Black embodies them all--PLUS a charming bit of spunk and mischief. Although her life was all too short, she leaves an impression that the reader will carry forever. Walk hand in hand with a gal that proves the legacy of our lives is not measured by the number of our days.Yes, the book evokes tears but it also invites the reader to ask the question, "How am I making my life count?"...more