Floating Through Summer

Hello Friends! 

I’m so glad to be writing a newsletter for you. I’m happy knowing that it is going to your email inboxes and you can click on it and see what I have to say. I know that sounds silly but I will explain in my updates why it’s such a relief.

Since it’s been a “summer break” month, I will share with you some of my photos from our family trip to North Carolina, South Carolina, and Tennessee.

We explored some of the same places my husband, Josh, grew up spending his summers. We visited the Great Smokey Mountains National Park (the most visited national park), and it was spectacular. I loved the beautiful rolling mountains covered in lush green forest. I can’t even describe the green to you it was so vibrant and alive. 

While we were there we spent an afternoon floating down a river on tubes (so cold!). That was exciting! My son wouldn’t float with me because I scared him when I yelled too loudly when we dropped over the rapids. Ha!


We attended the play about the history of the Cherokee people, who have a large presence in Oklahoma as well because of the Trail of Tears. I loved their play, and I appreciated that it showed both how unjust the forced relocation was but also how there were white men and women who opposed it, and were friends with the Cherokee.

Cherokee Dance

We hiked up a few trails and saw the Appalachian Trail.

Hiking with Family
Family in the Forest

We went up on top of a mountain with a ski lift gondola and I about had a heart attack when my son started leaning over the edge. At the amusement park on the top, we were caught in a torrential downpour. It was wild! There were no brief sprinkles, just a sudden deluge. 


We visited Ripley’s Believe It or Not with the kids. I hadn’t been to one of those since I was a kid. The strange things are still just as strange!

Ripley's Believe It Or Not

That evening we stopped and watched some elk and fireflies at the Great Smokey Mountains National Park again.

We skipped over to South Carolina to visit Congaree National Park (the least visited one). We walked on the boardwalk over the swamp and it made me think of the book I had read last month – Freewater – about the slaves escaping the plantations and living in the swamps. I also understand why it’s not as popular: it has lots of snakes and mosquitos. 


After that, we went to Charleston, SC, and had a beach day. We visited Fort Sumpter as well while we were there, then home again. It was a fun-filled four-day trip.

Fort Sumpter

Away, away,—to the mountains away,
Where the pine trees murmur and sway,
And the foamy waterfalls sing and spring
Over the boulders gray.

The hidden beauties will lure you on,
‘Till your heart from its dreaming is drawn,
And your eyes are bright with the free delight
Known to the fearless fawn.

Fear not to weary—you never can tire,
For the sunshine gives you its fire,
And your feet will follow the breeze with ease,
Higher and ever higher.

Climbing Song

Ruby Archer


My homepage got a new look! I would love your feedback. What do you think?

If you didn’t receive my free booklists, I’d love to give those to you. Download booklists here.

This download includes all nine lists: Baby and Toddler Books, Fiction Picture Books, Non-Fiction Picture Books, Early Readers, Middle Grade, Clean YA for Boys, Clean YA for Girls, Bible Books for Kids, and Charlotte’s Favorites.

I have continued work on my Kickstarter page and rewards. I have been designing some bookmarks and stickers! It’s been fun and different. I also have been getting quotes and talking to printers. I am in the process of ordering a sample book so that I can see the quality of the printer.

Here’s why I’m happy to send a newsletter:

I’ve been trying to “build my audience” on Facebook and Instagram this past month. What a nightmare! So much so that I’m about ready to quit the platforms completely.

There has been a huge objection to Meta’s new policies about using everyone’s content to train their AI, with no way to stop them. A lot of artists are quitting the platforms (good!). I understand the frustration and disgust with this, although posting anything on the internet gives the potential for it to be stolen in some form or fashion.

I also have a lot of issues with their selective censorship, the addiction of our society to the feeds, and many other aspects of the platforms. The problems are huge.

Honestly, though, the reason I want to quit is much more personal. I hate how being on those platforms messes with my emotions, my mind, and my ability to relate to other people. Since I was spending more time on them this month than normal, I have noticed it greatly. It’s disturbing my peace. It’s disrupting my real in-person relationships.

So what do we do? If something is so destructive that I do not want my children to use it, why would I use it myself?

My answer for the moment is to keep my accounts until my Kickstarter is over. I will see if they even make a difference, after the fact, but then I am going to leave them. As Daniel Tiger says, “That was fun, but now it’s done.”

If you want more social media stats:

  • From May 20th to July 1st I have grown my newsletter by 22 people. (Welcome!!)
  • I have 3 new Facebook follows.
  • I have 18 new Instagram follows.
  • I have posted 0 new videos on YouTube. My content views on my channel stayed steady.

Here’s the golden nugget! I will still be posting on my website, and on YouTube. These are both good platforms with the ability for content to be searched forever, not “Instant”.

Books Picks This Month:

Picture Book:

The Buddy Bench

The Buddy Bench

Written by Patty Brozo
Illustrated by Mike Deas

A school playground can be a solitary place for a kid without playmates; in one survey, 80 percent of 8- to 10-year-old respondents described being lonely at some point during a school day.

Patty Brozo’s cast of kids brings a playground to raucous life, and Mike Deas’s illustrations invest their games with imaginary planes to fly, dragons to tame, and elephants to ride. And these kids match their imaginations with empathy, identifying and swooping up the lonely among them.

Buddy benches are appearing in schoolyards around the country. Introduced from Germany in 2014, the concept is simple: When a child sits on the bench, it’s a signal to other kids to ask him or her to play.

My Take: This book is sweet, introducing kids to the Buddy Bench – a way to find friends who would like to play but don’t feel confident enough to invite themselves to join the games. 

I enjoyed the pictures a lot, they are whimsical and help me remember the magic of childhood and imagination play.

Middle Grade:

Just So Stories

Just So Stories

by Rudyard Kipling

How did the rude Rhinoceros get his baggy skin? How did a ‘satiably curious Elephant change the lives of his kin evermore? First told aloud to his young daughter (“O my Best Beloved”), Rudyard Kipling’s inspired answers to these and other burning questions draw from the fables he heard as a child in India and the folktales he gathered from around the world. In this sumptuous volume, Kipling’s playful, inventive tales are brought to life by eight of today’s celebrated illustrators, from Peter Sís’s elegantly graphic cetacean in “How the Whale Got His Throat” to Satoshi Kitamura’s amusingly expressive characters in “The Cat That Walked by Himself.” From one of the world’s greatest storytellers come eight classic tales just begging to be heard by a new generation.

My Take: My kids thought these short stories were entertaining and they were longer than other short stories we’ve read. These are funny folktales about how camels got humps or other similar stories of different animals. I think sometimes stories like this are lovely because there are too many facts and not enough wonder for kids these days.

A big hit during our read-aloud time. Some of these stories seemed familiar, while others I don’t think I’d heard before. These are playful, imaginative, and funny explanations for animal behavior and human behaviors too!

Graphic Novel:


Teardrop: Sad Stories In The Rain

by Mario Cau 

Teardrop is a collection of short stories and illustrations that share two things in common: the rain and the relationships we navigate under it. Open your umbrella – or don’t: the rain falls on all of us.

My Take: I love both the artwork and the short stories in this collection. It is thought provoking and allows you to give thought to the rain that falls on all of us, in nature and emotions.


A Door in the Hedge

A Door in the Hedge and Other Stories

by Robin McKinley

The last mortal kingdom before the unmeasured sweep of Faerieland begins has at best held an uneasy truce with its unpredictable neighbor. There is nothing to show a boundary, at least on the mortal side of it; and if any ordinary human creature ever saw a faerie—or at any rate recognized one—it was never mentioned; but the existence of the boundary and of faeries beyond it is never in doubt either. 

So begins “The Stolen Princess,” the first story of this collection, about the meeting between the human princess Linadel and the faerie prince Donathor. “The Princess and the Frog” concerns Rana and her unexpected alliance with a small, green, flipper-footed denizen of a pond in the palace gardens. “The Hunting of the Hind” tells of a princess who has bewitched her beloved brother, hoping to beg some magic of cure, for her brother is dying, and the last tale is a retelling of the Twelve Dancing Princesses in which an old soldier discovers, with a little help from a lavender-eyed witch, the surprising truth about where the princesses dance their shoes to tatters every night.

My Take: A grown-up fairy tale collection, clean and full of the magical journey of fairy tales that made me love them to begin with. I especially loved the Frog Prince and the Twelve Dancing Princesses, which makes sense in this version much more than any other I have read. 

Until next time,

Charlotte J. Glaze