By Guest Blogger Ellen Lloyd

Happy 2018 — a new year with new beginnings and opportunities! Many people begin the new year by making new year’s resolutions. I first learned about making resolutions when I was eight years old. A friend told me that I would have a year of bad luck if I hadn’t penned my list by the stroke of midnight. I remember working hard on my list and asking my mother to review them before I pronounced them complete. I secured the ambitious list (for my age) under a lamb figurine on my bedside table, feeling quite accomplished and ready to take on the new year. However, by the end of January, the list was a distant memory and used as a bookmark for a book I read before going to sleep.

Since it is now the end of January and many resolutions are likely distant memories, I thought I would suggest another approach that I adopted a few years ago, one that may be easier to keep.

Each year, I make a list of three simple things to add to my life. I don’t share them with anyone else and I don’t list more than three. Examples include but are in no way limited to:
– Do something unexpected for one person each day
– Once a week, send a note to someone in your life and share why you are grateful for them
– Be extra kind to someone that seems to be having a bad day
– Smile when you don’t feel like it
– Take five minutes each day to take a mental break and “just be”
– Share a positive observation with someone each day
– Spend 30 minutes doing something completely fun every day
– At the beginning or end of each day, write down one thing in a journal or other special place for which you are truly grateful

I discovered this type of resolution was easy for me to keep and made me feel happier and more accomplished. Interestingly, the fact that I kept them to myself made them all the more fulfilling. In a way, it was like sharing an anonymous gift with others, and I liked that feeling.

Whether you choose to begin your new year with or without any type of resolutions, here’s to a fantastic 2018! Without further ado, here are this month’s Book Nook picks:

Preschool — YOU by Sandra Magsamen

This is an adorable, inspiring, and empowering book that children will want to hear time and time again. It is a story of adventure, about believing in yourself and following your dreams, big dreams. The rhyming text is creatively presented on the page and the accompanying colorful illustrations bring them to life. YOU is a fabulous book that all ages will enjoy, even adults!

Early Elementary — Abraham Lincoln — Magic Tree House Books by Mary Pope Osborne and Natalie Pope Boyce

Millions of children (and adults) have loved the incredibly popular Magic Tree House books for years. Readers have enjoyed hearing about the many adventures of Jack and Annie that take them to far reaching lands. Abraham Lincoln is a Fact Tracker non-fiction title that is a companion to Magic Tree House book #47, written with Osborne’s sister, Natalie Pope Boyce. This particular title is about Abraham Lincoln, but parents are encouraged to check out all the companion books as they introduce children to additional layers of learning and hopefully instill a desire to for children to research more about the people or topics explored in Osborne’s wonderful books.

Elementary to Middle School — Short: What Matters Is How Big You Are Inside by Holly Goldberg Sloan

Readers may recognize the author as the one who penned Counting by 7’s, a New York Times bestseller. This middle-grade novel features Julia, a young girl who is short for her age, but realizes what matters most is how big she is on the inside. It is only after she is cast in The Wizard of Oz as a munchkin, alongside Olive, an adult with dwarfism, that she not only views herself as a performer, but starts to see herself from a new perspective. This story is funny, thought-provoking and tender. It is a wonderful story for this age group as they enter a period of self discovery and awareness, and meet role models that may influence and forever impact their lives.

High School — The Defiant (Valient Series) by Lesley Livingston

The Defiant is the sequel to the ancient historical fantasy book, The Valient. It is one of the top selling young adult new releases and is sure to capture the attention of all teens who love this genre. Set in the days of the Roman Empire, Fallon and her warrior sisters find themselves face-to-face with a rival gladiator academy. A quest for freedom is the motivation to do what it takes to overcome power struggles and betrayal. According to Booklist, “As with the first book, there are rousing battle scenes and plenty of action, a few romantic moments, and a strong feminist message. Give this to fans of the 2017 Wonder Woman movie and those looking for intelligent and powerful women who glory in their strength and abilities.”

Moms —Who Do You Love by Jennifer Weiner

What are the chances that two people meet when they are very young, and then continue to cross paths for the next thirty years? While not likely in real life, it does happen in Who Do You Love. Eight-year-olds Rachel and Andy meet in an emergency room waiting room. After a exchanging names and a short story, the two go their separate ways without a thought of seeing each other again. They were eight years old, after all. By chance, the two meet again and again over the next three decades, and eventually realize that the time they first met was one that changed their lives. This is a heartwarming story about who you love and how people change and change each other.

Win a book of your choice from today’s blog! 
Remember to share your thoughts and comments, and you could be selected to win a copy of one of the books, compliments of Barnes & Noble, Friendly Shopping Center, Greensboro. The staff of Triad Moms on Main will choose a random winner one week after the blog runs. (Please be sure to enter your email address when you fill out your comment so they have a way to contact you.) ____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Ellen Bryant Lloyd is the author of FRECKLES and FRECKLES and The Great Beach Rescue. Please visit and to learn more about Freckles. Ellen writes a blog about her perspectives on life and parenting at and tweets at @EllenBLloyd. She lives in Greensboro with her husband and two children.