By Guest Blogger Ellen Bryant Lloyd

The quiet month of January is an ideal time for reflection, planning, dreaming and taking time to refresh mind, body and spirit. Take time to enjoy January’s slower pace and indulge in long afternoons by a fire or in a cozy nook with a great book, or two. Add a cup of tea or hot chocolate and you have all it takes to make an otherwise dreary day quite special.

Preschool — Love You Always (board book) by Eileen Spinelli and Illustrated by Gillian Flint 
This sweet book by well known author Eileen Spinelli is called “a love poem to a child from all the people whose love surrounds him or her.” For added reading fun, there is an added “flip” feature midway through the book that is sure to delight readers. The endearing artwork and heartfelt language will make this a well-loved title in home libraries.

Pre-K to Early Elementary — She’s Got This by Laurie Hernandezand illustrated by Nina Mata
This book will inspire children and adults alike! When young Zoe sees a gymnast performing on TV, she realizes that gymnastics is much like flying, and Zoe has always dreamed of flying. She decides right then that she wants to become a gymnast. Zoe starts taking gymnastics and quickly realizes that it is much harder than she thought. But, Zoe perseveres and learns many lessons on her path to becoming a gold medal-winning Olympic gymnast. This true story will remind everyone the importance of never giving up on your dreams and to always believe in yourself.

Older Elementary/Early Middle School — Winterhouse by Ben Guterson
This novel is the first of a mystery trilogy set in a magical hotel. Elizabeth Somers is an orphan who is sent away by her wicked aunt and uncle to live in the Winterhouse Hotel. The hotel, owned by an odd man named Norbridge Falls, is full of secrets, mystery, many charms and a curse. Elizabeth eventually realizes that she is the only one who can break the curse and solve the mystery. This is an exciting read by a debut novelist and sure to be enjoyed by 9-12 year olds.

Young Adult — Dear Reader by Mary O’Connell
This highly recommended book is called a modern take on Emily Bronte’s classic, Wuthering Heights. BookRiot calls it “imaginative, exhilarating, genre-bending, and one of the best YA novels of the year.” The book features Flannery Fields, a seventeen-year-old who attends Sacred Heart High School among many mean girls. Her favorite teacher is Miss Sweeney who teaches Flannery’s AP English class. Flannery realizes something is amiss when her teacher doesn’t show up to teach Flannery’s favorite book, Wuthering Heights. Flannery realizes her teacher left her copy of the book behind, which ends up being a gift and clue for finding Miss Sweeney as the book is transformed into Miss Sweeney’s real-time diary. On a quest to find her teacher, Flannery ventures to Manhattan, meets a new, English friend named Heath, and great adventure ensues. Interestingly, Flannery begins to wonder if her new friend Heath is actually Heathcliff (her ultimate hero from Wuthering Heights) reborn in the twenty-first century.

Moms — The Nest by Cynthia D’Aprix Sweeney
Sometimes you know a book is going to be good when you hear many people talking about it. Such as the case with The Nest. This fun read is the story of the incredibly dysfunctional Plumb family and their many tales of woe, challenges, deep resentments and secrets all tied into a desperate need for money. Readers will want to know if the family members will be saved with their portion of inheritance from “The Nest” trust fund or if they will need to reimagine futures they have envisioned. This story will make readers think about family, the impact of choices and how we are either supported or disappointed by those we love.

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.

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