By Guest Blogger Ellen Lloyd

Transitioning from lazy summer days by the pool to early mornings, packing school lunches and heading to school can be a little challenging. Children will be engaging their brains more and working to balance homework with extracurricular activities while parents figure out the taxi schedule. As we all move to more structured days, the selections this month will hopefully help shift us to a mindset of thinking out of the box when solving problems and being open to thinking about life in a broader sense. Enjoy!

Preschool — It’s Time for School, Stinky Face by Lisa McCourt and Cyd Moore
This fun board book features Stinky Face playing the ever familiar “what if” game with his mom. He isn’t so sure about starting school and is worried that many things could go wrong — “What if a spaceship lands next to the jungle gym at recess?” His mom has a logical and reassuring answer for each of his sometimes imaginative fears, helping him find comfort in the big step of starting the school year. This story is a light-hearted way to encourage children to face fears head on and embrace this experience with confidence.

Early Elementary — What Do You Do With A Problem? by Yobi Yamada, illustrated by Mae Besom
Written by the same author of the New York Times bestselling What Do You Do With An Idea, this story is a creative take on how to look at a problem, face it and discover the layers of possibilities it may hold. The child in this story isn’t sure how to handle a persistent problem, but soon discovers that the longer it is avoided, the more it looms overhead. The essence of this book is to encourage all to examine challenging situations that life gives us, and be open to the possibility of learning something new about ourselves in the process. This multi award-winning book is written for younger ages, but is one enjoyed by all ages.

Late Elementary to Middle School — The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind by William Kamkwamba and Bryan Mealer
In this inspirational story, William Kamkwamba is faced with devastation in his small African village after a terrible drought. His family lost the season’s crops and found themselves with no food or source of income. Things looked bleak until William had an idea that would change everything. After perusing science books in his village library, William decided he could use scraps and junk to build a windmill to supply electricity to his home and allow them to pump water they needed to farm the land. This ingenious idea brought hope to his family and everyone around him. This book is a wonderful example of how children can truly make a difference, and a simple idea can be incredibly powerful.

High School — Where you Go is Not Who You’ll Be by Frank Bruni
The days of high school have become so different in recent years. Testing, strategic planning, hiring advisors and tutors, high expectations for school and community involvement and all the other aspects related to the college admission process can be harrowing. So many people believe that where children attend college will absolutely determine their future. The author of this book doesn’t believe that is the case. He examines this mindset and through statistics and documented stories of successful people that didn’t attend the most prestigious schools, he discovers that the college doesn’t matter as much as the efforts of students overall. This book will help assuage anxiety and give another perspective on this season of life. A great read for high schoolers and parents.

Moms — The Best Advice I Ever Got: Lessons from Extraordinary Lives by Katie Couric
In this book, well known journalist Katie Couric shares stories of inspiration from many leaders and visionaries that encountered challenges and hardships, yet remained steadfast in following passions and persevering to find happiness and success. Tom Friedman, Barbara Walters, Jay Leno, Beyonce, Dr. Oz, Kathryn Stockett, Malcolm Gladwell, Colin Powell, Alex Rodriguez, Condoleezza Rice and Billy Joel are but a few of the wide range of people that are highlighted in this thought provoking book. Couric even sprinkles in her own story and significant moments that helped shape her life.

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.