My dream is to spark a national conversation

My dream is to spark a national conversation about how massive parental involvement is the key to high quality education.

My “I Brake for Moms” Column

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Exciting News!


Dear Teaching My Baby to Read followers,

I’ve waited years to write this post. Today, Publishers Marketplace announced my two book deal with Georgia McBride at Month9Books. BLANK SLATE will release in 2016 and is about an 18 year-old girl whose lack of a virtual footprint makes her so valuable that she is auctioned off to the highest bidder. The sequel will come out in 2017.

Here’s the link to my brand new author page at Month9Books:, my new Facebook page: The YA Gal, and my new homepage:

I’ve got so many people to thank that my acknowledgement page will be a mile long. But none of this would be possible without the incredible dedication of my literary agent, Liza Fleissig, of the Liza Royce Agency.

I've wanted to be an author since I was 11 years old.

I’ve wanted to be an author since I was 11 years old.

On this blog I’ve talked about the importance of empowering our kids to become resilient. This is a lesson I hope to teach my own children by example. Three blogs, five manuscripts, 100+ “I Brake for Moms” columns in The Everett Daily Herald; I’ve put in 10,000 hours of writing and my family knows what this dream has cost.


But it’s worth it.

In 2016 there will be an author box in our family library with my name on it.

I hope when 2016 comes, you’re still with me. I hope you love my book and write glowing reviews on Amazon and Goodreads. I hope you tweet about it to all your friends!

In the meantime, my mission for Teaching My Baby to Read remains unchanged. My dream is to spark a national conversation about how massive parental involvement is the key to high quality education. Resiliency will make it happen.

Thank you from the bottom of my heart for your readership.

Jennifer Bardsley



Fifth Grade Math Triangle Challenge

Here’s an especially tricky problem from 5th grade geometry. Everyone knows that the area of a triangle is 1/2 (b * h). But with this particular triangle, what qualifies as “the height” is difficult to see. At least it was for me the first time I looked at it. I don’t know–maybe you’ll look at this … Continue reading

“Muse” by Erin Mcfadden

“Clean” YA can be hard to come by so I was especially excited to read  Muse (Descended From Myth Book 1), by debut author Erin McFadden. Anna is unaware that she is a Talent, capable of impressing her will upon other people and inspiring them to greatness, until a Guardian named Daniel explains her powers. As … Continue reading

“Just Sayin’: Write ‘Em, Draw ‘Em, Hide ‘Em in Your Heart” Review

Just Sayin’: Write ‘Em, Draw ‘Em, Hide ‘Em in Your Heart by Carol McAdams Moore is a 90 day devotional for modern girls. The format is simple; for each entry there’s a Bible verse and one or two opportunities to respond through doodles, artwork or writing. A plus for me as a United Methodist is there is very little editorializing of the verses. This book doesn’t push one particular religious dogma down kids’ throats.

I was however, a little bid disappointed in some of the verses Moore chose to include. Some of them seemed taken out of context. Do I really need to explain the woman at the well to my young daughter? I don’t know; that’s probably a personal parenting choice. But still, nothing was too “out there” for my five-year-old.

I realize that my daughter is probably younger than the target audience for this book, but she LOVES it. She is very committed to finishing every last page. Part of her enthusiasm comes from watching her brother get Moore’s devotional for boys, Dare U 2 Open This Book: Draw It, Write It, Dare 2 Live It, first.

All in all, I’m impressed with both books. You can find my review for Dare U 2 Open This Book: Draw It, Write It, Dare 2 Live It here.

P.S. I received a free copy of both books from BookLook in exchange for my honest opinion and review.

I review for BookSneeze®




Emergent Writing

“My kid writes upside down and backward!” Should you freak out? Answer: Is your child mid third grade or older? Then yes, be concerned and look into it. Younger than third grade? Don’t sweat it. My daughter is a classic emergent writer. All of the pictures in this blog post come from the past two weeks. I didn’t help … Continue reading

What we do Afterschool

In our state, half-day Kindergarten is only 2 hours and 4 minutes long. That’s why Afterschooling is so important for my daughter. Here’s a brief look at what we’ve been up to these past couple of weeks.                         We’ve been so busy, I haven’t … Continue reading

“Call Me Grim” by Elizabeth Holloway

Call Me Grim by Elizabeth Holloway is the perfect book for a misty October night. Libi should be dead right now, except for creepy-stalker-guy Aaron saved her moments before a truck would have ended her teenage life. The catch is that Aaron is a local Grim Reaper and he wants Libi to take over his job. As … Continue reading

Q and A with Darlene Beck Jacobson, author of “Wheels of Change”

Do you love a great historical fiction book for kids as much as I do? Then check out my previous review of Wheels of Change by Darlene Beck Jacobson. Today I’m excited to share a bit more about this fabulous new book. Darlene graciously accepted my offer to interview her! Wheels of Change Jenny: Was your protagonist … Continue reading

Dare U 2 Open This Book

Dare U 2 Open This Book: Draw It, Write It, Dare 2 Live It is a 90 day religious devotional for boys by Carol McAdams Moore. It’s extremely visual-spatial and only a little bit verbal. By this I mean Moore asks kids to draw pictures, doodle and mess around with crayons and pencils in order to journal their thoughts, instead of write a bunch of paragraphs. I think this format works great. We should give boys the opportunity to do visual-spatial activities as much as possible.

Dare U 2 Open This Book: Draw It, Write It, Dare 2 Live It is a devotional, so it’s heavy on religion. Each section starts with a Bible verse and then asks boys to think about it. But unlike so many other religious books for kids, Moore doesn’t tell boys how to think. She doesn’t cram a particular dogma down kids’ throats. I appreciate that tremendously.

Now for the harshest critic of all. I gave this book to my nine-year-old son and he thought it was pretty cool. I asked him if it was something that he thought he would use and he said “Not right now, but if it’s laying around the house I’ll eventually read it.”

Good enough for me.

P.S. I received a free copy of this book from Book Look in exchange for my honest opinions and review.

I review for BookSneeze®


“Survival Colony 9″ Makes Boys Want to Read

In a post-apocalyptic world turned to dust, Querry Genn’s amnesia is either his greatest strength–or his downfall–depending on whom you ask. That’s the premise between Joshua David Bellin’s brilliant debut novel, Survival Colony 9. I was so excited to read this book that I preordered it from Amazon. Survival Colony 9 was everything I hoped it would be. … Continue reading

Falling in love with picture books, all over again

The most gorgeous book arrived in the mail today called Noah: A Wordless Picture Book. Beautiful doesn’t even begin to describe it. The artist,  Mark Ludy, raised a $36,000 Kickstarter campaign to get this book published. That shows you: 1) how darn expensive it is to publish a book these days, and 2) how much … Continue reading

Afterschooling at the beach

Half-day Kindergarten is only 2 hours and 40 minutes in Washington State. So every day after Kindergarten my daughter and I do “Mom School”. (Check out my full plan here.) On Tuesday we took Mom School to the beach.       One of the great things about sand is that it works on fine motor skills as … Continue reading

The Berenstain Bears Blessed are the Peacemakers

The Berenstain Bears Blessed are the Peacemakers by Mike Berenstain is a mash-up of Brother and Sister Bear, Romeo and Juliet and the Beatitudes. The story hangs together okay, but not in a very engaging way.

I was pretty disappointed by how the whole peacemaking thing was handled. This was such a rich opportunity to offer children real problem solving skills they could use on the playground. Instead, they were offered an example of Cousin Fred jumping into the middle of a fight and quoting a Bible verse. That’s not how things usually go down at recess.

Also, I’m not entirely sure I agree that the meaning of “reap a harvest of righteousness” is “get a rich reward”. I think I would probably explain it as growing and gathering good things in our community.

In fairness to the book, there were some thought provoking questions at the end in “Activities and Questions from Brother and Sister Bear”. Hopefully parents and kids discuss these questions at length.

P.S. I received a free copy of this book from BookLook in exchange for my honest opinions and review.

I review for BookSneeze®

“Wheels of Change” by Darlene Beck Jacobson


I am so excited to introduce you to Darlene Beck Jacobson’s new middle grade book Wheels of Change. Some of you might recognize Darlene as the author of the popular blog Gold From the Dust: Bringing Stories to Life.

Wheels of Change tells the story of sixth grade Emily Soper who lives in Washington D.C. at the turn of the century. For a twelve-year-old, Emily faces some pretty heavy stuff. Her favorite teacher is a suffragist, her frenemy’s mom is racist and Emily herself is embroiled in a daily battle with her mother over “acting like a proper young lady”.

I especially loved how relatable Emily is. She’s passionate about fighting for justice, but not in a stuffy way. You better be careful around this girl and a teapot!

The historical tidbits peppered into the story were fun too. In one instance, Emily’s mother is delighted to discover Corn Flakes because it means she doesn’t have to fire up the stove for breakfast.

Boys and girls alike will relate to this coming of age story set against the last days of Theodore Roosevelt’s presidency. They might actually learn something along the way–without even knowing it. That’s the best type of historical fiction as far as I’m concerned.

Interested in finding out more? Check out the trailer:


Putting the sense in Number Sense

The best teaching happens when you make a lesson visual, spatial and auditory. That’s why I love teaching kids number sense with a math balance. Utilizing a math balance in a whole-class setting of twenty-seven kids would be tricky, but at home with one child it’s easy. The  balance we own came from Right Start and costs $25. 5 does not … Continue reading


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