Teaching My Baby To Read
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.

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Attention Parents!

cropped-img_0934.jpgYou can teach your child a tremendous amount of academics, especially with some guidance.

My name is Jennifer Bardsley. Find out more about me here or here.

Where to Start  will give you ideas for toddlers and preschoolers, and Afterschooling is for Kindergarten on up. Every child deserves one-on-one instruction, and that experience can begin in your home.


I’m thrilled to unveil the trailer for book two in Donna Galanti’s fantasy adventure Lightning Road series, JOSHUA AND THE ARROW REALM, arriving August 30th. The Midwest Book Review calls book one, JOSHUA AND THE LIGHTNING ROAD, “a heart-pounding thrill ride full of unexpected twists and turns from start to finish.” Grab book one for … Continue reading

From Mommy Blogger to Published Author

1463352166108Right now it feels like “Teaching My Baby to Read” is withering from neglect, but I promise I have a good reason for my lack of posts. On June 14, 2016 my young adult novel GENESIS GIRL will be published by Month9Books.

Here are some articles in the newspaper about my path to publication:

Waiting for a book to come out is like a 3-year pregnancy

24 hours in the life of a debut author

GENESIS GIRL is YA Sci-Fi about a teenage girl named Blanca who has never been on the Internet. Her lack of a digital footprint makes her so valuable that she gets auctioned off to the highest bidder.

One of the inspirations for the premise of GENESIS GIRL was my experience as a mommy blogger. When I first started “Teaching My Baby to Read” I shared pictures of my kids as well as frank details about their lives. After a few months of that, I became nervous. I wasn’t afraid so much of crazed killers hunting us down as I was of my own children growing up and accusing me of exploiting their childhood for blogdom.

Anyone who follows mommy blogs has seen other bloggers do this. Sometimes it seems like bloggers spend so much effort posting about their lifestyle/homeschooling/lunch-packing/mommyhood/ empire that I wonder how much time they actually spend living that supposedly perfect life with their kids.

Well, now I just sound mean. I don’t intend to be rude or snarky, but it does feel like privacy is gone, and that parents are the worst offenders when it comes to plastering pictures of their children all over the web.

1463357658254In GENESIS GIRL Blanca goes to the other extreme. In order to never have her picture on the Internet at all, she lives her life in hiding, and only reveals herself to the public at key moments that she (or somebody else) can control.

The irony is that in order to build up my author’s platform in preparation for this book launch, I’m online 24/7 talking about books on The YA Gal Facebook or posting pictures on my Instagram account @the_ya_gal.

Meanwhile, a lot of the time I used to spend creating new Afterschooling adventures for my kids has been sacrificed. We’ll need to pack in the extra learning this summer.

In the next few weeks my Internet presence will crank up even more. Booktube, blog tours, bookstagram … GENESIS GIRL will be everywhere. It’s taken me eight years to become a traditionally published author and I’m giving it everything I’ve got.

That includes stopping by “Teaching My Baby to Read,” saying hello to my old friends, and asking in my terribly nervous and quiet voice … [whispering] “Would you like to buy my book?”




“My Seventh Grade Life in Tights” by Brooks Benjamin

Here’s my fifth grader’s review of My Seventh-Grade Life in Tights by Brooks Benjamin. Without revealing any spoilers, it sounds like this is a worthy addition to the #WeNeedDiverseBooks movement: My Seventh-Grade Life in Tights is a lovely read that explores the life of a seventh grade “ninja freestyle” dancer named Dillon.  It looks at all the twists … Continue reading

“Counting Thyme” by Melanie Conklin

Here’s my eleven-year-old son’s review of Counting Thyme by Melanie Conklin: Counting Thyme is an enchanting read that tells the story of Thyme and her cancer-stricken brother Val,  who are forced to move to New York for Val’s treatment. Thyme longs to connect with her friends back in San Diego, but it remains hopeless. Then Thyme remembers the “Thyme Jar,” … Continue reading

Guest Post: A Look at the Works of Children’s Laureate Chris Riddell

For decades, Chris Riddell has delighted families with unique storylines along with equally impressive fantastical line drawings. Last year, the award-winning British author was bestowed the title of Children’s Laureate 2015-2017, and in honor of his accomplishments, here’s an overview of some of his most notable works of literature.


The Ottoline Series One of his more recent literary plus illustrative pieces is The Ottoline series, composed of three novels: Ottoline and the Yellow Cat, Ottoline Goes to School, and Ottoline at Sea. The first book in the series has won a number of prestigious awards, including a Red House Children’s Book Award and a Nestlé Children’s Book Prize. A mystery trilogy for kids aged 7 years and up, Ottoline is a curious and inquisitive girl that has a knack for solving unexplained occurrences in and around her neighborhood. Join Ottoline and her furry feline companion Mr. Munroe in discovering clues with enchanting, quirky illustrations.


The Goth Girl Series Riddell takes on 18th century Gothic tradition with a humorous twist, starring Ada Goth, daughter of the famous cycling poet Lord Goth. The two live in Ghastly-Gorm Hall, and in the first book Goth Girl and the Ghost of a Mouse, winner of the Costa Children’s Book Award in 2013, Ada works with new friends to stop an evil plan set to occur on her father’s metaphorical bike race. The second book titled Goth Girl and the Fete Worse Than Death features celebrities like Nigella Sugarspoon and Gordon Ramsgate that compete in the Ghastly-Gorm Bake Off, while familiar characters and references can be recognized by any bookworm in Goth Girl and the Wuthering Fright. Overall, the witty allusions to real life characters, in addition to the historical “footnotes,” make the series enjoyable for all ages.

The Emperor of Absurdia Another book that garnered the Nestlé Children’s Book Prize as told by Lisa Dwyer Hogg of Tootsa, The Emperor of Absurdia shares a world with children that is anything but ordinary. Follow a young boy as he stumbles upon a dreamland called Absurdia, where the sky is a sea of snoring fish and the umbrellas are trees and the trees are birds. Fit for young readers, children will be captivated by this storybook adventure through both the words and the pictures.


Wendel’s Workshop Stories resonate with families more when there’s an underlying message in them, and that’ exactly what you’ll find with Wendel’s Workshop. A tale of an inventive mouse, Wendel goes through tests and trials of a cleaning robot, tossing his failures into the bin but he eventually learns the importance of recycling and waste management. Check out ChildrensLaureate.org.uk for a complete list of Riddell’s literary and illustrative works.

Exclusively written for Teaching My Baby To Read By MommyDreamer

MommyDreamer is a regular mommy with a dream. She attends to her two angels almost 24/7. When she is not mommying, she can be found daydreaming and sharing mommy hacks she discovered online. Watch out for her blog soon!

“The Remarkable Journey of Charlie Price” by Jennifer Maschari

Grief, magic, and a secret passage. That sounds like an intriguing combination, doesn’t it? Here’s what my ten-year-old has to say about The Remarkable Journey of Charlie Price by Jennifer Maschari. He read it start to finish in one day!

The Remarkable Journey of Charlie Price is quite an interesting concept. Charlie’s mom had cancer and died. Charlie and his sister, Imogen, are grieving. But something isn’t right. Charlie is seeing less and less of Imogen, and when he does see her she is disgruntled and can’t remember anything. Charlie discovers Imogen is going through a secret passage in her room to a parallel universe where their mom is alive. It almost seems too good to be true. Is this just a lucky discovery or sinister magic at work? Read the book to find out!

This book really tugged at my heartstrings. I think this book would be good for a range of kids from seven to fourteen. A wide variety of kids would like it, especially those who enjoyed tear jerkers and magic.

“Treasure at Lure Lake” by

My ten-year-old son is on a reading rampage through all the middle grade books from debut authors in 2016. Here are his thoughts on Treasure at Lure Lake by Shari Schwarz which is our newest purchase:

Treasure at Lure Lake is an exhilarating read that I read in under three hours out of pure excitement. Bryce and his older brother, Jack, are staying with their Grandpa for a couple of weeks. Except, it’s not that simple. Bryce finds an old treasure map and starts hunting around. With twists and turns at every corner, the lure of Lure Lake remains illusive. Will Bryce find it? What is the treasure? Will Jack finally get cell phone reception? Read the book to find out!

This book would be great for third through seventh graders. Girls would probably like this book too, even though it’s heavy on boy characters. It’s a fast read that will keep you turning pages.


“The Peculiar Haunting of Thelma Bee” by Erin Petti

My ten-year-old son has issued himself the challenge of reading all of the Middle Grade debuts in 2016 from my fellow Sweet Sixteen authors–except for “the girly books.” Here’s his review for The Peculiar Haunting of Thelma Bee by Erin Petti:

I think that The Peculiar Haunting of Thelma Bee is a great book with an artfully crafted build-up to the final moments. Thelma Bee is a very curious girl, and when her dad receives a strange antique she can’t help but investigate. I won’t give away the exact happenings, but she should have just burned that box on the spot.

One of the many things that makes this book special is the illustrations. They are beautiful paper and pencil efforts worked into the text. The Peculiar Haunting of Thelma Bee is a short but sweet read that people of any gender will like.

“Hour of the Bees” by Lindsay Eagar

It’s hard discovering a book my fifth grader hasn’t read, but Hour of the Bees, by debut author Lindsay Eagar, is a fresh pick for 2016. Here’s my son’s review:

The Hour of the Bees is a lovely read, well worth my time. It tells the story of a girl named Carol and her grandfather, who has dementia. My great-grandmother has dementia too, but (no offense) she’s not nearly as interesting as Grandpa Serge. Carol’s grandpa starts telling odd stories, and they all chalk it up to dementia. But when the words of the story start coming out into real life Carol wonders: “Is it really just dementia or is there something strange afoot?”

Hour of the Bees didn’t start with a big bang, but by twenty pages in it was really going. I stayed up all night to read it. I couldn’t have slept without finding out what happened. I think this book is great for ages five (with a parent reading it) to fifteen.

“Poppy Mayberry, The Monday” by Jennie K. Brown

Here’s my ten-year-old’s review of Poppy Mayberry, The Monday (Nova Kids) by Jennie K. Brown. We received a free, advanced reader’s electronic copy as part of my participation as a debut author in The Sweet Sixteens. My son has read a lot of books in the past few months, but you’ll see that this one really captured his attention!

Poppy Mayberry, The Monday is one of the best books I’ve ever read. It has a perfect mix of romance, comedy, and suspense–all geared toward middle grade readers. The plot line is that all kids in the town of Nova have special powers determined by the day they were born on. Monday is telekinesis, Tuesday is teleportation, Wednesday is electrical, Thursday is mind reading, and Friday is disappearing. Saturday and Sunday don’t have any powers.

As the title states, Poppy Mayberry is a Monday, but she’s not a very good one. After being shipped off to a special school for power-disabled kids with her worst enemy Ellie (who can’t control her powers), Poppy is paired up in a team with Logan, a Friday, and Samuel, a Wednesday. That’s when things take a downward turn. I won’t give away spoilers but it gets pretty wild.

I think kids ages eight to fifteen would like Poppy Mayberry, The Monday. It is one of my favorite books ever!

Afterschooling for dyslexia with All About Reading

“Never put your eggs all in one basket.” How many times have you heard that expression?  As a former teacher, this is how I view educational methods. My children are too precious to trust their brains to any one teacher, curriculum, or program. This is especially true for my child with dyslexia. If you are … Continue reading

“The Last Boy at St. Edith’s” by Lee Gjertsen Malone

Here’s my ten-year-old son’s review of a brand new middle grade book we recently purchased. It’s called The Last Boy at St. Edith’s by Lee Gjertsen Malone.

In The Last Boy at St. Edith’s Jeremy Miner is the only boy at St. Edith’s Institution, a formerly all-girls school. It used to be an all-girls school, but as that it was doing poorly, it switched to co-ed. But, enrollment was still low. A bunch of boys were there but all of them ended up leaving but one–Jeremy Miner. Jeremy and his friend Claudia engage in a series of pranks meant to get Jeremy expelled. What happens next is a series of comical incidents including a giant snowman and whole bunch of lawn gnomes.

As a ten-year-old boy myself, being at an all-girls school sounds pretty sweet, but after all, I’m not Jeremy Miner. This book will appeal to a variety of kids, from fourth grade on up. I thought it was a rollercoaster of a read, and definitely worth my time.

“Sticks and Stones” by Abby Cooper

All year my ten-year-old son has been reading advanced review copies of middle grade books we borrow via my membership as a debut author in The Sweet Sixteens. Here’s his review of Sticks & Stones by Abby Cooper.

Sticks & Stones by Abby Cooper is a middle grade read that comes out in July of 2016. The hook is that Elyse is a middle grade girl with a special affliction called CAV which makes everything she calls herself and other people call her show up on her skin. So if somebody gives her a compliment, it feels great, but if someone insults her, it’s super itchy. Most people don’t know about Elyse’s CAV. On top of all that Elyse is dealing with her first break up and her best friend leaving her for the popular crowd.

I thought this was a great book, even though as a fifth grade boy I wasn’t exactly the target audience. It had more romance than I was used to. The hook was really clever. “Sticks and stones can break your bones but words will never hurt you.” Or  … do they!

“The Eye of Midnight” by Andrew Brumbach

Two cousins and one mysterious adventure make for a suspenseful story that middle grade readers will love. The Eye of Midnight, by Andrew Brumbach, is a book my ten-year-old son finished in 24 hours. This book comes out March 8th. Here’s my son’s review:

William and Maxine are practically strangers, even though they share the same grandfather. Will is brave and likes living on the edge. Maxine is clever and tends to be cautious. Their grandfather, Colonel Battersea is always getting into one scrape or another.

Will and Maxine have to work together to save their grandfather — and the world.

Secret passages, dark mysteries, exotic taxidermy, a wooden genie that speaks Arabic; step into Battersea Manor and prepare for adventure. The Eye of Midnight will not disappoint!

“The Last Great Adventure of the PB & J Society” by Janet Sumner Johnson

These past few months my ten-year-old son has been reading every Advanced Review Copy I can borrow through my membership as an author in The Sweet Sixteens. Here’s what he thinks of The Last Great Adventure of the PB & J Society by Janet Sumner Johnson, which comes out April 1st, 2016:

The Last Great Adventure of the PB & J Society, by Janet Sumner Johnson, is a quick, fun, middle grade read. The hook is that two best friends work desperately not to be separated by changing circumstances.

Jason and Annie have been best friends for as long as they can remember. Unfortunately, Jason has to move away. Jason and Annie are frantic, looking for a way to reverse it. They have a multitude of plans, including lottery tickets, pirate treasure, and much, much more. Things are looking bright! Can they save the situation after all?

I thought this book was a good read and I would recommend it to kids from 8 to 13.