Monday, July 2, 2018

Book Nook: Mrs. Bumbleberry Series

In today’s fast-paced society, the simple things are often lost or forgotten. For children, this means an oversight in learning important lessons in friendship, respect and sharing. Kathleen
Beining wants to return to these virtues as well as Christian values through the “Mrs. Bumbleberry Series.” Beining brings back these morals and values with through simple tales that are full of colorful illustrations.

“My stories not only have a message but guidance on how to apply these lessons,” Beining said. “Mrs. Bumbleberry represents those strong Christian values, and how to live out those ideals in your everyday actions.”

I had a chance to review “Mrs. B, Substitute Grandma."In the book, Katy and Andi are on a field trip to Appleton Farm, but first the children need an adult to accompany them, so that they can ride the hay wagon instead of the bus. Mrs. B agrees to accompany them, and the girls learn some valuable lessons from her, as well as lessons on how to treat people who don't live out values of courtesy and kindness.

“Most adults grew up with these messages, but somewhere along the line we forgot to pass these ideals down to our children,” Beining said. “It is time to return to these Christian values so kids may grow to be respectful and caring adults.”

I had a chance to interview her to learn more.

What was your inspiration for this book?

      I never dreamt I would write a children's book, much less a series. Several years ago I had surgery. I wasn't feeling bad, but I was limited on activity. It made me think how bored I was and how much worse it would be as a child. I decided to watch television, which is really unusual for me. I was astounded at the quality of programing for children. Many of the programs the characters were useless if they didn't have superpowers. In other programs the characters were rude, selfish and in some cases hateful. I wondered what parents do to teach young children positive values. The more I thought the more the idea developed for Katy Keller the little girl in the series. I also wondered who she would meet when she finally went outside. As a child we always had flowers in the yard which led to Mrs. Bumbleberry and her garden. In each book Katy is faced with some type of problem or concern. She goes to Mrs. Bumbleberry who uses her experience to guide Katy through the problem.
     Mrs. Bumbleberry And The Ark is actually the second book in the series. This book focuses on treating other with kindness and respect, and the value of sharing. Katy learns that if she wants people to be nice to her she needs to be nice to them. She also learns that sharing with others can be fun.

Why is character of value education sometimes overlooked by parents?
    I think there are several reasons for this.Parents today have a lot of stress and outside pressure on them. They just don't have time for everything. By the time parents get home from work they are tired and still have things to do. Some parents make quality time with their children a priority.  For others it is a lot easier to let social media occupy a child rather than to spend time with a child. It's hard to find respect and courtesy in social media.   

     I also think some parents either never learned or just don't care about these values. Several days ago I was in a restaurant. There was a family sitting nearby. The mother was yelling and belittling the waitress. Never once did she say "please" or "thank you."  That was a message to her children as well as every child in the restaurant.  It's hard to teach your children to be polite and respectful when they see adults doing just the opposite.

    The loss of extended family also has played a role. Today grandparents and family members often live far away. In the past if parents were busy grandparents or other family filled in to help. With family miles away parents are left carrying the whole load.

How can parents use books to help instill positive values in kids?

     Sitting and reading with a child is very beneficial.  It provides one on one contact with the child.  The child becomes the center of the parent's attention, not a distraction from other activities.  It opens a line of communication between parent and child.  My hope is that parents will read this book to their child and then talk about what happened. This offers the parent an opportunity to reinforce these positive values with the child and discuss how the child may apply the values in daily life.  The parent can also explain why the values are important to him or her.  Once established this communication also gives the child an opening to address things that may be bothering the child.   Reading together provides a bonding experience between parent and child. 

“Mrs. Bumbleberry Series”
By Kathleen Beining
Available at AmazonBarnes and Noble and Westbow Press

About the author
Kathleen Beining grew up in Missouri and currently lives there with family and friends. She is a devout Christian and believes in the importance of sharing, caring and helping others. There are currently eight books in the “Mrs. Bumbleberry Series,” with more on the way!

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