Smorgasbord Christmas Book Fair – #Memoirs – #Teaching Pete Springer, #Travel Liesbet Collaert, #Fibromyalgia Brigid P. Gallagher, #Portugal Karen Telling

Welcome to the Christmas Book Fair and today some more memoirs to entertain and inspire.

The first memoir is by retired teacher and author Pete Springer...and he shares his experience and is a wonderful guide for anyone considering entering teaching, or would like to develop their skills further They Call Me Mom

About the book

Who Will You Inspire Today? Teachers face this challenge and responsibility each day, but in the process, the author discovers that his students can also have a profound influence on him. Pete Springer takes you on his memorable thirty-one-year journey in education as an elementary school teacher and offers the many valuable life and teaching lessons he learned along the way. Get ready to laugh out loud at some of the humorous and memorable experiences that all teachers face, feel inspired by the inherent goodness of children, and appreciate the importance of developing a sense of teamwork among the staff.

Learn valuable tips for working with children, parents, fellow staff members, and administrators. This book is ideal for young teachers, but also a reminder to all educators of the importance and responsibility of being a role model. This book is a must-read for all new teachers and those teachers that need a reminder they are human! Mr. Springer educates others in his easy-to-read, story-like, first-hand manuscript. You will laugh, cry, and get motivated to be the best educator you can. After reading this, I have a better outlook on relationships with my colleagues and am reminded to savor every moment. -Tami Beall (Principal, Pine Hill School)

One of the recent reviews for the book

Jacqui Murray VINE VOICE 5.0 out of 5 stars Teachers are friend, advisor, mentor, mom, and so much more Reviewed in the United States on April 26, 2021

Pete Springer’s memoir about his first years teaching is a delightful story for new teachers and will have experienced educators nodding along with him. His early experiences remind all of us of the joy inherent in teaching:

“This job required about as much brainpower as my tree planting experience.”
“This is the story of how I fell in love with teaching and the joys and challenges that this noble profession provided to me over the course of thirty-one years.”

He breaks the book into chapters every teacher will understand:

How did i get here
Setting up your classroom
Working with students
Working with colleagues
Working with your boss

…and more. Aside from grading, parents, lunch duty, conferences, and yard duty, these are the biggest issues we teachers face. I’m a veteran teacher of thirty years and still I couldn’t wait to read Pete’s take on these timeless issues.

“Instead of saying, “Do everything my way, and you can become a successful teacher,” she was giving me her permission to find my way.”
“…storytelling was one of the most successful methods to get my students to pay attention.”
“…when we lose our calm, we are teaching them that it is okay to behave in this manner when something is not going right.”

Every new teacher will benefit from Pete’s daily experiences of what in the end results in a journey well traveled with more importance than most of us would car eto admit. Educational philosophies change. Favorite tools like iPads and Chromebooks change. What never changes is the fundamentals that Pete covers in this book:

“…tell the kids when I made similar mistakes growing up.”
“I do think that it is possible for parents or schools to provide too many rewards for kids.”

Overall an excellent book. If you’re a new teacher, I’d call this an essential read prior to your first day.

Read the reviews and buy the book: Amazon US – and:Amazon UK – Read more reviews:Goodreads – Website: Pete Springer WordPressTwitter: @OfficerWoof

The next memoir is by Liesbet Collaert and her travels and pursuit of a different lifestyle Plunge: One Woman’s Pursuit of a Life Less Ordinary.

About the book

Tropical waters turn tumultuous in this travel memoir, as a free-spirited woman jumps headfirst into a sailing adventure with a new man and his two dogs.

Join Liesbet as she faces a decision that sends her into a whirlwind of love, loss, and living in the moment. When she swaps life as she knows it for an uncertain future on a sailboat, she succumbs to seasickness and a growing desire to be alone.

Guided by impulsiveness and the joys of an alternative lifestyle, she must navigate personal storms, trouble with US immigration, adverse weather conditions, and doubts about her newfound love.

Does Liesbet find happiness? Will the dogs outlast the man? Or is this just another reality check on a dream to live at sea?


Have you ever wondered how life could be if you had made different choices? If you didn’t marry early, commit to a large loan for the house, focus on your career, start a family?

Maybe you’re just curious about how a person thinking outside the box manages? A person without boundaries, striving to be flexible, happy, and free. What you are about to read is how one such person follows her dreams, no, her intuition, and how she survives her naivety, life altering twists, and a relationship in close quarters.

Plunge is a story of what happens when you go with the flow, when you have a bright idea – or thought you had one – and ride the waves of the unknown. Ready to hop aboard and delve in?

One of the recent reviews for the book

Rachel Caldecott 5.0 out of 5 stars Exceptionally honest Reviewed in the United States on August 9, 2021

I’m not particularly into sailing (I went a few times when I was in my teens), I don’t particularly like beaches (give me an ancient ruin any day), and I don’t like putting my head underwater (I’m a wuss). BUT, I was riveted by this book. I’m now even more convinced than before that the sailing life is not for me.

Like all really good memoirs, it is incredibly honest, and the reader can easily recognise themselves in parts. Liesbet even has the courage to reveal her less than noble thoughts.

There were certainly moments when I thought that either the author or her husband would find themselves tipped into the ocean never to be seen again. You really got a sense of the frustrations of living together in cramped conditions under dangerous situations. The honesty of her feelings about sickness and death was refreshing, if not sometimes uncomfortable. (I don’t want to give any spoilers). But she did make me cry a few times.

Liesbet wrote in the present tense, which I thought was an unusual move for a memoir, but it worked very well for the action scenes (of which there are many) and for the inner voice; the writer’s confessional.

Highly recommend this book and look forward to more adventures.

Read the reviews and buy the book: Amazon US – And: Amazon UK – Find more reviews on: Goodreads

Also by Liesbet Collaert

Read the reviews and buy the books: Amazon USAnd: Amazon UK – Follow Liesbet: GoodreadsBlogs: Roaming About Cruising the World the way it is – Facebook pages: Personal Liesbet CollaertRoamingsaboutItsIrie – Twitter: @LiesbetCollaert

The next memoir is by Brigid P. Gallagher and she shares her experiences and also strategies to overcome chronic illness in Watching for the Daisies.

About the book

Millions of people around the world suffer from fibromyalgia; the majority of them are women. As yet, there is no cure.

In this memoir, Brigid P. Gallagher shares her experiences on:

  • The busy life she followed before succumbing to this debilitating disease
  • Stopping and soul searching for answers to her vast array of symptoms
  • Entering a new life of SLOW

Drawing on her knowledge and experience as a Natural Medicines therapist, she seeks out therapies to aid her healing and integrates a variety of self help techniques and lifestyle changes. She also unearths a love of solo travel including Egypt, India, Rome, Lourdes, Carcassonne and Bali…

Brigid learns many insights about LIFE on her journey, the most valuable being: “First learn to love thyself.”

In 2006, she began a new career in Organic Horticulture eventually teaching part time in schools. Although she has now retired from teaching, she continues to pursue her lifelong passion for gardening and watching the daisies.

One of the recent reviews for the book

Ellen Best 5.0 out of 5 stars THIS IS Uplifting, educational and a bloody good read.  Reviewed in the United Kingdom on 5 October 2021

I loved the pace or the beat of this book. In fact the rhythm is akin to the glorious dancing that Bridgid takes part in on several occasions through her life. It is charming, enlightening, relatable and will help you compile a blooming good bucket list or a travel list of places to go things to see and do.

I worried that it may just be about suffering, illness and loss, no offence but the Irish and Scottish do it so verbally and so well. I should know as I am from Irish stock on Dad’s side and Scottish on Mum’s. A very knowledgeable book that delivers humour sadness and beauty in abundance. A book I will return to frequently.  

Brigid P. Gallagher, Buy:Amazon UK – and: Amazon US – Follow Brigid on : Goodreads – Blog: Watching the Daisies – Twitter:@watchingthedai1

Now for a recent addition to the Cafe.. Karen Telling with her memoir about moving to Portugal… Another Day in Paradise.

About the book

A warm-hearted, autobiographical story told by an author who really knows her subject, the location and the lifestyle in a small village in the Algarve, as seen through the eyes of a British couple, who made the move seeking a quieter, more serene way of life. What lurks in the shadows of paradise, however, is a life-changing illness she has struggled with in the past and now comes to the fore. They have made Portugal their home.
Will they be able to navigate the health system and succeed in getting her the urgent operation needed, to prevent her from spending the rest of her life in a wheelchair? This adds tension to an otherwise gentle, amusing, highly descriptive story, filled with wonderful observations, funny clashes of culture and an entertaining learning curve for all concerned.

One of the recent reviews for the book

Christine 5.0 out of 5 stars Inspirational story Reviewed in the United Kingdom on 4 November 2021

I found this a thoroughly enjoyable read. The way the author describes being abroad really resonated with me. Everything from the cultural differences, how alien it can feel, to befriending the stray cats and dogs that are roaming around. Without giving away anything I just want to say how much I commend this authors bravery, what with everything that happened on her journey and what she had to go through personally. Well done! You deserve a medal.  

Read the reviews and buy the book:Amazon US And:Amazon UK – Follow Karen: Goodreads – Facebook:Karen Telling WriterBlog:Another Day in Paradise – LinkedInKaren Telling – Twitter:@KarenTelling4


Thanks for dropping in today and I hope you are leaving with some books.. thanks Sally.



41 thoughts on “Smorgasbord Christmas Book Fair – #Memoirs – #Teaching Pete Springer, #Travel Liesbet Collaert, #Fibromyalgia Brigid P. Gallagher, #Portugal Karen Telling

  1. Hope you’re having a fine December so far, Sally. I’m way behind schedule today and hadn’t seen this until just now. I’ve been living vicariously with Liesbet through her travel, so it was fun to see her here as well.

    Liked by 4 people

  2. What a wonderful showcase, Sally! I loved reading about each of the authors and their books. I’ve definitely got to run to Amazon. Thank you for sharing. 💗

    Liked by 3 people

  3. Such enjoyable and talented company you put me in, Sally! Thank you so much for sharing our books, reviews, and links in this showcase. I really like the title of Pete’s book and I have been following him on his blog for a while. I’m not a teacher anymore, but I’m sure his book is insightful and inspirational. The other ones sound appealing too. Happy holidays!! And wishes for less rainy, cold days. Xxx

    Liked by 2 people

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