Smorgasbord Christmas Book Fair 2022 -#ElementarySchool Pete Springer, #Fantasy #Magic Chris Hall, #Poetry Balroop Singh

Welcome to the Smorgasbord Christmas Book Fair with a selection of books from personally recommended authors on my bookshelf I believe will make wonderful gifts for friends, family and for you.

The first author is retired elementary teacher and blogger Pete Springer with a book that shares his experience as a teacher and the bond he formed with his students. A fantastic gift for anyone considering becoming a teacher and those already in the profession.

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 reviews for the book that I can also recommend

They Call Me Mom is a delightful book detailing the teaching experiences of life-long teacher, Pete Springer, in a school in a government school in the USA. This memoir is an interesting, and sometimes poignant, peek into the teaching environment and provides some memorable insights into some of the practical and emotional difficulties a teacher experiences.

Pete depicts his initial decision not to go to college and study straight after finishing school, but rather to do some unskilled jobs. These jobs did not pan out well for Pete and after returning home and working as an assistant in a special needs school, he decided to go into teaching as a profession. This was the perfect choice for him and he evolved into a caring and dedicated teacher.

Pete was fortunate to have some wonderful role models to help him develop as a professional and, I am sure, he was also a fabulous role model to new teachers coming into the system. He inspired some of his students to consider teaching as a career and that is a great achievement.

The book is filled with endearing stories about Pete’s classroom experiences with the children and the reader quickly comes to realise that there is a lot more to being a good teacher than knowing the curriculum and preparing lessons. Their is also the social and emotional side where teachers must understand the issues and problems their students are experiencing and help guide them through these difficult times. Pete had exposure to a far greater range of family backgrounds than I ever have, either during my own school career or that of my two sons. He had students whose parents worked at night, some whose parents went to jail and others who were being raised by single parents or grandparents.

This book provides a lot of guidance to teachers about how to maximize the learning environment in the classroom and this information is useful to all carers of children including parents, grandparents and others.

A lovely book and one that focuses on the important role played by teachers in raising the next generation of parents, employees and business leaders.

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

The next book is one I enjoyed very much and is  the fantasy and magical Song of the Sea Goddess by Chris Hall.

About the book

Sam thinks his problems are over when finds his fishing bucket filled with gold coins. There’s a problem though. The gold burns the fingers of anyone who touches it. His unlikely find coincides with the appearance of a mythical sea creature on the headland overlooking the town and the resumption of quarrying up in the mountains that is poisoning the streams and contaminating the town’s water supply.Determined to keep his coins hidden, Sam goes up-river to bury them. There he encounters a beguiling young woman called Shasa, who lives by one of the tainted springs and just happens to have a fish’s tail.

As the blasting continues, the discovery of a series of recently-made drawings in the cave under the headland, reveals a terrifying prophesy that will result in the earth spilling apart.

Fearing for Shasa’s safety, Sam sets out find her again, only to meet the danger head on, as nature takes its revenge for the damage being wrought by humankind.Will Sam and Shasa survive?

Set in a fictional location on the West Coast of South Africa, this moving story blends the charm of small town life with the threat of ecological disaster at the hands of a powerful force beyond human understanding.

One of the reviews for Song of the Sea Goddess

An ordinary fisherman minding his own business tending to his nets from his little boat is accosted by two octopuses. They not only talk to him in the most impertinent fashion but knock him out cold and leave his fishing bucket full of gold coins.

With an opening like that, how could I resist diving headfirst into Chris Hall’s Song of the Sea Goddess?

I hadn’t read a magical realism novel in years. Song of the Sea Goddess immediately reminded me just how delightful they can be, with quirky characters in an everyday realistic setting encountering any manner of magical elements–from talking octopuses to vengeful selkies–as a simple matter of course.

In this instance, the setting is a small South African village, which Hall renders vividly through descriptions of the village itself and the landscape beyond it, as well as specific sensory details of everyday life.

In addition to creating a believable realistic setting, an author needs to have a deft hand with characterization and plotting–as well a strong narrative voice–to pull off magical realism. Hall achieves this balance admirably.

There are quirky minor characters aplenty to provide local color, including Albertina, who shows up in the village one day in search of a place to land. She finds it with two elderly sisters referred to as “the aunties.” The aunties reminded me of a pair of elderly sisters from my home town. They were always spoken of as a unit.

Albertina provides a delightful lietmotif with her second-best wig, which she always dons upon leaving the house. I kept expecting to learn why the wig was only second-best, what her best wig was, and how momentous the occasion needed to be for her to don her best wig. By the end of the book, Albertina was still relying on that second-best wig, and I concluded that the author was having a bit of fun with me. I didn’t mind at all!

In addition to solving the mystery of the gold coins, the plot revolves around the environmental threat posed by a quarry operation just outside the village. This raises the stakes of the novel in a way I greatly appreciated. It is not at all heavy-handed or polemical.

In the end, I found myself reacting to the magical realism in Song of the Sea Goddess in a way I never had before. I found it oddly comforting. Perhaps hope for the future, a need to believe in magic? I am now nearly finished reading the sequel, Spirit of the Shell Man, which follows the same characters. Need I say more? 

Head over to read the reviews and buy the book: Amazon USAnd: Amazon UK – 

Also by Chris Hall

Find out more about Chris Hall and buy the books: Amazon US –  and: Amazon UK – Follow Chris: Goodreads –  Facebook: Chris Hall Author – Twitter: @ChrissyH_07

The final book today which would make an amazing gift is the poetry collection from Balroop Singh, Moments We Love

About the collection

Moments of fragrant love that stand frozen in time, of dreams that dare not unfold, of passion that fleets by, of erratic joy that we meet at the crossroads of life, butterflies of time that add color to our dark moments to scare the demons away – I have gathered all of them in this book. Some of them whisper softly to create a magical aura while spring of life sings with them, trying to wipe silent tears. Mother Nature steps in with all her grandeur to breath quiet messages of tranquility.

Each poem would soothe your emotions with élan and add a dash of color to your life. Life – that doesn’t halt for your sad moments; that just floats by. You just need to dive in to soak in myriads of moments to discover how it could ignite positive tones. All the poems in this collection are imaginary but inspired from people around me, some of whom chose to share their frustrations and tremors with me. Sometimes I could read between the lines to pen my thoughts down.

Memories and moments merge here
Today when I return to share
The glow of rainbows
Embers of emotional entreaties
And smoldering debris.

One of the reviews for the collection

Balroop Singh’s Moments We Love is a thoughtful, thought provoking collection of short, accessible and heart-felt poems, centred around the theme of love, in its different forms.

Part 1, Moments of Love, is the longest section in the collection, and it tracks the arc of a love affair, to quote that other lyricist, Paul Simon. And there is something lyrical about Singh’s poems. I could imagine many of them being set to music, as heartfelt love songs: a thousand stars around us / yet light eluding / dreams dare not unfold / fears shackled us / but love lingered.

Part 2 of the collection, Moments of Harmony, expresses the love and joy many people find in nature, and there is a directness to Singh’s language choices – focusing on the immediate colours and textures she encounters, in a way that brings her images to life.

Part 3, Moments that Make Life, contains many poignant and moving poems, exploring the idea of a love for life, and the pain that can bring. A favourite poem for me from this section was When I Go with its allusions to Mary Elizabeth Frye’s Do Not Stand at my Grave and Weep. I could well imagine Singh’s poem bringing comfort to the grieving.

I would recommend this collection to poetry lovers and to people who are finding their way into poetry appreciation. A lovely book to own and to gift. 

A selection of other books by Balroop Singh


Discover more about Balroop Singh and buy the books: Amazon US – and : Amazon UK – Follow Balroop : Goodreads – blog:Balroop Singh on WordPress – Twitter: @BalroopShado


Thank you for dropping in today and I hope you will be leaving with some books..

45 thoughts on “Smorgasbord Christmas Book Fair 2022 -#ElementarySchool Pete Springer, #Fantasy #Magic Chris Hall, #Poetry Balroop Singh

  1. Great set of books to choose from. I have Pete’s book on my ‘to be read’ pile at the moment.
    Perhaps a few more to follow.
    I need to get reading!

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Hi Sally, I have read Pete’s and Chris’ books and both were great reads. Thanks for including my review of Pete’s book here. I have this one of Balroop’s on my TBR and had forgotten. Thanks for the reminder.

    Liked by 4 people

  3. Great list of books and authors, Sally. I loved Moments We Love and have the other two on my TBR list. I do see a Christmas gift here, thanks xo

    Liked by 3 people

  4. Thanks for especially reminding me on these three books. I had read Pete’s book, and have to re-read, as it also is a funny one. The other i have on the virutal shelves, and will read very soon. Sorry, today was another day i thought to be able to read, but the circumstances are arriving over night. 😉 hugsx Michael

    Liked by 3 people

  5. Congratulations to Chris and Balroop. It’s my pleasure to be included with them. Of course, I appreciate the tireless efforts of Robbie, one of the most supportive writers/bloggers on the planet.

    The photo you chose holds special meaning to me, Sally, since Kelly is a former 5th grade student who now teaches in my old classroom! From a teacher’s perspective, it doesn’t get much better than that.

    Liked by 2 people

  6. I enjoyed the insights into a teacher’s life that Pete shared with They Call me Mom-a delightful read.
    Balroop’s poetry is transcending. I always come away feeling replenished after reading her work.
    I haven’t had the chance to read Chris’s story yet, but it sounds interesting.
    Congrats to all the authors on the wonderful reviews!

    Liked by 4 people

  7. I found Pete’s book inspirational and Balroop’s Hues of Hope made quite an impact on me. After Liz’s review, how could I not go straight to Amazon and buy Song of the Sea Goddess! ♥♥

    Liked by 2 people

  8. Pingback: Smorgasbord Blog Magazine – Weekly Round Up – 12th – 18th December 2022 – Ice skating, International Carols, Old Souls, Podcast, Book reviews, Christmas Guest posts, Funnies | Smorgasbord Blog Magazine

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