I believe that love and compassion cut through hate.

I believe that love and compassion cut through hate. I believe that when we use them, they help make the world a kinder place. I believe this, even after all the hate used against me, all the hate my abusers tried to teach me; love and compassion cut through all of that. And that’s something that I try to show in every book I write–love and compassion bring healing, greater kindness, and empathy. I think they work especially well in YA lit, where hope is often expected or encouraged.

love-and-compassion

I didn’t grow up with love. My parents were part of intergenerational, interconnected cults. Their hate was a constant, along with daily and nightly rape, abuse, and torture that they used against me. They tried to make me hate like they did by using torture and mind control. And while those things had some effects on me, I will never be like them. Never hate like them.

A part of what kept me from hating like they did was a conscious choice that I made. I remember at a very young age being raped after torture and looking up at my rapist, seeing the hatred that twisted his face, and thinking that I would never be like him. Another thing that helped me be different was my own intense compassion for others. I knew what it felt like to be in deep pain and to be tortured, how unbearable it was, how much I wanted to die, and I never wanted anyone else to have to feel that pain. Books also helped me to be different–they showed me that people could be kind and loving, showed me that people could fight against evil or cruelty and win. And the small bits of kindness and compassion that I was offered by various people over the years–usually teachers, but later as I grew older, also two therapists–helped me immensely. They were soul food that I clung to, warmth in the coldest, bleakest times in my life. They kept me alive.

My abusers tried to teach me to not only to hate other people, but also to hate myself. I would not turn my hate on others–I vowed over and over again to never be like my abusers–but I did turn it on myself. The bits of kindness, love, and compassion I experienced from others, especially from two good therapists I had, helped cut through that hate. It helped me learn, slowly, to love myself. And it helped me give even more love and compassion to others. And that love and compassion I received was incredibly effective at cutting through mind control–even though that mind control was repeated, extreme, and enforced through torture.

Love, compassion, and kindness are powerful. They help us heal. They help us love with an open heart. They help us hang on when we feel that we can’t. They help us believe in ourselves, love ourselves, and treat others more kindly. And those acts of compassion, love, and kindness can make a HUGE difference in someone’s life, whether it is a small or big act of kindness or compassion–given in person or long distance–or whether it is found in a book. Never doubt that any act of Kindness, compassion, or love that you make will make a positive difference. However you do it, I hope you will keep compassion and love alive in your heart. I know I will.

Book Therapy: A Poem by Cheryl Rainfield

I hope you enjoy this poem I wrote last night. Books help me heal and escape pain; I hope they help you, too.

book-therapy-poem-feb-2015-01

Some New-ish Picture Books I Love Including A New Dr. Seuss: Horton and the Kwuggerbug and More Lost Stories; The Worst Princess; Drop It, Rocket!; and Mr. Wuffles!

Horton and the Kwuggerbug and more Lost Stories
Written and Illustrated by Dr. Seuss aka Ted Geisel
Published by: Random House Books For Young Readers
Published: Sept 9, 2014
ISBN-13: 978-0385382984
Ages: 4-8 (and up)
Source: Book obtained from publisher in exchange for an honest review.
My rating: 5/5

It’s incredible to me that we can read new Dr. Seuss stories after Ted Geisel died, but these Dr. Seus stories were “lost.” They’re treasure I’m glad was rediscovered: A new Horton the Elephant story, a fanciful story about Marco (from And To Think I Saw It On Mulberry Street) who arrives to school late and tells the tale about why; a police officer who saves the town; and a short grinch story featuring a different grinch than the one who stole Christmas. These stories have the same wonderful rollicking, almost perfect rhythm that Dr. Seuss is known for; twists and plot surprises that keep the reader interest; conflict that keeps us riveted; characters we care about, empathize with, and root for; and humor. I loved the satisfying ending, especially, in Horton and the Kwuggerbug where a mean-spirited character gets his just desserts; this was my favorite story in the book. I also love that the stories include fanciful made-up words and great imagination that fit his stories perfectly.

Dr. Seuss’ beautiful, strange, evocative, and trademark illustrations fit the stories perfectly, with crazy cliffs and strange-looking trees, emotionally expressive characters, and bright colors. They’re Dr. Seuss’ strong illustrative style that generations of readers have loved and been entranced with, and generations will continue to love.

The stories all have a strong emotional appeal, with conflict and psychological tension. These are pure Dr. Seuss, and they’re a delight. When I finished reading, I had Dr. Seuss’ rhythms and some of the rhymes running through my head–which shows how catchy they are; I think is a sign of greatness. I loved these “new” stories, and I think children and Dr Seuss fans will love them, too.

My only criticism is that Horton and the Kwuggerbug probably should have been published on its own; the other stories aren’t as polished or as captivating. For instance, How Officer Pat Saved the Whole Town is all about what might happen, not what is happening, so it’s not as dramatic or intense or fun, though it’s still enjoyable.

Also included is a long, detailed introduction by Charles D Cohen–an expert on Dr Seuss stories. It provides some fascinating detail for readers who love Dr. Seuss.

Highly recommended.


The Worst Princess
Written by Anna Kemp
Illustrated by Sara Ogilvie
Published by Random House Children’s Books
Ages: 3-7 (and up)
Source: Obtained from the publisher for an honest review.
My rating: 5/5

This is a refreshing tale about a princess who thinks she needs to be saved from her tower–until she realizes that getting “saved” just locks her up in a different tower. The princess makes friends with a dragon, and together they travel the world. In the end, the princess saves herself.

I love books that show girls being strong, not ruled by sexism, who are able to save themselves–especially when the books are written well, without being preachy or didactic. This book is a delight on all levels–the content, the way the story is written, and the illustrations.

Kemp’s rhyming text flows smoothly; there is rarely a rhyme that feels even slightly forced. The story is lively and entertaining, and the dialogue helps it move quickly. Humor permeates the story, from the names the princess and prince call each other (twit, turtledove), to the insults given (the prince telling her to twirl her pretty curls), to the dragon setting the prince’s shorts on fire. I love the princess making tea for the dragon, and the way they become friends who defend each other and travel the world together. Princess Sue is a strong role model that breaks out of the sexism she was trapped in.

Ogilvie’s illustrations are vivid and alive, quirky and expressive, and a delight to pore through, with a lot of detail to enjoy. The characters and the objects they interacting with have strong outlines which bring them into the forefront and focus, while backgrounds are more muted and blurry. I love the bold, bright colors. Princess Sue’s bright orange hair is echoed in the dragon’s bright orange-red scales, which visually and emotionally tie the two together even more. And the prince does look like the pompous twit he acts like, with his thin curly mustache, foppish hair, long narrow nose, and stuck up expression.

This is an important–and fun!–book for both girls and boys. None of us need be constrained by the gender rules for behavior that society sets for us. Girls can think for themselves, protect themselves and others, travel the world, and be outspoken. Boys can stay at home, cook, take care of children, or follow their dreams, whatever they might be. Though the book doesn’t show boys escaping their forced gender roles, it will make children (and adults) think, and it challenges sexism in a humorous way. We need more books like this.

If you love strong-girl characters, you have *got* to get yourself–or the kids in your life–a copy of this book! I think it’ll become a classic, like Princess Smartypants
and The Paper Bag Princess. This, for me, became an instant favorite.
.

Highly recommended! If I could give it a higher rating, I would. This is a keeper, and one to give away as gifts, too.


Drop It, Rocket! (Step Into Reading, Step 1)
Written and illustrated by: Tad Hills
Published By: Random House Books for Young Readers
Published: July 8, 2014
ISBN-13: 978-0385372541
Ages: 6-9
Source: Obtained from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. (As you may be able to tell, I only review books I love.)
My rating: 5/5

Rocket loves to find new words. He brings the little yellow bird many objects so they can make words from them. But when he finds a red boot he refuses to put it back down or trade it for anything–except for a book which the friends then pore over.

Hill’s sentences and words are short and easy for young readers to read, so that should bring a feeling of success, and yet they keep reader interest by telling a great story. The story moves quickly with a lot of dialogue, and there’s some great humor (with a set up of Rocket dropping every object he’s asked to, until he gets to the boot) and conflict. I love the focus on words and reading. It’s very feel-good and fills me with delight.

Hill’s illustrations are sweet, light hearted, and expressive, with great emotion, facial expressions, and body language. The illustrations perfectly compliment and enhance the text. I love how they work together so that the illustrations show things that the text doesn’t, such as how all the objects Rocket brought back are printed out as words. The great amount of white space around each illustration helps to add to the light, airy feeling of the illustrations.

If you love books about books or words, you’ll want to pick this one up! Highly recommended.


Mr. Wuffles!
Written and illustrated by: David Wiesner
Published by: Clarion Books
Published: October 1, 2013
ISBN-13: 978-0618756612
Ages: 4-8
Source: I purchased the book myself.
My rating: 5/5

I love David Wiesner’s books; he’s created some of my very favorites, especially Tuesday and Flotsam–so I look forward to each new release, and Mr. Wuffles! didn’t disappoint. Mr. Wuffles! is a Caldecott Medal Honor Winning title, and it deserves to be.

Mr. Wuffles doesn’t play with any of the toys his human buys for him. But when a tiny alien spaceship–the size and almost the look of a golf ball with protrusions–lands in Mr. Wuffles’ house, Mr. Wuffles goes crazy playing with it. The tiny aliens inside get headaches and feel sick from being tossed around, so when they think Mr. Wuffles is asleep they sneak out. Mr. Wuffles is about to attack them when a ladybug distracts him, and the aliens flee to safety–into the walls of the house, where they are greeted by ants and ladybugs who’ve all been chased by the cat (as evidenced by the paintings on the wall). The aliens and the bugs–who look similar in shape–become allies and friends, sharing food and ideas, and coming up with a plan for escape, while Mr. Wuffles watches them under the radiator. The aliens and bugs distract the cat until they get their spaceship working and fly away, out the window, while the triumphant bugs don some of the alien attire and add to their paintings on the inner walls of the house.

There are only a few short lines of text in the story; most of the story is told through the illustrations. But the sparse text works to emphasize certain details in the book, and bring the story full circle. In the first two panels, Mr. Wuffles’ human says “Look, Mr. Wuffles, a new toy!” and when the cat walks away, says “Oh, Mr. Wuffles,” which makes the reader notice all the toys Mr. Wuffles never plays with. Three quarters of the way through the book, we see Mr. Wuffles’ human asking him what is so interesting–while he stares determinedly under the radiator, where the aliens and bugs are–to Mr. Wuffles, they seem like living or animated toys. And then in some of the last panels, Mr. Wuffles’ human brings hima new toy–a rocket–while saying “Hey, Mr. Wuffles–blast off!” and then when Mr. Wuffles walks away, saying “Oh, Mr. Wuffles.” So we see again Mr. Wuffles snubbing toys for living creatures–bugs and aliens. And there’s also some humor with the rocket symbolizing outer space and exploration of the universe and other intelligent life–while real aliens have already visited Mr. Wuffles’ home. The text works well, emphasizing key story points.

The illustrations are what make the book. SO much is told through the beautiful, colorful illustrations–through body language, through action. The story is well paced and also holds a lot of humor, with a funny explanation for why some pets may prefer chasing after bugs and living creatures than playing with their toys, and humor that animals, insects, and aliens may be more intelligent than us or notice things that we don’t.

The illustrations are painted in various sizes of panels, almost like a comic book, some taking up a full spread, some half a page, some a quarter or a fifth or less, the action moving beautifully from one panel to the next. The viewpoint also changes, moving us from seeing Mr. Wuffles and what he’s doing, to seeing the aliens and bugs and what they’re doing. The bright, rich colors, realism, and strong storytelling bring the story alive. There is so much to see on every page–details readers will love to find–and fantastic expression and body language.

Anyone who’s owned a cat will also recognize the body language and behaviors of a cat–chasing after a fly, leaping up in surprise, swatting at moving objects, getting overwhelmed at too much stimuli, a swishing tail when wanting to pounce or annoyed at something–and refusing to play with some expensive toys while loving chasing after anything from nature.

This is a funny, light-hearted fantasy romp, especially for children with imagination and cat lovers. There’s also a bit of a fun surprise for readers who buy the hardcover; take off the paper jacket, and instead of the cover you see outer space. :) Highly recommended.

If you can, I hope you buy pick these books up at your local bookstore or library. They are well worth it, and will bring many enjoyable reads. I know I’ll be buying copies for gifts–they’re that good.

Love my books? Here’s how to help!

cheryl-rainfield-books-500

Do you love my books? Do you want to read even more books by me? Here’s how you can help me (and other authors you love):

Buy a copy of our books. Publishers look at sales when they’re considering publishing a new book by an author. If the previous books don’t have good sales, another book by the same author might not get published.

If you can’t afford a copy, then please request it at your local library. Most librarians are happy to order in books that readers request.

Post a review–it doesn’t have to be long, even a sentence or two–on Amazon, especially, and also B&N, GoodReads, etc. Reviews help other readers find the book. This is one of the most helpful things you can do, and authors really appreciate it.

Post your review on social media: your blog, Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, etc. This again helps other readers find the book.

Post a photo of the book, or the book and you, the book and your pet, etc. to social media. This also helps get more reader interest, and may visually snag someone’s attention.

Recommend it to your friends. I know I love hearing about books my friends have enjoyed, and your friends likely do, too.

Request a copy at your local library.If there are a lot of requests for a book, a library may order more. Or, if there haven’t been any previous requests, they may order a copy. Librarians are usually happy to order in books a patron wants to read. And this will help more readers enjoy a book you’ve loved, too.

Recommend it to a book club.If you or a friend is reading in that genre, why not let others know about it?

Ask your local bookstore where the book is located. This may help to gain more bookstore interest in the book.

Add it to your to-read or other lists on GoodReads.You may help someone else discover a book they’d like to read.

Re-post an author’s book tweets, posts on Facebook or Instagram or other social media. If you like a tweet or post, it helps to re-post it; many more people will see it and perhaps look up the book.

If you especially love my books, sign up for my newsletter (where you can get a free SCARS short story), or join my street team (where you can sometimes win prizes, hear news first, read a free short story, and more.)

If you do any of that, know you have my deep appreciation and thanks.

I think safe touch is so important for children and teens in school

I think safe touch is SO important. I desperately needed it as a child and teen in school from a few kind teachers who saw my pain; it was the only place I got safe touch. I’m honored to be quoted in Jessica Lahey’s article “Should Teachers Be Allowed To Touch Students?” in The Atlantic. I hope you’ll give the article a read. (smiling) I think it’s a thoughtful, insightful article.

As an incest and torture survivor who was also bullied at school, I had no safe place–not at home, and not at school. I rarely saw kindness or compassion; most of what I did see I got from books. But I had two really kind, compassionate high-school teachers who knew I’d been abused, and one librarian in middle school who was also kind. All of them were women, because I was scared of men because of all the rape I’d been through–and all of them gave me safe touch. It’s part of what kept me from killing myself.

I desperately craved safe touch. I was starved for it on a deep soul level. At home and in the abuse and torture I endured–my parents were part of cults, and they also rented me out to men for money and “shared” me with their friends–I was never touched except for abuse, rape, torture. So to get it from these teachers in a safe way–a touch on the arm, a rub on my head, a hug–it met such a deep need I had to be treated with kindness and love and warmth and humanity, and it helped offset some of the abuse and torture and cruelty. It helped me feel like I mattered, like I didn’t deserve to be abused, like maybe someone cared about me a little bit. It helped me believe in people, that they could be kind, and that maybe, just maybe the abuse and torture I experienced every day and night wasn’t my fault. But it did more than that. Their touch–and their listening to me about some of the abuse and/or my pain–also helped me want to be here a bit more when all I could breathe and feel was pain, depression, despair, and bleakness.

I struggled a lot with wanting to die all of my life. Books helped me to be here–they gave me an escape–and I also used self-harm to cope with the pain and memories, and often cut instead of killing myself. And I also needed dissociation to survive the torture and keep me alive. But that safe touch I got? It was like a balm to my soul. It was healing, instead of causing harm like everything I had at home. It was affection when I had none. Sometimes it helped bring me out of triggered abuse memories. It told me my parents and other abusers were wrong to treat me the way they did, even though I couldn’t really believe that. And I just *needed* safe touch on a deep level.

I think as humans we need safe touch; I think it’s a basic human need, along with food, shelter, and safety. It lets us know we’re loved. (I know there’ve been studies, for instance, on babies not thriving when they don’t get touch.) And those teachers who used safe touch with me, and were compassionate and kind, helped create pockets of safety for me where for a few hours I could actually focus on something besides the terror I lived in–I could learn and love to learn and want to learn for them (and me). I could breathe a little easier. I could hope for safety some day. When I hear people saying that children shouldn’t be touched in school situations, it makes me sad, and it worries me. If a child doesn’t have any safe touch in their lives, it’s easy to get really disconnected from people and life, and to not want to live at all. I needed that safe touch desperately, just as I needed to be heard about the abuse and to (eventually) get safe. A kind, compassionate teacher may be the only safety and caring a child or teen has in their life.

Do what you need to do to be happy, well, and take care of you.

do-what-need-20141231_185658-450Do what you need to do to be happy, well, and take care of you.

That can vary from person to person. What’s right for you is what feels right. What helps you and doesn’t hurt you. And it doesn’t have to be what everyone else is doing. It’s what YOU need. What will help you.

For instance…I had a hard day today. Some of the things I’ve done to help myself–spent time with my best friend. Ate some junk food as well as healthy food. Held a superhero toy (I happen to love Superman and Wonder Woman.) Read a good book. Texted some friends. All things that helped me.

What helps you?


This can be a hard time of year for many people, so I thought I’d post more positive messages for people again–selfies along with the messages, so people can see the person (and author) behind the message. I think it helps make it more personal and real.

I will try to post photos most days of December for you all. Let me know if you like this idea. :)

And if you like this post, if it speaks to you, I hope you’ll share it with others. You can see them on all www.CherylRainfield.com/blog

#cherylrainfield #YAwriter #YAlit #iReadYA #YAsaves #booklover #bookworm #booknerdigan #quote #inspiration

Listen to your body. Rest when you are tired. Eat when you are hungry.

listen-to-body-20141230_195547-450Listen to your body. Rest when you are tired. Eat when you are hungry.

We live in a society that tells us we have to constantly go, go, go! Work hard, play hard. But we need to take time to rest–to rejuvenate our bodies and our spirits. And constantly working or producing isn’t good for us. Eventually our bodies–and our spirits–will rebel. And often we have set times for meals–instead of eating when we’re actually hungry. Instead of paying attention to our bodies and what they need.

If we take time to rest when we need to, eat when we’re hungry, we’ll be fresher, feel more alive and ready to meet the challenges we need to. Ready to work more and play more. :)


This can be a hard time of year for many people, so I thought I’d post more positive messages for people again–selfies along with the messages, so people can see the person (and author) behind the message. I think it helps make it more personal and real.

I will try to post photos most days of December for you all. Let me know if you like this idea. :)

And if you like this post, if it speaks to you, I hope you’ll share it with others. You can see them on all www.CherylRainfield.com/blog

#cherylrainfield #YAwriter #YAlit #iReadYA #YAsaves #booklover #bookworm #booknerdigan #quote #inspiration

Be yourself. You’re just right the way you are.

be-yourself-20141229_184941-450Be yourself. You’re just right the way you are.

We’re told so often through advertisements, the media, through parents and well-meaning friends, to change this and that, that we’ll be more attractive, or a better person, or somehow a better us. And of course it’s good to grow, to find ways to be kinder, more compassionate. But take a moment to see yourself as you are now. You are JUST RIGHT the way you are. Right this very moment. You are beautiful. Don’t feel you have to change for anyone else. I hope you can love yourself just the way you are. Because I think you’re special. (hugging you)


This can be a hard time of year for many people, so I thought I’d post more positive messages for people again–selfies along with the messages, so people can see the person (and author) behind the message. I think it helps make it more personal and real.

I will try to post photos most days of December for you all. Let me know if you like this idea. :)

And if you like this post, if it speaks to you, I hope you’ll share it with others. You can see them on all www.CherylRainfield.com/blog

#cherylrainfield #YAwriter #YAlit #iReadYA #YAsaves #booklover #bookworm #booknerdigan #quote #inspiration

Take time to recharge yourself.

take-time-recharge-20141228_164714-450Take time to recharge yourself. We need work, but we also need rest and play. It’s lovely to help others, but it’s also important to take care of ourselves. And sometimes we work so hard or are there so often for other people, we forget to take care of ourselves and do what we need to, to recharge.

For me, it’s things like reading a book, playing with my little dog Petal, talking with a friend and getting a hug, watching a show. Taking a moment to read an old reader email or post that made me feel good. Looking at a photo of someone I love. All those things help me recharge my soul, my heart, my energy so that I can keep working hard and keep being there for others.

What are your ways of recharging? I hope whatever you do to help yourself regain some of your energy and good feeling, you do it often.


This can be a hard time of year for many people, so I thought I’d post more positive messages for people again–selfies along with the messages, so people can see the person (and author) behind the message. I think it helps make it more personal and real.

I will try to post photos most days of December for you all. Let me know if you like this idea. :)

And if you like this post, if it speaks to you, I hope you’ll share it with others. You can see them on all www.CherylRainfield.com/blog

#cherylrainfield #YAwriter #YAlit #iReadYA #YAsaves #booklover #bookworm #booknerdigan #quote #inspiration

Speak to yourself gently and with compassion.

speak-gently-20141227_175043-450
Speak to yourself gently and with compassion.

How we speak to ourselves matters. The way we think about ourselves can influence how we feel about ourselves. If you’ve grown up with abusive or critical parents, you may have absorbed some of their criticalness or harshness and turn it on yourself. If you talk to yourself with a harsh voice, I hope you can let that go, and talk to yourself with the same compassion and understanding you would a friend. You deserve that same support.

Try to catch yourself when you’re being harsh with yourself, and change the tone you use, the words. If you do, you may find that you’re happier.


This can be a hard time of year for many people, so I thought I’d post more positive messages for people again–selfies along with the messages, so people can see the person (and author) behind the message. I think it helps make it more personal and real.

I will try to post photos most days of December for you all. Let me know if you like this idea. :)

And if you like this post, if it speaks to you, I hope you’ll share it with others. You can see them on all www.CherylRainfield.com/blog

#cherylrainfield #YAwriter #YAlit #iReadYA #YAsaves #booklover #bookworm #booknerdigan #quote #inspiration



Love my books? Here's how to help!


Reasons Not To Hurt Yourself


Reasons Not To Kill Yourself. If You're Thinking of Suicide...


Tips On Dealing With Self-Harm


10 Ways To Improve Your Body Image And Feel Better About Your Body


Girls Are Strong (And Boys Are, Too). 17 Ways To Be Strong


Writing Technique Books I Recommend


Writing Technique Books & Online Courses I recommend by Holly Lisle


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