Stars in the Sand- Child Life Resource

I have had the pleasure to connect with a fellow child life specialist, Shannon Alford. She is not only doing amazing work with patients and families at a children’s hospital, but she is also a loving mother and the author of Stars in the Sand: Finding the Light of the Lord in Unexpected Places. She writes under the pen name, Leigh Snyder

This is a beautiful book that captures the struggles that families endure and how their faith can be questioned and also used as a source of healing, hope and resiliency.

Here is a little bit more about the book and Shannon.

Stars in the Sand: Finding the Light of the Lord in Unexpected Places


Before you take your child to the hospital…

Stars in the Sand offers an insider’s view of a children’s hospital. The warm and witty stories provide practical information on

  • How hospitalization affects children and their families
  • Ways to support children’s development during hospitalization
  • Techniques to increase coping and offer comfort through illness and injury
  • Ways faith can be challenged and strengthened through trials and crisis
  • Examples of strength, hope, and inspiration

Can you ever think of a time more trying to one’s soul than enduring that of the pain of your child? Stars in the Sand compassionately shares an insider’s experience into the world of a Child Life Specialist. The brilliant and warm stories reflecting the divine presence of God in a children’s hospital permeate the book and share hope when circumstances can challenge even the strongest will. The stories are brief and to the point, yet they provide spiritual insight and provoke though. They also show that even though we place a lot of faith in current medical technology, we should never untether ourselves from the most glorious source of healing—the miracles of God’s blessings.

—Tony Anders, author, Artisan of the Human Spirit


Shannon Alford is a Child Life Specialist at a large children’s hospital whose work is to help children cope with the stress and anxiety that often accompanies hospitalization and medical procedures. Shannon’s experience includes working with hospitalized children of all ages from the ER to ICU. She enjoys spending time with her husband, Ed, and daughter, Audrey. She is currently working on her second book.

Click Here to order your copy of Stars in the Sand

You can contact Shannon by email at and follow her on Facebook.


Book Review: But Why? Lupus


Looking for a book to help explain Lupus to children? This is a wonderful tool that will help start the dialogue and safely support children’s emotions. It is a resource that should be added to any home library or pediatric facility. Child life specialists, this is a must in your programs!

Here is a little bit about the book and the But Why? series

But Why? Lupus explores a young person’s experience with the diagnosis of systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) more specifically, lupus nephritis, SLE. This thoughtful book explores the stages from diagnosis through remission by allowing the reader to enter the lives of one family. The beautiful illustrations, created by artist Kristy Green, add a depiction of each stage, and there’s even an opportunity for the reader to add his or her own color too!

This is the first book in the But Why? book series. This series will provide factual information about different childhood chronic illnesses and coping methods in a relatable and easy to understand format. It is intended to spark family interaction and open discussion regarding the prognosis and treatment of different illnesses. Other books in the series will include juvenile diabetes, juvenile rheumatoid arthritis, Tourette’s Syndrome, and more. A portion of the proceeds from each book sale will be donated to charity.


The author, Alexis Rizzuto has spent thirteen years in education, the last five of which were spent teaching Literacy. She holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Elementary Education with a concentration in English from SUNY New Patlz and holds a Master of Arts degree in Counseling from Seton Hall University. Alexis was diagnosed with lupus nephritis, SLE in 1994. Since then, she has been dreaming of the day when she could help newly diagnosed patients understand their disease. She hopes to help patients explain their disease to others, even their children, as she intends to do with her own. Alexis currently resides in New Jersey with her husband Rick, their twins, and their chocolate lab.

Click Here to purchase your copy of But Why? Lupus

To learn more about Alexis Rizzuto and the But Why? series, email her at

Book Review – Flowers and Bubbles

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I had the pleasure to meet with Allison C. Siegel at The All Kids Fair this past spring. She is a social worker and author of a newly published children’s book titled, Flowers and Bubbles: A Story About Coping With Anger and Frustration

When I read it to my boys they loved it and so did I! This is a valuable resource for any parent, educator, child life specialist, or professional working with kids.

Here is a little bit about Allison and her fabulous book:


My name is Allison C. Siegel, L.M.S.W and I am the author of the children’s book Flowers and Bubbles: A Story About Coping with Anger and Frustration.

As an Elementary School Social Worker, I read books to my students about ways to cope with the many emotions we have each day. Many stories I have shared with my students describe the hard to handle emotions and ways to cope, but few provide a teachable visual component. I find the strategies that are most effective are those that are linked with a visual so the children can relate to the action and remember how to use the strategy in the future. I know this book will be a great addition to any child’s bookshelf. Any child can relate to Charlie, his struggle with his own frustration and his helpful strategy of smelling flowers and blowing bubbles. He learns what a deep breath really looks and feels like. A common strategy for both adults and children is to take deep breaths, but just the basic direction for children might be a bit confusing. This book will help children learn how to take a deep breath in and out by using a visual of smelling flowers and blowing bubbles. Nana expresses to breathe in slowly to “smell the goodness” and Grandpa Sol shows how to blow bubbles nice and slow so they don’t pop. The strategies provided in the story will help children with the appropriate coping skills they need to cool off. Providing visuals are useful tools to help make lasting impressions on children.

To learn more about Allison, click here

To purchase a copy of her book on Amazon, click here

Allison will also be promoting her book at the Bank Street Bookstore on October 25th at 10:30am. Stop by and say hello.


“As a Supervisor in a Special Education School with an emotionally disturbed population, I have a front row seat to all different forms of anger and frustration. This book is perfect for those students who need to work on strategies for controlling those emotions. The vocabulary in this book are the exact words we use with our students on a daily basis..quiet corner, cool down, choice time, better choices…there is also a great section for adults at the end of the book which present strategies that can be used not only in the classroom but at home as well. Excellent for any parent or educator who may have an emotional child.”

  • Sal T., Special Education School Supervisor

“As a Special Education teacher, I have observed amazing responses from my students while reading the story. With both the language and the illustrations, the students are getting a better understanding of how to cope with their emotions. This is a great purchase to help children learn the skills to deal with anger and frustration. I love every time I read it.”

  • Nicole N.

“As a Speech-Language Pathologist, my focus is on improving children’s communication needs. I am so happy with this book. It is an amazing teaching tool for children with pragmatic/social/emotional needs!! I can’t think of a better way to help children make connections to these important concepts (and adults as well). I may need to go back and buy another copy!”

  • Amy K., Speech and Language Pathologist

“I teach 5th grade and my students loved the book! They easily related to the story and have even referred to the book when they felt as though they were getting frustrated and needed to calm themselves down. It is beautifully illustrated and so well written that it truly appeals to all elementary grades. I look forward to sharing more books from this terrific author with my class!”

  • Jeanne C., Fifth Grade Teacher

“I am a teacher and this is an amazing tool for teaching anger management to young students. The illustrations by themselves tell a story with such color and creativity. Today I read it to my first grade class and after each page my students had wonderful predictions and insight as to what “Charlie Boy” should and will do next. I also read it to my 3 year old grandson and he noticed and commented about each and every beautiful illustration that accompanies the beautifully written text. This book is “keepsake” quality!”

  • Alan S., First Grade Teacher

“Lovely story and beautifully illustrated story for kids about a topic that doesn’t always get enough attention. Reading this story in a classroom or at home can introduce good discussion with your kids.”

  • Miriam M.

“I read this to my class. They loved the story and easily grasped the concept of taking deep breaths and blowing out to release anger. We read it early in the day and by the afternoon I asked the children what they could do to calm themselves down. “Take a deep breath in like you’re smelling flowers!” they excitedly told me. “Blow out like you’re trying to blow a big bubble.” Thank you so much for this wonderful book! I can’t wait to see what your next one is!”

  • Deborah S., Teacher

“I am in college and read it to my younger cousin. It worked magic! As a college student, it even helped me remember how to deal with the anxiety that comes with my studies. A must-buy!”

  • Stephanie W. , College Student