The Stars & Magic That Made Us

A story celebrating families. A wonderfully magical, complex and at times challenging journey of love, interdependence, healthy boundaries and independence. The family is the powerful sacred foundation as we grow and find our purpose. As such we love to reminisce. Children love to hear their stories. Parents and grandparents love to tell them.

Remember the story of your own family, jogged by the rhyming emotive narrative and inspired by the stunning portfolio of artist Sandra Lamb.

All profits from the sale of this book will be donated to FAR: Families for Addiction Recovery.

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The front cover of The Stars & Magic That Made Us

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Inspiration for the Story

This story evolved in a reverse process to most picture books. Typically an author will write a story and then approach an artist to create the illustrations. In this case, I was initially inspired by the artist’s existing portfolio.

In the fall of 2022, I was fortunate to meet Sandra Lamb at a book festival. She is a magnificent artist, publisher, and author of children’s stories. Immediately I was struck by the power of her artistry. After being enchanted with her portfolio, I could see a number of her paintings collectively telling the story of the power and magic of family. The inspiration worked its magic in my soul, and as a result, I birthed this poetic narrative.

During the writing of this story, I was supporting someone dear to my heart as they battled the disease of addiction.  I could see the devastating effects this insidious disease had not only on the individual but on the entire family. As such, I asked Sandra if she was willing to allow me to use her art with my narrative to create a picture book and that we make the book a fundraiser for FAR: Families for Addiction Recovery. She agreed. Leslie Bell (Sodalight Publishing), beautifully formatted and designed the book. With all the profits directed to FAR, we hope this book not only will inspire families to share their memories and stories but will make a positive difference in supporting families who are struggling to heal from addiction.

Guide for Reading: PRC

Predictions, Reflections and Connections


Predicting is an essential tool when developing as a strong reader. This story has been written to hook the young audience into engaging in predictable events.

Ask the following questions:

Look at the cover and title. Do you predict this book is about magic or magical feeling?

What do you think might happen once the two people fall in love?

Will they have a baby?

Do you think the mom might be worried?

Will the child have moments of being sassy?

What happens once the child grows up? Will they move away?

Where might the mom be once the child moves away?


Reflecting throughout a book makes the story extra personal and come alive. It reflects a reader’s level of comprehension. A more thoughtful and complex reflection and connection reveal a higher understanding of the story. They also help reinforce one’s memory sequence which forms the basis of a retelling with more detail and reference to nuance. A simple and literal retelling reflects a more simplistic understanding.

Use the following questions for points of discussion:

What happens in this story at the beginning, middle and end? Listen for and encourage your child to give as much detail.

Does this remind you of your family?

Do you think your mom worries?

What are some of the things you did as a baby or when you were small?

What were some of the things your mom did when you were small?

Were you, or are you ever sassy?

Did you refuse to eat brussel sprouts or to get out of the bath?

What do you want to be when you grow up?


Making connections facilitates a deeper understanding of a story through making inferences, noting details and relating them to prior information. It is seeing, linking, and articulating other topics and events to the story. The reader is applying this reading experience to other learned information. Often when making connections the reader will arrive at exciting new insights that extend beyond the literal story.

Use the following questions for points of discussion:

Have you ever read other books about family life and growing up? If so what are your favourites and why?

Is it easy or hard to grow up? Why?

How do you think parents feel when their children grow up and move away?

How do you think children feel when they grow up and move away?