Helping Families Be Happy

By Familius

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With help from guest authors, experts, and community and business leaders, the Familius Helping Families Be Happy podcast explores topics and issues that connect families to the nine habits of a happy family: love, play, learn, work, talk, heal, read, eat, and laugh together.

Episode Date
How to Talk to Kids about Race and Racism - with Sheila Modir, Ph.D. and Jeff Kashou, LMFT

In today’s episode of “Helping Families be Happy” podcast, host Dr. Carla Marie Manly, a practicing Clinical Psychologist, Wellness Advocate and Author based in Sonoma County, California. She talks to guests Dr. Sheila Modir (Pediatric Psychologist) and Dr. Jeff Kashou (Licensed Marriage & Family therapist in California). They both discuss about how to communicate with kids about color, race and racism. They also talk about their Book – ‘The Proudest Color’.


Episode Highlights

  • 2:00 – Dr. Sheila says that she has specialized in trauma and understanding racial discrimination across different communities of color.
  • 04:00 - Dr. Carla gives out a beautiful description of the book while asking both the guests about the narrative of their book. 
  • 06:45 – Referring to one of her favorite pages from the book, Dr. Carla enquires more about emotional identification and emotional literacy.
  • 09:25 - Children need to understand that they can have more than one emotion; multiple emotions in one moment can sometimes help explain an ambiguous situation, states Dr. Sheila.
  • 11:40 – How does emotional literacy lead to emotional intelligence, asks Dr. Carla.
  • 13:30 - A parent can very much understand what their child is going through, even if the child can't necessarily explain it sometimes.
  • 15:45 – Dr. Jeff and Dr. Sheila didn't see a book that could speak to a brown child and hence they wanted to put a book out there that was accessible to a broad range of children.
  • 18:00 - If you talk about diversity in a school curriculum, children of non-communities of color tend to recognize discrimination more, and tend to go to the teacher and say something about it.
  • 20:00 - Children can readily relate to the character of the book and parents can utilize tools like open-ended questions to help build understanding in the child. 
  • 22:05 – Dr. Carla points out that even though it is a children's book but she also sees it as a really wonderful learning tool for adults.
  • 24:00 – There are numerous people of color who have gone on to do amazing things, whether it's just in a family and local community or school or on kind of a bigger global stage, says Dr. Jeff.
  • 26:20 – Dr. Sheila and Dr. Jeff really hope that this is a book that families can learn together, talk together, heal together and understand together.
  • 28:30 - Dr. Carla enquires if the resources that they offer at the end of the book will really help them find the most appropriate way to talk to the children at the right level.
  • 30:20 – Dr. Jeff suggests few important takeaways for parents who want to help instill more resilience in their child.

Three Key Points

  1. This book is a wonderful launching pad for children and adults to be able to learn to feel their emotions, name their emotions, and then express their emotions. Once you learn to describe and express your feelings in healthy ways, then you're able to use all of that insight to use your emotions to work for you to integrate the emotions and then use the emotions to work for you.
  2. Dr. Sheila and Dr. Jeff have experienced varying levels of discrimination growing-up being Middle Eastern Americans in America, especially in a post 9/11 world where the level of discrimination increased tremendously towards this population. Now they both are trying to help create a children's book from their experiences.
  3. They wanted to be very sensitive about writing a book like this however what helped them feel comfortable was not just their education and background, but also the research on themselves. They’ve included citations in the book and also on their website at the


Tweetable Quotes

  • “Jeff and I are actually happily married; we live together in Southern California.” – Dr. Sheila Modir
  • “We enjoyed writing this book honestly.” - Dr. Sheila Modir
  • “I'd like to read one of my favorite pages from the book, because you mentioned emotion identification, and emotional literacy.” - Dr. Carla Marie Manly
  • “We wanted to write an authentic and honest book based on our experiences.” – Dr. Jeff Kashou
  • “We want to ensure that that emotion literacy is a key component of this book.” - Dr. Sheila Modir
  • “Once you kind of have the language, you know how to speak English, and then what do you do with that?” - Dr. Jeff Kashou
  • “That was the other point why we wrote the book.” - Dr. Jeff Kashou
  • “Books like this are so wonderful for beginning the conversation and allowing personal awareness.” - Dr. Carla Marie Manly
  • “I do find books to be a magical tool in communicating messages.” - Dr. Sheila Modir
  • “I really love that you mentioned the healing one because it's so important, isn't it?” - Dr. Carla Marie Manly
  • “The resources are really geared towards children age’s five to eight.” - Dr. Sheila Modir


Resources Mentioned


Dec 01, 2021
WHAT ABOUT US with Karen Kleiman

Karen Kleiman joins host Dr. Carla Marie Manly to discuss What About Us: A New Parents Guide to Safeguarding Your Over-Anxious, Over-Extended, Sleep-Deprived Relationship, which will be available everywhere books are sold on 9/14/2021, and is available for pre-order now.


"Karen Kleiman’s wisdom about not only taking care of the mother and her well-being, but also her partner and their whole system at large, helps us all stay connected to our partners and loved ones during a tumultuous, life-changing, and potentially relationship-taxing time. . . . God bless Karen for her support in helping us all integrate every relationship within our 'new normal' as parents. Her humor, experience, wisdom, and insight are like a port in the most heart-spinning of storms." -Alanis Morissette

The demands of a new baby can test a couple’s relationship like nothing else! When we factor in sleep deprivation, hormonal changes, depression and anxiety, and different personalities, life with a newborn can feel a bit CRAZY. Couples tend to misinterpret this rough patch as a sign that something is wrong with the relationship, but when couples take steps toward open communication and safeguard their relationship, they can face everything new parenthood throws at them together. From the team behind the bestselling Good Moms Have Scary Thoughts comes a new guidebook of short essays, comics, and quick journal prompts about the stressful newborn stage, the struggles that so many new parents face, and the skills you need to tap into your strength as a couple.


Karen Kleiman is a well-known international maternal mental-health expert with over thirty-five years of experience as a psychotherapist, teacher, and writer. As an advocate and author of several groundbreaking books on postpartum depression and anxiety, her pioneering work has influenced personal and professional populations within the perinatal mental health community for decades. In 1988, Karen founded The Postpartum Stress Center, a treatment and training facility for prenatal and postpartum depression/anxiety disorders where she treats individuals and couples.

ABOUT Illustrator Molly McIntyre:

Molly McIntyre is an artist, illustrator, and animator living in Brooklyn, New York, with her family. Her work has been featured in the upcoming Netflix series Worn Stories, the book Good Moms Have Scary Thoughts (Karen Kleiman, Familius), Bitch magazine, Everyday Feminism, Scary Mommy, and Psychology Today, and shown in exhibitions throughout the US and in Japan. 

Sep 10, 2021
ROOKIE FATHER with Author Kendall Smith

Author Kendall Smith of the upcoming Rookie Father: A Playbook for Men Experiencing Fatherhood for the First Time joins host Dr. Carla Marie Manly to discuss his book, which is available for pre-order now and publishes January 2022.


Author Kendall Smith, son of a single mother, takes you under his wing, sharing the wisdom he has gathered from his own experience as a father, from observing other dads, and from interviewing various generations of men. This playbook for fathers who, like Smith, did not have a regular and dependable father figure is packed with short lessons to answer questions new dads will face, from choosing your parenting style to what it means to really be the “man of the house” (spoiler alert: it’s not the 1950s) to managing your expectations as your child grows into a unique person. With hilarious examples and a straightforward approach, Rookie Father is the mentor-in-a-book every new father needs to be the dad you want to be.   ABOUT KENDALL SMITH: Kendall Smith is an author whose work includes self-help, fiction, and satire, and he’s a dedicated father and husband living in New Jersey. His core focus is fatherhood and providing relevant, pragmatic advice to new dads.  
Sep 03, 2021
THE PROUDEST COLOR with Illustrator Monica Mikai

Illustrator Monica Mikai joins host Dr. Carla Marie Manly to discuss her work on upcoming book The Proudest Color, written by Sheila Modir and Jeffrey Kashou. The Proudest Color officially publishes on September 14, 2021, and is available for pre-order now.


For me, brown is more than feeling proud.  It’s the color I see when I see me. Zahra sees the world in vivid color. When she’s happy, she feels a razzle-dazzle pink in her hands. When she’s sad, she feels a deep blue behind her eyes. But she isn’t quite sure how to feel about the color of her skin. Kids at school tell her she is different, but her mother tells her to be proud! From a diverse team and based on extensive research, The Proudest Color is a timely, sensitive introduction to race, racism, and racial pride. ABOUT MONICA:

Monica Mikai is an illustrator and former educator. She has an MFA from the New York Studio School where she studied painting and currently lives in Atlanta, Georgia, with her husband and her two sons.  
Aug 27, 2021
How the Birds Became Friends with Author Noa Baum and Illustrator Zev Labinger

Author Noa Baum and illustrator Zev Labinger join Carla Marie Manly, PhD, for a discussion about their book How the Birds Became Friends, which is available for pre-order now and will be available everywhere books are sold starting September 14, 2021.

About the book: Long ago when the world was very young, the birds did not get along.  They were always fighting about who was better. Beaks pecking! Feathers flying!  Squawks and screeches everywhere! Little Quail feels lost in all the noise, but with each bird trying to outdo the others, Quail bravely takes an unexpected approach. In this delightful take on a Burmese folktale from award-winning storyteller Noa Baum and illustrated by renowned ecologist and artist Zev Labinger, watch the power of kindness change the world.

About Noa:

Noa Baum is an internationally acclaimed and award-winning storyteller and author. Born and raised in Jerusalem, she presents internationally to diverse audiences, from the World Bank and universities to schools, festivals, and congregations.

About Zev:

Zev is a visual artist, musician, and ecologist originally from the USA, but he has been living in Israel for the past 30 years. He became obsessed with nature and birds at age 11, and he has been studying and painting them ever since.  


Aug 12, 2021
You Got This, Mama! with Elizabeth Swenson

Elizabeth Swenson, author of You Got This, Mama! joins host Carla Marie Manly, PhD to discuss the inspiration behind her book.


Being a mom is HARD—don’t let anyone tell you otherwise. The first few months (or let’s be real, 18 years) after bringing a new baby home can be tiring and messy. Mothers need encouragement, inspiration, and a good laugh. You Got This, Mama!: From Boobs to Blowouts, a Survival Guide for New Mothers is a visual guide to new motherhood with illustrated quotes, hilarious infographics, and encouraging thoughts to power new moms through another day. Real, honest, and beautifully designed, this is the guide for moms that we didn’t know we needed.  


Liz Swenson lives in the sunny beach town of San Clemente, California, with her handsome hubs, three crazy kids, and big dog, Harper. She relishes momming, teaching math to high schoolers, making art, and living life to the fullest.      
Aug 05, 2021
Date Smart with Dr. Carla Marie Manly

Dr. Carla Marie Manly joins CEO and co-founder of Familius, Christopher Robbins, to discuss her new book, Date Smart.

About the Book:

Sometimes we have HUGE expectations for the ideal relationship, but dating isn’t about being perfect or catching the perfect partner; it’s all about creating compassionate self-awareness and stronger self-esteem. A must-read for daters, this no-nonsense guide from clinical psychologist Carla Marie Manly, PhD, takes the guesswork out of dating with real-life examples, the latest research, and 33 vital mindset shifts designed to foster:

  • empowered communication,
  • strong, healthy boundaries,
  • realistic, mindful expectations,
  • increased red flag awareness,
  • healthy dating dynamics, and more!

Self-discovery is key to healthy relationships. Your life will change when you discover how to date strong, date fearlessly, and date smart.

About Dr. Carla Marie Manly:

Dr. Carla Marie Manly, a practicing clinical psychologist, author, and speaker, uses a mindfulness-based approach that is rooted in neurobiology. Dr. Manly’s passion is helping others discover joy, balance, and optimal wellness from the inside out.

Jul 23, 2021
Everyone's Sleepy but the Baby with Tracy C. Gold

Author Tracy C. Gold joins host Carla Marie Manly, PhD, to discuss her board book Everyone's Sleepy but the Baby.

ABOUT THE BOOK: After a long day, the whole family is ready to hit the hay . . . except for the baby. Why is it so hard to get the baby to sleep? With hilarious illustrations that might hit a little too close to home for new parents, Everyone’s Sleepy but the Baby is the perfect, true-to-life bedtime story that will help even the most reluctant sleeper wind down for bed.


Tracy C. Gold is a writer, editor, and mom living in Baltimore, Maryland. Her work has been published in several magazines and anthologies. Tracy earned her MFA in creative writing and publishing arts at the University of Baltimore, and earned her BA in English from Duke University.   
Jul 16, 2021
BFF or NRF (Not Really Friends): A Girl's Guide to Happy Friendships with Jessica Speer

Author Jessica Speer joins host Dr. Carla Marie Manly for a conversation about her upcoming book, BFF or NRF (Not Really Friends): A Girl's Guide to Happy Friendships.

About the Book:

Friendships are tough to navigate, even for adults. The preteen years can be particularly sticky, but we’ve got your back! Packed with fun quizzes, colorful illustrations, and stories about girls just like you, BFF or NRF (Not Really Friends) is the ultimate interactive guidebook to help you learn the ins and outs of friendship. Explore the topics of gossip, bullying, and feeling left out, along with ways to strengthen the friendships that mean the most to you.

About the Author:

Jessica Speer's first middle-grade book, BFF or NRF (Not Really Friends)? A Girl's Guide to Happy Friendships, grew out of her friendship program that helps kids develop social awareness and healthy friendship skills. She has a master's degree in social sciences, and her writing focuses on social/emotional topics for kids and families.  

Jul 09, 2021
Somewhere in the City and Count on Me 123 with Author J.B. Frank

Author J.B. Frank of Somewhere in the City and Count on Me 123 joins host Carla Marie Manly, PhD to discuss her books.

About Somewhere in the City:

The sights and sounds of the city come alive in a magical way as Lucy waits eagerly for her father to return from work. Watching out the window, Lucy’s view of dogs, bakers, and buses is juxtaposed with her father’s journey through crowds, trains, and finally home to tuck her in. Detailed illustrations contrast a child’s fantastical view of the world with reality, all leading up to a cozy finish that will make this a perfect bedtime book for city children everywhere.

About Count on Me 123:

Though many things in the world are uncertain, there are some people we can always count on—so let’s count them! In this colorful board book filled with adorable, diverse characters, children count the everyday heroes around them from 10 crossing guards and 9 firefighters down to 2 parents, and of course, 1 you!

About J.B. Frank:

J. B. Frank holds a masters degree in Writing for Children and Young Adults from Hamline University. She is an Emmy Award– and Cine Award–winning television producer and has written articles for a number of children’s magazines and journals.


Jul 02, 2021
Story Baskets and Book-Inspired Play

Alicia Godfrey joins host Carla Marie Manly, PhD to discuss story baskets and how she creates activities to further her family's engagement with their favorite books.


 Alicia Godfrey earned a master's in Early Childhood Education and taught Special Education, kindergarten, and first grade for many years. On Instagram @story.baskets, she pairs children's books with fun, simple activities for busy moms, and she sells Story Basket Activity Kits at Alicia is a devout Christian, a mother of two, and a resident of sunny Florida.

Jun 25, 2021
Larissa Honsek: OPPOSITES, LET'S MOVE, and Encouraging Family Creativity

Larissa Honsek, creator of board books Opposites and Let's Move, joins CEO and co-founder of Familius, Christopher Robbins, for a discussion about her journey and how she encourages her family's creativity.


Larissa Honsek is a Berlin-based graphic designer, photographer, and illustrator who loves to explore the intersections of these fields. Her tribe of bright and colorful characters is born out of experiments with a multitude of mixed-media elements: clay sculpting, photography, digital and analogue collaging, painting, drawing, printing, and scanning.

ABOUT Opposites:

Short and tall. Happy and sad. Hot and cold. Globally famous artist Larissa Honsek's adorable clay figures help little ones identify the difference in these important concepts.

ABOUT Let's Move:

Colorful clay characters invite children to learn about their bodies through movement. Wave your arms! Lift your legs! Open your hands and cover your eyes! You won’t be able to stay in your seat for this engaging movement primer. From the creator of Opposites comes another colorful board book for children learning what their bodies can do!

May 28, 2021
The Chameleon's True Colors with Yuliya Pankratova

Yuliya Pankratova, author/illustrator of The Chameleon's True Colors, joins Carla Marie Manly, PhD, to discuss her new release.

About the Book:

Chameleon is sad because he doesn’t have a color of his own. He borrows yellow from the sun, pink from an orchid, and orange from a tiger, but will there be enough color for everyone? With gorgeous, colorful illustrations and a message about the power of giving, The Chameleon’s True Colors is the picture book every family needs on their shelf.

About Yuliya:

Moving from Moscow to London at five years old, Yuliya Pankratova went on to graduate with degrees in English literature and illustration, getting her first job in advertising and launching her own diversity and inclusion business. Maybe that's why belonging is such a key theme in her picture books, which she illustrates with a painterly and dynamic style. 

May 21, 2021
Hugga Loula with Author Nancy Dearborn

Nancy Dearborn, author of Hugga Loula, joins host Carla Marie Manly, PhD, to discuss her book.


“If you’re grumpy or sad, frustrated or mad, just give a shout, and hug it out.”

With the healing power of a hug and an act of kindness, little Hugga Loula diffuses all sorts of situations. Featuring colorful illustrations and charming refrain, Hugga Loula gives us an adorable hero offering care, comfort, and love to a world that desperately needs all three. 


Nancy A. Dearborn, a former high school English teacher, graduated from UW-Whitewater with a BSE in English. She has had over 250 articles, stories, and poems published in magazines, newspapers, anthologies, and online. 



May 14, 2021
The Big Book of Family Games with Author Brad Berger

Author Brad Berger joins Familius co-founder and CEO Christopher Robbins to discuss the power of family game nights and his book The Big Book of Family Games.


Bring family and friends together for hours of entertainment and real social interaction. The Big Book of Family Games: 101 Original Group Games That Don't Need Charging brings people together for hours of hilarious, interactive, technology-free fun that requires virtually nothing more than pens and paper. This travel-friendly book guarantees hours of engaging entertainment with 101 original, rigorously tested games that challenge each player's ability to strategize, bluff, read minds, memorize, think quickly, solve puzzles, and more. No texting, tweeting, or web surfing allowed!  ABOUT BRAD:

Brad Berger grew up in Great Neck, New York. He attended the University of Colorado, where he earned a degree in French, Italian, and German, and he spent several years living and working in Europe. He currently resides on Long Island, where he works as president and publisher of a 130-year-old, family-owned publishing company. Inspired to bring people back together without technological interruption, Brad crafted the ultimate playbook of original games to give people a reason to come together and "unplug" for a while.

May 07, 2021
Literacy with Dylan Teut

Dylan Teut connects with host Carla Marie Manly, Phd, to discuss his work studying and promoting literacy.


ABOUT DYLAN: Dylan Teut currently serves as the executive director of the Plum Creek Literacy Festival, and has served as an instructor for literacy courses for undergraduate students at Concordia University, Seward, Nebraska. Dylan is a former first grade teacher, recognized by the state of IL as the K-5 Reading Teacher of the Year in 2014. He was named to the International Literacy Association's inaugural "30 Under 30" list in 2015. He was recognized by Read Aloud Nebraska with a Reading Spotlight award in 2020 for his advocacy in helping educators and families stay connected to high-quality literacy during the pandemic. He is currently a PhD Candidate studying at Walden University. Since his time in Seward, he has grown the Plum Creek Festival in numerous ways. Dylan serves on the National Board of Supervisors for the Mazza Museum of Children’s Book Art, a part of the University of Findlay in Findlay, OH, and also on the National Mathical Book Award committee. He is a frequent conference presenter and has chaired panels and workshops for the International Literacy Association Annual Conference as well as the National Council of Teachers of English Annual Conference. He is a member of the International Literacy Association and the National Council of Teachers of English. He has also served on the Read Aloud Nebraska board. Dylan is an active member of Christ Lincoln: A Lutheran Ministry in Lincoln, NE where he leads the GriefShare ministry and serves as an organist and a worship elder. In his free time, you can find him buried in a pile of books, playing piano and organ, or enjoying the outdoors. Follow him on Twitter @dylanteut

Apr 02, 2021
52 Weeks of Cookies with Maggie McCreath

Maggie McCreath, author of 52 Weeks of Cookies, joins host Carla Marie Manly, PhD, to discuss her family's journey, her book, and how baking and sending cookies helped her express her love and support while her son was deployed.


About Maggie McCreath:

Maggie McCreath is a single mom with two grown kids. She received a degree in Computer Science from George Mason University, and has worked in the field for over thirty years. Her life has always revolved around her family. Her kids began as her pride and joy, and have grown into her best friends and confidants.

Her daughter Haley is the oldest. She has a degree in Journalism from Virginia Commonwealth University; however, after working for a national news organization here in Washington, DC, for four years, she determined that way of life was not for her. She currently works for a pub managing the bar and producing local radio commercials in mid-western Virginia.

Her son, Buddy, enlisted in the Army during his senior year of High School and became Airborne directly after boot camp. He has served with the Airborne Corps up until January 2015 when he began Warrant Officer Candidate School. After successfully completing the school work, he will fly helicopters.

Though Maggie's interest in the military strengthened with her son's enlistment, her fondness for the military and those who serve began years earlier. Her father served during World War II, and she has spent a large portion of her adult life in direct support of the military. This includes the fifteen years she worked for the Joint Staff at the Pentagon, with an additional five years working for the Pentagon at an off-site facility. On September 11, 2001, though Maggie was not at the Pentagon, she was at an off-site location working in direct support of its mission. The events of 9/11 not only catapulted her to the position she holds now, but have undoubtedly shaped her family's lives as well.

About 52 Weeks of Cookies :

Single mother Maggie McCreath couldn’t decide which was worse: the fact that her only son (not yet twenty-one) was off to war in Iraq for the second time or the fact that they had only five days to prepare. Even more frightening, she knew that he would be part of the Surge and, as a paratrooper in the 82nd Division of the Army, the tip of the Spear. What she did not know—what she couldn’t even bear to consider—was how this deployment would end, both for her son and for his brothers in arms, whom she had come to know and love as her own. So she turned to the one pastime that had always brought her solace: baking.

Filled with delicious, original cookie recipes, 52 Weeks of Cookies recounts a mom’s unique methods of coping during her son’s deployment. With plenty of sugar cookies but no sugarcoating, 52 Weeks of Cookies is an honest, uplifting story of family love during a crisis, with all the fear, grief, laughter, gratitude, and joy that come with it. 

Mar 26, 2021
Grandmothering with Linda Eyre

Linda Eyre, author of Grandmothering, joins Familius CEO and co-founder Christopher Robbins for a conversation about grandparenting and about her book.


Richard and Linda Eyre are New York Times #1 bestselling authors whose writing career has spanned four decades and whose books have sold in the millions. They have appeared on virtually all major national talk shows, including Oprah and Today, and have seen their books translated into a dozen languages. 


Grandmothers make the best cookies and give the best hugs, but there's so much more to being the kind of grandmother who leaves a legacy that stands the test of time. New York Times #1 bestselling author and grandmother Linda Eyre shares her secret formula for teaching your grandchildren values, building meaningful connections with them, and giving them grit and resilience in an ever-changing world. Broken into short, digestible chapters for quick reading, this guidebook is filled with time-tested advice and stories from a panel of grandmothers, plus an appendix of easy, delicious recipes to feed a crowd at your next family reunion.

Mar 19, 2021
Foster Care Wisdom with Dr. John DeGarmo

Dr. John DeGarmo, author of The Little Book of Foster Care Wisdom, joins CEO and co-founder of Familius, Christopher Robbins for a conversation about the book and about foster parenting.

ABOUT DR. JOHN DEGARMO: Dr. DeGarmo has a BA in history, a masters in media technology, a masters in educational leadership, and a doctorate in educational leadership from Walden University. Dr. DeGarmo wrote his dissertation on responding to the needs foster children face while in rural schools. He is the author of several foster-care books, including the new book The Foster Care Survival Guide, the bestselling book Faith and Foster Care, and the foster-care children's book A Different Home: A New Foster Child's Story. He is the director of The Foster Care Institute and acts as a consultant to foster care agencies and legal agencies across the US. Dr. John is a dynamic speaker and informative trainer on the foster care system, and he travels extensively across the globe, meeting with foster parents, child welfare workers, churches, schools, and organizations. Dr. John has appeared on several TV programs and channels, including CNN HLN, Good Morning America, Freeform, NBC, FOX, CBS, and PBS. He writes regularly for many magazines and is a regular contributor to several publications, both in the United States and overseas.


Dr. DeGarmo is married to Dr. Kelly DeGarmo, who hails from Australia, and the two of them have six children, both biological and adoptive. Dr. DeGarmo and his wife are also currently foster parents to three siblings, bringing their household to nine children. Dr. DeGarmo has been a foster parent for dozens of children for over a decade now. He has a passion for helping foster children and is driven to bring education and insight into general society about all things foster care.


Dr. DeGarmo and his wife are the recipients of the Good Morning America Ultimate Hero Award, and the Up With People Everyday Hero Award. The two also were honored with their city's Citizens of the Year Award.



Foster parenting is both a rewarding and a challenging job, a lifestyle of continuous learning and new experiences, and The Little Book of Foster Care Wisdom will be there to support you as you, in turn, support your foster children.

Filled with 365 days' worth of daily tips, inspirational quotes, and motivational short stories from a foster care expert, this book is a must-read for modern child-welfare advocates, adoptive parents, and foster parents. It provides inspirational content every day, including instructions, tips, anecdotes, and more. 

Mar 13, 2021
The Parent Fix with Maggie Stevens

Maggie Stevens joins host Carla Marie Manly, PhD to discuss The Parent Fix.


Have you ever tried to change another person? If you have, you probably know it is next to impossible. Most parenting books teach parents how to change the child. The Parent Fix focuses on the parents, emphasizing a parent’s need to change to inspire family improvement.

If our greatest joys and sorrows come from family relationships, are we truly happy when we are in control of our loved ones? That deep joy we are searching for comes as we watch those we love learn lessons that change their own lives. To have this change it is the parent who must change.

There is power in parenting—correct parenting. Rather than focusing on the kids, as so many other self-help books do,The Parent Fix stresses that when parents change, kids change. Focusing on key principles like correct judgement, taking time, education and more, Stevens provides concrete ways parents can change their own behavior to improve the behavior of their children. As a mother, Maggie spent years researching and found the answers needed to successfully raise five children. With over thirty years of practical experience, Maggie knows the answers that make a difference. When parents change . . . kids change.



Maggie Stevens graduated with degrees in sociology and youth leadership. Professionally, Maggie works with youth groups, parent groups, and educators offering parenting help to struggling families.

She also volunteers the majority of her time to The Parent Fix Foundation, a non-profit organization dedicated to improving family life. She is the proud mother of five children and fourteen grandchildren.


Mar 05, 2021
A Spring Stroll in the City with Author Cathy Goldberg Fishman

Cathy Goldberg Fishman, author of the upcoming board book A Spring Stroll in the City and fall 2020 title A Winter Walk in the City (both illustrated by Melanie Hall) joins Carla Marie Manly, PhD, to discuss her work and her inspiration for this series.


Spring stroll in the city What do I see? One giant shamrock. Two kites in a tree. Take a stroll through the city in springtime and experience the sights, sounds, colors, and smells of the multitude of different holidays we celebrate this season. From St. Patrick’s Day and Easter to Nowruz and Cinco de Mayo, everyone has a reason to celebrate. With simple rhymes, a counting pattern, and stunning papercraft art reminiscent of Ezra Jack Keats, this diverse board book is the perfect introduction to the cultural melting pot that makes the city so special.  

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: A graduate of Lesley College and the University of Vermont, Cathy taught in an elementary school, directed a daycare center, and owned a children's bookstore.  In addition to writing, Cathy teaches at Georgia Military College in Augusta, Georgia, and works part-time at the Augusta Jewish Federation.


Feb 27, 2021
Read Aloud and Storytime Enthusiast Bri Reads!

Bri Reads joins host Carla Marie Manly, PhD, for a discussion about how she uses her social media platform to encourage a love of reading.


Check out Bri Reads's The Day Punctuation Came to Town read aloud and storytime here:


The Day Punctuation Came to Town:

Feb 06, 2021
Called to Be Creative with Mary Potter Kenyon and Rebecca Schweiger

Christopher Robbins (co-founder and CEO of Familius) speaks with Mary Potter Kenyon (author of Called to Be Creative) and Rebecca Schweiger (founder and CEO of The Art Studio NY) about the importance of cultivating creativity.

About Called to Be Creative:

"I’m not creative. I could never do something like that. I don’t have time to be creative."

Does any of this sound familiar? Do you find yourself wishing that you had pursued your creative talents before it was too late? In a world full of creativity, there is no such thing as “too late.”

Called to Be Creative is for anyone looking to reignite that tiny spark inside of them and invite creativity into their lives through simple, everyday practices. A certified grief counselor and a Program Coordinator for Shalom Spirituality Center, Mary Potter Kenyon walks you step by step through the process of exploring your true potential in this inspirational guide to embracing your innate creativity. With in-depth research from the most notable creative authorities, insight from creative pioneers, her personal experiences, and small activities to kick-start your own creative revolution, Kenyon offers you everything you need to live a more creative life.

Jan 29, 2021
Marvin's Monster Diary, ST4, and Mindfulness with Dr.Raun Melmed and Caroline Bliss Larsen

Join host Carla Marie Manly, PhD, author of Joy From Fear, Aging Joyfully, and upcoming Date Smart, as she speaks with co-authors Raun D. Melmed, MD, FAAP, and Caroline Bliss Larsen of Marvin's Monster Diary 2 (+Lyssa!): ADHD Emotion Explosion, Marvin's Monster Diary 3: Trouble with Friends, and upcoming Marvin's Monster Diary 4: Bullying.


Marvin's Monster Diary series:



Raun D. Melmed, MD, FAAP, a developmental and behavioral pediatrician, is the director of the Melmed Center in Scottsdale, Arizona, and co-founder and medical director of the Southwest Autism Research and Resource Center. He is the author of Autism: Early Intervention; Autism and the Extended Family; and a series of books on mindfulness for children: Marvin's Monster Diary: ADHD Attacks, Timmy's Monster Diary: Screen Time Stress, Harriet's Monster Diary: Awfully Anxious, Marvin's Monster Diary 2 (+Lyssa): ADHD Emotion Explosion, Marvin's Monster Diary 3: Trouble with Friends (But I Get By, Big Time!), and the next in the series, and Marvin's Monster Diary 4: Bullying.


Caroline Bliss Larsen edits BYU Independent Study courses by day and writes and edits novels by night. She is also the coauthor of Marvin's Monster Diary 2 (+Lyssa!): ADHD Emotion Explosion and Marvin's Monster Diary 3: Trouble with Friends. 

Dec 18, 2020
Holistic Approaches to Physical and Mental Health

Join host Dr. Carla Marie Manly, author of Joy From Fear, as she interviews Dr. David Hanscom about holistic approaches to physical and mental health.

About Joy From Fear:

If you find yourself running away from fear, you’re running in the wrong direction. Fear demands that we move toward it, face it, and hear its messages. When we fail to do this, the price is high—chronic anxiety, sleeplessness, damaged relationships, skyrocketing pharmaceutical use, and more. In her enlightening book Joy from Fear, clinical psychologist Dr. Carla Marie Manly explains that fear is not the enemy we thought it was; fear, when faced with awareness, is the powerful ally and best friend we all need.

Dr. Manly's work is firmly based in science but goes far beyond presenting the dry facts. Joy from Fear offers page after page of real-life examples, insights, easy-to-use tools, and life-changing exercises. Coining the term transformational fear, Dr. Manly illuminates the importance of embracing fear’s messages for a transformed life filled with freedom and lasting happiness.  

About Dr. Carla Marie Manly:

Dr. Carla Marie Manly is a practicing clinical psychologist, author, and advocate who makes her home in Santa Rosa, California. Utilizing a mindfulness-based, holistic approach, Dr. Manly focuses on helping others achieve joy and balance from the inside out.

About Dr. Hanscom:

Dr. Hanscom is an orthopedic complex spinal deformity surgeon who was based in Seattle, WA. He quit his surgical practice in 2018 of over 32 years to focus on teaching people how to break the grip of chronic mental and physical pain. His mission is to re-introduce true healing into medicine. He feels that doctors should be given the time to listen and understand their patients. Difficult life situations surrounding their medical problems have a tremendous impact on care and outcomes.

Dec 08, 2020
Parenting for the Digital Age with Bill Ratner

Author and acclaimed voice actor Bill Ratner joins Christopher Robbins, CEO and co-founder of Familius, to discuss his work and his book Parenting for the Digital Age.

About Bill:

Bill Ratner is an American voice actor. He is best known for being the voice in movie trailers and for being the voice of Flint in Hasbro’s syndicated TV cartoon G.I. Joe. He reprised the role of “Flint” in episodes of Family Guy and Robot Chicken. In addition to his successful career in voiceovers Bill is a master storyteller—National Storytelling Festival Slam Teller, Best of Hollywood Fringe Festival winner, 8-time Moth StorySLAM Winner, published short story writer, essayist, and playwright. He performs his stories in comedy clubs, theatres, taverns, schools, and storytelling festivals across the country.

About the Book:

From how to deal with cyberbullying to the strange, true stories behind Barbie and G.I. Joe, media insider Bill Ratner takes an inside look at our wired-up world in a fascinating book—part memoir, part parenting guide—for the digital age. Landing his first job in advertising at age fourteen, Ratner learned early that the media doesn't necessarily have our best interests at heart. His career as one of America’s most popular voiceover artists and his life as a parent and educator gives readers a first-hand look at the effects of digital media on children and what you can do about it.

Nov 27, 2020
Little Fingers Ballet! and Proud to Be Latino: Food/Comida with Author Ashley Marie Mireles

Ashley Marie Mireles joins host Dr. Carla Marie Manly to discuss her titles Proud to Be Latino: Food/Comida and Little Fingers Ballet! 


About Ashley Marie Mireles:

Ashley Marie Mireles was born and raised in the heart of California's Central Valley, where her time visiting the library blossomed into a career in publishing. She currently lives in Fresno, California, with her boyfriend of seven years and their terrier.

About Little Fingers Ballet!:

Ballet is for feet, and now fingers too! Slip into your mini pointe shoes!

Being a prima ballerina is simple with Little Fingers Ballet! Flip through the pages and become the star of classic ballets. The six spreads feature scenes from Coppellia, Cinderella, La Bayadere, The Nutcracker, Romeo & Juliet, and Swan Lake. Each page gives the reader a ballet step to practice from the actual choreography of the scene.

About Proud to Be Latino: Food/Comida:

Did you know that there are over 5000 types of potatoes sold in South America? Or that in Honduras, a song about conch soup reached the Billboard Top 100 Charts? 

Latino culture spans Southern and Central America as well as the Caribbean, but often when we think of Latino foods, we think tacos, burritos, and other common Mexican dishes. Proud to Be Latino: Food/Comida teaches children how different Latino countries use similar ingredients to create unique regional dishes.

The dishes and their descriptions are given in both English and Spanish, and parents will enjoy the sidebars with additional fun facts about Latino food and culture. This bilingual board book takes the reader beyond a basic language primer and dives deep into the heart of Latino culture . . . which is the food, of course! 

Nov 20, 2020
Pandemic Etiquette with Author Rosalinda Randall

Rosalinda Randall, author of Don't Burp in the Boardroom, joins Familius co-founder and CEO Christopher Robbins to discuss etiquette during the pandemic.

About Rosalinda's Book, Don't Burp in the Boardroom:

Sassy, funny, blunt, and definitely not sugar coated, Don’t Burp in the Boardroom examines etiquette in the workplace, from the warehouse to the top floor. While the outerwear may be different, the dilemmas from cubicle to corner office are the same. Rosalinda Randall delves into common predicaments like food, the break room, social media and electronics, office romances, or how to make a good impression when you’re new on the job. She also delves into the uncommonly common like catching your boss in an unfortunate position and how to avoid that one co-worker who always wants a hug.

In today’s modern, fast-paced, crazy lifestyle we think we don’t have time for etiquette. We might believe that it is outdated, irrelevant, or even pretentious. But Don’t Burp in the Boardroom talks about etiquette without mentioning etiquette! How’s that possible? Because Rosalinda defines etiquette as an attitude. What’s yours like?


Rosalinda Randall is a modern-day pundit on tact and civility. By lending personality and humor to an age-old and sometimes boring topic, Rosalinda has been successfully improving workplace environments and relationships as well as spreading civility and sharing enthusiastic and insightful advice for more than 14 years.

Rosalinda has also served as a source for Woman's Day (featured on YahooShine), Small Biz Technology, The Metro West Daily News, Winter Bride 2013, Ser Padres (Spanish version of "Parents Mag"), on a variety of topics.

One of her favorite missions is serving as a consultant to formerly incarcerated women. Catherine's Center, a local non-profit organization. She lives in Northern California.



Nov 13, 2020
Finding Family with Richard Hill

Join host Carla Marie Manly, PhD (author of Joy From Fear and Aging Joyfully) and Richard Hill for a conversation about Richard's book Finding Family.


Finding Family: My Search for Roots and the Secrets in My DNA is the highly suspenseful account of an adoptee trying to reclaim the biological family denied him by sealed birth records. This fascinating quest, including the author's landmark use of DNA testing, takes readers on an exhilarating roller-coaster ride and concludes with a twist that rivals anything Hollywood has to offer. In the vein of a classic mystery, Hill gathers the seemingly scant evidence surrounding the circumstances of his birth. As his resolve shores up, the author also avails of new friends, genealogists, the Internet, and the latest DNA tests in the new field of genetic genealogy. As he closes in on the truth of his ancestry, he is able to construct a living, breathing portrait of the young woman who was faced with the decision to forsake her rights to her child, and ultimately the man whose identity had remained hidden for decades. Finding Family offers guidance, insight, and motivation for anyone engaged in a similar mission, from ways to obtain information to the many networks that can facilitate adoption searches. The book includes a detailed guide to DNA and genetic genealogy and how they can produce irrefutable results in determining genetic connections and help adoptees bypass sealed records and similar stumbling blocks


At 18 years old, Richard Hill accidentally discovered a deeply hidden family secret: he was adopted. Assuming he would never know any details, he was startled to learn many years later that he had a brother out there somewhere. What then began as a search for his mother and brother turned into a decades long search for the identity of his biological father. Thwarted for years by sealed records, lies, and cover-ups, Richard eventually turned to a series of new DNA tests designed for genealogists. His groundbreaking use of this new science to uncover the name of his birth father was reported on the front page of The Wall Street Journal. Subsequently, newer DNA tests would lead him to an even more startling conclusion. Richard has made it his personal mission to share what he learns with other adoptees and genealogists. He does that through his web site,, social media, presentations, and now his books. His memoir, Finding Family: My Search for Roots and the Secrets in My DNA, was named a Finalist in the Next Generation Indie Book Awards. The electronic version was awarded a gold medal in the Global Ebook Awards. His "Guide to DNA Testing" eBook provides an easy-to-understand overview of genetic genealogy. Readers quickly learn how to identify ancestors, confirm relationships, and measure their ethnic ancestry.

Nov 09, 2020
Mother Matters with Dayna Kurtz, LMSW, CPT

Dayna Kurtz, LMSW, CPT, and author of Mother Matters, joins Carla Marie Manly, PhD to discuss the importance of mothercare.

Millions of mothers are born each year. From the moment a baby is born, the world seems to focus on childcare, but what about mothercare? Enter Dayna Kurtz, the brains behind Huffington Post's Mother Matters blog. From postpartum depression and "baby blues" to healing meals and postnatal exercise, Kurtz guides new and veteran mothers alike through the best practices to care for themselves during their first year of motherhood. Her unique approach also includes less common methods like acupressure, expressive arts therapy, and more to help mothers boost their mental health and reclaim their identity. Backed by irrefutable research and personal anecdotes, Mother Matters is the guide every mother needs to not only survive but thrive!

ABOUT DAYNA: Dayna M. Kurtz, LMSW, CPT, is a leading authority on the subject of women transitioning to motherhood and serves as Director of the Anna Keefe Women's Center at the Training Institute for Mental Health in Manhattan. She is a licensed social worker and NASM (National Academy of Sports Medicine) Certified Personal Trainer with an additional certification in training pre- and postnatal clients. Dayna is a contributor to The Doctor's Book of Natural Remedies (Rodale, 2017). Dayna also serves as a Real Answers expert on She has written or been consulted on articles for the websites of The Today Show, Pregnancy & Newborn, Big City Moms, Pregnancy Corner, and WAGmagazine among others, and writes the Mother Matters blog for the Huffington Post. A sought-after speaker, Dayna regularly presents on the subject of mothercare.



Oct 31, 2020
KidTime StoryTime- Behind the Scenes with StoryTeller!

StoryTeller, the Mother of Puppets, published author, Emmy Award Winner, and professional ham from KidTime StoryTime, joins Dr. Carla Marie Manly to discuss her passion for sharing read alouds and helping kids develop a love of reading!

Oct 19, 2020
Feed the Baby Hummus with Dr. Lisa Lewis

Lisa Lewis, MD and author of Feed the Baby Hummus, joins Carla Marie Manly, PhD for this week's podcast!


A practicing pediatrician for twenty years, Dr. Lisa Lewis currently serves the Fort Worth community at Kid Care Pediatrics. She has traveled the world extensively experiencing medical and parenting philosophies in various countries. In 2016 and 2017, Fort Worth Child magazine gave her a Mom-Approved Pediatrician designation based on patient votes.

In addition to her pediatric practice, Dr. Lewis contributes to various blogs and websites including Bloggy Moms and the website for New Parent Magazine. She is an active member of and contributor to Multicultural Kid Blogs, where readers from all over the world convene to share multicultural parenting information. She also reaches out to hundreds of followers via Facebook and via her website,

Dr. Lewis is an international medical graduate, attending medical school at the American University of the Caribbean School of Medicine. During her third and fourth years of medical studies, she performed her clinical rotations at London Hospital Medical College in England, where she received clinical honors. She completed her pediatric residency at Texas A & M University Health Science Center, Scott and White Memorial Hospital, in Temple, Texas. While at Texas A & M University Health Science Center, she also served as chief resident. She then stayed on staff for two years, as assistant professor in the Department of Pediatrics. She left academia in 1998 to take care of children in a primary care setting.

Dr. Lewis is board-certified in pediatrics by the American Board of Pediatrics and a Fellow of the American Academy of Pediatrics. An active member of the Writers's League of Texas, her writing focuses on helping families enjoy cultured, healthy futures.


Parenting practices vary widely between countries and cultures. For example, in countries such as the Philippines, breastfeeding after age one year is common, and parents can make their own decision about what is right for their family. In Korea, babies eat a variety of spices and flavors, helping them develop a diverse palate and healthy eating habits.  And in Italy, parents prevent separation anxiety by taking their babies to markets, restaurants, and churches and passing them around from person to person.

Feed the Baby Hummus teaches parents to confidently incorporate various multicultural practices into their own caretaking plan. Pediatrician Lisa Lewis offers the wisdom and proven caretaking practices of the cultures of the world, drawn from her own training, research, travel, and clinical experience. Although certain standards of care must exist for babies to thrive and be happy, Feed the Baby Hummus offers a variety of cross-cultural parenting information and baby care guidance from a trusted source. 



Oct 09, 2020
Animals Mate with Emily Farranto

Author/illustrator Emily Farranto joins the Helping Families Be Happy podcast to discuss her book Animals Mate.


"Where do babies come from?" It's a question every child asks eventually, and Animals Mate is the simple, straightforward guide every parent needs to normalize sexual reproduction via adorable animal partners. With a modern design and beautiful illustrations, Animals Mate introduces facts about mating, including tactful discussion of the mechanics of the process, anatomical parts, and sperm and eggs. Bypass the awkwardness that often accompanies "the talk," and help your child understand sex and reproduction as the natural and wonderful process that results in the world's greatest treasure: babies!

Oct 03, 2020
Fail Brilliantly with Shelley Davidow

Christopher Robbins, CEO and co-founder of Familius, speaks with Shelley Davidow, DCA, MSEd, about her book Fail Brilliantly.


We all spend much of our lives trying to cope with failure; sometimes we try to assign value to it, but failure looms as a debilitating concept in millions of lives, affecting children and adults alike. Fail Brilliantly proposes a radical shift: erase the word and concept of failure from the realms of education and human endeavors. Replace it with new words and concepts. This shift in position has the potential to transform our lives and ultimately reshape our definition of success.



Shelley Davidow, DCA, MSEd, is an internationally acclaimed author of forty-three books. Her recent nonfiction titles include Whisperings in the Blood (University of Queensland Press, Australia, 2016), Playing with Words (Palgrave Macmillan, UK, 2016) coauthored with Paul Williams, and Raising Stress-Proof Kids (Familius, USA, 2015). She lectures in the departments of Education and Creative Writing at the University of the Sunshine Coast in Australia.

For more information, visit

Sep 25, 2020
100 First Words for Little CEOs with Author Cheryl Sturm

Cheryl Sturm, author of 100 First Words for Little CEOs, joins Dr. Carla Marie Manly to discuss her book and the importance of teaching kids to think critically from a young age.


Is macroeconomics the dinner table talk in your house? Do you discuss stocks and bonds instead of the weather? Are you the boss at work? It’s only rational that your baby will be a leader too! But how to get their leadership started?

Introducing 100 First Words for Little CEOs, a dashingly sharp primer for kids learning their first words! Forget apple and dog. Little CEOs are ready for revenue, philanthropy, and innovation. With terms from every aspect of business, these little CEOs will be ready to manage their own company, even at the age of 2. (Or maybe just their families). Packed with fun illustrations and 100 words every boss baby should know, 100 First Words for Little CEOs is the perfect board book for executive families everywhere.


Cheryl Sturm is a cofounder and vice president of R. Crusoe & Son, which creates unusual cultural journeys around the world. She used what she learned from her MBA at Northwestern's Kellogg School of Management—and many other life experiences at home and abroad—to help build a successful company. The daughter of an Army major, Cheryl was born in Berlin, Germany, raised in Wisconsin, and lives in Chicago. She began her career as a television reporter in Wisconsin, but a professional detour happily lead her to international travel. 100 First Words for Little CEOs is Cheryl's first book with Familius. Her inspirations are her nieces, nephews, and godchildren, and she looks forward to sharing her insights about the world with other thoughtful and curious children.


Sep 19, 2020
The Parent Compass: Navigating Your Teen's Wellness and Academic Journey in Today's Competitive World
Cynthia Clumeck Muchnick and Jenn Bowie Curtis  join Familius CEO and co-founder Christopher Robbins to discuss their new book The Parent Compass, which releases September 15, 2020.


Bragging rights and bumper stickers are some of the social forces fueling today’s parenting behavior—and, as a result, even well-intentioned parents are behaving badly. Many parents don’t know how best to support their teens, especially when everyone around them seems to be frantically tutoring, managing, and helicoptering. The Parent Compass provides guidance on what parents’ roles should be in supporting their teens’ mental health as they traverse the maze of the adolescent years. For anyone daunted by the unique challenge of parenting well in this pressure-laden and uncertain era, The Parent Compass offers:

  • Advice on fostering grit and resilience in your teen 
  • Strategies to help your teen approach life with purpose
  • Guidance on how to preserve your relationship with your teen while navigating a competitive academic environment
  • Clear explanations of your appropriate role in the college admission process
  • Effective ways to approach technology use in your home, and much more!

Using The Parent Compass to navigate the adolescent years will help you parent with confidence and intention, allowing you to forge a trusting, positive relationship with your teen. 

Sep 11, 2020
The Worldwide Tribe and Let Me Tell You My Story

Dr. Carla Marie Manly speaks with Jaz and Nils of The Worldwide Tribe.

About the Worldwide Tribe: We produce creative content to bring a personal, human perspective to the biggest humanitarian crisis of our time…the Refugee Crisis. We use film, photography and storytelling to raise awareness and in turn, support grassroots projects making a direct impact to people on the ground.

About Let Me Tell You My Story, by non-profit group Their Story is Our Story: Over the course of two years, a group of award-winning photographers, filmmakers, painters, and writers trailed and documented the flood of refugees pouring into the West from the Middle East and Africa, recording the refugees’ firsthand accounts of who they are and what made them refugees...Profoundly human, this inspiring collection creates a portrait of the greatest humanitarian crisis of modern history...The people inside this remarkable volume of exquisite photography and stories of resilience will teach you that the surest way to draw humans together begins with the words “I want to tell you my story . . . ”

Sep 04, 2020
Children's Literature Comprehensive Database with Shelley Oakley

Shelley Oakley joins Carla Marie Manly, PhD for a conversation about reading, CLCD (Children's Literature Comprehensive Database), and helping children grow into lifelong learners.

For more:

About Familius:

Familius is a global trade publishing company that publishes books and other content to help families be happy. We believe that the family is the fundamental unit of society and that happy families are the foundation of a happy life. We recognize that every family looks different, and we passionately believe in helping all families find greater joy. To that end we publish books for children and adults that invite families to live the Familius Nine Habits of Happy Family Life: love together, play together, learn together, work together, talk together, heal together, read together, eat together, and laugh together. Founded in 2012, Familius is located in Sanger, California.

Aug 28, 2020
Reading with Your Kids with Jedlie!

Join Dr. Carla Marie Manly and Jedlie of the Reading With Your Kids Podcast as they discuss the importance of reading with your kids!

Be sure to check out the Reading with Your Kids Podcast, where Jedlie's hosted a plethora of Familius authors!


About Familius:

Familius is a global trade publishing company that publishes books and other content to help families be happy. We believe that the family is the fundamental unit of society and that happy families are the foundation of a happy life. We recognize that every family looks different, and we passionately believe in helping all families find greater joy. To that end we publish books for children and adults that invite families to live the Familius Nine Habits of Happy Family Life: love together, play together, learn together, work together, talk together, heal together, read together, eat together, and laugh together. Founded in 2012, Familius is located in Sanger, California.


Aug 22, 2020
Finding Peace in Times of Tragedy with Christy Monson

Therapist Christy Monson joins Carla Marie Manly, PhD, to discuss  Finding Peace in Times of Tragedy.

About the Book:

Finding peace in times of worldwide trauma is difficult, and finding peace in times of personal trauma such as a family death or tragedy can be overwhelming. Therapist Christy Monson professionally and compassionately describes how tragedy physically changes the brain and the body, and she provides powerful techniques to help heal those invisible wounds and cope with the turmoil of our day.

About the Author:

Christy Monson received a BS degree at Utah State University and an MS at University of Nevada at Las Vegas. She established a successful counseling practice in Las Vegas, Nevada, as a licensed marriage and family therapist, spending a great portion of her time working with young people and their families. She and her husband, Robert, have raised six children and have fourteen grandchildren.

She has written a children's book series, Texting Through Time, and has a picture book, Love, Hugs, and Hope: When Scary Things Happen, released 2013. Her self-help book Becoming Free: A Woman's Guide to Internal Strength was also released 2013.

Her articles have been published on the web on, Gospel Ideals, LDS Witness, Modern Molly Mormon, and American Night Writer's Association. Her blog address is

Her websites are: and

Like her author page:

Aug 15, 2020
Buy the Avocado Toast with Stephanie Bousley

Carla Marie Manly, PhD, speaks with author Stephanie Bousley about Buy the Avocado Toast: How to Crush Student Debt, Make More Money, and Live Your Best Life.

Stephanie Bousley is a millennial who once found herself in over $250,000 of student loan debt. In her new financial self-help book, Buy the Avocado Toast: How to Crush Student Debt, Make More Money, and Live Your Best Life she helps readers find inventive, out-of-the-box ways to improve their finances and self-worth while addressing the real issues causing them to self-sabotage financially.  

About Buy the Avocado Toast: What if the solution to student debt was reinvesting in yourself? Are you a smart, hard-working person who always seems to struggle financially? Do you ever second-guess decisions to pursue higher education because of your student loans? Has extreme budgeting eliminated joy and comfort from life, yet you’re still several years away from being debt-free? Conventional wisdom tells us the formula for success is simple: go to school, get a job, work hard, repeat as needed until you retire. It tells us that debt is the result of poor choices and irresponsible spending. Unfortunately, such advice fails to take into account the recent (and not-so-recent) graduates for whom predatory student lending rates have set them back tens or even hundreds of thousands of dollars before they even enter the job market.  In Buy the Avocado Toast, Stephanie Bousley shares lessons learned through years of working hard and perpetually undervaluing herself while coming to terms with owing almost $300,000 in student debt. Through a holistic approach to both net worth and self-worth, Bousley offers readers hope for their own financial situations by providing step-by-step instructions on reducing debt, living better, and rooting out the self-defeating beliefs that keep us broke. 



Aug 08, 2020
Are You Living with a Narcissist? with Laurie Hollman, Ph.D.

Laurie Hollman, Ph.D. joins Carla Marie Manly, Ph.D. for a conversation about Laurie's book Are You Living with a Narcissist? How Narcissistic Men Impact Your Happiness, How to Identify Them, and How to Avoid Raising One


What’s the difference between narcissism and normal love? In the current political and social climate, narcissistic tendencies are coming under more scrutiny, but there are so many nuances to navigate, and many women don't know how to identify or respond to narcissists when they meet them, especially if they happen to be in their own home. In Are You Living with a Narcissist?, psychoanalyst Laurie Hollman, PhD, helps you identify the narcissists in your life and recognize the effect they have on your family and happiness—and what to do about it. This groundbreaking, thoroughly researched guide explores:

  • the symptoms of Narcissistic Personality Disorder;
  • the spectrum of healthy to pathological narcissism;
  • how to raise a child so that he does not become a narcissist;
  • how spouses of narcissists can live happy, healthy lives;
  • the relationship between male narcissism and violence;
  • the impact of culture on narcissism;
  • and more!


Laurie Hollman, PhD, is an award-winning author and psychoanalyst with specialized clinical training in infant-parent, child, adolescent, and adult psychotherapy. She has been on the faculties of New York University and the Society for Psychoanalytic Training and Research, among others, and has written extensively on parenting for various publications, including her popular column, “Parental Intelligence,” at Moms Magazine.

Jul 31, 2020
Part 2: How to Raise Perfectly Imperfect Kids and Be OK with It with Debra Fox Gansenberg, MSW, LICSW

Debra Fox Gansenberg, MSW, LICSW joins Dr. Carla Marie Manly to continue the discussion about How to Raise Perfectly Imperfect Kids and Be OK with It.

Debra Fox Gansenberg, MSW, LICSW, is the founder and owner of New Beginnings Counseling Service PC, located around the North Shore of Boston. She has a 25-year history working in the mental health field as a skilled clinical psychotherapist and business owner specializing in individuals, couples, group, and family therapy. Debra has also been the Director of School Services for NBCS for more than 20 years, and she has customized and implemented school-based counseling services for several schools, pre-K through 12th grade. Her caseload includes a wide variety of patients cultivating their communication skills, learning coping skills, problem-solving, and improving the quality of their relationships, as well as traveling through self-exploration. Debra has an eclectic approach to tackling a wide variety of issues that range from depression and anxiety to self-management, self-esteem, and learning differences. Her experience includes clinical therapy, psycho-education, public speaking, creating curriculum, business management/business operations, and clinical supervision. She received her counseling degree from Simmons College, School of Social Work. She lives north of Boston with her husband and three sons.

ABOUT THE BOOK Helicopter parent, tiger parent . . . lawnmower parent? 

Generation Z has a reputation of entitlement, but this attitude is often fostered by parents who mow down every obstacle in their child's path, never letting them fail. In How to Raise Perfectly Imperfect Kids and Be OK with It, humorist Lisa Sugarman takes her humanistic approach to parenting Gen Z kids and tells it like it is. Sugarman and Debra Fox Gansenberg, MSW, LICSW, remind parents that it's okay (and beneficial) for children to confront obstacles, it's okay if your children are not perfect, and it's okay to say "No." The goal is not to raise perfect children; the goal is to raise kind, responsible adults, and it's a process.

How to Raise Perfectly Imperfect Kids reminds the reader that mistakes and problems lead to lessons. Fixating on raising the smartest, fastest, most successful child will never result in a happy child (or a happy parent). With healthy doses of humor and reality, this book reminds us that our kids were never meant to be perfect, and perfectly imperfect kids can become wonderful, well-rounded adults if we just allow them to grow.


Jul 17, 2020
How to Raise Perfectly Imperfect Kids and Be OK with It with Lisa Sugarman


Lisa writes the nationally syndicated humor column "It Is What It Is" and is the author of LIFE: It Is What It Is, Untying Parent Anxiety: 18 Myths That Have You in Knots—And How to Get Free, and How To Raise Perfectly Imperfect Kids—And Be Ok With It, available on Amazon, at Barnes & Noble, and at select bookstores everywhere. Lisa is a MentorMama at SocialMama, the free networking app for moms, and is a regular contributor on GrownAndFlown, This Mama Wines, MommingHubb, More Content Now,, and Her work has also appeared in TIME Magazine’s TIME for Parents, on LittleThings, Mamalode, 50 Shades of Aging, and on PBS Kids. She’s also the founder and moderator of The Vomit Booth, the popular Facebook parenting group where parents go to bond over the madness of parenthood. Lisa lives with her husband and two daughters just north of Boston in a tiny coastal town of twenty thousand people crammed onto a teensy peninsula. Visit her online at


ABOUT THE BOOK Helicopter parent, tiger parent . . . lawnmower parent? 

Generation Z has a reputation of entitlement, but this attitude is often fostered by parents who mow down every obstacle in their child's path, never letting them fail. In How to Raise Perfectly Imperfect Kids and Be OK with It, humorist Lisa Sugarman takes her humanistic approach to parenting Gen Z kids and tells it like it is. Sugarman reminds parents that it's okay (and beneficial) for children to confront obstacles, it's okay if your children are not perfect, and it's okay to say "No." The goal is not to raise perfect children; the goal is to raise kind, responsible adults, and it's a process.

How to Raise Perfectly Imperfect Kids reminds the reader that mistakes and problems lead to lessons. Fixating on raising the smartest, fastest, most successful child will never result in a happy child (or a happy parent). With healthy doses of humor and reality, Lisa Sugarman reminds us that our kids were never meant to be perfect, and perfectly imperfect kids can become wonderful, well-rounded adults if we just allow them to grow.


Jul 17, 2020
Dr. B Your Best, Author and Performance Psychologist

Dr. B Your Best (Ben Bernstein) joins Familius CEO and co-founder Christopher Robbins for a discussion about strategies to crush stress and B Your Best even in challenging and uncertain times.

Ben's background, from his website "As a young child I was a prodigious piano player. I immersed myself in Mozart, Beethoven and Bartok and my imagination took flight. Yet when I was forced to perform in recitals and competitions playing the piano became a nightmare. I sat in front of audiences and judges and my hands and knees shook. No one helped me. All I heard were unanswerable questions and non-sequiturs, What’s the matter with you? It’s all in your head! You’ll grow out of it.

It took me years to work through my performance anxiety and the physical, mental and spiritual suffering that went with it. Through my own self-study and training, I brought myself out of the shell of tension, self-doubt and distraction so I could live fully in the freedom of who I am. We all have that birthright: to live into our fullest potential. When I work with people I see what they are capable of, what binds them to unproductive habits, and I train them to be their best. 

From my own experiences and training, I now pass on to every person I work with– whether it’s a high school student with poor SAT scores, a business executive who stutters during presentations, or a parent seized by indecision."

About the Publisher: Familius is a global trade publishing company that publishes books and other content to help families be happy. We believe that the family is the fundamental unit of society and that happy families are the foundation of a happy life. We recognize that every family looks different, and we passionately believe in helping all families find greater joy. To that end we publish books for children and adults that invite families to live the Familius Nine Habits of Happy Family Life: love together, play together, learn together, work together, talk together, heal together, read together, eat together, and laugh together. Founded in 2012, Familius is located in Sanger, California.


Jul 10, 2020
Dr. Mike (Pediacast, Nationwide Children's Hospital) Discusses Family Wellness and Family Dinner

Dr. Mike Patrick joins Dr. Carla Marie Manly for a conversation about family wellness and family dinners. Dr. Mike is an emergency medicine physician at Nationwide Children’s Hospital and an Assistant Professor of Pediatrics at The Ohio State University College of Medicine. He serves as Medical Director of Digital Health for Nationwide Children’s and hosts two podcasts for the hospital: the award-winning PediaCast for parents… and PediaCast CME for healthcare providers. He began his journey in social media and podcasting in 2006 as a means to promote health literacy and advocate for children and families in his primary care practice. Since then, millions of listeners in all 50 U.S. states and over 100 countries have tuned-in to his weekly podcasts for pediatric news, answers to listener questions, interviews with pediatric and parenting experts and free Category 1 CME Credit. In addition to podcasting, Dr. Mike promotes health and wellness on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. He appears weekly on local CBS affiliate 10TV and has contributed to several digital and print publications, including the 700 Children’s Blog, KevinMD, Parents Magazine, Working Mother and Reader’s Digest. He is a Spokesperson for the American Academy of Pediatrics and serves on the Executive Committee of the AAP’s Council on Communications and Media. Most recently, Dr. Mike developed and directs an academic healthcare communications curriculum and co-authored the textbook, Social Media for Medical Professionals. These endeavors equip students, residents and his colleagues with skills needed to engage the public in an efficient, effective and professional manner. 

Jun 19, 2020
Eat, Laugh, Talk with The Family Dinner Project

Carla Marie Manly, Ph.D. and Bri DeRosa of The Family Dinner Project discuss Eat, Laugh, Talk: The Family Dinner Playbook.

Research has shown what parents have known for a long time: sharing a fun family meal is good for the spirit, brain, and health of all family members. Recent studies link regular family meals with higher grade-point averages, resilience, and self-esteem. Additionally, family meals are linked to lower rates of substance abuse, teen pregnancy, eating disorders, and depression.

Eat, Laugh, Talk: The Family Dinner Playbook gives you the tools to have fun family dinners with great food and great conversation. The book includes conversation starters as well as quick and easy recipes to bring your family closer. You will find tips for bringing your family to the table such as setting dinnertime goals, overcoming obstacles, managing conflicting schedules, and how to engage everyone in the conversation. 

Eat, Laugh, Talk also includes real stories from families who have successfully become a part of The Family Dinner Project’s growing movement. Let’s do dinner! 

Jun 19, 2020
Expressive Writing for Healing with Mary Potter Kenyon

Carla Marie Manly, Ph.D. and Mary Potter Kenyon discuss Mary's book Expressive Writing for Healing, and the importance of creating in uncertain times.

Writing is one of the oldest and most effective means of self-exploration, self-expression, and self-discovery. In this new guided journal, Mary Potter Kenyon offers readers an opportunity to reflect on the meaning and significance of loss and allows the griever to sort through all the conflicting emotions that arise after a death. By interweaving her own experiences of loss, the proven research behind writing as a method for healing, and blank pages with carefully chosen quotes, Kenyon gives readers space to express the feelings that are sometimes too painful to speak aloud. 

Mary Potter Kenyon works as Program Coordinator for Shalom Spirituality Center and is a public speaker, a workshop presenter, and a writing instructor. Mary is the author of five previous Familius titles, including the award-winning Refined by Fire: A Journey of Grief and Grace, Expressive Writing for Healing, and the upcoming Called to Be Creative, and is widely published in newspapers, magazines, and anthologies, including ten Chicken Soup for the Soul books.

Jun 19, 2020
Good Moms Have Scary Thoughts with Author Karen Kleiman

Carla Marie Manly, PhD, and Karen Kleiman, MSW, discuss the Familius title Good Moms Have Scary Thoughts. Over 90 percent of new mothers will have scary, intrusive thoughts about their baby and themselves. Yet for too many mothers, those thoughts remain secret, hidden away in a place of shame that can quickly grow into anxiety, postpartum depression, and even self-harm. But here's the good news: you CAN feel better!

Author Karen Kleiman—coauthor of the seminal book This Isn't What I Expected and founder of the acclaimed Postpartum Stress Center—comes to the aid of new mothers everywhere with a groundbreaking source of hope, compassion, and expert help. Good Mothers Have Scary Thoughts is packed with world-class guidance, simple exercises, and nearly 50 stigma-busting cartoons from the viral #speakthesecret campaign that help new moms validate their feelings, share their fears, and start feeling better. 

Jun 15, 2020
Maria Sansone Shares Her Postpartum Experience

Maria Sansone and Carla Marie Manly, Ph.D. talk about Maria's postpartum experience and the importance of talking about mental health and supporting new moms.

Jun 15, 2020