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Wednesday, September 30, 2009

My Review of "Famous Family Nights" by Anne Bradshaw

I had the privilege of receiving and reading Anne Bradshaw's new book called, "Famous Family Nights". On the front cover it says, "Stories to make you smile, and inspire you to see the humor in our Monday night tradition from Mormons you know and love."

I don't know about you, but some Monday nights and trying to have a decent Family Home Evening, are a big joke. I was so grateful to start reading this book for some super ideas to make Monday nights better at our house. I think you will be well pleased, as I was, at what you will find in this book.

The main thing I learned from this book, is that we all are in the same boat. It is hard sometimes, for all families to have well structured, reverent and quality Family Home Evenings
every Monday Night. Maybe your family is the exception, but I think most of us struggle with the "quality" part of Family Home Evening.

Anne, interviewed many famous LDS people, asking them to send her their best ideas and favorite memories of Family Home Evenings. I can assure you , with the wide variety of people sharing ideas, you will be able to find something to fit your family's needs.

I have to say, one of my favorite sections was written by one of my favorite author friends, Josi Kilpack, called "Healthy Bodies, Healthy Spirits". It made me crack up! Josi has the best sense of humor and it shows in her contribution to this book! :) Then I really appreciated the section by, Shannon Hoffman. She also is a single parent like me. It was good to see how to have FHE's when you are having to fly solo and keeping things running in your family. I also really loved Eric Dodge, a country music singer, and his chapter called, "Nothing as Valuable as Family". I have to admit here, I could go through this whole book and tell you what I liked about each chapter. I found something worthwhile to be used with my own little family, from every contributor.

I highly recommend this book to every family out there! It doesn't matter what kind of family you are, there is something for you in this great book that Anne Bradshaw compiled. With Christmas heading our way quickly, this book would be a fabulous gift for family members.

I always love to interview authors and find out more about them and why they wrote their books. I enjoyed reading Anne's answers and I know that you will also.

1.Where did the idea for "Famous Family Nights" come from?

Several years ago, I kept hearing of families who no longer held home evening, or who never even started, so I began a small monthly post for a colleague's blog, highlighting various LDS authors' home evenings. From there, I had the idea to turn the project into a book, expanding to include prominent LDS people from the USA and other countries. I hoped these fascinating anecdotal stories and ideas would encourage others to follow the prophetic plea to embrace our families through this weekly activity.

2.How did you decide who to include in your book? There is a great mix of people that contributed to the book.

I first sent emails to every contact I could find on the website Famous Mormons.com. If there was no email given, then I researched every avenue to find some other way of communicating - websites, Facebook, TV, and movie agencies - even friends and work associates. I also sent many letters containing stamped, addressed envelopes, but none of these ever returned to me. I wanted to include many talented people who were less well known and struggling to make their way in their chosen profession, to help them become more recognized. I love anything that is a win/win situation, and this book is just that - participants, readers, publisher, author - we all win. The entries are not only from entertainers and artists, but also from achievers in the world of sports, business, and service to the community.

3.What is your favorite FHE memory? You shared a few of them in the book. Would you share one of them with my readers?

It’s not easy to pinpoint a favorite. We had our share of disasters, of course, and those now blur in with all the others. I think pre-Christmas family nights invoked the most tender feelings that still linger in my memory. In addition to sharing the Christmas story each year, we had a “Christmas Mints” tradition. I loved the closeness and laughter we shared as the children helped make chocolate covered mint sweets (candies), which we delivered to friends and neighbors. Two of our sons still tease about being “made” to play the trumpet and violin while the rest of us sang carols. Those were fun times.

4.Why do you feel FHE's are important?

I feel they are a vital safe haven in today’s dangerous world. Nothing can replace the good feeling that settles in a child’s heart knowing someone cares enough to make time for family home evening. Children may not always recognize the benefits at the time, but later in life most have fond and grateful memories.

5.What is your favorite time to write? How long are your writing sessions?

I begin my writing day at 5:30 AM, and often continue until 5:00 PM with short breaks in between. I know several hours non-stop at the computer isn’t good for bones and joints, but sometimes, when an idea is boiling, time simply flies.

6.What are you working on now?

I’m currently marketing “Famous Family Nights.” I plan on taking a break early 2010, and then want to begin something completely different. A few ideas are in my head, but I haven’t yet decided which to follow.

7.What is your favorite thing you have written? Maybe you still hope to write your dream book some day?

Like most things, writing is a skill that grows with practice, and so I feel my best work is yet to come. I cringe now when reading my first book, “Terracotta Summer.” But we all have to start somewhere, and I hope my work is improving with each new project as I continue to learn more about the craft. I think my favorite so far is the book of short stories, “Please, No Zits.” I really enjoyed the creative process involved, and tackling the many problems facing today’s youth was a meaty challenge.

8.What are your best words of advice for aspiring writers or even established writers?

They are familiar words that will always be relevant – read, read, read, and write, write, write. I would add that reading how-to books about writing, and attending writing conferences are equally important for any aspiring writer who wants to get published.

Thank you Anne! I hope many people will buy this book to include it in their family library.

Go visit Anne at her blog. She always has such fun games and contests going on there; besides wonderful book reviews.


and at her website here:


If you would like to purchase this book go to:





  1. This sounds like something I could use.

  2. This sounds like something I could really use. Great interview too.