All I Gained

The Gift of an Unforgettable Friendship

Children - Picture Book
32 Pages
Reviewed on 04/15/2024
Buy on Amazon

Author Biography

Dale Maiella is a first-time author from Texas. She's been married 40+ years and has two grown daughters and three grandchildren. She earned her bachelor's in business management and has worked in the health insurance field for 30 years. Ironically, Dale had no intention of writing a book. This story weighed on her heart for more than a decade - begging to be told. Her oldest daughter (who is nothing if not persistent) wore her down, and together they penned this story - inspired by true events - honoring Dale's treasured friend of 34 years. Dale hopes it will inspire young readers to choose great friends and to do the work to cultivate and maintain those friendships for the long haul (something she will never admit, but she does better than anyone we know).

Dr. Kara Shade is a wife, mom, and award-winning relationship coach. For more than a decade, couples have let her peek behind the curtain into their relationships to offer encouragement and guidance. Most of her report cards said something to the effect of, "She's a bright girl, but she talks too much." To the dismay of her teachers, she was only getting started. She went on to earn her master's in dispute resolution, a PhD in family studies, and she's blogged on relationships for Psychology Today. Dr. Kara believes showing up well for our people is probably the hardest, most important work we'll ever do. She hopes her stories can offer a practical roadmap for doing just that.

    Book Review

Reviewed by Luwi Nyakansaila for Readers' Favorite

All I Gained is a heartwarming children's picture book written by Dale Maiella and Kara Shade, with illustrations by Kathleen Andrews. It tells the story of two best friends, Emma and Riley, who meet in an art class. Despite having different personalities and preferences, the girls form a strong bond that lasts for decades. They support each other through happy times and tough moments, including high school, breakups, college, marriage, and even their eventual separation. Throughout their friendship, they use the dragonfly as a symbol to represent their bond. When tragedy strikes, it brings hope and comfort. Celebrate the enduring power of friendship by picking up a copy of this book.

All I Gained is a beautiful book that will captivate young readers and remind everyone of the special relationships that can be formed through genuine connections. It explores themes of love, loyalty, loss, and resilience, and its messages will resonate with children and adults, and leave them with a lasting impression. The story has a good mix of emotions and themes that keep readers engaged throughout, from moments of excitement to those that tug at the heartstrings. This balance between lighter and heavier elements creates a compelling and unforgettable read. I loved that the authors used rhyming words because it added a rhythmic flow and a touch of whimsy to the story. The best part of this book is the artistic illustrations that bring the characters and their surroundings to life. The splash of bright colors makes the book look vibrant and attractive. All I Gained is a must-read for anyone who loves emotionally engaging children's storybooks with profound messages.