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Blog Tour: Jessie: Queen of the Road by Lindsay Ward

Lindsay Ward is back with another great story about women, vehicles, and their roles in history. Take a look at Jessie: Queen of the Road!

Jessie: Queen of the Road, by Lindsay Ward, (Jan. 2023, Two Lions)
$17.99, ISBN: 9781542034227
Ages 4-8

Beginning in the early twentieth century, Jessie is a young motorcycle – the only female motorcycle – riding down New York’s Riverside Drive, shrugging off the gasps of “unladylike!” and “Impossible!” Her determination and drive (pun intentional) lead her to accomplishments like summiting Pike’s Peak and crossing the United States, but she’s still turned down for World War I service: she’s still female. No problem! Meeting other female motorcycles, she goes on long rides and performs in stunt shows until an injury sidelines her. A group of Rosie the Riveter-like women put her back together, and this time, she’s accepted for service in World War II, carrying secret messages and classified documents. After a lifetime of service, Jessie is free to drive wherever she wants, knowing she’s made her place in history.

Inspired by adventuring women like Bessie Stringfield and the Van Buren Sisters, Jessie embraces women’s role in motoring history, embodying the women who laughed off claims of being “unladylike” and went joy riding on bicycles (it was a scandal!) or – GASP – motorcycles.  Ward’s voice, told from Jessie’s point of view, is determined, steady, and strong, with the repetitive phrase “Fast and strong, I won’t be slowed! In rain for shine, I’ll forge my road” sending a positive, powerful message to readers. Mixed media illustrations move from color illustration to black and white photos, giving readers a sense of history; Ward beautifully captures the time shift from the 1910s to post-War America, the wonders of a cross-country road trip, and the excitement of a stunt show. Back matter includes an author’s note, a timeline of women and riding, and more resources for further reading.

I can’t wait to see what other vehicles are waiting to tell Lindsay Ward their stories.

 

“A spunky tribute to early twentieth-century female adventurers.” —Booklist

Lindsay Ward is the creator of the Dexter T. Rexter series as well as Rosie: Stronger than Steel, Between the Lines, This Book Is Gray, Brobarians, Rosco vs. the Baby, and The Importance of Being 3. Her book Please Bring Balloons was also made into a play. Lindsay lives with her family in Peninsula, Ohio. Learn more about her online at www.lindsaymward.com.

Twitter: @lindsaymward
Instagram: lindsaymward

Posted in picture books, Preschool Reads, Uncategorized

Survival and Triumph: Finding Fire

Finding Fire, by Logan S. Kline, (Sept. 2022, Candlewick Press), $18.99, ISBN: 9781536213027

Ages 4-8

This almost completely wordless picture book is set in a prehistoric society where rain has just put out the family fire. A young boy volunteers for the quest, thus beginning a tale of survival, friendship, and triumph as he braves a hostile landscape to find the precious fire his family needs to survive. Striking mixed-media illustrations carry the story forward: the family, in a bleak cave, standing over the extinguished fire; the red-haired boy, standing in the sunlight, his hair a beacon as he ventures forth, sleeping in trees to escape predators, fording rivers and saving a life. The artwork is stunning, each spread coming to life under the reader’s eye. A gorgeous story that begs to be shared, and an essential purchase. Keep an eye on this one during awards time.

Finding Fire has a starred review from Publishers Weekly.

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An Atlas of Dogs: Worldwide Walkies!

An Atlas of Dogs, by Frances Evans/Illustrated by Kelsey Heaton, (Oct. 2022, Lonely Planet Kids), $18.99, ISBN: 9781838694463

Ages 6-8

Lonely Planet Kids puts out quality nonfiction! I liked the Lonely Planet travel guides when I’d plan family trips, and I love how they’ve expanded to include kids’ learning into their worldview; they publish everything from first words language guides to guides on dinosaurs, atlases, and… Dogs! Atlas of Dogs takes readers on a walk around the world to meet all sorts of dog breeds. Colorful artwork shows people and dogs living and playing together, and full-spread maps show where dogs live across North and South America, Europe, Africa, Asia, Australia, and New Zealand. Additional spreads group dogs and fast facts under headings like “Terrific Terriers”, “Super-Hounds”, and “Wild Dogs”. “Pooch Profiles” give readers information about a breed’s country of origin, size, coast, and personality; breed illustrations are labeled to point out details. Endpapers show a bevy of dogs in silhouette. With a glossary and an index, this is an excellent choice for collections and for dog lovers.

Posted in picture books, Preschool Reads, Uncategorized

Reading for the Season: Bright Winter Night

Bright Winter Night, by Alli Brydon/Illustrated by Ashling Lindsay, (Dec. 2022, Two Lions), $17.99, ISBN: 9781542022248

Ages 4-7

Folks, I’m finally back. The flu tore through our home, but we hung in there and are all finally on the mend. I’ll be playing catch-up for quite a bit, so I think everyone for their patience. I fell behind on two blog tours while I was sick, so let me start with these first.

Bright Winter Night is a story in verse, perfect for bedtime reading. A group of woodland creatures come together on a winter evening, using materials around them to create something… wonderful. A quietly joyful celebration of nature, friendship, and creativity, the story builds expectation as this seemingly unlikely group of animals – mice and wolves working together? Rabbits, bears, and birds? Stags and squirrels? – come together with one goal in mind: to enjoy one of nature’s most breathtaking sights. There’s a quiet urgency as the animals work – “They sense there is a task to do / as night descends, replacing blue” – and a spirit of teamwork and conviviality, as everyone contributes to the project and enjoys the moments they spend together. Mixed media artwork in deep blues give a cozy feeling to the chilly winter landscape. Sure to be a readaloud kids will want to hear again and again; keep this one handy for storytimes and winter craft times.

 

 

“Destined to be a favorite bedtime read-aloud.” ―Kirkus Reviews

“Awash in shades of purple, blue, and pink, [Ashling] Lindsay’s watercolor and digital artwork project the magic evoked by Brydon’s smooth rhymes, illuminating a magnetic portrait of woodland camaraderie.” ―Publishers Weekly

 

Author Alli Brydon is inspired by natural wonders and what they can teach us, and she strives to bring that magic to the books she writes for children. Recent picture books include Lobstah Gahden, illustrated by EG Keller, and Love Around the World, illustrated by Wazza Pink. She also writes nonfiction about creatures, from insects to lemurs to humans. Alli holds an MFA in poetry from Sarah Lawrence College in New York and lives in England with her family. Learn more at www.allibrydon.com.

Instagram: allibrydon

Twitter: Alli Brydon

 

Ashling Lindsay is an artist and writer from Belfast, Ireland. Her picture books are published in more than ten languages and have received various awards and accolades, including a nomination for the Kate Greenaway Medal; being shortlisted for the Waterstones Children’s Book Prize, the Klaus Flugge Prize, and the Children’s Books Ireland Book of the Year; and being longlisted for the UKLA Book Awards. In 2020 she was awarded the KPMG Children’s Books Ireland Honour Award for Illustration with her book The Tide, written by Clare Helen Welsh. Learn more at www.ashlinglindsay.co.uk.

Instagram: ashling.lindsay

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Blog Tour: My GrandMom by Gee-eun Lee

A child spends days with her grandmother while her parents work in this warm and affectionate story by award-winning Korean author Gee-eun Lee, translated by Sophie Bowman.

My GrandMom, by Gee-eun Lee / Translated by Sophie Bowman,
(Nov. 2022, Amazon Crossing Kids), $17.99, ISBN: 9781662508257

Ages 4-7

Inspired by the author’s memories of spending time with her own Halmoni – the name she called her grandmother – My GrandMother begins with a child begging her mother not to go to work; Grandma quickly comes to the rescue by deflecting little Gee-eun. Together, the two spend a day making noodles, telling stories, and running in a Family Sports Day race before heading home to make dinner for the family to enjoy together. The warmth of the narrative wraps around readers like a hug from a beloved grandparent, with Halmoni’s loving memories running through the story; from the “teeny tiny house that’s warm and cozy” in her belly, where Gee-eun’s mom used to live, to her memories of dancing and racing as a child. There are wonderful observations from a child’s point of view, too, like the moment when Gee-eun and Halmoni enjoy a snack together before dinner: “No matter how you may be feeling, curry buns are always delicious, especially when shared with Grandma”. Lee has shared a piece of her life with us and enriches us for it; the loving relationship between grandmother and grandchild shines through in all its wonder and devotion. A wonderful story with colored pencil and paint illustration that has the look and feel of a child’s recollections of a day well spent. An excellent first purchase.

 

“A touching tale that exudes love and warmth.” ―Kirkus Reviews

A touching celebration of grandparent-and-grandchild connection that will warm many hearts.” ―Booklist

Gee-eun Lee is an award-winning Korean author/illustrator. She recently won the prestigious BolognaRagazzi Award in the comics category for her book, The Story of How the Korean Shaved Ice Dessert Was Born, and is also a top winner of the Korean Young Illustrator Award. She studied design and illustration in Korea and the UK. Her first picture book, Paper Dad, was made into a children’s musical in Korea. My GrandMom is the second book she both wrote and illustrated and is based on her own grandmother.

Instagram: @studio_geeeun

Sophie Bowman is a PhD student at the University of Toronto, studying Korean literature. She was awarded the ICF Literature Translation Fellowship at Ewha Womans University. In 2015, she won the Korea Times Modern Korean Literature Translation Award grand prize for poetry with her translations of Jin Eun-young and co-translated Kim Bo-Young’s I’m Waiting for You and Other Stories. She recently translated the picture book Magic Candies by Heena Baek, which received a starred review from Publishers Weekly. Follow her on Twitter @SophieOrbital.

 

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Back from blog-cation

Hi, all! I haven’t left the blogosphere; I ended up taking a sort of blog-cation because work has been BANANAS. Good bananas, but  busy, because MY KIDS ARE ALL COMING BACK! The library is full and bustling again, and I’m thrilled. I’ve got lots of exciting things to chat about, so expect to hear from me about library life in addition to my book posts.

Speaking of library life, I’m thrilled to mention that I’ve been reviewing for School Library Journal! I’ve got six reviews actually posted at the moment, including a starred review from Oliver Jeffers’s Meanwhile Back on Earth: Finding Our Place Through Time and Space, which you can read for free. If you have a subscription to SLJ, you can access my other reviews here.

More to come, I just wanted to get a quick note up to say hello there. I’m off tomorrow for Veteran’s Day, so – dare I say it out loud? – I’ll work on getting some posts live in between finishing my CYBILS first round graphic novel reads.

Talk to you soon!

 

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Who Are You? encourages discussion

Who Are You?, by Smriti Halls/Illustrated by Ali Pye, (Aug. 2022, Kane Miller), $12.99, ISBN: 9781684644704

Ages 3-6

A rhyming, inclusive story about families and diversity, Who Are You? is a story framed with questions that invite families to create a family chronicle: “Who’s in your family? / Who’s in your pack? / Who takes good care of you? / Who has your back?”. Asking questions about likes and dislikes, physical characteristics, immediate and extended family, and more, with further thought-provoking questions in each spread, Who Are You? is great for preschool and kindergarten classes and for family project reading. Colorful digital artwork illustrates an inclusive, diverse group of people, assuring that kids will see themselves and their families in this fun story.

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Learn all about HAIR

Hair: From Moptops to Mohicans, Afros to Cornrows, by Katja Spitzer, (Sept. 2022, Prestel Junior), $14.95, ISBN: 9783791375281

Ages 5-7

A fun dive into the history of hair and we express ourselves through hairstyles, Hair is filled with facts and cultural profiles and stories behind hair culture, going from wealthy 18th century women whose giant hair styles would be considered a health hazard today, to British punks who made the Native American Mohawk look a hair icon, hair is the easiest way for many people to create an identity. Spitzer looks at the historical and cultural issues around hair: red-haired people were considered to have magical powers because of the rarity of their color hair; Black hair pride, thanks to leaders like Martin Luther King and Angela Davis; Indian women who offer their hair at a temple to receive the gods’ help. Clear, easy-to-read text and fun facts, paired with boldly outlined and bright, retro artwork make this an eclectic add to nonfiction collections. A page at the end asks readers to draw their favorite hairstyle: it will be a good idea to scan and print copies of that page, and ask readers not to draw in the books, if you’re putting this one into circulation.

Originally published in Germany, the German edition of Hair was longlisted for the World Illustrations Award 2021.

 

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Celebrate Rosh Hashanah with Uncle Max!

Rosh Hashanah with Uncle Max, by Varda Livney, (Aug. 2021, Kar-Ben Publishing), $7.99, ISBN: 9781728429069

Ages 0-4

The New Year is coming, and Uncle Max is going to spend it with his very excited family! Uncle Max is clearly the life of the party, with his colorful floral shirt and backwards baseball cap. Together, the family watches the sun set, lights the candles and enjoys a meal, and celebrates at the Synagogue. This adorable board book celebrates the Jewish New Year, with colorful illustrations, a cheerful family story, new Hebrew vocabulary words (and puppy translation),  and touchstones of the Jewish holiday, including dipping apples and challah in honey for a sweet new year, and blessing the wine and grape juice. The family largely presents as white, with some brown-skinned members. A joyful story to celebrate a joyful holiday, this is a great choice for holiday collections.

PJ Library has a downloadable reading guide to accompany the book, including a hands-on activity and thought-provoking questions that family can discuss.

For fun and educational Rosh Hashanah activities, see this fun paper mâché shofar on Education.com; you can also find recipes on the site, including a honey cake and noodle kugel. Visit TeachersPayTeachers for coloring sheets, including this one by CreateDecorateEducation and a greeting card from Yom Tov.