Posted in Uncategorized

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.

Posted in picture books, Preschool Reads, Uncategorized

Book Blitz & Giveaway: Dear Wild Child

Dear Wild Child, by Wallace J. Nichols & Wallace Grayce Nichols/Illustrated by Drew Beckmeyer, (Aug. 2022, Cameron Kids),
$18.99. ISBN: 9781951836467
Ages 4-8

Inspired by a letter from a father to his daughter about life, family, and the wildfire that took their home, Dear Wild Child is a emotional story that chooses to celebrate the idea of home and its presence inside of all of us. Textured artwork shows beautiful detail: a home filled with books, music, and nature, from seashells to plants; family moments as a child grows up in a home filled with love; a life, filled with memories, moving on. An author’s note discusses climate change and its detrimental impact on our homes and our environment.

“The art echoes the text’s emphasis on beauty rather than loss. . .In the event’s aftermath, the affecting story’s tone remains openhearted, concluding with sentiments that encourage resilience and reflect on the nature of home.”
Publishers Weekly

“It’s a touching sentiment that reminds readers of all ages that our lives are defined not by our material possessions but by the memories we make… Intricate and emotional.”
Kirkus Reviews

In the shade of ancient redwood trees, by a creek, not far from the ocean, a father builds a house for his newborn daughter, where she grows up wild and strong in their coastal canyon home. When a wildfire takes back their beloved house, a father writes his now-grown daughter a letter telling her it’s gone. Inspired by the real letter the author wrote his daughter, this poignant story—written together by father and daughter—joyfully declares that a home is more than just wood and stone; it is made of love and can never be taken away. You carry home with you wherever you go.

 

Wallace Grayce Nichols is a student of sustainable design, problem solver, and water lover. Her father, Dr. Wallace J. Nichols, is a marine biologist and the author of the bestselling book Blue Mind: The Surprising Science That Shows How Being Near, In, On, or Under Water Can Make You Happier, Healthier, More Connected, and Better at What You Do. Home is the slow coast of California. Website | Twitter | Facebook | Instagram

Drew Beckmeyer is a fine artist, illustrator, and elementary school teacher. He lives in Northern California. Website | Instagram

Additional Links:

Buy the Book

Add on Goodreads

 

10 winners will receive a hardcover of Dear Wild Child. US/Can only; no P.O. Boxes, please! Enter the Rafflecopter giveaway here!

Posted in Uncategorized

Bedtime Books You Can Read With Your Kids… Which Are Literally About Bedtime!

Bedtime Books You Can Read With Your Kids… Which Are Literally About Bedtime!

Reading bedtime stories is a common and effective way of putting kids to sleep. SWNS Digital reports that most stories for bedtime help kids relax. They often play around with the concept of “sleep” and use rhymes to create a lulling effect on their young readers. A good example is Margaret Wise Brown’s Goodnight Moon—the story of a little bunny saying good night to the things in their room. Brown’s simple, rhyming lines and the calming repetition of good night, have made the book a must-read among parents.

But there are lots of wonderful bedtime books out there aside from ‘Goodnight Moon’. If you and your kid are interested in the fictional world of sleep, here are four books about bedtime that you can read with them.

World of Eric Carle: Firefly, Light Up the Sky—Eric Carle Play A Sound Book with Flash Light and Sounds

Written and illustrated by Eric Carle

Published on June 15, 2015

$16.94

‘Firefly, Light Up the Sky’ is a calming and interactive book that follows a firefly’s bedtime story and the animals it encounters. Short and sweet, the book comes with pop-up animals, shadow puppet guides, and a remote with animal sounds that all make the bedtime experience fun and immersive. Though the story is simple like Goodbye Moon, parents and kids will have fun interacting with the book in order to end the day on a good note.

Bedtime for Yeti

Written and Illustrated by Vin Vogel

Published on December 27, 2016

$16.99

For those with kids that are afraid of the dark and sleeping alone, Yeti’s courage and dedication as a friend can inspire them to face their fears. Vin Vogel’s sophomore picture book is an inspiring bedtime tale of friendship about Yeti and his best friend Chunk—a stuffed-toy that Yeti does and shares everything with. When he can’t find the friend who matters to him the most, Yeti braves his fears to find Chunk.

Hey – That’s MY Monster

Written by Amanda Noll, Illustrated by Howard McWilliam

Published on September 1, 2016

$9.99

Like ‘Bedtime for Yeti’, this book is a perfect choice for kids who are scared of the ‘monster under their bed’ or sleeping alone. In Hey – That’s MY MONSTER, a little boy named Ethan is helping his sister find a monster of her own so he could get his back. Ethan explains that he needs a scary monster like Gabe for a restful slumber. It puts an interesting twist on the monster-under-the-bed by introducing them to kids as someone who can help you fall asleep. Creepy and fun all at once, meeting monsters like Gabe through this book can help kids overcome their fears of sleeping alone.

Everyone’s Awake

Written by Colin Meloy, Illustrated by Shawn Harris

Published on March 3, 2020

$17.99

The next one is a fun read for kids who are still too energetic to go to bed. Everyone’s Awake follows the fun a family can have in the middle of the night. From “trapezing on the ceiling” to “meeting a queen,” different family members do things that get stranger and wilder after every page. With its ending, the story teaches kids that, even if staying up is fun, they need sleep so they won’t sleep through the morning.

Reading can be a fun and engaging night routine for kids. This not only helps them fall asleep easier, it also teaches them valuable lessons and encourages their creativity. Although bedtime stories don’t just benefit kids. It can also be a chance for parents to bond with their kids and make memories with them.

 

Posted in Uncategorized

More Wrong Fairy Tales from Kane Miller!

Hi all, thanks for hanging in while I went on vacation! It was a much-needed break, and I’m back, better rested, and ready to go with more great books and missives from LibraryLand. Let’s start with the newest in The Wrong Fairy Tale series from Tracey Turner and Summer Macon.

Cinderella and the Seven Dwarfs, by Tracey Turner/Illustrated by Summer Macon, (Aug. 2022, Kane Miller), $12.99, ISBN: 9781684643790

Ages 3-7

This fractured fairy mashup is a meetup between the Seven Dwarfs, heading home from a day’s work in the gold mine, and Cinderella, who’s in a bad mood because her sisters are off to a fancy ball at the palace and left her home to do all their chores. The Dwarfs hear a commotion on the way home, and discover Cinderella, who invites them in and tells them her tale of woe. Outraged at the unfairness of it all, the new friends set to work making Cinderella a dress of her own; she borrows a pair of comfy dwarf boots to dance the night away. A fun twist ending brings even more laughs. Cartoon artwork and speech balloons draw attention and allow for fun voice change-ups during a readaloud. A fun addition to your fairy tale collections.

Red Riding Hood and the Three Billy Goats Gruff, by Tracey Turner/Illustrated by Summer Macon, (Aug. 2022, Kane Miller), $12.99, ISBN: 9781684643110

Ages 3-7

The Three Billy Goats Gruff are finally free of that grumpy old troll when they catch a scent of something delicious… it’s Red Riding Hood’s basket, loaded up with yummy treats! The only problem? She’s being pursued by the Big Bad Wolf. Wait, what’s going on? Three Billy Goats and a troll… and a little girl in a red cloak visiting her grandmother… THEY’RE IN THE WRONG FAIRY TALE! No matter, though, these new friends head to Grandma’s house to have lunch together, with no idea that someone has already beaten them there. Who’s going to save the day, and who’s going to get butted by a billy goat this time? It’s a hilarious mash-up of two favorite fairy tales with hallmarks of this fun series, like the moment of realization, the exclamation that the characters are in the “WRONG FAIRY TALE”!, and the cheerful resolution. Expressive cartoon artwork and speech balloons let readers envision – or act out – a multitude of voices and characters. Endpapers feature hoof prints. A fun addition to storytime collections.

Posted in Uncategorized

Happy Book Birthday to Rosa’s Song by Helena Ku Rhee and Pascal Campion

Rosa’s Song, by Helena Ku Rhee/Illustrated by Pascal Campion, (June 2022, Random House Studio), $17.99, ISBN: 9780593375495

Ages 4-8

Jae, a young boy from South Korea, and his mother move into a new building in a new country. Missing his home and friends, Jae is withdrawn, but his mother urges him to get out and meet other kids in the building; Jae meets Rosa, a friendly young girl whose pet parrot, Pollito, sits on her shoulder and warbles a sweet song. Rosa and Jae become fast friends, and engage in imaginative play that evokes memories of each of their home countries; scaling sofa mountains and exploring lost Incan cities and rainforests. When Rosa and her family suddenly leave one night, she leaves her parrot to console the heartbroken Jae. Shortly after Rosa leaves, Jae meets two new children in the building, and follows Rosa’s example, becoming their friend and guide to their new home and world. Helena Ku Rhee’s childhood inspired the story, which shows the need for connection and highlights the often erratic home lives of immigrant families, who often have to move suddenly, whether because of immigration status, employment, financial stress, or family issues. Pascal Campion’s digital artwork gives vision to Helen Ku Rhee’s voice: Jae stares out a window at a brick wall while standing in a beige room with faded wallpaper; upon meeting Rosa, his world becomes more colorful. Touches of each child’s home country are represented, with Asian brush paintings decorating the walls of Jae’s home, and colorful parrots and lush green trees in the rainforest of Rosa’s memory. When Rosa leaves, Jae’s world goes gray again, and the portrait of Jae in Rosa’s vacated apartment is absolutely devastating. Endpapers show Rosa and Jae at imaginative play, with Pollito flying around them. A touching and lovely book on empathy and friendship.

Rosa’s Song has a starred review from Booklist.

Posted in Uncategorized

A note, and then back to posting

I tried to post about my hiatus being over, but apologizing in advance for my posting schedule being a little sketchy, but I’ve been having a hard time getting up the oomph to do a whole heck of a lot I apologize.

Two weeks ago, I lost my dad. It wasn’t sudden, but it was unexpected, and it’s thrown me into a tailspin. I’m starting to come out of it, but there are some days where it’s all I can do to get out of bed and get to work. If I’m taking longer than usual to respond to emails or get posts up, I hope you understand.

That said, I’m working on getting back to a regular posting schedule. So, once again, thank you for hanging in there with me.

Posted in Uncategorized

Missing Mommy: Mama and Mommy and Me in the Middle

Mama and Mommy and Me in the Middle, by Nina LaCour/Illustrated by Kaylani Juanita (March 2022, Candlewick Press), $17.99, ISBN: 9781536211511

Ages 3-7

A little girl loves her cuddly life with her Mama and her Mommy, but when Mommy has to go away for a week for work, she misses her more than anything. This book just bursts with joy and love, and is spot-on for any child who misses a beloved presence in their lives; something Nina LaCour touches on when the little girl shares her feelings with her class, and her friends weigh in, missing older siblings away at school, parents in another country, and pets that have run away. Nina LaCour embraces the childhood ache of missing a parent and the residual feelings when Mommy returns, and the little girl experiences the mixed emotions upon her return. She’s thrilled to have Mommy back home where she belongs, but confronts resentment at being left in the first place. Kaylani Juanita’s colorful mixed media illustrations show a loving family who lavish affection on one another. Mommy and the little girl are brown-skinned with hair and skin patches that allude to vitiligo. Mama is light-skinned, with lilac hair and tattoos. Inclusive and honest, Mama and Mommy and Me in the Middle touches on all the right emotions kids experience when missing someone.

Mama and Mommy and Me in the Middle has starred reviews from Booklist, Bookpage, and Publishers Weekly.

Posted in Uncategorized

Hiatus

Hi everyone. Just a quick note to apologize, but I’m taking a brief hiatus to deal with a family emergency. I’m not blog fading, and will be back; I can’t promise that it will be soon, but I will. Love to you all.

Posted in Intermediate, picture books, Preschool Reads, Uncategorized

Books About Nature to Brighten Your Spring

It’s time for a roundup! This time, we’ve got nature books to enjoy now that the Spring weather finally looks like it’s going to stick around. Get comfortable by your favorite tree, or sit in the warmth of the sun, and enjoy some of these Spring-y books.

Be Thankful for Trees : A tribute to the many & surprising ways trees relate to our lives, by Harriet Ziefert/Illustrated by Brian Fitzgerald, (March 2022, Red Comet Press), $19.99, ISBN: 9781636550206

Ages 4-8

This is a fantastic way to introduce younger readers to all the great ways people and animals depend on trees! A rhyming tale expounds on the seven big things trees provide: food; comfort; music; art; recreation; home, and life. Colorful illustrations shows trees in nature, and how they’re used in day-to-day life, from providing a forest full of animals with food, to a kitchen table seating a family for dinner; from a child playing a piano, to a bird feeding her babies high up on a branch. Each area opens with a repetitive question and answer: “Would life be satisfying/good/possible without trees? It would not!” During a read-aloud, it’s the perfect opportunity for interaction; invite your littles to tell you what they think. The verse reminds also readers that trees are essential to life on earth, and the man-made disasters that threaten them, like deforestation and forest fire; Ziefert encourages readers to “explore a cool forest with its pine-scented breeze” and to “remember forever, BE THANKFUL FOR TREES!”. Playful, cheery color illustrations add to the fun verse, and golden leaves pop from the blue endpapers, really making this a wonderful book for early childhood natural science readalouds.

Author Harriet Ziefert has written hundreds of children’s books. You can see more of illustrator Brian Fitzgerald’s work at his website.

Visit Red Comet’s book detail page for a free, downloadable Teachers Guide. TeachersPayTeachers has a wealth of free learning activities about trees. I really like the idea of adopting a “class tree” and journaling observations over the course of a school year, as Robynn Drerup’s class has. Amanda Whitaker also has a fun tree journal for kids. Our Time to Learn’s Tree Animals Coloring sheet is great to hand out after a readaloud.

Firsts and Lasts: The Changing Seasons, by Leda Schubert/Illustrated by Clover Robin, (March 2022, Candlewick Press), $18.99, ISBN: 9781536211023

Ages 4-8

Every season comes with its own unique firsts and lasts. Leda Schubert and illustrator Clover Robin beautifully capture these moments in Firsts and Lasts: The Changing Season. Organized by season, the book offers gentle observation designed to provoke memories and warm feelings as we follow family through the year: Spring is the last time they (and we) wear snowsuits and build snow forts, but it’s the first time they see new grass, and wash the car; in the Fall, it’s the last time for things like going to the ice cream stand, but it’s the first time for seeing wooly caterpillars and jumping in leaves. Cut paper illustrations add a playful whimsy and the colors capture the feelings for each season; crisp winter skies and warm autumn leaves; bright spring flowers and lush summer landscapes. It’s a wonderful illustration of the transition nature – and people! – go through from season to season, and offers opportunities for kids to share their observations on seasonal change.

First and Lasts has a starred review from The Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books.

KB3Teach has a fun Seasons Cut and Paste activity on TeachersPayTeachers that nicely extends this book. Teresa Tretbar’s Amazing Literacy has seasonal coloring pages and posters for you to hand out, too.

Olaf Hajek’s Fantastic Fruits, by Olaf Hajek (Illustrations) and Annette Roeder (Text), (Apr. 2022, Prestel Junior), $19.95, ISBN: 9783791375069

Ages 6-9

Olaf Hajek has made beautiful art from vegetables and flowers; now, fruit gets the Hajek treatment in Olaf Hajek’s Fantastic Fruits. Annette Roeder returns to provide fun and interesting profiles on 25 fruits, like the pomegranate, also known as the “apple of discord” that was created, according to Greek myth, by an angry goddess of strife and discord; the banana, whose curve is slowly being bred out of the fruit in order to make for easier stacking; and the fig, whose juice can help against insect bites. Factual information on each fruit’s countries of origin, and other names and varieties of each fruit run across the bottom of each profile, and – as we’ve come to expect from Hajek – colorful, stunning portraits are the star of the show in this oversized volume. A fox and a woman collect orange juice from giant fruits hanging from a tree in one painting; another woman serves cherry cake to a young boy and a bird as cherries hang from a tree and provide a headdress; a porcupine carries a gigantic blackberry and raspberry on its back through a field. Hajek’s playfully surreal artwork is sure to catch eyes and make new fans as they pore through the pages of this gorgeous book. Great for art sections and 634 sections (fruits, naturally!).

Visit Olaf Hajek’s illustrator webpage for more of his work.

 

What’s Cooking in Flowerville? Recipes from Balconies, Rooftops, and Gardens, by Felicita Sala, (Apr. 2022, Prestel Junior), $14.95, ISBN: 9783791375182

Ages 6-10

Flowerville is a bustling, multicultural neighborhood where everyone loves to grow and share food! Beginning in April, the book takes readers through the year, month by month, with Flowerville citizens tending to their plants: in April, Maria chops down her asparagus spears; in July, Ramon tests the floating ability of a cucumber as his parent waters the plants. Each month features a new recipe, made with ingredients shown in the artwork. In July, we get creamy tzatziki sauce; in November, roasted beet dip. Warm and colorful artwork shows families and friends sharing food and friendship, and gardening tips and recipes make this a handy gardening guide for families and classes. Pair with Francine Sala’s What’s Cooking at 10 Garden Street and Cynthia Cliff’s Pie for Breakfast for a worldwide trip for the palate.

Felicita Sala’s webpage has more of her illustration work, and a link to her food illustration is a must-see.

 

Posted in Uncategorized

I’m back!

Hi, all! I took a bit of a blog-cation to recharge my batteries and spend some time with my Kiddo, who was on his own Spring Break. Starting tomorrow, I’ll be back with more posts starting tomorrow!