Posted in picture books, Preschool Reads

Blog Tour and Giveaway!: What if Everybody Thought That? by Ellen Javernick

What if Everybody Thought That?, by Ellen Javernick/Illustrated by Colleen Madden, (Aug. 2019, Two Lions), $14.99, ISBN: 978-1542091374

Ages 4-8

The third book in Ellen Javernick and Colleen Madden’s “What if Everybody…” series takes a look at our internal dialogues. You know what that means… those moments when you think you’re keeping your feelings to yourself, but those thoughts come out in other ways. Here, we see crossed arms, pouts, and sneers as kids make suppositions about classmates with special needs, classmates who stutter, kids on the playground that want to play basketball, but may be a little shorter than the others.

Many of us grew up being told that “you can think it, but just don’t say it”, but What if Everybody Thought That? is here to tell you that thoughts can be toxic, too. What if Everybody Thought That? is all about how what we think influences how we act toward others. Kids scrunch up their faces and glare at foods from other cultures at an international food fair, or decide that a special needs classmate who mispells a word isn’t smart enough to be in their class. Alternating spreads illustrate a situation where classmates thinking devaluing thoughts, only to have those conclusions turned on their head when the children show other talents. The classmate who had trouble spelling vacation? He’s a whiz at robotics. That food fair turns into a success when kids try exciting new foods and rave about their experiences. A boy with a stutter can sing with a clear and strong voice, bringing his classmates to their feet with resounding applause.

What If Everybody Thought That? is here to remind readers to give everyone a chance. We’ve all got different talents and abilities, after all. The book also illustrates how thoughts can lead to action – if we think devaluing or negative things about one another, it can eventually lead to us “othering” people – separating and isolating people who aren’t like us. As one boy says to another, “I think we should all be more thoughtful”. What if everybody thought that? Ellen Javernick’s repetitive message challenges readers to pause and take a moment to ponder what would happen if positive, as well as negative, thoughts were to go viral. It creates a thoughtful atmosphere, and provides opportunities for strong class discussions and teachable moments.

Colleen Madden’s artwork presents a multicultural group of kids with a wide range of abilities and challenges, and includes quiet background lessons that support and emphasize author Ellen Javernick’s message. A playground blacktop has encouraging messages, like, “You can do it!” written in chalk; a girl with alopecia stands in a bathroom that sports graffiti-ed statements like, “How do you know, if u don’t ask?” and “Put yourself in someone else’s s-h-o-e-s”; a stage curtain hosts the message, “things are seldom what they seem”.

This is a great series, and one that I’ll be reading during class visits in the coming school year. What if Everybody Said That? went over well last year, and I’m looking forward to introducing visiting teachers and students to What if Everybody Thought That? this year.

Want a chance at winning your very own copy of What if Everybody Thought That? Check out this Rafflecopter giveaway! (U.S. addresses only, please!)

 

Ellen Javernick is the author of more than twenty books for children, including the Children’s Choice Book Award finalist The Birthday Pet, illustrated by Kevin O’Malley, and the bestselling picture book What If Everybody Did That?, illustrated by Colleen Madden. She has been an elementary school teacher for more than twenty years and currently teaches second grade. She lives in Loveland, Colorado.

Colleen Madden is the illustrator of numerous children’s books, including the picture book adaptation of All I Want for Christmas Is You by Mariah Carey and the bestselling picture book What If Everybody Did That? by Ellen Javernick. She lives in the Philadelphia area with her husband and two sons. To see more of her work, visit: http://www.mbartists.com/cgi-bin/iowa/artists.html?artist=77

Posted in Middle Grade, Non-Fiction, Non-fiction, Tween Reads

The National Geographic Kids Almanac Turns 10! Plus, a major giveaway opportunity!

Every year, the NatGeo Kids Almanac hits my library shelf, and I don’t see it for a couple of months after I put it out. It’s a little bit of everything: a desk reference; a current events recap; a guide to conservation and preservation efforts around the world; it’s loaded with gorgeous pictures of animals and amazing places all over the world, and a hilarious joke book – and that’s just for starters.

National Geographic Kids Almanac 2020, (May 2019, National Geographic Kids),
$14.99, ISBN: 9781426332814
Ages 8-12

The 2020 Almanac offers all the usual facts and figures, games, and pop culture/technology/extreme exploration and conservation efforts that we’ve come to expect from NatGeo Kids, plus some new features: there are interviews with NatGeo scientists and explorers in each chapter, a special section on how the world has changed between that first NatGeo Almanac in 2010 and today, and the results of the 2019 Lions Forever Poster Contest. There’s also a new 20/20 Visionary Challenge for kids, inviting them to be futurists and imagine what the world will be like 10 years from now. It’s positive and it inspires and empowers kids to see themselves as the changemakers.

There are quizzes, homework hacks, and a section on Crafts Around the Globe that you can easily incorporate into your summer reading activities; the Space and Earth chapter fits perfectly with this year’s Universe of Stories theme, and includes a sky calendar that gives readers the heads-up on what’s happening in the coolest live show on earth: just look up to see lunar eclipses, meteor showers, supermoons, and even the International Space Station!

To celebrate the Almanac’s 10th Anniversary, NatGeo is hosting a Summer on the Go Almanac 2020 Grand Prize Giveaway — a GO-PRO!

Don’t miss your chance at winning your own GoPro, to capture your own extreme exploration! Enter this Rafflecopter giveaway today! (U.S. and Canada addresses only, please!)

Good luck!

Posted in Fiction, Middle Grade

Spotlight on THE DOUGHNUT FIX

Yoinks! I had a scheduling malfunction yesterday; please enjoy today’s spotlight on Jessie Janowitz’s book, The Doughnut Fix (also reviewed here last month): and enjoy a giveaway opportunity (read through to the end of this post)!

Title: The Doughnut Fix

Author: Jessie Janowitz

Pub Date: April 3, 2018

Superfudge meets The Lemonade War in this funny, heartwarming series debut about change, adventure, family, and of course, doughnuts.

Tristan isn’t Gifted or Talented like his sister Jeanine, and he’s always been okay with that because he can make a perfect chocolate chip cookie and he lives in the greatest city in the world. But his life takes a turn for the worse when his parents decide to move to middle-of-nowhere Petersville—a town with one street and no restaurants. It’s like suddenly they’re supposed to be this other family, one that can survive without bagels and movie theaters.

His suspicions about his new town are confirmed when he’s tricked into believing the local general store has life-changing chocolate cream doughnuts, when in fact the owner hasn’t made them in years. And so begins the only thing that could make life in Petersville worth living: getting the recipe, making the doughnuts, and bringing them back to the town through his very own doughnut stand. But Tristan will soon discover that when starting a business, it helps to be both Gifted and Talented, and It’s possible he’s bitten off more than he can chew…

 

Jessie Janowitz grew up in New York City and is still living there with her husband and three children, all of whom love doughnuts as much as she does.

Buy Links: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Books-A-Million | Indiebound

 

Rookie Cinnamon Sugar Doughnuts*

Parental supervision necessary for frying

Makes 8 doughnuts and 8 doughnut holes

Ingredients

Vegetable oil

1 (8-count) tube of premade, large biscuit dough (found in the refrigerated dough aisle at supermarkets)

½ cup sugar

¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon

Directions

Fill a large saucepan with vegetable oil to a depth of 1 inch.

Heat oil over medium heat until it reaches 365°F. You can measure the temperature with a cooking oil thermometer. Or, drop a single kernel of popcorn into the oil as it’s heating. When the kernel pops, you’re ready to fry.

While the oil heats, open the biscuit tube and separate the rounds. Use a 1-inch-round cookie cutter to cut a hole in the center of each biscuit. Save the holes.

Mix the sugar and cinnamon in a large shallow bowl.

Add 2 doughnuts to the hot oil at a time. Cook, turning once, until golden brown—about 1 minute per side.

Drain on paper towels and immediately toss in the cinnamon sugar to coat. Cool on a wire rack. Repeat with the remaining doughnuts and holes.

* Ready to graduate from rookie to experienced baker? You can make the Doughnut Stop’s life-changing chocolate cream doughnuts too. Visit jessiejanowitz.com for the original recipe.

 

Perfect Chocolate Chip Cookies

Makes 3 dozen cookies

Ingredients

1 cup light brown sugar

¼ cup granulated sugar

2 sticks unsalted butter, softened

2 eggs

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 pinch of salt

2 cups all-purpose flour

18 ounces semisweet chocolate, in bars

½ cup unsweetened shredded coconut

1 cup chopped walnuts

Directions

Preheat the oven to 350°F.

Cut parchment paper to cover baking sheets.

Put the light brown sugar, granulated sugar, and softened butter into a large mixing bowl and cream together in an electric mixer on medium.

In a small bowl, crack the eggs and mix them with the vanilla extract.

Combine the egg mixture with the sugar and butter mixture and mix thoroughly on medium.

In another bowl, combine the baking soda, salt, and all-purpose flour.

Add the flour mixture to the sugar and butter mixture in the large bowl and mix on low. Don’t overmix.

Break the chocolate bars into chunks.

Add the chocolate, coconut, and walnuts to the mixture and stir with a spoon.

Once combined, scoop the dough out with a tablespoon and place the balls on the baking sheet. Leave about two fingers width between each cookie.

Bake cookies for 12 minutes.

Remove cookies from the oven and leave on the baking sheet for 1 minute. Then, transfer the cookies to a wire rack to cool.

 

Want a chance at winning your own copy of The Doughnut Fix? Check out this Rafflecopter giveaway! U.S. addresses only, please. Good luck!

Posted in Non-Fiction

Portrait of an American Activist: Listen – How Pete Seeger Got America Singing

Listen – How Pete Seeger Got America Singing, by Leda Schubert/Illustrated by Raúl Colón, (June 2017, Roaring Brook Press), $17.99, ISBN: 9781626722507

Recommended for readers 5-10

Leda Schubert and illustrator Raúl Colón create a lyrical and beautiful tribute to singer, songwriter, and activist Pete Seeger. From the beginning of his career, strumming his banjo or guitar, Seeger led by example; first, by singing and encouraging his audience to chime in; later, through his activism: standing in peace lines to support unions, protest war, marching for civil rights, and caring for the environment. Whether he was talking to grownups or the children that loved his songs, Seeger always encouraged participation – “That’s what gonna save the human race” – and awareness. Schubert weaves Seeger’s song titles with the story text to highlight the relationship between Seeger’s songs and the causes he supported.

Raul Colon’s art is beautiful. His technique provides both beautiful texture a vintage glow to his images, and his spread featuring Seeger’s boat, the Clearwater, sailing down the Hudson River, is breathtaking. Beautiful artwork and stunning images make Listen a great addition to picture book biography collections and a great read when explaining social justice activism to younger readers.

Leda Schubert holds an MFA from Vermont College of Fine Arts in the Writing for Children and Young Adults and was a core faculty member until 2012. She is the author of many award-winning titles, including The Princess of Borscht, Ballet of the Elephants, and Monsieur Marceau, winner of the Orbis Pictus Award for Outstanding Nonfiction. Leda lives in Plainfield, Vermont, with her husband and two dogs. To learn more, and to download a curriculum guide, visit ledaschubert.com.

 

 

Raúl Colón has illustrated several highly acclaimed picture books, including Draw!; the New York Times-bestselling Angela and the Baby Jesus by Frank McCourt; Susanna Reich’s José! Born to Dance; and Jill Biden’s Don’t Forget, God Bless Our Troops. Mr. Colón lived in Puerto Rico as a young boy and now resides in New City, New York, with his family.

Leda Schubert provides some great links to recordings and videos of Pete Seeger here.

Praise for Listen: How Pete Seeger Got America Singing

★“Schubert and Colón ably demonstrate one of their book’s final assertions: ‘there really was nobody like Pete Seeger.’”—Kirkus Reviews (starred)

“A rousing tribute to a singular musician and activist who ‘walked the talk.’” —Publishers Weekly

“This inspiring picture book biography about one of America’s greatest folk heroes is sure to get a new generation of children singing.” —School Library Journal

“An inspiring and heartfelt tribute to, as Schubert calls him, a ‘true American hero.’” —Horn Book

Giveaway!

One lucky winner will receive a copy of Listen: How Pete Seeger Got America Singing (U.S. addresses; one entry per person.) Enter this Rafflecopter giveaway for your chance!

Posted in Fantasy, Preschool Reads

Funk’s Fine Fractured Fairy Tale: It’s Not Jack and the Beanstalk!

It’s Not Jack and the Beanstalk, by Josh Funk/Illustrated by Edwardian Taylor, (Sept. 2017, Two Lions), $17.99, ISBN: 978-1542045650

Recommended for readers 4-10

Happy Book Birthday to It’s Not Jack and the Beanstalk! I love fractured fairy tales: they let me get as silly as I want to be (need to be?) in a storytime, which lets the kids know they can be as silly as they want or need to be, too. After all, storytime is supposed to be fun, isn’t it?

The story starts out as usual: the fancy fairy tale font, the “Once upon a time” opening line… but wait. Jack is sleeping! The narrator nudges him, and demands that he put on pants (this is the part where every kid in the room is on board with Jack) and get into the story. That’s when we get the idea that this narrator is a little pushy, and that maybe Jack has different ideas about how this fairy tale is going to go. Poor Jack is badgered into trading his pet cow for beans that make him toot, climb a giant beanstalk, and face off against a giant that he really has no quarrel with. Jack takes the story into his own hands, and brings things to a more satisfying conclusion.

Loaded with fairytale references – keep a sharp eye and ask your readers to point them out as they see them – and fun, cartoony digital art, It’s Not Jack and the Beanstalk! is an essential to fractured fairy tale collections. It’s not just for the little readers, either – you can get a heck of a reader’s theatre going on here, thanks to all the side conversations and the power struggle between the Narrator and Jack. Wanna see it in action? Check out Josh Funk’s website, where teachers and librarians stage their own reading. It’s also a nice way to talk to kids about believing everything they read: the Narrator likes to embellish a few areas, but Jack is quick to call out alternative facts where he finds them.

If you haven’t enjoyed Josh Funk’s books yet, you have got to start. I love Pirasaurs – because there are pirate dinosaurs – and Lady Pancake and Sir French Toast make me laugh out loud. He’s got a load of great stuff available on his website, including downloadable coloring books and activity sheets, character cards, and book songs.

Want a shot at winning your own copy of It’s Not Jack and the Beanstalk? You know you do. Enter a Rafflecopter giveaway for your chance!

 

Josh Funk writes silly stories and somehow tricks people into publishing them as books – such as the Nerdy Book Club Award-winning DEAR DRAGON and LADY PANCAKE & SIR FRENCH TOAST along with IT’S NOT JACK AND THE BEANSTALK, and the upcoming ALBIE NEWTON, HOW TO CODE A SANDCASTLE (in partnership with Girls Who Code), and more.

Josh is a board member of The Writers’ Loft in Sherborn, MA. was the co-coordinator of the 2016 and 2017 New England Regional SCBWI Conferences, and has written a free 12-Step Guide to Writing Picture Books. Josh grew up in New England and studied Computer Science in school. Today, he still lives in New England and when not writing Java code or Python scripts, he drinks Java coffee and writes manuscripts.

Find out more about Josh at www.joshfunkbooks.com and on Twitter @joshfunkbooks.

Posted in Fiction, Middle Grade, Middle School, Puberty, Realistic Fiction, Tween Reads

Things That Surprise You is touching, funny… giggles and tissues needed!

Things That Surprise You, by Jennifer Maschari, (Aug. 2017, Balzer + Bray), $16.99, ISBN: 9780062438928

Recommended for readers 10-13

Best friends Emily and Hazel are about to start middle school. They’ve done just about everything together, and Emily just wants things to stay the same. You can’t blame Emily; she’s had too much change over the last year, with her parents’ divorce and her sister , Mina, being treated for an eating disorder. But Hazel is changing. She’s already in with a new crowd at school – a crowd that isn’t into Emily at all – and she wants to be different. While Emily is still into their fandom, The Unicorn Chronicles, and crafting, Hazel is into lip gloss, clothes, and getting boys at school to notice her.

Things That Surprise You is a compulsively readable novel about growing up and moving on; negotiating change; making new friends, and most importantly, discovering oneself. Emily is so likable, you just want to defend her and comfort her. Older sister Mina is on her own painful journey; she could easily have become a bitter antagonist, but is written with care and compassion that will encourage readers to root for her, too. Their mother is doing the best she can with what she has, and their father just can’t cope, so he doesn’t. Each parent’s actions illustrate to kids that adults may not have all the answers, and that we make lousy decisions, too. I enjoyed reading about every character in this book, including the mean girls, who are vapid and awful and make us want to see Emily succeed even more.

This is a great book for discussion groups, because the subplots that support the main plot are all worthy discussion topics on their own: going with or against the crowd, eating disorders, self-acceptance, and navigating family relationships are just some of the things that come up. I’d love to see this on summer reading lists for next year. Nudge, nudge, teachers!

Jennifer Maschari is a classroom teacher and the author of The Remarkable Journey of Charlie Price and Things That Surprise You. She is hard at work on her next middle grade novel with Balzer+Bray/HarperCollins. Jennifer lives in Ohio with her husband and stinky (yet noble) English bulldogs, Oliver and Hank. To learn more, and to download a free guide, visit Jennifer’s author website.

GIVEAWAY!

One lucky winner will receive a copy of Things That Surprise You… PLUS, one grand prize winner will receive their very own Crafty Unicorn Kit! The prize includes a fun craft kit, a copy of Things That Surprise You, unicorn stickers, and puzzle cards! Enter here – don’t miss out!

Posted in Fantasy, Tween Reads

Adoption Themes in Aleks Mikelson and Zaria Fierce by author Keira Gillett

Today’s guest post from author Keira Gillett takes a look at adoption themes that run through her fantasy novels, the Zaria Fierce trilogy and Aleks Mikelson and the Twice-Lost Fairy Well. I love the fact that her two main series characters are not only adopted, but come from loving homes where they consider their adoptive families their families, period. And don’t miss the super-awesome giveaway at the end of this post! Thanks again for Keira for her loving, sensitive look at adoptive families.

Adoption Themes in the Zaria Fierce Series

There are many references in literature in which guardians for kids are these terrible people. I feel very strongly that there are ways for kids to have adventures in books without mean, cruel, negligent, or abusive adults. Enter the stargazer – a device I invented that freezes time so Aleks, Zaria and the gang can go on adventures around Norway, saving their friends and the world, and not panic their parents.

In real life and in fiction, there are many reasons why kids are available for adoption, because there are many family backgrounds for both birth families and adopted families, which lead them to the decision to choose adoption. My younger sisters are adopted, and my parents, especially my mom, has always been very open with them and with my older brother and myself.

Knowing all this, I wanted a better reflection of adoption to be portrayed for my sisters, and maybe other adoptees like them, because it was very important to me to show that an adoptive family can be nice, and yet a decision to reunite or a desire to reunite can still be part of the equation. That’s why both Aleks and Zaria have nice parents. They love their parents and can’t see living with their birth families.

As for the birth families being different, as important as it was to show that adoptive families can be nice, it was also important to show a balance in the portrayal of them in as sensitive a manner as possible, as I know adopted children may superimpose a pleasant scenario over a harsher reality, if they knew and remembered their birth parents, or similarly spinning pleasant stories about why they were available for adoption, if they didn’t. Or the pleasant fantasy of what it might mean to be reunited. While these pleasant scenarios may pan out for some adoptees, others may be disillusioned, if they seek out and meet their birth parents.

It was easy to create these two scenarios, because my characters have different motivations and backgrounds. For instance, Zaria’s birth mother gave her up for adoption in order to protect her from cruel and manipulative dragons who, if they knew of her magical ability, would seek to kill her. Zaria can understand it and forgive her birth mother. That said, she feels closer to the woman who raised her and doesn’t want to hurt Merry’s feelings by letting her know she reconnected with Helena, which as a side note, is another feeling adoptees may face and internalize, because they do love their adoptive family. Zaria’s in the happy position that she could tell Merry, and Merry would understand, but Zaria herself isn’t ready. It’s new for her, and she’s still working out her feelings on the matter.

For Aleks, he grew up in a family with another adopted family member, Ava, his Grams. It gets even more complicated, when one considers that Ava and he both come from the same place and the same fey family, a few generations apart. Fey lore has had the idea of changelings for a long time, and it was easy to build upon this, especially taking into consideration the rest of the lore surrounding fairies as being cold and cruel, which holds true in the Zaria Fierce Series. Ava warns Aleks about the terrible dangers he’d face if he ever returned to Niffleheim, where changelings are killed on sight. The fey are very power hungry, and it’d be a bad idea to altruistic behavior. He got very lucky in Zaria Fierce and the Enchanted Drakeland Sword, because Zaria’s wish on the well granted him protection, and in the end the children won – with Hector’s help – their freedom and a personal escort out of Niffleheim.

To add to all that is the overarching theme of magic. Zaria learns she has magical talent, and as she embraces it, her magic becomes part of her identity. Aleks has always known he had it and that it made him different. To him, being and feeling normal, as well as fitting in, is extremely important, which coincides with another potential desire for adoptees, who may look around at all their friends in traditional family units and feel the same desire to be normal. As revealed in Aleks Mickelsen and the Twice-Lost Fairy Well, Aleks has the chance to become human (his idea of normal) on his sixteenth birthday if he stays and celebrates it at home with his adoptive family. It’s a very appealing prospect, but in doing so he will lose his magical fey gifts. It’s not something that concerns him, because he doesn’t feel like he needs them, and he thinks that this is an easy decision for him to make.

And it might be, except for unlike Zaria, Aleks doesn’t have the luxury to choose when and how he interacts with his birth family. Appearing at his window one day is his fey sister Nori, and she’s telling him he has to return to a place filled with unimaginable danger to stop a dragon nobody can remember except her. It takes a huge amount of bravery to go back, and coupled with that decision to return is a choice and opportunity to become human that may be taken out of his control. He risks not only his life, but his identity in going back. His road ahead is filled with many pitfalls, and with his fairy powers on the fritz, it’s going to be harder to navigate than he first thought.

 

Giveaway: To celebrate the release of Aleks Mickelsen and the Twice-Lost Fairy Well, I’m hosting a giveaway for interested readers. The winner will receive a dragon scale necklace, that I made, and a Dropcard containing a digital copy of Zaria Fierce and the Secret of Gloomwood Forest and other goodies. Open internationally. Ends 8/13/2017.

To enter, leave a comment on this blog asking me a question, or sharing with me your favorite Zaria Fierce character, or sharing your favorite book featuring an adopted character. To get a bonus entry share this post on Twitter with the hashtag #zfgiveaway1. For another share your favorite Zaria Fierce book cover on Instagram using the same hashtag #zfgiveaway1. Good luck!

 

Aleks Mickelsen and the Twice-Lost Fairy Well (Book 4 in the Zaria Fierce Series)

“It’s time for you to come home.”

First Aleks’ mom loses the car keys, which he finds in the fridge, and then Christoffer forgets how to get to Aleks’ house. On the surface it doesn’t seem so bad, but events become more disturbing as the day progresses. Something strange is happening in Norway, and Aleks Mickelsen is the only one who can stop it. Too bad for us, the last thing he wants is another adventure.

 

 

About the Author: Keira Gillett

When she’s not working or writing, Keira Gillett loves to play tabletop games. Nearly every week Keira gets together with her friends to play. It’s no wonder she invented a game of her own for her Zaria Fierce Series. You can find the rules to this game within the second book and make your own version of it through a tutorial on her website. She’d love to hear from you! Why not send her a picture of you and a friend playing the game?

Find her at http://keiragillett.com/

 

Posted in Preschool Reads, Toddler Reads

Blog Tour: Share, Big Bear, Share! And Giveaway!

Big Bear has a big pail of yummy blueberries! His friends would like some, too, but Big Bear seems to be a bit clueless. The old oak tree tells him to SHARE, BIG BEAR, SHARE!, but Bear is so enamored of his blueberries, he’s not really listening – and hears something different each time! Will he finally realize that a good friend shares, and invite his pals to have some berries?

Share, Big Bear, Share!, by Maureen Wright/Illustrated by Will Hillenbrand, (Apr. 2017, Two Lions), $17.99, ISBN: 978-1503951006. Recommended for readers 3-7

Share, Big Bear, Share! is a great story for preschoolers and kindergarteners, who are developing social skills and learning to share and work together. Big Bear is a nice bear, he’s just a little unaware; when the Old Oak Tree tells him – multiple times – to share, Big Bear – who’s not really listening; he’s got an entire bucket of blueberries! – half-hears the message, with hilarious results. The message for readers is twofold: sharing is important, but so is paying attention! I think a round of the old game, Telephone is a perfect accompaniment to this story: a teacher, parent, or educator whispers something into one child’s ear and has the message go around the group, until the last player states what he or she heard, which is usually something very different from the original statement!

The story makes it point in a sweet, funny way that appeals to young readers. Will Hillenbrand’s graphite pencil artwork, fleshed out with digital media, gives Bear and his woodland friends a cuddly quality that kids will love. Old Oak Tree looks wonderfully wise and his facial expressions are perfect and accurate. Kids will have seen that face on their caregivers many times!

Share, Big Bear, Share! is the third Big Bear book by Maureen Wright and Will Hillenbrand (Sleep, Big Bear, Sleep! and Sneeze, Big Bear, Sneeze!) Display this one with books like Anna Dewdney’s Llama Llama, Time to Share and Leo Lionni’s It’s Mine! for readalikes; build a social skills library by adding Beth Ferry’s Stick and Stone, Rowboat Watkins’ Rude Cakes, and Julie Gassman’s You Get What You Get.

There’s a Help Big Bear SHARE Game, available through illustrator Will Hillenbrand’s website, for you to download, print, and hand out.

GIVEAWAY! Want a chance to win your own copy of Share, Big Bear, Share? Enter here!

WILL HILLENBRAND has written and/or illustrated over 60 books for young readers including Down by the Barn, Mother Goose Picture Puzzles and the Bear and Mole series. He has lived almost all of his life in Cincinnati, Ohio, where he grew up as the youngest of four boys. He now lives in Terrace Park and was recently honored as Author/Illustrator in Residence at Kent State University.

Information about his books, selected readings, art process videos and activity ideas can be viewed at www.willhillenbrand.com. Connect with Will at www.facebook.com/willhillenbrandbooks.

 

Posted in Early Reader, Fiction, Fiction, Intermediate

Mapping My Day brings back the lost art of mapmaking

Mapping My Day, by Julie Dillemuth/Illustrated by Laura Wood, (March 2017, Magination Press), $15.95, ISBN: 978-1-4338-2333-6

Recommended for readers 5-10

Flora is a girl who loves making maps. From sun-up to sundown, Flora maps her day and invites readers to see how she does it! Starting with an early morning wake-up thanks to the sun streaming through her bedroom window, Flora explains and illustrates terms like cardinal directions, map scales, landmarks, even seating plans.

I remember when I was a kid and learning about maps in Social Studies. That whole one inch = 1 mile thing made me want to bang my head against the desk in frustration. If I’d had a book like Mapping My Day to start me off, things would have gone a lot easier with those issues of Scholastic News. The book brings readers right into Flora’s circle. It’s like having a friend show you her journal, where she writes out how she watches her grandmother’s show poodles train on their obstacle course, or map out her school playground, or how she manages to beat her brother to the bathroom in the morning.

There are no frustrating measurements, no rulers necessary. It’s a great invitation to start mapping out our world – something that may be seen by some as a dying art in this age of GPS, but is a critically important skill to have. We should all know how to lay out a space; what our cardinal directions are and how to find them, and the importance of landmarks when you’re finding your way. For librarians and teachers, this is a lesson or a program in a book: the activities at the end of the book are even available for download so you can get a head start on planning. A note to parents, caregivers, and professionals explains the importance of mapping, diagramming, and understanding spatial relations, and includes ideas for incorporating them into kids’ play.

The art is friendly and fun. Flora is a biracial child from a multiethnic family. The family eats at the table together and enjoys time with extended family members. Spreads move between Flora’s story – driving in a car with family, eating at the table with family, playing at school – and Flora’s maps, which have a hand-drawn/handwritten appearance. Key words appear bolded.

Julie Dillemuth was mystified by maps until she figured out how to read them and make them, and it was a particularly difficult map that inspired her to become a spatial cognition geographer. She lives with her family and writes children’s books in Santa Barbara, California, where the west coast faces south. Visit her at her website: http://juliedillemuth.com.

One lucky winner will receive a copy of MAPPING MY DAY (U.S. addresses). Enter this giveaway for your chance!

https://goo.gl/forms/yiZyHr8CNDC7iVWg1

Posted in Animal Fiction, Preschool Reads, Toddler Reads

Spotlight On: Black Cat White Cat by Claire Garralon – and a giveaway!

Sourcebooks has been killing it this year! There are so many great books in the Jabberwocky kids’ line, with adorable books like Too Many Moose and I Wanna Be a Great Big Dinosaur. Next up is this too-cute board book for little ones: Black Cat & White Cat.

Black Cat & White Cat cover

Black Cat & White Cat, by Claire Garralon
June 7, 2016; Board Book, ISBN 978-1-4926-3781-3

Book information

Title: Black Cat & White Cat

Author: Claire Garralon

Release date: June 7, 2016

Publisher: Sourcebooks Jabberwocky

 

About the Book

Black Cat & White Cat is an appealing black-and-white board book about friendship from French author Claire Garralon.

Black Cat and White Cat want to be friends, but in a world of black and white, someone is always hard to see! Can they find a way to play together without someone disappearing? In the face of adversity, friendship prevails, and Black Cat and White Cat set off to find a place where they can play happily together.

The high-contrast words and shapes are perfect for the youngest eyes, and the fun story will keep children engaged.

Find it on Goodreads.

Buy the Book

Amazon: http://amzn.to/1X1CgKM

Barnes & Noble: http://bit.ly/1XmqtHR

Books a Million: http://bit.ly/1WyHhuw

!ndigo: http://bit.ly/1WyHw8O

Indiebound: http://bit.ly/1TYG2RV

 

About the Author

Claire Garralon is a graphic designer and illustrator. She is the author and illustrator of numerous books in France, where she lives.

Don’t miss your chance to win a copy of Black Cat & White Cat! Enter the Rafflecopter giveaway!
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