Posted in Middle Grade, Non-Fiction, Non-fiction, Teen, Tween Reads, Young Adult/New Adult

The LEGO Engineer will take your builds to new heights

The LEGO Engineer, by Jeff Friesen, (Nov. 2022, No Starch Press), $24.99, ISBN: 9781718502505

Ages 10+

I am always looking for good LEGO books for my library. We have a weekly LEGO build that the kids love, and I like to make sure I have books around that will inspire them. Jeff Friesen is always a good purchase for me: I’ve got The LEGO Castle Book and LEGO Space Projects and they are chock full of block-spiration. Friesen’s newest, The LEGO Engineer, is another win; this time, taking on some of the most incredible engineering feats ever created, including cable-stayed bridges and a LEGO South Beach, in all its colorful glory. There are over 30 models, all beautifully photographed by Friesen, and include step-by-step illustrated instructions and a wealth of engineering know-how to make your builds as realistic as can be. It’s a beautiful coffee table book for LEGO enthusiasts and it’s a challenging book of ideas for LEGO fans and future engineers. An excellent choice for collections where LEGO books are popular.

Want to see more of Jeff Friesen’s work? Follow his Instagram page. Want more LEGO learning? Visit LEGO’s education page for free lesson plans.

Posted in Middle School, Teen, Tween Reads

Blog Tour: PIECE BY PIECE by David Aguilar

David Aguilar was born with half a right arm; he calls it his “diff-ability”. With the love and support of his family – and a knack for creating – he built his first prothesis from LEGO bricks when he was nine, and continues creating and innovating in ways to make change happen and make others’ lives better.

Piece by Piece : How I Built My Life (No Instructions Required), by David Aguilar and Ferran Aguilar/Translated by Lawrence Schimel, (Oct. 2022, Amazon Crossing Kids), $9.99, ISBN: 9781662504266

Ages 10-14

Written by David and his father, Ferran Aguilar, and translated from the original Spanish by author Lawrence Schimel, Piece by Piece is heartbreaking and funny. David’s voice clearly emerges from the page to take readers into his world; never evoking pity, David is pragmatic about his limb difference, explaining it by asking readers if they miss an eleventh finger they never had: “Whoa! You don’t know what that feels like, right? I count to five. You count to ten. I am not missing anything. Neither are you”. The Aguilars inspire their readers to expand their world view, to innovate, to try, to keep going. A color photo insert called “The Tale of Hand Solo” (inspired by the name of the award-winning documentary about him) introduces readers to Aguilar’s life. Piece by Piece is absolute perfection for middle school reading. This should be a part of every LEGO Robotics team’s reading. An essential first purchase for library collections.

“Humorous and uplifting…While readers needn’t be LEGO fans to admire David’s ingenuity, fellow builders may be inspired to dream up their own inventions.” ―Kirkus Reviews

David Aguilar and his father, Ferran Aguilar, are from Andorra, in Europe. David was born missing part of one arm. At the age of nine, he designed his first prosthesis with LEGO bricks, and in high school he built the next generation, which he named the MK-1. David’s father encouraged him to make a video about his prosthesis and the huge role that LEGOs played in his life, and posted it on social media, where it went viral and changed both of their lives. In addition to telling his story in this book, David is also the protagonist of the Spanish documentary Mr. Hand Solo, which won the award for best documentary at the Boston Science Fiction Film festival. David is currently developing his own brand, Hand Solo, which will aim to benefit various organizations for the disabled and fight against the stigma of “diff-ability,” as he calls it. Follow David and Ferran on Twitter @Handsolooficial and @AguilarFerran.

Instagram: @handsoloofficial

Lawrence Schimel is a bilingual author who writes in both Spanish and English, with more than one hundred books to his credit. He is also a prolific literary translator, into English and into Spanish. His translated books include Wanda Gág’s Millions of Cats; George Takei’s graphic novel They Called Us Enemy; and Some Days, written and illustrated by María Wernicke; among many others. He lives in Madrid, Spain. Follow him on Twitter @lawrenceschimel.

 

Posted in family, Guide

Gift idea: LEGO With Dad (and some LEGO blocks!)

LEGO with Dad: Creatively Awesome Projects for Parents and Kids to Build Together, by Warren Nash, (Oct. 2020, Rocky Nook), $24.95, ISBN: 978-1681985862

Ages 12+

Blogger Warren Nash has taken to blogging and making videos about his LEGO projects with his son, drawing on memories of making cool LEGO stuff with his own dad. LEGO With Dad is a love letter to caregiver and kids bonding time; he notes in his foreword that “LEGO With Dad” carries different meanings for different families. The book is a comprehensive guide to building with the blocks, no kits necessary. Sections on the best bricks to use and best kits to buy are helpful when spending holiday dollars; a section with structural advice, adding unusual bricks for flourish, and working with  moving parts, like gears. Projects go from simple builds to more advanced builds, photographed and detailed step-by-step for easy following. Family Spotlights show off different families and how they share LEGO time together.

Easy to read, easy to follow, and with an emphasis on creating memories, relationships, and LEGOs together, this is a great book for all families. It’s a fun, imaginative gift idea, too: wrap this up with a LEGO set of mixed blocks, like the Classic Creative sets, and you’re all set. Set some time aside every day – goodness knows we’re getting a lot of it, but let’s try to make it less stressful – to build together, talk, and laugh together. And check out Warren Nash’s YouTube channel, too: he’s got some good videos on there, not all of which are about LEGO.

Posted in Fantasy, Fiction, Fiction, Intermediate, Middle Grade, Uncategorized

LEGO DC Superheroes: Justice League Vs. Bizarro League!

justice leagueJustice League vs. Bizarro League (LEGO DC Super Heroes: Chapter Book #1), by JE Bright (Aug. 2015, Scholastic), $4.99, ISBN: 9780545867986

Recommended for ages 7-10

These new LEGO chapter books from Scholastic are great! First, we had the LEGO Elves, now we’ve got LEGO DC Superheroes. The kids in my libraries are going to lose their minds; when I started bringing in the Capstone chapter books, they flew off my shelves. Now, combining superheroes and LEGO? I will be doubling up on these in my book order for sure!

In this first DC Super Heroes chapter book, Bizarro’s home planet, Bizarro World, is under threat from Darkseid. He seeks out the Justice League for help, and creates his own “Bizarro League” of superheroes just like himself! The writing is light, fast-paced, and funny, and the characters are LEGO characters, with mentions of blocks and building throughout, so kids will know that they’re enjoying a LEGO adventure. There’s full-color art for the kids to enjoy, and if you’re feeling particularly generous, there’s also a companion DVD.

 

Posted in Fantasy, Fiction, Fiction, Intermediate, Middle Grade

LEGO Chapter Books are here! Join the LEGO Elves in the Quest for the Keys!

9780545852807_177e4Quest for the Keys (LEGO Elves Chapter Book #1), by Stacia Deutsch (Aug. 2015, Scholastic), $5.99, ISBN: 9780545852807

Recommended for ages 7-10

LEGO’s got chapter books now! This new series, tied in with the LEGO Elves toy line, introduces us to Emily Jones, a young girl mourning her grandmother’s passing. As she walks through her garden, where she and her grandmother spent many happy days, she crosses a secret portal into the world of Elvendale… and she can’t find a way out! Four elemental elves befriend her and undertake a quest to get Emily home, but there are riddles and magic to unravel along the way – and Emily will learn secrets about her grandmother that she could never have imagined!

This is a perfect book for burgeoning readers that are ready to make the move from Easy Reader to early chapter books. There’s just enough magic and mystery to introduce readers to fantasy, and cheerful teal illustrations, along with pages decorated with garden ivy, to give readers a fun, enchanted experience. I think this one will fly off my shelves. Quest for the Keys will be a great funtime reading to bring new fantasy fans into the fold, and keep them waiting for more.

Author Stacia Deutsch has written over 100 novels for kids and young adults, including the upcoming tie-in to Hotel Transylvania 2 and the Rotten Apples series book, Mean Ghouls. Find out more about her books at her author website.

Posted in Graphic Novels, Guide, Middle Grade, Uncategorized

Lego: Legends of Chima Gift Guide over at WhatchaReading!

I’ve been in gift guide mode these days, as I’ve been getting a lot of my holiday shopping done thanks to the Internet (which helps save my sanity and avoid crowds). I’ve written a few of these up, and thought I’d share my Lego Legends of Chima Volume 3 review and gift guide, written for WhatchaReading.com.

chima_1

By now, you may be in that panic mode, wondering what the heck to buy for kids who seemingly have everything: video games, action figures, cool sneakers. What the heck do you get a 9 year-old who has a better phone than you do? Relax. I’m here to help.

Kids love building stuff. I’m a librarian to a population that may guffaw when I try to get them to read, but when I bust out the Lego for STEM/STEAM time, it’s an entirely different story. So when I started adding Lego graphic novels to my collection, I knew these books were going to move, and I was right. I put the latest Lego Legends of Chima graphic novel, Chi Quest, on the shelf a couple of weeks ago, and it hasn’t been back yet.

Read the rest over at WhatchaReading!