Posted in Media, picture books

A Crazy-Much Love video, read by the girls who inspired the story

Almost two weeks ago, I was thrilled to bring you a writeup about A Crazy-Much Love, a love story about international adoption, by Joy Jordan-Lake and illustrated by Sonia Sánchez. If you thought the book was pure love and joy wrapped in pages and a cover, wait until you see this video, read by the girls who inspired this book. Here’s the backstory:

Fifteen years ago, nine separate families each flew to China to adopt a baby. A bond was formed among them that transcends culture and distance. Today, those nine girls—their parents and siblings—are extended family to one another. A Crazy-Much Love by author Joy Jordan Lake, illustrated by Sonia Sanchez, is a celebration of their love. Here, the girls read from their shared story.

I can’t wait to let these girls read this story at my next storytime.

Posted in picture books, Preschool Reads

Blog Tour and Giveaway: A Crazy Much Love, by Joy-Jordan Lake

Back in February, I was thrilled to take part in a cover reveal for A CRAZY MUCH LOVE by Joy Jordan-Lake and illustrated by Sonia Sánchez. Now, I’m even more excited, because this gorgeous book is out in the world and I can finally tell you about it!

A Crazy-Much Love, by Joy Jordan-Lake/Illustrated by Sonia Sánchez,
(Sept. 2019, Two Lions), $17.99, ISBN: 978-1542043267

Ages 4-8

This is author Joy Jordan-Lake‘s first picture book, inspired by her own international adoption, and her words capture the longing, joy, and utterly all-consuming, crazy love of motherhood. In this story, a child’s parent share the moments throughout their child’s life, and try to put into words the overwhelming, “crazy-much love” they have for her: imagining her, as a baby dreaming about them as they tried to get their home ready and just right for her arrival; the big, crazy rush to fly to her, hold her in their arms, and bring her home; the incredible love she’s been surrounded with from the beginning, a “crazy-much love for you would grow and grow more and spill out the windows and bust down the doors”. Childhood milestones  – the first bath, first steps, first word, first tricycle ride, and first time on a school bus – take on sacred meaning, their every moment filled with love and gratitude for existing. As the family cuddle together and their daughter asks, “How long does it last, the crazy-much love?”, and laughs because she knows the response, we know, too: that crazy-much love never, ever ends.

Sonia Sánchez’s digital artwork beautifully brings Joy Jordan Lake’s words to life, creating a family story that translates warmth and love on every page. The artwork looks handcrafted, with warm colors and brushstroke-similar artwork that almost makes readers feel like they’re looking into a family diary. Add this one to your storytime collections and your picture book shelves.

Joy Jordan-Lake is the author of multiple books for adults, including A Tangled Mercy, a Goodreads Hot Reads Selection and Kindle bestseller, and Blue Hole Back Home, winner of the Christy Award in 2009 for Best First Novel. A Crazy-Much Love is her debut picture book. She holds a PhD in English and has taught literature and writing at several universities. She is a mother to two biological children and one child adopted from China, and her experiences inspired this book. She lives outside Nashville with her family, including two fluffy dogs. Learn more about the author at www.joyjordanlake.com.

Sonia Sánchez is an award-winning Spanish illustrator. Her debut picture book, Here I Am, written by Patti Kim, received two starred reviews and was nominated for the Eisner Award for Best Painter. Her artwork has been selected for the prestigious Society of Illustrators Original Art Show twice, and her books have been named a CBC NCSS Notable Social Studies Trade Book for Young People and a Bank Street College Best Book of the Year. She lives with her husband, her son, and a sleepyhead cat in a blue house near the Mediterranean Sea.

 

“The standout illustrations burst with energy and are as saturated with color as the subject of the story is showered with love. A perfect gift for an adoptive family—and every family that has a deep and abiding love for their young children.” —Booklist

“An honest and encouraging story about a transracial adoption.” —Kirkus Reviews

One lucky winner will receive a copy of A Crazy-Much Love, courtesy of Two Lions/Amazon (U.S. addresses only, please!). I’m trying a Google form this time, so please let me know in the comments if it’s not working for you! Contest closes 9/27. Good luck!

Posted in picture books, Preschool Reads

Cover Reveal: A Crazy Much Love by Joy Jordan Lake

Author Joy Jordan-Lake has her very first picture book debuting in September: A Crazy-Much Love is all about adoption, and the crazy-much love that just grows and grows. And I’ve got a cover reveal, right here!

A Crazy-Much Love, by Joy Jordan-Lake/Illustrated by Sonia Sanchez, (Sept. 2019, Two Lions),
$17.99, ISBN: 9781542043267
Ages 3-8

From Goodreads: “How MUCH is the crazy-much love?” This simple question is answered as a parent recounts the journey of adopting her daughter and the many milestone moments that follow. From the child’s first bath and first time riding a tricycle, all the way to her boarding that big yellow bus, the crazy-much love grows SO MUCH that it spills out the windows and busts down the doors. A warm, lyrical celebration of the deep love parents hold for their children, and a comforting message for kids about how there can be only one special YOU.

I can’t wait for this one. Get this on your Fall radar!

Posted in Intermediate, Non-Fiction, picture books, Preschool Reads

Lion (Forge), Tigers, and Bears… Oh, My!

In a twist on the classic Wizard of Oz quote, I found myself with a tiger book, a bear book, but no lion book. Lion Forge came to the rescue with a hilarious (and animal-related) picture book! Enjoy!

This is a Taco!, by Andrew Cangelose/Illustrated by Josh Shipley, (May 2018, Lion Forge), $15.99, ISBN: 978-1941302729

Recommended for readers 4-8

Lion Forge Comics also puts out some really good kids’ books. This is a Taco! is a laugh-out-loud take on a nature book about squirrels that breaks the fourth wall. Taco is a squirrel who loves tacos. As the nonfiction narrative on squirrels progress, Taco is there to disabuse readers of any facts they may be picking up about squirrels. Squirrels eat tree bark? This is news to Taco, who really wants to know where his tacos are. Great climbers? Taco’s terrified! He lives in a bush! Taco has enough by the time a section on hawks – the greatest squirrel predator – shows up on the scene, and decides to change the story. Grabbing a red pen, Taco writes his own happy ending and imparts serious wisdom to readers: “if you want tacos in your story, then YOU make sure there are tacos in your story”.

Kids are going to love this hilarious book. Taco the Squirrel is right up there with Mo Willems’ Pigeon in terms of characters who take charge of their stories and bring the laughs. This makes for a great creative writing exercise with older kids; let them “rewrite” their own stories with weeded picture books or some photocopied pages. Show them Jon Scieszka and Mac Barnett’s Battle Bunny for another example of a picture book taking on a life of its own. And for taco-loving readers, get those Dragons Love Tacos books on the display shelves. This book is way too much fun – get it into the hands of kids, ASAP! There’s a companion book, This is a Whoopsie, coming out in October.

 

The Tiptoeing Tiger, by Philippa Leathers, (Feb. 2018, Candlewick Press), $14.00, ISBN: 9780763688431

Recommended for readers 3-7

Everyone knows that tigers are sleek, silent, and totally terrifying. Except for Little Tiger. He can’t seem to get anyone in the forest to notice him, let alone be afraid of him! After his brother bets that he can’t scare any animal in the forest, Little Tiger sets off, determined to frighten someone. He tiptoes his way through the book, trying to scare boars, elephants, and monkeys, with no luck. Isn’t there anyone he can scare before the day is out?

This is a great book for the littles, who LOVE “scaring” people. I remember I couldn’t walk out of my bathroom without my little guy jumping and “boo!”-ing me starting around the age of 3. (He’s 5 now, and still tries it; these days, it’s usually with a Nerf sniper rifle.) The author speaks to a child’s desire to be seen as someone bigger, and the frustration at being ignored, or worse – laughed at – when they’re trying to be like the bigger folks. The repetition of Little Tiger’s tiptoeing up to his prey invites readers to be part of the story, whether they tiptoe with their toes or walk their fingers on a surface. Let them give their best ROAR! to see how they’d match up with Little Tiger.

The pencil and watercolor illustrations are adorable; very kid-friendly, and leave a lot of open space to show the size differences between Little Tiger and the rest of the animals. Green endpapers with fern leaf patterning bring readers into the story. The Tiptoeing Tiger is a fun story about being small, but determined. A fun additional book for animal lovers.

 

The Curious Cares of Bears, by Douglas Florian/Illustrated by Sonia Sánchez, (Aug. 2017, little bee books), $16.99, ISBN: 978-1-4998-0462-1

This rhyming story takes readers through the four seasons with a group of bears and how they spend their time. In the spring, they love to climb trees and steal honey from bees, play and chase each other; in the summer, there’s swimming and games, family reunions, and parties; in the fall, they play all day and sing by a campfire at night; and when winter arrives, it’s time to make their way to their den to hibernate, until the spring thaw comes, and they get ready to explore their world all over again.

This is a gentle, fun read about the seasons. The group of cuddly bears pass their time in similar ways to our own families, which makes for some fun questions to pose to readers, especially near different seasonal school breaks. The rhyming text has a nice, steady rhythm for readers and the soft art makes the bears look fuzzy and cuddly, like the best bear books do. Endpapers feature an extended family group of bears wandering around the forest, setting the tone for the story. Give this to your teddy bear loving readers, and booktalk with some easy reader season books, like those from Rookie Readers.

 

Great Polar Bear, by Carolyn Lesser, (Apr. 2018, Seagrass Press), $17.95, ISBN: 9781633225022

Recommended for readers 5-8

I had to add an extra bear book here, because Great Polar Bear is just beautiful. A nonfiction book written in verse, Carolyn Lesser takes readers through a year in the life of a polar bear. Originally published in 1996 as The Great Crystal Bear (illustrated by William Noonan), this new edition features all-new collage artwork by Lesser; it gives beautiful texture and depth to the illustrations. The narrative brings facts to readers through rhythmic verse, rather than terse statements: the bear’s fur, for instance, “gathers sunlight, to heat your black skin and thick layer of fat”. We also learn about the endangered environment and problems caused by climate change. Back matter contains “Explorer’s Notes” and emphasizes conservation. This is a good additional text for nonfiction collections where bears are popular.

 

Africa Calling, Nighttime Falling, by Danny Adlerman/Illustrated by Kim Adlerman, (March 2018, Lee and Low Books), $9.95, ISBN: 9781620147955

Recommended for readers 3-7

For my Oh My! book, I’ve got the bedtime story, Africa Calling, Nighttime Falling; a mellow story about African animals in their habitats as the sun sets for the day. The rhyming text leads includes quiet accompanying phrases for each animal: “As moonlight cloaks the desert land, Viper slinks across the sand… swiftly sliding, vipers gliding”. I read them as whispered phrases, between stanzas, because it seems to really work with my Kindergartner. The artwork includes collage over paintings, with what looks like some photographic media mixed in. The twist at the end brings this full circle when readers see that it’s a little girl’s imagination, before bedtime, and that she’s surrounded by her jungle’s worth of stuffed animals. It’s a nice additional add where bedtime stories and animal books are popular, and a good one to test out with stuffed animal sleepover storytimes.