Perfect Picture Book Friday! You Made Me a Mother by Laurenne Sala

23 Sep

Susanna Leonard Hill has a feature on her blog called Perfect Picture Book Friday. It is a list of “perfect” picture books recommended by all sorts of people. I chose this book because it is a gorgeous book about a mother’s love.

mademotherYou Made Me a Mother
Written by Laurenne Sala
Illustrated by Robin Preiss Glasser
32 pages – ages 4+

Published by HarperCollins on March 8, 2016

Theme/Topic- Mother-Child/Love/Family

Genre- Realistic Fiction

Opening and Synopsis- Opening: “I felt you.
You were a pea.
Then a lemon.
Then an eggplant.”

Synopsis from publisher: “In this beautiful celebration of motherhood, the universal message of unconditional love for a child shines through. Laurenne Sala’s heartwarming text, accompanied by New York Times bestselling artist Robin Preiss Glasser’s charming illustrations, creates a firsthand look at the powerful bond between mother and child from pregnancy to birth and beyond.”

What I Thought- This is a really sweet book, with love pouring throughout the pages, and into the reader as well. The illustrations are rather realistic, but with a very nice feeling to them. The writing reflects ho a mom would actually speak to her child and flows very nicely. I could see mom’s reading this book over and over again to her children. The pictures are full of emotion, and they showcase how a mother loves her child. This is a gorgeous book that parents will love to read to their kids – and that their kids would love to be read to!

Activities and Resources- Inspiredtoaction.com has a great list of 101 things you can do with your child HERE!

Momentsaday.com has a great list for parents to teach about love HERE!

Check out the trailer for the book –

To find more Perfect Picture Books please visit Susanna Hill’s blog HERE!

Review, Interview & Giveaway! Diary of a Tokyo Teen by Christine Mari Inzer

22 Sep

tokyoteen1Diary of a Tokyo Teen: A Japanese-American Girl Travels to the Land of Trendy Fashion, High-Tech Toilets and Maid Cafes

Written and Illustrated by Christine Mari Inzer

128 pages – ages 12+

Published by Tuttle Publishing on September 6, 2016

Synopsis from Publisher- “Born in Tokyo to a Japanese mother and an American father in 1997, Christine Mari Inzer spent her early years in Japan and relocated to the United States in 2003. The summer before she turned sixteen, she returned to Tokyo, making a solo journey to get reacquainted with her birthplace. Through illustrations, photos, and musings, Inzer documented her journey.

In Diary of a Tokyo Teen, Inzer explores the cutting-edge fashions of Tokyo’s trendy Harajuku district, eats the best sushi of her life at the renowned Tsukiji fish market, and hunts down geisha in the ancient city of Kyoto. As she shares the trials and pleasures of travel from one end of a trip to the other, Inzer introduces the host of interesting characters she meets and offers a unique—and often hilarious—look at a fascinating country and an engaging tale of one girl rediscovering her roots.”

What I Thought- This was a rather interesting book, chronicling the time that the author as a teen went to Japan by herself to visit her grandparents, and her experiences there. The book is funny, as the American-ized Inzer experiences the differences in the two cultures first hand. There are hand-drawn comics and illustrations throughout the book, providing a lot of humor and information at the same time.

tokyoteen3

One thing I liked was how she combined the actual photos of the time she went along with her illustrations. It was a nice blend and created a cool contrast on the page. There are some really good thought-provoking quotes in there – like in the end when Inzer gets back to America and says “I guess I will always feel halfway home.” That’s a sentiment many kids who identify with two different places will connect with. There were some really great funny moments too so the whole story has a great balance. Inzer’s writing style blends seamlessly into her comic illustrations, making the story feel less like a comic or graphic novel, and more of a traditional novel.  The book is also a wonderful informal travel guide, and Japanophiles will like hearing about places to see – I know I did! I will be looking for more titles coming from this promising young author!

Five out of five bookworms for this book!fivebooks

For a complete preview of Diary of a Tokyo Teen, visit Tuttle’s website HERE

Christine Mari Inzer was kind enough to agree to an interview with me!

bloglogo When did you decide to publish your musings from your trip? Why?

 

tokyoteenBefore I had even left for Japan, I decided that I wanted to create a book about my experiences there. My mom is Japanese and I was born in Tokyo, so it holds a special place in my heart. I also love the travelogue genre and combining comics with my love of Japan was something that came natural to me.

bloglogo Have you gone back to Japan since the time the book was written?

 

tokyoteenYes, I have actually gone back twice since the book was first written, most recently in August. My grandparents live near Tokyo, so we try to visit every other year. I’m always excited to return.

 

bloglogo Your book is funny, while also being an informal travel guide for Japan, with most of the humor being supplied from the illustrations. What made you decide to have the book be partly in comic form? Did it make it easier to write in information on Japan?

 

tokyoteenI feel like drawing has always been the easiest way to express myself. In a way I do think that it also made it easier for people to visualize Japanese culture, which is so colorful and vibrant in itself.

 

bloglogo If you could write another book like this, say for another country, would you?

 

tokyoteenI would love to make another book like this! I would definitely love to have an opportunity to travel to Europe and do the same thing, especially someplace like France or Spain.

 

bloglogo What aspect of Japan interests you the most? What would you say someone MUST see if they go to Japan?

 

tokyoteenFor me, going to Japan is a multidimensional experience, and there’s never really been a single aspect of it that I like the most. I love everything! However, if I can share one thing I love to experience in Japan, it would be Shibuya Crossing at night.

 

Thank you Ms. Inzer!

Now for some exciting news!

You can enter a giveaway to win a copy of this book courtesy of Tuttle Publishing by commenting below on something you love about Japan or something that you really enjoyed when visiting another country and discovering a new culture!

The winner will be chosen on 9/29 (and announced on 9/30) by random draw out of all the comments – good luck!

Review and book birthday! The Ominous Eye by Tracey Hecht

20 Sep

nocturnals2The Ominous Eye

Series: The Nocturnals #2 (#1)

Written by Tracey Hecht

208 pages – ages 7+

Published by Fabled Films Press on September 20, 2016 (TODAY!)

Synopsis- “Join Dawn, Bismark and Tobin as they set out to investigate the source of a violent jolt that fractures the earth! Along their journey, the Nocturnal Brigade meets an unfamiliar reptile—a tuatara named Polyphema—who reveals that a giant beast caused the destruction and will soon strike again. Polyphema with her special insights, is the only one who can help the Nocturnal Brigade stop this fearsome predator… but can she be trusted? With help from an owl, the jerboas, and some kiwis, the animals set a trap since surrender is not an option against this relentless beast.”

What I Thought- This was a nice sequel to the first Nocturnals book. It still has the same feel, but it also shows the characters changed just a bit, and become more mature. The book gives enough background so that the reader doesn’t have to have read the first book (but do because it was good!). I like that it has a friendship message that kids can follow, while still being an enjoyable book and not preachy. The friends that make up the Nocturnal Brigade are fun and a but zany. The characters are funny and personable, and their personalities develop throughout the story. There are nice watercolor illustrations throughout the book that really add to the overall feeling of the book. Hecht’s writing really sets the readers imagination on fire! I think that this is a great series, and I hope the next books are as great as the first two!

I give this book five out of five bookworms!fivebooks

Reviews – Non-fiction Monday!

19 Sep

I’ve been trying to find and read a larger variety of children’s non-fiction books. I was sent some non-fiction books from Rourke Educational Media (visit the publisher’s website HERE) and I really like the variety of subjects the publisher carries. I also like how the topics are broken down into bite-sized chunks making complex topics easy for kids to digest. Below are some of the books that really caught my eye.

tesla

Vroom! Hot Cars: Tesla Model S
By Julio Diaz
32 pages – ages 5+
Published by Rourke Educational Media

Synopsis from Publisher- “The ground-breaking Tesla is featured in this title with information on how it is changing the automobile world.”

What I Thought- In a world of limited fuel, it is important for kids to know that they do not need to buy a gas-powered car. It not only explains that there is a 100% electric car, but it also explains how it works. It includes diagrams, photos, and clear descriptions on how the car works, is made, and the good it does for the environment. The book is very informative.

hotelYIKES! It’s Haunted: Haunted Hotels
By Grace Ramsey
32 pages – ages 5+
Published by Rourke Educational Media

Synopsis from Publisher- “This title looks at haunted hotels around the world with paranormal activity that has happened there.”

What I Thought- This was an interesting book. It talks of the ghosts, without making it too scary. It is nice that it mentions haunted places all over the world, so kids get a bit of a geography lesson too. This is a great read, with Halloween coming up, and there will be a lot of interest in the subject. Kids will love learning about these spooky attractions.

phtogSTEAM Jobs In: Photography (Steam Jobs You’ll Love)

By Ray Reyes
48 pages – ages 5+
Published by Rourke Educational Media

Synopsis from Publisher- “Photography is the focus of this STEAM driven title in the world of photography. Focusing on the improvements of equipment.”

What I Thought- This was a great introduction to jobs involving photography and STEAM subjects (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, and Math). It discusses how photographers need to know angles and lighting and other things, such as how they use technology to edit the photos, engineering to design/innovate cameras, scientists using cameras to photograph space, and other such things. It is a neat book, and kids interested in cameras would like to learn how they can make a living with one.

Perfect Picture Book Friday! There’s a Giraffe in My Soup by Ross Burach

16 Sep

Susanna Leonard Hill has a feature on her blog called Perfect Picture Book Friday. It is a list of “perfect” picture books recommended by all sorts of people. I chose this book because it is a fun story.

giraffesoupThere’s a Giraffe in My Soup
By Ross Burach
32 pages – ages 4+

Published by HarperCollins on February 23, 2016

Theme/Topic- Humor/Table manners

Genre-  Fiction

Opening and Synopsis- Opening: “‘Excuse me, Waiter?

There’s a giraffe in my soup!'”

Synopsis from Publisher: “What if you found a giraffe in your soup, an alligator in your entreé, an elephant on the table, or even an ostrich in your dish?

In this debut picture book from author-illustrator Ross Burach, an assortment of hairy, scary animals pop out from under the lid at a restaurant!”

What I Thought- This is a good, classic, everything-goes-wrong-but-in-a-good-way book. It is a hilarious spin off of the “There’s a fly in my soup!” jokes, starting big, and getting zanier as the book progresses. Kids will beg to have the book reread to them, if the fact that I just read the book five times in a row it is that good! The illustrations are perfect for the story. They are zany and fit in with the mixed-up story.  The book is a perfect read-aloud, particularly for two people (or a teacher and their class) to read the boy’s and the waiter’s lines. Funny voices would be perfect too! I can’t wait to read more from this debut author!

Activities and Resources- Because the book takes place in a “fine-restaurant,” you can talk about table manners with your kids, with topic ideas to discuss at Emilypost.com HERE!

If you want to lead into a discussion about manners with activities, at Childfun.com HERE!
Check out the book’s trailer –

You can read a sample of the book at the publisher’s website HERE

To find more Perfect Picture Books please visit Susanna Hill’s blog HERE!

Blog Tour! Bjorn’s Gift by Sandy Brehl

14 Sep

bjornBjorn’s Gift

Sequel to Odin’s Promise

By Sandy Brehl

272 pages – ages 8+

Will be published by Crispin Books on October 5th, 2016

Synopsis from Publisher-Set in Norway during World War II, Bjorn’s Gift continues the adventures of Mari, a young Norwegian girl who faces growing hardships and dangers in her small village in a western fjord.
German occupation troops and local Nazi supporters move closer to her family’s daily life, and her classmate Leif becomes active in the Norwegian Nazi youth party. Mari struggles to live up to her brother Bjorn’s faith in her, as she becomes more involved in risky resistance activities, trusting only her family and a few close friends.
Across Norway, oppressive laws are imposed in the months from Fall 1941 to early 1943, with dire local consequences. Difficult decisions force Mari to admit that many things in life are not easily sorted into good or bad, and she begins to wonder if Hitler will ever be defeated and . . . whether the occupation of Norway will ever end.

What I Thought- Odin’s Promise was a wonderful historical fiction novel that I thoroughly enjoyed. I was excited to see a sequel and was equally impressed with Brehl’s writing in this novel. Ms. Brehl’s way of writing down the events makes it very personal, and you can really feel the turmoil that Mari, the main character, is going through. The book is set during WWII in Norway. I really enjoy this because the Norwegian occupation is something glossed over in the history classes I have had so far. It is a part of history that I want to know more about. The imagery Brehl uses is amazing. She paints vivid images in sentences that really makes the reading experience enjoyable. The beautiful descriptions of Norway set against the ugliness of the political time is a striking contrast. This is a riveting historical fiction novel, and I think it really brings to light a different side of the German invasion of Norway. The book is completely appropriate for younger readers.

I give this book five out of five bookworms!fivebooks

author-brehl-copy-1 Sandy Brehl is a retired educator and active member of SCBWI (Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators). When she’s not reading and writing, she enjoys gardening. She lives in the Milwaukee area and invites you to visit her website (www.SandyBrehl.com) to learn more about ODIN’S PROMISE and BJORN’S GIFT. Sign up for quarterly newsletters to stay informed about future releases (including MARI’S HOPE), and special events and offers.

Contacts:

Crispin Books, an imprint of Crickhollow

sandybrehl.com
Twitter: @SandyBrehl
Facebook.com
Email: Sandy@sandybrehl.com
Sandy shares a blog about middle grade historical novels with three other authors: TheStoriedPast.org
Also blogs about picture books at UnpackingPictureBookPower.com and @PBWorkshop on Twitter

Blog tour schedule:

September 1– Interview with Todd Burleson at GROG blog:

Groggorg.com

September 7- Review: Stephanie Lowden at golowd, a blog about teaching and books:

Golowd.com

September 11- Guest post Unleashing Readers

Unleashingreaders.com

September 14- (TODAY!!!)- Review by Erik at This Kid Reviews Books,

Thiskidreviewsbooks.com

September 19- Review, Suzanne Warr, at Tales from the Raven, for MMGM:

Suzannewarr.com

September 20- Olivia and Oscar- review of ODIN’S PROMISE at Kid Book Reviewer:

Kidbookreviewer.com

September 27- Olivia and Oscar- review of BJORN’S GIFT at Kid Book Reviewer:

Kidbookreviewer.com 

September 29- Alex Baugh review at The Children’s War

Thechildrenswar.blogspot.com

October 3- Jenni Enzor MMGM with review and interview:

Jennienzor.com

October 5- MomReadIt- Review by Rosemary

Momreadit.com

October 7- Trisha P at Mindjacked

Trishap00.com

October 11- Guest post Rochelle Melander

Writenowcoach.com

Review! Joshua and the Arrow Realm by Donna Galanti

12 Sep

Joshua and the Arrow Realm ebookJoshua and the Arrow Realm

Series: Lightning Road Book #2 (#1)

By Donna Galanti

278 pages – ages 9+

Published by Month9Books, LLC on August 30, 2016

Synopsis- Joshua is back in another book! When he and his friend Charlie are brought back to the land of Nostos, where the heirs of the Ancient Greek gods control realms, they are needed to rescue their friend, the new King Apollo, from the Queen Artemis. But all is not what it seems when they themselves get captured and a cherished ally turns traitor. Is there any hope of Joshua and Charlie getting back home?

What I Thought- This was a thrilling sequel to Joshua and the Lightning Road! Ms. Galanti really carries on the spirit of the first book, while also making it different. Joshua grows as a character, coming to terms with being the Oracle. Almost all of the characters changed throughout the story, and you really begin to care for them. The story starts off with a bang, kickstarting the latest adventure. The book has a few deep themes that the characters explore, such as loss and true loyalty. This was a really well-written installment in this series!

I give this book five out of five bookworms!fivebooks

9/11 Through the Eyes of Kids Born in 2001

11 Sep

911

I was going to title this post, Remembering 9/11 but that would be wrong because 9/11 to me, is a history lesson. I was born in December of 2001, just three months after the horrible events that occurred fifteen years ago on 9/11. My generation will not remember it, but we can learn from it.

I was asked to participate in a round-table discussion on NPR’s Here & Now program last week. Myself and two other kids who were born in 2001 were asked to come on and talk about what we know and have learned from 9/11. It is part of a series Here & Now did, reflecting on 9/11 fifteen years later.

To hear the podcast of the round-table interview, click HERE. You can also access the other segments of the series on 9/11 there.

Although my generation will not remember 9/11, I can honestly say; we will not forget.

Perfect Picture Book Friday! How to Put Your Parents to Bed by Mylisa Larsen

9 Sep

Susanna Leonard Hill has a feature on her blog called Perfect Picture Book Friday. It is a list of “perfect” picture books recommended by all sorts of people. I chose this book because I love a good bedtime book!

putparentstobedHow to Put Your Parents to Bed
Written by Mylisa Larsen
Illustrated by Babette Cole
32 pages – ages 5+

Published by Katherine Tegen Books on February 2, 2016

Theme/Topic- Making your own food/Eating healthy

Genre- Realistic Fiction

Opening and Synopsis- Opening: “I know. You are not tired.

You could scale a tall tower.
You could sail savage seas.
You could paint a masterpiece.”

Publisher’s Synopsis: “No one likes going to bed. And you’re not even tired. You want to stay up and have all sorts of fun adventures! But take a look at your parents. They’re really tired. They’re exhausted. But they just won’t go to bed! Help them put down the cell phones, turn off the TV, stop cleaning the dishes, and go to bed! You might be small, but you can handle this task. Follow the instructions in this book and you’ll have them snoring in no time.”

What I Thought- This is a funny look at bedtimes, with a surprisingly accurate look at what parents would do. The book is a good bedtime story, and kids will love trying to put their parents to bed.

putparents2

The book makes it sound as if a kid (or  maybe the cat?) is really talking to you. The illustrations have a way of being realistic and really fun to look at. There are a lot of details, so I’m sure there are things you can find in the illustrations. Ms. Larsen has written a nice bedtime story that will make kids and parents giggle!

Activities and Resources- If you have trouble getting your kids to go to bed, Amomwithalessonplan.com has a nice article over HERE!

Here is a list of things you can do right before bedtime from Naturalparentsnetwork.com right HERE!

Check out the video trailer!

To find more Perfect Picture Books please visit Susanna Hill’s blog HERE!

Release Day Book Review Blitz! The Dark Talent by Brandon Sanderson! GIVEAWAY!

6 Sep

Dark-Talent-Banner-788x90

Welcome to the Release Day Blitz of “The Dark Talent” by Brandon Sanderson!

The Dark Talent coverThe Dark Talent
Series: Alcatraz vs. the Evil Librarians #5 (#2#3, #4)
Written by Brandon Sanderson
Illustrations by Hayley Lazo
304 pages – ages 9+
Published by Starscape on September 6, 2016 (TODAY!)

Synopsis from the Publisher- “The Dark Talent is the fifth action-packed fantasy adventure in the Alcatraz vs. the Evil Librarians series for young readers by the #1 New York Times bestselling author Brandon Sanderson. This never-before-published, fast-paced, and funny novel is now available in a deluxe hardcover edition, illustrated by Hayley Lazo.

Alcatraz Smedry has successfully defeated the army of Evil Librarians and saved the kingdom of Mokia. Too bad he managed to break the Smedry Talents in the process. Even worse, his father is trying to enact a scheme that could ruin the world, and his friend, Bastille, is in a coma. To revive her, Alcatraz must infiltrate the Highbrary—known as The Library of Congress to Hushlanders—the seat of Evil Librarian power. Without his Talent to draw upon, can Alcatraz figure out a way to save Bastille and defeat the Evil Librarians once and for all?

“Like Lemony Snicket and superhero comics rolled into one.” –Publishers Weekly, starred review”

What I Thought- Wow. This book was great. And unexpected. There was a huge plot twist I wasn’t expecting at the end, honestly one of the biggest I’ve ever encountered. I won’t give it away, but I was really surprised. I will say that this book is extremely well-written, and doesn’t break the style of the rest of the series. Alcatraz and his family is still very wacky, and you still really enjoy reading about their adventures. Alcatraz continues to make fun of himself and almost everything as the book goes on, while also going on and on about how he is a coward. There is a nice resource section at the back of the book, for reading discussions. The book is a thrilling…conclusion…to the series…or is it?

I give this book five out of five bookworms!fivebooks

Author Image

Author Bio: BRANDON SANDERSON is the #1 New York Times bestselling author of The Rithmatist and Steelheart, both of which were selected for the American Library Association’s Teens’ Top Ten list. He’s also written many popular and award-winning books for adults. His middle grade series, Alcatraz vs the Evil Librarians, is now available in deluxe editions.
Visit his website HERE!

The giveaway!

There is a giveaway for a copy of “The Dark Talent” (Along with a really cool button-pin!) for one lucky winner in the US or Canada! You can enter if you live in another country, but just as long as you know someone willing to hold the package for you! We want to share the Talents book love with everybody!

OR you can just by the book HERE!

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