Thursday, January 29, 2015

BOOK GIVEAWAY: I Love You Just Like This

I Love You Just Like This!
Sourcebooks Jabberwocky
Sesame Street Scribbles
ISBN: 9781402297304
$10.99 Hard Cover
Amazon | B&N | BAM | !ndigo | IndieBound

“I love you, Mommy,” Elmo whispered in her ear. Elmo’s mommy smiled. “I love you too, my dear.”
“I’ve loved you all your life, every single day. I love you oh so much – I’ll tell you all the ways!”

There are lots of ways to say “I love you,” and Elmo and his Sesame Street friends are ready to tell you in as many ways as they can in I Love You Just Like This!

In this heartwarming Sesame Street Scribbles story, Elmo’s mommy tells Elmo “I love you” through numbers, colors, seasons, and more.

Join Elmo and the Sesame Street gang as they learn about and express love in ways that will appeal to any child.

The perfect picture book for Valentine’s Day, I Love You Just Like This! unites parent and child in a memorable reading experience.


This is an interesting writing prompt.  It's wonderful to think about and yet at the same time, it's a rather private subject and I'm a very private person.  But I can say this, I love my family a great deal and I don't know what I would do without them. They have stood by me through both good times and bad times, through the good moods and bad moods, through the things I've done right and the things I've done wrong.  They are always there to help me when I need it and boy this last month I have really needed it.  This last month has been one of the worst of my life and they have not only stood by me but have stepped forward to help, spending both time and energy to help me deal with some things.  There is nothing I can say that would adequately thank them for that.  Except maybe, I love you just like that too.


1 print copy of I Love You Just Like This
US/Canada only

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Monday, January 26, 2015


Our mission is to not only raise awareness for the kid’s books that celebrate diversity, but to get more of these of books into classrooms and libraries.

Mission: Despite census data that shows 37% of the US population consists of people of color, only 10% of children’s books published have diversity content. Using the Multicultural Children’s Book Day, Mia and Valarie are on a mission to change all of that. Their mission is to not only raise awareness for the kid’s books that celebrate diversity, but to get more of these types of books into classrooms and libraries. Another goal of this exciting event is create a compilation of books and favorite reads that will provide not only a new reading list for the winter, but also a way to expose brilliant books to families, teachers, and libraries.

“MCCBD team hopes to spread the word and raise awareness about the importance of diversity in children’s literature. Our young readers need to see themselves within the pages of a book and experience other cultures, languages, traditions and religions within the pages of a book. We encourage readers, parents, teachers, caregivers and librarians to follow along the fun book reviews, author visits, event details, a multicultural children’s book linky and via our hashtag (#ReadYourWorld) on Twitter and other social media.”

NOTE: The full name of this event is Multicultural Children’s Book Day and our official hashtag is #ReadYourWorld. The co-creators of this unique event are Mia Wenjen from Pragmatic Mom and Valarie Budayr from Jump Into a Book/Audrey Press. You can find a bio for Mia and Valarie here.



Platinum Sponsor Wisdom Tales Press is hosting a book giveaway on their website that anyone can enter. Winner will receive 6 Wisdom Tales Books of their choice. Here's a tweet:Book #giveaway at Wisdom Tales Press! Winner will receive 6 Wisdom Tales Books of their choice. #ReadYourWorld

First Book

We’re also partnering with First Book to offer a Virtual Book Drive that will help donate multicultural children’s books through their channels during the week of the event. We want to help get diversity books into the hands of kids who most need it and now we have a way to do it! The Virtual Book Drive is LIVE and can be found HERE.

Children’s Book Council:

MCCBD is collaborating with Children’s Book Council to highlight wonderful diversity books and authors on an ongoing basis all year.


The Twitter Party! Join us for Multicultural Children's Book Day Twitter Party on Jan 27th 9:00pm EST. Use hashtag: #ReadYourWorld to win 10 book packages! This Twitter Party is hosted by Co-Founders Mia Wenjen (@Pragmaticmom) and Valarie Budayr (@JumpIntoaBook1). You can review the Twitter Party Prizes on the MCCBD blog here.


Lupe Impala, El Chavo Flapjack, and Elirio Malaria love working with cars. You name it, they can fix it. But the team's favorite cars of all are lowriders—cars that hip and hop, dip and drop, go low and slow, bajito y suavecito. The stars align when a contest for the best car around offers a prize of a trunkful of cash—just what the team needs to open their own shop! ¡Ay chihuahua! What will it take to transform a junker into the best car in the universe? Striking, unparalleled art from debut illustrator Raul the Third recalls ballpoint-pen-and-Sharpie desk-drawn doodles, while the story is sketched with Spanish, inked with science facts, and colored with true friendship. With a glossary at the back to provide definitions for Spanish and science terms, this delightful book will educate and entertain in equal measure.


Lowriders in Space provides a fantastic glimpse into a cultural tradition that I knew nothing about. While the characters and plot are fantasy the passion for the lowrider car is not.  The author's note at the end explains this tradition a little bit for those who aren't aware of it.  The Spanish terms mixed through the text give the book a definite Latino flavor as do the illustrations and characters.  And yet it is all presented in a very entertaining and deceptively simple package.  Child readers are bound to get a kick out of how the main characters get their car ready for the contest that they enter and the trip through space provides plenty of excitement. A sure-fire winner for car lovers and space lovers alike.


A natural activity that works perfectly with this book would be to have readers create their own version of a lowrider car by drawing, painting, or other means.  A great followup would be for the child(ren) to write a story about how the car gained it's decorations.

MMGM: Plague of Unicorns by Jane Yolen


Young James, an earl’s son, is a bit bothersome and always asking the oddest questions. In despair—the last of James’ tutors having quit—his mother sends him off to be educated at Cranford Abbey. She feels the strict regimen will do him a world of good. But Cranford Abbey has its own problems. It has been falling into disrepair. The newly appointed Abbot Aelian takes it upon himself to save the abbey with the use of his secret weapon: a recipe for golden apple cider passed down in his family for many generations. He believes that by making and selling the cider, the monks will raise necessary funds to restore the abbey to its former glory. Abbot Aelian has everything he needs—almost. One obstacle stands in his way, unicorns that happen to feast specifically on the golden apples. Abbot Aelian and his men must fight off the unicorns to make the cider. He and the monks try to form a battalion to fight off the beasts; next they import heroes to fight for them. But the heroes run off, monks are injured, and a herd of ravenous unicorns continue munching. After no success, the abbot finally calls upon the most unlikely of heroes, one suggested by no other than young James. That hero is small and unprepossessing but possesses the skill to tame the beasts. Though wildly skeptical, Abbot Aelian must risk everything and believe in this recommended stranger or risk the fall of Cranford Abbey.


I confess I didn't enjoy this book as much as I was hoping I would.  There just wasn't quite enough story for my taste.  It may however work for the younger middle grade audience that isn't ready yet for the longer more detailed fantasy that's available.  And there is definitely some humor involved here in reading about the monks futile efforts to stop the unicorns from eating the golden apples.  I also enjoyed reading about James and his sister Alexandria and their close relationship.  Many books these days portray the conflict side of sibling relationships so I found it refreshing to find siblings that got along and understood each other.  Especially since James's incessant questions irritated pretty much everyone else.  I felt bad for the way James was sometimes treated, even by his mother, and especially by his uncle.  The plot felt a bit thin in that the story focuses on the unicorns rather than spending much time on James's adjustment to the monastery.  In fact a third of the story is spent describing the monks and the unicorns before we even meet James.  The story is cute but rather predictable, although younger readers may not mind that. A cute story, but I hoped for more.

Thursday, January 22, 2015

LITTLE PATRIOT PRESS: Charlie Brown and the Common Core

"Little Patriot Press has partnered with Peanuts Worldwide to make American history and American heroes come alive for young readers.  With all-original stories featuring Charlie Brown, Lucy, Linus, Snoopy, and the whole Peanuts gang, children will learn about American history from the characters beloved by many generations." --from press announcement


Charlie Brown and his friends are embarking on a day of adventures! As the Peanuts gang explores the outdoors, the kids decide to reenact the feats of great explorers they learned about in school. Retrace the remarkable journeys of men and women who tread new ground—including one woman you’ve never heard of before—in this exciting new Peanuts adventure. Book includes presentations on great explorers and activity pages.


When I heard about this series, I was intrigued.  Using familiar characters to teach themes from the Common Core sounded like a great idea to me.  Once I received the books I was not disappointed.  The books manage to maintain the feel of Schultz's original characters while sharing information within the story.  In this book, Lucy gives everyone her typical lousy advice which they turn into some great adventures that are reminiscient of some great explorers of the past including: Lewis & Clark, Christopher Columbus, Gertrude Ederle, Amelia Earhart, and Neil Armstrong.  There is additional information about each of the explorers at the end of the book along with a writing prompt and a drawing prompt.  This would be a great book for teachers to use to introduce a unit on explorers.


Charlie Brown and his friends are hitting the baseball field for a long day of fun in the sun! But the game turns into something more when the Peanuts gang starts learning about the many men and women who changed the course of history by helping their fellow humans. This touching ode to some of the world’s great humanitarian heroes—including one forgotten hero who helped little kids!—will warm hearts and inspire. Book includes presentations on great humanitarian heroes and activity pages.


This story focuses on a baseball game with Charlie Brown's team on the losing end as usual, but along the way Charlie Brown and his teammates learn about heroes who proved that winning really isn't everything, but doing the right thing is.  Those heroes include: Martin Luther King Jr., Clara Barton, Lewis Hine, Susan B. Anthony, and Rosa Parks.  I think I especially liked this book because Charlie Brown gets a happy ending for once.  Not only is there a great lesson here but a great reminder of some of the remarkable people that have made a difference in the world.  The additional information as well as writing and drawing prompts make this especially appropriate for teachers to use in their classrooms.


Charlie Brown and his friends are throwing a party to celebrate great inventions! To prepare for the party, everyone in the Peanuts gang is coming up with a favorite “big idea” from history. But Charlie Brown has a problem: he can’t think of any big ideas! Rediscover history’s great inventions—and learn about a very important inventor you’ve never even heard of before—in this fun and enlightening new Peanuts story. Book includes presentations on great inventors and activity pages.


The ending of this book made me laugh because of which Peanuts character wins the invention contest and why.  Once again there is a story here with information embeded in the story. It was fun to see how each character was inspired along the way.  It would be fun to have students guess which of the things shown in the illustrations end up in the contest.  The prompts and additional information at the end make this book especially appropriate for teacher use.

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

BLOG TOUR w/ GIVEAWAY: Emmanuel's Dream by Laurie Ann Thompson


Emmanuel Ofosu Yeboah's inspiring true story—which was turned into a film, Emmanuel's Gift, narrated by Oprah Winfrey—is nothing short of remarkable. 

Born in Ghana, West Africa, with one deformed leg, he was dismissed by most people—but not by his mother, who taught him to reach for his dreams. As a boy, Emmanuel hopped to school more than two miles each way, learned to play soccer, left home at age thirteen to provide for his family, and, eventually, became a cyclist. He rode an astonishing four hundred miles across Ghana in 2001, spreading his powerful message: disability is not inability. Today, Emmanuel continues to work on behalf of the disabled. 

Thompson's lyrical prose and Qualls's bold collage illustrations offer a powerful celebration of triumphing over adversity.

Includes an author's note with more information about Emmanuel's charity.

A CCSS-aligned curriculum guide is available here.

Laurie Ann ThompsonABOUT THE AUTHOR

Laurie writes for children of all ages. She is dedicated to inspiring and empowering young readers through nonfiction and fiction that educates as well as entertains. Laurie Ann Thompson is the author of Be a Changemaker: How to Start Something That Matters, a how-to guide for teens who want to change the world. An advocate for social justice, Laurie is dedicated to inspiring and empowering young readers. Emmanuel's Dream is her picture-book debut. For more information see her website here.


What led you to Emmanuel's story?

When my kids were little, I used to sneak downstairs during naptime to watch The Oprah Winfrey Show. In 2005, Oprah had Emmanuel on her show to promote a documentary about his life that she had narrated, called Emmanuel’s Gift. The story was so inspiring to me. Oprah said, “I think every parent should go take their children to see this movie, because it will change the way your children think about what they can do and can be.” As a children’s book author, I thought a book would be even better, so that very day I started working on what eventually became Emmanuel’s Dream.

What do you enjoy most/dislike most about writing?

There are so many things I love about writing! I love being able to create something that simply wouldn’t exist without me. I love doing research and learning about new things. And I love that challenge of puzzling out just the right structure and word choices. I also LOVE being able to work in my pajamas with my cuddly dog by my side!

The thing I dislike most is writing the first draft. I hate staring at a blank page. I have to put in a lot of time up front thinking and planning, so when I finally do begin writing I have a good idea of where I want to go and can get through it as quickly as possible. Then, I can relax and enjoy taking as long as I need to revise and get things just the way I want them.

What's something about you that most people don't know?

I grew up on a small farm in northern Wisconsin. I’ve slept in the doghouse with the puppies, ridden a pig, and plowed the driveway with a Bobcat skid-steer loader.


I love this sort of story.  It reminds me that there is still good in the world, which I sometimes doubt after reading the newspaper each day.  It reminds me that with persistence and courage amazing things can happen, even in the face of seemingly impossible circumstances. Not only is the story beautifully written, especially for the intended audience, but the illustrations match perfectly.  Emmanuel's persistence in the face of great difficulties is admirable to say the least.  I mean hopping 2 miles to and from school every day once his mother could no longer carry him.  That's impressive. It's clear that Emmanuel's mother had a huge impact on her son in numerous ways.   And Emmanuel's belief that "disability is not inability" is a powerful statement of belief.  And that is where all great causes begin.  Be sure to check out Emmanuel's website for photographs and more information about his work.


One lucky winner will receive a copy of EMMANUEL’S DREAM: THE TRUE STORY OF EMMANUEL OFOSU YEBOAH by Laurie Ann Thompson, illustrated by Sean Qualls (U.S. addresses only). 

a Rafflecopter giveaway


Follow all the stops on Laurie’s blog tour!

Mon, Jan 12
Great Kid Books

Tues, Jan 13
5 Minutes for Books
Wed, Jan 14
Unleashing Readers
Thurs, Jan 15
Fri, Jan 16
Cracking the Cover  
Sat, Jan 17
Booking Mama
Mon, Jan 19 (MLK Jr bday)
Once Upon a Story
Tues, Jan 20
Wed, Jan 21
Geo Librarian
Thurs, Jan 22
Nonfiction Detectives
Fri, Jan 23
The Fourth Musketeer AND  Kirby’s Lane
Mon, Jan 26
NC Teacher Stuff
Tues, Jan 27
Teach Mentor Texts

Monday, January 19, 2015


I have the privilege of offering this giveaway thanks to the publisher, Little Bee Books.  Here's a little about them:

We are a children’s book publisher dedicated to making creative and fun books for busy little bees ages 0-12. We are based in New York City with a small team of publishing veterans who love working in a start-up environment to create a children’s list for today’s young readers.

Distributed by Simon & Schuster in the U.S. and Canada, our first titles will be on sale in January 2015 with a variety of board books, picture books, activity books, nonfiction, and novelty books. little bee books is a division of Bonnier Publishing, and our goal is to educate, inspire, and entertain!

Introducing little bee books, a new US division of Bonnier Publishing! We are a small and passionate team dedicated to making beautiful and innovative books for children ages 0-12. Our debut list is now available, in bookstores and online. You can view all of our upcoming books here:

In honor of the release of our very first books, we are running 3 exclusive giveaways from January 14th to February 4th, 2015: Geo Librarian was kind enough to host our giveaway for a copy of Naked Trevor! Naked Trevor is a beautiful jacketed picture book about a “naked” bird who tries to find the perfect outfit.


It's a well-kept secret that all birds are naked, and every morning they put on their feathery clothes to go about their day. But Trevor refuses to wear his sparrow outfit, much to the horror of his family. In a quest to find his own unique look, he crashes into a pile of sticky mud and colourful flowers. He ends up looking the best he ever has, inspiring the birds around him to shed their own boring outfits.



1 print copy of Naked Trevor

a Rafflecopter giveaway


Naked Trevor Sweepstakes

The Naked Trevor Sweepstakes (the “Sweepstakes”) is sponsored by little bee books,
a Bonnier Company (the “Sponsor”).

ONE (1) GRAND PRIZE: 1 Copy of Naked Trevor approx. retail value $16.99
All federal, state and local laws and regulations apply; void where prohibited. NO
OF WINNING. Odds of winning depend upon the number of eligible entries received.

ELIGIBILITY: The Sweepstakes is open only to individuals, eighteen (18) years or
older at time of entry, who are legal residents of the United States. Employees of Bonnier
Corporation and its parent companies, subsidiaries or agents, their immediate families
(defined as parents, children, siblings, spouse and grandparents), and those domiciled
with any of the foregoing are not eligible. Website pages and advertisements relating to
the Sweepstakes are intended for viewing only within the eligible Sweepstakes territory,
and entrants must be present in the eligible Sweepstakes territory at the time of entry.

TIMING: The Sweepstakes entry period begins at 12:01 a.m. Eastern Time (“ET”) on
Wednesday, January 14, 2015 and ends at 11:59 p.m. ET on Wednesday, February 4,
2015. Sponsor’s computer system is the official timekeeping device for the Sweepstakes.

TO ENTER: To enter electronically, visit our website at All information provided by
entrant must be complete, true and correct. Submissions to the Sweepstakes must be
received by Wednesday, February 4, 2015 in order to be eligible; entries received after
the deadline will be deemed ineligible to win. All submitted entries become the property
of Sponsor and will not be acknowledged or returned; Sponsor is not responsible for lost,
late, inaccurate, incomplete, damaged, illegible, or misdirected entries. Entry is not
limited to one entry per household; no automated, photocopied or reproduced entries
will be accepted. Online entries will be deemed submitted by the authorized account
holder of the email address submitted at time of entry. By entering, you agree to be
bound by these Official Rules.

WINNER SELECTION: On or about Monday, February 9, 2015, a random drawing
from among all eligible entries will be conducted under Sponsor’s supervision. Potential
winners will be notified by email on or before Wednesday, February 11, 2015. Prizes will
be awarded within sixty (60) days after winner verification. No prize substitution or
transfer is permitted, except that Sponsor reserves the right to substitute a prize of equal
or greater value (including cash, at Sponsor’s sole discretion) for any reason. Sponsor is
required by law to report prize values to taxing authorities; all taxes and any other
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entrant fully and unconditionally agrees to be bound by and accepts these Official Rules
and the decisions of Sponsor (including, without limitation, decisions regarding
eligibility of entries, the selection of entrants and the winner, and the awarding of any prize), which are final and binding in all respects. Entry and acceptance of a prize
constitute permission to use each winner’s name, prize won, hometown and likeness for
print publication, online posting, and any other promotional purposes without further
compensation, except where prohibited by law. By participating in the Sweepstakes, you
agree to release Sponsor and its parent companies, affiliates, subsidiaries, employees,
directors, officers, and agents from any and all liability, claims or actions of any kind
whatsoever for injuries, damages or losses to persons and property which may be
sustained in connection with the receipt, ownership, possession, use, or misuse of any
prize. Sponsor is not responsible for technical, hardware or software failures, or other
errors or problems which may occur in connection with the Sweepstakes, whether
computer, network, technical, mechanical, typographical, printing, human or otherwise,
including, without limitation, errors or problems which may occur in connection with the
administration of the Sweepstakes, the processing of entries, the announcement of the
prizes, in any Sweepstakes-related materials, or that may limit prize fulfillment or a
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or if viruses, bugs, unauthorized intervention, fraud, technical difficulties or failures or
any other factor beyond Sponsor’s reasonable control corrupt or affect the
administration, security, fairness, integrity or proper conduct of the Sweepstakes. In
such event, Sponsor reserves the right (but does not have the obligation) in its sole
discretion to award prizes at random from among eligible, non-suspect entries received
up to the time of suspected impairment. Sponsor may permanently disqualify from the
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DISPUTE RESOLUTION: Except where prohibited by law, by entering you agree
that: (i) all issues and questions concerning the interpretation, validity, and
enforceability of these Official Rules, or the rights and obligations of participants and
Sponsor and its agents shall be governed by and construed exclusively in accordance
with the laws of the State of New York, without regard to its rules on conflicts of law; (ii)
any action at law or in equity arising out of or relating to this Sweepstakes, or awarding
of any prize), shall be filed only in the state or federal courts located in the State of New
York, and entrant hereby consents and submits to the personal jurisdiction of such
courts for the purposes of litigating any such action; (iii) any and all disputes, claims,
and causes of action arising out of or connected with this Sweepstakes, or awarding of
the prizes, shall be resolved individually, without resort to any form of class action; (iv)
any and all claims, judgments and awards shall be limited to actual out-of-pocket costs
incurred, including costs associated with participating in this Sweepstakes but in no
event attorneys’ fees; and (iv) you hereby waive all rights to claim punitive, incidental
and consequential damages and any other damages, other than for actual out-of-pocket
expenses, and any and all rights to have damages multiplied or otherwise increased.

WINNER IDENTITY: For the identity of the winner(s), send a self-addressed,
stamped envelope after Wednesday, February 11, 2015 to Naked Trevor Sweepstakes
Winner, 853 Broadway, Suite 2014, New York, NY, 10003.
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