Showing posts from January, 2020


  Multicultural Children’s Book Day 2020 (1/31/20) is in its 7 th year! This non-profit children’s literacy initiative was founded by Valarie Budayr and Mia Wenjen; two diverse book-loving moms who saw a need to shine the spotlight on all of the multicultural books and authors on the market while also working to get those book into the hands of young readers and educators. Seven years in, MCBD’s mission is to raise awareness of the ongoing need to include kids’ books that celebrate diversity in homes and school bookshelves continues. BOOK REVIEW WAYLEN WANTS TO JAM A True Story Promoting Inclusion and Self-Determination by Jo Meserve Mach and Vera Lynne Stroup-Rentier, Photography by Mary Birdsell  Brown Books Publishing Group, 2018 ISBN: 978-1612542591 Source: book provided by author for review for this event Ages 4-8 All opinions expressed are solely my own. Waylen trains to play a snare drum in a drum line. He explains to the reader how his instructor, Sal

CHAPTER BOOK : Mindy Kim and the Yummy Seaweed Business by Lyla Lee

MINDY KIM AND THE YUMMY SEAWEED BUSINESS by Lyla Lee, illustrated by Dung Ho Aladdin, 2020 ISBN: 978-1-5344-4009-8 Source: publisher (Simon & Schuster) for review Ages 7-10 All opinions expressed are solely my own. ABOUT THE BOOK Mindy Kim, a Korean American second grader moves to a mostly Caucasian Florida community. In an effort to adjust to her new school, she starts a snack trading ring with the Korean food from her lunch to make new friends.  REVIEW  Mindy Kim wants a puppy really badly.  But her father isn't eager to get her one.  Having just moved from California to Florida and learning to live without her mother, Mindy and her father try to settle into their new home.  Mindy reluctantly starts school as the new kid and the only Asian American in her school.  Her Korean-based lunch is one of the few things she looks forward to.  But when some of the other kids make fun of her seaweed snacks that pleasure is taken from her as well.  The next day sh

YOUNG ADULT NONFICTION : Games of Deception: The True Story of the First U.S. Olympic Basketball Team at the 1936 Olympics in Hitler's Germany by Andrew Maraniss

GAMES OF DECEPTION: The True Story of the First U.S. Olympic Basketball Team at the 1936 Olympics in Hitler's Germany by Andrew Maraniss Philomel Books, 2019 ISBN: 978-0-525-51463-3 Source: JKS Communications provided an eBook copy for review. All opinions expressed are solely my own. ABOUT THE BOOK The true story of the birth of Olympic basketball at the 1936 Summer Games in Hitler's Germany. On a scorching hot day in July 1936, thousands of people cheered as the U.S. Olympic teams boarded the S.S. Manhattan , bound for Berlin. Among the athletes were the 14 players representing the first-ever U.S. Olympic basketball team. As thousands of supporters waved American flags on the docks, it was easy to miss the one courageous man holding a BOYCOTT NAZI GERMANY sign. But it was too late for a boycott now; the ship had already left the harbor. 1936 was a turbulent time in world history. Adolf Hitler had gained power in Germany three years earlier. Jewish peop

MIDDLE GRADE FICTION : Some Places More Than Others by Renee Watson & Beverly, Right Here by Kate DiCamillo

SOME PLACES MORE THAN OTHERS by Renee Watson Bloomsbury Children's Books, 2019 ISBN: 9781681191089 Source: eBook borrowed from public library Ages 9-12 Middle grade realistic fiction All opinions expressed are solely my own. ABOUT THE BOOK All Amara wants is to visit her father's family in Harlem. Her wish comes true when her dad decides to bring her along on a business trip. She can't wait to finally meet her extended family and stay in the brownstone where her dad grew up. Plus, she wants to visit every landmark from the Apollo to Langston Hughes's home. But her family, and even the city, is not quite what Amara thought. Her dad doesn’t speak to her grandpa, and the crowded streets can be suffocating as well as inspiring. But as she learns more and more about Harlem—and her father’s history—Amara realizes how, in some ways more than others, she can connect with this other home and family. This is a powerful story about family, the places th

PICTURE BOOK REVIEWS: Dog and Rabbit by Barney Saltzberg & Beware! by Bob Raczka

DOG AND RABBIT by Barney Saltzberg Charlesbridge, 2019 ISBN: 978-1-62354-107-1 Source: publisher for review Ages 3-6 All opinions expressed are solely my own. ABOUT THE BOOK Dog likes Rabbit. Rabbit likes Bunny. But Bunny ignores Rabbit. How will the friendship triangle resolve? Written in four parts, this picture book navigates the pitfalls of budding friendship and explores the rewards of patience under the sure hand of seasoned author/illustrator Barney Saltzberg. REVIEW Dog and Rabbit don't mind living alone, but they do get lonely sometimes.  Each one wants to find a friend but doesn't know how to go about it.  One day Rabbit sees a rabbit on Dog's refrigerator waits outside Dog's house for the rabbit to respond to his friendship overtures.  But there is no response.  The Dog meanwhile has noticed Rabbit and also waits to be noticed.  Eventually, Rabbit sees Dog's door open and slips in only to discover his mistake.  Finally, Dog's

MIDDLE GRADE REALISTIC FICTION: Ember by Jane B. Mason & Sarah Hines Stephens

EMBER Rescue Dogs #1 by Jane B. Mason and Sarah Hines Stephens Scholastic, 2019 ISBN: 978-1-338-36202-2 (school edition) Source: purchased Ages 9-12 All opinions expressed are solely my own. ABOUT THE BOOK After Ember is rescued from a devastating house fire, she longs for a forever home. But every family that adopts the yellow Lab puppy brings her back, saying she is untrainable, has too much energy, or is just plain destructive. After three failed placements, young Ember is out of options. The Sterling family runs a ranch that turns rescued dogs into rescue dogs. They're willing to take a chance on the young Lab, not knowing that Ember's first rescue will test her skills and strength beyond imagination... REVIEW As a puppy, Ember received her name after being rescued and resuscitated after a house fire.  Ever after she carries with her the glove of the firefighter who saved her life.  But her energy and enthusiasm have made it difficult for her

MIDDLE GRADE FANTASY: The Dark Lord Clementine by Sarah Jean Horwitz

THE DARK LORD CLEMENTINE by Sarah Jean Horwitz Algonquin Young Readers, 2019 ISBN: 978-1-61620-894-3 Source: purchased Ages 9-12 All opinions expressed are solely my own. ABOUT THE BOOK Dastardly deeds aren’t exactly the first things that come to mind when one hears the name “Clementine,” but as the sole heir of the infamous Dark Lord Elithor, twelve-year-old Clementine Morcerous has been groomed since birth to be the best (worst?) Evil Overlord she can be. But everything changes the day the Dark Lord Elithor is cursed by a mysterious rival. Now, Clementine must not only search for a way to break the curse, but also take on the full responsibilities of the Dark Lord. As Clementine forms her first friendships, discovers more about her own magic than she ever dared to explore, and is called upon to break her father’s code of good and evil, she starts to question the very life she’s been fighting for. What if the Dark Lord Clementine doesn’t want to be dark af

EARLY CHAPTER BOOK REVIEW : The Princess in Black and the Bathtime Battle by Shannon Hale & Dean Hale

THE PRINCESS IN BLACK AND THE BATHTIME BATTLE by Shannon Hale & Dean Hale, illustrated by LeUyen Pham Candlewick Press, 2019 ISBN: 978-1-5362-0221-2 Source: purchased Ages 6-10 All opinions expressed are solely my own. ABOUT THE BOOK The Princess in Black is in a very stinky situation. A foul cloud is plaguing the goat pasture, and it smells worse than a pile of dirty diapers or a trash can on a hot summer day. But every time the Princess in Black and her friend the Goat Avenger manage to get rid of the odor, they accidentally blow it to another kingdom! Other masked heroes and their trusty companions show up to help, but how do you battle a stench when your ninja moves fail? Fans with a nose for slapstick will be tickled to see the six stalwart friends join their wits to take on an impossibly beastly stink. REVIEW I always look forward to new books in my favorite series.  And the Princess in Black is definitely one of my favorite series.  With a a gre

Young Adult Nonfiction : Disaster Strikes by Jeffrey Kluger & Captured by Alvin Townley

DISASTER STRIKES! The Most Dangerous Space Missions of All Time by Jeffrey Kluger Philomel Books, 2019 ISBN: 978-1-984-81275-9 Source: purchased Ages 12 and up All opinions expressed are solely my own. ABOUT THE BOOK There are so many amazing, daring, and exciting missions to outer space that have succeeded. But for every success, there are mistakes, surprises, and flat-out failures that happen along the way. In this collection, bestselling author and award-winning journalist Jeffrey Kluger recounts twelve such disasters, telling the stories of the astronauts and the cosmonauts, the trials and the errors, the missions and the misses. With stories of missions run by both Americans and Russians during the height of the space race, complete with photos of the people and machines behind them, this book delves into the mishaps and the tragedies, small and large, that led humankind to the moon and beyond. REVIEW Kruger takes the reader on a rather fascinating


Just so you are aware, assuming you haven't already noticed.  I've been having trouble with my old theme and layout.  So, I've decided it's time to change it.  Until I can get one up that I really like, I will be switching over to one of blogspot's generic themes.  I hope you will be patient as I work to get things updated.

PICTURE BOOK REVIEWS: The Shortest Day/Roly Poly/Snow Leopard: Ghost of the Mountains

THE SHORTEST DAY by Susan Cooper, illustrated by Carson Ellis Candlewick Press, 2019 ISBN: 978-0-7636-8698-7 Source: publisher for review Ages 6-10 All opinions expressed are solely my own. ABOUT THE BOOK In this seasonal treasure, Newbery Medalist Susan Cooper's beloved poem heralds the winter solstice, illuminated by Caldecott Honoree Carson Ellis's strikingly resonant illustrations. So the shortest day came, and the year died . . . As the sun set on the shortest day of the year, early people would gather to prepare for the long night ahead. They built fires and lit candles. They played music, bringing their own light to the darkness, while wondering if the sun would ever rise again. Written for a theatrical production that has become a ritual in itself, Susan Cooper's poem "The Shortest Day" captures the magic behind the returning of the light, the yearning for traditions that connect us with generations that have gone before -- and

MIDDLE GRADE REALISTIC FICTION: Extraordinary Birds by Sandy Stark-McGinnis

EXTRAORDINARY BIRDS by Sandy Stark-McGinnis Bloomsbury, 2019 ISBN: 978-1-5476-0102-8 (e-book) Source: Utah's Online Library Ages 9-12 All opinions expressed are solely my own. ABOUT THE BOOK Eleven-year-old December knows everything about birds, and everything about getting kicked out of foster homes. All she has of her mom is the bird guide she left behind, and a message: "In flight is where you'll find me." December believes she's truly a bird, just waiting for the day she transforms. The scar on her back is where her wings will sprout; she only needs to find the right tree and practice flying. When she's placed with foster mom Eleanor, who runs a taxidermy business and volunteers at a wildlife rescue, December begins to see what home means in a new light. But the story she’s told herself about her past is what's kept her going this long. Can she learn to let go? REVIEW Extraordinary Birds is a beautifully-written story ab

PICTURE BOOK REVIEWS: Snow Still/The LIttle Snowplow Wishes for Snow/A Day for Skating/The Boy and the Bear

SNOW STILL by Holly Surplice Nosy Crow, 2019 ISBN: 978-1-5362-0834-4 Board Book Ages 0-3 Source: publisher for review All opinions expressed are solely my own. ABOUT THE BOOK A little fawn wakes up to discover that the world outside has changed after a snowfall. As he takes his first faltering steps into this exciting snow-white world, he finds there's so much to discover and explore. And when it's time to return to the warmth of home, his parents are waiting right there for him. REVIEW Using two word phrases that start with the word snow, this cute board book follows a young fawn exploring a snow filled world.  The illustrations are adorable.  It would be easy to get repetitious in a book like this but it doesn't happen.  Each two-page spread shows the fawn enjoying a different aspect of snow from a variety of different perspectives, sizes, and angles.  The repetition in the text makes for a smooth, easy read.  There is much here for an adult re