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Showing posts from 2021

YOUNG ADULT ADVENTURE FICTION : Ski Weekend by Rektok Ross

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SKI WEEKEND by Rektok Ross SparkPress, 2021 ISBN: 9781684631094 Source: NetGalley through publisher Ages 14 and up All opinions expressed are solely my own. ABOUT THE BOOK Six teens, one dog, a ski trip gone wrong . . . Sam is dreading senior ski weekend and having to watch after her brother and his best friend, Gavin, to make sure they don’t do anything stupid. Again. Gavin may be gorgeous, but he and Sam have never gotten along. Now they’re crammed into an SUV with three other classmates and Gavin’s dog, heading on a road trip that can’t go by fast enough. Then their SUV crashes into a snowbank, and Sam and her friends find themselves stranded in the mountains with cell phone coverage long gone and temperatures dropping. When the group gets sick of waiting for rescue, they venture outside to find help—only to have a wilderness accident leave Sam’s brother with a smashed leg and, soon, a raging fever. While the hours turn to days, Sam’s brother gets sicker and sicker, and their food a

EARLY READER GRAPHIC NOVEL: Cranky Chicken by Katherine Battersby

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  CRANKY CHICKEN by Katherine Battersby Margaret K. McElderry Books, 2021 ISBN: 978-1-5344-6988-4 Source: publisher for review Ages 6-9 All opinions expressed are solely my own. ABOUT THE BOOK Narwhal and Jelly meet The Bad Guys in this heartwarming, brightly illustrated, and downright hilarious chapter book about what happens when a very cranky chicken is befriended by a very cheerful worm. Cranky Chicken is, well, cranky. With one cranky eyebrow, cranky eyes, and even cranky, scratchy feet. But then one day, Cranky meets a very friendly worm named Speedy who wants nothing more than to be friends. Young readers will love seeing the mismatched friendship grow over the course of three charming and laugh-out-loud short adventures as Chicken and Speedy become BFFs (Best Feathered Friends) and Speedy shows Chicken how to look on the bright side. REVIEW This delightful graphic novel for early readers follows the friendship between a chicken and a worm.  Chicken is very cranky as demonstrate

MIDDLE GRADE REALISTIC FICTION : Susie B. Won't Back Down by Margaret Finnegan

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SUSIE B. WON'T BACK DOWN by Margaret Finnegan Atheneum Books for Young Readers, 2021 ISBN: 978-1-5344-9863-1 Source: Blue Slip Media Ages 9-12 All opinions expressed are solely my own. ABOUT THE BOOK Susie B. has a lot to say. Like how it’s not fair that she has to be called Susie B. instead of plain Susie. Or about how polar bears are endangered. Or how the Usual Geniuses are always getting picked for cool stuff over the kids like her with butterflies in their brain. And it’s because Susie B. has a lot to say about these very important things that she’s running for student council president! If she’s president, she can advocate for the underdogs just like her hero and fellow Susie B., Susan B. Anthony. (And, okay, maybe the chance to give big speeches to the whole school with a microphone is another perk.) But when the most usual of Usual Geniuses also enters the student council race, Susie realizes this may be a harder won fight than she thought. Even worse, Susie discovers that

MIDDLE GRADE REALISTIC FICTION: Ways to Make Sunshine & Ways to Grow Love by Renee Watson

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WAYS TO MAKE SUNSHINE by Renee Watson Bloomsbury Children's Books, 2020 ISBN: 978-1-5476-0056-4 Source: purchased Ages 9-12 All opinions expressed are solely my own. ABOUT THE BOOK Ryan Hart loves to spend time with her friends, loves to invent recipes, and has a lot on her mind—school, self-image, and family. Her dad finally has a new job, but money is tight. That means changes like selling their second car and moving into a new (old) house. But Ryan is a girl who knows how to make sunshine out of setbacks. Because Ryan is all about trying to see the best. Even when things aren’t all she would wish for—her brother is infuriating, her parents don’t understand, when her recipes don’t turn out right, and when the unexpected occurs—she can find a way forward, with wit and plenty of sunshine. REVIEW Renee Watson introduces readers to a delightful new character in Ways to Make Sunshine .  Ryan Hart tries to live up to the name her parents gave her (Ryan means 'king') to encourag

YOUNG ADULT NONFICTION : You can't say that! compiled and edited by Leonard S. Marcus

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YOU CAN'T SAY THAT!  13 Writers for young people talk about censorship, free expression, and the stories they have to tell compiled and edited by Leonard S. Marcus Candlewick Press, 2021 ISBN: 978-0-7636-9036-6 Source: ARC from publisher for review Ages 12 and up All opinions expressed are solely my own. ABOUT THE BOOK What happens when freedom of expression comes under threat? In frank and wide-ranging interviews, historian and critic Leonard S. Marcus probes the experience of thirteen leading authors of books for young people. A powerful photo essay on transgender teens is called anti-religious and anti-family. A meticulously researched primer on sex education stirs up accusations of pornography and child abuse. Picture books about two mommies (or two penguin daddies) set off a hue and cry. Two hugely popular children's series run afoul of would-be censors, one for its scatological humor, the other because it's deemed too scary. Kids' books that touch on race, sex, LG

PICTURE BOOK REVIEWS : Mi Casa is My Home by Laurenne Sala & Ada and the Galaxies by Alan Lightman and Olga Pastuchiv

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  MI CASA IS MY HOME words by Laurenne Sala, pictures by Zara Gonzalez Hoang Candlewick Press, 2021 ISBN: 978-1-5362-0943-3 Source: publisher for review Ages 4-8 All opinions expressed are solely my own. REVIEW This lovely book follows a young girl named Lucia as she shows the reader around her house.  The front porch, living room, kitchen, backyard, bathroom, brother's room, and her room are all explored.  Lucia explains the kind of activities that take place in each room with various family members and extended family and friends.  Games that are played, meals made and eaten, imaginations activated are all explored through the various locations.  Spanish words are scatter throughout the text.  Most of them can be understood in context, but I would still have liked to have a glossary and pronunciation guide to make it a bit easier to understand for those who don't read Spanish.  Overall, this book offers a delightful glimpse into the life and culture of a diverse young girl an

PICTURE BOOK REVIEW & GIVEAWAY: Between the Lines by Lindsay Ward

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BETWEEN THE LINES by Lindsay Ward two lions, 2021 ISBN: 978-1542026901 Source: Blue Slip Media for review Ages 4-8 All opinions expressed are solely my own. ABOUT THE BOOK With vibrant art that shifts to a colorless world and back again, this is a story of a community lost and rediscovered—and how one child’s actions can cascade into something that makes all the difference. A young boy who loves his community notices that as neighbors stop interacting, the colors around them slowly fade. Then a thunderstorm sweeps away the last hints of bluebird skies and lemon-Popsicle days and leaves a rift in the road that doesn’t get fixed. As the adults around him move on, the boy dreams of the way life once was. He decides that he doesn’t want to live in a world without color, so he sets out to change things… OTHER THOUGHTS “A vibrant neighborhood loses its color, literally, as the community becomes fractured.” —Kirkus Reviews “The illustrations…bring the atmosphere and ideas of the story to life

MIDDLE GRADE HISTORICAL FICTION REVIEW & AUTHOR INTERVIEW: Frankie & Bug by Gayle Forman

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  FRANKIE & BUG by Gayle Forman Aladdin, 2021 ISBN: 9781534482531 Source: Publisher through NetGalley Ages 9-12 All opinions expressed are solely my own. ABOUT THE BOOK It’s the summer of 1987, and all ten-year-old Bug wants to do is go to the beach with her older brother and hang out with the locals on the boardwalk. But Danny wants to be with his own friends, and Bug’s mom is too busy, so Bug is stuck with their neighbor Philip’s nephew, Frankie. Bug’s not too excited about hanging out with a kid she’s never met, but they soon find some common ground. And as the summer unfolds, they find themselves learning some important lessons about each other, and the world. Like what it means to be your true self and how to be a good ally for others. That family can be the people you’re related to, but also the people you choose to have around you. And that even though life isn’t always fair, we can all do our part to make it more just. REVIEW Frankie & Bug  is a tender story of friendsh

EARLY READER FICTION : Geraldine Pu and Her Lunch Box, Too! by Maggie P. Chang

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GERALDINE PU AND HER LUNCH BOX, TOO! Ready to Read Graphics written and illustrated by Maggie P. Chang Simon Spotlight, 2021 ISBN: 978-1-5344-8469-6 Source: publisher for review Ages 6-9 All opinions expressed are solely my own. ABOUT THE BOOK Geraldine Pu’s favorite part of school is lunch. She loves her lunch box, which she calls Biandang. She can’t wait to see what her grandmother, Amah, has packed inside it each day. Then one day, Geraldine gets stinky tofu...and an unexpected surprise. What will she do? Ready-to-Read Graphics books give readers the perfect introduction to the graphic novel format with easy-to-follow panels, speech bubbles with accessible vocabulary, and sequential storytelling that is spot-on for beginning readers. There’s even a how-to guide for reading graphic novels at the beginning of each book. REVIEW This early reader graphic novel tells the story of Geraldine Pu and her lunch box named Biandang who carries the delicious meals her Amah makes for her to take

PICTURE BOOK NONFICTION: Fourteen Monkeys by Melissa Stewart & Animal Architects by Amy Cherrix

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FOURTEEN MONKEYS: A Rain Forest Rhyme by Melissa Stewart, illustrated by Steve Jenkins Beach Lane Books, 2021 ISBN: 978-1-5344-6039-3 Source: publisher for review Ages 6-10 All opinions expressed are solely my own. ABOUT THE BOOK In ManĂº National Park in Peru, an amazing fourteen different species of monkeys live together. That’s more than in any other rainforest in the world! How can they coexist so well? Find out in this lyrical, rhyming picture book that explores each monkey’s habits, diet, and home, illustrating how this delicate ecosystem and its creatures live together in harmony. From howler monkeys to spider monkeys to night monkeys, young readers will love getting to know these incredible primates and seeing the amazing ways they share their forest. REVIEW Manu National park in Peru has more species of monkeys than any other place on earth.  In this beautiful nonfiction book, Melissa Stewart introduces readers to each of the 14 different species that live in the park.  Each sp

Inspiring Picture Books Related to 9/11!

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30,000 STITCHES The Inspiring Story of the National 9/11 Flag written by Amanda Davis, illustrated by Sally Wern Comport WorthyKids, 2021 ISBN: 978-1-5460-1369-3 Ages 8 and up Source: purchased All opinions expressed are solely my own. REVIEW 30,000 Stitches  stunningly portrays the story of the large flag that was hung from one of the damaged buildings after the tragedy of 9/11 occurred.  Readers follow the flag after it is taken down to be retired but ends up traveling the country being repaired using other damaged flags.  The flag was taken to each of the 50 states where it was worked on by select individuals and honored at each location.  Many people participated in reconstructing the flag including families, firefighters, veterans, teachers, and students.  Stories of courage and strength were told at each of the 50 ceremonies that were held.  The flag made it's way back to New York where it currently resides at the National September 11 Memorial & Museum as a reminder of t

Early Chapter Books : I Want My Mummy by Nancy Krulik & Our Principal is a Scaredy-Cat! by Stephanie Calmenson

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I WANT MY MUMMY! Ms. Frogbottom's Field Trips #1 by Nancy Krulik, illustrated by Harry Briggs Aladdin, 2021 ISBN: 978-1-5344-5397-5 Source: Publisher for review Ages 6-9 Elementary Speculative Fiction All opinions expressed are solely my own. ABOUT THE BOOK Learning is an adventure in Ms. Frogbottom’s class, because she’s got a magic map—one that takes her students all over the world to battle with mythical monsters no one believes are real. All Ms. Frogbottom has to do is take out the map, tap a country, and— SHAZAAM!—off they go to a place somewhere far, far away. When Ms. Frogbottom whisks the class away to Egypt, they not only come face to face with a mummy, but have to solve the riddle of his ancient curse! Bestselling and beloved author Nancy Krulik ingeniously approaches geography in a new way, as the kids learn about the places they visit while fighting, fleeing, or in some cases rescuing monsters. REVIEW Poor Tony, the narrator of I Want My Mummy!  isn't thrilled when

MIDDLE GRADE SPECULATIVE FICTION (Animal Fiction): Once Upon a Camel by Kathi Appelt

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ONCE UPON A CAMEL by Kathi Appelt, pictures by Eric Rohmann Atheneum Books for Young Readers, 2021 ISBN: 978-1-5344-9871-6 Source: Blue Slip Media Ages 9-12 All opinions expressed are solely my own. ABOUT THE BOOK An old camel is out to save two baby kestrel chicks during a massive storm in the Texas desert. Zada is a camel with a treasure trove of stories to tell. She’s won camel races for the royal Pasha of Smyrna, crossed treacherous oceans to new land, led army missions with her best camel friend by her side, and outsmarted a far too pompous mountain lion. But those stories were from before. Now, Zada wanders the desert as the last camel in Texas. But she’s not alone. Two tiny kestrel chicks are nestled in the fluff of fur between her ears—kee-killy-keeing for their missing parents—and a dust storm the size of a mountain is taking Zada on one more grand adventure. And it could lead to this achy old camel’s most brilliant story yet. REVIEW Eric Rohmann's lush paints highlight th

MIDDLE GRADE SPECULATIVE FICTION (Fantasy) : The Die of Destiny by Frank L. Cole

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THE DIE OF DESTINY Champion's Quest #1 by Frank L. Cole Shadow Mountain, 2021 ISBN: 978-1-62972-850-6 Source: ARC from publisher for review All opinions expressed are solely my own. ABOUT THE BOOK Opportunity will always be within reach for those clever enough to claim it. Lucas Silver’s life is about to change. He thinks it’s because he’s made plans to escape from his foster home and make his way to New York, but then he and some unlikely friends find Hob and Bogie’s Curiosity Shoppe and agree to play a game of Champion’s Quest. When the four kids walk out the front door of the Curiosity Shoppe, they immediately discover they’re no longer in West Virginia, but transported into the game and a wild fantasy world of dangerous goblins, brutish ogres, and a powerful witch. They must work together as a team, overcome their real-world weaknesses, and believe in themselves and each other if they are to outwit, outplay, and survive their foes in this ultimate quest to defeat a treacherous