Posted in Book Reviews

#Sponsored Book Spotlight: Diversity is Key: Bryan Smith



SYNOPSIS:
It’s diversity week at Amelia’s school, and she has no clue what it means or why it matters. Every day, she’s introduced to cultures, cuisines and customs that push Amelia outside her comfort zone and test her preconceived notions about people and places. Is Mei really asking me to bow when I introduce myself? Is Rosa really celebrating toes, and how the heck do I eat something wrapped in a corn husk? And why is Malia’s mom gyrating in a grass skirt? Amelia has lots of questions (and a few concerns), but the more she experiences, the more she realizes how diversity makes life more fun. She also discovers that differences shouldn’t divide people because everyone shares something in common. Diversity is Key! was penned by Bryan Smith whose Without Limits book series celebrates children with character. 32 pgs.

MY THOUGHTS: Full disclosure: I was hesitant about this one. Many times when the word ‘diversity’ is used, the author pushes a specific narrative that may be against my own religious beliefs. I am SO relieved that Bryan Smith had more integrity than that!

In fact, he did an amazing job CELEBRATING diversity. He nailed the reasons why it’s a good thing and left out all the PC narrative nonsense too many of us have to listen to on media. It isn’t a risqué book in any way. Instead, we have 3 students who bring 3 separate identities to their classroom. Do’s and Don’ts in regards to politeness are discussed, but the children aren’t forced into participation or controversial topics. Even the mention of the Day of the Dead is handled beautifully. While it could’ve been presented in a Halloween-type way, our author takes the high road and specifies that it’s a celebration of the deceased loved one’s life. Well done!

The illustrations are spot on as are the multiple messages. Respect each other. Be polite to those who are different. Try new things. Respect those in authority and those older than you. Great messages. I enjoyed Amelia and her class. I give this one 5 stars.
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Posted in Book Reviews

#Sponsored Book Spotlight: Freddie the Fly Bee On, Buzz Off: Kimberly Delude

SYNOPSIS: Freddie, our lovable fly, is tappin’ and flappin’ his way to trouble. He whirls around to and fro, buzzing from one distraction to another. Is it any wonder he forgets his lunch, fails his spelling test and leaves the house semi-undressed? Freddie is a go-go-go kind of guy who has no time to listen, focus or pay attention. His lack of concentration causes a real fright when he finds himself lost and alone at the zoo. Will that be the scare Freddie needs to finally take action and turn his BEE on and his BUZZ off? Readers will love finding the answers in this delightfully insightful tale by speech-language pathologist and educator Kimberly Delude.

MY THOUGHTS: If there was any character I could ever relate to, it’s Freddie! Having Parkinson’s means never sitting still and having the MOST difficult time concentrating. Poor Freddie can’t keep it together, either. Although flies may not be the most popular insect, this fly will find his way into your heart.

Kimberly Delude has done a terrific job addressing a problem that many elementary school parents see daily- forgetful kids who can’t stay focused. I love Gus, the zoo guide. His gentle guidance makes all the difference. It’s definitely a hat tip to patient parents! Freddie delivers on several fronts. His story promotes teamwork when he teams up with a fellow student to help each other. He demonstrates respect for authority by heeding the instruction & advice of those in charge. He shows responsibility for his actions by admitting his inattentive nature. Plus, he provides a solution in the end.

Adorable illustrations via Brian Martin add humor and depth to the characters. I am now a ‘fly fan’. There are two previous books in the series which I’d recommend also. ‘Freddie’ gets a 5 star review from me!
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I received the aforementioned title in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are mine. Pic/synopsis belongs solely to the author/publisher.

Posted in Book Reviews

Book Spotlight: Audrey Hepburn (Little People, Big Dreams):Amaia Arrazola, Isabel Sanchez Vegara

SYNOPSIS: “New in the Little People, Big Dreams series, this inspiring and informative little biography follows the colourful life of iconic actress Audrey Hepburn, from her early life during World War Two, to ballet school, her acting career and UNICEF work. With stylish and quirky illustrations and extra facts at the back, this empowering series celebrates the important life stories of wonderful women of the world. From designers and artists to scientists, all of them went on to achieve incredible things, yet all of them began life as a little child with a dream. These books make the lives of these role models accessible for children, providing a powerful message to inspire the next generation of outstanding people who will change the world!”

MY THOUGHTS:I absolutely ADORE this series. It is such a refreshing take on biographies! Introducing younger readers to iconic, historical people gives them a tremendous advantage as they move through school. This installment of the series was every bit as delightful as the Rosa Parks biography that I reviewed prior.
Audrey Hepburn is a name that is quite familiar to those of us age 40 and over, but, unfortunately, probably not known to the younger set. Now, they can gain insight into why she was so popular and why so many women did (& still do) aspire to be just like her. She truly was more than just a pretty face.
I love that this book will spark teachable moments via children asking their parents & grandparents more about her. It hand delivers a cross-generational conversation starter. Another huge plus are the illustrations. They are just so darn cute! An adorable ‘Audrey’ graces the cover and her caricature throughout the book is simply perfect.
I continue to recommend the series and have seen that they will all be 5 star books. They’re a must for home & school libraries.

Posted in Book Reviews

2017 Holiday Gift Guide: Jem’s Clifftop Adventure: Jennifer Bell


SYNOPSIS:Jem, the original Fowey Pirate, is in Cornwall again. A bird spotting adventure unexpectedly becomes a matter of life or death as he tumbles into trouble on a cliff face and once again, it’s Jem to the rescue. He might not be the best bird spotter in Cornwall but he definitely keeps a cool head in tricky situations.
This is a charming tale of one boy’s love of adventure, Cornwall and birds, ideal for readers aged 6-7 and an entertaining picture book for younger children to enjoy at storytime.
Jem’s Clifftop Adventure follows the very successful Jem the Fowey Pirate – a best-selling children’s book in Fowey. Author Jennifer Bell takes the reader on a fun-packed escapade that is as much about the attractions of one of Cornwall’s most famous towns as it is about one boy’s resilience and curiosity. From Readymoney Cove and St Catherine’s Castle to choughs, cormorants and jackdaws, the author shares both her love of the area and her local knowledge through Jem’s journey. Holiday visitors can even take their children on their very own ‘Jem’s Adventure’ in the town of Fowey, including a ferry-boat trip to Polruan and a visit to the Coastwatch Lookout.

MY THOUGHTS: What struck me as both wonderful and refreshing is Jem’s relationship with his Grandfather. Although his main ‘goal’ is to explore, he still knows that when he gets into a pickle, he can rely on his Grandfather for help. Too often, Grandparents are a secondary character, an afterthought, in kid’s books. It was nice to see Grandfather as a heroic man.

While Jem does get into a bit of mischief when he knows he shouldn’t, he redeems himself with a selfless act of helping others. Again, a fabulous and timeless message for any age. Our author also includes ornithology. Three very distinct birds are mentioned. Jem searches for each, finds, then identifies them. Young readers who may not be familiar with Europe will be introduced to the town of Cornwall. This allows for a teachable moment if adults point out Cornwall on a map and discuss where Jem lives. Reading time can extend indefinitely as children and guardians explore Jem’s home.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Jennifer and her husband came to live in Cornwall in the early days of their marriage and set up a pottery. Her first book – ‘Pot Luck – living the dream in the West Country’ describes this adventure. She has written for most of her life, starting with making up stories at bedtime for her little sister. Now with a cupboard full of writing, mainly for children, her retirement project is to sort through this pile of stories and find one or two to publish

With great, colorful illustrations and easy-to-follow format, ‘Jem’s Clifftop Adventure’ is a solid, three-star book.

*Pic & synopsis belong solely to the author/publisher.
**I received a copy in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are mine.

Posted in Book Reviews

2017 Holiday Guft Guide: Everybody’s Somewhere: Cornelia Maude Spelman


SYNOPSIS: ‘With bold artwork and playful, bouncy rhymes, Everybody’s Somewhere asks children to expand their perspective.

In its simplest reading, Everybody’s Somewhere is a book about perspective — Everybody—moms, dads, grandpas, grandmas, friends, and people you’ve never met—is somewhere in the world, doing something right now, even if you can’t see them. And this is a very important lesson for kids to learn.

The book also includes people from all over the world with difference interests, cultures, and abilities. People you know and people you don’t. In current times, it is very important for children — indeed, for everyone — to understand that people next door or around the globe are just like us. Kids need to feel connected to others in our diverse but increasingly interconnected world. To quote the book “Everywhere there’s someone underneath a star,” and there’s room for everyone, including them.

There’s also a nod to military families when talking about seeing a loved one after a long separation.’

MY THOUGHTS: ‘Everybody’s Somewhere’ is a great gift idea for the holidays. With so many families having to be apart, children need affirmation they they are loved. I loved seeing the illustration of the reunited military family. If you are a military family or know of one, this book will be great to share. That way both the child and loved one will each have a copy to relate to. Perhaps it could be read to the child by the service member.

I was also very pleased to see the depiction of a child in a wheelchair participating in a race. She was competing alongside everyone else instead of being on the sidelines. Fantastic! Young readers need to see more of that kind of inclusion and acceptance.

Our author follows an easy-to-read rhyme format that will keep kids’ attention. We all know how they love to rhyme! I would rank the book for ages up to 3rd grade. I love the thought of helping kids feel connected to those who can’t be with them for various reasons. Hopefully, it will help young readers ease their anxiety and calm their worries. A huge plus for the book is the illustrations. They are beautiful, colorful and definitely will have children pausing on each page to view all the incredible details included by Alea Marley.

All-in-all, I give ‘Everybody’s Somewhere’ three stars.
*Pic and synopsis belong solely to the author/publisher
**We received a copy in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are mine.

Posted in Book Reviews

Book Spotlight: Indescribable: 100 Devotions About God and Science: Louie Giglio


SYNOPSIS: We all know that kids love to ask questions. Why? How? When? For parents, it can be hard to know exactly how to answer those questions—from the small ones like why the sky is blue to how big the universe is. And, when it comes to questions about science, there is often an intersection between faith and fact. Thankfully, a new children’s book, Indescribable: 100 Devotions About God and Science (October 10, Tommy Nelson / Passion Publishing), helps parents fuse the two and cover both of those topics with ease.

MY THOUGHTS: I was thrilled to see a devotional based on Scripturally-sound science. There is literally SO much to love about this book. First, of course, is the author. Pastor Louie Giglio is a well-known and well-respected man. As Pastor of Passion City Church, he has made a magnificent difference in the lives of his parishioners (and around the world, too). He has written a number of well-received titles and this one will be loved as well.

He has taken a hugely controversial topic in Christianity- Science- made portrayed it to children so that they will understand & be able to bear witness to its Creator. I’ll never understand how anyone can view the beauty of creation and not believe in the God who created it all! I love the gentle way in which Pastor Giglio shows the reader both illustrated and photographic images pertaining to the daily devotional topics. Then, he accurately points out the correlation to the day’s Scripture.

Although potentially geared to the elementary set, ‘Indescribable’ can be enjoyed by readers at any age. I loved every page and I’m WAY passed elementary school. Each day offers a new view at the world around us, our health, the weather and more. I highly recommend getting a copy either for a young reader or even yourself. It is a way beyond 5 star devotional!
*Synopsis & pics belong solely to the author & publisher.
**I received a copy in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are mine.