Review: A New School Year: Stories in Six Voices by Sally Derby and illustrated by Mika Song

About the Book

In a unique narrative, readers meet a diverse group of six children ranging in age from Kindergarten through fifth grade. With nerves and excitement each child gears up for a new school year by hustling in the morning, meeting new teachers and new classmates during the day, and heading home with homework and relief by day’s end.

Simple, bright illustrations focus on each child and his/her worries, hopes, and successes on the first day of school.

Review

With school around the corner, this is such a wonderful read for those jitters to be eased. This was such a fun read experiencing six different perspectives from kindergarten through fifth grade on their journey starting from the night before through their first day of school. We experience all their worries, what they anticipate to happen and then a boost in their confidence when all works out well. I love the diversity of the characters. Their stories were sweet and fun. The illustrations were beautiful. I’d recommend checking this one out.

The recommend age is 5 - 9 years old

Review: Don’t Ever Look Behind Door 32 by B.C.R. Fegan

Summary

The magical Hotel of Hoo is a mysterious place with some very unusual occupants. As our guests explore the strange hotel, they are invited to experience everything it has to offer with just one warning… don’t ever look behind door 32.

This imaginative picture book aims to take children beyond the first ten cardinal numbers, and introduces them to the patterns of counting in a fun and accessible way. With rooms to explore and unique objects to count, children will enjoy lingering on each page as they make their way closer to the forbidden door.

Review

This book was so much fun. We follow a tour through the hotel, where each door has a different theme. The illustrations were gorgeous. I loved the animated emotions of the characters as they experienced their journey through the book. It really brought the book alive.  I can only imagine how much fun this will be for the young reader but I found myself excited with curiosity wanting to flip faster to find out what was behind the door. The build up was fun and will really get their imagination going. Overall, it was a fun adventure that I know your reader will enjoy. I would recommend this to their reading list.

Review: Patrick Turns His Play into Pay by Shani Muhammad & Patrick Muhammad and illustrated by Natalie Jurosky

What a fun and inspiring book for kids to tap into their entrepreneurial spirit. The book centered around a young boy named Patrick. He broke his favorite fishing rod and needed another one. He went to his parents but they couldn't help at the moment but then he got a bright idea. Tapping into something that he and his grandmother loved to do would be the answer to all his problems. Patrick learns a great lesson in creativity, courage, perseverance and how you can do anything that you put your mind to.

This was such a lovely book. Let me start with how beautiful the illustrations were. I love the pictures of those soft crayon images. It gives the story such a warm, inviting feel. The words are lively and the rhythm of the book is catchy. Patrick is such a lovable young kid and it's so great to see how he took an idea and didn't give up despite the obstacles that came his way. It's always a great lesson when kids can learn the value of money and hard work but especially going the route such as this or a lemonade stand to give them a sense of accomplishment. For all those young kids that have ideas or have dreams to do something, this story is so encouraging to give them some support. Overall, I think this was a cute one that has some great educational value to it and a great lesson in how teamwork can make those dreams work. I'd recommend adding this to your reading list.

Review: Tummy Rumble Quake by Heather L Beal

 Buy on Amazon

Buy on Amazon

Earthquakes can be a very scary experience, especially for kids. If you have small children, Tummy Rumble Quake is such a great way to have a discussion about earthquakes on a level that kids can understand. Beautiful illustrations, along with characters that they will relate to, will allows kids to comprehend what an earthquake is, what you should do indoors and out and how to prepare for it. 

Since I don't live near any area that are prone to earthquakes, I personally found this very informative. I had no idea the protocol for them nor that people prepare for them via the Great Shakeout. Tummy Rumble Quake did a great job explaining the preparation and what you should do before and after and followed up with questions and activities from the characters to supplement the book.

The only thing I'm bummed about is that there is a song that is put in the book and would've been awesome to hear.  I'm not sure if it's in the print version but if it's not, than it would be nice to hear to add that little extra to the fun. Overall, I think the author did a great job with putting in terms that the younger reader will understand. If you are a parent or teacher in an area that is affected by them, take a look at the book and hopefully you will add this one to your conversation.

Review: The Monster at Recess by Shira Potter

Before Sophie came to her new school, she felt loved and accepted. When she arrived at her new school, she was made to feel invisible because she was perceived as different. In an attempt to make friends, she was either laughed at or treated as if she wasn't there. During class, she starting observing the monsters playing at recess. Since they were different, they weren't allowed to play with the students who weren't. They were called names and she was told bad things about them because they were different.

One day when she was walking home, she found a hat that belonged to the one of the monsters. When the opportunity arose, she decided to find out what the monsters were like despite what she was told. She saw how much they enjoyed each other and wanted to be a part of it and not wanting to be like her peers, she wanted to return the hat to whomever it belonged to. She got side tracked by for the first time feeling accepted. As you follow her journey, she learns the true value of self worth, acceptance and true friendship.

Overall, I thought this was a fantastic lesson for young kids considering the climate out there in schools where kids don't feel accepted and are bullied. It isn't just with the kids, in many school systems, teachers and administrators need to evaluate their role in students who are bullied. How they treat those students can have a severe impact as well as of the bullies. The journey Sophie takes is admirable and inspiring because it takes a lot for someone to internalize what she had to go through. The love and acceptance that she found with the monsters being the catalyst for her to find self acceptance without anymore fear and really be accepted will inspire kids out there who don't feel included to know that they are somebody. A wonderful story that embraces the love of acceptance, friendship and finding your way will leave a lasting impression. I would definitely grab a copy!

Review: When I Grow Up I Want to Be a Good Person by Wigu Publishing

When I Grow Up, I Want To Be a Good Person, was a departure from the books in the series that I've read that were based on professions. What I enjoyed about this book was the life lesson on the importance of being a good person shown through the example of celebrating the life of one of the most beloved people in a community, Mr. Beckett. 

The book centered around two brothers who felt they were being dragged by their parents to a funeral for someone that they couldn't understand why they had to go.  A quote in the story that I absolutely loved was said by their father, “Sometimes in life, we have to do things that we don't want to but should do.” Sometimes its better to show a person than tell. For every person they met that day, they learned the importance of the value the good Mr. Beckett brought to so many lives. Learning this important lesson about a person who gave his life to being there and helping others, it's the least you can do to give back to show how much you appreciated the time they were here. 

As always, this is another good story that was complimented with colorful illustrations and some great food for thought for the young reader. I thought the moral of the story complimented with the quotes and tale in the back really was fitting for a book that promotes a positive message.

Review: Lives of Extraordinary Women: Rulers, Rebels (and What the Neighbors Thought) by Kathleen Krull

If you have a young daughter, this book is a great way to enlighten them to some of history’s most powerful women. Spanning various parts of history, this book illuminates twenty women who have left their mark past, present and for the future. Their obstacles, achievements, and triumphs are individually featured with historical background and personal insight to give us a glimpse of who they were. Kudos to the illustrator for gorgeous pictures of these women because they really stand out and not only do we read about them but see how naturally beautiful they were as well. This would be such a great resource not only for kids but for educators who want to get young kids to learn about women in history. Loved the book and would recommend this to help young girls learn about women in history.

Review: Ellie's Best Beach Vacation Ever (The Amazing Adventures of Ellie The Elephant #4) by Marci Fair

 Buy on  Amazon

Buy on Amazon

What a fun book for the young reader to escape the cold for the summer! Ellie’s Best Beach Ever chronicles best friends, Ellie and Pudgy, as they go on their beach vacation. This is such a cute read as we get to experience another adventure with this cute duo. We tag along as they do everything from playing in the sand, having fun in the water, build sand castles, riding their bikes and so much more. This is such a great introduction to the kids for heading out on those family vacations and making memories with each other. In an age where all the young kids are connected to the ipads and tablets, I loved how the story showed how much fun it could be not connected and just having a great time. I loved how beyond the fun, it taught a valuable lesson on friendship and the joy spending time together with your best friend. Two highlights for me are the fact that these characters are stuffed animals which I know they will instantaneously fall in love and unlike other children’s books, this collection uses real photographs which makes you feel like you are right there. Overall, this was a good read and if you haven’t read the preceding ones in the collection, go back and experiences the adventures.

#BabyLove: My Toddler Life by Corine Dehghanpisheh

If you haven't got a chance to check out Corine's other #BabyLove book, than I'd recommend grabbing a copy. What I love about #BabyLove is how her beautiful illustrations compliment the story being told. She does such a great job using teachable moments and bringing them to a level that is comprehensive to your child. 

What I loved about My Toddler Life is how it brought to light a topic that many people forget is so important. The story centered around a child who does all these fun things with his mom that gets posted to social media for their friends. It wasn't until the child was left unattended, when he discovers her phone, she reacted with a takeaway that provided life lessons for both.

With cell phones dominating the lives of so many moms, you tend to forget it's not about capturing every moment to post to social media. It's the time you spend in the actual moments that you absorb and enjoy. Kids see your phone and automatically are curious because that's what they see you doing all the time. We get lost in trying to capture it rather than just enjoying the moment as it is happening naturally. Sometimes you just have to power off so that your child can enjoy the best moments with you as well.

It was a cute, fun book that was enjoyable and had a nice lesson to takeaway. You'll love the beautiful illustrations and it has a sweet story to accompany. It was just the right length with a good pace. So, if you are one of those parents that post every moment, just remember it might be rewarding to power of sometimes. 

Review: Meditation Is an Open Sky: Mindfulness for Kids by Whitney Stewart and Sally Rippin

So many kids go through so many emotions and have a hard time decompressing. For those of you who are open to meditation, this is a great introduction and lesson in meditation for kids that help them manage their emotions, stress and deal with obstacles that come their way. This is such an insightful book that explains different techniques to use in different situations whether emotionally or physically. The back of the book has a nice Q&A about meditation and what to do when you feel certain emotions. The illustrations were wonderful and complement the different states of emotions that will connect the reader to lesson. The author does a great job with articulating a peaceful, calming experience in the book that can be a useful tool in helping kids learn a tangible way to cope with life's challenges.