I thoroughly enjoyed this chapter book. In part, I liked learning about a new area to me. Just check out this map at the front of the book! The writing was clean and understandable, characters engaging, the mystery lots of fun, illustrations just right, and current topics were spot on.
~fun setting, normal school adventures for elementary students (homework, projects)
~just right illustrations and back matter
This book is definitely a keeper.
It’s Fall now and the Cayuga Island Kids are busy with homework, projects, and after school activities. But there’s still plenty of time for mystery and adventure! In the third book in the Cayuga Island Kids chapter book series, Julian is exploring food science as he experiments with recipes on his quest for the perfect chocolate chip cookie. Being a cookie sampler takes Mac’s mind off his troubles with fractions. Yoko is practicing gestures and facial expressions in anticipation of the school play tryouts. Maya is Ms. Choi’s helper in the after-school Make-and-Take-Club for younger crafters. Lacey is taking care of the little community library that Gram built—and searching for the next mystery to solve. When two of Ms. Choi’s glitter pens go missing, Maya turns to Lacey for help. The clues and evidence point to a suspect, but are they jumping to conclusions? When a classmate jumps to conclusions and shares false information about Julian’s cookies, the Cayuga Island Kids join forces to set the facts straight. When the kids research explorers for a school project, they uncover misinformation that blurs the truth, and makes the reasons for being a fact detective crystal clear. As the fall leaves turn color, the Cayuga Island Kids come to realize that sorting through clues and evidence—just like research—means making sure information is factual, and not just a fraction of the truth. Young readers will cheer for the Cayuga Island Kids as they embark on this latest adventure involving faulty assumptions, missing facts, flour bugs, and chocolate chip cookies.
Blackout poems are challenging and fun. I love playing with words and this take-everything-away-except-the-words-you-want is an exercise in deleting the fluff. I thought I was done with this poem, but something did not flow. It originally had 17 words. Actually, the entire page had hundreds of words, but I didn’t count those. I kept reading and rereading. Aha! I figured out which 2 words needed to be blacked out. Ta-dah! Here is horse king, a 15-word blackout poem by yours truly.
From the 15-word poem, can anyone guess which book this page comes from? Don’t worry, the book is old, missing pages, and falling apart. Besides recycling, wrapping gifts, art projects, and decorating walls, there is not much else I can do with this book. Let me know your guess in the comments below.
Historical fiction for middle grade, here I come! Thanks to Kathy Temean and her blog Writing and Illustrating, I won a copy of Wheels of Change from author Darlene Beck Jacobson. Thank you both for introducing me to this fascinating trip back in time.
Twelve year old Emily loves spending time in the carriage-building shop, even though it is not appropriate for young ladies who should be spending their time inside learning how to sew, bake, clean, and care for a house. With a quick mind, sincere heart, and means-well actions, Emily seeks answers to why people act the way they do, often getting herself into trouble.
Set around the turn of the century (1890s to 1900s), Wheels of Change indeed focuses on the changes of that time period. From the plight of being female to the lingering after-effects of the abolition of slavery to the ever-moving-forward march of replacing horse and buggy with motorized vehicles, Jacobson does not shy away from history. The clash of changes factors is faced head-on, all through the eyes of Emily. A few facts are based on personal family history while the rest of the story springs from her creative mind.
Why I Loved This Book:
~the story is based on history and changes that cause struggles and disagreements for most people
~the time period is one about which I enjoy reading
~great writing and descriptions allowed me to “see” what was going on
~the emotions and the conflict of the story seemed to be what could have really taken place
~it was obvious that plenty of research went into the writing of this book
~LOVED the back matter and learning about the family connections to this story
~the book would be perfect for young readers to read as they learn about history (for both education and pleasure)
Notable Social Studies Trade Book 2015
Mighty Girl Pick 2015
Grateful American Book Prize Honorable Mention 2015
Racial intolerance, social change, and sweeping progress make 1908 Washington, D.C., a turbulent place to grow up in for 12-year-old Emily Soper. For Emily, life in Papa’s carriage barn is magic, and she’s more at home hearing the symphony of the blacksmith’s hammer than trying to conform to the proper expectations of young ladies. When Papa’s livelihood is threatened by racist neighbors and horsepower of a different sort, Emily faces changes she’d never imagined. Finding courage and resolve she didn’t know she had, Emily strives to save Papa’s business, even if it means going all the way to the White House.
With Great Power, The Marvelous Stan Lee, An Unauthorized Biography
Written by Annie Hunter Eriksen
Illustrated by Lee Gatlin
Page Street Kids, 2021
Ka-POW! Sending thanks to Annie Hunter Eriksen, Lee Gatlin, and Kathy Temean for sending me a copy of this super picture book about Stan Lee, the comic book hero icon!
I enjoyed reading Kathy’s feature on With Great Power, The Marvelous Stan Lee, An Unauthorized Biography. You can read her post here.
This fun picture book is filled with engaging history, colorful action scenes, and plenty of comic book feel. I thoroughly loved reading more about Stan Lee. If you love comic books and super heroes, you’ll want to read this one! THWACK!
What I Loved About This Book:
~ fascinating information about Stan Lee
~ detailed, comic book feel of the illustrations
~ fun and engaging read
~ inspirational story
Every superhero has their origin story: a radioactive spider bite turns ordinary teen Peter Parker into Spider-Man, wealthy Tony Stark escapes captivity by building his Iron Man suit, scientist Bruce Banner survives gamma rays only to transform into the Hulk.
For Stan Lee, it was books of adventure, monsters, and magic that helped him transform from an ordinary boy to a superstar superhero creator. At first, reading these stories was a pathway to a world bigger than his family’s tiny apartment in New York City, but it wasn’t long until Stan was crafting his own stories, creating comics professionally when he was still just a teenager! Still, writing wasn’t exciting when the heroes were always the same: strong, perfect, and boring. Stan had a revolutionary idea. What if anyone―even an ordinary kid―could be a superhero?
Discover more about the life of the Cameo King, known to many for his appearances in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, and how he revolutionized comics with this vibrant introduction bustling with action, humor, and references for fans new and old. ‘Nuff said!
And the winner is . . . Debra Daugherty! Congratulations, Debra. I will be in touch soon! Thanks everyone, for stopping by to check out Amalia’s new book!
Get ready to read Masha Munching on March 1, 2022!
Hello, dear readers! Welcome to a very important blog post featuring a special book by author-illustrator Amalia Hoffman, Masha Munching!
Be sure to read to the bottomto learn how you can get your name in the hat to win a free copy of Masha Munching, compliments of Yeehoo Press (US only). Thank you, Yeehoo Press and Helen Wu, for this opportunity!
Welcome, Amalia! Let’s get to it and learn more about your newest book.
Congratulations, Amalia, on your newest picture book Masha Munching! Living next door to goats, I couldn’t wait to see what Masha munched. What was your inspiration for Masha Munching?
Growing up in Israel, my family spent our summers in a small village where farmers raised cows, chickens and goats. We used to laugh as the goats tried to nibble on our cloths. I have another book, The Klezmer Bunch, with a goat character, also named Masha, so that means that I have a soft spot for goats. One day, I just came up with this alliteration; Masha Munching and that kind of sat in my brain for a while, till I came up with the idea of a goat that longs for great food.
I love hearing how picture books get their beginning. I’m sure growing up around goats gave you plenty of ideas.
I love that you create all of your own art and illustrations. They are amazing! What is the process you used to create Masha Munching? Do you write the story first or begin with the illustrations?
As an author/illustrator, I usually start by scribbling images and words in my sketchbook. As the story evolves, the scribbles become more and more defined. For Masha Munching, I used paper cuts. The animals and many elements are hand painted and hand cut. I cover the board surface with Liquitex modeling paste and add textures by scraping the surface while it’s wet. When dry, I paint the background on the board. Then I glue all the cut-up elements on the board. When satisfied, I photograph the image. Sometimes, I add more textures, details and color in Photoshop.
Fascinating! So many details and steps. Masha Munching has wonderful backgrounds and colors.
Where do you do your creative work?
In my small studio that was once my son’s bedroom. I like working at home, close to the fridge and coffee pot.
Me too! I work in a she shed I named Huckleberry Hutch.
What special plans do you have to celebrate the March 1, 2022, release of your new book?
I plan to present the book in several libraries and bookstores. I’m in the process of creating a puppet that looks like Masha. I designed it in such a way that the mouth will open and close, so Masha can eat all sorts of stuff like old socks, empty containers, and newspapers. I think the kids will get a kick out of that. I plan to create a video to demonstrate how I created my illustrations. Also, I plan to have a contest on social media for kids to come up with funny things Masha could eat.
What a blast! I think young readers (and their parents and teachers) will enjoy meeting Masha!
You’ve had several picture books published through Yeehoo Press. How did you get started with Yeehoo Press and how do you submit new picture ideas to them?
I found out about Yeehoo Press from a message they posted on Facebook. Then, my agent sent them my book dummy for my story, My Monsterpiece. Yeehoo accepts non-solicited submissions so authors and illustrators can send their submissions directly.
Great advice! Thank you.
What is one tip you could give to new picture book writers and illustrators?
Be tough and ready to take rejections. Join author and illustrators groups. Stay true to yourself. Don’t write what you think will sell. If you’re an illustrator, don’t try to mimic someone else’s style.
You have several wonderful books out in the world. What surprises are you working on now?
I’m working on another picture book, illustrated in the style of Masha Munching and also a nonfiction story.
Yay! I can’t wait to see what’s next.
Thank you, Amalia, for sharing Masha Munching with us! Congratulations and best wishes as you continue to create amazing picture books for young readers.
Ready to find out how to get your name in the hat to win a copy of Masha Munching (US only)? A winner will be randomly chosen in one week on Thursday, January 14.
1. Like and comment on this blog post. Please make sure I have your email address so I can notify you if you win. Example: bookwinner (at) yahoo (dot) com
2. Follow this blog and tell me how you follow. Please make sure I have your email address so I can notify you if you win.
Award-winning author-illustrator Amalia Hoffman delivers a hilarious tale about a goat with an insatiable appetite and her journey to finding the best meal ever! Perfect for farm animal-loving readers.
Masha LOVES food. She chews and chomps, slops and slurps, and gobbles and gnaws through breakfast, lunch, and dinner on the farm. But Masha grows tired of eating the same meals every day. She decides to venture outside the farm in search of something new.
When Masha discovers The Bistro Magnifique, where waiters serve fancy meals in bow ties, Masha thinks it’s her lucky day! But at a proper restaurant, can Masha satisfy her desire for wonderful food while staying true to herself?
With colorful, intricate paper-cut art to amuse readers on every page, this timeless tale follows a young goat discovering that the best meal is the one shared with good friends.
Amalia Hoffman is an award-winning author and illustrator of many children’s books, including My Monsterpiece, which was a 2021 Next Generation Indie Book Award gold medal winner; All Colors, a 2019 School Library Journal Best Board Book; and Dreidel Day, a PJ Library selection. She is also the author of The Brave Cyclist: The True Story of a Holocaust Hero, illustrated by Chiara Fedele, which was a Junior Library Guild Gold Standard Selection. Amalia frequently tells her stories in schools, libraries, and bookstores with puppets and props. She lives in Larchmont, New York.
Books by Amalia:
Masha Munching, Yeehoo Press, Chinese & English versions, March 2022
My Hands Make the World, PJ Publishing, May 2022
My Monsterpiece, Yeehoo Press, Simplified Chinese and English editions March, 2021
Once I received my copy in the mail, I couldn’t put it down. Until I was finished. I loved Jonesy and the many adventures and disasters she encountered in this fast-paced sci-fi tale. I thought it would be fun to reach out to James and invite him to stop by for a visit. Thank you, James!
Welcome, James! Tell us a little about yourself. Hi! I’m a writer and engineer from Michigan. I like long walks on the beach and filling my pockets with fossils along the way, but mostly I write a lot. Outside of that and my day job, most of my time concerns the corgi and pair of high-octane children that have been systematically destroying our house for the last few years.
Oh dear, the dreaded disasters of helpful children and cute dogs!Well done for being able to squeeze in time for writing!
What was your inspiration for Jonesy Flux and the Gray Legion? It’s hard to narrow this down too much. There’s a real sense, for me, that I “had” Jonesy’s story long before I knew about it. Her character came from a one- or two-page sketch about her and some other kids marooned on a space station that I shelved sometime in grad school. Her world came somewhat from that of my very earliest shots at writing a novel in middle school. The concept of Fluxing was what ended up gelling it all together. That’s one item whose inspiration I can point to; although I think I made it mine in the end, I’d be a big fat liarface to deny Fluxing’s roots in a trio of anime series I followed at one point and another. I figure they won’t mean much to most people and the remainder won’t have too tough a time figuring it out, so I’ll leave guessing which as an exercise for the reader (with the hint that one is French). Either way, it all snapped together out of nowhere-or-everywhere at a time when I was really longing to write something fun, colorful, and preferably well-stocked with spaceships. It’s probably no coincidence that this happened when my wife was pregnant with our first child — I think there was a huge element of me just needing to process Kids and Parenting and Identity and Growing Up as I put it all together.
Hahaha. Liarface. In picture book writing, we call those influential books “mentor texts.” ;0I can hear your writing voice even in these answers, which is a huge part of why I loved reading Jonesy Flux.
What was the writing journey you took as you wrote this book? Writing it was a whirlwind. I’ve never taken anything from idea to completed draft as quickly as I did with Jonesy’s story — something like ten weeks! Even if Fluxing was what kicked off the story, Jonesy’s character stole the show for me immediately. Maybe it was because I was a little tired of all the Middle-Grade protagonists who get praised for their virtue and heroism but can’t give an adult a straight answer until the closing scene, but I had a ton of fun exploring the story from the perspective of a “pure-hearted” character who gets in trouble mostly from sticking to her convictions and having high expectations for the hapless adults who cross her path with Grown-Up notions of Compromise and Shades Of Gray. The rest of it was the usual-ish process of editing, waiting a couple of years while my agent moved countries, getting ambushed with a sale to a super-awesome editor, frantically editing some more with the blinds drawn against the lockdownpocalypse, and so on.
That’s amazing! This story was meant to be.
Everything is different right now with COVID-19, but how did you celebrate the book birthday (release) of Jonesy Flux and the Gray Legion? I had plans to celebrate my debut publication day with my last two cans of Vault Soda, but those expired in 2012, so . . . I left them in the fridge. (I made those plans a long time ago. I’m still on the fence about trying one anyway.) We had dinner and cake at my mom’s house instead. It was nice!
Maybe go back to your mom’s for dinner instead (avoid Vault Soda . . . ). But, if you like to live on the edge, please do let us know how it goes and if you get food poisoning.
What’s your next writing project? Will we see Jonesy again? In no particular order, “Yes!” and “Another Jonesy story!” Assuming all goes to plan, her full journey will take a more-than-trilogy sort of series to complete, partly because I am nothing if not overambitious, but mainly because I want to see her shake things up at the grandest possible scale before she boosts off into the stars for the last time.
Yay! Keep me (I mean us) in the loop. I love long drawn out epic tales that are not over too soon and explore all of what can and usually does happen for both good and evil.
Surprise us! What else would you like to share? Oh noes, an open-ended question? Well, I’m (on absolutely no schedule at all) posting bonus content for Jonesy at my website (jamespray.com), including something like 40 pages’ worth of glossary to fill out the backdrop. And I’ll mention that Twitter (@jamespray) is a great place to chat with me for those who might care to, even if it’s really not a great place in pretty much any other respect. Otherwise, I hope everybody has a good day, and maybe takes the chance to help somebody else have a good day. Like, maybe share a video of cute cats instead of that one article that makes you feel like the world is sliding facefirst into an incinerator? Or something. Oh, and a big, big thanks to Angie for helping get the word out about Jonesy!
You are most welcome! Friends, there is indeed a HUGE glossary at https://www.jamespray.com/bonus plus plenty of other fun information. Perhaps if I had realized this, I could have referred to it as I read Jonesy Flux. My engineering/spaceship/technology lingo is a bit behind the times. But NOW I know. Heh-heh.
Thank you, James, for stopping by today! Best wishes as you write future editions about the adventures of Jonesy Flux!
(OOPS! In my picture, I have the hash tag incorrect! Sorry! Should read #Haikufromtwo!)
How fun! I love writing haiku, though I usually pair it with one of my photos. I had so much fun writing the first #Haikufromtwo, I had to do it again! Thanks, Amanda (https://www.instagram.com/amandadavis_art/)!
ridiculous + flower
first word: ridiculous
Taken from Potato Pants! by Laurie Keller (Henry Holt and Company, 2018)
second word: flower
Taken from Jonesy Flux and the Gray Legion by James Pray (Sterling Children’s Books, 2020)
The Girl Who Lived in a Shoe and other Torn-Up Tales
Compiled by Bernice Seward
Seward Media, 2020
Hello, friends! I would like to introduce you to a fun new book of fairy tales. But these fairy tales are not what you would think. They have been torn-up, re-imagined, and fractured from the original stories we’ve heard all our lives. How exciting to read these “new” fairy tales in this delightful compilation of 5. One of my critique group partners, Beverly Warren, wrote one of the torn-up tales in The Girl Who Lived in a Shoe and other Torn-Up Tales. Congratulations to all of the talented authors and illustrators.
Scroll down to meet the authors and read their individual answers to the questions I asked. Enjoy!
MEET THE AUTHORS
How do you know each other and how did this book come together?
Loreley: Most of us only know each other virtually as we live in different cities. We are members of SCBWI Inland Northwest and had all expressed an interest in creating an online critique group before COVID even began. Here we are! Bernice suggested we try a collaboration as we were all struggling with the COVID slump last summer.
Beverly: I met both Bernice and Michele at the SCBWI conference in September 2019. Apparently Loreley and Jess were there as well. We had the opportunity to sign up to join a critique group. Later we were contacted by the coordinator and put in a group of nine, I believe, which was then split in two. Personally, I had been thinking that I would like to write a fractured fairy tale and purchased Jane Yolen’s book on the subject. About two weeks later Bernice suggested that we do this project.
Michele: I’m the odd author out here The other four were members of an established critique group before this project came about. I am in a different critique group with Bernice and she invited me to join in on the collaboration. I know Bernice because I took a community education class on writing children’s picture books from her about 3 years ago. I happened to meet Beverly at the SCBWI Fall 2019 conference. She and I are in an online critique group. We are all members of The Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators. (I have been asked to join with their critique group and I couldn’t be happier!) Bernice came up with the collaboration idea after listening to an SCBWI interview at the Summer Spectacular (over Zoom of course.)
What was your inspiration for your torn-up tale?
Loreley: Several years ago, I had traveled to Europe to live, work, and heal my wounds from my divorce. I was only gone just over three years, but when I returned to The States, I felt like Rip Van Winkle who had fallen asleep and woken up in the future. There were (at that time) Blackberries, Bluetooths, and Blogs! I didn’t know what these things were. HDTVs were in everyone’s living room. The Bon Marche was gone! It was all very disorienting. So this experience inspired my story “Rita Van Winkle”.
Beverly: Beauty and the Beast has been one of my favorite fairy tales for years. I loved the idea that a beasty person can be transformed through the love of another and that within an unattractive personality there are traits that can be found to love if one has the eyes to see. Also, years ago I was interested in learning about herbs, common herbs that can be used for various purposes including healing.
Jessie: Recently I read Invisible Women Data Bias in a World Designed for Men by Caroline Criado-Perez and Believe Me: How Trusting Women Can Change the World edited by Jaclyn Friedman and Jessica Valenti. The concepts in these two books as well as ideas about the invisible biases we absorb from society were whirling around in my head when Bernice invited me to collaborate on this project. As I contemplated fairy tales, I thought of The Boy Who Cried Wolf and wondered, what if it was a girl, and what if she was telling the truth? Tara and the Wolf was born of that simple thought experiment.
Michele: As a child, I loved the Three Billy Goats Gruff. I think it was the rhythmic “Trip, trap” that I liked the most. (Definitely not the gruesome ending. LOL!). I started my version with three nanny goats, but they evolved into three granny goats. I am a grandma of 10 myself, so I can totally get behind that change! 🙂 I also wanted a gentler troll in my story, and since dads often get a bad rap in media and society these days, I wanted him to be a strong (as in involved in his kids’ lives) father figure. Each of the grannies represents something I myself am known to do. I am ALWAYS happy to have an excuse to make cookies, I grow a garden every year and I love to do yoga and recently became a teacher at the studio I’ve attended for several years.
Bernice: The idea of designing a shoe house drew me to The Little Old Woman Who Lived in a Shoe. And the fact that the original story included a giant clinched it. Then, as I was brainstorming for my torn-up tale, I thought it’d be fun to create a sort of “origin story” for a certain legendary cloud-dwelling giant.
Tell me about the illustrations.
Loreley: I am not an illustrator, so when Bernice suggested we each create our own illustrations, I was very apprehensive. I’ve become inspired to work with collage art more and improve my skills 🙂
Beverly: Art has always come naturally to me. I’ve created a few collage pieces before, but mostly I work in other mediums.
Jessie: I come from a family of artistic people and assumed from the time I was a child that fine art was not one of my talents. It was something other people in my family were good at. I have tried to express creativity with sewing, baking and most often with writing. As I experimented with paint, shape and collage, I realized that the only thing stopping me from developing an illustrative talent was lack of belief in myself. It was incredibly empowering to make a physical picture from something that existed before only in my mind. While my illustration skills are still very rudimentary, the use of collage simplifies the process, allowing simple shapes to convey the image and the textures created by painted papers to elevate them and give further interest.
Michele: First of all, I have NEVER considered myself an artist, so this was a HUGE stretch for me. Bernice has taught me a lot over the years, so I felt I owed her a good effort. Learning to draw simple outlines (just google something like “Easy Goat Drawing”) was the start. She had me over to paint some papers for the collage illustrations and from there I took it one illustration at a time. Bernice also provided us with how-to videos she created. Those were very helpful and easy to follow. I am thrilled with how my illustrations turned out and I now consider myself a “Collage artist”.
My inspiration for my troll came from a wooden sculpture in Breckenridge, Colorado. My college freshman roommates and I get together every two years or so and on our last reunion, I talked them into finding it. It was amazing.
What surprises did you discover in the process of creating this book?
Loreley: I was surprised at how much I enjoyed the process of creating the illustrations. While it was a bit nerve racking, I found myself getting lost in the process.
Beverly: We created the book quickly so the process was intensive, but it was enjoyable for us to do this project together. Also, I discovered as I did some research on the history of Beauty and the Beast that there lived a true Beauty who married a Beast in the 16th Century, in France. The beast was a man who had a condition called Hypertrichosis (werewolf syndrome). His body was covered with long dark hair all over. It is rare and is due to an abnormal 8th chromosome. The man was the property of the king of France. When the king died the Queen decided he should marry. She interviewed many young women and chose one with great beauty. The girl didn’t know about her groom’s appearance until their wedding day. Imagine her shock, but she grew to love him because of his winning personality. Together they had seven children.
Michele: I don’t think it was a surprise as much as confirmation of the importance of critique groups. We each read each other’s stories many times to help work out rough spots, kinks, etc. When I was being resistant to changing something in my story, one of the group called me to help me realize I really needed to “kill my darling”. My story is stronger for it and I’m glad she took initiative to do that. My illustrations coming together were definitely a surprise for me. (See question 3. 🙂 I also discovered that I like writing fractured fairy tales. I had dabbled in that genre a bit, but diving in and completing one was really fun.
Bernice: As a picture book writer (who strives to tell stories in 550 words or less), the thought of writing thousands of words is daunting for me. I was surprised that my first draft of The Girl Who Lived in a Shoe topped 1900 words. This gives me hope that fleshing out stories for chapter books will be a smoother transition than I’ve been anticipating.
What plans do you have for the future? Are there any other book projects in the making?
Loreley: I’m currently working on a picture book where my protagonist learns the importance of “leaving only footprints and taking only photos” when exploring nature.
Beverly: We are continuing to meet as a group. We’ve only discussed briefly doing another project in the future and no plans have been formed yet. Currently I am illustrating a picture book for Clear Fork/Spork Publishing which should come out in the fall. Also, I’m revising a picture book and writing a middle grade novel.
Jessie: I have two board books in the works as well as an illustration project commissioned by a friend. We haven’t formalized any plans for another joint publication, but I hope we will be creating more torn up tales together in the future.
Michele: Personally, I have a pet project in the works which involves using my grandchildren’s names in the illustrations. I have an illustrator working on it and we hope to be finished in the next month or so. I will self-publish that book. I also have countless manuscripts in various stages of completion. For the group, there really isn’t anything in the near future, but I have expressed a hope we’ll do another collaboration with this group. They are a wonderfully generous and creative group, and I have learned so much from them. We do plan to meet in person once the pandemic is past. We don’t know what that will look like, but we have all expressed a desire to do that.
Bernice: Currently, I’m working on a picture book about a bear who loses his hair after trying shampoo from a traveling salesman (fox).
Thank you, ladies, for sharing more about your lives and your process for writing The Girl Who Lived in a Shoe and other Torn-Up Tales.
You can read more about the authors and this fun fairy tale book at:
Does your child have a science fair coming up? Or perhaps your middle grade student loves things that fly. This book is for both of you!
Cassie is not interested in science class, and therefore, her grades suffer. But she REALLY wants to go to Space Camp. After her family experiences financial difficulties, Cassie has to take Space Camp attendance into her own hands and figure out how to be able to attend. Setting the goal to make it to camp is just the right fuel to blast her rocket into space.
Thank you, KidLit411 www.kidlit411.com and L. G. Reed for sending me a copy of The Science of Defying Gravity! This chapter book is a very engaging read, and I couldn’t stop-just one more chapter, oops, two more chapters . . . and suddenly I was done reading it.
What I Liked About This Book:
~ Cassie and her best friend Wylie are great characters; flawed yet lovable
~ Excellent premise of a student having no interest in science class transforming into a driven young tween who worked her tail off to implement a stellar science fair project and presentation
~ Family issues were on target and added to the build-up towards the story climax
~ Cassie continued marching forward despite hitting numerous obstacles
~ Cassie and her feelings of being overlooked by her parents, which led to her striving to gain their attention
~ Cassie’s best friend, Wylie, is on the spectrum; this adds an extra layer of interest and learning about others who may be differently abled
~ Budding romance, just barely, but adorable
~ Science-I learned quite a bit about science fairs, gravity, what makes things fly, how to plan a winning science fair project, how they are organized, and even specifics about scientists in the real world
~ Cassie is a strong female main character, and will surely inspire other young girls to follow their interests in STEM fields
~ Helpful backmatter
~ The usefulness of this book to help students prepare for an actual science fair (lots of examples)
“Useful, entertaining, and encouraging; will inspire confidence and an appreciation of science.” — Kirkus Reviews
“Tweens who enjoy making, building, and learning will get the most from this book about what it takes to become a scientist.” — Booklife Reviews
In this mashup of STEM education and fiction, 11 yr old Cassie films her life. She loves movies and dreams of becoming a movie director in SPACE. *Her plans to go to Space Camp are derailed when her dad loses his job and she must win a SCIENCE FAIR to earn a scholarship to attend. Spunk, a caring teacher, an engineering mentor and her friends keep her dream on track.* Contained within THE SCIENCE OF DEFYING GRAVITY is an actual science fair project, including tables and charts for kids to see. The project covers the four forces of flight—lift, thrust, gravity and drag—which are embedded in the fictional story but are factually accurate.
Backpacks and Baguettes, Coloring the World through Young Eyes
Written by Sam Morrison and Angus Morrison
Illustrated by Marco Primo
Mascot Books; October 6, 2020
Happy book birthday to Backpacks and Baguettes, Coloring the World through Young Eyes by Sam Morrison and Angus Morrison! Coming out on October 6, this interesting travel and coloring book is filled with fun tales, adventures, and coloring pages.
I was sent a copy of this book by Mascot Books in exchange for a review. Thank you, Mascot Books and Sam, Angus, and Marco, for the many adventures! Read more about Mascot Books at http://mascotbooks.com.
Why I Like This Book:
~ This chapter book is written by a boy who has been lucky enough to grow up in Paris and Washington D.C.! How cool is that?
~ Sharing his own experiences, Sam tells of travel adventures he has enjoyed with his father.
~ I love how Sam tells of friends he met along the way. Making friends as one travels is definitely a perk of being an adventurer.
~ Sam gives interesting factoids about the different locations he has visited.
~ How many locations are included? 16 chapters, though at least one features more than one place. I wish my passport had that many stamps!
~ Coloring pages! And extra blank spaces for readers to draw their own pictures.
~ Great voice! I enjoyed getting to meet Sam through his travels and stories.
~ Well written, engaging, and a page turner. Each chapter is not too long, which kept me reading on to see what came next.
~ The title is perfect! When I first searched for this book on Amazon, I put in Backpacks and Baguettes. And what showed up? Backpacks and baguettes. I didn’t know you could order baguettes on Amazon.
~ Great read!
Check out Sam’s adventures at @samrmorrison on Instagram. He wants to hear about your adventures!
You’re only a child once. Capturing the world through young eyes is difficult. Backpacks and Baguettes attempts to better understand what children think, see, feel, and smell when they are traveling. Everything is new, and everyone is a possible friend.
Your guide is Sam, a half-American/half British boy who so far in his young life has been lucky to grow up in Paris and Washington, D.C.. Sam loves soccer and food and is curious about how people in other countries lead their lives. He thinks graffiti and street art are better than postcards to truly understand a place. He’s even included some authentic global graffiti in the book for you to color. He’s also left space on the back of each image for you to draw your own graffiti or take notes.
Backpacks & Baguettes is a reminder of what it was like to be in the world before the pandemic hit – the sound of mopeds in Rome, the smell of chicken turning on a spit at a French market, a water fight in Bangkok, mushroom hunting in the hills of Tuscany, the feel of fog on your face in San Francisco bay–human contact.
Sam’s stories are ultimately about asking questions until you’re exhausted. They’re about not caring what people think. They’re about smiling and laughing until it hurts and playing until you scrape your knees. They’re about letting your imagination run wild. They’re about realizing in one breath that children are different, but ultimately the same all around the world. They’re about being a kid once.