Thank you so much, Kathy for featuring this great book! Thank you, Hallee, for the swag bag of fun gifts and a copy of Way Past Worried! It’s already a hit with the two young readers next door (my grands).
Brock is beyond worried about going to his friend Juan’s superhero party. He has so many questions and concerns about who will play with him (or not play with him), what if his costume is not good enough, who will he visit, and what if someone laughs at him. Brock’s worries build and build, making him feel way past worried.
This well-written book gives simple strategies for dealing with worry as the young characters attend a party. If you have a child (or even an middle grade or early teen) who deals with social anxiety, reading this book will help readers talk their way through possible strategies.
What I Loved About This Book:
~ So cute! The characters, setting, story, all of it.
~ Excellent premise! Who has not struggled with anxiety at one time or another? I imagine there will be many more instances of social anxiety once COVID is contained (or managed) and people of all ages are allowed to return to in-person social activities.
~ Great story! As I said before, I think this is well written and it’s very easy to read aloud. My granddaughter was enthralled from beginning to end. That’s her, wearing the mask sent by Hallee and holding my copy of Way Past Worried (which will probably end up at her house).
~ Perfect illustrations! Child-friendly and fun. I enjoyed looking at the illustrations as we read the story together.
Brock is worried. Way past worried, with his heart thumping and his mind racing. Today is his friend Juan’s superhero party and he’s going all by himself. What if nobody plays with him? What if everyone laughs at him? Brock doesn’t feel like a superhero, but… what if he can save the day and find a way past worried all by himself? This engaging story speaks to kids’ emerging emotional intelligence skills and helps them learn to manage worry.
Barns and me, we go way back. My family can probably still whip up perfect eye rolls if I mention a barn I saw or attempt I made to have the vehicle stop so I can take a few photos. Backseat eye rolls, accompanied by the driver eye roll, sideways glance, and scurry to find an appropriate place to pull over, filled many happy family road trips.
Thank you, Elizabeth and Vivan, for sharing this wonderful picture book!
Bess the Barn Stands Strong is a story about a barn. Bess is a sweet barn, strong, beautiful, and caring. As a main character, Bess is pretty awesome. But she ages, as we all do, and eventually becomes overlooked for the new fancy barn build just over the fields. And Bess is ignored. Until the storm.
And that’s all I’m going to tell you, because YOU need to read the story yourself and see what happens to Bess and all of her barnyard friends.
If you love farms and barns, you will enjoy Bess!
Why I LOVE This Book:
~ a barn as a main character – how often does that happen? This could be the first time ever. (Don’t quote me on that.)
~ great story with just the right amount of tension
~ reading that there is purpose to old things, and old things can still be useful (I’m working on the older part as my birthday comes this month)
~ barnyards and animals are very popular with young readers
~ old versus new; I’m definitely of the older is better school
~ beautiful illustrations enrich and fill out the story
A steadfast old barn shows she’s sturdy enough to save the day.
Beam by beam and board by board, Bess the barn is built by able hands to keep the farm’s animals safe and sound. Through many seasons and celebrations, that’s just what she does, until she starts to sag…and creak…and slump. Then new everything comes along: a new farmer and a shiny new barn. A mean storm arrives not far behind, putting both barns to a dangerous test―can old Bess weather this threat to the farm?
Bess opens her doors wide, welcoming all to celebrate the year-round ups and downs of farm life and admire the enduring strength and importance of something made to last.
“There’s a marvelous mix of peppy text and bone-deep comfort at work within the language of this story . . . [and] visual treasures abound in the corners of the art . . . Seasons come and seasons go, but cozy concepts like barns on farms will never die.” – Kirkus Reviews
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.
The Ocean Calls, A Haenyeo Mermaid Story is the fascinating story of women divers who use the skills passed down from generation to generation to dive and gather the fruits of the sea. Living on Jeju Island in South Korea, the mostly mature and elderly women dive into waters off the island, up to 30 meters deep. They do not use breathing equipment and can hold their breath up to two minutes! I am amazed!
The story focuses on Dayeon, a young girl, and her grandmother, one of the diving mermaids. Grandma is trying to encourage Dayeon and teach her the skills necessary to become a Haenyeo Mermaid. I love the way the young girl struggles with the fear of jumping into the wild ocean, even as she dreams of being able to do what she sees her grandmother doing.
This engaging story is delicious! I loved learning more about a new subject, one I had never heard about before. What an encouraging picture book, one that invites readers to explore a new world with their eyes, ears, and hearts!
Why I Love This Book:
~ The story is wonderful
~ The fascination I felt as I read about Haeynyeo Mermaids
~ The underwater world of women divers
~ The illustrations bursting with color and extra details
~ The setting on and off an island of South Korea
~ The history and the traditions of generations of courageous women
~ Fabulous backmatter
A breathtaking picture book featuring a Korean girl and her haenyeo (free diving) grandmother about intergenerational bonds, finding courage in the face of fear, and connecting with our natural world.
Dayeon wants to be a haenyeo just like Grandma. The haenyeo dive off the coast of Jeju Island to pluck treasures from the sea–generations of Korean women have done so for centuries. To Dayeon, the haenyeo are as strong and graceful as mermaids. To give her strength, Dayeon eats Grandma’s abalone porridge. She practices holding her breath while they do the dishes. And when Grandma suits up for her next dive, Dayeon grabs her suit, flippers, and goggles. A scary memory of the sea keeps Dayeon clinging to the shore, but with Grandma’s guidance, Dayeon comes to appreciate the ocean’s many gifts.
Tina Cho’s The Ocean Calls, with luminous illustrations by muralist Jess X. Snow, is a classic in the making.
After hearing Julie read Not Your Typical Dragon in her beautiful voice, I had to get a copy of my own. I fell in love with Crispin, the not-so-typical dragon. Truly an individual, Crispin fell far short of expected dragon-y behaviors and disappointed his father, family, and even a few knights. This book is a fun and surprising read!
What I Loved About This Book:
~ The not-your-typical dragon, Crispin
~ The humor and unexpected happenings once Crispin grew into his dragon abilities at the age of seven
~ Help that comes from unexpected places
~ Fun, colorful illustrations
~ Clever story and interactions between characters
Everybody knows your typical dragon breathes fire.
But when Crispin tries to breathe fire on his seventh birthday, fire doesn’t come out—only whipped cream! Each time Crispin tries to breathe fire, he ends up with
Crispin wonders if he’ll ever find his inner fire. But when a family emergency breaks out, it takes a little dragon with not-so-typical abilities to save the day.
With wry humor and whimsical illustrations, Not Your Typical Dragon is the perfect story for any child who can’t help feeling a little bit different.
Who loves blueberries, farms, kitties, and grandparents? I do! Thank you, Kathy Temean, for hosting Kelly Carey and Qing Zhuang. Thank you, Kelly Carey, and Qing Zhuang, for sending me a copy of this lovely picture book! I was thrilled to read it and I can recommend How Long Is Forever? to young readers (and their grandparents) everywhere. Happy reading!
And while you’re at it, let’s have blueberry pie.
News from Charlesbridge
Waiting for pie takes a long time, but not forever.
Mason is waiting for Nana’s blueberry pie and complains that it’s taking forever. So Grandpa challenges him to figure out how long forever really is. Is it as long as Grandpa has had his tractor? No. As long as it took Nana to grow the roses to the top of the chimney? Not even close. After a trip around the farm to figure out the answer, Nana’s pie is ready.
What I LOVE About This Book:
~ Nana! I am a Nana, so I love that the grandmother is named Nana
~ Blueberry pie!
~ The kitty included on almost every spread (I love kitties)
~ The concept of forever and how it is explored through the eyes of a young child
~ The lovely story
~ Wonderful, colorful illustrations
~ Farm and farm house!
Mason is waiting for Nana’s blueberry pie and complains that it’s taking forever. So Grandpa challenges him to figure out how long forever really is. Is it as long as Grandpa has had his tractor? No. As long as it took Nana to grow the roses to the top of the chimney? Not even close. After a trip around the farm to figure out the answer, Nana’s pie is ready. And Mason’s finally got the answer: forever is how long he’ll love Nana’s pie and how long he’ll love Nana and Grandpa, too.
The Adventures of Gunner the Poodle Pony, Gunner Meets Stella
By Lynne McGlothlen
Illustrated by David Gnass
Mascot Books; June 2, 2020
Happy book birthday to The Adventures of Gunner the Poodle Pony, Gunner Meets Stella by Lynne McGlothlen! Thank you, www.mascotbooks.com, for sending me a copy to review.
Meet Gunner, a standard poodle who looks big enough to ride! This story of Gunner is based an a real standard poodle named Gunner. Gunner is a therapy dog who visits residents and families in hospice and senior care centers.
I loved reading this story about Gunner meeting Stella, a young girl who was visiting her grandmother in a hospice center. Stella was very sad, but Gunner helped her to express her feelings and performed tricks to make her feel better.
I am fascinated by therapy dogs. I learned more about dogs who go to school to become therapy dogs as I read The Adventures of Gunner the Poodle Pony. I even learned why he is called a poodle pony!
Readers who love dogs and adventures will enjoy this book. This book would also be good to read with children who are going through the loss of a grandparent or parent due to illness. The Adventures of Gunner the Poodle Pony is a great book to read to open up conversations with children about scary end-of-life events.
Why I Liked The Adventures of Gunner the Poodle Pony:
~ I loved learning more about poodles
~ I loved learning about therapy dogs
~ I was happy to read that Gunner was able to encourage and help Stella as she faced the loss of her grandmother
~ The story is easy to read
~ In this story, Gunner actually talks to Stella. He is a poodle gifted with conversation skills!
~ The backmatter taught me more about the author, poodles, dogs, and therapy dogs
~ Gunner is pretty adorable!
Gunner is a special poodle. He’s what you might call “amazing” even! Gunner can do all kinds of tricks, but his most important job is to help others when they are sick or sad. When Stella’s grandmother is sick in Hospice, Gunner is there to comfort her.
Happy Book Birthday to Bandit the Cow Dog by Phil Mills Jr.! Thank you, http://www.MascotBooks.com, for sending me a copy to review.
As a lover of horses and ranches (and having an unfulfilled lifelong dream of living on a ranch and raising horse), I loved reading this colorful picture book.
Set on a ranch in Wyoming, the story is told from the eyes of the retired Australian shepherd working dog, Bandit, and a young girl, Mary. Mary comes to visit her grandparents for the summer. Once on the ranch, Mary quickly learns she has daily responsibilities and chores. She even finds out that eggs do not have to be white and one must help out as a member of a family. All goes well until Mary forgets one essential rule on a ranch: always close and secure gates.
Bandit the Cow Dog is a fun read. I think young readers who enjoy animals, ranches, horses, and dogs will like this book. Happy Book Birthday!
What I Like About This Book:
I love the ranch setting
I love the animals – dogs, chickens, horses, and cows
I love how Mary has to accept responsibility for her actions, even though that is not an easy thing to do
I like how Mary has consequences to her actions
More about Phil Mills Jr.
Spending the summer on her grandparents Wyoming ranch was a new and exciting opportunity for ten-year-old Mary Andrews. She lived in Denver, Colorado, and being around horses and cattle every day was a different experience. Having to do daily chores like gathering eggs and keeping an extra-close eye on her dog Princess was also new. She found it hard enough to just make her bed and keeping her clothes picked up.
But life took a dramatic turn for the young girl when she was given her first horse. Mary had never ridden before and there was a lot to learn. Thankfully, Bandit, the ranch cow dog, was around to watch over her. Bandit may have been retired, but he still liked herding chickens and trying to corral the ranch cats. Mary would soon learn having a horse was a lot different than having a dog. Along with such ownership came greater responsibilities. That would also mean learning to admit your mistakes, no matter how difficult, and then accepting the consequences, especially when Bandit knew the truth.
Thank you, Andrea Williams, for writing this book. Thank you, Mascot Books, for sending a review copy of Goodbye Kindergarten.
What a year we are having! As some people say, the 4th year of April . . .Be sure to read to the bottom of the post for some ideas on ways to add closure to this school year.
Just in time for helping unsettled and disappointed young readers, Andrea Williams has her Goodbye Kindergarten book arriving on the book scene.
Andrea Williams decided to write a book for her kindergartners with the goals of saying goodbye, reminding the students of all the great things they did during the year, and giving students an opportunity to say goodbye and transition to the next grade.
Instead of being full of tears, Goodbye Kindergarten is uplifting as it reminds readers of what they learned, the friends they made, and the fun they had. Most of all, students are reminded that teachers are proud of them and they will never forget their students.
With this odd year of school, most schools have already closed for the remainder of the school year. Students are learning at home. This could be a fun time for young students, or a time of stress, anxiety, and uncertainty. At least in our district, our students did not even get a chance to say goodbye to their teachers, classmates, and classrooms. On a Friday, they learned school was closing. By the end of the weekend, they couldn’t even return except to pick up a packet, personal items, and a Chrome book. Shortly after, it was announced that school (as they used to know it) was over for the year.
Saying goodbye is an important step in adjusting to change. Goodbye Kindergarten will help kindergarten students (and preschool students, as they do some of the same activities) remember the good times and talk about what comes next. Goodbye Kindergarten will remind readers that even though classrooms are virtual, their teachers and friends remember them.
What I Like About This Book:
~ the sharing of normal kindergarten activities
~ the remembering of all the things kindergartners do throughout the year
~ the joy and sense of accomplishment by both students and teacher
~ the opportunity to acknowledge the upcoming changes and the ending of kindergarten
~ the simple text, reminiscent of Goodnight Moon
~ the colorful illustrations
Kindergarten has been full of fun and learning, but the school year is almost done. Its time to say goodbye to your teacher and friends. No need to be sad! Celebrate the special people, places, and things in your classroom, and all the knowledge you’ll take with you into first grade!
Some Ways to Add Closure to the School Year:
~ complete school work given by teachers; this will help your student feel the sense of accomplishment
~ celebrate the last day of school with a special breakfast, last day of school pictures, a walk down memory lane of favorite school memories (both at school and at home)
~ draw pictures of favorite school memories, or as you finish the school year, help your child journal about things he or she remembers (they draw, you help them write, or take dictation)
~ print photos you’ve taken during the school year (parties, field trips, classroom visits); let your child add them to a small photo album; label pictures with names and locations
~ ask the teacher to plan a virtual meet and greet (Zoom is quite popular for this); the last day of school would be a perfect time, though multiple visits would be great as well
~ call your child’s teacher and let your child visit
~ video your child doing something new and share the video with your child’s teacher; my daughter-in-law did a live video of my grandson riding a bike (without training wheels!), which was something new he learned. This was quite exciting for him! Having the teacher celebrate was a treat.
~ contact the parents of your child’s friends; arrange for them to have a virtual play date by using a computer app; they could work puzzles at the same time, draw a picture at the same time, share a favorite book, or eat a snack together (yet apart!)
~ revisit first day of school pictures; encourage your student to remember how he or she felt on that day; compare how he or she feels now
~ use technology to your advantage. If your child’s classroom used an app for keeping in touch (our preschoolers used Bloomz), reach out and contact families. I shared a picture of my two preschoolers (grands) on this app. Soon enough, most parents had shared pictures of the rest of the classmates. I shared these with my grands.
~ birthdays? Our granddaughter will turn 4 next week. Her mother has arranged a drive-by and wave birthday party.
Do you have any other great ideas? I’m sure we’d all love new ideas. Share them in the comments. Thanks!