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What Are You Reading? (122) #IMWAYR – November 23, 2014

Thanks to Book Journey for starting this whole thing!

Thanks to Book Journey for starting this whole thing!

Thanks also to Teach Mentor Texts and Unleashing Readers for their focus on Children’s Literature of this meme!

Thanks also to Teach Mentor Texts and Unleashing Readers for their focus on Children’s Literature of this meme!

Please like The Chronicles Of A Children's Book Writer Facebook page!

Please like The Chronicles Of A Children’s Book Writer Facebook page!

If you’re on Twitter, don’t forget to use the hashtag #IMWAYR when sharing your link!

This week, I posted:

-Nonfiction Picture Book Challenge Wednesday- Read my reviews for:

-Celebrate This Week- This week, I’m celebrating more #Instagrateful days and focusing on a couple of stand-out moments! Read my review for:

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-Picture Book Month Reading Challenge: Part 3- Read my reviews for:

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My W titles:

While You Were Napping by Jenny Offill, Illustrated by Barry Blitt [**]

While You Were Napping by Jenny Offill, Illustrated by Barry Blitt [**]


An older sister tells her baby brother who was forced to nap all the things he missed out!

Winter Is Coming by Tony Johnston, Illustrated by Jim LaMarche [**]

Winter Is Coming by Tony Johnston, Illustrated by Jim LaMarche [**]


A little girl observes the world around her as autumn ends and winter arrives.

What Forest Knows by George Ella Lyon, Illustrated by August Hall [**]

What Forest Knows by George Ella Lyon, Illustrated by August Hall [**]


A poetic look into the passing of the seasons.

Written Anything Good Lately? by Susan Allen and Jane Lindaman, Illustrated by Vicky Enright [**]

Written Anything Good Lately? by Susan Allen and Jane Lindaman, Illustrated by Vicky Enright [**]


An alphabet book about different kinds of things you can write.

Cybils-Logo-2014-Rnd1

Half a World AwayHalf a World Away by Cynthia Kadohata
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

I read this in one sitting and I couldn’t stop turning the pages but I didn’t particularly like it. Jaden was a very hard character to relate to let alone understand. The family dynamic was interesting. It made me never want to adopt! At least, the book gave me such a negative experience of the whole thing.

View all my reviews

The Map TrapThe Map Trap by Andrew Clements
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

I liked this more than I thought I would. I was fascinated by the whole backstory of how Alton became such a map nut. I liked the friendships that developed. I even liked the conflict that arose. Basically, after showing a popular kid a map he’d made with some rather personal observations about everyone in school, he’s horrified to discover they’ve gone missing.

What I hated was the reveal of the “mapnapper.” As the story progressed, I was already feeling uncomfortable of the bullying/blackmailing aspect and then to discover who was behind it just left me with an icky feeling!

View all my reviews

I Am UnderdogI Am Underdog by Anne Schraff
My rating: 1 of 5 stars

I just couldn’t get into the story. It read like a draft and the illustrations were more distracting than adding anything.

View all my reviews

Rhyme SchemerRhyme Schemer by K.A. Holt
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Wow! This one caught me by surprise. Of all the middle reader novels told in verse this year- and there were plenty- this may just be my favorite of the bunch. Surprisingly insightful and relatable.

View all my reviews

A Medal for LeroyA Medal for Leroy by Michael Morpurgo
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

I found the story quite compelling but it fell short. Half of the book- the meatiest parts- were all telling and not showing.

View all my reviews

Expect reviews for these books during Wednesday’s Nonfiction Picture Book Challenge post:

Star Stuff: Carl Sagan and the Mysteries of the Cosmos by Stephanie Roth Sisson [***]

Star Stuff: Carl Sagan and the Mysteries of the Cosmos by Stephanie Roth Sisson [***]

Rating Scale
*= It was OK
**= Liked it
***= Recommended
****= Highly Recommended
*****= Favorite

I’m planning on reading more books for CYBILS and Picture Book Month.

Have a great reading week!

 

Picture Book Month Reading Challenge- Part 3

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I’m celebrating Picture Book Month by reading at least one picture book a day, and going down the alphabet!

Part 1 of this series can be found here.

Part 2 of this series can be found here.

My P titles can be found here. I reviewed:

Nonfiction titles from O, P and R can be found here. I reviewed:

My Q titles:

Quick as a Cricket by Audrey Wood, Illustrated by Don Wood [**]

Quick as a Cricket by Audrey Wood, Illustrated by Don Wood [**]


Reminds me of Eric Carle’s From Head to Toe. Kids will enjoy identifying with the different personalities of animals.

The Quilt Story by Tony Johnston, Illustrated by Tomie dePaola [**]

The Quilt Story by Tony Johnston, Illustrated by Tomie dePaola [**]


My Picture Book Month Reading Challenge has introduced me to more of Tomie dePaola’s works including this sweet story that transcends time and culture.

My R titles:

R Is for Robot: A Noisy Alphabet by Adam F. Watkins [***]

R Is for Robot: A Noisy Alphabet by Adam F. Watkins [***]


Fun alphabet book with onomatopoeia. Readers can spot at least one other thing in the illustrations beginning with that page’s letter.

The Red Book by Barbara Lehman [***]

The Red Book by Barbara Lehman [***]


This wordless picture book takes readers into a story within a story within a story!

My S title:

Stephen and the Beetle by Jorge Luján and translated by Elisa Amado with illustrations by Chiara Carrer.[**]

Stephen and the Beetle by Jorge Luján and translated by Elisa Amado with illustrations by Chiara Carrer.[**]


A simple story about a boy about to step on a bug he encounters and yet tackles some pretty big questions.

Expect a review of the following book during next week’s Nonfiction Picture Book Challenge post:

Star Stuff: Carl Sagan and the Mysteries of the Cosmos by Stephanie Roth Sisson [***]

Star Stuff: Carl Sagan and the Mysteries of the Cosmos by Stephanie Roth Sisson [***]

My T titles:

Tumbleweed Baby by Anna Myers, Illustrated by Charles Vess [**]

Tumbleweed Baby by Anna Myers, Illustrated by Charles Vess [**]


An interesting story about a family who finds a baby inside a tumbleweed. Some of them are excited but one particular girl isn’t too happy there’s a new baby.

Tommy Can't Stop! by Tim Federle, Illustrated by Mark Fearing [***]

Tommy Can’t Stop! by Tim Federle, Illustrated by Mark Fearing [***]


Released April 14, 2015! This may be my first 2015 book I’ve read! I’ll review it closer to the publication date but this is by two people whose works I like!

My U titles:

Uni the Unicorn by Amy Krouse Rosenthal, Illustrated by Brigette Barrager [**]

Uni the Unicorn by Amy Krouse Rosenthal, Illustrated by Brigette Barrager [**]


This has been one of our bestselling titles in the store. We had a diorama based on it and I should have taken a picture of it. A cute story about a unicorn who believes girls exist and other unicorns telling him they’re imaginary.

Uncle Bobby's Wedding by Sarah S. Brannen [**]

Uncle Bobby’s Wedding by Sarah S. Brannen [**]


I like that the issue is that the girl is worried she won’t be the center of her uncle’s universe once he gets married.

My V title:

 The Velveteen Rabbit by Margery Williams, Illustrated by William Nicholson [***]

The Velveteen Rabbit by Margery Williams, Illustrated by William Nicholson [***]


I was going to save this for my Must Read in 2015 challenge. A sweet story about a toy wanting to be real.

 

Celebrate This Week- November 21, 2014

Thanks to Ruth Ayers of Discover. Play. Build. for creating this meme!

Thanks to Ruth Ayers of Discover. Play. Build. for creating this meme!

This week I’m celebrating more #Instagrateful days and focusing on a couple of stand-out moments!

On Tuesday, I got to go to a very unique art exhibit put on by a bank- BY A BANK! Exhibit: Growth is an interactive and immersive experience involving motion activated sensors ending with the message: You are a force of nature. People were lining up to enter the geodesic dome (I like to call it an igloo) and have a go at it. Umpqua Bank thought of everything to make everyone feel taken care of. There were heat lamps outside and staff offering coffee. While the correlation between art and banking is still unclear to me, it’s because of their thoughtfulness that I’ve banked with them for so long!

Also on Tuesday, my roommate and I watched Billy Elliot: The Musical Live. Even though it was watching it in a theater screen, the whole thing was incredible and spectacular. My favorite stage musical performance after Wicked! (I also love the movie!)

Wednesday we had our Family Book Club at work. We discussed Rosanne Parry’s Heart of a Shepherd.

Heart of a ShepherdHeart of a Shepherd by Rosanne Parry
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

“We were blown away by Heart of a Shepherd! It is so beautiful and heart wrenching!” This was part of an email I got from a mother who attends our Family Book Club with her daughter. Indeed, it’s one of those books that will get you emotional.

Right off the bat, I was sucked into this unfamiliar world of ranching and military-family life I normally wouldn’t have read. Brother was such a noble character, seemingly too good at times but actually very realistic considering everything he’s dealing with. This is another novel where grandparents have played a major part in a child’s life and I’m grateful for books like these.

It’s a coming of age novel that’s unlike anything I’ve ever read. And I knew I wanted to discuss this with other readers so that’s why I picked it for our Family Book Club. It was a real treat for everyone- including me- to have Rosanne Parry join us and give us her insight about her book.

She also shared some of the writing and publishing process. I loved her quote of “looking for trouble” when she writes her books. She even brought her manuscript for the new novel she’s working on. Oh, she also brought some ranching related props and I got lassoed by her!

View all my reviews

I've never been lassoed by an author before!

I’ve never been lassoed by an author before!

What are you celebrating this week?

 

Nonfiction Picture Book Challenge Wednesday #46

The Nonfiction Picture Book Challenge is hosted by Alyson over at Kid Lit Frenzy.

The Nonfiction Picture Book Challenge is hosted by Alyson over at Kid Lit Frenzy.

I am so glad I discovered the Amazing Animals series! Lots of information but not too much text to make things overwhelming for young readers. There’s also definitions on the bottom of some pages to clarify some terms they may not be familiar with. The photographs will captivate them as well. What sets this series apart is the short folktale about each animal found at the end of each book explaining an animal’s noticeable feature.

 

What Are You Reading? (121) #IMWAYR – November 16, 2014

Thanks to Book Journey for starting this whole thing!

Thanks to Book Journey for starting this whole thing!

Thanks also to Teach Mentor Texts and Unleashing Readers for their focus on Children’s Literature of this meme!

Thanks also to Teach Mentor Texts and Unleashing Readers for their focus on Children’s Literature of this meme!

Please like The Chronicles Of A Children's Book Writer Facebook page!

Please like The Chronicles Of A Children’s Book Writer Facebook page!

If you’re on Twitter, don’t forget to use the hashtag #IMWAYR when sharing your link!

***Apparently, I’ve accidentally deleted a lot of my book reviews on my blog through incorrectly editing captions for multiple posts.***

We had a couple of great readings at our store. The first one was by storyteller Aubrey Davis known for his retellings of Jewish stories.

I wasn’t sure what to expect when I first read his books but they were delightful. They had lessons but weren’t heavy handed with them at all. A Hen for Izzy Pippik seemed to be the most traditional (in the sense of a story) about a girl finding a hen and keeping it safe for when- not if- the owner comes back. Before she knows it, the whole town is crowded with chickens. My favorite of the three books I read was Bagels for Benny about a boy thinking of thanking God by giving him bagfuls of bagels. What made this great was that it had a strong story, a powerful message, I learned a little something I didn’t know beforehand, and the illustrations were good. The Enormous Potato is a story about working together and it’s super silly which would be a hit during storytime. It was interesting to hear how he originally intended to tell the tale.

The second author we had in the store this past week was Mark Fearing who read his latest picture book.

The Great Thanksgiving Escape by Mark Fearing [***]

The Great Thanksgiving Escape
by Mark Fearing [***]


I’ve become such a fan of his work and I’ve mentioned it to him that the books he’s both written and illustrated himself are my favorites. This is one of them. He offers a slice of funny kid’s perspective in this holiday story.

Another cool thing that happened was I got to meet a fellow blogger- Lorna of Not for Lunch- who was in Portland and decided to stop by. I wish I had more time to talk books to her -and her being a Book Fairy!- but we were (thankfully!) busy with customers!

This week, I posted:

-Nonfiction Picture Book Challenge Wednesday- Read my reviews for:

-Celebrate This Week- This week, I’m celebrating gratefulness.

-Picture Book Month Reading Challenge: Part 2- Read my reviews for:

The Extraordinary Mr. Qwerty by Karla Strambini [**]

The Extraordinary Mr. Qwerty by Karla Strambini [**]


A nice addition to all the picture books that have been released recently about ideas and creativity with this one tackling the issue of not worrying about what others might think because others may be thinking up things they’re afraid of sharing as well.

Neil Patrick Harris: Choose Your Own AutobiographyNeil Patrick Harris: Choose Your Own Autobiography by Neil Patrick Harris
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Neil Patrick Harris is someone who I feel is a good role model not just to gay males or actors or parents or magicians but to anyone. I tend to watch his Tony Awards opening numbers just to cheer me up sometimes. He’s always come off as extremely talented and curious and funny and generous. The format of this autobiography is Choose Your Own Adventures style when you can jump from story to story (as Neil Patrick Harris)with some of them ending in your untimely demise! It sounds gimmicky especially with magic tricks and drink recipes and guest celebrity essays thrown into the mix but it was an absolute delight. Of course, as an audiobook, it didn’t have the choices available in print format but I think it worked better if you wanted a more linear storytelling style. Worth a read- or listen- to!

View all my reviews

David Sedaris: Live at Carnegie Hall/Live for Your Listening Pleasure (Audio CD)David Sedaris: Live at Carnegie Hall/Live for Your Listening Pleasure by David Sedaris
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

This is a double collection of audio books that will guarantee to make you laugh out loud. David Sedaris is a just a brilliant hilarious man.

View all my reviews

You Have to Fucking EatYou Have to Fucking Eat by Adam Mansbach
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

Not as bad as I thought it would be. It was my first time listening to an audiobook version of a picture book. Luckily, the previews of the pages I saw on online were not to my taste so not seeing them might have been better!

View all my reviews

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The Year of the Fortune CookieThe Year of the Fortune Cookie by Andrea Cheng
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I liked this book more than I thought I would. Even without having read the previous two titles, I didn’t feel I was missing out on any important plot points. I do want to continue reading the series, though. These books would be perfect for the Ivy and Bean readers featuring a more diverse cast of characters and slightly weightier topics like cultural identity and adoption.

View all my reviews

Rain ReignRain Reign by Ann M. Martin
My rating: 1 of 5 stars

Unfortunately, this book rang false to me. I wanted to like Rose because she liked lists, prime numbers, and navigating proper ways to communicate with others. The book seemed false. I didn’t like reading it.

View all my reviews

My P titles:

Pirate, Viking & Scientist by Jared Chapman [***]

Pirate, Viking & Scientist by Jared Chapman [***]


A fun story about friendship with a scientific twist. This will appeal to many readers. I hope there’ll be more books featuring this trio!

Play with your Food by David G. Derrick Jr. [**]

Play with your Food by David G. Derrick Jr. [**]


A lizard tries to avoid being lunch by convincing his captor to play with his food.

Expect reviews for these books during Wednesday’s Nonfiction Picture Book Challenge post:

Rating Scale
*= It was OK
**= Liked it
***= Recommended
****= Highly Recommended
*****= Favorite

This week has been crazy busy. I’m hoping to get back into reading lots of CYBILS books and our pick for the Family Book Club which meets on Wednesday.

Have a great reading week!

 

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Picture Book Month Reading Challenge- Part 2

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I’m celebrating Picture Book Month by reading at least one picture book a day, and going down the alphabet!

Part 1 of this series can be found here.

Nonfiction titles from E and F can be found here. I reviewed:

My H and I books can be found here. I reviewed:

***Apparently, I’ve accidentally deleted a lot of my book reviews on my blog through incorrectly editing captions for multiple posts.***

My J title:

Jack by Tomie dePaola [**]

Jack by Tomie dePaola [**]


This would make for a fun read aloud with all the parade of different animals a boy meets on his way to see the king. The end could have been stronger.

My K title:

Kiss Good Night by Amy Hest, Illustrated by Anita Jeram [**]

Kiss Good Night by Amy Hest, Illustrated by Anita Jeram [**]


I thought I would like this sweet story more than I actually did.

My L titles:


Little Owl explores the world around him in these books. Beautiful illustrations.

Leaves by David Ezra Stein [**]

Leaves by David Ezra Stein [**]


A cute story about a bear worried when the leaves started to fall and trying to put them back.

 The Lonely Typewriter by Peter Ackerman, Max Dalton [**]

The Lonely Typewriter by Peter Ackerman, Max Dalton [**]


I loved the culturally diverse family depicted here. I ended up selling this to a teacher right away. He thought this would be great for kids to see technology has evolved over the years. I can’t believe typewriters have become retro!

My M titles:

Maple & Willow Together by Lori Nichols [**]

Maple & Willow Together by Lori Nichols [**]


I don’t think this sequel was as strong as the first book. I appreciate the realistic portrayal of close siblings and I’m sure there’ll be some kids tickled by the new “language” used.

The Mouse Mansion by Karina Schaapman [**]

The Mouse Mansion by Karina Schaapman [**]


I was impressed by the dedication and artistry that this surely required. I’m sure there are lots more stories to tell. Reminds me of Maggie Rudy’s books, The House that Mouse Built and I Wish I Had a Pet.

My N titles:

The Nuts: Bedtime at the Nut House by Eric Litwin, Scott Magoon [*]

The Nuts: Bedtime at the Nut House by Eric Litwin, Scott Magoon [*]


I thought the Pete the Cat books were suffering because of Eric Litwin handing the reins to James Dean and his wife and not having sings in them but this was as bad as those books.

Noni the Pony by Alison Lester [*]

Noni the Pony by Alison Lester [*]


This started out fine but became pointless by the end.

My O titles:

Oliver Button Is a Sissy by Tomie dePaola  [***]

Oliver Button Is a Sissy by Tomie dePaola [***]


I’d been meaning to read this book and am so glad I finally did. What a wonderful story of accepting one’s difference. It’s such an important lesson to teach others to be more understanding of people who aren’t the same as them. It’s a delightful mix of the film and musical Billy Elliot and Tim Federle’s Nate books.

Expect a review of the following book during next week’s Nonfiction Picture Book Challenge post:

Amazing Animals: Owls by Valerie Bodden [***]

Amazing Animals: Owls by Valerie Bodden [***]

 

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Celebrate This Week- November 14, 2014

Thanks to Ruth Ayers of Discover. Play. Build. for creating this meme!

Thanks to Ruth Ayers of Discover. Play. Build. for creating this meme!

This week I’m celebrating gratefulness. Here are my #Instagrateful posts from the past week.

What are you celebrating this week?

 
 
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