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#IMWAYR – February 7, 2016

This week, I posted:

Nonfiction Picture Book Challenge Wednesday– Read my reviews for:

Celebrate This Week– This week, I’m celebrating unexpected occurrences.

Ballet Cat: Dance! Dance! Underpants!Ballet Cat: Dance! Dance! Underpants! by Bob Shea
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
Silly and fun follow-up to what I hope will be an ongoing series for years to come!
View all my reviews

Fancy Nancy: Saturday Night SleepoverFancy Nancy: Saturday Night Sleepover by Jane O’Connor
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
I felt this was a stronger addition to the series tackling themes kids can relate to and adults would appreciate they can talk about. I like Fancy Nancy because she is a girly girl. Sometimes we can sell a book just by the amount of glitter on the cover! But the books also teach vocabulary and facing one’s fears.
View all my reviews

Dill & Bizzy: An Odd Duck and a Strange BirdDill & Bizzy: An Odd Duck and a Strange Bird by Nora Ericson
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
We had the author and illustrator, sister-duo, Nora and Lisa Ericson, at our store for their release party for their picture book. A fun story of different personalities and stepping out of one’s perceived box to become friends. There’s a sequel coming out next January. And I was really impressed by how many people came and I wish them all the best with this book!
View all my reviews

Hello, My Name Is OcticornHello, My Name Is Octicorn by Kevin Diller
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
“Half unicorn, half octopus, half confused.”

I loved recommending this book to our customers when I first heard about it a couple years ago. Back then it was just self-published. And, now it’s going to have a major publication release in May 24th. It’s a laugh-out-loud story about individuality. The new version has touches of color instead of just the original black and white.
View all my reviews

Snappsy the Alligator (Did Not Ask to Be in This Book)Snappsy the Alligator by Julie Falatko
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
Fun! Fun! Fun! This is a day in the life of Snappsy the Alligator who becomes the unwilling subject of a picture book. Forced to defend his character and to throw a party to liven the story up, readers will delight in this wacky tale.
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A Crow of His OwnA Crow of His Own by Megan Dowd Lambert
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
I read this because I found out this was an Ezra Jack Keats Book Award honor for New Writer. Full of puns and with a great message of stepping out of someone’s shadow to shine a spotlight on your own talents, this would make for a great read-aloud.

To see the winners and honors: http://www.ezra-jack-keats.org/press-…
View all my reviews

The Key to ExtraordinaryThe Key to Extraordinary by Natalie Lloyd
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
The Key to Extraordinary is my first #mustread #mglit of 2016. Wow. Just wow. Full review soon.
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Presumed Puzzled (Puzzle Lady #17)Presumed Puzzled by Parnell Hall
My rating: 2 of 5 stars
Every year, I look forward to a new Puzzle Lady mystery. I love the wordplay and the characters. But when the story gets too convoluted even by this series’ standard and when the puzzles have no relevance then it’s no longer fun. Cora, in particular, is becoming too tiresome. I hope the series ends soon- maybe book 20?
View all my reviews

mustreadin2016challenge

Lord Edgware Dies (Hercule Poirot, #9)Lord Edgware Dies by Agatha Christie
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
All my favorite characters (Poirot, Hasting, and Japp) are back in this delightful and genius mystery.
View all my reviews

[***] I’m officially hooked on this series! Building on the the existing relationships and past storylines, we follow Aang and his friends as they battle outside forces and within their group. Lots of surprises and great messages about preserving past traditions and present day concerns as well as environmental impact without it being too preachy. I’m glad I wait until I have the books all at once because I just end up devouring the whole series. I even want to check out the animated series.

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

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!

Have a great reading week!

 

Celebrations #CelebrateLU- February 5, 2016

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 unexpected occurrences.

On Monday, there was apparently some sort of Scavenger Hunt going on in which couples come to the store pretending to be customers, stay awhile, and leave with no intention of buying any of the books I help them find. They’ll also ask if I’ve ever been to a certain foreign country. By the fourth couple, I had no patience. I had work to do and I couldn’t be bothered babysitting them. I ranted on my personal page and mentioned that if some organization was going to do some Scavenger Hunt they should inform the businesses and maybe ask their participants to buy something.

On Wednesday, we got this thoughtful apology note from the company/people who I mentioned on Monday. I was surprised and impressed by their action because it shows they understand. I don’t know how they knew about it (probably by my attitude and my facial expression) but I appreciated it!

apology

On Thursday, I was invited to come to a critique group and talk about books and bookselling. One of them was a regular customer and I’m easily flattered people would think I was knowledgeable enough for them to pick my brains, so I said yes. I hoped I was able to help them in any way. I definitely tried pointing them to the right direction by mentioning the CYBILS, Nerdy Book Club, We Need Diverse Books, and the #IMWAYR meme, as things to know about.

Somehow or other, I ended up reading my picture book and I’m so grateful for the reactions I got. I can’t wait to send it out and have people read it!

What are you celebrating this week?

 

Nonfiction Picture Book Challenge #NFPB2016 #107

nfpb2016

I’ve been on a nonfiction picture book kick recently. I’m sharing some of the books this week and saving some for the next two weeks when I’m away on vacation.

Dr. Seuss: The Great DoodlerDr. Seuss: The Great Doodler by Kate Klimo
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

A brief biography of one of my Creative Heroes. Hopefully readers will end up wanting to read more about Seuss but I appreciate this introduction to him and the fact they tried to make it more interesting by including rare artwork.

View all my reviews

Freedom in Congo SquareFreedom in Congo Square by Carole Boston Weatherford
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Told in verse, this is a celebration of the human spirit to still find reasons to laugh and play, dance and make music. I would think it’s necessary to do so to endure and to have hope. The back matter includes more information about the place and a glossary.

View all my reviews

Frederick's Journey: The Life of Frederick DouglassFrederick’s Journey: The Life of Frederick Douglass by Doreen Rappaport
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

WOW! It’s absolutely humbling to read about Frederick Douglass. He didn’t let anything get in the way of bettering himself and making sure the world was not the unfair place he was born into but a place where everyone was treated equal. I definitely need to check out his autobiography.

The illustrations were incredible as well.

And, I didn’t realize Doreen Rappaport’s amazing biographies were part of her Big Words series. I’ll definitely read them all!

View all my reviews

 

#IMWAYR – January 31, 2016

This week, I posted:

New Releases: Read my review for:

Nonfiction Picture Book Challenge Wednesday– Read my reviews for:

Celebrate This Week– This week, I’m celebrating a couple of book events. Also, read my reviews for:

I love it when authors and illustrators randomly stop by the store!* Today it was Salina Yoon who signed her books including Be a Friend, which is my first favorite picture book of 2016! She was super friendly and had some interesting insights about her books. What’s your favorite Salina Yoon book?

(*Actually, I don’t like being surprised. I love it when they introduce themselves and if we actually have their books in stock and if I’ve read- and preferably, enjoyed- their books! Luckily, I knew she was coming in advance- and all the other criteria were met!)

Guess Again!Guess Again! by Mac Barnett
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
This has been super popular during a couple of story times. The absurd answers really tickle grown-ups’ funny bones!
View all my reviews

ABC DreamABC Dream by Kim Krans
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
This ABC picture book may not be text heavy but the illustrations are fun and readers will enjoy figuring out all the things that start with each letter.
View all my reviews

Read Anything Good Lately?Read Anything Good Lately? by Susan Allen
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
An alphabet book about different kinds of things you can read.
View all my reviews

In a Village by the SeaIn a Village by the Sea by Muon Van
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
Lush artwork with lyrical writing makes this a perfect read-aloud. I like the touch of whimsy. It reminded me a little bit of Ponyo.
View all my reviews

The White GoblinThe White Goblin by Ul De Rico
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
Two decades after The Rainbow Goblin comes this sequel which is visually more breathtaking than the first. This would actually go perfect with other Earth Day books because of its message.
View all my reviews

The Thing About JellyfishThe Thing About Jellyfish by Ali Benjamin

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I actually read this in 2015 but despite my Goodreads account, my Excel spreadsheet, and my blog, somehow I didn’t put up a review of it. I checked my older notebooks to see if I wrote one down but couldn’t find one.

I remembered liking it fine. It was one of those “heavy books of 2015” where death drove the story forward. When her best friend dies, the girl tries to learn everything about jellyfish to come to terms with it.

View all my reviews

Anna and the Swallow ManAnna and the Swallow Man by Gavriel Savit
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
It seems any book aimed for kids set during WWII is quickly compared to The Book Thief.

This received early buzz at our store and with its beautiful writing and interesting premise, I saw why. I’m not a big fan of historical fiction but the magical realism thrown in fascinated me. In fact, I could have used more of the latter.

I felt the characters and the story didn’t live up to their full potential. Maybe I needed to take some time to analyze the book more to fully get it but I didn’t really want to work that hard.

This is definitely for older kids.
View all my reviews

I would also recommend another of her short non-fiction work of which I’m also including my review.

How Reading Changed My LifeHow Reading Changed My Life by Anna Quindlen
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
I can’t believe how far I’ll travel to go to a library- even though there’s one less than half an hour’s walk away from where I live. They may all be set up the same way (Dewey decimal, by subject, by author’s last name in alphabetical order) but some of the books are different. It’s amazing what I’ll find to read by browsing through the rows that I wouldn’t normally run across had I just been using the computerized library catalog- a book I didn’t even want to read (or even know existed) until I saw it. Anna Quindlen’s “How Reading Changed My Life” was a book like that. Published in 1998 as part of the Library of Contemporary Thought series, this very thin book is pretty much just an extended essay on her thoughts on books and reading. Of course, I knew of her (as the writer of “One True Thing”) but reading her words on those subjects was like finding a kindred spirit of sorts. Anyone who considers themselves a reader will surely enjoy this book as much as I had- a light, pleasurable way to pass the time. (There are even lists of recommended books at the end.)
View all my reviews

dang

I also read Dan Gemeinhart’s bonus short story from The Honest Truth. Read “Beau’s Lost Chapter” only on the Nerdy Book Club.  Told from a dog’s point of view, this tear-jerker tale will appreciate the bond between owner and pet. I’m not an animal lover at all but this got me.

mustreadin2016challenge

[***]  This is the series I wanted to get into. The first trilogy I read wasn’t as addicting as I hoped. But, now, knowing the characters, I actually cared about the story. With a mysterious mother’s past playing a huge role and brother and sister relationships taking center stage, I was hooked. Lots of action to keep readers turning the pages.

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

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!

Have a great reading week!

 

Celebrations #CelebrateLU- January 29, 2016

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 a couple of literary events.

Family Book Club

guineadog.jpg

I really enjoyed Patrick Jenning’s Guinea Dog more than I thought I would. I normally wouldn’t have read this since it looked like a fluff read about a flurry fur ball. But it’s more than that. It’s perfect for kids 7 and up because the character goes through things lots of kids that age (range) go through. Jennings perfectly captured the thoughts running through a kid’s head. It’s funny and somehow deep at the same time as the main character tries to figure out who he is in terms of his family, his friends, his classmates, and his pet who isn’t a dog but acts like one.

guineadog1.5

I ended up reading the holiday short story (only available online) “A Very Merry Guinea Dog” as well. A cute addition to the series in which there are two other novels.

We were fortunate enough to have Patrick Jennings come to our Family Book Club. There was a young boy who was a super fan of Patrick Jennings and in his own terms was a “pro-reader!” The boy also had great story ideas and it was great to see an author encourage that and even share some advice. I hope they stay in touch! I love being a bookseller!

We Need Diverse Books

I attended a “Diversity and Inclusion in Young Adult and Children’s Literature” panel put on by Portland State University’s Ooligan Press. I loved that this was being discussed since it’s such an important popular topic right now in the publishing industry and just showed how much more needs to be done. By talking about it, asking what we can do so diversity becomes more mainstream and hopefully not seen as just a trend, and actually doing things to promote further initiatives or encourage more publications of such books, it becomes something we’re aware of. I think it has to be continually talked up and talked about because we’re easily lured into a false sense of victory whenever there’s a speech or a march or a movement or a day-of proclamation. Those should be considered success markers and not the big win.

But back on point, there were so many thoughtful and insightful ideas shared. Reading widely (“reading without walls”) and to buy and to borrow diverse books shows the publishing industry that that’s what people want and can still be profitable. As a bookseller, I feel I can step up my game and make more of an effort to recommend books with diverse characters. I hope everyone who attended had some takeaways that they can put into words and actions as well.

And, unrelated to any book events, I wanted to give a shout-out of Jen of Teach Mentor Texts for sending me a card! I love getting cards- and I got two this past week.

cards.jpg

What are you celebrating this week?

 

Nonfiction Picture Book Challenge #NFPB2016 #106

nfpb2016

8: An Animal Alphabet8: An Animal Alphabet by Elisha Cooper
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
This beautifully illustrated picture book features animals from A to Z. Readers will enjoy the “I spy” aspect of it. Also includes fun facts for each animal.
View all my reviews

Jemmy ButtonJemmy Button by Alix Barzelay
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
Based on a true story of a young boy taken from his island home to be raised in Victorian England. I wished there were more or that it went deeper but that probably wouldn’t be suited for kids. Imagine the unnecessary fear and confusion this boy suffered for the sake of this experiment.

Unique illustrations style.
View all my reviews

Electrical Wizard: How Nikola Tesla Lit Up the WorldElectrical Wizard: How Nikola Tesla Lit Up the World by Elizabeth Rusch
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Absolutely fascinating book about a boy whose imagination and curiosity led him to invent many things that we still use today. I liked that it touched upon his successes and failures, and his rivalry with Thomas Edison! Extensive additional info can be found at the end of the book.
View all my reviews

 

New Releases: January 26, 2016

This one is for the Holms!

Board books to introduce the youngest readers to comics and the storytelling. Simple storylines and cute illustrations will hopefully appeal to customers

Comics Squad #2: Lunch!Comics Squad #2: Lunch! by Matthew Holm
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
I was a huge fan of the first Comics Squad anthology. And I was glad that this will be a series.

My favorites in this collection were:
-Jason Shiga’s choose your own adventure- I’ve been wanting to read Meanwhile and this was definitely made me move it up my list. I got to admit though, I don’t think I completely understood it, especially after the time loop.
-Nathan Hale’s nonfiction tale
-The cute how to draw Babymouse segment

It was nice to see familiar characters and this is such a fun way to try new out new authors and illustrators!
View all my reviews

 
 
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