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Nonfiction Picture Book Challenge Wednesday #77

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Dirty Rats?Dirty Rats? by Darrin P Lunde
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I’m in the camp that think rats are gross but, while not completely changing my mind, this picture book provided some new insights about their usefulness and their role in the circle of life. They are actually quite fascinating.

View all my reviews

Whales (Amazing Animals)Whales by Kate Riggs
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

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. In this one, it tells a story of why New Zealanders rode whales.

View all my reviews

Sea Lions (Amazing Animals)Sea Lions by Kate Riggs
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

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. In this one, it tells a story of why Japan respects sea lions.

View all my reviews

 

Reading Resolutions: June Update

With so many Reading Challenges out there, I figured keeping a monthly update on the ones I’m participating in will be a great way to keep track of my progress!

Diverse Books Goal: 52 books– 4 more books read this month for a total of 46. I’m planning to reach my goal by end of July!
-Mirror by Jeannie Baker
-Stella Brings the Family by Miriam B. Schiffer, Illustrated by Holly Clifton-Brown
-Al Capone Does My Shirts by Gennifer Choldenko

-Stonewall: Breaking Out in the Fight for Gay Rights by Ann Bausum

Nonfiction Picture Book 2015 Goal: 104 books– 12 more books read this month for a total of 52. I didn’t realize I was falling behind so I made sure to be at the halfway point; Read reviews here, here, here, and here.

To Be Read 2015/ Must Read in 2015– Only 1 more book read this month for a total of 37. Even with an increased goal of 56, I think I’m doing great; Click on link to see which ones I’ve read!

My Most Favorite Favorites
– I added one more title to my list.
Circus Mirandus by Cassie Beasley

Reading Snapshot

299 Books Read in 2015
6 Adult Fiction
7 Adult Non-Fiction
9 Graphic Novels
61 Middle Readers
203 Picture Books
13 Young Adult

Readings & Literary Events
-State of Giving Book Launch
-Family Book Club

How are your Reading Resolutions going?

 

What Are You Reading? (152) #IMWAYR – June 28, 2015

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 Endings.

If an Elephant Went to School by Ellen Fischer, Illustrated by Laura Wood

If an Elephant Went to School by Ellen Fischer, Illustrated by Laura Wood


[***] I forgot to include this last week. A charming companion to their If An Armadillo Went to a Restaurant this time asking what animals would do in school and answering with some special skill they do.

Once Upon a Cloud by Claire Keane

Once Upon a Cloud by Claire Keane


[***] At first, I was hesitant to read this picture book because the illustrations, while beautiful, seemed too polish. But it is a sweet story of a little girl looking for the present for her mom.

Ninja Bunny by Jennifer Gray Olson

Ninja Bunny by Jennifer Gray Olson


[***] A bunny shares his rules to become a ninja but he reconsiders when he meets a formidable obstacle.

Templeton Gets His Wish by Greg Pizzoli

Templeton Gets His Wish by Greg Pizzoli


[**] Templeton Gets His Wish- Another one of those “Be Careful What You Wish For” plots which I don’t really like since nothing really changes. It’s one thing to be grateful for what you have. It’s another to have to put up with things when you shouldn’t have to.

Squid Kid the Magnificent by Lynne Berry, Illustrated by Luke LaMarca

Squid Kid the Magnificent by Lynne Berry, Illustrated by Luke LaMarca


[**] I felt like this picture book had unnecessary fold-out pages. But it’s a cute sibling story.

To the Sea by Cale Atkinson

To the Sea by Cale Atkinson


[***] I loved the color scheme and cutesy illustrations and had high hopes for the book. I was fine with the message of friendship but the ending could have been better.

Beastly Bones (Jackaby, #2)Beastly Bones by William Ritter
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Quick Twitter Review:

Finished Beastly Bones by @Willothewords! Jackaby is my current fave #yalit series. Smart supernatural fun. Read it!

And so the problem is BB doesn’t come out til Sept so I have to wait even longer for the next book! Such is a reader’s life!

View all my reviews

Book ScavengerBook Scavenger by Jennifer Chambliss Bertman
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Literary puzzles. Codes. Lots of book fun. Some of the things I love in a story- and all set in San Francisco. Fans of Escape from Mr. Lemoncello’s Library will enjoy this mystery where book scavengers roam the city to uncover hidden tomes. But there’s one book that someone is willing to go to great lengths to get!

I also love that one can go to http://bookscavenger.com/ to hide or seek their own book.

View all my reviews

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Better Than Before: Mastering the Habits of Our Everyday LivesBetter Than Before: Mastering the Habits of Our Everyday Lives by Gretchen Rubin
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Better than Before offered a lot of A-ha moments. The fact I find myself agreeing with Gretchen Rubin more often than not is like living vicariously through her. She applies her research to her life and shares her experiences in a conversational manner that’s accessible.

View all my reviews
My Pick of the Week

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

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!

Have a great reading week!

 

Celebrate This Week- June 26, 2015

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 Endings.

This summer is going to be one of Endings and Beginnings for me. As I’ve mentioned before, I will be moving to a new place in about a couple of weeks. And it just happened to coincide with other things I’ve decided to stop doing.

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Last Saturday was my last day volunteering at the library where I’d spent most Saturday mornings pulling patrons holds off the shelves and scanning them through. The staff there have been super nice particularly the past few times I’ve been there so I’m going to miss that.

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And, as I’ve also mentioned before, my term as a Friends of the Multnomah County Library board ends this month. During the Annual Meeting where we say goodbye to the outgoing crew and vote in the incoming batch, I got these nice flowers. And people said some nice things during our farewells. I’m going to miss the relationships I’ve created with them.

This past Wednesday, I attended my last event as a board member. For the third year, we had a Books for Beer fundraiser at a local pub (with two locations.) We had a book drive and mini book sale. And, people can get a free drink with a book donation. (Kids had root beer with their donation.) It was so fun talking to other book lovers especially those who had no problem supporting the library by buying books, signing up for a membership, or just ordering food and drinks there (since the pub was donating a portion of that day’s proceeds to us.) It was definitely a great way to end things.

And, with volunteering there that night, I exceeded my 50-hour goal! I’m still going to be volunteering at other places, of course.

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But, to top things off, some of the board members decided to throw me a going away party. There were delicious food and kind words.

Someone wrote, “I do want to thank you for your unwavering support of FOL and for all the hours and work you’ve given to bring FOL into the current century. Streamlining the newsletter, initiating Mailchimp, hosting new events, and changing up how we communicate have been huge for FOL.” And, of course, I had to tell them that it was teamwork. All the successes we had was because we worked together.

It feels nice to have happy endings to pave ways to new beginnings and new adventures.

Found these glasses while packing for my move and listening to Elton John.

Found these glasses while packing for my move and listening to Elton John.

My Audio/Video Pick of the Week is my favorite Elton John song.

What are you celebrating this week?

 

Nonfiction Picture Book Challenge Wednesday #76

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Rachel Carson and Her Book That Changed the WorldRachel Carson and Her Book That Changed the World by Laurie Lawlor
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

A good introduction to someone whose influence can be seen and felt to this day but it definitely left me wanting more.

View all my reviews

EmuEmu by Claire Saxby
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

If the gorgeous illustrations doesn’t make you want to browse this book, I don’t know what will. The story of the male emu who guards the eggs and protects and raises the chicks until they’re old enough is complimented with facts throughout the book.

View all my reviews

Mesmerized: How Ben Franklin Solved a Mystery that Baffled All of FranceMesmerized: How Ben Franklin Solved a Mystery that Baffled All of France by Mara Rockliff
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Science has never been as fun as this book with its story of Ben Franklin trying to uncover why people in France have been acting peculiar after meeting a certain Dr. Mesmer. Only the scientific method can reveal the answer. The visual presentation and the illustrations are fun.

View all my reviews

Where Does Kitty Go in the Rain?Where Does Kitty Go in the Rain? by Harriet Ziefert
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I was avoiding this book for the longest time since I thought it was going to be a cute-sy book about a cat. (I don’t like animals.) Even though it was, it was also about nature, which I don’t particularly like either. What is rain? Which animals and insects like the rain? These and other questions are answered side by side with the story (told in verse) of a girl looking for her pet cat. Classroom activities are included in the back. I enjoy any book that can mix fun with facts.

View all my reviews

Panda KindergartenPanda Kindergarten by Joanne Ryder
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

This is a look in what a typical day looks like for sixteen panda cubs at the China Conservation and Research Center for the Giant Panda at the Wolong Nature Preserve. Simple texts with accompanying photographs- and its cute subjects- will make this a fun read. Possible discussions might include endangered and threatened species and what we can do to save them.

View all my reviews

 

What Are You Reading? (151) #IMWAYR – June 21, 2015

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:

The Wonder of Wonder– Read my reviews for:

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Celebrate This Week– This week, I’m celebrating kindness. I highly encourage everyone to participate in this weekly reflection. It reminds us there is good and there is love when bad and hateful things happen in the world.

LGBT Book Drive– 17 donors from 4 states. Over $320 raised to buy 47 books to donate!
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Something Extraordinary by Ben Clanton

Something Extraordinary by Ben Clanton


[**] For the life of me, I can’t remember a thing about this picture book and I’d just read it recently. I’m sure it was sweet and cute.

I Yam a Donkey! by Cece Bell

I Yam a Donkey! by Cece Bell


[***] If you’re looking for the next fun read-aloud, this is it! I can’t wait to hear the giggles with this one!

The Night World by Mordicai Gerstein

The Night World by Mordicai Gerstein


[***] There seems to be a string of books not only taking place at night but uses its darkness and shadows as almost another character or component to the story. A nice enough bedtime story.

The Map: A Jackaby Story (Jackaby, #1.5)The Map: A Jackaby Story by William Ritter
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Even though it’s Abigail Rook’s birthday, readers are the ones who get a gift with this novella featuring our intrepid adventure, her boss- the supernaturally gifted Jackaby, a treasure map, goblins, and vegetables. A smart move for fans of this smart, spooky series until the next installment comes out!

View all my reviews

Stonewall: Breaking Out in the Fight for Gay RightsStonewall: Breaking Out in the Fight for Gay Rights by Ann Bausum
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Stonewall, a nonfiction book intended for a teenage audience, is an informative look into an important part not only in gay history but American history as well. It details the corruption and the causes of the infamous riots, noting the key players and events that would spark a revolution. It includes a note from the Author sharing her story why she wrote this. With all the news involving gay rights, it’s an exciting look at how far we’ve come and what’s possible ahead.

The audio book is narrated by Tim Federle, author of Better Nate than Ever.

View all my reviews

With Deborah Hopkinson for our Family Book Club with amazing mother/daughter customers!

With Deborah Hopkinson for our Family Book Club with amazing mother/daughter customers!

(I’ve started to keep an album of Authors I’ve met on this blog’s Facebook page. Click here to see the other pics! And please like that page if you hadn’t already. Thanks!)

One of the great things about our Family Book Club is that authors are sometimes kind enough to join us. Deborah Hopkinson was the most recent author to do so. She was great and provided great insights into her books we normally wouldn’t have known had she not shared those information. I am in awe of how creative she is. She seems to be writing machine!

The Great Trouble: A Mystery of London, the Blue Death, and a Boy Called EelThe Great Trouble: A Mystery of London, the Blue Death, and a Boy Called Eel by Deborah Hopkinson
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

As someone who normally wouldn’t pick a historical fiction novel to read in their spare time, I was glad we chose this one for our Family Book Club. Having read Steven Johnson’s The Ghost Map (and falsely remembering liking it more than I actually did), I enjoyed how Deborah Hopkinson wove facts with fiction incorporating actual characters and events with the made-up struggles of a boy named Eel. I liked the section that discussed the scientific method. This book will definitely make a good choice as a classroom read.

View all my reviews

Apples to Oregon: Being the (Slightly) True Narrative of How a Brave Pioneer Father Brought Apples, Peaches, Pears, Plums, Grapes, and Cherries (and Children) Across the Plains by Deborah Hopkinson, Illustrated by Nancy Carpenter

Apples to Oregon: Being the (Slightly) True Narrative of How a Brave Pioneer Father Brought Apples, Peaches, Pears, Plums, Grapes, and Cherries (and Children) Across the Plains by Deborah Hopkinson, Illustrated by Nancy Carpenter


[****] This tall tale is fun, fun, fun! And, as you may or may not know, I love books with long titles. A family travels westward with the dad bringing along his fruit trees. Misadventures follow them but doesn’t deter them- not when they work together and use their gumption.

Knit Your Bit: A World War I Story by Deborah Hopkinson, Illustrated by Steven Guarnaccia

Knit Your Bit: A World War I Story by Deborah Hopkinson, Illustrated by Steven Guarnaccia


[***] Based on actual events, this is a good story to show kids that every little thing they can do to help those in need matters.

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

Have a great reading week!

 

Celebrate This Week- June 19, 2015

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 kindness.

Yesterday, I wrote about R.J. Palacio’s Wonder and its accompanying books. And it’s hard not to think and talk about kindness after reading any of her words.

This past month has been rather stressful, having to find a new place to move in such a short period of time coming off an almost two-week (and somewhat pricey) vacation.

I’m grateful to have friends who immediately offered to help me. Not to sound sappy or like Oprah but I do feel like angels watch over me not just from above but here with me making my life so much better than I can ever imagine.

(As an update, I do have a new place lined up so that’s one less thing to worry about.)

And I may have shared on here or on Facebook or on Twitter how much I appreciate the customers who come to the bookstore. They are nice and well-read and when they share with us how our book recommendations were spot on or how they love the store and bring their family and friends over, I just want to just have a party and invite them all over to celebrate their awesomeness.

Authors who support their local independent bookstores are incredible people and luckily I get to interact with some of them. Jennifer Coughlin, a Portland author, who wrote The Great Impersonator, is always fun to talk to when she and her son stop by.

The Great Impersonator by Jennifer Coughlin, Illustrated by Catherin Lazar Odell [***]-  I enjoyed this picture book about a boy who likes to imitate other creatures. Great read-aloud and opportunity for kids to mimic the sounds they hear and let their imaginations run wild. The illustrations are wonderful.

The Great Impersonator by Jennifer Coughlin, Illustrated by Catherin Lazar Odell [***]- I enjoyed this picture book about a boy who likes to imitate other creatures. Great read-aloud and opportunity for kids to mimic the sounds they hear and let their imaginations run wild. The illustrations are wonderful.

Jennifer K. Mann did a recent event with us for her recent picture book I Will Never Get a Star on Mrs. Benson’s Blackboard. I’m always impressed by the support authors and illustrators have for their colleagues.

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Shelby Bach, another Portland author who’s final book in her Ever Afters series, Of Enemies and Endings, comes out June 30th, surprised my boss and me by including us in the acknowledgements!

I’m not saying a book is somehow better if my name is included in it… actually I am. Just kidding. But I would highly recommend you visit Shelby’s website and read her books.

Of Giants and IceOf Giants and Ice by Shelby Bach
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I admit I originally had no plans of reading this book when it first came out because I felt “fairy-taled” out but it’s amazing when you’re a local author who shops at your local independent bookstore and the booksellers discover you’ve written some books that fits well with their customer base and you’re nice to them that they end up wanting to promote your book! That’s how I came about to reading this book and I’m so glad I did and that we picked it for our Family Book Club.

Mixing real-life situations (Rory’s parents are divorced and she and mom move around a lot) and fantasy elements (Rory ends up attending a school where they train the students to become characters in fairy tales), populating it with familiar and diverse characters, readers are bound to find something to relate to and enjoy in this first book of the Ever Afters series. Plus, there’s plenty of adventure and a mysterious Destiny to want find out what happens next.

View all my reviews

I attended the Portland launch of a new book, State of Giving: Stories of Oregon Nonprofits, Donors, and Volunteers by Greg Chaillé and Kristin Anderson, whose topic interested me greatly. The authors were there and led a panel with some Portland non-profits. I left the evening feeling inspired. Life is so much better when there’s time dedicated to helping others, of being a service to someone.

GivingCovComps4.indd

The event was held at the Oregon Public House, the first non-profit pub of its kind! It was the perfect venue

I also dropped off the books for the LGBT Book Drive I was holding. You can read about it here.

I can go on but I realized this post is getting quite long. I hope you’ll take time to reflect and share your experiences with kindness.

My Audio/Video Pick of the Week is Jon Stewart’s monologue in regards to the devastating shooting that took place earlier this week in Charleston, South Carolina.

What are you celebrating this week?

 
 
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