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Nonfiction Picture Book Challenge #NFPB2017- July 19, 2017

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Her Right FootHer Right Foot by Dave Eggers
My rating: 4 of 5 stars<
This book is worth your read. Surprising in how it manages to talk about what you know it's going to talk about (the Statue of Liberty) but manages to talk about something relevant and important. I read an unbound advanced copy and I can't wait to see the finished product.
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Shark Lady: The True Story of How Eugenie Clark Became the Ocean's Most Fearless ScientistShark Lady: The True Story of How Eugenie Clark Became the Ocean’s Most Fearless Scientist by Jess Keating
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Another winning nonfiction picture book about someone who was told she couldn’t do what she wanted but not only did she defy them but broke new grounds with her discoveries and paved the way for other female scientists.
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John Lewis in the Lead: A Story of the Civil Rights MovementJohn Lewis in the Lead: A Story of the Civil Rights Movement by James Haskins
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Congressman John Lewis is truly a hero. I was glad I stumbled upon this picture book biography. After reading the March trilogy and Preaching to the Chickens, I was curious to see which events would be repeated and which would be skipped to fit this format. It covered the salient points and I even learned some new incident from his past- the storm at his aunt’s house.

I wasn’t particularly thrilled by the illustrations with this one. Subject matter wise, after reading this, I was extremely pleased to discover this was published by Lee & Low way before the popularity of March. I’m super impressed with their mission and that they manage to accomplish it by the books they put out!

View all my reviews

A Picture Book of Martin Luther King, Jr.A Picture Book of Martin Luther King, Jr. by David A. Adler
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
I thought this was going to be a super dry biography because it was published quite awhile ago but fortunately I was wrong. I mean it wasn’t spectacular but it told the life of a (hopefully, now common) historical figure. I even liked the illustrations.

I would want to read David A. Adler’s other titles in his Picture Book Biography series.
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How a Book Is MadeHow a Book Is Made by Aliki
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Although about three decades old, this glimpse of the publishing industry was fascinating. I appreciated the fact that it depicted it as a long process full of frustration, hard work, dedication, and worthy of celebration once completed.
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A Time to Act: John F. Kennedy's Big SpeechA Time to Act: John F. Kennedy’s Big Speech by Shana Corey
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
I’d been meaning to read this since it came out. I loved the message that even our best intentions sometimes we need to push through to make effective positive changes. We’re all human after all and we may procrastinate and we may want to wait for others to lead the way, but ultimately we have to look inside ourselves when it’s time to act. Here we see a man in probably the most powerful position who had to make tough decisions. He may not have acted in a timelier manner but ultimately he did.

Here’s a link to the speech this book is about: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QilQc…
View all my reviews

 

My Reading Week #IMWAYR- July 16, 2017

I changed the name for my “It’s Monday! What Are You Reading?” posts to “My Reading Week.”

This week, I posted:
-Nonfiction Picture Book Challenge Wednesday

Niko Draws a FeelingNiko Draws a Feeling by Bob Raczka
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
This is a great picture book for all the creative types- both young and old. Seeing the world in a different way may leave you feeling lonely and set apart from others but when you meet a kindred spirit, it’s an amazing feeling.

Don’t give up. Find your team.

Great to pair with Be a Friend by Salina Yoon.
View all my reviews

Chengdu Can DoChengdu Can Do by Barney Saltzberg
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
I enjoyed this more than the first Chengdu book. It’s a fun book to read with toddlers who are just discovering their ability to do things. It’s a nice lesson for them that while they can do many things, there are times they still need help from others. The flaps were a nice addition to the storytelling.
View all my reviews

NowNow by Antoinette Portis
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
A sweet simple book that celebrates enjoying the moment.
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What Does Baby Want?What Does Baby Want? by Tupera Tupera
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
A surprisingly designed book about breastfeeding!
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WishtreeWishtree by Katherine Applegate
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Katherine Applegate manages to write stories that will resonate with both kids and adults. Wishtree is no exception creating a memorable character and an unforgettable story.

Sometimes you can read more into a story than there really is. Sometimes a tree is just a tree even if it’s a wishtree. Sometimes a tree can stand for America and each of us represents a wish tied in its branches. And when the tree is in danger of being torn down or destroyed, we have to do our parts to ensure it remains strong and proud, rooted in its rich and diverse history and branching out in ways that can accommodate a future that we can all call home.
View all my reviews

The Unbreakable Code (Book Scavenger, #2)The Unbreakable Code by Jennifer Chambliss Bertman
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Continuing right after the first Book Scavenger, Emily and James suddenly find themselves into another adventure involving a Mark Twain treasure somewhere in San Francisco. This time, the stakes are higher when there’s a mysterious stranger starting fires where books have been hidden and the two friends find themselves in the middle of helping set up the school dance!

The story may have been a little slow going for my taste but there’s plenty of things going for it that will keep readers turning pages.

I love that the setting was in San Francisco where I grew up and recently visited. It was cool when they mentioned places I’ve been to and I definitely want to check out some other places on a future trip. I liked being able to solve the codes in the book, too. And I can’t wait for the next book in the trilogy!
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New Super-Man, Volume 1: Made in China (New Super-man Rebirth, #1)New Super-Man, Volume 1: Made in China by Gene Luen Yang
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
I’m not much of a fan of traditional superhero comics and I probably wouldn’t have picked this up if it wasn’t written by my favorite graphic novelist ever.

These five collected issues brings something new to a familiar story and offers plenty of character growth, action, and twists to leave me wanting more.
View all my reviews

The Serpent KingThe Serpent King by Jeff Zentner
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
I wasn’t going to read this because I thought it was a YA dystopian novel. Then I wasn’t going to continue reading it because one of the main characters was a moody skinny guy unaware of his attractiveness.

But fortunately, this was the only audiobook that was available to download and I actually enjoyed the story once it got going. Once I could understand why these supposed friends were actual friends in the first place.

But with all YA novels, I get a growing dread I’m hurtling towards a death scene and this was no different. To avoid spoiling anything, I won’t mention if anyone even died or how many or if a piece of fish was involved. You won’t get any spoilers from me.

I was really impressed by the narrators- some more than the others. It was interesting to hear how the characters were voiced when done by other actors. They almost made it seem like the story was written by three different authors which is a major kudos to Jeff Zentner creating such real and distinct characters.

I was surprised by how much I ended up enjoying this novel despite all the problems I had with it. I really hate the title and the whole plot relating to it. I wish that was something else. The book could have ended sooner, too. Oh, and it’s pretty depressing which may be difficult to get through for some people considering how pretty depressing real life can get.

If you want a book to make you think and feel and find someone else who has read it, The Serpent King is for you!
View all my reviews

Review Notes
***= Recommended
****= Highly Recommended
*****= Favorite

You can view all the books I’ve read at my Goodreads page.

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!

 

Nonfiction Picture Book Challenge #NFPB2017- July 12, 2017

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Living in . . . EgyptLiving in . . . Egypt by Chloe Perkins
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Living in… is a series that will introduce beginning readers to kids from around the world. We learn some of the different geographies of the land and some of the major cities. Then, we spend a day in the life of each child from getting to ready for school to the end of the day. In between, we learn a little bit of history and some other facts pertaining to arts, culture, or sports. A page of country facts is included at the end.
View all my reviews

 

My Reading Week #IMWAYR- July 9, 2017

I changed the name for my “It’s Monday! What Are You Reading?” posts to “My Reading Week.”

This week, I posted:
-Summer Resolutions: Summer Update
-My Bookish Travels: San Francisco 2017
-Nonfiction Picture Book Challenge Wednesday

Sparkle BoySparkle Boy by Lesléa Newman
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
I wish I liked this more because we definitely need more books like this and the message is important but the story could definitely have been better.
View all my reviews

Open Me...I'm a Dog!Open Me…I’m a Dog! by Art Spiegelman
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
What a fun find! Find out how this dog became a book in this silly story full of hilarious misadventures!
View all my reviews

The Story I'll TellThe Story I’ll Tell by Nancy Tupper Ling
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
A sweet adoption story that mixes whimsy and magic into the actual tale of how the child came into the adults’ lives.
View all my reviews

Renato and the LionRenato and the Lion by Barbara Dilorenzo
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
A beautiful picture book about a boy and a stone statue of a lion that comes to life one night during World War II. Fantasy is interwoven into a time in history where even art needed protection from the evils of war. Includes fascinating author notes as well.
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Can You Find My Robot's Arm?Can You Find My Robot’s Arm? by Chihiro Takeuchi
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
The illustrations here were stunning. I wish there was a seek-and-find element to this.
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In My Room: A Book of Creativity and ImaginationIn My Room: A Book of Creativity and Imagination by Jo Witek
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
I wish I liked this more because I’m always intrigued when a new book comes out in this series (which is apparently called Growing Hearts). The art is much more appealing than the text. There are some cute moments though.
View all my reviews

LinesLines by Suzy Lee
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Suzy Lee always delivers. And Lines doesn’t disappoint with her signature wordless storytelling style relying on her gorgeous illustrations to take readers into unexpected places!
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Comics Squad #3: Detention!Comics Squad #3: Detention! by Jennifer L. Holm
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
I wish I liked this installment more but it has enough star power to have it be popular with kids. I wasn’t really familiar with some of the contributors’ works so maybe that’s why I didn’t enjoy it as much. And at least one story felt rushed in terms of its artwork but that was probably the style the graphic novelist was going for.
View all my reviews

Review Notes
***= Recommended
****= Highly Recommended
*****= Favorite

You can view all the books I’ve read at my Goodreads page.

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!

 

Nonfiction Picture Book Challenge #NFPB2017- July 5, 2017

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Who Are You?: The Kid's Guide to Gender IdentityWho Are You?: The Kid’s Guide to Gender Identity by Brook Pessin-Whedbee
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
I’d been wanting to read this since I saw it on people’s blogs. I hadn’t come across it until I went on vacation in San Francisco. This is a great picture book to start talking about gender identity to young kids- maybe four years old and up. It has a positive message about being themselves and invites lots of questions. Includes a link of resources in the back as well as an interactive Gender Wheel.
View all my reviews

For additional information, check out their website- Kids Guide to Gender.

 

My Bookish Travels: San Francisco 2017

Contents:
Introduction
Downtown San Francisco
Chronicle Books
Tales of the City tour
Libraries
Other Bookstores
A few words about family

Introduction

One of my grandmas celebrated her 80th birthday late last month so that was a great reason to go back to the city where I grew up- San Francisco! Most of my family on my dad’s side lives there so it was a weekend full of family and fun and food but I also managed to sneak in some bookstore and library visits.

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One of the first things I do before traveling is to pick out the book(s) I want to take with me. This is a hard task because I want it to be something I can enjoy and kind of has to do with the place I’ll be visiting. My take along book was The Unbreakable Code by Jennifer Chambliss Bertman, a middle grade literary mystery set in San Francisco. I decided to bring a San Francisco guide book as well since I knew I was going to be walking around the city a lot! I also try to bring a book for my niece and my sister. I gave them Pancakes!: An Interactive Recipe Book by Lotta Nieminen and The Hour of Daydreams by Renee M. Rutledge respectively.

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Even before I left the San Francisco Airport (SFO), I made sure to check out the San Francisco Airport Aviation Library and Louis A. Turpen Aviation Museum. Located in the International Terminal of SFO, this stunning place is free to the public.

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It features exhibits and books focused on commercial aviation. (SFO has an impressive art presence throughout its airport and worth checking out.)

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(Books Inc. also owns Compass Books in SFO but it’s at a different terminal after the security checkpoint. I’ll have to switch up my airline to visit it but it’s something I’m seriously considering doing!)

Downtown San Francisco

I had a whole day planned for my bookish trek through San Francisco wanting to hit up spots I hadn’t before in previous trips there. Read recaps of them here and here.

My first stop though wasn’t a bookstore or a library- or even originally planned- but I visited the Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial at Yerba Buena Gardens.

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Behind the large waterfall fountain are some of his inspirational words translated in various languages including Tagalog. I’m always happy to see Filipinos- and the Filipino culture- being represented so this was cool. I didn’t even realize until typing up this post that Manila, Philippines is one of San Francisco’s sister cities!

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I also managed to walk by Jack London’s birthplace marked simply by a plaque. The original building had burned down during the 1906 earthquake and has been replaced by a rather bleak looking building unrelated to anything about the author!

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Chronicle Books

I had visited a Chronicle Books retail location last time I was in San Francisco and had failed to find- as in I got lost looking for it- the one in their headquarters so I was thrilled to finally get there. I even spied Specs, their new book bike, in an off limits part of the building!

Their other location in the Marina reminded me of where I worked. They even had a cool sitting area for kids!

We’ve had some people from Chronicle Books visit our bookstore and they’ve always been nice so it was cool to visit theirs. And, what’s cool is that 2017 is their 50th anniversary. There was a retrospective and interactive exhibit at the San Francisco Center for the Book called Chronicle Books: Born in the Summer of Love. It runs through September.

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My favorite part was seeing the various stages of a book from dummies to design production and all the way to a finished product. I even got to read Suzy Lee’s upcoming picture book Lines!

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I didn’t even know about this place so it was cool to find out of its existence. Someone was actually working on one of their books at the workshop part of the building and the staff there seemed to be very friendly, helpful and knowledgeable!

Tales of the City tour

The number one thing I truly wanted to do during my bookish adventures that day was visit Macondray Lane, the setting for Barbary Lane where Armistead Maupin’s Tales of the City takes place. I reviewed the entire series here.

After climbing some seriously steep San Francisco streets, I got there.

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Enjoy the slideshow of Russian Hill sights!

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Other Bookstores

On my way to catch the bus to get to another bookstore, I discovered one that wasn’t on my list- The Green Arcade. I love when that happens. It’s a pretty recent bookstore- opening up less than a decade ago. I bought a copy of I Must Resist: Bayard Rustin’s Life in Letters edited by Michael G. Long.

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Once on the bus, I saw another bookstore that wasn’t on my list so, of course, I got out. I bought a copy of Great Speeches on Gay Rights edited by James Daley at Bound Together Anarchist Collective Bookstore.

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My destination was The Booksmith on Haight-Ashbury. It was probably my favorite bookstore of the ones I visited this time around. I read Who Are You?: The Kid’s Guide to Gender Identity by Brook Pessin-Whedbee there.

On the last day of my San Francisco visit, there was a Books Inc. store where we were having lunch so I stopped by while waiting for our food.

 

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Books Inc. at the Marina

 

The bookstore my family and I actually ended up in the most was at Barnes and Noble. I convinced one of my cousins to buy The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas since she enjoys YA and we can both read it this summer!

Libraries

In between bookstore visits, I managed to visit a couple (new to me) libraries.

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Golden Gate Valley Branch- a Carnegie Library

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San Francisco Public Library summer reading program- Summer Stride- has artwork designed by Lizi Boyd

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Park Library Branch near Haight & Ashbury- apparently “the oldest existing San Francisco Public Library building”

Even though I visited the Main Library before, I wanted to stop by again because I just love the fact that it’s a great representation of the community it serves. There’s the Filipino American Center “designed to highlight the Filipino American experience” and the James C. Hormel LGBTQIA Center just to name the ones that I could relate to. The latter also has an exhibit space where they were showcasing Homopolis.

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A few words about family

What a great time with family. What a wonderful world it is knowing there are all these wonderful people who are kind and generous and loving. Remember to surround yourself with people you love!

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My Reading Week #IMWAYR- July 2, 2017

I changed the name for my “It’s Monday! What Are You Reading?” posts to “My Reading Week.”

This week, I posted:
-Nonfiction Picture Book Challenge Wednesday

I schedule this post before I went on vacation so the links aren’t up but I’m sure you can figure them out. Also, Ricki from Unleashing Readers mentioned that her comments weren’t going through on my blog. If that’s happening to you as well, hit me up on Twitter or the Facebook page! Thanks!

Pan de Sal Saves the Day: A Filipino Children's StoryPan de Sal Saves the Day: A Filipino Children’s Story by Norma Olizon-Chikiamco
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
An English/Filipino bilingual picture book about a girl who learns to appreciate being herself. Set in school in the Philippines, all the kids are named after different types of breads and pastries. The tale is kind of like a mix between Chrysanthemum and Yoko.
View all my reviews

I Wrote You a NoteI Wrote You a Note by Lizi Boyd
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Delightful story of a wind-swept note and how it’s used by the various creatures who finds it. The illustrations are worth poring over to catch all the details she put in.
View all my reviews

Where Are You?Where Are You? by Sarah Williamson
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
A very simple hide and seek story between two friends. This might have been better as a board book.
View all my reviews

LifeLife by Cynthia Rylant
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
A contemplative book about the wonders of life, both the light and dark of it, paired with beautiful illustrations.
View all my reviews

Snail and Worm AgainSnail and Worm Again by Tina Kugler
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Stepping up the oddball humor from the first offering, this is a delightful series for fans of Elephant & Piggie!
View all my reviews

A New School Year: Stories in Six VoicesA New School Year: Stories in Six Voices by Sally Derby
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
I simply adored this book. Six kids. Six grades. Six stories. From the night before to after the first day of school, we get snapshots of their lives as they deal with their individual worries and fears as well as their expectations and lessons learned. Told in verse. And the art is wonderful!
View all my reviews

Louie Lets Loose! (Unicorn in New York, #1)Louie Lets Loose! by Rachel Hamilton
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
Silly new early chapter book series about theatrical magical creatures. Louie the Unicorn decides to go to New York to pursue his dreams of being a star but he doesn’t realize that another unicorn may not want to share the spotlight with him. Think Glee and Tim Federle’s Nate books.

What’s weird about this UK import is that the illustrator doesn’t really get mentioned in the credits. At least, he doesn’t have a dedication nor a short bio on the back of the book. The art is in the style of a less-consistent Knuffle Bunny.
View all my reviews

Review Notes
***= Recommended
****= Highly Recommended
*****= Favorite

You can view all the books I’ve read at my Goodreads page.

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!