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#CelebrateLU- February 24, 2017

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 The Fellowship of the Ring!

I loved reading The Hobbit a couple summers ago.

I loved the Lord of the Rings movies from a few years back, though. I had a failed attempt getting into the book(s) awhile back because the prologue was too dry and I didn’t want to skip it. (But I would recommend skipping it if you’re new to Middle Earth- and then go back to it once you’ve gotten accustomed to the world of hobbits, wizards, elves, dwarves, and other creatures.)

One of my sisters and I decided to read the Lord of the Rings this year giving me the incentive to pick it up again. I’ve been quite taken by Tolkien’s work so far. This whole new world he’s created is amazing and so real. Despite it being written only in the last century, it feels like it’s been around forever and the basis of all great fantasy novels.

I couldn’t help but keep looking back at the maps, tracking their journeys. I also couldn’t help but wonder about they had played out in the movies.

I love hobbits- Bilbo, Frodo, Sam, and the whole lot of them. Despite their size and their preference to stay where it’s comfortable, safe and familiar, they are willing to step up and go the distance for the greater good.

What are you celebrating this week?

 

Nonfiction Picture Book Challenge #NFPB2017- February 22, 2017

nfpb2017

Keith Haring: The Boy Who Just Kept DrawingKeith Haring: The Boy Who Just Kept Drawing by Kay Haring
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Although I’ve seen Keith Haring’s art before, I didn’t know anything about him. I’m so glad I read this new nonfiction picture book about him written by his sister. What a creative, inspiring life! I loved that his focus what on creating and making his art accessible to as many people as possible. I definitely want to read more about Keith Haring, especially his altruistic side.

What makes this book even greater is Robert Neubecker’s illustrations and incorporating Keith Haring’s art into it. There’s a gallery of it at the back of the book as well as an Author’s Note and more information about Keith Haring and his foundation.

View all my reviews

Grand CanyonGrand Canyon by Jason Chin
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This is such an outstanding picture book and it’s my first pick to be Caldecott contender! The fact that it’s nonfiction shouldn’t deter readers from picking it up as a read aloud. It follows a father and daughter as they hike through the various eco-systems of the Grand Canyon.

You’ll learn about the living organisms that call it home, even traveling back through time to see how things have changed. The best part of any nonfiction book in my opinion is seeing how much research was done and to present it in a way that makes people wanting more. This book was full of information- with an impressive back matter content to boot!

Readers will want to explore this book over and over again!

View all my reviews

 

My Reading Week #IMWAYR- February 19, 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
-Celebrate This Week- This week, I’m celebrating the CYBILS graphic novels categories!

A Perfect DayA Perfect Day by Lane Smith
A cute picture book about perspective. A group of animals are having their own perfect days individually. Then a surprise visitor shows up also having his own perfect day. Fun read aloud because of the contrasting images.
View all my reviews

AntoinetteAntoinette by Kelly DiPucchio
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
A cute follow up to Gaston. Antoinette the poodle is trying to figure out what her special thing is. Her bulldog brothers all have their talents and qualities that make them stand out. When one of Gaston’s own sisters disappear, it may be up to Antoinette to save the day!
View all my reviews

Not Quite NarwhalNot Quite Narwhal by Jessie Sima
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
Pretty cute story about a unicorn born under the sea with narwhals. It’s about accepting who you are, as different as you are- and discovering others may like you despite the differences. My favorite part of the book though was the back endpaper.
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!

 

#CelebrateLU- February 17, 2017

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 the Cybils. Click the icon for a complete list of winners.

cybils

I was fortunate enough to be a round 2 judge for the graphic novels categories. I’m sharing my reviews of the finalists.

Elementary/Middle Grade Graphic Novels

Bera the One-Headed TrollBera the One-Headed Troll by Eric Orchard
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Fans of Luke Pearson’s Hilda series will enjoy Bera’s adventures. This unlikely heroine suddenly finds herself in charge of a human baby. Full of folklore, Eric Orchard created a rich fantastic world that readers will want to visit again and again. I enjoyed the darker overtones. The art is so lush.
View all my reviews

Compass South (Four Points #1)Compass South by Hope Larson
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
There’s plenty of action and adventure in this first title of a new graphic novel series that will get readers hooked- a gang of thieves, pirates, a hunt for treasure, and some jungle danger. But I felt the story- and the illustrations- was trying to do too much.

And, I would say this wins the award for most redheaded characters!
View all my reviews

*WINNER!*
Lowriders to the Center of the Earth (Lowriders in Space, #2)Lowriders to the Center of the Earth by Cathy Camper
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
The Lowriders in Space gang are back. A search for a lost kitten takes them to unexpected places facing a very angry god. I loved the wordplay in this one which gave off a Phantom Tollbooth vibe. I appreciated the fact that it worked in this bilingual formal even though I don’t speak Spanish. A glossary of Spanish terms and phrases are included as well as an extensive author’s note on the gods and goddesses referenced in this graphic novel.
View all my reviews

Mighty JackMighty Jack by Ben Hatke
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
Surprisingly, I think I’ve read all of Ben Hatke’s books. I enjoyed his Zita trilogy the most but all of them are easy to recommend to others. I love the concept of Mighty Jack and can’t wait for more installments. It’s clearly the first of a series and I would have enjoyed it more if it had a stronger arc and resolution within the book.
View all my reviews

Princess Princess Ever AfterPrincess Princess Ever After by Katie O’Neill
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Honestly, I thought this was going to be hokey. But the story was intriguing and the relationship between the two characters was organic. It didn’t seem forced. I would love to read more of their adventures. A fun graphic novel adventure that celebrates individuality.
View all my reviews

The Nameless CityThe Nameless City by Faith Erin Hicks My rating: 4 of 5 stars
I admit I didn’t want to read this because I wasn’t a fan of the illustrations. But once I got reading, I was actually hooked. An unlikely friendship is formed between a boy of the recent conquering tribe and a native girl of the Nameless City. They discover the walls around them put on by society due to their different status. They also discover the walls around their city may not be as strong as people think when invasions are expected to happen at any time- and sometimes from inside their very own government. I can’t wait for the next book in the series!
View all my reviews

The Wolves of CurrumpawThe Wolves of Currumpaw by William Grill
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
I was surprised by how much of a love story this turned out to be. A cunning wolf manages to elude hunters and, once captured, manages to ask questions about humans’ roles dealing with nature. Based on Ernest Thompson Seton’s story from 1898 in which his experiences would lead him to form (co-found) the Boy Scouts of America. The illustrations (whether full two-paged spreads or told in panels) are very lavish kind of mirroring the New Mexican landscape.
View all my reviews

2016 Finalists: Young Adult Graphic Novels

Dare to Disappoint: Growing Up in TurkeyDare to Disappoint: Growing Up in Turkey by Ozge Samanci
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
An interesting memoir of growing up in Turkey and wanting to please her parents while trying to figure out what it is she wants to do. The look into how the educational system was set up was fascinating, kind of similar to how it is in the Philippines where I grew up. And, of course, the political situation had an eerie resonance.

I admit that it sort of fizzled out for me towards the end and then seemed to wrap things up quickly.
View all my reviews

Faith, Volume 1: Hollywood & VineFaith, Volume 1: Hollywood & Vine by Jody Houser
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
A collection of comics featuring a plus-sized superhero. I’ve come to the conclusion I’m not really a fan of these kinds of comics although I appreciate them trying to be diverse. The situations all seem too similar for my taste.
View all my reviews

Lucky PennyLucky Penny by Ananth Hirsh
My rating: 2 of 5 stars
I could definitely see why people might find this graphic novel funny (with its dark irreverent sense of humor) but it just didn’t do anything for me. I didn’t like Penny because she was quirky for quirky’s sake. Plus, she seems like a mooch.
View all my reviews

*WINNER!*
March: Book Three (March, #3)March: Book Three by John Lewis
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
I’d been meaning to read March for awhile now but wanted to wait until all the books were out.

I hadn’t really heard of John Lewis but boy did he earn my respect when he launched the recent sit-in for gun control. I loved that this form of nonviolent protest wasn’t new to him as we learn from this thrilling trilogy.

Book Three focused on some of the darkest moments in the Civil Rights movement as the battle for “One Man, One Vote” escalates into sickening acts of evil and violence stemming from fear and hatred. But it also served as a testament to the resilience of the human spirit to defy the odds and stand strong against oppression, to march on despite the obstacles because freedom and everything it entails is not just for a select few but for all.

March is such an important set of books to read since, despite all the progress that have been made, there’s still a lot of work to be done. And we must be aware that our actions have consequences. A vote for an unfit presidential candidate will set us back. An immature non-vote or a symbolic let’s-stick-it-to-The-Man vote can lead to equally disastrous results. I hope reading John Lewis’s graphic novel memoir trilogy will be enlightening. Let it inspire a whole new audience that their voices matter.

View all my reviews

Monstress, Vol. 1: Awakening (Collected Editions)Monstress, Vol. 1: Awakening by Marjorie M. Liu
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Perfect for teenagers and older readers who love dark fantasies. It’s a war torn world full of power hungry creatures and those who are just trying to survive. I was sort of hate reading this in the beginning because I thought it was being too sexual or erotic. But after awhile I was gripped by the storytelling. The illustrations, the characters, were very lush.

Readers will find similarities in this world where whole people (in this case, Archaics) are being hunted (by Cumeans) because they’re different.

I can’t wait for the next collection.

View all my reviews

Ms. Marvel, Vol. 5: Super FamousMs. Marvel, Vol. 5: Super Famous by G. Willow Wilson
My rating: 2 of 5 stars
I appreciated the diversity but somehow it felt forced. Even though this was a later installment in an ongoing series, it can be read as a stand alone- although there were some plot points slightly confusing but I didn’t care too much to figure out why.
View all my reviews

TrashedTrashed by Derf Backderf
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
Working in retail, I don’t really like exaggerated accounts of dealing with customers because I know first hand how unbelievably strange and/or wonderful they can be.

I was more interested in the nonfiction parts- information about the garbage industry- than the narrative. What a mess!
View all my reviews

What are you celebrating this week?

 

Nonfiction Picture Book Challenge #NFPB2017- February 15, 2017

nfpb2017

The Secret ProjectThe Secret Project by Jonah Winter
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Fascinating and frightening. Something is happening in New Mexico. It will have a devastating effect on the world. But those who know about it aren’t talking. What could it be? An interesting topic to write about which I’m sure will provide lots of discussion, especially after reading the back matter.
View all my reviews

Muhammad Ali: A Champion Is BornMuhammad Ali: A Champion Is Born by Gene Barretta
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
Before he was Muhammad Ali, the greatest boxer the world has ever seen, he was Cassius Clay. As a young boy, his new bike gets stolen and, when reporting it to the police, it leads him into boxing training which would pave the way for his legendary career. A timeline of his life is included in the back of the book.
View all my reviews

Malala: Activist for Girls' EducationMalala: Activist for Girls’ Education by Raphaeele Frier
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
I was drawn to the beautiful cover and I was pleasantly surprised to learn that this book was illustrated by Aurélia Fronty who did Wangari Maathai: The Woman Who Planted Millions of Trees. As for the text, while I love learning about Malala, I thought it was a bit wordy. I did like the additional information of the back matter giving readers more insight about Malala’s country, culture and influences.
View all my reviews


Hello World! is a board book series that introduces the youngest readers to nature and science concepts. Colorful images and question prompts are mixed in with the story text. For the weather book, kids can choose what to wear. For the space book, kids travel to each planet- and Pluto. For the birds book, kids learn about different kinds from all over the world. For the bugs book, kids can rub the ladybug’s spots and count the spider’s legs.

 

My Reading Week #IMWAYR- February 12, 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

Celebrate This Week– This week, I’m celebrating completions.

Luis Paints the WorldLuis Paints the World by Terry Farish
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
This emotional picture book tells the story of two brothers- one who gets deployed and the other wishing for his safe return. The latter uses art to get his feelings out. My review won’t do this book justice but it’s worth checking out.
View all my reviews

Boat of DreamsBoat of Dreams by Rogério Coelho
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
A beautifully illustrated wordless picture book about an old man and a young boy that transcends space and time.
View all my reviews

Under the UmbrellaUnder the Umbrella by Catherine Buquet
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
Translated from France, this picture book is about taking some time out to enjoy the little things in life. In this case, a grumpy old man is walking home in the rain when the wind blows his umbrella away. Where it lands creates an opportunity for the man to see the ray of light even in the gloomiest of days.
View all my reviews

That's Mean!That’s Mean! by Francesco Pittau
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
A primer of sorts involving what not to do because those things are mean. Hilarious and would probably give younger readers ideas because of all the laughter it elicits.
View all my reviews

What's Up?What’s Up? by Olivia Cosneau
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
A cute little interactive book of different animals. I love the paper engineering in this one.
View all my reviews

Ballet Cat What's Your Favorite Favorite? (Ballet Cat, #3)Ballet Cat What’s Your Favorite Favorite? by Bob Shea
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
The third installment in Bob Shea’s series perfect for fans of Elephant & Piggie. In this one, Ballet Cat and Goat try to outdo one another with their talents to win their grandma’s attention.
View all my reviews

The Case of the Counterfeit Criminals (The Wollstonecraft Detective Agency, #3)The Case of the Counterfeit Criminals by Jordan Stratford
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
I remember reading about this series way back in its Kickstarter days. I think it was part of the much-needed wave of books featuring strong female characters, both real and made-up. In this case, it’s a combination of both as it features Ada Lovelace and Mary Shelley who’ve formed a detective agency. This third installment has them coming to the aide of another prominent woman- paleontologist Mary Anning- as the duo must deal with a missing dog and a secret society or criminals, not to mention a grandmother who won’t let Ada out of the house. The book includes short biographies of characters mentioned here, as well as an excerpt of the next (and final?) mystery.
View all my reviews

Faith, Volume 1: Hollywood & VineFaith, Volume 1: Hollywood & Vine by Jody Houser
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
A collection of comics featuring a plus-sized superhero. I’ve come to the conclusion I’m not really a fan of these kinds of comics although I appreciate them trying to be diverse. The situations all seem too similar for my taste.
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!

 

#CelebrateLU- February 10, 2017

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 completions.

avatar

My latest obsession has been watching Avatar: The Last Airbender. I didn’t realize it was going to be so good. I feel that everyone who loves animation and an epic adventure story should watch it as well. Elements of spiritualism and conservation are thrown into the mix. Interesting, likable characters and their complicated relationships keep viewers glued to what will happen next. The battle between good and evil is, of course, a timely topic. And I was super impressed by the strong female personalities depicted in the show. Avatar: The Last Airbender is a great for everyone!

Set in the same universe is The Legend of Korra. While I didn’t like it as much, it was nice to see characters from the previous series show up. This show did also up the ante on certain elements- no pun intended. Book Two had one of the greatest villain and fight scene ever. It got a bit of blowback for being too mature for its (Nickelodeon) audience.

My first exploration of the Avatar world was the Gene Luen Yang penned graphic novels. You can read my reviews of them here.

My obsession last year was Gilmore Girls. You can read about it here.

storystorm

One of my writing goals for 2017 was to participate in StoryStorm which is basically to come up with an idea a day. I had missed a day- and then days and then weeks. I was going to give up altogether because I was thinking there was a right way and a wrong way to do this. But there isn’t. So I’ve been brainstorming like crazy these past few days to catch up. It’s been hard work trying to come up with them. But it was also fun. I loved just dedicating time to allow my mind to wander, delving into personal experiences, influences, likes and dislikes, interests, and random associations- with occasional sudden inspiration- to get ideas. I’m going to make writing something fun I want to do again not this thing that causes me stress and anxiety.

I’m pleased to say that I completed the challenge- and on time!

What are you celebrating this week?