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Nonfiction Picture Book Challenge #NFPB2017- March 22, 2017

nfpb2017

Gordon Parks: How the Photographer Captured Black and White AmericaGordon Parks: How the Photographer Captured Black and White America by Carole Boston Weatherford
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I wasn’t familiar with Gordon Parks nor his work- especially not with his photography. I didn’t really think about it until recently but I guess there are lots of famous photographers so it was interesting to find them and read about the people behind the lens. This biography was another instant though where the back matter was more fascinating than the actual text and I can’t imagine why they just didn’t use that since it filled the gaps in information that readers would have wanted to know.

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Who Was Lucille Ball?Who Was Lucille Ball? by Pam Pollack
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I love Lucy and I love this series so it was great to read about Lucille Ball. People may only know her from all the happiness she brought in their lives but she was also a great trailblazer as a business woman. There’s a section in this book where they share some of the more memorable “I Love Lucy” episodes and I bet readers would end up watching those clips on YouTube.

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My Reading Week #IMWAYR- March 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

Flora and the Chicks: A Counting Book by Molly IdleFlora and the Chicks: A Counting Book by Molly Idle by Molly Idle
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Molly Idle keeps her Flora series fresh in this board book designed to teach young readers to count from one to ten as the titular character finds herself bombarded by chicks. Lift the flaps reveals the chaotic fun.

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Masha and Her SistersMasha and Her Sisters by Suzy Ultman
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Cute novelty board book in the shape of Russian nesting dolls about five sisters with different interests. The beautiful design and illustration makes up for the sparse text.

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TriangleTriangle by Mac Barnett
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

What I think of this book doesn’t really matter since when these two get together, it’s something everyone looks forward to. I may have hyped it too much before reading it but it’s still an enjoyable story and I’ll still read the other books in the series!

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Bee & MeBee & Me by Alison Jay
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Bee-utiful wordless picture book about friendship. I also liked the information at the end about taking care of bees and also discovering how she came up with the idea of this book!

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TreesTrees by Lemniscates
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Gorgeous illustrations about the wonder of trees.

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Books Do Not Have WingsBooks Do Not Have Wings by Brynne Barnes
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Lyrical text tells of a celebration of the magic found in books. The wonderful illustrations takes it a step further.

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We Are FamilyWe Are Family by Patricia Hegarty
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I didn’t particularly enjoy the text but I appreciated the depictions of different kinds of families in the illustrations.

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See You in the CosmosSee You in the Cosmos by Jack Cheng
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

In what I think is a must read novel of 2017 and my choice for a Newbery honor, See You in the Cosmos features one of the most original voices I’ve read in awhile. Alex (who’s half-Filipino) is entering a rocket launching contest in which he wants to include a recording of himself talking about his life for any intelligent beings who happen to come across his Golden I-Pod in outer space. It’s not an easy life with a mom who has more and more of her quiet days and a brother who lives in another state but fortunately he has his best non-human friend with him- his dog Carl Sagan named after his hero. Together they end up in search of Alex’s maybe dad but finds one surprise after another.

He reminded me of myself, in the sense that we both (all of us, really) are looking for simple answers to life’s big questions and maybe aren’t satisfied by the bits and pieces we get. But we’re not meant to know everything although the realization he gets towards the end (the passage that ends with words are shadows too) of the book was great.

(The iffy thing that made me not really like this novel though is that there are adults who decide to take a kid they don’t know with them. While good-intentioned, it just didn’t seem right.)

It’s a mix of Counting by 7’s and Wonder.

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mustreadin2017

Hello, UniverseHello, Universe by Erin Entrada Kelly
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

In my quest to find books by Filipino authors and/or featuring Filipino characters, I’d been introduce to fairly new middle grade author Erin Estrada Kelly. In this third stand-alone novel, we get four kids whose lives end up connecting in mysterious ways and told from their various points of view. From a shy Filipino boy with a grandmother who tells tales from the Philippines, a bully out to impress his father, a girl who’s navigating being deaf, and to an older sister who also happens to be a self-proclaimed psychic, readers will find themselves engrossed in their mini-adventures, each one adding a piece to the bigger picture.

And, I don’t think it’s a spoiler since it’s included in the summary, but one reason I didn’t particularly enjoy this book was I don’t like stories where kids get trapped in wells.

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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- March 15, 2017

nfpb2017

Dorothea Lange: The Photographer Who Found the Faces of the DepressionDorothea Lange: The Photographer Who Found the Faces of the Depression by Carole Boston Weatherford
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

A biography of a famous photographer who captured the harsh realities of the country during the Great Depression. I enjoyed the back matter more than the actual story.

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Little People, Big Dreams: Marie CurieLittle People, Big Dreams: Marie Curie by Mª Isabel Sánchez Vegara
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Little People, Big Dreams is a picture book biography series imported from Spain. Perfect way to introduce young readers to girls who dreamed and became outstanding women in different fields. The books include a timeline and photos.

For older readers who can’t get enough Marie Curie, make sure to read Radioactive by Lauren Redniss.

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My Reading Week #IMWAYR- March 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 bookish and bookstore moments.

Crocodile TearsCrocodile Tears by André François

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This quirky picture book is reminiscent of Maurice Sendak’s Nutshell Library humor. And, apparently the reason why it had a old-vibey feel was that it was first published in the 1950’s. Cased in envelope-looking slipcover, this crocodile-length book is full of silliness.

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Bedtime for BatmanBedtime for Batman by Michael Dahl

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

This cute picture book follows two parallel story lines of a young boy and Batman, one getting ready to call it a day and the other saving the day.

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Grandfather Counts (A Reading Rainbow Book)Grandfather Counts by Andrea Cheng

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I love intergenerational multicultural stories. This picture book was recommended by a librarian where I volunteer. A girl’s grandfather comes to live with her and her family. The language barrier doesn’t allow them to communicate much until they end up sharing the pastime of watching the trains pass by their house. Soon, they are teaching one another each other’s language and learning more than they expected. If you enjoyed Mango, Abuela, and Me by Meg Medina, you’ll enjoy this older title.

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Adrift: An Odd Couple of Polar BearsAdrift: An Odd Couple of Polar Bears by Jessica Olien

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I was listening to an All the Wonders podcast and this book was recommended. I like books that surprise, that offer me more than an entertaining story. Aside from an unlikely friendship story involving two polar bears adrift on melting ice floe, this also provided readers information about the dangers of global warming (in terms of melting polar ice caps) and how we can help combat it.

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Animal Colors and MoreAnimal Colors and More by Katie Viggers

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

A beautifully illustrated picture book- the third in the series- about the colors. Playful text. Endpapers provide a few interactive elements- like finding the animal pairs and identifying all the animals.

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The Bamboo DanceThe Bamboo Dance by Cress Sia

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I didn’t realize we had a picture book in the store about the Philippines. This one focuses on two boys who practice tinikling, the bamboo dance, in hopes of winning a contest. But, for one of them, it’s not as easy as he thought it would be. Will he give up or will his friend be able to convince him to give it another try? I was bummed that the publisher (Hartyan Kids) went out of business a few years ago because it seemed like they were featuring diverse, multicultural titles. (I think they only managed to publish two titles.) In the back of each book is a pocket containing a sticker of the country written about which readers can collect on their passport.

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An AlphabetAn Alphabet by Oliver Jeffers

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Aside from Oliver Jeffers’ great illustrations, there wasn’t really anything that stuck out to me about this one. But for parents looking for a straightforward alphabet book for their babies, this works fine. But everyone should read the original picture book it’s based on, Once Upon an Alphabet.

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A Little StuckA Little Stuck by Oliver Jeffers

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This abridged version managed to capture the silliness and humor of the original picture book.

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Keith Haring Pop Art Baby!Keith Haring Pop Art Baby! by Keith Haring

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

This has been one of my favorite board books to recommend because it’s multilingual featuring words in English, Spanish, French, and German. Plus, it features Keith Haring’s art. My favorite page is the fuzzy heart page.

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Keith Haring Pop Art 123!Keith Haring Pop Art 123! by Keith Haring

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I was surprised to see a companion to Keith Haring Pop Art Baby! This time, his iconic artwork is used to help the youngest readers to count.

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The Matchstick CastleThe Matchstick Castle by Keir Graff

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

For middle grades who don’t want fantasy or a realistic read that tackles something sad or serious, this is a fun novel about a boy who against his choice has to spend the summer with his uncle’s family in a town named Boring. After getting chased by a wild boar when exploring the woods, he and his cousin find a family as wacky as their cottage castle. Doors that lead to nowhere. Family members who go missing inside their very house. It’s a silly romp.

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The Hour of DaydreamsThe Hour of Daydreams by Renee M. Rutledge
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I’m always on the look out for Filipino characters, authors, stories. I was lucky enough to get an early copy of this debut novel (available March 14th) from Forest Avenue Press. I would describe The Hour of Daydreams as lyrical magical realism reminiscent of Grace Lin’s Where the Mountain Meets the Moon because of its stories within stories format.

I did wish it veered either more to its more fantastical or its more grounded in reality elements. Nevertheless, it’s a love story unlike one you’ve probably ever read.
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mustreadin2017

Secrets & Sequences (Secret Coders #3)Secrets & Sequences by Gene Luen Yang

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Who knew computer coding can be so fun and accessible to everyone? Volume 3 continues to bring it, building up on the world and lessons from previous books and creating new puzzles and revealing a more dastardly plot. What I loved about this one was that it didn’t feel as bogged down as book two. I was worried that the series would continue to feel more textbooksy but fortunately that wasn’t the case!

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Secret Coders: Lost & FoundSecret Coders: Lost & Found by Gene Luen Yang

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I ran into this short comic by accident. This takes place after Book 3 involving finding a missing dog and using programming! I can’t wait to let others know about this!

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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- March 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 bookish and bookstore moments.

#1- I got to dress up as the Very Hungry Caterpillar again. It was nice to see kids excited and hugging this beloved children’s book character.

vhc

#2- From a post I shared earlier this week:

“Whenever I have a good day at work- like today- I always feel like I just won an award and I end up wanting to thank everyone for making it possible. It’s the connections made that really get to me. And I’m so thankful that I work at this incredibly wonderful bookstore and I somehow get to improve other people’s lives by being a bookseller. They in turn make me happy because I’m really so amazed by how well read they are and how they want to do good for others and in the world and they absolutely get that books have the power to do all those things. I’m overwhelmed with gratitude… #booksellerlife”

#3- For International Women’s Day, my boss decided to donate a portion of that day’s sales to the local chapter of Planned Parenthood. It made me happy to see other businesses doing something similar!

iwd

#4- I ate out last week to a restaurant/bar that donated 50% of their profits that day to the Friends of the Library I was a volunteer at. I really wasn’t expecting that people would talk to me since I’m always thinking people won’t remember me but it was nice seeing familiar faces and having them come up to me to chat.

$5- On Dr. Seuss’s birthday, I volunteered to be a greeter at an open house for The Children’s Book Bank at their new location. It was such an uplifting positive experience which confirmed my belief that book people are the best people.

cbb

What are you celebrating this week?

 

Nonfiction Picture Book Challenge #NFPB2017- March 8, 2017

nfpb2017

Little People, Big Dreams: Agatha ChristieLittle People, Big Dreams: Agatha Christie by Mª Isabel Sánchez Vegara

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I love any biography series where they focus on the not-already-written-about-multiple-times subjects. And with Agatha Christie being my favorite writer of all time, I was excited for this one. I didn’t learn anything new but people will get the important details of her life and work- creating mysteries (and the detectives who solve them) that have entertained readers for almost a hundred years!

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My Princess BoyMy Princess Boy by Cheryl Kilodavis

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

A sweet story of a family who’s accepting of their Princess Boy. A much needed read for those who don’t conform to society’s ideas of what’s normal. How I wish that we’re at a time that people are truly accepting of one another despite our differences. Until then, and this book does mention that not everyone is as understanding, hopefully this book will be a serve as a message of “I see you. I love you for who you are.” Based on the author’s experiences.

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I’ve decided to include this in this nonfiction picture book post because it is a great how-to communicate without using words.
My First Baby SignsMy First Baby Signs by Phil Conigliaro

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I love that there’s a book like this. Fun interactive book to introduce a way of communicating for the youngest of readers.

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The Legendary Miss Lena HorneThe Legendary Miss Lena Horne by Carole Boston Weatherford

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Carole Boston Weatherford is a name I’m becoming more familiar with as I read more nonfiction picture books. Growing up in a segregated and racist country where African Americans were treated less than, Lena Horne managed to be a force to be reckoned with not only through songs and movies but also as a civil rights activist. I hope readers will realize how unfairly and unnecessarily cruel certain people were being treated because they looked different than them. I hope readers will realize that this happened not so long ago and is still happening in certain parts of the country. We have to make sure that we don’t lose all the progress we’ve made as a nation to be more inclusive. On a lighter note, I hope readers will watch the video of Lena Horne singing with Grover on Sesame Street where they sing “How Do You Do?” where she helps the blue furry monster overcome his shyness.

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I figured I’ll just share the YouTube clip here.

 

My Reading Week #IMWAYR- March 5, 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 #LoveMonth.

Good Morning, Superman!Good Morning, Superman! by Michael Dahl

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I was surprised that I enjoyed this more than I did because I’ve been under the impression that certain characters have become too commercialized and dumbed down to appeal to the masses- which is kind of crazy since the public are smart enough to handle their superheroes having ambiguities. Anyway this cute picture book follows two parallel story lines of a young boy and Superman, one starting off his day and the other saving the day.

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Today I Feel . . .: An Alphabet of EmotionsToday I Feel . . .: An Alphabet of Emotions by Madalena Moniz
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I really enjoyed this alphabet book. It’s a nice way to talk to kids about what they’re feeling.

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Little Fox in the ForestLittle Fox in the Forest by Stephanie Graegin
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

A picture book about two friends on the hunt for the girl’s missing stuffed fox. Following the culprit leads them into a charming forest village.

I didn’t really like the resolution. And I couldn’t help but think about The Golden Girl’s episode where Rose’s stuffed animal gets accidentally donated.

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This House, OnceThis House, Once by Deborah Freedman
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Dreamy illustrations and an interesting concept of what a house is made of and where the materials came from. Includes a prompt inviting readers to think about the history of their own homes.

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Lola Gets a CatLola Gets a Cat by Anna McQuinn
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I love the Lola series because she’s part of such a literate family, making regular trips to the library. And, in this instance, when she wants a cat, she first reads about what it’ll entail to be a pet owner. Great example for kids.

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mustreadin2017

Evicted: Poverty and Profit in the American CityEvicted: Poverty and Profit in the American City by Matthew Desmond

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I was hesitant to read this at first, worried that it was going to be too textbook-sy, but I needn’t have worried. Matthew Desmond focused on a few people in various stages of eviction. This method made it more relatable. It was eye opening how much of a business this has become which I think makes it more difficult to find solutions.

I did go to a book club to discuss this. Most of the attendees were regulars so I didn’t really feel comfortable sharing my thoughts. Plus, I was definitely the youngest one there by far. It was cute though. The first five minutes was about how cold the room was.

It wasn’t an easy book to get through and it was a timely book. Poverty is practically everywhere. Thinking about the problem as a whole is overwhelming. It reminded me, just with everything else we want to change, we need to start small because we can’t change anyone other than ourselves. Hopefully, by doing so, we can set an example within the people we know, our circles of influence. It’s hard to think about changing the world when you’re trying to just get by on a day to day basis. By focusing on fixing your current problems- and helping others along the way if you’re able- you’re also creating solutions for the big picture.

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Hilo: The Great Big Boom (Hilo Book 3)Hilo: The Great Big Boom by Judd Winick

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Hilo continues to improve. Now on its third volume, the friends find themselves in a warring planet. Not only do they have to find a way back to Earth but they must also help Hilo remember his past. What will his memories reveal? How will it change everything? Readers will gobble this book up and start counting down to the the next installment which doesn’t release until Spring 2018. Aaaahhh!

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Rapunzel's Revenge (Rapunzel's Revenge, #1)Rapunzel’s Revenge by Shannon Hale

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I’m a fan of Nathan Hale’s Hazardous Tales series and I read them all and I wanted to read his other books as well, even the ones he just illustrated like this series written by Shannon and Dean Hale. I’m a fan of Shannon’s Princess in Black series and, in Rapunzel’s Revenge, she had created another female protagonist who’s a force to be reckoned with! Taking familiar fairy tale storylines, this duology puts a fun new twist on them. In the first book, Rapunzel and Jack (of the beanstalk fame) are sort of wild west Robin Hood’s.

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Calamity Jack (Rapunzel's Revenge, #2)Calamity Jack by Shannon Hale

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I’m a fan of Nathan Hale’s Hazardous Tales series and I read them all and I wanted to read his other books as well, even the ones he just illustrated like this series written by Shannon and Dean Hale. I’m a fan of Shannon’s Princess in Black series and, in Rapunzel’s Revenge, she had created another female protagonist who’s a force to be reckoned with! Taking familiar fairy tale storylines, this duology puts a fun new twist on them. In the sequel, which I didn’t enjoy as much, we delve into Jack’s past as he tries to figure out a future with Rapunzel.

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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!