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Author Archives: Earl @ The Chronicles Of A Children's Book Writer

About Earl @ The Chronicles Of A Children's Book Writer

I'm a Portland cliche. I love books and hang out at coffee shops because I want to be a writer. I've worked at libraries, different companies within Borders, at an online book buying/selling company, and, currently, at a wonderfully quirky children's bookstore! I also volunteer with different non-profits that promote literacy. I will entertain people with my stories. I will be a successful published writer of children's books. I will promote literacy, especially in children's lives. The Chronicles Of A Children's Book Writer- My Journey in Children's Literature. My Journey to Becoming a Writer. http://TheChroniclesOfAChildrensBookWriter.wordpress.com/ Library Hopping in PDX- Exploring Libraries. Embracing our book nerdiness. http://libraryhopping.wordpress.com/ A Semi-Blogged Life- I started this blog when I first moved to Portland and have recently been updating it again this year with the monthly challenges I've been doing. http://a-semi-blogged-life.blogspot.com/

My Reading Week #IMWAYR- September 17, 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 young adult supernatural mystery series Jackaby by William Ritter.

It Takes a Village: Picture Book EditionIt Takes a Village: Picture Book Edition by Hillary Rodham Clinton

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

When we come together, we can make changes. We can all make a difference as individuals. But because we are stronger together, our results when we work as a team are greater than we can imagine. These are the themes tackled in this picture book adapted from Hillary Clinton’s 1996 work. Illustrated by Marla Frazee whose picture book All the World perfectly compliments this one!

LoveLove by Matt de la Pena

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This poetic picture book will warm every readers’s hearts with its positive and reaffirming message. Perfect for gift giving. Add this as your first must read of 2018!

Thank You, BeesThank You, Bees by Toni Yuly

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

A beautiful book of gratitude that will show how we’re all connected. This would be a great read aloud during a mindfulness or yoga story time.

That's My Book! and Other StoriesThat’s My Book! and Other Stories by Salina Yoon

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

The friends are back in another trio of tales that center on creative play!

The Antlered ShipThe Antlered Ship by Dashka Slater

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Set sail with an inquisitive fox and the animal crew of the Antlered Ship as they search for answers to their many questions and perhaps find adventure along the way.

Exquisitely illustrated by the Fan Brothers!

Smoot: A Rebellious ShadowSmoot: A Rebellious Shadow by Michelle Cuevas

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

A shadow gets separated from its very quiet owner and finds the kind of adventure he’s been craving all his life. It inspires other shadows to break free and creates unforeseen complications. Can a compromise be made?

Flashlight NightFlashlight Night by Matt Forrest Esenwine

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

A delightful rhyming picture book that takes readers into quite an adventure. When the light’s out, the imagination turns on!

Writing with Pictures: How to Write and Illustrate Children's BooksWriting with Pictures: How to Write and Illustrate Children’s Books by Uri Shulevitz

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

A must read reference guide for any aspiring children’s book creator. Goes into details about the importance of sequencing and creating dummies and will make you look at the picture book as a whole in a new even more appreciative way. The second half gets very technical in terms of the illustrating aspect of things. It may have been first published over thirty years ago but I can see how the advice remains relevant even now.

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!

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#CelebrateLU- September 15, 2017/ Series Review: Jackaby

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 William Ritter’s Jackaby series. It’s been my favorite Young Adult series since it first came out. The fourth and final book just came out and I wanted to share the series.

Jackaby (Jackaby, #1)Jackaby by William Ritter
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

There will be a new YA book coming out in September that I think will be a big hit-
Jackaby
by William Ritter. Fans of Sherlock Holmes (especially the Benedict Cumberbatch portrayal) will enjoy this first in a series debut that mixes mystery with more than a splash of the supernatural. A runaway suddenly finds herself far away from home and working for an eccentric detective. Ghosts, banshees, and blood-thirsty monsters are just some of the things that they must deal with. Likable (and familiar feeling) characters, clever dialogue, and plenty of action make this a must-read for fall!

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!

New characters and dinosaur bones are thrown into this mix in the sequel to Jackaby. Not to mention: shape-shifting cats running loose in the city and a mysterious monster killing inhabitants in a small village.

But something even more sinister is brewing closer to our main characters than they could imagine…

Relationships are deepened. The dialogue remains sharp. The stakes are higher.

Ghostly Echoes (Jackaby, #3)Ghostly Echoes by William Ritter
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This series just keeps getting better!

We dig deeper into the histories of characters we’ve come to know revealing surprising secrets. We learn of dark forces ready to make their ultimate moves to get what they want. Our heroes undertake unique ways to fight back but things will never be the same which makes me wish the fourth and final book is out already!

I love this series for its cleverness, sophistication, and its ability to speak on certain topics you wouldn’t expect in a supernatural mystery.

The Dire King (Jackaby, #4)The Dire King by William Ritter
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

The stakes are high in this final installment of the Jackaby series.

When the seams of the human and supernatural worlds are being ripped apart to create a war between the two, the resident of 926 Augur Lane must confront the evil mastermind behind it all. They soon realize that no one is safe. And nothing will ever be the same.

Another thing I like about this series that I may not have mentioned before is that readers can get a sense of how much fun William Ritter must have had writing some of these scenes. He really delivered in wrapping things up in a satisfying, high-octane, emotional conclusion.

I also read a short story that takes place between the first two novels.

The Map (Jackaby, #1.5)The Map 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!

What are you celebrating this week?j

 

Nonfiction Picture Book Challenge #NFPB2017- September 13, 2017

nfpb2017

Frida Kahlo and Her AnimalitosFrida Kahlo and Her Animalitos by Monica Brown
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

There have been lots of biographies about Frida Kahlo and this was an interesting take showing her love for animals and how much her pets meant to her not only as companions but also sources for inspiration.

 

My Reading Week #IMWAYR- September 10, 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
#MustReadin2017 Fall Update

littlefoxes

Based on a folk song, Little Foxes is a book by Portland artist Bunny with a Toolbelt (a.k.a. Hilary Pfeifer) about being green featuring over 100 sculptures from reclaimed wood. Includes a glossary and interesting facts about recycling. Great for Earth Day and perfect for any tiem of the year for anyone interested in getting inspired to lead a green lifestyle!

Goodbye Autumn, Hello WinterGoodbye Autumn, Hello Winter by Kenard Pak

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Absolutely beautiful picture book about the transition of one season to another from the vibrant colors of fall into the cool landscapes of winter. A sweet story perfect for an outdoor read-aloud or an indoor cuddling book.

A Letter to My TeacherA Letter to My Teacher by Deborah Hopkinson

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I’d been meaning to read this and glad I actually took the time to finally do so. A sweet tribute to teachers told through the eyes of a second-grade girl who admittedly wasn’t the easiest student to have. Very touching.

Mama Lion Wins the RaceMama Lion Wins the Race by Jon J. Muth

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I admit the illustrations made me want to avoid this book at all cost even though I’m a huge fan of Jon J. Muth! But ultimately I enjoyed this story of a car race that had a throwback European feel to it. And it manages to incorporate friendship and kindness and the lesson that winning first place may not be the real prize! The characters were apparently based on real kids toys and sharp eyed readers will want to be on the look out for a familiar character or two!

LovelyLovely by Jess Hong

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

A “lovely” book of how our differences make us all beautiful.

Broadway Baby: Do Re Mi: An illustrated sing-along to the Sound of MusicBroadway Baby: Do Re Mi: An illustrated sing-along to the Sound of Music by Walter Foster Jr Creative Team

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I love The Sound of Music and this song so I was curious to see what this book was about. It amused me that as much as I’ve heard the song, I couldn’t for the life of me remember the tune to some parts. Includes information about Rodgers and Hammerstein and the musical inspiration.

Broadway Baby: My Favorite Things: An illustrated sing-along to the Sound of MusicBroadway Baby: My Favorite Things: An illustrated sing-along to the Sound of Music by Walter Foster Jr Creative Team

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I love The Sound of Music and this song so I was curious to see what this book was about. It amused me that as much as I’ve heard the song, I couldn’t for the life of me remember the tune to some parts. Includes information about Rodgers and Hammerstein and the musical inspiration.

Salam Alaikum: A Message of PeaceSalam Alaikum: A Message of Peace by Harris J

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I didn’t realize this was another one of those picture books based on a song. And it’s a pretty recent song by a young artist. I ended up YouTubing the video and listening to parts of the song. I liked the message and I enjoyed the story the illustrations tell.

The Secret KeepersThe Secret Keepers by Trenton Lee Stewart

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I’m kicking myself for not reading this sooner! I loved The Mysterious Benedict Society and I was looking forward to this when it first came out. I have to admit though that the size- it’s a pretty thick book and, listening to it on audio, was over 15 hours- made me not to want to pick it up in the first place. Also, it was a slow burn like his other books but, once it gets going, you’ll be turning pages until the end.

N or M? (Tommy and Tuppence, #3)N or M? by Agatha Christie

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Fun revisiting these characters. Agatha Christie always manages to keep readers on their toes!

On Tyranny: Twenty Lessons from the Twentieth CenturyOn Tyranny: Twenty Lessons from the Twentieth Century by Timothy Snyder
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

On Tyranny by Timothy Snyder. Probably the best and most important book I read this year. It was what I needed to read at this moment. If you’re feeling overwhelmed and unsure of what to do, this will give you action steps. It also provides historical context and examples of how we got to where we are now. I highly encourage you to pick up a copy for yourself and share it with others. This is a quick read that will have a lasting impression on any of its readers.

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- September 8, 2017/ #MustReadin2017 Fall Update

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 my #MustReadIn2017 list and giving a fall update.

Posts of Interests:
KidLit Cares
Reading Challenge: Kwame Alexander
My Bookish Travels: San Francisco 2017

mustreadin2017

My Reading Snapshot
433 Books Read (So Far) in 2017
20 Adult Fiction
12 Adult Non-Fiction
44 Graphic Novels
44 Middle Readers
309 Picture Books
4 Young Adult

My #MustReadin2017 list still continues to change. I would say the ones I have yet to read are split evenly between upcoming releases and books I need to start reading if I want to get caught up.

I’ve read about 80 Nonfiction Picture Books already. My goal is 104.

What are you celebrating this week?

 

Nonfiction Picture Book Challenge #NFPB2017- September 6, 2017

nfpb2017

bigmachines

One of my reading challenges a few years ago was to read Virginia Lee Burton’s books. And they were delightful and some of my more frequent recommendations as a bookseller. This picture book biography was a real treat because it talks about most of her work. I loved that it included The Little House especially since I didn’t really think about how big a role machines played in that story. The creators of this book were the perfect people to work on it considering their other titles.

If you can’t get enough Virginia Lee Burton, check out the documentary A Sense of Place.

Oddly enough, I had just watched a Disney short of The Little House on YouTube. I didn’t even know about it.

Manjhi Moves a MountainManjhi Moves a Mountain by Nancy Churnin
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I love stories like this where a situation is questioned and a solution is presented and a new better life is created for lots of people. And the fact that this is based on a true story makes it more incredible. Even after reading the author’s note at the end, I want to read more about Dashrath Manjhi and the circumstances of his monumental act.

View all my reviews

 

My Reading Week #IMWAYR- September 3, 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 people- especially the kidlit community- who are finding ways to help the victims of Hurricane Harvey.

KidLit-Cares-300x115

All the Way to HavanaAll the Way to Havana by Margarita Engle
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Lyrical text and beautiful illustrations- one of my Caldecott contenders for the year, in fact!- will take readers along for the ride as a family drives across Cuba in a car that despite having seen better days has been taken care of over the years to have it do what’s it supposed to do. I love when picture books seems to only be one thing but actually has multiple layers written into it.

Come with MeCome with Me by Holly M. McGhee
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

A beautiful book to help soothe the fears one may have of all the bad news we’re bombarded with. Hopefully this will inspire readers to see what good they can do and to invite others to join them!

Sing, Don’t CrySing, Don’t Cry by Angela Dominguez
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Based on a popular Mexican song and inspired by the author’s grandfather’s life as a musician, it follows the joys and sadness of three family members and how songs can soothe the soul through good and bad times.

Why Am I Me?Why Am I Me? by Paige Britt
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

A celebration of diversity, our differences and similarities, and our connectedness through our shared interest of trying to figure out who we are. Simple text and beautiful illustrations make this a great book for kids to start asking big questions.

Portland BabyPortland Baby by Barbara Kerley
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Spend a day with a Portland baby and see sights and experience things that might be unique to a child from the city of roses. My favorite part is probably the final two-page spread which includes questions for young readers to engage more with this board book.

Uni the Unicorn and the Dream Come TrueUni the Unicorn and the Dream Come True by Amy Krouse Rosenthal
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Readers will love this sequel in which the power of friendship is able to bring back the magic in the land of unicorns.

Super Manny Stands Up!Super Manny Stands Up! by Kelly DiPucchio
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Very fun picture book about standing up to bullies. Imaginative and full of positive reinforcements.

Flora and the Ostrich: An Opposites Book by Molly IdleFlora and the Ostrich: An Opposites Book by Molly Idle by Molly Idle
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

A cute addition to the series. It must be difficult to continue this kind of books but this works!

The Princess in Black and the Mysterious PlaydateThe Princess in Black and the Mysterious Playdate by Shannon Hale
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Another fun addition to this series. A story about friendship, a monster really good at blending in with its surrounding, and a mysterious new superhero that will have readers dancing!

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!