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Nonfiction Picture Book Challenge #NFPB2017- May 24, 2017

nfpb2017

Margaret and the Moon: The Computer Scientist Who Saved the First Lunar LandingMargaret and the Moon: The Computer Scientist Who Saved the First Lunar Landing by Dean   Robbins
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Another great picture book of someone who made a contribution to the world and whose story hasn’t been heard until now.

One of the traits I enjoyed about Margaret Hamilton was her being prepared for any scenario that may happen. Of course, she had a plan!

I loved the photos of Margaret and how they were used as inspirations for certain illustrations.
View all my reviews

 

My Reading Week #IMWAYR- May 21, 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

Pete With No PantsPete With No Pants by Rowboat Watkins
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
Readers will (finally!) discover what’s gray and round and wears no pants in this quirky picture book that will sure to provide plenty of giggles.
View all my reviews

Lines, Squiggles, Letters, WordsLines, Squiggles, Letters, Words by Ruth Rocha
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Lines, Squiggles, Letters, Words by Ruth Rocha was actually read to me during an impromptu storytime last week at my volunteer shift!

We’ve had this in store for awhile and, for some odd reason, I thought it was a doodle book!

Translated from Portuguese, this picture book charmingly tells the story of a boy who sees pictures he can’t quite decipher. Until he learns how to read. He realizes that the confusing images are actually letters!

This would be a great book for kids and adults learning how to read because it’ll give them a new way of seeing the world!
View all my reviews

Will You Fill My Bucket?: Daily Acts of Love Around the WorldWill You Fill My Bucket?: Daily Acts of Love Around the World by Carol McCloud
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
The concept of filling other people’s buckets (and their own) teaches kids about kindness and will inspire them to think of things they can do.

The first part of this book has kids from all over the world asking, “Will You Fill My Bucket?” The second part gives them affirmative answers sure to make readers smile.
View all my reviews

Fill a Bucket: A Guide to Daily Happiness for  Young ChildrenFill a Bucket: A Guide to Daily Happiness for Young Children by Carol McCloud
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
The concept of filling other people’s buckets (and their own) teaches kids about kindness and will inspire them to think of things they can do.

This is a sweet book for young readers to understand it. I wish it were in board book format!
View all my reviews

7 Ate 97 Ate 9 by Tara Lazar
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Punny and funny based on a joke we probably all heard of as kids. A fun read aloud.

As an aspiring author, this book also had the extra affect of lifting my moods because it encouraged me that while writers may end up using familiar concepts or plots, it’s really a matter of what spin you put on it that will make it yours.
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Ninja!Ninja! by Arree Chung
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
I decided to pick this up since Arree Chung is currently offering a free picture book making course online. Plus, this was a somewhat popular title at our store. Immediately you get the sense that this will make for a great read-aloud. And I love that it reads like a graphic novel with certain spreads featured in comic strips style. Fun!
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Ninja! Attack of the ClanNinja! Attack of the Clan by Arree Chung
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
Not as unenjoyable as the first one but still worth a read since it’s rare that you see the whole family getting in on the fun.
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Love IsLove Is by Diane Adams
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
I’d been meaning to read this and I admit it seemed too cute for me hence I didn’t pick it up until now. Right amount of cute without going overboard. A sweet friendship story and of growing up and letting go only to discover wonderful things can come out of it. The art is great.
View all my reviews

When We Were AloneWhen We Were Alone by David Alexander Robertson
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
I love Julie Flett’s artwork. A young girl questions her grandmother about why she does certain things and the grandmother answers revealing a sad yet not depressing (nor defeating) time in her childhood. I wasn’t familiar with residential schools in Canada until now. I was hoping there’d be an author’s note on them to give readers a better understanding how damaging they were.
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Hattie & HudsonHattie & Hudson by Chris Van Dusen
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
I was actually more impressed by the presentation of the story than the actual story itself.

Hattie befriends a mysterious creature she names Hudson that scares the other residents of the lake town. She and Hudson devise a plan to show that he isn’t a monster they think he is.

An unlikely friendship proves that appearances are deceiving and we shouldn’t judge someone or something as a negative or a monster because they are unknown or different.

A couple pages really stood because of their design.
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The Way Home in the NightThe Way Home in the Night by Akiko Miyakoshi
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
A contemplative story about a kid heading home and wondering about the other creatures he saw along the way and how they wind down for the night.

Interesting concept and outstanding artwork.
View all my reviews

mustreadin2017

Books for LivingBooks for Living by Will Schwalbe
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
I was a big fan of Will Schwalbe’s The End of Your Life Book Club. And, with both books, readers will enjoy hearing how books have shaped a fellow reader’s life. While not by any means a comprehensive list of all the books that have played a part in shaping the author’s life, this collection of books provides glimpses of the author’s life and how the stories of the written word combine with actual experiences.

Be prepared to get some book recommendations as you read this and to start thinking of which books you may want to talk about if you wrote your own Books for Living.
View all my reviews

Ladybug Girl's Day Out with GrandpaLadybug Girl’s Day Out with Grandpa by Jacky Davis
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Another winner in one of my favorite picture book series. In this installment, Lulu spends a day in the museum with her grandpa. There’s so much to see and she wants to make sure she learns everything all there is to know. But her grandpa reminds me to slow down and enjoy each attraction individually. A great lesson for adults, too!
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- May 17, 2017

nfpb2017

Who Was J. R. R. Tolkien?Who Was J. R. R. Tolkien? by Pam Pollack
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
A pretty comprehensive biography of one of the most genius writers of all time. Lots of tidbits that may or may not be well known. I know I learned some new things which made me appreciate his life and his work even more. You really get a sense of how his life inspired many things in his books.
View all my reviews

Read my reviews of The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings.

Why We March: Signs of Protest and HopeWhy We March: Signs of Protest and Hope by Artisan Press
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Basically a photo album with the occasional quote thrown in, this is nonetheless a great reminder of how people all over the world participated in the Women’s March of January 2017. May this remind readers they aren’t alone in their fight for justice and equality and inspire them to continue fighting. There may be strong language on some of the signs but older kids will definitely benefit from this. And hopefully they’ll have an adult to help answer questions or to connect them to resources to help them participate in this ongoing movement.
View all my reviews

Malala: A Hero for All (Step into Reading)Malala: A Hero for All by Shana Corey
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Being such a huge fan of Malala and her father and their fight for children’s education, I’m surprised I hadn’t read this one sooner. This is a great introduction for younger readers to learn about someone who can inspire them to find an issue they’re passionate about and to pursue it.
View all my reviews

 

My Reading Week #IMWAYR- May 14, 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 Lord of the Rings.

fotb

For Free Comic Book Day, I went to Floating World Comics close to where I live and got a copy of the one-shot issue of Fresh Off the Boat presents: Legion of Dope-Itude featuring Lazy Boy a tie-in to a recent episode. Also great is that it was written by Gene Luen Yang. I’ve only seen clips of the show but was familiar enough with the premise and the characters to get a kick out of seeing their superhero personas. Plus, tying in with the fitting in aspect of the show was the main character of the show and the comic trying to figure out if people like him for who he really is and not this superhero version of himself.

A Perfect Season for Dreaming / Un tiempo perfecto para soñarA Perfect Season for Dreaming / Un tiempo perfecto para soñar by Benjamin Alire Sáenz
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
It’s nice to run into a backlist title I hadn’t heard about. I love the Saenz’s YA novel Aristotle & Dante and I recently reviewed a book series from Cinco Puntos Press and I was checking out their catalog and ran into this title.

A charming bilingual picture book about a grandfather who has rich vibrant fanciful dreams. He wants to share them but afraid of what others might think of him once he does. Will he find a perfect confidant?
View all my reviews

Jabari JumpsJabari Jumps by Gaia Cornwall
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
A day in the pool becomes a test of courage for Jabari. He wants to leap off the diving board but realizes he should let the kids in front of him go first, he hasn’t stretched, and so on. If its something he really wants to do, will he be brave enough to do so?
View all my reviews

That Neighbor KidThat Neighbor Kid by Daniel Miyares
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
In this nearly wordless picture book, a curious girl wonders what the neighbor boy is up to. Not only does she find an answer but a new friendship as well.
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My Friend LuckyMy Friend Lucky by David Milgrim
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
Learning the opposites is incorporated into this sweet friendship story between a boy and his dog. Paired with cute illustrations.
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Chirri & Chirra: The Springtime MeadowChirri & Chirra: The Springtime Meadow by Kaya Doi
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
This series from Japan is a charming adventure of two little girls on sweet adventures that are small in size but big in imagination. The sequel finds them following an array of meadow creatures and discovering what they do in their various homes.
View all my reviews

LolaLola by Elbert Or
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
I love discovering Filipino stories by Filipino creators. This graphic novel published in Portland by Oni Press is by a Filipino writer- J. Torres- and Filipino illustrator- Elbert Or. “Lola” is Tagalog for “grandmother.” Returning to the Philippines for his Lola’s funeral, Jesse must come to terms with letting her go and accepting they both shared the same ability to see the supernatural.

Can he control his visions? Will he be able to stand his ground against the creatures that go bump in the night? Is what he has a blessing or a curse?

Lola is full of Filipino folktales intertwined with Jesse’s family’s stories.
View all my reviews

mustreadin2017

Avatar: The Last Airbender - North and South (Avatar: The Last Airbender, Library Edition, #5)Avatar: The Last Airbender – North and South by Gene Luen Yang
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
It’s good to reconnect with Team Avatar in this new trilogy continuing the storylines from the TV series.

I had the read and enjoyed the other four trilogies before watching and loving the series- and even watched the spin-off series The Legend of Korra- so I’ve become more of a fanatic with official new stories.

Katara and Sokka return home only to find everything’s changed. It’s a battle between maintaining and preserving the past while trying to move forward. The stakes are high when both sides have valid points and loyalties shift and lives threatened.

I highly recommend reading the each series as a whole when each part comes out or waiting for the omnibus editions and maybe space them out because the plot lines may seem formulaic as each member of Team Avatar practically have to tackle a new world after a devastating war and coming to terms with the old and new ways of life.
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- May 12, 2017/ Review: The Lord of the Rings

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 J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings.

I loved reading The Hobbit a couple summers ago.

Although I loved the Lord of the Rings movies from a few years back, 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 as I read The Fellowship of the Ring.

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.

While reading the series, I couldn’t help but keep looking back at the maps, tracking their journeys. I also couldn’t help but wonder connecting with how scenes 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.

To be honest, The Two Towers kind of dragged but that’s to be expected with the way the fellowship has scattered. (In fact, my sister gave up at this point.)

There were lots of ground to cover. The shift on the focus of characters with each part was jarring. I would have preferred alternating chapters. But who am I to judge a masterpiece such as this?

A couple of stand-outs were the introduction of the Ents and the conflicted character of Gollum.

The Return of the King proved to be an undertaking, quite like the hobbits’ quest. I couldn’t but feel the book would never end- and with a whole slew of appendices after the actual story, it sort of didn’t.

Not to say, I didn’t enjoy it because I did. After I finished.

It was interesting how the book’s final chapters differed from the version I was familiar with from the films.

The appendices seemed like a textbook and even as I was begrudgingly making my way through them, I couldn’t help but be in total awe of Tolkien’s genius. He created a new world complete with history and language! And I appreciated how I learned what happened to certain characters after the story proper.

The Lord of the Rings is truly a masterpiece, a must read.

I had watched the movies after finishing each book. I would recommend not doing so to avoid spoilers. The Special Extended Edition has great bonus features detailing Tolkien’s life and the way they adapted it from book to screen.

A scene from The Two Towers that I love, which seems particularly fitting in these crazy days we live in:

What are you celebrating this week?

 

Nonfiction Picture Book Challenge #NFPB2017- May 10, 2017

nfpb2017

Balderdash!: John Newbery and the Boisterous Birth of Children's BooksBalderdash!: John Newbery and the Boisterous Birth of Children’s Books by Michelle Markel
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

It was great to read about the person who inspired one of the most prestigious awards in children’s literature.

As a publisher, a bookseller, an author, and a clever marketer, John Newbery became an early pioneer in making children’s books things that kids would actually want to read.

A fascinating story paired with lively illustrations and packed with lots of back matter information. Book lovers- particularly those in the kidlit community- will enjoy this and want to add this to their collection.

View all my reviews

 

My Reading Week #IMWAYR- May 7, 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

gly1
I just found out that Gene Luen Yang (with Sonny Liew) wrote an exclusive comic for (the Chinese restaurant chain) Panda Express continuing the adventures and misadventures of the Asian superhero, the Green Turtle. In “Shadow Hero Comics #1: Real Heroes,” a new caped crusader comes to the aide of their crime-ridden city. Who’s behind the mask? Will there be more comics? Grab a free copy with the purchase of a kid’s meal at Panda Express all this month which is Asian Pacific American Heritage Month! Or download it here.

The 24-page comic features some background on the character and its original creator, a couple of activities and information about Gene Luen Yang’s Reading Without Walls challenge.

The Thing Lou Couldn't DoThe Thing Lou Couldn’t Do by Ashley Spires
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
A fun book about overcoming your fears with a little help of your friends.
View all my reviews

Along the RiverAlong the River by Vanina Starkoff
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
A cute picture book from Brazil about river life and the different goings-on there. Vibrant illustrations depicts different kinds of boats and people. Lots of details makes it perfect for rereading.
View all my reviews

DreamDream by Matthew Cordell
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
This will make a sweet gift for expecting parents or maybe even as a graduation gift.

Another instance where I wish it was available as a board book.
View all my reviews

Stack the CatsStack the Cats by Susie Ghahremani
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Cute counting book featuring cats that do all sorts of things. Adorable.
View all my reviews

Town Is by the SeaTown Is by the Sea by Joanne Schwartz
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
This was an interesting read. The poetic text and the gorgeous illustrations complement one another well. I was worried something bad was going to happen which I guess is the point. Because mining is a dangerous job. The upholding of tradition is also evident.

This book would be a good study for writers.
View all my reviews

Rapunzel (Once Upon a World)Rapunzel by Chloe Perkins
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
A cute new board book series takes fairy tales and sets them in a different country. This would be a good addition to fans of Indestructibles, Cozy Classics, BabyLit, and Global Babies.

I just realized after reading this one and checking the first two books in the series that the illustrators are from the countries the stories take place in giving the artwork a cultural authenticity.
View all my reviews

Super Narwhal and Jelly Jolt  (Narwhal and Jelly)Super Narwhal and Jelly Jolt by Ben Clanton
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
A super addition to a new series that will be a hit with beginning readers with the right amount of silly and heart. I liked this much better the first one partly because I knew what to expect and yet I was still surprised and amused.
View all my reviews

Real FriendsReal Friends by Shannon Hale
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
Fans of Smile, Sisters, El Deafo, and Roller Girl will gobble up this graphic novel. It’s a great coming-of-age story about outgrowing friends, meeting new ones, and finding a group where one can truly belong.
View all my reviews

Inside Out & Back AgainInside Out & Back Again by Thanhha Lai
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
I’d been meaning o read this for awhile now and it didn’t disappoint. (I listened to this as an audio book.)

Based on the author’s actual experiences, this novel in verse tells the story of a family having to leave their home country of Vietnam during war time to uncharted territories of a new place, new language, and new culture. It tackles the kindness and meanness of strangers, the necessity and frustrations of family, and finding the necessary strength in a beautiful and ugly world. Readers will experience these dualities as well and find themselves laughing and crying as they get to know Ha and her family.
View all my reviews

DryDry by Augusten Burroughs
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
I had very mixed feelings about this.

I listened to the whole thing on audio book and I enjoyed it for the most part. I laughed and sympathized with the narrator.

I also thought he was too smart for his own good and coming off as conceited even when he was trying to put himself down.

It’s nice to read LGBTQ books that shows how they’re as flawed and imperfect and trying to figure life out just like everyone else and Augusten Burroughs definitely succeeded at coming off as those things.
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!