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#CelebrateLU- March 3, 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 my month-long #LoveMonth challenge I did in February.

The challenge was: Take a moment to share who or what you loved about that day. Love yourself. Love others.

#Day1 I love being a bookseller. Today’s interactions were great because we connected as Readers.

#Day2 I love volunteering. Every since moving to Portland, it’s become a part of my life. My weekly shift is with the library.

#Day3 I love Mariah Carey. I don’t know if any of you knew that about me? Her new song “I Don’t” premiered today so I couldn’t be happier. Her music has inspired me for a long time now and has become a soundtrack of my life.

#Day4 I love that I’m an uncle again. My sister and her husband welcomed a beautiful baby girl into the world. I can’t wait to see my new niece!

#Day5 I love when people read my blog. Someone called the store saying she was a customer from a couple weeks back who liked my book recommendations. I had given her my blog URL and she had lost it but called for it. I thought that was pretty cool. Blogging has been a great way to further share my love of books. Plus it’s a great community of others who share my passion.

#Day6 I love that I’m having a book club with my sister via text. We’re reading The Fellowship of the Ring.

#Day7 Happy birthday, Charmaine! I love you. Always.

#Day8 I love that I have the next two days off. It’s been an exhausting week for some reason. I hope I can feel reinvigorated soon!

#Day9 I love Starbucks. It’s definitely my go to place to get caffeinated and to work on my laptop!

#Day10 I love that I got to volunteer again for The Children’s Book Bank. It’s been awhile and this was a fun new way to help them out.

#Day11 I love that I feel motivated to start exercising again even if it’s just walking at least 30 minutes a day. Let’s take care of ourselves and each other! (Oh, I also love this sign I ran across during today’s walk!)

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#Day12 I love that I get to work with such kind, book-loving people!

#Day13 I love the weather Portland has been having these past few days!

#Day14 I love being part of this year’s Cybils as a round 2 judge in the graphic novels categories.

#Day15 I love books for cheering me up. And this day definitely needed an assist with that matter! This is my first favorite picture book of 2017!

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#Day16 I love that my regular volunteer shift at the library was right after my horrible experience at the American Red Cross donating blood. One of the things I can comfortably brag about (besides walking 20% faster than most people) is that I bleed very quickly. With that said, I was there for over an hour which I wasn’t happy about. I was ready to walk out multiple times but I didn’t drink for a few days to not not donate blood. I felt bad for the employees for being under staffed but they should have planned accordingly with what they had because I wasn’t the only one there not wanting to ever go back. Well this was more of a rant the a love post. But the library staff were great people. Helping them and talking with them cheered me up.

#Day17 I love Pip’s Original Doughnuts. I’m so (continually) impressed by their whole existence- how they conduct their business and the fact they make my favorite doughnuts in all of Portland!

#Day18 I love meeting super nice people! Some out of town visitors came to the store and they apparently had a great time. They even left a note to give to my boss but I’m keeping it. (I covered the phone number with one of the event signs I’m working on.) It made my day!

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#Day19 I love that I’ve been able to cut back on my spending money eating out this past week. I was able to do it a few months ago but when December and the holidays came, I started doing it again because I wanted to have moments. I’m all for treating oneself but not every day when it’s going to cause more headache that happiness in the long run.

#Day20 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.

#Day21 I love getting to sleep in in the mornings! It’s the little things sometimes!

#Day22 I love that those who’ve gone away are never truly gone as long as we keep them in our hearts and memory.

#Day23 I love the writers, the illustrators, the singers, the actors, the filmmakers, the artists, and everyone else who create things that make us appreciate the world what we have, makes us believe in all the wonderful possibilities out there, makes us see things differently, makes us feel that we aren’t alone, and makes us forget our troubles for awhile. I am reading the graphic novel Love is Love which benefits the survivors of the Orlando Pulse Shooting and I am taken back to last June when the horrific event happened. I’m taken aback to these days’ backward thinking actions by those in power who take away people’s rights because they aren’t like them. But out of last year’s grief, just like in response to our recent political situation, people have stepped up for love and for one another in beautiful, meaningful creative ways.

#Day24 I love how a clean room can make it seem like anything’s possible. Try it and see for yourself

#Day25 I love I Love Lucy. I remember watching the reruns after school. I even did a book report of Lucille Ball’s autobiography. The show still makes me laugh uncontrollably even after all these years. And watching clips of other Lucille Ball shows and appearances, I have so much respect for her. She loved making people laugh and she was grateful for how much people loved her back in return.

#Day26 I love that so many authors and illustrators have stopped by to do events at the store or to make sure to stop by when they’re in Portland.

#Day27 I love that I got a story idea this morning. I’d been feeling mentally exhausted recently with current affairs. And rainy days and Mondays don’t help! But sometimes an idea will come to you unexpectedly and you should embrace it.

#Day28 I love working at Green Bean Books! I’ve said it many times before that it’s a great place to explore and discover wonderful things. Aside from recommending great books, I also like the personal connections created with fellow readers. The past couple of days I’ve had people who’ve felt overwhelmed with current events and they sought some sort of solace in books. After talking to them, I’m glad the bookstore was able to help them in a way.
(This is a photo of a quilt project we did at the store for MLK Jr. Day. People came and decorated squares which were then used to make two quilts to donate to kids in need.)

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I hope you all take time every day to think about something or someone you love.

What are you celebrating this week?

 

Nonfiction Picture Book Challenge #NFPB2017- March 1, 2017

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Strange Fruit: Billie Holiday and the Power of a Protest SongStrange Fruit: Billie Holiday and the Power of a Protest Song by Gary Golio
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

This is the story of a song that needed to be heard and that became a protest song against racism in the beginning of the Civil Rights era. With Billie Holiday’s experience and voice, it was brought to life and forced people to think about the lyrics and their significance to what was happening around them. Find an audio of the song to get a deeper experience with the book’s subject.

View all my reviews

The Playbook: 52 Rules to Aim, Shoot, and Score in This Game Called LifeThe Playbook: 52 Rules to Aim, Shoot, and Score in This Game Called Life by Kwame Alexander
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Part biography not only of Kwame Alexander’s childhood involving sports but also of other athletes, part poetry and advice, and part inspirational quotes, this is a great guidebook for teens and pre-teens. It’ll be nice to pair with 365 Days of Wonder.

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Animal Ark: Celebrating Our Wild World in Poetry and PicturesAnimal Ark: Celebrating Our Wild World in Poetry and Pictures by Kwame Alexander
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Haikus are paired with amazing animal photographs by Joel Sartore who’s been spotlighting disappearing, threatened or endangered species as part of Photo Ark project for National Geographic.

This stunning book includes multiple fold-out spreads, author and photographer notes as well as information about the project.

View all my reviews

 

My Reading Week #IMWAYR- February 26, 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– Read my reviews for a couple of what I think are absolute must reads for this year’s nonfiction picture books!

Celebrate This Week– This week, I’m celebrating The Fellowship of the Ring.

The Tree: A FableThe Tree: A Fable by Neal Layton
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Sweet and simple with a great message of being part of- and not apart from- nature. Great for Earth Day collections.

View all my reviews

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.

View all my reviews

If I Had a Little DreamIf I Had a Little Dream by Nina Laden
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Super sweet book with beautiful illustrations. Look under the dustjacket!

My favorite part though was the author’s dedication. It was to Debbie Alvarez a.k.a. The Styling Librarian. I love that those who’ve gone away are never truly gone as long as we keep them in our hearts and memory.

View all my reviews

MayaMaya by Mahak Jain
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Elly MacKay’s paper theater art is the primary reason I picked up this book. It’s absolutely stunning.

The power goes out in a small village. A girl’s fear of the dark and the noise is lessened by the comfort of her mother’s words, telling her of the story of the first banyan tree. It’s a sweet story of loss and overcoming one’s fear.

View all my reviews

Because of Mr. TeruptBecause of Mr. Terupt by Rob Buyea
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I read this for our Kids Book Club at work. I’d hear lots of positive things about it so I was excited to get started. The lives of students in one fifth grade classroom are changed forever when a new teacher arrives. Told from alternating viewpoints of seven students throughout the entire school year, we see the ripple effects of Mr. Terupt’s lessons. Then something happens that changes everything. How will they respond to it? Will they recover? I’m always anxious when I read a book with “special teacher” because they never fare well in my opinion. They either get laid off or get super sick. Without spoiling anything, I was surprised by this book. Actually 3.5.

View all my reviews

mustreadin2017

Love Is Love: a comic book anthology to benefit the survivors of the Orlando Pulse shootingLove Is Love: a comic book anthology to benefit the survivors of the Orlando Pulse shooting by Marc Andreyko
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

My rating is mostly due to the fact that this comic even exists in response of a tragic event. I loved that familiar characters “stood up” and many kidlit creators were also included. While I was reading this, I wrote the following as my social media post: I love the writers, the illustrators, the singers, the actors, the filmmakers, the artists, and everyone else who create things that make us appreciate the world what we have, makes us believe in all the wonderful possibilities out there, makes us see things differently, makes us feel that we aren’t alone, and makes us forget our troubles for awhile. I am reading the graphic novel Love is Love which benefits the survivors of the Orlando Pulse Shooting and I am taken back to last June when the horrific event happened. I’m taken aback to these days’ backward thinking actions by those in power who take away people’s rights because they aren’t like them. But out of last year’s grief, just like in response to our recent political situation, people have stepped up for love and for one another in beautiful, meaningful creative ways.

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 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

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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.

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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.
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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?