Author Archive: michelle @ books my kids read

Princess Pulverizer – or a Princess who really wants to be a Knight

Thank you @kidlitexchange for providing me with a copy of this book to read and review. All opinions are my own.

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Princess Puliverizer (aka Princess Serena) doesn’t want to be a princess, she wants to be a knight. Unfortunately, she is stuck in etiquette classes and her attitude leaves something to be desired. After getting sent home from Princess School yet again, she tells her father that she wants to go to Knight School. Her father says no, but not because she is a girl but because he doesn’t think she has what it takes to actually be a knight – “great honor, kindness, and sacrifice.” Princess Serena only thinks of herself. So he tells her that she can go to Knight School if she completes a Quest of Kindness, performs 8 good deeds, and brings back proof of her accomplishments. Out in the real world, she struggles to find good things to actually help people.

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I was incredibly excited to get my hands on a review copy of Princess Pulverizer – Grilled Cheese and Dragons because my 7 year old has been really enjoying the Katie Kazoo, Switcheroo series from Nancy Kulik. Continue reading →

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Katie Woo – We Love You!

Thank you to Capstone Publishing for providing me with a review copy of this book and for being a Silver level sponsor of Multicultural Children’s Book Day. All opinions are my own.

Having a 1st grader, I’m always on the look out for great books that are right in that sweet spot of great readers for K-2. So I jumped at the chance to read the newest Katie Woo book,  Katie Woo, We Love You! by Fran Manushkin, which is being publishing this February.  This is actually our first time reading Katie Woo, but E enjoyed the book we got so much that she read it repeatedly and quickly checked out another at the library.

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Katie Woo is a young girl, probably in 1st or 2nd grade. The book itself is made up of 4 stand-alone short stories with lots of full color illustrations. This particular book has The Best Club, Katie’s Spooky Sleepover, Katie Blows her Top, and Daddy Can’t Dance. As a whole, the books works nicely as a transitional chapter book helping younger readers gain confidence to move to the next level. Continue reading →

Women in Sports

We talk a lot about allowing children to see themselves in the books that they read. That’s why Multicultural Children’s Book Day was created. There is one area that I don’t see a ton of, but that we slowly see building steam – books that portray women participating in athletics.

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I thought about this concept after checking out a new nonfiction picture book from our local library – Long-Armed Ludy and the First Women’s Olympics. This is an interesting story about Lucile “Ludy” Godbold. She never quite fit in – by the time she went to college in 1917 she was already 6 feet tall and rail thin, but she was always supporting and encouraging those around her. When her track and field coach suggested she try shot put, she found her true calling. It took great amounts of work and determination, but she kept at it. After winning an important track meet she was given a slot on the first Women’s Olympic team (not at the Olympics we know, since women still were not allowed to compete). What stands out is that, just as she had backed all of her teammates, when she couldn’t afford to go to France for the games, the entire school backed her. On August 20, 1922, she became the first female to win the shot put at the Women’s Olympics. This is a story of girl power. It is a story of supporting those around you and believing in yourself. It was a very different time, made evident by the clothing the women wore, but Ludy Godbold loved being an athlete and didn’t let anything stand in her way. (Although I must admit that shot put just makes me think of The Hammer from Matilda) Continue reading →

Sharing a World of Books

Finding books that open a child’s mind to the larger world around them has always been important to me. For a long time, I brought books like that into our lives without even really thinking about doing it. Then, 5 years ago, I became a part of a blogging movement called Multicutural Children’s Book Day, because I came to realize that not many children had the benefit of a crazy mom like me bringing such a wide variety of book into the home. This year, in addition to being a co-host of the online event, I am working with my daughters’ school to bring Multicultural Children’s Book Day alive for everyone.

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Multicultural books have been important to me because my family is not the norm. Although we are white, we are also Jewish, and raising children in the rural south while being Jewish can be a challenge. I try to make being Jewish a source of pride for my children and part of how I do that is through tons of wonderful books that help them realize that Jews are a vibrant community, even though we are such a small minority. We make being Jewish fun and part of that comes through a wealth of really great literature. For us, PJ Library has helped immensely in revitalizing the world of Jewish children’s literature. Continue reading →

Ellie, Engineer

Thank you to @NetGalley and @bloomsburypublishing for providing me with a review copy of this book. All opinions are my own.

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Description:
Ellie is an engineer. With a tool belt strapped over her favorite skirt (who says you can’t wear a dress and have two kinds of screwdrivers handy, just in case?), she invents and builds amazing creations in her backyard workshop. Together with her best friend Kit, Ellie can make anything. As Kit’s birthday nears, Ellie doesn’t know what gift to make until the girls overhear Kit’s mom talking about her present–the dog Kit always wanted! Ellie plans to make an amazing doghouse, but her plans grow so elaborate that she has to enlist help from the neighbor boys and crafty girls, even though the two groups don’t get along. Will Ellie be able to pull off her biggest project yet, all while keeping a secret from Kit?

Review:
What a fun book! Ellie is a riot and something of a hot mess. The book starts with a boys vs girls issue that Ellie solves by inventing a giant water balloon launcher and soaking the boys, but as the book progresses, Ellie learns that we can’t and shouldn’t always divide things by gender. One area where Ellie is sure that gender doesn’t matter is engineering and it is her biggest passion. Continue reading →

Renato and the Lion

Renato_cover-350Renato loved his home in Florence, Italy.
He loved the people there. And the food there.
But he especially loved the art there.
It was everywhere.

This is how Barbara DiLorenzo begins her beautiful book, Renato and the Lion. Through beautiful watercolor images, DiLorenzo brings Florence, Italy to life. This gorgeous book sends us back to Florence during World War II, seen through the eyes of young Renato, who not only loves his homes, but especially loves the art work found throughout the magnificent city.

Renato’s father works at an art museum. As soldiers start to take over the city, men like Renato’s father encase famous sculptures in brick to protect them from damage. Renato’s favorite sculpture is a lion in the Piazza della Signoria who he desperately wants to protect. The lion weaves into Renato’s dreams and in the end, he does manage to help save the sculpture. Continue reading →

Keith Haring: The Boy Who Just Kept Drawing

It’s Wednesday which means it is time for the Nonfiction Picture Book Challenge hosted by Alyson Beecher at KidLitFrenzy. I love the idea of trying to focus on at least one nonfiction picture book a week here, though I don’t always manage to stay on focus. But a new year, a new goal, right? For my first real week back at writing here, I decided to share a book that I found about one of my favorite artists, Keith Haring.

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Keith Haring was an artist whose work has always stood out to me. Perhaps it is because I was a child in the 1970s and 80s, but his art is instantly recognizable and was something that seemed to be everywhere during a part of my childhood. When I think of Keith Haring, in addition to seeing his drawings in my head, I think of him as an important part of the AIDS community and all of the world that he managed to do even after he died in 1990. In her book, Keith Haring: The Boy Who Just Kept Drawing, Haring’s sister, Kay, shows us a different side of the artist and hopefully will encourage young visionaries and philanthropists alike. Continue reading →

Thinking Outside of the Box with Goldie Blox

Getting girls excited by STEAM projects is incredibly popular right now. So we were very excited when the GoldieBlox team came out with their first chapter book for young girls this past May. I immediately purchased the first one for my daughter and she loved it. While she is a complete fashionista, E is also my child who likes to think outside of the box and create things, so I think she relates to Goldie.

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The series focuses on Goldie and a group of her friends. In the first book, Goldie Blox Ruins Rules the School, Goldie has to go to a regular, though private school for the first time after blowing the roof off of the small home-style school her mother runs. When she arrives there, even though her neighbor and best friend is there with her, she knows she doesn’t fit in. Higgs Bozon Prep is complete with rigid rules and conventional conformity which don’t work well for someone like Goldie who laughs in the face of rules and has unique was at solving problems. She rounds up a group of allies who want her out of the school and winds up making some new friends and learning about teamwork. Continue reading →

Let it Snow!

Here in the south we don’t get a lot of snow, and that’s a good thing, because when we get even the slightest warning of a trace, the entire area FREAKS OUT! The problem is that people here don’t know how to drive well in the snow and there are not a lot of plows available, but it is kind of funny to watch.

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With all that said and the fact that it is January, the snowiest month, I thought it would be appropriate to put together a collection of books about snow.

its snowignGail Gibbons is a master at writing non-fiction texts for kids that are still fun to read. In her book, It’s Snowing, young readers get a complete lesson in snow from how it forms, where it falls, different types of snow storms, and how to stay safe and have fun. Gibbons does a great job of breaking up the info so that kids of all ages can enjoy this book and get useful information that they are ready for. Continue reading →

The World of the Bible – an Archeological Approach

bible stories coverFrom time to time I receive books from National Geographic Kids to review. I’m always super amazed by the imagery they use and some of the books present really amazing information in a very fun way. Of all of the books I have received from them, The World of the Bible: Biblical Stories and the Archaeology Behind Them might be my absolute favorite.

The Bible is an important book, no matter how you look at it. The Old Testament is studied by Jews and Christians alike. What makes this book amazing is that it takes specific passages from the Bible and then looks at them from a historical and archeological viewpoint. Add in that there are amazing photographs and paintings that transport you to a different time.

The description from the publisher reads as follows: “Have you ever wondered about the real location of the Garden of Eden?  Or how Moses could have parted the Red Sea? The World of the Bible takes the reader back to ancient times to revisit classic Bible stories from the Old and New Testaments, learn fascinating facts about biblical history, and explore that same landscape as archaeologists are studying it today. Stories include the Samson and Delilah, Joseph in Egypt, Noah and the Flood, the birth of Jesus, Paul’s conversion, and many more.  Classic paintings and photos of the Middle East today enrich the archaeological explanations. Additionally, this book was reviewed by biblical scholars to ensure the most up-to-date and accurate information and includes profiles of important Bible personalities, analysis and explanation of key archaeological sites and maps of the Middle East to provide context to the stories and sites. Kids won’t just revisit classic Bible stories in this book … they’ll dig deeper into the history behind the tales to learn more about the biblical world.Continue reading →