Tag Archives: friendship

Sticks and Stones by Abby Cooper

There are times when we read a book and decide that it is one of those books that everyone should read. Granted, as a book blogger I tend to encourage people to read a lot of the books that I read, but Sticks and Stones by Abby Cooper is one of those gems that have such wonderful lessons told in such a remarkable way that I wish more kids would pick it up.sticks and stones.jpg

The concept of the story is that Elyse is a 12 year old girl who has a rare disorder that makes the words other people say about her appear on her body. The words form on her skin like a tattoo and if they are negative, they itch.  When she was little, it wasn’t such a big deal, the words were kind like “cute” and “adorable.” But now Elyse is entering middle school and the words are definitely less kind. On top of it all, now anything that she even thinks about herself shows up as well. Continue reading →

The Social Butterfly

Do you know a little boy or girl who likes to talk all the time? It is a great skill to be social, but all children also need to understand that there are times that we have to stay quiet. That is the lesson that Beth Bracken is putting out in her book, The Social Butterfly.

* Thank you to NetGalley for the digital review copy of this book in return for my honest review.

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Synopsis:
Charlotte loves talking, singing, and playing. What Charlotte doesn’t love is sitting still, being quiet, and listening, which is a big problem at school. Charlotte’s overly social ways interfere with her friendships and her learning. Will Charlotte be able to modify her behavior and learn when to be social and when to be quiet? A sweet picture book with a story that shines a light on social behaviors.

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My Review:
This was a sweet book for the preschool set and kindergarten. We all know those kids who just can’t stop talking and have a need to be surrounded by friends. Charlotte is just that kind of friend. Unfortunately, she is young and doesn’t always know when she needs to reign it in.

Beth Bracken does a good job of getting the message across that when you are in school, you have to focus on school work. Charlotte understands that just because you have finished your work doesn’t mean that everyone else has, and it is important to allow them to have a quiet space to get things done. She unfortunately has to learn this message the hard way when he friends stop talking to her, but sometimes that is reality.

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The book has beautiful images that will help make it great as a read-aloud in the classroom. The bright colors and whimsical bugs lure a child in. There is also something nice about the fact that all of the characters represent a diverse array of bugs to gently also push a multicultural theme. While a tad didactic at times, if you can get kids to sit still and listen to this story, it can be worth the time.

Charming Stories from Jenny Lundquist

Middle Grade Monday

Thank you @kidlitexchange and Jenny Lundquist for providing me with a copy of these books to read and review. All opinions are my own.

There are times when you want to just become friends with the characters in the books that you read. Or maybe that’s just me. The girls in the “Izzy Malone” series are so realistic and true to life that I just want to crawl into these books and never let them stop. A great addition to the middle grade books out there, the main point of these books is to show tweens that life is complicated, that we need our friends to help us sort things out, and that we need to be true to ourselves and who we are inside. I’m in my 40s and still trying to figure some of that out!

izzy.jpgThe series begins with The Charming Life of Izzy Malone. Izzy Malone is in 6th grade and feels like she doesn’t fit in. She doesn’t want to talk about boys, clothes and make-up; she would rather talk to the stars and be out on the water with her kayak. She has her own fashion style that many people don’t understand. She desperately wants to be on the rowing club, but can’t seem to make it into that clique. Her older sister is a prodigy musician and can do no wrong while Izzy finds herself routinely at the principal’s office. She even feels like she has to make an effort for her own mother’s attention. After her latest trip to the office, her parents decide she needs to be sent to charm school.

Continue reading →

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 →

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 →

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 →

Hanukkah Book Roundup 2017

Hanukkah Book Roundup 2017

Every year as the winter holidays roll around I’m always on the lookout for new Hanukkah books. We of course have our long-time favorites, but finding new books is always a great adventure. Since Hanukkah begins tonight at sundown, I wanted to finally get my collection up.

it's a miracleWhile not a new book, Stephanie Spinner’s It’s a Miracle! A Hanukkah Storybook, is new to us. We found this one at our school’s book fair and it is a great little gem. This book manages to tell a little bit about the story of Hanukkah while also showing how it really is about spending time with and appreciating your family. Young Owen is getting to light the Hanukkah candles himself for the first time. Each night, after the candles are lit, his grandmother tucks him into bed and tells him a story about someone in their family, without actually saying who the story is about. Owen is learning about family history while also spending quality time with his grandmother. The book ends with a simplified telling of the Hanukkah legend. This is a great book for younger elementary aged children to listen to around the holidays.

little redThis year’s book from the PJ Library was Little Red Ruthie: A Hanukkah Tale, by Gloria Koster. This super fun story takes the beloved story of Little Red Riding Hood and joins it with the story of Hanukkah. Little Ruthie is on the way to her grandmother’s house to make latkes when a wolf steps into her path. Ruthie couldn’t let on that she was scared, she needed to “be as brave as the Maccabees.” Smart girl convinces the wolf to let her be because she will be much more delicious after 8 days of latkes. But he still goes off to grandma’s house, though she is out. He occupies himself by putting on her clothing. When Ruthie gets there, she still manages to stall him by making him latkes and telling him the story of the Maccabees. Her resourcefulness saves both herself and her grandmother and listeners get a wonderful telling of the Hanukkah story. A super fun book and one that I plan to use when I go into classrooms to share Hanukkah! Continue reading →

Katie Kazoo, Switcheroo

My 7 year old adores audio books. She falls asleep to them every night and sometimes does art projects while listening to them. My 10 year old has enjoyed them since she was about the same age, but she only listened to books she had already read whereas my younger child likes to listen first. We have quickly made our way through all 6 Land of Stories books, the Ramona books (Stockard Channing!!!), and quite a few others. But sometimes, finding a series that she likes can be a challenge. Enter Katie Kazoo, Switcheroo.

book 1This series, by Nancy Krulik, was published from 2002-2011, but we have never read it before. It just wasn’t on my older daughter’s radar, for whatever reason. E is adoring the series and I’m rather impressed myself. The concept of the series is that young Katie Carew makes a wish after an exceptionally bad day asking to be anyone but herself. Now when a special wind blows, she becomes someone else, even the class hamster! Within about 70 pages, she manages to learn something about others, or other situations, by walking in someone else’s shoes.

Katie Kazoo offers a great option for those ready to read longer chapter books, but not quite ready for the likes of Harry Potter. There are still illustrations that keep them engaged and while the stories are silly and fun, Katie learns that bad behavior doesn’t work – for example, in book 5 she thinks having no rules would make everything better, but realizes that we need some rules to avoid mass chaos. Continue reading →

Greetings from Witness Protection!

Thanks to the @kidlitexchange network for the free review copy of his book – all opinions are my own.

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I had so much fun reading this book and would find myself finding ways to sneak in a chapter here and there. Quite impressive for a debut novel, but it is obvious that Jake Burt knows his audience well (he teaches 5th grade). Totally not surprising that the book is already a BEA Editor’s Buzz Pick for 2017!

Nicki Demere is a foster kid who happens to also be a kleptomaniac. After getting sent back from her most recent family, she finds that while her background of crime hasn’t helped her win over families, the US Marshalls might have a need for her to help hide a family of 3 by making them a family of 4. Continue reading →

Let the Museum come to Life with Mr. Owliver

I love being able to talk to my daughters about art and share a love of viewing art. We don’t have a lot of access to museums where we live, so I have to supplement with books and through their amazing art program at school. To engage kids in art, you have to make it come alive. That is exactly what Carolyn Bracken managed to do in her upcoming book, Mr. Owliver’s Magic at the Museum.

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In this fabulous book, Mr. Owliver is a night watchman at the Animaltown Art Museum. He loves his job and is perfectly happy to have the night shift, considering he is an owl. His job starts when everyone is leaving the museum at the end of the day, so he spends his night being able to see famous paintings without any crowds and at whatever pace he wants. Over the years, he has come to see the characters in these paintings as his friends. Continue reading →